Friday, September 26, 2014

Saint September 27 : St. Vincent de Paul : Patron of Charities; Horses; Hospitals; Leprosy; Prisoners; Spiritual help; Volunteers


St. Vincent de Paul
FOUNDER OF THE VINCENTIANS
Feast: September 27
Information:
Feast Day:
September 27
Born:
April 24, 1581, Pouy, Gascony, France
Died:
September 27, 1660, Paris, France
Canonized:
16 June 1737, Rome by Pope Clement XII
Major Shrine:
St Vincent de Paul chapel, Rue de Sèvres, Paris, France
Patron of:
charities; horses; hospitals; leprosy; lost articles; prisoners; spiritual help; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Vincentian Service Corps; volunteers

Like his fellow saint, Francis de Sales, who was his friend and contemporary, Vincent de Paul performed an invaluable service to the Catholic Church in a period of confusion and laxness. But unlike the aristocratic bishop of Geneva, Vincent was born in poverty, of peasant stock. His birthplace was Pouy, near Dax in Gascony, in southwest France; the year was 1576. Jean de Paul and Bertrande de Moras, his parents, were sturdy farming people who reared a family of four sons and two daughters. Observing young Vincent's quick intelligence, his father sent him to be educated by the Cordelier Brothers at Dax. When the boy had been at school for four years, a lawyer of the town engaged him as tutor to his children, thus enabling Vincent to go on with his studies without further expense to his parents. Vincent continued his education at the Spanish University of Saragossa, and then returned to France to attend the University of Toulouse. At the age of twenty-four he was ordained priest by' the bishop of Perigueux, but remained at Toulouse for another four years to take the degree of Doctor of Theology.
Beyond an aptitude for study and a certain persistence in achieving his ends, there is nothing in Vincent's life up to this time to suggest his future fame and sanctity. He now went on a short journey which was to change his whole life. The scholarly young priest was to be captured at sea by pirates and sold as a slave in Africa! This extraordinary happening came about in the following way. Vincent, having returned home after receiving his degree, went back to Toulouse to recover by process of law a small legacy which had been left him by an old woman of that city. Homeward bound, he made the trip from Marseilles to Narbonne by water, on board a small coastwise vessel. The ship was set upon by three brigantines manned by Barbary pirates, who were at this time a menace to all Mediterranean shipping. When the Christians refused to strike their flag, the infidels attacked them with arrows. Three were killed and several, including Vincent, were wounded. Those who remained alive were put in chains, and the pirates straightway sailed to Africa with their human cargo. Landing at Tunis, the pirates led their prisoners through the streets of the city, after which they were brought back to the vessel and sold to the highest bidder, like cattle. Vincent, bought by a fisherman, was sold again to an aged Moslem, a humane man, who had spent fifty years in search of the "philosopher's stone." He grew fond of his slave, to whom he gave long lectures on alchemy and Mohammedanism; he even promised to make Vincent his heir and also to communicate to him all the secrets of his science if he adopted the religion of Islam. The young priest, terrified that his faith would be corrupted in this alien environment, prayed for divine protection, particularly for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin.
Vincent continued firm in his faith and lived on with the old man until his death, when he became the property of his master's nephew, who soon sold him to a renegade Christian, a native of Nice. This man, a convert to Mohammedanism, had three wives, one of whom was a Turkish woman. She often wandered into the field where the new Christian slave was at work, and out of idle curiosity would ask him to sing songs in praise of his God. With tears running down his cheeks Vincent would obediently sing certain Psalms, among which was Psalm cxxxvii, "By the waters of Babylon," in which the Jews bewailed their captivity. The Turkish woman now began to reproach her husband for abandoning his religion, and kept on until, without herself accepting the faith, she made him return to it. He repented of his apostasy, and he and Vincent made their escape from Africa together. They crossed the Mediterranean safely in a small boat, landed near Marseilles, in June, 1607, then traveled up to Avignon. There the apostate confessed, and abjured Mohammedanism before the papal vice-legate. The following year, accompanied by Vincent, he went to Rome, where he entered the order of the Brothers of St. John of God, who serve in hospitals.
Vincent now returned to France and chanced to be brought to the attention of Queen Marguerite of Valois, who appointed him her almoner. This office gave him the income from a small abbey. For a time he lodged in the same house as a lawyer, who was one day robbed of a considerable sum. He openly charged Vincent with the theft and spoke against him to all his friends. Vincent did nothing save quietly deny the charge, adding, "God knows the truth." For six years he bore the slander, making no further denial, and at last the real thief confessed. Speaking as though the victim had been someone else, Vincent once told this story at a conference with his priests, in order to show that patience, silence, and resignation are generally the best defense of innocence.
Vincent soon came to know a famous priest of Paris, Monsieur de Berulle, afterwards a cardinal. Father Berulle, who at that time was founding a branch of the Congregation of the Oratory in France, recognized Vincent's worth. He found for him a curacy at Clichy, in the outskirts of Paris, and later through his influence Vincent became tutor to the children of Philip de Gondi, Count of Joigny and general of the galleys of France. The countess, a serious-minded woman, was so impressed by Vincent that she eventually chose him as her spiritual director.
In 1617, while the family was at its country seat at Folleville, in the diocese of Amiens, Vincent was sent for to hear the confession of a peasant who lay dangerously ill. In the course of his questioning, Vincent learned that every one of the peasant's previous confessions had been sacrilegious. On his recovery the man declared, in the presence of the countess, that he would have been eternally lost if he had not spoken with Vincent. Unlike the majority of noble women of this period, who felt no responsibility for their dependents, this good lady was concerned about the spiritual welfare of her tenantry. She persuaded Vincent to preach in the parish church of Folleville and instruct the people. Such crowds came to confess that he called the Jesuits of Amiens to his aid. The Congregation of the Mission had its inception at this time.
Vincent left the household of the count that same year to become pastor of the parish of Chatillon-les-Dombes, which had long been neglected, its church virtually abandoned to the elements. By restoring the church, by instituting the habit of regular worship, he created a new spirit which helped to regenerate the whole district. He converted the notorious count of Rougemont and many other aristocrats from their dissolute lives. Seeing how effective Vincent's labors were, the countess now offered him a large sum of money to found a perpetual mission in whatever place and manner he thought fit. Nothing at first came of the idea, for Vincent seemed reluctant to undertake so important an enterprise. Meanwhile the countess secured her husband's help in organizing a company of zealous missionaries to work among their own vassals and the peasants of the countryside. They also discussed the plan for a perpetual mission with the count's brother, Jean Francois de Gondi, archbishop of Paris, who gave them the College des Bons Enfants as a reception house for the proposed new community.
The countess had obtained from Vincent a promise to continue as her spiritual director while she lived and to assist her at the end. She was in failing health and died in the summer of 1625, whereupon Vincent went to Paris to establish himself at the College des Bons Enfants. Now, at the age of forty-nine, he was free to assume the position of director. He drew up rules and constitutions for the house, and these were approved by Pope Urban VIII in 1632. In that year they were given the priory of St. Lazare, henceforth the chief house of the congregation. The Fathers of the Mission thus came to be called Lazarists, although they are more generally known as Vincentians. The Congregation consisted then, as it still does, of priests and laymen who, after a period of probation, take four simple vows, poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability. They live from a common fund and devote themselves to sanctifying their own spirits and to converting sinners. They are employed in missions, especially to country people, teaching the Catechism, preaching, reconciling differences, and performing charitable deeds. Some of them conduct seminaries. Their institutions now flourish in all parts of the world. Vincent lived to see twenty-five more communities founded in France, northern Italy, Poland, and elsewhere.
Extensive and rewarding as this work was, it did not satisfy Vincent's passion for helping suffering people. He started con fraternities to seek out and care for the sick in every parish. From these groups, under the leadership of Louise de Marillac, sprang the Sisters of Charity, "whose chapel is the parish church, whose cloister the streets of the city and wards of the hospitals." Vincent persuaded a number of noble and wealthy Parisian women, who had hitherto never given a thought to the misery of others, to band together as Ladies of Charity, to collect funds and assist in many practical ways. He made plans for the founding of several hospitals to serve the needy sick, foundlings, and the aged. At Marseilles a home was opened for exhausted galley-slaves. It was the custom at this time in France to punish criminals by condemning them to service in the war galleys of the state. Under the lash and chained to their benches, they performed the cruelly hard labor of rowing these cumbersome vessels with their many-tiered banks of oars. After a few years the prisoners were broken and useless; now for the first time they had a hospital and various other forms of aid.
For men about to take Holy Orders, Vincent devised a set of spiritual exercises, and special exercises also for those desiring to make general Confession, or to settle on a vocation. He conferred frequently with the clergy on the correction of the shocking slackness, ignorance, and abuses that were all around them. To the Biblical injunction, "Thou art thy brother's keeper," he gave new practical meaning, by laying down patterns of philanthropy that have been followed ever since. To the worldly society of seventeenth-century Paris he presented a much-needed example of selfless charity.
The great political and religious conflict known as the Thirty Years War was now raging. Vincent, on hearing of the wretchedness of the people of Lorraine, collected alms for them in Paris. He sent missionaries to other countries affected by the war. Recalling his own sorrows as a slave in Tunisia, he raised enough money to ransom some twelve hundred Christian slaves in Africa. He had influence with the powerful Cardinals Richelieu and De Retz, directors of French foreign policy; and was sent for by King Louis XIII, to minister to him as he lay dying. The king's widow, Anne of Austria, now Queen Regent, had him made a member of the Council of Conscience of the five-year-old prince, the future Louis XIV. Vincent continued to be in favor at court, and during the civil war of the Fronde, tried to persuade the Queen Regent to give up her unpopular minister, Cardinal Mazarin, to help pacify and unify the people.
Thus, although he had no advantages of birth, fortune, or handsome appearance, or any showy gifts at all, Vincent de Paul's later years became one long record of accomplishment. In the midst of great affairs, his soul never strayed from God; always when he heard the clock strike, he made the sign of the cross as an act of divine love. Under setbacks, calumnies, and frustrations, and there were many, he preserved his serenity of mind. He looked on all events as manifestations of the Divine will, to which he was perfectly resigned. Yet by nature, he once wrote of himself, he was "of a bilious temperament and very subject to anger." Without divine grace, he declared, he would have been "in temper hard and repellent, rough and crabbed." With grace, he became tenderhearted to the point of looking on the troubles of all mankind as his own. His tranquillity seemed to lift him above petty disturbances. Self-denial, humility, and an earnest spirit of prayer were the means by which he attained to this degree of perfection. Once when two men of exceptional learning and ability asked to be admitted to his congregation, Vincent courteously refused them, saying: "Your abilities raise you above our low state. Your talents may be of good service in some other place. As for us, our highest ambition is to instruct the ignorant, to bring sinners to a spirit of penitence, and to plant the Gospel spirit of charity, humility, and simplicity in the hearts of all Christians." One of his rules was that, so far as possible, a man ought not to speak of himself or his own concerns, since such discourse usually proceeds from and strengthens pride and self-love.
Vincent was deeply concerned at the rise and spread of the Jansenist heresy. He protested hotly against a view of God that seemed to limit His mercy, and no priest teaching that error could remain in his congregation. "I have made the doctrine of grace the subject of my prayer for three months," he said, "and every day God has confirmed my faith that our Lord died for us all and that He desires to save the whole world."
As the end of his long life drew near, Vincent endured much suffering. On September 27, 1660, he received the Last Sacraments, and died calmly in his chair, being then eighty-five years old. He was buried in the church of St. Lazare, Paris. In 1729 he was beatified by Benedict XIII, and canonized by Clement XII in 1737. Pope Leo XIII proclaimed him patron of all charitable societies. His emblem is, most appropriately, children.
SOURCE http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/V/stvincentdepaul.asp

Catholic Distance University : Accredited Studies from Home - Solidly Catholic - SHARE


CDU opened its doors to students in 1983. Thirty years later, the school has grown into an accredited Catholic university with full and part-time students from all 50 states and 60 countries - studying graduate and undergraduate theology and pursuing continuing education courses, seminars, and certificates for adult faith formation. Our faculty include world-renowned theologians and Scripture scholars. (CDU About)
Special to JCE by President Dr. Mount: 
A former west Texas farmer named Davin Winger not only earned his MA in Theology online at Catholic Distance University but, as an Evangelical Protestant, found the Catholic Church online. A Catholic priest connected with him and became a spiritual guide in Davin’s journey of conversion. Davin is now a candidate for the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Amarillo.

Today he is enrolled in an online PhD program, and through his online educational accomplishments he has changed careers from farming to college professor. Davin publishes an online newsletter called Mary Mail and until just recently would rise early every morning to perform his part-time duties helping to manage the online Student Life Center at Catholic Distance University. As Davin notes, “There is no Catholic institution of higher education within 200 miles of my home. Without CDU, I could not have pursued my dream of an accredited theological degree.”
Although access to Catholic theological education is an immeasurable benefit of online programs, there is more to the story. Along with a challenging curriculum taught by well-qualified faculty who are passionate about their faith, CDU strives to offer a unique “Catholic” online experience that reflects the sound pedagogy of distance education research and a Catholic learning community that fosters communion in an atmosphere of welcome, openness, dialogue, and mutual support through our Student Life Center. Secular culture is about the individual. The Church is about belonging to a community. Pope Francis speaks of this as neighborliness: “Those who communicate in effect become neighbors…The digital world can be an environment rich in humanity; a network not of wires but of people.”
Hospitality online begins with introductions. In the online world, introductions are even more important than in a classroom because of the diminished human presence. I learn about each classmate’s geographical location, family, work, hobbies, volunteerism, and aspirations. Even before classes begin, in the Student Life Center I meet other students in my program who gather digitally in our cohort “space” in the online campus, pray with them in the online Chapel, engage in general conversation in the Café, and upload a photo of myself and my family.  In traditional classes, where I can see all of my classmates, I may never formally meet most of them and learn little about them personally.
Although research in adult learning consistently reveals higher learning outcomes in online programs, most online programs still try to replicate the classroom as though it were the ideal. Some online programs use videos of professors teaching in front of a class. I like to highlight the differences and point out their advantages such as greater diversity, more thoughtful elaboration of ideas, more time for reflection, and dependence on written communication. These are the basic components of critical thinking that lead to deep and transformative learning, especially when engaging with content rich in the living word of God.
Online learning is naturally contemplative to a Catholic student working in solitude. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI speaks about silence in his 2012 World Communications Day Message, “In silence we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves…by remaining silent, we allow the other person to speak…in this way space is created for mutual listening, and deeper human relationships become possible.”
Time changes when we study online. The asynchronous model of being able to log on within a week’s time at the student’s convenience—early morning or late at night—allows the learner to work at peak time rather than learn synchronously in a traditional class where students and faculty must convene at the same time. For working adults, this usually means attending class at night after working all day while nibbling on granola bars for dinner.  
Online discussions are usually richer and more thoughtful. Everyone is required to contribute to the online discussion. Unlike the traditional class, where extroverts generally dominate, each student in an online class posts a response after reflecting. There is time to prayerfully consider other viewpoints as well as the comments of the instructor. Best of all, this is done in the comfort and relaxed atmosphere of home.
The relationship with faculty is different in an online setting. Although initially it may seem harder to “read” the personality of one’s professor, having a professor only a click away with a promise of a quick and thoughtful response more than makes up for meeting face to face once a week. In addition to getting my own questions answered, I am able to read the responses to questions that other students pose, which provides even more information.   
Using written language to communicate adds richness, depth, and permanence to human dialogue despite the loss of body cues in normal conversation. It requires more work, but it opens up the potential for deeper understanding. St. John Paul II in Gift and Mystery writes, “The Polish language opened up completely new horizons for me; it introduced me to the mystery of language…ultimately, the mystery of language brings us back to the inscrutable mystery of God himself.”
As media choices grow richer and mobile devices become the gateway to education as well as communication, more hybrid models of learning will embrace both face-to-face and online opportunities. These models will better serve each learner’s pedagogical needs and ultimately enrich the fullness of the human encounter that remains at the heart of the learning experience.
Marianne Evans Mount, Ph.D.
Connect with CDU120 East Colonial Highway Hamilton, Virginia 20158-9012
540-338-2700 | Toll Free 1-888-254-4CDU | Fax 540-338-4788



ISIS bombs Iraq's Oldest Church in Tikrit - Please PRAY



El-Balad: ISIS affiliated elements bombed the Iraq’s Green Church, in the middle of Tikrit, about 170 kilometers north of Baghdad, using IEDs, said a Saladin governorate security source.
“ ISIS fighters implanted IEDs inside the green church in the presidential palaces district, leaving it totally devastated,” he said, Thursday, at a press conference..
The church is regarded as one of the oldest Christian houses of worship in the Middle East.
“ The former regime restored the church in 2000. The Saladin governorate made a petition to have it included on the world heritage list,” added the source who asked to remain anonymous.Shared from el-balad.com
Edited from RomeReport: The church was a historical monument that was built 700 years after Christ. The militants are scorching the Christian roots of the Middle East.

At the same time, the constant stream of refugees continues to grow and the humanitarian crisis is multiplying. 

Turkey is now receiving thousands of displaced people. The country opened its borders to allow more than 130,000 refugees escaping the violence. 
Recently, the Islamic State has taken over more than 60 cities in northern Syria, close to the Turkish border. 

Pope Francis tries to catch a Baseball thrown at him - Video has gone VIRAL - SHARE

 Pope Francis was thrown a baseball hat the end of the General Audience in St. Peter's Square  on September 24, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican.   Everyone present, especially his bodyguards, was smiling as the Pope agreed to try to catch the baseball. However, the ball slipped from his hands. The Pope signed the baseball and gave it back to its owner. A member of the Koeppel family from St. Edward’s Church in Palm Beach, Florida, threw the ball in the hope of raising money for their parish. (Image SHARE: Google Images/ABC)

Today's Mass Readings : Friday September 26, 2014


Friday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 453


Reading 1ECCL 3:1-11

There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every thing under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

What advantage has the worker from his toil?
I have considered the task that God has appointed
for the sons of men to be busied about.
He has made everything appropriate to its time,
and has put the timeless into their hearts,
without man’s ever discovering,
from beginning to end, the work which God has done.

Responsorial Psalm PS 144:1B AND 2ABC, 3-4

R. (1) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
my mercy and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
LORD, what is man, that you notice him;
the son of man, that you take thought of him?
Man is like a breath;
his days, like a passing shadow.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Gospel LK 9:18-22

Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah;
still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’”
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”
He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.

He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Christian Leader Murdered in Prison - RIP Rev. Bhatti - in Pakistan

Asia News IT report: Rawalpindi, Christian leader accused of blasphemy murdered in prison 
by Jibran Khan
The 42-year old Reverend Zafar Bhatti, President of the Jesus World Mission, was accused (on false charges) of violating the "black law". He was shot to death died in his cell. In recent weeks he had been subjected to threats from prison guards and fellow prisoners. AsiaNews Catholic sources promise "legal battle" for justice. 

Rawalpindi (AsiaNews) - There has been yet another case of an extra-judicial murder in Pakistan, this time involving a Christian leader who was falsely imprisoned years ago on blasphemy charges.  The 45 year old Reverend Zafar Bhatti's lifeless body was found this morning in his cell in the Adyala prison Rawalpindi. The past and president of the Jesus World Missionhad been under investigation since July 2012, for having allegedly violated the "black law", although there was no evidence to prove his guilt.
Catholic sources in Rawalpindi, speaking on condition of anonymity to AsiaNews of this "terrible story" say legal action "will be publically taken as soon as the autopsy results are in". The sources add that they are also demanding greater protection for those who are on trial for blasphemy. Associations and human rights activists are calling for a thorough investigation to shed light on yet another act of "barbarism" in Pakistan.
The Rev. Bhatti was a native of Karachi, but in 2010 moved to Lahore's Nawaz Sharif colony where he lived for two years. He worked extensively in defense of the rights of Christians and religious minorities. On 10 July 2012, he moved with his family, to the capital Islamabad. The next day, surprisingly, a complaint against him was lodged with the police in New Town, Rawalpindi, by Ahmed Khan, vice-secretary of the Islamic movement Jamat Ehl-e-Sunnat. 

According to the police report, Khan received text messages containing offensive language towards Muhammad's mother from a visible number, but not among his contacts. He went to the police, threatening to  rouse the extremist wing if they did not open an investigation for alleged blasphemy under section 295-C of the Penal Code.
There are many unclear aspects to the case including the charges against the Christian pastor. By law, anyone who violates Articles 295 B and C of the Code of Criminal Procedure also risks the death penalty. However, the offense against the prophet's mother is governed by section 295 A and provides for milder punishment. On July 16, officials arrested Bhatti and his sister-in-law Nasreen Bibi, and during the pre-trial detention, subjected him to torture and abuse to extort a confession, which he never made because he always indignantly rejected the accusations declaring himself innocent.
During the investigation it was found that the phone number belonged to Ghazala Khan, cousin of Christian leader and collaborator within his association, who also ended up on trial for blasphemy. In December 2012, the woman was released on bail, with the obligation presenting herself at court during the hearings; in recent months, activists and organizations have launched appeals for the trail to take place in prison, for fear of attacks against the defendants who were under constant threat.

However, attempts to pressure authorities were not enough and last night Rev. Bhatti was killed, reportedly shot to death by the prison officers responsible for his security. In recent weeks he had told his family several times that he feared for his life not only from the other prisoners, but the same prison officers.
With a population of more than 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia.
About 80 per cent of Muslims are Sunni, whilst Shias are 20 per cent. Hindus are 1.85 per cent, followed by Christians (1.6 per cent) and Sikhs (0.04 per cent).

Scores of violent incidents have occurred in recent years, against entire communities (Gojra in 2009, and Joseph Colony, Lahore, in March 2013), places of worship (Peshawar, September last year) and individuals (Sawan MasihAsia BibiRimsha Masih and Robert Fanish Masih, who died in prison), often perpetrated under the pretext of the country's blasphemy laws.

Latest Vatican Information Service News - Removal of Bishop and other Appointments


Summary
- Comments of the Holy See on the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
- Cardinal Parolin encourages people of faith to condemn terrorist acts
- Comments of the Holy See on the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
- The KAICIID deplores the abuse of religion to justify violent conflict
- Cardinals Nichols, Soo-Jung and Brenes Solorzano take possession of their titular churches
- Catholics and Orthodox to the international community: listen to religious leaders in the Middle East
- Other Pontifical Acts
- Note regarding the succession of the bishop of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay

Catholics and Orthodox to the international community: listen to religious leaders in the Middle East
Vatican City, 25 September 2014 (VIS) – The eighth meeting of the Joint International Commission for dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church was held in Amman, Jordan from 15 to 23 September. It was hosted by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Theophilos III, and attended by His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan who participated in the plenary session held on the afternoon of Monday, 22 September. The meeting was attended by twenty-three members representing the Catholic Church and all the Orthodox Churches, with the exception of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria. The meetings were chaired by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and by the Metropolitan of Pergamon Ioannis (Zizioulas) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
On the first day of the meeting, as is customary, the Roman Catholic and Orthodox members met separately to coordinate their work and to discuss, among other things, the draft text of the document “Synodality and Primacy”, drawn up by the Coordinating Committee in 2012 during the two meetings held in Rome in 2011 and Paris in 2012. Because of the many questions raised about the text, the Commission proposed the drafting of a new one, to be referred to the next Coordinating Committee for further elaboration and improvement, in view of the next plenary session of the Joint Commission.
The Commission members, assembled near the holy sites connected with the baptism of Jesus Christ, united their voices to express their deep concern for and solidarity with the Christians and members of other religious traditions of this entire region who are being persecuted, displaced and murdered. They categorically rejected the idea that such horrifying crimes can be justified in the name of God or of religion, and expressed their profound gratitude to all those engaged in bringing relief to millions of refugees and displaced persons. Furthermore, they prayed for all the religious leaders of the region, so that they might continue to comfort their people and keep alive their vision of their return to their lands and homes, which in recent times have been occupied and often profaned. The Commission implored the international community to listen seriously to those leaders regarding the most useful ways to intervene and protect those who are being persecuted, and to ensure the continuing vital presence of Christianity in the Middle East. They also launched a fresh appeal for the liberation of the Metropolitans of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi, and all others who have been kidnapped, including priests and religious.
The meeting of the Joint Commission was marked by a spirit of friendship and trustful collaboration. The members greatly appreciated the generous hospitality of the host Church, and they strongly commend the continuing work of the dialogue to the prayers of the faithful.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 25 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has proceeded with the replacement of Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, appointing Bishop Ricardo Jorge Valenzuela Rios of Villarrica del Espiritu Santo as apostolic administrator Sede Vacante.
Note regarding the succession of the bishop of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay
Vatican City, 25 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today published the following note regarding the succession of the bishop of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, Msgr. Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano.
“Following a careful examination of the conclusions drawn following the apostolic visits carried out by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Clergy to the bishop, the diocese and the seminarians of Ciudad del Este, the Holy Father has decided to substitute Bishop Rogelio Livieres Plano and has appointed Bishop Ricardo Jorge Valenzuela Rios of Villarrica del Espiritu Santo as apostolic administrator of the diocese of Ciudad del Este.
“This was a difficult decision on the part of the Holy See, taken for serious pastoral reasons and for the greater good of the unity of the Church in Ciudad del Este and the episcopal communion in Paraguay.
“The Holy Father, in the exercise of his ministry as the 'perpetual and visible foundation of the unity of both the bishops and the multitude of the faithful', asked the clergy and all the People of God of Ciudad del Este to accept the Holy See's decision with a spirit of obedience and docility and without prejudice, guided by faith.
“On the other hand, the Church in Paraguay, guided by her pastors, is invited to embark on a serious process of reconciliation in order to overcome any form of sectarianism or discord, so as not to harm the countenance of the one Church, 'born of the blood of His Son' and so that Christ's flock may not be deprived of the joy of the Gospel”.
Comments of the Holy See on the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy See has communicated to the competent offices of the United Nations in Geneva the document “Comments of the Holy See on the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child”. The Concluding Observations were presented by the Committee on the Rights of the Child on 5 February, following the reports, written responses and interactive dialogue submitted to the Committee by the Holy See as a State signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The full English text of the Holy See's comments may be consulted athttp://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/2014/documents/rc-seg-st-20140205_concluding-observations-rights-child_en.html
Cardinal Parolin encourages people of faith to condemn terrorist acts
Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin participated in the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on terrorism, held last Wednesday, 24 September in New York, on “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts”. Cardinal Parolin began by congratulating the U.S.A. on assuming the presidency of the Security Council and applauded the timely convocation of the debate, which came “at a time when every region of the world faces the dehumanising impact of terrorism”. He continued, “This is not a phenomenon which impacts only certain peoples, religions or regions, but rather is a crime which impacts the entire international community. The ongoing, and in some regions escalating use of terrorism is a reminder that such as shared challenge requires a shared commitment from all nations and all people of good will”.
He added that international cooperation “must also address the root causes upon which terrorism feeds in order to grow”, and emphasised the strong cultural component of the present terroristic challenge. “Young people travelling abroad to join the ranks of terrorist organisations are often youth of poor immigrant families, deluded by what they feel is a situation of exclusion, and by the lack of values of some wealthy societies. Together with the legal tools and resources to prevent citizens from becoming foreign terrorist fighters, governments should engage with civil society to address the problems of communities most at risk of recruitment and radicalisation, and to achieve their smooth and satisfactory social integration”.
“The Holy See – which is a sovereign international subject that also represents a world faith community – affirms that people of faith have a resolute responsibility to condemn those who seek to detach faith from reason and to instrumentalise faith as a justification for violence”, he emphasised, concluding that, “at the same time, it should be stressed that to end the new terroristic phenomenon, the goal of achieving cultural understanding among peoples and countries, and social justice for all, is indispensable”.
Comments of the Holy See on the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy See has communicated to the competent offices of the United Nations in Geneva the document “Comments of the Holy See on the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child”. The Concluding Observations were presented by the Committee on the Rights of the Child on 5 February, following the reports, written responses and interactive dialogue submitted to the Committee by the Holy See as a State signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The full English text of the Holy See's comments may be consulted athttp://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/2014/documents/rc-seg-st-20140205_concluding-observations-rights-child_en.html
The KAICIID deplores the abuse of religion to justify violent conflict
Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – The King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, based in New York, U.S.A., yesterday published a declaration of principles, signed by the foreign ministers of Austria, Saudi Arabia and Spain, as well as by Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, in his role as Holy See Observer, to help build a united front to the humanitarian crisis in Syria and the north of Iraq, as well as in other regions of the world. The declaration was approved unanimously by the multireligious Board of Directors of KAICIID, who represent the major world religions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.
The full text of the Declaration, entitled “In the Face of Conflict”, is published below:
“We believe in the sanctity of life and the inherent dignity of the person. We believe that religion is an enabler of respect and reconciliation. We believe that dialogue among people of different religions and cultures is the path to lasting peace and social cohesion.
“We affirm the purposes and principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. These equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family are the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
“We condemn violent conflict in the world, more so violence committed in the name of religion, and call for an end to violent hostility. We deplore loss of life and commend those who seek to alleviate suffering, as well as those who strive to promote wellbeing, harmony and peace. We oppose the instrumentalisation of religion to make war. We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes. And we condemn hate speech and extremism that incite violence and fuel prejudice. KAICIID combats prejudice and intolerance, in all their forms.
“KAICIID counteracts the abuse of religion to justify oppression, violence and conflict and facilitates peaceful resolution by bringing conflict parties to the dialogue table. We continue to enhance interreligious and intercultural dialogue in order to foster respect, understanding and cooperation among people.
“We resolve to promote mutual respect and understanding among followers of all religions and peoples of all cultures, particularly through dialogue. Let us look upon each other as sisters and brothers and, and let us appreciate difference as enrichment rather than fearing 'otherness' as a threat”.
Cardinals Nichols, Soo-Jung and Brenes Solorzano take possession of their titular churches
Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that:
- on Thursday 2 October, Cardinal Vincent Gerard Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, will take possession of the title of the Most Holy Redeemer and St. Alphonse in Via Merulana, Via Merulana, 26;
- on Saturday, 4 October, Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-Jung, archbishop of Seoul, will take possession of the title of San Crisogono, Piazza Sonnino, 44;
- on Sunday 5 October, Cardinal Leopoldo Jose Brenes Solorzano, archbishop of Managua, will take possession of the title of St. Joachim at Prati di Castello, Piazza dei Quiriti, 17.

Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Jose Antonio Fernandez Hurtado of Tuxtepec, Mexico as metropolitan archbishop of Durango (area 82,017, population 1,385,000, Catholics 1,170,000, priests 178, permanent deacons 8, religious 275), Mexico. He succeeds Archbishop Hector Gonzalez Martinez, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

Saint September 26 : North American Martyrs (some places)

JOURNEY OF A BISHOP REPORT: French Jesuits were among the first missionaries to go to Canada and North America after J. Cartier discovered Canada in 1534. Their mission region extended from Nova Scotia to Maryland.
John de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Noel Chabanel, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel, Isaac Jogues, Rene Goupil and John de Lalande (the first six Jesuits, the last two laymen) preached the gospel to the Iroquois and Huron Indians, and after being tortured, they were martyred.

The martyrdoms took place between 1642 and 1649: Goupil in 1642, Jogues and Lalande on October 18 and 19, 1646 in the area of what is now Auriesville, New York; Daniel on July 4, 1648, Brebeuf and Lalemant in March 1649, Garnier and Chabanel in December 1649--all of these five in Huronia, near present-day Midland, Ontario. Ten years after the martyrdom of St. Isaac Jogues, Kateri Tekakwitha was born in the same village in which he died. These martyrs are co-patrons of Canada.
The missionaries arrived in Canada less than a century after its discovery by Cartier in 1534, in the hope of converting the Indians and setting up "New France." Their opponents were often the English and Dutch colonists. When Isaac Jogues returned to Paris after his first capture and torture, he said to his superior: "Yes, Father, I want whatever our Lord wants, even if it costs a thousand lives." He had written in his mission report: "These tortures are very great, but God is still greater, and immense."



Isaac Jogues' declaration on leaving France to return to the mission in Canada is heroic:

"My heart tells me that if I have the blessing of being used for this mission, I shall go and I shall not  return; but I would be glad if our Lord should fulfil the sacrifice where he began it, and that the small amount of blood I shed in that land should turn out to be an advance payment for that which I would give from all the veins of my body and heart."

In the Office of Readings we have an excerpt from the mission journal of St. John de Brébeuf, who had been a student of the great Jesuit spiritual writer, Louis Lallemant. He wrote:
For two days now I have experienced a great desire to be a martyr and to endure all the torments the martyrs suffered.... I vow to you, Jesus my Savior, that as far as I have the strength I will never fail to accept the grace of martyrdom, if some day you in your infinite mercy should offer it to me, your most unworthy servant.... On receiving the blow of death, I shall accept it from your hands with the fullest delight and joy of spirit.... My God, it grieves me greatly that you are not known, that in this savage wilderness all have not been converted to you, that sin has not been driven from it.

[Excerpted and adapted from Enzo Lodi, Saints of the Roman Calendar
In 1999, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops published a pastoral letter on the Canadian Martyrs to mark the 350th anniversary of the final deaths of these heroic priests in 1649. It may be accessed at: http://www.cccb.ca/site/Files/martyrse.pdf.
SHARED FROM JOURNEY OF A BISHOP

Pope Francis “Sin is so ugly, but God’s love is so great that He saves us in this way: with this identity in the Cross." Homily

(Vatican Radio) A Christian cannot understand Christ the Redeemer without the Cross, without being ready to bear the Cross with Jesus. That was Pope Francis’ message at Friday’s morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.
To be a Christian means to be a “Cyrene” [like Simon of Cyrene - ed.]. Having the faith consists in this: You belong to Jesus if you bear the weight of the Cross with Him. Otherwise you are going along a path that seems “good” – but is not “true.” The basis for the Pope’s reflections was the day’s Gospel, in which Christ asks His disciples what the people are saying about Him, and receives the most disparate answers. This episode, the Pope noted, takes place in the context of the Gospel that sees Jesus guarding “in a special manner His true identity.” On several occasions, when someone came close to divulging His identity, “He stopped them,” just as many times He prevented the demons from revealing His nature as the “Son of God,” Who had come for the salvation of the world. This, the Poe explained, was because the people misunderstood and thought of the Messiah as a military leader who would expel the Romans. It was only privately, to the Twelve, that Jesus “began to do the catechesis on His true identity”:
“‘The Son of Man, that is, the Messiah, the Anointed must suffer greatly, must be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.’ This is the path of your liberation. This is the path of the Messiah, of the Just One: the Passion, the Cross. And He explains His identity to them. They don’t want to understand; and in the passage from Matthew, one sees how Peter refuses this: ‘No! No, Lord…’ But He begins to open up the mystery of His true identity: ‘Yes, I am the Son of God. But this is my path: I must go along this path of suffering.’”
This, Pope Francis said, is the “pedagogy” that Jesus uses “to prepare the hearts of the disciples, the hearts of the people, to understand this mystery of God”:
“Sin is so ugly, but God’s love is so great that He saves us in this way: with this identity in the Cross. You can’t understand Jesus Christ the Redeemer without the Cross: you can’t understand! We can come to believe that he is a great prophet, he does good things, he’s a saint. But without the Cross you can’t understand Christ the Redeemer. The hearts of the disciples, the hearts of the people were not prepared to understand it. They didn’t understand the Prophecies, they didn’t understand that He Himself was the Lamb for the sacrifice. They were not prepared.”
It is only on Palm Sunday, the Pope noted, that Christ allowed the crowds to proclaim, “more or less,” His identity, when they cried out “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” And this, Pope Francis said, was because “if the people did not cry out, the stones would have cried out.” On the other hand, it is only after His death that the identity of Jesus appears in its fullness; the “first confession” came from the Roman centurion, the Pope noted. He concluded: “Step by step [Jesus] prepares us so that we can understand better. He prepares us to accompany Him with our crosses, along His path to Redemption”:
“He prepares us to be ‘Cyrenes’ to help Him bear the Cross. And our Christian life without this is not Christian. It is a spiritual life, good… ‘Jesus is the great prophet, and He has saved us. But He and I, no… No, you with Him! Taking the same path. Still our identity as Christians must be guarded, not believing that being Christian is a merit; it is a spiritual path of perfection. It is not a merit, it is pure grace.”

Pope Francis meets with Leaders of Focolari - 3 tips for Evangelization

Pope Francis with Focolari president Maria Voce
26/09/
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Friday with leaders of the Focolari movement who are holding their General Assembly at Castel Gandolfo from September 1st to 28th. Half a century on from the Second Vatican Council, he said, they are called, with the whole Church, to follow a new path of evangelisation, witnessing God’s love to all and in particular to the poor and most marginalised.Greeting especially the Focolari president, Maria Voce, who has been elected to a second term of office, the Pope said the movement was born from a tiny seed in the Church and has grown into a tree whose branches spread through all kinds of Christian families and through all different religions as well.
Pope Francis said the movement, which is also known as the Work of Mary, flowed from a particular gift of the Holy Spirit which is the charism of unity. The Focolari founder, Chiara Lubich, he said, was an extraordinary witness to that gift which she spread to so many different parts of the world.
The Pope also offered three words upon which all members of the movement can base their efforts as they seek to contribute to the work of challenging task of evangelisation today. Firstly, he said, contemplation is an indispensable condition for effective action. Secondly, he said, they must go out in a spirit of dialogue, giving freely of themselves just as Jesus gave his life for us on the Cross. Finally, the Pope stressed the importance of forming young people, so that they too can serve the needs, concerns and hopes of men and women in the world today.