Monday, December 28, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Tuesday, December 29, 2020 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church



 The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 202
Reading 1
1 JN 2:3-11
Beloved:
The way we may be sure that we know Jesus 
is to keep his commandments. 
Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him. 
This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.
Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you
but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. 
The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 
And yet I do write a new commandment to you,
which holds true in him and among you,
for the darkness is passing away,
and the true light is already shining. 
Whoever says he is in the light,
yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. 

 
 Whoever loves his brother remains in the light,
and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. 
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness;
he walks in darkness
and does not know where he is going
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
 
Responsorial Psalm
PS 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 5B-6
R. (11a)  Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name. 
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty go before him;
praise and grandeur are in his sanctuary.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
 
 
Alleluia
LK 2:32
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A light of revelation to the Gentiles
and glory for your people Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
LK 2:22-35
When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. 
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. 
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you prepared in the sight of every people,
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce)
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  
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 29 : St. Thomas Becket an Archbishop of Canterbury who was a Martyr and the Patron of Clergy


Born:
21 December 1118 at London, England
Died:
29 December 1170 in the Cathedral at Canterbury, England
Canonized:
21 February 1173 by Pope Alexander III
Patron of:
clergy
Prayer:
Almighty God, you granted your martyr, Thomas Becket, the grace to give his life willingly for the freedom of your Church.
By his prayers, make us willing to renounce our life in this world for Christ so that we may find it in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Biography:
Martyr, Archbishop of Canterbury, born at London, 21 December, 1118 (?); died at Canterbury, 29 December, 1170. St. Thomas was born of parents who, coming from Normandy, had settled in England some years previously. No reliance can be placed upon the legend that his mother was a Saracen. In after life his humble birth was made the subject of spiteful comment, though his parents were not peasants, but people of some mark, and from his earliest years their son had been well taught and had associated with gentlefolk. He learned to read at Merton Abbey and then studied in Paris. On leaving school he employed himself in secretarial work, first with Sir Richer de l'Aigle and then with his kinsman, Osbert Huitdeniers, who was "Justiciar" of London. Somewhere about the year 1141, under circumstances that are variously related, he entered the service of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, and in that household he won his master's favour and eventually became the most trusted of all his clerks. A description embodied in the Icelandic Saga and derived probably from Robert of Cricklade gives a vivid portrait of him at this period. To look upon he was slim of growth and pale of hue, with dark hair, a long nose, and a straightly featured face. Blithe of countenance was he, winning and loveable in his conversation, frank of speech in his discourses, but slightly stuttering in his talk, so keen of discernment and understanding that he could always make difficult questions plain after a wise manner.  Theobald recognized his capacity, made use of him in many delicate negotiations, and, after allowing him to go for a year to study civil and canon law at Bologna and Auxerre, ordained him deacon in 1154, after bestowing upon him several preferments, the most important of which was the Archdeaconry of Canterbury (see Radford, "Thomas of London", p. 53). It was just at this period that King Stephen died and the young monarch Henry II became unquestioned master of the kingdom. He took "Thomas of London", as Becket was then most commonly called, for his chancellor, and in that office Thomas at the age of thirty-six became, with the possible exception of the justiciar, the most powerful subject in Henry's wide dominions. The chroniclers speak with wonder of the relations which existed between the chancellor and the sovereign, who was twelve years his junior. People declared that "they had but one heart and one mind". Often the king and his minister behaved like two schoolboys at play. But although they hunted or rode at the head of an army together it was no mere comradeship in pastime which united them. 
Both were hard workers, and both, we may believe, had the prosperity of the kingdom deeply at heart. Whether the chancellor, who was after all the elder man, was the true originator of the administrative reforms which Henry introduced cannot now be clearly determined. In many matters they saw eye to eye. The king's imperial views and love of splendour were quite to the taste of his minister. When Thomas went to France in 1158 to negotiate a marriage treaty, he travelled with such pomp that the people said: "If this be only the chancellor what must be the glory of the king himself?" In 1153 Thomas acted as justice itinerant in three counties. In 1159 he seems to have been the chief organizer of Henry's expedition to Toulouse, upon which he accompanied him, and though it seems to be untrue that the impost of "scutage" was called into existence for that Occasion (Round, "Feudal England", 268-73), still Thomas undoubtedly pressed on the exaction of this money contribution in lieu of military service and enforced it against ecclesiastics in such a way that bitter complaints were made of the disproportionately heavy burden this imposed upon the Church. In the military operations Thomas took a leading part, and Garnier, a French chronicler, who lived to write of the virtues of St. Thomas and his martyrdom, declares that in these encounters he saw him unhorse many French knights. Deacon though he was, he lead the most daring attacks in person, and Edward Grim also gives us to understand that in laying waste the enemy's country with fire and sword the chancellor's principles did not materially differ from those of the other commanders of his time. But although, as men then reported, "he put off the archdeacon", in this and other ways, he was very far from assuming the licentious manners of those around him. No word was ever breathed against his personal purity. Foul conduct or foul speech, lying or unchastity were hateful to him, and on occasion he punished them severely. He seems at all times to have had clear principles with regard to the claims of the Church, and even during this period of his chancellorship he more than once risked Henry's grievous displeasure. For example, he opposed the dispensation which Henry for political reasons extorted from the pope, and strove to prevent the marriage of Mary, Abbess of Romsey, to Matthew of Boulogne. But to the very limits of what his conscience permitted, Thomas identified himself with his master's interests, and Tennyson is true to history when he makes the archbishop say: I served our Theobald well when I was with him: I served King Henry well as Chancellor: I am his no more, and I must serve the Church. Archbishop Theobald died in 1161, and in the course of the next year Henry seems to have decided that it would be good policy to prepare the way for further schemes of reform by securing the advancement of his chancellor to the primacy. Our authorities are agreed that from the first Thomas drew back in alarm. "I know your plans for the Church," he said, "you will assert claims which I, if I were archbishop, must needs oppose." But Henry would not be gainsaid, and Thomas at the instance of Cardinal Henry of Pisa, who urged it upon him as a service to religion, yielded in spite of his misgivings. He was ordained priest on Saturday in Whitweek and consecrated bishop the next day, Sunday, 3 June, 1162. It seems to have been St. Thomas who obtained for England the privilege of keeping the feast of the Blessed Trinity on that Sunday, the anniversary of his consecration, and more than a century afterwards this custom was adopted by the papal Court, itself and eventually imposed on the whole world. A great change took place in the saint's way of life after his consecration as archbishop. Even as chancellor he had practised secret austerities, but now in view of the struggle he clearly saw before him he gave himself to fastings and disciplines, hair shirts, protracted vigils, and constant prayers. Before the end of the year 1162 he stripped himself of all signs of the lavish display which he had previously affected. On 10 Aug. he went barefoot to receive the envoy who brought him the pallium from Rome. Contrary to the king's wish he resigned the chancellorship. Whereupon Henry seems to have required him to surrender certain ecclesiastical preferments which he still retained, notably the archdeaconry, and when this was not done at once showed bitter displeasure. Other misunderstandings soon followed. The archbishop, having, as he believed, the king's express permission, set about to reclaim alienated estates belonging to his see, a procedure which again gave offence. Still more serious was the open resistance which he made to the king's proposal that a voluntary offering to the sheriffs should be paid into the royal treasury. As the first recorded instance of any determined opposition to the king's arbitrary will in a matter of taxation, the incident is of much constitutional importance. The saint's protest seems to have been successful, but the relations with the king only grew more strained. Soon after this the great matter of dispute was reached in the resistance made by Thomas to the king's officials when they attempted to assert jurisdiction over criminous clerks. The question has been dealt with in some detail in the article ENGLAND. That the saint himself had no wish to be lenient with criminous clerks has been well shown by Norgate (Angevin Kings, ii, 22). It was with him simply a question of principle. St. Thomas seems all along to have suspected Henry of a design to strike at the independence of what the king regarded as a too powerful Church. With this view Henry summoned the bishops at Westminster (1 October, 1163) to sanction certain as yet unspecified articles which he called his grandfather's customs (avitæ consuetudines), one of the known objects of which was to bring clerics guilty of crimes under the jurisdiction of the secular courts. The other bishops, as the demand was still in the vague, showed a willingness to submit, though with the condition "saving our order", upon which St. Thomas inflexibly insisted. The king's resentment was thereupon manifested by requiring the archbishop to surrender certain castles he had hitherto retained, and by other acts of unfriendliness. In deference to what he believed to be the pope's wish, the archbishop in December consented to make some concessions by giving a personal and private undertaking to the king to obey his customs "loyally and in good faith". But when Henry shortly afterwards at Clarendon (13 January, 1164) sought to draw the saint on to a formal and public acceptance of the "Constitutions of Clarendon", under which name the sixteen articles, the avitæ consuetudines as finally drafted, have been commonly known, St. Thomas, though at first yielding somewhat to the solicitations of the other bishops, in the end took up an attitude of uncompromising resistance. Then followed a period of unworthy and vindictive persecution. When opposing a claim made against him by John the Marshal, Thomas upon a frivolous pretext was found guilty of contempt of court. For this he was sentenced to pay £500; other demands for large sums of money followed, and finally, though a complete release of all claims against him as chancellor had been given on his becoming archbishop, he was required to render an account of nearly all the moneys which had passed through his hands in his discharge of the office. Eventually a sum of nearly £30,000 was demanded of him. His fellow bishops summoned by Henry to a council at Northampton, implored him to throw himself unreservedly upon the king's mercy, but St. Thomas, instead of yielding, solemnly warned them and threatened them. Then, after celebrating Mass, he took his archiepiscopal cross into his own hand and presented himself thus in the royal council chamber. The king demanded that sentence should be passed upon him, but in the confusion and discussion which ensued the saint with uplifted cross made his way through the mob of angry courtiers. He fled away secretly that night (13 October, 1164), sailed in disguise from Sandwich (2 November), and after being cordially welcomed by Louis VII of France, he threw himself at the feet of Pope Alexander III, then at Sens, on 23 Nov. The pope, who had given a cold reception to certain episcopal envoys sent by Henry, welcomed the saint very kindly, and refused to accept his resignation of his see. On 30 November, Thomas went to take up his residence at the Cistercian Abbey of Pontigny in Burgundy, though he was compelled to leave this refuge a year later, as Henry, after confiscating the archbishop's property and banishing all the Becket kinsfolk, threatened to wreak his vengeance on the whole Cistercian Order if they continued to harbour him. The negotiations between Henry, the pope, and the archbishop dragged on for the next four years without the position being sensibly changed. Although the saint remained firm in his resistance to the principle of the Constitutions of Clarendon, he was willing to make any concessions that could be reasonably asked of him, and on 6 January, 1169, when the kings of England and France were in conference at Montmirail, he threw himself at Henry's feet, but as he still refused to accept the obnoxious customs Henry repulsed him. At last in 1170 some sort of reconciliation was patched up. The question of the customs was not mentioned and Henry professed himself willing to be guided by the archbishop's council as to amends due to the See of Canterbury for the recent violation of its rights in the crowning of Henry's son by the Archbishop of York. On 1 December, 1170, St. Thomas again landed in England, and was received with every demonstration of popular enthusiasm. But trouble almost immediately occurred in connection with the absolution of two of the bishops, whose sentence of excommunication St. Thomas had brought with him, as well as over the restoration by the de Broc family of the archbishop's castle at Saltwood. How far Henry was directly responsible for the tragedy which soon after occurred on 29 December is not quite clear. Four knights who came from France demanded the absolution of the bishops. St. Thomas would not comply. They left for a space, but came back at Vesper time with a band of armed men. To their angry question, "Where is the traitor?" the saint boldly replied, "Here I am, no traitor, but archbishop and priest of God." They tried to drag him from the church, but were unable, and in the end they slew him where he stood, scattering his brains on the pavement. His faithful companion, Edward Grim, who bore his cross, was wounded in the struggle. A tremendous reaction of feeling followed this deed of blood. In an extraordinary brief space of time devotion to the martyred archbishop had spread all through Europe. The pope promulgated the bull of canonization, little more than two years after the martyrdom, 21 February, 1173. On 12 July, 1174, Henry II did public penance, and was scourged at the archbishop's tomb. An immense number of miracles were worked, and for the rest of the Middle Ages the shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury was one of the wealthiest and most famous in Europe. The martyr's holy remains are believed to have been destroyed in September, 1538, when nearly all the other shrines in England were dismantled; but the matter is by no means clear, and, although the weight of learned opinion is adverse, there are still those who believe that a skeleton found in the crypt in January, 1888, is the body of St. Thomas. The story that Henry VIII in 1538 summoned the archbishop to stand his trial for high treason, and that when, in June, 1538, the trial had been held and the accused pronounced contumacious, the body was ordered to be disinterred and burnt, is probably apocryphal. Text shared from the Catholic Enclyclopedia

RIP Zhage Sil - Catholic Seminarian killed in the Indonesia on Christmas Eve



ASIA/INDONESIA - Catholic seminarian killed in the Indonesian province of Papua

Monday, 28 December 2020

Jayapura (Agenzia Fides) - Christmas 2020 was saddened by a serious episode for Catholics in Papua. On the evening of 24 December, the lifeless body of Zhage Sil, a Catholic seminarian, was found in a ditch in Jayapura, a in the Indonesian province of Papua.

According to the local police, the perpetrators of the crime are still unknown.

The news of Sil's death shocked Catholics in Papua and throughout Indonesia, who hope that light will be shed on the tragic episode. Beka Ulung Hapsara, National Commissioner for Human Rights in Indonesia asked that "the police quickly investigate and find the perpetrators of the murder. There is an urgent need to apply the law in a fair and transparent manner".

The community of Sorong-Manokwari, the diocese to which Sil belonged, received numerous messages of condolence from religious and lay leaders who strongly condemn the atrocious act. "I am shocked by his sudden and tragic death. He would have become a deacon next year and a diocesan priest immediately after", said Fr. Johan, parish priest in the diocese of Jayapura, Papua. Fr. Johan, who knew Sil personally, added: "He was a courageous person who cared about people's needs and was not afraid to raise his voice, especially when it came to justice. We hope to receive clear news about his death soon".

Sil was among the young people often engaged in demanding justice for the province of Papua, stigmatizing "racism against the Papuan people".

The news of the murder went viral on social media and once again drew attention to the plight of Indonesian Papua where, last October, lay Catholic Rufinus Tigau, a catechist in the district was also killed for no reason by the national security forces (see Fides, 11/11/2020).

At the beginning of December, a strong appeal for dialogue and reconciliation in order to resolve the conflict in the Indonesian region of Papua was launched by 147 Indonesian Catholic priests, working in Papua (see Fides, 12/12/2020).

The appeal in question stigmatized the repeated episodes of violence and the continuous violations of human rights perpetrated by Indonesian security forces, which killed and injured civilians and also pastoral workers of Catholic and Protestant churches in this area of the country, with a strong Christian presence.

In Papua, there have been misunderstandings and disputes between the local population and the central government of Jakarta for years: the central government has responded to the separatist turmoil with a capillary military presence that has increased tension.

The diocese of Manokwari-Sorong is located in the province of West Papua. It covers an area of 111 thousand square kilometers, with a total population of 761 thousand inhabitants, including about 79 thousand Catholics. (ES-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 28/12/2020)

Wow LISTEN to the Beautiful "Coventry Carol" that Recalls the History of the Holy Innocents - Sung by King's College Choir



A centuries old carol named  "Coventry Carol" is an English Christmas song dating from the 16th century. The carol was traditionally performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play recalls the Christmas story from chapter two in the Gospel of Matthew: the carol itself refers to the Massacre of the Innocents, in which Herod ordered all male infants under the age of two in Bethlehem to be killed, and takes the form of a lullaby sung by mothers of their children.  Free Print music of this song can be found: 
http://www.cantatedomino.org/cd/lullay,-lulla-thou-little-tiny-child--coventry-carol--orginal---walford-davies---mather.php
 

Lyrics:

 Lully Lulla, thou little tiny child,

By by lully lullay.

O sisters too how may we do,
For to preserve this day,
This poor youngling for whom we do sing,
by by lully lullay.

Herod the king in his raging,
Charged he hath this day,
His man of might in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

That woe is me poor child for thee,
And ever mourn and say,
for thy parting, neither say nor sing,
by by lully lullay.

Lully Lulla, thou little tiny child,
By by lully lullay.
(Historical source: Wikipedia) (Image Source: Detail from painting by French artist Léon Cogniet (29 August 1794 – 20 November 1880)

Pope Accepts Resignation of Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino, California who is Succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Alberto Rojas



 Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino; Succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Alberto Rojas

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Gerald R. Barnes, 75, from the Office of Bishop of San Bernardino. Bishop Alberto Rojas, up until now coadjutor bishop of the same diocese, will succeed him as bishop of San Bernardino.

The appointment was publicized in Washington on December 28, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Rojas’ biography may be found here.

The Diocese of San Bernardino comprises 27,293 square miles in the state of California. It has a population of 4,622,361 people of whom, 1,797,173 are Catholic. Source: USCCB

Biography of Bishop Alberto Rojas from the Diocese Website

Most Reverend Alberto Rojas was born January 5, 1965 in Aguascalientes, Mexico, a small state in the central part of the country. His parents are Fidel Rojas (deceased) and Maria De la Cruz Garcia. He has three sisters and four brothers.

Bishop Rojas was raised in a devoutly Catholic household and attended Catholic elementary school and high school in his community. He heard the call to the priesthood in his early teens and entered the Diocesan Seminary of Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Aquascalientes at the age of 15. During his seminary formation in Aguascalientes he also attended Colegio de Ciencias y Humanidades.

Following a visit with family members in California, Bishop Rojas made the decision to complete his seminary formation in the United States. He entered the University of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois where he would complete his theological studies and earn a master’s degree in Divinity. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago by Francis Cardinal George on May 24, 1997 at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.

In the first years of his priestly ministry, Bishop Rojas served as Associate Pastor of St. Gregory the Great parish and then St. Ita parish in Chicago. “I was involved in many pastoral programs and doing ministry with people of all ages from many cultures was a great learning and joyful experience,” he recalls of his years as a parish priest. In 2002, Cardinal George asked him to join the faculty of the University of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary where he taught for the next eight years.

He was ordained a bishop on August 10, 2011 at Holy Name Cathedral and is the only man that Cardinal George ordained both a priest and a bishop. He chose as his Episcopal Motto, Nos basta el amor de Dios (God’s love is all we need).

In his service to the Archdiocese of Chicago as Auxiliary Bishop, Bishop Rojas served as the Episcopal Vicar of Vicariate III and later Vicariate I. He worked extensively in Hispanic ministry, serving as Cardinal George’s Liaison to Hispanic Catholics and the Archbishop’s Delegate to Consejo Pastoral Arquidiocesano Hispano-Americano. At the national level he has served as a Spiritual Assessor for the National Catholic Association of Diocesan Directors for Hispanic Ministry (NACDDHM).

Bishop Rojas has served on five committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – Catholic Home Missions, Hispanic Affairs, Liturgy, the Church in Latin America and, most recently, V Encuentro as the Lead Bishop for Region VII.

On December 2, 2019, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States announced that Pope Francis had appointed Bishop Rojas as the Coadjutor Bishop of San Bernardino.

Reflecting on his journey as a bishop at the time of his appointment as Coadjutor, Bishop Rojas stated, “Becoming a bishop has been a powerful, humbling, and learning experience because I never thought I would be one. However, in serving the people of God along with my brother priests, religious sisters, parish leaders, other auxiliary bishops, Cardinals, lay ecclesial movements and lay people in general, I have become more aware of who we are as Catholic Church. There is a beauty and a challenge in becoming part of the Church Jesus Christ founded once we understand the purpose of His mission which is the salvation of souls. But we also know Jesus is in charge, He is with us, and has given us the Holy Spirit to lead our steps along the way.”

Source: https://www.sbdiocese.org/bishops/rojas.cfm

#BreakingNews Several Christians Killed on Christmas Eve and Church Burned by Boko Haram in Nigeria



Reports by VaticanNews from AFP and others report several Christians were killed on Christmas Eve. 
Following Report by Morning Star News:
More than 30 Christians killed in prior attacks in Kaduna state, sources say.December 27, 2020 By Our Nigeria Correspondent - 

JOSNigeria (Morning Star News) – Islamic extremist militants killed seven Christians in Christmas Eve attacks in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, according to area residents, while two people were reportedly killed in neighboring Adamawa state.

Residents of the villages of Pemi and Debro, near Chibok, Borno state said the insurgents were members of Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, and that the militants burned a Church of the Brethren (EYN) building in Pemi. In addition, seven people were reportedly kidnapped, including a pastor.

Across the border in neighboring Adamawa state, residents of Garkida told Morning Star News that Boko Haram attacked at the same time on Dec. 24, but that Nigerian army forces repelled them. Adamawa Gov. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, however, released a statement on Christmas Day saying two civilians had been killed in the attack, including a 5-year-old boy, before soldiers drove the rebels away.

In Borno state, the jihadists began their attacks on predominantly Christian Pemi and Debro at about 6 p.m., area residents said.

“Seven Christians were killed at Pemi, and the church building of EYN was completely burned by them,” area resident Awiya Lawan told Morning Star News by text message. “Houses, cars and stores were burned down. The Boko Haram gunmen carried out the attacks for three hours before soldiers arrived the area at 9 p.m.”

Peter Solomon, another resident of the area, also said that heavily armed Boko Haram rebels, who seek to establish sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria, killed seven Christians.

“The Boko Haram attackers destroyed the church building of EYN and looted foods from many houses before burning about 10 houses in Pemi, which is located about 20 kilometers [12 miles] away from Chibok town,” Solomon said

In Adamawa state, the attack by suspected Boko Haram militants forced Christians to halt Christmas preparations and flee into bushes to escape, area residents said.

“Garkida town in Adamawa state is under a massive attack,” area resident Joel Bahago said in a text message to Morning Star News. “Please pray for us, as this isn’t how we planned for Christmas, Lord.”

Another area resident, Rhoda Yadiwutuwa, said in a text message on Christmas Day that Nigeria’s armed forces had repelled the assailants but that most of the residents were still hiding in bushes and nearby hills.

“It is well with us people of Garkida, we shall hold our peace, because victory belongs to our God and Lord, Jesus Christ,” Yadiwutuwa said.

Markus Bulus wrote in a Christmas Day text that area resident were thankful.

“Whatever Boko Haram planned against us has failed,” Bulu said. “Whatever it is, we shall still celebrate Christmas. Jesus, we’re so grateful this day even with the bad experience we had last night. We have nothing to offer as our thanksgiving, but we offer our hearts in deep supplication to your majesty on this Christmas Day.”

Terror in Kaduna

In north-central Nigeria, a series of attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen across three counties of southern Kaduna state earlier this month killed 33 Christians, destroyed 18 homes and displaced more than 2,500 people, Christian leaders told Morning Star News.

On Dec. 17 in Zangon-Kataf County, the herdsmen killed at least 10 Christians in Goran Gan village and destroyed 18 homes, and on Dec. 21 they killed three others at Ungwan Jatau and Ungwan Gimba villages, area residents told Morning Star News in text messages.

Sule Tinat Bodam, general secretary of the Atyap Community Development Association and a Christian community leader in Zangon-Kataf, confirmed the attacks.

“On Dec. 17, the Gora Gan community was attacked by armed gunmen suspected to be Fulani militias on motorcycles,” Bodam said. “The attack left over seven people dead, and over 17 houses were burnt down. The Sheyin family was wiped out almost completely by the attackers.”

He identified those killed as Ayuba Sheyin, 69; his wife Jummai Sheyin, 55; their son Saviour Sheyin, 14; son Goodluck Sheyin, 11; daughter Patience Sheyin, 5; Peter Akau, 70; Joel Ishaya, 35; and Binta Musa Tauna, 85. In addition, 16-year-old Henry Jonathan was hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

“The Sheyin family lived just in front of the primary school where the military, meant to secure the village after previous attacks, are stationed,” Bodam said.

Luka Biniyat, spokesman for the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), added in a Dec. 21 press statement that three more corpses had been recovered, bringing the number of Christians killed in Gora Gan to at least 10.

SOKAPU executives visited a camp for Internally Displaced Persons in Zonkwa, Zangon-Kataf County, where 2,500 Christian women and children were taking refuge after raids by armed herdsmen, Biniyat said.

Also in Zangon-Kataf County on Dec. 19, herdsmen killed four Christians in four other villages: Ungwan Gaiya, Ungwan Gimba, Ungwan Makama and Apimbu, according to state Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs Commissioner Samuel Aruwan.

“The military confirmed that two houses were burned in the Apimbu attack,” Aruwan said.

In Chikun County, herdsmen on Tuesday (Dec. 22) killed seven Christians and wounded four in Gbaja village and killed two more Christians in Ungwan Gwaiva, area sources said.

In Kajuru County, herdsmen killed three Christians in Kujeni village on Tuesday (Dec. 22), sources said.

The Rev. Ali Buba Lamido, archbishop of Kaduna Province of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), issued a statement on Thursday (Dec. 24) expressing concern over kidnappings that have accompanied the killing.

“Kidnapping has become the order of the day as these kidnappers get into people’s houses and abduct them without any resistance or challenge from the security agents,” Lamido said. “Many people have been abducted, and a lot of millions of naira were paid as ransom. Those kidnapped were subjected to dehumanizing conditions and traumatizing experiences. Some family members of the those kidnapped were shot while trying to escape from the kidnappers.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for further investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

On Jan. 30 Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. CSI issued the call in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’”

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.

FULL TEXT Source: Morning Star News .org 

RIP Fr. Reginald Foster, OCD - Pope Francis offers Condolences on Death of Carmelite Priest who Worked for 4 Popes as a Latin Expert



Vatican News reports that Fr. Reginald Foster, a friar of the Discalced Carmelite Order, passed away on Christmas Day, at the age of 81.
Originally from Milwaukee in the US state of Wisconsin, Fr. Reginald spent almost 40 years as one of the Vatican’s foremost experts in the Latin language. He worked in the Latin Letters section of the Secretariat of State from 1970 until his retirement in 2009.
Pope Francis sends a telegram of condolences upon the death of Fr. Reginald Foster, and praises the linguistic mastery of the renowned Latinist of the Popes.
As befits the memory of a master of the official language of the Church, Pope Francis’ condolences for the passing of Fr. Reginald Foster, OCD, came in Latin.
The late Carmelite friar—beloved of Vatican Radio listeners as “The Latin-lover”—served as one of the Vatican’s foremost experts in the Latin language for nearly 40 years.
Pope Francis sent a telegram on Monday to Fr. Saverio Cannistrà, the Father General of the Order of Discalced Carmelite Friars, to express his condolences. The note was signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.
The Pope expressed his appreciation for Fr. Reginald’s many years of service to the Holy See.
He worked from 1970 until 2009 in the Latin Letters section of the Secretariat of State, translating innumerable papal and Vatican documents into Latin.
Acknowledging his years of service, Pope Francis said Fr. Reginald “demonstrated the brilliance of Latin to copious numbers of students.”
And the Holy Father prayed that the Latinist of the Popes might receive from God “recompense in full measure.”
Edited from VaticanNews.va

Pope Francis Issues a Motu Proprio for a Better Organization of Finances and More Transparency at the Vatican - FULL TEXT



The Vatican reported that the Administration of Secretariat of State holdings passes to Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See  or APSA.
Pope Francis issued a Motu Proprio which officially authorizes the transfer announced in an earlier letter to Cardinal Parolin, after preparation by a special commission. It strengthens the supervisory role of the Secretariat for the Economy which will function as a papal secretariat over economic and financial matters.
FULL TEXT Communiqué of the Holy See Press Office on the Motu Proprio “A better organization”, 28.12.2020

The Holy Father has published a Motu Proprio with which he converts into law what he had already written in the letter of 25 August 2020 to the Secretary of State. This Motu Proprio represents another important step in the reform of the Curia. The decision arrives before January 1, for implementation in the budget of 2021. The Commission established by the Holy Father for the transfer of economic and financial functions from the Secretariat of State to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, for the management, and to the Secretariat for the Economy, for control, which has been working in recent weeks, will continue to specify some technical details until 4 February next, as expected.

This new law reduces the number of economic leaders in the Holy See and concentrates the administration, management and economic and financial decisions in the Departments corresponding to the purpose. With it, the Holy Father wishes to proceed with a better organization of the Roman Curia and an even more specialized functioning of the Secretariat of State, which will be able to help him and his successors with greater freedom in matters of greater importance for the good of the Church. The so-called " Administrative Office " of the Secretariat of State, since it will no longer have to manage or decide on funds and investments, downsizes its functions.

The Motu Proprio establishes greater control and better visibility of the Pence of St. Peter and of the funds that come from donations from the faithful. In addition, specific controls are strengthened on certain bodies related to the Holy See that manage accounts and funds from donations. With these decisions, the Holy Father expresses his personal commitment, and that of the Roman Curia, for greater transparency, a clearer separation of functions, greater effectiveness in controls and greater adaptation of the economy of the Holy See to the mission of the Church, so that the People of God who help with their generosity to support the mission of the Bishop of Rome can do so with the confidence that their contributions are administered in an adequate, transparent manner and with the exercise of due controls.