Sunday, January 15, 2017

#BreakingNews Alex C. Jones Deacon has Died - convert from Pentecostalism - RIP

Alex C. Jones a convert from the Pentecostal Faith has died. He was featured on EWTN's Journey Home (see video below). Jones also wrote a book about his conversion. He then entered the Deaconate and was a popular speaker. Eternal Rest grant unto him O Lord. Please say a prayer for his soul and his family.
Here is his biography from his website: 
I am in my early seventies, born in 1941, and married to Donna Camille. Donna and I have three grown sons: Joseph, Benjamin, and Marc, twelve lovely grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. I graduated from Wayne State University in 1965 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education, and received a MAPS Degree (Masters in Pastoral Studies) from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in 2007. I taught in the Detroit school system for twenty-eight years. 
From April 1975 to December 2000 I was the senior minister of two churches in the city of Detroit: Zion Congregational Church of God in Christ (1975-1982), the second oldest Pentecostal church in Michigan, and Maranatha Christian Church (1982-2000), an Evangelical/Charismatic church.
In March of 1998, while reading the apostolic fathers and subsequent church history in preparation for a Wednesday evening bible study, I discovered the Church to be charismatic/liturgical, hierarchical, and Eucharistic-centered.  In light of that discovery, Donna and I began a two-year journey into the Catholic Church that culminated in fifty-four members of my previous congregation, including fourteen members of my family, entering the Catholic Church.  We entered R.C.I.A. at St. Suzanne Catholic Community on September 10, 2000, and were welcomed into the Catholic Church through confirmation during Easter Vigil on April 14, 2001.

I was ordained a Permanent Deacon in the Archdiocese of Detroit on October 1, 2005.  On May 31, 2007 I retired from the position of evangelization coordinator for the Archdiocese of Detroit.   As of July 1, 2013 I have retired from both my positions as deacon at St. Suzanne/OLGH and as Pastoral Associate at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church.  My Archbishop is Allen Vigneron.  I am a member of Prince of Peace Catholic Church, and my pastor is Fr. Ronald Jozwiak.  A letter of commendation is available upon request.
I am also the author of No Price too High! - a book chronicling my journey into the Church.
Here is an exerpt from that book:
"Some of the reactions I got when Catholics found out I was coming into the Church were disheartening. One priest actually asked why I would want to come into the Church. And there were other Catholics who expressed similar sentiments. There was no universal concept. They felt everyone has his own religion and it works for him--so great! They believed the unity lies in the belief in God and in Jesus Christ, not in the governmental unity of the church. Hey, we're all going to heaven, so just stay where you are! They are trying to be magnanimous. What they failed to realize is that when a person's heart has been stirred to see the truth of the Church, that kind of thinking comes across almost as that of an apostate....I don't think those people know what they are saying. It is a tremendous hindrance to tell someone seeking the truth to say where he is."
Book Description:
Alex Jones was an "on-fire" Pentecostal minister in Detroit who was a completely dedicated shepherd of his flock. He greatly loved his people and they loved him. In seeking to give his flock the most genuine experience of the early Church prayer and worship services, he carefully read Scripture, the Fathers of the Church and writings of the early saints. The more he read, the more Alex came to the startling conclusion that the present day Catholic Church - and the Holy Mass - is the same exact "worship service " from the very early Church. Alex began to share his findings with his parish, and eventually Alex, and most of his parish, joined the Catholic Church. This is his incredible story of a black Pentecostal minister's challenging and dramatic spiritual journey, and the flock that followed him. Today he preaches with his usual passion about Christ - as a Catholic deacon! This book tells the story of Alex's life from his childhood all the way to his conversion to Catholicism in 2001. It simultaneously tells the story of his wife, Donna, and her spiritual journey as well, which shows how they were not always on the same path during Alex's preparation for entering the Catholic Church. Each had to be personally, deeply convinced that this momentous, life-changing and career-changing spiritual decision was God's will for them. Illustrated with numerous photos.
No Price too High! - can be purchased on Amazon

#PopeFrancis “Never end the day without making peace,” #HolyMass Video + Text

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Mass at the Roman parish of Saint Mary in Setteville on Sunday afternoon. The Holy Father made a pastoral visit to the parish, leaving the Vatican at 3PM Rome Time, and spending the afternoon with parishioners, clergy and staff.
The visit featured  moments with the sick of the parish, including a private meeting with one of the parish curates, don Giuseppe Berardino, who suffers from ALS – with the children and young people in the parish’s catechetical programmes – with the parents fo children baptized during the course of the past year – and with parishioners who contribute to Santa Maria’s pastoral outreach initiatives.
The Holy Father spoke briefly, off the cuff, to each group, beginning with the sick and troubled of the parish. “Jesus,” said Pope Francis, “desired to be close to us also in His [own] pain, with his passion, with His [own] suffering, and Jesus is close to you.”
“He himself said: ‘If you go to find a sick person, you go to find me.’ Jesus is here with the sick, with those who have problems,” continued Pope Francis. “I know that when we suffer, when there are problems, it is difficult to understand, but it is not a question of understanding: it is a question of feeling, of feeling the caresses of Jesus – that’s it – and this consoles – and in order that all of you should be able to feel these caresses of Jesus, I will give you my blessing.”
To children and young people, Pope Francis spoke warmly, thanking the younger children for the drawings they gave him, and encouraging the older ones not to become “strangers” to parish life and to the life of faith. “The Lord has given you this grace [of Confirmation],” he said. “Do not make Confirmation the ‘See you later,’ Sacrament – until your wedding day.” Pope Francis went on to say, “That’s a lot of years to go without a community, and you have been chosen by the Lord to make a community.”
In a question-and-answer session with a few of the young people, Pope Francis offered a glimpse into his own journey of faith, saying, “Sometimes, I think  of how in some moments, faith dropped so much that I could not find it and I lived as if I had no faith. Then, one finds faith again. The ups and downs of life also shock us at first, and that moves you and makes you lose some faith, but then as time goes by you find it again, see? There is a passage in the Gospel when Jesus says: ‘Everything is possible for the one who has faith.’ Everything – and the father of the sick child – the  father had taken the child to be healed by Jesus – what did he say to Jesus? ‘Lord, I believe – only  help my unbelief.’ Faith is not always so: there are dark days, days all [plunged in] darkness – even I have walked for days like that in my life as well. Only, be not afraid: pray and be patient, and then the Lord shows up, makes us grow in faith and makes you go forward.”
To illustrate the point, the Holy Father said, “Some days you do not see the faith: it is dark – and when one sees disasters, and sees that – [Saturday], for example, when I baptized 13 children [born after the earthquakes in central Italy], there was the father of one of the children, who had lost his wife. ‘I lost my love,’ he said. One thinks, ‘But can this man have faith, after this tragedy?’ – and you know it is dark, there. [Should I say], ‘If you do not have faith...?’ [No.] Shut up. Accompany him. Respect the darkness of the soul. Then will the Lord awaken faith – you see, faith is a gift from God. Our job is only to preserve it.”
Then Pope Francis spoke with the parents of children baptized during the course of the past year, offering two of his favorite pieces of advice: do not fight in front of the children, and do not go to sleep without making peace. “It’s normal,” he said, “arguing is part of life. But the advice that I give to you, is that your children never hear or see you fight: if you want to say things to each other, go in the [other] room, close the door and say everything – have it out. It is healthy, because even blowing off steam is healthy – only do not let them see it, because children suffer, they feel abandoned when parents argue.”
Then, “Never end the day without making peace,” he said. “[T]he ‘cold war’ of the day after is very dangerous: do not end the day without making peace.”
In remarks to all the faithful of the parish present for the Mass, following the readings of the day, Pope Francis spoke of the need to avoid gossip. “The Apostles,” he said, “were not gossipers: they did not speak ill of others, did not speak badly of each other. In this they were good. They didn’t talk behind each other’s’ backs.”
“[T]he Apostles did bad things: they betrayed the Lord, but not this,” Pope Francis continued. “We are all sinners,” he said, “but a community where there are gossips and trash-talkers, is a community that is incapable of giving witness.”

#PopeFrancis "May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Lamb of God, help us to believe..." #Angelus FULL TEXT + Video

Before the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
At the heart of today’s Gospel is this word of John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (v. 29) — a word, accompanied by a look and gesture of the hand that indicates Him, Jesus.
We imagine the scene. We are on the bank of the river Jordan. John is baptizing; there are so many people, men and women of different ages, who have come there, to the river, to receive Baptism from the hands of that man who reminded many of Elias, the great prophet who nine centuries before had purified the Israelites of idolatry and led them back to true faith in the God of the Covenant, the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob.
John preaches that the Kingdom of Heaven is close, that the Messiah is about to manifest Himself and that it is necessary to prepare oneself, to be converted and to behave with justice; and he begins to baptize in the Jordan to give the people a concrete means of penance (cf. Matthew 3:1-6). These people were coming to repent of their sins, to do penance, to begin their life again. He knows, John knows that the Messiah, the Lord’s consecrated, is now close, and the sign to recognize Him will be that the Holy Spirit will alight on Him; in fact He will bring the true Baptism, Baptism in the Holy Spirit (cf. John1:33).
And behold, the moment arrives: Jesus appears on the bank of the river, in the midst of the people, of sinners — as all of us –. And His first public act, the first thing he does when He leaves the house of Nazareth at thirty years of age: He goes down to Judea, goes to the Jordan and has John baptize Him. We know what happens — we celebrated it last Sunday –: the Holy Spirit alights on Jesus in the shape of a dove and the voice of the Father proclaims Him beloved Son (cf. Matthew 3:16-17). It is the sign John was awaiting. It is He! Jesus is the Messiah. John is disconcerted, because He manifested Himself in an unthinkable way: amid sinners, baptized like them, rather, by them. However, the Spirit illumines John and makes him understand that in this way God’s justice is fulfilled, His plan of salvation is accomplished: Jesus is the Messiah, the King of Israel, but not with the power of this world, but rather as Lamb of God, who takes upon Himself and takes away the sin of the world.
John Indicates Him thus to the people and to his disciples, because John had a numerous circle of disciples, who had chosen him as spiritual guide, and some of them in fact would become the first disciples of Jesus. We know well their names: Simon later called Peter, his brother Andrew, James and his brother John — all fishermen, all Galileans, like Jesus.
Dear brothers and sisters, why have we paused at length on this scene? Because it is decisive! It is not an anecdote. It is a decisive historical fact! This scene is decisive for our faith, and it is also decisive for the mission of the Church. The Church is called at all times to do what John the Baptist did, to point out Jesus to the people, saying: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” He is the only Savior! He is the Lord, humble, in the midst of sinners, but it is He, He: there is no other powerful one coming; no, no, it is He!
And these are the words that we priests repeat every day during the Mass, when we present to the people the bread and wine that have become the Body and Blood of Christ. This liturgical gesture represents the whole mission of the Church, which does not proclaim herself. Woe betide, woe betide when the Church proclaims herself; she loses her compass, knows not where she is going!  The Church proclaims Christ; she does not bring herself, she brings Christ. Because it is He and He alone who saves His people from sin, who frees them and guides them to the land of true freedom.
May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Lamb of God, help us to believe in and to follow Him.
After the Angelus  
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today the World Day of Migrants and Refugees is being observed, dedicated to the theme “Minor migrants, vulnerable and voiceless.” These little brothers of ours, especially if they are not accompanied, are exposed to so many dangers. And I tell you, there are so many! It is necessary to adopt every possible measure to guarantee to minor migrants protection and defense, as well as their integration.
A special greeting goes to the representations of different ethnic communities gathered here. Dear friends, I hope you can live serenely in the localities that receive you, respecting their laws and traditions and, at the same time, protecting the values of your native cultures. The encounter of various cultures is always an enrichment for all! I thank the Migrants Office of the Diocese of Rome and all those that work with migrants to receive and accompany them in their difficulty, and I encourage them to continue in this work, recalling the example of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Patroness of migrants, the centenary of whose death is observed this year. This courageous Sister dedicated her life to bring the love of Christ to all those who were far from their homeland and their family. May her testimony help you to take care of your foreign brother, in whom Jesus is present, often suffering, rejected and humiliated. How many times in the Bible the Lord asks us to welcome migrants and foreigners, reminding us that we are also foreigners!
I greet you all affectionately, dear faithful from the different parishes of Italy and of other countries, as well as the associations and various groups, in particular, the students of the Melendez Valdes de Villafranca de los Barros Institute of Spain.
I wish you all a good Sunday and good lunch. And, please, do not forget to pray for me. Thank you!
[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by ZENIT]

Sunday Mass Online : Sunday January 15, 2017 - #Eucharist

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 64

Reading 1IS 49:3, 5-6

The LORD said to me: You are my servant,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.
Now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial PsalmPS 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10

R. (8a and 9a) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or offering you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, "Behold I come."
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
"In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
to do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!"
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reading 21 COR 1:1-3

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
and Sosthenes our brother,
to the church of God that is in Corinth,
to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy,
with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

AlleluiaJN 1:14A, 12A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him,
he gave power to become children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
'A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.'
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel."
John testified further, saying,
"I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God."

Saint January 15 : St. Ita : Religious : Patron of Ireland

475, County of Waterford, Ireland
15 January 570
Patron of:
Diocese of Limerick, Ireland

St. Ita was born of Christian parents towards the end of the fifth century. She belonged to the noble tribe of the Decii in County Waterford. All her early biographers favor the pleasant metaphor describing her as the 'Brigid of Munster'. Actually the differences were more striking than the resemblances between those two foremost women saints of the Celtic church (see St. Brigid). Brigid's effective life as a nun was spent in continual movement. When she had made a success of one convent settlement, she moved off to found another. Organization was her bent. Ita did just the opposite. Instead of entering one of Brigid's convents, she founded another in a district where there was none, at Killeedy, County Limerick. There she remained all her life, courting retirement. Again, there is an emphasis on austerity in Ita's life not found in Brigid's. Ita's mortifications were on a par with those of the greatest contemporary missionaries.

A strongly individualistic character is glimpsed in the legends of Ita. When she decided to settle in Killeedy, a chieftain offered her a large grant of land to support the convent. But Ita would accept only four acres, which she cultivated intensively. The convent became known as a training school for little boys, many of whom later became famous churchmen. One of these was St. Brendan, whom Ita accepted in fosterage when he was a year old and kept until he was six. The great Navigator revisited her between his voyages and always deferred to her counsel. He once asked her what were the three clings which God most detested, and she replied: 'A scowling face, obstinacy in wrong-doing, and too great a confidence in the power of money'. St. Mochoemoc, whom because of his beauty she called 'Pulcherius', was another great personage of the Celtic church she fostered in infancy.
Ita died on January 15th, which is now kept as her feast, about the year 570. There is a strong local cult of her in Munster, particularly in Waterford and Limerick, and her name is a popular one for Irish girls. In the middle of the nineteenth century a new move was made in Ireland for the development of her cult, when Bishop Butler of Limerick obtained from Pope Pius IX a special office and mass for her feast