Friday, December 18, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Advent Saturday, December 19, 2020 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church



 Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 195
Reading 1
JGS 13:2-7, 24-25A
There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites,
whose name was Manoah. 
His wife was barren and had borne no children. 
An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her,
“Though you are barren and have had no children,
yet you will conceive and bear a son. 
 
 Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink
and to eat nothing unclean.
As for the son you will conceive and bear,
no razor shall touch his head,
for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb. 
It is he who will begin the deliverance of Israel
from the power of the Philistines.”
The woman went and told her husband,
“A man of God came to me;
he had the appearance of an angel of God, terrible indeed. 
I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. 
But he said to me,
‘You will be with child and will bear a son. 
So take neither wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. 
For the boy shall be consecrated to God from the womb,
until the day of his death.’”
The woman bore a son and named him Samson. 
The boy grew up and the LORD blessed him;
the Spirit of the LORD stirred him.
Responsorial Psalm
PS 71:3-4A, 5-6AB, 16-17
R. (see 8)  My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. 
R. My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
For you are my hope, O LORD;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength. 
R. My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
I will treat of the mighty works of the LORD;
O God, I will tell of your singular justice.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R. My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
 
 
Alleluia 
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
LK 1:5-25
In the days of Herod, King of Judea,
there was a priest named Zechariah
of the priestly division of Abijah;
his wife was from the daughters of Aaron,
and her name was Elizabeth. 
Both were righteous in the eyes of God,
observing all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. 
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren
and both were advanced in years. 
Once when he was serving as priest
in his division’s turn before God,
according to the practice of the priestly service,
he was chosen by lot
to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. 
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside
at the hour of the incense offering,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him,
standing at the right of the altar of incense. 
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him. 
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard. 
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you shall name him John. 
And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. 
He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. 
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb,
and he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God. 
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah
to turn the hearts of fathers toward children
and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord.” 
Then Zechariah said to the angel,
“How shall I know this? 
For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 
And the angel said to him in reply,
“I am Gabriel, who stand before God.
I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. 
But now you will be speechless and unable to talk
until the day these things take place,
because you did not believe my words,
which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”
Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah
and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. 
But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them,
and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. 
He was gesturing to them but remained mute.
Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home. 
After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived,
and she went into seclusion for five months, saying,
“So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit
to take away my disgrace before others.”
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 19 : Blessed Urban V : Pope who Died in 1370 in Avignon, France


Bl. Urban V
Born:
1310 Grizac, Languedoc, France
Died:
December 19, 1370 Avignon, France
Guillaume de Grimoard, born at Grisac in Languedoc, 1310; died at Avignon, 19 December, 1370. Born of a knightly family, he was educated at Montpellier and Toulouse, and became a Benedictine monk at the little priory of Chirac near his home. A Bull of 1363 informs us that he was professed at the great Abbey of St. Victor at Marseilles, where he imbibed his characteristic love for the Order of St. Benedict; even as pope he wore its habit. He was ordained at Chirac, and after a further course of theology and canon law at the universities of Toulouse, Montpellier, Paris, and Avignon, he received the doctorate in 1342. He was one of the greatest canonists of his day; was professor of canon law at Montpellier, and also taught at Toulouse, Paris, and Avignon; he acted successively as vicar-general of the Dioceses of Clermont and Uzès, was at an unknown date (before 1342) affiliated to Cluny, became prior of Notre-Dame du Pré (a priory dependent on St. Germain d'Auxerre), and in 1352 was named abbot of that famous house by Clement VI. With this date begins his diplomatic career. His first mission was to Giovanni Visconti, Archbishop and despot of Milan, and this he carried out successfully; in 1354 and 1360 he was employed on the affairs of the Holy See in Italy; in 1361 he was appointed by Innocent VI to the Abbacy of St. Victor at Marseilles, but in 1362 was once more dispatched to Italy, this time on an embassy to Joanna of Naples. It was while engaged on this business that the abbot heard of his election to the papacy. Innocent VI had died on 12 Sept. The choice of one who was not a cardinal was due to jealousies within the Sacred College, which made the election of any one of its members almost impossible. Guillaume de Grimoard was chosen for his virtue and learning, and for his skill in practical affairs of government and diplomacy. He arrived at Marseilles on 28 Oct., entered Avignon three days later, and was consecrated on 6 November, taking the name of Urban because, as he said, "all the popes who had borne the name had been saints". The general satisfaction which this election aroused was voiced by Petrarch, who wrote to the pope, "It is God alone who has chosen you".
On 20 November King John of France visited Avignon; his main purpose was to obtain the hand of Joanna of Naples, ward of the Holy See, for his son Philip, Duke of Touraine. In a letter of 7 November Urban had already approved her project of marriage with King James of Majorca, a king without a kingdom; by so doing the pope safeguarded his own independence at Avignon, which would have been gravely imperilled had the marriage of Joanna, who was also Countess of Provence, united to the Crown of France the country surrounding the little papal principality. The letter written by Urban to Joanna on 29 Nov., urging the marriage with Philip, was probably meant rather to appease the French king than to persuade the recipient. The betrothal of the Queen of Naples to James of Majorca was signed on 14 Dec. The enormous ransom of 3,000,000 gold crowns, due to Edward III of England from John of France by the treaty of Bretigny, was still in great part unpaid, and John now sought permission to levy a tithe on the revenues of the French clergy. Urban refused this request as well as another for the nomination of four cardinals chosen by the king. John also desired to intervene between the pope and Barnabò Visconti, tyrant of Milan. He was again refused, and when Barnabò failed to appear within the three months allowed by his citation, the pope excommunicated him (3 March, 1363). In April of the same year Visconti was defeated before Bologna. Peace was concluded in March, 1364; Barnabò restored the castles seized by him, while Urban withdrew the excommunication and undertook to pay half a million gold florins.
The Benedictine pope was a lover of peace, and much of his diplomacy was directed to the pacification of Italy and France. Both countries were overrun by mercenary bands known as the "Free Companies", and the pope made many efforts to secure their dispersal or departure. His excommunication was disregarded and the companies refused to join the distant King of Hungary in his battles with the Turks although the Emperor Charles IV, who came to Avignon in May, 1365, guaranteed the expenses of their journey and offered them the revenues of his kingdom of Bohemia for three years. War now broke out between Pedro the Cruel of Navarre and his brother Henry of Trastamare. Pedro was excommunicated for his  cruelties and persecutions of the clergy, and Bertrand Duguesclin, the victor of Cocherel, led the companies into Navarre; yet they visited Avignon on their way and wrung blackmail from the pope. The Spanish war was quickly ended, and Urban returned to his fomer plan of employing the companies against the Turk. The Count of Savoy was to have led them to the assistance of the King of Cyprus and the Eastern Empire, but this scheme too was a failure. Urban's efforts were equally fruitless in Italy, where the whole land was overrun with bands led by such famous condottieri as the German Count of Landau and the Englishman Sir John Hawkwood. In 1365, after the failure of a scheme to unite Florence, Pisa, and the Italian communes against them, the pope commissioned Albornoz to persuade these companies to join the King of Hungary. In 1366 he solemnly excommunicated them, forbade their employment, and called on the emperor and all the powers of Christendom to unite for their extirpation. All was in vain, for though a league of Italian cities was formed in September of that year, it was disolved about fifteen months later owing to Florentine jealousy of the emperor.
Rome had suffered terribly through the absence of her pontiffs, and it became apparent to Urban that if he remained at Avignon the work of the warlike Cardinal Albornoz in restoring to the papacy the States of the Church would be undone. On 14 September, 1366, he informed the emperor of his determination to return to Rome. All men rejoiced at the announcement except the French; the king understood that the departure from Avignon would mean a diminution of French influence at the Curia. The French cardinals were in despair at the prospect of leaving France, and even threatened to desert the pope. On 30 April, 1367, Urban left Avignon; on 19 May he sailed from Marseilles, and after a long coasting voyage he reached Corneto, where he was met by Albornoz. On 4 June the Romans brought the keys of Sant' Angelo in sign of welcome, and the Gesuati carrying their branches in their hands and headed by their founder, Blessed John Colombini, preceded the pope. Five days later he entered Viterbo, where he dwelt in the citadel. The disturbed state of Italy made it impossible for Urban to set out to Rome until he had gathered a considerable army, so it was not till 16 Oct. that he entered the city at the head of an imposing cavalcade, under the escort of the Count of Savoy, the Marquess of Ferrara, and other princes.
The return of the pope to Rome appeared to the contemporary world both as a great event and as a religious action. The pope now set to work to improve the material and moral condition of his capital. The basilicas and papal palaces were restored and decorated, and the Papal treasure, which had been preserved at Assisi since the days of Boniface VIII, was distributed to the city churches. The unemployed were put to work in the neglected gardens of the Vatican, and corn was distributed in seasons of scarcity; at the same time the discipline of the clergy was restored, and the frequentation of the sacraments encouraged. One of Urban's first acts was to change the Roman constitution, but it may be questioned whether "the sacrifice offered to the Pontiff as the reward of his return was the liberty of the people" (Gregorovius).
On 17 October, 1368, the emperor joined the pope at Viterbo. Before leaving Germany he had confirmed all the rights of the Church, and Urban hoped for his help against the Visconti, but Charles allowed himself to be bribed. On 21 Oct. the pope and emperor entered Rome together, the latter humbly leading the pontiff's mule. On 1 Nov. Charles acted as deacon at the Mass at which Urban crowned the empress. For more than a century pope and emperor had not appeared thus in amity. A year later the Emperor of the East, John V Palaeologus, came to Rome seeking assistance against the infidel; he abjured the schism and was received by Urban on the steps of St. Peter's. These emperors both of West and East were but shadows of their great predecessors, and their visits, triumphs as they might appear, were but little gain to Urban V. He felt that his position in Italy was insecure. The death of Albornoz (24 Aug., 1367), who had made his return to Italy possible, had been a great loss. The restlessness of the towns was exemplified by the revolt of Perugia, which had to be crushed by force; any chance storm might undo the work of the great legate. At heart, too, the pope had all a Frenchman's love for his country, and his French entourage urged his return to Avignon. In vain were the remonstrances of the envoys of Rome, which had gained "greater quiet and order, an influx of wealth, a revival of importance" from his sojourn; in vain were the admonitions of St. Bridget, who came from Rome to Montefiascone to warn him that if he returned to Avignon he would shortly die. War had broken out again between France and England, and the desire to bring about peace strengthened the pope's determination. On 5 Sept., 1370, "sad, suffering and deeply moved", Urban embarked at Corneto. In a Bull of 26 June he had told the Romans that his departure was motived by his desire to be useful to the Universal Church and to the country to which he was going. It may be, too, that the pope saw that the next conclave would be free at Avignon but not in Italy. Charles V joyfully sent a fleet of richly adorned galleys to Corneto; the pope did not long survive his return (24 Sept.) to Avignon. His body was buried in Notre-Dame des Doms at Avignon but was removed two years later, in accordance with his own wish, to the Abbey Church of St. Victor at Marseilles. Miracles multiplied around his tomb. His canonization was demanded by King Waldemar of Denmark and promised by Gregory XI as early as 1375, but did not take place owing to the disorders of the time. His cultus was approved by Pius IX in 1870.
Urban V was a man whose motives cannot be called in question: his policy aimed at Eurpoean peace; shortly before his death he had given orders that preparations should be made to enable him personally to visit and reconcile Edward III and Charles V. He had shown great zeal for the Crusade. On 29 March, 1363, Pierre de Lusignan, King of Cyprus and titular King of Jerusalem, appeared at Avignon to appeal for assistance against the Turks, and on 31 March (Good Friday) Urban preached the Crusade and gave the cross to the Kings of France, Denmark, and Cyprus; the chivalrous King John, who was to have been chief commander, died a quasi-prisoner at London in 1364, and though the King of Cyprus captured Alexandria (11 Oct., 1365), he was unable to hold the city. The crusading spirit  was dead in Europe. In an age of corruption and simony Urban stood for purity and disinterestedness in church life: he did much for ecclesiastical discipline and caused many provincial councils to be held; he refused to bestow place or money on his relatives, and even caused his own father to refund a pension bestowed on him by the French king. His brother, whom he prompted to the cardinalate, was acknowledged by all to be a man most worthy of the dignity. The pope's private life was that of a monk, and he was always accessible to those who sought his aid.
But Urban was a patriotic Frenchman, a defect in the universal father of Christendom. He estranged the English king by the help given to his rival, and aroused hostility in Italy by the favour shown to men of his own race whom he made his representatives in the States of the Church. He was a great patron of learning, founded universities at Cracow (by a Bull of 1364) and at Vienna (by a Bull of 1365), and caused the emperor to create the University of Orange; he revised the statutes of the University of Orléans; and gave great assistance to the universities of Avignon and Toulouse. At Bologna he supported the great college founded by Albornoz and paid the expenses of many poor students whom he sent thither. He also founded a studium at Trets (later removed to Manosque), but his greatest foundations were at Montpellier. His buildings and restorations were considerable, especially at Avignon, Rome, and Montpellier. He approved the orders of Brigittines and Gesuati, and canonized his godfather, St. Elzéar of Sabran.
source Catholic Encyclopedia

Free Movie : The Bells of St. Mary's : Stars Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman

The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) 126 min - Drama | Family - 21 February 1946 (Sweden) At a big city Catholic school, Father O'Malley and Sister Benedict indulge in friendly rivalry, and succeed in extending the school through the gift of a building. Director: Leo McCarey Writers: Dudley Nichols (screenplay), Leo McCarey (story) Stars: Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman, Henry Travers | 

Novena for Christmas : Day 2 : Official with Plenary Indulgence - Powerful #Prayers to Share!


A Novena is a powerful prayer said over 9 days. 
This is the Day 2 of the Official Novena - see below for links
to the other days.
Opening Prayer:
V. O God, come to my assistance.

R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to
the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now
and ever shall be, world without
end.

Amen. 

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.
Day 2 Prayers

The Visitation.
O most sweet infant Jesus, who by means of your
Virgin Mother, visited St. Elizabeth, and filled your
servant, St. John the Baptist, with the Holy Spirit,
sanctifying him from his mother's womb.
Amen.
Day 1: http://jceworld.blogspot.ca/2013/12/official-novena-for-christmas-day-1.html
Day 9: http://jceworld.blogspot.ca/2013/12/christmas-novena-day-9-plenary.html 
FROM THE RACCOLTA OFFICIAL
NOVENA PREPARATORY TO CHRISTMAS In order to the devout preparation of ourselves for the glorious Birthday of our most loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, which the holy Church recalls to our memory every year on the 25th of December, and at the same time to render Him thanks for this great benefit, Pope Pius VII., by a Rescript of the Segretaria of the Memorials, dated August 12th, 1815 (which said Rescript is preserved in the Segretaria of the Vicariate), granted to all faithful Christians who, being contrite in heart, should prepare themselves for that great solemnity by a novena, consisting of pious exercises, prayers, acts of virtue, &c. -
i. An indulgence of 300 days each day of the said novena, and -
ii. A plenary indulgence to be gained on Christmas day, or on some day in its octave, by those who, after Confession and Communion, shall have made the said novena every day, and who shall pray according to the intentions of the Sovereigns Pontiff: and note that the Confession and Communion may be made on  any one of the days of the said novena, provided the novena is correctly kept. This was declared by Pope Pius VIII., of holy memory, by means of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, July 9, 1830. These indulgences were extended by the above-named Pius VII. to one other time in the year, besides the the specified, when any one should make the aforesaid novena in honour of the Child Jesus.

Pope Names New Bishop of Greenburg, USA - Monsignor Larry J. Kulick of Pennsylvania


 

Vatican News reports that Pope Francis appointed Monsignor Larry J. Kulick as Bishop of Greensburg, USA.

According to the Vatican the Holy Father  appointed Monsignor Larry J. Kulick as Bishop of Greensburg (U.S.A.). The bishop-elect is currently serving as its diocesan administrator and is pastor of Saint James Parish in New Alexandria, Pennsylvania.

Biography:    

Monsignor Larry J. Kulick was born on February 24, 1966 in Natrona Heights (Pennsylvania) in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.  He attended Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, PA, earning a Baccalaureate in Philosophy (1988) and a Masters in Theology (1992).  Subsequently, he received his Licentiate in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC (2012).

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, on May 16, 1992.

Since his ordination to the priesthood, he has held the following positions: Parish Vicar of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg (1992-1995) and Immaculate Conception Parish in Irwin (1995-1997); Pastor of Good Shepherd Parish in Kent (1997-2004) and Saint Joseph Parish in New Kensington (2004-2008); Usher and Co-Director of Vocations (2008-2012); Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, Judge and Defender of the Bond at the General Court and Pastor of Saint James Parish in New Alexandria (since 2012).  He has served as a Member of the Administrative Committee of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and Chaplain to the Council of Catholic Women. He was elected Diocesan Administrator of Greensburg on September 15, 2020.

US Bishops' Chairmen Commend Government Administration Enforcing Laws to Protect Unborn



Bishop Chairmen Commend Administration for Enforcing Conscience Laws on Abortion

DECEMBER 17, 2020 

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights announced yesterday that it is taking corrective action against the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) and the State of California for violating federal conscience laws on abortion. The UVMMC violated the Church Amendment (enacted in 1973) by forcing a nurse to participate in an elective abortion against her religious beliefs and moral convictions. The State of California is violating the Weldon Amendment by state insurance and health care laws which require health plans to cover elective abortions. Most employers, including even some churches, are unable to obtain self-funded health plans that exclude this objectionable coverage. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement in response to this enforcement action:

“We strongly commend the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for taking concrete steps to enforce long-standing and fundamental civil rights laws. These bi-partisan laws recognize that it is an abhorrent violation of conscience rights to force someone to perform, pay for, or otherwise participate in an abortion against their beliefs. Sadly, violations of these laws have increased in recent years, so we are deeply grateful to OCR for taking these strong and just actions to enforce the law. And because the right of freedom of conscience does not diminish as administrations change, we hope that today’s actions to enforce these crucial federal conscience laws will be sustained until the violators come into compliance.”

FULL TEXT Release USCCB

Pope Francis Permits More Masses to be Celebrated at Christmas and New Year's Due to COVID-19



The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued a decree, dated 16 December 2020, which was signed by the Prefect of the Congregation, Cardinal Robert Sarah, and the Secretary, Archbishop Arthur Roche.

“In view of the situation brought about by the worldwide spread of the pandemic,” the decree reads, “by virtue of the faculties conceded to this Congregation by the Holy Father Francis, and due to the persistence of the general contagion of the so-called Covid-19 virus, we willingly grant to the local Ordinary” permission to allow priests resident in their dioceses to celebrate four Masses on certain days during the Christmas season. This year only, permission is granted to say extra Masses on the following days: Christmas Day (25 December); the Solemnity of Mary the Most Holy Mother of God (1 January); and Epiphany (6 January). The concession is granted “whenever [the Ordinary] deems it necessary for the benefit of the faithful.”

According to the Code of Canon Law, “If there is a shortage of priests, the local ordinary can allow priests to celebrate twice a day for a just cause, or if pastoral necessity requires it, even three times on Sundays and holy days of obligation” (can. 905, para. 2). Normally, therefore, a priest may celebrate no more than three times on a single day.

Former Nuncio to France Archbishop Ventura Maintains Innocence after being Sentenced to 8 Months Probation due to Accusation



Vatican News reports that Archbishop Ventura was sentenced to eight months’ probation
The former Apostolic Nuncio to France, who has been accused of sexual harassment by several men, has always proclaimed his innocence.  
 Archbishop Ventura had waived his diplomatic immunity in order to cooperate with the French justice system.
By Vatican News staff reporter

Archbishop Luigi Ventura, 76 years old, who had served as Apostolic Nuncio to France from 2009 to 2019, was sentenced to an eight-month suspended prison sentence for sexual harassment of several men. The prelate will also have to pay €13,000 to the victims, as well as €9,000 in legal fees.

The former Nuncio has consistently denied the accusations. The Holy See waived jurisdictional immunity, which Abp Ventura could have claimed under the terms of the Vienna Convention of 18 April 1961 on diplomatic relations. The decision to waive immunity was intended to express the Nuncio’s willingness to cooperate fully and spontaneously with the French judicial authorities. 
Full Text from Vatican News.va

Catholic Priest who was Kidnapped while Traveling to his Father's Funeral is Released



AFRICA/NIGERIA - The priest kidnapped on his way to his father's funeral released

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "I can confirm to you that the kidnapped Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Valentine Oluchukwu Ezeagu, has been released unhurt, by his captors on the evening of December 16", said the Imo State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr Orlando Ikeokwu, who confirmed the release of Fr. Valentine Oluchukwu Ezeagu, of the Congregation of the Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy (SMMM), who was kidnapped on 15 December (see Fides, 16/12/2020).

The Catholic priest was kidnapped by four heavily armed men on his way to the state of Anambra for his father's funeral. The police spokesman added that, based on the testimony of Fr. Ezeagu, a special police squad was able to recover his car in the forest near Okigwe.

That of Fr. Ezeagu is just the latest in a series of kidnappings of priests, men and women religious in Nigeria.

On December 15, the Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese, Ignatius Kaigama expressed concerns over multiple cases of kidnappings in the country saying, "Events of recent months have shown it will only take a combination of efforts and strategies to frontally address the underlying causes of the kidnappings and banditry in the country". Mgr. Kaigama added that "the level of incidents and the apparent impunity have become unacceptable and cannot be excused, for whatever reason ". "The incidents of killings and kidnapping currently going on in Nigeria is now posing a significant threat to all the citizens". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 17/12/2020)