Saturday, February 7, 2015

Saint February 8 : St. Josephine Bakhita - From Slave to Saint - Share!

Happy Childhood (1869-1876)

Bakhita was born in 1869 in Olgossa, in Darfur, a territory to the South-East of Sudan, inhabited by the Dajus, one the major ethnic groups who had settled in that region centuries before. Bakhita's family was prosperous, possessing lands with plantations and cattle. She herself said, "My life was completely happy. I did not know the meaning of sorrow". Bakhita had three brothers and three sisters. In 1874 the elder sister was kidnapped.
Harsh Slavery (1876-1882)
In 1876 two men kidnapped Bakhtia, who was then about seven years of age. After a month's imprisonment she was sold to a slave-trader (the second master). With great courage the girl attempted to escape, but was recaptured by a shepherd (her third master) and sold again to a fierce-looking man (her fourth master) who sold her to a slave-trader (fifth master). One day she was beaten and left unconscious and bleeding on the ground. 
She was then sold to a Turkish general (6th master), whose wife subjected Bakhita to the torture of tattooing. Her torturer spared only her face, because it was very beautiful, while he inflicted 114 cuts with a razor on her stomach and arms.

 The poor little victim felt she was dying, especially when salt was rubbed into her wounds to keep them open. Immersed in a pool of blood, she was carried away on a pallet and left for a month without even a rag to dry the serum that oozed from her wounds.

To Freedom (1882-1885)

In 1882 the Turkish general sold Bakhita in Khartoum to the consular official Callisto Legnani (seventh master), who was very kind to her. Right away he showed his benevolence, dressing her for the first time in a tunic which restored her dignity as a woman. He would have brought her back to her own village if Bakhita had been able to remember its name, but she was too small at the time of her kidnapping to register exact details. When, in 1885, Legnani was preparing to leave Africa for Italy, Bakhita asked for and received permission to go with him. They embarked, together with a friend of the consul, Augusto Michieli. It was to the latter that Legnani gave the young African upon their arrival in Genoa.
In Italy

Mr. Michieli, a rich businessman from Venice, took Bakhita with him to his villa at Zianigo, near Mirano Venetto. Here, for three years, Bakhita was nursemaid to the little daughter, Alice, nicknamed Mimmina. The Michieli were good, honest people, but not church-goers. Mrs. Turina Michieli, who was Orthodox, had forbidden Bakhita to enter a church. However, Providence had placed on Bakhita's path the Michieli's manager, Illuminato Checchini, who played a fundamental part in her journey of faith. "A man with a heart of gold and an enlightened conscience" was how Bakhita described him; he always had a "fatherly love" for her. It was he, in fact, who concerned himself the religious education of the young African. When the Michieli returned in 1886 to Africa, where they had acquired a large hotel at Suakim and took Bakhita with them, the good Illuminato felt remorse, because he had not yet been able to speak to her about God. He was, thus, very happy, the following year, when he saw her return with his wife and the little girl, and inwardly promised to do everything he could for the benefit of that soul. "The missionaries", he said, "go to Africa to convert its inhabitants, shall we do nothing to enlighten this poor girl?" He began by presenting her with a little crucifix, saying to himself: "Jesus, I entrust her to you. Now, you look after her". He was also instrumental in placing Mimmina and Bakhita in the care of the Canossian sisters in Venice when the Michieli had to leave again for Suakim. At this Institute Bakhita was admitted to the catechumen ate. When, after nine months, Mrs Michieli returned for her daughter and the girl whom she regarded as in some way, her slave, in order to take them back again to Africa, she encountered a very firm attitude on the part of the latter. It was on that occasion that Bakhita, who was still a catechumen, displayed singular strength of spirit and great faith. In fact, when confronted with the affection and economic security offered her by the Michieli family, and the hope of rediscovering her family if she returned to Africa, she preferred God's love and abandonment to divine Providence for her future, which in human terms, was very uncertain. Thus she said, with determination: "No, I cannot return to Africa, because I would not be able to profess my faith in the Lord. I love the lady and her little girl very much, but I cannot lose my God. So I am remaining". It was 29 November 1889, as bakhita later recorded in her memoirs. This moment of courageous decision is most significant; it was to set the tone for her entire life.

In this difficult struggle Bakhita had the support of the Patriarch of Venice and the King's Procurator, who, according to Italian law, which forbade slavery, declared her to be a free person.
"If I did not die", Bakhita was to say later, "it was by a miracle of God, who had destined me for better things".
Josephine Bakhita
As preparations were made for the great day - January 9, 1890 - when she was to receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion at the hands of the Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Agostini, Bakhita experienced very mixed feelings. On the one hand, she was profoundly aware of her own unworthiness, while on the other, she felt indescribable joy at the thought that she would become a child of God. Realizing God's ineffable love, she was at times intensely moved. She then had moments when she was unable to grasp how she, a poor black girl, a slave, an ignorant person, could be called by the Lord His daughter, she who had nothing to offer Him. She would then run to Mother Fabretti, her catechists, who calmed her, assuring her that in the eyes of God, wealth and wisdom were worth nothing: all that counted was love. "And you love the Lord, don't you?" Bakhita would agree, smiling contentedly, her eyes wet with tears. "Go in peace, then", concluded Mother Fabretti, "and call Him with confidence: "Our Father who art in Heaven...

After she had been baptized, receiving the names of Josephine, Margherita and Fortunata, Bakhita remained at the Institute of the Catechumens, where she soon became aware of the call to a life of special consecration. She did not dare expressed this desire, feeling herself to be unworthy. She feared that she might disfigure the Congregation on account of her black skin. Her confessor reassured her. God does not look at the colour of one's skin, but rather at the innermost depths of one's heart.

Bakhita was accepted, and after three years of Novitiate she made her Vows on Decembe 8, 1896. Cardinal Sarto, the then Patriarch of Venice, examined her and told her: "Pronounce your holy vows without fear. This is what Jesus wants. Jesus loves you. Love Him and serve Him always in this way". He also reassured her about the eternal salvation of her dear ones: "God has infinite ways of making Himself known and when He chooses a person to be His bride, He also thinks of her family".
After she had been baptized, receiving the names of Josephine, Margherita and Fortunata, Bakhita remained at the Institute of the Catechumens, where she soon became aware of the call to a life of special consecration. She did not dare expressed this desire, feeling herself to be unworthy. She feared that she might disfigure the Congregation on account of her black skin. Her confessor reassured her. God does not look at the colour of one's skin, but rather at the innermost depths of one's heart.

Bakhita was accepted, and after three years of Novitiate she made her Vows on Decembe 8, 1896. Cardinal Sarto, the then Patriarch of Venice, examined her and told her: "Pronounce your holy vows without fear. This is what Jesus wants. Jesus loves you. Love Him and serve Him always in this way". He also reassured her about the eternal salvation of her dear ones: "God has infinite ways of making Himself known and when He chooses a person to be His bride, He also thinks of her family".

After her religious profession, which took place in Verona, Mother Bakhita returned to Venice, and later was sent to the house in Schio. Here she spent the best part of 45 years, immediately gaining the sympathy and esteem of all the town's inhabitants, who began to call her affectionately 'Madre Moretta' (Black Mother). Bakhita achieved the ideals set by the Foundress, St. Magdalene of Canossa, who wished her daughters to be "anchorites and apostles". Whether in church or sacristy, at the door or in the kitchen, she was engrossed in her Lord, and daily bore witness to the Lord's love for all His creatures. During the First World War, with great love, she set about easing the physical suffering and moral anguish of all those around her, in particular, the soldiers looked after in the Institute, which had been turned into a military hospital. During the Second World War people attributed to her presence the fact that Schio was preserved from the bombing. In fact, when the alarm sounded, Bakhita would say, "Don't worry, because the 'Master' knows what He has to do nothing will happen here."

From the moment of her profession, she showed how close she felt to her African brothers and sisters. On that day she uttered the following heartfelt prayer: "O Lord, if I could but fly to my people and preach aloud Your goodness to everyone! Oh, how many souls would I win for you. Among the first would be my mother, my father, my brothers, my sister, still a slave... all, all the poor black people of Africa. Grant, Jesus, that they too may know and love you!" Between 1936 and 1938 Mother Bakhita was at Vimercate, the seat of the Canossian Missionary Novitiate. This was her base for journeys to various Italian cities to promote the missions. She was accompanied by another Sister, who had returned from her mission in China. Everyone wanted to hear first-hand her "wonderful story". Referring to this experience, Mother Bakhita was to say later: "Many will think I enjoyed travelling around, but for me it was real martyrdom". Wherever she went, she left goodness in her wake, even though she herself was not aware of it.

At the height of World War II, on December 8, 1943, Mother Bakhita celebrated the 50th anniversary of her religious life. Not only her own community, but the whole of Schio, celebrated, despite the adverse circumstances of the time. But now, for Bakhita, aches and pains were beginning to make themselves felt, crippling arthritis, asthmatic bronchitis with cough, convulsed her body. This was not to be wondered at, considering the suffering she had undergone in her younger years and the rigours of the northern climate to which she was not accustomed. During her long illness never a complaint passed her lips. When she was asked: "Don't you feel anything, Mother Bakhita?" She replied: "Of course I feel something - I'm alive; it's only the dead who can't feel anything". "And how is it that you never complain?" "Oh, when nature wants something, I say: now be good, we'll see about it. Then I think about Jesus on the cross, and about the Sorrowful Virgin. That way, nature is calmed, and I no longer need anything". What heroic patience! Very soon she had to abandon her walking-stick in favour of a wheelchair, until broncho pneumonia brought her inexorably to the end. Fully conscious, and to the great edification of all, she received the last sacraments. The Virgin Mary came to comfort her at the moment of her death on Saturday, February 8, 1947. "How happy I am... the Madonna, the Madonna! These were her last words as she passed from this earthly life to the full freedom of God's children.
Her Motto

From her childhood, Bakhita learnt to wonder at the beauty of creation. Even as a slave, she found comfort in admiring the sun, the moon, and the stars. She told how, when she had, finally, lost hope of ever seeing her family again, she began to appreciate more the beauties of nature. She wondered who could have been their Maker and ardently desired to know Him so as to be able to thank Him and do Him homage.

She was utterly surprised when she began to grasp the meaning of this truth: through Baptism you will become a child of God. "A child of God - I, a poor black girl!", she would repeat, filled with amazement. Her baptism gave her such great joy that she felt its beneficial effects ever after. "Here, I became a child of God!" she exclaimed with emotion, kneeling at the baptismal font when she had the good fortune to visit the church where she had been baptized. Baptism shaped her human and Christian future completely, and her whole life was overwhelmed with wonder at the goodness of a Father who orders everything for the good of those whom He has chosen. This, then, was the source of Bakhita's constant goodness.

The moment that had a great and decisive impact on her life was when she discovered the infinite love of God, manifested in his Crucified Son. Seeing the image of Jesus on the cross for the first time, Bakhita was greatly impressed, and asked: "What did that man do that was so wrong, for him to be treated in such a way?" "Nothing," was the reply, "He wished to die for us, for love of us, and also for you". "Also for me!" astonished Bakhita repeatedly. Always drawn irresistibly by the love of Jesus who had died on the cross for her, she became a strong woman, firm and unshakeable in her decision to devote herself totally to the service of her new heavenly Master. Consequently, her former resignation to her fate was transformed into free and holy abandonment to the divine will of Him whom she still gladly called "el Paron", "the Master", out of long-standing mental habit, but now no longer as a slave of arbitrary and evil masters by fate, but as a "slave of love" carrying out the orders of the good God, who loves His servants as a Father.

Her life, after death, would also depend on the will of the "Master". For this reason, when she was sick, she replied to those who asked for her prayers: "If the Lord permits, I will look after everyone from Heaven, I will obtain many graces for the salvation of souls."
Inner Face
"In St. Josephine Bakhita we find an outstanding witness to God's fatherly love and a bright sign of the enduring value of the Beatitudes. In our time, when the race for power, money, and pleasure causes distrust, violence and loneliness, the Lord is giving us Sister Bakhita as the Universal Sister, so that she may reveal to us the secret of the truest happiness: the Beatitudes. Hers is a message of heroic goodness, mirroring the goodness of the heavenly Father. She has left us a testimony of evangelical reconciliation and forgiveness, which will surely give comfort to the Christians in her homeland, Sudan, so sorely tried by conflict that has lasted for many years and caused many victims. Their faithfulness and their hope are reason fro pride and thanksgiving on the part of the whole Church. At this time of great tribulations, Sister Bakhita goes before them on the road of imitation of Christ, a deepening of the Christian life and of unshakeable attachment to the Church." (John Paul II - May 17,1992).

Mother Josephine Bakhita's life is marked by unconditional surrender to the will of God. Her motto was "What the Master Wishes". Thus she made her spiritual life very simple, because "doing God's will well" is the essence of perfection.

In all the positions she held as a Canossian - cook, embroiderer, sacristan, portress - Bakhita always showed herself to be a true "Daughter of Charity, Servant of the poor". The virtues that mark her relationship with her neighbours are: Goodness, Meekness, Tenderness. Her black hands caressed the heads of the children who attended the Institute's schools daily. Her amiable voice, which had the inflection of her African songs, was pleasing to the little children, comforting to the poor and the suffering, and encouraging to all who knocked at the door of the Institute.

The value of forgiveness is evident in Bakhita: "If I met those slave traders who kidnapped me and treated me so cruelly, I would kneel to kiss their hands, because if that had not happened, I would not be a Christian and a religious today." One is impressed above all by the excuse she makes for them: "Poor things, maybe they did not know they were hurting me so much: they were the masters, I was their slave. Just as we are used to doing good, so they did that by force of habit, not because they were wicked". As she told her terrible story, she continued to thank the Lord, who, in unimaginable ways, had led her to the faith and made her His bride. There was no hint of resentment in her words: she had forgiven everyone from her heart and prayed for them all.

St. Josephine Bakhita body remains incorrupt.


Litany of St. Josephine Bakhita



Lord, have mercy, 
Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy, 
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy, 
Lord, have mercy

Christ hear us, 
Christ, graciously hear us

God, our heavenly Father 
Have mercy on us
God the Son, Redeemer of the world 
Have mercy on us
God, the Holy Spirit 
Have mercy on us

Holy Mary 
Pray for us
St. Joseph 
Pray for us
St. Magdalen of Canossa 
Pray for us
St. Josephine Bakhita 
Pray for us

Flower of Sudan 
Pray for us
Universal Sister 
Pray for us
Model of Hope 
Pray for us
Child slave 
Pray for us
The Fortunate One 
Pray for us
Daughter of God 
Pray for us
Consecrated Virgin 
Pray for us
Bride of Christ 
Pray for us

Bakhita, most innocent 
Pray for us
Bakhita, most forgiving 
Pray for us
Bakhita, most chaste 
Pray for us
Bakhita, most courageous 
Pray for us
Bakhita, most free 
Pray for us
Bakhita, most prayer ful 
Pray for us
Bakhita, most faithful 
Pray for us

Reflection of Charity 
Pray for us
Wonderful Storyteller 
Pray for us
Lover of Children 
Pray for us
Exemplar of Hospitality 
Pray for us
Patient Model of Bead workers 
Pray for us
Diligent Sacristan 
Pray for us
Humble Porter 
Pray for us
Great Cook 
Pray for us
Mother Moretta 
Pray for us
Missionary at heart 
Pray for us
Hope of the sick 
Pray for us
Comfort to soldiers 
Pray for us
Pillar to anxious families 
Pray for us
Protector of Schio 
Pray for us
Powerful Intercessor of those in need 
Pray for us
Patron of the dying 
Pray for us
Tale of Wonder 
Pray for us

Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, 
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, 
Hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, 
Have mercy on us, O Lord.
Leader: God delivered her from slavery and given her true freedom in ChristAll: And made her his daughter and his bride.Leader: Let us pray

Heavenly Father, Your Son Jesus Christ, through His suffering and death on the cross, gave Himself as a gift of love for the reconciliation and salvation of all his peoples. He continues to express this love by giving us St. Josephine Bakhita. She too offered herself through her suffering in slavery. We humbly pray that through her intercession, she may obtain for us this favour which we now ask ______________, for the needs of our parish community, for her brothers and sisters in Sudan, and for the whole world the gift of justice and peace. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
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Saint February 8 : St. Jerome Emiliani : Patron of Orphans


St. Jerome Emiliani
FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF SOMASCHA

Information:
Feast Day:February 8
Born:
1481, Venice
Died:8 February 1537, Somasca
Canonized:1767 by Pope Clement XIII
Patron of:orphans

Founder of the Order of Somascha; b. at Venice, 1481; d. at Somascha, 8 Feb., 1537; feast, 20 July; son of Angelo Emiliani (popularly called Miani) and of Eleonore Mauroceni, joined the army, and in 1508 defended Castelnuovo against the League of Cambray. Taken prisoner and miraculously liberated, he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Treviso, in fulfillment of a vow. He was then appointed podestà of Castelnuovo, but after a short time returned to Venice to supervise the education of his nephews. All his spare time was devoted to the study of theology and to works of charity. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1518, the hospitals and the hovels of the poor were his favourite resorts. In the year of plague and famine (1528), he seemed to be everywhere, and showed his zeal especially for the orphans, whose number had so greatly increased. He rented a house for them near the church of St. Rose and, with the assistance of some pious laymen, ministered to their wants. To his charge was also committed the hospital for incurables, founded by St. Cajetan. In 1531 he went to Verona and induced the citizens to build a hospital; at Brescia he erected an orphanage, at Bergamo one for boys and another for girls. Here also he founded the first home for fallen women who wished to do penance. Two priests, Alessandro Besuzio and Agostino Bariso, now joined him in his labours of charity, and in 1532 Jerome founded a religious society, placing the motherhouse at Somascha, a secluded hamlet between Milan and Bergamo. In the rule, Jerome puts down as the principal work of the community the care of orphans, poor, and sick, and demands that dwellings, food and clothing shall bear the mark of religious poverty. Jerome fell a martyr to his zeal; contracting a disease at Bergamo, he died at Somascha. He was beatified by Benedict XIV in 1747, and canonized by Clement XIII in 1767. The Office and Mass in his honour were approved eight years later. His biography was first written by Scipio Albani (1600); another by Andreas Stella (1605). The best was written by Aug. Tortora (Milan, 1620; in "Acta SS.", Feb., II, 217 sq.).
After the death of Jerome his community was about to disband, but was kept together by Gambarana, who had been chosen superior. He obtained the approval (1540) of Paul III. In 1547 the members vainly sought affiliation with the Society of Jesus; then in 1547-1555 they were united with the Theatines. Pius IV (1563) approved the institution, and St. Pius V raised it to the dignity of a religious order, according to the Rule of St. Augustine, with solemn vows, the privileges of the mendicants, and exemption. In 1569 the first six members made their profession, and Gambarana was made first superior general. Great favour was shown to the order by St. Charles Borromeo, and he gave it the church of St. Mayeul at Pavia, from which church the order takes its official name "Clerici regulares S. Majoli Papiae congregationis Somaschae". Later the education of youth was put into the programme of the order, and the colleges at Rome and Pavia became renowned. It spread into Austria and Switzerland, and before the great Revolution it had 119 houses in the four provinces of Rome, Lombardy, Venice, and France. At present the order has ten houses in Italy two of which are in Rome. The general resides in Rome at S. Girolamo della Carita.

(Taken frrom Catholic Encyclopedia)

Latest News from #Vatican Information Service and #PopeFrancis

06-02-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 027 

Summary
- To Italian prefects: fidelity to the law and scrupulous respect for the rights of the person
- Francis at the concluding session of Scholas Occurrentes: the young are the future
- Consistory on 14 February and courtesy visits to the new cardinals
- Showers and barber under Bernini's Colonnade for “homeless pilgrims”
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
To Italian prefects: fidelity to the law and scrupulous respect for the rights of the person
Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Clementine Hall the Pope received in audience the prefects (governmental representatives) of various Italian cities. In his address, he remarked that their work “implies tenacious dedication to duty and an exhaustive knowledge of relevant issues, along with the flexibility necessary to face the innumerable practical cases that emerge, each one with its own peculiarities”.
Pope Francis recalled that in recent years, during which migration has had a particular impact, partly as a result of “an increase throughout the world of violent conflicts with their tragic consequences for the people and the economies of many countries”, there has been a need for particular delicacy and competence in relation to immigration. The prefects are faced with “the need to identify in the everyday management of situations, frequently in emergencies, the correct application of norms in order to guarantee, along with fidelity to the dictates of the law and current legislation, scrupulous respect for the fundamental rights of every human being”.
“In this area, as in many others, fruitful collaboration between the Prefectures, dioceses and parishes is of great help; collaboration which, with respect for distinct competences, deserves confirmation, recognition and further development. The Church, as a divine and human entity, works in society in the service of people based on the teaching of Christ and, wishing to carry out her educational and charitable mission in sincere collaboration with the institutions of the State for the development of humanity and the good of the country, is pleased to find in the Prefectures one of the fields in which this synergy for the good of all citizens is made particularly tangible”.
The Holy Father went on to note that obedience to the law and the criteria of humanity at its foundations, alongside loyalty to institutions, constitute the indispensable framework within which the prefects carry out their work, and are attitudes favourable to the assumption of responsibility. “The crisis of authority experienced by our society in various fields, both public and private and with wide-ranging consequences, especially for the education of the younger generations, numbers among its causes the lack of these fundamental dispositions towards obedience, listening and patience. Furthermore, the exercise of authority always has as its aim the attainment of the common good, finding its most intimate reason for existence and the very possibility of its effectiveness in placing itself in the service of those over whom authority is held”.
He concluded, “You are therefore called to exercise your professionalism and your humanity, your knowledge and your prudence, without discouragement or pessimism, knowing however that you will not be faced with abstract questions but rather the real face of men and women with their problems and their hopes, that in these years of uncertainty and economic difficulty have become even more pressing”.
Francis at the concluding session of Scholas Occurrentes: the young are the future
Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon Pope Francis participated in the closing ceremony of the Fourth World Congress organised by Scholas Occurrentes, held in the Vatican from 2 to 5 February on the theme “Responsibility of all in education for a culture of encounter”. The international network of schools, “Scholas Occurrentes – schools for encounter” was established with a small number of children in Buenos Aires at the behest of the then-Archbishop Bergoglio and currently involves four hundred state and religious schools in five continents, linked through sports, art and technology. During the ceremony, Pope Francis held a video-conference with seven disabled children from different parts of the world, who whom he said, “Each one of us has a treasure inside. If we keep it locked up, it stays locked up inside; if we share it with others, the treasure multiplies with the treasure that comes from others”. The Pope also remarked that, thanks to them, we understand that “life is a beautiful treasure, but it makes sense only if it is given”.
He went on to speak of a “broken educational pact”. “Society, the family, and various institutions delegate education to teachers who, generally underpaid, bear the burden of this responsibility and are berated if the outcome is not successful; however, no-one looks to the various institutions that have broken the educational pact, who have delegated it to the professionalism of teachers”. He paid homage to those teachers “who have found themselves with this hot potato in their hands and have made efforts to keep going”.
Francis explained that the aim of Scholas Occurrentes is to reintegrate the efforts of all in education, and to harmoniously rebuild the educational pact, “as only in this way, if all those of us who are responsible for the education of our young act in together, can we change education”. He also emphasised the importance of “harmonising the language of the head with that of the heart and of the hands, so that a person, a boy or a girl, thinks about what he feels and does, feels what he thinks and does, and does what he feels and thinks”.
He highlighted every person and every people's search for “the beauty we create with our art, our music, our painting, our sculpture, our literature. Educate in beauty, because harmony means beauty, and we cannot achieve harmony in our educational system without having this perception of beauty”. He concluded by thanking Scholas Occurrentes for its achievements and, while he acknowledged that many problems remained to be solved, he encouraged the organisation to continue its work. “Joint work and monitoring are necessary, so that this spark may become a flame, and may help to rebuild and harmonise the educational pact. Those who benefit from this are the young, and the young are the future”.
Consistory on 14 February and courtesy visits to the new cardinals
Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – On Saturday 14 February in St. Peter's Basilica, the Holy Father will preside at an Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new cardinals and the canonisation of Blessed Jeanne-Emilie De Villeneuve, foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Castres, Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified (nee Maryam Baouardy) professed nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites and Blesseed Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas (nee Maryam Sultanah), co-foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Jerusalem of the Latins.
On the same day, in the afternoon, the courtesy visits to the new cardinals will take place in the locations indicated below:
Paul VI Hall
Atrium: Cardinals Manuel Jose Macario do Nascimento Clemente; Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, C.M; John Atcherley Dew; Edoardo Menichelli; Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon and Alberto Suarez Inda;
Hall: Cardinals Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B. ;Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij; Francesco Montenegro; Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, S.D.B; Ricardo Blazquez Perez; Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, O.A.R; Arlindo Gomes Furtad and Soane Patita Paini Mafi;
Apostolic Palace
Sala Regia: Cardinals Dominique Mamberti and Luigi De Magistris;
Sala Ducal: Cardinals Karl-Joseph Rauber, Luis Hector Villalba and Julio Duarte Langa.
On Sunday 15 February, Pope Francis concelebrates Holy Mass with all the cardinals in St. Peter's Basilica at 10 a.m.
Showers and barber under Bernini's Colonnade for “homeless pilgrims”
Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – In recent days work has been concluded for the installation of new showers below Bernini’s Colonnade, thus completing an extensive project to provide this service for the poor of the city of Rome through the participating parishes, especially those where there already exist canteens for the poor or where there is a greater concentration of homeless people.
The project was planned, guided and implemented by the technicians and employees of the Governorate of Vatican City State: three showers and a small “barbershop” have been incorporated in the complete renovation of a section of the bathrooms present under the right wing of the Colonnade.
This has been achieved with great sobriety and dignity, but also using modern techniques: every washbasin is equipped with hot water, a soap dispenser and a hot air jet for drying hands, all photocell-activated; instead of tiles, a special resin has been used to coat the walls, which is easy to wash and ensures optimum hygiene.
The showers will be available for use every day, except on Wednesday during the general audience and during celebrations in St. Peter’s Square and in the Basilica. On Monday, Thursday and Saturday the service and management of the showers is ensured by volunteers from UNITALSI – Rome Section. The barber will be available on Monday from 9 am to 3 pm. The service is provided by various voluntary barbers and final year students from a hairdressing school in Rome.
Our homeless pilgrims who wish to use the shower will receive a complete change of underwear and a kit including a towel, soap, toothpaste, a razor, shaving cream and deodorant, in accordance with their specific needs. The majority of the material will be offered free of charge by several companies and private individuals who, having heard of this project, have offered to share their own resources with the needy. The remainder of the material will be purchased as necessary by the Almoner of His Holiness using proceeds from the distribution of parchments for Papal Blessings.
On certain days of the week the poor will be received by volunteers, starting with the Sisters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Albertine Sisters who assist the Swiss Guard, the Vincentian Sisters and many other kind-hearted volunteers in Rome who have offered their time and collaboration.
The Centro Televisivo Vaticano and the Photographic Service of L’Osservatore Romano will produce video footage and photographs of the new services and will make them available, from their offices, upon request.
The Almoner wishes to offer heartfelt thanks to all the Parishes that have participated in this project and, in particular, all those who have contributed to producing the showers below the Colonnade and who will endeavour in various ways to their use to assist the poor.
Audiences
Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy;
- His Beatitude Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites;
- Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru;
- Bishop Heinz Wilhelm Steckling of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- appointed Fr. Jozef Roszynski, S.V.D., as bishop of Wewak (area 36,917, population 367,000, Catholics 224,000, priests 39, religious 90), Papua New Guinea. The bishop-elect was born in Nidzica, Poland in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1989. He studied at the Divine Word University, Papua New Guinea and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest in parishes in Warabung, Wirui and Wewak; member of the provincial council of the Verbites in Papua New Guinea; superior of the the Verbites in the district of Wewak; member of commissions created by the apostolic administrator for the management of finances and for the pastoral care of the vacant diocese in Wewak. He is currently a missionary in the same diocese.
- Fr. Denis Chidi Isizoh as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Onitsha (area 2,968, population 2,642,000, Catholics 1,761,000, priests 336, religious 730), Nigeria. The bishop-elect was born in Ogbunike, Japan in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1985. He studied Holy Scriptures at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, and studied for a doctorate in biblical theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served as a formator at the “All Hallows” minor seminary of Onitsha and chaplain of various institutes and schools. He is currently secretary and assistant to Cardinal Francis Arinze and official at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Supreme Court of Canada strikes down existing protections against assisted Suicide



February 6, 2015 (Ottawa) — Today the Supreme Court of Canada has struck down Canada’s existing laws against assisted suicide which protected all Canadians including the elderly, the vulnerable and the disabled.
The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada has researched the effects of legalization in four jurisdictions that have legalized euthanasia/assisted suicide. These are Belgium (2002), the Netherlands (2002), Oregon (1997) and Washington State (2009).
Some of our findings include:

Belgium: A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that 32 percent of euthanasia deaths in Belgium happened without the express request of the patient. These patients were predominantly 80 years or older who were mostly in a coma or had dementia. Between 2002 and 2009, only 5 percent of euthanasia requests were denied.

Oregon: Since 2005, the number of deaths by assisted suicide has doubled. Prescriptions to kill patients grew by 76 percent, whereas the population grew by only seven percent.

Washington: Between 2009 and 2012, the number of deaths by assisted suicide grew by 130 percent while Washington’s population grew only 18 percent. Their law, which states that to qualify a person must be 18, competent and have a diagnosed incurable and irreversible disease with six months to live, has been deemed too restrictive. The push is on to make assisted suicide available to those who judge their suffering unbearable but are not terminally ill, as well as those who are not competent but have previously asked for assisted suicide in an advanced directive.

The Netherlands: The number of deaths by euthanasia doubled between 2008 and 2013. Under the Groningen Protocol, the right to assisted suicide has expanded to include babies. This protocol regulates the process of killing infants with life threatening illness and/or the prospect of great suffering.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada sees no evidence to believe “suicide creep” won’t also happen in Canada.
Furthermore, this decision will harm families, as we have noted in the past. What has been promoted as an individual right will have profound family and community effects.
Suffering can be alleviated through excellent palliative care, an area where Canadians are leaders in the field. Most Canadians currently do not have access to palliative care.

For further reading and for sources for the above data points, please check No second chancesWhat can the Dutch experience with euthanasia teach Canadaand The illusion of limiting legalized euthanasia.
IMFC Release

#PopeFrancis on Role of Women "...so that we can see many women involved in pastoral responsibilities"


Pope Francis meets with participants of the Pontifical Council for Culture plenary meeting on women - OSS_ROM
07/02/2015 12:

(Vatican Radio) The challenge to find new ways for women to be “full participants in the various areas of social and ecclesial life…can no longer be postponed,” said Pope Francis.
Speaking on Saturday with members of the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pope said a “more widespread and incisive female presence” in the Church “is desirable, so that we can see many women involved in pastoral responsibilities, in the accompaniment of persons, families and groups, as well as in theological reflection.”Council members were in Rome, from February 4 to 7, for their plenary assembly. The focus of this year’s plenary was “Women’s Cultures: Equality and Difference.”
The Pope said he is “convinced of the urgency of offering spaces to women in the life of the Church…, taking into account the specific and changing cultural and social sensitivities.”
The Pope noted, however, that  the “irreplaceable role of women in the family” cannot be forgotten. While the “effective presence of women” in the public sphere, in decision-making and in the world of work must be encouraged and promoted, so must their “presence and preferential attention for the family” be upheld.
Women must not be left alone to carry the burden of deciding between the family and an effective presence in public life, he said.
“Rather,” he continued, “all institutions, including the ecclesial community, are called to ensure freedom of choice for women, so that they have the possibility to take on social and ecclesial responsibilities in a way that is in harmony with family life.”
Referring to the perception and treatment of a woman’s body in culture and society, the Pope said  while it recalls the beauty and harmony that God granted the female body, it also recalls “the painful wounds” inflicted on women, “sometimes with brutal violence.”
In a reference to human trafficking and domestic violence, the Pope said, “the female body is unfortunately, not infrequently, attacked and disfigured, even by those who should be guardians and companions in life.”
“The many forms of slavery, of commodification, of mutilation of women's bodies, oblige us therefore to work to defeat this form of degradation, which reduces (a woman’s body) to a mere object to sell on various markets,” he emphasized.
The Pope said he also wished to draw attention to “the painful situation of so many poor women, forced to live in dangerous and exploitative conditions,” who are “relegated to the margins of society and made victims of a culture of waste.”
Below is the Vatican Radio translation of the main body of the Pope’s message:
...The topic that you chose is very close to my heart and already, on different occasions, I have been able to touch upon it and invite to further develop it. It consists of studying new criteria and ways, so that women feel not as guests, but as full participants in the various areas of social and ecclesial life. This is a challenge that can no longer be postponed. I say to the leaders of the Christian communities here, representing the universal Church, but also to laywomen and laymen, engaged in different ways in culture, education, economics, politics, the world of work, families, religious institutions. ...
The first theme is: Between equality and difference: seeking a balance. This aspect should not be approached ideologically, because the "lens" of ideology impedes one from seeing reality well. The equality and difference of women—like men—are perceived better from the perspective of “with”, of relationship, than “against”.  For some time, we have left behind us, at least in Western societies, the model of the social subordination of women to men, a secular model which, however, has never been spent of all its negative effects.
We have also overcome a second model, that of mere equality, applied mechanically, and of absolute equality. A new paradigm was configured, that of reciprocity and in equivalence and in difference. The man-woman relationship, therefore, should recognize that both are necessary in that they possess, yes, an identical nature, but with their own modality. One is necessary to the other, and vice versa, so as to truly fulfill the fullness of the person.
The second theme: "Generativity" as symbolic code. This turns an intense look to all mothers, and widens the horizon to the transmission and to the protection of life, not limited to the biological sphere, which we could synthesize with four verbs: desire, give birth to, take care of and let go.
In this context, I have in mind and I encourage the contribution of many women who work in the family, in the field of faith education, in pastoral activity, in education, but also in social, cultural and economic structures. You, women, know how to show the tender face of God, his mercy, which translates in the availability to give time more than to occupy spaces, to welcome rather than to exclude. In this sense, I like to describe the feminine dimension of the Church as a welcoming womb that regenerates life.
The third theme: The female body, between culture and biology, recalls for us the beauty and harmony of the body that God has given to women, but also the painful wounds inflicted, sometimes with brutal violence, to them as women. Symbol of life, the female body is, unfortunately, not infrequently, attacked and disfigured, even by those who should be guardians and companions in life.
The many forms of slavery, of commodification, of mutilation of women's bodies, oblige us therefore to work to defeat this form of degradation, which reduces (a woman’s body) to a mere object to sell on various markets. I wish to draw attention, in this context, on the painful situation of so many poor women, forced to live in dangerous and exploitative conditions, relegated to the margins of society and made victims of a culture of waste.
The fourth theme: Women and religion: fleeing or seeking participation in the life of the Church? Here, believers are challenged in a special way. I am convinced of the urgency of offering spaces to women in the life of the Church and to welcome them, taking into account the specific and changing cultural and social sensitivities. Therefore, a more widespread and incisive female presence in the Community is desirable, so that we can see many women involved in pastoral responsibilities, in the accompaniment of persons, families and groups, as well as in theological reflection.
We cannot forget the irreplaceable role of women in the family. The qualities of gentleness, of particular sensitivity and tenderness, which is abundant in the female soul, represent not only a genuine force for the life of families, for the irradiation of a climate of peace and harmony, but also a reality without which the human vocation would be unfeasible.
It is, furthermore, to encourage and to promote the effective presence of women in many areas of the public sphere, in the world of work and in places where the most important decisions are taken, and at the same time to uphold their presence and preferential attention, altogether special, in and for the family. We must not leave women alone to carry this burden and to make decisions. Rather, all institutions, including the ecclesial community, are called to ensure freedom of choice for women, so that they have the possibility to take on social and ecclesial responsibilities in a way that is in harmony with family life. Shared from Radio Vaticana

Today's Mass Readings : Saturday February 7, 2015

Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 328


Reading 1HEB 13:15-17, 20-21

Brothers and sisters:
Through Jesus, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise,
that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have;
God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.

Obey your leaders and defer to them,
for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account,
that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow,
for that would be of no advantage to you.

May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead
the great shepherd of the sheep
by the Blood of the eternal covenant,
furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will.
May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Responsorial PsalmPS 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

AlleluiaJN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 6:30-34

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.