Thursday, November 24, 2016

Saint November 25 : St. Catherine of Alexandria : Patron of Educators, Librarians, Mechanics, Nurses, philosophers, secretaries, unmarried

VIRGIN, MARTYR
Feast: November 25
Information:
Feast Day:
November 25
Born:
287, Alexandria, Egypt
Died:
305, Alexandria, Egypt
Major Shrine:
Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai
Patron of:
Aalsum, apologists, craftsmen who work with a wheel (potters, spinners, etc.), archivists, dying people, educators, girls, jurists, knife sharpeners, lawyers, librarians, libraries, maidens, mechanics, millers, nurses, philosophers, preachers, scholars, schoolchildren, scribes, secretaries, spinsters, stenographers, students, tanners, teachers, theologians, University of Paris, unmarried girls, haberdashers, wheelwrights

A virgin and martyr whose feast is celebrated in the Latin Church and in the various Oriental churches on 25 November, and who for almost six centuries was the object of a very popular devotion. Of noble birth and learned in the sciences, when only eighteen years old, Catherine presented herself to the Emperor Maximinus who was violently persecuting the Christians, upbraided him for his cruelty and endeavoured to prove how iniquitous was the worship of false gods. Astounded at the young girl's audacity, but incompetent to vie with her in point of learning the tyrant detained her in his palace and summoned numerous scholars whom he commanded to use all their skill in specious reasoning that thereby Catherine might be led to apostatize. But she emerged from the debate victorious. Several of her adversaries, conquered by her eloquence, declared themselves Christians and were at once put to death. Furious at being baffled, Maximinus had Catherine scourged and then imprisoned. Meanwhile the empress, eager to see so extraordinary a young woman, went with Porphyry, the head of the troops, to visit her in her dungeon, when they in turn yielded to Catherine's exhortations, believed, were baptized, and immediately won the martyr's crown. Soon afterwards the saint, who far from forsaking her Faith, effected so many conversions, was condemned to die on the wheel, but, at her touch, this instrument of torture was miraculously destroyed. The emperor, enraged beyond control, then had her beheaded and angels carried her body to Mount Sinai where later a church and monastery were built in her honour. So far the Acts of St. Catherine.
Unfortunately we have not these acts in their original form, but transformed and distorted by fantastic and diffuse descriptions which are entirely due to the imagination of the narrators who cared less to state authentic facts than to charm their readers by recitals of the marvellous. The importance attached throughout the Middle Ages to the legend of this martyr accounts for the eagerness and care with which in modern times the ancient Greek, Latin and Arabic texts containing it have been perused and studied, and concerning which critics have long since expressed their opinion, one which, in all likelihood, they will never have to retract. Several centuries ago when devotion to the saints was stimulated by the reading of extraordinary hagiographical narrations, the historical value of which no one was qualified to question, St. Catherine was invested by Catholic peoples with a halo of charming poetry and miraculous power.
Ranked with St. Margaret and St. Barbara as one of the fourteen most helpful saints in heaven, she was unceasingly praised by preachers and sung by poets. It is a well-known fact that Bossuet dedicated to her one of his most beautiful panegyrics and that Adam of Saint-Victor wrote a magnificent poem in her honour: "Vox Sonora nostri chori", etc. In many places her feast was celebrated with the utmost solemnity, servile work being suppressed and the devotions being attended by great numbers of people. In several dioceses of France it was observed as a Holy Day of obligation up to the beginning of the seventeenth century, the splendour of its ceremonial eclipsing that of the feasts of some of the Apostles. Numberless chapels were placed under her patronage and her statue was found in nearly all churches, representing her according to medieval iconography with a wheel, her instrument of torture. Whilst, owing to several circumstances in his life, St. Nicholas of Myra, was considered the patron of young bachelors and students, St. Catherine became the patroness of young maidens and female students. Looked upon as the holiest and most illustrious of the virgins of Christ, it was but natural that she, of all others, should be worthy to watch over the virgins of the cloister and the young women of the world.
The spiked wheel having become emblematic of the saint, wheelwrights and mechanics placed themselves under her patronage. Finally, as according to tradition, she not only remained a virgin by governing her passions and conquered her executioners by wearying their patience, but triumphed in science by closing the mouths of sophists, her intercession was implored by theologians, apologists, pulpit orators, and philosophers. Before studying, writing, or preaching, they besought her to illumine their minds, guide their pens, and impart eloquence to their words. This devotion to St. Catherine which assumed such vast proportions in Europe after the Crusades, received additional eclat in France in the beginning of the fifteenth century, when it was rumoured that she had appeared to Joan of Arc and, together with St. Margaret, had been divinely appointed Joan's adviser.
Although contemporary hagiographers look upon the authenticity of the various texts containing the legend of St. Catherine as more than doubtful, it is not therefore meant to cast even the shadow of a doubt around the existence of the saint. But the conclusion reached when these texts have been carefully studied is that, if the principal facts forming the outline are to be accepted as true, the multitude of details by which these facts are almost obscured, most of the wonderful narratives with which they are embellished, and the long discourses that are put into the mouth of St. Catherine, are to be rejected as inventions, pure and simple.
An example will illustrate. Although all these texts mention the miraculous translations of the saint's body to Mount Sinai, the itineraries of the ancient pilgrims who visited Sinai do not contain the slightest allusion to it. Even in the eighteenth century Dom Deforis, the Benedictine who prepared an edition of Bossuet's works, declared the tradition followed by this orator in his panegyric on the saint, to be in a great measure false, and it was just at this time that the feast of St. Catherine disappeared from the Breviary of Paris. Since then devotion to the virgin of Alexandria has lost all its former popularity. SOURCE The Catholic Encyclopedia

OFFICIAL Trailer of New Movie "Silence" about the #Jesuit Missionaries is Awesome!


In the seventeenth century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Christianity. Director: Martin Scorsese Writers: Jay Cocks (screenplay), Shûsaku Endô (based on the novel by) Stars: Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver |

#PopeFrancis "We can find the answer looking to Mary. She serves, she is humble, she is merciful..." Social #Doctrine Festival - FULL TEXT - Video -

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has invited all people to rejoice in sharing and in getting close to others, building relationships that inevitably result in us receiving more than we give.    
His words of encouragement came in a video message to the participants in the Sixth  Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church, celebrated in Verona from 24 to 27 November. 
The theme of the festival this year is “In Mezzo alla Gente” – “Amongst People” -  which highlights the multiple richness of people as an expression of personal talents and warns against despotic regimes which increase poverty and inequality.
 Please find below Vatican Radio’s  translation of the Pope’s video-message:
Best wishes to all of you participating in the VI festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
The theme for this year is: “Amongst People”. This expresses a great truth: we are made to be with others (this is what I was talking about the day after my election as Bishop of Rome). Our humanity is much enriched when we are with others in whatever situation they may find themselves. It is isolation that harms, not sharing. Isolation spreads fear and mistrust and stops us from rejoicing in brotherhood. We really must tell each other that we are taking more risks when we isolate ourselves rather than when we open ourselves to the other: there is a much higher probability of hurting ourselves in closure and rejection than in encounter. The same is true when we get close to someone: I am thinking of a sick or elderly person, an immigrant, an unemployed or a poor person. When we take care of the other we end up complicating our own life far less than when we're just focused upon ourselves.
Being amongst people does not mean merely being open towards others but also letting others get close to us. We need to be looked at, called, touched, challenged; we need others in order to be able to partake of all that others give us. A relationship implies an exchange between people: experience tells us that we usually receive more than we give. Amongst our people there is real human wealth. There are countless stories of solidarity, help and support within our families and communities.
The dignity with which some people face economic hardship, pain, hard work and other challenges is impressive. Meeting these people allows you to touch their greatness and receive a kind of light that makes it clear that it is possible to nurture hope for the future; you can believe that good is stronger than evil because of them. Being amongst people means we have access to the lessons of life. For example: I was recently told that a 19-year-old girl had died. The pain was immense and many attended her funeral. What struck everyone was not just the absence of despair, but the perception of a kind of serenity. After the funeral people were commenting with wonder on how they felt comforted after the ceremony. The young woman’s mother said: “I received the grace of serenity.” Daily life is interwoven with things that leave their mark on us: they never lose their effect even although they may never feature in the headlines. Things happen just like that: without speeches or explanations one understands the things that are really worthy in life.
Being amongst people also means experiencing that we are all part of a people. Everyday life is possible because it is not made of the sum of many individual elements, but of the joint effort of many people that come together to give life to the common good. Being together helps us see the whole picture. When we see the whole picture our vision is enriched and it is clear that the roles that each of us plays within social dynamics can never be isolated or seen as absolute. When a people is separated from whoever is in power, when choices are made on the basis of power and not as a fruit of popular expression, when those in power consider themselves more important than the people and decisions are made by few, or are anonymous, or are always dictated by real or presumed emergencies, then social harmony is threatened with serious consequences: poverty increases, peace is jeopardized, money is in command and the people suffers. Being amongst people is good therefore not only for the life of the individual but for everyone.
Being amongst people highlights the plurality of colors, cultures, races and religions. People allow you to experience first-hand the richness and beauty of diversity. Only with great a great act of violence would it be possible to reduce the variety, the plurality of thoughts and actions to a single way of doing and thinking. When you're with people you touch humanity: there is never just the head, there is always also the heart, there is more substance and less ideology. To solve people's problems you must start from the bottom, you must get your hands dirty, have courage, listen to the poorest and most marginalized.
It is instinctive to ask: how does one do that? We can find the answer looking to Mary. She serves, she is humble, she is merciful, she walks with us, she is concrete, and she never takes center stage but is a constant presence. If we look to Her we will find the best way to be amongst people. Looking to Her we can tread all human paths without fear or prejudice; with Her we can become capable of not excluding anyone.
This is my wish for all of you.
Before saying goodbye I would like to thank the Bishop of Verona for his welcome,  all the volunteers for their availability and generosity, Fr Adriano Vincenzi for his work promoting the knowledge and the updating of the Church's social doctrine.
And remember: do not forget to pray for me. Thank you.
(Linda Bordoni

#PopeFrancis “I am a sinner and God will save me”. #Homily

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said on Thursday that corruption is a form of blasphemy which leads to the worship of money and the exploitation of others. His words came during the homily at his regular Santa Marta Mass for this last week of the Church’s liturgical year.
Reflecting on the readings for the day which speak of the end of the world, of judgement and redemption for God’s faithful people, Pope Francis talked about corruption which led to the downfall of the great city of Babylon.
Corruption is a blasphemous way of living, the Pope warned, it’s the language of Babylon and worldly living. Corruption is a form of blasphemy where there is no God, he went on, but only the gods of money and wellbeing through the exploitation of others.
Yet this worldliness which seduces the powerful will be torn down, the Pope said, just as we hear the victory cry of the angel, in the reading from Revelation, announcing the fall of Babylon with its empire of vanity, pride and evil.
In contrast to the victory cry of the angel proclaiming the fall of this corrupt civilisation, Pope Francis said, there is another powerful voice of the great multitude praising God and saying: “Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God”. This is the voice of the people of God who will be saved because they are sinners but not corrupt, he stressed.
A sinner who knows how to ask for forgiveness and seeks salvation in Jesus Christ learns how to adore God, though this is not an easy task for Christians. We are good at praying when we’re asking for something, he said, but we must also learn how to praise God. Better to learn now, he added, than have to learn in a hurry when the end times come. The Pope insisted on the beauty of praying in front of the tabernacle, saying simply: “You are God, I am a poor child loved by You”.
Finally the Pope noted that in the reading there is a third voice, the whispering voice of the angel who tells the author to write: “Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” The Lord’s invitation is not a cry, but rather a gentle voice that speaks to the heart, the Pope said, just like the voice of God speaking to Elijah. When God speaks to our hearts in this way, he said, it is like a breath of silent sound.
This invitation to the wedding feast, according to the parable of Jesus, will be our salvation. Those invited include the bad and the good, the blind, the deaf and the lame, all of us sinners who have enough humility in our hearts to say: “I am a sinner and God will save me”.
The Gospel passage concludes by reminding us that “when these signs begin to happen” – that is the destruction of pride and vanity – “stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand”. May the Lord give us grace, the Pope said, to prepare ourselves and to listen to that voice saying “Come, come, come faithful servant – sinner but faithful – come to the wedding feast of your Lord”
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Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday November 24, 2016 - SHARE


Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 506


Reading 1RV 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9A

I, John, saw another angel coming down from heaven,
having great authority,
and the earth became illumined by his splendor.
He cried out in a mighty voice:

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.
She has become a haunt for demons.
She is a cage for every unclean spirit,
a cage for every unclean bird,
a cage for every unclean and disgusting beast.”

A mighty angel picked up a stone like a huge millstone
and threw it into the sea and said:

“With such force will Babylon the great city be thrown down,
and will never be found again.
No melodies of harpists and musicians,
flutists and trumpeters,
will ever be heard in you again.
No craftsmen in any trade
will ever be found in you again.
No sound of the millstone
will ever be heard in you again.
No light from a lamp
will ever be seen in you again.
No voices of bride and groom
will ever be heard in you again.
Because your merchants were the great ones of the world,
all nations were led astray by your magic potion.”

After this I heard what sounded like
the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying:

“Alleluia!
Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God,
for true and just are his judgments.
He has condemned the great harlot
who corrupted the earth with her harlotry.
He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

They said a second time:

“Alleluia! Smoke will rise from her forever and ever.”

Then the angel said to me, “Write this:
Blessed are those who have been called
to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 100:1B-2, 3, 4, 5

R. (Rev. 19: 9a) Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.
For he is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

AlleluiaLK 21:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 21:20-28

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,
know that its desolation is at hand.
Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Let those within the city escape from it,
and let those in the countryside not enter the city,
for these days are the time of punishment
when all the Scriptures are fulfilled.
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days,
for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth
and a wrathful judgment upon this people.
They will fall by the edge of the sword
and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles;
and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles
until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.”

Saint November 24 : St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions : Martyrs of #Vietnam


MARTYR
Feast: November 24
Information:
Feast Day:November 24
Born:
1785 in Vietnam
Died:
21 December 1839 in Hanoi, Vietnam
Canonized:
19 June 1988 by Pope John Paul II Vietnamese priest and martyr and companion of St. Peter Thi. Andrew was arrested and beheaded on Dcember 21, 1839, with Peter Thi during the harsh anti-Christian persecutions. He was canonized in 1988.(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints)