Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Saint February 9 : St. Apollina : #Martyr : Patron of #Dentists

A holy virgin who suffered martyrdom in Alexandria during a local uprising against the Christians previous to the persecution of Decius (end of 248, or beginning of 249). During the festivities commemorative of the first millenary of the Roman Empire, the agitation of the heathen populace rose to a great height, and when one of their poets prophesied a calamity, they committed bloody outrages on the Christians whom the authorities made no effort to protect. The great Dionysius, then Bishop of Alexandria (247-265), relates the sufferings of his people in a letter addressed to Fabius, Bishop of Antioch, long extracts from which Eusebius has preserved for us (Church History I.6.41). After describing how a Christian man and woman, named respectively Metras and Quinta, were seized by the seditious mob and put to death with the most cruel tortures, and how the houses of several other Christians were completely pillaged, Dionysius continues: "At that time Apollonia the parthénos presbûtis (virgo presbytera, by which he very probably means not a virgin advanced in years, but a deaconess) was held in high esteem. These men seized her also and by repeated blows broke all her teeth. They then erected outside the city gates a pile of fagots and threatened to burn her alive if she refused to repeat after them impious words (either a blasphemy against Christ, or an invocation of the heathen gods). Given, at her own request, a little freedom, she sprang quickly into the fire and was burned to death." Apollonia belongs, therefore, to that class of early Christian martyrs who did not await the death they were threatened with, but either to preserve their chastity, or because confronted with the alternative of renouncing their faith or suffering death, voluntarily embraced the latter in the form prepared for them. In the honour paid to her martyrs the Church made no distinction between these women and others. St. Augustine touches on this question in the first book of the "City of God", apropos of suicide (City of God I.26); "But, they say, during the time of persecution certain holy women plunged into the water with the intention of being swept away by the waves and drowned, and thus preserve their threatened chastity. Although they quitted life in this wise, nevertheless they receive high honour as martyrs in the Catholic Church and their feasts are observed with great ceremony. This is a matter on which I dare not pass judgment lightly. For I know not but that the Church was divinely authorized through trustworthy revelations to honour thus the memory of these Christians. It may be that such is the case. May it not be, too, that these acted in such a manner, not through human caprice but on the command of God, not erroneously but through obedience, as we must believe in the case of Samson? When, however, God gives a command and makes it clearly known, who would account obedience thereto a crime or condemn such pious devotion and ready service?" The narrative of Dionysius does not suggest the slightest reproach as to this act of St. Apollonia; in his eyes she was as much a martyr as the others, and as such she was revered in the Alexandrian Church. In time, her feast was also popular in the West. A later legend assigned a similar martyrdom to Apollonia, a Christian virgin of Rome in the reign of Julian the Apostate. There was, however, but one martyr of this name, i.e. the Saint of Alexandria. The Roman Church celebrates her memory on 9 February, and she is popularly invoked against the toothache because of the torments she had to endure. She is represented in art with pincers in which a tooth is held. There was a church dedicated to her at Rome but it no longer exists. The little square, however, in which it stood is still called "Piazza Sant' Apollonia".
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#PopeFrancis "..Christian hope, when it assumes strong guidelines and at the same time the tenderness of love." #Audience - FULL TEXT + Video

The General Audience ended with the singing of the Pater Noster .
* * *
The Holy Father’s Catechesis
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! Last Wednesday, we saw that, in the First Letter to the Thessalonians, Saint Paul exhorts to remain rooted in the hope of the resurrection (cf. 5:4-11), with those beautiful words “we shall always be with the Lord” (4:17). In the same context, the Apostle shows that Christian hope does not only have personal, individual breadth, but communitarian, ecclesial. We all hope; we all have hope, also communally.
Paul’s gaze is immediately widened to all the realities that make up the Christian community, asking them to pray for one another and to support each other — to help one another. But not only to help one another in needs, in the many needs of daily life, but to help one another in hope, to support each other in hope. And it is no accident that he begins in fact making reference to those to whom responsibility and pastoral guidance is entrusted. They are the first to be called to nourish hope, and this, not because they are better than the others, but by virtue of a divine ministry that goes well beyond their strength. Therefore, they are all the more in need of respect, of understanding and of the benevolent support of all.
Attention is then drawn to brothers that in the main risk losing hope, of falling into despair. We always have news of people that fall into despair and do awful things …Despair leads them to so many awful things. The reference is to one who is discouraged, who is weak, and who feels beaten by the weight of life and of his faults and is unable to be relieved. In these cases, the closeness and warmth of the whole Church must be more intense and loving, and must assume the exquisite form of compassion, which is not to have pity: compassion is to suffer with the other, to suffer with the other, to get close to one who suffers: a word, a caress, but it must come from the heart; this is compassion, for one who is in need of comfort and consolation. This is all that much more important: Christian hope can do no less than genuine and concrete charity. In the Letter to the Romans, the Apostle of the Gentiles himself affirms, with his heart in his hand: “We who are strong, ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (15:1) — to bear, to bear the weaknesses of others. This testimony, then, does not remain closed in the confines of the Christian community: it resounds also in all its vigor outside, in the social and civil context, as an appeal to not create walls but bridges, to not return evil for evil, to overcome evil with goodness, an offense with forgiveness, — a Christian can never, never say: he’ll pay for this! This isn’t a Christian gesture; an offense is overcome with forgiveness –, to live in peace with all. This is the Church! And this is what brings about Christian hope, when it assumes strong guidelines and at the same time the tenderness of love. Love is strong and tender; it is beautiful.
Then we understand that one does not learn to hope on one’s own. No one learns to hope on his own. It is not possible. To be nourished, hope necessarily has need of a “body,” in which the various members support and revive one another. This means then that, if we hope, it is because many of our brothers and sisters have taught us to hope and have kept our hope alive. And distinguished among these are the little ones, the poor, the simple and the marginalized. Yes, because he knows not hope who is closed in his well-being: he hopes only in his well-being and this is not hope: it is relative security; he knows not hope who closes himself in his contentment, who always feels right …
Instead, those hope who every day experience trials, precariousness and their own limitation. It is these brothers who give us the most beautiful, the strongest testimony, because they remain firm in their entrustment to the Lord, knowing that, beyond the sadness, the oppression and of the ineluctability of death, the last word will be His, and it will be a word of mercy, of life and of peace. One who hopes, hopes to hear one day these words: “Come, come to me, brother; come, come to me, sister, for all eternity.”
Dear friends, if – as we have said – the natural dwelling of hope is a supportive “body,” in the case of Christian hope this body is the Church, while the vital breath, the soul of this hope is the Holy Spirit. See then why the Apostle Paul invites us at the end to invoke Him continually. If it is not easy to believe, much less so is it to hope. It is more difficult to hope than to believe; it is more difficult. However, when the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts, it is He who makes us understand that we must not fear, that the Lord is close and takes care of us; and it is He who molds our communities, in a perennial Pentecost, as living signs of hope for the human family. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester] 
In Italian
A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I greet the Committee of the World Day of Prayer against the Trafficking of Persons. I want to see you, stand up! There. Thank you for what you do; thank you! I greet the young people participating in the meeting organized by the Youth Movement of the European Popular Party and the Scholastic Band of Negrar, which I thank for the enjoyable performance.
I greet the parish groups, the “Via Condotti” Association of Rome and the “Eduardo De Filippo” Didactic Circle of Santa Maria La Carita. I hope that for all of you the meeting with the Successor of Peter gives new impetus to faith, reinforces hope and renders charity industrious.
Finally, I greet young people, the sick and newlyweds. May today’s memorial of Sister Josephine Bakhita , who as a child was a victim of trafficking, increase in you, dear young people, attention to your more disadvantaged contemporaries and in difficulty; may it help you, dear sick to offer your sufferings for the Christian education of the new generations; and may it encourage you, dear newlyweds, to trust in the help of Providence and not only in your capacities. Marriage without God’s help does not go forward, we must ask for it every day. And you, dear sick, next Saturday is the day of prayer for you to Our Lady of Lourdes: we shall do so all together. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester] 
The Holy Father’s Appeals 
Proclaimed Blessed yesterday at Osaka in Japan was Justin Takayama Ukon, Japanese lay faithful, who died a martyr at Manila in 1615. Rather than descend into compromises, he gave up honors and affluence, accepting humiliation and exile. He remained faithful to Christ and to the Gospel. Therefore, he represents an admirable example of fortitude in the faith and of dedication in charity.
Observed today is the World Day of Prayer and Reflection against the Trafficking of Persons, dedicated this year in particular to children and adolescents. I encourage all those that, in various ways, help enslaved and abused minors to be liberated from such oppression. I hope that all those who have the responsibility of government will combat this plague with determination, giving voice to our littlest brothers, humiliated in their dignity. Every effort must be made to vanquish this shameful and intolerable crime.
Next Saturday, memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, the 25th World Day of the Sick will be observed. The main celebration will take place at Lourdes and will be presided over by the Cardinal Secretary of State. I invite you to pray, through the intercession of our Holy Mother, for all the sick, especially for the most grave and most alone, and also for all those who look after them.
I turn to today’s celebration, the Day of Prayer and Reflection against the Trafficking of Persons, which is being observed today because today is the feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita [he shows a brochure that talks about her]. This girl, enslaved in Africa, exploited, humiliated, did not lose hope and carried forward the faith, and ended by arriving as a migrant in Europe. And there she heard the Lord’s call and became a Sister. Let us pray to Saint Josephine Bakhita for all migrants, refugees, the exploited who suffer so much, so much.
And speaking of migrants driven out, exploited, I would like to pray with you, today, in a special way for our Rohingya brothers and sisters: driven out from Myanmar, they go from one place to another because they are not wanted there … They are good people, peaceful people. They are not Christians; they are good, they are our brothers and sisters! They have been suffering for years. They have been tortured, killed, simply because they carry forward their traditions, their Muslim faith. Let us pray for them. I invite you to pray, all together, to our Father who is in Heaven for them, for our Rohingya brothers and sisters. “Our Father …”
Saint Josephine Bakhita, pray for us. And applaud Saint Josephine Bakhita!
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday February 8, 2017 - #Eucharist

Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 331

Reading 1GN 2:4B-9, 15-17

At the time when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens—
while as yet there was no field shrub on earth
and no grass of the field had sprouted,
for the LORD God had sent no rain upon the earth
and there was no man to till the soil,
but a stream was welling up out of the earth
and was watering all the surface of the ground—
the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.

Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and he placed there the man whom he had formed.
Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow
that were delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The LORD God then took the man
and settled him in the garden of Eden,
to cultivate and care for it.
The LORD God gave man this order:
"You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden
except the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
From that tree you shall not eat;
the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die."

Responsorial PsalmPS 104:1-2A, 27-28, 29BC-30

R. (1a) O bless the Lord, my soul!
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
All creatures look to you
to give them food in due time.
When you give it to them, they gather it;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!

AlleluiaSEE JN 17:17B, 17A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth:
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 7:14-23

Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them,
"Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile."

When he got home away from the crowd
his disciples questioned him about the parable.
He said to them,
"Are even you likewise without understanding?
Do you not realize that everything
that goes into a person from outside cannot defile,
since it enters not the heart but the stomach
and passes out into the latrine?"
(Thus he declared all foods clean.)
"But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him.
From within the man, from his heart,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile."

Saint February 8 : St. Jerome Emiliani : Patron of #Orphans - Founder of the Order of #Somascha

Feast Day:
February 8
1481, Venice Died:
8 February 1537, Somasca
1767 by Pope Clement XIII
Patron of:
Founder of the Order of Somascha; b. at Venice, 1481; d. at Somascha, 8 Feb., 1537; feast, 20 July; son of Angelo Emiliani (popularly called Miani) and of Eleonore Mauroceni, joined the army, and in 1508 defended Castelnuovo against the League of Cambray. Taken prisoner and miraculously liberated, he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Treviso, in fulfillment of a vow. He was then appointed podestà of Castelnuovo, but after a short time returned to Venice to supervise the education of his nephews. All his spare time was devoted to the study of theology and to works of charity. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1518, the hospitals and the hovels of the poor were his favourite resorts. In the year of plague and famine (1528), he seemed to be everywhere, and showed his zeal especially for the orphans, whose number had so greatly increased. He rented a house for them near the church of St. Rose and, with the assistance of some pious laymen, ministered to their wants. To his charge was also committed the hospital for incurables, founded by St. Cajetan. In 1531 he went to Verona and induced the citizens to build a hospital; at Brescia he erected an orphanage, at Bergamo one for boys and another for girls. Here also he founded the first home for fallen women who wished to do penance. Two priests, Alessandro Besuzio and Agostino Bariso, now joined him in his labours of charity, and in 1532 Jerome founded a religious society, placing the motherhouse at Somascha, a secluded hamlet between Milan and Bergamo. In the rule, Jerome puts down as the principal work of the community the care of orphans, poor, and sick, and demands that dwellings, food and clothing shall bear the mark of religious poverty. Jerome fell a martyr to his zeal; contracting a disease at Bergamo, he died at Somascha. He was beatified by Benedict XIV in 1747, and canonized by Clement XIII in 1767. The Office and Mass in his honour were approved eight years later. His biography was first written by Scipio Albani (1600); another by Andreas Stella (1605). The best was written by Aug. Tortora (Milan, 1620; in "Acta SS.", Feb., II, 217 sq.).
After the death of Jerome his community was about to disband, but was kept together by Gambarana, who had been chosen superior. He obtained the approval (1540) of Paul III. In 1547 the members vainly sought affiliation with the Society of Jesus; then in 1547-1555 they were united with the Theatines. Pius IV (1563) approved the institution, and St. Pius V raised it to the dignity of a religious order, according to the Rule of St. Augustine, with solemn vows, the privileges of the mendicants, and exemption. In 1569 the first six members made their profession, and Gambarana was made first superior general. Great favour was shown to the order by St. Charles Borromeo, and he gave it the church of St. Mayeul at Pavia, from which church the order takes its official name "Clerici regulares S. Majoli Papiae congregationis Somaschae". Later the education of youth was put into the programme of the order, and the colleges at Rome and Pavia became renowned. It spread into Austria and Switzerland, and before the great Revolution it had 119 houses in the four provinces of Rome, Lombardy, Venice, and France. At present the order has ten houses in Italy two of which are in Rome. The general resides in Rome at S. Girolamo della Carita.

(Taken frrom Catholic Encyclopedia)