Thursday, March 3, 2016

Saint March 3 : St. Katharine Drexel : Patron of Philanthropists, #Racial justice

Feast Day:March 3
November 26, 1858, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died:March 3, 1955, Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania
2000 by Pope John Paul II
Major Shrine:Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania
Patron of:philanthropists, racial justice
 Saint Katharine Drexel was born in Philadelphia on November 26, 1858, the second child of Hannah and Francis Anthony Drexel. Hannah died five weeks after her baby’s birth. For two years Katharine and her sister, Elizabeth, were cared for by their aunt and uncle, Ellen and Anthony Drexel. When Francis married Emma Bouvier in 1860 he brought his two daughters home. A third daughter, Louise, was born in 1863. The children grew up in a loving family atmosphere permeated by deep faith. The girls were educated at home by tutors. They had the added advantage of touring parts of the United States and Europe with their parents. By word and example Emma and Francis taught their daughters that wealth was meant to be shared with those in need. Three afternoons a week Emma opened the doors of their home to serve the needs of the poor. When the girls were old enough, they assisted their mother. When Francis purchased a summer home in Torresdale, Pa., Katharine and Elizabeth taught Sunday school classes for the children of employees and neighbors. The local pastor, Rev. James O’Connor (who later became bishop of Omaha), became a family friend and Katharine’s spiritual director.
She inherited a vast fortune from her father and step-mother, and spent her wealth to helping these disadvantaged people.  In audience with Pope Leo XIII, she asked him to recommend a religious congregation to staff the institutions which she was financing. 
In 1891, with a few companions, Mother Katharine founded the  Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. In 1935 Mother Katharine suffered a heart attack. She spent her last years to Eucharistic adoration. She died at the age of 96 at Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania, on 3 March 1955. 

#Breaking #SupremeCourt hears arguments to Restrict Abortion - Please PRAY for an end to Abortion

Locking Arms Against the Purple Wave

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard arguments related to the Texas law, H.B. 2 which places reasonable limits and sound restrictions on clinics that provide abortions in the State of Texas. The law draws upon substantial scientific research that children in utero are capable of feeling pain, thus restricting abortions beyond the gestational age of 20 weeks. It also provides an exception related to the health of the mother as well as a stipulation regarding the severe abnormality of the child. In addition to this, the law requires that prescriptions be provided and monitored by physicians, and that facilities meet the minimum requirement for ambulatory surgical centers. (I have linked above to the analysis of the bill.)

First, I don't see the rationale to oppose a law that not only wishes to provide for safe and sanitary conditions for those seeking legal abortions, but also includes the provision for the life of the mother and fetal abnormality as exceptions to the 20 week restriction on abortions in Texas. I am not sure why this law is being heard by the Supreme Court other than it contains the words "abortion" and "restriction" (which, as I said, are seemingly reasonable and rational).

Regardless, yesterday's hearing occurred -- but reasonable and rational was far from the atmosphere outside the Supreme Court.

Many pro-life advocates headed to the Supreme Court to peacefully stand to be the "voice of the voiceless" in this debate. Several of those advocates were high school students from Seton School -- the school my children attend.

Last night I had an opportunity to speak with a couple of the young men who were there and experienced the situation first hand. It was appalling to hear the level of physical and verbal abuse they endured. It was an angry wave of purple that caused the pro-life advocates to need to lock arms to protect themselves and others.

Here's what one of the young men from Seton had to say on Face Book today:

    I don't usually post, well, anything on Facebook. And when I do, it's usually not political. You've been warned, read on at your own risk.

    I had the chance to attend the rally in DC today. Looking down from the steps of the Supreme Court building, the sight would have been reminiscent of the battle of Thermopylae- a sea of purple, those who stood for the culture of death, surrounded a group of pro-lifers, dressed in blues and linking arms.

    What I witnessed as part of that wall was downright disgusting. I was flicked off, cursed at, and had crude images thrust into my face. I was told I had no right to an opinion because of my gender. The pro-death people pushed in in a ridiculously aggressive way, covering our signs with theirs and screaming at every word our speakers said. I had to escort several elderly ladies through the crowd at one point to the pro-lifers, who had been surrounded on all sides. The pro-choice movement had blocked the sidewalks and roads and it was incredibly hard to get through. At one point a pro-death woman stole our microphone to chant in before throwing it into the sea of purple.

    And the most stupid thing about it is that _we want the same thing_. The proposed bill only raises safety standards for clinics. So this shouldn't be a problem in a safe operation, right? So why does planned parenthood need to pay- yes, pay- bus loads of people to come protest? If they were really pro-woman, they'd stand with us by their own choice, and wouldn't pay people to go for them.

    The media won't tell you much about our presence, but we were there!! We were in front of the Supreme Court making our presence known. We stood with God and his most helpless children, even when there were hundreds of them and only few of us. Standing up for what you believe in isn't bravery unless you're willing to stand alone. We know how the story ends, and that God will not abandon His people. It may take our lifetimes, and our children's lifetimes, and their children's lifetimes, but we will give equal rights to all people, born or unborn. The #‎ProLifeGen‬ is here to stay. Thank you to all who stood out there today. It was not an easy thing, but nobody ever said that doing the right thing would be easy. (Thomas Moore -- Senior at Seton School)

Most of these youth in attendance have only experienced the March for Life as taste of civil protest against abortion. It must be understood that being in a sea of like minded pro-life individuals marching to show their conviction to a cause is uplifting. Yesterday, these youth were faced, no challenged head-on by the opposition and their venom and vitriol. They experienced the specter of evil in their midst -- people who are aggressively fighting for the right to kill, and won't be happy until it is unrestricted and no longer regulated in any way (they probably won't even be happy then).

This young man's words resonate so strongly in my "mother's heart". This is the future, the type of man that I want to see more of moving forward. He locked arms for a cause. He cared and protected those around him -- to include the elderly and his peers. And, with his friends -- especially, fellow senior Patrick Dealey, the other young man who managed to document in photos the anger and hate within the angry crowd and shared them with me last night -- stood for sound principles and for religious convictions.

It is encouraging to know that these courageous youth are among us. They and are willing to take up the standard for faith and reason in our country as the next generation of leaders. May God bless them on their way.

As for the hearing, a NY Times article on the matter said this:

The Supreme Court’s decision will probably arrive in late June, as the presidential campaign enters its final stretch, thrusting the divisive issue of abortion to the forefront of public debate.
Thrust away -- when it is clearly understood, there is very little upon which to debate regarding the provisions contained in the law. And, I think this new group of voters, who decided to defend life at on the steps of the Supreme Court yesterday, will welcome the opportunity to have their pro-life voices heard in the coming election! 
By: Prof. Kathy Vestermark of CDU
US Correspondant to JCE Catholic News World 

Cool #Priest releases Pop-Gospel #Music Album "to glorify God would help to win more souls for him." Fr. Albert - SHARE

Afro-Pop Gospel Video Fr. Albert Owie Ofere he started this music as the chaplain to the Nigerian Catholics in England and Wales. He’s released his first album called "Every Day of My Life", with six songs, and “God Dey My Side,” . The album is a mixture of Afro-pop and gospel music. Fr. Olfere, was ordained in 2001. He decided to use music “because many people like to dance to Afro-pop music and using it to glorify God would help to win more souls for him.” He started singing as a child. “My dad was once a choirmaster. My younger brother, Fr. Richard Ofere, who is now a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Benin, sings a lot too. In fact, he was a choirmaster in the seminary. I never joined the choir, but I was occasionally invited to lead some songs or choruses in my seminary choir. As a deacon, I sang a lot in Sacred Heart Cathedral Warri.” Fr Ofere is now the pastor of a parish in London. Fr. Albert Owie Ofere is from Diocese of Warri, Delta State of Nigeria, Afric."I like to sing, music is part of the family, it’s always been in the genes.” He also eplained that his priesthood would always come first before his love for music. Edited from the Diary Magazine of Africa

#Spanish Tenor Placido Domingo meets Pope Francis “What an emotional experience ! Thank you Holy Father !”

Opera star Placido Domingo kisses Pope Francis' ring at the general audience on Wednesday. - ANSA
Opera star Placido Domingo kisses Pope Francis' ring at the general audience on Wednesday. - ANSA
03/03/2016 11:

(Vatican Radio) Spanish tenor Placido Domingo was at Pope Francis’ general audience on Wednesday. The famed opera star carried a flag from his native Spain, and was accompanied by his wife of 50 years, as well as his children and grandchildren.
“I would love to one day sing for Pope Francis, who speaks my native language, as I did for Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI,” Domingo said.
He said it was a please to “just to live the experience, as a family, of being in the presence of the Pope,” calling it a moment of “great emotion and a privilege.”
Later in the the day, Domingo sent out two messages on Twitter: The first reading “Thank you Holy Father ! Gracias a Santo Padre. Grazie Santo Padre!”; and the second reading “What an emotional experience ! Thank you Holy Father !”

#PopeFrancis "We ask for grace so that our hearts do not harden - that they are open to God's mercy - " Lent Homily

(Vatican Radio) Only if our hearts are open and we recognize ourselves as sinners can we receive God’s mercy. That’s the message Pope Francis imparted to the faithful gathered for the morning Mass Thursday at the Santa Marta guesthouse.
Commenting on the First Reading from the Book of Jeremiah, the Pope stresses in his Homily that "God is always faithful, for he cannot deny himself" while the people do not listen to His word. Jeremiah therefore tells us the "many things that God has done to attract the hearts of the people," but, the Pope adds, the people remain unfaithful.
If the heart is hardened and closed, God’s mercy does not enter
"This unfaithfulness of God's people,” warns the Pope, is “also ours.” It is “our own infidelity [which] hardens the heart, closes the heart!" "It does not allow [us to hear] the voice of the Lord who, as a loving father, always asks us to open ourselves to His mercy and His love. In the Psalms, the Pope adds, we all pray together: 'Hear now the voice of God. Do not harden your hearts! ' The Lord always speaks with us in this way, also with the tenderness of a father who says: 'Return to me with all your heart, for I am compassionate and merciful.’ But when the heart is hardened, you don’t understand this. God’s mercy can only be understood when you are able to open your heart to let it enter. " Referring to the passage from Luke’s Gospel where Jesus is confronted by learned men who had studied the Scriptures, Pope Francis says they were "teachers of the law who knew theology, but they were very, very closed" . The crowd, however, "was amazed," and "had faith in Jesus! Their hearts were open: imperfect, sinful, but open hearts."
Ask forgiveness, do not judge others
But these theologians, adds the Pope, "had a closed attitude! They always sought an explanation so as not to understand the message of Jesus." "They asked him for a sign from heaven. Always closed! It was Jesus who had to justify his actions." "This is the story, the story of this failed fidelity. The story of closed hearts, of hearts that do not let in the mercy of God, which have forgotten the word forgiveness: 'Forgive me Lord!' - simply because they do not [see themselves as] sinners [but see themselves as] judges of others. A story lasting centuries.” And Jesus, the Pope continues, explains this failed fidelity very clearly - to combat the discourse of such hypocrites: ‘He who is not with me is against me.' “It’s clear! Or are you faithful, with your heart open to God who is faithful to you, or you are against Him: 'He who is not with me is against me!'"
Faithfulness to God begins with recognizing our sinfulness But is there room here for middle ground, for "negotiations?" asks the Pope. The answer, he says, lies in confessing to being a sinner! If you acknowledge that you are a sinner, “the heart opens and God’s mercy is allowed to enter and you begin to be faithful." "We ask the Lord for the grace of fidelity. And the first step on this path towards fidelity is to admit you are a sinner,” adds Pope Francis. “If you do not feel sinful, you have begun badly. We ask for grace so that our hearts do not harden - that they are open to God's mercy - and for the grace of faithfulness. And when we find ourselves unfaithful, for the grace to ask for forgiveness."

Catholic #Quote to SHARE by #StFrancis de Sales "Go to prayer in faith. Remain there in hope. Go out only by love....

"Go to prayer in faith. Remain there in hope. Go out only by love." by St. Fancis de Sales

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thurs. March 3, 2016

Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 240

Reading 1JER 7:23-28

Thus says the LORD:
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper.

But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed.
They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts
and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.
From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day,
I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets.
Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed;
they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers.
When you speak all these words to them,
they will not listen to you either;
when you call to them, they will not answer you.
Say to them:
This is the nation that does not listen
to the voice of the LORD, its God,
or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared;
the word itself is banished from their speech.

Responsorial PsalmPS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Verse Before The GospelJL 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
for I am gracious and merciful.

GospelLK 11:14-23

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

Saint March 4 : St. Casimir : Patron of Poland and Lithuania

Feast Day:March 4
October 3, 1458(1458-10-03), Wawel, Kraków
Died:March 4, 1484, Hrodna, Belarus
1522, Rome by Pope Adrian VI
Major Shrine:Vilnius Cathedral
Patron of:patron saint of Poland and Lithuania
St Casimir was the third among the thirteen children of Casimir III, King of Poland, and of Elizabeth of Austria, daughter to the Emperor Albert II, a most virtuous woman, who died in 1505. He was born in 1458, on the 3rd of October. From his childhood he was remarkably pious and devout. His preceptor was John Dugloss, called Longinus, canon of Cracow, a man of extraordinary learning and piety, who constantly refused all bishoprics and other dignities of the church and state which were pressed upon him. Uladislas, the eldest son, was elected King of Bohemia in 1471, and became King of Hungary in 1490. Our saint was the second son; John Albert the third son, succeeded the father in the kingdom of Poland in 1492; and Alexander, the fourth son, was called to the same in 1501. Casimir and the other princes were so affectionately attached to the holy man, who was their preceptor, that they could not bear to be separated from him. But Casimir profited most by his pious maxims and example. He consecrated the flower of his age to the exercises of devotion and penance, and had a horror of that softness and magnificence which reign in courts His clothes were very plain, and under them he wore a hair shirt. His bed was frequently the ground, and he spent a considerable part of the night in prayer and meditation, chiefly on the passion of our Saviour. He often went out in the night to pray before the church-doors; and in the morning waited before them till they were opened to assist at matins. By living always under a sense of the divine presence he remained perpetually united to, and absorbed in, his Creator, maintained an uninterrupted cheerfulness of temper, and was mild and affable to all. He respected the least ceremonies of the church: everything that tended to promote piety was dear to him. He was particularly devout to the passion of our blessed Saviour, the very thought of which excited him to tears, and threw him into transports of love. He was no less piously affected towards the sacrifice of the altar, at which he always assisted with such reverence and attention that he seemed in raptures. And as a mark of his singular devotion to the Blessed Virgin, he composed, or at least frequently recited, the long hymn that bears his name, a copy of which was, by his desire, buried with him. His love for Jesus Christ showed itself in his regard for the poor, who are his members, to whose relief he applied whatever he had, and employed his credit with his father, and his brother Uladislas, King of Bohemia, to procure them succour. His compassion made him feel in himself the afflictions of every one.
The Palatines and other nobles of Hungary, dissatisfied with Matthias Corvin, their king, son of the great Huniades, begged the King of Poland to allow them to place his son Casimir on the throne. The saint, not then quite fifteen years of age, was very unwilling to consent; but in compliance with his father's will he went, at the head of an army of twenty thousand men, to the frontiers in 1471. There hearing that Matthias had formed an army of sixteen thousand men to defend him, and that all differences were accommodated between him and his people, and that Pope Sixtus IV had sent an embassy to divert his father from that expedition, he joyfully returned, having with difficulty obtained his father's consent so to do. However, as his dropping this project was disagreeable to the king his father, not to increase his affliction by appearing before him he did not go directly to Cracow, but retired to the Castle of Dobzki, three miles from that city, where he continued three months in the practice of penance. Having learned the injustice of the attempt against the King of Hungary, in which obedience to his father's command prevailed upon him to embark when he was very young, he could never be engaged to resume it by fresh pressing invitation of the Hungarians, or the iterated orders and entreaties of his father. The twelve years he lived after this he spent in sanctifying himself in the same manner as he had done before. He observed to the last an untainted chastity, notwithstanding the advice of physicians who excited him to marry, imagining, upon some false principle, this to be a means necessary to preserve his life. Being wasted with a lingering consumption, he foretold his last hour, and having prepared himself for it by redoubling his exercises of piety, and receiving the sacraments of the church, he made a happy end at Vilna, the capital of Lithuania, on the 4th of March, 1484, being twenty-three years and five months old. He was buried in the Church of St. Stanislas. So many were the miracles wrought by his intercession that Swiecicki, a canon of Vilna, wrote a whole volume of them from good memoirs in 1604. He was canonized by Pope Leo X, whose legate in Poland, Zachary Ferrier, wrote the saint's life. His body, and all the rich stuffs it was wrapped in, were found quite entire, and exhaling a sweet smell one hundred and twenty years after his death, notwithstanding the excessive moisture of the vault. It is honoured in a large rich chapel of marble, built on purpose in that church. St. Casimir is the patron of Poland and several other places, and is proposed to youth as a particular pattern of purity. His original picture is to be seen in his chapel in St. German des Prez in Paris, built by John Casimir, King of Poland, the last of the family of Waza, who, renouncing his crown, retired to Paris, and died Abbot of St. Germain's in 1668.
What is there on earth which can engage the affections of a  Christian, or be the object of his ambition, in whose soul God desires to establish his kingdom? Whoever has conceived a just idea of this immense happiness and dignity must look upon all the glittering bubbles of this world as empty and vain, and consider every thing in this life barely as it can advance or hinder the great object of all his desires. Few arrive at this happy and glorious state, because scarce any one seeks it with his whole heart, and has the courage sincerely to renounce all things and die to himself: and this precious jewel cannot be purchased upon any other terms. The kingdom of God can only be planted in a soul upon the ruins of self-love: so long as this reigns, it raises insuperable obstacles to the perfect establishment of the empire of divine love. The amiable Jesus lives in all souls which he animates by his sanctifying grace, and the Holy Ghost dwells in all such. But in most of these how many worldly maxims and inclinations diametrically opposite to those of our most holy heavenly king, hold their full sway! how many secret disorders and irregular attachments are cherished! how much is found of self-love, with which sometimes their spiritual exercises themselves are infected! The sovereign King of men and their merciful Redeemer is properly said to reign only in those souls which study effectually, and without reserve, to destroy in their affections whatever is opposite to his divine will, to subdue all their passions, and to subject all their powers to his holy love. Such fall not into any venial sins with full deliberation, and wipe away those of frailty into which they are betrayed, by the compunction and penance in which they constantly live, and by the constant attention with which they watch daily over themselves. They pray with the utmost earnestness that God deliver them from all the power of the enemy, and establish in all their affections the perfect empire of his grace and love; and to fulfil his will in the most perfect manner in all their actions is their most earnest desire and hearty endeavour. How bountifully does God reward, even in this life, those who are thus liberal toward him! St. Casimir, who had tasted of this happiness, and learned truly to value the heavenly grace, loathed all earthly pomp and delights. With what joy ought not all Christians, both rich and poor, to be filled when they hear: The kingdom of God is within you! With what ardor ought they not to devote themselves to make God reign perfectly in their hearts! How justly did St. Casimir prefer this pursuit to earthly kingdoms!