Friday, February 26, 2021

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Friday, February 26, 2021 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church



 Friday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 228
Reading I
Ez 18:21-28
Thus says the Lord GOD:
If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, 
    if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just,
    he shall surely live, he shall not die. 
None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him;
    he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced. 
Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked?
    says the Lord GOD. 
Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way
    that he may live?
And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil,
    the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does,
    can he do this and still live?
None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered,
    because he has broken faith and committed sin;
    because of this, he shall die. 
You say, “The LORD’s way is not fair!” 
Hear now, house of Israel:
    Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?
When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies,
    it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.
But if the wicked, turning from the wickedness he has committed,
    does what is right and just,
    he shall preserve his life;
    since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed, 
    he shall surely live, he shall not die.
(Mass starts after the Stations of the Cross at the 15:37 Mark)
Responsorial Psalm
130:1-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7bc-8
R.    (3) If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
    LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to my voice in supplication.
R.    If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
    LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
    that you may be revered. 
R.    If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
I trust in the LORD;
    my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
    more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
    Let Israel wait for the LORD.
R.    If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
For with the LORD is kindness
    and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
    from all their iniquities.
R.    If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Verse before the Gospel
Ez 18:31
Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.
Gospel
Mt 5:20-26
Jesus said to his disciples: 
“I tell you, 
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, 
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”
Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion

At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Saint February 26 : St. Porphyrius : Bishop of Gaza in Palestine

St. Porphyrius
BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

Feast Day:
February 26
Born:
347, Thessalonica, Greece
Died:
February 26, 420, Gaza, Palestine
Bishop of Gaza in Palestine, b. at Thessalonica about 347; d. at Gaza, 26 February, 420. After five years in the Egyptian desert of Scete he lived five years in a cave near the Jordan. In spite of his impaired health, he frequently visited the scene of the Resurrection. Here he met the Asiatic Mark, at a later date a deacon of his church and his biographer. To effect the sale of the property still owned by Porphyrius in his native city, Mark set out for Thessalonica and, upon his return, the proceeds were distributed among the monasteries of Egypt and among the necessitous in and around Jerusalem. In 392 Porphyrius was ordained to the priesthood, and the relic of the Holy Cross was intrusted to his care. In 395 he became Bishop of Gaza, a stronghold of paganism, with an insignificant Christian community. The attitude of the pagan population was hostile so that the bishop appealed to the emperor for protection and pleaded repeatedly for the destruction of pagan temples. He finally obtained an imperial rescript ordering the destruction of pagan sanctuaries at Gaza. A Christian church was erected on the site of the temple of Marnas. In 415 Porphyrius attended the Council of Diospolis. The "Vita S. Porphyrii" of Mark the Deacon, formerly known only in a Latin translation, was published in 1874 by M. Haupt in its original Greek text; a new edition was issued in 1895 by the Bonn Philological Society.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Wow Famous Artist Timothy Schmalz Reveals his New Sculptures of St. Padre Pio - Wrestling the Devil! VIDEO



The famous artist, Timothy Schmalz, known for his sculpture of the Homeless Jesus and Angels Unawares at the Vatican and around the world announces some exciting new works. For over 25 years, Timothy has been sculpting large scale sculptures.  He says of himself: "I am devoted to creating artwork that glorifies Christ. The reason for this devotion, apart from my Christian beliefs, is that an artist needs an epic subject to create epic art. I describe my sculptures as being visual prayers." 
In this exclusive Interview with Catholic News World, from his studio, Timothy Schmalz tells us of his latest sculptures of St. Padre Pio as wrestling with the Devil! These 2 new Padre Pio sculptures bring us closer to this powerful Saint. The second statue features Mother Mary and Padre Pio in the form of a fish, the ancient symbol of Christianity. 
LISTEN to Timothy Schmalz describe his incredible New Artwork and a sneak peak into upcoming statues for the year of St. Joseph! 
(a New Mini-Series on Art and Faith with Timothy Schmalz on CNW's Youtube Channel)

Bishops of the Philippines will Unite to Consecrate the Nation to St. Joseph on May 1st



The Bishops of the Philippines will consecrate nation to St. Joseph on May 1, 2021. CBCP News, a website of the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines announces that the Philippine Catholic bishops will consecrate the nation to the patronage of St. Joseph on May 1, his feast day.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the episcopal conference approved the national consecration and assigned the bishops’ Commission on the Laity, which he chairs, to organize the event.
To make sure the devotion is understood well and practiced properly, the Laiko laid out a 33-day “spiritual preparation” for the consecration that starts on March 30.
They are also facilitating the distribution of the book “Consecration to St. Joseph” by Marian Fr. Donald Calloway to dioceses and for those joining the celebration.
The event is one of the highlights of the Philippine Church’s celebration of the current “Year of St. Joseph”.
Pope Francis has declared the special year in honor of the 150th anniversary of the saint as patron of the Universal Church.
The Laiko on Feb. 13 organized a virtual conference with Calloway on “how to make the Year of St. Joseph more meaningful and life-changing”.

In his talk, the American priest lauded the national consecration as the world continues to face the ongoing effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.
“I know the Philippines is having a difficult right time now… We can go to him for everything, for hope, for peace, for conversion to bring us closer to Jesus and Mary,” Calloway said.
“And when you do it in the Philippines, the fruit is not only going in the Philippines because I know that Filipinos are going to spread this everywhere,” he said.
According to him, St. Joseph will help “increase” one’s virtue and holiness “because that’s what a good father does”.
“We are going to know the comfort of such a good father because that’s what he did for Jesus and Mary, and that is what he wants to do for us,” Calloway added.
“It is important to remember that we have the Virgin Mary as our spiritual mother, and we have St. Joseph as our spiritual father,” he also said.
The national consecration falls on International Workers’ Day, also known as Labor Day in most countries like the Philippines.
St. Joseph is the patron of many things including workers, fathers and families. Source: CBCP News
(Below is a short Consecration prayer to St. Joseph that can be said daily)

EU Bishops of COMECE send Letter in Support of Unborn to European Union Parliament "...the Catholic Church...calls for the protection and care of all unborn life." FULL TEXT



EU Bishops address the President of the Parliament on the recent Resolution on abortion in Poland

 

The Presidency of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) addresses a letter to David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, with regard to the European Parliament Resolution of 26 November 2020 on abortion in Poland. In their letter, the EU Bishops emphasize once again that the Catholic Church, which seeks to support women in life situations arising from difficult or unwanted pregnancies, calls for the protection and care of all unborn life.

 

“From a legal perspective – the Bishops underline - neither European Union legislation nor the European Convention on Human Rights provide for a right to abortion. This matter is left up to the legal systems of the Member States”.

 

A fundamental principle of the European Union is the principle of conferral, under which the Union shall act only within the limits of the competences conferred upon it by the Member States  in the Treaties. “Strict observance of this principle is – reads the letter – a requirement of the rule of law, one of the fundamental values of the Union”.

 

While endorsing the Parliament’s Resolution emphasis on the respect for the rule of law, COMECE stresses that “the rule of law also requires respect for the competences of the Member States and the choices made by them in the exercise of their exclusive competences”.

 

In their letter, the Bishops of the EU also express concern on the questioning by the EP Resolution of the fundamental right to conscientious objection, which is an emanation of freedom of conscience. “This is particularly worrying – the letter continues – considering that in the healthcare sector conscientious objectors are in many cases subject to discrimination”.

Press release: http://www.comece.eu/eu-bishops-address-the-president-of-the-parliament-on-the-recent-resolution-on-abortion-in-poland

FULL TEXT Letter:

Dear President Sassoli,
We write to you with regard to the European Parliament Resolution of 26
November 2020 on the right to abortion in Poland. The Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) has taken note with concern of some of the arguments and points in this Resolution.
We would like to take this opportunity to emphasize once again that the Catholic Church, which seeks to support women in life situations arising from difficult or unwanted pregnancies, calls for the protection and care of all unborn life. Every human person is called into being by God and needs protection, particularly when he or she is
most vulnerable. Special safeguard and care for the child, before and after birth, is also expressed in international legal standards, for instance in the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child. All necessary support must be provided to
women in difficult life situations of unwanted or difficult pregnancies.
From a legal perspective we wish to underline that neither European Union
legislation nor the European Convention on Human Rights provide for a right to abortion. This matter is left up to the legal systems of the Member States.
A fundamental principle of the European Union is the principle of conferral, under which the Union shall act only within the limits of the competences conferred
upon it by the Member States in the Treaties to attain the objectives set out therein (Article 5.2 of the Treaty of the European Union). Strict observance of this principle is, in turn, a requirement of the rule of law, one of the fundamental values of the Union,
enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union. As the Parliament's Resolution rightly stresses, respect for the rule of law is essential for the functioning of the Union. That being said, the rule of law also requires respect for the competences of
the Member States and the choices made by them in the exercise of their exclusive competences.
COMECE is also alarmed about the fact that the Resolution seems to question the fundamental right to conscientious objection, which is an emanation of freedom of conscience (Article 10.1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union).
This is particularly worrying considering that in the healthcare sector conscientious objectors are in many cases subject to discrimination. In our view, such unjust stigmatization should not be promoted.
It is necessary to consider fundamental rights -like freedom of thought, conscience
and religion- in the light of their universality, inviolability, inalienability, indivisibility and interdependence. In regard to the right to conscientious objection, the European Union Charter entails the need to respect national constitutional traditions and the development of national legislation on the issue.
The Resolution of the European Parliament refers in several passages to the right to equal treatment and non-discrimination. In full respect of these legal provisions, we are concerned that the principle of non-discrimination could be used to stretch or blur
the limits of the competences of the European Union. This would also go against Article
51. 2 of the Charter of the European Union, which clearly states that the Charter does not
extend the field of application of Union law beyond the powers of the Union or establish any new power or task for the Union.
We also noted with sadness that no condemnation or solidarity was expressed in
the text with regard to the unacceptable attacks on Churches and places of worship in the context of protests related to this law in Poland.
Dear President Sassoli, we remain at your disposal for any clarification that might be needed on this issue, which we consider crucial, aware as we are that the Resolution will have a very negative impact on the way the Union is perceived by Member States.
Yours sincerely,
The Standing Committee of COMECE,
H.Em. Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ
Archbishop of Luxembourg President
H.E. Msgr. Mariano Crociata
Bishop of Latina, Italy First Vice-President
H.E. Msgr. Franz Josef Overbeck
Bishop of Essen, Germany, 
Vice-President
H.E. Msgr. Noel Treanor
Bishop of Down and Connor, Ireland 
Vice-President
H.E. Msgr. Jan Vokal
Bishop of Hradec Králové, Czech Rep.
Vice-President

12.4 Million People are in Conditions of “Food insecurity” in Syria - People Fear Starvation more than COVID



According to Asia News IT, people wait for hours to get a piece of bread at a low price. Children skip school and wander the streets in search of money. For WFP, 12.4 million people face “food insecurity”. The COVID-19 pandemic is being “ignored, because people cannot afford the luxury of not working”.

AsiaNews, reports that the situation in Syria is getting increasingly tragic with more and more people at risk of starvation. Fr Amer Kassar, priest at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Damascus, spoke to AsiaNews:
“Then we have the children who do not go to school but wander the streets, looking for a job to support the family.”
The situation is difficult in many areas and urban centres, not only in Damascus, as evinced by data on micro-crime and associated violence.
“Another very serious issue, which has been happening for some time also in the capital, is breaking and entering in homes and shops, stealing cars to resell them,” Fr Kasser explained.
“In our (Christian) neighbourhood, a man was attacked after he took money out of the bank. During the robbery, the criminals also tried to kill him and the incident happened in the morning, in broad daylight. The 'courage' of despair.”
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), about 12.4 million people are in conditions of “food insecurity” in Syria, a nation devastated by a decade-long conflict that has caused almost 400,000 deaths and displaced millions persons.
The level of hardships, experts warn, is now “alarming”. The UN agency notes that a recent  study shows that “about 60 per cent of the population” is “in a situation of food insecurity”, by far “the worst figure on record” since the beginning of the conflict.
In a nation of about 20 million, more and more people are unable to put together enough food for lunch or dinner. The trend is sharply up from the 9.3 million reported last May.
About 83 per cent of the population, according to UN estimates, lives below the poverty level. Ten years of civil war, jihadist violence, refugee emergency, international sanctions and the crisis of Lebanese banks have brought the country to its knees.
The most affected are the most vulnerable, the sick, children and seniors amid an unprecedented crisis, as the Maronite Archbishop of Damascus pointed out.
“The past few months have been very hard for Syrians because the national currency has dropped sharply. Before the novel coronavirus, a dollar was worth 1,500 pounds, now we are at 3,600 pounds,” said the priest.
“An average salary is US/30, while prices have risen sharply due to inflation. The government gives bonuses a couple of times a year, but they are of little use. A family, in many cases, is forced to survive on a dollar a day, or even less.” 
Because of such huge needs, the COVID-19 pandemic “is now ignored, since people cannot afford the luxury of not working, of buying masks or sanitisers.” The Church “is present, but the needs are far greater.”
“Open Hospitals” is one of the most successful projects, involving two facilities in Damascus and one in Aleppo, “but we cannot take the place of the government or international organisations” Fr Kassar admits.
“The Syrian people are in terrible conditions, without hope for the future, without a light at the end of the tunnel. We need cooperation at all levels, we need to relax sanctions and guarantee the possibility of travel, of bringing back to Syria money that is currently blocked by the various crises in Europe and neighbouring Lebanon.”
Edited form Report by Asia News IT
To Donate to the Papal Charity in Syria - Aid to the Church in Need - Click - https://acninternational.org/donate/

Quote to SHARE by St. Basil "True Fasting lies is rejecting evil, holding one's tongue, suppressing one's hatred, and banishing one's lust, evil words..."


"True fasting lies is rejecting evil, holding one's tongue, suppressing one's hatred, and banishing one's lust, evil words, lying, and betrayal of vows." St. Basil

Saint February 25 : St. Walburga a Benedictine Nun who came from a Family of Saints and Patron against Storms

St. Walburga Feb 25 ( Hist. ) Born in Devonshire, about 710; died at Heidenheim, 25 Feb., 777. She is the patroness of Eichstadt, Oudenarde, Furnes, Antwerp, Gronigen, Weilburg, and Zutphen, and is invoked as special patroness against hydrophobia, and in storms, and also by sailors. She was the daughter of St. Richard, one of the under-kings of the West Saxons, and of Winna, sister of St. Boniface, Apostle of Germany, and had two brothers, St. Willibald and St. Winibald. St. Richard, when starting with his two sons on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, entrusted Walburga, then eleven years old, to the abbess of Wimborne. In the claustral school and as a member of the community, she spent twenty-six years preparing for the great work she was to accomplish in Germany. The monastery was famous for holiness and austere discipline. There was a high standard at Wimborne, and the child was trained in solid learning, and in accomplishments suitable to her rank. Thanks to this she was later able to write St. Winibald's Life and an account in Latin of St. Willibald's travels in Palestine. She is thus looked upon by many as the first female author of England and Germany. Scarcely a year after her arrival, Walburga received tidings of her father's death at Lucca. During this period St. Boniface was laying the foundations of the Church in Germany. He saw that for the most part scattered efforts would be futile, or would exert but a passing influence. He, therefore, determined to bring the whole country under an organized system. As he advanced in his spiritual conquests he established monasteries which, like fortresses, should hold the conquered regions, and from whose watch-towers the light of faith and learning should radiate far and near.
Boniface was the first missionary to call women to his aid. In 748, in response to his appeal, Abbess Tetta sent over to Germany St. Lioba and St. Walburga, with many other nuns. They sailed with fair weather, but before long a terrible storm arose. Hereupon Walburga prayed, kneeling on the deck, and at once the sea became calm. On landing, the sailors proclaimed the miracle they had witnessed, so that Walburga was everywhere received with joy and veneration. There is a tradition in the Church of Antwerp that, on her way to Germany, Walburga made some stay there; and in that city's most ancient church, which now bears the title of St. Walburga, there is pointed out a grotto in which she was wont to pray. This same church, before adopting the Roman Office, was accustomed to celebrate the feast of St. Walburga four times a year. At Mainz she was welcomed by her uncle, St. Boniface, and by her brother, St. Willibald. After living some time under the rule of St. Lioba at Bischofsheim, she was appointed abbess of Heidenheim, and was thus placed near her favourite brother, St. Winibald, who governed an abbey there. After his death she ruled over the monks' monastery as well as her own. Her virtue, sweetness, and prudence, added to the gifts of grace and nature with which she was endowed, as well as the many miracles she wrought, endeared her to all. It was of these nuns that Ozanam wrote: "Silence and humility have veiled the labours of the nuns from the eyes of the world, but history has assigned them their place at the very beginning of German civilization: Providence has placed women at ever cradleside." On 23 Sept., 776, she assisted at the translation of her brother St. Winibald's body by St. Willibald, when it was found that time had left no trace upon the sacred remains. Shortly after this she fell ill, and, having been assisted in her last moments by St. Willibald, she expired.
St. Willibald laid her to rest beside St. Winibald, and many wonders were wrought at both tombs. St. Willibald survived till 786, and after his death devotion to St. Walburga gradually declined, and her tomb was neglected. About 870, Otkar, then Bishop of Eichstadt, determined to restore the church and monastery of Heidenheim, which were falling to ruin. The workmen having desecrated St. Walburga's grave, she one night appeared to the bishop, reproaching and threatening him. This led to the solemn translation of the remains to Eichstadt on 21 Sept. of the same year. They were placed in the Church of Holy Cross, now called St. Walburga's. In 893 Bishop Erchanbold, Otkar's successor, opened the shrine to take out a portion of the relics for Liubula, Abbess of Monheim, and it was then that the body was first discovered to be immersed in a precious oil or dew, which from that day to this (save during a period when Eichstadt was laid under interdict, and when blood was shed in the church by robbers who seriously wounded the bell-ringer) has continued to flow from the sacred remains, especially the breast. This fact has caused St. Walburga to be reckoned among the Elaephori, or oil-yielding saints (see OIL OF SAINTS). Portions of St. Walburga's relics have been taken to Cologne, Antwerp, Furnes, and elsewhere, whilst her oil has been carried to all quarters of the globe.
The various translations of St. Walburga's relics have led to a diversity of feasts in her honour. In the Roman Martyrology she is commemorated on 1 May, her name being linked with St. Asaph's, on which day her chief festival is celebrated in Belgium and Bavaria. In the Benedictine Breviary her feast is assigned to 25 (in leap year 26) Feb. She is represented in the Benedictine habit with a little phial or bottle; as an abbess with a crozier, a crown at her feet, denoting her royal birth; sometimes she is represented in a group with St. Philip and St. James the Less, and St. Sigismund, King of Burgundy, because she is said to have been canonized by Pope Adrian II on 1 May, the festival of these saints. If, however, as some maintain, she was canonized during the episcopate of Erchanbold, not in Otkar's, then it could not have been during the pontificate of Adrian II. The Benedictine community of Eichstadt is flourishing, and the nuns have care of the saint's shrine; that of Heidenheim was ruthlessly expelled in 1538, but the church is now in Catholic hands. Source: Catholic Encyclopedia

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Thursday, February 25, 2021 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church



 Thursday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 227
Reading I
Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25
Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish,
had recourse to the LORD.
She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids, 
from morning until evening, and said:
“God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you. 
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers
that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,
O LORD, my God.
(Mass starts after the Stations of the Cross at the 14:57 Mark)
 
 “And now, come to help me, an orphan.
Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion
and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy,
so that he and those who are in league with him may perish.
Save us from the hand of our enemies;
turn our mourning into gladness
and our sorrows into wholeness.”
Responsorial Psalm
138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 7c-8
R.    (3a)  Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
    for you have heard the words of my mouth;
    in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
    and give thanks to your name.
R.    Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Because of your kindness and your truth;
    for you have made great above all things
    your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
    you built up strength within me.
R.    Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
    your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
    forsake not the work of your hands.
R.    Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Verse before the Gospel
Ps 51:12a, 14a
A clean heart create for me, O God;
give me back the joy of your salvation.
Gospel
Mt 7:7-12
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.
“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. 
This is the law and the prophets.”
Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion

At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint February 25 : St. Tarasius who was Elevated to Bishop from the Laity and the Patriarch of Constantinople

Patriarch of Constantinople, date of birth unknown; died 25 February, 806.
He was the son of the Patrician and Prefect of Constantinople, George, and his wife Eukratia, and entered the service of the State. In 784 when Paul IV Patriarch of Constantinople died Tarasius was an imperial secretary, and a champion of the veneration of images. It may be that before his death the patriarch had recommended Tarasius as his successor in the patriarchate to the Empress Irene who was regent for her son Constantine VI (780-797). After the burial of Paul IV a great popular assembly was held before the Magnaura Palace to discuss the filling of the vacant see. The empress delivered an oration on the new appointment to the patriarchate and the people proclaimed Tarasius as the most worthy candidate. The empress agreed but said that Tarasius refused to accept the position. Tarasius now made a speech himself in which he declared he felt himself unworthy of the office, further that the elevation of a layman was very hazardous, and that the position of the Church of Constantinople had become a very difficult one, as it was separated from the Catholics of Western Europe and isolated from the other Oriental patriarchates; consequently he would only be willing to accept the position of patriarch on condition that Church unity be restored and that, in connection with the pope, an oecumenical council be called. The majority of the populace approved of these views and the imperial Court agreed to it. So on 25 December, 784, Tarasius was consecrated patriarch. In 785 he sent the priest George as his legate to Hadrian I with a letter in which he announced his appointment. In his reply the pope expressed his disapproval of the elevation of Tarasius directly from the laity to the dignity of a bishop contrary to canonical regulation, but allowed clemency to rule in view of the orthodoxy of the new patriarch's views, and recognized him as patriarch. After this by joint action with the pope and the imperial Court Tarasius called the Second Council of Nicaea, the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which rejected Iconoclasm. Union with the Roman Church was restored.
After the synod the patriarch had a number of struggles not only with the Iconoclastic party of the capital but also with a party of Orthodox monks. First, the latter upbraided him for restoring to office the bishops who had formerly maintained Iconoclasm, but who had submitted to the decrees of the Council of 787. As, however, this was in accordance with the decrees of the council the accusation was allowed to drop. Another accusation was much more serious, namely, that Tarasius tolerated and encouraged simony, because those bishops who had given money to obtain their positions were only commanded by him to do a year's penance and were permitted to retain their offices. The patriarch defended himself in writing against this accusation which he denied in toto; moreover, he issued a severe synodal letter against Simonists. The monks, however, were not satisfied; they maintained their accusations and also attacked the Council of 787. At a later date Theodore of Studium, who took part in these disputes, changed his opinion of Tarasius, and also of the Second Council of Nicaea, the oecumenical character of which he acknowledged. Many serious difficulties still existed in regard to Western Europe. There were also fresh disputes in Constantinople when the Emperor Constantine VI put aside his lawful wife and wished to marry Theodata, a relative of Abbot Theodore of Studium. Tarasius positively refused to perform the second marriage and expressed his displeasure at the conduct of the priest Joseph who had married the emperor. The zealous monks, whose leaders were the Abbots Plato of Saccudium and Theodore of Studium, accused the patriarch of weakness, because he took no further steps against the emperor. They refused to have Church fellowship any longer with Tarasius, and were, consequently, violently persecuted by the emperor who, however, also treated the patriarch harshly. After Irene had dethroned Constantine in 797, Tarasius deposed the priest Joseph and peace was once more restored between the patriarch and the monks. (See THEODORE OF STUDIUM). In 802 Tarasius crowned as emperor Nicephorus, who had overthrown Irene, an act that greatly dissatisfied the populace. The patriarch had nothing to do with the intrigues of the court. His life was ascetic and simple, he checked the luxury of the clergy, preached with great zeal, and was very benevolent to the poor. After his death he was venerated as a saint. His name is also placed in the Roman Martyrology under the date of 25 February. Catholic Encylopedia

A True Missionary Spirit - Fr. Patrick's Inspiring Vocation Story as a Newly Ordained Missionary Priest from Africa, to the Philippines to Mongolia!



Vocation Story and Pictures sent by newly ordained missionary, Fr. Patrick Nkolo, CICM, to Catholic News World:
 I’m privileged to share my vocation story just few days after my priesthood ordination.
I have been reading back this blessed journey during our retreat before the ordination. Herein I would
like recall what seem to be more important for me.

First and foremost, here is a brief biography of myself .I’m Father Patrick Nkolo, a religious missionary from the congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary ( CICM ). I’m 32 years old and I’m the 5th out of 7 children. My parents though aging are still there to look after us with care and love.


My desire to become priest started with the many presences of missionaries in our hometown. Second, our mother works in of those religious communities and she told us many testimonies about priests. This triggered me from the outset since I couldn’t grasp why young people had decided to leave behind their love ones and join seminaries. But as time passed by, I tried to ponder on their motivations after talking with those who were having their weekend apostolate in our parish especially in our choir.

After my bachelor degree in philosophy in one of the state universities in the capital city of Yaoundé ( Cameroon), I finally joined the minor seminary of our congregation. My admission was a bite strange. I participated twice in the yearly sessions to select candidates in Christmas and Easter. Everything was successful but since I was already enrolled in first year university, the rector at that time together with the team for vocation animation decided to postpone my admission. Immediately, our parish priest informed me about that fact, and I became less motivated to join. I continued up to the third year to get a bachelor degree.

However one afternoon, while tutoring some kids to get income to support my studies, I received a call from my parish priest ( not the one mentioned above) that I had to meet him urgently in our main building at the back of the basilica of Yaoundé. I immediately ended the class and went there. While being on my way, I keep on wondering why he called me up that way; many questions were bothering me. Upon arriving, we had a small chat and he directed me to a certain place where I found the whole vocation animation team together with the rector of the minor seminary well settled.

I was short of breath and very nervous. They certainly noticed it. Within 30 minutes flat, they posed a set of questions one after another and I gave brief answers because I wasn’t really at ease to go further in that tricky interview. At the end, I reaffirmed to them my desire to be a priest and they begged me to leave the room and wait for their reply in a couple of weeks. I went back and reported it to my mother. She advised me in the meantime to be patient and not worry about it. “ May God’s will be done”, she said.

Their decision finally came out in the provincial newsletter. I was among those chosen to go to the seminary the following year. My mother got first the good news since she is one of the cooks in our senior seminary. I received their written reply and started getting ready. It wasn’t a given at all for my family to accept that decision. My elder brother, with whom we were renting, wanted me to be Jesuit instead because I had good grades and a good grasp in research. It was a bit disappointing for my father, too. As the last born among the boys, I’m the one to inherit many things. My other siblings were somehow undecided.

I spent one year in the minor seminary to get used of the seminary, “ modus vivendi," while taking up two other subjects namely spirituality and theology in the philosophical school for religious missionaries. We had weekend apostolate and were allowed to visit our family once a month. Every Christmas and Easter break were allowed to go 'home sweet home' as well.


At the end of that year, I was accepted to enter the novitiate in the Democratic Republic of Congo ( DRC) and professed my first religious vows in 2013. Among the two possibilities to study theology in Cameroon ( French ) and in the Philippines ( English) , our novice master sent me to the latter. Among other reasons I shouldn’t study in our hometown closed to my family. Secondly, since my mother works in our senior seminary, I had to be away from her to foster my “ missionary spirit.” I obeyed accordingly as stated in our constitutions. While my two other seminary pals from Cameroon were sent to study in our country, I spent 5 years in the Philippines ; one year to better my English and 4 years for theological studies. That was my first contact with the Asian culture.

I experienced cultural differences and clashes starting from the feeling I had while traveling alone from Yaoundé ( Cameroon) to Manila( Philippines) with two stop overs in Kenya and Turkey. Fortunately, I was able to make it with my average fluency in English. I had learned to live together with more than 5 different nationalities in the community and enjoyed Filipino food, drink, music and so on. Indeed, that widened my perspectives. I was in touch with diverse ways of thinking, feeling, speaking , behaving, listening etc. I had also felt this during my vacations in Cameroon. Certainly, many people wondered what could have been the motivation of a young boy of 23 to leave his country and move far away in order to become a priest. In the Philippines, especially, I used to have weekend apostolates mostly with the youth and they always questioned me and even doubted of my love for my family because, being Filipino, they are more family-oriented.

I was assigned to Mongolia at the end of 3rd year in theology and appointed there one year later. For reasons related to visa, I had training to be a certified English teacher. This was to speed up the process of getting a Mongolian visa and to work in our research center as English teacher and assistant researcher. I waited almost for six months for a visa. That was a tough moment. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed anymore to enter Mongolia because of that long period. The Asian province to which I belong  even had a second thought of sending me to Taiwan; if the visa was not granted after six months.

Finally at the end of January 2018, I got the visa and traveled a few weeks later on February 10th. I reached Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia on February 12th. It was still cold at that time. I was dizzy after coming out from the airport. Fortunately, the two confreres who came to fetch me brought along a heavy jacket for me. Since it was the end of the New year celebration in Mongolia, according to the Chinese calendar ( Tsaagan Sar), we visited some families while taking  survival courses for Mongolia. I continue my immersion into the culture and was enrolled in the University of Ulaanbaatar to better my Mongolian. I had a weekend apostolate in the cathedral but remained careful since my visa isn’t related to religious involvements. I lived out the faith as simply as possible while teaching English to some youth and helping in our research center. I started praying for our Institute in Mongolia amidst the manifold difficulties specifically when our confrere, the first Bishop of Mongolia, Monsignor Wens. Padilla, passed away.

On June 2020, I had to renew my passport. But with the lockdowns due to Coronavirus, I couldn’t travel earlier on in February. So, my passport and visa expired. The only thing to do was to go back to Cameroon. I got a travelling document from the Cameroonian embassy in Beijing and reached Yaoundé on August 15th. I had my final profession of religious vows two months before my flight as well as the admission to the diaconate ordination. Because, our newly appointed Bishop was in Rome for his ordination, I waited for more than two months. I was ordained deacon in the Basilica of Yaoundé on September 5th.

Immediately, I was sent to one the parishes run by CICM namely in Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Simbock ( Yaoundé). I pursued my internship struggling to preach once again both in the local language ( Ewondo) and in French. At the beginning, I remembered one confrere underlying my poor pronunciation. Another parishioner said that I read and spoke not like Cameroon but like a “foreigner “ instead. I spent sleepless nights going over the daily readings and more importantly editing and proofreading my homilies. I re-learned the aforementioned languages while talking with kids because adults sometimes weren’t pointing out my mistakes. Being in Asia for a long time challenged me to readjust unceasingly. I have been rediscovering the “ Cameroonian ways” since then.

Last February 7th, I was ordained priest and had my thanksgiving Mass on February 14th, Valentine’s Day . We have celebrated indeed the Love of God for us and the everlasting mercy and compassion granted to us.” Our celebration served as a venue for lovers to meet” I said jokingly to one friend of mine. I pray that the good Lord may bless our priesthood ministry and all the priests in the World. May God also help us to find ways to carry out our missionary activities since we are all affected by the financial situation of today’s society. Many of our benefactors are “leaving this world.” That calls us to be more creative and productive in order spread the Gospel and empower our people especially the poor ones. May we “ rejoice and be glad” now and forever. Amen.


If you would like to donate to Fr. Patrick's missionary activities or request a Mass to be said - you can Email him here: 

nkolopatrick@yahoo.fr

Or Send via WorldRemit to Nkolo Nkolo Patrick
Or Via Mail to Fr. Nkolo Patrick Address: Maison Provinciale CICM, Rue Abbé Jean Tabi, 361 Quartier Mvolyé ( Yaoundé-Cameroon).

RIP Luca Attanasio - Italian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo Killed - Pope Francis Sends Condolences




The Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo has been killed in kidnapping attempt. Pope Francis sent condolences (see below)
The Italian Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Luca Attanasio, assassinated on February 22nd, 2021. He "was close to the missionary world working in the east of the country". The Italian policeman Vittorio Iacovacci and the Congolese driver Mustafa Milambo also died. This is what Monica Corna, head of the Salesian mission VIS (International Volunteering for Development) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who has worked alongside the Salesians for 18 years, reported in an interview with Agenzia Fides. "Luca Attanasio was well known to the missionary community of North Kivu - says Monica Corna. He was surely a very enthusiastic person who believed in what he was doing", stresses the volunteer. "
Ambassador Attanasio went to North Kivu to see firsthand the difficult situation of the local populations. For him, it was important to see a certain reality in order to have a direct vision and be a true witness". 
Luca Attanasio,  believed that the Democratic Republic of Congo should have its rightful place among the nations". 
Pope Francis sent a Telegram of Condolences To His Excellency
Hon. Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic:

With Pain I Learned About The Tragic Attack That Happened In The Democratic Republic Of Congo, Where The Young Italian Ambassador Luca Attanasio, The Thirty-year Carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci And Their Congolese Authist Milhaus Lost Their Lives. I Express My Heartful Congratulation To Their Families, To The Diplomatic Service And To The Army Of The Carabinieri For The Disappearance Of These Servants Of Peace And Right. We Collect The Exemplary Testimony Of The Ambassador, A Person Of Excellent Human And Christian Qualities, Always Prodigue In Welding Fraternal And Cordial Relations, For The Restoration Of Serene And Agreement Relations Within That African Country; As Well As That Of The Carabiniere, Experienced And Generous In His Service And Near To Form A New Family. While I Early Prayer Of Suffrage For The Eternal Rest Of These Noble Children Of The Italian Nation, I Exhorted To Trust In The Providence Of God, In Whose Hands Nothing Is Lost Of The Good Performed, All The More When It Is Confirmed With Suffering. To You, Mr President, To The Relationships And Colleagues Of The Victims And To All Those Who Weep For This Mourning Send My Blessing From The Heart. Pope Francis Source: https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2021/02/23/0113/00233.html

 The ambush that led to the death of the three men took place yesterday morning, February 22, in the vicinity of the village of Kibumba, 3 km from Goma. The circumstances of the triple murder are still being assessed. (L.M.) (Edited form Agenzia Fides, 23/2/2021 and Vatican.va)

Pro-Life Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act Signed in South Carolina Faces Blocks from Federal Court



In South Carolina, a Bill was signed into law by Gov. Henry McMaster, to stop abortions on babies where a heart-beat is detected. However, a day later federal court blocked the measure. U.S. District Court Judge Mary Geiger Lewis granted a two-week temporary restraining order on Friday while the case, brought by Planned Parenthood, works its way through the legal system. The "South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act" would prohibit abortion as soon as cardiac activity can be detected with an ultrasound. The only exceptions would occur in cases of rape, incest or when a mother's life is in danger. . Planned Parenthood and a women's clinic in Greenville filed the emergency lawsuit, arguing it would make abortion inaccessible for most South Carolinians. A hearing over the lawsuit is scheduled for March 9. Governor McMaster said before signing the bill on Thursday, "If there's not a right to life, then what rights is there." He continued, "What rights exists, if not the elementary, fundamental, profound right to life," 
The state Attorney General said, "we believe the Heartbeat Law is constitutional and deserves a vigorous defense to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary," USA Today reported. 
 Several other states have passed similar laws in recent years.

Edited from Npr and Life News and Twitter 

Archbishop Jose Palma, of Cebu, Philippines Tests Positive for COVID along with Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Rañola - Both are in Hospital



Archbishop Jose Palma, of Cebu, Philippines, is in hospital. He has tested positive with COVID-19.

Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Antonio Rañola, the auxiliary emeritus has also tested positive. 
Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, 70, is showing moderate symptoms. The bishop heads the diocese of the second most important city in the Philippines and is being treated at the Perpetual Relief Hospital in Cebu.
“The archbishop remains in stable condition. Let us all pray for his steady and speedy recovery,” said spokesman Mgr Joseph Tan.
Bishop Emeritus Antonio Rañola, 88, who lives in the same residence as Archbishop Palma, also contracted the coronavirus and is hospitalised.
The disease struck the prelates just as Cebu was preparing to mark 500 years since the arrival of Christianity in the archipelago. 
The Philippine Church has already lost two bishops to the coronavirus: Archbishop Emeritus of Lingayen-Dagupan Oscar Cruz and Bishop Emeritus of Imus Manuel Cruz Sobreviñas.
Other bishops have contracted COVID-19 but they recovered: Apostolic Administrator of Manila Broderick Pabillo and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
The Philippines is the second most affected country by COVID-19 in Southeast Asia, right after Indonesia. 
Edited from Asia NewsIT
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church



 Wednesday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 226
Reading I
Jon 3:1-10
The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
“Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD’s bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
(Mass Starts After the Stations of the Cross at the 15:15 mark)  

Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing,
“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,”
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.
When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
by decree of the king and his nobles:
“Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
shall taste anything;
they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water. 
Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God;
every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand.
Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish.”
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.
Responsorial Psalm
51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19
R.    (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
    in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
    and of my sin cleanse me.
R.    A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
    and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
    and your Holy Spirit take not from me. 
R.    A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
    should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
    a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R.    A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Verse before the Gospel
Jl 2:12-13
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart
for I am gracious and merciful.
Gospel
Lk 11:29-32
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah. 
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment 
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation 
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here. 
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion

At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint February 24 : St. Ethelbert : King of Kent who Helped St. Augustine Convert a Heathen Temple into a Church and Died in 616

KING OF KENT
Born:
552
Died:
24 February 616
King of Kent; b. 552; d. 24 February, 616; son of Eormenric, through whom he was descended from Hengest. He succeeded his father, in 560, as King of Kent and made an unsuccessful attempt to win from Ceawlin of Wessex the overlordship of Britain. His political importance was doubtless advanced by his marriage with Bertha, daughter of Charibert, King of the Franks (see BERTHA I). A noble disposition to fair dealing is argued by his giving her the old Roman church of St. Martin in his capital of Cantwaraburh (Canterbury) and affording her every opportunity for the exercise of her religion, although he himself had been reared, and remained, a worshipper of Odin. The same natural virtue, combined with a quaint spiritual caution and, on the other hand, a large instinct of hospitality, appears in his message to St. Augustine when, in 597, the Apostle of England landed on the Kentish coast
In the interval between Ethelbert's defeat by Ceawlin and the arrival of the Roman missionaries, the death of the Wessex king had left Ethelbert, at least virtually, supreme in southern Britain, and his baptism, which took place on Whitsunday next following the landing of Augustine (2 June, 597) had such an effect in deciding the minds of his wavering countrymen that as many as 10,000 are said to have followed his example within a few months. Thenceforward Ethelbert became the watchful father of the infant Anglo-Saxon Church. He founded the church which in after-ages was to be the primatial cathedral of all England, besides other churches at Rochester and Canterbury. But, although he permitted, and even helped, Augustine to convert a heathen temple into the church of St. Pancras (Canterbury), he never compelled his heathen subjects to accept baptism. Moreover, as the lawgiver who issued their first written laws to the English people (the ninety "Dooms of Ethelbert", A.D. 604) he holds in English history a place thoroughly consistent with his character as the temporal founder of that see which did more than any other for the upbuilding of free and orderly political institutions in Christendom. When St. Mellitus had converted Sæbert, King of the East Saxons, whose capital was London, and it was proposed to make that see the metropolitan, Ethelbert, supported by Augustine, successfully resisted the attempt, and thus fixed for more than nine centuries the individual character of the English church. He left three children, of whom the only son, Eadbald, lived and died a pagan.
(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)
KING OF KENT Feast: February 24
(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia) 

#BreakingNews Holy Family Catholic Church in Nigeria Burned and Destroyed by Armed Gang



The Catholic Church of the Holy Family in Kaduna state, northern Nigeria, Africa was set on fire.   A Catholic church in northern Nigeria burned and destroyed and according to the authorities, the perpetrators are members of an "armed gang". Fides reports that the armed men entered the village of Kikwari, Kajuru County, where they set fire to the Catholic Church of the Holy Family and two other buildings. The villagers fled after learning of the attackers' arrival in their community.

Fides reports that, State Commissioner for Homeland Security and Internal Affairs Samuel Aruwan confirmed the incident in a statement released on Sunday, February 21, 2021. According to the commissioner, Governor El-Rufai also condemned the attack and expressed his solidarity with the villagers. Aruwan said the governor has "asked believers to stand firm in their faith and devotion, and to regard the assault as an act perpetrated by enemies of peace, humanity and diversity who will not succeed but will be defeated by the grace of God".El-Rufai meanwhile instructed the state crisis team in Kaduna to quickly assess the damage caused and take appropriate measures. The governor also assured that the security authorities will increase control measures in the region.Meanwhile, in an attack on another village, also in Kaduna state, at least two people were killed and nine others kidnapped. Edited from Agenzia Fides

Pro-Life Victory as Arkansas Senate Passes Unborn Child Protection Act to Protect All Unborn Babies



Pro-Lifers are hopeful because on Monday, February 22, 2021, the Arkansas Senate passed S.B. 6 that would ban abortions in the Natural State. Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) were the key sponsors of the legislation that the state Senate approved on a 27-7 vote.

Life News reports that the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act will ban abortions unless it’s to save a mother’s life and the bill now heads to the state House, which is expected to approve it as well.

“Arkansas is asking and pleading that the U.S. Supreme Court take a look at this and make a decision that once again allows the states to protect human life,” Republican state Sen. Jason Rapert, the bill’s sponsor, said before the vote, according to the AP.

The central question in abortion is whether the baby is a human being worthy of legal protection, Sen. Bob Ballinger said during the debate.

“The question really is, is it a baby or not? Is it a little person or not? If it’s not a little person – what the heck are we doing?” Ballinger stated. “If it is a little human being and we agree with it, it doesn’t matter how they were created.”

The bill now heads to the House Public Health, Welfare and Labor House Committee.

The question after House passage would be whether Gov. Asa Hutchinson would sign it. In a statement released to KATV, Hutchinson  said:

“The legislature has historically included rape and incest as exceptions to abortion prohibitions. It makes sense to add the exceptions because if you are going to do a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, then it is important to have exceptions that the public generally supports. As a former member of Congress, I supported the Hyde amendment that prohibited taxpayer funds from being used for abortions, but it always included the exception language for rape and incest. I will continue to watch how the bill proceeds through the House.”

“If enacted, S.B. 6 would save thousands of unborn children every year and give the federal court system an opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade and other pro-abortion decisions,” it said. “This is an opportunity for Arkansas to be a real leader in the effort to end abortion in America. Many people have been saying for almost fifty years that abortion should be illegal. The time has come for us to make it so.” (Edited from LifeNews.com)

Retired Priest Commits Suicide in Germany after Abuse Accusation - Investigation Continues by Archdiocese












In Cologne, Germany, a retired chaplain, who was recently prohibited from exercising priestly ministry, committed suicide last weekend.

The archdiocese had released the retired chaplain from his duties four days earlier, and prohibited him from exercising priestly service and contact with children / young people.

The pastor was forbidden from exercising the priestly service and contact with children and minors. He was suspected of sexual abuse of a boy, who was underage at the time of the crime, which the retired chaplain allegedly committed in the 1990s. When the decree was handed over, the Archdiocese offered the chaplain and psychological support.

The person concerned, who accused the retired chaplain of sexual abuse, turned to the Archdiocese of Cologne at the end of December 2020. In order to clarify this, the Archdiocese of Cologne initiated the prescribed preliminary canonical investigation in January 2021, which included a detailed discussion with the person concerned, which took place in mid-January. The entire case was finally forwarded to the Bonn public prosecutor's office on February 3, 2021 with a request for a legal review and initiation of the necessary steps.

The pastors of the parishes in which the retired clergyman was active during his priestly service have been informed of the allegations. The Archdiocese of Cologne takes every case or suspicion of sexual abuse and sexual violence very seriously. Even if the accused pastor has died in the meantime, the Archdiocese of Cologne will continue to investigate the case and clarify it in full.

It is important to the Archdiocese of Cologne to provide each and every potentially affected person with the necessary help and support. For this reason, phone numbers will be published next weekend (February 27/28) at all past pastors' locations to encourage any other affected persons to contact the archdiocese. 

The Archdiocese of Cologne would like to expressly encourage those affected and / or witnesses of sexual abuse and sexual violence to contact them.

https://www.erzbistum-koeln.de/news/Ruhestandsgeistlicher-begeht-Suizid/