Thursday, August 24, 2017

Saint August 25 : St. Louis IX King of France : Patron of #Hairdressers and Secular #Franciscans

Feast Day:
August 25
Born:25 April 1214 at Poissy, France

25 August 1270 at Tunis, Algeria
1297 by Pope Boniface VIII
Patron of:
Secular Franciscan Order, France, French monarchy; hairdressers; passementiers (lacemakers)
King of France, son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile, born at Poissy, 25 April, 1215; died near Tunis, 25 August, 1270. He was eleven years of age when the death of Louis VIII made him king, and nineteen when he married Marguerite of Provence by whom he had eleven children. The regency of Blanche of Castile (1226-1234) was marked by the victorious struggle of the Crown against Raymond VII in Languedoc, against Pierre Mauclerc in Brittany, against Philip Hurepel in the Ile de France, and by indecisive combats against Henry III of England. In this period of disturbances the queen was powerfully supported by the legate Frangipani. Accredited to Louis VIII by Honorius III as early as 1225, Frangipani won over to the French cause the sympathies of Gregory IX, who was inclined to listen to Henry III, and through his intervention it was decreed that all the chapters of the dioceses should pay to Blanche of Castile tithes for the southern crusade. It was the legate who received the submission of Raymond VII, Count of Languedoc, at Paris, in front of Notre-Dame, and this submission put an end to the Albigensian war and prepared the union of the southern provinces to France by the Treaty of Paris (April 1229). The influence of Blanche de Castile over the government extended far beyond St. Louis's minority. Even later, in public business and when ambassadors were officially received, she appeared at his side. She died in 1253.
In the first years of the king's personal government, the Crown had to combat a fresh rebellion against feudalism, led by the Count de la Marche, in league with Henry III. St. Louis's victory over this coalition at Taillebourg, 1242, was followed by the Peace of Bordeaux which annexed to the French realm a part of Saintonge.
It was one of St. Louis's chief characteristics to carry on abreast his administration as national sovereign and the performance of his duties towards Christendom; and taking advantage of the respite which the Peace of Bordeaux afforded, he turned his thoughts towards a crusade. Stricken down with a fierce malady in 1244, he resolved to take the cross when news came that Turcomans had defeated the Christians and the Moslems and invaded Jerusalem. (On the two crusades of St. Louis [1248-1249 and 1270] see CRUSADES.) Between the two crusades he opened negotiations with Henry III, which he thought would prevent new conflicts between France and England. The Treaty of Paris (28 May, 1258) which St. Louis concluded with the King of England after five years' parley, has been very much discussed. By this treaty St. Louis gave Henry III all the fiefs and domains belonging to the King of France in the Dioceses of Limoges, Cahors, and Périgueux; and in the event of Alphonsus of Poitiers dying without issue, Saintonge and Agenais would escheat to Henry III. On the other hand Henry III renounced his claims to Normandy, Anjou, Touraine, Maine, Poitou, and promised to do homage for the Duchy of Guyenne. It was generally considered and Joinville voiced the opinion of the people, that St. Louis made too many territorial concessions to Henry III; and many historians held that if, on the contrary, St. Louis had carried the war against Henry III further, the Hundred Years War would have been averted. But St. Louis considered that by making the Duchy of Guyenne a fief of the Crown of France he was gaining a moral advantage; and it is an undoubted fact that the Treaty of Paris, was as displeasing to the English as it was to the French. In 1263, St. Louis was chosen as arbitrator in a difference which separated Henry III and the English barons: by the Dit d'Amiens (24 January, 1264) he declared himself for Henry III against the barons, and annulled the Provisions of Oxford, by which the barons had attempted to restrict the authority of the king. It was also in the period between the two crusades that St. Louis, by the Treaty of Corbeil, imposed upon the King of Aragon the abandonment of his claims to all the fiefs in Languedoc excepting Montpellier, and the surrender of his rights to Provence (11 May, 1258). Treaties and arbitrations prove St. Louis to have been above all a lover of peace, a king who desired not only to put an end to conflicts, but also to remove the causes for fresh wars, and this spirit of peace rested upon the Christian conception.
St. Louis's relations with the Church of France and the papal Court have excited widely divergent interpretations and opinions. However, all historians agree that St. Louis and the successive popes united to protect the clergy of France from the encroachments or molestations of the barons and royal officers. It is equally recognized that during the absence of St. Louis at the crusade, Blanche of Castile protected the clergy in 1251 from the plunder and ill-treatment of a mysterious old marauder called the "Hungarian Master" who was followed by a mob of armed men — called the "Pastoureaux." The "Hungarian Master" who was said to be in league with the Moslems died in an engagement near Villaneuve and the entire band pursued in every direction was dispersed and annihilated.
But did St. Louis take measures also to defend the independence of the clergy against the papacy? A number of historians once claimed he did. They attributed to St. Louis a certain "pragmatic sanction" of March 1269, prohibiting irregular collations of ecclesiastical benefices, prohibiting simony, and interdicting the tributes which the papal Court received from the French clergy. The Gallicans of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries often made use of this measure against the Holy See; the truth is that it was a forgery fabricated in the fourteenth century by juris-consults desirous of giving to the Pragmatic Sanction of Charles VII a precedent worthy of respect. This so-called pragmatic of Louis IX is presented as a royal decree for the reformation of the Church; never would St. Louis thus have taken upon himself the right to proceed authoritatively with this reformation. When in 1246, a great number of barons from the north and the west leagued against the clergy whom they accused of amassing too great wealth and of encroaching upon their rights, Innocent IV called upon Louis to dissolve this league; how the king acted in the matter is not definitely known. On 2 May, 1247, when the Bishops of Soissons and of Troyes, the archdeacon of Tours, and the provost of the cathedral of Rouen, despatched to the pope a remonstrance against his taxations, his preferment of Italians in the distribution of benefices, against the conflicts between papal jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of the ordinaries, Marshal Ferri Pasté seconded their complaints in the name of St. Louis. Shortly after, these complaints were reiterated and detailed in a lengthy memorandum, the text of which has been preserved by Mathieu Paris, the historian. It is not known whether St. Louis affixed his signature to it, but in any case, this document was simply a request asking for the suppression of the abuses, with no pretensions to laying down principles of public right, as was claimed by the Pragmatic Sanction.
Documents prove that St. Louis did not lend an ear to the grievances of his clergy against the emissaries of Urban IV and Clement IV; he even allowed Clement IV to generalize a custom in 1265 according to which the benefices the titularies of which died while sojourning in Rome, should be disposed of by the pope. Docile to the decrees of the Lateran Council (1215), according to which kings were not to tax the churches of their realm without authority from the pope, St. Louis claimed and obtained from successive popes, in view of the crusade, the right to levy quite heavy taxes from the clergy. It is again this fundamental idea of the crusade, ever present in St. Louis's thoughts that prompted his attitude generally in the struggle between the empire and the pope. While the Emperor Frederick II and the successive popes sought and contended for France's support, St. Louis's attitude was at once decided and reserved. On the one hand he did not accept for his brother Robert of Artois, the imperial crown offered him by Gregory IX in 1240. In his correspondence with Frederick he continued to treat him as a sovereign, even after Frederick had been excommunicated and declared dispossessed of his realms by Innocent IV at the Council of Lyons, 17 July, 1245. But on the other hand, in 1251, the king compelled Frederick to release the French archbishops taken prisoners by the Pisans, the emperor's auxiliaries, when on their way in a Genoese fleet to attend a general council at Rome. In 1245, he conferred at length, at Cluny, with Innocent IV who had taken refuge in Lyons in December, 1244, to escape the threats of the emperor, and it was at this meeting that the papal dispensation for the marriage of Charles Anjou, brother of Louis IX, to Beatrix, heiress of Provençe was granted and it was then that Louis IX and Blanche of Castile promised Innocent IV their support. Finally, when in 1247 Frederick II took steps to capture Innocent IV at Lyons, the measures Louis took to defend the pope were one of the reasons which caused the emperor to withdraw. St. Louis looked upon every act of hostility from either power as an obstacle to accomplishing the crusade. In the quarrel over investitures, the king kept on friendly terms with both, not allowing the emperor to harass the pope and never exciting the pope against the emperor. In 1262 when Urban offered St. Louis, the Kingdom of Sicily, a fief of the Apostolic See, for one of his sons, St. Louis refused it, through consideration for the Swabian dynasty then reigning; but when Charles of Anjou accepted Urban IV's offer and went to conquer the Kingdom of Sicily, St. Louis allowed the bravest knights of France to join the expedition which destroyed the power of the Hohenstaufens in Sicily. The king hoped, doubtless, that the possession of Sicily by Charles of Anjou would be advantageous to the crusade. St. Louis led an exemplary life, bearing constantly in mind his mother's words: "I would rather see you dead at my feet than guilty of a mortal sin." His biographers have told us of the long hours he spent in prayer, fasting, and penance, without the knowledge of his subjects. The French king was a great lover of justice. French fancy still pictures him delivering judgements under the oak of Vincennes. It was during his reign that the "court of the king" (curia regis) was organized into a regular court of justice, having competent experts, and judicial commissions acting at regular periods. These commissions were called parlements and the history of the "Dit d'Amiens" proves that entire Christendom willingly looked upon him as an international judiciary. It is an error, however, to represent him as a great legislator; the document known as "Etablissements de St. Louis" was not a code drawn up by order of the king, but merely a collection of customs, written out before 1273 by a jurist who set forth in this book the customs of Orléans, Anjou, and Maine, to which he added a few ordinances of St. Louis.
St. Louis was a patron of architecture. The Sainte Chappelle, an architectural gem, was constructed in his reign, and it was under his patronage that Robert of Sorbonne founded the "Collège de la Sorbonne," which became the seat of the theological faculty of Paris.
He was renowned for his charity. The peace and blessings of the realm come to us through the poor he would say. Beggars were fed from his table, he ate their leavings, washed their feet, ministered to the wants of the lepers, and daily fed over one hundred poor. He founded many hospitals and houses: the House of the Felles-Dieu for reformed prostitutes; the Quinze-Vingt for 300 blind men (1254), hospitals at Pontoise, Vernon, Compiégne.
The Enseignements (written instructions) which he left to his son Philip and to his daughter Isabel, the discourses preserved by the witnesses at judicial investigations preparatory to his canonization and Joinville's anecdotes show St. Louis to have been a man of sound common sense, possessing indefatigable energy, graciously kind and of playful humour, and constantly guarding against the temptation to be imperious. The caricature made of him by the envoy of the Count of Gueldre: "worthless devotee, hypocritical king" was very far from the truth. On the contrary, St. Louis, through his personal qualities as well as his saintliness, increased for many centuries the prestige of the French monarchy (see FRANCE). St. Louis's canonization was proclaimed at Orvieto in 1297, by Boniface VIII. Of the inquiries in view of canonization, carried on from 1273 till 1297, we have only fragmentary reports published by Delaborde ("Mémoires de la société de l'histoire de Paris et de l'Ilea de France," XXIII, 1896) and a series of extracts compiled by Guillaume de St. Pathus, Queen Marguerite's confessor, under the title of "Vie Monseigneur Saint Loys" (Paris, 1899).

BREAKING #PopeFrancis speaks with "certainty and Magisterial authority" that Reform of Liturgy Irreversible - FULL TEXT + Video from Vatican Council II

Audience with the participants in the 68th National Liturgical Week, 24.08.2017
Audience with the participants in the 68th National Liturgical Week
At midday today, in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the participants in the 68th National Liturgical Week, on the theme “A living liturgy for a living Church”, on the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the Centre for Liturgical Action.
The following is the FULL TEXT Offiicial Translation from the Vatican of Pope’s address to those present at the meeting:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning.
I welcome you all and I thank the president, His Excellency Msgr. Claudio Maniago, for his words of introduction to this National Liturgical Week, seventy years on from the birth of the Centre for Liturgical Action.
This is a period of time in which, in the history of the Church and in particular in the history of liturgy, events have occurred which are substantial and not superficial. Just as we cannot forget Vatican Council II, so we shall remember the liturgical reform that flowed from it.
They are two directly linked events, the Council and the reform, which bloomed not unexpected but after long preparation. This is shown by what was called the liturgical movement, and the responses given by the Supreme Pontiffs to perceived shortcomings in ecclesial prayer; when a need is perceived, even if the solution is not immediate, it is necessary to take action.
I think of St. Pius X who presided over the reorganization of religious music[1] and the restoration of the Sunday celebration[2], and who instituted a commission for the general reform of the liturgy, aware that this would have implied “a task both great and protracted”, and so, as he himself acknowledged, “it is necessary for many years to pass before this, so to speak, liturgical edifice … reappear again resplendent in its dignity and harmony, once cleansed of the squalor of aging”[3].
The reforming project was resumed by Pius XII with the encyclical Mediator Dei[4], and the institution of a study commission[5]; he too made concrete decisions regarding the version of the Psalter[6], the attenuation of Eucharistic fasting, the use of living language in the Rite, and the important reform of the Easter Vigil and of Holy Week[7]. From this impulse, following the example of other nations, the Centre for Liturgical Action emerged in Italy, guided by bishops attentive to the people entrusted to them and inspired by scholars who loved the Church as well as liturgical pastoral ministry.
Vatican Council II then allowed to ripen, as a good fruit of the tree of the Church, the Constitution on sacred liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC), whose lines of general reform responded to real needs and to the concrete hope of a renewal; a living liturgy was desired for a Church entirely enlivened by the mysteries celebrated. It was hoped to express in a renewed way the perennial vitality of the Church in prayer, taking care “that Christ's faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration” (SC, 48). Blessed Paul VI recalled this in explaining the first steps of the announced reforms: “It is good to be aware that it is proper to the authority of the Church to wish for, promote and ignite this new form of prayer, thus augmenting her spiritual mission … and we must not hesitate to be first disciples and then supporters of the school of prayer, that is about to commence”[8].
The direction traced by the Council took shape, following the principle of respect for the sound tradition and legitimate progress (cf. SC, 23)[9] of the liturgical books promulgated by Blessed Paul VI, well received by the same bishops who were present at the Council, and by now universally used in the Roman rite for almost fifty years. The practical application, guided by the Episcopal Conferences for the respective countries, is still in progress, as it is not sufficient to reform liturgical books to renew the mentality. The books reformed in conformity with the decrees of Vatican II gave rise to a process that requires time, faithful reception, practical obedience, and wise implementation in celebration first by ordained ministers, but also by other ministers, cantors and all those who participate in the liturgy. In truth, we know, the liturgical education of Pastors and faithful is a challenge that must always be faced anew. The same Paul VI, a year before his death, said to the Cardinals gathered in the Consistory: “The moment has come, now, to set aside definitively the disruptive ferments, equally harmful in one sense or another, and to fully apply according to their just inspiring criteria, the reform we approved in the application of the votes of the Council”.[10]
There is still work to be done today in this direction, in particular in rediscovering the reasons for the decisions made regarding liturgical reform, overcoming unfounded and superficial readings, partial acceptance and practices that distort it. It is not a question of rethinking the reform by reviewing decisions, but rather of knowing better the underlying reasons, also through historical documentation, and of internalizing the inspiring principles and observing the discipline that regulates it. After this teaching, after this long path we can affirm with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.
The task of promoting and safeguarding the liturgy is entrusted by right to the Apostolic See and to the diocesan bishops, on whose responsibility and authority I count at the present moment; national and diocesan liturgical pastoral bodies, institutes of formation and seminaries are also involved. In this formative field in Italy the Centre for Liturgical Action is distinguished for its initiatives, including the National Liturgical Week.
After remembering this path, I would now like to touch on various aspects in the light of the theme on which you have reflected in these days, namely: “A living liturgy for a living Church”.
The liturgy is “living” on account of the living presence of He “Who by dying has destroyed our death, and by rising, restored our life”. Without the real presence of the mystery of Christ, there is no liturgical vitality. Just as without a heartbeat there is no human life, without the beating heart of Christ no liturgical action exists. What defines the liturgy is, indeed, the implementation in many signs of the priesthood of Jesus Christ, or rather the offer of His life to the point of opening His arms on the cross, a priesthood made present in a constant way through rites and prayers, most fully in His Body and Blood, but also in the person of the priest, in the proclamation of the Word of God, and in the assembly gathered in prayer in His name (cf. SC, 7). Among the visible signs of the invisible Mystery there is the altar, sign of Christ as a living stone, discarded by men but Who became the cornerstone of the spiritual edifice in which worship in spirit and truth is offered to the living God (cf. 1 Pt 2: 4; Eph. 2: 20). This is why the altar, the centre towards which in attention converges in our churches,[11] is dedicated, anointed with chrism, incensed, kissed, venerated; the gaze of those in prayer, priest and faithful, convened in holy assembly around the altar, is directed towards it;[12] on the altar there is placed the offering of the Church that the Spirit consecrates as the sacrament of Christ’s sacrifice; the bread of life and the chalice of salvation are bestowed from the altar, that we may become one body and one spirit in Christ (cf. Eucharistic Prayer III).
The liturgy is life for the entire people of the Church.[13] By its nature the liturgy is indeed “popular” and not clerical, being . as the etymology teaches us – an action for the people, but also of the people. As many liturgical prayers remind us, it is the action that God Himself performs in favour of His people, but also the action of the people who listen to God Who speaks and who react by praising Him and invoking Him, welcoming the inexorable source of life and mercy that flows from the holy signs. The Church in prayer brings together all those whose heart listens to the Gospel, without discarding anyone: small and large, rich and poor, young and elderly, healthy and sick, righteous and sinners. To the image of the “immense multitude” that celebrates the liturgy in the shrine of heaven (cf. Ap. 7: 9), the liturgical assembly overcomes, in Christ, every boundary of age, race, language and nation. The popular reach of the liturgy reminds us that it is inclusive and not exclusive, an advocate of communion with all but without homologating, as it calls to each one, with his or her vocation and originality, to contribute in edifying the body of Christ. The Eucharist is not a sacrament “for me”, it is the sacrament of many who form a single body, the holy faithful people of God.[14] We must not forget, then, that it is first and foremost the liturgy that expresses the pietas of all the people of God, prolonged by the pious exercises and devotions that we know by the name of popular piety, to be valued and encouraged in harmony with the liturgy.[15]
Liturgy is life and not an idea to be understood. Indeed, it leads us to live an experience of initiation, or rather transformative in terms of how we think and behave, and not to enrich our own baggage of ideas about God. Liturgical worship “is not primarily a doctrine to be understood, or a rite to be performed; naturally it is also this, but in another way, it is essentially different: it is a font of life and of light for our pilgrimage of faith”.[16] Spiritual reflections are different from liturgy, in which “it is proper to enter into the mystery of God; to let oneself be led to the mystery and to be in the mystery”.[17] There is a big difference between saying that God exists and feeling that God loves us, as we are, here and now. In liturgical prayer we experience communion signified not as an abstract thought but as an action that has as its agents God and us, Christ and the Church.[18] Rites and prayers (cf. SC, 48), for what they are and not for the explanations we give for them, therefore become as school of Christian life, open to those who have ears, eyes and heart open to learning the vocation and mission of Jesus’ disciples. This is in line with the mystagogic catechesis practised by the Fathers, resumed also by the Catechism of the Catholic Church which treats the liturgy, the Eucharist and the other Sacraments in the light of the texts and rites of today’s liturgical books.
The Church is truly living if, forming a single living being with Christ, she is the bearer of life, she is maternal, she is missionary, she goes towards her neighbour, seeking to serve without following worldly powers that render her barren. Therefore, celebrating the holy mysteries she remembers Mary, the Virgin of the Magnificat, contemplating “as in a faultless image, that which she herself desires and hopes wholly to be” (SC, 103).
Finally, we cannot forget hat the wealth of the Church in prayer, inasmuch as she is “catholic”, goes beyond the Roman Rite which, although the most extensive, is not the only one. The harmony of traditional rituals, of East and West, by the breath of the same Spirit gives a voice to the single prayerful Church, for Christ, with Christ and in Christ, to the glory of the Father and for the salvation of the world.
Dear brothers and sisters, thank you for your visit, and I encourage the heads of the Centre for Liturgical Action to continue, remaining faithful to the original inspiration, that of serving the prayer of the holy people of God. Indeed, the Centre for Liturgical Action has always been distinguished by its attention towards liturgical pastoral, faithful to the instructions of the Apostolic See and those of the bishops, and enjoying their support. The long experience of the Liturgical Weeks, held in many dioceses in Italy, along with the magazine “Liturgia”, has helped to bring liturgical renewal into the life of parishes, seminaries and religious communities. Hardship has not been lacking, but neither has joy! It is again this commitment that I ask of you today: to help ordained ministers, as well as other ministers, cantors, artists and musicians, to cooperate so that the liturgy may be the font and pinnacle of the vitality of the Church (cf. SC, 10). I ask you, please, to pray for me and I impart my heartfelt Apostolic Blessing.

[1] Cf. Motu proprio Tra le sollecitudini, 22 November 1903: ASS 36 (1904), 329-339.

[2] Cf. Apostolic Constitution Divino afflatu, 1 November 1911: AAS 3 (1911), l33-638.

[3] Motu proprio Abhinc duos annos, 23 October 1913: AAS 5 (1913) 449-450.

[4] 20 November 1947: AAS 39 (1947) 521-600.

[5] Cf. Sacrae Congr. Rituum, Sectio historica, 71, “Memoria sulla riforma liturgica” (1946).

[6] Cf. Pius XII, Motu proprio In cotidianis precibus, 24 March 1945: AAS 37 (1945) 65-67.

[7] Cf. Sacrae Congr. Rituum Decretum Dominicae Resurrectionis, 16 November 1955: AAS 47 (1955) 838-841.

[8] General audience of 13 January 1965.

[9] “The reform of the rites and the liturgical books was undertaken immediately after the promulgation of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium and was brought to an effective conclusion in a few years thanks to the considerable and selfless work of a large number of experts and bishops from all parts of the world (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 25). This work was undertaken in accordance with the conciliar principles of fidelity to tradition and openness to legitimate development (cf. ibid., 23); and so it is possible to say that the reform of the Liturgy is strictly traditional and in accordance with “the ancient usage of the holy Fathers” (cf. ibid., 50; Institutio generalis Missalis Romani, Prooemium, 6)” (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Vicesimus quintus annus, 4).

[10] “A particular point of the life of the Church draws the attention of the Pope again today: the undoubtedly beneficial fruits of liturgical reform. From the promulgation of the Conciliar Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium a great process was undertaken, which responds to the premises proposed by the liturgical movement from the last moments of the nineteenth century, and has fulfilled its deep aspirations, for which many men of the Church and scholars have worked and prayed. The new Rite of Mass, promulgated after a long and responsible preparation by the competent organs, and in which there have been introduced alongside the Roman Canon, which remained substantially unchanged, other Eucharistic eulogies, has borne blessed fruits: greater participation in liturgical action; a more lively awareness of sacred action; deeper and wider knowledge of the inexhaustible treasures of the Sacred Scripture; and an increase in the community sense of the Church. The course of these years demonstrates that we are on the right path. But there have been, unfortunately – despite the great majority of healthy and good forces among the clergy and the faithful – abuses and liberties in application. The moment has come, now, to set aside definitively the disruptive ferments, equally harmful in one sense or another, and to fully apply according to their just inspiring criteria, the reform we approved in the application of the votes of the Council” (Allocution Gratias ex animo, 27 June 1977: Teachings of Paul VI, XV [1977] 655-656.

[11] Cf. General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 299; Rite of the dedication of an altar, Introduction, Nos. 155, 159.

[12] “Around this altar we feed on the Body and Blood of your Son to form your one and holy Church” (Rite of dedication of an altar, no. 213, Preface).

[13] “Liturgical services are not private functions, but are celebrations of the Church, which is the "sacrament of unity," namely, the holy people united and ordered under their bishops. Therefore liturgical services pertain to the whole body of the Church; they manifest it and have effects upon it “(SC, 26)

[14] Homily on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, 18 June 2017, L’Osservatore Romano, 189-20 June 2017, p.8.

[15] Cf. SC, 13; Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 24 November 2013, 122-126; AAS 105 (2013), 1071-1073.

[16] Homily in the Holy Mass of the III Sunday of Lent, Roman parish of Ognissanti, 7 March 2015.

[17] Homily in the Mass at Santa Marta, 10 February 2014.

[18] “This is why the Eucharistic commemoration does us so much good: it is not an abstract, cold and superficial memory, but a living remembrance that comforts us with God’s love. … The Eucharist is flavoured with Jesus’ words and deeds, the taste of his Passion, the fragrance of his Spirit. When we receive it, our hearts are overcome with the certainty of Jesus’ love”. (Homily of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, 18 June 2017 L’Osservatore Romano, 19-20 June 2017, p.8).

#BreakingNews Catholic Mission Station Attacked by Islamists 40 Killed - Report by Bishop - please PRAY

AID to the CHURCH in Need Report: 

Bishop Aguirre of Bangassou reports on the recent violence in the country
Last week Bishop Juan José Aguirre of Bangassou denounced an attack by an Islamist group on a mission station in Gambo. The station is located in his diocese in the south-eastern part of the Central African Republic. It is estimated that around 40 people were killed. Most of them had their throats slit by the jihadists. Bishop Aguirre spoke with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) about the current situation in the region and about the catastrophes that are again breaking out in the heart of the African continent.

ACN: The mission station in Gambo was attacked last week. There were many dead and displaced persons. What is the current situation in Bangassou?
Bishop Juan José Aguirre: What is currently happening can only be understood if you look back on the attacks carried out by the Séléka four years ago. They were funded by oil countries and supported by the president of Chad. They occupied half of the country. These jihadists completely disrupted the country. Four years later, neither the government nor the administration nor the MINUSCA (UN soldiers) have taken any steps to expel the Séléka from the country. The UN soldiers even cooperated with them. Now many young people have taken up arms to fight against the Séléka. They have managed to chase them out of a certain area. They began to attack the Muslim community in Bangassou. The conflict is between Muslims and non-Muslims, the many followers of traditional religions and non-Christian sects. We had to protect the Muslims, including many women and children, who had locked themselves away in a mosque.

ACN: What were you able to do to help them?
Bishop Juan José Aguirre: For three days, we even acted as a human shield to defend them. We took them to the seminary of the diocese, where they are still living almost two months later. We are supporting about 2,100 people with the help of several NGOs and other organisations. However, several organisations left Bangassou a month ago following a few incidents. And they have not returned since. The Anti-Balaka came to other mission stations such as Pema o Gambo. They reacted to a massacre carried out by the Séléka, during which the throats of many non-Muslims were slit. The last thing we heard was that many of the corpses have yet to be buried one week later. The people are very dissatisfied with the Moroccan soldiers of the MINUSCA, who are supposed to be UN peace troops. We would like to see whether God will let us know how we can find our way out of this dead end.

(Bishop Juan Jose Aguirre outside a house that was looted and burned Seleka forces © Aid to the Church in Need)

ACN: Were you able to visit the mission station in Gambo that was attacked by the Séléka?

Bishop Juan José Aguirre: I have not been able to visit the mission station in Gambo, even though it is not far from Bangassou. About 2,000 people who have been displaced from there have come here. I hope that I will be able to celebrate Holy Mass there on Sunday. We have sent them food and emergency aid. We asked a priest and a journalist from a French news agency to travel to Gambo on a motorcycle. Upon their return, they told us that the situation there is dire. This can only be understood as the Silence of God. People died at the Red Cross hospital after having their throats slit. They bled to death and are now decomposing there because it has not yet been possible to bury them. There were apparently around 40 casualties. They reported that half the village has been burned down, the church was looted and set on fire. Something similar happened to the house of the padres. Reconstruction will be very difficult. But we know that it will happen, that with God’s help we will find the ways and means to rebuild everything.

ACN: You were, however, able to cross the border to the Congo, to visit those who had fled there. How are they doing? How was the Eucharistic Mass you celebrated with them?
Bishop Juan José Aguirre: It all went smoothly. We crossed over the river on a paddle boat. The Anti-balaka let us pass through. There were almost 17,000 people there, about 1,000 of which were waiting for us in the church. We were able to speak clearly with them, to give them hope and tell them that tomorrow things will be better, that we should not be drowning in a teacup. However, they really are desperate. We spoke of Our Lady, because it was the Feast of the Assumption. We tried to console them, to count the tears of my people. Often there is nothing to say, you can only keep silent and listen. These people have suffered greatly. They are going to wait there until the situation in Bangassou improves. They will return, but they will have to start from the beginning again. Because they will find their fields bare and their houses destroyed. This is how life is here, it is very difficult. The suffering is great. We only have the solace of God and, when He does not speak, the Silence of God.

ACN: What currently needs to be done in Bangassou to put an end to this situation?
Bishop Juan José Aguirre: A Central African governor and a Central African national army is needed to establish discipline. The national army bearing the name FACA is made up of Spanish soldiers. They, however, are complaining that they don’t have any weapons. But weapons are being smuggled into the country via Chad, South Sudan and the Congo. Many are getting rich from arms deals that are controlled by multinational corporations. They create so-called low-intensity conflicts to enrich themselves. What is happening here is an example of this. But we have not lost hope that we will be able to make headway. For this reason, we are putting up a brave front. The Vatican has just appointed an auxiliary bishop, the Comboni missionary Jesús Ruiz Molina. He is to be ordained bishop on 12 November in Bangui. With his help, I will be able to stand by these people as they make their difficult journey through the desert.

SOURCE: and Aid to the Church in Need

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thurs. August 24, 2017 - #Eucharist

Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle
Lectionary: 629

Reading 1RV 21:9B-14

The angel spoke to me, saying,
"Come here.
I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."
He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain
and showed me the holy city Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven from God.
It gleamed with the splendor of God.
Its radiance was like that of a precious stone,
like jasper, clear as crystal.
It had a massive, high wall,
with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed
and on which names were inscribed,
the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
There were three gates facing east,
three north, three south, and three west.
The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation,
on which were inscribed the twelve names
of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.

Responsorial PsalmPS 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18

R. (12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

AlleluiaJN 1:49B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rabbi, you are the Son of God;
you are the King of Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 1:45-51

Philip found Nathanael and told him,
"We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law,
and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth."
But Nathanael said to him,
"Can anything good come from Nazareth?"
Philip said to him, "Come and see."
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
"Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him."
Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?"
Jesus answered and said to him,
"Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree."
Nathanael answered him,
"Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."
Jesus answered and said to him,
"Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this."
And he said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

#BreakingNews at least 41 Killed during Airstrike in Yemen at Hotel - Please Pray

Saudi airstrike hits hotel: at least 41 dead

Some witnesses put the death toll at 60. About 100 people were in the building. Civilians are feared dead. For the Saudi-led coalition, the hotel was a “legitimate military high-value target”.
Sana'a (AsiaNews/Agencies) – At least 41 people were killed in an Saudi-led airstrike that hit a hotel yesterday in the Arhab district, 20 kilometres north of the Houthi rebel-controlled Yemeni capital of Sana'a.
Medics found 35 bodies as well as body parts, some dangling from the building after the roof collapsed. The rest were under the rubble. At least 13 people were wounded.
The pro-Houti al-Masirah TV network reported 41 deaths but the death toll is expected to rise.
According to some witnesses the death toll is around 60. About 100 people were inside the hotel at the time of the attack. Some civilians are almost certainly among the victims.
According to medical staff, the killed included farmers. Officials and some of those present said that Houthi rebels were also present. According to other witnesses, qat farmers were in the hotel.
A Saudi coalition spokesman said that a "legitimate military high-value target” was hit in Arhab, adding that those “who perished were members of an armed renegade group”.
Since January 2015, Yemen has been the scene of a bloody civil conflict that has caused about 10,000 deaths, pitting former President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, backed by Saudi Arabia, and Houthi rebels, close to Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
Recently, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres slammed airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition, which have killed more than half of all the children who have died in the conflict.
At present, the Yemeni population has also been hit by a major famine and the worst cholera outbreak in the world, now reaching half a million cases. 
Text from AsiaNewsIT