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Saturday, January 31, 2015
Saint February 1 : St. Bridgid of Ireland : Patron of Babies; Children whose parents are not married; Fugitives; Ireland; Midwives; Poets
VIRGIN, PATRONESS OF IRELAND
Born in 451 or 452 of princely ancestors at Faughart, near Dundalk, County Louth; d. 1 February, 525, at Kildare. Refusing many good offers of marriage, she became a nun and received the veil from St. Macaille. With seven other virgins she settled for a time at the foot of Croghan Hill, but removed thence to Druin Criadh, in the plains of Magh Life, where under a large oak tree she erected her subsequently famous Convent of Cill-Dara, that is, "the church of the oak" (now Kildare), in the present county of that name. It is exceedingly difficult to reconcile the statements of St. Brigid's biographers, but the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Lives of the saint are at one in assigning her a slave mother in the court of her father Dubhthach, and Irish chieftain of Leinster. Probably the most ancient life of St. Brigid is that by St. Broccan Cloen, who is said to have died 17 September, 650. It is metrical, as may be seen from the following specimen:
Cogitosus, a monk of Kildare in the eighth century, expounded the metrical life of St. Brigid, and versified it in good Latin. This is what is known as the "Second Life", and is an excellent example of Irish scholarship in the mid-eighth century. Perhaps the most interesting feature of Cogitosus's work is the description of the Cathedral of Kildare in his day: "Solo spatioso et in altum minaci proceritate porruta ac decorata pictis tabulis, tria intrinsecus habens oratoria ampla, et divisa parietibus tabulatis". The rood-screen was formed of wooden boards, lavishly decorated, and with beautifully decorated curtains. Probably the famous Round Tower of Kildare dates from the sixth century. Although St. Brigid was "veiled" or received by St. Macaille, at Croghan, yet, it is tolerably certain that she was professed by St. Mel of Ardagh, who also conferred on her abbatial powers. From Ardagh St. Macaille and St. Brigid followed St. Mel into the country of Teffia in Meath, including portions of Westmeath and Longford. This occurred about the year 468. St. Brigid's small oratory at Cill- Dara became the centre of religion and learning, and developed into a cathedral city. She founded two monastic institutions, one for men, and the other for women, and appointed St. Conleth as spiritual pastor of them. It has been frequently stated that she gave canonical jurisdiction to St. Conleth, Bishop of Kildare, but, as Archbishop Healy points out, she simply "selected the person to whom the Church gave this jurisdiction", and her biographer tells us distinctly that she chose St. Conleth "to govern the church along with herself". Thus, for centuries, Kildare was ruled by a double line of abbot-bishops and of abbesses, the Abbess of Kildare being regarded as superioress general of the convents in Ireland.
Not alone was St. Bridget a patroness of students, but she also founded a school of art, including metal work and illumination, over which St. Conleth presided. From the Kildare scriptorium came the wondrous book of the Gospels, which elicited unbounded praise from Giraldus Cambrensis, but which has disappeared since the Reformation. According to this twelfth- century ecclesiastic, nothing that he had ever seen was at all comparable to the "Book of Kildare", every page of which was gorgeously illuminated, and he concludes a most laudatory notice by saying that the interlaced work and the harmony of the colours left the impression that "all this is the work of angelic, and not human skill". Small wonder that Gerald Barry assumed the book to have been written night after night as St. Bridget prayed, "an angel furnishing the designs, the scribe copying". Even allowing for the exaggerated stories told of St. Brigid by her numerous biographers, it is certain that she ranks as one of the most remarkable Irishwomen of the fifth century and as the Patroness of Ireland. She is lovingly called the "Queen of the South: the Mary of the Gael" by a writer in the "Leabhar Breac". St. Brigid died leaving a cathedral city and school that became famous all over Europe. In her honour St. Ultan wrote a hymn commencing:
The sixth Life of the saint printed by Colgan is attributed to Coelan, an Irish monk of the eighth century, and it derives a peculiar importance from the fact that it is prefaced by a foreword from the pen of St. Donatus, also an Irish monk, who became Bishop of Fiesole in 824. St. Donatus refers to previous lives by St. Ultan and St. Aileran. When dying, St. Brigid was attended by St. Ninnidh, who was ever afterwards known as "Ninnidh of the Clean Hand" because he had his right hand encased with a metal covering to prevent its ever being defiled, after being he medium of administering the viaticum to Ireland's Patroness. She was interred at the right of the high altar of Kildare Cathedral, and a costly tomb was erected over her. In after years her shrine was an object of veneration for pilgrims, especially on her feast day, 1 February, as Cogitosus related. About the year 878, owing to the Scandinavian raids, the relics of St. Brigid were taken to Downpatrick, where they were interred in the tomb of St. Patrick and St. Columba. The relics of the three saints were discovered in 1185, and on 9 June of the following year were solemnly translated to a suitable resting place in Downpatrick Cathedral, in presence of Cardinal Vivian, fifteen bishops, and numerous abbots and ecclesiastics. Various Continental breviaries of the pre-Reformation period commemorate St. Brigid, and her name is included in a litany in the Stowe Missal. In Ireland today, after 1500 years, the memory of "the Mary of the Gael" is as dear as ever to the Irish heart, and, as is well known, Brigid preponderates as a female Christian name. Moreover, hundreds of place-names in her honour are to be found all over the country, e.g. Kilbride, Brideswell, Tubberbride, Templebride, etc. The hand of St. Brigid is preserved at Lumiar near Lisbon, Portugal, since 1587, and another relic is at St. Martin's Cologne.
(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)
30-01-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 022
|- The Pope recalls the “immense tragedy” of Syria and Iraq|
|- Telegram from the Pope for the explosion in the Mexican maternity hospital of Cualjimalpa|
|- Pope Francis' prayer intentions for February|
|- The Master of Papal Ceremonies explains the new method of imposing the pallium|
|The Pope recalls the “immense tragedy” of Syria and Iraq|
Vatican City, 30 January 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Consistory Hall the Pope received thirty representatives of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, constituted in 2003 following an initiative of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the ecclesiastical authorities of the family of Oriental Orthodox Churches. During the last ten years, from a historical perspective, it has examined the roads through which the Churches have expressed their communion in the first centuries, and what this means for our search for communion today. During this week's meeting, the Commission embarked upon a deeper examination of the nature of the Sacraments, especially Baptism.
Francis recalled the inspiring commitment to dialogue of His Holiness Ignatius Zakka I Was, Patriarch of the Syro-Orthodox Church of Antioch and all the East, who died last year, and joined in prayer with the clergy and the faithful for this “dedicated servant of God”.
“At this time we especially feel dismay and deep sadness at what is happening in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria. I think of all those living in the region, including our Christian brothers and sisters, and many minorities, who are experiencing the effects of a prolonged and painful conflict. I join you in praying for a negotiated solution and in imploring God's goodness and mercy upon all those affected by this immense tragedy. All Christians are called to work together, in mutual acceptance and trust, in order to serve the cause of peace and justice. May the intercession and example of many martyrs and saints who have borne courageous witness of Christ in all our Churches sustain and strengthen you and your Christian communities”.
|Telegram from the Pope for the explosion in the Mexican maternity hospital of Cualjimalpa|
Vatican City, 30 January 2015 (VIS) – Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram on behalf of the Holy Father to Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico, Mexico, following an explosion in the Maternity Hospital of Cualjimalpa caused during the transfer of fuel to the centre, which claimed several victims and casualties including a number of babies.
Pope Francis, “greatly saddened by this tragic news”, according to the text, “offers his prayers for the eternal repose of the souls of the departed” and “wishes to convey his heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased, along with expressions of comfort, his fervent hope for the swift recovery of the injured. He imparts the comfort of his apostolic blessing as a sign of hope in the Resurrected Lord”.
|Pope Francis' prayer intentions for February|
Vatican City, 30 January 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father's universal prayer intention for February is: “That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity”.
His intention for evangelisation is: “That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community”.
|The Master of Papal Ceremonies explains the new method of imposing the pallium|
Vatican City, 30 January 2015 (VIS) – In a letter sent to all the apostolic nunciatures and dated 12 January, 2015, the Master of Papal Ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini, made public the Pope's decision to modify the method of imposing the pallium on the new metropolitan archbishops. The strip of white wool, symbolising the sheep on the shoulders of Jesus the Good Shepherd, will be delivered and no longer “imposed” by the Holy Father, according to tradition on 29 June, Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. Instead the imposition of the pallium upon the new archbishops will take place in their dioceses, by the hand of the local apostolic nuncios.
Yesterday, in an interview for Vatican Radio, Msgr. Marini explained the meaning of the Pontiff's decision, indicating that from next 29 June the archbishops, “as is customary, will be present in Rome, will concelebrate with the Holy Father and will participate in the blessing of the pallia, but the imposition will not take place. Each archbishop will receive his pallium from the Holy Father in a simple and private way. The imposition will occur in the diocese of origin, and therefore in a second moment, in the presence of the local Church and in particular the bishops of the suffragan dioceses, accompanied by their faithful”.
This is intended, continued the Master of Papal Ceremonies, to “emphasise the relationship between the newly appointed metropolitan archbishops and their local Church, therefore enabling more faithful to be present and this rite that is so important for them, and especially for the bishops of the suffragan dioceses, which in this way will be able to participate in the moment of the imposition. This maintains the significance of the celebration on 29 June, which underlines the relationship of communion, including the hierarchical communion between the Holy Father and the new archbishops, but at the same time adds, with a meaningful gesture, the bond with the local Church. … It is a beautiful gesture which accompanies the other [the imposition of the pallium, Ed.], which remains with all its entirety and depth”.
Vatican City, 30 January 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family;
- Bishop Pietro Lagnese of Ischia, Italy;
- Francesco Maria Greco, ambassador of Italy, on his farewell visit;
- Colonel Daniel Rudolf Anrig, Commandant of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, on his farewell visit.
Friday, January 30, 2015
FOUNDER OF THE SALESIAN SOCIETY"In his life the supernatural became the natural and the extraordinary the ordinary." So spoke Pope Pius XI of the beloved Don Bosco, renowned for his educational pioneering and his affectionate care for the fatherless. Born Giovanni Melchior Bosco in 1815, the future saint was the youngest son of a peasant farmer in the hamlet of Becchi, in the Piedmont district of north Italy. He lost his father at the age of two and was brought up by a devoted and industrious mother, Margaret Bosco, who had a hard struggle maintaining the home and the three children, all of them boys. A dream that little Giovanni had at the age of nine revealed to him his vocation. He seemed to be surrounded by a mob of fighting and swearing children whom he tried in vain to pacify, at first by arguments and then by hitting them. Suddenly there appeared a mysterious woman who said: "Softly, softly . . . if you wish to win them! Take your shepherd's staff and lead them to pasture." Even as she spoke, the children were transformed first into wild beasts and then into gentle lambs. From that time on, the boy thought, it was his clear duty to lead and help other boys.
He began with those of his own village, teaching them the Catechism and bringing them to church. As an inducement, he would amuse them first with acrobatic and conjuring tricks, at which he became very clever. One Sunday morning when an itinerant juggler and gymnast was holding the children spellbound by his performance, young John challenged him to a competition and beat him at his own tricks. Then he marched off to church, followed by his admiring audience. It was more or less by chance that this talented boy learned to read. He was staying with an aunt who was servant to the priest, and when the priest was told of John's ambition, he taught him gladly. But John didn't want to stop with reading and writing; he wished to study for the priesthood. Many difficulties had to be overcome before he could even begin his preliminary studies. When, at sixteen, he entered the seminary at Chieri, he was so poor that money for his maintenance and his clothes had to be supplied by charity. The village mayor contributed a hat, one friendly person gave him a cloak, and another a pair of shoes. People were eager to help a boy who was himself so eager and ambitious. After his ordination as deacon, he attended the theological school at nearby Turin, finding time to continue his volunteer work with homeless or neglected boys. Having won the approbation of his superiors for what he was doing, he began to gather around him regularly on Sunday afternoons a band of these waifs and young apprentices.
After taking Holy Orders, his first appointment was assistant chaplain of a home for girls, founded by the Marchesa Barolo, a wealthy and philanthropic woman. This post left Don Bosco free on Sundays to devote himself to his group of boys. He set up for them a sort of combined Sunday School and recreation center on grounds belonging to the Marchesa, which he called "the festive Oratory." But the Marchesa quickly withdrew her permission, because the boys were, naturally, noisy and unruly, and sometimes even made so bold as to pick the flowers in the garden. For more than a year the group was regarded as a nuisance and sent from pillar to post. No property owner was able to put up with them for long. When at last Don Bosco was able to hire an old shed as a meeting place, and the future seemed promising, the Marchesa delivered herself of an ultimatum. He must choose between giving up the boys—who now numbered several hundred—or resigning his post at the girl's orphanage. Don Bosco promptly resigned, to devote himself wholly to the boys.
In the midst of these anxieties, he was prostrated by a severe attack of pneumonia that came near ending his life. As soon as he had recovered, he went to live in some poor rooms adjoining a new Oratory, or gathering place, with his mother as housekeeper. For ten years this good woman served as his adjutant and loyal helper, extending her motherly care over all the waifs and strays her son brought to her. Don Bosco now applied himself to consolidating his work and planning for the years to come. A night school which had been opened the previous year took shape, and as the Oratory was soon overcrowded, he opened two more youth centers in other parts of Turin. About the same time he began housing a few destitute boys. His next step was to build for his flock a small church which he placed under the patronage of his favorite saint, Francis de Sales. With that completed, he started to build a home for his steadily growing family. No one knew just how he managed to raise the money for these various projects, but his natural persuasiveness had much to do with it.
Those enrolled as boarders in the school were of two sorts: young apprentices and craftsmen, and other youths of more than average intelligence in whom Don Bosco discerned future helpers, with, possibly, vocations to the priesthood. At first they attended classes outside, but, as more teachers were enlisted, academic and technical courses were given at the house. By 1856 a hundred and fifty boys were in residence; there were four workshops, including a printing shop, and four Latin classes, with ten young priests as instructors; all this in addition to the oratories with their five hundred children. He cultivated in all of them a taste for music, and he was a believer in the therapeutic value of play. Don Bosco's understanding of young people, their needs, and their dreams, gave him great influence. He could manage them without punishment. "I do not remember to have used formal punishment," he wrote, "and with God's grace I have always obtained-and from apparently hopeless children-not alone what duty exacted but what my wish simply expressed." With an approach that seems quite modern, he planned programs that combined play, song, study, prayer, and manual work. He knew that straight academic learning was not enough. "Knowledge gives more power in the exercise of good or evil," he said, "but alone it is an indifferent weapon, lacking guidance."
Don Bosco's outgoing personality made him popular as a preacher, and there were many demands on his time to speak to various congregations. As a third form of activity, in the few hours that remained to him, he wrote useful and popular books for boys. In that day there was almost no attractive reading matter written especially for young people, and Don Bosco set himself to fill this need. He wrote stories based on history, and sometimes popular treatises on the faith. Often he toiled far into the night, until, in later life, his failing eyesight compelled him to give up writing.
A plan for some sort of religious order, to carry on the work when he had passed away, had long been in Don Bosco's mind, and at last he felt he had the strong nucleus of helpers that was required. "On the night of January 26, 1854, we were assembled in Don Bosco's room," writes one of the men present. "Besides Don Bosco, there were Cagliero, Rocchetti, Artiglia, and Rua. It was suggested that with God's help we should enter upon a period of practical works of charity to help our neighbors. At the close of the period, we might bind ourselves by a promise which could subsequently be transformed into a vow. From that evening, the name of Salesian was given to all who embarked on that form of apostolate." The name of course honored the great bishop of Geneva, St. Francis de Sales. It was not a propitious time for launching a new order, for in all its history Piedmont had never been so anti-clerical. The Jesuits and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart had been expelled, many convents suppressed, and laws were being passed curtailing the rights of religious orders. The statesman Urbano Rattazzi, one of those most responsible for the anti-clerical legislation, was deeply interested in popular education. As a resident of Turin, Rattazzi was familiar with Father John's activities, and, on meeting him by chance one day, urged him to found a society to further his valuable work, promising the support of the government.
The project grew, and in 1858 John went to Rome, taking with him the rules of the institution. From Pope Pius IX he received preliminary approbation. Sixteen years later he obtained full sanction, together with permission to present candidates for Holy Orders. The new society grew rapidly. Within five years there were thirty-nine Salesians; at the time of the founder's death there were eight hundred, and by 1929 the number had increased to about eight thousand. One of Father John's dreams was realized when he sent his first missionaries to the bleak and faraway land of Patagonia; other areas of South America were soon the scene of missionary endeavor. He lived to see twenty-six houses started in the New World and thirty-eight in the Old.
His next great work was the foundation in 1862 of an order of women to do for poor girls what the Salesians were doing for boys. The original group consisted of twenty-seven young women to whom he gave the name of Daughters of St. Mary Auxiliatrix, the Helper. The organization now numbers many thousands, with elementary schools in Italy, Brazil, and Argentina. To supplement the work of these two congregations, Father John organized his outside lay helpers into a new kind of Third Order, which he called Salesian Cooperators. They were men and women of all classes who pledged themselves to assist in practical ways the educational labors of the Salesians.
Any account of the life of this saint would be incomplete without some mention of his achievements as a builder of churches. His first little church of St. Francis de Sales soon proved inadequate, and he undertook the construction of a much larger building. This he finished in 1868, dedicating it to St. Mary the Helper. Later he found means to put up another spacious and much-needed church in a poor quarter of Turin, and this he placed under the patronage of St. John the Evangelist. But the immense effort of money-raising had left Don Bosco weary and depleted. He was not allowed time to recover his strength before another task was put before him. During the last years of Pope Pius IX, a project had been formed of building at Rome a church in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Pius himself had donated money to buy the site. His successor, Leo XIII, was eager for the work to be carried forward, but there was difficulty in raising funds. It was suggested to the Pope that this was something that Don Bosco did better than anyone else, and when he was asked to undertake it, he accepted the challenge.
After obtaining a considerable sum in Italy, Don Bosco went to France, where devotion to the cult of the Sacred Heart was particularly intense at this time. He was successful in his appeals, money came flowing in, and the early completion of the church was assured. As the day appointed for its consecration drew near, he was sometimes heard to murmur that if there were any delay, he would not live to witness it. Two years before the doctors had said that this generous-hearted man had worn himself out and that complete retirement offered the only chance of prolonging his life. Don Bosco had the joy of living a few months beyond the consecration of the church, which took place on May 14, 1887. He said one Mass before the new high altar.
Later in the year it became plain that his days were numbered; he gradually weakened, and on the morning of January 31, 1888, he died in his home city of Turin. Forty thousand persons came to the church to do honor to Don Bosco, and the entire city turned out as his remains were borne to their resting place. His memory was cherished and his work carried on by his followers. Not many years had elapsed before a movement was begun for his beatification. He was declared Venerable by Pope Pius X in 1907, beatified by Pius XI in 1929, and canonized by him in 1934. Don Bosco exemplified a new trend in the treatment of children, anticipating in some respects the practices of modern psychologists. Intuitively he knew that the loving care and attention of a wise, interested adult was essential to the healthy growth of every child, and he gave his very best to those children who had the least.