Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Saint September 10 : St. Nicholas of Tolentino : Patron of Babies, Animals, and Dying

Feast: September 10
Information: Feast Day: September 10

Born: 1246 AD
Died: 1305 AD
Canonized: 5 June (Pentecost) 1446 by Pope Eugene IV
Patron of: animals; babies; boatmen; dying people; mariners; sailors; sick animals; souls in purgatory; watermen
This Nicholas was born in answer to his mother's prayers. Childless and in middle age, she had made a pilgrimage with her husband to the shrine of St. Nicholas of Bari to ask for a son whom she promised to dedicate to God's service. When her wish was granted, she named the boy Nicholas and he soon gave unusual signs of saintliness. Already at seven he would hide away in a nearby cave and pray there like the hermits whom he had observed in the mountains. As soon as he was old enough he was received into the Order of Augustinian friars. On account of his kind and gentle manner his superiors entrusted him with the daily feeding of the poor at the monastery gates, but at times he was so free with the friary's provisions that the procurator begged the superior to check his generosity. He was ordained in 1271 and said his first Mass with exceptional fervor; thereafter, whenever he celebrated the holy Mystery he seemed aglow with the fire of his love. His preaching, instructions and work in the confessional brought about numerous conversions, and his many miracles were responsible for more, yet he was careful not to take any credit for these miracles. "Say nothing of this," he would insist, "give thanks to God, not to me. I am only a vessel of clay, a poor sinner." He spent the last thirty years of his life in Tolentino, where the Guelfs and the Ghibellines were in constant strife. Nicholas saw only one remedy to the violence: street preaching, and the success of this apostolic work was astounding. "He spoke of the things of heaven," says his biographer St. Antonine. "Sweetly he preached the divine word, and the words that came from his lips fell like flames of fire. Among his hearers could be seen the tears and heard the sighs of people detesting their sins and repenting of their past lives." During the last years of his life St. Nicholas was bedridden and suffered grievously. He died surrounded by his community. In 1345 a lay Brother cut off the arms of his body intending to take them to Germany as relics, and the friars then hid his body to prevent further attempts of this kind. It has not been found to this day, but the arms have been preserved. It is recorded that they have bled on several occasions, usually, it is said, before some calamity that befell the Church or the world

Pope Francis “Jesus is the great intercessor”: “He stands before the Father in this moment, praying for us. And this should give us courage!" Homily

Pope Francis delivering the homily at morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta

Jesus is not a professor who speaks from the professor’s chair; rather, He goes among the people and lets them touch Him so that they can be healed. That was Pope Francis’ message at Mass this morning at Santa Marta. Commenting on the day’s Gospel, Pope Francis reflected on three moments in the life of Jesus. The first is prayer. Jesus “spent the night in prayer to God.” Jesus prays for us. “It seems a little strange,” the Pope said, “that He who came to give us salvation, who has the power, prays to the Father.” And He prayed often. “Jesus is the great intercessor”: “He stands before the Father in this moment, praying for us. And this should give us courage! Because in moments of difficulty or of need… [He] is praying: ‘But you are praying for me. Pray for me. Jesus, pray for me to the Father!’ It is His work today: praying for us, for His Church. We often forget this, that Jesus prays for us. This is our strength: to be able to say to the Father, ‘But if you, Father, will not consider us, consider your Son who prays for us.’ From the first moment Jesus prays: He prayed when He was on earth and He continues to pray now for each one of us, for the whole Church.”
After praying, Jesus chooses the twelve Apostles. The Lord says clearly, “It was not you who chose Me; I chose you!” “This second moment,” the Pope said, “gives us courage: ‘I am chosen, I am chosen by the Lord! On the day of Baptism He chose me.’ And Paul, with this in mind, said: ‘He chose me, from my mother’s womb’.” So we Christians have been called:
“These are things of love! Love does not consider whether someone has an ugly face or a beautiful face: it loves! And Jesus does the same: He loves and chooses with love. He chooses all. In His list, no one is ‘important’ – in inverted commas – according to the criteria of the world: it is the common people. But there is one thing, yes, one thing to emphasize about all of them: they are sinners. Jesus has chosen sinners. He chooses sinners. And this is the accusation made by the doctors of the law, the scribes: ‘This man goes to eat with sinners, he talks to prostitutes…’ Jesus calls everyone! Let us call to mind the parable of the wedding of the son. When those who were invited did not come, what did the master of the house do? The Gospel says he told his servants: ‘Go out and bring everyone to the house, good and bad.’ Jesus has chosen everyone.”
Jesus, the Pope continued, even chose Judas Iscariot “who became the traitor… the greatest sinner toward Him. But he was chosen by Jesus.”
Then there was the third moment: “Jesus near to the people.” They came in great multitudes “to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases… Everyone in the crowd sought to touch Him because power came forth from Him and healed them all.” Jesus is in the midst of His people:
“He is not a professor, a teacher, a mystic who is far from the people and speaks from the professor’s chair [It: cattedra]. No! He is in the midst of the people, He lets them touch Him, He lets them ask of Him. That’s Jesus: close to the people. And this nearness is not something new for Him. He emphasizes it in His way of acting, but it is something that comes out of God’s first choice of His people. God says to His people, ‘Consider: What people has a God as close as I am to you?’ God’s closeness to His people is the closeness of Jesus amid the crowds.”
“This is our Master, this is our Lord,” the Pope concluded. “One who prays, one who chooses the people, and one who is not ashamed to be close to the people. And this gives us confidence in Him. Let us trust in Him because He prays, because He has chosen us, and because He is close to us.” Shared from Radio Vaticana

Latest News from Vatican Information Service - Pope Francis and the Holy See


Vatican City, 2014 (VIS) – The following is the full text of the presentation by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, of the participants in the upcoming Synod in October 2014:
“Why are two full pages of names being published today in the Osservatore Romano? Because these names correspond to people from all over the world, who will take part in the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (5-19 October) on the theme: “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation”. The aim of the meeting is to propose to today's world the beauty and the values of the family, which emerge from the proclamation of Jesus Christ Who disperses fear and supports hope.
Synodus – which means 'taking a path together' – is the expression that indicates the eccesial space in which we convene in order to meet and to reflect – in the dual faith in God and man – before today's challenges to the family. The list that follows is made up of representatives from the five continents, subdivided as follows: 114 presidents of Episcopal Conferences, 13 heads of the 'sui iuris' Eastern Catholic Churches, 25 heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, 9 members of the Ordinary Council of the Secretariat, the secretary general, the under-secretary, 3 nominees from the Union of Superior Generals, and 26 pontifical nominees. Other participants include 8 fraternal delegates, 38 auditors, including 13 married couples, and 16 experts. The total number of participants in the Synod Assembly is 253.
In the dynamic of the renewal of the Church ordered by Pope Francis, the updating of the institution of the Synod is explained in particular in the preparatory process and in the process of the Assemblies themselves. This project, initiated with the convocation of the Synod Assembly, is developing in a new and renewed way, with concrete actions. The criterion for renewal is that of first painting the picture and then adding the frame. The rules in force provide the track along which the train of renewal proceeds. As we go ahead, the steps necessary for changing the rules or eventually setting about a full reconstruction of the Synod as an entity will become evident.
The itinerary of the next Synod will be divided into two phases: the Extraordinary General Assembly of 2014 and the Ordinary General Assembly of 2015. A new working methodology will be applied, rendering the process more dynamic and participatory, with speeches and testimonials, always with a view to continuity towards the second stage, after which the Synod document will be published”.
Vatican City, 8 September 2014 (VIS) – This Sunday the Holy Father sent a video message to all the representatives of the Christian Churches, ecclesial communities and all heads of world religions who will meet in the Belgian city of Antwerp from 7 to 9 September for the International Meeting for Peace organised by the Sant'Egidio Community. This year's theme, “Peace is the Future”, commemorates the dramatic outbreak of the First World War one hundred years ago, and evokes a future in which mutual respect, dialogue and cooperation will help banish the sinister phantom of armed conflict.
“In these days, in which many people throughout the world need help to find the way to peace, this anniversary teaches us that war is never a satisfactory means of redressing injustice or reaching balanced solutions to social and political discord. In the final analysis every war, as Pope Benedict XV stated in 1917, is a 'useless massacre'. War drags populations into a spiral of violence that is then shown to be difficult to control; it demolishes what generations have worked to build and paves the way for injustice and even worse conflicts”.
Pope Francis stressed that “we cannot remain passive” when faced with “the innumerable conflicts and wars, declared and undeclared, that nowadays afflict the human family and ruin the lives of the youngest and of the elderly, poisoning long-standing relationships of co-existence between different ethnic groups and religions”. He remarked that with the power of prayer “our various religious traditions are able, in the the spirit of Assisi, to offer a contribution to peace. … I hope that these days of prayer and dialogue will serve to remind us that the search for peace and understanding through prayer can create lasting bonds of unity and prevail over the passions of war. War is never necessary, nor is it inevitable. There is always an alternative: the path of dialogue, encounter and the sincere search for truth”.
“The moment has arrived for the heads of all religions to cooperate effectively in the task of healing wounds, of resolving conflicts and seeking peace. Peace is the sure sign of commitment to God's cause”. The Pontiff concluded by encouraging all those present to be “builders of peace” and to convert communities into “schools of respect and dialogue with those of other ethnic or religious groups, places in which we learn to overcome tensions, promote equitable and peaceful relations among peoples and social groups, and build a better future for the generations to come”.
Vatican City, 7 September 2014 (VIS) – Fraternal correction, as it is presented by St. Matthew in this Sunday's Gospel reading, was the theme of the Pope's reflection during today's Angelus, at midday. “Jesus teaches us that if my Christian brother wrongs me or offends me, I must be charitable towards him and, first of all, speak to him personally, explaining that what he has said or done is not good. And what if my brother does not listen to me? Jesus suggests a way of intervening gradually: first, to speak to him again with another two or three people, so that he is more aware of the mistake he has made. If, in spite of this, he does not accept this exhortation, it is necessary to tell the community, and if he does not even listen to the community, then we have to let him know of the fracture and detachment that he himself has caused, by failing in communion with his brothers and sisters in the faith”.
“The steps in this itinerary show the strength that the Lord asks of the community to support those who err, so that they are not lost. Above all it is necessary to avoid the clamour of news and gossip in the community. The attitude must be that of gentleness, prudence, humility and care in relation to those who have erred, avoiding words that may harm or kill our brother. Because even words can kill! When I gossip or when I unjustly criticise, when I curse a brother with my tongue, this means destroying the reputation of the other person. … At the same time, this discretion in speaking to him alone has the aim of not pointlessly mortifying the sinner. … In view of this need, we can understand the following series of interventions, which include the involvement of other witnesses and finally even the community. The aim is to help the person to understand what they have done, and to be aware that they have thereby offended not just one person, but everyone. But it also helps us to rid ourselves of anger and resentment … that bitterness of the heart that leads to anger and resentment leads us to insult and offend. It is very unpleasant to see insults and aggression from a Christian. … To insult is not Christian”.
“In reality”, he continued, “before the Lord we are all sinners and all in need of forgiveness. All of us. Indeed, Jesus told us not to judge. Fraternal correction is an aspect of the love and the communion that should reign in the Christian community; it is a mutual service that we can and must render to each other … and it is possible and effective only if each person recognises himself as a sinner and in need of the Lord's forgiveness. The same awareness that enables me to recognise the errors of the other, first of all reminds me that I myself have made, and make mistakes, many times”.
“Therefore, at the beginning of Mass, we are invited each time to acknowledge ourselves as sinners before the Lord, expressing with words and gestures the sincere repentance of the heart”, he concluded. “And Jesus Himself invites all of us, saints and sinners, to his table, bringing us together at the various crossroads in in the different situations of our lives. And among the conditions that unite all the participants in the Eucharistic celebration, two are fundamental: we are all sinners, and God offers His mercy to us all”.
Vatican City, 7 September 2014 (VIS) – After today's Angelus prayer, the Pope launched an appeal for peace in Ukraine. “In recent days, significant steps have been taken to reach a truce in the regions affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine, even though today we have received news that gives little cause for comfort”, he said.
“However”, he added, “I hope that this may bring relief to the population and contribute to efforts towards lasting peace. Let us pray that, in the logic of encounter, the dialogue that has begun may continue and bear the hoped-for fruit. Mary Queen of Peace, pray for us”.
He also joined the bishops of Lesotho in making a plea for peace in their country. “I condemn every act of violence and pray to the Lord that the peace may be re-established in the Kingdom of Lesotho, in justice and fraternity”.
Pope Francis also recalled that this Sunday a convoy of thirty Italian Red Cross volunteers leaves for Iraq, headed for the area of Dohuk near Erbil, where there are tens of thousands of displaced Iraqis. “I express my heartfelt appreciation for this generous and valid work, and impart my blessing to all of them and all those who seek to offer concrete assistance to our persecuted and oppressed brothers. May the Lord bless you”.
Finally, he commented that on Monday will be the liturgical feast of the Nativity of Mary. “It means it would be her birthday. And what do we do when our it is our mother's birthday? We greet her and offer her our best wishes. Tomorrow remember, in the early morning, to greet the Virgin from your heart, and say to her, 'Best wishes!'. And say a Hail Mary from your heart, as a son or a daughter”.
Vatican City, 6 September 2014 (VIS) – On 8 September, the festivity of the Nativity of Mary, Cubans also celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, the patroness of the island. To commemorate the occasion, the Pope has written a letter to the metropolitan archbishop of Santiago de Cuba, Dionisio Guillermo Garcia Ibanez, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba (C.O.O.C.), extensive extracts from which are published below:
“Every time I read the Sacred Scripture, in the passages that speak about Our Lady, three verbs come to my attention. I would like to pause and look at these, with the intention of inviting the pastors and faithful of Cuba to put them into practice.
“The first is to rejoice. It was the first word that the Angel Gabriel addressed to the Virgin: “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you”. The life of those who have discovered Jesus is full of an inner joy so great that nothing and no-one can take it away. Christ gives his people the necessary strength not to be sad or overwhelmed, thinking that their problems have no solution. Supported by this truth, the Christian has no doubt that what is done with love engenders a serene joy, the sister of the hope that breaks down the barrier of fear and opens the doors to a promising future. … How good it would be if all Cubans, especially the young, could say: “I am a man of charity”; I live truly to love, and not to be trapped in the vicious circle of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. What joy there is in loving authentically, in our daily actions, and not with plentiful but empty words that amount to nothing”.
“The second verb is to rise. St. Luke says that, with Jesus in her womb, Mary rose and promptly went to help her kinswoman Elizabeth, who in her old age was about to become a mother. She fulfilled God's will, making herself available to anyone in need. She did not think of herself, but instead overcame setbacks and gave herself to others. Victory belongs to those who rise again and again, without giving up. If we imitate Mary, we cannot do so while sitting down, merely complaining, or even at times passing the buck to others rather than facing our own responsibilities. … Mary was always with her people, especially the least among them. She knew loneliness, poverty and exile, and learned how to create fraternity and to make her home any place where goodness grew. We implore her to give us a poor soul without pride, a pure heart that sees God in the faces of the disadvantaged, and unwavering patience that does not give up when faced with the difficulties of life”.
“The third verb is to persevere. Mary, who had experienced God's goodness, proclaimed the greatness He had worked in her. … For this reason, she stood by her Son, when everyone else had abandoned Him; she prayed without fail alongside the apostles and other disciples, lest they lose their mind. ...We too are called upon to continued in the love of God and to continue loving our neighbours. In this world, in which eternal values are discarded and everything is subject to change, in which a throwaway mentality triumphs, and in which there is fear of lifelong commitments, the Virgin encourages us to be men and women constantly engaged in good work, who maintain their word, who are always faithful”.
“Be joyful and share this with those around you. Lift your heart and do not succumb to adversity, stay on the path of good, tirelessly helping those who are oppressed by sorrows and troubles. These are the important lessons Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre teaches us, and which are useful to us now and in the future”.
Vatican City, 6 September 2014 (VIS) – Today Pope Francis received the prelates of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon at the end of their five-yearly “ad limina” visit. At the end of the audience the Pope expressed his encouragement and confidence in the bishops, whose visit to Rome underlined the spirit of communion with the Apostolic See, and handed them his written discourse, in which he writes that “for the Gospel to profoundly touch and convert hearts, we must remember that only our unity and love make it possible to bear witness authentically and effectively”. “You must keep unity and diversity closely linked in order to accommodate the human and spiritual wealth of your dioceses, that is expressed in many ways”.
Pope Francis mentioned the good collaboration between the Church, the State and society in Cameroon, as shown recently by the signing of a framework agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Cameroon, and invited the prelates to put this agreement in practice, “so that legal recognition of many ecclesial institutions will enable them to exercise greater influence, to the benefit not only of the Church but also of the whole of society in Cameroon”. In this context, he also referred to the considerable commitment on the part of the local churches in social work, especially in the fields of education, health and charity, that is recognised and appreciated by the civil authorities and must be the fulcrum of “a fruitful collaboration between the State and the Church, with full respect for her freedom. Commitment to social work is an integral part of evangelisation, as there is an intimate link between evangelisation and human development, which must be expressed and developed in all evangelising work”.
The action of evangelisation will be more effective when the Gospel “is truly lived by those who have received and profess it. This is how we find the way of drawing to Christ those who do not yet know Him, demonstrating the power of His love that is able to transform and illuminate human life”. Given the significant presence of Muslims in some dioceses, the Pope encouraged the bishops to “develop a dialogue of life with them, in the spirit of mutual trust”, which is now “essential to maintain a climate of peaceful co-existence and to discourage the development of the violence that Christians are victims of in certain regions of the African continent”.
He continues, “Families, equally, must continue to be the focus of your particular care, especially today as they experience grave hardships – poverty, the displacement of peoples, lack of security, the temptation to return to ancestral practices incompatible with the Christian faith, or even new lifestyles promised by a secularised world”.
It is also essential that the clergy “offer witness to a life inhabited by the Lord, coherent with the demands and the principles of the Gospel”, he writes, inviting the prelates to be fathers attentive to their priests, so that they are helped to avoid the temptations of power, honours and money. “In relation to this latter point, the negative example that may be given by poor management of goods, personal enrichment or wastefulness will be particularly scandalous in a region where many people lack basic necessities”. Similarly, “the unity of the clergy is an indispensable element in the witness to the risen Christ … and which depends upon unity among bishops, who are often faced with the same challenges and called upon to offer common and joint solutions, as well as the unity of the 'presbyterium' that the Lord calls on us to build every day, setting aside all forms of prejudice, especially on the basis of ethnicity”.
The Pontiff finally offers encouragement to consecrated persons, whose life is “always a prophetic witness and model in matters of reconciliation, justice and peace” and concludes by urging the prelates of Cameroon not to fear difficulties and to continue to proclaim the Good News with a renewed missionary spirit “to all those who still await it or are most in need”.
Vatican City, 6 September 2014 (VIS) – According to a communique issued by the Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops, Sunday 28 September will be dedicated to prayer for the Third General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to take place from 5 to 19 October on the theme “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation”.
The particular Churches, parish communities, Institutes of consecrated life, associations and movements are invited to pray during Eucharistic celebrations and other liturgical occasions in the days preceding and during the work of the Synod.
In Rome, there will be prayers every day in the Chapel of Salus Populii Romani in the Basilica of St. Mary Major. The faithful, especially families, may include this intention in their personal prayers, and are recommended to pray the Rosary for the work of the Synod.
The Secretariat of the Synod will shortly publish a leaflet in various languages with the prayer of the Holy Family for the Synod, composed by Pope Francis and with other suggested intentions for the prayers of the faithful.
Vatican City, 6 September 2014 (VIS) – A letter was published today, written in Latin and dated 25 July 2014, by which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of Havana, Cuba, as his special envoy to the celebration of the 350th anniversary of the foundation of the parish of Notre Dame-de-Quebec, Canada, the “mother Church of North America”, scheduled to take place on 15 September.
The members of the mission accompanying the Cardinal will be Msgr. Denis Belanger, parish priest of Notre Dame-de-Quebec and rector of the Basilica-Cathedral of the same name, and Rev. Pierre Gingras, parish priest of St. John the Baptist and St. Dominic in Quebec City.
Vatican City, 8 September 2014 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father received in audience:
- Annette Schavan, new ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Holy See, presenting her letters of credence.
- Cardinal Gottfried Danneels, archbishop emeritus of Mechelen-Brussel, Belgium.
- Rev. Fr. Jose Ornelas Carvalho, superior general of the priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Dehonians).
- Professor Matteo Truffelli, national president of Italian Catholic Action.
- Kenan Gursoy, ambassador of Turkey to the Holy See, on his farewell visit.
On Saturday, 6 September, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
- Tamar Grdzelidze, new ambassador of Georgia to the Holy See, presenting her letters of credence.
Vatican City, 8 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Armagh, Ireland, presented by Cardinal Sean Baptist Brady, upon reaching the age limit. He is succeeded by Archbishop Eamon Martin, formerly coadjutor of the same diocese.

Latest Statistics - 700 Children Killed by ISIS - 1.6 Million displaced in Iraq - Please PRAY for Peace

UN: the Islamic state uses child suicide bombers, 30 million deprived of the right to education 
For the UN Special Representative, since the beginning of the year 700 children have been murdered or maimed by the Islamists. Children up to 13 years exploited to carry weapons, keep watch over deposits or "used in suicide attacks”. Children also violate by groups "allied to the Iraqi government".  (Image Source : http://mednuce.com/en//haber/2455/7-children-slaughtered-in-isisisil-attacks-in-rojava.html )

Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Since the beginning of the year Islamic State (IS) militias have killed or maimed at least 700 children in Iraq, killing them in the course of summary executions or using them as suicide bombers to attack operations. This was denounced by Leila Zerrougui, Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations for Children and Armed Conflict, during a hearing at the UN Security Council held yesterday. Children up to 13 years of age are exploited by militants to carry weapons, keep watch over arms stores, munitions and strategic locations, stop civilians; others "are used in suicide attacks".
The senior official added that another 30 million children have been deprived from the right to education because of the war or epidemics that have broken out in the course of the conflict. However, violence against children is not the exclusive preserve of the militia, the Special Representative adds that child soldiers are also being used by  "militias allied with the Iraqi government" in the fight against IS.

World governments and the United Nations have repeatedly accused the militants of the Islamic State of atrocities and crimes, since its capture of Mosul and a large part of northern Iraq last June. Previously, the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ra'ad Zeid Al Hussein had declared that the Islamists are creating a real "house of blood" in the areas under their control.

Last month, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution that aims to cut funds in money and weapons supplies to the Islamic state; the atrocities committed by fundamentalist guerrillas could also constitute a crime against humanity. The meeting held yesterday was devoted to the issue of child soldiers, with particular attention to countries such as Libya, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Mali and South Sudan. In the Central African Republic over 8 thousand children were forced to fight by the various armed groups fighting each other.

United Nations estimates report that last month, the worst so far in the conflict with the Islamic Army, 1420 people were killed; 1370 injured. In the past year, at least 1.6 million Iraqis have been displaced by violence; 850 thousand in the month of August. These include hundreds of thousands of Christians, Yazidis and Turkomans driven from their homes under threat of death if they did not convert to radical Islam. Shared from AsiaNewsIT

New Primate of Ireland Archbishop Martin and Retirement Statement by Cardinal Sean Brady

Archbishop Eamon Martin

Radio Vaticana report: Archbishop Eamon Martin has become Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland after Pope Francis on Monday accepted the resignation of his predecessor, Cardinal Sean Brady.  For the past 16 months Archbishop Martin has been the Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese, with the right of succession.  Aged 52, the new archbishop is a native of Derry in Northern Ireland.  He spoke to Susy Hodges about his feelings on his first day in his new post, the challenges facing the Catholic Church and the state of the Northern Ireland peace process. Archbishop  Martin described himself as “a little bit nervous and fearful for the future” but also said he is “buoyed up”  by the support and prayers of so many people.   He said he considers his greatest challenge in his new position  is “to have the courage to get up and go out”  to the peripheries and in the words of Pope Francis views “his pastoral ministry in a missionary key.”  The archbishop says because of the impact of the clerical sex abuse crisis and other difficulties in recent years, the Church in Ireland has often tended to be too inward-looking. 
“In some ways, the Church has become a little bit focused in on ourselves because we’re been going through a very tough time here in Ireland with all the scandals of the abuse and also with increasing secularism and fewer vocations.”
Asked whether he feels confident that with the safeguards now in place to protect children and vulnerable adults such abuse won’t ever happen again, Archbishop Martin warns that they can never be too complacent on this point.   
“Sadly we can never say never, that there won’t be somebody there who will use their position in the Church to perpetrate these heinous crimes….. we have to be vigilant, to have robust procedures and guidelines.”
Turning to the peace process that brought an end to the decades of violence between nationalists and unionists in Northern Ireland, Archbishop Martin says here too there is an ongoing process of reconciliation that needs to be nurtured as there are still people who oppose the peace process.  
“We have to not be complacent because there are still those that would bring us back to those awful days (of the Troubles).”

Cardinal Archbishop Seàn Brady of Armagh retires

Cardinal Seàn Brady
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday accepted the resignation of Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, after he reached the age of retirement. A native of Laragh in Co Cavan, Archbishop Brady was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI on the 24 November 2007.
On 19 February 1995 he was ordained Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh and succeeded Cardinal Cahal B. Daly as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland on 1 October 1996.
Among his other posts the Cardinal served as Rector of the Pontifical Irish College in Rome from 1987 to 1993.
The Cardinal will now be succeeded by Archbishop Eamon Martin who was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh by Pope Benedict XVI on the 18thJanuary 2013.
Archbishop Martin on the retirement of Bishop Séamus Hegarty, was elected as Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Derry in Northern Ireland.
Below please find remarks by Cardinal Seàn and his successor in the Archdiocese of Armagh, Archbishop Eamon Martin.
Cardinal Seán Brady
I am pleased that Pope Francis has today accepted the resignation which I offered to him on the occasion of my seventy fifth birthday. I warmly congratulate Archbishop Eamon Martin who today becomes Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland and Coarb Phadraic. Let us rejoice and be glad.
I pray that God may give to Archbishop Eamon in abundance all the graces he needs and I assure him of my help and total support at all times. Indeed I am quite confident that the people of the Archdiocese – priests, religious and lay faithful – will give to their new Archbishop the same whole-hearted support and faith-filled loyalty which they have always given to me and for which I will be eternally grateful.
Above all I want to take this opportunity to say thanks to the people, priests and religious of the Archdiocese of Armagh for their welcome, friendship and so much kindness over many years. It has been a great joy and privilege for me to serve as their Bishop and also to travel and meet people from all over Ireland in my role as Primate. I am very grateful to the leaders and members of the other Churches in the archdiocese and throughout Ireland and to all who have assisted me in any way to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. The people of this Cathedral City of Armagh have been so good to me and will, of course, always remain close to my heart. I thank the City Council and send greetings today to all of you who live and work in this historic city.
When I became a Bishop, I chose as a motto: ‘To know Jesus Christ’. The diocese has adopted as its aim: ‘To become the Body of Christ so as to bring the compassionate love of Christ to all’. I hope to live near Armagh and to continue pursuing these aims by helping out pastorally wherever I can and whenever I am needed. I am looking forward to retirement and, no doubt, it will take me some time to get used to it, but it will be good to have more time for family, friends and to follow the football!
Today I give thanks for many things. I thank God for all the graces and favours of so many happy years as a priest and as a Bishop. On this feast of her birthday, I give thanks to Our Lady for her loving protection down the years and the great happiness of going so often to her Shrines, especially Knock and Lourdes.
I thank the Bishops and staff of the Irish Bishops Conference, especially Bishop Gerard Clifford who was my auxiliary for many years. They have been a great support to me as President of the Bishops’ Conference. I thank my family, staff and friends for their patience and understanding.
It has been my privilege to have been appointed a Bishop by Pope St John Paul II, to have worked closely with Pope Benedict XVI, and to have taken part in the Conclave that elected Pope Francis – that conclave has been the highlight of my life!
Pope Francis’ motto: "Miserando atque eligendo", challenges and inspires me with its message of God having mercy and at the same time choosing us, despite our sinfulness. It reminds me that I too need to say sorry and to ask forgiveness. And I do so again, now. At the same time, Pope Francis’ motto inspires me to trust in the mercy of God and to pray for the strength to do always as Jesus would have me do.
The people of the Archdiocese of Armagh and the people of Ireland will remain in my prayers for the rest of my life. I ask the favour of your prayers to help me continue to serve God as best I can all the days God gives me. God bless you always.
Archbishop Eamon Martin
My brothers and sisters, there is a line in the letter to the Hebrews: ‘Every day, as long as this today lasts, keep encouraging one another (Heb3:13). Much of my life as a priest has been about encouraging people with the Good News of Jesus Christ, offering them ‘fresh heart’, even in the most troubled moments of life. But equally I have discovered that, as well as giving encouragement, I too need to receive encouragement. I am blessed with a wonderful family and very special friends who never stop encouraging me. I am very grateful also for the warmth of your support, welcome and prayers, not just today, but every day since I came to Armagh, sixteen months ago.
Thank you Cardinal Sean for your encouraging words, your good wishes and the assurance of your prayers. This is not just my day. It is a day for us to recognise the years of service which you have given to the Church in Armagh and beyond. On behalf of the people, priests and religious of the Archdiocese of Armagh, I want to thank you sincerely for serving us with love and dedication. We appreciate all that you have done for us and we assure you of our continued affection and prayers. We wish you every blessing for a healthy and peaceful retirement.

During my years as Executive Secretary to the Irish Bishops’ Conference I saw at first hand the mammoth amount of work undertaken by Cardinal Brady as President of the Episcopal Conference and his tireless commitment to representing the Catholic Church in Ireland at countless national and international engagements. At the same time he always presents as a gentle and humble man who is never fully comfortable in the limelight. I want to thank Cardinal Sean personally for the kindness he has shown me since I came to Armagh last year, and for allowing me every opportunity to get to know the diocese. I know that I can count on his prayers and support in the years to come.

I genuinely feel honoured to assume the role of ‘Shepherd’ in the Archdiocese of Armagh. I look forward to serving the people of sixty-one parishes in the counties of Armagh, Derry, Louth and Tyrone. I feel humbled to be following in the footsteps of St Patrick, and like him, I pray for 'God’s strength to pilot me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s shield to protect me'. Over the past sixteen months I have been encouraged and inspired by the enthusiasm of our young people and the dedication of our teachers, the commitment and pastoral care given by our priests and religious, and the willingness of so many people to become actively involved in the life of their parishes and diocese.

I was ordained a bishop just a month after the election of Pope Francis. I chose my episcopal motto to be: ‘Sing a New Song to the Lord’, because I think we are all being challenged nowadays to find fresh ways of bringing the Gospel into the world. Pope Francis inspires us to write that new song in a 'missionary key', and reach out to everyone in society with the love and friendship of Jesus. People have been asking me to put 'fresh heart’ into the renewal of the Church in this country. But I am only one person with all my inadequacies and sinfulness. The task of bringing the encouragement of faith to the world belongs to all of us - people, priests, religious sisters and brothers, bishops - working together in communion with Christ and with one another. I am certain that a humble renewal in the Church in Ireland will only come about as our lay people exercise their specific vocation and mission to hand on the faith and to insert the Gospel into the reality of their daily lives and work.

I pray that my heart can be more like the Heart of Jesus, burning with love for everyone. Not far from all of us today are people who feel isolated or lonely; people whose hearts are heavy with worry, illness or anxiety; perhaps someone whose heart is broken by grief or loss; a man or woman whose heart has grown colder because of some cruelty or emptiness in their lives - past or present. Every day, then, as long as this today lasts, let us keep encouraging one another with the love and compassion of Christ.

On this, my first morning as Archbishop of Armagh, I greet the leaders and members of the other Christian Churches and traditions; I hope that, as Cardinal Sean did before me, I can share their friendship and their passion for the Gospel of Christ. I also send my good wishes to people of other faiths and traditions, and to civic and political leaders throughout the diocese, assuring them of my respect and cooperation with them in serving the common good.

No doubt many challenges lie ahead of me, but I look forward with trust and hope in God to sharing with others the ‘Joy of the Gospel’. Please pray for me. I invite you to join me as I offer Mass in a few weeks’ time to ask God’s blessing and the protection of Mary at this important milestone for me and for the Archdiocese. The Mass will take place in the Cathedral at 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday 7th October, the Feast of the Holy Rosary, and everyone is welcome. Shared from Radio Vaticana

Pope Francis sends condolences for 3 Missionary Sisters Killed in Burundi

Pope Francis

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent telgrams expressing his condolences for the violent deaths of three Xaverian missionary sisters in Burundi. Signed by the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the first telegram is addressed to Archbishop Evariste Ngoyagoye of Bujumbura, Burundi, and express the Holy Father's sorrow at hearing of the murders and his spiritual closeness to the victims' community, to their families and the whole Bujumbura archdiocese. The second telegram is addressed to Sister Ines Frizza, Superior General of the Xaverian Missionary Sisters of Mary.  Originally written in French, the Vatican Information Service translation of the telegrams follow:
To Archbishop Evariste Ngoyagoye of Bujumbura, Burundi
His Holiness Pope Francis has learned with great sadness of the murder of three nuns, Sister Bernadetta Bogiann, Sister Lucia Pulici and Sister Olga Raschietti, who were in the pastoral service of the parish of Saint Guido Maria Conforti in Bujumbura. The Holy Father begs the Lord to welcome into his kingdom of peace and light these three faithful and devout nuns. In these tragic circumstances, he expresses his closeness to their religious community, to the families of the victims, and the entire diocesan community. He imparts the comfort of a heartfelt and affectionate Apostolic blessing to all those affected by their sudden loss. I join the Holy Father in offering my condolences and wish to assure those close to the departed Sisters of my fervent prayers.
The second telegram reads:
To Sister Ines Frizza, Superior General of the Xaverian Missionary Sisters of Mary
 Deeply saddened by the tragic death of the Xaverian Missionary Sisters killed in Burundi, the Holy Father wishes to assure his heartfelt participation in the profound suffering of the Congregation for the loss of such dedicated sisters and, in the hope that the blood they have shed may become the seed of hope to build true fraternity between peoples, raises fervent prayers for the eternal repose of their souls and for their generous witness of the Gospel. To their families, the entire Institute and those who mourn their loss, he imparts the comfort of his apostolic blessing. Shared from Radio Vaticana

Three Xaverian Missionaries killed in Burundi: the mission is full of people anxious to express sympathy with the sisters

Bujumbura (Agenzia Fides) – Three Italian Xaverian sisters have been killed in Burundi, at the mission of Kamenge. The news was confirmed to Fides by Sister Giordana, Directress General of the Xaverian missionary sisters in the Italian city of Parma. “Last night a third nun was killed, she was Sister Bernardetta Bogian. The other two Sr Lucia Pulici and Sr Olga Raschietti , were killed yesterday afternoon: they were the only Sisters in the house at the time. When the others returned they found the two sisters lying dead on the floor ” the Sister general said.
Sr Giordana explained what happened: “Last night 4 Sisters slept at the convent. Perhaps the room belonging to Sr Bernardetta was the only one which the murderer or murderers found unlocked. The sisters felt relatively safe knowing that policemen were stationed outside the house. At a certain point during the night the sisters heard a cry. They used mobile telephones to communicate with one another and to inform the Xaverian fathers in nearby mission. When the fathers arrived they and the sisters realised that the only sister missing was Sr Bernardetta. They went to her room and found her dead. This second murder was distinct from the first in the afternoon but the method was the same. We think the crimes were committee by the same person. We think this was done by some psychopath”.
The sister remarked “we are deeply shocked and astonished. The local people are as shocked as we are and the mission is full of people anxious to express sympathy with the sisters”.
Sr Giordana said this about the three dead sisters: “all three were elderly and had just returned to Burundi to be with their people”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 8/9/2014)

Today's Mass Readings : Tuesday September 9, 2014

Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest
Lectionary: 438

Reading 11 COR 6:1-11

Brothers and sisters:
How can any one of you with a case against another
dare to bring it to the unjust for judgment
instead of to the holy ones?
Do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world?
If the world is to be judged by you,
are you unqualified for the lowest law courts?
Do you not know that we will judge angels?
Then why not everyday matters?
If, therefore, you have courts for everyday matters,
do you seat as judges people of no standing in the Church?
I say this to shame you.
Can it be that there is not one among you wise enough
to be able to settle a case between brothers?
But rather brother goes to court against brother,
and that before unbelievers?

Now indeed then it is, in any case,
a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another.
Why not rather put up with injustice?
Why not rather let yourselves be cheated?
Instead, you inflict injustice and cheat, and this to brothers.
Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the Kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived;
neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers
nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves
nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers
will inherit the Kingdom of God.
That is what some of you used to be;
but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified,
you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
and in the Spirit of our God.

Responsorial Psalm PS 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6A AND 9B

R. (see 4) The Lord takes delight in his people.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.

Gospel LK 6:12-19

Jesus departed to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.
A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon
came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;
and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.
Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him
because power came forth from him and healed them all.

Saint September 9 : St. Peter Claver : Patron of Racism, Slaves and African Americans


Feast: September 9
Information: Feast Day: September 7

Born: June 26, 1580, Verdu, Catalonia, Kingdom of Spain

Died: September 8, 1654, Cartagena, Colombia
Canonized: January 15, 1888, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine: Church of Saint Peter Claver
Patron of: Slaves, Colombia, Race relations, and African Americans
The Blessed Peter Claver was born at Verdu in Catalonia in the year 1581, of parents eminent for piety and virtue, who instilled like qualities into his infant heart from the very cradle. In youth his piety and love of study won general admiration, and every preferment was open to him, but zeal for his neighbor's salvation led him to enter the Society of Jesus. His reputation was such that he was instantly admitted on his application in August, 1602. After a fervent noviceship, he was sent to the college of Majorca and there had the inexpressible happiness of enjoying the direction of the Blessed Alphonsus Rodriguez, then porter of the college, an eminent contemplative, from whom Claver derived much spiritual profit, and even a knowledge of his future career. Before completing his studies, he solicited the American mission, and was sent out in 1610. From that time he never asked about Spain, and seemed to have forgotten everything but the land of his labors. Completing his studies at Santa Fe de Bogota, he was ordained at Carthagena in 1615, and from that moment devoted himself to the care of the Negro slaves. No sooner did a slaver reach the port than he hastened on board with his interpreters, a basket of delicacies for the sick, and other necessaries. The sick were the first objects of his zeal. Gaining their good will by his kind and gentle manner, he instructed them in the doctrines of Christianity; and if there was danger, baptized them. He then began his regular instructions for those in health, which he continued from day to day, till they were prepared for baptism. Then, on an appointed day, he administered the sacrament to all, after a touching exhortation to persevere in virtue, The amount of his toil may be conceived, when we learn that at that time ten or twelve thousand slaves were annually landed at Carthagena. Nor did this include all, as many slavers, to avoid the custom-house duties, landed their cargo on the coast and pretended that they belonged to former licensed importations, and were already baptized. The zeal of the servant of God was more active than the interest of the government officers; he discovered most of these Negroes, instructed and baptized them. Not wearied with these labors, he visited the hospitals, and especially that of the Incurables and Lepers, whom he nursed with the greatest charity. The poor forsaken Negroes, too, in their hovels, were never too forlorn or too distant to escape him. So long did he breathe the pestiferous atmosphere of these abodes of misery, that his taste and smell were entirely lost. Besides all this, his austerities were frightful: his life was a miracle, as nothing but a miracle could have sustained it in such a climate, where a scratch is often fatal. Over the Negroes, he maintained a general direction; he had regular masses, instructions and devotions for them; he was their pastor, their father, their protector. In their behalf he frequently exercised the miraculous powers with which God, in a most eminent degree, invested him. Among the Spaniards he labored reluctantly, as they had clergy in abundance; but the poor could always have recourse to him, and for them, as for Moors, and heretics or unbelievers, he spared no toil.
During the season when slavers were not accustomed to arrive, he traversed the country, visiting plantation after plantation, to give spiritual consolation to the slaves. For a time, also, he was sent to labor among the Indians near the Isthmus, the field of the labors of St. Louis Bertrand, but, being seized with a fatal fever, he was carried back to Carthagena; there, partly recovering, he renewed his labors, but was again prostrated, and for the last four years of his life was scarcely able to move. Such was the poverty and wretchedness of the Jesuits, that he had no attendant but a Negro boy, and men were actually tearing down the house when he died, on the 8th of September, 1654, at the age of 72, a faithful imitator of the great Xavier. His canonization was immediately undertaken and almost brought to a close in 1747; but the suppression of his order and the troubles in Europe deferred the publication of the brief till the 29th of August, 1848, when he was solemnly beatified by Pope Pius IX.