Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Saint April 20 : St. Agnes of Montepulciano : #Nun and #Foundress


St. Agnes of Montepulciano
NUN AND FOUNDRESS
Feast: April 20


     Information:
Feast Day:April 20
Born:1268 at Gracchiano-Vecchio, Tuscany, Italy
Died:20 April 1317
Canonized:1726 by Pope Benedict XIII
Born in the neighbourhood of Montepulciano in Tuscany about 1268; died there 1317. At the age of nine years she entered a monastery. Four years later she was commissioned by Pope Nicholas IV to assist in the foundation of a monastery at Proceno, and became its prioress at the age of fifteen. At the entreaty of the citizens of her native town, she established (1298) the celebrated convent of Dominican nuns at Montepulciano which she governed until the time of her death. She was canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726. Her feast is celebrated on 20 April.
(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

#BreakingNews #ProLife Religious Leaders unite against Assisted Suicide in Canada



Canadian religious leaders call on Government to protect the vulnerable, improve palliative care and protect freedom of conscience

News conference April 19-2016-1OTTAWA – At a news conference today on Parliament Hill, representatives of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, The Canadian Council of Imams, The Salvation Army and Jewish communities, as well as a hematologist - oncologist from the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur, Montreal, expressed their opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide, and their concerns regarding proposed legislation on "physician-assisted dying." "We stand together today, leaders within our respective faith communities – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – to express our grave concern over the decriminalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia. We believe that any action intended to end human life is morally and ethically wrong." The principal concerns relate to the protection of vulnerable persons, conscience protection for healthcare workers and healthcare facilities, as well as the lack of availability of quality palliative care for all Canadians.
"Our churches, synagogues and mosques are committed to comfort and care for those who are dying and their families," they said. "Together, with our diverse communities of faith, we are determined to work to alleviate human suffering in every form but never by intentionally eliminating those who suffer." The religious leaders called on the Government instead to provide palliative care, support services for people with psychiatric illness and supports for the disabled.
Addressing the fundamental right of conscience for healthcare workers and facilities such as hospices, nursing homes and hospitals, the speakers asked "for the same protection that has been provided to these facilities in every foreign jurisdiction in the world that has legalized euthanasia/assisted suicide; that is, never to force hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and other care facilities to go against their mission and values, which are their institutional conscience." Because there is no reference to conscience rights in the draft legislation, "it appears that the federal government is leaving this issue to the provinces and territories for consideration." The religious leaders insisted "those protections are vital not only for the fundamental human rights of healthcare professionals; not only for the integrity of the medical profession; they are vital to maintaining the sanctity of life as an enduring Canadian value. That value continues to define us whatever legislation is adopted as law."
Speaking at the news conference were : Mr. Bruce Clemenger, President of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada; Imam Sikander Hashmi, Canadian Council of Imams; Commissioner Susan McMillan, The Salvation Army; Rabbi Dr. Reuven P. Bulka, C.M., Congregation Machzikei Hadas, Ottawa; Dr. Caroline Girouard, MD, FRCPC, a hematologist - oncologist at the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur, Montreal, and Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Montreal; and His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, representing both the CCCB and also the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience. (USCCB Release)
Link to the video archives on CPAC
http://www.cpac.ca/en/programs/headline-politics/episodes/47423720

#BreakingNews Death Toll of Ecuador Earthquake at 500 Killed and over 2500 Injured - Please Pray

The Earthquake in Ecuador has claimed more lives. Bodies are being discovered as the death toll climbed to 500. Saturday's 7.8 magnitude quake is one of this Latin American nation's worst. There are about 2,560 people injured. The President, Rafael Correa said it could cost as much as $3 billion to rebuild. Some people are still trapped and some for more than 32 hours in the rubble of a shopping center.  Among the dead were an American and two Canadians. Power is out in many areas hampering the rescue efforts. Please PRAY.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday April 19, 2016


Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 280


Reading 1ACTS 11:19-26

Those who had been scattered by the persecution
that arose because of Stephen
went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch,
preaching the word to no one but Jews.
There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however,
who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well,
proclaiming the Lord Jesus.
The hand of the Lord was with them
and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem,
and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God,
he rejoiced and encouraged them all
to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,
for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.
And a large number of people was added to the Lord.
Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch.
For a whole year they met with the Church
and taught a large number of people,
and it was in Antioch that the disciples
were first called Christians.

Responsorial PsalmPS 87:1B-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (117:1a) All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
His foundation upon the holy mountains
the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
more than any dwelling of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you,
O city of God!
R. All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I tell of Egypt and Babylon
among those who know the LORD;
Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia:
“This man was born there.”
And of Zion they shall say:
“One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
is the Most High LORD.”
R. All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
“This man was born there.”
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
“My home is within you.”
R. All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 10:22-30

The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem.
It was winter.
And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon.
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,
“How long are you going to keep us in suspense?
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.
But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”

#PopeFrancis “My sheep hear my voice” #Homily

Pope Francis preaches the homily during Mass in the Santa Marta chapel, saying Christians who harden their hearts are like orphans without a father - OSS_ROM
Pope Francis preaches the homily during Mass in the Santa Marta chapel, saying Christians who harden their hearts are like orphans without a father - OSS_ROM
19/04/2016 13:13



(Vatican Radio) Christians who harden their hearts and refuse to be drawn towards Christ are like orphans, without a father. That was Pope Francis message on Tuesday as he reflected on the daily readings during his homily at Mass in the Vatican’s Santa Marta chapel.
Philippa Hitchen reports:  
Pope Francis began his sermon by recalling the question that the skeptical Jews kept asking Jesus every time he performed a miracle, preached in the temple or pointed the way to the Father:
 “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
That question, which the Pope said the Scribes and Pharisees repeat in many different ways, springs from a heart that is closed and blind to the faith. As Jesus explains in today’s Gospel reading, “you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep”. Being part of God’s flock, he said, is a grace which requires an open heart.
“My sheep hear my voice”, Jesus says in that reading, “I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand”. Have these sheep studied how to follow Jesus and then believed, the Pope asked? No, he said, citing the words from St John’s Gospel, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all”. It is the Father who gives the sheep to the shepherd. It is the Father who draws our hearts to Jesus.
The hardness of the Scribes and Pharisees’ hearts, is a drama which continues all the way to Calvary, the Pope said. They see the works that Jesus performs but they refuse to believe he is the Messiah. Even after the Resurrection, the Pope recalled, this drama continues as the soldiers guarding the tomb are told to say they’d fallen asleep in order to give credit to the story that the disciples had stolen the body of Christ. Not even the witness of those who saw the Risen Christ was able to reach those who refused to believe. And this has its consequences, the Pope said, because they are orphans who have denied their Father.
These doctors of the law, he went on, had closed hearts, they thought they were their own masters but in fact they were orphans because they had no relationship with the Father. They talked about their fathers, Abraham and the patriarchs, but these were distant figures and in their hearts they were orphans because they would not let themselves be drawn to the Father.
On the contrary, the Pope said, reflecting on the first reading for the day, the news that reached Jerusalem of the many pagans who heard the disciples preaching in Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch and turned to the faith, shows what it means to have a heart open to God. Like Barnabas, he said, who is sent to Antioch to confirm these rumours and is not scandalized by the conversion of the pagans but accepts this novelty and lets himself be drawn by the Father to Jesus.
Pope Francis concluded by saying Jesus invites us to be his disciples but to be so, we must let ourselves be drawn by the Father towards Him. The humble prayer we can say is: ‘Father, lead me to Jesus, help me to know Jesus’ and the Father will send the Spirit to open our hearts and lead us to Him. A Christian who doesn’t allow himself to be led by the Father is an orphan, but we have a Father who can lead us to Jesus

Saint April 19 : St. Leo IX : #Pope


Information:
Feast Day:April 19
Born:21 June 1002 at Egisheim, Alsace
Died:19 April 1054 in Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy
Canonized:1082
(1049-54), b. at Egisheim, near Colmar, on the borders of Alsace, 21 June, 1002; d. 19 April, 1054. He belonged to a noble family which had given or was to give saints to the Church and rulers to the Empire. He was named Bruno. His father Hugh was first cousin to Emperor Conrad, and both Hugh and his wife Heilewide were remarkable for their piety and learning. As a sign of the tender conscience which soon began to manifest itself in the saintly child, we are told that, though he had given abundant proofs of a bright mind, on one occasion he could not study out of an exceptionally beautiful book which his mother had bought and given to him. At length it transpired that the book had been stolen from the Abbey of St. Hubert in the Ardennes. When Heilewide had restored the volume to its rightful owners, the little Bruno's studies proceeded unchecked. When five years of age, he was committed to the care of the energetic Berthold, Bishop of Toul, who had a school for the sons of the nobility. Intelligent, graceful in body, and gracious in disposition, Bruno was a favourite with his schoolfellows. Whilst still a youth and at home for his holidays, he was attacked when asleep by some animal, and so much injured that for some time he lay between life and death. In that condition he saw, as he used afterwards to tell his friends, a vision of St. Benedict, who cured him by touching his wounds with a cross. This we are told by Leo's principal biographer, Wibert, who was his intimate friend when the saint was Bishop of Toul.
Bruno became a canon of St. Stephen's at Toul (1017), and though still quite young exerted a soothing influence on Herimann, the choleric successor of Bishop Berthold. When, in 1024, Conrad, Bruno's cousin, succeeded the Emperor Henry I, the saint's relatives sent him to the new king's court "to serve in his chapel". His virtue soon made itself felt, and his companions, to distinguish him from others who bore the same name, always spoke of him as "the good Bruno". In 1026 Conrad set out for Italy to make his authority respected in that portion of his dominions, and as Herimann, Bishop of Toul, was too old to lead his contingent into the peninsula, he entrusted the command of it to Bruno, then a deacon. There is reason to believe that this novel occupation was not altogether uncongenial to him, for soldiers seem always to have had an attraction for him. While he was thus in the midst of arms, Bishop Herimann died and Bruno was at once elected to succeed him. Conrad, who destined him for  higher things, was loath to allow him to accept that insignificant see. But Bruno, who was wholly disinclined for the higher things, and wished to live in as much obscurity as possible, induced his sovereign to permit him to take the see. Consecrated in 1027, Bruno administered the Diocese of Toul for over twenty years, in a season of stress and trouble of all kinds. He had to contend not merely with famine, but also with war, to which as a frontier town Toul was much exposed. Bruno, however, was equal to his position. He knew how to make peace, and, if necessary, to wield the sword in self-defence. Sent by Conrad to Robert the Pious, he established so firm a peace between France and the empire that it was not again broken even during the reigns of the sons of both Conrad and Robert. On the other hand, he held his episcopal city against Eudes, Count of Blois, a rebel against Conrad, and "by his wisdom and exertions" added Burgundy to the empire. It was whilst he was bishop that he was saddened by the death not merely of his father and mother, but also of two of his brothers. Amid his trials Bruno found some consolation in music, in which he proved himself very efficient.
The German Pope Damasus II died in 1048, and the Romans sent to ask Henry III, Conrad's successor, to let them have as the new pope either Halinard, Archbishop of Lyons, or Bruno. Both of them were favourably known to the Romans by what they had seen of them when they came to Rome on pilgrimage. Henry at once fixed upon Bruno, who did all he could to avoid the honour which his sovereign wished to impose upon him. When at length he was overcome by the combined importunities of the emperor, the Germans, and the Romans, he agreed to go to Rome, and to accept the papacy if freely elected thereto by the Roman people. He wished, at least, to rescue the See of Peter from its servitude to the German emperors. When, in company with Hildebrand he reached Rome, and presented himself to its people clad in pilgrim's guise and barefooted, but still tall, and fair to look upon, they cried out with one voice that him and no other would they have as pope. Assuming the name of Leo, he was solemnly enthroned 12 February, 1049. Before Leo could do anything in the matter of the reform of the Church on which his heart was set, he had first to put down another attempt on the part of the ex-Pope Benedict IX to seize the papal throne. He had then to attent to money matters, as the papal finances were in a deplorable condition. To better them he put them in the hands of Hildebrand, a man capable of improving anything.
He then began the work of reform which was to give the next  hundred years a character of their own, and which his great successor Gregory VII was to carry so far forward. In April, 1049, he held a synod at which he condemned the two notorious evils of the day, simony and clerical incontinence. Then he commenced those journeys throughout Europe in the cause of a reformation of manners which gave him a pre- eminent right to be styled Peregrinus Apostolicus. Leaving Rome in May, he held a council of reform at Pavia, and pushed on through Germany to Cologne, where he joined the Emperor Henry III. In union with him he brought about peace in Lorraine by excommunicating the rebel Godfrey the Bearded. Despite the jealous efforts of King Henry I to prevent him from coming to France, Leo next proceeded to Reims, where he held an important synod, at which both bishops and abbots from England assisted. There also assembled in the city to see the famous pope an enormous number of enthusiastic people, "Spaniards, Bretons, Franks, Irish, and English". Besides excommunicating the Archbishop of Compostela (because he had ventured to assume the title of Apostolicus, reserved to the pope alone), and forbidding marriage between William (afterwards called the Conqueror) and Matilda of Flanders, the assembly issued many decrees of reform. On his way back to Rome Leo held another synod at Mainz, everywhere rousing public opinion against the great evils of the time as he went along, and everywhere being received with unbounded enthusiasm. It is apparently in connexion with this return journey that we have the first mention of the Golden Rose. The Abbess of Woffenheim, in return for certain privileges bestowed by the pope, had to send to Rome "a golden rose" before Lætare Sunday, on which day, says Leo, the popes are wont to carry it. Also before he returned to Rome, he discussed with Adalbert, Archbishop of Bremen, the formation of all the Scandinavian countries, including Iceland and Greenland, into a patriarchate, of which the see was to be Bremen. The scheme was never accomplished, but meanwhile Leo authorized the consecration by Adalbert of the first native bishop for Iceland.
In January, 1050, Leo returned to Rome, only to leave it again almost immediately for Southern Italy, whither the sufferings of its people called him. They were being heavily oppressed by the Normans. To the expostulations of Leo the wily Normans replied with promises, and when the pope, after holding a council at Spoleto, returned to Rome, they continued their oppressions as before. At the usual paschal synod which Leo was in the habit of holding at Rome, the heresy of Berengarius of Tours was condemned&#mdash;a condemnation repeated by the pope a few months later at Vercelli. Before the year 1050 had come to a close, Leo had begun his second transalpine journey. He went first to Toul, in order solemnly to translate the relics of Gerard, bishop of that city, whom he had just canonized, and then to Germany to interview the Emperor Henry the Black. One of the results of this meeting was that Hunfrid, Archbishop of Ravenna, was compelled by the emperor to cease acting as though he were the independent ruler of Ravenna and its district, and to submit to the pope. Returning to Rome, Leo held another of his paschal synods in April, 1051, and in July went to take possession of Benevento. Harassed by their enemies, the Beneventans concluded that their only hope of peace was to submit themselves to the authority of the pope. This they did, and received Leo into their city with the greatest honour. While in this vicinity, Leo again made further efforts to lessen the excesses of the Normans, but they were crippled by the native Lombards, who with as much folly as wickedness massacred a number of the Normans in Apulia. Realizing that nothing could then be done with the irate Norman survivors, Leo retraced his steps to Rome (1051).
The Norman question was henceforth ever present to the pope's mind. Constantly oppressed by the Normans, the people of Southern Italy ceased not to implore the pope to come and help them. The Greeks, fearful of being expelled from the peninsula altogether, begged Leo to co-operate with them against the common foe. Thus urged, Leo sought assistance on all sides. Failing to obtain it, he again tried the effect of personal mediation (1052). But again failure attended his efforts. He began to be convinced that appeal would have to be made to the sword. At this juncture an embassy arrived from the Hungarians, entreating him to come and make peace between them and the emperor. Again Leo crossed the Alps, but, thinking he was sure of success, Henry would not accept the terms proposed by the pope, with the result that his expedition against the Hungarians proved a failure. And though he at first undertook to let Leo have a German force to act against the Normans, he afterwards withdrew his promise, and the pope had to return to Italy with only a few German troops raised by his relatives (1053). In March, 1053, Leo was back in Rome. Finding the state of affairs in Southern Italy worse than ever, he raised what forces he could among the Italian princes, and, declaring war on the Normans, tried to effect a junction with the Greek general. But the Normans defeated first the Greeks and then the pope at Civitella (June, 1053). After the battle Leo gave himself up to his conquerors, who treated him with the utmost respect and consideration, and professed themselves his soldiers.
Though he gained more by defeat than he could have gained by victory, Leo betook himself to Benevento, a broken-hearted man. The slain at Civitella were ever before him, and he was profoundly troubled by the attitude of Michael Cærularius, Patriarch of Constantinople. That ambitious prelate was determined, if possible, to have no superior in either Church or State. As early as 1042, he had struck the pope's name off the sacred diptychs, and soon proceeded, first in private and then in public, to attack the Latin Church because it used unfermented bread (azymes) in the Sacrifice of the Mass. At length, and that, too, in a most barbarous manner, he closed the Latin churches in Constantinople. In reply to this violence, Leo addressed a strong letter to Michael (Sept., 1053), and began to study Greek in order the better to understand the matters in dispute. However, if Michael had taken advantage of the pope's difficulties with the Normans to push his plans, the Greek Emperor, seeing that his hold on Southern Italy was endangered by the Norman success, put pressure on the patriarch to make him more respectful to the pope. To the conciliatory letters which Constantine and Cærularius now dispatched to Rome,  Leo sent suitable replies (Jan., 1054), blaming the arrogance of the patriarch. His letters were conveyed by two distinguished cardinals, Humbert and Frederick, but he had departed this life before the momentous issue of his embassy was known in Rome. On 16 July, 1054, the two cardinals excommunicated Cærularius, and the East was finally cut off from the body of the Church.
The annals of England show that Leo had many relations with that country, and its saintly King Edward. He dispensed the king from a vow which he had taken to make a pilgrimage to Rome, on condition that he give alms to the poor, and endow a monastery in honour of St. Peter. Leo also authorized the translation of the See of Crediton to Exeter, and forbade the consecration of the unworthy Abbot of Abingdon (Spearhafor) as Bishop of London. Throughout the troubles which Robert of Jumièges, Archbishop of Canterbury, had with the family of Earl Godwin, he received the support of the pope, who sent him the pallium and condemned Stigand, the usurper of his see (1053?). King Macbeth, the supposed murderer of Duncan, whom Shakespeare has immortalized, is believed to have visited Rome during Leo's pontificate, and may be thought to have exposed the needs of his soul to that tender father. After the battle of Civitella Leo never recovered his spirits. Seized at length with a mortal illness, he caused himself to be carried to Rome (March, 1054), where he died a most edifying death. He was buried in St. Peter's, was a worker of miracles both in life and in death, and found a place in the Roman Martyrology.
(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)