Monday, December 14, 2020

Saint December 15 : St. Mary di Rosa the Foundress of the Handmaids of Charity who Ministered to Wounded on Battlefields


St. Mary di Rosa
FOUNDRESS

Born: November 6, 1813, Brescia, Italy
Died: 1855, Brescia, Italy
Canonized: 12 June 1954 by Pope Pius XII
Foundress of the Handmaids of Charity of Brescia, also called the Servants of Charity. Born into a wealthy family in Brescia, Italy, on November 6, 1813, by age seventeen she was running her father's household and caring for the girls in her father's mill and estate. In the cholera epidemic of 1836, she became well-known as she directed a home for girls and became another residence for deaf and mute young ladies. In 1840, she became superior of a community that evolved into her congregation. The women of the Servants of Charity ministered to the wounded on the battlefields of northern Italy and in hospitals. Maria died at Brescia on December 15. She was canonized in 1954.

Saint December 14 : Blessed János Brenner a Young Hungarian Priest who was Martyred by Communists


A young Hungarian priest who was lured into a forest and beaten and stabbed to death is to be the latest East European martyr declared blessed by the Catholic Church.
Fr. Janos Brenner, who died in 1957, will be beatified May 1. He was just two weeks shy of his 26th birthday when he was murdered.
“The communist dictatorship sought to trample on the faith and frighten the Church, subduing and quenching the light emanating from it,” Bishop Janos Szekely of Szombathely said in a statement on the diocesan website.
Fr. Brenner had been a Cistercian novice, but when the communist government banned religious orders in 1950, he entered a diocesan seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1955.
Bishop Szekely  said Fr. Brenner had adopted a Cistercian motto, “Burn and give light,” in his ministry, and had run afoul of Hungary’s communist regime for his work among young people and rural families.
“His fate shows how another deadly enemy for dictatorships is the nation — the nourishing bonds which bind us to our ancestors, our mother-tongue, land and culture, and to the community where people plan and dream about their future together,” the bishop said.
Born into a devout Catholic family in Szombathely, with two brothers who also became priests, Fr. Brenner attended Cistercian schools. He entered the seminary when Hungary’s religious houses were being suppressed by communist decree in 1951 and was ordained after finishing studies at Gyor when Szombathely’s seminary was forcibly closed.
Assigned to a parish in Rabakethely, near the Austrian border, he attracted regime hostility during a wave of repression following the 1956 Hungarian Uprising and narrowly survived an attempt to kill him on his motorbike.
On the night of Dec. 14, 1957, after rejecting his bishop’s offer of a safer post, the priest was asked by a teenager to minister to a dying relative, so he set out on foot with the Eucharist and oils to the neighboring village of Zsida.
He was found by villagers in the roadside forest the next morning with 32 stab and boot wounds. Parishioners blamed drunken police and communist officials; parishioners were barred from attending his burial.
During the 1989 collapse of communist rule, a chapel was dedicated on the site of the priest’s death.
In an April 13 statement, the diocese said the beatification Mass, to be concelebrated by Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes, and Hungary’s Catholic primate, Cardinal Peter Erdo, would be moved from Szombathely’s Cathedral Square to a park west of the city because of the large numbers wishing to attend.
Source: www.synod.va

Saint December 14: St. Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini (1808-1858) - a Maronite Monk who Loved the Blessed Sacrament


St Nimatullah Youssef Kassab Al-Hardini (1808-1858)


Youssef Kassab Al-Hardini was born in 1808 in Hardin, Lebanon. As a child, he was strongly influenced by the monastic tradition of the Maronite Church. Four of his brothers became priests or monks, and Youssef himself entered the Lebanese Maronite Order in 1828.
The young man began religious life at the monastery of St Anthony in Qozhaya, near the Qadisha (Holy Valley), where he remained for two years until he began his novitiate and was given the name "Nimatullah". During the novitiate, he deepened his life of personal and community prayer and dedicated time to manual labour, while also learning to bind books.
Love for the Blessed Sacrament
Nimatullah was especially noted for his love of the Blessed Sacrament. During his free time - frequently at the sacrifice of sleep - he was often found in the chapel on his knees, arms raised in the form of a cross and eyes fixed on the tabernacle.
On 14 November 1830 he made his religious profession and was sent to the monastery of Sts Cyprian and Justina in Kfifan to study philosophy and theology. On 25 December 1833 he was ordained a priest and became director of the scholasticate and a professor.
During the two civil wars of 1840 and 1845, he suffered greatly with his people. His brother, Fr Elisha, suggested he withdraw to a hermitage, but he replied:  "Those who struggle for virtue in community life will have greater merit".
He observed that the ordinary, everyday life is a continuous martyrdom, since the monk must always be a model to his brother monks, guarding himself from becoming a source of scandal; instead, the hermit lives alone, away from all external temptations.
It was also a decisive moment in his spiritual life, and he offered himself to God for Lebanon and his Order. His motto was:  "The greatest is he that can save his soul", and he would often repeat this to his brother monks.
The "first concern' of a monk
Fr Nimatullah was at times also reprimanded by his superiors for being too hard on himself and too merciful and indulgent towards his brothers. He understood holiness in terms of communion and fraternal charity and is said to have remarked:  "A monk's first concern, night and day, should be not to hurt or trouble his brother monks".
Throughout his life he had a special devotion to the Virgin Mary, his "source of strength". He never tired of repeating her holy name, and carried a special place in his heart for the mystery of the Immaculate Conception (a dogma proclaimed by the Church in 1854). After the Angelus he would often repeat:  "Blessed be the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin".
In 1845 the Holy See appointed him Assistant General of the order. A man of culture, Fr Nimatullah asked the Superior General to send monks to further their studies at the new college founded by the Jesuits in Ghazir.
A truly humble man of God
He served as Assistant General for two more terms, but refused to be appointed Abbot General:  "Better death than to be appointed Superior General", he is reported as saying.
His reluctance to assume positions of authority in his Order came from his deep humility and his earnest belief that he was far from living in continual contact with God, so necessary to properly serve the monks and the Order. Even when he was Assistant General, he remained humble, refusing to have a special servant accompany him and attend to his personal needs, as was the custom in the Order at the time.
"O Mary, I entrust my soul to you'
In December 1858, while teaching at the monastery of Kfifan, he became gravely ill, a result of the bitter cold in that region. His condition worsened, leading to his death on 14 December. He died holding an icon of the Blessed Virgin and saying:  "O Mary, to you I entrust my soul". He was 50 years old.
When the then Patriarch Boulos Massad heard of Fr Nimatullah's death, he commented:  "Congratulations to this monk who knew how to benefit from his monastic life".
While still alive, Fr Nimatullah was known as the "Saint of Kfifan", a monk who gave himself completely to his brother monks and neighbours during a time of suffering in his Land and difficulty within his Order.
Fr Nimatullah was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 10 May 1998.
Full Text Source: Vatican.va - Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/MaroniteServants/photos

Free Movie : Mary of #Nazareth - The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Watch Full Film

Here is the drama of MARY OF NAZARETH in English :

U.S. Bishops' Pro-Life Chairmen Addresses Ethical Concerns on the New COVID-19 Vaccines - FULL TEXT



U.S. Bishop Chairmen for Pro-Life and Doctrine Address Ethical Concerns on the New COVID-19 Vaccines
 DECEMBER 14, 2020
WASHINGTON– On December 14, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement on the new COVID-19 vaccines. In their statement, the bishops address the moral concerns raised by the fact that the three vaccines that appear to be ready for distribution in the United States all have some connection to cell lines that originated with tissue taken from abortions.

With regard to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, they concluded:

“In view of the gravity of the current pandemic and the lack of availability of alternative vaccines, the reasons to accept the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are sufficiently serious to justify their use, despite their remote connection to morally compromised cell lines.

“Receiving one of the COVID-19 vaccines ought to be understood as an act of charity toward the other members of our community.  In this way, being vaccinated safely against COVID-19 should be considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.”

With regard to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the bishops found it to be “more morally compromised” and consequently concluded that this vaccine “should be avoided” if there are alternatives available. “It may turn out, however, that one does not really have a choice of vaccine, at least, not without a lengthy delay in immunization that may have serious consequences for one’s health and the health of others,” the bishop chairmen stated. “In such a case … it would be permissible to accept the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

At the same time, the bishops also warned that Catholics “must be on guard so that the new COVID-19 vaccines do not desensitize us or weaken our determination to oppose the evil of abortion itself and the subsequent use of fetal cells in research.”

The full statement from the bishop chairmen may be found here.

Press Release USCCB

Cardinal Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC Sues over Government Restrictions on Christmas Masses - FULL TEXT



 The Becket Law Organization for Religious Liberty and the Archdiocese of Washington DC announced that they are working to have restrictions lifted before Christmas DC; since the government implemented a 50 person cap on Mass attendance in the District.
Here is the Complaint filed officially with the Court in DC: 
1. From the start of the pandemic, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington
(“Archdiocese of Washington”) has worked with the District of Columbia to protect
public health, including by voluntarily suspending public Masses in March. Since
Mass resumed in June, the Archdiocese has demonstrated that people can worship
God in a safe, responsible, and cooperative way. This has led to an exemplary safety
record: thousands of Masses, with zero known COVID outbreaks linked to the Mass.
Case 1:20-cv-03625 Document 1 Filed 12/11/20 Page 1 of 31
2
2. Yet as Christmas fast approaches, the District has imposed arbitrary 50-
person caps on Mass attendance—even for masked, socially-distant services, and
even when those services are held in churches that can in normal times host over a
thousand people.
3. These restrictions are unscientific, in that they bear no relation to either the
size of the building or the safety of the activity.
4. These restrictions are discriminatory, in that they single out religious worship
as a disfavored activity, even though it has been proven safer than many other activities the District favors.
5. Indeed, if the Archdiocese were to fill its churches with library books, washing
machines, exercise bikes, restaurant tables, or shopping stalls instead of pews, the
District would allow many more people to enter and remain for an unlimited amount
of time. That is because for public libraries, laundromats, retail stores, restaurants,
tattoo parlors, nail salons, fitness centers, and many other establishments, the District imposes capacity-based limits, rather than hard caps. For example, there is no
hard cap on the number of people who can dine indoors in restaurants, where alcohol
is commonly served and patrons do not wear masks during meals.
6. Half of the Archdiocese’s churches in the District can accommodate 500 or more
worshippers. St. Matthew’s Cathedral can accommodate 1,000 worshippers. And the
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception—the largest Catholic
Church in the United States—could accommodate thousands of worshippers. Indeed,
the Statue of Liberty would fit inside with room to spare. Yet under the Mayor’s orders, all of these churches are subject to the same cap of 50 people. 
7. These arbitrary restrictions violate the rights of more than 650,000 D.C.-area Catholics, who—at the end of this most difficult year—now face the chilling prospect of being told that there is no room for them at the Church this Christmas. 
8. But the Supreme Court recently ruled that in-person worship must be given equal treatment. In Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, No. 20A87, 2020 WL 6948354 (Nov. 25, 2020), the Court explained that hard caps on the number of worshippers “effectively bar[] many from attending religious services” and that “many other less restrictive rules . . . could be adopted,” including the percentage based limits the District uses elsewhere. Id. at *2, *3. 
9. That should have been reason enough for the District to abandon its illegal treatment of safe and responsible worship. But since the District has refused and Christmas is coming, the Archdiocese now has no choice but to seek judicial relief. 
10.Under both the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the District’s arbitrary, unscientific, and discriminatory treatment of religious worship is illegal. Particularly after Diocese of Brooklyn identified occupancy-based limits as a less restrictive means of protecting public health than numeric caps, the District’s hard caps on numbers of worshippers cannot withstand scrutiny. 
11.The Archdiocese therefore seeks an injunction that allows them sufficient time before Christmas Eve to allow the Archdiocese to plan and celebrate Mass in accordance with percentage-based limits rather than a 50-person cap. The Constitution, federal law, and common sense require no less. 
12.Christmas should be a time for reconciliation and joy, and the Archdiocese simply wants to welcome its flock home. It respectfully requests that it be allowed to do so. 

#BreakingNews Over 300 Students Missing at School in Nigeria after Attack and Kidnapping - Please Pray!



AFRICA/NIGERIA -

Monday, 14 December 2020

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - Contradictory messages arrive on the number of students of the government secondary school of Kankara, in the state of Katsina, attacked on the night between 11 and 12 December, still in the hands of the kidnappers. The governor of Katsina, Aminu Bello Masari said the School hosts 839 students and 333 are missing. Several kidnapped young people managed to escape from the hands of the kidnappers. For this reason, the governor says that the authorities are contacting the families of the students to ask if their children have returned home.

"We as a government have yet to be contacted by any group or person responsible for the kidnapping of the students", added the governor, who begged the population to be patient and to show moderation and understanding, assuring them that the government is doing whatever it takes to ensure the release of those abducted.  

 He said the security agencies have taken action and are on the trail of the bandits.

According to a Nigerian newspaper, however, the number of students kidnapped is much higher than that reported by the authorities. The Daily Trust says the school had 1,074 students at the time of the attack. According to the newspaper, the pupils whose fate is not yet known would therefore number 668. The Daily Trust says 270 students were rescued from school on the night of the attack and, with the number returning from the bush the following night or of those who would have returned home to their parents, the students who are safe are now 406 as of yesterday, Sunday 13 December.

These figures are disputed by Garba Shehu, a spokesman for President Buhari, according to whom only 10 students are still in the hands of the bandits. Parents have held demonstrations to ask authorities to step up efforts to ensure that their children are released as soon as possible.

According to witnesses, a large group of armed bandits with Kalashnikov attacked the dormitories of the school. The attack, the latest in a series targeting educational institutions, is believed to have been carried out by one of several gangs of bandits active in northwest Nigeria.

The most serious school attack occurred in April 2014, when members of the jihadist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their school dormitories in Chibok, in the northeastern state of Borno. About 100 girls are still missing. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 14/12/2020)

Pope Francis says "Let us not rob the new generations of their hope in a better future" to Climate Summit - FULL TEXT



VIDEO MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

FOR THE HIGH LEVEL VIRTUAL CLIMATE AMBITION SUMMIT 2020


The current pandemic and climate change, which have not only environmental, but also ethical, social, economic and political relevance, affect above all the life of the poorest and most fragile. In this way they appeal to our responsibility to promote, through collective and joint commitment, a culture of care, which places human dignity and the common good at the centre.

Aside from adopting various measures that cannot be postponed any further, a strategy is necessary to reduce net emissions to zero (net-zero emission).

The Holy See joins in this aim, moving on two levels:

1. On the one hand, Vatican City State is committed to reducing net emissions to zero before 2050, intensifying the efforts at environmental management that have already been in process for some years, and which make possible the rational use of natural resources such as water and energy, energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, reforestation, and the circular economy also in waste management.

2. On the other, the Holy See is committed to promoting education in integral ecology. Political and technical measures must be united with an educational process that favours a cultural model of development and sustainability based on fraternity and the alliance between the human being and the environment. From this perspective, I inaugurated the Global Education Pact to accompany Catholic schools and universities, attended by more than seventy million students in all continents, and I have supported the "Economy of Francesco", through which young economists, businesspeople, and experts in finance and the world of work promote new pathways to overcome energy poverty, which place care for common goods at the centre of national and international politics, and which favour sustainable production also in countries with a low income, sharing appropriate advanced technologies.

The moment has come for a change of direction. Let us not rob the new generations of their hope in a better future. Thank you.



Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office, 12 December 2020