Friday, March 20, 2020

Cardinal Gracias - Head of Indian Bishops Suspends Public Masses till Palm Sunday saying " I urge you pray at home." Full Text/Video


VaticanNews reports that the Bombay Archdiocese urges self-curfew on Sunday against coronavirus
In a video message on Friday, Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay suspends public Masses until the eve of Palm Sunday, and urges the faithful to respect India’s nationwide curfew on Sunday.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay is encouraging his Catholics to adhere to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to a nationwide self-curfew on Sunday.
The cardinal who is also the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), suggested the faithful could avail themselves of the Masses telecast by TV channels such as EWTN, Goodness TV and Shalom but there is no obligation.



In an address to the nation on Thursday, Modi appealed to fellow citizens to observe a self-curfew from 7 am to 9 pm on March 22, as part of a trial-run to test social isolation to battle the coronavirus pandemic in the nation with a population of around 1.3 billion.

FULL TEXT Letter of Cardinal Gracias from the Archdiocese of Bombay:

My dear people,
The Coronavirus pandemic is a matter of extreme concern. The number of cases is increasing and we now have even a few deaths in India. Experts say that the next couple of weeks are crucial for the control of its spread. I had issued instructions giving guidelines based on advisories from the Central and State Governments and after consulting medical experts. This morning I issued another Circular exempting all our faithful from the Sunday Mass obligation till March 31, 2020. There is now a request from the Chief Minister to close our places of worship for a few days. In response to his request and in the interest of the safety of our people I am asking our Parish Priests and Heads of Institutions to suspend all Church services except Mass till March 31, 2020 after which the situation will be reviewed and we will issue appropriate directions. Hence, till Palm Sunday, there will be no missions, no Stations of the Cross, and no Passo Services.
All meetings of Associations are suspended with immediate effect. Big gatherings of over 50 persons are to be avoided. Hence, even on Sunday pray at home. I am advising our priests not to reduce the number of Masses so as to ensure there is a smaller congregation at each Mass. There should not be more than 50 at Mass. You know there is no obligation to attend Mass: so please, I urge you pray at home. Today is Wednesday, we will observe the situation, consult the Government and if necessary, issue appropriate directions towards the end of the week regarding Mass on Sunday.
My advice to you: Do not panic. But take proper precautions. The situation is not out of control. We must collaborate with the Government and Health authorities. These are emergency short term measures so we can avoid a longer lasting effect. Do pray at home especially on Sunday. I recommend to our faithful to observe Friday as a day of penance and fasting for the control of the coronavirus spread. I affectionately urge you: please minimize socialising. Avoid physical contact. And do wash your hands often with soap and water or sanitizer. We are in the season of Lent. Easter is round the corner!! March 18, 2020 X Oswald Cardinal Gracias Archbishop of Bombay

Vatican News reports that other dioceses in India have also adopted preventive measures against the virus.

The North East India Regional Bishops’ Council (NEIRBC) have issued a set of guidelines dispensing Catholics from attending Sunday Mass.  The faithful have been asked to avoid gatherings, the sign of peace at Mass, kissing the crucifix or using a single towel to wash the feet on Holy Thursday.  Holy water fonts in churches must be emptied and Holy Communion should be given in the hand.

However, churches will remain open for individuals to pray.

The NEIRBC, which includes 15 dioceses, took the decision after a recent two-day meeting at the pastoral centre in Dibrugarh, Assam.

NEIRBC president, Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati, has urged the faithful of NE India “to follow the guidelines and instructions of their respective States" and to take necessary precautions to “avoid panic, as fear is more dangerous than the virus itself.”

In some parishes, the local pastors are issuing guidelines for Easter Triduum celebrations. On Holy Thursday, priests will use disposable wipes, not the same towel to wash the feet. On Good Friday the faithful must avoid kissing the cross.
The NEIRBC also asked priests to avoid physical contact when at a sick person's bedside or when they receive offerings.

To date, 245,132 coronavirus infections have been confirmed worldwide, with 10,022 reported deaths.  Currently, Italy has the heaviest caseload with 41,035 cases and 3,405 deaths.
Edited from Vatican News and Letter from Archdiocese of Bombay

Wow Listen to Catholic Nuns Singing from Rooftop in Rome - A Beautiful Salve Regina to Touch your Heart! Amid the Coronavirus


Listen to the Beautiful voices of these Nuns in Rome singing hymns from the rooftop amid coronavirus pandemic. They are from Rome's Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and gather daily on their roof to pray and sing to the Italian capital amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Italy has lost most lives due to the virus. The nuns sing the Salve Regina asking the heavenly mother to keep all coronavirus sufferers and all caregivers safe.
Please SUBSCRIBE to our Youtube Channel and SHARE this Video with a Friend to Touch their Heart! 

Vatican - New Indulgences for those affected by Coronavirus Pandemic issued by Holy See with Conditions - READ



VaticanNews reports that the Church has granted special indulgence to coronavirus patients and caregivers
Full Text English Language Full Text of Decree now replaces Summary:
Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the granting of special Indulgences to the faithful in the current pandemic, 20.03.2020

The gift of special Indulgences is granted to the faithful suffering from COVID-19 disease, commonly known as Coronavirus, as well as to health care workers, family members and all those who in any capacity, including through prayer, care for them.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom 12: 12). The words written by Saint Paul to the Church of Rome resonate throughout the entire history of the Church and guide the judgment of the faithful in the face of all suffering, sickness and calamity.
The present moment in which the whole of humanity, threatened by an invisible and insidious disease, which for some time now has become part of all our lives, is marked day after day by anguished fears, new uncertainties and above all widespread physical and moral suffering.
The Church, following the example of her Divine Master, has always had the care of the sick at heart. As Saint John Paul II points out, the value of human suffering is twofold: “It is supernatural because it is rooted in the divine mystery of the Redemption of the world, and it is likewise deeply human, because in it the person discovers himself, his own humanity, his own dignity, his own mission” (Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris, 31).
Pope Francis, too, in these recent days, has shown his paternal closeness and renewed his invitation to pray incessantly for those who are sick with the Coronavirus.
So that all those who suffer because of COVID-19, precisely in the mystery of this suffering, may rediscover “the same redemptive suffering of Christ” (ibid., 30), this Apostolic Penitentiary, ex auctoritate Summi Pontificis, trusting in the word of Christ the Lord and considering with a spirit of faith the epidemic currently underway, to be lived in a spirit of personal conversion, grants the gift of Indulgences in accordance with the following disposition.
The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father's intentions), as soon as possible.
Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15: 13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.
This Apostolic Penitentiary also willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic adoration, or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself.
The Church prays for those who find themselves unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and of the Viaticum, entrusting each and every one to divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, no.12).
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, Health of the Sick and Help of Christians, our Advocate, help suffering humanity, saving us from the evil of this pandemic and obtaining for us every good necessary for our salvation and sanctification.
The present Decree is valid notwithstanding any provision to the contrary.
Given in Rome, from the seat of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 19 March 2020.
Mauro Cardinal Piacenza
Major Penitentiary
Krzysztof Nykiel
Regent



Source: https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2020/03/20/200320c.html
Indulgences
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an indulgence is “a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven.” Indulgences are either partial or plenary depending on if they remove part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.


Famous 15 Prayers and Promises on Passion of Christ - Perfect for Lent from St. Bridget in Pieta Booklet - SHARE


Are published under sanction of the Decree of November 18, 1966, published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, Vol. 58, No. 16 of December 29, 1966. Prayers Approved by Pope Pius IX 

The Fifteen Prayer Revealed by Our Lord to Saint Bridget of Sweden In the Church of St. Paul at Rome 
First Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus Christ!  Eternal Sweetness to those who love Thee, joy surpassing all joy and all desire, Salvation and Hope of all sinners, Who hast proved that Thou hast no greater desire than to be among men, even assuming human nature at the fullness of time for the love of men, recall all the sufferings Thou hast endured from the instant of Thy conception, and especially during Thy Passion, as it was decreed and ordained from all eternity in the Divine plan.

Remember, O Lord, that during the Last Supper with Thy disciples, having washed their feet, Thou gavest them Thy Most Precious Body and Blood, and while at the same time Thou didst sweetly console them, Thou didst foretell them Thy coming Passion.
Remember the sadness and bitterness which Thou didst experience in Thy Soul as Thou Thyself bore witness saying: “My Soul is sorrowful even unto death.”
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Remember all the fear, anguish and pain that Thou didst suffer in Thy delicate Body before the torment of the Crucifixion, when, after having prayed three times, bathed in a sweat of blood, Thou wast betrayed by Judas, Thy disciple, arrested by the people of a nation Thou hadst chosen and elevated, accused by false witnesses, unjustly judged by three judges during the flower of Thy youth and during the solemn Paschal season.
Remember that Thou wast despoiled of Thy garments and clothed in those of derision; that Thy Face and Eyes were veiled, that Thou wast buffeted, crowned with thorns, a reed placed in Thy Hands, that Thou was crushed with blows and overwhelmed with affronts and outrages.
In memory of all these pains and sufferings which Thou didst endure before Thy Passion on the Cross, grant me before my death true contrition, a sincere and entire confession, worthy satisfaction and the remission of all my sins.  Amen


Second Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus! True liberty of angels, Paradise of delights, remember the horror and sadness which Thou didst endure when Thy enemies, like furious lions, surrounded Thee, and by thousands of insults, spits, blows, lacerations and other unheard-of-cruelties, tormented Thee at will.  In consideration of these torments and insulting words, I beseech Thee, O my Savior, to deliver me from all my enemies, visible and invisible, and to bring me, under Thy protection, to the perfection of eternal salvation.  Amen
Third Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Creator of Heaven and earth Whom nothing can encompass or limit, Thou Who dost enfold and hold all under Thy Loving power, remember the very bitter pain Thou didst suffer when the Jews nailed Thy Sacred Hands and Feet to the Cross by blow after blow with big blunt nails, and not finding Thee in a pitiable enough state to satisfy their rage, they enlarged Thy Wounds, and added pain to pain, and with indescribable cruelty stretched Thy Body on the Cross, pulled Thee from all sides, thus dislocating Thy Limbs.  I beg of Thee, O Jesus, by the memory of this most Loving suffering of the Cross, to grant me the grace to fear Thee and to Love Thee.  Amen.
Fourth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Heavenly Physician, raised aloft on the Cross to heal our wounds with Thine, remember the bruises which Thou didst suffer and the weakness of all Thy Members which were distended to such a degree that never was there pain like unto Thine.  From the crown of Thy Head to the Soles of Thy Feet there was not one spot on Thy Body that was not in torment, and yet, forgetting all Thy sufferings, Thou didst not cease to pray to Thy heavenly Father for Thy enemies, saying “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Through this great Mercy, and in memory of this suffering, grant that the remembrance of Thy Most Bitter Passion may effect in us a perfect contrition and the remission of all our sins.  Amen.
Fifth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Mirror of eternal splendor, remember the sadness which Thou experienced, when contemplating in the light of Thy Divinity the predestination of those who would be saved by the merits of Thy Sacred passion, Thou didst see at the same time, the great multitude of reprobates who would be damned for their sins, and Thou didst complain bitterly of those hopeless lost and unfortunate sinners.
 Through this abyss of compassion and pity, and especially through the goodness which Thou displayed to the good thief when Thou saidst to him: “This day, thou shalt be with Me in paradise.”  I beg of Thee, O Sweet Jesus, that at the hour of my death, Thou wilt show me mercy.  Amen.
Sixth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Beloved and most desirable King, remember the grief Thou didst suffer, when naked and like a common criminal, Thou was fastened and raised on the Cross, when all Thy relatives and friends abandoned Thee, except Thy Beloved Mother, who remained close to Thee during Thy agony and whom Thou didst entrust to Thy faithful disciple when Thou saidst to Mary:  “Woman, behold thy son!”  and to St. John: “Son, behold thy Mother!”
I beg of Thee O my Savior, by the sword of sorrow which pierced the soul of Thy holy Mother, to have compassion on me in all my affliction and tribulations, both corporal and spiritual, and to assist me in all my trials, and especially at the hour of my death. Amen
Seventh Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Inexhaustible Fountain of compassion, Who by a profound gesture of Love, said from the Cross: “I thirst!” suffered from the thirst for the salvation of the human race.  I beg of Thee O my Savior, to inflame in our hearts the desire to tend toward perfection in all our acts; and to extinguish in us the concupiscence of the flesh and the ardor of worldly desires.  Amen
Eighth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Sweetness of hearts, delight of the spirit, by the bitterness of the vinegar and gall which Thou didst taste on the Cross for Love of us, grant us the grace to receive worthily Thy Precious Body and Blood during our life and at the hour of our death, that they may serve as a remedy and consolation for our souls.  Amen
Ninth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Royal virtue, joy of the mind, recall the pain Thou didst endure when, plunged in an ocean of bitterness at the approach of death, insulted, outraged by the Jews, Thou didst cry out in a loud voice that Thou was abandoned by Thy Father, saying: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
Through this anguish, I beg of Thee, O my Savior, not to abandon me in the terrors and pains of my death. Amen
Tenth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Who art the beginning and end of all things, life and virtue, remember that for our sakes Thou was plunged in an abyss of suffering from the soles of Thy Feet to the crown of Thy Head.  In consideration of the enormity of Thy Wounds, teach me to keep, through pure love, Thy Commandments, whose way is wide and easy for those who love Thee.  Amen
Eleventh Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Deep abyss of mercy, I beg of Thee, in memory of Thy Wounds which penetrated to the very marrow of Thy Bones and to the depth of Thy being, to draw me, a miserable sinner, overwhelmed by my offenses, away from sin and to hide me from Thy Face justly irritated against me, hide me in Thy Wounds, until Thy anger and just indignation shall have passed away.  Amen
Twelfth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Mirror of Truth, symbol of unity, link of Charity, remember the multitude of wounds with which Thou was covered from head to foot, torn and reddened by the spilling of Thy adorable blood.  O great and universal pain which Thou didst suffer in Thy virginal flesh for love of us!  Sweetest Jesus!  What is there that Thou couldst have done for us which Thou hast not done! May the fruit of Thy sufferings be renewed in my soul by the faithful remembrance of Thy passion, and may Thy love increase in my heart each day, until I see Thee in eternity, Thou Who art the treasury of every real good and every joy, which I beg Thee to grant me, O sweetest Jesus, in Heaven.  Amen
Thirteenth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  Strong Lion, Immortal and Invincible King, remember the pain which Thou didst endure when all Thy strength, both moral and physical, was entirely exhausted, Thou didst bow Thy head, saying:  “It is consummated!”
Through this anguish and grief, I beg of Thee Lord Jesus, to have mercy on me at the hour of my death when my mind will be greatly troubled and my soul will be in anguish.  Amen
Fourteenth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus! Only Son of the Father, splendor and figure of His substance remember the simple and humble recommendation Thou didst make of Thy Soul to Thy Eternal Father, saying: “Father, into Thy Hands I commend My Spirit!”  And with Thy body all torn, and Thy Heart broken, and the bowels of Thy mercy open to redeem us, Thou didst expire.  By this precious death, I beg of Thee O King of Saints, comfort me and help me to resist the devil, the flesh and the world, so that being dead to the world I may live for Thee alone.  I beg of Thee at the hour of my death to receive me, a pilgrim and an exile returning to Thee. Amen
Fifteenth Prayer 
Our Father – Hail Mary.

O Jesus!  True and fruitful Vine!  Remember the abundant outpouring of Blood which Thou didst so generously shed from Thy Sacred Body as juice from grapes in a wine press.
From Thy Side,  pierced with a lance by a soldier, blood and water issued forth until there was not left in Thy Body a single drop, and finally, like a bundle of myrrh lifted to the top of the Cross, Thy delicate flesh was destroyed, the very Substance of Thy Body withered, and the Marrow of Thy Bones dried up.
Through this bitter Passion and through the outpouring of Thy precious Blood, I beg of Thee, O Sweet Jesus, to receive my soul when I am in my death agony.  Amen


Conclusion
O Sweet Jesus!  Pierce my heart so that my tears of penitence and love will be my bread day and night; may I be converted entirely to Thee, may my heart be Thy perpetual habitation, may my conversation be pleasing to Thee, and may the end of my life be so praiseworthy that I may merit Heaven and there with Thy saints, praise Thee forever.  Amen

Magnificent Promises to Saint Bridget of Sweden


Pope Benedict XV expressed himself as follows on the Revelations of St. Bridget:
“The approbation of such revelations implies nothing more than, after mature examination, it is permissible to publish them for the unit of the faithful.  Though they don’t merit the same credence as the truths of religion, one can, however, believe them out of human faith, conforming to the rules of prudence by which they are probable, and supported by sufficient motives that one might believe in them piously. (Les Petits Bollandistes, tome XII) The 14th of June 1303, at the moment Bridget was born, Benedict, the curate of Rasbo, prayed for the happy deliverance of Ingeborde.  Suddenly he found himself enveloped by a luminous cloud out of which Our Lady appeared: “A child has been born at Birger; her voice will be heard by the entire world.”
Sagii, die XXIV Aprilis 1903, Imprimature. FJ. Girard, V.G.


These prayers and these Promises have been copied from a book printed in Toulouse in 1740 and published by the P. Adrien parvilliers of the Company of Jesus, Apostolic Missionary of the Holy Land, with approbation, permission and recommendation to distribute them.
Parents and teachers who will read them to young infants for at least one year will assure their being preserved for life from any grave accident which would involve the loss of one of their five senses.
Pope Pius IX took cognizance of these Prayers with the prologue; he approved them May 31, 1862, recognizing them as true and for the good  of Souls.
This sentence of Pope Pius IX has been confirmed by the realization of the promises by all persons who have recited the prayers and by numerous supernatural facts by which God wanted to make known their exact truth.  A collection of small books, these prayers among them, was approved by the Great Congress of Malines on August 22, 1863.
Question – Must one recite the prayers everyday without interruption to obtain the privileges?
Answer -  One should miss saying them as few times as possible; but if for a serious reason one is obliged to miss them, one doesn’t lose the privileges attached to them, as long as one recites 5480 Prayers during the year.  One must say them with devotion and concentrate on the words one pronounces. These prayers can serve as the Way of the Cross.
Visitors to the Church of St. Paul at Rome can see the crucifix, above the Tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, sculptured by Pierre Cavallini, before which St. Bridge knelt when she received these 15 prayers from Our Lord.  The following inscription is placed in the church to commemorate the event: “Pendentis, Pendente Dei verba accepit aure accipit et verbum corde Brigitta Deum.  Anno Jubilei MCCCL.”
As St. Bridget for a long time wanted to know the number of blows Our Lord received during His Passion, He one day appeared to her and said: “I received 5480 blows on My Body.  If you wish to honor them in some way, say 15 Our Fathers and 15 Hail Mary’s with the following Prayers (which He taught her) for a whole year.  When the year is up, you will have honored each one of My Wounds.”
Our Lord made the following promises to anyone who recited the 15 St. Bridget Prayers for a whole year:
Promises

 1.
I will deliver 15 souls of his lineage from Purgatory.
 2.
15 souls of his lineage will be confirmed and preserved in grace.
 3.
15 sinners of his lineage will be converted.
 4.
Whoever recites these Prayers will attain in the first degree of perfection.
 5.
15 days before his death I will give him My Precious Body in order that he may escape eternal starvation; I will give him My Precious Blood to drink lest he thirst eternally.
 6.
15 days before his death he will feel a deep contrition for all his sins and will have a perfect knowledge of them.
 7.
I will place before him the sign of My Victorious Cross for his help and defense against the attacks of his enemies.
 8.
Before his death I shall come with My Dearest Beloved Mother.
 9.
I shall graciously receive his soul, and will lead it into eternal joys.
10.
And having led it there I shall give him a special draught from the fountain of My Deity, something I will not for those who have not recited My Prayers.
11.
Let it be known that whoever may have been living in the state of mortal sin for 30 years, but who will recite devoutly, or have the intention to recite these Prayers, the Lord will forgive him all his sins.
12.
I shall protect him from strong temptations.
13.
I shall preserve and guard his 5 senses.
14.
I shall preserve him from a sudden death.
15.
His soul will be delivered from eternal death.
16.
He will obtain all he asks for from God and the Blessed Virgin.
17.
If he has lived all his life doing his own will and he is to die the next day, his life will be prolonged.
18.
Every time one recites these Prayers he gains 100 days indulgence.
19.
He is assured of being joined to the supreme Choir of Angels.
20.
Whoever teaches these Prayers to another, will have continuous joy and merit which will endure eternally.
21.
There where these prayer are being said or will be said in the future God is present with His grace.

Pope Francis explains if You can't go to Confession to Ask God's Forgiveness with all your heart with an Act of Contrition, and promise God ‘afterward I will go to confession.’ at Mass


Pope at Mass: “Let’s return to our Father”
Once again the Pope prays for healthcare providers in the hard hit Bergamo region of Italy during his Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Friday, and urges us to “return to our Father who is waiting for us”.
By Vatican News

“Yesterday, I received a message from a priest from the Bergamo region who asked for prayers for the doctors working there…. They are at the end their strength…and are truly giving their lives to help those who are ill, to save others’ lives.” He also prayed for civil leaders who are managing the crisis and often “suffer from being misunderstood”. “They are the pillars helping us move out of the situation and are defending us from this crisis”, the Pope added. “So, let’s pray for them”.

Song from his childhood
The Pope introduced his homily saying the words “return to the Lord, your God, from the first reading from Hosea (14:2), always remind him of a song sung by Carlo Buti 75 years ago.

"The Italian families in Buenos Aires used to listen to it. They liked it a lot. ‘Return to your daddy, he will still sing you a lullaby’. Return. But it’s your Father who tells you to return. God is your Daddy. He’s not a judge. He’s your Daddy. Go back home."

Father waits for His wayward son
That memory then lead him to the 15th chapter of Luke. There, another Father waits for his son who left home taking “all that money and wasting it”.

"If he sees him from a distance, it’s because He was waiting for him. How many times He went up the terrace day after day, month after months, perhaps years even. He waited for His son."
The Father’s tenderness
This is how God’s shows His tenderness. “It speaks to us especially during Lent”, the Pope said.

"[Lent] is the time to enter into ourselves and to remember the Father and return to our Daddy. ‘But, Father, I’m ashamed to go back because, you know, Father I've …done so many things wrong’. What will the Lord say? ‘Return. I will heal their defection. I will love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them (Hosea 14:4).’ Return to your Father. The God of tenderness will heal us.”

This Father will heal us of  “so many of life’s wounds”, the Pope explained.

“Going back to God is going back to an embrace, the Father’s embrace, It’s not going to God. No, it’s going back home.”

Confession when a priest is not available
This habit of returning home “takes flesh in the Sacrament of Reconciliation”, the Pope explained.

“I know that many of you go to confession before Easter… Many will say to me: ‘But Father…I can't leave the house and I want to make my peace with the Lord. I want Him to embrace me… How can I do that unless I find a priest?’. Do what the catechism says. It's very clear. If you don't find a priest to go to confession, speak to God. He's your Father. Tell Him the truth: ‘Lord. I did this and this and this. Pardon me.’ Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition, and promise Him, ‘afterward I will go to confession.’ You will return to God's grace immediately. You yourself can draw near, as the catechism teaches us, to God's forgiveness,s without having a priest at hand.”

Return
At the end of his homily, the Pope expressed the hope that the word “return” might “echo in our ears today”.

“Return to your Daddy. Return to your Father. He’s waiting for you, and He will throw a feast for you.”

Full Text + Image Source: VaticanNews.va

Saint March 20 : Saint Cuthbert a Bishop who was devoted to the Mass, which he could not celebrate without tears

Bishop of Lindisfarne, patron of Durham, born about 635; died 20 March, 687. His emblem is the head of St. Oswald, king and martyr, which he is represented as bearing in his hands. His feast is kept in Great Britain and Ireland on the 20th of March, and he is patron of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, where his commemoration is inserted among the Suffrages of the Saints. His early biographers give no particulars of his birth, and the accounts in the "Libellus de ortu", which represent him as the son of an Irish king named Muriahdach, though recently supported by Cardinal Moran and Archbishop Healy, are rejected by later English writers as legendary.
Moreover, St. Bede's phrase, Brittania . . . genuit (Vita Metricia, c. i), points to his English birth. He was probably born in the neighbourhood of Mailros (Melrose) of lowly parentage, for as a boy he used to tend sheep on the mountain-sides near that monastery. While still a child living with his foster-mother Kenswith his future lot as bishop had been foretold by a little play-fellow, whose prophecy had a lasting effect on his character.
He was influenced, too, by the holiness of the community of Mailros, where St. Eata was abbot and St. Basil prior. In the year 651, while watching his sheep, he saw in a vision the soul of St. Aidan carried to heaven by angels, and inspired by this became a monk at Mailros. Yet it would seem that the troubled state of the country hindered him from carrying out his resolution at once. Certain it is that at one part of his life he was a soldier, and the years which succeed the death of St. Aidan and Oswin of Deira seem to have been such as would call for the military service of most of the able-bodied men of Northumbria, which was constantly threatened at this time by the ambition of its southern neighbor, King Penda of Mercia. Peace was not restored to the land until some four years later, as the consequence of a great battle which was fought between the Northumbrians and the Mercians at Winwidfield.
 It was probably after this battle that Cuthbert found himself free once more to turn to the life he desired. He arrived at Mailros on horseback and armed with a spear. Here he soon became eminent for holiness and learning, while from the first his life was distinguished by supernatural occurrences and miracles. When the monastery at Ripon was founded he went there as guest-master, but in 661 he, with other monks who adhered to the customs of Celtic Christianity, returned to Mailros owing to the adoption at Ripon of the Roman Usage in celebrating Easter and other matters. Shortly after his return he was struck by a pestilence which then attacked the community, but he recovered, and became prior in place of St. Boisil, who died of the disease in 664. In this year the Synod of Whitby decided in favour of the Roman Usage, and St. Cuthbert, who accepted the decision, was sent by St. Eata to be prior at Lindisfarne, in order that he might introduce the Roman customs into that house. This was a difficult matter which needed all his gentle tact and patience to carry out successfully, but the fact that one so renowned for sanctity, who had himself been brought up in the Celtic tradition, was loyally conforming to the Roman use, did much to support the cause of St. Wilfrid. In this matter St. Cuthbert's influence on his time was very marked. At Lindisfarne he spent much time in evangelizing the people. He was noted for his devotion to the Mass, which he could not celebrate without tears, and for the success with which his zealous charity drew sinners to God.
 At length, in 676, moved by a desire to attain greater perfection by means of the contemplative life, he retired, with the abbot's leave, to a spot which Archbishop Eyre identifies with St. Cuthbert's Island near Lindisfarne, but which Raine thinks was near Holburn, where "St. Cuthbert's Cave" is still shown. Shortly afterwards he removed to Farne Island, opposite Bamborough in Northumberland, where he gave himself up to a life of great austerity. After some years he was called from this retirement by a synod of bishops held at Twyford in Northumberland, under St. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury. At this meeting he was elected Bishop of Lindisfarne, as St. Eata was now translated to Hexham. For a long time he withstood all pressure and only yielded after a long struggle. He was consecrated at York by St. Theodore in the presence of six bishops, at Easter, 685. For two years he acted as bishop, preaching and labouring without intermission, with wonderful results. At Christmas, 686, foreseeing the near approach of death, he resigned his see and returned to his cell on Farne Island, where two months later he was seized with a fatal illness. In his last days, in March, 687, he was tended by monks of Lindisfarne, and received the last sacraments from Abbot Herefrid, to whom he spoke his farewell words, exhorting the monks to be faithful to Catholic unity and the traditions of the Fathers. He died shortly after midnight, and at exactly the same hour that night his friend St. Herbert, the hermit, also died, as St. Cuthbert had predicted.
St. Cuthbert was buried in his monastery at Lindisfarne, and his tomb immediately became celebrated for remarkable miracles. These were so numerous and extraordinary that he was called the "Wonder-worker of England". In 698 the first transfer of the relics took place, and the body was found incorrupt. During the Danish invasion of 875, Bishop Eardulf and the monks fled for safety, carrying the body of the saint with them. For seven years they wandered, bearing it first into Cumberland, then into Galloway and back to Northumberland. In 883 it was placed in a church at Chester-le-Street, near Durham, given to the monks by the converted Danish king, who had a great devotion to the saint, like King Alfred, who also honoured St. Cuthbert as his patron and was a benefactor to this church. Towards the end of the tenth century, the shrine was removed to Ripon, owing to fears of fresh invasion. After a few months it was being carried back to be restored to Chester-le-Street, when, on arriving at Durham a new miracle, tradition says, indicated that this was to be the resting-place of the saint's body. Here it remained, first in a chapel formed of boughs, then in a wooden and finally in a stone church, built on the present site of Durham cathedral, and finished in 998 or 999. While William the Conqueror was ravaging the North in 1069, the body was once more removed, this time to Lindisfarne, but it was soon restored. In 1104, the shrine was transferred to the present cathedral, when the body was again found incorrupt, with it being the head of St. Oswald, which had been placed with St. Cuthbert's body for safety — a fact which accounts for the well-known symbol of the saint.
From this time to the Reformation the shrine remained the great centre of devotion throughout the North of England. In 1542 it was plundered of all its treasures, but the monks had already hidden the saint's body in a secret place. There is a well-known tradition, alluded to in Scott's "Marmion", to the effect that the secret of the hiding-place is known to certain Benedictines who hand it down from one generation to another. In 1827 the Anglican clergy of the cathedral found a tomb alleged to be that of the saint, but the discovery was challenged by Dr. Lingard, who showed cause for doubting the identity of the body found with that of St. Cuthbert. Archbishop Eyre, writing in 1849, considered that the coffin found was undoubtedly that of the saint, but that the body had been removed and other remains substituted, while a later writer, Monsignor Consitt, though not expressing a definite view, seems inclined to allow that the remains found in 1827 were truly the bones of St. Cuthbert. Many traces of the former widespread devotion to St. Cuthbert still survive in the numerous churches, monuments, and crosses raised in his honour, and in such terms as "St. Cuthbert's patrimony", "St. Cuthbert's Cross", "Cuthbert ducks" and "Cuthbert down". The centre of modern devotion to him is found at St. Cuthbert's College, Ushaw, near Durham, where the episcopal ring of gold, enclosing a sapphire, taken from his finger in 1537, is preserved, and where under his patronage most of the priests for the northern counties of England are trained. His name is connected with two famous early copies of the Gospel text. The first, known as the Lindisfarne or Cuthbert Gospels (now in the British Museum, Cotton manuscripts Nero D 4), was written in the eighth century by Eadfrid, Bishop of Lindisfarne. It contains the four gospels and between the lines a number of valuable Anglo-Saxon (Northumbrian) glosses; though written by an Anglo-Saxon hand it is considered by the best judges (Westwood) a noble work of old-Irish calligraphy and illumination, Lindisfarne as is well known being an Irish foundation. The manuscript, one of the most splendid in Europe, was originally placed by its scribe as an offering on the shrine of Cuthbert, and was soon richly decorated by monastic artists (Ethelwold, Bilfrid) and provided by another (Aldred) with the aforesaid interlinear gloss (Karl Bouterwek, Die vier Evangelian in altnordhumbrischer Sprache, 1857). It has also a history scarcely less romantic than the body of Cuthbert. When in the ninth century the monks fled before the Danes with the latter treasure, they took with them this manuscript, but on one occasion lost it in the Irish Channel. After three days it was found on the seashore at Whithern, unhurt save for some stains of brine. Henceforth in the inventories of Durham and Lindisfarne it was known as "Liber S. Cuthberti qui demersus est in mare" (the book of St. Cuthbert that fell into the sea). Its text was edited by Stevenson and Warning (London, 1854-65) and since then by Kemble and Hardwick, and by Skeat (see LINDISFARNE). The second early Gospel text connected with his name is the seventh-century Gospel of St. John (now in possession of the Jesuit College at Stonyhurst, England) found in 1105 in the grave of St. Cuthbert. Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia

Saint March 20 : St. Jozef Bilczewski : Archbishop of Lviv of Poland who tried protect all without distinctions of race or religion


 

Jozef Bilczewski (Latin-rite) was born into a peasant family in Wilamowice on 26 April 1860. He was eldest of nine. In August 1880 he entered the Seminary of Krak√≥w and was ordained a priest on 6 July 1884. He then moved to Vienna to continue his studies and earned a doctorate in theology. In Rome and Paris he specialized in dogmatic theology and in Christian archaeology. In 1891 he became a professor at the University of Lviv. He was appointed Archbishop of Lviv for Latins on 18 December 1900. In his episcopal mission he had to face difficulties due to internal problems and the conflicts of the First World War. He often intervened with the civil authorities on behalf of Poles, Ukrainians and Jews. The Polish-Ukrainian War (1918-19) brought a new wave of violence to the people and many priests were killed or put in prison. Then the Bolshevik invasion (1919-20) was unleashed with all its fury against the Catholic Church. He stood firm to protect one and all without distinctions of race or religion. From 1918-21 his Archdiocese lost about 120 priests. Seriously ill, he accepted sickness calmly and courageously. He died on 20 March 1923 in Lviv. Source: Vatican.va