Friday, May 15, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Saturday, May 16, 2020 - #Eucharist in Eastertide - Your Virtual Church


Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 290
Reading 1ACTS 16:1-10
Paul reached also Derbe and Lystra
where there was a disciple named Timothy,
the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer,
but his father was a Greek.
The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him,
and Paul wanted him to come along with him.
On account of the Jews of that region, Paul had him circumcised,
for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
As they traveled from city to city,
they handed on to the people for observance the decisions
reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem.
Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith
and increased in number.

They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory
because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit
from preaching the message in the province of Asia.
When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia,
but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them,
so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.
During the night Paul had a vision.
A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words,
“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
When he had seen the vision,
we sought passage to Macedonia at once,
concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them.

Responsorial Psalm100:1B-2, 3, 5
R.    (2a)  Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R.    Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
or:
R.    Alleluia.

AlleluiaCOL 3:1
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If then you were raised with Christ,
seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 15:18-21
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the one who sent me.”

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 may 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

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Saint May 16 St. Simon Stock a Carmelite who tried to Attain Perfect Love of God and the Patron of the Brown Scapular


CARMELITE
Feast: May 16


Born:
1165 in Aylesford, County Kent, England
Died:
16 May 1265 in the Carmelite monastery at Bordeaux, France
Major Shrine:
Aylesford, England
Patron of:
Bordeaux, FranceHe was descended of a good family in Kent. From his infancy he turned all his thoughts and affections to attain to the most perfect love of God, and studied to devote all his moments to this glorious pursuit. In this earnest desire, in the twelfth year of his age, he retired into a wilderness, and chose for his dwelling a great hollow oak tree; whence the surname of Stock wee given him. While he here mortified his flesh with fasting and other severities, he nourished his soul with spiritual dainties in continual prayer. His drink was only water; and he never touched any other food but herbs, roots and wild apples. While he led this course of life, he was invited by a divine revelation to embrace the rule of certain religious men who were coming from Palestine into England. Albert, the holy patriarch of Jerusalem, having given a written rule to the Carmelite friars about the year 1205, some brothers of this order were soon after brought over from mount Carmel by John lord Vescy and Richard lord Gray of Codnor, when they returned from the Holy Land. These noblemen some time after settled them, the latter in the wood of Aylesford, near Rochester in Kent, the former in the forest of Holme, near Alnewick in Northumberland; which houses continued the two most famous convents of this order in England till their dissolution in the thirty-third year of the reign of Henry VIII. But we are assured by Bale, who before his apostacy was himself a friar of the English province of this order, and by Lambert and Weaver in their accurate descriptions of the Antiquities of Kent, that the first or most ancient convent of these friars in England was that at Newenden in Kent, which was founded for them by Sir Thomas Archer or Fitz-Archer, whose family flourished for many centuries upon that manor. The first arrival of these friars in England is placed in the annals of the order, quoted by F. Cosmas de Villiers, in 1212. Simon, who had then lived a recluse twenty years, imitating the Macariuses and Arseniuses in the most heroic practices of penance and contemplation, was much affected with the devotion of these servants of God to the blessed Virgin, their edifying deportment, and their eremitical austere institute, and joined their holy company before the end of the year 1212. After his admission he was sent to Oxford to finish his studies; and having run through his academical course he returned to his convent, where so bright was the example of his piety, that the virtue of the rest seemed to suffer an eclipse by the extraordinary lustre of his sanctity. Such was his reputation, that in 1215 Brocard, prior of mount Carmel, and general of the order, appointed him vicar-general, with full power over all the western provinces. Many clamors being raised against this institute, St. Simon repaired to Rome in 1226, and obtained from pope Honorius III. a confirmation of the rule given to this order by Albertus; and another from Gregory IX. in 1229. Some years after, St. Simon paid a visit to his brethren on mount Carmel, and remained six years in Palestine, where, in 1237, he assisted at the general chapter of the order held by Alanus the fifth general. In this assembly it was decreed, that the greatest part of the brethren should pass into Europe, their settlements in the east being continually disturbed by the persecutions, oppressions, or threats of the Saracens. In 1240 many were sent to England, and in 1244, Alanus himself, with St. Simon, having nominated Hilarion his vicar on mount Carmel, and in Palestine, followed them  thither, there being already five monasteries of the order erected in this island.

 In a general chapter held at Aylesford in 1245, Alanus resigning his dignity, St. Simon was chosen the sixth general, and in the same year procured a new confirmation of the rule by pope Innocent IV., who at the saint's request received this order under the special protection of the Holy See, in 1251. St. Simon established houses in most parts of Europe; but this institute flourished nowhere with so great splendor and edification as in England, and continued so to do for several ages, as the annals of the order take notice. St. Simon, soon after he was promoted to the dignity of general, instituted the confraternity of the Scapular, to unite the devout clients of the Blessed Virgin in certain regular exercises of religion and piety. Several Carmelite writers assure us that he was admonished by the Mother of God in a vision, with which he was favored on the 16th of July, to establish this devotion." This confraternity has been approved, and favored with many privileges by several popes. The rules prescribe, without any obligation or precept, that the members wear a little scapular, at least secretly, as the symbol of the order, and that they recite every day the office of our Lady, or the office of the church; or, if they cannot read, seven times the Pater, Ave, and Gloria Patri, in lieu of the seven canonical hours; and lastly, that they abstain from flesh-meat on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; or if this cannot be done, that they double for each of these days the seven Paters, &c. St. Simon cured several sick persons by giving them the scapular; the reputation of which miracles moved Edward I., king of England, St. Louis of France, and many others, to enrol their names in this confraternity.

St. Simon governed the order with great sanctity and prudence during twenty years, and propagated it exceedingly from England over all Europe being himself  famous for his eminent virtue, and a great gift of miracles and prophecy. He wrote several hymns and decrees for his order, and several other useful things for its service, says Leland. At length, in the hundredth year of his age, having a call to France, he sailed to Bordeaux, where God put an end to his labors some months after his arrival, in 1265, on the 16th of July. He was buried in the cathedral of that city, and was honored among the saints soon after his death. Pope Nicholas III. granted an office to be celebrated in his honor at Bordeaux on the 16th of May, which Paul V. extended to the whole order. SOURCE: Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler

Pope Francis' Message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees "..we are called to see the face of Christ who pleads with us to help..." Full Text


MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FOR THE 106th WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES 2020

[27 September 2020]

Like Jesus Christ, forced to flee.
Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating
internally displaced persons

At the beginning of this year, in my Address to the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, I pointed to the tragedy of internally displaced people as one of the challenges of our contemporary world: “Situations of conflict and humanitarian emergencies, aggravated by climate change, are increasing the numbers of displaced persons and affecting people already living in a state of dire poverty. Many of the countries experiencing these situations lack adequate structures for meeting the needs of the displaced” (9 January 2020).
The Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has issued the document “Pastoral Orientations on Internally Displaced People” (Vatican City, 5 May 2020), which aims to inspire and encourage the pastoral work of the Church in this specific area.
For these reasons, I have decided to devote this Message to the drama of internally displaced persons, an often unseen tragedy that the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated. In fact, due to its virulence, severity and geographical extent, this crisis has impacted on many other humanitarian emergencies that affect millions of people, which has relegated to the bottom of national political agendas those urgent international efforts essential to saving lives. But “this is not a time for forgetfulness. The crisis we are facing should not make us forget the many other crises that bring suffering to so many people” (Urbi et Orbi Message, 12 April 2020).
In the light of the tragic events that have marked 2020, I would like this Message, although concerned with internally displaced persons, to embrace all those who are experiencing situations of precariousness, abandonment, marginalization and rejection as a result of COVID-19.
I would like to start with the image that inspired Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic Constitution Exsul Familia (1 August 1952). During the flight into Egypt, the child Jesus experienced with his parents the tragic fate of the displaced and refugees, “which is marked by fear, uncertainty and unease (cf.Mt 2:13-15, 19-23). Unfortunately, in our own times, millions of families can identify with this sad reality. Almost every day the television and papers carry news of refugees fleeing from hunger, war and other grave dangers, in search of security and a dignified life for themselves and for their families” (Angelus, 29 December 2013). In each of these people, forced to flee to safety, Jesus is present as he was at the time of Herod. In the faces of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, strangers and prisoners, we are called to see the face of Christ who pleads with us to help (cf. Mt 25:31-46). If we can recognize him in those faces, we will be the ones to thank him for having been able to meet, love and serve him in them.
Displaced people offer us this opportunity to meet the Lord, “even though our eyes find it hard to recognize him: his clothing in tatters, his feet dirty, his face disfigured, his body wounded, his tongue unable to speak our language” (Homily, 15 February 2019). We are called to respond to this pastoral challenge with the four verbs I indicated in my Message for this Day in 2018: welcome, protect, promote and integrate. To these words, I would now like to add another six pairs of verbs that deal with very practical actions and are linked together in a relationship of cause and effect.
You have to know in order to understand. Knowledge is a necessary step towards understanding others. Jesus himself tells us this in the account of the disciples on the road to Emmaus: “While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him” (Lk 24:15-16). When we talk about migrants and displaced persons, all too often we stop at statistics. But it is not about statistics, it is about real people! If we encounter them, we will get to know more about them. And knowing their stories, we will be able to understand them. We will be able to understand, for example, that the precariousness that we have come to experience as a result of this pandemic is a constant in the lives of displaced people.
It is necessary to be close in order to serve. It may seem obvious, yet often it is the contrary. “But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where the man was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Lk 10:33-34). Fears and prejudices – all too many prejudices – keep us distant from others and often prevent us from “becoming neighbours” to them and serving them with love. Drawing close to others often means being willing to take risks, as so many doctors and nurses have taught us in recent months. This readiness to draw near and serve goes beyond a mere sense of duty. Jesus gave us the greatest example of this when he washed the feet of his disciples: he took off his cloak, knelt down and dirtied his hands (cf. Jn 13:1-15).
In order to be reconciled, we need to listen. God himself taught us this by sending his Son into the world. He wanted to listen to the plea of suffering humanity with human ears: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son… that the world might be saved through him” (Jn 3:16-17). A love that reconciles and saves begins with listening. In today’s world, messages multiply but the practice of listening is being lost. Yet it is only through humble and attentive listening that we can truly be reconciled. In 2020, silence has reigned for weeks in our streets. A dramatic and troubling silence, but one that has given us the opportunity to listen to the plea of the vulnerable, the displaced and our seriously ill planet. Listening gives us an opportunity to be reconciled with our neighbour, with all those who have been “discarded”, with ourselves and with God, who never tires of offering us his mercy.
In order to grow, it is necessary to share. Sharing was an essential element of the first Christian community: “Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common” (Acts 4:32). God did not want the resources of our planet to benefit only a few. This was not the Lord’s will! We have to learn to share in order to grow together, leaving no one behind. The pandemic has reminded us how we are all in the same boat. Realizing that we have the same concerns and fears has shown us once more that no one can be saved alone. To grow truly, we must grow together, sharing what we have, like the boy who offered Jesus five barley loaves and two fish… yet they proved enough for five thousand people (cf. Jn6:1-15)!
We need to be involved in order to promote. As Jesus was with the Samaritan woman (cf. Jn 4:1-30). The Lord approaches her, listens to her, speaks to her heart, and then leads her to the truth and makes her a herald of the Good News: “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did! Can this be the Christ?” (v. 29). Sometimes the impulse to serve others prevents us from seeing their real riches. If we really want to promote those whom we assist, we must involve them and make them agents in their own redemption. The pandemic has reminded us of how essential co-responsibility is, and that only with the contribution of everyone – even of those groups so often underestimated – can we face this crisis. We must find “the courage to create spaces where everyone can recognize that they are called, and to allow new forms of hospitality, fraternity and solidarity” (Meditation in Saint Peter’s Square, 27 March 2020).
It is necessary to cooperate in order to build. That is what the Apostle Paul tells the community of Corinth: “I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgement” (1 Cor 1:10). Building the Kingdom of God is a duty common to all Christians, and for this reason it is necessary that we learn to cooperate, without yielding to the temptation to jealousy, discord and division. In the present context it should be reiterated: “This is not a time for self-centredness, because the challenge we are facing is shared by all, without distinguishing between persons” (Urbi et Orbi Message, 12 April 2020). To preserve our common home and make it conform more and more to God’s original plan, we must commit ourselves to ensuring international cooperation, global solidarity and local commitment, leaving no one excluded.
I would like to conclude with a prayer suggested by the example of Saint Joseph at the time he was forced to flee to Egypt to save the child Jesus.
Father, you entrusted to Saint Joseph what you held most precious: the child Jesus and his Mother, in order to protect them from the dangers and threats of the wicked.
Grant that we may experience his protection and help. May he, who shared in the sufferings of those who flee from the hatred of the powerful, console and protect all our brothers and sisters driven by war, poverty and necessity to leave their homes and their lands to set out as refugees for safer places.
Help them, through the intercession of Saint Joseph, to find the strength to persevere, give them comfort in sorrows and courage amid their trials.
Grant to those who welcome them some of the tender love of this just and wise father, who loved Jesus as a true son and sustained Mary at every step of the way.
May he, who earned his bread by the work of his hands, watch over those who have seen everything in life taken away and obtain for them the dignity of a job and the serenity of a home.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, whom Saint Joseph saved by fleeing to Egypt, and trusting in the intercession of the Virgin Mary, whom he loved as a faithful husband in accordance with your will. Amen.
Rome, Saint John Lateran, 13 May 2020, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima.

Francis
FULL TEXT  Source: Vatican.va - Official Translation - Image Source: Google Images

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI writes Letter on St. John Paul II "..God’s mercy is intended for every individual." Full Text on 100th Anniversary


The following is the Full Text letter written by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to the Bishops of Poland on the Anniversary of the birth of Saint Pope John Paul II: 
100 years ago, on May 18th, Pope John Paul II was born in the small Polish town of Wadowice.

After having been divided for over 100 years by three neighboring major powers of Prussia, Russia, and Austria, Poland regained Her independence at the end of the First World War. It was a historic event that gave birth to great hope; but it also demanded much hardship as the new State, in the process of Her reorganization, continued to feel the pressure of the two Powers of Germany and Russia. In this situation of oppression, but above all in this situation marked by hope, young Karol Wojtyła grew up. He lost his mother and his brother quite early and, in the end, his father as well, from whom he gained deep and warm piety. The young Karol was particularly drawn by literature and theater. After passing his final secondary school exam, he chose to study these subjects.

“In order to avoid the deportation, in the fall of 1940 he went to work in a quarry of the Solvay chemical plant.” (cf. Gift and Mystery). “In the fall of 1942, he made the final decision to enter the Seminary of Kraków, which Kraków’s Archbishop Sapieha had secretly established in his residence. As a factory worker, Karol already started studying theology in old textbooks; and so, on 1 November 1946, he could be ordained a priest.” (cf. Ibid.) Of course, Karol not only studied theology in books but also through his experience of the difficult situation that he and his Country found itself in. This is somewhat a characteristic of his whole life and work. He studied books but the questions that they posed became the reality that he profoundly experienced and lived. As a young Bishop – as an Auxiliary Bishop since 1958 and then Archbishop of Kraków from 1964 - the Second Vatican Council became the school of his entire life and work. The important questions that appeared, especially in connection with the so-called Schema 13 which would subsequently become the Constitution Gaudium et Spes, were questions that were also his own. The answers developed by the Council would pave the way for his mission  as Bishop and, later, as Pope.

When Cardinal Wojtyła was elected Successor of St. Peter on 16 October 1978, the Church was in a dramatic situation. The deliberations of the Council had been presented to the public as a dispute over the Faith itself, which seemed to deprive the Council of its infallible and unwavering sureness. A Bavarian parish priest, for example, commented on the situation by saying, “In the end, we fell into the wrong faith.” This feeling that nothing was no longer certain, that everything was questioned, was kindled even more by the method of implementation of liturgical reform. In the end, it almost seemed that the liturgy could be created of itself. Paul VI brought the Council to an end with energy and determination, but after its conclusion, he faced ever more pressing problems that ultimately questioned the existence of the Church Herself. At that time, sociologists compared the Church’s situation to the situation of the Soviet Union under the rule of Gorbachev, during which the powerful structure of the Soviet State collapsed under the process of its reform.


Therefore, in essence, an almost impossible task was awaiting the new Pope. Yet, from the first moment on, John Paul II aroused new enthusiasm for Christ and his Church. His words from the sermon at the inauguration of his pontificate: “Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors for Christ!” This call and tone would characterize his entire pontificate and made him a liberating restorer of the Church. This was conditioned by the fact that the new Pope came from a country where the Council’s reception had been positive: one of a joyful renewal of everything rather than an attitude of doubt and uncertainty in all.

The Pope traveled the world, having made 104 pastoral voyages, proclaiming the Gospel wherever he went as a message of joy, explaining in this way the obligation to defend what is Good and to be for Christ.

In his 14 Encyclicals, he comprehensively presented the faith of the Church and its teaching in a human way. By doing this, he inevitably sparked contradiction in Church of the West, clouded by doubt and uncertainty.

It seems important today to define the true centre, from the perspective of which we can read the message contained in the various texts. We could have noticed it at the hour of his death. Pope John Paul II died in the first moments of the newly established Feast of Divine Mercy. Let me first add a brief personal remark that seems an important aspect of the Pope’s nature and work. From the very beginning, John Paul II was deeply touched by the message of Faustina Kowalska, a nun from Kraków, who emphasized Divine Mercy as an essential center of the Christian faith. She had hoped for the establishment of such a feast day. After consultation, the Pope chose the Second Sunday of Easter. However, before the final decision was made, he asked the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to express its view on the appropriateness of this date. We responded negatively because such an ancient, traditional and meaningful date like the Sunday “in Albis” concluding the Octave of Easter should not be burdened with modern ideas. It was certainly not easy for the Holy Father to accept our reply. Yet, he did so with great humility and accepted our negative response a second time. Finally, he formulated a proposal that left the Second Sunday of Easter in its historical form but included Divine Mercy in its original message. There have often been similar cases in which I was impressed by the humility of this great Pope, who abandoned ideas he cherished because he could not find the approval of the official organs that must be asked according established norms.

When John Paul II took his last breaths on this world, the prayer of the First Vespers of the Feast of Divine Mercy had just ended. This illuminated the hour of his death: the light of God’s mercy stands as a comforting message over his death. In his last book Memory and Identity, which was published on the eve of his death, the Pope once again summarized the message of Divine Mercy. He pointed out that Sister Faustina died before the horrors of the Second World War but already gave the Lord’s answer to all this unbearable strife. It was as if Christ wanted to say through Faustina: “Evil will not get the final victory. The mystery of Easter affirms that good will ultimately be victorious, that life will triumph over death, and that love will overcome hatred”.

Throughout his life, the Pope sought to subjectively appropriate the objective center of Christian faith, the doctrine of salvation, and to help others to make it theirs. Through the resurrected Christ, God’s mercy is intended for every individual. Although this center of Christian existence is given to us only in faith, it is also philosophically significant, because if God’s mercy were not a fact, then we would have to find our way in a world where the ultimate power of good against evil is not recognizable. It is finally, beyond this objective historical significance, indispensable for everyone to know that in the end God’s mercy is stronger than our weakness. Moreover, at this point, the inner unity of the message of John Paul II and the basic intentions of Pope Francis can also be found: John Paul II is not the moral rigorist as some have partially portrayed him. With the centrality of divine mercy, he gives us the opportunity to accept moral requirement for man, even if we can never fully meet it. Besides, our moral endeavors are made in the light of divine mercy, which proves to be a force that heals for our weakness.

While Pope John Paul II was dying, St. Peter’s Square was filled with people, especially many young people, who wanted to meet their Pope one last time. I cannot forget the moment when Archbishop Sandri announced the message of the Pope’s departure. Above all, the moment when the great bell of St. Peter’s took up this message remains unforgettable. On the day of his funeral, there were many posters with the words “Santo subito!” It was a cry that rose from the encounter with John Paul II from all sides. Not from the square but also in different intellectual circles the idea of giving John Paul II the title “the Great” was discussed.

The word “saint” indicates God’s sphere and the word “great” the human dimension. According to the Church’s standards, sanctity can be recognized by two criteria: heroic virtues and a miracle. These two standards are closely related. Since the word “heroic virtue” does not mean a kind of Olympic achievement but rather that something becomes visible in and through a person that is not his own but God’s work which becomes recognizable in and through him. This is not a kind of moral competition, but the result of renouncing one’s own greatness. The point is that a person lets God work on him, and so God’s work and power become visible through him.


The same applies to the criterion of the miracle: here too, what counts is not that something sensational happening but the visible revelation of God’s healing goodness, which transcends all merely human possibilities. A saint is the man who is open to God and permeated by God. A holy man is the one who leads away from himself and lets us see and recognize God. Checking this juridically, as far as possible, is the purpose of the two processes for beatification and canonization. In the case of John Paul II, both were carried out strictly according to the applicable rules. So, now he stands before us as the Father, who makes God’s mercy and kindness visible to us.

It is more difficult to correctly define the term “great.” In the course of the almost 2,000-year long history of the papacy, the title “the Great” has been maintained only for two popes: Leo I (440 - 461) and Gregory I (590 - 604). In the case of both, the word “great” has a political connotation, but precisely because something of the mystery of God himself becomes visible through their political success. Through dialog, Leo the Great was able to convince Attila, the Prince of Huns, to spare Rome – the city of the Apostolic Princes Peter and Paul. Without weapons, without military or political power, through the power of his conviction for his faith, he was able to convince the feared tyrant to spare Rome. In the struggle between the spirit and power, the spirit proved stronger.

Gregory I’s success was not as spectacular, but he was repeatedly able to protect Rome against the Lombard – here too, by opposing the spirit against power and winning the victory of the spirit.

If we compare both stories with that of John Paul II, the similarity is unmistakable. John Paul II also had no military or political power. During the discussion about the future shape of Europe and Germany in February 1945, it was said that the Pope’s reaction should also be taken into account. Stalin then asked: “How many divisions does the Pope have?” Well, he had no available division. However, the power of faith turned out to be a force that finally unhinged the Soviet power system in 1989 and made a new beginning possible. Undisputedly, the Pope’s faith was an essential element in the collapse of the powers. And so, the greatness that appeared in Leo I and Gregory I is certainly also visible here.

Let us leave open the question of whether the epithet “the great” will prevail or not. It is true that God’s power and goodness have become visible to all of us in John Paul II. In a time when the Church is again suffering from the oppression of evil, he is for us a sign of hope and confidence.

Dear Saint John Paul II, Pray for us!

Benedict XVI
Source: https://episkopat.pl/benedykt-xvi-jan-pawel-ii-nie-jest-moralnym-rygorysta-wskazywal-milosierdzie-boze/

Catholic Bishops in the United Kingdom Critique the Government's Treatment of the Spiritual Needs of the People in Reopening Plan


The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has responded to the government’s document released today, 11 May, titled ‘Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy’. FULL TEXT Statement below Cardinal Nichols Interview:
Cardinal Vincent Nichols spoke to presenter Justin Webb on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on 14 May about how Catholic Churches can be safely re-opened for private prayer as the UK government eases its lockdown restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19. (Listen to the Full Interview)

Statement

The timing and the manner of the opening of churches touches profound sensitivities and spiritual needs. The Government’s document and statements fail to recognise this.
The Government’s position, established today, includes these steps aimed at opening churches as soon as possible: the establishment of a task force for places of worship, to work closely with ‘stakeholders’ in ensuring that premises are COVID-19 secure; and heeding the experience of other countries in which churches are already open for worship.
In dialogue with the Government, the Catholic Church will continue its engagement in this process and has already submitted a detailed plan, in full accordance with public health guidelines, for churches to be opened for private prayer.
The Church is ready to play its full part in the task force, understanding that this includes the possible earlier use of churches for private prayer, as a first safe step towards their use for public worship.

Pope Francis chooses Fr. Peter Muhich of Duluth as New Bishop of Rapid City, Michigan


Pope Francis Names Father Peter Muhich of Diocese of Duluth as Bishop of Rapid City

May 12, 2020
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Father Peter M. Muhich, a priest of the Diocese of Duluth as the Bishop of Rapid City.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on May 12, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Diocese of Rapid City has been a vacant see since July 2019.

Bishop-elect Muhich was born on May 13, 1961 and ordained to the priesthood on September 29, 1989 for the Diocese of Duluth. Father Muhich attended Eveleth High School in Eveleth, MN and University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN. He studied theology at American College of Louvain in Belgium.

Father Muhich’s assignments in the Diocese of Duluth after ordination include: Parochial Vicar at St. Francis Parish in Brainerd (1989-1991); Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph, Grand Rapids; Our Lady of the Snows in Bigfork and St. Theresa in Effie (1991-1993). Pastor at Holy Rosary in Aurora (1993-1996); Pastor at Queen of Peace in Hoyt Lakes (1993-1996); Pastor at St. Rose in Proctor and St. Philip in Saginaw (1996-1998); Pastor at Blessed Sacrament, St. Leo and Immaculate Conception in Hibbing (1996-2009). He has served as Pastor at St. Mary Star of the Sea and at Our Lady of Mercy in Duluth (2010), and in 2019, he served as Interim Administrator at St. Francis in Carlton and Sts. Mary and Joseph in Sawyer. Bishop-elect Muhich has served as Administrator at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth where he currently serves as Rector.

Father Muhich’s ministry includes service for the Deacon Formation Program (1993); Presbyteral Council (1993-1996); College of Consultors (1993-1996); Clergy Personnel Board (2002-2007); Priest Personnel Board (2007); Diocesan Finance Officer (2009-2011); Spiritual Director at St. Raphael Guild of the Catholic Medical Association (2013); Presbyteral Council (2014) and Vicar Forane of the Duluth Deanery.

The Diocese of Rapid City is comprised of 43,000 square miles in the State of South Dakota and has a total population of 227,211 of which 23,934 are Catholic.
Source: Full Text Release USCCB - Image Source: Google Images 

At Mass, Pope Francis Prays for Families and Explains that Jesus "brought" Joy with his Resurrection - Full Text/Video


MORNING CELEBRATION BROADCASTED LIVE
FROM THE SANTA MARTA CHAPEL
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
"The relationship with God is free, it is a relationship of friendship"
Friday, May 15, 2020

Introduction
Today is World Family Day. Let us pray for families, so that the Spirit of the Lord may grow in families, the spirit of love, respect, freedom.
Homily
In the Book of Acts of the Apostles we see that in the Church, at the beginning, there were times of peace, he says it many times: the Church grew, in peace, and the Spirit of the Lord spread (cf. Acts 9:31); times of peace. There were also times of persecution, starting with the persecution of Stephen (cf. chap. 6-7), then persecutor Paul, converted, then also persecuted ... Times of peace, times of persecutions, and there were also times of disturbance . And this is the topic of today's first reading: a time of disturbance (cf Acts 15,22-31). "We have known that some of us - the apostles write to the Christians who came from paganism - we knew that some of us, to whom we had not given any assignment, came to upset you - toto upset you - with speeches that have upset your minds "(v. 24).
What had happened? These Christians who came from the pagans had believed in Jesus Christ and received baptism, and were happy: they had received the Holy Spirit. From paganism to Christianity, without any intermediate stage. Instead, these who call themselves "the Judaizers" argued that this could not be done. If one was a pagan, first he had to become a Jew, a good Jew, and then to become a Christian, to be in the line of the election of the people of God. And these Christians did not understand this: “But how, we are second-class Christians? Can't we go from paganism directly to Christianity? Is it not that the resurrection of Christ dissolved the ancient law and brought it to an even greater fullness? ". They were troubled and there were many discussions between them. And those who wanted this were people who with pastoral arguments, theological arguments, even some morals, argued that no, that we should take the step like this! And this questioned the freedom of the Holy Spirit, also the gratuitousness of Christ's resurrection and grace. They were methodical. And also rigid.
Of these, of their teachers, of the doctors of the Law, Jesus had said: “Woe to you who travel the sky and the sea to make a proselyte and when you have found it you do it worse than before. You make him son of Gehenna. " More or less this is what Jesus says in the 23rd chapter of Matthew (cf. v. 15). These people, who were "ideological" rather than "dogmatic", "ideological", had reduced the Law, the dogma to an ideology: "this must be done, and this, and this ...". A religion of prescriptions, and with this they took away the freedom of the Spirit. And the people who followed them were rigid people, people who did not feel comfortable, did not know the joy of the Gospel. The perfection of the way to follow Jesus was rigidity: "You have to do this, this, this, this ...". These people, these doctors "manipulated" the consciences of the faithful and either made them rigid or went away.
For this reason, I repeat myself many times and I say that rigidity is not of the good Spirit, because it questions the gratuitousness of redemption, the gratuitousness of Christ's resurrection. And this is an old thing: during the history of the Church, this has been repeated. Think of the Pelagians, these ... these rigid, famous. And even in our times we have seen some apostolic organizations that seemed really well organized, that worked well ..., but all rigid, all equal to one another, and then we learned about the corruption that was inside, even in the founders.
Where there is rigidity there is no Spirit of God, because the Spirit of God is freedom . And these people wanted to take steps by removing the freedom of the Spirit of God and the gratuitousness of redemption: "To be justified, you must do this, this, this, this ...". The justification is free. The death and resurrection of Christ is free. You don't pay, you don't buy: it's a gift! And these didn't want to do this.
The road [the way to proceed] is beautiful: the apostles gather in this council and at the end write a letter that says: "It seemed good, in fact, to the Holy Spirit and to us, not to impose another obligation on you ..." ( Ac 15.28), and they put these more moral, common sense obligations: not to confuse Christianity with paganism, with refraining from the flesh offered to idols, etc. And in the end, these troubled Christians gathered in the assembly received the letter and, "when they read it, they rejoiced at the encouragement it instilled" (v. 31). From disturbance to joyThe spirit of rigidity always brings you upset: “But did I do this well? Did I not do it well? ". The scruple. The spirit of evangelical freedom leads you to joy, because this is exactly what Jesus did with his resurrection: he brought joy! The relationship with God, the relationship with Jesus is not such a relationship, of "doing things": "I do this and you give me this". Such a relationship, I say - forgive me the Lord - commercial , no! It is free, just as Jesus' relationship with the disciples is free. "You are my friends" ( Jn 15:14). "I do not call you servants, I call you friends" (cf. v. 15). "You did not choose me, but I chose you" (v. 16). This is gratuity.
We ask the Lord to help us discern the fruits of gospel gratuitousness from the fruits of non-evangelical rigidity , and to free us from any disturbance of those who put faith, the life of faith under case prescriptions, prescriptions that make no sense . I refer to these prescriptions which make no sense, not to the Commandments. That free us from this spirit of rigidity that takes away your freedom.
Prayer to make spiritual communion
People who do not 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 in its nothingness and in your holy presence. I adore you in the sacrament of your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor abode that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, 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.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va - a Translation from Italian

St. Dymphna a Virgin and Martyr and Patron of Mental Illness and Incest with Novena Prayers and Litany to Share!


(Also known as Dympna and Dimpna). Virgin and martyr. Her feast is celebrated on May 15.
Patron of : mental disorders, neurological disorders, runaways, victims of incest, depression
The earliest historical account of the veneration of St. Dymphna dates from the middle of the thirteenth century. Under Bishop Guy I of Cambrai (1238-47), Pierre, a canon of the church of Saint Aubert at Cambrai, wrote a "Vita" of the saint, from which we learn that she had been venerated for many years in a church at Gheel (province of Antwerp, Belgium), which was devoted to her. The author expressly states that he has drawn his biography from oral tradition.
According to the narrative, Dymphna — the daughter of a pagan king of Ireland — became a Christian and was secretly baptized. After the death of her mother, who was of extraordinary beauty, her father desired to marry his own daughter, who was just as beautiful, but she fled with the priest Gerebernus and landed at Antwerp. Thence they went to the village of Gheel, where there was a chapel of St. Martin, beside which they took up their abode. The messengers of her father however, discovered their whereabouts; the father betook himself thither and renewed his offer. Seeing that all was in vain, he commanded his servants to slay the priest, while he himself struck off the head of his daughter. The corpses were put in sarcophagi and entombed in a cave where they were found later. The body of St. Dymphna was buried in the church of Gheel, and the bones of St. Gerebernus were transferred to Xanten.
This narrative is without any historical foundation, being merely a variation of the story of the king who wanted to marry his own daughter, a motif which appears frequently in popular legends. Hence we can conclude nothing from it as to the history of St. Dymphna and the time in which she lived. That she is identical with St. Damhnat of Ireland cannot be proved. There are at Gheel fragments of two simple ancient sarcophagi in which tradition says the bodies of Dymphna and Gerebernus were found. There is also a quadrangular brick, said to have been found in one of the sarcophagi, bearing two lines of letters read as DYMPNA. The discovery of this sarcophagus with the corpse and the brick was perhaps the origin of the veneration. In Christian art St. Dymphna is depicted with a sword in her hand and a fettered devil at her feet. Her feast is celebrated 15 May, under which date she is also found in the Roman martyrology.
From time immemorial, the saint was invoked as patroness against insanity. The Bollandists have published numerous accounts of miraculous cures, especially between 1604 and 1668. As a result, there has long been a colony for lunatics at Gheel; even now there are sometimes as many as fifteen hundred whose relatives invoke St. Dymphna for their cure. The insane are treated in a peculiar manner; it is only in the beginning that they are placed in an institution for observation; later they are given shelter in the homes of the inhabitants, take part in their agricultural labours, and are treated very kindly. They are watched without being conscious of it. The treatment produces good results. The old church of St. Dymphna in Gheel was destroyed by fire in 1489. The new church was consecrated in 1532 and is still standing. Every year on the feast of the saint and on the Tuesday after Pentecost numerous pilgrims visit her shrine. In Gheel there is also a fraternity under her name. Text: Catholic Encyclopedia
Prayers Below are from the National Shrine of St. Dymphna
LITANY IN HONOR OF ST.DYMPHNA
 Lord have mercy on us. 
Christ'have'mercy'on'us.
 Lord have mercy on us.
 Christ hear us.
Christ'graciously'hear'us.
God the Father of Heaven,  have'mercy'on'us. 
God the son, Redeemer of the world,  have'mercy'on'us. 
God the Holy Ghost,  have'mercy'on'us. 
Holy Trinity, one God,  have'mercy'on'us. 
Holy Mary, Virgin and Mother of God,  conceived without sin,  pray'for'us. 
St. Dymphna,  pray'for'us. 
St.Dymphna,noble by birth but more noble in virtue, pray'for'us. St.Dymphna,docile to the lessons of your pious mother, pray'for'us. St.Dymphna,obedient to your saintly confessor, Gerebran, pray'for'us. St.Dymphna,who abandoned the court of your father, to escape the  danger of impurity, pray'for'us. St. Dymphna,who chose a life of poverty on earth so that you might lay up Treasure in Heaven, pray'for'us. St.Dymphna, who sought consolation in prayer and devout attendance of  Holy Mass, pray'for'us. St.Dymphna, brilliant example of Christian youth, pray'for'us. St. Dymphna,who died a martyr, beheaded by your own father, pray'for'us. So that we may carefully preserve the virtue of chastity according to our  state by avoiding all dangerous occasions of sin. pray'for'us. So that we may persevere in our Faith, pray'for'us. So that we may learn to have confidence in the Lord during our afflictions, pray'for'us. So that we may obtain the spirit of prayer, the source of all graces, pray'for'us. So that we may love our Lord and God with all our hearts and above all  things, pray'for'us. So that we may receive the grace of final perseverance, pray'for'us. St.Dymphna, Patroness of Gheel, pray'for'us. St.Dymphna,Protectressagainst all nervous disorders, pray'for'us. St. Dymphna, renowned for many miracles,particularly in Gheel, pray'for'us. In monents of emptation, pray'for'us. In times of contagious diseaseds, in time of war and persecution against  the faith, pray'for'us. In our last illness, pray'for'us. At the hour of death, pray'for'us. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,  Spare'us,'O'Lord. 
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously'hear'us,'O'Lord
 Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have'mercy'on'us. 
Christ hear us, Christ'graciously'hear'us. 
Lord have mercy on us,  
Christ'have'mercy'on'us, 
Our Father Who art  in heaven,hallowed be Thy name;Thy kingdom come; Thy Will be done on earth as  it  is  in heaven.  Give us  this day  our  daily  bread;  and  forgive  us  our  trespasses  as  we  forgive  those  who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver  us from evil. Amen.
 Pray for us, St. Dymphna, That'we'may'be'made'worthy'of'the'promises'of'Christ. 
Let Us Pray O God, Who gave St. Dymphna to the infant Church in Brabant as a model  perfect  in  all  virtues,  and  Who  ordained  that  Thy  handmaid  should  seal  with her innocent blood and with numerous miracles the teachings of the  Gospels for the spread of the true faith, grant we beseech Thee that those  especially who honor the Holy Relics may continue to enjoyher powerful  protection so that being fortified in faith and gratefully imitating her other  virtues  may  be  able  to  gain   new  glory  from  Thy  infinite  and  supreme  majesty, through Christ our Lord. Amen. 
9 Day NOVENA to St. Dymphna
First Day Intention ~ Faith O God, Source of our salvation, Who in  the midst of a pagan people didst  enlighten  St.  Dymphna  by  the  faith,  which  she  professed  under  the  guidance  of  her  holy  confessor,  Gereberne,  with  such  constancy  that  she  suffered  martyrdom,  we  beseech  Thee  through  the  intercession  of  these  two  saints  that  Thou  wouldst  deign  to  strengthen  our  faith  which  Thou  hast  given  to  us  so  that  by  wisely  subjecting  our  souls  to  Thy  Supreme  Authority and by faithfully regulating our lives by our faith we may honor  Thee with  our whole  heart and  soul  until  the  hour  of  our  death,  through  Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen. Five"times:"Our"Father,"Hail"Mary,"Glory"be"to"the"Father ~~~~~ 
Second Day Intention ~ Hope O Almighty and Infinitely Good God, Who hast promised eternal salvation  to  those  who  obey  Thy Commandments  and  profit  by  Thy  grace,  we  beseech Thee, through the intercession of St. Dymphna, who fled from the  danger of sin by quitting the palace of her father and who hoping thereby  to gain eternal  salvation  fled  to Brabant  to live in  poverty, grant  that we  also who are striving for eternal happiness may overcome all obstacles in  the  pathway  of  virtue  and  may  attain  eternal  salvation  through  Jesus  Christ, Our Lord. Amen. Five"times:"Our"Father,"Hail"Mary,"Glory"be"to"the"Father 
Third Day Intention ~ Charity O  God  of  Love,  Most  Perfect  Being,  Creator  of  All  That  is  Good  and  Beautiful, deign to help us by Thy powerful grace through the intercession  of St. Dymphna, who in her youth loved Thee above all Creatures and loved  her neighbor as herself for Thy Sake as the Image and Likeness of Thee, as  the  price  of  the  Blood  of  Jesus  and  as  coheir  of  heaven,  so  that  we  may  faithfully  adhere  to  the  two  great  commandments  of  charity  not  only  in  word, but in action and in truth, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen. Five"times:"Our"Father,"Hail"Mary,"Glory"be"to"the"Father ~~~~~ 
Fourth Day Intention ~ Piety O  God,  Our  Creator  and  Supreme  Master,  we  beseech  Thee  through  the  intercession of St. Dymphna, who served Thee with great zeal even in her  childhood,  hearing  Thy  word  with  great  delight,  assisting  at  Holy  Mass  with  great  respect,  and  receiving  Holy  Communion  from  the  hand  of  St.  Gerebran with tender devotion that Thou wouldst grant us the same virtue  of piety so that having honored Thee during this life as our Creator we may  possess Thee hereafter as our final reward through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.  Amen Five"times:"Our"Father,"Hail"Mary,"Glory"be"to"the"Father
 Fifth Day Intention ~ Prudence O  God,  Ruler  of  the  universe,  Who  allowed  St.  Dymphna  to  discover  an  efficacious means of avoiding the criminal intentions of her father, deign to  grant through the merits of Thy Holy  servant, that we may become simple  as doves and wise as serpents so  that  through prudent advice and sound  judgment we may perceive that which is to be avoided and that which is to  be  followed  in  order  to  happily  achieve  the  great  work  of  our  salvation  through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen. Five"times:"Our"Father,"Hail"Mary,"Glory"be"to"the"Father ~~~~~ 
Sixth Day Intention ~ Justice O  God,  Source  of  eternal  justice,  we  supplicate  Thee  through  the  intercession of St. Dymphna, who in order to render to Thee that which is  Thine,  fled  from  her  country  and  her  father,  that  Thou  wouldst  deign  to  make  us  seek  after  justice  so  that  we  may  perform  rightly  our  duties  toward Thee as we see them, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.  Amen. Five"times:"Our"Father,"Hail"Mary,"Glory"be"to"the"Father ~~~~~ 
Seventh Day Intention ~ Fortitude O  God,  rewarder  of  those  who  remain  firm in  their  good  resolutions,  we  beseech  Thee  through  the meditation  of  the merits  of  St. Dymphna,  who  through love of virtue had the courage to suffer privation, persecution and  even  martyrdom,  that  Thou  wouldst  grant  us  fortitude  so  that  we  may  courageously  and  perseveringly  overcome  ourselves  and  finally  conquer  the enemy of our salvation through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.  Amen. Five"times:"Our"Father,"Hail"Mary,"Glory"be"to"the"Father 
Eighth Day Intention ~ Temperance O  God,  who  hast  made  St.  Dymphna  resplendent  in  the  virtue  of  temperance so that she mastered sensual inclination and tempered the use  of earthly goods, uniting with this the beautiful virtues of modesty, docility  and humility which is called  the  foundation of all virtue because humility  banishes  from  the  soul  pride  which  is  an  obstacle  to  grace,  we  beseech  Thee through the intercession of St. Dymphna that Thou wouldst deign to  guide and direct us so that being preserved from all nervous disorders we  may  come  to   happy  end in  the good  counsels  Thou  hast given  through  Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen Five"times:"Our"Father,"Hail"Mary,"Glory"be"to"the"Father ~~~~~ 
Ninth Day Intention ~ Chastity O  God,  Lover  of  innocent  souls,  Who  gave  to  St.  Dymphna  the  virtue  of  angelic purity which rendered her reserved in all her actions, so modest in  her dress, so attentive in her conversation, so circumspect in her bearing  that she shed her blood to preserve this precious virtue, we beseech Thee  that  Thou  bestow  upon  us  the  virtue  of  chastity  so  that  we  may  enjoy  peace  of  conscience  in  this  life  and  the  pure  eternal  joys  of  heaven  hereafter through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen. Five"times:"Our"Father,"Hail"Mary,"Glory"b