Monday, January 25, 2021

Saint January 26 : St. Titus : 1st Bishop of Crete and Companion of St. Paul

Feast Day: January 26
Died:
96 at Goryna, Crete
Patron of:
Crete and US Army Chaplains
ST. TITUS was born a Gentile, and seems to have been converted by St. Paul, who calls him his son in Christ. His extraordinary virtue and merit gained him the particular esteem and affection of this apostle; for we find him employed as his secretary and interpreter; and he styles him his brother, and co-partner in his labours; commends exceedingly his solicitude and zeal for the salvation of his brethren.and in the tenderest manner expresses the comfort and support he found in him,2 in so much, that, on a certain occasion, he declared that he found no rest in his spirit, because at Troas he had not met Titus.
Prayer to St. Titus:
O God, you endowed your holy bishop Titus with the glory of apostolic virtues; grant that through his merits and prayers we may live upright and godly lives in this world, and come to our heavenly home. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
 In the year 51, he accompanied him to the council that was held at Jerusalem, on the subject of the Mosaic rites. Though the apostle had consented to the circumcision of Timothy, in order to render his ministry acceptable among the Jews, he would not allow the same in Titus, apprehensive of giving thereby a sanction to the error of certain false brethren, who contended, that the ceremonial institutes of the Mosaic law were not abolished by the law of grace. Towards the close of the year 56, St. Paul sent Titus from Ephesus to Corinth, with full commission to remedy the several subjects of scandal, as also to allay the dissensions in that church. He was there received with great testimonies of respect and was perfectly satisfied with regard to the penance and submission of the offenders; but could not be prevailed upon to accept from them any present, not even so much as his own maintenance. His love for that church was very considerable, and at their request he interceded with St. Paul for the pardon of the incestuous man. He was sent the same year by the apostle a second time to Corinth, to prepare the alms that church designed for the poor Christians at Jerusalem. All these particulars we learn from St. Paul’s two epistles to the Corinthians.
St. Paul, after his first imprisonment, returning from Rome into the east, made some stay in the island of Crete, to preach there the faith of Jesus Christ; but the necessities of other churches requiring his presence elsewhere, he ordained his beloved disciple Titus bishop of that island, and left him to finish the work he had successfully begun. “We may form a judgment,” says St. Chrysostom, “from the importance of the charge, how great the esteem of St. Paul was for his disciple.” But finding the loss of such a companion too material, at his return into Europe the year after, the apostle ordered him to meet him at Nicopolis in Epirus, where he intended to pass the winter, and to set out for that place as soon as either Tychichus, or Arthemas, whom he had sent to supply his place during his absence, should arrive in Crete.
 
St. Paul sent these instructions to Titus, in the canonical epistle addressed to him, when on his journey to Nicopolis, in autumn, in the year 64. He ordered him to establish priests,5that is, bishops, as St. Jerom, St. Chrysostom, and Theodoret expound it, in all the cities of the island. He sums up the principal qualities necessary for a bishop, and gives him particular advice touching his own conduct to his flock, exhorting him to hold to strictness of discipline, but seasoned with lenity. This epistle contains the rule of episcopal life, and as such, we may regard it as faithfully copied in the life of this disciple. In the year 65, we find him sent by St. Paul to preach in Dalmatia. He again returned to Crete, and settled the faith in that, and the adjacent little island. All that can be affirmed further of him is, that he finished a laborious and holy life by a happy death in Crete, in a very advanced old age, some affirm in the ninety-fourth year of his age. The body of St. Titus was kept with great veneration in the cathedral of Gortyna, the ruins of which city, the ancient metropolis of the island, situated six miles from Mount Ida, are still very remarkable. This city being destroyed by the Saracens in 823, these relics could never since be discovered: only the head of our saint was conveyed safe to Venice, and is venerated in the Ducal basilic of St. Mark. (See Creta Sacra, Auctore Flaminio Cornelio, Senatore Veneto. Venetiis, anno 1755, de S. Tito, T. 1. p. 189. 195.) St. Titus has been looked upon in Crete as the first archbishop of Gortyna, which metropolitical see is fixed at Candia, since this new metropolis was built by the Saracens. The cathedral of the city of Candia, which now gives its name to the whole island, bears his name. The Turks leave this church in the hands of the Christians. The city of Candia was built in the ninth century, seventeen miles from the ancient Gortyn or Gortyna. Under the metropolitan of Candia, there are at present in this island eleven suffragan bishops of the Greek communion.2When St. Paul assumed Titus to the ministry, this disciple was already a saint, and the apostle found in him all the conditions which he charged him so severely to require in those whom he should honour with the pastoral charge. It is an illusion of false zeal, and a temptation of the enemy, for young novices to begin to teach before they have learned themselves how to practise. Young birds, which leave their nests before they are able to fly, are sure to perish. Trees which push forth their buds before the season, yield no fruit, the flowers being either nipped by the frost, or destroyed by the sun. So those who give themselves up to the exterior employments of the ministry, before they are thoroughly grounded in the spirit of the gospel, drain their tender interior virtue, and produce only unclean or tainted fruit. All who undertake the pastoral charge, besides a thorough acquaintance with the divine law, and the maxims and spirit of the gospel, and experience, discretion, and a knowledge of the heart of man, or his passions, must have seriously endeavoured to die to themselves by the habitual practice of self-denial, and a rooted humility; and must have been so well exercised in holy contemplation as to retain that habitual disposition of soul amidst exterior employments, and in them to be able still to say, I sleep, and my heart watches;  that is, I sleep to all earthly things, and am awake only to my heavenly friend and spouse, being absorbed in the thoughts and desires of the most ardent love.
Shared from Lives of the Saints by Butler 

Saint January 26 : St. Timothy : 1st Bishop of Ephesus, Friend of St. Paul and the Patron of Stomach and Intestinal Disorders


A Saint who was Born in 17 AD
Died:
80, Ephesus
Patron of:
intestinal disorders, stomach diseases

A native of Lystra, he was the son of a Jewish woman named Eunice and a Greek Gentile. Converted to the faith by St. Paul, Timothy willingly received circumcision in order to assuage the Jews to whom he and Paul would be preaching, especially as it was known that his father was a Gentile. Paul found Timothy a very valuable assistant and companion, using him on several missions, such as those to the Corinthians (1 Cor 4:17) and the Thessalonians (1 Thes 3:2-3). According to tradition, he was the first bishop of Ephesus, the basis for this being his journey to the city at the command of Paul to act as his representative (1 Tm 1:3). He is mentioned with St. Paul in the salutations of seven epistles in the New Testament and was teh addressee of two of three pastoral letters - 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. His martyrdom on January 22, 97 by a mob of angry pagans came about through his opposition to the celebration of the feast of Diana; it was recorded in the fourth-century Acta S. Timothei.

(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints)

Prayer for Stomach Disorders to St. Timothy
Dear Saint, well known for your gentleness, you were a most faithful disciple of St. Paul and like him traveled much to bring the Good News to all people. The Letters Paul wrote to you reveal your zeal and inspire us with confidence in you. You too were cast into prison and you too gave your life for Christ. So with confidence we dare to ask: please obtain relief for (Name) if it be God's will. Amen.
Prayer source: Catholic Info

VIDEO - Pro-Life Mass in Columbus Cathedral with 2 Bishops is Disrupted by Activists in Ohio the Bishop Calls for Prayer - FULL TEXT


Pro-abortion activists loudly disrupted a Prolife Mass in a Catholic cathedral in Ohio. 

 

 Loud screams, and slogans such as “finance abortion instead of cops” were heard as stunned parishioners prayed from their pews. Church stewards and police had to push out the protestors from the Church service.

Loud screams echoed through St. Joseph's Cathedral in Columbus, Ohio, while believers, priests and two bishops were celebrating Holy Mass for the protection of life. The event was held on the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade judgment that opened legal abortion in the United States on January 22, 1973. The eight or so abortion advocates shouted slogans such as “Fund abortion instead of cops”, “Two, four, six, eight, this church teaches hatred”. Two of the demonstrators wore rainbow-colored signal vests with the words "Clinic-Escort" written on them.

FULL TEXT - Official Statement from Bishop Brennan on Respect Life Mass Protest

January 22, 2021

Today during our Respect Life Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral, a group of protesters entered this sacred space in an attempt to disrupt our worship.  I am deeply thankful to the Columbus Police, assisted by Diocesan staff, for the quick response without injury to anyone present.  I want to express my great admiration and thanks to all those attending the Mass whose respectful and prayerful response reflects the joy, hope, and mercy that marks our pro-life witness.  I also apologize to the families present whose children were exposed to this.  On this day, in remembrance of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision, I ask all to continue to pray for the unborn who died, for all those who have experienced the pain of abortion, and for those who cannot understand our divine and steadfast calling to champion this cause. 

Bishop Edward Malesic of the Diocese of Cleveland celebrated this mass as a co-celebrant. At a rally following Mass, he said of the protesters that the abortion issue had two sides. “Let me tell you, if I were an outside observer, I know exactly which side I would choose. There is beauty and ugliness. There is peace and violence. There is love and hate. There is life and there is death. The Lord presents us with many possibilities. He's asking us to take sides. May we take the side of life. May we work for beauty and peace and love and non-violence, including verbal non-violence. May we listen to one another and guide one another so that in the end we will find ourselves where the Lord has come to bring us: into a kingdom of peace and justice.”

Pope Francis says "We need prayer, as we need water, to live. Personal prayer, spending time with Jesus, adoration, these are essential..." FULL TEXT at Vespers


SOLEMNITY OF THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL
CELEBRATION OF SECOND VESPERS
54th WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls
Monday, 25 January 20
21

 [H. Em. Card. Kurt Koch read the homily prepared by Pope Francis for the occasion who did not preside due to his Sciatica]

“Abide in my love” (Jn 15:9). Jesus links this request to the image of the vine and the branches, the final image that he offers us in the Gospels. The Lord himself is the vine, the “true” vine (v. 1), who does not betray our expectations, but remains ever faithful in love, despite our sins and our divisions. Onto this vine, which is himself, all of us, the baptized, are grafted like branches. 

 

 This means that we can grow and bear fruit only if we remain united to Jesus. Tonight let us consider this indispensable unity, which has a number of levels. With the vine in mind, we can imagine unity as consisting of three concentric rings, like those of a tree trunk.

The first circle, the innermost, is abiding in Jesus. This is the starting point of the journey of each person towards unity. In today’s fast-paced and complex world, it is easy to lose our compass, pulled as we are from every side. Many people feel internally fragmented, unable to find a fixed point, a stable footing, amid life’s changes. Jesus tells us that the secret of stability is to abide in him. In this evening’s reading, he says this seven times (cf. vv. 4-7.9-10). For he knows that “apart from him, we can do nothing” (cf. v. 5). Jesus also showed us how to abide in him.  He left us his own example: each day he withdrew to pray in deserted places. We need prayer, as we need water, to live. Personal prayer, spending time with Jesus, adoration, these are essential if we are to abide in him. In this way, we can place our worries, hopes and fears, joys and sorrows in the Lord’s heart. Most of all, centred on Jesus in prayer, we can experience his love. And in this way receive new vitality, like the branches that draw sap from the trunk. This is the first unity, our personal integrity, the work of the grace we receive by abiding in Jesus.

The second circle is that of unity with Christians. We are branches of the same vine, we are “communicating vessels”, in the sense that the good or the evil that each of us does affects all others. In the spiritual life, then, there is also a sort of “law of dynamics”: to the extent that we abide in God, we draw close to others, and to the extent that we draw close to others, we abide in God. This means that if we pray to God in spirit and truth, then we come to realize our need to love others while, on the other hand, “if we love one another, God abides in us” (1 Jn 4:12). Prayer unfailingly leads to love; otherwise, it is empty ritual. For it is not possible to encounter Jesus apart from his Body, made up of many members, as many as are the baptized. If our worship is genuine, we will grow in love for all those who follow Jesus, regardless of the Christian communion to which they may belong, for even though they may not be “one of ours”, they are his.

Even so, we know that loving our brothers and sisters is not easy, because their defects and shortcomings immediately become apparent, and past hurts come to mind. Here the Father comes to our aid, for as an expert farmer (cf. Jn 15:1), he knows exactly what to do: “every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (Jn 15:2). The Father takes away and prunes. Why? Because in order to love, we need to be stripped of all that leads us astray and makes us withdraw into ourselves and thus fail to bear fruit. Let us ask the Father, then, to prune our prejudices with regard to others, and the worldly attachments that stand in the way of full unity with all his children. Thus purified in love, we will be able to be less concerned about the worldly obstacles and stumbling stones from the past, which nowadays distract us from the Gospel.

The third circle of unity, the largest, is the whole of humanity.  Here, we can reflect on the working of the Holy Spirit. In the vine that is Christ, the Spirit is the sap that spreads to all the branches. The Spirit blows where he wills, and everywhere he wants to restore unity. He impels us to love not only those who love us and think as we do, but to love everyone, even as Jesus taught us. He enables us to forgive our enemies and the wrongs we have endured. He inspires us to be active and creative in love. He reminds us that our neighbours are not only those who share our own values and ideas, and that we are called to be neighbours to all, good Samaritans to a humanity that is frail, poor and, in our own time, suffering so greatly.  A humanity lying by the roadsides of our world, which God wants to raise up with compassion. May the Holy Spirit, the source of grace, help us to live in gratuitousness, to love even those who do not love us in return, for it is through pure and disinterested love that the Gospel bears fruit. A tree is known by its fruits: by our gratuitous love it will be known if we are part of the vine of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit thus teaches us the concreteness of love for all those brothers and sisters with whom we share the same humanity, the humanity which Christ inseparably united to himself by telling us that we will always find him in the poor and those in greatest need (cf. Mt 25: 31-45). By serving them together, we will realize once more that we are brothers and sisters, and will grow in unity. The Spirit, who renews the face of the earth, also inspires us to care for our common home, to make bold choices about how we live and consume, for the opposite of fruitfulness is exploitation, and it is shameful for us to waste precious resources of which many others are deprived.

That same Spirit, the architect of the ecumenical journey, has led us this evening to pray together. As we experience the unity that comes from addressing God with one voice, I would like to thank all those who in the course of this week have prayed, and continue to pray, for Christian unity. I offer a fraternal greeting to the representatives of the Churches and Ecclesial Communities gathered here, to the young Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox studying here in Rome under the aegis of the Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and to the professors and students of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, who would have come to Rome as in previous years, but were unable to do so because of the pandemic and are following us through the media. Dear brothers and sisters, may we remain united in Christ.  May the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts make us feel children of the Father, brothers and sisters of one another, brothers and sisters in our one human family. May the Holy Trinity, communion of love, make us grow in unity.

RIP Bishop Emeritus John Baptist Kaggwa - Death of Bishop, Appointed by Pope John Paul II, at Age 77 from COVID



JAN 22 UGANDA: Bishop emeritus John Baptist Kaggwa Dies Andrew Kaufa smm Bishop Emeritus John Baptist Kaggwa Bishop chairman for the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) Rt. Rev. Charles Kasonde has expressed sympathy with the Catholic Church in Uganda over the demise of the bishop emeritus of Masaka, Rt. Rev. John Baptist Kaggwa. The Uganda Episcopal Conference announced the death of Bishop Kaggwa on Wednesday January 20, 2021. “Rr. Rev. Antony Zziwa, the Chairman of Uganda Episcopal Conference, regrets to announce the demise of Rt. Rev. John Baptist Kaggwa, Bishop of Emeritus of Masaka. Details of funeral arrangements will be communicated later,” reads the press statement signed by Bishop Zziwa. 
 Bishop Kaggwa who was appointed by Pope John Paul II as Coadjutor Bishop for Masaka Diocese on December 19, 1994, served as the shepherd of the diocese until his retirement on April 16, 2019. In his message of condolence dated January 22, the chairman of AMECEA who is the Ordinary for Solwezi Diocese in Zambia has mourned the late Bishop Kaggwa as “an active member of AMECEA” who “championed solidarity and fraternity of the Catholic Church in the region.” “He made use of his specialization as a canonist in the areas of priestly formation and served as an advisor and guide to the Church in Uganda and AMECEA region,” continues Bishop Kasonde and adds, “I offer my condolences to the bishops in Uganda and in particular to the Ordinary of Masaka Diocese Rt Rev. Serverus Jjumba, the clergy, Religious men and women, close relatives, friends and the entire family of God in Uganda.” Born on March 23, 1943, the late John Baptist Kaggwa was ordained priest on July 28, 1971. He ordained bishop at Kitovu Cathedral, Masaka Diocese and served as coadjutor bishop from June 24, 1995 until he succeeded his predecessor Rt. Rev. Adrian Kivumbi Ddungu as bishop of Masaka on January 10, 1998. Bishop Kaggwa died at Mulago National Hospital in the Archdiocese of Kampala.
FULL TEXT Release: http://amecea.blogspot.com/

Honduras Congress Passes Pro-Life Bill to Permanently Ban Abortion as “Every Human Has the Right to Life”



Life News reports that Honduras Congress Passes Bill to Make Abortion Ban Permanent as “Every Human Has the Right to Life”

Honduran lawmakers voted Thursday to safeguard the right to life for unborn babies in their country.

Reuters reports the Congress of Honduras voted 88-28 in favor of legislation that would increase the vote threshold to 75 percent to repeal unborn babies’ constitutional right to life. To pass, the legislature must approve the measure a second time, but news outlets predicted that it will.

“Every human being has the right to life from the moment of conception,” said Congressman Mario Pérez, who introduced the measure last week.

Article 67 of the Honduran Constitution states that “the unborn will be considered born for everything that favors within the limits of the law.” It also prohibits abortions in all circumstances. Abortions have been illegal in the country since 1982.

Most Central and South American countries protect unborn babies’ right to life, but they face growing pressure from international groups to legalize abortion. (Above Edited from LifeNews.com

Pope Francis has often defended pro-life legislation on March 25, 2020 he said "Therefore, with St. John Paul II, who made this encyclical, with him I reaffirm with renewed conviction the appeal he made to all twenty-five years ago: "Respect, defend, love and serve life, every life, every human life !"

http://www.catholicnewsworld.com/2020/03/pope-francis-quotes-st-john-paul-ii.html

RIP Fr. Bonaventure Knaebel - Former Benedictine Archabbot Bonaventure Knaebel Dies at 102



Former Archabbot Bonaventure Knaebel diesSunday, January 24, 2021
Father Bonaventure Knaebel, OSB, monk, priest, and former archabbot of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, died in the monastery infirmary on Friday, January 22, 2021. He was 102.

Father Bonaventure Knaebel, OSB, monk, priest, and former archabbot of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, died in the monastery infirmary on Friday, January 22, 2021. He was 102.

Fr. Bonaventure was born in New Albany, IN, on September 6, 1918, to Vincent Joseph and Mary Elizabeth (Moore) Knaebel. He was given the name Merton James at his baptism. After completing his elementary education at Holy Trinity in New Albany, he entered the high school at Saint Meinrad in 1931.

He began college studies at Saint Meinrad in 1935, entered the novitiate in 1937, and professed his simple vows on August 6, 1938. He completed college studies in 1940 and began studying for the priesthood. He professed solemn vows on August 6, 1941, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 5, 1943.

Immediately after ordination, Fr. Bonaventure began graduate studies in mathematics at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., earning an MS degree in 1946.

Returning to Saint Meinrad, he taught in Saint Meinrad High School and College from 1946 to 1955, serving also as assistant spiritual director in the School of Theology. During these years, he also was assistant manager of The Grail and of the Abbey Press, and he studied advanced mathematics for three summers at the University of Pittsburgh.

Fr. Bonaventure was elected coadjutor abbot on June 3, 1955, to succeed Archabbot Ignatius Esser, and he was blessed as the fifth abbot and second archabbot of Saint Meinrad on August 31, 1955. He was the first Hoosier native to lead the monastery and, at 36, one of the youngest Benedictine abbots.

Under his leadership, Saint Meinrad Archabbey saw the construction of its first guest house and of St. Bede Hall, which provided a residence hall for college seminarians, science laboratories, and music practice rooms until the closing of the College in 1998.

He also oversaw the foundation of two monastic houses – St. Charles Priory in Oceanside, CA, (now Prince of Peace Abbey) and St. Benedict Priory in Huaraz, Peru (which ceased operation in 1984). He also formed a Development Program Committee and reorganized the Abbey Press.

Saint Meinrad School of Theology and the College of Liberal Arts achieved accreditation by the North Central Association under his direction, the Board of Trustees was completely revised, and a Board of Overseers consisting of diocesan priests and laity was organized. Fr. Bonaventure resigned from the Office of Archabbot on June 3, 1966, having served 11 years.

Fr. Bonaventure then began missionary work at Saint Meinrad’s foundation in Peru, South America. After eight years, he returned to the United States to serve from Saint Meinrad as mission procurator for the Huaraz foundation, work he continued for five years. In 1979, he accepted an assignment as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Jeffersonville, IN, for two years, after which he spent five years as pastor of St. Michael Parish in Charlestown, IN.

In 1986, the Abbot President of the Swiss-American Congregation sought his experience as an abbot and as a South American missionary and asked him to serve as administrator of Monasterio Benedictino in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico, which he did for two years.

Returning to this country in 1989, he served successive assignments as chaplain of St. Paul’s Hermitage, Beech Grove, IN, (six years); administrator of Corpus Christi Abbey, Sandia, TX, (two years); and administrator of St. Michael Parish, Bradford, IN (six years).

Fr. Bonaventure returned to the abbey in 2003. He was 85 years old, but he assisted in the Development Office and occasionally provided assistance in local parishes. For some years, he also regularly presided at Mass in the Infirmary Chapel and continued to preside at Spanish-language Masses at St. Mary’s Parish in Huntingburg, IN.

At the time of his death, he was the senior in age, profession, and ordination in the Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation. He was in the 82nd year of his monastic profession and the 77th year of priesthood.

The Office of the Dead will be prayed at 7 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday, January 26, in the Archabbey Church. The funeral liturgy will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Central on Wednesday, January 27, in the Archabbey Church. Burial will follow in the Archabbey Cemetery.

Since the church remains closed to the public because of the pandemic, services will be livestreamed at www.saintmeinrad.org/live.

FULL TEXT Release: https://www.saintmeinrad.org/news

Image Source: Screenshot from FB page of St. Meinrad Abbey

UN Adopts Resolution Condemning Offences against Religious Sites - “Promoting a culture of peace and tolerance to safeguard religious sites” FULL TEXT


Calling for Greater Efforts to Promote Culture of Tolerance, 
UN Release - General Assembly Adopts Resolution Condemning Offences against Religious Sites Calling for greater efforts to promote a culture of tolerance and peace at all levels, the General Assembly adopted a resolution today inviting the Secretary‑General to convene a global conference aimed at advancing the United Nations Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites, involving Governments, political figures, religious leaders, civil society and the media, among other stakeholders.

Introducing the draft resolution titled, “Promoting a culture of peace and tolerance to safeguard religious sites” (document A/75/L.54), the representative of Saudi Arabia said the text condemns offences or mockery against religious sites and symbols, rejects the use of violence to express any point of view and aims to develop a culture of peace as a shield against extremism and intolerance.  Noting that its facilitators worked for months to incorporate the views of all parties, he said its co-sponsors stand united in support of freedom of belief, opinion and expression, while also requiring mutual respect and continuous dialogue.

By other terms of the resolution — which the Assembly adopted without a vote — Member States denounced any moves to obliterate or forcibly convert religious sites, while strongly deploring violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief.  Expressing concern that racial and religious intolerance and stereotyping are on the rise, the Assembly condemned any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, and urged States to take effective measures to combat such incidents.  Members further emphasized that freedom of religion or belief, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of association are interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing.  They called on the United Nations to pursue strategies, educational initiatives and global communications campaigns aimed at strengthening the protection of religious sites and cultural heritage.

The representative of Portugal, speaking in explanation of position on behalf of the European Union and several other countries, underlined those nations’ staunch support of freedom of expression and belief.  “These values are at the core of our actions at the United Nations,” he said, citing two Assembly resolutions on those matters — including a recent text which sought to combat negative stereotyping or discrimination, as well as violence against persons based on religion.  Noting that the Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) is the right forum to consider such issues, he nevertheless emphasized the importance of free expression and freedom of the media to ensure an engaged citizenry.  While he would have preferred today’s resolution to focus solely on safeguarding religious sites in order to avoid overlap with previous resolutions, he joined the consensus, noting that the draft adopted had been much improved from its original version thanks to transparent negotiations.

The speaker for the United States underscored the core values of justice, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms, while rejecting violence.  Voicing support for General Assembly resolution 55/254 on the protection of religious sites, he stressed that odious or offensive speech is not in itself tantamount to violence and should not be restricted.  Rather, the United States advocates for robust speech protections alongside strong legal regimes that deal with hateful acts.  Associating himself with the statement delivered by the representative of Portugal, he added that respectful and constructive debate at the local, national and international levels can play an important role in combating hatred.

Morocco’s representative was among the speakers who spotlighted multiple recent attacks against mosques, synagogues and temples, noting that such incidents remain “fresh in our memories” and call for a collective global response.  The Assembly’s resolution underlines the importance of cooperation in order to improve Member States’ abilities to protect against such attacks, he said, adding that its adoption demonstrates the international community’s firm support for protecting religious sites around the world.

The speaker for India said that, as a multicultural State, his country safeguards all religious and cultural rights and protects places of worship.  In today’s world, religious and cultural sites remain highly vulnerable to attacks by violent extremists, as was seen recently when a historic Hindu temple was set ablaze in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan, while authorities stood idly by.  Warning against the selective enforcement of laws against attacks on religious sites, he stressed that, as long as such selectivity exists, the world will never be able to foster a real culture of peace.  Indeed, it is ironic that the country where that attack took place, and where minority rights are regularly violated, is one of the text’s co-sponsors.  “This resolution cannot be a smokescreen for countries like Pakistan to hide behind,” he stressed.

The representative of Pakistan, exercising his right of reply, categorically rejected the “unwarranted assertions” made against his country by India’s delegate.  Such accusations are often levelled by India against Pakistan, despite the fact that it is India that blames Muslims for spreading COVID-19, incites people against the so-called crime of “love jihad” and commits extrajudicial killings of innocent Kashmiris.  As a leading State sponsor of discrimination against minorities, India is in no position to blame others, he stressed, describing the strong steps taken by Pakistan in response to the attack on the temple in Khyber.

In other business, the Assembly took note of a letter addressed to its President from the Secretary-General (document A/75/661/Add.1), informing members that Libya, Niger and Zimbabwe have made the necessary payment to reduce their arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the United Nations Charter.

FULL TEXT Release: https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/ga12310.doc.htm

RIP Fr. Rene B. Regalado - Catholic Priest Shot Dead in the Philippines at Age 42 - the Diocese says they are “deeply wounded”





A Catholic priest was shot dead in southern Philippines on Sunday, the fourth member of the clergy to be killed in four years in Asia’s bastion of Christianity as reported by CBCP, the Bishops Conference of the Philippines. The diocese condemned the incident saying that they are “deeply wounded” over the killing of the 42-year-old priest.

DIOCESE OF MALAYBALAY - OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON THE UNTIMELY DEATH OF OUR BROTHER, REV. FR. RENE B. REGALADO

The Diocese of Malaybalay with its Clergy, Consecrated Persons and Lay Faithful especially the Regalado Family in San Jose Parish, Sinayawan, Valencia City are deeply wounded and saddened with the news of the untimely passing to eternal life of one its clergy, REV. FR. RENE B. REGALADO.  

We express our deepest sympathy to his immediate family and supplicate to the Lord of Life that justice will be served to the perpetrators of this heinous crime without compromising the Lord’s gift of mercy.  

Initial information gathered revealed that at around 7:30 in the evening of January 24, 2021, gunshots were heard at the road near the Malaybalay Carmel Monastery in Pal-ing, Patpat, Malaybalay City which prompted the priest at the Monastery to call for police assistance to verify what had happened. Fr. Regalado’s car indicated that he was going back to the St. John XXIII College Seminary where he was staying. He was in the city in the afternoon, meeting someone whom he did not indicate when he informed his companions at the seminary before he left at around one o’clock in the afternoon.  Between 8:30 - 9:00 in the evening, the 1st responders from the Malaybalay City Police Force arrived at the scene and conducted an initial investigation. At around 12:00 midnight, the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) arrived. At around 1:10 in the morning of January 25, 2021, the body of Fr. Regalado was picked up by Villanueva Funeral Homes for attention to avoid decomposition and to be ready for the needed autopsy.  The SOCO Regional Office will conduct the autopsy today. Meanwhile, the car that was used by Fr. Regalado was brought to the Philippine National Police Headquarters in Malaybalay City for further investigation, gathering and securing of evidence. The official investigation to the case is on-going.  We are waiting for further official findings and details.

After the needed autopsy, Fr. Regalado will be laid at the San Isidro Labrador Cathedral, Malaybalay City for the wake before he will be buried at the Malaybalay Catholic Cemetery on the date to be decided both by the Diocese of Malaybalay and his immediate family.  For those who want to visit him and his family at the Cathedral as soon as the wake is ready, we request that the pandemic protocols be strictly observed.

Fr. Rene Regalado was ordained to the Priesthood on October 18, 2007 with the laying on of hands of the Most Rev. Honesto Ch. Pacana, S.J, D.D., now our bishop emeritus. He finished his baccalaureate degree in Theology at San Isidro College and his pre-college and college seminary formation at St. John XXIII Pre-College and College Seminaries in Malaybalay City.  He finished his theological studies at the St. John Mary Vianney Theological Seminary in Camaman-an, Cagayan de Oro City.

We request everyone to offer prayers for the repose of the soul of Fr. Rene B. Regalado, for the consolation of his immediate family and the Clergy, for the immediate results of the investigation and that justice will be served to whom it is due.  

We put our full trust on the Divine Mercy, the loving intercessions of Our Lady of Mercy and that of our patron, San Isidro Labrador.  May the soul of Fr. Rene rest in peace and that God’s peace will continue to be with us.

Prepared by:

(SGD.) REV. FR. VIRGILIO H. DELFIN

Official Spokesperson

January 25, 2021, Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Approved by:

(SGD.) REV. MSGR. NOEL P. PEDREGOSA, STL

Diocesan Administrator

#BreakingNews 8 Children and 3 Adults Kidnapped after Attack on Orphanage in Nigeria - Please Pray!



AFRICA/NIGERIA - Eight children kidnapped in attack on orphanage in Abuja area

Monday, 25 January 2021

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - At least eight children have been abducted from an orphanage in Naharati in the Federal Territory of the capital, Abuja. On Saturday 23 January, at around 01.00 local time, a large group of heavily armed men stormed the structure of Rachael's Orphanage Home, heading directly towards the orphans' dormitory. In addition to the children, at least three adults were abducted.

A police spokesperson reduced the number of those abducted by saying only six were taken away, while another was found. Police have started searches in the forest to ensure the release of the other hostages.

The plague of kidnappings in Nigeria, which often affects members of the clergy as well, was stigmatized by His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Archbishop of Abuja, in his homily on January 18 at the St. Anthony parish of Yangoji, Abuja, whose parish priest, Fr. Matthew Dajo, was kidnapped and detained by his captors for ten days, from November 22, 2020, before his release on December 2, 2020 (see Fides, 12/3/2020).

"Left unchecked by the Nigerian authorities, this shameful and disgusting act will continue to give Nigeria a bad name and scare away visitors and investors to the Country. We pray for the release of those who are still in captivity and for the conversion of the perpetrators of this inhuman act. May Christ manifest Himself to the perpetrators of such evil actions as kidnapping, rape, killings, etc and grant them a change of heart", said the Cardinal, who gave thanks to God because "despite his travails in the hands of his abductors, he remains generally well, apart from the psychological trauma he still suffers". (L.M.) (Source: Agenzia Fides, 25/1/2021)

Image Source: Rachel's Home Website Screenshot

Novena to St. Paul for Conversion (Could also Mean Your own Heart) - Powerful Prayers to Share with your Friends!


Blessed Apostle Paul, who labored so zealously for the conversion of the Gentiles in many lands, obtain for us a perpetual zeal for the salvation of souls and especially enkindle our interest in the conversion of our separated brethern. Ever mindful of the interest that our Divine Lord, the Good Shepherd, has for the other sheep not of His fold, I now beg your intercession and obtain for me the gift of the true faith for ............. (Pause here and name relatives and friends)
May God grant this request so close to my heart and thus enable me to extend to another what I so richly enjoy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen Father in Heaven through the mystical wounds of Your Son Jesus have mercy on the souls who visit my web pages. Whoever visits this site is automatically prayed for night and day as long as I live God knows who you are and He will apply your petitions. My motto is I will not let the devil have my family, or any family. My soul or any soul, if I can prevent it, through prayer, sacrifice and pain and despair. I will fight the devil tooth and nail, till I take my last breath and then fight him from heaven for souls here on earth
Say for 9 days: say 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory be each day in addition to above prayers.

BREAKING : Court Blocks Mandate Forcing Doctors to Perform Controversial Gender Transition Procedures



Court blocks mandate forcing doctors to perform controversial gender transition procedures
Federal court upholds conscience rights for doctors and protects welfare of patients
Media Release Date
For Immediate Release: January 19, 2021

Legal Doc: Court Ruling in Sisters of Mercy v. Azar 01/19/2021
Case Page: Sisters of Mercy v. Azar
WASHINGTON – A federal court in North Dakota just blocked a requirement known as the Transgender Mandate that would force medical professionals and religious hospitals to perform gender transition procedures on their patients—including children—even when the procedures are potentially harmful. In Religious Sisters of Mercy v. Azar, an order of Catholic nuns, a Catholic university, and Catholic healthcare organizations sued the federal government challenging a provision of the Affordable Care Act that would have forced doctors to perform gender transition procedures even if doing so would violate their religious beliefs and medical judgment. Becket represented the plaintiffs, arguing that sensitive medical decisions should be kept between patients and their doctors without government interference, and that no one should be required by law to disregard their conscience or their professional medical judgment.
“Now more than ever, Americans are grateful for the sacrifices of our medical professionals who serve on the front lines and use their training and expertise to serve the vulnerable,” said Luke Goodrich, senior counsel at Becket. “The court’s decision recognizes our medical heroes’ right to practice medicine in line with their conscience and without politically motivated interference from government bureaucrats.”
In 2016, the federal government issued a mandate, applicable to nearly every doctor in the country, interpreting the Affordable Care Act to require them to perform gender transition procedures on any patient, including children, even if the doctor believed the procedure could harm the patient. Doctors who refused to violate their medical judgment would have faced severe consequences, including financial penalties and private lawsuits. Immediately, religious organizations and states sued, challenging the legality of the mandate in multiple courts. In 2016, a federal court in North Dakota put the rule on hold, and in 2019 another federal court in Texas struck it down. In June 2020, HHS passed a new rule aimed at walking back the requirement, but other courts have blocked that new rule. Today’s ruling is the second ruling from a federal court blocking the Transgender Mandate. The ruling protects patients, aligns with current medical research, and ensures doctors aren’t forced to violate their religious beliefs and medical judgment.
“These religious doctors and hospitals provide top-notch medical care to all patients for everything from cancer to the common cold,” said Goodrich. “All they’re asking is that they be allowed to continue serving their patients as they’ve done for decades, without being forced to perform controversial, medically unsupported procedures that are against their religious beliefs and potentially harmful to their patients. The Constitution and federal law require no less.”
FULL TEXT Press Release: https://www.becketlaw.org/