Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Matthew 6: 1 - 6, 16 - 18
1 "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2 "Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4 so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5 "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
16 "And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
18 that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.


Vatican City, 22 February 2012 (VIS) - During his general audience this morning, the Holy Father dedicated his catechesis to the subject of Lent (which begins today, Ash Wednesday), the period of forty days leading up to the Easter Triduum, memorial of the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Benedict XVI reminded the 7,500 pilgrims gathered in the Paul VI Hall that, in the early days of the Church, Lent was a time in which catechumens began their journey of faith and conversion prior to receiving Baptism.
Dear brothers and sisters,

in this Catechesis I would like to dwell briefly on the season of Lent, which begins today with the Liturgy of Ash Wednesday. It is a journey of forty days that will lead us to the Paschal Triduum, memorial of the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord, the heart of the mystery of our salvation. In the early centuries of the Church this was the time when those who had heard and accepted the message of Christ began, step by step, their journey of faith and conversion to receive the sacrament of baptism. It was a drawing close to the living God and an initiation of the faith to be gradually accomplished, through an inner change in the catechumens, that is, those who wished to become Christians and thus be incorporated into Christ and the Church.

Subsequently, penitents, and then all the faithful were invited to experience this journey of spiritual renewal, to conform themselves and their lives to that of Christ. The participation of the whole community in the different steps of the Lenten path emphasizes an important dimension of Christian spirituality: redemption is not available to only a few, but to all, through the death and resurrection of Christ. Therefore, those who follow a journey of faith as catechumens to receive baptism, those who had strayed from God and the community of faith and seek reconciliation and those who lived their faith in full communion with the Church, together knew that the period before Easter is a period of metanoia, that is, of inner change, of repentance, the period that identifies our human life and our entire history as a process of conversion that is set in motion now in order to meet the Lord at the end of time.

In an expression that has become typical in the Liturgy, the Church calls the period in which we are now entering "Quadragesima," in short a period of forty days and, with a clear reference to Sacred Scripture, it introduces us to a specific spiritual context. Forty is in fact the symbolic number in which salient moments of the experience of faith of the People of God are expressed. A figure that expresses the time of waiting, purification, return to the Lord, the awareness that God is faithful to his promises. This number does not represent an exact chronological time, divided by the sum of the days. Rather it indicates a patient perseverance, a long trial, a sufficient period to see the works of God, a time within which we must make up our minds and to decide to accept our own responsibilities without additional references. It is the time for mature decisions.

The number forty first appears in the story of Noah.

This just man because of the flood spends forty days and forty nights in the ark, along with his family and animals that God had told him to bring. He waits for another forty days, after the flood, before finding land, saved from destruction (Gen 7,4.12, 8.6). Then, the next stop, Moses on Mount Sinai, in the presence of the Lord, for forty days and forty nights to receive the Law. He fasts throughout this period (Exodus 24:18). Forty, the number of years the Jewish people journeyed from Egypt to the Promised Land, the right amount of time for them to experience the faithfulness of God: " Remember how for these forty years the LORD, your God, has directed all your journeying in the wilderness... The clothing did not fall from you in tatters, nor did your feet swell these forty years, "says Moses in Deuteronomy at the end of the forty years of migration (Dt 8,2.4). The years of peace enjoyed by Israel under the Judges are forty (Judg. 3,11.30), but, once this time ended, forgetfulness of the gifts of God begins and a return to sin.

The prophet Elijah takes forty days to reach Horeb, the mountain where he meets God (1 Kings 19.8). Forty are the days during which the people of Nineveh do penance for the forgiveness of God (Gen 3.4). Forty were also the years of the reign of Saul (Acts 13:21), David (2 Sam 5:4-5) and Solomon (1 Kings 11:41), the first three kings of Israel. Even the biblical Psalms reflect on the meaning of the forty years, such as Psalm 95 for example, of which we heard a passage: "If you would listen to his voice today! " Oh, that today you would hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert. There your ancestors tested me; they tried me though they had seen my works. Forty years I loathed that generation; I said: “This people’s heart goes astray; they do not know my ways"(vv. 7c-10).

In the New Testament Jesus, before beginning of his public life, retires to the desert for forty days without food or drink (Matt. 4.2): he nourishes himself on the Word of God, which he uses as a weapon to conquer the devil. The temptations of Jesus recall those the Jewish people faced in the desert, but could not conquer. Forty are the days during which the risen Jesus instructs his disciples, before ascending to heaven and sending the Holy Spirit (Acts 1.3).

A spiritual context is described by this recurring number forty, one that remains current and valid, and the Church, precisely through the days of Lent, intends to maintain its enduring value and make us aware of its efficacy. The Christian liturgy of Lent is intended to facilitate a journey of spiritual renewal in the light of this long biblical experience and especially to learn how to imitate Jesus, who in the forty days spent in the desert taught how to overcome temptation with the Word of God. The forty years of Israel’s wandering in the desert present us with ambivalent attitudes and situations. On the one hand they are the first season of love between God and his people when He spoke to his heart, continuously indicating the path to follow to them. God had pitched his tent, so to speak, in the midst of Israel, He preceded it in a cloud or a pillar of fire, ensured its daily nourishment showering manna upon them, and bringing forth water from rock. Therefore, the years spent by Israel in the desert can be seen as the time of the special election of God and adherence to Him by the people. The time of first love. On the other hand, the Bible also shows another image of Israel's wanderings in the desert: it is also the time of the greatest temptations and dangers, when Israel murmured against God and wanted to return to paganism and builds its own idols, as a need to worship a closer and more tangible God. It is also a time of rebellion against the great and invisible God.

This ambivalence, a period of special closeness to God, of first love and of temptation, the attempted return to paganism that characterized Israel in the desert, we find once again in a surprising way even in Jesus' earthly journey, of course without any compromise with sin. After his baptism of repentance in the Jordan, in which he takes upon himself the destiny of the Servant of Yahweh God who renounces himself and lives for others and places himself among sinners, to take upon himself the sins of the world, Jesus went to stay in the desert for forty days in deep union with the Father, thus repeating the history of Israel and all these rhythms of forty days a year. This dynamic is a constant in the earthly life of Jesus, who always seeks moments of solitude to pray to his Father and remain in close and intimate communion with Him alone, and exclusive communion with Him, and then return among the people. But in these times of "desert" and special encounter with the Father, Jesus is exposed to danger and is assailed by temptation and the seduction of devil, who offers him another messianic way, far from God's plan, because it passes through power, success, dominion and not through the total gift on the Cross. This is the alternative, messianism of power, of success, not messianism of gift and love of self.

This ambivalence also describes the condition of the pilgrim Church in the "desert" of the world and history. In this "desert" we believers certainly have the opportunity to profoundly experience God, an experience that makes the spirit strong, confirms the faith, nourishes hope, animates charity; an experience that makes us partakers of Christ's victory over sin and death through the Sacrifice of love on the Cross. But the "desert" is also the negative aspects of the reality that surrounds us: the arid, the poverty of words of life and of values, secularism and the materialist culture, which shut people within a horizon of mundane existence, robbing them of all reference to transcendence. And this is also the environment in which the sky above us is obscured, because covered by the clouds of egoism, misunderstanding and deception. Despite this, even for the Church of today the time of the desert can be transformed into a time of grace, because we have the certainty that even from the hardest rock God can bring forth the living water that refreshes and restores.

Dear brothers and sisters, in these forty days that will lead us to Easter may we find new courage to accept with patience and with faith situations of difficulty, of affliction and trial, knowing that from the darkness the Lord will make a new day dawn. And if we are faithful to Jesus and follow him on the way of the Cross, the bright world of God, the world of light, truth and joy will be gifted to us once more: it will be the new dawn created by God himself. May you all have a good Lenten journey!

The Pope also addressed a special greeting to faithful of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, who were present in the Paul VI Hall. The ordinariate was set up a little over a year ago for groups of Anglican clergy and faithful wishing to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church. The general audience ended with the apostolic blessing.

Vatican City, 22 February 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a Message to Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida and president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, for the Fraternity Campaign traditionally promoted by the Brazilian Church during Lent. The theme for the 2012 campaign is: "Health spreads over all the earth".
In his Message the Pope recalls how the purpose of the campaign is "to arouse a greater fraternal and community spirit in caring for the sick, and to invite society to ensure that everyone has access to the means necessary for a healthy life".
The biblical theme of the campaign - taken from Ecclesiasticus - reminds Christians that health goes beyond bodily well-being. When Jesus healed the paralytic, before causing the man to walk again, He forgave him his sins, "showing us that the perfect cure is the forgiveness of sin, Health par excellence is health of the soul, 'for what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?' In fact, in Latin the words for 'health' and 'salvation' have their roots in the same term, and in the Gospel the activity of the Saviour of mankind is associated with many episodes of healing".
Benedict XVI expresses his hope that the campaign "may arouse increasingly profound solidarity with sick people in the hearts of the faithful, and of all people of good will. The sick often suffer more through solitude and abandonment than through their infirmity. We must remember the Jesus identified Himself with them: 'I was sick and you took care of me'. At the same time we must help them discover that, although sickness is a difficult trial, it can also, in union with the crucified and risen Christ, be a form of participation in the mystery of Jesus' suffering for the salvation of the world. Indeed, 'by offering our pain to God through Christ, we can share in the victory of good over evil, because God makes our offering, our act of love, fruitful'".
The Pope concludes his Message by invoking the intercession of Our lady of Aparecida, that the Lord may grant everyone, and especially the sick, "comfort and strength in accomplishing the duties specific to their individual, family or social condition, that these may become a source of health and progress in Brazil, making it fertile in sanctity, economically prosperous, even-handed in the distribution of wealth, joyful in public service, equitable in power and fraternal in development".

Vatican City, 22 February 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Jacinto Furtado de Brito Sobrinho of Crateus, Brazil, as metropolitan archbishop of Teresina (area 26,495, population 1,195,000, Catholics 1,018,000, priests 118, permanent deacons 19, religious 203), Brazil.
- Appointed Fr. Olivier de Germay of the clergy of the archdiocese of Toulouse, France, episcopal vicar and pastor of the "ensemble paroissial" of Bauzelle, as bishop of Ajaccio (area 8,722, population 275,000, Catholics 256,000, priests 75, permanent deacons 16, religious 69), France. The bishop-elect was born in Tours, France in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1998. He frequented a military academy before going to study at the French seminary in Rome. He has worked in pastoral care and as professor of sacramental and family theology at the "Institut Catholique" of Toulouse.
- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Palmerston North, New Zealand, presented by Bishop Peter James Cullinane, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Charles Drennan.


Fr John Malley, O.Carm  RIP | Fr John Malley, O.Carm

Fr John Malley, O.Carm
The Carmelite Family around the world is united in prayer following the death of former Prior General of the Order, Most Rev Fr John Malley, O.Carm. He died unexpectedly on the evening of Saturday 18 February in Tucson, Arizona, in his native United States of America.

John Malley was born on 26 July 1930 in Boston, USA. At the end of his novitiate as a friar he made his simple profession of vows on 30 August 1950. He made solemn profession on 27 September 1953 at Saint Albert’s International College in Rome. While studying in Rome he was ordained priest on 1 July 1956.

In 1978 Fr John was elected Prior Provincial (senior brother) of the Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary (also known as the 'PCM' or 'Chicago' Province) in America. He was still the Prior Provincial when in September 1983, at the General Chapter (international meeting) of the Carmelite Order, he was elected Prior General, that is, the most senior member of the Order worldwide. He was re-elected to this office in 1989, and went on to complete a second six-year term.

During his twelve years in office as Prior Genera, Fr John was of great service to Carmel. In particular Fr John will be remembered as the great promoter of the notion of 'Carmelite Family' which he encouraged and supported all around the world.

Fr John spoke about his own experience of the Carmelite Family and its values at the 2006 International Congress of Lay Carmelites in Rome.

At the end of his time as Prior General, Fr John returned to his province in the United States where he continued to work as Director of the Missions Office in Darien, Illinois, right up until his death.

The news service of the Carmelite Curia in Rome, CITOC, announcing Fr John's death, stated: "We remember him with great affection and gratitude and will pray for his eternal repose. May he rest in peace."

Fr John's successor as Prior General, Fr Joseph Chalmers of the British Province of Carmelites, will attend his funeral (and a tribute by him will be posted at a later date).

The Prior Provincial of the British Province, Fr Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm., said: "I always found John gracious and approachable. If you did anything for him he was always generous in his gratitude. He did so much to consolidate the life of the Order."

Johan Bergström-Allen, a Lay Carmelite of the British Province who teaches a module on 'The Carmelite Family' for the Carmelite Institute of Britain & Ireland, paid tribute to Fr John's work in that area: "John Malley grew up within a large family, and this profoundly influenced his view of Carmel when elected as senior brother within the Order. He understood that within Carmel - like in any blood family - there are many different 'roles', each of which is quite distinct but all of which contribute to the life of a healthy family. Fr John helped develop the notion of Carmelite Family from the 1980s onwards, stressing that all members of the family have a proper place and a full vocation. He encouraged deeper dialogue between the Carmelite and Discalced Carmelite Orders, co-writing the first joint letters between the Generals of the two branches of Carmel. Fr John also promoted recognition of the contribution that laity make to the life of Carmel, as well as religious, encouraging collaborative ministry. Without his leadership we almost certainly would not be talking and teaching about the Carmelite Family today, an approach to our spiritual tradition which inspires many other religious families worldwide."

Fr Joseph Chalmers pays tribute to a much-loved and respected Carmelite brother...

Before and after his studies in Rome, Fr John spent many years in school ministry in Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, Arizona. He also managed to gain a doctorate in clinical psychology. All of this experience was very useful when he was elected in 1987 as Prior Provincial of the then largest Province in the Order - the American Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary.

In 1983 he attended the General Chapter of the Order in Rome and was elected Prior General. He was re-elected in 1989. He was largely responsible for guiding the lengthy process of writing new Constitutions for the friars, which were approved by the General Chapter of 1995. These Constitutions have had a profound effect on the Order as a whole as they define in a clear way what is the Carmelite charism. The main thrust of his two terms as Prior General was the encouragement of the idea of the Carmelite Family. This concept was not well developed until Fr John took it and spoke about it in every part of the Order. Under his guidance the concept began to blossom and nowadays it is an essential part of how we Carmelites understand ourselves. We are part of an international Family, made up of lay people, active sisters, cloistered nuns, hermits and friars in active ministry. All of us together shape Carmel into the future as we seek to respond to God's call to us.

In 1995 when he left Rome, he returned to Tucson where he was remembered by many and soon became a beloved counsellor to new generations of young people. He was always a very active man and so when the school was on holiday he would go to Chicago where he was director of the Mission Office for his Province, where he was responsible for raising large amounts of money for the missions of the Order. His vast international experience helped him in this worldwide ministry. He maintained great contact with many Carmelite sisters. Many Carmelites and the people we serve have cause to be grateful to Fr John for help in building a much-needed church or school or clinic. Through the mission office he would spread the word about the Carmelite missions among many people in the United States.

Fr John Malley was a gentle man who loved people. Many throughout the world were recipients of his cards and letters and he never forgot a name. He was also passionate about sports and loved to play golf and tennis especially with his own brother, Fr Vernon Malley, who lived in the same community in Tucson. He also loved to watch the young people in the school playing various sports and always had a word of praise or encouragement.

He had just attended a school lacrosse match and was expected to go to a basketball game on Saturday but he did not turn up. One of his community went to see what was wrong and he found Fr John sitting in his chair with his breviary open in front of him. The psalm he had been reading was psalm 116: "Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful".

Fr John's funeral Mass will be held in Tucson on Friday, 24 February. May he rest in peace.


Xt3 Lent Calendar for 2012 has launched its annual Lent Calendar for 2012!
The Xt3 Lent Calendar is a Catholic resource suited for youth groups, parishes, schools, or for one's personal Lenten journey. Each day you will be provided with a new feature, including the daily mass readings, scripture quotes, and a small act of penance that you may chose to add to your Lenten commitments. In addition, Xt3 will provide a Lent or Easter themed multimedia feature every day, including inspirational short films, reflective podcasts, apologetics, Lent trivia, information about WYD2013, and much more!
The first calendar door will open on Ash Wednesday, 22 February 2012.
Every year, the calendar is available online on However this year the 2012 Lent Calendar will also be made available as an App for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
We hope this resource will make Lent a fruitful time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, for those who use it.
Download the 2012 Xt3 Lent Calendar App today - available now in the App store and Android Marketplace.
Or access the calendar online at
Lent 2011

Xt3 Lent Calendar 2012

You can give up something old this Lenten season... BUT you can also take up something NEW!


Cisa News
MONROVIA, February 21, 2012 (CISA) -The Liberia Restoration to Christian Heritage Committee (LRCHC), leading a campaign to return Liberia to a Christian state launched a rally on Saturday, February 18, 2012 to muster one million signatures to petition the Liberian Legislature.
Sources reported that thousands of Liberians trooped at the kickoff ceremony held outside of the Old Providence Baptist Church in Monrovia to append their signatures.
As early as 7am Saturday, volunteers of the Liberia Restoration to Christian Heritage Committee gathered around the Baptist edifice where people were already in queues to sign.
Among the first batch of signatories were police and military officers fully dressed in their uniforms as well as some members of the House of Representatives and other public officials.
At a recent Church ceremony in Monrovia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared that Liberia is predominantly a Christian State, but was accommodating other religions.
Supporters of the campaign displayed their 2011 Voter’s Registration Cards and mobile phone numbers as they signed the document.
The organization’s Chairperson Jonah Woiwor, told reporters the campaign, which does not oppose the existence of other religions here, was spontaneously launched within all 17 districts of Montserrado County.
“Being that we do not want to make this task a Monrovia or Montserrado County affairs, hundreds of our volunteers were dispatched to other parts of the country to gather signatures”, said Woiwor.
“As required by law, to overturn any constitutional clause, the citizens must gather 10,000 signatures. Because of the overwhelming nature of the campaign, we are gathering one million signatures,” Woiwor said.
According to a statement issued last Friday, the Council of Churches and the Baptist Church denied being part of the campaign and its real motive. However, despite these institutions distancing themselves from the process, their individual members turned out in their thousands to sign the document.


A member of the Knights of St Columba is to walk 98 miles to raise money for Christian schools in Sudan
By John Newton on Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Walker raises money for Sudanese childrenGeorge McLaughlin
A member of the Knights of St Columba will be undertaking a gruelling 98-mile trek to raise money for Christian schools in Sudan, writes John Newton.
George McLaughlin will be walking the West Highland Way from July 29 to August 5 to raise money for the Save the Saveable schools based around Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.
The decision to help the Church-run schools in Sudan follows the Knights of St Columba’s decision to adopt the Aid to the Church in Need-backed scheme as its national action project from 2011-2013.
Mr McLaughlin, from Alloa in the Central Lowlands, described the challenge of completing the 98-mile route in eight days.
He said: “As I am not in the least fit or athletic this will be very challenging indeed.”
The West Highland Way runs from Milngavie, just outside Glasgow, to Fort William in the Highlands, following historic routes including disused railway lines and drove roads that were used to transport livestock in former times.
Mr McLaughlin hopes to raise £1,500 to educate children in Sudan through his sponsored walk and has set up an online page at where people can make donations.
In interviews with Aid to the Church in Need, Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok Kur of Khartoum has repeatedly stressed the importance of the schools for the future of the Church in Sudan.
He said: “There needs to be good Christian education possibilities so that future generations can be formed and can nurture strong values to enable them to live in an Islamic environment.
“Save the Saveable remains the way to help young Christian people so that they are educated and can play their part in local society.”


Ash Wednesday
    Today, Feb. 22, 2012 is Ash Wednesday a moveable feast that begins the liturgical season of Lent. It does not have a specific date but depends on when Easter is celebrated. The Church encourages the faithful to go to Confession or Reconciliation on this day. Confession involves the telling of one's sins to a priest who then provides forgiveness according to the commission of Christ.
John 20:21-23:
He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.  Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.
On Ash Wednesday Christians begin the period of the fast. Healthy people between the ages of 18 and 59 are required to fast or perform some act of penance. Abstinence from meat is required on Ash Wednesday and Fridays. Fasting requires the consumption of 1 full meal and only 2 smaller meals. Ash Wednesday starts the commemoration of Jesus' 40 days in the desert. Lent is actually 46 days as the Sundays do not count for the fasting period. When people attend Church services on this day they are commonly blessed with ashes in the form of a cross on their foreheads. The ashes are usually derived from the burning of the palms used on Palm Sunday. They are to remind people of their sins and call them to repentence. Usually a priest, deacon or lay person marks the person's forehead. The biblical verse is said:
Remember thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return.
Genesis 3: 19
Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.
Mark 1 : 15
This marking is called a sacramental. Churches are decorated with purple during the season of Lent. Statues and crosses are covered with purple cloth. Lent ends with the celebration of Easter, when Jesus rose from the dead.
There are many biblical roots to repentence for sin with ashes, here are a few sources:
Judith 7: 14
But the children of Israel, when they saw the multitude of them, prostrated themselves upon the ground, putting ashes upon their heads, praying with one accord, that the God of Israel would shew his mercy upon his people.
Esther 4:3
And in all provinces, towns, and places, to which the king's cruel edict was come, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, wailing, and weeping, many using sackcloth and ashes for their bed.
Jeremiah 6:26
Gird thee with sackcloth, O daughter of my people, and sprinkle thee with ashes: make thee mourning as for an only son, a bitter lamentation, because the destroyer shall suddenly come upon us.
Ash Wednesday will occur on February 13 in 2013. by: Miriam Westen


Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle
Feast: February 22

Feast Day:February 22
St Peter having triumphed over the devil in the East, pursued him to Rome in the person of Simon Magus. He who had formerly trembled at the voice of a poor maid now feared not the very throne of idolatry and superstition. The capital of the empire of the world, and the centre of impiety, called for the zeal of the prince of the apostles. God had established the Roman empire, and extended its dominion beyond that of any former monarchy, for the more easy propagation of his gospel. Its metropolis was of the greatest importance for this enterprise. St. Peter took that province upon himself; and repairing to Rome, there preached the faith and established his episcopal chair, whose <successors> the bishops of Rome have been accounted in all ages. That St. Peter founded that church by his < preaching> is expressly asserted by Caius, a priest of Rome under Pope Zephyrinus; who relates also that his body was then on the Vatican Hill, and that of his fellow-labourer St. Paul on the Ostian Road. That he and St. Paul planted the faith at Rome, and were both crowned with martyrdom at the same time, is affirmed by Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, in the second age. St. Irenaeus, who lived in the same age, calls the church at Rome "the greatest and most ancient church, founded by the two glorious apostles, Peter and Paul." Eusebius, in several places, mentions St. Peter's being at Rome, and the several important translations of this apostle in that city. Not to mention Origen, Hegesippus, Arnobius, St. Ambrose, St. Austin, St. Jerome, St. Optatus, Orosius, and others on the same subject. St. Cyprian calls Rome the < chair> of St. Peter (as Theodoret calls it his <throne>), which the general councils and ecclesiastical writers, through every age and on every occasion, repeat. That St. Peter at least preached in Rome, founded that church, and died there by martyrdom under Nero are facts the most incontestable by the testimony of all writers of different countries who lived near that time; persons of unquestionable veracity, and who could not but be informed of the truth in a point so interesting, and of its own nature so public and notorious, as to leave them no possibility of a mistake. This is also attested by monuments of every kind; also by the prerogatives, rights, and privileges which that church enjoyed from those early ages in consequence of this title.
It was an ancient custom, as Cardinal Baronius and Thomassin show by many examples, observed by churches to keep an annual festival of the consecration of their bishops. The feast of the chair of St. Peter is found in ancient Martyrologies, as in one under the name of St. Jerome, at Esternach, copied in the time of St. Willibrord, in 720. Christians justly celebrate the founding of this mother-church, the centre of catholic communion, in thanksgiving to God for his mercies on his church, and to implore his future blessings.
Christ has taught us, in the divine model of prayer which he has delivered to us, that we are bound to recommend to him, before all other things, the exaltation of his own honour and glory, and to beg that the kingdom of his holy grace and love be planted in all hearts. If we love God above all things, and with our whole hearts, or have any true charity for our neighbour, this will be the centre of all our desires, that God be loved and served by all his creatures, and that he be glorified, in the most perfect manner, in our own souls. By placing this at the head of our requests, we shall most strongly engage God to crown all our just and holy desires. As one of his greatest mercies to his church, we most earnestly beseech him to raise up in it zealous pastors, eminently replenished with his Spirit, with which he animated his apostles.