Sunday, February 16, 2014


Founders of the Orders of Servites
Feast: February 17

Feast Day:February 17
Between the years 1225 and 1227 seven young Florentines joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin—popularly known as the 'Laudesi' or Praisers. It was a period when the prosperous city of Florence was being rent by political factions and distracted by the heresy of the Cathari: it was also a time of general relaxation of morals even where devotional practices were retained. These young men were members of the most prominent families of the city. Whether they were all friends before they joined the Laudesi is not clear, but in that confraternity they became closely allied.

The eldest was Buonfiglio Monaldo, who became their leader. The others were Alexis Falconieri, Benedict dell' Antella, Bartholomew Amidei, Ricovero Uguccione, Gerardino Sostegni, and John Buonagiunta. They had as their spiritual director James of Poggibonsi, who was chaplain of the Laudesi, a man of great holiness and spiritual insight. All of them came to realize the call to a life of renunciation, and they determined to have recourse to our Lady in their perplexity. On the feast of the Assumption, as they were absorbed in prayer, they saw her in a vision, and were inspired by her to withdraw from the world into a solitary place and to live for God alone. There were difficulties, because, though three of them were celibates, four had been married and had ties, although two had become widowers. Suitable provision for their dependents was arranged, and with the approval of the bishop they withdrew from the world and betook themselves to a house called La Carmarzia, outside the gates of Florence, twenty-three days after they had received their call. Before long they found themselves so much disturbed by constant visitors from Florence that they decided to withdraw to the wild and deserted slopes of Monte Senario, where they built a simple church and hermitage and lived a life of almost incredible austerity.
In spite of difficulties, visitors sometimes found their way to the hermits and many wished to join them, but they refused to accept recruits. So they continued to live for several years,—until they were visited by their bishop, Ardingo, and Cardinal Castiglione, who had heard about their sanctity. He was greatly edified, but made one adverse criticism: 'You treat yourselves in a manner bordering on barbarity: and you seem more desirous of dying to time than of living for eternity. Take heed: the enemy of souls often hides himself under the appearance of an angel of light . . . Hearken to the counsels of your superiors.'
Again the solitaries gave themselves up to prayer for light, and again they had a vision of our Lady, who bore in her hand a black habit while an angel held a scroll inscribed with the title of Servants of Mary. She told them she—had chosen them to be her servants, that she wished them to wear the black habit, and to follow the Rule of St. Augustine. From that date, April 13, 1240, they were known as the Servants of Mary, or Servites.
They were clothed by the bishop himself, Buonfiglio being elected their superior. According to custom they selected names by which they should thenceforth be known, and became Brothers Bonfilius, Alexis, Amadeus, Hugh, Sostenes, Manettus and Buonagiunta. By the wish of the bishop, all except St. Alexis, who in his humility begged to be excused, prepared to receive holy orders, and in due time they were fully professed and ordained priests. The new order, which took a form more like that of the mendicant friars than that of the monastic orders, increased amazingly, and it soon became necessary to form fresh houses. Siena, Pistoia and Arezzo were the first places chosen, and afterwards the houses at Carfaggio, the convent and church of the Santissima Annunziata in Florence, and the convent at Lucca were established. Meanwhile, although the Servites had the approval of their immediate superiors, they had not been recognized by the Holy See. It was only in 1259 that the order was practically recognized by Alexander IV, and not until 1304 over sixty years after its foundation-that it received the explicit and formal approbation of Bd. Benedict XI. St. Bonfilius had remained as prior general until 1256, when he begged to be relieved owing to old age. He died on new year's night, 1261.
St. Buonagiunta, the youngest of the seven, was the second prior general, but not long after his election he breathed his last in chapel while the gospel of the Passion was being read. St. Amadeus ruled over the important convent of Carfaggio, but returned to Monte Senario to end his days. St. Manettus became fourth prior general and sent missionaries to Asia, but he retired to make way for St. Philip Benizi, upon whose breast he died. St. Hugh and St. Sostenes went abroad—Sostenes to Paris and Hugh to found convents in Germany. They were recalled in 1276, and, being attacked by illness, they passed away side by side the same night. St. Alexis, the humble lay-brother outlived them all, and he was the only one who survived to see the order fully and finally recognized. He is reported to have died at the age one hundred and ten.



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis visited the parish church of San Tommaso Apostolo in Infernetto this Sunday. Infernetto is a neighbourhood on the outskirts of the city near the site of the ancient port of Ostia. 

The Holy Father’s visit began at 4PM Rome Time. 

The schedule of the visit included: a meeting with the children and young people of the parish, who are making their First Communion and Confirmation; an exchange of greetings with the parish faithful in the courtyard in front of the church; some time with children baptized in recent months and with their parents; with the elderly the sick, and with the Parish-sponsored association of families with disabled children. Pope Francis also made time to hear the confessions of several penitents before offering the Mass, which began at 6PM Rome Time.

The occasion of the visit is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the parish, dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostle. 

The parish territory is home to some 20 thousand people. The parish services include an “Oratory” or playground for young people, a Caritas outreach, regular blood donation drives, a Center for the Elderly, and the San Tommaso Association that is tasked with marshalling resources for the neighbourhood’s needy and for the support of missionary efforts in other parts of the world.
Text from Vatican Radio website 

Vatican City, 16 February 2014 (VIS) – The Roman parish of St. Thomas the Apostle in Infernetto, in the south of the diocese, received a visit from Pope Francis yesterday afternoon. Upon arrival the Bishop of Rome met with the children who will receive Communion and Confirmation this year, and greeted the faithful in the parish square, along with recently baptised children and their parents, the elderly and sick of the parish and the Association of families with disabled children, and before the Holy Mass he confessed a number of penitents.
“Once upon a time, Jesus' disciples ate wheat, because they were hungry; but it was the sabbath and on the sabbath it was not permitted to eat grain”, said the Pope in his homily. “The pharisees said, 'Look at what they are doing! He who does this runs counter to the law and soils his soul, because he does not obey'. And Jesus answered, 'That which comes from outside does not soil the soul; it that which comes from inside, from your heart, that may soil the soul'. And I think it is good for us, nowadays, to think not of whether or not our souls are pure or unclean, but to ask what there is within our hearts; what do I have within, that I know I have, and which no-one else knows. What is in our heart? Is there love? Do I love my parents, my children, my wife, my husband, the people in my neighbourhood, the sick? Do I love them? And is there hate in my heart? Do I hate anyone? Because often we find that there is also hate. 'I love everyone, apart from this one, that one, or the other ...'. This is hate, isn't it?”
“What do I have in my heart?” he continued. “Is there forgiveness? Do I have an attitude of forgiveness towards those who have wronged me, or is there an attitude of revenge? … We must ask ourselves what we have inside, because what we have inside comes out and causes harm, if it is bad; if it is good, it comes out and does good. And it is beautiful to be truthful with ourselves, and to be ashamed of ourselves when we realise we are in a situation that is not as God would wish”.
The Pope commented that in today's Gospel, Jesus says, “'You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill ... But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement'. And whoever insults his brother, kills him in his heart; whoever gossips maliciously about his brother, kills him in his heart. Perhaps we are not aware of this … we gossip about this and that … and this is what is means to kill one's brother. To understand one's brother, to understand people, means to love, and to forgive: it is to understand, to forgive, and to be patient”.
“We must ask the Lord for two graces”, concluded Pope Francis. “The first is to know what is in our hearts, so as not to be deceived. The second is to do the good that is in our hearts, and not the ill that lies therein. And speaking of 'killing', to remember that words may kill. Our ill-will towards others can also kill. … It often seems that the sins of slander and defamation have been removed from the Decalogue, and speaking ill of a person is a sin. … Let us always ask the Lord to help us to love our neighbours. And if we cannot love a person, why not? They we must pray for that person, in order that the Lord might help me wish him well. And we must continue in this way, aware that our live is rendered impure by the ill-will that comes from our hearts”.


Maracay (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishop of the Diocese of Maracay (Venezuela), Mgr. Rafael Ramón Conde Alfonzo, wanted to comment on the terrible situation of violence that the country is experiencing and sent a message "to both students who have their own ideological conception and to those who do not share it". "We all have a responsibility in forging a more dignified Venezuela", the Bishop said in the statement sent to Fides , "but not in violent forms", which only generate more violence and chaos. Mgr. Conde Alfonzo wanted to emphasize that "the right to protest is a civil right granted by the Constitution that the State must recognize". He then added that the Venezuelan population has reason to protest: "No one can deny or hide that there is rampant violence and insecurity", adding that "the State must assume its role of governing for all citizens and not just for one faction". The recent protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro caused three deaths and fifty wounded (See Fides14/02/2014). While opposition leaders harshly criticized the action of the police and government authorities. The same Maduro launched an invitation to the main political groups (including the opposition) last night, asking them to carry out together a "Plan de Pacificacion" (pacification plan) to solve the serious problem of insecurity in the streets. According to data Fides collected, in Venezuela the problem of insecurity caused only in 2013, 11,000 deaths (official figures), but according to the data of some NGOs there are more than 20,000 deaths. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 15/02/2014)


Heidi (1937) 88 min - Family | Drama - 15 October 1937 (USA) A orphan girl is left with her hermit grandfather, then later gets retaken and delivered as a companion for an injured girl.
Director: Allan Dwan Writers: Johanna Spyri (by), Walter Ferris (screenplay) Stars: Shirley Temple, Jean Hersholt, Arthur Treacher


An Amazing Hollywood production of the life of Jesus Christ from The New Testament called SON OF GOD opens on Feb. 28, 2014.
FOR BREAKING NEWS AND INSPIRATIONAL STORIES AND FREE MOVIES LIKE US ON FACEBOOK NOW  This film was made by Mark Burnett ans his wife Roma Downey of "Touched by an Angel". The incredible music score was written by Oscar®-winner Hans Zimmer. The handsome and talented Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays Jesus as the film spans from his humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection.  It has received numerous endorsements from Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop Gomez, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Max Lucado and many others.
Crew Producers: Mark Burnett Roma Downey
Director: Christopher Spencer
Written By: Richard Bedser Christopher Spencer, Colin Swash, Nic Young
Cast:  Diogo Morgado, Roma Downey, Amber Rose Revah, Louise Delamere, Darwin Shaw


Gregory H. Carruthers, Jesuit Priest:
 I am the eldest of three children. My father became Catholic when he married my mother. He was a fine Catholic and good father. I was born just as World War 2 was ending. I had the good fortune of attending a Catholic elementary school run by the Sisters of Charity. It was there that I was introduced to the various devotions and mysteries and truths of the Catholic faith. Although our family attended Mass on Sunday, we did not have family devotions, for example, the rosary. So it was in the Catholic school that I first felt deeply drawn to the Person of Christ and to Mary, his mother. I started attending frequent daily Mass at an early age. During Mass I always felt the deep personal presence of Christ. I thought all my friends did too. It was only later that I learned that many of them didn't. I thought that in order to get closer to Christ in the Eucharist I should become an altar server. So as soon as I was old enough, that is what I did. Then while serving Mass, the thought occurred to me that if I wanted to get even closer to Jesus then I should become a priest. And so the first sense of my call to priesthood was intimately connected to the personal presence of the risen Jesus in the Mass. When it came time for me to go to high school, my mother asked me if I wanted to go to the Jesuit high school in our city. I don't know if I had ever heard the word "Jesuit" before or not, but it seemed like it was the very first time. The word "Jesuit" leaped out at me and I had the deep sense that God was calling me to be a Jesuit. My first reaction was to feel excitement and joy, but then since I didn't know anything about the Jesuits, I became apprehensive: "What if I don't like the Jesuit vocation? I'll be stuck in a life in which I'll never be happy." As it turned out, when I went to the high school, I found out that the Jesuit vocation appealed to me, and I met very many very helpful and inspiring Jesuits. Although I felt God calling me to religious life as a Jesuit priest, I didn't start to live as though I already were a priest. I wasn't running from the call, but I just knew I had to mature in the normal way. I enjoyed dancing very much, and used to go to all the high school dances with a girlfriend, and we enjoyed each other's company for many years. I then went to university and did an advanced Master's degree. For me, at least, I felt it was important to have the experience of living on my own, holding a full time responsible job, bringing in a salary and paying my bills. I did this for two years while teaching in a Jesuit university. After that experience, I knew that the "fullness of time" had come for me to apply to the Jesuits, which I did. Timing is always important in discerning a vocation: too early and you can undermine it; too late and you can miss it. The Jesuits accepted me. I have been a Jesuit for 42 years and a priest for 34 years. I have always found my vocation to be a great source of strength and consolation and am immensely grateful to God for all the graces he has bestowed on me to use the gifts he has given me to encourage, to teach and to guide those whom He has called me to serve. AMDG. In the Lord, Fr. Greg

POPE FRANCIS "In light of this teaching of Christ, every precept reveals its full meaning as a requirement of love..."

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with the faithful in St Peter’s Square this Sunday. Bright sunshine and unseasonable warmth in the air encouraged 50 thousand people to gather beneath the window to the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace. Ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, they heard the Holy Father speak of the day’s Gospel reading, taken from that according to St. Matthew (5:17-37).

In that Gospel reading, Our Lord is delivering his Sermon on the Mount – specifically, the part of the sermon in which Jesus addresses the question of His relationship to the Law of Moses. “Jesus does not want to erase the commandments that the Lord gave through Moses,” explained Pope Francis. “Rather,” he continued, “He desires to bring them to their fulfilment – and He immediately adds that this ‘fulfillment’ of the Law requires a higher justice, a more authentic observance.

The Holy Father went on to note the words of Jesus to His disciples: “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

The Pope explained that Jesus does not give importance to rote observance and outward conduct. “He goes to the root of the law, focusing above all on the intention and therefore on the human heart,” which is the source of our actions for good and for evil. Pope Francis said that profound motivations, the expression of a hidden wisdom, of God’s wisdom, are needed in order for us to act well – not merely good rules and legal norms. “The Wisdom of God,” he said, “can be received through the Holy Spirit: and we, through faith in Christ, open ourselves to the action of the Spirit, which enables us to live God's love.”

The Holy Father concluded, saying, “In light of this teaching of Christ, every precept reveals its full meaning as a requirement of love, and all [precepts] come together in the greatest commandment: love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Text Vatican Radio website 


Bishop Deogratias Muganwa Byabazaire has died. (born 9 Oct 1941, died 8 Feb 2014) He was Bishop of Hoima. Deogratias was born at Karujubu, Masindi District, on 9th October, 1941. Ordained Priest at Bujumbura, Hoima, on 9th August 1969, Bishop Deogratias Byabazaire died 8th February 2014 morning at Entebbe Airport on his way back to Uganda. .ordained Bishop (Coadjutor) on 18th August 1990 and installed Bishop of Hoima on 9th March 1991.
Bishop Deogratias Byabazaire of Hoima died at Entebbe Airport on his way back to Uganda. Burial arrangements to be announced later.

CISA news report -Hundreds of faithful on Tuesday February 11, gathered in and around Bujumbura cathedral in Hoima town to pay their last respects to the bishop of Hoima Catholic diocese, Deogratias Byabazaire Abwooli.
Huge crowds had lined up along Hoima-Kampala road leading to the cathedral where the diocese’s vicar general Msgr Mathias Nyakatura celebrated a funeral mass for bishop Byabazaire, 72, who passed away on Saturday, February 08 at Nsambya hospital, shortly after he had been returned from India where he had sought treatment for high blood pressure, diabetes and a brain tumor.
Bishop Byabazaire’s who was the head of the Catholic Church in the diocese that covers the districts of Hoima, Buliisa, Kibaale, Masindi and Kiryandongo, was well known for his self-sacrifice especially in the area of education and Nyakatura during the mass termed the bishop’s death as “a big blow to the church”.
Father Robert Mugisa, the Hoima Catholic pastoral coordinator, said bishop Byabazaire’s love for the people, education and priesthood was outstanding. “I cannot count the number of students he has sponsored in schools. Many of them have become priests and nuns and he knew many people by their pet names out of love,” he said.
According to Lenard Muganwa, a brother of the deceased, half of the students at St Andrew Kaahwa’s College, a Catholic-founded secondary school near Bujumbura Cathedral bishop were being sponsored by the late bishop at the time he was taken ill.
Bishop Byabazaire wrote a will in which he donated text books (his only property), to universities and seminaries said his brother Henry Muganwa Kajura the first deputy prime minister and minister of public service.
Kajura added that bishop Byabazaire did not keep money or gifts he received and when he started writing his will, he found out that he only had a box of text books as his property. He had acquired the books from the seminaries where he taught. “Byabazaire willed the books to universities and seminaries,” Kajura said.
The late Deogratias Byabazaire Abwooli was born on October 9, 1941 to Lawrence and Veronica Muganwa in Karujubu village, Masindi district. He was a the sixth born in a family of 14 children and attended; St Aloysius Primary School in Hoima town, Kitabi Seminary Mbarara before joining Katigondo Major Seminary in Masaka for a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.
He went to Urubania University in Rome, Italy, for a master’s degree in theology and obtained a PhD in church history and community development from Germany in 1978. He later studied at the University of London and Sorbon University, France and on August 9, 1969 he was ordained priest at Bujumbura Cathedral, Hoima.
Byabazaire was consecrated bishop in 1990 and the following year on March 9, 1991installed as bishop of Hoima Catholic diocese. Section from CISA NEWS


Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 76

Reading 1       SIR 15:15-20
If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you;
if you trust in God, you too shall live;
he has set before you fire and water
to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.
Before man are life and death, good and evil,
whichever he chooses shall be given him.
Immense is the wisdom of the Lord;
he is mighty in power, and all-seeing.
The eyes of God are on those who fear him;
he understands man’s every deed.
No one does he command to act unjustly,
to none does he give license to sin.

Responsorial                Psalm PS 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34

R/ (1b) Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Blessed are they whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they who observe his decrees,
who seek him with all their heart.
R/ Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
You have commanded that your precepts
be diligently kept.
Oh, that I might be firm in the ways
of keeping your statutes!
R/ Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Be good to your servant, that I may live
and keep your words.
Open my eyes, that I may consider
the wonders of your law.
R/ Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Instruct me, O LORD, in the way of your statutes,
that I may exactly observe them.
Give me discernment, that I may observe your law
and keep it with all my heart.
R/ Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Reading 2                 1 COR 2:6-10

Brothers and sisters:
We speak a wisdom to those who are mature,
not a wisdom of this age,
nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away.
Rather, we speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden,
which God predetermined before the ages for our glory,
and which none of the rulers of this age knew;
for, if they had known it,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written:
What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,
and what has not entered the human heart,
what God has prepared for those who love him, 

this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.

Gospel                    MT 5:17-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses
that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you,
whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment;
and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin;
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’
will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin,
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife -  unless the marriage is unlawful -
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
Do not take a false oath,
but make good to the Lord all that you vow
But I say to you, do not swear at all;
not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;
nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Do not swear by your head,
for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,' and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the evil one.”

Or                       MT 5:20-22A, 27-28, 33-34A, 37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses
that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you,
whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment.

“You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
Do not take a false oath,
but make good to the Lord all that you vow
But I say to you, do not swear at all.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the evil one.”


St. Onesimus
Feast: February 16

Feast Day:February 16
HE was a Phrygian by birth, slave to Philemon, a person of note of the city of Colossæ, converted to the faith by St. Paul. Having robbed his master and being obliged to fly, he providentially met with St. Paul, then a prisoner for the faith at Rome, who there converted and baptized him, and sent him with his canonical letter of recommendation to Philemon, by whom he was pardoned, set at liberty, and sent back to his spiritual father, whom he afterwards faithfully served. That apostle made him, with Tychicus, the bearer of his Epistle to the Colossians, and afterwards, as St. Jerome and other Fathers witness, a preacher of the Gospel and a bishop. He was crowned with martyrdom under Domitian in the year 95.

(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)