Saturday, December 5, 2020

Sunday Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Sunday, December 6, 2020 - 2nd of Advent - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church

Second Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 5
Reading 1
IS 40:1-5, 9-11
Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.
A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Go up on to a high mountain,
Zion, herald of glad tidings;
cry out at the top of your voice,
Jerusalem, herald of good news!
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!
Here comes with power
the Lord GOD,
who rules by his strong arm;
here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.
Responsorial Psalm
PS 85:9-10-11-12, 13-14
 R. (8) Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD—for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and prepare the way of his steps.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Reading 2
2 PT 3:8-14
Do not ignore this one fact, beloved,
that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years
and a thousand years like one day.
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,”
but he is patient with you,
not wishing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar
and the elements will be dissolved by fire,
and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.
Since everything is to be dissolved in this way,
what sort of persons ought you to be,
conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion,
waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames
and the elements melted by fire.
But according to his promise
we await new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you await these things,
be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.
LK 3:4, 6
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
All flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
MK 1:1-8
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.”
John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.
John was clothed in camel’s hair,
with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey.
And this is what he proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Prayer to Make a 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

Saint December 6 : Saint Nicholas the Patron of Children, Sailors, Prostitutes, Thieves - The Real #SantaClaus

270, Patara, LyciaDied:
6 December 343, Myra, Lycia
Major Shrine:
Basilica di San Nicola, Bari, Italy.
Patron of:
Children, sailors, fishermen, merchants, the falsely accused, pawnbrokers, prostitutes, repentant thieves, many cities.
Prayer: O blessed Saint, we honor you, 
 On this great festal day. Hail Nicholas the faithful say, Apostle of the Way. As you helped those who round you came; 
 May we your presence feel, As our commitment is the same Answering Love's appeal.
The father poor, the three young girls, 
Young men to life restored. Sailors can rest, the sea is blessed, Your miracles record.
In prison dark, your faith was strong; Help those who suffer wrong, We heed your words, the gospel call, To hail Christ, Lord of all.
As Bari's pilgrims make their way To sing of your great name, The wonder myrrh of Myra still Proclaims your loving fame.
Lead us dear saint, in joy and peace,
Your prayers we now implore, As we praise God, the Father, Son And Spirit blest adored. 
 Today, December 6, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (died 346), the inspiration for many of our current secular Christmas traditions. This great saint is the most frequently depicted saint in art (only Our Blessed Mother surpasses him), and the veneration and honor he is given throughout the world are testimonials to his holiness and of the glory which he enjoys with God.
Little is known about the life of Saint Nicholas. That which is most reliable comes from a monk, Saint Methodius, Patriarch of Constantinople, who wrote a biography of Saint Nicholas approximately 500 years after his death. In his “life,” Saint Methodius tells us that that "Up to the present the life of this distinguished Shepard has been unknown to the majority of the faithful." He then describes the extraordinary events of the life of Saint Nicholas. The truth of many of these legends is unknown, but each speaks to a man of great faith.
From this and other works, we know with certainty that when the See of Myra lost it’s bishop, Nicholas was chosen to fill the vacancy. There, he was recognized for his extraordinary piety, apostolic zeal, and became famous for working astonishing miracles.
Nicholas was born at Patara in Lycia (Asia Minor), and demonstrated great piety and faith from an early age. For example, we are told that he fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays, taking only nourishment in the evenings. Per his biography, "He was exceedingly well brought up by his parents and trod piously in their footsteps. The child, watched over by the church enlightened his mind and encouraged his thirst for sincere and true religion".
Sadly, Nicholas’ parents died when he was still young, and taking his considerable inheritance, devoted himself to works of charity. One of his most “famous” charitable acts is thought to have inspired the giving of Christmas gifts: A citizen of Patara, where he lived, had lost all of his money. This honorable man had three daughters to support, and could not find suitable husbands because of their poverty. Upon hearing of this situation, Nicholas took a bag of gold, and in the night, threw the bag in the open window of the man’s house. (Some say that the gold—also sometimes referred to as gold balls, rather than bags, landed in the socks and shoes of the family, drying before the fire. This led to the tradition of hanging stockings to be filled.) The man, using the money as dowry, promptly found a suitable suitor for his eldest daughter, who was married. Nicholas repeated the act twice more, once for each remaining daughter. However, the man kept watch, and upon recognizing Nicholas, was overcome with gratitude and thanks. From this, we see Saint Nicholas as a holy man, charitable, and giving of himself to others.
Nicholas soon departed Patara, traveling to the city of Myra where his uncle was the Archbishop. There, he was ordained, and appointed the Superior of a monastery. Upon the death of his uncle, Nicholas was appointed the new bishop by the people, who were certain that he had been chosen by the Lord. Around that time, the Diocletian persecutions of Christians were beginning, and "As he was the chief priest of the Christians of this town and preached the truths of faith with a holy liberty, the divine Nicholas was seized by the magistrates, tortured, then chained and thrown into prison with many other Christians. But when the great and religious Constantine, chosen by God assumed the imperial diadem of the Romans, the prisoners were released from their bonds and with them the illustrious Nicholas, who when he was set at liberty returned to Myra." Saint Nicholas protected his flock against the heresies common in that time. He was likely present at the Council of Nicaea, where some legend tells of him striking Arius (the originator of the Arian heresy) and being imprisoned, only to be freed by visions of Jesus and Mary. Saint Nicholas also fought valiantly against paganism, destroying pagan temples throughout the region with “evil spirits fleeing, howling before him.” But Saint Nicholas did not limit himself to the spiritual affairs of his people. He served as protector and guardian, advocating for prisoners, and famously freeing three innocent men wrongly condemned to death by the governor, Eustathius. Upon freeing the men, Nicholas incessantly reproached the governor—in front of a large crowd—until he admitted his wrong-doing and became sincerely penitent. Saint Nicholas later miraculously freed three men from a distance, appearing to Emperor Constantine and demanding their release in a dream. The next morning, when the imprisoned men called upon the name of Saint Nicholas for intercession, the emperor freed them, sending them back to the great saint with a letter asking for no more threats, but for peace in the world. For this, Saint Nicholas is regarded as the patron of prisoners and captives. Additional miracles reported at the intercession of Saint Nicholas include the raising to life three young boys who were killed and hidden in pickling barrels to avoid detection (For this, he is the patron and protector of children), and the calming of stormy seas by his word upon voyages to the Holy Land. It is this latter miracle—during which he appeared to frightened sailors off the coast of Lycea, that led his patronage of sailors. Sailors in the Aegean and Ionian seas, following a common Eastern custom, had their "star of Saint Nicholas" and wished one another a good voyage in the phrase "May Saint Nicholas hold the tiller.”
Under the rule of Emperor Diocletian, Nicholas was imprisoned for his faith, but refused to recant, and was eventually freed upon the death of the Emperor. He is recorded as makinga "glorious confession" of the faith to his jailors, converting many.
Saint Nicholas died at Myra, and is buried there in the basilica named for him. At Myra "the venerable body of the bishop, embalmed as it was in the good ointments of virtue exuded a sweet smelling myrrh, which kept it from corruption and proved a health giving remedy against sickness to the glory of him who had glorified Jesus Christ, our true God." During the Saracen occupation, the relics of Saint Nicholas were translated to Bari, Italy. The translation of the relics did not interrupt this phenomenon, and the "manna of St. Nicholas" is said to flow to this day. This “manna”-- a unique relic which forms in his grave, is a liquid substance said to have healing powers. It was one of the great attractions which draws pilgrims to his tomb from all parts of Europe.
An anonymous Greek wrote in the tenth century that, "the West as well as the East acclaims and glorifies him. Wherever there are people, in the country and the town, in the villages, in the isles, in the furthest parts of the earth, his name is revered and churches are built in his honor. Images of him are set up, panegyrics preached and festivals celebrated. All Christians, young and old, men and women, boys and girls, reverence his memory and call upon his protection. And his favors, which know no limit of time and continue from age to age, are poured out over all the earth; the Scythians know them, as do the Indians and the barbarians, the Africans as well as the Italians."
As a bishop, Saint Nicholas, was first and foremost a shepherd of the people, caring for their needs. His active pursuit of justice for his people was demonstrated when he secured grain in time of famine, saved the lives of three men wrongly condemned, and secured lower taxes for Myra. He taught the Gospel simply, so ordinary people understood, and he lived out his faith and devotion to God in helping the poor and all in need. Regardless of the accuracy of the legends and miracles reported in his name, the life and deeds of Saint Nicholas, and the attitude with which he praised the Lord, make him an inspiration to us today. As we move through Advent, toward Christmas, let us emulate Saint Nicholas in our care and concern for the welfare of others.
O God, Who didst adorn blessed Nicholas,
the bishop, with miracles unnumbered, grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and prayer we may be delivered from the fire of hell. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Text Shared from 365Rosaries Blog

Saint December 5 : Blessed Niels Stensen, a Convert who was a Famous Scientist and Became a Bishop Devoted to the Eucharist

God’s scientist: Blessed Niels Stensen 1638-86
Niels Stensen from a Lutheran family in Denmark brought the same relentless logic of his profession as a scientist to his pursuit of truth in the area of religion. He became singularly devoted to the Eucharist and the Scriptures. This inspired him as a bishop in Germany and northern Europe.

Niels Stensen from a Lutheran family in Denmark brought the same relentless logic of his profession as a scientist to his pursuit of truth in the area of religion. He became singularly devoted to the Eucharist and the Scriptures. This inspired him as a bishop in Germany and northern Europe.

‘Either that host is nothing but a piece of bread, and those who are showing it such honour are bewitched, or else it really is the body of Jesus Christ, and in that case why do I not venerate it as well?’
This thought – this ‘either-or’ question – had grabbed hold of the mind of Niels Stensen, a seventeenth-century Danish scientist, while he was attending a Corpus Christi procession in the city of Livorno in Italy. The year was 1666.
The reasoning was typical of the man, and the question would not let him go until he became a Catholic the following year. In time, he became a priest and an outstanding bishop, and his exemplary life eventually led to his beatification by Pope John Paul II in 1988.
Lutheran heritage
The story of Niels Stensen begins in January 1638, in Copenhagen, where a son was born to Sten Pedersen and Anne Nielsdatter. The parents were Lutherans, and entering the ministry was something which ran in the family: two of Niels’s uncles were pastors in that Church. From an early age it was obvious that the young Niels was very intelligent, and he began to specialise in the area of medicine, and particularly in the new science of anatomy.
There is a fallacy prevalent today – held by many – which puts science and religion at opposite poles, as if they are always at loggerheads. For some, to be a believer suggests leaving reason outside the door, while faith is often seen as ‘blind’ and ‘unthinking’. Niels Stensen pursued both, and saw no contradiction.
Science and Christianity
Stensen always acknowledged that, as a scientist, he was subject to a law which was good and in every respect divine. ‘One sins against the majesty of God,’ he wrote, ‘if one refuses to look at nature’s own work, and if one is content with merely reading what someone else has written about it.’  It was as an anatomist that Niels became most famous. His most beautiful writings came when he discovered new organs and glands in the bodies of both animals and human beings.
He was never inclined to see anything contradictory between a scientific and a Christian attitude towards the reality we experience with our senses. ‘Give me grace, O God,’ he wrote on one occasion, ‘to keep myself free from all sin, and especially from a rash and insufficiently thought-out judgement or opinion on things.’
Advances in Anatomy
As a young man, Neils spent several years both in Amsterdam University and the ancient university town of Leiden, also in Holland, from where he received a doctorate in medicine in the year 1663. At the end of his Dutch period, he travelled on to Paris.
By this time Niels was acquiring a European reputation as an anatomist. One journal wrote: ‘The Danish scholar is in Paris at present, and daily carries out dissections in the presence of many who are eager for knowledge’.
It was in Paris that his work on the human brain gained most fame. Specialists agree that it provided the basis for research over the following two hundred years. His starting point was typical and commonplace: ‘We shall seek the truth by raising objections against it, and we shall not allow ourselves to rest until we reach it, confirmed by manifest proof’.
Thirst for truth
Niels brought this same relentless logic to his pursuit of truth in the area of religion. As we have seen, it was his attendance at the Corpus Christi procession in 1666 which had moved him to consider Catholicism.
In a letter to a friend, he wrote that he ’employed every conceivable opportunity to seek the truth, convinced that God would enlighten my mind with his light, so that I could come to a position where I could acknowledge the truth that I sought with a sincere heart’.
He then goes on: ‘I was not satisfied by discussing these questions with learned men, of whom no one can deny that many are to found among Catholics, but I wanted to obtain information on the original text of Holy Scripture and on ancient authors.
‘Thus on many occasions I repaired to a well known library and there in tranquillity and peace I consulted many ancient Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, so as not to rely only on the Latin text without examining things further and comparing it with the original texts in the other two languages. ‘
Deep conviction
This examination was carried out with the same precision and critical spirit as any of Stensen’s scientific research. After he had read and verified, examined and compared, he wrote, ‘I could not escape feeling deeply convinced of the truth of what the Catholics really acknowledge’.
Even after becoming a Catholic, Niels continued his work as a scientist, but within a few years he felt drawn to offer himself for the priesthood. At the age of thirty-seven, in the year 1675, he was ordained. It was Holy Saturday, and he celebrated his first Mass in the Church of the Most Holy Annunciation, in Florence, on Easter Sunday.
It was not an easy time to be a Catholic in the Nordic or North European countries. Most of these had converted to Lutheranism since the Reformation, and Pope Innocent XI decided to send Niels as bishop, first of all to Hanover, and then to Munster, where he was appointed Vicar Apostolic for the North.
His conditions of life were far from pleasant, but during his whole life as a priest, and later as a bishop, he gave away virtually everything he had, and lived very frugally, in marked contrast with some of the prince bishops of that era. One duke tried to present him with a coach and six horses, in keeping with his status. ‘Like St. Nicholas, I would rather have two small donkeys,’ was his reply.
Niels laboured almost a decade in the Northern mission territories, and as a vibrant preacher was instrumental in bringing many back to the faith. After only ten years in the apostolate he died, in the year 1686, at the age of forty-eight. His body was returned to Florence, where he was buried in the Basilica of St. Lawrence.
A model for us all
The Eucharist had been instrumental in his conversion. It was also an instrument in his sanctification of others and in his zeal for souls. ‘There is only one human response to the self-giving love which shows itself on the cross and lives in the Church as the true bread of humanity,’ he wrote. ‘The more we discover and say “yes” to this love, the less do we remain as merely ourselves. The love of Christ urges us on.’
Pope John Paul II beatified Niels on 23 October 1988 with these words: ‘Blessed son of the Danish land! You enliven the choir of those great people who have preceded you on the way to holiness. With them you cry: He who is mighty has done great things for me’.
In (2005) the Year of the Eucharist, Niels Stensen – the man who answered the ‘either-or’ question – is a model for us all.
This article first appeared in The Messenger (May 2005), a publication of the Irish Jesuits.   

Wow the Largest Nativity in the World Aspiring for the Guinness World Record by Artist Jose Manuel Garcia

The Alicante City Council aspires to obtain the Guinness record with the installation of a giant Nativity Scene 18.5 meters high this Christmas and to certify worldwide that they are the "largest in the world" Nativity scene figures. Manuel Jiménez, Alicante Town Councilor for Festivities, explained that the last record was registered in Mexico in 1999 and that the Nativity only reached about five meters high, so they are confident that this Tuesday the city of Alicante can hold this record. "Sagrada Familia” (Holy Family), is the work of the artist Jose Manuel Garcia known as 'Pachi.'

Vatican Announces New Financial Authority Redefinition Approved by Pope Francis for Greater Transparency

Vatican News announced that Pope Francis on Saturday approved the new Statute of the Financial Information Authority (FIA), changing its name to Supervisory and Financial Information Authority (ASIF). The Statute redefines the role of its administrators and distributes some internal competencies. 
By Vatican News

Pope Francis on Saturday approved the new Statute of the Financial Information Authority (FIA), which will henceforth be called the Supervisory and Financial Information Authority [It: Autorità di Supervisione e Informazione Finanziaria (ASIF)].  He issued a “chirograph” to approve the new Statute that comes into effect immediately on Saturday, December 5. A chirograph is a form of a papal document with legal force circulated among the Roman Curia.

“In the overall reform desired by Pope Francis for the Holy See and the Vatican City State, aimed at greater transparency and the strengthening of controls in the economic-financial field, the Holy Father has approved the new Statute of the Financial Information Authority, which, from today's date, will be called the "Supervisory and Financial Information Authority" (ASIF),” said the Holy See Press Office in a release on Saturday.

The change of name had been hinted at earlier in July when FIA published its annual report.  Following the Pope’s approval of the ASIF Statute, FIA President Carmelo Barbagallo, who now becomes ASIF’s president, explained some of its important features.  As part of the Pope’s overall reform of the Holy See and the Vatican City State, he said, it is regarding “transparency and strengthening of controls in the economic-financial field”.  In this context, the most important changes are regarding the governance and organizational structure of the Authority.The word “supervisory” that has been integrated, Barbagallo said, is “not just a name change” but allows the Authority “to be aligned with the tasks actually assigned to it”.  He pointed out that since 2013, in addition to its original task of intelligence to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism, the Authority has also been exercising "prudential" regulatory and supervisory functions on institutions providing financial services on a de facto professional basis, such as to IOR (Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican Bank).  “This is the reason behind the addition of the term ‘supervisory’, which of course, is to be understood in the financial field,” he said.

Distribution of roles

The Press Office said that the “main changes include a renewed distribution of roles between the Chairman and the Management - of a strategic nature for the former, aimed at effectiveness and operational efficiency for the latter - and the establishment of a new unit, dedicated to ‘Regulation and Legal Affairs’”.

Commenting on this, Barbagallo said that while confirming the governing Council's role, the new Statute also underscores the President's proactive role in the development of the Authority's strategy, reinforcing his responsibility regarding supervision.   “At the same time, the role of the management, namely the Director and the Deputy Director, has been consolidated in order to ensure the effectiveness and operational efficiency of the Authority.”

Barbagallo also spoke about changes in the internal organization of the Authority.  “In line with international best practice,” he said, “the Regulatory and Legal Affairs Office has been set up to deal with all legal issues, including regulation.”  Thus, “the tasks of setting the rules have been separated from those of exercising control”.  This divides the Authority's activities into three units: "Supervision", "Regulation and Legal Affairs" and "Financial Information".


Another new feature is that for hiring and recruiting, ASIF will now have to pass through CIVA, the independent evaluation commission for the recruitment of lay personnel for the various entities of the Roman Curia.   Barbagallo explained that the reason behind this to align the Authority’s administrative rules with those of the other supervisory bodies of the Roman Curia, which already follow the rules common to the various departments and offices.

However, he pointed out that this process will be completed shortly.  He said that going through CIVA, “guarantees a more extensive selection of candidates and greater control in recruitment decisions, avoiding the risk of arbitrariness”.  This choice, he said, “contributes to strengthening the Authority's independence in the exercise of its important prerogatives”.


Surprise Announcement that Notre-Dame Choir will Perform Christmas Concert in the Paris Cathedral - LISTEN to a Sample of their Music

Surprise Announcement by the Choir of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame that their Christmas Concert will take place on December 24, 2020 in the Cathedral that was damaged by fire last year. Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris noted on their Facebook page that their annual concert will be in the Cathedral and Live streamed via

Watch below to hear a beautiful sample of their music - "O Magnum Mysterium" 

Prayers Answered as Kidnapped Catholic Priest in Nigeria is Released "Safe and sound"


The priest kidnapped on 22 November has been released

Thursday, 3 December 202

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "We thank God because our brother Fr. Matthew Dajo was released safe and sound today Wednesday 2 December" . Thus His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Archbishop of Abuja yesterday announced the release of Fr. Matthew Dajo, the Catholic priest kidnapped on Sunday 22 November (see Fides, 30/11/2020). "We thank all those who prayed for his release", continues Mgr. Kaigama in his message. "We also thank Fr. Dajo’s family and all those who collaborated to ensure his release. We pray that security in the Country will improve", concludes the Archbishop of Abuja.

Fr. Matthew Dajo was attacked and kidnapped by gunmen on Sunday 22 November at his home in St. Anthony parish, in Yangoji, Abuja. The police managed to limit the area where the kidnappers were hiding with the hostage, but preferred to wait so as not to compromise the life of the priest. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 3/12/2020)

Pope Francis explains "...we are experiencing World War III in pieces" while promoting Social Friendship to Conference on Pastoral Care



[Buenos Aires, 3-5 December 2020]

I wish to make myself present today on this XXIII Day of Social Pastoral. How many have we done! How much it is! I remember some I attended, and some I didn't.

"Towards a culture of encounter, a country for everyone". And the subtitle is: "Fraternity and social friendship".

The theme of social friendship is a theme that worries me, because for sin, for tendencies, we always go towards enmity, war. And we forget that our vocation is that of harmony, of fraternity, it is to be brothers. Social friendship.

Let's see how the world goes. Wars everywhere, we are experiencing World War III in pieces. And this is not social friendship. We look at many countries where we don't know how to dialogue, we shout. Before the other person finishes saying their thoughts, we are already responding to them, without having listened.

There can be no social friendship without listening, without listening to the other. And to listen to the other there must be in my heart the conviction that the other has something good to say to me.

Social friendship. There are probably two big enemies of social friendship.

The first is the ideologies that rule everything. They tend to command, and ideologies manage to disarm the concreteness of human nature.

The second enemy is the passions. Passion often tries to eliminate the other. And don't let the other take his place.

Ideologies and passions all over the world go against social friendship. It is true that there are good nuclei of social friendship in the world, but it is also true that there is a lot, a lot, of social enmity.

I mentioned wars, but let's look at certain suburbs. We look at children without school, people who are hungry, people who have no health care, the immense amount of people who have no running water, people who do not have access to the minimum to live in dignity.

These are the signs that social friendship does not exist in the world today.

And it does us good to ask ourselves about what surrounds us, the places close to where we live, where we work. Is there social friendship?

If there is social friendship there must be no wars or needs of any kind, and no education that doesn't work well. It must be full. From the effects we realize if there is social friendship. But let's not forget the two great enemies: the ideologies that want to take possession of the lived experience of a people, and the passions, which are always like a steamroller, which go on and destroy instead of talking.

Dear brothers and sisters who are working on this 23rd day of social pastoral care, I wish you the best. Put the best of yourself but it is concrete. Do not reflect in the abstract, reflect with your feet on the ground, with concrete data.

God bless you. And if you have a moment, pray for me because I need it. See you later.

from L'Osservatore Romano , Year CLX, num. 281, 4/12/2020