Thursday, October 9, 2014

Saint October 10 : St. Francis Borgia : Jesuit : Patron of Earthquakes and Portugal

St. Francis Borgia
JESUIT LEADER OF THE COUNTER-REFORMATION
Feast: October 10


Information:
Feast Day:October 10
Born:October 28, 1510, Valencia, Spain
Died:September 30, 1572, Rome, Italy
Canonized:1671 by Clement X
Major Shrine:relics translated to the Jesuit church in Madrid, Spain in 1901
Patron of:against earthquakes; Portugal; Rota, Marianas

Francis Borgia, born 28 October, 1510, was the son of Juan Borgia, third Duke of Gandia, and of Juana of Aragon; died 30 September, 1572. The future saint was unhappy in his ancestry. His grandfather, Juan Borgia, the second son of Alexander VI, was assassinated in Rome on 14 June, 1497, by an unknown hand, which his family always believed to be that of Cæsar Borgia. Rodrigo Borgia, elected pope in 1402 under the name of Alexander VI, had eight children. The eldest, Pedro Luis, had acquired in 1485 the hereditary Duchy of Gandia in the Kingdom of Valencia, which, at his death, passed to his brother Juan, who had married Maria Enriquez de Luna. Having been left a widow by the murder of her husband, Maria Enriquez withdrew to her duchy and devoted herself piously to the education of her two children, Juan and Isabel. After the marriage of her son in 1509, she followed the example of her daughter, who had entered the convent of Poor Clares in Gandia, and it was through these two women that sanctity entered the Borgia family, and in the House of Gandia was begun the work of reparation which Francis Borgia was to crown. Great-grandson of Alexander VI, on the paternal side, he was, on his mother's side, the great-grandson of the Catholic King Ferdinand of Aragon. This monarch had procured the appointment of his natural son, Alfonso, to the Archbishopric of Saragossa at the age of nine years. By Anna de Gurrea, Alfonso had two sons, who succeeded him in his archiepiscopal see, and two daughters, one of whom, Juana, married Duke Juan of Gandia and became the mother of our saint. By this marriage Juan had three sons and four daughters. By a second, contracted in 1523, he had five sons and five daughters. The eldest of all and heir to the dukedom wasFrancis. Piously reared in a court which felt the influence of the two Poor Clares, the mother and sister of the reigning duke, Francis lost his own mother when he was but ten. In 1521, a sedition amongst the populace imperilled the child's life, and the position of the nobility. When the disturbance was suppressed, Francis was sent to Saragossa to continue his education at the court of his uncle, the archbishop, an ostentatious prelate who had never been consecrated nor even ordained priest. Although in this court the Spanish faith retained its fervour, it lapsed nevertheless into the inconsistencies permitted by the times, and Francis could not disguise from himself the relation in which his grandmother stood to the dead archbishop, although he was much indebted to her for his early religious training. While at Saragossa Francis cultivated his mind and attracted the attention of his relatives by his fervour. They being desirous of assuring the fortune of the heir of Gandia, sent him at the age of twelve toTordesillas as page to the Infanta Catarina, the youngest child and companion in solitude of the unfortunate queen, Juana the Mad.

In 1525 the Infanta married King Juan III of Portugal, and Francis returned to Saragossa to complete his education. At last, in 1528, the court of Charles V was opened to him, and the most brilliant future awaited him. On the way to Valladolid, while passing, brilliantly escorted, through Alcalá de Henares, Francis encountered a poor man whom the servants of the Inquisition were leading to prison. It was Ignatius of Loyola. The young nobleman exchanged a glance of emotion with the prisoner, little dreaming that one day they should be united by the closest ties. The emperor and empress welcomed Borgia less as a subject than as a kinsman. He was seventeen, endowed with every charm, accompanied by a magnificent train of followers, and, after the emperor, his presence was the most gallant and knightly at court. In 1529, at the desire of the empress, Charles V gave him in marriage the hand of Eleanor de Castro, at the same time making him Marquess of Lombay, master of the hounds, and equerry to the empress, and appointing Eleanor Camarera Mayor. The newly-created Marquess of Lombay enjoyed a privileged station. Whenever the emperor was travelling or conducting a campaign, he confided to the young equerry the care of the empress, and on his return to Spain treated him as a confidant and friend. In 1535, Charles V led the expedition against Tunis unaccompanied by Borgia, but in the following year the favourite followed his sovereign on the unfortunate campaign in Provence. Besides thevirtues which made him the model of the court and the personal attractions which made him its ornament, the Marquess of Lombay possessed a cultivated musical taste. He delighted above all in ecclesiastical compositions, and these display a remarkable contrapuntal style and bear witness to the skill of the composer, justifying indeed the assertion that, in the sixteenth century and prior to Palestrina, Borgia was one of the chief restorers of sacred music.
In 1538, at Toledo, an eighth child was born to the Marquess of Lombay, and on 1 May of the next year the Empress Isabella died. The equerry was commissioned to convey her remains to Granada, where they were interred on 17 May. The death of the empress caused the first break in the brilliant career of the Marquess and Marchioness of Lombay. It detached them from the court and taught the nobleman the vanity of life and of its grandeurs. Blessed John of Avila preached the funeral sermon, and Francis, having made known to him his desire of reforming his life, returned to Toledo resolved to become a perfect Christian. On 26 June, 1539, Charles V named Borgia Viceroy of Catalonia, and the importance of the charge tested the sterling qualities of the courtier. Precise instructions determined his course of action. He was to reform the administration of justice, put the finances in order, fortify the city of Barcelona, and repress outlawry. On his arrival at the viceregal city, on 23 August, he at once proceeded, with an energy which no opposition could daunt, to build the ramparts, rid the country of thebrigands who terrorized it, reform the monasteries, and develop learning. During his vice-regency he showed himself an inflexible justiciary, and above all an exemplary Christian. But a series of grievous trials were destined to develop in him the work of sanctification begun at Granada. In 1543 he became, by the death of his father, Duke of Gandia, and was named by the emperor master of the household of Prince Philip of Spain, who was betrothed to the Princess of Portugal. This appointment seemed to indicate Francis as the chief minister of the future reign, but by God's permission the sovereigns of Portugal opposed the appointment. Francis then retired to his Duchy of Gandia, and for three years awaited the termination of the displeasure which barred him from court. He profited by this leisure to reorganize his duchy, to found a university in which he himself took the degree of Doctor of Theology, and to attain to a still higher degree of virtue. In 1546 his wife died. The duke had invited the Jesuits to Gandia and become their protector and disciple, and even at that time their model. But he desired still more, and on 1 February, 1548, became one of them by the pronunciation of thesolemn vows of religion, although authorized by the pope to remain in the world, until he should have fulfilled his obligations towards his children and his estates—his obligations as father and as ruler.

On 31 August, 1550, the Duke of Gandia left his estates to see them no more. On 23 October he arrived at Rome, threw himself at the feet of St. Ignatius, and edified by his rare humility those especially who recalled the ancient power of the Borgias. Quick to conceive great projects, he even then urged St. Ignatius to found the Roman College. On 4 February, 1551, he left Rome, without making known his intention of departure. On 4 April, he reached Azpeitia in Guipuzcoa, and chose as his abode the hermitage of Santa Magdalena near Oñate. Charles V having permitted him to relinquish his possessions, he abdicated in favour of his eldest son, was ordained priest 25 May, and at once began to deliver a series of sermons in Guipuzcoa which revived the faith of the country. Nothing was talked of throughout Spain but this change of life, and Oñate became the object of incessant pilgrimage. The neophyte was obliged to tear himself from prayer in order to preach in the cities which called him, and which his burning words, his example, and even his mere appearance, stirred profoundly. In 1553 he was invited to visit Portugal. The court received him as a messenger from God and vowed to him, thenceforth, a veneration which it has always preserved. On his return from this journey, Francis learned that, at the request of the emperor, Pope Julius III was willing to bestow on him the cardinalate. St. Ignatius prevailed upon the pope to reconsider this decision, but two years later the project was renewed and Borgia anxiously inquired whether he might in conscience oppose the desire of the pope. St. Ignatius again relieved his embarrassment by requesting him to pronounce the solemn vows of profession, by which he engaged not to accept any dignities save at the formal command of the pope. Thenceforth the saint was reassured. Pius IV and Pius V loved him too well to impose upon him a dignity which would have caused him distress. Gregory XIII, it is true, appeared resolved, in 1572, to overcome his reluctance, but on this occasion death saved him from the elevation he had so long feared.

On 10 June, 1554, St. Ignatius named Francis Borgia commissary-general of the Society in Spain. Two years later he confided to him the care of the missions of the East and West Indies, that is to say of all the missions of the Society. To do this was to entrust to a recruit the future of his order in the peninsula, but in this choice the founder displayed his rare knowledge of men, for within seven years Francis was to transform the provinces confided to him. He found them poor in subjects, containing but few houses, and those scarcely known. He left them strengthened by his influence and rich in disciples drawn from the highest grades of society. These latter, whom his example had done so much to attract, were assembled chiefly in his novitiate at Simancas, and were sufficient for numerous foundations. Everything aided Borgia — his name, his sanctity, his eager power of initiative, and his influence with the Princess Juana, who governed Castile in the absence of her brother Philip. On 22 April, 1555, Queen Juana the Mad died at Tordesillas, attended by Borgia. To the saint's presence has been ascribed the serenity enjoyed by the queen in her last moments. The veneration which he inspired was thereby increased, and furthermore his extreme austerity, the care which he lavished on the poor in the hospitals, the marvellous graces with which God surrounded his apostolate contributed to augment a renown by which he profited to further God's work. In 1565 and 1566 he founded the missions of Florida, New Spain, and Peru, thus extending even to the New World the effects of his insatiable zeal.
In December, 1556, and three other times, Charles V shut himself up at Yuste. He at once summoned thither his old favourite, whose example had done so much to inspire him with the desire to abdicate. In the following month of August, he sent him to Lisbon to deal with various questions concerning the succession of Juan III. When the emperor died, 21 September, 1558, Borgia was unable to be present at his bedside, but he was one of the testamentary executors appointed by the monarch, and it was he who, at the solemn services at Valladolid, pronounced the eulogy of the deceased sovereign. A trial was to close this period of success. In 1559 Philip II returned to reign in Spain. Prejudiced for various reasons (and his prejudice was fomented by many who were envious of Borgia, some of whose interpolated works had been recently condemned by the Inquisition), Philip seemed to have forgotten his old friendship for the Marquess of Lombay, and he manifested towards him a displeasure which increased when he learned that the saint had gone to Lisbon. Indifferent to this storm, Francis continued for two years in Portugal his preaching and his foundations, and then, at the request of Pope Pius IV, went to Rome in 1561. But storms have their providential mission. It may be questioned whether but for the disgrace of 1543 the Duke of Gandia would have become a religious, and whether, but for the trial which took him away from Spain, he would have accomplished the work which awaited him in Italy. At Rome it was not long before he won the veneration of the public. Cardinals Otho Truchsess, Archbishop of Augsburg, Stanislaus Hosius, and Alexander Farnese evinced towards him a sincere friendship. Two men above all rejoiced at his coming. They were Michael Chisleri, the future Pope Pius V, and Charles Borromeo, whom Borgia'a example aided to become a saint.

On 16 February, 1564, Francis Borgia was named assistant general in Spain and Portugal, and on 20 January, 1565, was elected vicar-general of the Society of Jesus. He was elected general 2 July, 1565, by thirty-one votes out of thirty-nine, to succeed Father James Laynez. Although much weakened by his austerities, worn by attacks of gout and an affection of the stomach, the new general still possessed much strength, which, added to his abundant store of initiative, his daring in the conception andexecution of vast designs, and the influence which he exercised over the Christian princes and at Rome, made him for the Society at once the exemplary model and the providential head. In Spain he had had other cares in addition to those of government. Henceforth he was to be only the general. The preacher was silent. The director of souls ceased to exercise his activity, except through his correspondence, which, it is true, was immense and which carried throughout the entire world light and strength to kings, bishops and apostles, to nearly all who in his day served the Catholic cause. His chief anxiety being to strengthen and develop his order, he sent visitors to all the provinces of Europe, to Brazil, India, and Japan. The instructions, with which he furnished them were models of prudence, kindness, and breadth of mind. For the missionaries as well as for the fathers delegated by the pope to the Diet of Augsburg, for the confessors of princes and the professors of colleges he mapped out wide and secure paths. While too much a man of duty to permit relaxation or abuse, he attracted chiefly by his kindness, and won souls to good by his example. The edition of the rules, at which he laboured incessantly, was completed in 1567. He published them at Rome, dispatched them (throughout the Society), and strongly urged their observance. The text of those now in force was edited after his death, in 1580, but it differs little from that issued by Borgia, to whom the Society owes the chief edition of its rules as well as that of the Spiritual, of which he had borne the expense in 1548. In order to ensure the spiritual and intellectual formation of the young religious and the apostolic character of the whole order, it became necessary to take other measures. The task of Borgia was to establish, first at Rome, then in all the provinces, wisely regulated novitiates and flourishing houses of study, and to develop the cultivation of the interior life by establishing in all of these the custom of a daily hour of prayer.

He completed at Rome the house and church of S. Andrea in Quirinale, in 1567. Illustrious novices flocked thither, among them Stanislaus Kostka (d. 1568), and the future martyr Rudolph Acquaviva. Since his first journey to Rome, Borgia had been preoccupied with the idea of founding a Roman college, and while in Spain had generously supported the project. In 1567, he built the church of the college, assured it even then an income of six thousand ducats, and at the same time drew up the rule of studies, which, in 1583, inspired the compilers of the Ratio Studiorum of the Society. Being a man of prayer as well as of action, the saintly general, despite overwhelming occupations, did not permit his soul to be distracted from continual contemplation. Strengthened by so vigilant and holy an administration the Society could not but develop. Spain and Portugal numbered many foundations; in Italy Borgia created the Roman province, and founded several colleges in Piedmont. France and the Northern province, however, were the chief field of his triumphs. His relations with the Cardinal de Lorraine and his influence with the French Court made it possible for him to put an end to numerous misunderstandings, to secure the revocation of several hostile edicts, and to found eight colleges in France. In Flanders and Bohemia, in the Tyrol and in Germany, he maintained and multiplied important foundations. The province of Poland was entirely his work. At Rome everything was transformed under his hands. He had built S. Andrea and the church of the Roman college. He assisted agenerously in the building of the Gesù, and although the official founder of that church was Cardinal Farnese, and the Roman College has taken the name of one of its greatest benefactors, Gregory XIII, Borgia contributed more than anyone towards these foundations. During the seven years of his government, Borgia had introduced so manyreforms into his order as to deserve to be called its second founder. Three saints of this epoch laboured incessantly to further the renaissance of Catholicism. They were St. Francis Borgia, St. Pius V, and St. Charles Borromeo.
The pontificate of Pius V and the generalship of Borgia began within an interval of a few months and ended at almost the same time. The saintly pope had entire confidence in the saintly general, who conformed with intelligent devotion to every desire of the pontiff. It was he who inspired the pope with the idea of demanding from the Universities of Perugia and Bologna, and eventually from all the Catholic universities, a profession of the Catholic faith. It was also he who, in 1568, desired the pope to appoint a commission of cardinals charged with promoting the conversion of infidels and heretics, which was the germ of the Congregation for the Propogation of the Faith, established later by Gregory XV in 1622. A pestilential fever invaded Rome in 1566, and Borgia organized methods of relief, established ambulances, and distributed forty of his religious to such purpose that the same fever having broken out two years later it was to Borgia that the pope at once confided the task of safeguarding the city.
Francis Borgia had always greatly loved the foreign missions. He reformed those of India and the Far East and created those of America. Within a few years, he had the glory of numbering among his sons sixty-six martyrs, the most illustrious of whom were the fifty-three missionaries of Brazil who with their superior, Ignacio Azevedo, were massacred by Huguenot corsairs. It remained for Francis to terminate his beautiful life with a splendid act of obedience to the pope and devotion to the Church.
On 7 June, 1571, Pius V requested him to accompany his nephew, Cardinal Bonelli, on an embassy to Spain and Portugal. Francis was then recovering from a severe illness; it was feared that he had not the strength to bear fatigue, and he himself felt that such a journey would cost him his life, but he gave it generously. Spain welcomed him with transports. The old distrust of Philip II was forgotten. Barcelona and Valencia hastened to meet their former viceroy and saintly duke. The crowds in the streets cried: "Where is the saint?" They found him emaciated by penance. Wherever he went, he reconciled differences and soothed discord. At Madrid, Philip II received him with open arms, the Inquisition approved and recommended his genuine works. The reparation was complete, and it seemed as though God wished by this journey to give Spain to understand for the last time this living sermon, the sight of a saint. Gandia ardently desired to behold its holy duke, but he would never consent to return thither. The embassy to Lisbon was no less consoling to Borgia. Among other happy results he prevailed upon the king, Don Sebastian, to ask in marriage the hand of Marguerite of Valois, the sister of Charles IX. This was the desire of St. Pius V, but this project, being formulated too late, was frustrated by the Queen of Navarre, who had meanwhile secured the hand of Marguerite for her son. An order from the pope expressed his wish that the embassy should also reach the French court. The winter promised to be severe and was destined to prove fatal to Borgia. Still more grievous to him was to be the spectacle of the devastation which heresy had caused in that country, and which struck sorrow to the heart of the saint. At Blois, Charles IX and Catherine de' Medici accorded Borgia the reception due to a Spanish grandee, but to the cardinal legate as well as to him they gave only fair words in which there was little sincerity. On 25 February they left Blois. By the time they reached Lyons, Borgia's lungs were already affected. Under these conditions the passage of Mt. Cenis over snow-covered roads was extremely painful. By exerting all his strength the invalid reached Turin. On the way the people came out of the villages crying: "We wish to see the saint". Advised of his cousin's condition, Alfonso of Este, Duke of Ferrara, sent to Alexandria and had him brought to his ducal city, where he remained from 19 April until 3 September. His recovery was despaired of and it was said that he would not survive the autumn. Wishing to die either atLoretto or at Rome, he departed in a litter on 3 September, spent eight days at Loretto, and then, despite the sufferings caused by the slightest jolt, ordered the bearers to push forward with the utmost speed for Rome. It was expected that any instant might see the end of his agony. They reached the "Porta del Popolo" on 28 September. The dying man halted his litter and thanked God that he had been able to accomplish this act of obedience. He was borne to his cell which was soon invaded by cardinals and prelates. For two days Francis Borgia, fully conscious, awaited death, receiving those who visited him and blessing through his younger brother, Thomas Borgia, all his children and grandchildren. Shortly after midnight on 30 September, his beautiful life came to a peaceful and painless close. In the Catholic Church he had been one of the most striking examples of the conversion of souls after the Renaissance, and for the Society of Jesus he had been the protector chosen by Providence to whom, after St. Ignatius, it owes most.
In 1607 the Duke of Lerma, minister of Philip III and grandson of the holy religious, having seen his granddaughter miraculously cured through the intercession of Francis, caused the process for his canonization to be begun. The ordinary process, begun at once in several cities, was followed, in 1637, by the Apostolic process. In 1617 Madrid received the remains of the saint. In 1624 the Congregation of Rites announced that his beatification and canonization might be proceeded with. The beatification was celebrated at Madrid with incomparable splendour. Urban VIII having decreed, in 1631, that a Blessed might not be canonized without a new procedure, a new process was begun. It was reserved for Clement X to sign the Bull of canonization of St. Francis Borgia, on 20 June, 1670. Spared from the decree of Joseph Bonaparte who, in 1809, ordered the confiscation of all shrines and precious objects, the silver shrine containing the remains of the saint, after various vicissitudes, was removed, in 1901, to the church of the Society at Madrid, where it is honoured at the present time.
It is with good reason that Spain and the Church venerate in St. Francis Borgia a great man and a great saint. The highest nobles of Spain are proud of their descent from, or their connexion with him. By his penitent and apostolic life he repaired the sins of his family and rendered glorious a name, which but for him, would have remained a source of humiliation for the Church. His feast is celebrated 10 October.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


SHARED FROM: Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/F/stfrancisborgia.asp#ixzz2hLQUkIeP

Amazing New Social Media to Increase Church Attendance - Mass Mob - SHARE

Edited from CNY: In the world of social media, it is likewise all about the numbers.
So when a form of communication boosts a church’s attendance by 250 people, that’s noteworthy. And that is just what the NYC Mass Mob did for St. John the Baptist Church and Friary in Manhattan on Aug. 24. (MassMob Founder shows Priest the social media site)
“Social media is the future,” said Michael John Cadigan, founder of the evangelization movement known as the New York City Mass Mob which organizes Catholics through social media to attend Mass at a particular place and time together.
JOIN MASS MOB ON Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NYCMassMob 
The church is nominated by Facebook followers of NYC Mass Mob and voted by members on the social media site. The church with the highest number of votes is the one the Mass Mob attends. Cadigan keeps in touch with the pastors of the nominated churches throughout the process. Even the voting process begins to build community as people campaign for the church they want to win, said Cadigan.
Father Thomas Franks, O.F.M.Cap, pastor of St. John the Baptist parish and friary, said, “In many ways, social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, is how people keep in touch, and that’s what people most rely on. We have to utilize the tools of our culture to spread the word about the faith.”
Father Franks served as the main celebrant at the noon Mass, which he described as a good mixture of people, young and old, all with different backgrounds. “It was an uplifting moment, there was a sense of support for the church, in seeing our historical church and seeing everyone taking the time to worship with us.”

That is what the movement is all about. “The Mass Mob not only serves to bring people closer to God, it boosts the church’s presence on social media, boosts the revenue, and people become familiar with the church in person,” Cadigan said.
In the case of the St. John’s, many people learned the parish at 210 W. 31st St. has a Shrine of St. Padre Pio and houses some of his relics.
“The Mass Mob is open to any person who wants to come to church,” continued Cadigan. “It’s all about building a community, especially if there are young people and old people coming together and learning from each other, about their life stories and how God is in each of their lives. This is all about bringing people together and supporting the church.”
After Mass a reception was held in the church courtyard. Those involved in the Mass Mob wore T-shirts showing their association with the movement. “Community building and Church go together like peanut butter and jelly,” Cadigan said with a laugh.
Person by person, “like by like,” the Church is growing virtually and literally. “St. John the Baptist had 53 people on their Facebook page before we started promoting them. And now after we pinned them, they have over 1,300 people.” (Edited from CNY.org)

Latest Vatican News and Synod Congregations - Text - Video - #Synod2014 #Synod


09-10-2014 - Year XXII - Num. 174 

Summary
- Sixth General Congregation: the Church is the house of the Father, not a customs office, and must not be indifferent to weakness
- Seventh General Congregation: The pastoral challenges concerning an openness to life
- Cardinal Parolin to take possession of his title
Sixth General Congregation: the Church is the house of the Father, not a customs office, and must not be indifferent to weakness
Vatican City, 9 October 2014 (VIS) – During the Sixth General Congregation, which took place yesterday afternoon, the Synod Fathers continued their debate on the theme set forth in the Instrumentum Laboris: “Difficult pastoral situations (Part II, Chapter 3). Situations in Families / Concerning Unions of Persons of the Same Sex”.
Firstly, it was underlined that the Church is not a customs house, but rather the house of the Father, and must therefore offer patient accompaniment to all people, including those who find themselves in difficult pastoral situations. The true Catholic Church encompasses healthy families and families in crisis, and therefore in her daily effort of sanctification must not show indifference in relation to weakness, as patience implies actively helping the weakest.
With regard to processes for the declaration of nullity of marriage, in general the need to streamline the procedures was observed by many (along with the need to integrate more competent laypersons in the ecclesiastical Tribunals), but the Assembly also noted the danger of superficiality and the need always to safeguard respect for the truth and the rights of the parties. It was also remarked that the process is not contrary to pastoral charity, and judicial pastoral must avoid attempts to apportion blame, instead encouraging a calm discussion of cases. Again with regard to marriage nullity, the hypothesis of recourse to administrative channels, not in lieu of the judicial process but rather as a complement to it, was considered. It was suggested that it would be the responsibility of the bishop to decide which requests for nullity could be dealt with through administrative channels.
It was strongly emphasised that an attitude of respect must be adopted in relation to divorced and remarried persons, as they often live in situations of unease or social injustice, suffer in silence and in many cases seek a gradual path to fuller participation in ecclesial life. Pastoral care must not therefore be repressive, but full of mercy.
With regard to polygamy, on the one hand it was underlined that this is a diminishing tendency as it is favoured mostly within rural contexts and therefore undermined by advancing urbanisation; on the other, it was recalled that there are polygamists who have converted to Catholicism and who wish to receive the sacraments of Christian initiation, and it was asked if there are specific pastoral measures to engage with these situations with the appropriate discernment.
Attention returned to the need for greater preparation for marriage, especially among the young, to whom the beauty of sacramental union must be presented, along with an adequate emotional education that is not merely a moralistic exhortation that risks generating a sort of religious and human illiteracy. The path to marriage must involve a true growth of the person.
During the hour of free discussion – between 6 and 7 p.m. – the interventions presented experiences and practical models for the pastoral care of divorced and remarried persons, making extensive use of listening groups. It was remarked that it is important to carefully avoid moral judgement or speaking of a “permanent state of sin”, seeking instead to enable understanding that not being admitted to the sacrament of the Eucharist does not entirely eliminate the possibility of grace in Christ and is due rather to the objective situation of remaining bound by a previous and indissoluble sacramental bond. In this respect, the importance of spiritual communion was emphasised repeatedly. It was also commented that there are evident limits to these proposals and that certainly there are no “easy” solutions to the problem.
Also in relation to the pastoral care of homosexual persons, emphasis was placed on the importance of listening and the use of listening groups.
Further interventions focused on the issue of Catholics who change Christian confession, or vice versa, with the difficult consequences that may arise from inter-confessional marriages and the validation of their validity in the light of the possibilities of divorce in the Orthodox Churches.
Recalling the Ordinary Synod held in 1980 on the theme of “The Christian family”, it was observed that great evolution has occurred since then in international legal culture and it is therefore necessary for the Church to be aware of this, and for cultural institutions such as the Catholic Universities to face this situation in order to retain a role in ongoing debate.
Seventh General Congregation: The pastoral challenges concerning an openness to life
Vatican City, 9 October 2014 (VIS) – The seventh general Congregation, which took place this morning was divided into two phases: the first consisting of further general debate on the theme of the previous afternoon, “Difficult Pastoral Situations” (Part II, Chapter 3. Situations in Families / Concerning Unions of Persons of the Same Sex”, and the second regarding the subsequent issue, “The Pastoral Challenges concerning an Openness to Life”.
In the first part, therefore, the Assembly continued its reflection on the matter of access to the sacrament of the Eucharist for divorced and remarried persons. Firstly, it re-emphasised the indissoluble nature of marriage, without compromise, based on the fact that the sacramental bond is an objective reality, the work of Christ in the Church. Such a value must be defended and cared for through adequate pre-matrimonial catechesis, so that engaged couples are fully aware of the sacramental character of the bond and its vocational nature. Pastoral accompaniment for couples following marriage would also be useful.
At the same time, it was said that it is necessary to look at individual cases and real-life situations, even those involving great suffering, distinguishing for example between those who abandon their spouse and those who are abandoned. The problem exists – this was repeated several times in the Assembly – and the Church does not neglect it. Pastoral care must not be exclusive, of an “all or nothing” type but must instead be merciful, as the mystery of the Church is a mystery of consolation.
It was in any case recalled that for divorced and remarried persons, the fact of not having access to the Eucharist does not mean that they are not members of the ecclesial community; on the contrary, it is to be taken into consideration that there exist various responsibilities that may be exercised. Furthermore, the need to simplify and speed up the procedures for the declaration of marriage nullity was underlined.
With regard to cohabitation in certain regions, it was shown that this is often due to economic and social factors and not a form of refusal of the teachings of the Church. Often, moreover, these and other types of de facto unions are lived while conserving the wish for a Christian life, and therefore require suitable pastoral care. Similarly, while emphasising the impossibility of recognising same sex marriage, the need for a respectful and non-discriminatory approach with regard to homosexuals was in any case underlined.
Further attention was paid to the matter of mixed marriages, demonstrating that in spite of the difficulties that may be encountered, it is useful to look also at the possibilities they offer as witness to harmony and interreligious dialogue. The Assembly then returned to theme of language, so that the Church may involve believers, non-believers and all persons of good will to identify models of family life that promote the full development of the human person and societal wellbeing. It was suggested that the family should be spoken of using a “grammar of simplicity” that reaches the heart of the faithful.
In the second part of the Congregation, the theme of responsible parenthood was considered, emphasising that the gift of life (and the virtue of chastity) are basic values in Christian marriage, and underlining the seriousness of the crime of abortion. At the same time, mention was made of the numerous crises experienced by many families, for instance in certain Asian contexts, such as infanticide, violence towards women and human trafficking. The need to highlight the concept of justice among the fundamental virtues of the family was underlined.
The debate turned to the issue of the responsibility of parents in educating their children in faith and in the teachings it offers: such responsibility is primordial, it was said, and it is important to pay it suitable attention. It was also noted that the pastoral care of children can create a point of contact with families who find themselves in difficult situations.
With regard to children, the negative impact of contraception on society and resulting decline in the birth rate was underlined. It was remarked that Catholics should not remain silent in relation to this issue, but should instead bring a message of hope: children are important, they bring life and joy to their parents, and they reinforce faith and religious practices.
Finally, attention turned to the essential role of the laity in the apostolate of the family and in its evangelisation, as well as lay movements able to accompany families in difficulty.
Cardinal Parolin to take possession of his title
Vatican City, 9 October 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Saturday, 11 October, at 6.30 p.m., Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin will take possession of the title of Sts. Simon and Jude Thaddeus at Torre Angela (Via di Torrenova, 162).

Pope Francis 3 Key Words in the Gospel ..."Friend, the Father and....." - Homily


Pope Francis reflects on prayer at morning Mass
09/10/

(Vatican Radio) We ask for a lot of things when we pray, but the greatest gift that God can give us is the Holy Spirit.  This was Pope Francis’ reflection Thursday morning at Mass in Santa Marta, commenting on the Gospel of the day, which presents the parable of the man who gets what he needs because of his persistence.
Pope Francis began his homily by noting that “God has so much mercy” and observing that in the Collect we begin by asking God  for forgiveness and to "obtain what prayer does not dare to hope for":
"This got me thinking: it is precisely the mercy of God not only to forgive - we all know that - but to be generous and give more and more ... We asked: 'And obtain what prayer does not dare to hope for'. When we pray we might ask for this [intention] or that [intention] and He always gives us more, much more!”.
The Pope underlined three key words in the Gospel: "Friend, the Father and gift". Jesus shows the disciples what prayer is. It is like a man who goes to a friend at midnight asking for something. In life - he observes - "There are truest friends" who really give their all. "There are others who are good friends more or less", but the Bible tells us, 'one, two, or three ... no more!'. Then, others who are friends, but not like these". And even if we are demanding and intrusive "the bond of friendship means that we are given what we ask".
"Jesus goes a step further and speaks of the Father: What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?'".
The Pope continued - "not only the friend who accompanies us on our journey of life helps us and gives us what we ask, but Our Father in heaven" who "loves us so much and of whom Jesus said that He cares about feeding the birds in the field. Jesus wants to awaken faith in prayer" and says: "Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened ". "This - says Pope Francis - is the prayer: ask, seek and knock at the heart of God." And the Father "gifts the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!".
"This is the gift, this is God’s added extra. God never gives you a gift, something that you ask for, without wrapping it up well, without adding something extra to make it even more beautiful. And that little bit more that the Lord, the Father gives us, is the Spirit. The true gift of the Father is the one that prayer does not dare to hope for. 'I ask for this grace; I ask for this, I knock and pray so much... I only hope that you will give me this'. And He who is Father, will give me that and more: He will give me the gift of the Holy Spirit".
"You pray - said the Pope - with a friend, who is your companion on life's journey, you pray with the Father and you pray in the Holy Spirit. The friend is Jesus":
"He accompanies us and teaches us to pray. And our prayer should be Trinitarian. So often [people ask]: 'But do you believe?': 'Yes! Yes! '; 'What do you believe in?'; 'In God!'; 'But what is God for you?'; 'God, God'. But God does not exist: Do not be shocked! So God does not exist! There is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, they are persons, they are not some vague idea in the clouds ... This God spray does not exist! The three persons exist! Jesus is our companion on the journey who gives us what we ask; the Father who cares for us and loves us; and the Holy Spirit is the gift, the extra gift from  the Father, that our consciousness does not dare to hope for".

(Emer McCarthy)

Breaking News Extremists Burn Coptic Christian Church in Germany

Extremists burn a Coptic church in Germany
 By-Nader Mohammed | 7 October 2014 The mayor of Berlin condemned attacking and burning St. Athanasius and St. Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church in Berlin by extremists describing it as a crime against peaceful coexistence.The mayor of Berlin condemned attacking and burning St. Athanasius and St. Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church in Berlin by extremists describing it as a crime against peaceful coexistence. On his part, Abba Demian, bishop of Germany, said that he didn’t expect such attack against a church in Germany.
The mayor of Berlin condemned attacking and burning St. Athanasius and St. Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church in Berlin by extremists describing it as a crime against peaceful coexistence. Share from JihadWatch/

Today's Mass Readings : Thursday October 9, 2014













Thursday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 464


Reading 1GAL 3:1-5

O stupid Galatians!
Who has bewitched you,
before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
I want to learn only this from you:
did you receive the Spirit from works of the law,
or from faith in what you heard?
Are you so stupid?
After beginning with the Spirit,
are you now ending with the flesh?
Did you experience so many things in vain?–
if indeed it was in vain.
Does, then, the one who supplies the Spirit to you
and works mighty deeds among you
do so from works of the law
or from faith in what you heard?

Responsorial Psalm LK 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75

R. (68) Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; He has come to his people.

Gospel LK 11:5-13

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?”