Friday, April 2, 2021

Interesting History of Holy Saturday and Current Elements of the Holiest Day in the Church Year



The rubrics of the Missale Romanum remind us that Holy Saturday is the "mother of all vigils" is the "greatest and most noble of all solemnities and it is to be unique in every single Church" ( Missale Romanum, "Rubrics for the Easter Vigil" (EV), no.2). On this holy night, the Church keeps watch, celebrating the resurrection of Christ in the sacraments and awaiting his return in glory. It is the turning point of the Triduum, the Passover of the new covenant, which marks Christ's passage from death to life. Therefore, the Easter Vigil does not correspond to the usual Saturday evening Mass and its character is unique in the cycle of the liturgical year.

History:   

 In the primitive Church Holy Saturday was known as Great, or Grand, Saturday, Holy Saturday, the Angelic Night, the Vigil of Easter, etc. It is no longer, like Maundy Thursday, a day of joy, but one of joy and sadness intermingled; it is the close of the season of Lent and penance, and the beginning of paschal time, which is one of rejoicing. We remember how Jesus was laid in the tomb and ressurected on the 3rd day.

By a noteworthy exception, in the early Church this was the only Saturday on which fasting was permitted (Constit. Apost., VII, 23), and the fast was one of special severity. Dating from the time of St. Irenaeus, an absolute fast from every kind of food was observed for the forty hours preceding the feast of Easter, and although the moment assigned for breaking the fast at dawn on Sunday varied according to time and country, the abstinence from food on Holy Saturday was general.

The night of the vigil of Easter has undergone a strange displacement. During the first six or seven centuries, ceremonies were in progress throughout the entire night, so that the Alleluia coincided with the day and moment of the Resurrection. In the eighth century these same ceremonies were held on Saturday afternoon and, by a singular anachronism, were later on conducted on Saturday morning, thus the time for carrying out the solemnity was advanced almost a whole day. Thanks to this change, special services were now assigned to Holy Saturday whereas, beforehand, it had had none until the late hour of the vigil.

This vigil opened with the blessing of the new fire, the lighting of lamps and candles and of the paschal candle, ceremonies that have lost much of their symbolism by being anticipated and advanced from twilight to broad daylight. St. Cyril of Jerusalem spoke of this night that was as bright as day, and Constantine the Great added unprecedented splendour to its brilliancy by a profusion of lamps and enormous torches, so that not only basilicas, but private houses, streets, and public squares were resplendent with the light that was symbolic of the Risen Christ. The assembled faithful gave themselves up to common prayer, the singing of psalms and hymns, and the reading of the Scriptures commentated by the bishop or priests. The vigil of Easter was especially devoted to the baptism of catechumens who, in the more important churches, were very numerous. On the Holy Saturday following the deposition of St. John Chrysostom from the See of Constantinople, there were 3000 catechumens in this church alone. Such numbers were, of course, only encountered in large cities; nevertheless, as Holy Saturday and the vigil of Pentecost were the only days on which baptism was administered, even in smaller churches there was always a goodly number of catechumens. This meeting of people in the darkness of the night often occasioned abuses which the clergy felt powerless to prevent by active supervision unless by so anticipating the ceremonies that all of them could take place in daylight. Rabanus Maurus, an ecclesiastical writer of the ninth century (De cleric. Instit., II, 28), gives a detailed account of the ceremony of Holy Saturday. The congregation remained silent in the church awaiting the dawn of the Resurrection, joining at intervals in psalmody and chant and listening to the reading of the lessons. These rites were identical with those in the primitive Church and were solemnized at the same hours, as the faithful throughout the world had not yet consented to anticipate the Easter vigil and it was only during the Middle Ages that uniformity on this point was established.

Current Elements of Holy Saturday

The Service of Light

In a suitable place outside the Church, a "blazing fire" ( rogus ardens) is to be prepared so that the people may gather around it and experience the flames dispelling the darkness and lighting up the night. Thus do the beauty of the fire, its warmth and its light, draw the liturgical assembly together. The rubrics, however, acknowledge that when this cannot be done adaptations may be made. The Missale also states that cross and candles are not to be carried in this procession (EV, no. 8).

Having reached the fire, the celebrant and faithful sign themselves with the sign of the cross while the priest says: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (EV, no. 9). After this new beginning, he greets the people and then gives the instruction (EV, no. 9). As the celebrant blesses the fire he says the prayer with hands outstretched (EV, no. 10).

The Paschal Candle is brought forward. This candle should be made of wax, never be artificial, be renewed each year, be only one in number, and be of sufficiently large size that it may convey the truth that Christ is the light of the world. This description is developed in no. 94 of Built of Living Stones which reminds us that the Paschal Candle is the symbol of the "light of Christ, rising in glory," scattering the "darkness of our hearts and minds." "Above all, the Paschal Candle should be a genuine candle, the pre-eminent symbol of the light of Christ. Choice of size, design, and color should be made in relationship to the sanctuary in which it will be placed . . . " (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Circular Letter Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts [1988], no 82).

The candle is then prepared in rites which are no longer optional. The celebrant cuts a cross into the candle with a stylus. Then he makes the Greek letter Alpha above the cross, the letter Omega below it, and the four numerals of the current year between the arms of the cross, saying the words indicated. After these rites, the priest lights the candle from the new fire and says: May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds. (EV, no.14)

The organization of the procession is more clearly described in the new Missale Romanum. One of the ministers takes burning coals from the fire and places them in a censer (thurible) and the priest, in the usual way, places incense into it. The deacon, or in his absence another appropriate minister accepts the Easter candle from the celebrant and a procession is formed. The order of procession is the thurifer with smoking thurible, preceding the minister holding the candle, followed by the ministers and the priest and the people. All hold unlit candles (EV, no.15). Just as the children of Israel were guided at night by the pillar of fire, so Christians follow the risen Christ.

The places at which the proclamation, Light of Christ, are sung now differ from what was in the previous Missale.

The new places are: at the door of the Church (after which the priest lights his candle), in the middle of the Church (after which all light their candles), and before the altar, facing the people. The Missale instructs the deacon to place the candle in a large candle stand prepared either next to the ambo or in the middle of the sanctuary (EV, no. 17). The lights of the Church are then lit with the exception of the altar candles which are lit just before the intonation of the Gloria (EV, nos. 17 and 31).

Before the Easter Proclamation, the priest gives his candle to one of the ministers and blesses incense as at the Gospel during Mass. Having asked for and received the blessing, the deacon announces the Easter proclamation from the ambo or at a lectern. This poetic text captures the whole Easter mystery placed within the context of the economy of salvation. In the absence of a deacon the priest himself or another concelebrating priest may announce the Easter proclamation. If, however, a lay cantor announces the proclamation, the words, My dearest friends, up to the end of the invitation are omitted, along with the greeting, The Lord be with you (nos. 18-19). The reference to the Conference of Bishops adapting the text by inserting acclamations is no longer mentioned.

Liturgy of the Word

One of the unique aspects of the Easter Vigil is the recounting of the outstanding deeds of the history of salvation. These deeds are related in seven readings from the Old Testament chosen from the law and the prophets and two readings from the New Testament, namely from the apostles and from the gospel. Thus, the Lord "beginning with Moses and all the prophets" ( Lk 24.27, 44-45) meets us once again on our journey and, opening up our minds and hearts, prepares us to share in the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the cup. The faithful are encouraged to meditate on these readings by the singing of a responsorial psalm, followed by a silent pause, and then by the celebrant�s prayer. The Missale adds a sentence about the nine readings proposed, saying that "all of these must be read whenever it can be done, so that the character of a Vigil which takes place over some duration of time can be observed" (EV, no. 20).
The new Missale recognizes that "nevertheless, where grave pastoral circumstances demand it, the number of readings from the Old Testament may be reduced" (EV, no 21). At least three readings from the Old Testament should be read always including Exodus 14 (EV, no. 21). The reference found previously in the Missale to the possibility of having only two Old Testament readings in extreme necessity is omitted.

The Missale is very specific about the priest singing the Alleluia before the Gospel: "After the Epistle has been read, all rise, and the priest solemnly intones the Alleluia three times, raising his voice a step each time. All repeat the Alleluia each time. If necessary, the psalmist intones the Alleluia. Mention is then made of the psalmist or cantor singing Psalm 117 and the people responding, 'Alleluia' (EV, no. 34). This psalm is often recited by the apostles in their Easter preaching" (Acts 4.11-12; Mt 21.42; Mk 12.10; Lk 20.17).

The Missale directs explicitly that the homily, even if it is brief, is not to be omitted (EV, no.36). This requires that the homilist carefully prepare and craft the homily so that it captures the tremendous mysteries being celebrated on this most holy of nights.

Liturgy of Baptism

The Missale has reorganized the rubrics for this entire section of the Vigil (nos. 37-58). Nevertheless, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults should always be consulted in conjunction with the rubrics mentioned here in the Missale. This is especially true when Baptisms are taking 
Christ's Passover and ours are given full expression when baptismal water is blessed in the font and when the Christian initiation of adults, or, at least the baptism of infants, takes place at the Easter Vigil. 
Even if there are no candidates for baptism, the blessing of baptismal water should take place in parish churches. At the very least, baptism should be commemorated by the blessing of water intended for sprinkling upon the people.
Liturgy of the Eucharist Care should be taken that, particularly in regard to this night's celebration of the Eucharist, the liturgy is not done in haste and that all the rites and words should be given their full force. 
 The Missale has incorporated into itself rubrics found in nos. 241-243 of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. These allow for a commemoration of the baptized and their godparents to be made in the Eucharistic Prayer. Proper formulas are found in the Roman Missal for each of the Eucharistic prayers (EV, no.63). 
Source: USCCB and The Catholic Encyclopedia

Saint April 3 : St. Richard : Bishop and Confessor : Patron of Coachmen

Born:
1197 at Droitwich, Worcestershire, England
Died:
3 April 1253 at Dover, England
Canonized:
1262 by Pope Urban IV
Major Shrine:
Chichester Cathedral
Patron of:
coachmen

St. Richard was born at the manor of Wiche, famous for its salt wells four miles from Worcester, being second son to Richard and Alice de Wiche In order to keep faithfully his baptismal vows, he from his infancy always manifested the utmost dislike to gay diversions, and ever held in the highest contempt all worldly pomp: instead of which his attention was wholly employed In establishing for himself a solid foundation of virtue and learning. Every opportunity of serving others he regarded as his happiness and gain. The unfortunate situation of his eldest brother's affairs gave him an occasion of exercising his benevolent disposition. Richard condescended to become his brother's servant, undertook the management of his farms and by his industry and generosity effectually retrieved his brother's before distressed circumstances. Having completed this good work, he resumed at Paris those studies he had begun at Oxford, leading with two select companions, a life of piety and mortification, generally contenting himself with coarse bread and simple water for his diet; except that on Sundays and on particular festivals he would, in condescendence to some visitors, allow himself a little meat or fish. Upon his return to England, he proceeded to become master of arts at Oxford, from whence he went to Bologna, in Italy, where he applied himself to the study of the canon law, and was appointed public professor of that science. After having taught there a short time, he returned to Oxford, and, on account of his merit, was soon promoted to the dignity of chancellor in that university. St. Edmund, archbishop of Canterbury. having the happiness of gaining him for his diocese, appointed him his chancellor, and intrusted him with the chief direction of his archbishopric; and Richard was the faithful imitator of his patron's piety and devotions. The principal use he made of his revenues was to employ them to charitable purposes, nor would he on any terms be prevailed on to accept the least present in the execution of his office as ecclesiastical judge. He accompanied his holy prelate in his banishment into France, and after his blessed death at Pontigni, retired into a convent of Dominican friars in Orleans. Having in that solitude employed his time in the improving himself in theological studies, and received the order of priesthood, he returned to England to serve a private curacy, in the diocese of Canterbury. Boniface, who had succeeded St. Edmund in that metropolitan see, compelled him to resume his office of chancellor, with the care of his whole diocese. Ralph Nevil, bishop of Chichester, dying in 1244, king Henry III. recommended to that see an unworthy court favorite, called Robert Passelew: the archbishop and other prelates declared the person not qualified, and the presentation void: and preferred Richard de Wiche to that dignity. He was consecrated in 1245. But the king seized his temporalities, and the saint suffered many hardships and persecutions from him and his officers, during two years, till his majesty granted him a replevin: upon which he recovered his revenues, but much impaired. And as, after having pleaded his cause at Rome before pope Innocent IV. against the king's deputies, and obtained a sentence confirming his election, he had permitted no persecution, fatigue. or difficulty to excuse him to himself for the omission of any part of his duty to his flock so now, the chief obstacles being removed, he redoubled his fervor and attention. He, in person, visited the sick, buried the dead, and sought out and relieved the poor. When his steward complained that his alms exceeded his income: "then," said he, "sell my plate and my horse." Having suffered a great loss by fire, instead of being more sparing in his charities, he said, "Perhaps God sent us this loss to punish our covetousness;" and ordered upon the spot more abundant alms to be given than usual. Such was the ardor of his devotion that he lived as it were in the perpetual contemplation of heavenly things. He preached the word of God to his flock with that unction and success which only an eminent spirit of prayer could produce. The affronts which he received, he always repaid with favors, and enmity with singular marks of charily. In maintaining discipline he was inflexible, especially in chastising crimes in the clergy, no intercession of the king, archbishop, and several other prelates could prevail with him to mitigate the punishment of a priest who had sinned against chastity. Yet penitent sinners he received with inexpressible tenderness and charity. While he was employed in preaching a holy war against the Saracens, being commissioned thereto by the pope, he fell sick of a fever, foretold his own death, and prepared himself for it by the most melting ejaculations of divine love and thanksgiving. He died in an hospital at Dover, called God's House, on the 3d of April, in the year of our Lord 1253, of his episcopal dignity the ninth, of his age the fifty-sixth. His body was conveyed to Chichester, and interred before the altar which he himself had consecrated in his cathedral to the memory of St. Edmund. It was removed to a more honorable place in 1276, on the 16th of June, on which day our ancestors commemorated his translation. The fame of miraculous cures of paralytic and other distempers, and of three persons raised to life at his tomb, moved the pope to appoint commissaries to inquire into the truth of these reports, before whom many of these miracles were authentically proved upon the spot; and the saint was solemnly canonized by Urban IV, in 1262.
Source: Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints

Pope Francis Presides over Way of the Cross on Good Friday with Reflections by Children of Rome - FULL TEXT + VIDEO



Pope Francis presided over the Way of the Cross, in a near-empty St Peter’s Square with reflections prepared by children of Rome.
Due to the pandemic, Pope Francis led the traditional Good Friday Via Crucis in a nearly-empty Saint Peter’s Square due to restrictions put in place by the Italian government to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
There were a few children, accompanied by their parents, catechists and teachers, who carried the cross around the obelisk.
One after the other, the children read their reflections and Pope Francis said some prayers while other children carried the Cross along a circular path marked out by burning torches.
The Pope, entrusted to children and young people the preparation of the meditations for the 2021 Via Crucis.
FULL TEXT- THE WAY OF THE CROSS
LED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
GOOD FRIDAY - 2 APRIL 2021
STATIONS OF THE CROSS 2021
Meditations and prayers presented by children and young people of Rome

 
Introduction
In the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit.
R/. Amen
Dear Jesus,
You know that we children also have crosses to carry. Crosses that are no lighter or heavier than those of adults, but are still real crosses, crosses that weigh us down even at night. Only you know what they are, and take them seriously. Only you.
Only you know how hard it is for me to learn not to be afraid of the dark and all alone.
Only you know how hard it is to wake up every morning after wetting the bed.
Only you know how hard it is to think quickly and to learn grammar and math.
Only you know how hard it is to see my parents fight and slam the door and not talk to each other for days.
Only you know how hard it is to be made fun of, and not be invited to parties.
Only you know what it means to be poor and have to do without things my friends have.
Only you know how hard it is to reveal a terrible secret, not knowing who to tell for fear of being betrayed, accused or not believed.
Dear Jesus, you once were a child like me. You used to play and maybe you would fall and hurt yourself. You also went to school and maybe some of your schoolwork was not exactly great. You too had a mom and a dad, and you know that there are times when I don’t want to obey them when they tell me to do my homework, to take out the trash, to make my bed and to tidy up my room. You too went to catechism and to prayer and you know that I’m not always perfectly happy to go there.
Dear Jesus, you more than anybody else know that there are children in our world who have nothing to eat, who cannot go to school, who are being used and forced to become soldiers.
Help us to carry our daily crosses as you carried yours. Help us to become better and better, to become what you want us to be. I thank you, because I know that you are always close to me and that you never abandon me, even when I am most afraid. And thank you too, for sending my guardian angel to light and guard me every day. Amen.
First Station
Pontius Pilate condemns Jesus to death
Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus; but they shouted out, “Crucify, crucify him!”. So Pilate gave sentence that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder… but Jesus he delivered up to their will (Lk 23:20-21.24-25).
Meditation
When I was in the first grade, Marco, one of the children in my class, was accused of stealing his classmate’s snack. I knew it wasn’t true, but I said nothing. It was not my problem, and everyone said he was the guilty one. Why should I have gotten involved?
Whenever I think about it, I still feel ashamed. I am sorry for what I did. I could have helped my friend; I could have told the truth and made things right. Instead, I acted like Pilate and decided to keep quiet. I chose the easier way and washed my hands of it. Now, I am so sorry for this. I wish I had had a bit of courage, followed my heart and helped my friend in need.
Sometimes we only listen to the voices of those who think and do evil, while doing what is right is like an uphill road, full of obstacles and difficulties. But we have Jesus at our side, always ready to support and help us.
Children’s Prayer
Jesus, give me a simple and sincere heart. That way I will have the courage and strength, even when it is hard, to do what you have told us is right. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me” (Ps 23:4).
Prayer
Lord, loving Father,
Fill us us with your Holy Spirit
and grant us your strength.
Only in this way will we find the courage
to bear witness to your truth,
which is the path to justice and reconciliation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
 
Second Station
Jesus takes up his cross
Now the men who were holding Jesus mocked him and beat him; they also blindfolded him and asked him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?”. And they spoke many other words against him, reviling him (Lk 22:63-65).
Meditation
In class, we took turns reading the book The Seagull and the Cat. When it was Martina’s turn, she began to mix up the letters and so none of it made sense. At every word, I would laugh, and the others with me. I still remember Martina all red in the face, her voice cracking and her eyes full of tears.
Maybe it wasn’t our intention to make fun of her, but how much pain we caused by our laughter!
Persecution is not just something that happened two thousand years ago. At times some of our actions can judge, mistreat and hurt one of our brother or sisters.
Perhaps there were times when hurting someone made us feel good, because seeing their suffering could make us hide our own unhappiness.
Jesus taught us to love, and in his love we find the answer to all our suffering. We should make every effort not to hurt others, but to be good to them.
Children’s Prayer
Jesus, nothing will ever separate us from your love. Make us able to love our less fortunate brothers and sisters.
Prayer
Lord, loving Father, you sent us Jesus,
who was obedient unto death.
May the power of your love
enable us courageously to take up our own cross.
Give us your hope so that we can know that you are there
even in the darkest moments of our lives.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
 
Third Station
Jesus falls for the first time
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities (Is 53:4-5).
Meditation
In the fifth grade, I was the best student in math. I finished the tests in a few minutes and the mark I received was always the same: “Excellent”.
But the first time I received a failing mark, I felt upset and worthless. This unexpected failure was too much for me. Suddenly I felt alone, with no one to comfort me.
But that moment made me grow. At home my parents comforted me and showed me their love. I picked myself up and continued to study hard.
Now I realize that we can stumble and fall daily, but Jesus is always there to hold out his hand to us, to help us bear the weight of our crosses and to give us new hope.
Children’s Prayer
Jesus, you fell beneath the heavy cross you were carrying. I too often fall and get hurt. Keep me on the right path and grant me the strength I need to bear my burdens together with you.
Prayer
Lord, you took upon yourself our sufferings
and shared in them, even to carrying the cross,
its burden and its humiliation.
Do not abandon us under the weight of our own crosses
that sometimes seem all too heavy for us to bear.
Who live and reign forever and ever.
Amen.
 
Fourth Station
Jesus meets his Mother
When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine”. And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come”. His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:3-5).
Meditation
When I think of my mother, I see her gentle face, I feel the warmth of her embrace and I realize how much love she has for me.
She takes me everywhere: to football practice, to language classes and to catechism on Sunday mornings.
In the evening, even if she is tired, she helps me do my homework. When I have nightmares, she sits with me, calms me down and waits for me to go back to sleep.
If I have a problem, a question or just some unpleasant thoughts, she is always ready to listen to me with a smile.
At my worst moments, I don’t need to say anything; one look is enough. She understands immediately and helps me to work through all my problems.
Children’s Prayer
Jesus, make us experience the loving embrace of Mary, our Mother in heaven.
Prayer
Lord, loving Father,
may we feel the gentle gaze of Mary
so that, realizing that we are no longer alone,
each of us may find rest in her maternal embrace,
for she embraced and loved everyone in Jesus,
who lives and reigns forever and ever.
Amen.
 
Fifth Station
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross
As they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus (Lk 23:26)
Meditation
During the summer, I played with my friends from the neighbourhood in the park in front of our house. A new family had moved into the neighbourhood, with a son the same age as myself. But he didn’t play with us; he did not really speak our language well. One day, I noticed that he was watching us at a distance; he wanted to play with us but he didn’t have the courage to ask. So I went over to him, introduced myself and invited him to play a game of football with us. Since then, Walid has become one of my best friends and the goalkeeper for our team as well.
Looking at people from afar, first we only see their silhouette, then we realize that it is a man or a woman. Then, slowly, we begin to make out the details of their face. But only when we see him or her as a brother or a sister, do we open our hearts to Jesus.
Children’s Prayer
Jesus, help me to welcome with love our brothers and sisters who feel lonely and excluded, whenever I happen to meet them.
Prayer
Lord, enable us to recognize you
in the poor whom we encounter on our way.
Give us the holy courage
to give food to the hungry,
to offer drink to the thirsty, to welcome strangers,
to clothe the naked and heal the sick,
to see and welcome you in each of our brothers and sisters.
You live and reign forever and ever.
Amen.
Sixth Station
A woman wipes the face of Jesus
Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will answer them, “Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren you did it to me” (Mt 25:37-40).
Meditation
That day, I was playing in the most important game of the championship. It was a chance to display all my talent. In the locker room, I was nervous and on edge but, on entering the field, I saw among the spectators Marco, my best friend. Although he did not like football, he had come to support me. It was the first time he had ever come to see me play; unfortunately, we lost.
While taking a shower, I was sad and discouraged, but, after leaving the locker room, there was my friend, holding a soft drink and waiting for me. We spent some time together. That time together, and that little gift, made everything more bearable. Losing the game became less of a bad memory.
An encounter, a look, a small gesture can change our day and warm our hearts. In the face of a friend, or even a stranger, who is upset, we can see the face of Jesus walking alongside me... Will I have the courage to get close?
Children’s Prayer
Jesus, may my eyes meet yours in times of difficulty, so that I can find comfort in your love.
Prayer
Lord, may the light of your face,
so full of mercy, soothe the pain
of the rejection and sin that afflict us.
Who live and reign forever and ever.
Amen.
 
Seventh Station
Jesus falls for the second time
He committed no sin; and no guile was found on his lips. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet 2:22-24).
Meditation
In fourth grade, I desperately wanted to be the star of the school play at the end of the year. I did my best to be chosen for the role. I repeated the lines over and over in front of a mirror, but the teacher decided to give the part to Giovanni. He was a boy who kept to himself.
At the time, I felt humiliated. I was angry with myself, with the teacher and with Giovanni. The play turned out well, and from that point on, Giovanni opened up more with our class.
My disappointment had served to help another person. The teacher’s choice had given an opportunity to someone who really needed it.
Children’s Prayer
Jesus, make me a channel of your love. Help me to hear the plea of those who are suffering or experiencing difficult situations, and to comfort them.
Prayer
Lord, you fell to the ground like any other person.
Give us the strength to keep getting up,
even when we no longer want to.
In times of weariness and despair
may we be ever more convinced that,
with you at our side, we can always set out anew.
Who live and reign forever and ever.
Amen.
 
Eighth Station
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, “Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed! Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us”; and to the hills, “Cover us”. For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry? (Lk 23:27-32).
Meditation
My brother and I were playing video games all afternoon. When evening came, Mom asked if we had done our homework. We both replied, “Yes, Mom”. I immediately went to my room and did my homework, while my brother kept watching TV on the sofa.
The next day he did not go to school. He said he was sick and claimed that he had a stomach ache.
When I came back home, I went to his room and we talked about what had happened. It was wrong for us to lie to our mother and for my brother to pretend to have a stomach ache.
I suggested that we do our homework right away, and so I helped him catch up on what he missed the day before. Once we finished, we spent the rest of the afternoon playing.
Correcting a brother or sister is difficult but necessary. It requires courage, simplicity and sensitivity.
Children’s Prayer
Jesus, you filled our hearts with sweetness and sensitivity. Help us to look after our little brothers and sisters.
Prayer
Lord, our Good Father,
make us credible witnesses of your mercy.
May our words and actions always be
a sign of true love, freely given,
for each of our brothers and sisters.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
Ninth Station
Jesus falls for the third time
[Jesus said:] Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life (Jn 12:24-25).
Meditation
Last year our family could not visit our grandparents any more. My parents told us that it is dangerous, since we could make them sick with Covid. I miss them!
I also miss my friends from volleyball and scouts.
Often I feel lonely.
School is also closed. There used to be times when I didn’t want to go, but now I would just like to get back to class to see my classmates and teachers again.
This miserable feeling of loneliness at times becomes unbearable. We feel “abandoned” by everyone, no longer able even to smile. Like Jesus we find ourselves flat on the ground.
Children’s prayer
Jesus, everlasting light, please shine on me, whenever I get lost in gloomy thoughts and feel far away from you.
Prayer
Lord, as a sacrificial lamb, you went up to Calvary.
Give us light in this dark night,
Lest we lose our way in these troubling times.
Who live and reign for ever and ever.
Amen.
Tenth Station
Jesus is stripped of his garments
[The soldiers] crucified him, and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. This was to fulfil the Scripture, “They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” (Mk 15:24; Jn 19:24).
Meditation
On the shelves in my room I had many dolls, each one of them different. I would receive a new doll as a gift on special occasions, and I was very fond of all my little friends.
One Sunday, during the announcements at the end of Mass, the priest mentioned a collection of toys for refugee children from Kosovo.
When I got back home, I looked at my dolls and thought: “Do I really need them?”.
Somewhat reluctantly, I chose a few of them, the oldest ones, the ones I liked the least. I prepared a box to bring them to church the following Sunday.
That evening, however, I felt I had not done enough. By the time I went to sleep the box was full of dolls and the shelves were empty.
Getting rid of things we don’t need lightens the soul and frees us from selfishness.
Giving makes us happier than receiving.
Children’s prayer
Jesus, watch over my heart. Free it from enslavement to material goods. Help me to give away not only the things I don’t need, but also some of those I do.
Prayer
Lord, loving Father, bridge our distances,
make us generous in sharing the gifts of your providence
with all our brothers and sisters.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
 
Eleventh Station
Jesus is nailed to the cross
And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” (Lk 23:35-37).
Meditation
One Christmas Day we went to Rome with the scouts, to visit the Missionary Sisters of Charity and to distribute food to the needy, instead of celebrating the day with our families.
On the train as we went there, I thought of all the things I was missing: my grandmother’s homemade pasta, the games we would all play, the Christmas cake, the opened gifts in front of the fireplace...
On the way back, I thought of the faces of all the people I had served, their smiles and the stories they told... The thought of having brought those people a little happiness made that Christmas unforgettable.
Offering ourselves and serving others with love is the teaching that Jesus gives us from the cross.
Children’s prayer
Jesus, free us from our pride and our prejudices. Open our hearts to the people around us.         
Let us pray.
Lord, give us the grace
not to be nailed to our sins,
but to see in each of our shortcomings
a new possibility
for revealing the power of your cross,
the source of life and hope.
Who live and reign for ever and ever.
Amen.
Twelfth Station
Jesus dies on the cross
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last (Lk 23:44-46).
Meditation
Not long ago, after discussing the topic in class, I wrote a paper about children caught up in organized crime. I thought: how can they do such terrible things?
Is it right to forgive those things? And what about me? Would I be able to forgive them?
Dying on the cross, Jesus offered salvation to everyone. He came not to call the righteous, but sinners who have the humility and the courage to be converted.
Children’s prayer
Jesus, give us the strength to forgive. For you have told us that: “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who have no need of repentance”.
Let us pray
Lord Jesus,
you died on the cross for us.
Accept our lives
as we cling to yours,
a sure and everlasting offer of grace.
Who live and reign for ever and ever.
Amen.
Thirteenth Station
Jesus is taken down from the cross
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him (Mt 27:57-58).
Meditation
People jumped out of the ambulance dressed like astronauts, wearing protective suits, gloves, masks and face shields. They took away my grandfather, who had been having difficulty breathing.
That was the last time that I saw my grandfather. He died a few days later in the hospital. I think of how lonely he must have felt.
I could not be near him physically, to tell him goodbye and to comfort him.
I prayed for him every day. That way I was able to be there with him during his final journey on this earth.
Children’s prayer
We thank you, Jesus, for having given us, by your death on the cross, the power of hope.
Let us pray
Lord, loving Father,
grant that we may feel your closeness
as a consoling and reconciling presence,
until the time when, by a gift of your providence,
you call us to be one with you.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
 
Fourteenth Station
Jesus is placed in the tomb
Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there (Jn 19:41-42).
Meditation
Dear Jesus, my name is Sarah and I am twelve years old. I want to thank you, because today you taught me to do good for the sake of your love. You taught me to overcome my troubles by trusting in you, to love others as my brothers and sisters, and to get up every time I fall. You taught me to serve others; to get rid of my prejudices; to recognize what is important and, above all, to unite my life to yours each day. Today, thanks to your act of infinite love, I know that death is not the end of everything.
Children’s prayer
Jesus, help us to keep praying, even when our hearts feel as heavy as the stone before your tomb.
Prayer
O Lord, loving Father,
when we encounter painful events along the journey of life,
give us the hope of Easter,
the path leading from death to resurrection.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
 
Final Prayer
Lord, merciful Father, once again this year we have followed your Son Jesus on the way of the cross. We followed him by listening to the voices and the prayers of the children whom you yourself set before us as the model for entering your kingdom.
Help us to be like them: little, in need of everything, open to life. May we regain our purity of heart and our ability to see things in a clear light.
We ask you to bless and protect every child in our world. May all children grow in wisdom, age and grace, and so come to know and follow your special plan for their happiness.
Bless too all parents, and those who assist them in raising these, your children, so that they may always feel one with you as givers of life and love.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
FULL TEXT Source: VaticanNews

Pope Francis Presides over Good Friday Celebration of the Lord's Passion at the Altar of the Chair in the Vatican Basilica - FULL VIDEO



At 6 pm, Rome time, this afternoon, Good Friday, the Holy Father Francis presides over the celebration of the Lord's Passion at the Altar of the Chair in the Vatican Basilica.

After the initial procession, the Pope performed the prostration under the steps of the presbytery.

The triple unveiling of the Cross precedes the act of adoration. After having adored the Cross, the Holy Father presents it to the silent adoration of the assembly.

During the Liturgy of the Word the account of the Passion according to John is read, then the Preacher of the Pontifical Household, Capuchin Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., gave the homily.

Vatican News reports that, in his Good Friday homily, the Preacher of the Papal Household noted that fraternity among Catholics is wounded. He explained that priests should be among the first to make a serious examination of conscience regarding building fraternity and unity in the Church.
“We build fraternity in precisely the same way that we build peace, that is starting close by, with ourselves… For us, that means universal fraternity starts with the Catholic Church,” said the Preacher of the Papal Household, Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa.  He made the point in his homily at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday evening in St. Peter’s Basilica, which was presided over by Pope Francis.  In observance of the Covid-19 health protocols, the liturgy was attended by a limited number of faithful
“The mystery of the cross that we are celebrating,” the Italian cardinal said, “obliges us to focus precisely on this Christological foundation of fraternity which was inaugurated on Calvary.”  When Jesus says, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me”, he intends to include every human person in need of help.  
 In the Paschal Mystery, Christ becomes “the firstborn among many brothers” (Rm 8:29).  Cardinal Cantalamessa noted that it is only after the resurrection that Jesus calls his disciples brothers for the first time.  “Go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’,” He tells Mary Magdalen.  
The Cardinal explained, “the divisions that polarize Catholics, stem from political opinions that grow into ideologies after being given priority over religious and ecclesial considerations”, issues that are “not openly talked about or are disdainfully denied”.
Cardinal Cantalamessa said, “Pastors need to be the first to make a serious examination of conscience.”  They need to ask themselves whether they are leading their flocks to themselves or to Jesus. 
Edited from Vatican News

#BreakingNews Catholic Priest and 3 Others Killed after Celebrating Holy Mass in Nigeria - RIP Fr. Ferdinand



The Priest of St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Nigeria, Benue State,  Fr. Ferdinand Ngugban, and three parishioners have been killed, by armed men. The Vanguard reports that Father Ngugban was sitting outside the church at about 7:30 am after the morning mass when the assailants invaded the church.
A Catholic priest, Father Ferdinand Fanen Nguban, and at least three other people were killed in an attack on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at a parish in Benue State, in Nigeria's middle belt region.
The priest had just finished celebrating the morning Mass and was within the church premises when the unknown assailants shot at him.
On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, a statement was released from the Chancellor of the Diocese of Katsina-Ala, Fr Fidelis Phelle Akumbul who wrote : “After celebrating Mass and while he prepared to leave for Chrism Mass at St. Gerard Majella Cathedral, Katsina-Ala, to renew his priestly vows alongside his brother priests, there was pandemonium among the internally displaced persons who took refuge in the parish premises.”
“Fr Ferdinand went out to find out the cause of the confusion. He was shot in the head as he tried to take cover after sighting armed gunmen,” the statement said.
Vatican News reports that several houses were also said to have been set ablaze during the Tuesday attack by the gunmen.

This latest attack comes just a few days after the release of another priest, Fr. Harrison Egwuenu of the Diocese of Warri, who was kidnapped by gunmen on 15 March.
Edited from Vanguard News and Vatican News

Powerful Prayer - The Stations of the Cross - Walk with Jesus on Good Friday! - Easy GUIDE with VIDEO

The Stations of the Cross is a series of images showing the struggles of Jesus Christ from his condemnation to his crucifixion. They are especially prayed during Lent but can be said all year round. There are usually 14 images that are hung in order around a church or along a path. People walk from image to image, and stop at each "station" saying prayers and possibly reading scripture passages. This prayer is often held by groups or individually.
 
 Other names for the Stations of the Cross are the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows, or, The Way. In Jerusalem, the Via Dolorosa is the actual path that Jesus walked, and the stations are the actual places where the events occurred.  St. Francis of Assisi started the tradition of moving from station to station although it was practiced less formerly before. In Lent, and on Good Friday, this practice is very popular but it is also prayed during the year.The number of stations varied throughout history; Pope Clement XII extended to all churches the right to have the stations. Ultimately, the stations are an act of love towards Jesus to thank him for the great sacrifices he made for love of us and to atone for our sins.
Here is the most common list of Stations with a short prayer used by Franciscan Missionaries:
 First Station - Jesus Condemned to Death

O Jesus!  so meek and uncomplaining, teach me resignation in trials.

Second Station Jesus Carries His Cross

My Jesus, this Cross should be mine, not Thine; my sins crucified Thee.

Third Station Our Lord Falls the First Time

O Jesus!  by this first fall, never let me fall into mortal sin.

Fourth Station Jesus Meets His Mother

O Jesus!  may no human tie, however dear, keep me from following the road of the Cross.

Fifth Station Simon the Cyrenean Helps Jesus Carry His Cross

Simon unwillingly assisted Thee; may I with patience suffer all for Thee.

Sixth Station Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

O Jesus!  Thou didst imprint Thy sacred features upon Veronica's veil; stamp them also indelibly upon my heart.

Seventh Station The Second Fall of Jesus

By Thy second fall, preserve me, dear Lord, from relapse into sin.

Eighth Station Jesus Consoles the Women of Jerusalem

My greatest consolation would be to hear Thee say: "Many sins are forgiven thee, because thou hast loved much."

Ninth Station Third Fall of Jesus

O Jesus!  when weary upon life's long journey, be Thou my strength and my perseverance.

Tenth Station Jesus Stripped of His Garments

My soul has been robbed of its robe of innocence; clothe me, dear Jesus, with the garb of penance and contrition.

Eleventh Station Jesus Nailed to the Cross

Thou didst forgive Thy enemies; my God, teach me to forgive injuries and FORGET them.

Twelfth Station Jesus Dies on the Cross

Thou art dying, my Jesus, but Thy Sacred Heart still throbs with love for Thy sinful children.

Thirteenth Station Jesus Taken Down from the Cross

Receive me into thy arms, O Sorrowful Mother; and obtain for me perfect contrition for my sins.

Fourteenth Station Jesus Laid in the Sepulchre

When I receive Thee into my heart in Holy Communion, O Jesus, make it a fit abiding place for Thy adorable Body.  Amen.

15. Resurrection of Jesus is sometimes included as a fifteenth station.
Common prayers at each Station:
(while genuflecting)

P/ We adore thee O Christ and we praise thee.

C/Becuase by thy Holy cross thou hast redeemed the world.

And,  at each station:

Say 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be prayer.
Indulgences are: 
  • A plenary indulgence every time the devotion is completed.
  • An additional plenary indulgence if one receives Holy Communion on the day.
  • Also an additional plenary indulgence if one performs the devotion ten times and receives Holy Communion within a month after so doing.
  • A partial indulgence of ten years for every Station made if one was not able to finish the Stations.
    The conditions for gaining them are
    • Walking from Station to Station when making the Way of the Cross privately; when making it publicly, it suffices for the priest with the altar boys to do so. Meditate at each Station on the sufferings of our Lord.

    • These two conditions are essential. No oral prayers are prescribed; yet they are profitable.
    • A plenary indulgence* is granted to the faithful for making the Stations of the Cross under the normal conditions: one is free from all attachment from sin


  • one receives the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist (7 days before or after)
  • one prays for the intentions of the Pope (1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be) 
  • Divine Mercy Novena Begins - Instructions with Plenary Indulgence - Powerful #DivineMercy Prayers Against Evil to Share!

    The Divine Mercy is a prayer devotion that was revealed by a Polish Catholic Nun, St. Faustina, in the 1930s. The prayers are most often said at 3pm in honor of Jesus' death on the cross. Pope John Paul II approved this prayer devotion. The Sunday after Easter is known as Divine Mercy Sunday and the Church offers a plenary indulgence on that day.  The official Divine Mercy Novena officially begins today (instructions below)

    PRAY – DIVINE MERCY NOVENA
    JESUS said: I will deny nothing to any soul whom you will bring to the fount of My mercy. On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My bitter Passion, for graces for these souls".
      NOVENA - Say for 9 days (can be said at anytime)
    Day 1. Today, bring to Me all mankind,especially all sinners, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me. 

    Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from it. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
    Oh omnipotence of Divine Mercy,
    Salvation of sinful people,
    You are a sea of mercy and compassion;
    You aid those who entreat You with humility.
    Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.
    Day 2. Today bring to me the souls of priests and religious, and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave Me the strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them, as through channels, My mercy flows out upon mankind.

    Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in us, that we may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.

    The fountain of God’s love
    Dwells in pure hearts,
    Bathed in the Sea of Mercy Radiant as stars,
    bright as the dawn.

    Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company [of chosen ones] in Your vineyard — upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.
    Day 3.Today bring to Me all devout and faithful souls, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought Me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were that drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness. 

    Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from it. We beg this of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.

    The miracles of mercy are impenetrable.
    Neither the sinner nor just one will fathom them.
    When You cast upon us an eye of pity,
    You draw us all closer to Your love.

    Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.
     Day 4. Today bring to Me the unbelievers and those who do not yet know me. I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. 

    Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of pagans who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.

    May the light of Your love
    Enlighten the souls in darkness;
    Grant that these souls will know You
    And, together with us, praise Your mercy.

    Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of pagans and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
    Day 5. Today bring to Me the souls of heretics and schismatics, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart; that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church, My wounds heal, and in this way they alleviate My Passion. 

    Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of heretics and schismatics. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.

    Even for those who have torn the garment of your unity,
    A fount of mercy flows from Your Heart.
    The omnipotence of Your mercy, Oh God.
    Can lead these souls also out of error.

    Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of heretics and schismatics, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.
    Day 6. Today bring to me the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who would keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. Only the humble soul is able to receive My grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.

    Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father’s favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.

    A truly gentle and humble soul
    Already here on earth the air of paradise breathes,
    And in the fragrance of her humble heart
    The Creator Himself delights.

    Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon the souls of little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
    Day 7. Today bring to me the souls who especially venerate and glorify My mercy, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over My Passion and entered most deeply into My Spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.

    Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy. These souls are united to Jesus and carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

    A soul who praises the goodness of her Lord
    Is especially loved by Him.
    She is always close to the living fountain
    And draws graces from Mercy Divine.

    Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their spirit, overflowing with joy, sings a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God: Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them, I Myself will defend as My own glory, during their lifetime, and especially at the hour of their death, those souls who will venerate My fathomless mercy.
    Amen.
    Day 8. Today bring to Me the souls who are in the prison of Purgatory, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice. 

    Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of the purifying fire, that in that place, too, the power of Your mercy may be praised.

    From that terrible heat of the cleansing fire
    Rises a plaint to Your mercy,
    And they receive comfort, refreshment, relief
    In the stream of mingled Blood and Water.

    Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen

    Day 9. Today bring to Me souls who have become lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: “Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.” For them, the last hope of salvation is to flee to My mercy.

    Most Compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love let these tepid souls, who like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

    Fire and ice cannot be joined,
    Either the fire dies, or the ice melts.
    But by Your mercy, O God,
    You can make up for all that is lacking.

    Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls, who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.

    Wow Pope Francis makes Surprise Visit to Health Care Workers and Homeless getting Vaccines at the Vatican




    Vatican News reports that on Good Friday morning Pope Francis visited with the homeless and while they received Covid vaccinations provided by the Vatican. The Vatican is providing vaccinations to over 1000 homeless. The Pope greeted the volunteers, doctors and nurses helping them.

    Pope Francis visited the atrium of the Paul VI Audience Hall where Covid vaccinations were being given to the homeless or those needing special assistance. They were helped by volunteers from charitable associations of Rome.

    Pope Francis spoke with them as they awaited their vaccination. He greeted the doctors and nurses with a friendly smile. 

    Source: Edited from Vatican News - Image Screenshot VaticanMedia

    Remembering Saint Pope John Paul II who Died April 2, 2005 at Age 84 - #JPII

    Pope John Paul II, who was born in Poland on May 18, 1920, reigned as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from October 16, 1978 until his death on April 2, 2005.   Saint Pope John Paul II was canonized on April 27, 2013, at a celebration in Saint Peter's Square, presided by Pope Francis. His Feast day is October 22.

    JPII as he was known touched the hearts of the world with his great compassion and joyful presence. He helped with the end of the separation of East and West Germany. Pope John Paul II traveled to over 100 countries with a message of peace. In 1981, someone tried to kill him and shot him twice but he miraculously survived and when better went to visit the shooter in prison and forgave him.
    He wrote: Apostolic Letters‎: ‎45 Encyclicals‎: ‎14 Apostolic Exhortations‎: ‎14. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian Pope in 400 years. Pope John Paul II was famous for his influence in bringing down the wall in Germany and fighting Communism. 
     Today is Pope John Paul II day in Ontario, Canada. Pope John Paul II visited Ontario twice during his pontificate of more than 25 years.   (the picture below shows Pope Francis kneeling before the tome of Pope John Paul II)
    Watch this Touching Video Tribute to St. Pope John Paul II with his most Famous moments and Share with a Friend!





       

    Beautiful "Anima Christi" Sung with Images of Christ's Passion and Death will Touch Your Heart!

    The Catholic prayer, Anima Christi, is set to music composed by Macro Frisina.
    The prayer itself is usually recited after the reception of Holy Communion
     Full Lyrics in Latin and English:
     Anima Christi, sanctifica me. Corpus Christi, salva me. Sanguis Christi, inebria me. Aqua lateris Christi, lava me. Passio Christi, conforta me. O bone Jesu, exaudi me. Intra tua vulnera absconde me. Ne permittas me separari a te. Ab hoste maligno defende me. In hora mortis meae voca me. Et iube me venire ad te, Ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem te, In saecula saeculorum. Amen.
     Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O good Jesus, hear me. Within Thy wounds hide me. Separated from Thee let me never be From the malicious enemy defend me. In the hour of my death call me And bid me come unto Thee That I may praise Thee with Thy saints for all eternity. Amen.

    Saint April 2 : St. Mary of Egypt a Former Prostitute who Repented and Lived as a Hermitess in the Desert


    Feast Day: April 1, 2 or 3rd 
    Born:
    344, Egypt
    Died:
    421, Trans-Jordan desert, Palestine
    Patron of:
    Chastity; Demons (deliverance from); Fever; Skin diseases

    Born probably about 344; died about 421. At the early age of twelve Mary left her home and came to Alexandria, where for upwards of seventeen years she led a life of public prostitution. At the end of that time, on the occasion of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, she embarked for Palestine, not however with the intention of making the pilgrimage, but in the hope that life on board ship would afford her new and abundant opportunities of gratifying an insatiable lust. Arrived in Jerusalem she persisted in her shameless life, and on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross joined the crowds towards the church where the sacred relic was venerated, hoping to meet in the gathering some new victims whom she might allure into sin. And now came the turning-point in her career. When she reached the church door, she suddenly felt herself repelled by some secret force, and having vainly attempted three or four times to enter, she retired to a corner of the churchyard, and was struck with remorse for her wicked life, which she recognized as the cause of her exclusion from the church. Bursting into bitter tears and beating her breast, she began to bewail her sins. Just then her eyes fell upon a statue of the Blessed Virgin above the spot where she was standing, and in deep faith and humility of heart she besought Our Lady for help, and permission to enter the church and venerate the sacred wood on which Jesus had suffered, promising that if her request were granted, she would then renounce forever the world and its ways, and forthwith depart whithersoever Our Lady might lead her. Encouraged by prayer and counting on the mercy of the Mother of God, she once more approached the door of the church, and this time succeeded in entering without the slightest difficulty. Having adored the Holy Cross and kissed the pavement of the church, she returned to Our Lady's statue, and while praying there for guidance as to her future course, she seemed to hear a voice from afar telling her that if she crossed the Jordan, she would find rest. That same evening Mary reached the Jordan and received Holy Communion in a church dedicated to the Baptist, and the day following crossed the river and wandered eastward into the desert that stretches towards Arabia.
    Here she had lived absolutely alone for forty-seven years, subsisting apparently on herbs, when a priest and monk, named Zosimus, who after the custom of his brethren had come out from his monastery to spend Lent in the desert, met her and learned from her own lips the strange and romantic story of her life. As soon as they met, she called Zosimus by his name and recognized him as a priest. After they had conversed and prayed together, she begged Zosimus to promise to meet her at the Jordan on Holy Thursday evening of the following year and bring with him the Blessed Sacrament. When the appointed evening arrived, Zosimus, we are told, put into a small chalice a portion of the undefiled Body and the precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (P.L. LXXIII, 686; "Mittens in modico calice intemerati corporis portionem et pretiosi sanguinis D.N.J.C." But the reference to both species is less clear in Acta SS., IX, 82: "Accipiens parvum poculum intemerati corporis ac venerandi sanguinis Christi Dei nostri"), and came to the spot that had been indicated. After some time Mary appeared on the eastern bank of the river, and having made the sign of the cross, walked upon the waters to the western side. Having received Holy Communion, she raised her hands towards heaven, and cried aloud in the words of Simeon: "Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace, because my eyes have seen thy salvation". She then charged Zosimus to come in the course of a year to the spot where he had first met her in the desert, adding that he would find her then in what condition God might ordain. He came, but only to find the poor saint's corpse, and written beside it on the ground a request that he should bury her, and a statement that she had died a year before, on the very night on which he had given her Holy Communion, far away by the Jordan's banks. Aided, we are told, by a lion, he prepared her grave and buried her, and having commended himself and the Church to her prayers, he returned to his monastery, where now for the first time he recounted the wondrous story of her life.
    The saint's life was written not very long after her death by one who states that he learned the details from the monks of the monastery to which Zosimus had belonged. Many authorities mention St. Sophronius, who became Patriarch of Jerusalem in 635, as the author; but as the Bollandists give good reasons for believing that the Life was written before 500, we may conclude that it is from some other hand. The date of the saint is somewhat uncertain. The Bollandists place her death on 1 April, 421, while many other authorities put it a century later. The Greek Church celebrates her feast on 1 April, while the Roman Martyrology assigns it to 2 April, and the Roman Calendar to 3 April. The Greek date is more likely to be correct; the others may be due to the fact that on those days portions of her relics reached the West. Relics of the saint are venerated at Rome, Naples, Cremona, Antwerp, and some other places. Catholic Encyclopedia