Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Thursday, April 16, 2020 - #Eucharist in the Octave of Easter - Your Virtual Church

Thursday in the Octave of Easter

Lectionary: 264
Reading 1ACTS 3:11-26
As the crippled man who had been cured clung to Peter and John,
all the people hurried in amazement toward them
in the portico called “Solomon’s Portico.”
When Peter saw this, he addressed the people,
“You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this,
and why do you look so intently at us
as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety?
The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus
whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence,
when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One
and asked that a murderer be released to you.
The author of life you put to death,
but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.
And by faith in his name,
this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong,
and the faith that comes through it
has given him this perfect health,
in the presence of all of you.
Now I know, brothers and sisters,
that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did;
but God has thus brought to fulfillment
what he had announced beforehand
through the mouth of all the prophets,
that his Christ would suffer.
Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away,
and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment
and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus,
whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration
of which God spoke through the mouth
of his holy prophets from of old.
For Moses said:
A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you
from among your own kin;
to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you.
Everyone who does not listen to that prophet
will be cut off from the people.
    
“Moreover, all the prophets who spoke,
from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days.
You are the children of the prophets
and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors
when he said to Abraham,
In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you
by turning each of you from your evil ways.”

Responsorial Psalm8:2AB AND 5, 6-7, 8-9

R.    (2ab)  O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
O LORD, our Lord,
how glorious is your name over all the earth!
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R.    O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.
R.    O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R.    Alleluia.
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R.    O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
or:
R.    Alleluia.

AlleluiaPS 118:24

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 24:35-48

The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way,
and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.
While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.
He said to them,
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”
Prayer to make spiritual communion:

People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion.

At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen
Mass starts at 3:05 press play:

Happy Birthday Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who was Born in 1927 - with Video Tribute


Happy Birthday Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger turned 78 when he was elected Pope. He turns 93 years old today.
Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was born on 16 April, Holy Saturday, 1927, in Marktl, Bavaria, Germany. He was baptised the same day. Pope Benedict XVI's brother, Georg Ratzinger, is a priest. His sister, Maria Ratzinger, who never married, managed Cardinal Ratzinger's household until her death in 1991. Benedict XVI is now Pope Emeritus of the Catholic Church. He was Pope from 2005 to 2013. Benedict XVI was elected on 19 April 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II. He was ordained as a priest in 1951 in Bavaria, Germany. Benedict XVI currently lives in the Residence Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican. His parents were Joseph Ratzinger, Sr. and Maria Ratzinger (born: Peintner)
  

Saint April 16 : St. Bernadette Soubirous the Visionary of Lourdes and Patron of Sick and Poor - whose Body is Incorrupt

St. Bernadette Soubirous
VISIONARY OF LOURDES, VIRGIN
Feast: April 16
Information: 7 January 1844 at Lourdes, France
Died:
16 April 1879, Nevers, France
Canonized:
December 8, 1933, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Patron of:
Sick people, poverty, the family, Lourdes, shepherds
Bernadette's canonization in 1933 was the culmination of a process which had been started nearly three-quarters of a century earlier: she is, therefore, a saint of modern times, and the remarkable facts of her life are readily accessible to all. Her story even challenges the interest of those who do not share the Catholic faith. Christianity had its beginnings among humble people without influence or riches, such as Bernadette. Perhaps it is a natural human instinct to rejoice when the lowly are lifted up to the heights, and especially when a child, neglected and untaught, is chosen for special grace and favor, thus becoming an instrument for good.
Born in Lourdes, France, on January 7, 1844, Bernadette was the first child of Francois and Louise Soubirous. At the time of her birth, Francois was a miller, operating a mill which had belonged to his wife's people. He was a good-natured, easy-going man, with little ability for carrying on a business, and before many years the mill had been forfeited for debt. During most of Bernadette's childhood he was an odd job man, picking up a day's work as opportunity offered, and, from time to time, escaping from his problems and responsibilities by turning to the delusive comfort of alcohol. His wife and children, naturally, were the chief sufferers from his ineffectualness. Louise, whose family was of somewhat better economic status than her husband's, was a hard worker, a warm-hearted neighbor, and exemplary in her observance of Catholic rites. Within a short space of years many children were born to her, only five of whom survived infancy. After Bernadette, there was another girl, Toinette Marie, and three boys. To help feed and clothe them it was often necessary for their harassed mother to go out to work by the day, doing laundry and other rough tasks for the more prosperous citizens, and, on one occasion, at least, helping to harvest a crop of grain. A peasant woman of the region has told of seeing little Bernadette, then about twelve, carrying the youngest baby to Louise in the field, to be nursed during the noon-day rest period. As a child, Bernadette not only did more than might be expected in caring for the smaller children, but helped in their moral and religious training as well.
Bernadette was never strong, and from the age of six she showed symptoms of the respiratory ailment that later became a chronic affliction. It is not clear at this early stage whether she suffered from asthma or tuberculosis, but we know that her mother was anxious about her health and made an effort to provide special food for her. When Bernadette was thirteen she was sent to the neighboring mountain hamlet of Bartres, to the home of one Marie Arevant, her foster mother. It was here that Bernadette had been taken for a few months when she was still an infant, to be nursed by Madame Arevant, who had just lost a baby. The woman now had a large family and little Bernadette made herself useful in the house and in the fields. One of her duties was to tend a small flock of sheep that grazed on a hillside nearby; it is this brief phase of her girlhood that has inspired artists to picture her as a shepherdess. Her life was a lonely one, and we get the impression that she was overworked and homesick while she remained in this peasant home. At all events she sent word to her parents that she wished to leave Bartres. One thing seemed especially to disturb her at this time; although she was now fourteen, she had not made her First Communion. Her foster mother had tried half-heartedly to prepare her, but after one or two sessions had impatiently given it up, saying that Bernadette was too dull to learn.
When Bernadette went back to Lourdes, it made her very happy to be admitted to the day school conducted by the Sisters of Charity and Christian Instruction. This was a teaching and nursing order whose mother-house is at Nevers, in central France. A hospice, a day school, and a boarding school were maintained at Lourdes by these devout nuns, who were, as a group, unusually well trained. Thus Bernadette at last began her secular education, and, under Abbe Pomian, continued to prepare for First Communion. She was also learning a little French, for up to this time she spoke only the local dialect. The nuns discovered that beneath a quiet, modest exterior, Bernadette had a winning personality and a lively sense of humor. This might have been a happy and constructive time for the little girl had it not been for the ever-increasing shadows of poverty at home.
After moving from one poor location to another, the Soubirous family was now living in a single room of a dilapidated structure in the rue des Petits Fosses; this damp, unwholesome place had once served as a jail and was known as Le Cachot, the Dungeon. Above loomed an ancient fortress, and the narrow cobbled street had once been a part of the moat. The town of Lourdes, itself very old, is situated in one of the most picturesque parts of France, lying in the extreme southwest, near the Spanish frontier, where the Pyrenees mountains rise sharply above the plains. From the craggy, wooded heights, several valleys descend to converge at this site, and the little river Gave rushes through the town, its turbulent current turning the wheels of many mills. There are escarpments of rock in and around Lourdes, the most famous being the Massabeille, a great mound jutting out from the base of a plateau. On the side facing the river it had an arch-shaped opening which led into a sizeable grotto-a grotto that was soon destined to become famous in every part of the world. At this time the Massabeille had, if not exactly an aura of evil, a touch of the sinister. According to legend, it had been sacred to the pagans of prehistoric times; now it served as a shelter for fishermen or herdsmen caught by sudden storms.
It was very cold on February 11, 1858, the day that was to mark the beginning of such an extraordinary series of events at the rock of Massabeille. When Bernadette returned from school her mother gave her permission to go down by the river to pick up driftwood and fallen branches. Toinette Marie, aged nine, and Marie Abadie, aged twelve, a neighbor's child, went with her. When the three girls reached the Massabeille, the two younger ones took off their wooden shoes to wade across an icy mill-stream which here joined the river. Bernadette, more sensitive, hung behind. Standing alone beside the river, she had started to remove her stockings when she heard a noise like a sudden rush of wind. Looking up towards the grotto she saw some movement among the branches, then there floated out of the opening a golden cloud, and in the midst of it was the figure of a beautiful young girl who placed herself in a small niche in the rock, at one side of the opening and slightly above it. In the crannies around this niche grew stunted vines and shrubs, and in particular a white eglantine. Bernadette, staring in fascination, saw that the luminous apparition was dressed in a soft white robe, with a broad girdle of blue, and a long white veil that partially covered her hair. Her eyes were blue and gentle. Golden roses gleamed on her bare feet. When the vision smiled and beckoned to Bernadette, the girl's fear vanished and she came a few steps nearer, then sank reverently to her knees. She drew her rosary from her pocket, for, in moments of stress, she habitually said her beads. The mysterious being also had a rosary, of large white beads, and to quote Bernadette's own account: "The Lady let me pray alone; she passed the beads of the rosary between her fingers, but said nothing; only at the end of each decade did she say the Gloria with me." When the recitation was finished, the Lady vanished into the cave and the golden mist  disappeared with her. This experience affected Bernadette so powerfully that, when the other girls turned back to look for her, she was still kneeling, a rapt, faraway look on her face. They chided her, thinking she had passed the time praying to escape the task of gathering fuel. Tying up their twigs and branches into faggots, they started for home. Too full of her vision to keep quiet about it, before they had gone far Bernadette burst out with the whole wondrous story; she asked the girls to say nothing at home. But Toinette told Madame Soubirous that same evening, and soon the news spread further. Bernadette wished to go back to the Massabeille the next day, but her mother, after talking the matter over with a sister, refused her permission.
Bernadette now showed the independence of spirit-some were to characterize it as obstinacy-that became one of her outstanding traits. When she told her confessor of the apparition, Abbe Pomian made light of it, thinking the girl suffered from hallucinations. Nevertheless, on the following Sunday Bernadette asked if she might go to the grotto and her father told her she might go if she took a flask of holy water with her, to exorcise the apparition should it prove to be a demon. Bernadette, advancing ahead of several little friends who accompanied her, knelt before the grotto and soon the vision appeared as before. On their return the excited girls, although they had seen nothing, naturally began to tell their versions of the affair, and soon the town buzzed with varying reports and rumors. On the next market day the peasants heard of these strange happenings. The story reached the Mother Superior of the convent, who took a firm stand: she announced to the class preparing for Communion, comprising Bernadette's friends and companions for the most part, that they must stop talking and thinking of this matter. Bernadette's teacher, Sister Marie Therese Vauzous, was even hostile.
The apparition was manifest to Bernadette for the third time  on Thursday, February 18, when she went to the grotto accompanied by two women of Lourdes who thought the "damiezelo," as Bernadette called her, was the returning spirit of a young woman, one of their dear friends, who had died a few months before. On this occasion the same little figure appeared to Bernadette, smiled warmly, and spoke, asking Bernadette to come every day for fifteen days. Bernadette promised to come, provided she was given permission to do so. Since neither her god-mother, who was her mother's sister, nor the priest actually forbade it, Bernadette's parents offered no objection. On the following day her mother and aunt went with her, and on subsequent visits great crowds of people gathered on the Massabeille, or down by the river, hoping to see or hear something miraculous. During these two weeks the excitement increased to such a pitch that the civil authorities felt obliged to take action. The police were not content to threaten the Soubirous family; they must take Bernadette to the local police office for questioning and try to make her admit that it was all an elaborate hoax. Bernadette emerged from this and many another ordeal somewhat shaken but obdurate. The authorities continued to try to discredit her. They even gave currency to the report that the whole thing had been thought up by Bernadette's poverty-stricken parents, so that they might derive some profit from it. Francois and Louise Soubirous, from being puzzled, worried, and uncertain at the outset, had now come to believe in the supernatural character  of their daughter's experiences, and stood loyally by her. They did not dream of exploiting the affair in their own interest. As a matter of fact, pious, well-meaning people were bringing them gifts of money and food, sometimes asking for a token from Bernadette. These offerings were declined; even Bernadette's small brothers were cautioned to accept nothing. The girl herself was adamant in her determination to have no part in any kind of trafficking; the record of her complete honesty and disinterestedness is clear and unquestioned. However, she found the sudden notoriety unpleasant, and this sensitivity to being stared at and talked about and pointed out was to last throughout her life. People began to gather at the grotto in the middle of the night, awaiting her appearance. It was rumored that she had a miraculous, healing touch. Several cures were attributed to her.
On Sunday, February 21, a number of persons went with her to the grotto, including citizens who had been highly skeptical. On this occasion, Bernadette reported later, the apparition said to her: "You will pray to God for sinners." On February 26, while she was in the trance-like state which lasted as long as she saw the vision, Bernadette crawled inside the grotto, and, at the Lady's bidding, uncovered with her bare hands a little trickle of water from which she drank and with which she bathed her face, still at the Lady's direction. This tiny spring continued to well up and by the next day was flowing steadily down into the river: to this day it has never ceased to gush forth from the grotto. The people regarded its discovery by Bernadette as a miracle.
On March 2 Bernadette saw the apparition for the thirteenth  time. It was on this day that the Lady bade Bernadette to tell the priests that "a chapel should be built and a procession formed." Bernadette had no thought but to obey, in spite of the open hostility of the cure of Lourdes. Dean Peyramale, an imposing man of excellent family and background, received Bernadette and reprimanded her harshly, asking her to inquire the name of her visitant, and to tell her she must perform a real miracle, such as making the eglantine bloom out of season, to prove herself. During the preceding weeks he had ordered the priests to have nothing to do with the grotto, for it was the general practice of the clergy to discourage or ignore religious visionaries. Very often such persons were ill-balanced or suffering from delusions. As a matter of fact, Bernadette's experiences were proving contagious, and before long many others, young and old, were claiming to have had supernatural visions at the grotto and elsewhere. Dean Peyramale's stand of determined opposition was based on the necessity of restoring order in the parish.
On March 25, Lady Day, Bernadette started for the grotto at  dawn. When the vision appeared to her, Bernadette said: "Would you kindly tell me who you are?" When the girl had repeated the question twice more, the Lady replied: "I am the Immaculate Conception. I want a chapel here." This answer, when reported by Bernadette, caused the local excitement to rise to a still higher pitch and the feeling grew that Bernadette's visitor was the Blessed Virgin. Only four years before the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had been promulgated. The seventeenth apparition took place on April 7, and the final one, more than three months later, on July 16. By that time, the grotto, which the people were trying to make into a sanctuary and place of worship, had been barricaded by the town authorities to discourage worshipers and curiosity-seekers from congregating there. During the twenty-one years that she was to remain on earth, Bernadette never again saw the vision. The accounts of  what she had seen and heard, which she was obliged to repeat so often, never varied in any significant detail.
Meanwhile the news of the phenomenal happenings at Lourdes had reached the very highest ecclesiastical and government circles: the bishop, the prefect, even Emperor Napoleon III and his pious wife Eugenie, became actors in the drama. On October 5, the mayor of Lourdes, on orders from above, had the grotto reopened. It was thought that the empress herself had had a voice in this decision. At all events, it seemed to be the only appropriate response to the overwhelming demand of the people for a shrine Bernadette's visions, the new spring, and the cures that were being reported, all had taken a profound hold on the popular imagination.
Due to a lucky turn, Bernadette's family was now more comfortably situated, and, to escape visitors, Bernadette went to live at the convent. Even there, intrusions upon her privacy were allowed; these she bore as patiently as she could. While her fame not only continued but steadily grew, Bernadette herself withdrew more and more. At the age of twenty she decided to take the veil. Since the state of her health precluded the more ascetic orders, it was considered best for her to join the Sisters who had taught and sheltered her. At twenty-two, therefore, she traveled to the motherhouse of the convent. Her novitiate was full of trials and sorrows. Acting under the quite unfounded notion that Bernadette's visions and all the attendant publicity might have made the young woman vain or self-important, Sister Marie Therese Vauzous, now novice-mistress at Nevers, was very severe with her former pupil. Although she made life difficult for Bernadette, the little novice met all tests with perfect humility. She cheerfully performed the menial tasks assigned to her, at first in the convent kitchen, although this work must have taxed her strength. Later, when it was noted that her sympathetic manner made her a favorite with sick people, she was appointed assistant infirmarian. Her step and touch were light, and her very presence brought comfort. But during these years, Bernadette was suffering from the chronic disease which was slowly draining her life away. She was finally given work in the sacristy, where cleverness with the needle made her work admired and cherished. She displayed a real gift for design and color in embroidering the sacred vestments. To all tasks she brought a pure grace of spirit and an utter willingness to serve.
In September, 1878, Bernadette made her perpetual and final  vows. Her strength was ebbing away, but even when she was confined to wheel chair or bed, she went on with the fine needlework. And now she had more time for prayer and meditation. There is little outward drama in the life of a nun, but in Bernadette's case there was steady activity, steady growth, in things of the spirit. She had been told by her vision that she would not attain happiness in this world. Her childhood had been sad, and maturity had brought no easing of the burden she must carry. During the last two years of life a tumor developed on one knee, which was followed by caries of the bone. She suffered excruciating pain. One day, when a Superior came to visit her and said, "What are you doing in bed, you lazy little thing?" Bernadette simply replied, "I am doing my stint. I must be a victim." She felt that such was the Divine plan for her.
The nuns, the novice mistress, and the Superior had all long since come to regard her as the vessel of Divine grace and to believe in the reality of those visitations of her youth. She still suffered from the curiosity of visiting strangers. Not only did nuns and priests come to Nevers but celebrities from Paris and other parts of France came to see for themselves the now famous Bernadette. Disliking publicity as she did, yet not wishing to remain isolated and aloof if a glimpse of her could help or inspire any other human soul, she met this test too-and sometimes with a native cleverness. Once a visitor stopped her as she was passing down a corridor and asked where she could get a glimpse of Sister Bernadette. The little nun said, "Just watch that doorway and presently you will see her go through." And she slipped away through the door. Such was the prestige her presence gave to the order that many young women now joined it.
On her death-bed, in a spasm of pain, Bernadette pressed the  crucifix closer to her, and cried, "All this is good for Heaven!" That afternoon, as the nuns of the convent knelt round her bed to repeat the prayers for the dying, they heard her say in a low voice, "Blessed Mary, Mother of God, pray for me! A poor sinner, a poor sinner-" She could not finish. The date was April 16, 1879. As soon as the news spread, people came streaming towards the convent, chanting, "The saint is dead! The saint is dead!" Bernadette's body was placed in a casket which was sealed, then buried near the chapel of St. Joseph in the convent grounds. When it was exhumed in 1908 by the commission formed to forward the examination of Bernadette's life and character, it was found to be intact and uncorrupted. In August, 1913, Pope Pius X conferred the title of Venerable upon her, and in June, 1925, the ceremony of beatification took place. Since then, her body, reposing in a handsome glass reliquary, lies in the convent chapel, guarded above by a statue of the Blessed Virgin, and by the nuns who keep vigil. In Rome, on December 8, 1933, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, amidst a brilliant setting and the fanfare of silver trumpets, Bernadette Soubirous was admitted to the company of saints. This little nun, humble, unlettered, honest, and obedient, is venerated by the great host of Catholic worshipers throughout the world. Tens of thousands of them journey annually to the glorious shrine at Lourdes.
The story of Lourdes as a pilgrimage place forms a strange contrast to Bernadette's retired life of prayer and service. Its growth from a sleepy country town to its present status as the most popular pilgrimage place in Christendom has been phenomenal. A railroad line from Pau was built, facilitating the influx of visitors who, from the very first year, were drawn to Lourdes. Dean Peyramale and his superior, the bishop of Pau, who at first had scoffed, came to believe most ardently; it was the aged dean who found the money for raising the great basilica to Our Lady, which was completed in 1876. Participating in the ceremony were thirty-five prelates, a cardinal, and three thousand priests. Sister Bernadette had no share in these rites. Another church at the base of the basilica was erected and consecrated in 1901. The entire district has been enhanced by architecture and landscaping to make it an impressive sanctuary, with a background of great natural beauty.
Of the cures at Lourdes it can be said that even non-believers have observed something here that medical science cannot explain. The commission of physicians, known as the Bureau of Constatations, who examine evidence and report on their findings, operate with great caution and circumspection. The alleged cure must be immediate and permanent to be regarded as a miracle. Medical records prior to the trip are studied, as well as the patient's subsequent medical history. The patient may himself be a witness, and it is most moving to hear the words, "I was sick and now I am well," which give such comfort and hope to others who are ailing. Only a few cures each year stand up against these rigid tests, but those few are enough. The thousands-the lame, the halt, the blind -continue to come, to be washed in the waters of the spring, to share in the processions, the singing, the prayers, the impressive rites, and breathe the pure air of faith. The Canticle of Bernadette hovers in that air, and even those well persons who go to Lourdes simply searching for a renewal of faith find themselves amply rewarded, for the spirit of the child Bernadette is still a potent inspiration.


SOURCE: Encyclopedia com

Saint April 16 : St. Benedict Joseph Labre who was a Beggar and the Patron of Mental illness, Bachelors and Homeless



St. Bendict Joseph Labre
BEGGAR
Feast: April 16

Information:Feast Day:
April 16
Born:
25 March 1748 at Amettes, Boulogne, France
Died:
17 April 1783 at Rome
Canonized:
8 December 1883 by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine:
Tomb at Santa Maria ai Monti
Patron of:
Unmarried men, rejects, mental illness, mentally ill people, insanity, beggars, hobos, the homeless
Born 26 March, 1748 at Amettes in the Diocese of Boulogne, France; died in Rome 16 April, 1783.
He was the eldest of fifteen children. His parents, Jean-Baptiste Labre and Anne-Barba Grandsire, belonged to the middle class and so were able to give to their numerous offspring considerable opportunities in the way of education. His early training he received in his native village in a school conducted by the vicar of the parish. The account of this period furnished in the life written by his confessor, Marconi, and that contained in the one compiled from the official processes of his beatification are at one in emphasizing the fact that he exhibited a seriousness of thought and demeanor far beyond his years. Even at that tender age he had begun to show a marked predilection for the spirit of mortification, with an aversion for the ordinary childish amusements, and he seems from the very dawning of reason to have had the liveliest horror for even the smallest sin. All this we are told was coexistent with a frank and open demeanor and a fund of cheerfulness which remained unabated to the end of his life.
At the age of twelve his education was taken over by his paternal uncle, François-Joseph Labre, curé of Erin, with whom he then went to live. During the six following years which he spent under his uncle's roof, he made considerable progress in the study ofLatin, history, etc. but found himself  unable to conquer a constantly growing distaste for any form of knowledge which did not make directly for union with God. A love of solitude, a generous employment of austerities and devotedness to his religious exercises were discernible as distinguishing features of his life at this time and constitute an intelligible prelude to his subsequent career.
At the age of sixteen he resolved to embrace a religious life as a Trappist, but having on the advice of his uncle returned to Amettes to submit his design to his parents for their approval he was unable to win their consent. He therefore resumed his sojourn in the rectory at Erin, redoubling his penances and exercises of piety and in every way striving to make ready for the life of complete self-annihilation to which the voice within his soul seemed to be calling him.
After the heroic death of his uncle during an epidemic in September 1766, Benedict, who had dedicated himself during the scourge to the service of the sick and dying, returned to Amettes in November of the same year. His absorbing thought at this time was still to become a religious at La Trappe, and his parents fearing that further opposition would be resistance to the will of God fell in with his proposal to enter the cloister. It was suggested, how ever, by his maternal uncle, the Abbé Vincent, that application be made to the Carthusians at Val-Sainte-Aldegonde rather than to La Trappe. Benedict's petition at Val-Sainte-Aldegonde was unsuccessful but he was directed to another monastery of the same order at Neuville. There he was told that as he was not yet twenty there was no hurry, and that he must first learn plain-chant and logic. During the next two years he applied twice unsuccessfully to be received at La Trappe and was for six weeks as a postulant with the Carthusians at Neuville, he finally sought and obtained admission to the Cistercian Abbey of Sept-Fonts in November, 1769. After a short stay at Sept-Fonts during which his exactness in religious observance and humility endeared him to the whole community, his health gave way, and it was decided that his vocation lay elsewhere. In accordance with a resolve formed during his convalescence he then set out for Rome. From Chieri in Piedmont he wrote to his parents a letter which proved to be the last they would ever receive from him. In it he informed them of his design to enter some one of the many monasteries in Italy noted for their special rigor of life. A short time, however, after the letter was dispatched he seems to have had an internal illumination which set at rest forever any doubts he might have as to what his method of living was to be. He then understood "that it was God's will that like St. Alexis he should abandon his country, his parents, and whatever is flattering in the world to lead a new sort of life, a life most painful, most penitential, not in a wilderness nor in a cloister, but in the midst of the world, devoutly visiting as a pilgrim the famous places of Christian devotion". He repeatedly submitted this extraordinary inspiration to the judgment of experienced confessors and was told he might safely conform to it. Through the years that followed he never wavered in the conviction that this was the path appointed for him by God. He set forward on his life's journey clad in an old coat, a rosary about his neck, another between his fingers, his arms folded over a crucifix which lay upon his breast. In a small wallet he carried a Testament, a breviary, which it was his wont to recite daily, a copy of the "Imitation of Christ", and some other pious books. Clothing other than that which covered his person he had none. He slept on the ground and for the most part in the open air. For food he was satisfied with a piece of bread or some herbs, frequently taken but once a day, and either provided by charity or gotten from some refuse heap. He never asked for alms and was anxious to give away to the poor whatever he received in excess of his scanty wants. The first seven of the thirteen remaining years of his life were spent in pilgrimages to the more famous shrines of Europe. He visited in this way Loreto, Assisi, Naples, Bari, Fabriano in Italy; Einsiedeln in Switzerland; Compostella in Spain; Parav-le-Monial in France. The last six years he spent in Rome, leaving it only once a year to visit the Holy House of Loreto. His unremitting and ruthless self-denial, his unaffected humility, unhesitating obedience and perfect spirit of union with God in prayer disarmed suspicion not unnaturally aroused as to the genuineness of a Divine call to so extraordinary a way of existence. Literally worn out by his sufferings and austerities, on the 16th of April 1783, he sank down on the steps of the church of Santa Maria dei Monti in Rome and, utterly exhausted, was carried to a neighboring house where he died. His death was followed by a multitude of unequivocal miracles attributed to his intercession. The life written by his confessor, Marconi, an English version of which bears the date of 1785, witnesses to 136 miraculous cures as having been certified to up to 6 July, 1783. So remarkable, indeed, was the character of the evidence for some of the miracles that they are said to have had no inconsiderable part in finally determining the conversion of the celebrated American convert, Father John Thayer, of Boston who was in Rome at the time of the saint's death. Benedict has proclaimed Venerable by Pius IX in 1859 and canonized by Leo XIII 8 December, 1881. His feast is kept on the 16th of April, the day of his death.
(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)

Pope Francis explains "Those who have learned the art of peace and exercise it are called children of God..." at Audience - Full Text-Video


POPE FRANCIS at General Audience

Library of the Apostolic Palace
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Catechesis on the Beatitudes: 8. "Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called children of God" (Mt 5,9)

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today's catechesis is dedicated to the seventh beatitude, that of the "peacemakers", who are proclaimed children of God. I am glad that it happens immediately after Easter, because the peace of Christ is the fruit of his death and resurrection, as we have heard in the Reading of Saint Paul. To understand this bliss one must explain the meaning of the word "peace", which can be misunderstood or sometimes trivialized.

We must orient ourselves between two ideas of peace: the first is the biblical one, where the beautiful word shalòm appears, which expresses abundance, prosperity, well-being. When in Hebrew one wishes shalòm, one wishes for a beautiful, full, prosperous life, but also according to truth and justice, which will be fulfilled in the Messiah, prince of peace (cf. Is 9,6; Mic 5,4-5).

Then there is the other sense, more widespread, whereby the word "peace" is understood as a sort of inner tranquility: I am calm, I am at peace. This is a modern, psychological and more subjective idea. Peace is commonly thought to be quiet, harmony, internal balance. This meaning of the word "peace" is incomplete and cannot be absolutized, because restlessness in life can be an important moment of growth. Many times it is the Lord himself who sows uneasiness in us to go to meet him, to find him. In this sense it is an important moment of growth; while it may happen that inner tranquility corresponds to a domesticated conscience and not to a true spiritual redemption. Many times the Lord must be a "sign of contradiction" (cf. Lk 2: 34-35), shaking our false certainties, to bring us to salvation. And at that moment it seems to have no peace, but it is the Lord who puts us on this path to reach the peace that He himself will give us.

At this point we must remember that the Lord understands his peace as different from the human one, that of the world, when he says: «I leave you peace, I give you my peace. Not as the world gives it, I give it to you "(Jn 14:27). That of Jesus is another peace, different from the worldly one.

Let us ask ourselves: how does the world give peace? If we think about war conflicts, wars normally end in two ways: either with the defeat of one of the two parties, or with peace treaties. We can only hope and pray that this second way may always be taken; however, we must consider that history is an infinite series of peace treaties denied by successive wars, or by the metamorphosis of those same wars in other ways or in other places. Even in our time, a war "in pieces" is fought on multiple scenarios and in different ways. [1] We must at least suspect that in the context of a globalization made up above all of economic or financial interests, the "peace" of some corresponds to the "war" of others. And this is not the peace of Christ!

Instead, how does the Lord Jesus "give" his peace? We have heard St. Paul say that the peace of Christ is "to make two, one" (cf. Eph 2:14), to cancel enmity and reconcile. And the way to accomplish this work of peace is his body. Indeed, he reconciles all things and makes peace with the blood of his cross, as the Apostle himself says elsewhere (cf. Col 1:20).

And here I wonder, we can all ask ourselves: who, then, are the "peacemakers"? The seventh beatitude is the most active, explicitly operative; the verbal expression is analogous to that used in the first verse of the Bible for creation and indicates initiative and industriousness. Love by its nature is creative - love is always creative - and seeks reconciliation at any cost. Those who have learned the art of peace and exercise it are called children of God, they know that there is no reconciliation without the gift of one's life, and that peace must always be sought. Always and anyway: don't forget this! It should be looked for like this. This is not an autonomous work that is the fruit of one's own abilities, it is a manifestation of the grace received from Christ, who is our peace, who made us children of God.

True shalòm and true inner balance flow from the peace of Christ, which comes from his Cross and generates a new humanity, embodied in an infinite host of saints, saints, inventive, creative, who have devised ever new ways to love. The Saints, the Saints who build peace. This life as children of God, who seek and find their brothers for the blood of Christ, is true happiness. Blessed are those who go this way.

And again happy Easter to all, in the peace of Christ!

[1] Cf. Homily in the Military Shrine of Redipuglia, 13 September 2014; Homily in Sarajevo, 6 June 2015; Speech to the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, February 21
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va Unofficial Translation - 

In Inspiring Easter Homily, Archbishop Fisher of Sydney places Family who lost 3 Children as Example - Full Text



Broadcast from St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney
Saved from what? Christians talk a lot about salvation through Jesus’ cross and resurrection, but in this age of science and technology, affluence and education, big government and media, do we really need saving? Well, healthcare may address our physical diseases, but we know that it can at best only postpone our deaths. We are all left wondering: is there life after death? Then, there are the moral, intellectual and emotional problems that are often even more resistant to prevention and cure than the physical ones. The COVID19 crisis has revealed some of the best things about Australians, but it’s also unveiled our ‘shadow side’: our anxieties and self-protectiveness, selfish hoarding and blame-games. It’s precisely to address this sort of thing—the sickness of sin—that Jesus died and rose, as well as to address sin’s triumph in death.
What are some of the good things that we’ve demonstrated during the COVID19 crisis which help ‘redeem’ this difficult moment, pointing us in more positive ways going forward? That we’re all vulnerable and dependent, some easily spooked or panicked, and so we need each other’s support. That some things, people, ideals, matter most to us and that there are sides at least as important as physical health and safety about us. That isolation is difficult for most people, that a sense of neighbourliness can be recovered, but that we must push the boundaries on who we include amongst our ‘neighbours’. And that in a crisis we can become insular as a nation or as individuals and so must scrutinise that carefully, knowing that sharing can be hard but is right.
We’ve been mightily impressed by the courage and self-giving of our health professionals, pastoral workers and others, caring for the dead, sick or at risk: we should imitate their generosity and support them well in the future. We’ve witnessed our political, business and labour leaders cast aside ideological differences to lead us through these dangers, and keep our polity and economy going: let’s hope that long continues. We’ve seen essential service workers stay on the job, others work from home, those out of work looking out for others. We’ve proven we can adapt: now we’ve learnt how, I suspect Zoom meetings will be much more a part of life going forward. And we’ve found new places and ways to pray and share our faith and ideals. While of course much will eventually return to normal, it will be a new normal, and it will be up to us all to make sure that new normal is a better normal, more just and compassionate, more hopeful and caring.
A boy and his dad came into this cathedral to pray. The boy Antony and his dad Danny prayed right here and went to the statue of Saint Anthony: the name saint of the boy. Little did they know that would be the boy’s last day on earth.  For Antony and Gelina and Sienna Abdallah, with their cousin Veronique would be killed. Their parents, Danny and Leila are with us today in St Mary’s Cathedral, joined also by Veronique’s parents, the Sakrs. And we extend all of us, our continued love for them and condolences on the deaths of the four children. We all shared in their grief, but we marvelled at Leila’s strength and dignity as she and Danny forgave the alleged drink driver whose ute caused the death of the children. Today those parents will bring forward the gifts at the offertory and bring forward the memories of their beloved children. Leila reminded all of us of the preciousness of human life and of her gratitude for her own loved ones. She professed her Christian faith that her children are now with God and that her family will be reunited one day. And she called us all to prayer and charity.
This was no ordinary human response: it was a superhuman one, a supernatural one, an Easter one. Yet this is not a family of superheroes or saints: these are ordinary people who by God’s grace could do extraordinary things in the most terrible of circumstances. And it is precisely for this sort of thing that we are saved. As Leila read to us this morning from St Paul (Col 3:1-4), it is our faith that gives us confidence that Antony, Angelina, Sienna and Veronique “have been brought back to life with Christ” and that enables us to let go of “earthly thoughts” like anger and revenge, self-protection and the rest, and dwell instead “on heavenly things” like peace and love, and the glory our young ones now share with Jesus.
Good Friday tells from what we are saved. Easter Sunday tells for what we are saved. And the Easter season which begins today and extends to the end of time proclaims loud and clear by whom we are saved: Jesus Christ, our sure and certain hope of the resurrection.



Some will say: well, that’s a nice story but no thanks. I don’t really believe in God. I get that: the Resurrection can seem too good to be true. Like the apostle Thomas, we might say that until I’ve got my paws on the risen Jesus myself, I’m not going to believe such hysteria and wishful thinking. Fair enough: faith is a gift, freely accepted or not. But even if you don’t believe in Jesus or are unsure, He believes in you. He died and rose to save you. “Shalom, Hi,” He says today to the women at the empty tomb (Mt 28:1-10). “Peace,” He says to you. “No need to be afraid anymore. I am with you always!”
Announcement Immediately after the Agnus Dei
Because our current circumstances preclude attendance at Mass and reception of Holy Communion: I invite you now to ask God that by spiritual communion you might receive all the graces you would in sacramental communion. To those who were to be baptised and confirmed at Easter and with those to be received into the Church to receive their first Holy Communion, I invite you to do likewise. I offer this Easter celebration and the Holy Eucharist for your loved ones, for yourselves and for all the world. Know that separation between us does not separate us from God.
Word of Thanks after the Mass of the Day of the Resurrection of the Lord
Broadcast from St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney
Dear friends: before our final blessing may I thank you all for joining me for this celebration of Easter livestreamed from St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney and broadcast through the Seven Network throughout Australia. Though COVID19 has made this the strangest Easter, our celebration today has been a very special one also. For that I thank our concelebrants, choir, and all those who assisted in the liturgy and of course the Seven Network. Easter Sunday liturgies are the greatest events in the life of the Catholic Church and of the Christian people throughout the world. Thank you for joining us.  
Our young people watching this Mass are no doubt impatient for their Easter eggs, so I won’t keep you much longer. May I simply conclude by assuring you that the Church will continue to pray and offer Mass daily for an end to this pandemic, for your safety and good health, for the dead, sick and at risk, for our health professionals, essential service workers and researchers, for our leaders and health authorities, for those who are isolated or afraid. We will continue to offer health care, welfare services and pastoral care, and to collaborate with the other churches and faiths, our civic leaders and health authorities to serve you in every way we can. Together we will get through this COVID-19 crisis, and hopefully be better people individually and as a community, for it, with our faith renewed and our ideals by this period of enforced ‘retreat’. May God bless you and your loved ones abundantly in this holiest of seasons. A very Happy Easter to you all.

US Bishops' President says "Jesus rises to tell us that his love is stronger than death!" in Easter Message - Video

President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Releases Easter Message
April 12, 2020
WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following Easter message.
Archbishop Gomez’s full statement follows:
My dear brothers and sisters:
Christ is risen!
This is the joy of Easter. And what a gift it is to hear these words in this time of the coronavirus.
Jesus asked us to carry our cross with him during this long Lent. This has been a time when we confront the reality that our life is fragile. This has been a time for us to reflect on what really matters, and what makes life truly worth living.
As we stand in the joyful light of Easter, we know that our world is still darkened by loss and despair.
Jesus rises to tell us that his love is stronger than death!
He has passed through the valley of the shadow of death. And there is no evil that we should fear. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
Christ is risen and we will rise with him! This is the promise of Easter. And God does not withdraw his promise, even when Easter comes during a pandemic.
So, let us stay close to Jesus.
And let us stay close to Mary our Blessed Mother. May she help us to always carry our cross with her Son, that we may be raised up with him and share in his Resurrection.
May you and your families have a blessed Easter season.
FULL TEXT Source:
Source: USCCB

Pope Francis Prays for the Elderly at Easter Wednesday Mass and Says "...our God is a God who works overtime, but not for a fee: for free." Full Text/Video


MORNING CELEBRATION BROADCAST LIVE
FROM THE CHAPEL OF CASA SANTA MARTA

HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

"Our faithfulness is an answer to God's faithfulness"

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Introduction

We pray today for the elderly, especially for those who are isolated or in nursing homes. They are afraid, afraid of dying alone. They feel this pandemic as an aggressive thing for them. They are our roots, our history. They gave us faith, tradition, a sense of belonging to a homeland. We pray for them that the Lord will be close to them right now.

Homily

Yesterday we reflected on Mary of Magdala as an icon of fidelity: fidelity to God. But how is this fidelity to God? To which God? Just to the faithful God.

Our faithfulness is nothing but a response to God's faithfulness. God who is faithful to his word, who is faithful to his promise, who walks with his people carrying out the promise close to his people. Faithful to the promise: God who continually makes himself felt as the Savior of the people because he is faithful to the promise. God, who is capable of re-doing things, of re-creating, as he did with this cripple from birth to whom he re-created the feet, made him heal (cf. Acts 3: 6-8), the God who heals, the God who always brings consolation to his people. The God who re-creates. A new re-creation: this is your loyalty to us. A re-creation that is more wonderful than creation.

A God who goes on and who never tires of working - let's say "work", "ad instar laborantis" (cf. St. Ignatius of L., Spiritual Exercises, 236), as theologians say - to carry on the people, and he is not afraid of "getting tired", let's say so ... Like that shepherd who, when he returns home, realizes that he is missing a sheep and goes back to look for the sheep that has been lost there (cf. Mt 18: 12-14) . The shepherd who works overtime, but out of love, out of fidelity ... And our God is a God who works overtime, but not for a fee: for free. It is the loyalty of gratuity, of abundance. And fidelity is that father who is able to go up to the terrace many times to see if his son returns and does not tire of going up: he is waiting for him to celebrate (cf. Lk 15, 21-24). God's faithfulness is celebration, it is joy, it is such a joy that makes us do as this cripple did: he entered the temple walking, jumping, praising God (cf. Acts 3: 8-9). God's faithfulness is a party, it is a free party. It is a celebration for all of us.

God's faithfulness is a patient faithfulness: he has patience with his people, listens to them, guides them, explains them slowly and warms their hearts, as he did with these two disciples who went far from Jerusalem: warms their hearts for them to return at home (cf. Lk 24: 32-33). God's faithfulness is what we don't know: what happened in that dialogue, but it is the generous God who sought out Peter who had denied him, who had denied him. We only know that the Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon: what happened in that dialogue we do not know (cf. Lk 24,34). But yes, we know it was God's faithfulness that sought Peter. God's faithfulness always precedes us and our faithfulness is always the answer to that fidelity that precedes us. It is the God who always precedes us. And the flower of the almond tree, in spring: it blooms first.

To be faithful is to praise this faithfulness, to be faithful to this faithfulness. It is an answer to this loyalty.

Prayer for spiritual communion

People who cannot make communion will now make spiritual communion:

My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. I love you above all things and I desire you in my soul. Since I cannot receive you sacramentally now, at least spiritually come to my heart. As already come, I embrace you and I join everything with you. Don't let it ever separate me from you.
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va Unofficial Translation - 

Government in Malawi Reverses Ban on Church Gatherings and Allows up to 100 People in Churches at a Time

According to All Africa as reported by Nyasa Times, the government in Malawi now allows churches to open for small gatherings. The decision by Special Cabinet Committee on coronavirus (COVID-19) to impose a ban against church gatherings has been reversed by government, Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) has said.

Minister of Health Jappie Mhango, who chairs the Special Cabinet Committee on Covid-19, prescribed during a news conference on Tuesday that church gatherings be suspended as a measure to prevent the spread of the killer virus in the country.

But in a statement MCC general secretary Gilford Matonga said churches will still congregate in line with guidelines on physical distance.

Matonga said MCC government has "clarified" its position and said that "Christians should continue to meet as earlier announced."

He said MCC sought clarification from Presidential advisor of religious affairs, Apostle Timothy Khoviwa, and that churches will continue gathering in the meantime.

The Episcopal Conference of Malawi, the umbrella body of the Catholic Bishops in Malawi, has also advised Catholic faithful to continue gatherings for prayers but should not exceed 100 congregants at a time.

"Therefore, church gatherings, communal liturgical celebrations including liturgies of the Holy Week must adhere to Presidential directives, ECM guidelines and the Decree from the Holy See in order to prevent the speed of the coronavirus," ECM said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times and signed by its secretary general Reverend Father Henry Saindi.

The church has however said it has put in place measures to curb possible transmission among faithful.

Saindi said strict action will be taken to ensure personal hygiene is not compromised.

The church also banned handshakes instead recommending waving to contain transmission of COVID-19.

Malawi announced its first coronavirus death on Tuesday as well as three additional cases, bringing the tally of infections to eight in one of the last countries in Africa to report the disease.

President Peter Mutharika declared a state of emergency on March 23 to combat the virus, closing schools until further notice.

He has since announced recruitment by the health ministry of 2,000 extra staff.

Over the weekend, Mutharika said he would cut his own salary and the wages of his ministers to help fund the fight against coronavirus.
Edited from All Africa ' Nyasa Times.