Friday, December 4, 2015

Latest #News of #Vatican Information Service and #PopeFrancis at #HolySee

  • Audience with the president of the Philippines: dialogue in Filipino society and peace in Mindanao
  • The Pope thanks the Council for the Economy
  • First sermon of Advent: Christ, light of the people
  • The Jubilee of Mercy is at hand
  • Audiences

  • VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

    Friday, December 4, 2015

    Audience with the president of the Philippines: dialogue in Filipino society and peace in Mindanao

    Vatican City, 4 December 2015 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president of the Republic of the Philippines, Benigno S. Aquino III, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States.

    During the cordial discussions, the dialogue between the various members of Filipino society was evoked, as well as the contribution of the Catholic Church to the life of the country. Special reference was made to the peace process in Mindanao, with the hope that commitment from the Parties may guarantee stable and lasting peace to the region.

    This was followed by an exchange of opinions on the international and regional situation, with special reference to the question of climate change and the COP21 Conference in Paris.

    The Pope thanks the Council for the Economy

    Vatican City, 4 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today announced that a according to a communique issued yesterday, 3 December, the Holy Father participated in a meeting of the Council for the Economy. The Holy Father explained that the reason for his visit was to personally thank and encourage Council members for the important role they fulfil in the supervision of the financial and administrative structures of the Holy See. He further confirmed the central role of the Council in this work of reform to which the Holy Father is committed.

    On behalf of the Council, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the Coordinator of the Council, warmly thanked the Holy Father for his presence at the meeting and reconfirmed its full commitment to the financial and administrative reforms initiated by Pope Francis. Since its institution the Council has dedicated significant time and energy to the consideration and eventual implementation of measures aimed at transparency and a more effective management of the resources of the Holy See.

    First sermon of Advent: Christ, light of the people

    Vatican City, 4 December 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Redemptoris Mater chapel, in the presence of the Holy Father, the preacher of the Papal Household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., pronounced the first sermon of Advent, on the theme “Christ, light of the people: three meditations on Lumen Gentium on the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of Vatican Council II”.

    The Jubilee of Mercy is at hand

    Vatican City, 4 December 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation, along with Bishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arenas and Msgr. Graham Bell, respectively secretary and under-secretary of the same dicastery, presented the organisation of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016) and the ways in which the faithful and pilgrims will be able to participate, also explaining some of the initiatives linked to this event which is intended to show how “mercy is the very foundation of the Church's life”.

    With regard to the most immediate organisational aspects of the Jubilee, Archbishop Fisichella said that a Reception Centre for Pilgrims has been open in Via della Conciliazione 7 from 1 December. “It is a place where information can be obtained on the Jubilee programme, for registering for the pilgrimage to the Holy Door, for collecting tickets for the various events for which a free access ticket is required, and for collecting the 'testimonium' of participation in the Jubilee”. He emphasised that only the Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation is authorised to certify presence at the Jubilee and in the pilgrimage on foot, via the information point. Any other certificate issued by other entities is not to be considered authentic. The Centre will be open from 7.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. every day, including Saturday and Sunday.

    An important contribution will be given by volunteers, who will provide a reception and help service to all pilgrims, especially in Via della Conciliazione, St. Peter's Square, in the other Basilicas and in the Jubilee Churches. The number of volunteers will rise to 800 to 1000 at major events. The archbishop also commented that a collection of Pastoral Resources prepared by the Pontifical Council is now complete in ten languages, including Ukrainian and Korean.

    With regard to the Mass and opening of the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica, “the celebration will take place in St. Peter’s Square beginning at 9:30 a.m. It will be introduced by readings taken from the four Conciliar Constitutions (Dei Verbum, Lumen gentium, Sacrosanctum concilium e Gaudium et spes), along with two passages taken from Unitatis redintegratio on ecumenism and Dignitatis humanae on religious liberty”. He continued, “As is well known, this day will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council. The reading of these passages is intended to recall the profound teaching which came forth from that event, and its continued significant importance for the life of the Church. It was an event that we cannot forget and was reflected upon and achieved over the course of three intense years, in the light of mercy, as Pope Francis himself reminded us in the Bull, citing Saint John XXIII and Blessed Paul VI. In the procession for the Eucharistic celebration will be carried the Book of the Gospels prepared specifically for the Jubilee by P. Rupnik and published by San Paolo editions. It is a work of art on whose cover is a mosaic reproduction of the Jubilee logo. This Book of the Gospels will be set on the same podium which stood by the altar of Saint Peter’s Basilica during all the sessions of the Council to make evident to everyone the primacy of the Word of God”.

    The ceremony for the opening of the Holy Door, “which is very simple, will be broadcast on television worldwide. The Holy Father will request the opening of the Door, and he will then pass through it. After him, the Cardinals, Bishops, and representatives of priests, religious men and women, and laity will cross its threshold, and will continue in procession to the tomb of the Apostle Peter, where the concluding rite of the Holy Mass will take place. The Pope will then lead the Angelus as usual from the window of the Apostolic Palace”.

    “The evening of December 8th will conclude in St. Peter’s Square with a meaningful and unique presentation entitled “Fiat lux: Illuminating Our Common Home”. It will be a projection of photographs onto the fa├žade and cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica, taken from a repertoire of some of the world’s great photographers. These illuminations will present images inspired of Mercy, of humanity, of the natural world, and of climate changes. The show is sponsored by the World Bank Group (Connect4Climate), by Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Productions, by the Li Ka-shing Foundation and by Okeanos”.

    “On Sunday, December 13, for the first time in the history of the Jubilee Years, Holy Doors will be opened cathedrals all over the world. … Pope Francis will open the Holy Door of his Cathedral of Rome, St. John Lateran, with the liturgy beginning at 9:30 a.m”.

    “The following Friday, December 18, the Holy Father will perform a symbolic gesture as he opens the Door of Mercy at the Hostel 'Don Luigi Di Liegro', managed by Caritas of Rome, located on Via Marsala. For 25 years, persons in grave need, who require our help, have been received at this hostel. With this first gesture the Holy Father will begin a series of symbolic actions that will take place on one Friday of the month, and which he intends as concrete expressions of the works of mercy.

    “Beginning on the day of the opening of the Holy Door and throughout the entire Jubilee, the Rosary will be recited daily in St. Peter’s Square in front of the statue of St. Peter. Various parishes in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and Religious Institutes present in Rome with a particular consecration to the Mother of God, along with various Institutes of formation, will take turns leading this Rosary”.

    Archbishop Fisichella also mentioned the healthcare services available for pilgrims. In each of the four Papal Basilicas there will be a First Aid Station. “In addition, in St. Peter’s Basilica and in other Churches, confessionals have been set up without structural barriers, and with other considerations to facilitate confessions for the deaf and hard of hearing. Furthermore, there is also a touch book planned in A3 format that will permit the blind and partially-sighted to be guided through the Pilgrimage to the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica. Finally, the internet site has also been equipped with facilitated navigation”.

    This official website of the Jubilee (, translated into seven languages, “will permit those who cannot be physically present to follow the Major Jubilee events that will take place in Rome. To register for the passage through the Holy Door, and likewise to become a volunteer, it is necessary to enrol on the indicated sections of the site. In addition, I believe it opportune here to say a few words about the Portal “vatimecum”, endorsed by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation, by means of which pilgrims may obtain services relating to room and board in Rome at controlled prices, along with a great deal of other information about living the Jubilee”.

    “The initiative of the 'Missionaries of Mercy' merits a final consideration”, added the prelate. “The Missionaries are priests who come from various parts of the world, and who were proposed by their own bishops to carry out this special service. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, they will receive the mandate from the Holy Father to be preachers of mercy and confessors full of mercy. They will receive from the Holy Father the faculty to forgive sins reserved to the Holy See, and will be the sign of the closeness and pardon of God for all. It is important for me to underscore that the Missionaries of Mercy are appointed exclusively by the Holy Father, and that the faculty of forgiving reserved sins will be given to each one of them personally. No bishop in his own diocese may appoint these Missionaries, nor may he confer faculties that he does not possess”.

    “The Jubilee is already at hand”, concluded Archbishop Fisichella. “We are certain that it will be lived intensely by pilgrims who, whether it be in their own Particular Churches or in Rome, will cross through the Holy Door. For this occasion the Holy Father has granted all the Bishops of the world the power to give the Papal Blessing at the Holy Mass for the opening of the Holy Door, and for the closure of the door at the end of the Holy Year. This Jubilee will be an experience of mercy for each person to feel more intimately the love of God, who like a Father welcomes everyone and excludes no one”.


    Vatican City, 4 December 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

    - Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy;

    - Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra, apostolic nuncio in Mozambique;

    Yesterday, Thursday 3 December, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, accompanied by Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, secretary of the same dicastery.

    Today's Mass Readings and Video : #1stFriday December 4, 2015

    Friday of the First Week of Advent
    Lectionary: 179

    Reading 1IS 29:17-24

    Thus says the Lord GOD:
    But a very little while,
    and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard,
    and the orchard be regarded as a forest!
    On that day the deaf shall hear
    the words of a book;
    And out of gloom and darkness,
    the eyes of the blind shall see.
    The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD,
    and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
    For the tyrant will be no more
    and the arrogant will have gone;
    All who are alert to do evil will be cut off,
    those whose mere word condemns a man,
    Who ensnare his defender at the gate,
    and leave the just man with an empty claim.
    Therefore thus says the LORD,
    the God of the house of Jacob,
    who redeemed Abraham:
    Now Jacob shall have nothing to be ashamed of,
    nor shall his face grow pale.
    When his children see
    the work of my hands in his midst,
    They shall keep my name holy;
    they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob,
    and be in awe of the God of Israel.
    Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding,
    and those who find fault shall receive instruction.

    Responsorial PsalmPS 27:1, 4, 13-14

    R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
    The LORD is my light and my salvation;
    whom should I fear?
    The LORD is my life’s refuge;
    of whom should I be afraid?
    R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
    One thing I ask of the LORD;
    this I seek:
    To dwell in the house of the LORD
    all the days of my life,
    That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
    and contemplate his temple.
    R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
    I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
    in the land of the living.
    Wait for the LORD with courage;
    be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
    R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.


    R. Alleluia, alleluia.
    Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
    he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.

    GospelMT 9:27-31

    As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out,
    “Son of David, have pity on us!”
    When he entered the house,
    the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them,
    “Do you believe that I can do this?”
    “Yes, Lord,” they said to him.
    Then he touched their eyes and said,
    “Let it be done for you according to your faith.”
    And their eyes were opened.
    Jesus warned them sternly,
    “See that no one knows about this.”
    But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.

    Novena to St. Barbara and Prayers - #Patron of #Architects, #Builders, #Miners, and Sudden Death

    St. Barbara is the patroness of architects, builders, miners and artillery men, and she is invoked against lightning, fire and sudden death.
    Prayer of the Church
    O GOD, Who among the wonders of Thy might didst grant the victory of Martyrdom also to the weaker sex, graciously grant us that we, by recalling the memory of Thy blessed Virgin and Martyr Barbara, through her example may be led to Thee. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
    Novena in Honor of St. Barbara
    Preparatory Prayer
    For Each  Novena to a Holy Helper
    ALMIGHTY and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy Heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy Divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the Saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy Divine Son.
    Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saying, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.
    Prayer in Honor of St. Barbara
    O GOD, Who didst adorn Thy holy Virgin and Martyr Barbara with extraordinary fortitude in the confession of the Faith, and didst console her in the most atrocious torments; grant us through her intercession perseverance in the fulfillment of Thy law and the grace of being fortified before our end with the holy Sacraments, and of a happy death. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
    Invocation of St. Barbara  
     INTREPID Virgin and Martyr, St. Barbara, through thy intercession come to my aid in all needs of my soul. Obtain for me the grace to be preserved from a sudden and unprovided death; assist me in my agony, when my senses are benumbed and I am in the throes of death. Then, O powerful patroness of the dying, come to my aid! Repel from me all the assaults and temptations of the evil one, and obtain for me the grace to receive before death the holy Sacraments, that I breathe forth my soul confirmed in faith, hope, and charity, and be worthy to enter eternal glory. Amen.
    St. Barbara, at my last end
      Obtain for me the Sacrament;
    Assist one in that direst need
      When I my God and Judge must meet:
    That robed in sanctifying grace
      My soul may stand before His face.
    My Lord and God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the Saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.
    Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen.
    THE FOURTEEN HOLY HELPERS, Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, O.F.M.
    TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS, 1995; with Imprimatur, Imprimi Potest and Nihil Obstat.

    Saint December 4 : St. John Damascene : Doctor of the Church

    Feast Day:December 4
    Born:676, Damascus
    Died:December 4, 749, Mar Saba, Jerusalem

    St. John Damascene
    Feast: December 4
    This Doctor of the Church was born in Damascus, Syria, and his father was a government official under both the Byzantine emperor and the Muslim rulers of Damascus. Receiving an excellent classical education, and fluent in Arabic as well as Greek, St. John Damascene worked in the Muslim court until the hostility of the caliph toward Christianity caused him to resign his position, about the year 700.
    He migrated to Jerusalem and became a monk at Mar Sabas monastery near Jerusalem. He taught in the monastery, preached many of his luminous sermons in Jerusalem, and began to compose his theological treatises.
    It was about this time that the iconoclast controversy shook the Churches of the East, when the Byzantine emperor ordered the destruction of images in Christian churches. John fought the heresy, bringing down upon himself the wrath of the emperor and the hatred of the iconoclast party.
    He has left a rich legacy of writings, including his principal dogmatic work, , which was a , a refutation of heresy, an exposition of the Orthodox faith, and a study of contemporary religious issues. His writings on Mary constitute a true theology of the Mother of God, and his sermons of the saints, the liturgical feasts, and the Gospels show not only vast learning but also give us information about local customs and contemporary happenings.
    Since he lived in the midst of political and theological turmoil, John wrote much to clarify true doctrine and to do his part in spreading the Gospel. The fact that he lived and worked in Jerusalem itself gives his sermons, delivered at many of the holy places, a special appeal.
    He died at a very old age, some say one hundred four, in the midst of his labors, beloved by his fellow monks and revered by the people. He was buried at the monastery of Mar Sabas and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1890.
    source: EWTN

    Saint December 4 : St. Barbara : Patron of Mathematicians, Miners, Military engineers, lightning, Sudden death

    St. Barbara
    Feast: December 4

    Feast Day:December 4
    Patron of:Artillery gunners, masons, mathematicians, miners, military engineers, stonecutters, against lightning, anyone who works at risk of sudden and violent death
    There is no reference to St. Barbara contained in the authentic early historical authorities for Christian antiquity, neither does her name appear in the original recension of St. Jerome's martyrology. Veneration of the saint was common, however, from the seventh century. At about this date there were in existence legendary Acts of her martyrdom which were inserted in the collection of Symeon Metaphrastes and were used as well by the authors (Ado, Usuard, etc.) of the enlarged martyrologies composed during the ninth century in Western Europe. According to these narratives, which are essentially the same, Barbara was the daughter of a rich heathen named Dioscorus. She was carefully guarded by her father who kept her shut up in a tower in order to preserve her from the outside world. An offer of marriage which was received through him she rejected. Before going on a journey her father commanded that a bath-house be erected for her use near her dwelling, and during his absence Barbara had three windows put in it, as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, instead of the two originally intended. When her father returned she acknowledged herself to be a Christian; upon this she was ill-treated by him and dragged before the prefect of the province, Martinianus, who had her cruelly tortured and finally condemned her to death by beheading. The father himself carried out the death-sentence, but in punishment for this he was struck by lightning on the way home and his body consumed. Another Christian named Juliana suffered the death of a martyr along with Barbara. A pious man called Valentinus buried the bodies of the saints; at this grave the sick were healed and the pilgrims who came to pray received aid and consolation. The emperor in whose reign the martyrdom is placed is sometimes called Maximinus and sometimes Maximianus; owing to the purely legendary character of the accounts of the martyrdom, there is no good basis for the investigations made at an earlier date in order to ascertain whether Maximinus Thrax (235-238) or Maximinus Daza (of the Diocletian persecutions), is meant.
    The traditions vary as to the place of martyrdom, two different opinions being expressed: Symeon Metaphrastes and the Latin legend given by Mombritius makes Heliopolis in Egypt the site of the martyrdom, while other accounts, to which Baronius ascribes more weight, give Nicomedia. In the "Martyrologium Romanum parvum" (about 700), the oldest martyrology of the Latin Church in which her name occurs, it is said: "In Tuscia Barbarae virginis et martyris", a statement repeated by Ado and others, while later additions of the martyrologies of St. Jerome and Bede say "Romae Barbarae virginis" or "apud Antiochiam passio S. Barbarae virg.". These various statements prove, however, only the local adaptation of the veneration of the saintly martyr concerning whom there is no genuine historical tradition. It is certain that before the ninth century she was publicly venerated both in the East and in the West, and that she was very popular with the Christian populace. The legend that her father was struck by lightning caused her, probably, to be regarded by the common people as the patron saint in time of danger from thunder-storms and fire, and later by analogy, as the protector of artillerymen and miners. She was also called upon as intercessor to assure the receiving of the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist at the hour of death. An occurrence of the year 1448 did much to further the spread of the veneration of the saint. A man named Henry Kock was nearly burnt to death in a fire at Gorkum; he called on St. Barbara, to whom he had always shown great devotion. She aided him to escape from the burning house and kept him alive until he could receive the last sacraments. A similar circumstance is related in an addition to the "Legenda aurea". In the Greek and present Roman calendars the feast of St. Barbara falls on 4 December, while the martyrologies of the ninth century, with the exception of Rabanus Maurus, place it on 16 December. St. Barbara has often been depicted in art; she is represented standing in a tower with three windows, carrying the palm of a martyr in her hand; often also she holds a chalice and sacramental wafer; sometimes cannon are displayed near her.