Saturday, May 2, 2020

Sunday Mass Online : Readings + Video : Sun. May 3, 2020 - #Eucharist - 4th of #Easter in Your Virtual Church


Fourth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 49
Reading 1ACTS 2:14A, 36-41
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.

Responsorial Psalm23: 1-3A, 3B4, 5, 6
R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Alleluia.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 21 PT 2:20B-25
Beloved:
If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good,
this is a grace before God.
For to this you have been called,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.

When he was insulted, he returned no insult;
when he suffered, he did not threaten;
instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.
He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,
so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.
For you had gone astray like sheep,
but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

AlleluiaJN 10:14
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 10:1-10
Jesus said:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Saint May 3 : St. James the Lesser Apostle - Cousin of Jesus and the Patron of Pharmacists


Patron of:
apothecaries; druggists; dying people; fullers; hatmakers; hatters; milliners; pharmacists.
Prayer to St. James the Less

O Glorious St. James, you were our Lord's cousin and at the same time his friend and follower. You wrote that every good and perfect gift comes to us from the Father of lights, and that faith without works is useless. You preached the divinity of Jesus until your death as a martyr. Obtain for us from the Father of lights the great gift of a living faith in Jesus' divinity which will inspire us to unstinting labor in the service of God and our fellow human beings and enable us to reach our heavenly destiny. Amen

St. James, to distinguish him from the other apostle of the same name, the son of Zebedee, was called the Less; which appellation is supposed to have taken its rise, either from his having been called later to the apostleship than the former, or from the lowness of his stature, or from his youth. He is also known by the title of James the Just, a denomination all agree, with Hegesippus and St. Clement of Alexandria, to have been given on account of his eminent sanctity. He was the son of Alpheus and Mary, the sister of the Blessed Virgin and seems to have been born some years before our Lord. Jesus came with his brethren, and probably St. James among the rest, to settle in Capharnaum, at the beginning of his ministry. James and his brother Jude were called to the apostleship in the second year of Christ's preaching, soon after the Pasch, in the year 31. He was favored with an extraordinary apparition of his Master after his resurrection. Clement of Alexandria says, that Christ being risen from the dead, communicated the gift of science to SS. James the Just, John, and Peter, and that they imparted it to the other apostles. We are told by SS. Jerome and Epiphanius, that our Lord, at his ascension, recommended his church of Jerusalem to St. James; in consequence whereof the apostles, before their dispersion, constituted him bishop of that city. It was probably for a mark of his episcopal authority, and as an ensign of his dignity, that he wore on his head a lamina, or plate of gold, as is recounted by St. Epiphanius. Polycrates, quoted by Eusebius, testifies, that St. John did the same: others relate the like of St. Mark. It was probably done in imitation of the Jewish high-priest.  St. James governed that church in perpetual dangers, from the fury of the people and their violent persecutions; but his singular virtue procured him the veneration of the Jews themselves. As to his sanctity, Eusebius and St. Jerome give from Hegesippus the following account concerning him: "He was always a virgin, and was a Nazarite, or one consecrated to God. In consequence of which he was never shaved, never cut his hair, never drank any wine or other strong liquor; moreover, he never used any bath, or oil to anoint his limbs, and never ate of any living creature except when of precept, as the paschal lamb: he never wore sandals, never used any other clothes than one single linen garment. He prostrated so much in prayer, that the skin of his knees and forehead was hardened like to camels' hoofs." St. Epiphanius says, that, in a great drought, on stretching out his arms to heaven, he, by his  prayers, instantly obtained rain. His eminent sanctity made even the Jews style him the just man: and Origen observes, that Josephus himself gives him that epithet, though it is not to be found now in Josephus' works. The same reverence for his person procured him the privilege of entering at pleasure into the Sanctum or Holy place, namely, that part of the temple where none but the priests were allowed by the law to enter. St. Jerome adds, that the Jews strove, out of respect, who should touch the hem of his garment. In the year 51, he assisted at the council of the apostles, held at Jerusalem, about the observance of circumcision, and the other legal ceremonies of the law of Moses. Here, after having confirmed what St. Peter said, he devised the sentence which the apostles drew up on that occasion. This apostle being bishop of a church, which then chiefly consisted of Jewish converts, tolerated the use of the legal ceremonies, and, together with others, advised St. Paul to purify himself and offer sacrifice. He is the author of a canonical epistle which he wrote in Greek. It is at the head of those called <catholic>, or universal, because addressed not to any one particular church, but to the whole body of the converted Jews dispersed throughout the then known world. It was penned some time after those of St. Paul to the Galatians, in 55, and to the Romans in 58. It could not, therefore, be written before the year 59, fourteen years after the death of St. James the greater. The author's view in this epistle is to refute the false teachers, who, abusing certain expressions in St. Paul's writings, pretended that faith alone was sufficient to justification without good works: whereas, without these, he declares our faith is dead. He adds excellent precepts of a holy life, and exhorts the faithful not to neglect the sacrament of extreme unction in sickness.
The oriental liturgy or mass, which bears the name of this apostle, is mentioned by Proclus, patriarch of Constantinople, and by the council in Trullo, and is of venerable antiquity. St. Basil, indeed, testifies, that the words of the sacred invocation in the consecration of the bread and of the cup, were not committed to writing, but learned and preserved by tradition down to the fourth century, which was done on a motive of respect and veneration: but other parts of the liturgy were written. Perhaps St. James gave only general directions about this liturgy, upon whose plan it was afterwards drawn up or enlarged. His singular learning in sacred matters is extolled by St. Clement of Alexandria, and St. Jerome.
The Jews, being exasperated at the disappointment of their malicious designs against St. Paul, by his appeal to Caesar, to whom he was sent by Festus, in the year 60, were resolved to revenge it on St. James. That governor, dying before the arrival of his successor, Albinus, this vacancy gave them an opportunity of acting more arbitrarily than otherwise they durst have done. Wherefore, during this interval, Ananus, the high-priest, son of the famous Annas mentioned in the gospels, having assembled the Sanhedrim, or great council of the Jews, summoned St. James and others before it. Josephus, the Jewish historian, says, that St. James was accused of violating the laws, and delivered to the people to be stoned to death. And Hegesippus adds, that they carried him up to the battlements of the temple, and would have compelled him from thence to make a public renunciation of his faith in Christ, with this further view, thereby to undeceive, as they termed it, those among the people who had embraced Christianity. But St. James took that opportunity to declare his belief in Jesus Christ, after the most solemn and public manner. For he cried out aloud from the battlements, in the hearing of a great multitude, which was then at Jerusalem on account of the Passover, that Jesus, the Son of man, was seated at the right hand of the Sovereign Majesty, and would come in the clouds of heaven to judge the world. The Scribes and Pharisees, enraged at this testimony in behalf of Jesus, cried out: "The just man also hath erred." And going up to the battlements, they threw him headlong down to the ground, saying, "He must be stoned." St. James, though very much bruised by his fall, had strength enough to get upon his knees, and in this posture, lifting up his eyes to heaven, he begged of God to pardon his murderers, seeing that they knew not what they did. The rabble below received him with showers of stones, and at last a fuller gave him a blow on the head with his club, such as is used in dressing of cloths, after which he presently expired. This happened on the festival of the Pasch, the 10th of April, in the year of Christ 62, the seventh of Nero. He was buried near the temple, in the place in which he was martyred, where a small column was erected. Such was the reputation of his sanctity, that the Jews attributed to his death the destruction of Jerusalem, as we read in St. Jerome, Origen, and Eusebius, who assure us that Josephus himself declared it in the genuine editions of his history. Ananus put others to death for the same cause, but was threatened for this very fact by Albinus, and deposed from the high-priesthood by Agrippa. The episcopal throne of St. James was shown with respect at Jerusalem, in the fourth century. His relics are said to have been brought to Constantinople about the year 572. Lives of the Saints - Butler

Saint May 3 : St. Philip Apostle and the Patron of Pastry Chefs -

St. Philip
APOSTLE




Born:
Bethsaida, Palestine
Died:
80 at Hierapolis, Phrygia
Patron of:
hatters; pastry chefs

St. Philip was of Bethsaida, in Galilee, and called by our Saviour to follow him the day after St. Peter and St. Andrew. He was at that time a married man, and had several daughters; but his being engaged in the married state hindered him not, as St. Chrysostom observes, from meditating continually on the law and the prophets, which disposed him for the important discovery of the Messias in the person of Jesus Christ, in obedience to whose command he forsook all to follow him, and became thenceforth the inseparable companion of his ministry and labors. Philip had no sooner discovered the Messias, than he was desirous to make his friend Nathanael a sharer in his happiness, saying to him: <We have found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write>, that is, the Messias; <Jesus, the son of Joseph, of Nazareth.> Nathanael was not so ready to give his assent to this assertion of his friend, by reason that the supposed Messias was reported to be of Nazareth. Philip therefore desired him <to come> himself to Jesus <and see>; not doubting but, upon his personal acquaintance with the Son of God, he would be as much convinced of the truth as he was himself. Nathanael complied, and Jesus, seeing him approach, said, within his hearing: <Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile.> Nathanael asked him, how he came to know him: Jesus repined: <Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.> Nathanael, as two holy fathers explain the matter, calling to mind that the closeness of his retirement on that occasion was such, that no human creature could see him, owned him hereupon for the <Son of God>, and the <King of Israel>, or, in other words, the Messiah, foretold by Moses and the prophets. The marriage at Cana of Galilee happening three days after, to which Jesus and his disciples were invited, St. Philip was present at it with the rest. The year following, when our Lord formed the college of apostles, Philip was appointed one of that number, and. from the several passages of the gospel, he appears to have been particularly dear to his divine Master. Thus, when Jesus was about to feed five thousand persons, who had followed him into the wilderness, for the greater evidence of the miracle, and for the trial of this apostle's faith, Jesus proposed to him the difficulty of feeding the multitudes in that desolate place. And a little before our Saviour's passion, certain Gentiles, desirous to see Christ, made their first address to Philip, and by him and St. Andrew obtained that favor. Our Saviour, in the discourse he made to his disciples immediately after his last supper, having promised them a more clear and perfect knowledge of his heavenly Father than they had had hitherto, St. Philip cried out, with a holy eagerness and impatience: <Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.> From which words our Saviour took occasion to inculcate afresh a steady belief of his divinity, and perfect equality with the Father, saying: <So long a time have I been with you>, (teaching you who I am both by my words and actions,) < and have you not known me?> (If you beheld me with the eyes of faith such as I really am, in seeing me you would see the Father also, because) <I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.>
***********
A Prayer to St. Philip the Apostle , for Aid
Look down from heaven, holy father, from the loftiness of that mountain to the lowliness of this valley; from that harbor of quietness and tranquility to this calamitous sea. And now that the darkness of this world hinders no more those benignant eyes of thine from looking clearly into all things, look down and visit, O most diligent keeper, that vineyard which thy right hand planted with so much labor, anxiety and peril. To thee, then, we fly; from thee we seek for aid; to thee we give our whole selves unreservedly; thee we adopt for our patron and defender. Undertake the cause of our salvation, protect thy clients; to thee kindest of rulers, we give up the rudder of our lives; steer this little ship of thine, and, placed as thou art on high, keep us off all the rocks of evil desires, and with thee for our pilot and our guide we may safely come to the port of eternal bliss. Amen.
****************
After our Lord's ascension the gospel was to be preached to the whole world by a few persons, who had been eye-witnesses of his miracles, and were enabled, by the power of the Holy Ghost, to confirm their testimony concerning him by doing the like wonderful works themselves. That this might be accomplished, it was necessary that the disciples should quickly disperse themselves into all parts of the world. St. Philip accordingly preached the gospel in the two Phrygias, as Theodoret and Eusebius assure us from undoubted monuments. St. Polycarp, who was only converted in the year 80, enjoyed his conversation for some time, consequently St. Philip must have lived to a very advanced age. It appears, from a passage of Polyerates, quoted by Eusebius, that he was buried at Hierapolis, in Phrygia, which city was indebted to his relies for its preservation by continual miracles, as is averred by the author of the sermon on the twelve apostles, attributed to St. Chrysostom. An arm of St. Philip was brought from Constantinople to Florence, in 1204, whereof we have an authentic history in the Bollandists. The Orientals keep his festival on the 14th of November; the Latins on the 1st of May, with St. James. His body is said to be in the church of SS. Philip and James, in Rome, which was dedicated to God under their name, in 560. The emperor Theodosius, in a vision, received from St. John the Evangelist, and St. Philip, the assurance of victory over the tyrant Eugenius, the morning before the battle, in 394, as Theodoret relates.
From St. Philip we must particularly learn an ardent love of God, and desire to see the Father. He asked only this favor, because this was his only desire. Is it ours? Do we feel it so perfect as to extinguish all inordinate earthly affections and desires in our breasts? Do we employ the proper means to attain to this happy disposition? To obtain it, let us employ the succor of this apostle's prayers, and by disengaging our hearts from corruption and vanity, become, in desires and affections, citizens of heaven. The pilgrim soul sees herself a stranger here on earth, and discovers nothing in this desert place of her banishment hut an abyss of vanity, and subjects of compunction, grief, and fears. On the other side, looking up to God, she contemplates the magnificence and splendor of his kingdom, which will have no end; its peace, security, sanctity without stain, delights without sorrow, unchangeable and incomprehensible joys; and she cries out in a holy transport: "O joy surpassing all joys, and without which there is no true joy, when shall I possess you? O, sovereign good, discover to me some ray of thy beauty and of thy glory; may my heart be set on flame by thy love, and my soul languish and wade with desire to be united to thee, to behold thee face to face, to sing thy praises night and day, to drink of the plenty of thy house, and of the torrent of thy delights, to be forever confirmed in thy love, and in some measure transformed into thee!" Such a soul seeks to hide herself from the eyes of men, to live unknown to the world; and, in retirement and repose, to apply herself to prayer, all her thoughts being taken up in contemplating the glorious things which are said of the blessed city of her God. All worldly enjoyments and distractions are insupportable to her, and she finds no comfort in this place of banishment but in singing the praises of her God, in adoring and in doing always his will, and in the sweet sighs and tears with which she seeks him, and begs him to reign perfectly in her affections by his grace and love, and to draw her speedily to himself out of this Babylon, in which every object increases her affliction, and inflames her desire, seeming to say to her: <Where is thy God?>


Biography Source: LIVES of the Saints by A. Butler

Free Christian Movie : "Joseph of Nazareth" - stars Tobias Moretti

Joseph of Nazareth (2000) "Gli amici di Gesù - Giuseppe di Nazareth" (original title) TV Movie - 90 min - Drama - 29 April 2001 (USA) The people of Jerusalem are suffering under the reign of HEROD, and are hoping to be delivered from the Roman occupiers by the Messiah whose arrival, it is rumored, is to take place very soon. The 35-year-old widower is not interested in participating in any fighting against the Romans. Joseph gets a visit from JOACHIM and ANNA, asking him to marry their unprotected 14-year-old daughter MARY. Joseph agrees, but promises to preserve her chastity. Nevertheless, one day Mary tells him, in Anna's presence, that she is pregnant. Believing in this immaculate conception is very difficult for Joseph, as is the message that her son JESUS will end the reign of Herod, which is announced to him in a vision. Their son is born in a Bethlehem cattle shed and heralded as the new Messiah by the Three Magi. King Herod also finds out about the rumor, and decides to kill all of Bethlehem's firstborn. Joseph and Mary escape to Egypt.
Directors: Raffaele Mertes, Elisabetta Marchetti Writers: Gareth Jones, Gianmario Pagano (story) Stars: Tobias Moretti, Stefania Rivi, Massimo Reale |

Philippine Bishops to Consecrate the Nation to Mary on May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima


Philippine bishops to consecrate nation to Mary

By CBCP News -  April 28, 2020

Manila, Philippines

The Philippines, through its archdioceses and dioceses, will be consecrated to the care of the Blessed Mother amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The bishops are expected to lead the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in their respective cathedrals on May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Valenzuela City has earlier invited the bishops to celebrate the feast “in a special way”.

“I think this is a wonderful initiative,” Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the episcopal conference, stated in his letter to the dioceses on April 27.

This consecration reaffirms the bishops’ previous consecrations of the Philippines to Mary. In 2013, during the Year of Faith, the CBCP also consecrated the country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In Manila, Bishop Broderick Pabillo will lead the prayer of consecration at the cathedral on May 13, which is also the 103rd anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

The prayer, he said, will also be joined by the mayors of the five cities covering the archdiocese: Manila, Mandaluyong, Pasay, Makati and San Juan.

“It will be beautiful when all the people God, led by their civil and religious leaders, put themselves under the protection of the Blessed Virgin,” Pabillo said.

The archdiocese, starting next month, will also hold a series of catechetical instructions online on the meaning and implication of such consecration.

From May 10, the archdiocese will start a “triduum” of daily penance and rosary which will culminate on the common act of consecration on the May 13.

“We do this to implore the protection of the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother in this difficult time, especially as we move to the transition to a new way of life after the quarantine,” Pabillo added.

“We need strength from above, and we have a powerful intercessor in Mama Mary to get that heavenly help,” he also said.

Pope Francis has earlier encouraged the faithful to pray the rosary during the whole month of May.

In a letter addressed to all Catholics and released by the Vatican April 25, he noted that it is a tradition to pray the rosary at home with family during May.

“Contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial,” the pope said.
FULL TEXT Release from CBCP News of the Bishops of the Philippines

At Mass, Pope Francis Prays for Rulers and said Christians must Learn to Manage both "Moments of Peace and moments of Crisis."


MORNING CELEBRATION BROADCASTED LIVE
FROM THE CHAPEL OF CASA SANTA MARTA
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
"Learning to live the moments of crisis"
Saturday, May 2, 2020

Introduction
We pray today for the rulers who have the responsibility to take care of their peoples in these moments of crisis: heads of state, presidents of government, legislators, mayors, presidents of regions ... because the Lord helps them and gives them strength, because their work is not easy. And that when there are differences between them they understand that, in times of crisis, they must be very united for the good of the people, because unity is superior to conflict.
Today, Saturday 2 May, 300 prayer groups join us in prayer. They are called the " madrugadores ", in Spanish, that is the "early risers": those who get up early to pray, make their own early rising, for prayer. They are joining us today, right now.
Homily
The first reading begins: "In those days the Church was at peace for all Judea, Galilee and Samaria: she consolidated and walked in fear of the Lord and, with the comfort of the Holy Spirit, she grew in number" ( Acts 9, 31). Peacetime. And the Church grows. The Church is peaceful, has the comfort of the Holy Spirit, is in consolation. The good times ... Enea's healing follows, then Peter raises Gazzella, Tabità ... things that are done in peace.
But there are times of peace, in the early Church: times of persecutions, difficult times, times that put believers in crisis. Times of crisis. And a time of crisis is what the Gospel of John tells us today (cf. 6,60-69). This passage of the Gospel is the end of a whole sequence that began with the multiplication of the loaves, when they wanted to make Jesus king, Jesus goes to pray, they do not find him the next day, they go looking for him, and Jesus reproaches them that they seek him because feed and not for the words of eternal life ... And all that story ends here. They say: "Give us this bread", and Jesus explains that the bread he will give is his own body and blood.
«At that time, many of Jesus' disciples, after listening, said:“ This word is hard! Who can listen to it? "" (V. 60). Jesus said that whoever did not eat his body and blood would not have eternal life. Jesus also said: "If you eat my body and my blood, you will rise again on the last day" (cf. v. 54). These are the things that Jesus said. "This word is hard!" (v. 60) [think the disciples]. “It is too tough. Something is not working here. This man has gone beyond limits. " And this is a moment of crisis. There were moments of peace and moments of crisis. Jesus knew that the disciples murmured. Here there is a distinction between the disciples and the apostles: the disciples were those 72 or more, the apostles were the Twelve. "In fact, Jesus knew from the beginning who were those who did not believe and who was the one who would betray him" (v. 64). And faced with this crisis, remind them: "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted to him by the Father" (v. 65). He starts talking again about being drawn to the Father: the Father draws us to Jesus. And this is how the crisis is resolved.
And "from that moment, many of his disciples went back and no longer went with him" (v. 66). They distanced themselves. "This man is a little dangerous, a little ... But these doctrines ... Yes, he is a good man, he preaches and heals, but when he gets to these strange things ... Please, let's go" (see v. 66). And the same did the disciples of Emmaus, on the morning of the resurrection: "Well, yes, a strange thing: the women who say that the sepulcher ... But this stinks - they said - let's go early because the soldiers will come and crucify us" (cf. Lk 24 : 22-24). The soldiers who guarded the sepulcher did the same: they had seen the truth, but then they preferred to sell their secret: "We are sure: we do not put ourselves in these stories, which are dangerous" (cf. Mt 28 : 11-15).
A moment of crisis is a moment of choice, it is a moment that puts us before the decisions we have to make. In life, we have all had and will have moments of crisis: family crises, marriage crises, social crises, work crises, many crises ... This pandemic is also a moment of social crisis.
How to react in times of crisis? "At that moment, many of his disciples went back and never went with him" (v. 66). Jesus makes the decision to question the apostles: "Then Jesus said to the Twelve:" Do you also want to go away? "" (V. 67). Make a decision. And Peter makes the second confession: «Simon Peter answered him:“ Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life and we believed and knew that you are the Holy One of God "" (vv. 68-69). Peter confesses, on behalf of the Twelve, that Jesus is the Holy One of God, the Son of God. The first confession - "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" - and immediately afterwards, when Jesus began to explain the passion that she would come, he stops him: "No, no, Lord, this no!", and Jesus rebukes him (cf Mt16.16 to 23). But Pietro has matured a bit and here he doesn't scold. He does not understand what Jesus says, this "eating the flesh, drinking the blood" (cf 6,54-56), does not understand, but trusts the Master. Trusts. And he makes this second confession: "But to whom shall we go? Please, you have words of eternal life" (cf. v. 68).
This helps, all of us, to live the moments of crisis. In my land there is a saying that says: "When you go horseback riding and you have to cross a river, please don't change horses in the middle of the river." In times of crisis, be very firm in the conviction of faith. Those who left, "changed horses", sought another teacher who was not as "hard", as they said to him. In times of crisis there is perseverance, silence; stay where we are, stop. This is not the time to make changes. It is the moment of faithfulness, of faithfulness to God, of faithfulness to things [decisions] that we have taken before. It is also the moment of conversion, because yes, this fidelity will inspire some changes for the good, not to get away from the good.
Moments of peace and moments of crisis. We Christians must learn to manage both. Both. Some spiritual father says that the moment of crisis is like going through the fire to become strong. May the Lord send us the Holy Spirit to know how to resist temptations in times of crisis, to know how to be faithful to the first words, with the hope of living after moments of peace. Let's think about our crises: the family crises, the neighborhood crises, the work crises, the social crises of the world, of the country ... So many crises, so many crises.
May the Lord give us the strength - in times of crisis - not to sell the faith.
Prayer to make spiritual communion
People who cannot communicate 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 came, I embrace you and I join you all. It never allows me to separate you from you.
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican. va - a Translation from Italian

Annual Report on Religious Freedom for 2020 Released by US Government Identifies 14 Countries of Concern


USCIRF Releases 2020 Annual Report with Recommendations for U.S. Policy 
Read the Full Report here: https://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/USCIRF%202020%20Annual%20Report_Final_42920.pdf
Press Release: USCIRF Releases 2020 Annual Report with Recommendations for U.S. Policy
 Finds Both Progress and Backsliding in Religious Freedom Conditions
Washington, D.C. – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released its 2020 Annual Report, documenting significant developments during 2019, including remarkable progress in Sudan and a sharp downward turn in India, and making recommendations to enhance the U.S. government’s promotion of freedom of religion or belief abroad in 2020.   
We are encouraged by the positive steps some governments took in 2019 – particularly two that engaged closely with USCIRF – to establish a safer environment for freedom of religion or belief,” USCIRF Chair Tony Perkins said. “Sudan stands out, demonstrating that new leadership with the will to change can quickly bring tangible improvements. Uzbekistan also made important progress in 2019 toward fulfilling the commitments it made to allow religious groups greater freedom. Though other countries deteriorated, particularly India, we see international religious freedom on an upward trajectory overall.”
USCIRF’s independence and bipartisanship enables it to unflinchingly identify threats to religious freedom around the world. In the 2020 Annual Report, USCIRF recommends 14 countries to the State Department for designation as “countries of particular concern” (CPCs) because their governments engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations.” These include nine that the State Department designated as CPCs in December 2019—Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan—as well as five others—India, Nigeria, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam.

Instead of using its own “Tier 2” category, as in past reports, the 2020 Annual Report also recommends 15 countries for placement on the State Department’s Special Watch List (SWL) for severe violations. These include four that the State Department placed on that list in December 2019—Cuba, Nicaragua, Sudan, and Uzbekistan—as well as 11 others—Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Central African Republic (CAR), Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, and Turkey. USCIRF had recommended Sudan, Uzbekistan, and CAR for CPC designation in its 2019 Annual Report; the SWL recommendations this year are based on improved conditions in those countries.
The 2020 Annual Report further recommends to the State Department six non-state actors for designation as “entities of particular concern” (EPCs) for systematic, ongoing, egregious violations. These consist of five groups that the State Department designated in December 2019—al-Shabaab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Houthis in Yemen, Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) in Afghanistan, and the Taliban in Afghanistan—plus one other—Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Syria.
“We commend the Administration for continuing to prioritize international religious freedom in 2019, including dedicating a significant amount of U.S. funding to protect places of worship and religious sites globally, a key recommendation in USCIRF’s 2019 Annual Report. We were also encouraged that in early 2020, the Administration established for the first time a senior staff position at the White House focused solely on international religious freedom, a long-standing USCIRF recommendation,” USCIRF Vice Chair Gayle Manchin stated. “While we welcome these efforts, we also urge the Administration to discontinue the repeated imposition of preexisting sanctions or waivers for CPC-designated countries, and instead, take a unique action for each country to provide accountability for religious freedom abuses.”
In addition to chapters with key findings and U.S. policy recommendations for these 29 countries, the Annual Report describes and assesses U.S. international religious freedom policy overall. The report also includes a new section highlighting key developments and trends around the world in 2019, including in countries not recommended for CPC designation or SWL placement. Examples include the Chinese government’s harassment of human rights advocates outside its borders; the adoption of new blasphemy laws in Brunei and Singapore; increased anti-Semitism in Europe, and a spike in attacks on places of worship or holy sites.
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The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at Media@USCIRF.gov or Danielle Ashbahian at dashbahian@uscirf.gov or +1-202-702-2778.
Source: https://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/press-releases-statements/uscirf-releases-2020-annual-report-recommendations-us-policy

Pope Francis names 2 New Cardinal-Bishops and Vice Camerlengo including Cardinal Tagle of the Philppines

Pope Francis has named two new Cardinal-Bishops and Vice Camerlengo according to Vatican News.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle and Cardinal Beniamino Stella are the newest members of the Order of Bishops within the College of Cardinal, and Archbishop Ilson de Jesus Montanari becomes the new Vice Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church.
By Vatican News

Pope Francis has elevated Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle to the rank of Cardinal-Bishop.

The appointment was made in an audience granted to Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, Substitute for General Affairs for the Secretariat of State, on 14 April 2020. In naming Cardinal Tagle to the Order of Bishops, Pope Francis made him equal in all respects to those Cardinals with suburbicarian Churches.

Cardinal Tagle has served as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples since February 2020.

The Holy Father has also promoted Cardinal Beniamino Stella, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, to the Order of Cardinal-Bishops, granting him the “title” of the suburbicarian Church of Porto-Santa Rufina.

New Vice Camerlengo
The Vatican announced on Friday the appointment of Archbishop Ilson de Jesus Montanari as Vice Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church.

Archbishop Montanari is the secretary for the Congregation for Bishops. As Vice Camerlengo, he will work alongside Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, who was named Camerlengo by Pope Francis on 14 February 2019.

The Vice Camerlengo assists the Camerlengo in carrying out his duties, which include the formal certification of the death of a reigning Pope, as well as the care and administration of the temporal goods of the Holy See during time of sede vacante (the period between the death of the Pope and the election of his successor).
Source: VaticanNews