Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Saint May 22 : St. Rita of Cascia the Patron of Impossible Causes, Marriage Problems and Abuse Victims

St. Rita of Cascia 


Born: 1381, Roccaporena, Perugia, Umbria, Italy
Died: May 22, 1457, Cascia, Perugia, Umbria, Italy Canonized:
May 24, 1900, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
Feast Day:
May 22
Patron of:
Lost and impossible causes, sickness, wounds, marital problems, abuse, mothers
The Precious Pearl/The Story of Saint Rita of Casica (Abridged) by Michael DiGregorio, OSA
Antonio and Amata Lotti, natives of Roccaporena, a tiny village in the Umbrian Hills of the republic of Cascia, were well-respected peacemakers in their town who welcomed their only child, Margherita in 1381.  In the local dialect, her name meant “pearl” and she was known as Rita.  Baptized in the church of St. Augustine in Cascia, Rita became acquainted with the local Augustinian nuns of St. Mary Magdalene and was attracted to their way of life.  But her parents arranged a marriage for her in order to provide safety and security, and so Rita obediently married Paolo Mancini with whom she had two sons.  In the climate of the times, there was often open conflict between families, and her husband Paolo was murdered.  Her sons were young, but the expectation would be for them eventually to avenge the murder of their father to defend family honor.  Rita, influenced by the peacemaking example of her parents, pledged to forgive her husband’s killers.  She faced a steep challenge, however, in convincing her sons to do the same.  Tradition has it that she often pointed out to them the image of the crucified Christ and the fact that he forgave those who killed him.  Within a year, however, both sons succumbed to a deadly illness leaving Rita not only a widow, but also childless.  Following these tragedies, Rita placed her trust in God, accepting them and relying on her deep faith to find her way.  After eighteen years of marriage, Rita felt called to a second but familiar vocation, to religious life in the Augustinian convent.

But the sisters were hesitant and refused her request; however, Rita was not discouraged, convinced that she was called to the contemplative community.  The sisters even more firmly refused, citing that although Rita had forgiven her husband’s killers, her family had not.  There were members of the rival family in the convent; her presence would be detrimental to community harmony.  And so, inspired by her three patron saints (Augustine, Nicholas of Tolentino and John the Baptist), Rita set out to make peace between the families.  She went to her husband’s family and exhorted them to put aside their hostility and stubbornness.  They were convinced by her courage and agreed.  The rival family, astounded by this overture of peace, also agreed.  The two families exchanged a peace embrace and signed a written agreement, putting the vendetta to rest forever.  A fresco depicting the scene of the peace embrace was placed on a wall of the Church of Saint Francis in Cascia, an enduring reminder of the power of good over evil and a testament to the widow whose forgiving spirit achieved the impossible.
At the age of 36, Rita finally was accepted into the Augustinian convent.  She lived a regular life of prayer, contemplation and spiritual reading, according to the Rule of Saint Augustine.  For forty years she lived this routine lifestyle, until fifteen years before her death, on Good Friday 1442, she had an extraordinary experience.  In contemplation before an image of Jesus that was very dear to her, the Jesus of Holy Saturday or, as it is also known,the Resurgent Christ, she was moved by a deeper awareness of the physical and spiritual burden of pain which Christ so freely and willingly embraced for love of her and of all humanity.  With the tender, compassionate heart of a person fully motivated by grateful love, she spoke her willingness to relieve Christ’s suffering by sharing even the smallest part of his pain.  Her offer was accepted, her prayer was answered, and Rita was united with Jesus in a profound experience of spiritual intimacy, a thorn from his crown penetrating her forehead.  The wound it caused remained open and visible until the day of her death.
Toward the end of her life, Rita progressively weakened physically.  Several months before her death, she was visited by a relative from Roccaporena who asked if she could do something for her.  Rita at first declined, but then made a simple request to have a rose from the garden of her family home brought to her.  However, it was January, the dead of winter in the hills of Umbria.  But upon her return home, the relative passed Rita’s family garden and found to her astonishment a single fresh rose in the snow-covered garden on an otherwise barren bush.  She immediately returned to the convent where she presented it to Rita who accepted it with quiet and grateful assurance.  For the four decades she had spent in Casica’s convent she had prayed especially for her husband Paolo, who had died so violently, and for her two sons, who had died so young.  The dark, cold earth of Roccaporena, which held their mortal remains, had now produced a beautiful sign of spring and beauty out of season.  So, Rita believed, had God brought forth, through her prayers, their eternal life despite tragedy and violence.  She now knew that she would soon be one with them again.
Rita died peacefully on May 22, 1457.  An old and revered tradition records that the bells of the convent immediately began to peal unaided by human hands, calling the people of Cascia to the doors of the convent, and announcing the triumphant completion of a life faithfully lived.  The nuns prepared her for burial and placed her in a simple wooden coffin.  A carpenter who had been partially paralyzed by a stroke, voiced the sentiments of many others when he spoke of the beautiful life of this humble nun in bringing lasting peace to the people of Cascia.  “If only I were well,” he said, “I would have prepared a place more worthy of you.”  With those words, Rita’s first miracle was performed, as he was healed.  He fashioned the elaborate and richly decorated coffin which would hold Rita’s body for several centuries.  She was never buried in it, however.  So many people came to look upon the gentle face of the “Peacemaker of Cascia” that her burial had to be delayed.  It became clear that something exceptional was occurring as her body seemed to be free from nature’s usual course.  It is still preserved today, now in a glass-enclosed coffin, in the basilica of Cascia. Text from St. Rita Shrine

Pope Francis tells Missionaries "Evangelization is a testimony of Jesus Christ..." Full Text to PIME


Hall of the Consistory
Monday, May 20, 2019

Dear brothers and sisters,

I welcome you with joy at your Assembly. I thank the Superior General and cordially greet all of you, missionaries and missionaries.

With you I give thanks to the Lord for the long journey that your Institute has made in almost 170 years since its foundation, which took place in Milan, as a Seminar for Foreign Missions. We remember the protagonist of the beginning: Archbishop Angelo Ramazzotti, at the time Bishop of Pavia. He received a wish from Pope Pius IX and had the happy idea of ​​involving the Bishops of Lombardy in the foundation, on the basis of the principle of co-responsibility of all the dioceses for spreading the Gospel to the peoples who do not yet know Jesus Christ. At that time it was a novelty, preceded only by the foundation of the Institute of Foreign Missions of Paris. Until then the missionary apostolate was totally in the hands of religious Orders and Congregations. With the Institutes of Paris and Milan it begins to be taken over by the particular Churches, which are committed to opening up to the whole world to send their priests beyond their borders.

Over the years, PIME has had its own independent path, and in part has developed like other religious congregations, without identifying with them. In fact, you do not take vows like the religious, but you consecrate yourself for the whole life to the missionary activity with a definitive promise.

Your first mission fields were in Oceania, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Hong Kong and China. The seed hidden under the earth has produced so many fruits of new communities, of dioceses born from nothing, of priestly and religious vocations germinated for the service of the local Church. After the Second World War you have expanded your presence in Brazil and the Amazon, in the United States, in Japan, Guinea-Bissau, the Philippines, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Thailand, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Algeria and Chad.

Your story is marked by a luminous trail of sanctity in so many of its members, in some officially recognized by the Church: we remember the martyrs Sant’Alberico Crescitelli, Blessed Giovanni Battista Mazzucconi, Blessed Mario Vergara; and the confessors Blessed Paolo Manna and Blessed Clemente Vismara. Among your missionaries there are 19 martyrs, who gave their lives for Jesus on behalf of their people, without reservation and without personal calculations. You are a "family of apostles", an international community of priests and lay people who live in communion of life and activity.

The words that St. Paul VI spoke in Manila in 1970 have a special echo for you and summarize the meaning of your life and your vocation. He said: "Yes, I feel the need to announce Jesus Christ, I cannot keep silent [...]. I must confess his name: Jesus is the Christ, Son of the living God [...]. I would no longer end up speaking of Him: He is the light, it is the truth, [...]; He is the Bread, the source of living water for our hunger and our thirst; He is the Shepherd, our guide, our example, our comfort, our brother ". Thus Paul VI. In fact, it is only from Christ that our life and our mission make sense, because "there is no true evangelization if the name, teaching, life, promises, the Kingdom, the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, let them not be proclaimed "(Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, 22).

Evangelizing is the grace and vocation proper to your Institute, its deepest identity (see ibid., 14). This mission however - it is always good to emphasize - does not belong to you, because it springs from the grace of God. There is no school to become evangelizers; there is help, but it is another thing. It is a vocation that you have from God. Either you are an evangelizer or you are not, and if you have not received this grace, this vocation, you stay at home. It is a great thing that carries you forward. "The first word, the true initiative, the true activity, comes from God and only by entering into this divine initiative, only by imploring this divine initiative, can we also become - with Him and in Him - evangelizers" (Exhortation ap. Evangelii gaudium, 112).
This year 100 years have passed since the Apostolic Letter Maximum illud by Pope Benedict XV. As you know, to celebrate this anniversary I announced the Extraordinary Missionary Month, next October, with this theme: "Baptized and sent: the Church of Christ on a mission in the world". The aim of this initiative is "to reawaken awareness of the missio ad gentes and to resume the missionary transformation of life and pastoral care with new enthusiasm" (Letter of indiction, 22 October 2017). And you missionaries are the protagonists of this anniversary, so that it may be an opportunity to renew the ad gentes missionary zeal, so that your whole life, your plans, your work, your own structures draw from the mission and the proclamation of the Gospel lifeblood and renewal criteria. There is a danger that comes up again - it seemed to be out of date but to come back -: to confuse evangelization with proselytism. No. Evangelization is a testimony of Jesus Christ, dead and risen. It is He who attracts. This is why the Church grows by attraction and not by proselytism, as Benedict XVI had said. But this confusion arose somewhat from a political-economic conception of "evangelization", which is no longer evangelization. Then the presence, the concrete presence, so they ask you why you are so. And then you announce Jesus Christ. It is not looking for new partners for this "Catholic society", no, it is showing Jesus: that He shows himself in my person, in my behavior; and to open spaces with my life to Jesus. This is evangelization. And this is what your founders had in their hearts.

Precisely in the context of preparation for the Extraordinary Missionary Month, you have gathered here in Rome for your XV General Assembly, on the theme "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel: people, places and ways of the mission for the PIME of today and tomorrow ". You are trying, as far as possible, to put the mission at the center, because it is precisely the missionary urgency that founded your Institute and continues to shape it. You are convinced of this, and you have chosen the expression of Saint Paul: "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel" (1 Cor 9:16), as a guide and inspiration. The passion and urgency for the mission, which St. Paul feels as his own vocation, is what you want for all of you. Therefore, in the light of this Keyword, you have worked to understand again, in your Institute and in today's world, the mission ad gentes; to reaffirm the primacy of the one missionary vocation both for the laity and for priests; to choose the areas of the mission; to set vocation animation as a mission activity; to verify your being a community and rethink the organization of today's and tomorrow's PIME.

For this reason I say to you: "We are not afraid to undertake, with confidence in God and much courage, a missionary choice capable of transforming everything, so that customs, styles, schedules, language and every ecclesial structure become an adequate channel for 'evangelization of the current world' (Letter calling for the Extraordinary Missionary Month 2019).

Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you for this meeting and above all for your work in the service of the Gospel. May the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, grant you to do it always with joy, even in toil. And on this I allow you to recommend the latest issues of Evangelii nuntiandi. You know that the Evangelii nuntiandi is the largest pastoral document of the post-Council period: it is still recent, it is still in force and has not lost strength. In the last few numbers, when he describes how to be an evangelizer, he speaks of the joy of evangelizing. When St. Paul VI talks about the sins of the evangelizer: the four or five last numbers. Read it well, thinking of the joy he recommends to us.

I bless you and pray for you. And you promised, at least the Superior General promised to pray for me. Do it, please. Thank you!
Text Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Trans. - Image source: Vatican.va

#BreakingNews Catholic Priest Killed who ran Institute for the Blind - RIP Fr. Landry Ikwel

AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - Congolese priest who ran the institute for the blind was killed in Beira
Tuesday, 21 May 2019
Beira (Agenzia Fides) - "In the face of the death of our brother Landry Ibil Ikwel, in the hospital of Beira (Mozambique) following a brutal attack in the community house in Beira, we join our hearts to those of our brothers and sisters in Africa in pain, in prayer and in trust in the one who died violently on the cross forgiving his aggressors, we ask the Lord that wherever death seeks to prevail, life prevails instead". This is the statement of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, sent to Fides, on the tragic death of Fr. Landry Ibil Ikwel, 34, killed on May 19 in Beira.
The priest was stabbed in his community, taken to the hospital where he died due to his wounds. Investigations are underway.
Of Congolese nationality, Fr. Landry entered the novitiate in 2008 and was ordained a priest three years ago, on 7 February 2016, in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was the director of the Institute of the blind in Beira (IDV-B), a structure whose mission is formation, rehabilitation, education, social integration of children, young people and blind adults from all over the country, ensuring everyone an adequate education according to individual abilities, and thus making them emerge from the marginalization to which the society relegates them.
On presenting the Institute, Fr. Landry wrote: "We believe that the Congregation has made an excellent choice in accepting the management of IDV-B. Our presence responds to our charism, mission and spirituality. It is an eloquent testimony of our "preferential option for the poor". We work as part of human promotion, of social inclusion of the poor. Molokai is everywhere. The missionary dynamic today invites us to go to the margins. We believe that the work of the Congregation at IDV-B is a concrete response to this call. This work is a great challenge for today's mission". (SL) (FULL TEXT Source: Agenzia Fides, 21/5/2019)

Pope Francis explains - Living in peace with Jesus is having this experience within, which remains during all trials.. in Homily

Pope at Mass: The peace of Jesus is like the calm of a deep sea
In his homily during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the gift of peace promised by Christ to His Apostles as He prepared to leave them. That peace does not come from the world, but from the Holy Spirit. It remains during trial, and even gives us courage to go forward with a smile in our hearts.
By Vatican News

Pope Francis’ homily considered the question of how we can reconcile the “tribulations” and persecutions suffered by St Paul, related in the first reading; with the peace that Jesus promised to His disciples in His final words during the Last Supper, “I leave you peace, my peace I give you”, which are recorded in the day’s Gospel.

“Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you”
Although a “life of persecution and tribulations seems to be a life without peace”, Pope Francis recalled the last of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account”.

The peace of Jesus goes with this life of persecution, of tribulation. A peace that is deep down, deep down, very profound to all these things. A peace that no one can touch, a peace that is a gift, like the sea that deep down is tranquil, while on the surface there are waves. Living in peace with Jesus is having this experience within, which remains during all trials, all difficulties, all “tribulations”.

The Christian carries the burdens of life without losing peace
This, the Pope said, is the only way we can understand how so many saints lived their final moments without losing peace, to the point that witnesses would say they went to their martyrdom “like guests to a wedding”. This is the gift of the “peace of Jesus”, he said, that we cannot obtain through human means, like going to a doctor or taking anti-anxiety drugs. This peace is something different, which comes from “the Holy Spirit within us”, and that brings with it “strength”.

Pope Francis gave the example of a hard-working man he met who, because of an illness, had to give up all his plans, but managed to remain at peace. “This is a Christian”, the Pope explained.

Peace, the peace of Jesus, teaches us to go forward in life. It teaches us to endure. To endure: a word we don’t understand well, a very Christian word, it means to carry a burden. To endure, to carry the burden of life, the difficulties, the labour, everything, without losing peace; but rather bearing the burden and having the courage to go forward. This can only be understood when there is the Holy Spirit within, who gives us the peace of Jesus.

On the other hand, Pope Francis said, if we get caught up in a kind of “fervent nervousness” and lose this peace, “there is something that isn’t working”.

Peace doesn’t mean losing a sense of humour
The Holy Father encouraged us to face the greatest difficulties of life with this “gift promised by Jesus”, instead of that false peace that comes from the world, or from having money in the bank. Going beyond the day’s readings, Pope Francis invited us to go forward in life with an even greater capacity, the ability to “make the heart smile”.

The person who lives this peace never loses their sense of humour. They know how to smile at themselves, at others, even when things are dark they know how to smile at everything… this sense of humour which is very close to the grace of God. The peace of Jesus in daily life, the peace of Jesus in tribulations and with that little sense of humour that helps us breathe easier. May the Lord grant us this peace that comes from the Holy Spirit, this peace that comes precisely from Him, and that helps us to endure, to carry, the many difficulties in life.
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican News va

#BreakingNews US Bishosps' say "We are gravely disappointed with the Act’s passage in the U.S..." on Equality Act.”

U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Respond to U.S. House Vote on Equality Act

May 17, 2019
WASHINGTON—Five chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have responded to the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Equality Act (H.R. 5) on May 17, 2019. The Act would add the new terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” as well as “pregnancy […] or a related medical condition,” to the definition of “sex” in federal civil rights laws; expand the types of entities covered under those laws; and exempt itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Upon the bill’s passage by 236 to 173 in the House, the bishops said:
“Our faith calls us to uphold every individual’s dignity and rights against unjust discrimination – including in employment, housing, and services – regardless of characteristics or background. Rather than offering meaningful protections for individuals, the Equality Act would impose sweeping new norms that negatively impact the unborn, health care, charitable services, schools, personal privacy, athletics, free speech, religious liberties, and parental rights. The Act’s unsound definitions of ‘sex’ and ’gender identity’ would erase women’s distinct, hard-won recognition in federal laws. Its sex-based nondiscrimination terms would end women’s shelters and many single-sex schools. It would close faith-based foster care and adoption agencies that honor children’s rights to a mother and father. The bill would even act as an abortion mandate. We must pursue justice and equality for anyone denied it; but this is a regrettable approach. We are gravely disappointed with the Act’s passage in the U.S. House.”
The statement was jointly issued by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education; Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; some of whom had sent or cosigned letters to Members of Congress in opposition to the Equality Act in the months leading up to Friday’s vote.
FULL TEXT Release from USCCB - US Catholic Bishops' Conference

Niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. calls new Pro-Life bills "civil rights" for Babies - #Mlkjr

In an interview with Breitbart News Dr. Alveda King, niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, spoke about the recent laws enacted to protect the unborn.
 Dr. Alveda King, told Breitbart News that the recently passed pro-life laws seek to grant “civil rights” to babies in the womb and protect women, not punish them. King was speaking on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with Breitbart Senior Editor Rebecca Mansour.
King pointed to a famous quote from her uncle: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” “America is right to be concerned,” King said of the abortion debate around the nation, but she argued that the pro-life laws in states like Alabama and George “won’t hurt” Republicans in 2020. “Now, people are saying, ‘They’re going to put women in jail.’ Absolutely not,” King said. “But doctors who insist on continuing to abort little people in the womb will have to answer, because the doctors themselves medically know that that is a person. That is a human being. Ultrasound shows that to all of us, now, and science has caught up with us.” King said, “    Alabama’s new abortion law “is not to punish women,” stated King, “but it is to stop and give the baby civil rights. So women won’t be hauled off to jail.” King reflected on her own experiences with abortion in describing the pro-life movement’s commitment to protecting children and not punishing mothers. “I had abortions years ago,” said King, “and I said, ‘If you really start jumping on the women, you’ll probably want to come after me, but he Lord has forgiven me.’ We’re not going on a headhunt for women with the law in Alabama.” King affirmed that these pro-life laws are aimed at “making sure women and babies are protected.”  .....
“The objective is to give the babies civil rights, to protect and to help the mothers, and then to strengthen the family. That is the goal. It’s not too harsh. It’s not too much. It’s not too extreme.” King went on, “People say, ‘Well, what about rape?’ Well, two wrongs don’t make a right. You kill an innocent person and do further harm the woman, but you don’t deal with the person that did it. All of that has to be examined.”
Excerpts from Breitbart news interview

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - #Eucharist in Eastertide

Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 286

Reading 1ACTS 14:19-28

In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city.
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
"It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the Kingdom of God."
They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the Church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Then they spent no little time with the disciples.

Responsorial PsalmPS 145:10-11, 12-13AB, 21

R.(see 12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.
May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD,
and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaSEE LK 24:46, 26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead,
and so enter into his glory.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 14:27-31A

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
'I am going away and I will come back to you.'
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me."

Saint May 21 : St. Godric of Finchale : #Hermit


1069 at Walpole, Norfolk, England
1170 at Finchale, County Durham, England
He was born of very mean parents at Walpole, in Norfolk, and in his youth carried about little peddling wares which he sold in villages. Having by degrees improved his stock, he frequented cities and fairs, and made several voyages by sea to traffic in Scotland. In one of these he called at Holy Island, or Lindisfarne, where he was charmed and exceedingly edified with the retirement and religious deportment of the monks, and especially with the account which they gave him of the wonderful life of St. Cuthbert. He inquired of them every particular relating to him, visited every corner of that holy solitude and of the neighboring isle of Fame, and falling on his knees, prayed with many tears for grace to imitate the fervor of that saint in serving God, resolving for that purpose to give up all earthly pretensions. He entered upon a new course of life by a penitential devout pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and visited Compostella in his way home. After his return into Norfolk, he accepted the charge of house-steward in the family of a very rich man. The servants were not very regular, and for  their private junketings often trespassed upon their neighbors. Godrick finding he was not able to prevent these injustices, and that the nobleman took no notice of his complaints about them, being easy so long as he was no sufferer himself, left his place for fear of being involved in the guilt of such an injustice.

After making a pilgrimage to St. Giles in France, and to Rome, he went to the north of England in order the better to carry into execution his design of devoting himself wholly to a retired life. A fervent servant of God, named Godwin, who had passed a considerable time in the monastery of Durham, and by conversing with the most holy monks and exercising himself in the interior and exterior practices of all virtues, was well qualified to be a director to an inexperienced novice, joined our saint, and they led together an austere anchoretical life in a wilderness situated on the north to Carlisle, serving one another, and spending both the days and nights in the praises of God. After two years God called Godwin to himself by a happy death after a short sickness. St. Godrick having lost his companion, made a second painful pilgrimage to Jerusalem. After his return he passed some time in the solitude of Streneshalch, now Whitby; but after a year and some months went to Durham to offer up his prayers before the shrine of St. Cuthbert, and from thence retired into the desert of Finchal, or Finkley, three miles from Durham, near the river Wear. St. John Baptist and St. Cuthbert he chose for his principal patrons and models. The austerities which he practiced are rather to be admired than imitated. He had his regular tasks of devotion, consisting of psalms and other prayers which he had learned by heart, and which he constantly recited at midnight, break of day, and the other canonical hours, besides a great number of other devotions. Though he was ignorant of the very elements of learning, he was too well experienced in the happy art of conversing with God and his own soul ever to be at a loss how to employ his time in solitude. Whole days and nights seemed too short for his rapturous contemplations, one of which he often wished with St. Bruno he could have continued without interruption for eternity, in inflamed acts of adoration, compunction, love, or praise. His patience under the sharpest pains of sicknesses or ulcers, and all manner of trials, was admirable; but his humility was vet more astonishing. His conversation was meek, humble, and simple. He concealed as much as possible from the sight and knowledge of all men whatever might procure their esteem, and he was even unwilling any one should see or speak with him. Yet this he saw himself obliged to allow on certain days every week to such as came with the leave of the prior of Durham, under whose care and obedience he died. A monk of that house was his confessor, said mass for him, and administered him the sacraments in a chapel adjoining to his cell, which the holy man had built in honor of St. John Baptist. He was most averse from all pride and vanity, and never spoke of himself but as of the most sinful of creatures, a counterfeit hermit, an empty phantom of a religious man: lazy, slothful, proud, and imperious, abusing the charity of good people who assisted him with their alms. But the more the saint humbled himself, the more did God exalt him by his grace, and by wonderful miraculous gifts. For several years before his death he was confined to his bed by sickness and old age. William of Newbridge, who visited him during that time, tells us that though his body appeared in a manner dead, his tongue was ever repeating the sacred names of the three divine Persons, and in his countenance there appeared a wonderful dignity, accompanied with an unusual grace and sweetness. Having remained in the desert sixty-three years, he was seized with his last illness, and happily departed to his Lord on the 21st of May, 1170, in the reign of Henry II. His body was buried  in the chapel of St. John Baptist. Many miracles confirmed the opinion of his sanctity, and a little chapel was built in his memory by Richard, brother to Hugh Pidsey, bishop of Durham. See William of Newbridge, 1. 2, c. 20; Matthew Paris, Matthew of Westminster, his life written by Nicholas of Durham his confessarius, and abridged by Harpsfield, Saec. 12, c. 45. Source : Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler

Monday, May 20, 2019

Saint May 21 : St. Eugene de Mazenod the Founder of the Missionary Oblates who died in 1861 - #OMI

Eugene de Mazenod (1782-1861)

Bishop of Marseille, founder of the Congregation
of the Missionaries, Oblates of Mary Immaculate  

CHARLES JOSEPH EUGENE DE MAZENOD came into a world that was destined to change very quickly. Born in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France on August 1, 1782, he seemed assured of position and wealth from his family, who were of the minor nobility. However, the turmoil of the French Revolution changed all that forever. When Eugene was just eight years old his family fled France, leaving their possessions behind, and started a long and increasingly difficult eleven year exile.
Eugene de Mazenod speaks to us God our Father, we thank you for having called Saint Eugene de Mazenod to follow Christ the Saviour and Evangelizer. Passionately in love with your Son Jesus and sharing in his compassion for humanity Eugene put himself unconditionally at the service of your Church for the evangelization of those most in need. Through his intercession, help us to reach out with the healing touch of Christ who calls us to Holiness and to Mission. May we build communities which are signs of your presence, and share the Good News of salvation with all peoples. For this we dedicate ourselves, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory be
 Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Share with us your love for Christ. Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Help us to stand firm in goodness. Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Be with us in all our efforts. Saint Eugene de Mazenod, pray for us. Amen
********** Biography
The Years in Italy
The Mazenod family, political refugees, trailed through a succession of cities in Italy. His father, who had been President of the Court of Accounts, Aids and Finances in Aix, was forced to try his hand at trade to support his family. He proved to be a poor businessman, and as the years went on the family came close to destitution. Eugene studied briefly at the College of Nobles in Turin, but a move to Venice meant the end to formal schooling. A sympathetic priest, Don Bartolo Zinelli, living nearby, undertook to educate the young French emigre. Don Bartolo gave the adolescent Eugene a fundamental education, but with a lasting sense of God and a regimen of piety which was to stay with him always, despite the ups and downs of his life. A further move to Naples, because of financial problems, led to a time of boredom and helplessness. The family moved again, this time to Palermo where, thanks to the kindness of the Duke and Duchess of Cannizzaro, Eugene had his first taste of noble living and found it very much to his liking. He took to himself the title of "Count" de Mazenod, did all the courtly things, and dreamed of a bright future.
Return to France: the Priesthood
In 1802, at the age of 20, Eugene was able to return to his homeland - and all his dreams and illusions were quickly shattered. He was just plain "Citizen" de Mazenod, France was a changed world, his parents had separated, his mother was fighting to get back the family possessions. She was also intent on marrying off Eugene to the richest possible heiress. He sank into depression, seeing little real future for himself. But his natural qualities of concern for others, together with the faith fostered in Venice began to assert themselves. He was deeply affected by the disastrous situation of the French Church, which had been ridiculed, attacked and decimated by the Revolution. A calling to the priesthood began to manifest itself, and Eugene answered that call. Despite opposition from his mother, he entered the seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris, and on December 21, 1811, he was ordained a priest in Amiens.

Apostolic endeavours: Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Returning to Aix-en-Provence, he did not take up a normal parish appointment, but started to exercise his priesthood in the care of the truly spiritually needy-prisoners, youth, servants, country villagers. Often in the face of opposition from the local clergy, Eugene pursued his course. Soon he sought out other equally zealous priests who were prepared to step outside the old, even outmoded, structures. Eugene and his men preached in Provencal, the language of the common people, not in "educated" French. From village to village they went, instructing at the level of the people, spending amazingly long hours in the confessional. In between these parish missions the group joined in an intense community life of prayer, study and fellowship. They called themselves "Missionaries of Provence". However, so that there would be an assured continuity in the work, Eugene took the bold step of going directly to the Pope and asking that his group be recognized officially as a Religious Congregation of pontifical right. His faith and his persistence paid off-and on February 17d, 1826, Pope Leo XII approved the new Congregation, the "Oblates of Mary Immaculate". Eugene was elected Superior General, and continued to inspire and guide his men for 35 years, until his death. Together with their growing apostolic endeavours-preaching, youth work, care of shrines, prison chaplaincy, confessors, direction of seminaries, parishes - Eugene insisted on deep spiritual formation and a close community life. He was a man who loved Christ with passion and was always ready to take on any apostolate if he saw it answering the needs of the Church. The "glory of God, the good of the Church and the sanctification of souls" were impelling forces for him.
Bishop o f Marseilles
The Diocese of Marseilles had been suppressed after the 1802 Concordat, and when it was re-established, Eugene's aged uncle, Canon Fortune de Mazenod, was named Bishop. He appointed Eugene Vicar General immediately, and most of the difficult work of re-building the Diocese fell to him. Within a few years, in 1832, Eugene himself was named auxiliary bishop. His Episcopal ordination took place in Rome, in defiance of the pretensions of the French Government that it had the right to sanction all such appointments. This caused a bitter diplomatic battle, and Eugene was caught in the middle, with accusations, misunderstandings, threats, and recriminations swirling around him. It was an especially devastating time for him, further complicated by the growing pains of his religious family. Though battered, Eugene steered ahead resolutely, and finally the impasse was broken. Five years later, he was appointed to the See of Marseilles as its Bishop, when Bishop Fortune retired.
A heart as big as the world
Whilst he had founded the Oblates of Mary Immaculate primarily to serve the spiritually needy and deprived of the French countryside, Eugene's zeal for the Kingdom of God and his devotion to the Church moved the Oblates to the advancing edge of the apostolate. His men ventured into Switzerland, England, Ireland. Because of his zeal, Eugene had been dubbed "a second Paul," and bishops from the missions came to him asking for Oblates for their expanding mission fields. Eugene responded willingly despite small initial numbers, and sent his men out to Canada, to the United States, to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), to South Africa, to Basutoland (Lesotho). As missionaries in his mould, they fanned out preaching, baptising, caring. They frequently opened up previously uncharted lands, established and manned many new dioceses, and in a multitude of ways they "left nothing undared that the Kingdom of Christ might be advanced." In the years that followed, the Oblate mission thrust continued, so that today the impulse of Eugene de Mazenod is alive in his men in 68 different countries.
Pastor of his Diocese
During all this ferment of missionary activity, Eugene was an outstanding pastor of the Church of Marseilles-ensuring the best seminary training for his priests, establishing new parishes, building the city's cathedral and the spectacular Shrine of Notre Dame de la Garde above the city, encouraging his priests to lives of holiness, introducing many Religious Congregations to work in the diocese, leading his fellow Bishops in support of the rights of the Pope. He grew into a towering figure in the French Church. In 1856, Napoleon III appointed him a Senator, and at his death he was the senior bishop of France.
Legacy of a Saint
May 21, 1861, saw Eugene de Mazenod returning to his God, at the age of 79, after a life crowded with achievements, many of them born in suffering. For his religious family and for his diocese, he was a founding and life-giving source: for God and for the Church, he was a faithful and generous son. As he lay dying he left his Oblates a final testament, "Among yourselves-charity, charity, charity: in the world-zeal for souls." The Church in declaring him a saint on December 3, 1995, crowns these two pivots of his living-love and zeal. His life and his deeds remain for all a window unto God Himself. And that is the greatest gift that Eugene de Mazenod, Oblate of Mary Immaculate, can offer us.
Text from the Vatican.va Website

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Pope Francis explains "Jesus loved us first, he loved us despite our frailties, our limitations..." Full Text + Video


St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 19 May 2019

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today's Gospel leads us to the Cenacle to make us hear some of the words that Jesus addressed to the disciples in the "farewell speech" before his passion. After having washed the feet of the Twelve, He says to them: "I give you a new commandment: that you love one another. As I have loved you, so let you also love one another "(Jn 13:34). But in what sense does Jesus call this commandment "new"? Because we know that already in the Old Testament God had commanded the members of his people to love their neighbor as themselves (see Lv 19:18). Jesus himself, to those who asked him what was the greatest commandment of the Law, answered that the first is to love God with all one's heart and the second to love one's neighbor as oneself (see Mt 22: 38-39).

So what is the novelty of this commandment that Jesus entrusts to his disciples? Why do you call it a "new commandment"? The ancient commandment of love has become new because it was completed with this addition: "as I have loved you", "love you as I have loved you". The novelty is all in the love of Jesus Christ, the one with which he gave his life for us. It is a question of the love of God, universal, without conditions and without limits, which finds its apex on the cross. In that moment of extreme lowering, in that moment of abandonment to the Father, the Son of God has shown and given to the world the fullness of love. Thinking back to the passion and agony of Christ, the disciples understood the meaning of those words of his: "As I have loved you, so let you also love one another".

Jesus loved us first, he loved us despite our frailties, our limitations and our human weaknesses. It was He who made us become worthy of his love that knows no limits and never ends. By giving us the new commandment, he asks us to love each other not only and not so much with our love, but with his, which the Holy Spirit infuses in our hearts if we invoke him with faith. In this way - and only in this way - we can love each other not only as we love ourselves, but as He loved us, that is immensely more. God loves us much more than we love ourselves. And so we can spread everywhere the seed of love that renews relationships between people and opens horizons of hope. Jesus always opens horizons of hope, his love opens horizons of hope. This love makes us become new men, brothers and sisters in the Lord, and makes us the new People of God, that is, the Church, in which all are called to love Christ and in Him to love one another.

The love that is manifested in the cross of Christ and that He calls us to live is the only force that transforms our heart of stone into a heart of flesh; the only force capable of transforming our heart is the love of Jesus, if we also love with this love. And this love makes us capable of loving our enemies and forgiving those who have offended us. I will ask you a question, everyone will answer in his heart. Am I capable of loving my enemies? We all have people, I don't know if they are enemies, but that doesn't agree with us, who is "on the other side"; or does anyone have people who hurt them ... am I capable of loving those people? That man, that woman who hurt me, who offended me? Am I able to forgive him? Everyone responds in his heart. The love of Jesus makes us see the other as a present or future member of the community of the friends of Jesus; it stimulates us to dialogue and helps us to listen to and know each other. Love opens us to the other, becoming the basis of human relationships. It makes us able to overcome the barriers of our weaknesses and prejudices. The love of Jesus in us creates bridges, teaches new ways, triggers the dynamism of fraternity. May the Virgin Mary help us, with her maternal intercession, to welcome from her Son Jesus the gift of his commandment, and from the Holy Spirit the strength to practice it in everyday life.

 After the Regina Coeli

Dear brothers and sisters!

Yesterday in Madrid, Maria Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri was beatified, a faithful laity of Opus Dei, who joyfully served her brothers by combining teaching and the proclamation of the Gospel. His testimony is an example for Christian women engaged in social and scientific research. Let's applaud the new Blessed, all together!

I address my cordial greetings to you, pilgrims from Italy and from different countries. In particular those from Mexico, California, Haiti; to the faithful of Cordoba (Spain) and of Viseu (Portugal); to the students of Pamplona and Lisbon.
I greet the Canonesses of the Cross on the centenary of their foundation; the leaders of the Community of St. Egidio from different countries; the Polish pilgrims, in particular the scouts, accompanied by the Military Ordinary, who came on the 75th anniversary of the battle of Montecassino.

I greet the faithful of Biancavilla and Cosenza; those of Pallagorio with the choir; the boys of the Confirmation of Senigallia and Campi Bisenzio; the choir of San Marzano sul Sarno and that of San Michele in Bolzano; the School of the Daughters of St. Anne in Bologna and the cyclists of the Bambino Gesù Hospital.

I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!
Text Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Trans. - Image source: VaticanNews.va

#BreakingNews 15,000 at March for Life in Rome, Italy - 9th Annual Pro-Life Event - Video

Thousands of Pro-Lifers and many youth at "March for Life" in Rome, Italy.

  Around 15,000 pro-lifers marched against abortion and euthanasia in the annual event on the weekend in Rome. This was reported by the Italian newspaper "Avvenire" (Sunday), citing the organizers. The participants included international associations for the protection of life, bishops, priests and religious, as well as Cardinals Willem Jacobus Eijk (Netherlands) and Raymond Burke (USA). It was about "defending the right to life from conception to natural death", quoted "Avvenire" the spokeswoman for the Italian "Marcia per la Vita", Virginia Coda Nunziante.

The demonstration took place in Italy for the ninth time. Pro-Life movements gather around the world on different dates every year for similar protest marches, for example in Berlin, Paris, Washington or Poland.
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Today's Mass Readings and Video : Mon. May 20, 2019 - #Eucharist in Eastertide

Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Lectionary: 285

Reading 1 ACTS 14:5-18

There was an attempt in Iconium
by both the Gentiles and the Jews,
together with their leaders,
to attack and stone Paul and Barnabas.
They realized it,
and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe
and to the surrounding countryside,
where they continued to proclaim the Good News.

At Lystra there was a crippled man, lame from birth,
who had never walked. 
He listened to Paul speaking, who looked intently at him,
saw that he had the faith to be healed,
and called out in a loud voice, "Stand up straight on your feet."
He jumped up and began to walk about.
When the crowds saw what Paul had done,
they cried out in Lycaonian,
"The gods have come down to us in human form." 
They called Barnabas "Zeus" and Paul "Hermes,"
because he was the chief speaker.
And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city,
brought oxen and garlands to the gates,
for he together with the people intended to offer sacrifice.

The Apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their garments
when they heard this and rushed out into the crowd, shouting,
"Men, why are you doing this? 
We are of the same nature as you, human beings. 
We proclaim to you good news
that you should turn from these idols to the living God,
who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them.
In past generations he allowed all Gentiles to go their own ways;
yet, in bestowing his goodness,
he did not leave himself without witness,
for he gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons,
and filled you with nourishment and gladness for your hearts."
Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds
from offering sacrifice to them.

Responsorial PsalmPS 115:1-2, 3-4, 15-16

R.(1ab) Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
R. Alleluia.
Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name give glory
because of your mercy, because of your truth.
Why should the pagans say,
"Where is their God?"
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
R. Alleluia.
Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
R. Alleluia.
May you be blessed by the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
Heaven is the heaven of the LORD,
but the earth he has given to the children of men.
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 14:26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 14:21-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him."
Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him,
"Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us
and not to the world?"
Jesus answered and said to him,
"Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

"I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit 
whom the Father will send in my nameB 
he will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you."