Friday, November 6, 2015

Saint November 7 : St. Willibrord : Bishop : Patron of #Convulsions; #Epilepsy; #Netherlands

St. Willibrord

CONFESSOR, FIRST BISHOP OF UTRECHT
Feast: November 7
Information:
Feast Day:
November 7
Born:
658, Northumbria
Died:
November 7, 739
Major Shrine:
Echternach
Patron of:
convulsions; epilepsy; epileptics; Luxembourg; Netherlands

From his life, written by Alcuin, in two books, the one in prose, the other in verse, together with a homily, and an elegant poem in his honour. Also Bede, l. 5, Hist. c. 11, 12, and St. Boniface, ep. 97. See Batavia Sacra, p. 36, and Mabillon. Annal. Bened. t. 1, l. 18, sec. 4, and Acta Sanct. Ord. S. Bened. Sæc. 3, part 1, p. 601. Calmet, Hist. de Lorraine, t. 3, pr. et t. 1, app. Fabricius, Salutar. Luce Evang. c. 19, p. 442. A.D. 738.
ST. WILLIBRORD was born in the kingdom of Northumberland, towards the year 658, and placed by his virtuous parents, before he was seven years old, in the monastery of Rippon, which was at that time governed by St. Wilfrid, its founder. Wilgis, our saint’s father, retired also into a monastery, afterwards became a hermit, and in his old age founded and governed a small monastery between the ocean and the Humber. He is honoured among the saints in the monastery of Epternac, and in the English calendars. Alcuin has left us an account of his life Willibrord, by carrying the yoke of our Lord with fervour from his infancy, found it always easy and sweet, and the better to preserve the first fruits which he had gathered, made his monastic profession when he was very young. He had made great progress in virtue and sacred learning, when, out of a desire for further improvement, in the twentieth year of his age, he went over into Ireland, with the consent of his abbot and brethren, where he joined St. Egbert or Ecgbright, and the blessed Wigbert, who were gone thither before upon the same errand. In their company our saint spent twelve years in the study of the sacred sciences, and in the most fervent exercise of all virtues. Though his constitution was weak, in fervour and exactness, he outdid the most advanced; he was humble, modest, and of an easy obliging temper; and his whole conduct was regular and uniform. St. Egbert had long entertained an ardent desire of going to preach the gospel to the inhabitants of those unhappy countries, in which barbarism and idolatry still reigned without control, and he had chiefly Friesland or Lower Germany in his eye. But he was diverted from that apostolical design by persons of piety and authority, who engaged him to employ his zealous labours in the islands between Ireland and Scotland, in all which he settled the true manner of celebrating Easter; especially at Hij, where he died a little before Bede wrote his history. St. Egbert is honoured in the English Calendar on the 24th of April. Bede gives a most edifying account of his austere penance, devotion, zeal, and charity. His companion, the holy priest Wigbert, went in the mean time to Friesland; but after staying there two years came back without having met with any prospect of success. This disappointment did not discourage Egbert, and other zealous promoters of this mission; but excited them the more earnestly to solicit the divine mercy with prayers and tears in favour of so many souls, who were perishing eternally. Willibrord, who was then about thirty-one years of age, and had been ordained priest a year before, expressed a great desire to be allowed by his superiors to undertake this laborious and dangerous charge. St. Egbert, by the known zeal and great talents of our saint, and by his cheerfulness, which sufficiently showed him prepared to encounter all difficulties in the prosecution of such a work, doubted not but God had reserved to him the conversion of that nation, and encouraged him in this zealous design. St. Willibrord was joined by St. Swidbert and ten other English monks in this mission. 1 The Frisons, who had formerly occupied a large tract of country on the coasts of the German ocean, crossing the Rhine into Belgic Gaul, had possessed themselves of those provinces about the mouth of the Rhine, which the Catti, who were also originally Germans, then held. 1 Among all the German nations none maintained their liberty against the Romans, with greater success and courage, than the Frisons. Procopius tells us, 2 that some of them came into Britain with the English Saxons: and by their situation they were doubtless the most expert in maritime affairs. St. Ludger 3 mentions that Swidbert, and the rest of these zealous preachers, were desirous to carry the light of the faith to these people, because their ancestors sprang from them. St. Eligius, bishop of Noyon, had preached in part of Friesland, and St. Wilfrid had sown there the seeds of our holy faith in 678. But these seem to have been almost rooted out 4 before St. Willibrord’s arrival in 690 or 691. The authors of Batavia Sacra 5 doubt not but our twelve missionaries landed at Catwic upon the sea, which was at the mouth of the Rhine before it was blocked up with sands, and thither the English were accustomed to export corn, even from the north coasting part of their island; the British tower, as it was called, was built by the Romans at Catwic to defend this harbour. 6 This old channel was not entirely obstructed in 1050, as appears from the Chronicle of Woerden. 7 And Alcuin expressly says, that these missionaries landed at the mouth of the Rhine, and travelled thence to Utrecht, a town built by the Romans at the great passage over the Rhine; whence it was called Trajectum, afterwards Trecht, and lastly Utrecht, (from Outrecht, the Old Passage, and Ultrajectum, or Passage at the town Vulta,) to distinguish it from the ancient town of Maestricht or Passage over the Maese. Pepin of Herstal, or the Big, who was at that time duke of the French, and mayor of the king’s palace, and had lately conquered part of Friesland, received courteously St. Willibrord and his companions. But Willibrord set out for Rome, and cast himself at the feet of Pope Sergius, begging his apostolic blessing and authority to preach the gospel to idolatrous nations. The pope, charmed with his zeal and sanctity, granted him the most ample licenses for that purpose, and gave him a great quantity of relics for the consecration of churches. With this treasure the saint returned with all possible expedition to his province, considering the pressing necessities and dangers of so many souls which called for his compassion and relief. St. Swibert was taken from him and ordained bishop of the Borroctuarians, who seemed to have inhabited the territory of Berg, and the neighbouring country towards Cologne.
St. Willibrord, with his ten other companions, under the protection of Pepin, preached the gospel with wonderful success, in that part of Friesland that had been conquered by the French; so that after six years, Pepin, by the advice of his bishops, sent the saint to Rome, with strong letters of recommendation, that he might be ordained bishop. His humility made him endeavour that some other should be pitched upon for that dignity; but he was not heard. Pope Sergius, who still sat in St. Peter’s chair, received him with great marks of honour, changed his name into that of Clement, with great solemnity ordained him archbishop of the Frisons in St. Peter’s church, and gave him the pallium with authority to fix his see in what part of the country he should think most convenient. The holy man staid only fourteen days in Rome, being impatient to return to his flock, and regretting an hour’s absence from them, more than was necessary to procure them greater advantages. He came back to Utrecht the same year, 696, and chose that city for his residence, Pepin having bestowed on him the royal castle of Viltaburg, which, as Bede assures us, 8 was at Utrecht, though Cluverius will have it to have been the present Wiltenburg, three miles and a half from Utrecht; but this town itself was called Vulta, or the city of the Vultæ. 9 St. Willibrord built at Utrecht the church of our Saviour, in which he fixed his metropolitical see, says St. Boniface, 10 and that of St. Martin, though this latter he only restored, for it had been a church, but destroyed by the Pagans. 11 Heda and Beka think it had been built by king Dagobert, at the desire of St. Wilfrid. This latter church became afterwards the cathedral, and both were served by colleges of canons. The archbishop’s indefatigable application to the conversion of souls seemed to prove, that with the new obligation he had received at his consecration, of labouring to enlarge the kingdom of his Divine Master, he had acquired fresh strength and a considerable augmentation of his zeal. In the second year after his episcopal consecration, assisted by the liberality of Pepin, and the abbess Irmina, who is said to have been daughter of Dagobert II., he founded, in 698, the abbey of Epternac, in the diocess of Triers, and now in the duchy of Luxemburg, 12 which he governed to his death. Alcuin relates, that the nunnery of Horrea, of which Irmina was abbess, had been delivered from a pestilence by water, blessed by St. Willibrord, and by his saying mass in the church. Pepin of Herstal, before his death put away his concubine, Alpais, by whom he had Charles Martel, and was reconciled to his wife Plectrudis, and in his last will, which is signed by Plectrudis, he recommended to St. Willibrord, his nephews, (without any mention of his natural son Charles,) and bestowed on our saint the village of Swestram, now Susteren, in the duchy of Juliers, near the Mews, with which the holy man endowed a nunnery which he built there. 13 3 Pepin of Herstal died in December, 714. A little before his death, Charles Martel’s son, Pepin the Short, afterwards king of France, was born, and baptized by St. Willibrord, who on that occasion is related by Alcuin to have prophesied, that the child would surpass in glory all his ancestors. Charles Martel in a short time became mayor of the palace, and approved himself equally the first general and statesman of his age. In 723, he settled upon the monastery which St. Willibrord had erected at Utrecht to serve his cathedral, all the royal revenues belonging to his castle there. 14 Of this monastery St. Gregory was afterwards abbot; in succeeding times it was secularized. Several other donations of estates made by Charles Martel to several churches founded by our saint, may be seen in Miræus and others. By a charter, that prince conferred on him the royalties of the city of Utrecht with its dependencies and appurtenances. 15 By such establishments our saint sought to perpetuate the work of God. Not content to have planted the faith in the country which the French had conquered, he extended his labours into West-Friesland, which obeyed Radbod, prince or king of the Frisons, who continued an obstinate idolater; yet hindered not the saint’s preaching to his subjects, and he himself sometimes listened to him. The new apostle penetrated also into Denmark: but Ongend, (perhaps Biorn,) who then reigned there, a monster of cruelty rather than a man, was hardened in his malice, and his example had a great influence over his subjects. The man of God, however, for the first fruits of this country, purchased thirty young Danish boys, whom he instructed, baptized, and brought back with him. In his return he was driven by stress of weather upon the famous pagan island, called Fositeland, now Amelandt, on the coast of Friesland, six leagues from Leuwarden, to the north, a place then esteemed by the Danes and Frisons as most sacred in honour of the idol Fosite. It was looked upon as an unpardonable sacrilege, for any one to kill any living creature in that island, to eat of any thing that grew in it, or to draw water out of a spring there without observing the strictest silence. St. Willibrord, to undeceive the inhabitants, killed some of the beasts for his companions to eat, and baptized three persons in the fountain, pronouncing the words aloud. The idolaters expected to see them run mad or drop down dead: and seeing no such judgment befal them, could not determine whether this was to be attributed to the patience of their god, or to his want of power. They informed Radbod, who, transported with rage, ordered lots to be cast three times a day, for three days together, and the fate of the delinquents to be determined by them. God so directed it that the lot never fell upon Willibrord; but one of his company was sacrificed to the superstition of the people, and died a martyr for Jesus Christ. 4
The saint, upon leaving Amelandt, directed his course to Warckeren, one of the chief islands belonging to Zealand. His charity and patience made considerable conquests to the Christian religion there, and he established several churches. After the death of Radbod, which happened in 719, Willibrord was at full liberty to preach in every part of the country. He was joined in his apostolical labours, in 720, by St. Boniface, who spent three years in Friesland: then went into Germany. Bede says, when he wrote his history in 731, “Willibrord, surnamed Clement, is still living, venerable for his old age, having been bishop thirty-six years, and sighing after the rewards of the heavenly life, after many conflicts in the heavenly warfare.” 16 He was, says Alcuin, of a becoming stature, venerable in his aspect, comely in his person, graceful and always cheerful in his speech and countenance, wise in his counsel, unwearied in preaching and all apostolic functions, amidst which he was careful to nourish the interior life of his soul by assiduous prayer, singing of psalms, watching, and fasting. Alcuin, who wrote about fifty years after his death, assures us, that this apostle was endowed with the gift of miracles, and relates, that whilst he preached in the isle of Warckeren, where the towns of Flessingue and Middleburg are since built, going from village to village, he found in one of them a famous idol to which the people were offering their vows and sacrifices, and full of holy zeal threw it down, and broke it in pieces. In the mean time an idolater, who was the priest and guardian of the idol, gave him a blow on the head with his backsword, with which, nevertheless, the saint was not hurt: and he would not suffer the assassin to be touched, or prosecuted. But the unhappy man was soon after possessed with a devil, and lost his senses. By the tears, prayers, and zealous labours of this apostle and his colleagues, the faith was planted in most parts of Holland, Zealand, and all the remaining part of the Netherlands, whither St. Amand and St. Lebwin had never penetrated; and the Frisons, till then a rough and most barbarous people, were civilized, and became eminent for virtue, and the culture of arts and sciences. St. Wulfran, archbishop of Sens, and others, excited by the success of our saint’s missions, were ambitious to share in so great a work under his direction. St. Willibrord was exceedingly cautious in admitting persons to holy orders, fearing lest one unworthy or slothful minister should defeat by scandal, all the good which the divine mercy had begun for the salvation of many souls. It is also mentioned of him, that he was very strict and diligent in examining and preparing thoroughly those whom he admitted to baptism, dreading the condemnation which those incur, who, by sloth or facility, open a door to the profanation of our most tremendous mysteries. The schools which St. Willibrord left at Utrecht, were very famous. 17 Being at length quite broken with old age he resigned the administration of his diocess to a coadjutor whom he ordained bishop, 18 and in retirement prepared himself for eternity. He died, according to Pagi, in 739; according to Mabillon, in 740 or 741, and according to Mr. Smith, 19 in 745, some adhering to Alcuin, others to Bede, &c. St. Boniface says, that St. Willibrord spent fifty years in preaching the gospel, 20 which Mr. Smith dates from his episcopal consecration; Mabillon, 21 from his coming into Friesland: but others think these fifty years mean only thereabouts. For Alcuin says, he came into Friesland in the thirty-third year of his age, and lived eighty-one years; which account only allows him forty-eight years employed in preaching. But, if St. Boniface comprises the two years in which he preached in Ireland, and the Scottish islands, his Chronology agrees with Alcuin’s dates, and it follows that St. Willibrord died in 738: which is confirmed by the Chronicle of Epternac, compiled from the Necrology and manuscript registers of that monastery. Alcuin and Rabanus Maurus place his death on the 6th of November: but the Chronicle of Epternac, Usuard, Ado, and the Roman and Benedictin Martyrologies commemorate him on the 7th. He was buried, as he had desired, at his monastery of Epternac, and his relics are there enshrined at this day. The portative altar which he made use of for the celebration of the divine mysteries, in travelling through Friesland, Zealand, and Holland, is kept in the Benedictin abbey of our Lady ad martyres, at Triers. 22 St. Willibrord’s Testament in favour of his monastery of Epternac was published by F. Ch. Scribanius, S. J. in his Antwerp, by Miræus, 23 with notes by Boschart; and by Calmet, among the proofs of his History of Lorrain. 24 From Live of the Saints by Butler

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06-11-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 196 

Summary
- The Pope receives the governor general of Grenada
- Francis: helping human life means reaching out to those in need
- The Pope is interviewed by the newspaper Straatnieuws: “The Church teaches that everyone has the right to work, a home and the earth”
- Christians and Hindus: promoting human ecology together
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts

- Pope's message at the Global Christian Forum on religious persecution of Christians
- Audiences
The Pope receives the governor general of Grenada
Vatican City, 6 November 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace Pope Francis received in audience the governor general of Grenada, Cecile Ellen Fleurette La Grenade, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
During the cordial discussions, emphasis was placed on the good bilateral relations between the Holy See and Grenada, as well as the important contribution of the Catholic Church to the development of the country, especially with reference to social challenges and the education of the young.
Finally, this was followed by an overview of the situation of the Caribbean region, with particular reference to economic problems and environmental issues linked to climate changes.
Francis: helping human life means reaching out to those in need
Vatican City, 6 November 2015 (VIS) - “I encourage you to continue your important work in favour of life from conception until its natural end, also taking into account the conditions of suffering that many brothers and sisters have to face and at times submit to”, said Pope Francis this morning as he received, in the Sala Regia, the 510 participants in the Congress of the Movement for Life being held in Sacrofano, Italy from 6 to 8 November.
“In existential dynamics everything is related, and we need to nurture a personal and social sensibility both towards the welcoming of a new life and towards those situations of poverty and exploitation that affect the weakest and most disadvantaged. On the one hand, 'how can be genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo?”. On the other, 'human life itself is a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement'”, he affirmed, citing his encyclical “Laudato si'” and adding that “indeed, we must note sadly that there are many people who experience uncomfortable conditions of life, who require our attention and our solidarity”.
“For Christ's disciples, helping wounded human life meant going towards people in need, putting themselves by their sides, and taking on board their frailty and suffering so as to relieve them. How many families are vulnerable due to poverty, illness, unemployment and homelessness? How many elderly people suffer the burden of suffering and loneliness? How many young people are lost, threatened by addiction and other forms of slavery, waiting to rediscover trust in life? These people, wounded in body and spirit, are icons of that man of the Gospel who, travelling the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, ran into some brigands who robbed and beat him. He experienced first the indifference of some, and then the closeness of the good Samaritan”.
On this path, “that crosses the desert of life, even in our times there are still many wounded people, caused by today's brigands, who despoil them not only of their belongings but also of their dignity. Faced with the suffering and need of our defenceless brothers, some turn away or move on, whereas others stop and respond with generous dedication to their cry for help. You, members of the Movement for Life, have sought to imitate the good Samaritan during the forty years of your activity. Before the various forms of threats to human life, you have approached the frailty of others, you have taken action so that in society there may no longer be excluded or marginalised who live in precarious conditions”.
The Pope again thanked the members of the Movement for their work, and invited them to continue “to protect the most vulnerable people, who have the right to be born into life, as well as those who ask for a healthier and more dignified existence. In particular, there is a need to work at different levels and with perseverance, in the promotion and defence of the family, society's foremost resource, especially with reference to the gift of children and the affirmation of the dignity of the woman”.
To this end, he concluded, “I would like to underline that in your activity, you have always welcomed everyone regardless of religion and nationality. The relevant number of women, especially immigrants, who attend your centres show that when women are offered concrete support, in spite of problems and influences, they are able to make the sense of love, life and maternity triumph within them”.
The Pope is interviewed by the newspaper Straatnieuws: “The Church teaches that everyone has the right to work, a home and the earth”
Vatican City, 6 November 2015 (VIS) – The Dutch newspaper “Straatnieuws”, published by the homeless, today published an interview granted by Pope Francis on 27 October. The article is also present in other dailies of the same type associated with the International Network of Street Papers (INSP), which has 113 members. This type of publication is sold directly by the homeless, thus providing them with a source of income.
The following are extensive extracts from the interview, especially with the theme of poverty.
Interviewer: What is the Church's message for the homeless? What does Christian solidarity mean for them in practice?
Pope Francis: “Two things come to mind. Jesus came to the world homeless, and made Himself poor. Then, the Church wishes to embrace all and to say that it is a right to have a roof over your head. In popular movements they work according to the three Spanish 't's: trabajo (work), techo (casa) and tierra (earth). The Church teaches that every person has a right to all three”.
Interviewer: You often ask for attention to the poor and refugees. Do you not fear that in this way a sort of weariness in relation to this theme may be generated in the mass media or in society in general?
Pope Francis: “When we return to a theme that is not pleasant, because it is disagreeable to talk about it, we are all tempted to say. 'That's enough, I am tired of this'. I feel that this weariness exists, but I am not afraid of it. I must continue to speak the truth and say how these things are”.
Interviewer: Are you not afraid that your defence of solidarity and assistance for the homeless and other poor people may be exploited politically? How should the Church speak in order to be influential and at the same time remain external to political affiliations?
Pope Francis: “There are roads that lead to errors in this regard. I would like to underline two temptations. The Church must speak truthfully and also by her witness: the witness of poverty. If a believer speaks about poverty or the homeless and lives like a pharaoh, this is not good. This is the first temptation.
“The second temptation is to make agreements with governments. Agreements can be made but they must be clear and transparent. For example, we manage this building, but the accounts are all audited, in order to avoid corruption, as there is always the temptation to corruption in public life, both political and religious. … Once I asked a question to a minister in Argentina, an honest man – one who left his post because he could not reconcile himself with various obscure aspects. I asked him: when you give assistance in the form of meals, clothing or money to the poor and needy, what percentage of what you send arrives? And he answered, 35 per cent. That means that 65 per cent is lost. It is corruption: a cut for me, another cut for you”.
Interviewer: Your namesake St. Francis chose radical poverty and even sold his evangeliarium. As the Pope, and bishop of Rome, do you ever feel under pressure to sell the Church's treasures?
Pope Francis: “This is an easy question. They are not the treasures of the Church, they are treasures of humanity. For example, if tomorrow I decide to put Michelangelo's Pieta up for auction, I cannot do this, since it is not the property of the Church. It is kept in a church but it belongs to humanity. This is true of all the treasures of the Church. But we have started to sell gifts and other things that are given to me, and the proceeds from sales go to Msgr. Krajewski, who is my almoner. Then there is the lottery. There were cars that have all been sold or given away with a lottery and the proceeds are used for the poor. There are things that can be sold, and we sell these”.
Interviewer: Are you aware that the wealth of the Church can give rise to this type of expectation?
Pope Francis: “Yes, if we make a catalogue of the assets of the Church, it seems that the Church is very rich. But when the Concordat was made with Italy in 1929 on the Roman Question, the Italian government at the time offered to the Church a large park in Rome. And the then Pope Pius XI said no, I would like just half a square kilometre to guarantee the Church's independence. This principle still stands.
“Yes, the real estate of the Church is considerable, but we use it to maintain the structures of the Church and to maintain many works that are carried out in countries in need: hospitals and schools. Yesterday, for example, I asked for 50,000 euros to be sent to Congo to build three schools in poor villages, as education is important for children. They went to the competent administration, I made the request, and the money was sent”.
Interviewer: Holy Father, is it possible to imagine a world without the poor?
Pope Francis: “I would like a world without the poor. We must fight for this. But I am a believer and I know that sin is always within us. And there is always human greed, the lack of solidarity, the selfishness that creates poverty. Therefore, would seem difficult to me to imagine a world without the poor. If you think about children exploited for slave labour, or sexually abused children. And another form of exploitation: children killed for the trafficking of organs. Killing children to remove their organs is greed. Therefore, I do not know if we will be able to make a world without poverty, because sin is always there and leads to selfishness. But we must always fight, always ...”.
Christians and Hindus: promoting human ecology together
Vatican City, 6 November 2015 (VIS) – Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, has written a message to the followers of Hinduism on the occasion of Deepavali, the Festival of Lights, which will be celebrated on 11 November this year. The message, entitled “Christians and Hindus: promoting human ecology together”, is also signed by Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J, secretary of the same dicastery.
In the text, Cardinal Tauran comments that Pope Francis, in his recent encyclical “Laudato si'”, addresses the environmental and human ecological crisis threatening our planet. “Thus we deem it opportune to share, in keeping with our cherished tradition, some thoughts on the need to promote human ecology, and to foster a rediscovery of the interconnectedness of creation. Human ecology points to the relationship and responsibility which humans have towards the earth and to the cultivation of 'ecological virtues'. These virtues include a sustainable use of the earth's resources through the adoption of policies, at national and international levels, which respect the interconnectedness and interdependence of human beings and nature. These issues, as we know, have a direct bearing not only on the current health of our earth – the home of the human family – but also for generations to come”.
“Human selfishness, as evidenced in consumerist and hedonistic tendencies in some individuals and groups, nurtures an insatiable desire to be 'masters' and 'conquerors' rather than 'guardians' and 'stewards' of nature. We are all called, regardless of religious belief or national identity, to live with a greater responsibility towards nature, to nurture life-giving relationships and, most of all, to reorder our lifestyles and economic structures according to the ecological challenges facing us. Your tradition stresses the 'oneness' of nature, humanity and the divine. The Christian faith teaches that the created world is God's gift to all human beings. As stewards of the created order, we are called to care for it responsibly and resolutely”.
“There is an inseparable link between our harmony with creation and our peace with one another. If peace is to prevail in the world, we must, together and as individuals, consciously give ourselves to 'protecting nature, defending the poor, and building networks of respect and fraternity'. Promotion of human ecology requires formation and education, at all levels, in ecological consciousness and responsibility, and in the wise stewardship of the earth's resources. This begins in the family, 'the first and fundamental structure for 'human ecology in which man receives his formative ideas about truth and goodness, and learns what it means to love and to be loved, and thus what it actually means to be a person'. Educational and governmental structures have a responsibility to form citizens in a proper understanding of human ecology and its relationship to the future of humanity and the created world”.
“United by our humanity and mutual responsibility, as well as our shared values and convictions, may we Hindus and Christians, together with people of all religious traditions and good will, always foster a culture which promotes human ecology. In this way, there will be harmony within us, and in our relationships with others, with nature and with God, which will 'favour the growth of the tree of peace'”.
“Praying for a healthy ecology and creating awareness of the various ways to care for creation is a truly ennobling work. Pope Francis has instituted, therefore, an annual 'World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation' to be observed on 1 September. It is hoped that this initiative will increase awareness among all people of the need to be good stewards of creation and, thereby, promote a true human ecology”.
Audiences
Vatican City, 6 November 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;
- Archbishop Celestino Migliore, apostolic nuncio in Poland.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 6 November 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Bishop Juan Jose Omella Omella of Calahorra y La Calzada-Logrono, Spain as archbishop of Barcelona (area 340, population 2,657,000, Catholics 2,116,479, priests 826, permanent deacons 46, religious 3,092), Spain.
- Bishop Jozef de Kesel of Bruges, Belgium, as archbishop of Malines-Bruxelles (area 3,635, population 2,825,000, Catholics 1,807,000, priests 1,794, permanent deacons 88, religious 3,249), Belgium. He succeeds Archbishop Andre Leonard, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.
- Bishop Jozef de Kesel as military ordinary for Belgium.
05-11-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 195 
Pope's message at the Global Christian Forum on religious persecution of Christians
Vatican City, 5 November 2015 (VIS) – A message was published today from the Holy Father to Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, and all the participants in the meeting of the Global Christian Forum which took place in Tirana, Albania from 2 to 4 November on the theme “Discrimination, persecution, martyrdom: following Christ together”.
The Pope extends special greetings to brothers and sisters of different Christian traditions who represent communities suffering for their profession of faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. “I think with great sadness of the escalating discrimination and persecution against Christians in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and elsewhere throughout the world. Your gathering shows that, as Christians, we are not indifferent to our suffering brothers and sisters”.
“In various parts of the world, the witness to Christ, even to the shedding of blood, has become a shared experience of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, which is deeper and stronger than the differences which still separate our Churches and Ecclesial Communities”, the Pope observed. “The communio martyrum is the greatest sign of our journeying together. At the same time, your gathering will give voice to the victims of such injustice and violence, and seek to show the path that will lead the human family out of this tragic situation”.
Francis concludes by assuring all those present of his spiritual closeness, and expressing his hope that the martyrs of today, belonging to many Christian traditions, “help us to understand that all the baptised are members of the same Body of Christ, His Church. Let us see this profound truth as a call to persevere on our ecumenical journey towards full and visible communion, growing more and more in love and mutual understanding”.
The Forum urged persecutors to cease their violence, and exhorted governments to respect and protect religious freedom, and especially to protect Christians and others persecuted for their religious beliefs and the media to reflect appropriately on violations of religious freedom and the discrimination and persecution of Christians.
During the three days of the meeting, the participants began the day with prayer in the orthodox cathedral of Tirana, dedicated to the Resurrection of Christ, the Centre of the Evangelical Alliance of Albania, and the Catholic St. Paul's Cathedral, to pray for the 200 million Christians persecuted in the world. The Forum concluded on the day on which Albanese Catholics commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first Mass celebrated in the Catholic cemetery of Scutari by a priest who survived 50 years of atheist communism in Albania.
Audiences
Vatican City, 5 November 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Stanislaw Tillich, minister-president of Saxony, Federal Republic of Germany, with his wife and entourage;
- Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy;
- Archbishop Joseph Marino, apostolic nuncio in Malaysia and East Timor, and apostolic delegate in Brunei Darussalam;
- Archbishop Charles Henry Dufour of Kingston in Jamaica, Jamaica;
- Habeeb Mohammed Hadi Al-Sadr, ambassador of the Republic of Iraq, on his farewell visit.

#PopeFrancis to #ProLife Group "...continue your important work in favor of life from conception to its natural end..." FULL TEXT/Video

Pope Francis on Friday (6th November) met participants at a conference of the Italian Pro-Life Movement (Movimento per la Vita).
Here is a Zenit translation of the Pope’s address to participants in the 35th Italian National Congress of Centers of Aid to Life.
* * * Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Pro-Life Movement!
You have come to Rome from all parts of Italy to take part in your National Congress and to renew once again your commitment to defend and promote human life. I greet you all cordially, beginning with your President, whom I thank for the words with which he introduced this meeting. I encourage you to continue your important work in favor of life from conception to its natural end, also taking into account the deeply-felt conditions that so many brothers and sisters must face and sometimes suffer.
In the existential dynamics everything is in relation, and one must nurture personal and social sensibility be it in the reception of a new life be it in those situations of poverty and exploitation that strike the weakest and most disadvantaged persons. If on one hand “How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, … if we fail to protect a human embryo,” (Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, 120), on the other hand “human life is itself a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement” (Ibid., 5). In fact, we witness with sorrow that many persons are tried by difficult conditions of life, which call for our attention and our solidaristic commitment. Yours is not only a social service, although rightful and noble. For Christ’s disciples, to help wounded human life means to go and encounter persons in need, to put oneself at their side, to take charge of their fragility and pain, so that they can rise again. How many families are vulnerable because of poverty, sickness, lack of work and of a house! How many elderly endure the weight of suffering and of loneliness! How many young people are lost, menaced by dependences and other slaveries, and who wait to find confidence again in life! These persons, wounded in body and spirit, are icons of that man of the Gospel that, traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, fell into the hands of brigands that robbed and beat him. He first felt the indifference of some and then the closeness of the Good Samaritan (cf. Luke 10:30-37).
On that road, which crosses the desert of life, in our time also there are so many wounded, because of today’s brigands, who strip them not only of their goods but also of their dignity. And in face of the pain and the needs of these vulnerable brothers of ours, some turn away and go on, while others stop and respond with generous dedication to their cry for help. You, adherents of the Pro-Life Movement, have sought, in forty years of activity, to imitate the Good Samaritan. In face of various forms of menaces to human life, you have approached the fragility of your neighbor, and have worked so that those that live in precarious conditions are not excluded and discarded. Through the capillary endeavor of the “Centers of Aid to Life,” spread throughout Italy, you have been occasions of hope and rebirth for so many persons.
I thank you for the good you have done and do with so much love, and I encourage you to continue with confidence on this path, continuing to be Good Samaritans! Do not tire of working for the protection of the most vulnerable persons, who have the right to be born to life, as well as of all those that ask for a healthier and more fitting existence. In particular, there is need to work, at different levels and with perseverance, in the promotion and defense of the family, first resource of society, especially in reference to the gift of children and the affirmation of the dignity of woman. In this connection, I am pleased to stress that in your activity, you have always received everyone, regardless of their religion and nationality. The important number of women, especially immigrants, that turn to your Centers shows that when a concrete support is offered, a woman, notwithstanding her problems and conditionings, is able to have triumph within herself the meaning of love, of life and of maternity.
Dear brothers and sisters, I am certain that your activity, but even before that your spirituality, will receive a special benefit from the imminent Holy Year of Mercy. May it be for you a strong stimulus to interior renewal, to become “merciful as our Father is merciful” (cf. Luke 6:36). I entrust each one of you and all your projects of goodness to Mary, Mother of the living. I accompany you with my blessing and I ask you, please, to pray for me.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Fri. November 6, 2015 - #1stFriday


Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 489


Reading 1ROM 15:14-21

I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters,
that you yourselves are full of goodness,
filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.
But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you,
because of the grace given me by God
to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles
in performing the priestly service of the Gospel of God,
so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable,
sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast in what pertains to God.
For I will not dare to speak of anything
except what Christ has accomplished through me
to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed,
by the power of signs and wonders,
by the power of the Spirit of God,
so that from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum
I have finished preaching the Gospel of Christ.
Thus I aspire to proclaim the Gospel
not where Christ has already been named,
so that I do not build on another’s foundation,
but as it is written:

Those who have never been told of him shall see,
and those who have never heard of him shall understand.

Responsorial PsalmPS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. (see 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

Alleluia1 JN 2:5

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever keeps the word of Christ,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 16:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light.”

#PopeFrancis “No to climbers, attached to money, in the Church” #Homily

Pope Francis preaches at the daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta. - OSS_ROM
Pope Francis preaches at the daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta. - OSS_ROM
06/11/2015 12:08


(Vatican Radio) In his homily during Mass on Friday morning, Pope Francis said the Church is called to serve, not to be concerned solely with business affairs; and that Bishops and priests must overcome the temptation to live a “double life.” He warned, too, about “climbers,” those who are attached to money.
Listen: 
Pope Francis developed his homily based on two images of servants presented in the readings from the day’s liturgy. First, he presented the figure of Saint Paul “who gave himself completely to service, always” such that he ended up in Rome betrayed by those who were close to him, and “condemned.” Where did this greatness of the Apostles come from? the Pope asked. It came from Jesus Christ, and Saint Paul “boasts of serving Him, of being chosen, of having the strength of the Holy Spirit.”
The Christian is called to serve, not to be served
He was the servant who served, the Pope said, “he ministered, laying the foundation, that is, announcing Jesus Christ” and “he never stopped to take advantage of his position, of his authority, of being served. He was a minister, a servant in order to serve, not to be served.”
“I tell you how much joy I have,” Pope Francis said, “what moves me, when in this Mass some priests come up and greet me: ‘O Father, I have come here to find my own people, because for forty years I have been a missionary in the Amazon.’ Or a sister who says, ‘No, I have worked for thirty years in a hospital in Africa.’ Or when I find a little sister who for thirty, forty years is working in the department of the hospital with the disabled, always smiling. This is called ‘serving,’ this is the joy of the Church: going out to others, always; going out to others and giving life. This is what Paul did: serving.”
“No to climbers, attached to money, in the Church”
In the Gospel, the Pope said, the Lord shows us the image of another servant, “who instead of serving others is served by them.” He continued, “We have read what this servant did, how he acted with shrewdness, in order to remain in his position.”
“In the Church, too, there are these kinds of people, who instead of serving, of thinking of others, of laying the foundations, are served by the Church: ‘climbers,’ those who are attached to money. And how many priests and Bishops like this have we seen? It’s sad to speak of it, isn’t it? The radical character of the Gospel, of the call of Jesus Christ: to serve, to be at the service [of others], of not stopping for oneself, going out to others always, being forgetful of oneself. And the comfort of the state: I have reached a certain state and I live comfortably, without integrity, like those Pharisees Jesus spoke about, who go out into the public square to be seen by others.”
A Church that does not serves becomes a business-like Church
The Pope described “two images of Christians, two images of priests, two images of sisters.” And Jesus, he said, “makes us see this model in Paul, this Church that never stops” that “always goes forward and shows us the path.”
“Instead, when the Church is tepid, closed in on itself, businesslike, it cannot be said to be a Church that serves, that is at the service [of others], but rather [it must be said] that it is using others. May the Lord give us the grace He gave to Paul, that point of pride of always going forward, always, renouncing, time and again, its own comfort; and may He save us from temptations, from those temptations which at their base are temptations to a double life: I see myself as a minister, that is, as one who serves, but at the base I am served by others.”