Thursday, April 3, 2014

Blind and Autistic Boy stuns Church with Singing - Gone Viral SHARE his Amazing Story!

Christopher Duffley is 12-years old and is autistic and was born blind. World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tenn., is where he inspired parishioners with a performance of Mercy Me’s “I Can Only Imagine.” He is a singer and multi-instrumentalist. Born prematurely, Christopher weighed only 1 lb 12 oz at birth. Stephen and Christine Duffley adopted their nephew Christopher when he was 14 months. The Duffleys made a wonderful home for Christopher. His first instrument was piano and also he has tried trumpet, guitar, and drums. The Duffley family travels across the United States, sharing their extraordinary God story and Christopher's talent. To learn more about Christopher Duffley, visit Commentary is from his aunt, Christine Duffley, who described the struggles.
 Watch the touching video below:
 They’ve been raising their nephew and sharing his amazing testimony ever sense.   “When Christopher sings ‘Open the Eyes of My Heart’ he teaches us to not see everything with our eyes — but to see things the way God sees things through our heart,” she said in the video.

Queen Elizabeth II meets Pope Francis - Little Prince George gets a gift from the Pope!

(Vatican Radio) A focus on the shared roots of Christian faith was a theme which emerged from the meeting Pope Francis had with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip on Thursday afternoon. Also attending the private encounter in a small study beside the Paul VI hall was Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, former archbishop of Westminster and the first Catholic bishop to preach for the Royal Family since the Church of England broke from Rome in the 16th century. Philippa Hitchen was following the encounter.....
It was a far cry from the first time Princess Elizabeth met with a Pope, Pius XII, in 1951, the year before she became queen. On that occasion, and her meeting a few years later with Pope John XXIII, she was dressed in full length black with a long veil. Even her more recent meetings with Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XII have been quite formal affairs, but on this occasion, Buckingham Palace had requested a relaxed, informal encounter to follow on from her luncheon with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.
 LIKE US ON FACEBOOK NOW   It seems it was such a good lunch that the royal couple arrived almost a quarter of an hour late in the Vatican and as she shook hands with the Pope Francis, the Queen apologized for keeping him waiting. Together with the Duke of Edinburgh, and accompanied by the Cardinal and papal translator, the two leaders spent almost 20 minutes in private conversation before posing for photographs and exchanging some rather unusual gifts.

The Queen had brought a large hamper stuffed with goodies from her royal estates: honey from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, venison, beef and some best bitter from Windsor Castle, cider, apple juice and a selection of chutneys from Sandringham and some shortbread and whiskey from the Balmoral estate in Scotland. She also gave the Pope a couple of signed photographs in silver frames, saying with a wry smile, “I’m afraid you have to have a photograph – it’s inevitable!”
Pope Francis also had a rather personal gift for the Queen – or rather for her newest great-grandson and third in line for the throne, the eight-month-old Prince George. It was a blue, lapis lazuli orb, topped with a cross of St Edward the Confessor and around the base a dedication reading ‘Pope Francis to His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge’. The Queen seemed visibly delighted, exclaiming, “that’s very nice, he’ll be thrilled with that…when he’s a little older.”
The Pope also presented the Queen with a replica of a decree from the Vatican archives, dating from 1679, by which Pope Innocent XI extended the veneration of St Edward the Confessor to the Universal Church, establishing his feast day on October 9th

Those who followed Pope Benedict’s state visit to Britain in 2010 will recall one of the most moving moments of his three day trip was in Westminster Abbey where he and the then Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams knelt side by side in prayer at the Shrine of Edward the Confessor, who died in 1066. Together the Anglican and Catholic leaders prayed for Church and country but also for the gift of reconciliation and unity. 

We weren’t told exactly what the Bishop of Rome and the Governor of the Church of England talked about during this brief visit to the Vatican, but I’m fairly sure their talks will have touched on the shared spiritual heritage and a mutual commitment to renewed Christian unity. Text from  Vatican Radio website 

Latest New Saints added by Pope Francis at the Vatican

(Vatican Radio) This morning the Holy Father Francis received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, during which he extended the liturgical cult of the following blesseds to the universal Church, inscribing them in the book of Saints:
-Francois de Laval, French bishop of Quebec, Canada (1623-1708).
-Jose de Anchieta, Spanish priest of the Society of Jesus (1534-1597).
-Maria de la Encarnacion (nee Marie Guyart), French (1599-1672).The new Saints were raised to the altars by a process called “equivalent canonization.” In such cases, the Pope waives the usual judicial process and declares that a blessed’s liturgical cult is extended to the universal Church. The same practice was adopted by Pope Francis for the canonization of Angela Foligno (9 October 2013) and Peter Faber (17 December 2013).
He also authorised the Congregation to promulgate the decrees concerning the following causes:
- Servant of God Giovanni Antonio Farina, Italian bishop and founder of the Institute of the Sisters of Saint Dorothy, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts (1803-1871).
- Blessed Kuriacose Elias Chavara, Indian professed priest and founder of the Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (1805-1871).
- Blessed Nicola da Longobardi, (ne Giovanni Battista Clemente Saggio), Italian oblate friar of the Order of the Minims (1650-1709).
- Blessed Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (nee Rose Eluvathingal), Indian professed religious of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (1877-1952).
- Servant of God Luigi della Consolata (ne Andrea Bordino), Italian professed religious, Brothers of Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo (1922-1977).
- Servant of God Francisco Simon Rodenas, Spanish professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, bishop of Santa Marta (1849-1914).
- Servant of God Adolfo Barberis, Italian priest and founder of the Institute of Sisters of Christian Servanthood (1884-1967).
- Servant of God Marie-Clement (ne Joseph Staub), French professed priest of the Assumptionists and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joan of Arc (1876-1936).
- Servant of God Sebastian Elorza Arizmendi, Spanish professed religious of the Order of St. Augustine (1882-1942).
- Servant of God Maria Teresa of the Eucharistic Jesus (nee Dulce Rodrigues dos Santos), Brazilian foundress of the Congregation of the Little Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate (1901-1972).
- Servant of God Clara de la Concepcion (nee Juana de la Concepcion Sanchez Garcia), Spanish professed religious of the Order of St. Clare (1902-1973).
- Servant of God Maria Magdalena (nee Maria Giuseppina Teresa Marcucci), Italian professed religious of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ (1888-1960).-Servant of God Luigi Rocchi, Italian layperson (1932-1979).

Text from  Vatican Radio website 

Pray for victims of Fort Hood shooting killing 3 and wounding 16 by Vet

An Iraq war veteran undergoing diagnosis for post-traumatic stress disorder, Ivan Lopez killed three people and wounded 16 more in Fort Hood, USA. The 34-year-old put the gun to his head and ended his own life. This Fort Hood shooting  He had arrived at the base in February, moving with his wife and daughter into an apartment. He had a history of depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders and was receiving treatment and medication. Lopez had served for four months in Iraq in 2011. He used his own weapon when he walked into 2 buildings at the base and opened fire. Over 15 to 20 minutes, he killed three and wounded 16 all army personnel. The base has over 45,000 soldiers and almost 9,000 civilian employees. In 2009 in the same area, Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan survived after killing 13 people and wounding another 32 on November 5. Hasan was convicted of 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder, and a military jury recommended last August that he be put to death. Image source: Google Images

Pray for victims of Earthquake and Tsunami in Chile which killed 6

6 people were killed in an 8.2-magnitude earthquake offshore and subsequent tsunami hit Chile. Almost 928,000 people were evacuated. More than 2,500 homes were seriously damaged. The 7.6-magnitude aftershock struck the region late Wednesday, April 2, 2014. Chile is in an earthquake region of the world. They are located on fault lines. In February 2010, about 500 people died when there was an 8.8-magnitude earthquake. 293 inmates escaped from prison in Iquique, but 131 turned themselves in voluntarily. The quake had a depth of 12.5 miles according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Pope Francis meets President of Cape Verde - Portuguese Island near Africa

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday met with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Cape Verde, José Maria Pereira Neves. Cape Verde is a Portuguese speaking island nation located in the Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Africa. It has a population of over 500,000, of which over 75% is Catholic.

After his meeting with Pope Francis, the Prime Minister met with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, and the Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, to exchange the instruments of ratification of the Agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Cape Verde on the Statute of the Juridical Status of the Catholic Church in Cape Verde, signed in Praia June 10, 2013.

The Agreement further strengthens the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two Parties, consisting of thirty articles and establishing the legal and regulatory framework for relations; it recognizes Sunday as a holiday and regulates various areas of common interest, such as the protection of places of worship and religious celebrations; it deals with the civil effects of marriage and canonical effects of ecclesiastical matters; it guarantees Catholic institutions of education and training as well as dealing with the teaching of religion in schools; it recognizes the welfare and charitable activities of the Church; it also provides for pastoral care in the military, in prison facilities and hospitals; and covers various economic and tax matters.

In an address at the signing ceremony, Cardinal Parolin said the signing of the agreement was a “historic event” for the Church in Cape Verde, and a sign of the “excellent cooperation” between the political authorities and the Catholic community.

Text from  Vatican Radio website 

PRAY for Mudslide Victims in Washington State - death toll at 28 - 20 missing

A landslide on March 22 in Washington State killed 28 people. Rescuers are looking through the mud (70 feet thick in places) for the 20 that are still missing. Snohomish County released the names of 22 deceased victims, in age from 4 months to 71 years. The debris area is full of dangerous mud which is made of human waste, chemicals from homes, propane tanks, oil and gas. Some places are too unstable for crews to work. Whole houses were displaced and destroyed. Please pray for victims and families.

Pope Francis “I join with all my heart in mourning,” - Remembering Rwanda's Genocide 20th anniversary

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the bishops of Rwanda on Thursday, during the course of their ad limina visits. In remarks prepared for the occasion and delivered to the bishops during the audience in the Vatican, the Holy Father recalled the genocide in the country, the 20th anniversary of the beginning of which is to be marked in a few days’ time. “I join with all my heart in mourning,” said Pope Francis, “and I assure you of my prayers for yourselves, for your often torn communities, for all victims and their families, for all Rwandans,” regardless of religion, ethnicity or political affiliation. 

The Holy Father went on to say that, two decades after these tragic events, reconciliation and the healing of wounds remain the priority of the Church in Rwanda. He encouraged the bishops to persevere in their commitment to healing and reconciliation. “Forgiveness of sins and genuine reconciliation,” he said, a are a gift of Christ that it is possible to receive,” even though they might seem to human sight to be impossible in the wake of such suffering as the people of Rwanda have experienced, “even if the road is long and requires patience, dialogue and mutual respect.” Pope Francis said, “The Church has its place, therefore, in the reconstruction of a reconciled Rwandan society: with all the strength of your faith and Christian hope.” He added, “go ahead vigorously, constantly bearing witness to the truth.”

Calling on the bishops also to highlight the contribution of the Church to the common good, and to concentrate especially on education as a main key to the country’s future, Pope Francis said, “It is therefore the duty of the Church to form children and young people in Gospel values, which ​​they shall find especially in a particular familiarity with the Word of God, which will be for them like a compass indicating the route.” 

Pope Francis also spoke of the “crucial role” of the laity in evangelization and reconstruction, saying that the bishops ought to give particular attention to training and support for lay people. “In both their spiritual life and in their human and intellectual life, their formation must be of high quality.” he said. 

Pope Francis concluded on a Marian note, praying that the Marian shrine at Kibeho, “might radiate even more the love of Mary for her children, especially the poorest and most [gravely] injured, and be for the Church of Rwanda – and beyond – a call to turn with confidence to Our Lady of Sorrows,” by whose intercession Rwanda and the world might receive the gifts of reconciliation and peace. 

Text from Vatican Radio website 

POPE FRANCIS "Prayer changes us our heart. It helps us better...

(Vatican Radio) The dialogue between God on Moses Mount Sinai contained in the first reading of the daily liturgy was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at Thursday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. God wants to punish His people because they have created an idol, the golden calf. Emer McCarthy reports: 

Moses prays to the Lord to think again. Pope Francis said “this prayer is a real struggle with God. A struggle [on the part of ] the leader of a people to save his people, who are the people of God . Moses speaks freely in front of the Lord and in doing so teaches us how to pray without fear, freely, even with insistence. Moses insists. He is courageous. Prayer must also be a "negotiation with God", to which we bring our "arguments". Moses eventually convinces God and the reading says that "the Lord repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to His people". "But – the Pope asked - who changed here? Has the Lord changed? I think not".

"Moses is the one who has changed, because Moses believed that the Lord would do this, he believed that the Lord would have destroyed the people and he searches, he tries to remember, how good the Lord has been to His people, how he led them from slavery in Egypt and guided them with a promise. With these arguments, he tries to convince God, but in doing so, he rediscovers the memory of his people, and God's mercy. This Moses, who was afraid, afraid that God would do this thing, in the end comes down from the mountain with a something great in his heart: Our God is merciful. He knows how to forgive. He can go back on His decisions. He is a Father".
Moses knew all of this - Pope Francis observes - "but he vaguely knew it. Instead he rediscovers it in prayer. This is what prayer does to us: it changes our heart".

"Prayer changes us our heart. It helps us better understand our God. This is why it is important to speak with the Lord, not with empty words - Jesus says: 'As pagans do'. No, no, talk with [Him about] reality: ‘Look , Lord, I have this problem, in my family, with my child, with this, with that ... What can you do? You cannot leave me like this!'. This is prayer! Does this prayer take a long time? Yes, it takes time".

It takes the time we need to get to know God better,[the same time we take] with a friend, because Moses - the Bible says - prays to the Lord like one friend speaking to another:

"The Bible says that Moses spoke to God face to face, as a friend. This is how our prayer must be: free, insistent, with arguments. Even rebuking the Lord a little': 'You promised me this but you didn’t do it... ' , just like talking with a friend. Open your heart to this prayer. Moses came down from the Mount invigorated: ' I have known more of the Lord ' , and with that strength given him by prayer, he resumed the task of leading his people to the Promised Land. Because prayer invigorates: it is invigorating. May the Lord give us all this grace, because prayer is a grace".

"The Holy Spirit is in every prayer” - the Pope concluded. “You cannot pray without the Holy Spirit . It is He who prays in us, He makes us change our heart, it is He who teaches us to call God 'Father'. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to teach us to pray, as Moses prayed, to negotiate with God, with freedom of spirit, with courage. And may the Holy Spirit, who is always present in our prayer, lead us on this path".

Text from  Vatican Radio website