Thursday, June 30, 2016

Saint July 1 : Saint Junípero Serra : #Missionary

Saint Junípero Serra
Feast: July 1 
Information:Feast Day:July 1

24 November 1713 at Petra, Spanish Majorca
28 August 1784Beatified:
25 September 1988 by Pope John Paul II 
Born at Petra, Island of Majorca, 24 November, 1713; died at Monterey, California, 28 August, 1784.
Born at Petra, Majorca, Spain, November 24, 1713, a son of Antonio Nadal Serra and Margarita Rosa Ferrer who spent their lives as farmers, Junípero Serra was baptized on the same day at St. Peter’s Church and was given the name Miguel José.
In Petra, Serra attended the primary school of the Franciscans. At 15-years-old, he was taken by his parents to Palma to be placed in the charge of a cathedral canon, and he began to assist at classes in philosophy held in the Franciscan monastery of San Francisco.
Serra was admitted as a novice at the Convento de Jesús outside the walls of Palma on September 14, 1730, and made his profession on September 15, the following year. He chose the name Junípero in memory of the brother companion of St. Francis. He studied philosophy and theology at the Convento de San Francisco. The date of his ordination to the priesthood is not known, though it probably occurred during the Ember Days of December 1738.  Serra obtained his doctorate in theology in 1742 from the Lullian University, Palma. He was called to the Scotistic chair of theology at the same university as primary professor in January 1749 to become an Indian missionary in America.
On April 13, 1749, with Francisco Palóu, Serra sailed for America. He landed in Vera Cruz, Mexico on December 7, 1749. Although horses were supplied for the friars, Serra elected to walk the 250 miles between Vera Cruz and Mexico City. They reached San Fernando College on January 1, 1750, spending the previous night at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
In less than six months, an urgent call came for volunteers for the Sierra Gorda missions. Serra was among the volunteers. During his apostolate in Sierra Gorda with the Pame Indians between 1750 and 1758, Serra not only oversaw construction of a church, which is still in use, but developed his mission in both religious and economic directions. Under his presidency of the missions (1751-1754), the missionaries of the other four towns also built mission churches.  
Serra learned the Otomí language and used a visual method of teaching religion. Zealous in preaching and in promoting both liturgical and popular devotions, he succeeded in bringing the Pame people to practice the faith in an exemplary way. Economically his mission prospered through the introduction of domestic animals, the fostering of agriculture, and the development of commerce. He also defended Indian rights against non-native settlers in a protracted contest over the valley of Tancama. During building operations on his church, he worked as an ordinary day laborer.
He was then assigned to the college of San Fernando, where he arrived September 26, 1758. There he was made choir director, master of novices from 1761 to 1764, college counselor from 1758 to 1761, and a confessor. As a home missionary Serra preached missions in Mexico City, Mezquital, Zimapan, Río Vero, Puebla and Oaxaca. In 1767, he was appointed president of the ex-Jesuit missions of Baja California.
He set out in mid-July and reached Loreto on April 1. Serra resided at the former Jesuit headquarters and assigned missionaries to the 15 missions between San José del Cabo in the south and Santa María in the north. Serra enthusiastically volunteered in 1768 to join expeditions to Upper California. On March 28, 1769, Serra left the mission at Loreto on mule-back, arriving at San Diego on July 1. En route, he founded his first mission at San Fernando de Velicatá on May 14. Serra kept a diary of his journey during which he suffered greatly from an infirmity in his legs and feet and had to be carried on a stretcher.
Serra devoted the next 15 years of his life to evangelical work in Upper California. During that period he founded nine missions: San Diego, July 16, 1769; San Carlos, Monterey-Carmel, June 3, 1770; San Antonio, July 14, 1771; San Gabriel, September 8, 1771; San Luis Obispo, September 1, 1772, San Francisco, October 9, 1776; San Juan Capistrano, November 1, 1776; Santa Clara, January 12, 1777; and San Buenaventura, March 31, 1782. He was present at the founding of Presidio Santa Barbara, April 12, 1782.
Serra remained at San Diego until April 14, 1770, when he embarked for Monterey. From June 3, 1770, until his death, he maintained his headquarters at Mission San Carlos. Serra died at Mission San Carlos, August 28, 1784, at the age of 70 and is buried in the floor of the sanctuary of the church he had built. By the end of 1784, Indian baptisms at the first nine missions reached the number 6,736, while 4,646 Christianized Indians were living in them.
Serra was small of stature, five feet two inches in height. He had a sonorous voice, swarthy skin, dark hair and eyes. Though it appears that he had a fundamentally robust constitution, he suffered a great deal during the latter part of his life. His first affliction was the swelling and painful itching of his feet and legs from mosquito bites which caused varicose ulcers. At times he could neither stand nor walk. After 1758 he began to suffer from asthma. 
In character Serra was eager, optimistic, zealous, dynamic, even adamantine. Primarily a man of action, he preferred the active apostolate to the classroom or to writing. He remained a model religious despite his distractions and activity — a man of prayer and mortification. He had a consuming love for his American converts. He fought for the freedom of the Church against royal infringement. Serra was considered by some too aggressive, zealous, and demanding. Though he defended the Indians, he had a paternalistic view and believed in and practiced corporal punishment.
The cause for Serra’s beatification began in the Diocese of Monterey-Fresno in 1934, and the diocesan process was finished in 1949. On September 25, 1988 he was beatified by Pope John Paul II. Pope Francis canonized Junipero Serra on September 23, 2015. during a Mass in Washington, DC.
Serra monuments and memorials dot his Camino Real from Majorca to California. He is the subject of several dozen biographies in various languages. His writings with translation have been published in four volumes by Rev. Antonine Tibesar, OFM. He is known as the Apostle of California. Serra International was established in his honor. His life and his mission system are studied in California schools.
Edited from the official biography at

Are you Traveling? #Prayer to St. Christopher for #SafeTravels and #Motorists - #Driving Prayers to SHARE

Saint Christopher Prayer"Motorist's Prayer:" Grant me, O Lord, a steady hand and watchful eye, that no one shall be hurt as I pass by. Thou gavest life, I pray no act of mine may take away or mar that gift of Thine. Shelter those, dear Lord, who bear my company from the evils of fire and all calamity.Teach me to use my car for others need; Nor miss through love of undue speed. The beauty of the world; that thus I may with joy and courtesy go on my way. St. Christopher, holy patron of travelers, protect me, and lead me safely to my destiny.
Saint Christopher's Protection Prayer
 Dear Saint Christopher, protect me today in all my travels along the road's way. Give your warning sign if danger is near so that I may stop while the path is clear. Be at my window and direct me through when the vision blurs From out of the blue. Carry me safely to my destined place, like you carried Christ in your close embrace. Amen.


 St. Christopher's Prayer
O Glorious St. Christopher you have inherited a beautiful name, Christbearer, as a result of the wonderful legend that while carrying people across a raging stream you also carried the Child Jesus. Teach us to be true Christbearers to those who do not know Him. Protect all of us that travel both near and far and petition Jesus to be with us always. Amen.

#Quote to SHARE by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI "We cannot keep to ourselves the words of eternal life given to us in our encounter with Jesus Christ..."

"We cannot keep to ourselves the words of eternal life given to us in our encounter with Jesus Christ: they are meant for everyone, for every man and woman. ... It is our responsibility to pass on what, by God's grace, we ourselves have received." by : Pope Benedict XVI

#PopeFrancis "To look at Jesus in these brothers and sisters of ours..." #Jubilee FULL TEXT - Video

Pope Francis at 8th Jubilee Audience in Rome for the Jubilee of Mercy.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
How many times, during these first months of the Jubilee, we have heard talk of the works of mercy! Today the Lord invites us to make a serious examination of conscience. In fact, it is good never to forget that mercy is not an abstract word, but a style of life: a person can be merciful or not merciful; it’s a style of life. I choose to be merciful or I choose not to be merciful. It is one thing to speak of mercy and another to live mercy. Paraphrasing the words of Saint James the Apostle, (cf. 2:14-17), we can say: mercy without works is dead in itself. It is in fact like this! What renders mercy alive is its constant dynamism in going to meet the needs and necessities of all those in spiritual and material hardship. Mercy has eyes to see, ears to listen, hands to resolve …
Daily life enables us to touch with our hand so many needs regarding the poorest and most tested persons. Requested of us is that particular attention that leads us to be aware of the state of suffering and need in which so many brothers and sisters are. Sometimes we pass before dramatic situations of poverty and it seems that they do not touch us; everything continues as if there were nothing, in an indifference that in the end renders us hypocrites and, without realizing it, it results in a form of spiritual lethargy, which renders our mind insensitive and our life sterile. People that pass by, who go forward in life without being aware of the needs of others, without seeing the many spiritual and material needs, are people that pass by without living, people that do not serve others. Remember <this> well: he who does not live to serve, does not serve to live.
How many aspects there are of God’s mercy to us! In the same way, how many faces turn to us to obtain mercy. One who has experienced the Father’s mercy in his own life cannot remain insensitive in face of the needs of brothers. The teaching of Jesus, which we just heard, does not allow ways out: I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was naked, a refugee, sick, in prison and you assisted me (cf. Matthew25:35-36). One cannot beat about the bush in face of a person who is hungry: he must be given to eat. Jesus says this to us! The works of mercy are not theoretical subjects, but concrete testimonies. They oblige one to rollup one’s sleeves to alleviate suffering.
Because of the changes of our globalized world, some material and spiritual poverties have multiplied: hence let us make room for the imagination of charity to identify new operative ways. Thus the way of mercy will become ever more concrete. Requested of us, therefore, is to remain vigilant as watchmen, so that it will not happen that, in face of the poverties produced by the culture of wellbeing, the eyes of Christians are weakened and become incapable of looking at the essential. What does it mean to look at the essential? To look at Jesus, to look at Jesus in the hungry, the imprisoned, the sick, the naked, in the one who has no work and must lead his family forward. To look at Jesus in these brothers and sisters of ours; to look at Jesus in one who is alone, sasd, in one who errs and is in need of counsel, in one who needs to walk with Him in silence, to feel he is in company. These are the works that Jesus asks of us! To look at Jesus in them, in these people. Why? Because that is how Jesus looks at me, <how He> looks at all of us.
[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT]
* * *
Now we pass to something else. In past days the Lord granted me to visit Armenia, the first nation to have embraced Christianity, at the beginning of the 4th century — a people that, in the course of its long history, has witnessed the Christian faith with martyrdom. I thank God for this trip and I am truly grateful to the President of the Armenian Republic, to the Catholicos Karekin II, to the Catholic Patriarch and Bishops, and to the whole Armenian people for having welcomed me as pilgrim of fraternity and of peace.
In three months, I will undertake, God willing, another trip — to Georgia and Azerbaijan, two other countries of the Caucasus region. I accepted the invitation to visit these countries for a twofold reason: on one hand to appreciate the ancient Christian roots present in those lands – always in a spirit of dialogue with the other religions and cultures – and, on the other, to encourage hopes and paths of peace. History teaches us that the path of peace requires great tenacity and continuous steps, beginning with small ones and, little by little, making them grow, one going to encounter the other. In fact because of this my wish is that each and all may make their contribution to reconciliation.
As Christians, we are called to reinforce fraternal communion among ourselves, to render witness to Christ’s Gospel and to be leaven of a more just and solidaristic society. Therefore, the whole visit was shared with the Supreme Patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, who hosted me fraternally in his home for three days.
I renew my embrace to the Bishops, to the priests, to the women and men religious and to all the faithful in Armenia. May the Virgin Mary, our Mother, help them to remain firm in the faith, open to encounter and generous in works of mercy. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT]
Greeting in Italian
A warm welcome to the Italian-speaking pilgrims!
I am happy to receive the participants in the General Chapter of the Rogationist Fathers and of the Daughters of Divine Zeal; of the Missionary Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate and of the Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: I exhort you to update in today’s society the respective foundation charisms so that the men and women of our time are able to find in your life a concrete trace of God’s mercy.
I greet the women religious of USMI of Milan and the faithful of Acquapendente with their Bishop of Viterbo, Monsignor Lino Fumagalli, with the effigy of Our Lady of the Flower, which I had the pleasure to bless today. A special greeting goes to the Association of Work Consultants, that today begin their 7th “Festival of Work,” and I encourage them to promote the culture of work, which ensures a person’s dignity and the common good of society, beginning from its cell, the family. It is precisely the family, in fact, that suffers most from the consequences of bad work: bad because of its scarcity and its precariousness. You, work consultant, do not have a welfare task but a promotional one, so that in the national and European ambit the economic institutions and actors can pursue, in a concerted way, the objective of full and fitting occupation, because work gives dignity!.
Finally, my greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Today we celebrate the Memoria of the first martyrs of the Church of Rome and we pray for all those that still pay a high price for their membership in the Church of Christ. Dear young people, may faith have room and give meaning to you life; dear sick, offer your suffering so that the estranged may find the love of Christ; dear newlyweds, be educators of life and models of faith for your children.
[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT]

Archbishop Fisher of Australia offers Voting Guide for Catholics for #Elections - #Sydney

It's Election Time, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese, 
23 Jun 2016

Download the Federal Election
Guide 2016 here
With the federal election just around the corner, we all have to decide who to vote for. This is not always an easy decision, but it is a very important responsibility, for Catholics as for others. We all must decide who deserves our vote.
It is said that an unusually high proportion of Australian voters have 'disengaged', i.e. they are not much interested in this election. Why is that? One reason might be that the election campaign has gone on for so long that it has run out of steam and can no longer hold people's attention. Another might be that there is little to choose between major parties competing for 'the middle'.
An even more important reason might be that the major parties are not talking about the issues about which people are most passionate - certainly not the issues about which Catholics should be most passionate. As the Bishops of Australia asked in their recent electoral statement: who among the political parties today is standing up for the family? For the unborn? For the elderly? For refugees? Who is standing up on issues such as workers' rights, human trafficking or foreign aid?
Even when such issues are brought into the public domain, they are rarely discussed in other than a populist or pragmatic way; there is no reference to any guiding principles or assessment of which policies best serve the dignity of the person and the common good. All too often, for example, discussion of the asylum seekers or other pressing migration issues appeals more to people's fears than their generosity, more to our baser nature than the nobler side of Australians.
What are the Catholic issues?
A common misconception is that all that Catholics only care and talk about "below the belt issues": abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage etc. These are certainly important issues; these are certainly issues we should be talking about (and I will have more to say about these below); but they are not the only issues because there is more to society, more to people, than just sex and life, and so more for Catholics to care about.
Because a few, especially contentious, moral issues are treated as matters for parliamentary conscience votes or popular plebiscites, we might think they are the only moral issues - in which case everything else can be decided purely in terms of what's popular or profitable. This is, quite simply, false. There are many more issues which we should be talking about as a society and, in particular, as Catholic citizens and they all have a moral dimension.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that it is our duty to "contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity and freedom." (§2239)

Most Rev. Anthony Fisher OP
In a spirit of truth we must always strive to allow the truth to come to light and contribute appropriately to this. So if someone wants to stifle honest debate on any issue, we must be resounding voices for candour. If parties propose to reduce investment in education or research or other ways to identify and transmit the truth, we must ask why. If civic leaders are getting things right (or at least trying) they deserve due praise; where they are failing there should be fair critique, but always in an atmosphere of charity.
In a spirit of justice we must respect the rights of all, seek to ensure that each is given their due, and promote harmony in relationships. Laws and policies must respect the dignity of the individual and promote the common good of all. A useful litmus test of the fairness of particular institutional arrangements or policies is: who are the 'winners' and 'losers' (e.g. in our taxation and superannuation policies)? Are good results being achieved for all (or most) without trampling upon the rights of others? Christ challenges us: what did you do for the least - the hungry, thirsty, lonely and trapped?
In a spirit of solidarity we must consider each person our friend - or at least our potential friend - and so seek to ensure that they have opportunities to flourish and that any obstacles to that are removed. We must look to help those in need, especially those who cannot help themselves. Solidarity means we cannot rightly focus only on our own hip pockets: we must also care about how laws and policies regarding industrial relations, housing, aged care, foreign aid, indigenous peoples, mental health, the environment, immigration etc. impact upon others.
In a spirit of freedom we must be vigilant to protect our own proper liberties and those of others. Where some people's freedom is endangered (e.g. the right of unborn Australians to live; the right of religious believers to hold, share or practice their conscientious beliefs) we must do what we can to rectify that situation. Freedom, as Catholics understand it, is more than freedom to get my own way in everything: it is the opportunity to do what is right and so must be exercised responsibly.
No Catholic how to vote card
But what does all this mean practically? Where is the Catholic "how to vote card"? The aforegoing list of considerations means Catholics cannot be simplistically lumped with the current 'left' or 'right' of politics. We often find pros and cons with each party, platform or candidate. And so many of us will decide based on particular issues that we are especially passionate about. That is where issues as crucial as life and love may make a real difference for us.
We might ask, for instance, which candidate or party best stands up for the family, for real marriage that underpins stable family life, for life itself especially when most vulnerable at its beginning and end, for the freedom to hold, express and act according to our religion?
As the election guide published in this edition of the Catholic Weekly identifies, there are some real differences between the parties regarding the legal definition of marriage (and how this might be resolved), about efforts to re-educate children to a radical view of "fluid sexuality", about protections or 'exemptions' for people on the grounds of conscientious belief, and so on. 'Gay marriage', once a radical social policy supported only by the Greens, now has supporters in all parties; if they get their way, our social fabric will be fundamentally altered. No longer will the loving union of man and wife be recognized as the best place for rearing children; other friendships will be treated as the equivalent of real marriages; and churches, schools, welfare agencies and individual faithful will be pressured to conform.
There are other important issues that might determine a person's vote. Responsible voting is a matter of considering a number of important issues and assessing them through the prisms of truth, justice, solidarity and freedom. Marriage is not the only issue to have in mind at election time but is an important one for this election, even if candidates and the media are trying to focus our attention elsewhere. May the Holy Spirit grant each of us wisdom at the ballot box!
Release from Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese, 

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday June 30, 2016 - #Eucharist

Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 380

Reading 1AM 7:10-17

Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent word to Jeroboam,
king of Israel:
“Amos has conspired against you here within Israel;
the country cannot endure all his words.
For this is what Amos says:
Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
and Israel shall surely be exiled from its land.”

To Amos, Amaziah said:
“Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah!
There earn your bread by prophesying,
but never again prophesy in Bethel;
for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.”
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
Now hear the word of the LORD!”

You say: prophesy not against Israel,
preach not against the house of Isaac.
Now thus says the LORD:
Your wife shall be made a harlot in the city,
and your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword;
Your land shall be divided by measuring line,
and you yourself shall die in an unclean land;
Israel shall be exiled far from its land.

Responsorial PsalmPS 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (10cd) The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.

Alleluia2 COR 5:19

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 9:1-8

After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town.
And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”
At that, some of the scribes said to themselves,
“This man is blaspheming.”
Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,
“Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know that the Son of Man
has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he then said to the paralytic,
“Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
He rose and went home.
When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe
and glorified God who had given such authority to men.

New #ProLife Book by Jesuit Priest Ward Biemans "The heart and the abyss Preventing Abortion"

The heart and the abyss
Preventing Abortion

Ward Biemans SJ

ISBN: 9781925138962, Paperback, 390 pages, $39.95

Published in February 2016

From the Preface:

At the heart of the abortion debate is a seemingly simple proposition: given the basic biology that the fertilised human egg is scientifically speaking a living human being the orthodox Catholic understanding that the ethical rule against killing should apply before as well as after birth seems self-evident. Understandably, however, the abortion debate in practice becomes far more complex. Legalising abortion has implications far beyond the unborn baby: for the mother who have to face the agonising choice of whether or not to terminate the life of her developing baby, for the father who may have no legal role in the decision but whose influence, for good or ill, is hard to ignore, for doctors who face pressure to collaborate in the taking of life itself and for a society which increasingly sees abortion as a necessary consequence of the desire to separate the sexual act from reproduction.

Given this complexity, it is not enough for those who wish to promote the Gospel of Life within the Church to restrict themselves to ethics or moral theology. Rather, it is necessary to take seriously the insights provided by medicine and the broad range of social sciences. Examples of such an integrated approach are all too rare and this is precisely why I was so pleased to read Ward Biemans’ work presented in this volume. Biemans’ text is particularly welcome given how successfully he has drawn together so many different academic perspectives.

The context for Biemans’ work is the development of law and practice on abortion in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands. The choice of these two countries is apposite. The UK (with the exception of Northern Ireland) was one of the earliest western countries to legalise abortion and the UK law provided a template for many other countries with similar legal frameworks, most particularly across the Commonwealth. Whether or not the reality matches the theory, the Netherlands has come to be seen as the ultimate liberal country in which abortion is (relatively) rare but almost always legal. Thankfully, the Western European context provides a basis for a much more complete discussion of the issues and arguments surrounding abortion which will be of immense value right across the world.

Biemans draws together insights from the fields of medicine, economics, psychology, politics, law, theology and ethics. He engages effectively with the most recent empirical work on the practical impact of abortion law and uses this to provide fresh insight into the key ethical debates. Integrating such disparate fields is no easy task and it is to his great credit that he has managed to find a balance between rigor and accessibility which will enable this work to be of use to a broad range of users. The importance of caring for both the mother and baby have been understood and put into practice by the pro-life movement for many years, as has the recognition that women need care and reconciliation rather than condemnation after abortion. This understanding is central to Biemans’ work, as is his conclusion that rights and needs of the mother and the unborn baby are not only of paramount importance but complementary to each other rather than in opposition.

Given Biemans’ understanding of theology and Church history, this volume will surely become a standard source of reference within Catholic institutions. However, I am confident its reach will be much greater than that. The approach is balanced and scholarly, but it is hard for the reader to avoid the conclusion that the right to life of the unborn, the rights of women and the social consequences of abortion should not be seen as standing in opposition to each other and requiring of compromise. Rather, laws which protect the vulnerable unborn, also protect mothers and society as a whole. Of course this has been the wisdom of the Catholic Church for centuries, but it is wonderful to see such a clear-sighted presentation of the logic and evidence in their entirety.

Professor David Paton
Chair of Industrial Economics
Nottingham University Business School

1: The abortion legislation in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands
2: Human autonomy and procured abortion
3: Mental and physical risks and effects of induced abortion on women
4: The human embryo, its rights and its dignity
5: Towards an authentic and responsible reproductive decision making process
6: A historical search for a universalization of the ethics of abortion
7: Abortion prevention, sex education, counselling and pastoral care
8: Preventing abortion

About the Author
Fr Ward Biemans SJ, is a priest of the Society of Jesus based in the Netherlands.

Saint June 30 : Protomartyrs of Rome

Feast: June 30

Information: Feast Day:June 30
Many martyrs who suffered death under Emperor Nero (r. 54-68). Owing to their executions durin the reign of Nero, they are called the Neronian Martyrs, and they are also termed "the Protomartys of Rome," being honored by the site in the Vatican City called the Piazza of the Protomartyrs. These early Christians were disciples of the Apostles, and they endured hideous tortures and ghastly deaths following the burning of Rome in the infamous fire of 62. Their dignity in suffering, and their fervor to the end, did not provide Nero or the Romans with the public diversion desired. Instead, the faith was firmly planted in the Eternal City.

(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Free Movie : Peter and Paul - Lives of Apostles from the #Bible - Stars Anthony Hopkins

PART 1 and 2 - 1981 - TV movie - Peter and Paul assume leadership of the Church as they struggle against violent opposition to the teachings of Christ and their own personal conflicts.


  Robert Day


  Christopher Knopf 


  Anthony Hopkins, Robert Foxworth, Eddie Albert

#Novena to Saint Peter and Saint Paul - Apostles - #Prayers to SHARE

Novena to St. Peter and St. Paul (Say for 9 Days)

O holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, I choose you this day and forever to be my special patrons and advocates; thee, Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles, because thou art the Rock, upon which Almighty God hath built His Church; thee, Saint Paul, because thou wast fore-chosen by God as the Vessel of election and the Preacher of truth in the whole world. Obtain for me, I pray you, lively faith, firm hope, and burning love; complete detachment from myself, contempt of the world, patience in adversity, humility in prosperity, attention in prayer, purity of heart, a right intention in all my works, diligence in fulfilling the duties of my state of life, constancy in my resolutions, resignation to the will of God and perseverance in the grace of God even unto death; that so, by means of your intercession and your glorious merits, I may be able to overcome the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, and may be made worthy to appear before the chief and eternal Shepherd of souls, Jesus Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth for endless ages, to enjoy His presence and love Him forever. Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

V. Thou shalt make them princes over all the earth.
R. They shall be mindful of Thy name, O Lord.

Let us pray:

O God, Whose right hand raised up blessed Peter, when he walked upon the water and began to sink, and thrice delivered his fellow-Apostle Paul from the depths of the sea, when he suffered shipwreck: graciously hear us and grant, by the merits of them both, that we also may attain unto everlasting glory: Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen
(An Indulgence of 500 days.)

Extra Prayers - Apart from the Novena

Prayer to Sts. Peter and Paulfor the Holy Catholic Church

Defend, O Lord, thy servants, we beseech thee, from all dangers both of body and soul; and, by the intercession of the blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, of blessed N., and of all thy saints, mercifully grant us the blessings of peace and safety ; that all adversities and errors being removed, thy Church may freely and securely serve thee; through Christ Our Lord. Amen.


Prayer to St. Paul

Thou art the Vessel of election, Saint Paul the Apostle, the Preacher of truth in the whole world.

V. Pray for us, Saint Paul the Apostle,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
Almighty and everlasting God, Who, of Thy divine mercy, didst instruct Thy blessed Apostle Paul what he should do that he might be filled with the Holy Ghost; by his admonitions directing us and his merits interceding for us, grant that we may serve Thee in fear and trembling and so be filled with the comfort of Thy heavenly gifts. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
(An Indulgence of 500 days)



Defend, O Lord, Thy people: and as they put their trust in the patronage of Thy holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, keep them ever by Thy protection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen (Roman Missal).
(An Indulgence of 300 days) 
Prayers shared from Catholicharboroffaithandmorals

#PopeFrancis "Prayer enables grace to open a way out from closure to openness..." #Homily FULL TEXT - Solemnity of Peter and Paul - Mass Video

Watch FULL Holy Mass Video Below - Read the full text of Pope Francis’ prepared homily for the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul:
Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
29 June 2016
The word of God in today’s liturgy presents a clear central contrast betweenclosing and opening.  Together with this image we can consider the symbol of the keys that Jesus promises to Simon Peter so that he can open the entrance to the kingdom of heaven, and not close it before people, like some of the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus reproached (cf. Mt 23:13).
The reading from the Acts of the Apostles (12:1-11) shows us three examples of “closing”: Peter is cast into prison; the community gathers behind closed doors in prayer; and – in the continuation of our reading – Peter knocks at the closed door of the house of Mary, the mother of John called Mark, after being set free.
In these three examples of “closing”, prayer appears as the main way out.  It is a way out for the community, which risks closing in on itself out of persecution and fear.  It is a way out for Peter who, at the very beginning of the mission given him by the Lord, is cast into prison by Herod and risks execution.  While Peter was in prison, “the church prayed fervently to God for him” (Acts 12:5).  The Lord responds to that prayer and sends his angel to liberate Peter, “rescuing him from the hand of Herod” (cf. v. 11).  Prayer, as humble entrustment to God and his holy will, is always the way out of our becoming “closed”, as individuals and as a community.
Paul too, writing to Timothy, speaks of his experience of liberation, of finding a way out of his own impending execution.  He tells us that the Lord stood by him and gave him strength to carry out the work of evangelizing the nations (cf. 2 Tim 4:17).  But Paul speaks too of a much greater “opening”, towards an infinitely more vast horizon.  It is the horizon of eternal life, which awaits him at the end of his earthly “race”.  We can see the whole life of the Apostle in terms of “going out” in service to the Gospel.  Paul’s life was utterly projected forward, in bringing Christ to those who did not know him, and then in rushing, as it were, into Christ’s arms, to be “saved for his heavenly kingdom” (v. 18).
Let us return to Peter.  The Gospel account (Mt 16:13-19) of his confession of faith and the mission entrusted to him by Jesus shows us that the life of Simon, the fishermen of Galilee – like the life of each of us – opens, opens up fully, when it receives from God the Father the grace of faith.  Simon sets out on the journey – a long and difficult journey – that will lead him to go out of himself, leaving all his human supports behind, especially his pride tinged with courage and generous selflessness.  In this, his process of liberation, theprayer of Jesus is decisive: “I have prayed for you [Simon], that your own faith may not fail” (Lk 22:32).  Likewise decisive is the compassionate gaze of the Lord after Peter had denied him three times: a gaze that pierces the heart and brings tears of repentance (cf. Lk  22:61-62).  At that moment, Simon Peter was set free from the prison of his selfish pride and fear, and overcame the temptation of closing his heart to Jesus’s call to follow him along the way of the cross.
I mentioned that, in the continuation of the passage from the Acts of the Apostles, there is a detail worthy of consideration (cf. 12:12-17).  When Peter finds himself miraculously freed from Herod’s prison, he goes to the home of the mother of John called Mark.  He knocks on the closed door and a servant by the name of Rhoda comes.  Recognizing Peter’s voice, in disbelief and joy, instead of opening the door, she runs to tell her mistress.  The account, which can seem comical, makes us perceive the climate of fear that led the Christian community to stay behind closed doors, but also closed to God’s surprises.  This detail speaks to us of a constant temptation for the Church, that ofclosing in on herself in the face of danger.  But we also see the small openings through which God can work.  Saint Luke tells us that in that house “many had gathered and were praying” (v. 12).  Prayer enables grace to open a way out from closure to openness, from fear to courage, from sadness to joy.  And we can add: from division to unity.  Yes, we say this today with confidence, together with our brothers from the Delegation sent by the beloved Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to take part in the celebration of the Holy Patrons of Rome.  Today is also a celebration of communion for the whole Church, as seen by the presence of the metropolitan archbishops who have come for the blessing of the pallia, which they will receive from my representatives in their respective sees.
May Saints Peter and Paul intercede for us, so that we can joyfully advance on this journey, experience the liberating action of God, and bear witness to it before the world. 

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. June 29, 2016 - Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul - Mass during the Day
Lectionary: 591

Reading 1ACTS 12:1-11

In those days, King Herod laid hands upon some members of the Church to harm them.
He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword,
and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews
he proceeded to arrest Peter also.
–It was the feast of Unleavened Bread.–
He had him taken into custody and put in prison
under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each.
He intended to bring him before the people after Passover.
Peter thus was being kept in prison,
but prayer by the Church was fervently being made
to God on his behalf.

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial,
Peter, secured by double chains,
was sleeping between two soldiers,
while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him
and a light shone in the cell.
He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying,
“Get up quickly.”
The chains fell from his wrists.
The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.”
He did so.
Then he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.”
So he followed him out,
not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real;
he thought he was seeing a vision.
They passed the first guard, then the second,
and came to the iron gate leading out to the city,
which opened for them by itself.
They emerged and made their way down an alley,
and suddenly the angel left him.
Then Peter recovered his senses and said,
“Now I know for certain
that the Lord sent his angel
and rescued me from the hand of Herod
and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (5) The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

Reading 22 TM 4:6-8, 17-18

I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

The Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.
And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat
and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.
To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

AlleluiaMT 16:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

#PopeFrancis "May the Lord convert the hearts of the violent, and sustain our feet on the way of peace.” at Angelus - FULL Video

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Today we celebrate the feast of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, praising God for their preaching and their testimony. The Church of Rome is founded on the faith of these two Apostles, which has always venerated them as Patrons. However, it is the whole universal Church that looks at them with admiration, considering them two columns and two great lights that shine not only in the sky of Rome, but in the heart of believers of the East and West.
In the account of the mission of the Apostles, the Gospel tells us that Jesus sent them two by two (cf. Matthew 10:1; Luke 10:1). In a certain sense, Peter and Paul were also sent from the Holy Land to Rome to preach the Gospel. They were two men who were very different from one another: Peter a “humble fisherman,” <and> Paul a “teacher and doctor,” as today’s Liturgy states. However, if we know Jesus here at Rome, and if the Christian faith is a living and fundamental part of the spiritual patrimony and of the culture of this territory, it is due to the apostolic courage of these two sons of the Near East. Out of love for Christ, they left their homeland and, heedless of the difficulties of the long trip and of the risks and diffidence that they would meet, they came to Rome. Here they made themselves heralds and witnesses of the Gospel among the people, and they sealed their mission of faith and charity with martyrdom.
Today Peter and Paul return ideally among us, they go over the streets of this city, knock on the door of our homes, but especially of our hearts. Once again they want to bring Jesus, His merciful love, His consolation <and> His peace. Let us receive their message! Let us make a treasure of their testimony! The pure and solid faith of Peter, the great and universal heart of Paul will help us to be joyful Christians, faithful to the Gospel and open to an encounter with all.
This morning, during the Holy Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica, I blessed the pallia of the Metropolitan Archbishops from different countries, appointed this past year. I renew my greeting and best wishes to them, their relatives and all those who accompanied them on this pilgrimage; and I encourage them to continue joyfully their mission at the service of the Gospel, in communion with the whole Church and, especially, with the See of Peter, as in fact the sign of the pallium expresses.
In the same celebration, I received with joy and affection the members of the Delegation that came to Rome in the name of the Ecumenical Patriarch, most beloved brother Bartholomew. This presence is also a sign of the existing fraternal bonds between our Churches. We pray that the bonds of communion and common witness may be increasingly reinforced.
To the Virgin Mary, Salus Populi Romani, we entrust today the whole world and, in particular, this city of Rome, that it may always find in the spiritual and moral values of which it is rich, the foundation of its social life and of its mission in Italy, in Europe and in the world.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Last night, a brutal terrorist attack was carried out at Istanbul, which killed and wounded many persons. We pray for the victims, for their relatives and for the dear Turkish people. May the Lord convert the hearts of the violent and support our steps on the path of peace.
Ave Maria …
The International Conference on responsible investments with a social impact, entitled “Make of the Year of Mercy a Year of Impact for the Poor,” concluded a short time ago. May private investments in unison with public <investments>, foster the overcoming of the poverty of so many marginalized persons.
A warm greeting goes to you all, families, parish groups, Associations and individual faithful from Italy and from many parts of the world, especially from Spain, Ukraine and China. I greet the students of the Catholic schools of London and of the United States of America, and the Sisters of USMI of Lombardy.
My greeting today goes above all to the faithful of Rome, on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Patrons of the city! For this occasion the “Pro Loco” of Rome has promoted the traditional <Floral Embellishment>, made by several artists and by volunteers of the Civil Service. Thank you for this initiative and for the beautiful floral representations! And I wish to remember also the pyrotechnic show that will take place this evening at Piazza del Popolo, the proceeds of which will go to support works of charity in the Holy land and in countries of the Middle East.
I wish everyone a happy feast. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you soon!
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]