Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Saint January 27 : St. Angela Merici : Patron of #Sickness, #Handicapped, #Loss of parents

Feast Day:
January 27
21 March 1474, Desenzano del Garda, Province of Brescia, Lombardy, Italy
27 January 1540, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy
May 24, 1807, Rome by Pope Pius VII
Major Shrine:
The Merician Centre (including the now subterranean Church of St Afra, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy)
Patron of:
sickness, handicapped people, loss of parents
Saint Mary of the Angels (1474 - 1540) Feastday: January 27 Also known as: Angela of Merici, Angela de Marici Angela Merici was born on March 21, 1474 at Desenzano, Lake Garda, Italy. She made a vow of virginity before she was ten years old and persuaded her older sister to do the same. Her parents died when she was only ten years old. Together, with her older sister, she moved to the nearby town of Salo, to live with her uncle. She and her only sister, who was three years older, loved each other very much. But soon the sister of Angela followed her parents by a sudden death. Her sister's tragic death left Angela disconsolate because it occurred before her sister could receive the last sacraments of the Catholic Church. Angela lost herself in prayer and good works. Although she had great faith, she could not help but wonder if her sister was safe in heaven. One day during harvest Angela was alone in the fields when she experienced a life-changing vision: the heaven’s opened and angels and young women came toward her singing a melody, surrounded by light. One of the young girl's was Angela’s sister and she spoke, telling her that God wanted her to establish a company of consecrated virgins. Since then she has been known as a Saint, thanks to her spiritual life and her capacity to understand and help people. In 1516, on invitation, Angela moved to Brescia, for a consolatory mission in the house of Caterina Patengola, who had lost her husband and two children. Here she met Giovan Antonio Romano. Soon a group of people formed around her, united by the same desire for good. In 1524 Angela embarked on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and a year later she went to Rome to the Pope for the Jubilee. On November 25, 1535, on Saint Catherine’s day, Angela and 28 young women formed the Order of Ursulines in honor of St. Ursula in a small house near the Church of St. Afra in Bresci. In 1536, Merici laid down the rules of the Ursuline Order, clarifying her plan to restore the family and the supremacy of Christianity through the education of girls. In 1537 she was elected superior of the company by unanimous vote. Before her death she dictated her Testament and Souvenirs, which contain her counsels to her nuns; they insist on interest in the individual, gentleness, and the efficacy of persuasion over force. In 1580, Charles Borromeo, Bishop of Milan, inspired by the work of the Ursulines in Brescia, encouraged the foundation of Ursuline houses in all the dioceses of Northern Italy. Charles also encouraged the Ursulines to live together in community rather than in their own homes. Angela died on the 27th January 1540 at Brescia and was buried in the ancient church of Saint Afra (now Saint Angela’s sanctuary), where she still rests. She left 150 spiritual daughters. On June 9, 1544, Pope Paul III approved the new institute with the Bull: “Regimini Universalis Ecclesiae”. She is beatified on April 30, 1768 by Pope Clement XIII and canonized on May 24, 1807 by Pope Pius VII. In 1962 St. Angela Merici was proclaimed the principal patron of Desenzano by a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. In 1861, Pius IX extended her veneration to the universal Church. Saint Angela's body is incorrupt. After Angela's death the Company of Saint Ursula spread rapidly. Ursuline communities were established quickly in France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Canada and the United States. Today, thousands of Ursuline Sisters work to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ on six continents. Text shared from MaryPages - Image Google

#PopeFrancis “May they be one, so that the world may believe”. #Vespers FULL TEXT- Video

Pope Francis preaches the homily at an ecumenical Vespers service - REUTERS
Pope Francis preaches the homily at an ecumenical Vespers service - REUTERS
25/01/2016 16:39

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily at the closing Vespers of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in the Basilica of St. Paul "Outside the Walls" in Rome on Monday evening. Below, please find Vatican Radio's full English translation of the Holy Father's prepared remarks.
“I am the least of the Apostles … because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace in me was not without effect.” That’s how the Apostle Paul sums up the significance of his conversion. Coming after his dramatic encounter with the Risen Christ on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, it is not primarily a moral conversion but rather an transforming experience of the grace of Christ, and at the same time, a call to the new mission of announcing to everyone the Jesus that he previously persecuted by persecuting the disciples of Christ. At that moment, in fact, Paul understands that there is a real and transcendent union between the eternally living Christ and his followers: Jesus lives and is present in them and they live in him. The vocation to be an Apostle is founded not on Paul’s human merits, which he considers to be ‘the least’ and ‘unworthy’, but rather on the infinite goodness of God who chose him and entrusted him with his ministry.
St Paul also bears witness to a similar understanding of what happened on the road to Damascus in his first letter to Timothy: I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” The overflowing mercy of God is the sole reason upon which Paul’s ministry is based and at the same time it is that which the Apostle must announce to the everyone.
The experience of St Paul is similar to that of the community to which the Apostle Peter writes his first letter. St Peter is writing to members of small and fragile communities, exposed to threats of persecution, and he applies to them the glorious titles attributed to the holy people of God: a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession. For those first Christians, like today for all of us baptized Christians, it is a source of comfort and of constant amazement to know that we have been chosen to be part of God’s plan of salvation, put into effect through Jesus Christ and through the Church. “Why Lord? Why me? Why is it us?” Here we touch the mystery of mercy and of God’s choice. The Father loves us all and wants to save us all, and for this reason He calls some people conquering them through His grace, so that through them His love can reach all people. The mission of the whole people of God is to announce the marvelous works of the Lord, first and foremost the Pasqual mystery of Christ, through which we have passed from the darkness of sin and death to the splendor of His new and eternal life.
In light of the Word of God which we have been listening to, and which has guided us during this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we can truly affirm that all of us, believers in Christ, have been called to proclaim the mighty works of God. Beyond the differences which still separate us, we recognise with joy that at the origin of our Christian  life there is always a call from God Himself. We can make progress on the path to full visible communion between us Christians not only when we come closer to each other, but above all as we convert ourselves to the Lord, who through His grace, chooses and calls us to be His disciples. And converting ourselves means letting the Lord live and work in us. For this reason, when Christians of different Churches listen to the Word of God together and seek to put it into practice, they make important steps towards unity.it is not only the call which unites us, but we also share the same mission to proclaim to all the marvelous works of God. Like St Paul, and like the people to whom St Peter is writing, we too cannot fail to announce God’s merciful love which has conquered and transformed us. While we are moving towards full communion among Christians, we can already develop many forms of cooperation to aid the spread of the Gospel.  By walking and working together, we realise that we are already united in the name of the Lord.
In this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, we must always keep in mind that there cannot be an authentic search for Christian unity without trusting fully in the Father’s mercy. We ask first of all for forgiveness for the sins of our divisions, which are an open wound in the Body of Christ. As Bishop of Rome and pastor of the Catholic Church, I want to ask for mercy and forgiveness for the behavior of Catholics towards Christians of other Churches which has not reflected Gospel values. At the same time, I invite all Catholic brothers and sisters to forgive if they, today or in the past, have been offended by other Christians. We cannot cancel out what has happened, but we do not want to let the weight of past faults continue to contaminate our relationships. God’s mercy will renew our relationships.
In this atmosphere of intense prayer, I extend fraternal greetings to his Eminence Metropolitan Gennadios, representing the Ecumenical Patriarch, to His Grace David Moxon, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s personal representative in Rome, and all the representatives of the other Churches and ecclesial communities who are gathered here this evening. With them we walked through the Holy Door of this Basilica to remind ourselves that the only door which leads to salvation is Jesus Christ our Lord, the merciful face of the Father. I cordially greet also the young Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox students who are here in Rome with the support of the Committee for Cultural Collaboration with the orthodox churches, working through the Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, as well as the students from the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey who are visiting Rome to deepen their knowledge of the Catholic Church.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us unite ourselves with the prayer that Jesus Christ prayed to his Father: “May they be one, so that the world may believe”. Unity is the gift of mercy from God the Father. In front of the tomb of St Paul, the apostle and martyr, kept here in this splendid Basilica, we feel that our humble request is sustained by the intercession of the multitudes of Christian martyrs, past and present. They replied generously to the call of the Lord, they gave faithful witness with their lives to the wonderful works that God has done for us and they already enjoy full communion in the presence of God the Father. Sustained by their example and comforted by their intercessions, we make our humble prayer to God.

#PopeFrancis "God’s mercy transforms human hearts;" #Lent Message FULL TEXT - Video

Pope Francis visits a shanty town near Rome in February 2015. In his Message for Lent 2016 he asks the faithful to open their hearts to the poor.  - REUTERS
Pope Francis visits a shanty town near Rome in February 2015. In his Message for Lent 2016 he asks the faithful to open their hearts to the poor. - REUTERS
26/01/2016 13:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is asking us to live this Lenten period as a favourable time for conversion during the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.
In his message for Lent entitled “I desire mercy and not sacrifice. The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee” the Pope reiterates the importance of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy and condemns the attitude and actions of  the proud, the powerful and the wealthy who refuse to open the doors of their hearts to God and to the poor.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:  
By reflecting upon and putting into practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy – Pope Francis says - Christians will be able to reawaken their consciences which too often have grown dull in the face of poverty.
In his Message for a special Lenten period which takes place this year within the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the Pope says that it is a season to be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience the transforming miracle of divine Mercy.
Pointing out that poor have a special place at the heart of the Gospel, he warns of  the “blindness” and of the  “illusion of omnipotence” which often afflicts the rich and powerful who close their hearts to the poor and end up themselves – he says - being the poorest of the poor.
This illusion of omnipotence, the Pope continues – can “likewise take social and political forms as shown by the totalitarian systems of the twentieth century, and in our day by the ideologies of monopolizing thought and techno-science which would make God irrelevant and reduce man to raw material to be exploited”.
The powerful message - presented on Tuesday morning in the Vatican Press Office – calls on believers to practice the works of mercy and to listen to God’s Word.
“Let us not waste this season of Lent – Pope Francis says – so favourable a time for conversion!”.

Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ message for Lent:

“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (Mt 9:13).
The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee
1. Mary, the image of a Church which evangelizes because she is evangelized
In the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I asked that “the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy” (Misericordiae Vultus, 17).  By calling for an attentive listening to the word of God and encouraging the initiative “24 Hours for the Lord”, I sought to stress the primacy of prayerful listening to God’s word, especially his prophetic word.  The mercy of God is a proclamation made to the world, a proclamation which each Christian is called to experience at first hand.  For this reason, during the season of Lent I will send out Missionaries of Mercy as a concrete sign to everyone of God’s closeness and forgiveness. 
After receiving the Good News told to her by the Archangel Gabriel, Mary, in her Magnificat, prophetically sings of the mercy whereby God chose her.  The Virgin of Nazareth, betrothed to Joseph, thus becomes the perfect icon of the Church which evangelizes, for she was, and continues to be, evangelized by the Holy Spirit, who made her virginal womb fruitful.  In the prophetic tradition, mercy is strictly related – even on the etymological level – to the maternal womb (rahamim) and to a generous, faithful and compassionate goodness (hesed) shown within marriage and family relationships. 
2. God’s covenant with humanity: a history of mercy
The mystery of divine mercy is revealed in the history of the covenant between God and his people Israel.  God shows himself ever rich in mercy, ever ready to treat his people with deep tenderness and compassion, especially at those tragic moments when infidelity ruptures the bond of the covenant, which then needs to be ratified more firmly in justice and truth.  Here is a true love story, in which God plays the role of the betrayed father and husband, while Israel plays the unfaithful child and bride.  These domestic images – as in the case of Hosea (cf. Hos 1-2) – show to what extent God wishes to bind himself to his people.
This love story culminates in the incarnation of God’s Son.  In Christ, the Father pours forth his boundless mercy even to making him “mercy incarnate” (Misericordiae Vultus, 8).  As a man, Jesus of Nazareth is a true son of Israel; he embodies that perfect hearing required of every Jew by the Shema, which today too is the heart of God’s covenant with Israel: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Dt 6:4-5).  As the Son of God, he is the Bridegroom who does everything to win over the love of his bride, to whom he is bound by an unconditional love which becomes visible in the eternal wedding feast. 
This is the very heart of the apostolic kerygma, in which divine mercy holds a central and fundamental place.  It is “the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead” (Evangelii Gaudium, 36), that first proclamation which “we must hear again and again in different ways, the one which we must announce one way or another throughout the process of catechesis, at every level and moment” (ibid., 164).  Mercy “expresses God’s way of reaching out to the sinner, offering him a new chance to look at himself, convert, and believe” (Misericordiae Vultus, 21), thus restoring his relationship with him.  In Jesus crucified, God shows his desire to draw near to sinners, however far they may have strayed from him.   In this way he hopes to soften the hardened heart of his Bride. 
3. The works of mercy 
God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn.  In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbour and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.  These works remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbours in body and spirit: by feeding, visiting, comforting and instructing them.  On such things will we be judged.  For this reason, I expressed my hope that “the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; this will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty, and to enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy” (ibid., 15).  For in the poor, the flesh of Christ “becomes visible in the flesh of the tortured, the crushed, the scourged, the malnourished, and the exiled… to be acknowledged, touched, and cared for by us” (ibid.).  It is the unprecedented and scandalous mystery of the extension in time of the suffering of the Innocent Lamb, the burning bush of gratuitous love.  Before this love, we can, like Moses, take off our sandals (cf. Ex 3:5), especially when the poor are our brothers or sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith. 
In the light of this love, which is strong as death (cf. Song 8:6), the real poor are revealed as those who refuse to see themselves as such.  They consider themselves rich, but they are actually the poorest of the poor.  This is because they are slaves to sin, which leads them to use wealth and power not for the service of God and others, but to stifle within their hearts the profound sense that they too are only poor beggars.  The greater their power and wealth, the more this blindness and deception can grow.  It can even reach the point of being blind to Lazarus begging at their doorstep (cf. Lk 16:20-21).  Lazarus, the poor man, is a figure of Christ, who through the poor pleads for our conversion.  As such, he represents the possibility of conversion which God offers us and which we may well fail to see.  Such blindness is often accompanied by the proud illusion of our own omnipotence, which reflects in a sinister way the diabolical “you will be like God” (Gen 3:5) which is the root of all sin.  This illusion can likewise take social and political forms, as shown by the totalitarian systems of the twentieth century, and, in our own day, by the ideologies of monopolizing thought and technoscience, which would make God irrelevant and reduce man to raw material to be exploited.  This illusion can also be seen in the sinful structures linked to a model of false development based on the idolatry of money, which leads to lack of concern for the fate of the poor on the part of wealthier individuals and societies; they close their doors, refusing even to see the poor. 
For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favourable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practising the works of mercy.  In the corporal works of mercy we touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited; in the spiritual works of mercy – counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer – we touch more directly our own sinfulness.  The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated.  By touching the flesh of the crucified Jesus in the suffering, sinners can receive the gift of realizing that they too are poor and in need.  By taking this path, the “proud”, the “powerful” and the “wealthy” spoken of in the Magnificat can also be embraced and undeservedly loved by the crucified Lord who died and rose for them.  This love alone is the answer to that yearning for infinite happiness and love that we think we can satisfy with the idols of knowledge, power and riches.  Yet the danger always remains that by a constant refusal to open the doors of their hearts to Christ who knocks on them in the poor, the proud, rich and powerful will end up condemning themselves and plunging into the eternal abyss of solitude which is Hell.  The pointed words of Abraham apply to them and to all of us: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Lk 16:29).  Such attentive listening will best prepare us to celebrate the final victory over sin and death of the Bridegroom, now risen, who desires to purify his Betrothed in expectation of his coming. 
Let us not waste this season of Lent, so favourable a time for conversion!  We ask this through the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, who, encountering the greatness of God’s mercy freely bestowed upon her, was the first to acknowledge her lowliness (cf. Lk 1:48) and to call herself the Lord’s humble servant (cf. Lk 1:38).

(Linda Bordoni)

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

25-01-2016 - Year XXII - Num. 15 

- Spread the joy of the Gospel in the simplicity of life
- Holy See Press Office communique: Pope to participate in joint Reformation commemoration
- Joint ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation
- Angelus: the mission of the Christian community is to evangelise the poor
- Cardinal Puljic, Pope's special envoy to Dubrovnik
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts
Spread the joy of the Gospel in the simplicity of life
Vatican City, 25 January 2016 (VIS) – "You are preparing to respond to that impulse from the Spirit, to be the 'future of the Church', in accordance with God's heart; not with individual preferences or passing fashions, but as the announcement of the Gospel requires", said the Pope this morning as he received in audience the Pontifical Community of the Lombard Seminary in Rome, in the Clementine Hall. "To prepare oneself well requires not only extensive work, but also an inner conversion, basing daily ministry on the first call of Jesus, and reviving it in the personal relationship with Him, as did the apostle Paul, whose conversion we remember today".
The pope went on to mention St. Charles Borromeo, whose life is presented as "a constant movement of conversion, reflecting the image of the Pastor. He identified with this image, and he nurtured it with his life, aware that discourse becomes reality at the price of blood: the sanguinis ministri were for him the true priests. He achieved this image by losing himself in it; he applied all his passion to reproducing it. In this way, the great work of the theologians of the time, the Council of Trent, was carried out by holy pastors like Borromeo".
Francis also emphasised that they were the heirs of and witnesses to a great history of sainthood, "rooted in your patrons, the bishops Ambrose and Charles; and in more recent times your alumni have included three Blesseds and three Servants of God. This is the goal to strive for. Often, though, a temptation appears on the way, to be rejected: that of 'normality', of a pastor for whom a 'normal' life is enough. This priest then begins to content himself with any attention he receives, judges his ministry on the basis of his successes and gradually goes in search of what he likes, becoming lukewarm and without true interest in others. The 'normality' for us is instead pastoral holiness, the giving of life. If a priest decides merely to become a normal person, he will be a mediocre priest, or worse".
"The words of life can be announced only those who make their own life into a constant dialogue with the Word of God, or better, with God who speaks. In these years you have been entrusted with the mission of training in this dialogue of life: the knowledge of the various disciplines you study is not an end in itself, but must instead be made concrete in the conversation of prayer and in the real encounter with people. It is not beneficial to form oneself in a compartmentalised fashion, as prayer, cultural and pastoral ministry are the cornerstones of the same edifice: they must remain steadfast and united to support each other, well cemented together, so that the priests of today and tomorrow will be spiritual men and merciful pastors, unified within by the love of the Lord and able to spread the joy of the Gospel in the simplicity of life".
The Pope also remarked that to be a good priest, it is essential to maintain contact and closeness with the bishop. "The characteristic of the diocesan priest is precisely his diocesan nature, and the cornerstone of this is frequent contact with the bishop, in dialogue and discernment with him. A priest who does not maintain a close relationship with his bishop is slowly isolated from the diocesan group and his fruitfulness diminishes, precisely because he does not participate in dialogue with the Father of the Diocese". He concluded by asking those present to "cultivate the beauty of friendship and the art of establishing relations, so as to create a priestly fraternity, made stronger by its particular diversities".
Holy See Press Office communique: Pope to participate in joint Reformation commemoration
Vatican City, 25 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today announced that His Holiness Francis intends to participate in a joint ceremony of the Catholic Church and the World Lutheran Federation to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, scheduled to take place in Lund, Sweden on Monday 31 October 2016.
Joint ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation
Vatican City, 25 January 2016 (VIS) – Pope Francis, Bishop Munib A. Younan and the Rev. Martin Junge, respectively president and general secretary of the World Lutheran Foundation, will preside at a joint commemoration of the Reformation on 31 October in Lund, Sweden, according to a press release issued today by the World Lutheran Foundation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU).
This event, ahead of the 500 th anniversary of Luther's Reformation in 2017, will highlight the solid ecumenical developments between Catholics and Lutherans and the joint gifts received through dialogue and will include common worship based on the recently published Catholic-Lutheran “Common Prayer” liturgical guide.
“The LWF is approaching the Reformation anniversary in a spirit of ecumenical accountability,” says LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge. “I’m carried by the profound conviction that by working towards reconciliation between Lutherans and Catholics, we are working towards justice, peace and reconciliation in a world torn apart by conflict and violence.”
Cardinal Koch, President of the PCPCU explains further: “By concentrating together on the centrality of the question of God and on a Christocentric approach, Lutherans and Catholics will have the possibility of an ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation, not simply in a pragmatic way, but in the deep sense of faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ.
The Lund event is part of the reception process of the study document From Conflict to Communion, which was published in 2013, and has since been widely distributed to Lutheran and Catholic communities. The document is the first attempt by both dialogue partners to describe together at international level the history of the Reformation and its intentions.
Earlier this year, the LWF and PCPCU sent to LWF member churches and Catholic Bishops’ Conferences a jointly prepared “Common Prayer”, which is a liturgical guide to help churches commemorate the Reformation anniversary together. It is based on the study document From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017, and features the themes of thanksgiving, repentance and commitment to common witness with the aim of expressing the gifts of the Reformation and asking forgiveness for the division which followed theological disputes.
The year 2017 will also mark 50 years of the international Lutheran-Catholic dialogue, which has yielded notable ecumenical results, of which most significant is the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ). The JDDJ was signed by the LWF and the Catholic Church in 1999, and affirmed by the World Methodist Council in 2006. The declaration nullified centuries’ old disputes between Catholics and Lutherans over the basic truths of the doctrine of justification, which was at the centre of the 16th century Reformation.
Angelus: the mission of the Christian community is to evangelise the poor
Vatican City, 25 January 2016 (VIS) – The evangelising activity of Jesus was the theme of Pope Francis' reflection in this Sunday's Angelus. The Holy Father explained to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Marian prayer that Christ was very different to the teachers of his time because, among other things, He did not open a school for the study of the Law, but instead "went about everywhere to preach and teach: in the synagogues, in the streets, in the houses. Jesus also differs from John the Baptist, who proclaims the imminent judgement of God, while Jesus proclaims the forgiveness of the Father".
Francis cites the Gospel of St. Luke, who narrates the scroll of the prophet Isaiah in the Synagogue of Nazareth, when Jesus stands to read the Holy Scripture and recites the passage "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor". Then, after a moment of expectant silence, He says, to general amazement: "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing".
"To evangelise the poor: this is the mission of Jesus, according to what He Himself says", affirmed the Pope. "This is also the mission of the Church, and of every person baptised in the Church. To be Christian and to be a missionary is the same thing. To proclaim the Gospel, with words, and, even before that, with one’s life, is the principle end of the Christian community and of each of its members. It is known that Jesus addresses the Good News to everyone, without excluding anyone; and yet, He privileges those who are furthest away, the suffering, the sick, those discarded by society. But let us ask ourselves a question. What does it mean to evangelise the poor? It means above all being close to them, having the joy of serving them, freeing them from oppression, and all this in the name of and with the Spirit of Christ, because He is the Gospel of God, He is the Mercy of God, He is the liberation of God. It is He Who was made poor in order to enrich us with His poverty. … The messianic proclamation of the Kingdom of God that has come amongst us is addressed in a preferential way to the marginalised, to prisoners, to the oppressed."
"Probably in the time of Jesus these people were not at the centre of the community of faith. And we can ask ourselves: today, in our parish communities, in the associations, in the movements, are we faithful to Christ's programme? Is the evangelisation of the poor, bringing them the good news, our priority? This is not about providing social assistance, much less about political activity. It is about the strength of the Gospel of God, Who converts hearts, heals the wounded, and transforms human and social relationships according to the logic of love. Indeed, the poor are at the centre of the Gospel".
The Pope concluded by asking that the Virgin Mary, "Mother of evangelisers", help us to "feel strongly the hunger and thirst for the Gospel that exists in the world, especially in the heart and the flesh of the poor" so that each one of us and every Christian community may "bear concrete witness to the mercy that Christ has given to us".
Cardinal Puljic, Pope's special envoy to Dubrovnik
Vatican City, 23 January 2016 (VIS) - In a letter published today, written in Latin and dated 30 December 2015, the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Vinko Puljic, archbishop of Vrhbosna, Croatia, as his special envoy at the events scheduled to take place in Dubrovnik on 3 February to commemorate the seventeenth centenary of the martyrdom of St. Blaise, patron of the diocese, and the 600th anniversary of the Ragusan law against the slave trade.
The mission accompanying the cardinal will be composed of Msgr. Ivan Simic, dean of the deanery of Dubrovnik, and Rev. Slavko Grubsic, former rector of the church of St. Blaise in Dubrovnik.
Vatican City, 25 January 2016 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Neven Pelicaric, ambassador of Croatia, presenting his credential letters;
- Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendia, apostolic nuncio in Romania and Moldavia;
- Archbishop Wojciech Zaluski, apostolic nuncio in Burundi;
- Archbishop Mario Antonio Cargnello of Salta, Argentina;
- Budiarman Bahar, ambassador of Indonesia, on his farewell visit;
- Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, archbishop of Florence, Italy.
On Saturday 23 January, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Matthew S. Lee, ambassador of the Republic of China, presenting his credential letters;
- His Beatitude Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon;
- Prefect Francesco Paolo Tronca, Commissioner of the Municipality of Rome;
- Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez, archbishop of Bogota, Colombia, with Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga of Tunja, president of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia; Archbishop Oscar Urbina Ortega of Villavicencio, deputy president; Bishop Jose Daniel Falla Robles, auxiliary of Cali, general secretary.
Bishop Roberto Rodríguez, emeritus of La Rioja, Argentina.
In the afternoon of Friday 22 January, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 25 January 2016 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:
- erected the diocese of San Francisco de Asis de Jutiapa (area 3219, population 458,321, Catholics 389,573, priests 24, religious 82), Guatemala, with territory taken from the diocese of Jalapa, making it a suffragan of the archdiocese of Santiago de Guatemala.
- appointed Fr. Antonio Calderon Cruz as bishop of the new diocese of San Francisco de Asis de Jutiapa, Guatemala. The bishop-elect was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including administrator, head of diocesan youth pastoral ministry, formator in the "Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion" national major seminary, parish priest, episcopal vicar for pastoral ministry, and diocesan administrator. He is currently parish priest in the diocese of San Marcos.
On Saturday 23 January the Holy Father has appointed Msgr. Miroslaw Milewski as auxiliary of Plock (area 11,000, population 3,779,000, Catholics 69,900, priests 106, permanent deacons 34, religious 89), Poland. The bishop-elect was born in Ciechanow, Poland in 1971 and was ordained a priest in 1997. He holds a doctorate from the Catholic University of Lublino, Poland, and has served in a number of pastoral and academic roles, including deputy priest, prefect of discipline in the major seminary of Plock, and adjunct professor of Social Doctrine of the Church at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University of Warsaw. He is currently vicar general and chancellor of the Curia, lecturer at the major seminary of Plock, and member of the College of Consultors, the presbyteral council and the pastoral council. In 2012 he was named Chaplain of His Holiness.

#BreakingNews Journalist who uncovered #PlannedParenthood Baby selling faces Jail - Please PRAY

Operation Rescue press release: Fellow Pro-Life American,

We need your help now more than ever.
David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the two heroes who recorded the undercover Planned Parenthood videos, were just indicted by a grand jury in a liberal county in Texas.
And the ghouls at Planned Parenthood got off scot-free!
David and Sandra are heroes. But now they face serious prison time because of this insane indictment.
They are being charged with violating the federal law against buying human organs -- precisely the crime they were trying expose.
Remember -- Planned Parenthood’s officials were the ones trying to sell harvested baby organs. They are the criminals!!
This is one of the biggest emergencies the pro-life movement has ever faced.
The pro-abortion lobby wants to make it illegal to question them. They are already trying to punish us financially with the ridiculous lawsuit they filed against us last week.
But this criminal case takes their counterassault to another level. They don’t just want to bankrupt us anymore. They want David and Sandra thrown in jail!
And please feel free to forward this email to all of your pro-life friends and relatives as well.
Everyone must understand what is happening here. These two heroes are about to be put on trial for the “crime” of exposing Planned Parenthood.
David Daleiden is a very close friend of mine. I am proud to have helped fund and advise the production of his groundbreaking undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s cash-for-baby-parts racket.
I never dreamed that he would be prosecuted for the very crime he was attempting to fight.
But unless we act now, there is a very real chance that he will go to jail while the merchants of death at Planned Parenthood become more invincible than ever before.
Planned Parenthood’s highly-paid executives will soon be all over the news. They’ll be bragging about this insane indictment.
They’ll boast that they’ve been exonerated. They’ll claim that pro-lifers are the real criminals!
You must understand. Planned Parenthood is evil.
Its leaders revel in -- and profit from -- the deaths of innocent children.
They don’t care about the law, the Constitution, the Ten Commandments, or even common decency.
They believe only in their agenda of death and the incredible wealth they can amass by slaughtering babies.
And now, in addition to filing their crippling lawsuit against us, they have set their sights on two American heroes.
David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt could be thrown in prison unless we act fast!
God bless you. And please pray for David and Sandra.
Faithfully yours,
Troy Newman
Operation Rescue

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tues. January 26, 2016

Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops
Lectionary: 520/318

Reading 12 TM 1:1-8

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears,
so that I may be filled with joy,
as I recall your sincere faith
that first lived in your grandmother Lois
and in your mother Eunice
and that I am confident lives also in you.

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.

OrTI 1:1-5

Paul, a slave of God and Apostle of Jesus Christ
for the sake of the faith of God’s chosen ones
and the recognition of religious truth,
in the hope of eternal life
that God, who does not lie, promised before time began,
who indeed at the proper time revealed his word
in the proclamation with which I was entrusted
by the command of God our savior,
to Titus, my true child in our common faith:
grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our savior.

For this reason I left you in Crete
so that you might set right what remains to be done
and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you.

Responsorial PsalmPS 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 7-8A, 10

R. (3) Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.

AlleluiaSEE MT 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 3:31-35

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
“Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you.”
But he said to them in reply,
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”

Saint January 26 : 1st Bishop of Crete - Companion of St. Paul : St. Titus

Feast Day:January 26
Died:96 at Goryna, Crete
Patron of:Crete
Then, as regards the figure of Titus, whose name is of Latin origin, we know that he was Greek by birth, that is, a pagan (cf. Gal 2:3). Paul took Titus with him to Jerusalem for the so-called Apostolic Council, where the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles that freed them from the constraints of Mosaic Law was solemnly accepted.
In the Letter addressed to Titus, the Apostle praised him and described him as his "true child in a common faith" (Ti 1:4). After Timothy's departure from Corinth, Paul sent Titus there with the task of bringing that unmanageable community to obedience.
Titus restored peace between the Church of Corinth and the Apostle, who wrote to this Church in these terms: "But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me.... And besides our own comfort we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his mind has been set at rest by you all" (II Cor 7:6-7, 13).
From Corinth, Titus was again sent out by Paul — who called him "my partner and fellow worker in your service" (II Cor 8:23) — to organize the final collections for the Christians of Jerusalem (cf. II Cor 8:6).
Further information from the Pastoral Letters describes him as Bishop of Crete (cf. Ti 1:5), from which, at Paul's invitation, he joined the Apostle at Nicopolis in Epirus (cf. Ti 3:12). Later, he also went to Dalmatia (cf. II Tm 4:10). We lack any further information on the subsequent movements of Titus or on his death.
Shared from Ewtn

Saint January 26 : St. Timothy : 1st #Bishop of #Ephesus - Patron of #Stomach and #Intestinal Disorders

Feast Day:January 26
Died:80, Ephesus
Patron of:intestinal disorders, stomach diseases

A native of Lystra, he was the son of a Jewish woman named Eunice and a Greek Gentile. Converted to the faith by St. Paul, Timothy willingly received circumcision in order to assuage the Jews to whom he and Paul would be preaching, especially as it was known that his father was a Gentile. Paul found Timothy a very valuable assistant and companion, using him on several missions, such as those to the Corinthians (1 Cor 4:17) and the Thessalonians (1 Thes 3:2-3). According to tradition, he was the first bishop of Ephesus, the basis for this being his journey to the city at the command of Paul to act as his representative (1 Tm 1:3). He is mentioned with St. Paul in the salutations of seven epistles in the New Testament and was teh addressee of two of three pastoral letters - 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. His martyrdom on January 22, 97 by a mob of angry pagans came about through his opposition to the celebration of the feast of Diana; it was recorded in the fourth-century Acta S. Timothei.

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