Friday, October 4, 2013


St. Faustina Kowalska
Feast: October 5
Feast Day:
October 5
25 August 1905, Głogowiec, Poland
October 5, 1938, Kraków, Poland
30 April 2000, Pope John Paul II
Major Shrine:
Shrine of Divine Mercy in Łagiewniki, Kraków, Poland
Patron of:
World Youth Day

St Mary Faustina Kowalska was born on 25 August 1905 in Glogowiec, Poland, to a poor, religious family of peasants, the third of 10 children. She was baptized with the name Helena in the parish church of Swinice Warckle. From a very tender age she stood out because of her love of prayer, work, obedience and her sensitivity to the poor. At the age of nine she made her First Holy Communion and attended school for three years. At the age of 16 she left home and went to work as a housekeeper in Aleksandrow, Lodz and Ostrowek in order to support herself and to help her parents.
At the age of seven she had already felt the first stirrings of a religious vocation. After finishing school, she wanted to enter the convent but her parents would not give her permission. Called during a vision of the suffering Christ, on 1 August 1925 she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and took the name Sr Mary Faustina. She lived in the congregation for 13 years, residing in Krakow, Plock and Vilnius, where she worked as a cook, gardener and porter.
Externally, nothing revealed her rich mystical interior life. She zealously performed her tasks and faithfully observed the rule of religious life. She was recollected, yet very natural, serene and full of kindness and disinterested love for her neighbour. Although her life was apparently insignificant and monotonous, she hid within herself an extraordinary union with God.
It is the mystery of God's mercy, which she contemplated in the word of God as well as in her everyday activities, that forms the basis of her spirituality. The process of contemplating and getting to know the mystery of God's mercy helped to develop within Sr Mary Faustina the attitude of childlike trust in God and of mercy towards her neighbour. "0 my Jesus, each of your saints reflects one of your virtues; I desire to reflect your compassionate heart, full of mercy; I want to glorify it. Let your mercy, 0 Jesus, be impressed upon my heart and soul like a seal, and this will be my badge in this and the future life" (Diary 1242). Sr Faustina was a faithful daughter of the Church. Conscious of her role in the Church, she cooperated with God's mercy in the task of saving lost souls. At the specific request of the Lord Jesus and following his example, she made a sacrifice of her own life for this very goal. Her spiritual life was also distinguished by a love of the Eucharist and a deep devotion to the Mother of Mercy.
The years she spent in the convent were filled with extraordinary gifts, such as revelations, visions, hidden stigmata, participation in the Passion of the Lord, bilocation, the reading of human souls, prophecy and the rare gift of mystical espousal and marriage. Her living relationship with God, the Blessed Mother, the angels, the saints, the souls in purgatory—with the entire supernatural world—was as real for her as the world she perceived with the senses. In spite of being so richly endowed with extraordinary graces, Sr Mary Faustina knew that they do not in fact constitute sanctity. In her Diary she wrote: "Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God" (Diary 1107).
The Lord Jesus chose Sr Mary Faustina as the apostle and "secretary" of his mercy, so that she could tell the world about his great message. "In the Old Covenant", he said to her, "I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to my people. Today I am sending you with my mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful Heart" (Diary 1588).
The mission of Sr Mary Faustina consists in three tasks:
—reminding the world of the truth of our faith revealed in the Holy Scripture about the merciful love of God towards every human being;
—entreating God's mercy for the whole world and particularly for sinners, among others through the practice of new forms of devotion to the Divine Mercy presented by the Lord Jesus, such as: the veneration of the image of the Divine Mercy with the inscription: "Jesus, I trust in you"; the feast of the Divine Mercy celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter; chaplet to the Divine Mercy and prayer at the Hour of Mercy (3 p.m.). The Lord Jesus attached great promises to the above forms of devotion, provided one entrusted one's life to God and practised active love of neighbour;
—initiating the apostolic movement of the Divine Mercy, whose task is to proclaim and entreat God's mercy for the world and to strive for Christian perfection, following the precepts laid down by Sr Mary Faustina. The precepts in question require the faithful to have an attitude of childlike trust in God, expressed in fulfilling his will, and an attitude of mercy toward one's neighbour. Today millions of people throughout the world are involved in this Church movement: it includes religious congregations, lay institutes, religious, confraternities, associations, various communities of apostles of the Divine Mercy, as well as individuals who take up the tasks which the Lord Jesus communicated to them through Sr Mary Faustina.
Sr Mary Faustina's mission was recorded in her Diary, which she kept at the specific request of the Lord Jesus and her confessors. In it she faithfully wrote down all of the Lord's wishes and described the encounters between her soul and him. "Secretary of my most profound mystery", the Lord said to Sr Faustina, "know that your task is to write down everything that I make known to you about my mercy, for the benefit of those who by reading these things will be comforted in their souls and will have the courage to approach me" (Diary 1693). Sr Mary Faustina's work sheds light on the mystery of the Divine Mercy. It delights not only simple, uneducated people, but also scholars, who look upon it as an additional source of theological research.
Sr Mary Faustina, consumed by tuberculosis and innumerable sufferings, which she accepted as a voluntary sacrifice for sinners, died in Krakow at the age of 33 on 5 October 1938, with a reputation for spiritual maturity and a mystical union with God. Her reputation for holiness grew, as did the devotion to the Divine Mercy and the graces received from God through her intercession. Pope John Paul II beatified Sr Faustina on 18 April 1993. Her mortal remains rest at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Krakow-Lagiewniki.


Saturday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 460

Reading 1             BAR 4:5-12, 27-29

Fear not, my people!
Remember, Israel,
You were sold to the nations
not for your destruction;
It was because you angered God
that you were handed over to your foes.
For you provoked your Maker
with sacrifices to demons, to no-gods;
You forsook the Eternal God who nourished you,
and you grieved Jerusalem who fostered you.
She indeed saw coming upon you
the anger of God; and she said:

“Hear, you neighbors of Zion!
God has brought great mourning upon me,
For I have seen the captivity
that the Eternal God has brought
upon my sons and daughters.
With joy I fostered them;
but with mourning and lament I let them go.
Let no one gloat over me, a widow,
bereft of many:
For the sins of my children I am left desolate,
because they turned from the law of God.

Fear not, my children; call out to God!
He who brought this upon you will remember you.
As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God,
turn now ten times the more to seek him;
For he who has brought disaster upon you
will, in saving you, bring you back enduring joy.”

Responsorial Psalm                    PS 69:33-35, 36-37

R. (34) The Lord listens to the poor.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.
Let the heavens and the earth praise him,
the seas and whatever moves in them!”
R. The Lord listens to the poor.
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
They shall dwell in the land and own it,
and the descendants of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall inhabit it.
R. The Lord listens to the poor.

Gospel                 LK 10:17-24

The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power
‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy
and nothing will harm you.
Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”


VATICAN VA REPORT: At 17:30, after crossing the square in front of the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, greeting the young people waiting, the Holy Father entered the Basilica, welcomed by the Guardian of the Convent of the Portiuncula, Father Fabrizio Migliasso, OFM, and the Religious Community . Also present was the Papal Legate for the Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Mary of the Angels, Cardinal Attilio Nicora.
After the visit and silent prayer at the Portiuncula, at 18.15 Papa Francesco met the young people of Umbria, in the square of the Basilica. 
's greeting to the Pope was led by the Archbishop of Spoleto-Norcia, Bishop Renato Boccardo, President Commission's regional youth ministry, together with eight young people representing the eight dioceses in Umbria. So some young people posed four questions about the Holy Father: family, work, vocation and mission.
publish the following questions from the young and the words of Pope Francesco response:

1. FAMILY: Chiara and Nicola Volpi (Perugia-Città della Pieve)
We young people live in a society where the center is feeling good, the fun, thinking to themselves. Living a marriage of young Christians is complex, open to life is a challenge and a fear frequently. As a young couple we feel the joy of living our marriage, but we experience fatigue and daily challenges. How the Church can help us, as our pastors can support us, what steps we are called to do?
2. WORK: Danilo Zampolini (Spoleto-Norcia) and David Girolami (Foligno)
Even Umbria in the general economic crisis of recent years has resulted in situations of hardship and poverty. The future is uncertain and threatening. The risk is to lose, along with economic security, even hope. How should look to the future a young Christian? On which roads to commit to building a society worthy of God and worthy of man?
3. VOCATION: Benedict Fattorini (Orvieto-Todi) and Maria Chiaroli (Terni-Narni-Amelia)
What to do in life? How and where to spend the talents the Lord has given me?
Sometimes there fascinated by the idea of ​​the priesthood or consecrated life. But now comes the fear. And then, a commitment like this: "forever"? How to recognize the call of God? What do you recommend to those who want to dedicate their lives to the service of God and neighbor?
4. MISSION: Luca Nassuato (Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino) , Mirko Pierli (Città di Castello) and Petra Sannipoli (Gubbio)
It's nice for us to be here together with you and hear your words that encourage us and warm the heart. The Year of Faith which ends in a few weeks re-proposed to all believers the urgency of the announcement of the good news. We too would like to participate in this exciting adventure. But how? What can be our contribution? What should we do?
Dear young people of Umbria, good evening!
Thank you for coming, thank you for this party! Really, this is a party! And thank you for your questions.
I'm glad that the first question was from a young couple . A beautiful testimony! Two young people who have chosen, they decided, with joy and courage to start a family. Yes, it is true, it takes courage to start a family! It takes courage! And the question to you, young married couples, it connects to the one on the vocation . What is marriage? It ' a true vocation , as are the priesthood and religious life. Two Christians who marry have recognized in their love story the Lord's call, the vocation to form two, male and female, one flesh, one life. And the Sacrament of Marriage wraps this love with the grace of God, rooted in God himself.With this gift, with the certainty of this call, you can leave safe, you are not afraid of anything, you can address everything together!
We think of our parents, our grandparents or great-grandparents: they were married in conditions much poorer than ours, some in time of war, or war, some are immigrants, like my parents. Where were the force? The were in the certainty that the Lord was with them, that the family is blessed by God in the sacrament of marriage, and blessed is the mission of giving birth to children and educating them. With these certainties have exceeded even the most severe trials. They were simple certainties, but real, formed of the columns that supported their love. It was not easy, their life, and there were problems, many problems. But these simple certainties helped them to move forward. And they managed to make a nice family, to give life, to make raising children.
Dear friends, it takes this basis to build moral and spiritual good, so solid! Today, this base is no longer guaranteed by families and social tradition. Indeed, the society in which you were born favors individual rights rather than the family - these individual rights -, favors relationships that last until difficulties arise, and for this reason sometimes speaks of the couple relationship, family and marriage a superficial and misleading. Would be enough to watch certain television programs and you see these values! How many times pastors - myself, a few times I heard it - feel a couple who is getting married: "But you know that marriage is for life?". "Ah, we love each other so much, but ... we will remain together for as long as love. When it ends, one on one side and the other on the other." And 'selfishness: when I do not feel it, cutting the wedding and I forget that' "one flesh", which can not divide. And 'risky married: it is risky! And 'selfishness that threatens us, because we all have within us the possibility of a split personality: one that says: "I, for free, I want this ...", and the other that says, "I, me, me with me, for me ... ". Selfishness always coming back and can not open up to others. The other difficulty is this culture of provisional: it seems that nothing is final. Everything is temporary. As I said before: well, love, while it lasts. I once heard a seminarian - bravo - who said: "I want to become a priest, but for ten years. After I think about it." And 'the culture of the provisional, and Jesus has saved temporarily : he saved us permanently!
But the Holy Spirit always brings new answers to new needs! And so have multiplied in the Church paths for boyfriends, the courses of preparation for marriage, groups of young couples in the parishes, movements family ... I am an immense wealth! They are points of reference for everyone: young people in research, couples in crisis, distressed parents with their children and vice versa.They help us all! And then there are the different forms of care: foster care, adoption, foster homes of various types ... The fantasy - I beg the word - the fantasy of the Holy Spirit is infinite, but it is also very practical! Then I would tell you not to be afraidto do the final steps : Do not be afraid of them. How many times have I heard mothers say to me: "But, Father, I have a son of 30 years old and not married I do not know what to do! Has a beautiful girlfriend, but you do not decide." But, lady, not the drafts more shirts! It 's so! Do not be afraid to take definitive steps, such as that of marriage: in-depth your love, respecting the timing and expressions, pray and prepare well, but then trust that the Lord will not leave you alone! Let him come in your home as one of the family, he will always support you.
The family is the vocation that God has written in the nature of man and woman, but there is another complementary vocation to marriage: the call to celibacy and virginity for the Kingdom of Heaven . And 'the vocation that Jesus himself lived. How to recognize it? How to follow? And 'the third question that I have done. But some of you may think, but this bishop, who bravo! We asked the question and he answers all ready, written! I received the questions a few days ago. For this reason, I know. And I reply with two essential elements on how to recognize this vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life. Praying and walking in the Church .These two things go together, they are intertwined. At the origin of every vocation to the consecrated life there is always a strong experience of God, an experience you will not forget, it is remembered for a lifetime! And 'that had Francis. And this we do not we can calculate or program. God always surprises us! And 'God who calls, but it is important to have a daily relationship with Him, listening in silence before the Tabernacle and within ourselves, talk to him, the Sacraments. Having this family relationship with the Lord is like holding open the window of our lives because He makes us hear his voice, what he wants from us. It would be nice to hear you, feel here the attending priests, nuns ... It would be great, because each story is unique, but all start at a meeting that illuminates the deep that touches the heart and involves the whole person: affection, intellect, senses, everything. Our relationship with God is not just a part of ourselves, about everything. It 'a love so great, so beautiful, so true, it deserves everything and deserves our trust. And one thing I would like to say it with strength, especially today: virginity for the Kingdom of God is not a "no" is a "yes"! Of course, implies the renunciation of a marital bond and to their families, but the basis is the "yes" as a response to the "yes" of Christ to us, and this "yes" makes it fruitful.
But here in Assisi there is no need for words! There is Francis, Clare there, speak to them! Their charism continues to speak to many young people in the whole world: boys and girls who leave everything to follow Jesus on the way of the Gospel.
Here, the Gospel . I would take the word "gospel" to answer the other two questions that I have done, the second and fourth .One concerns the social commitment, in this period of crisis that threatens the hope, and the other concerns evangelism, bring the message of Jesus to others. You asked me: what can we do? What can be our contribution?
Here in Assisi, close to the Portiuncula here, I seem to hear the voice of St. Francis, who tells us: "Gospel, Gospel." It also says to me, indeed, before me: Papa Francesco, be a servant of the Gospel! If I can not seem to be a servant of the Gospel, my life is worth nothing!
But the Gospel, dear friends, is not just about religion, about the man, the whole man, about the world, society, human civilization.The Gospel is the message of God's salvation for mankind. But when we say "the message of salvation," is not a figure of speech, are not mere words or empty words as there are so many today! Humanity really needs to be saved! We see it every day when I browse the newspaper, or hear the news on television, but we also see it around us, in people, situations, and we see it in ourselves! Each of us has need of salvation! Just can not do it! We need salvation! Salvation from what? From evil. The evil work, does his job. But evil is not invincible and the Christian does not resign in the face of evil. You young people, you want to resign in the face of evil, injustice, difficulties? Do you want or do not want? [ Young people respond: No! ] Ah, okay. Like this! Our secret is that God is greater than the evil: but this is true! God is greater than evil. God is infinite love, boundless mercy, and that Love has conquered evil at its root in the death and resurrection of Christ. This is the Gospel, the Good News: God's love has won! Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again. With him we can fight evil and win every day. We believe in it or not? [ Young people respond: Yes! ] But that 'yes' has to go in life! If I believe that Jesus has conquered evil and save me, I have to follow Jesus, I have to go on the road to Jesus for life.
Then the Gospel, the message of salvation, has two destinations that are related: the first, to arouse faith, and this is evangelization and the second, transform the world according to God's plan, and this is the Christian animation of society. But they are not two separate things, they are a single mission: to bring the Gospel through the witness of our lives transform the world!This is the way: bringing the Gospel through the witness of our lives.
We look Francesco: he did both of these things, with the strength of the one Gospel. Francesco has increased faith, renewed the Church, and at the same time renewed the company, has made it more fraternal, but always with the Gospel, by witness. Do you know what Francis once said to his brothers? "Preach the Gospel always and if necessary, also with words." But, how? You can preach the Gospel without words? Yes! With the testimony! Before the testimony, after the words! But the testimony!
Young Umbria: you do that too! Today, in the name of St. Francis, I tell you, I have neither gold nor silver to give you, but something far more valuable, the Gospel of Jesus boldly go! With the Gospel in his heart and in his hands, be witnesses of faith with your life: bring Christ into your home, announce it among your friends, welcome and serve the poor. Young, dates Umbria a message of life, peace and hope! You can do it!
The Lord's Prayer and Blessing
And please, I ask you to pray for me!
[01413-01.02] [Original text: Italian]

After the meeting with the young people of Umbria, the Holy Father was transferred by car to the Sanctuary of Rivo Torto.


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis called for an end to armed conflict and clarified the notion of Franciscan peace during the Mass he presided for the feast of St. Francis on Friday in Assisi.

A few thousand people gathered for the late morning celebration in St. Francis Square, situated before the world-famous shrine dedicated to the patron saint of the poor.

The Pope celebrated at a simple altar, behind which stood a giant two-bar wooden cross and on which hung a representation of the San Damiano Cross. St. Francis was praying before the San Damiano Cross when Jesus commissioned him to rebuild the Church.

Preaching his homily (full homily below) from the ambo, the Pope underlined the relevant witness St. Francis continues to offer.

“His first and most essential witness is this: that being a Christian means having a living relationship with the person of Jesus; it means putting on Christ, being conformed to him,” he said.

“Where did Francis’ journey to Christ begin? It began with the gaze of the crucified Jesus,” he said. “With letting Jesus look at us at the very moment that he gives his life for us and draws us to himself. …When we let the crucified Jesus gaze upon us, we are re-created, we become ‘a new creation’.”

St. Francis also teaches “that everyone who follows Christ receives true peace”, which only Christ can give and the world cannot.

Many people associate St. Francis with peace, however their understanding of this peace is not profound. “Franciscan peace is not something saccharine,” he said emphatically.

“Hardly! That is not the real St. Francis! Nor is it a kind of pantheistic harmony with forces of the cosmos… That is not Franciscan either,” he continued to applause. “It is a notion some people have invented!

“The peace of St. Francis is the peace of Christ, and it is found by those who ‘take up’ their ‘yoke’, namely, Christ’s commandment: Love one another as I have loved you. This yoke cannot be borne with arrogance, presumption or pride, but only with meekness and humbleness of heart,” he said.

Finally, he said, St. Francis “bears witness to the need to respect all that God has created, and that men and women are called to safeguard and protect, but above all he bears witness to respect and love for every human being.”

“From this City of Peace, I repeat with all the strength and the meekness of love: Let us respect creation, let us not be instruments of destruction! Let us respect each human being,” he said.

He called for an end to armed conflict and for care for those who are suffering and dying because of violence, terrorism or war in the Holy Land, in Syria, throughout the Middle East and worldwide.

He concluded by petitioning St. Francis to obtain the gift of God’s harmony and peace for the world.

Before the final blessing, a special votive lamp, dedicated to St. Francis and filled with oil from the local region, was lit. The Pope then prayed a special prayer for Italy, of whom St. Francis is the patron.

Report by Laura Ieraci

Below we publish the Pope's prepared English text of his Homily:
I give you thanks, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to babes” (Mt 11:25).

Peace and all good to each and every one of you! With this Franciscan greeting I thank you for being here, in this Square so full of history and faith, to pray together.

Today, I too have come, like countless other pilgrims, to give thanks to the Father for all that he wished to reveal to one of the “little ones” mentioned in today’s Gospel: Francis, the son of a wealthy merchant of Assisi. His encounter with Jesus led him to strip himself of an easy and carefree life in order to espouse “Lady Poverty” and to live as a true son of our heavenly Father. This decision of Saint Francis was a radical way of imitating Christ: he clothed himself anew, putting on Christ, who, though he was rich, became poor in order to make us rich by his poverty (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). In all of Francis’ life, love for the poor and the imitation of Christ in his poverty were inseparably united, like the two sides of a coin.

What does Saint Francis’s witness tell us today? What does he have to say to us, not merely with words – that is easy enough – but by his life?

1. His first and most essential witness is this: that being a Christian means having a living relationship with the person of Jesus; it means putting on Christ, being conformed to him.

Where did Francis’s journey to Christ begin? It began with the gaze of the crucified Jesus. With letting Jesus look at us at the very moment that he gives his life for us and draws us to himself. Francis experienced this in a special way in the Church of San Damiano, as he prayed before the cross which I too will have an opportunity to venerate. On that cross, Jesus is depicted not as dead, but alive! Blood is flowing from his wounded hands, feet and side, but that blood speaks of life. Jesus’ eyes are not closed but open, wide open: he looks at us in a way that touches our hearts. The cross does not speak to us about defeat and failure; paradoxically, it speaks to us about a death which is life, a death which gives life, for it speaks to us of love, the love of God incarnate, a love which does not die, but triumphs over evil and death. When we let the crucified Jesus gaze upon us, we are re-created, we become “a new creation”. Everything else starts with this: the experience of transforming grace, the experience of being loved for no merits of our own, in spite of our being sinners. That is why Saint Francis could say with Saint Paul: “Far be it for me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal 6:14).

We turn to you, Francis, and we ask you: Teach us to remain before the cross, to let the crucified Christ gaze upon us, to let ourselves be forgiven, and recreated by his love.

2. In today’s Gospel we heard these words: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt 11:28-29).

This is the second witness that Francis gives us: that everyone who follows Christ receives true peace, the peace that Christ alone can give, a peace which the world cannot give. Many people, when they think of Saint Francis, think of peace; very few people however go deeper. What is the peace which Francis received, experienced and lived, and which he passes on to us? It is the peace of Christ, which is born of the greatest love of all, the love of the cross. It is the peace which the Risen Jesus gave to his disciples when he stood in their midst and said: “Peace be with you!”, and in saying this, he showed them his wounded hands and his pierced side (cf. Jn 20:19-20).

Franciscan peace is not something saccharine. Hardly! That is not the real Saint Francis! Nor is it a kind of pantheistic harmony with forces of the cosmos… That is not Franciscan either; it is a notion some people have invented! The peace of Saint Francis is the peace of Christ, and it is found by those who “take up” their “yoke”, namely, Christ’s commandment: Love one another as I have loved you (cf. Jn 13:34; 15:12). This yoke cannot be borne with arrogance, presumption or pride, but only with meekness and humbleness of heart.

We turn to you, Francis, and we ask you: Teach us to be “instruments of peace”, of that peace which has its source in God, the peace which Jesus has brought us.
3. “Praised may you be, Most High, All-powerful God, good Lord… by all your creatures (FF, 1820). This is the beginning of Saint Francis’s Canticle. Love for all creation, for its harmony. Saint Francis of Assisi bears witness to the need to respect all that God has created, and that men and women are called to safeguard and protect, but above all he bears witness to respect and love for every human being. God created the world to be a place where harmony and peace can flourish. Harmony and peace! Francis was a man of harmony and peace. From this City of Peace, I repeat with all the strength and the meekness of love: Let us respect creation, let us not be instruments of destruction! Let us respect each human being. May there be an end to armed conflicts which cover the earth with blood; may the clash of arms be silenced; and everywhere may hatred yield to love, injury to pardon, and discord to unity. Let us listen to the cry of all those who are weeping, who are suffering and who are dying because of violence, terrorism or war, in the Holy Land, so dear to Saint Francis, in Syria, throughout the Middle East and everywhere in the world.

We turn to you, Francis, and we ask you: Obtain for us God’s gift of harmony and peace in this our world!

Finally, I cannot forget the fact that today Italy celebrates Saint Francis as her patron saint. The traditional offering of oil for the votive lamp, which this year is given by the Region of Umbria, is an expression of this. Let us pray for Italy, that everyone will always work for the common good, and look more to what unites us, rather than what divides us.

I make my own the prayer of Saint Francis for Assisi, for Italy and for the world: “I pray to you, Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies: Do not look upon our ingratitude, but always keep in mind the surpassing goodness which you have shown to this City. Grant that it may always be the home of men and women who know you in truth and who glorify your most holy and glorious name, now and for all ages. Amen.” (The Mirror of Perfection, 124: FF, 1824). 



(Vatican Radio) Tune into God, walk with Our Lord and proclaim the Gospel to the margins of society. That was Pope Francis’ message on Friday to clergy, religious and members of the pastoral council of the diocese of Assisi, gathered in the Cathedral of San Rufino.
After stressing the importance of pastoral councils for the running of a diocese, the Pope shared three reflections for their diocesan synod which is to take place shortly. 
Firstly, he said, all members of the Church must listen attentively to the Word of God – priests, parents, catechists must all be tuned into God so that they can share their faith more effectively with others.
Secondly, he said, the Church community must walk together with Our Lord in their midst. Priests, he stressed, must be really present with their people to encourage, support and share the journey with them. Forgiving and asking for forgiveness, he said, are an essential part of both family and community life.
Finally Pope Francis highlighted the importance of missionary work, bringing the Gospel to the margins of our societies. Do not be afraid, he said, to go out to those places and those people who are living in difficult situations or who are far away from the spiritual life of the Church.

At the end of the encounter in San Rufino, the Holy Father went to the Basilica of St Clare where he spent a few moments in silent prayer in front of the glass tomb of the saint housed in the crypt . He then met with the community of cloistered nuns there, speaking of the humanity and joy that springs from a life centred on Christ. Teasing the sisters gathered in front of him, the Pope said it makes him sad to see sisters who are not joyful, who have forced smiles, or who are too serious in their spiritual life. Yours, he said, must be the holiness of a mother who gives life to the Church. Though community life is not always easy, he concluded, you must try to resolve your problems with love, with friendships and with joy that comes from the heart.SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA K


(Vatican Radio) Christians and the Church must strip themselves of worldliness, said Pope Francis while addressing some of the poor in the Italian hill town of Assisi early Friday. The Pope offered this message in the same hall in which St. Francis, about 800 years ago, undressed himself and laid his fine clothes at his wealthy father’s feet, renouncing his riches and inheritance in favour of a life of poverty consecrated to God. 

The Pope once again put aside his prepared speech and began his impromptu remarks by debunking a notion that had circulated in the press in recent days: that he would imitate St. Francis by divesting the bishops, the cardinals and himself, as well. However, he said, today serves as a good occasion to invite the Church to strip itself of worldliness. 

All of the baptized comprise the Church and all have to follow Jesus, who stripped himself and chose to be a servant and to be humiliated on his way to the Cross. “And if we want to be Christians, there is no other way,” he said. 

Without the Cross, without Jesus and without stripping ourselves of worldliness, he said, “we become pastry shop Christians… like nice sweet things but not real Christians.”

“We need to strip the Church,” he said. “We are in very grave danger. We are in danger of worldliness.” 

The Christian cannot enter into the spirit of the world, which leads to vanity, arrogance and pride, he continued. And these lead to idolatry, which is the gravest sin. 

The Church is not just the clergy, the hierarchy and religious, he said. “The Church is all of us and we all have to strip ourselves of this worldliness. Worldliness does us harm. It is so sad to find a worldly Christian.”

“Our Lord told us: We cannot serve two masters: either we serve money or we serve God.…We can’t cancel with one hand what we write with another,” he remarked. “The Gospel is the Gospel.”

The Pope acknowledged the local poor who were gathered with him, saying: “Many of you have been stripped by this savage world that does not give work, that does not help, that does not care if children die of hunger …, that does not care if many families do not have anything to eat or money to bring bread home.”

Referring to the hundreds of refugees who died in a shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa Thursday , the Pope lamented the large numbers of people who die trying to escape dire conditions in their home countries.

It is ridiculous that a Christian would want to follow a worldly path, he continued. “The worldly spirit kills; it kills people; it kills the Church.” 

The Pope then asked the Lord to bestow upon Christians the courage to strip themselves of the spirit of the world, which he called “the leprosy, the cancer of society and the cancer of the revelation of God and the enemy of Jesus.” 

He concluded: “I ask the Lord that he gives us all the grace to strip ourselves.” 

Report by Laura Ieraci


Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lectionary: 459

Reading 1             BAR 1:15-22

During the Babylonian captivity, the exiles prayed:
“Justice is with the Lord, our God;
and we today are flushed with shame,
we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem,
that we, with our kings and rulers
and priests and prophets, and with our ancestors,
have sinned in the Lord’s sight and disobeyed him.
We have neither heeded the voice of the Lord, our God,
nor followed the precepts which the Lord set before us.
From the time the Lord led our ancestors out of the land of Egypt
until the present day,
we have been disobedient to the Lord, our God,
and only too ready to disregard his voice.
And the evils and the curse that the Lord enjoined upon Moses, his servant,
at the time he led our ancestors forth from the land of Egypt
to give us the land flowing with milk and honey,
cling to us even today.
For we did not heed the voice of the Lord, our God,
in all the words of the prophets whom he sent us,
but each one of us went off
after the devices of his own wicked heart,
served other gods,
and did evil in the sight of the Lord, our God.”

Responsorial Psalm                     PS 79:1B-2, 3-5, 8, 9

R. (9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the corpses of your servants
as food to the birds of heaven,
the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
They have poured out their blood like water
round about Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury them.
We have become the reproach of our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
O LORD, how long? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

Gospel                         LK 10:13-16

Jesus said to them,
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented,
sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon
at the judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.’
Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever rejects you rejects me.
And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”


Francis of Assisi, Saint (1182–1226) Italian founder of theFranciscans, b. Giovanni di Bernardone. The son of a wealthy merchant in Assisi, Francis renounced his worldly life for one of poverty and prayer in 1205. In 1209, he received permission from Pope Innocent III to begin a monastic order. The Franciscans were vowed to humility, poverty and devotion to the task of helping people. In 1212, with St Clare, he established an order for women, popularly called the Poor Clares. In 1224, while Francis prayed on Monte della Verna, near Florence, the stigmata wounds of the Crucifixion appeared on his body. He was canonized in 1228. His feast day is October 4.