Monday, September 11, 2017

Saint September 12 : Feast of the Holy Name of Mary - Mother of Jesus

by Mark Alessio Edited from Mark Alessio: In 1513, a feast of "The Holy Name of Mary" was granted by Papal indult  [Pope Julius II] to the diocese of Cuenta in Spain. It was assigned with proper Office on September 15, the octave day of Our Lady's Nativity. With the reform of the Breviary undertaken by Pope St. Pius V, the feast was abolished, only to be reinstituted by his successor, Pope Sixtus V, who changed the date to September 17. From there, the feast spread to the Archdiocese of Toledo [1622] and, eventually, to all of Spain and to the Kingdom of Naples [1671].

Throughout this time, permission to celebrate the feast was given to various religious orders in a prudent manner as has been the custom throughout Church history regarding feast-days, their dates, offices, liturgical expression, etc. However, this Feast of the Holy Name of Mary would one day be joyfully extended to the Universal Church, and this on account of rather dramatic circumstances involving one of Poland's great military heroes, John Sobieski [1629-1696].

While acting as field-marshal under King John Casimir, Sobieski had raised a force of 8,000 men and enough provisions to withstand a siege of Cossacks and Tartars, who were forced to retire unsuccessfully and at a loss. In 1672, under the reign of Michael Wisniowiecki, Sobieski engaged and defeated the Turkish army, who lost 20,000 men at Chocim.

"To the same Heavenly Queen, on Clear Mountain, the illustrious John Sobieski, whose eminent valor freed Christianity from the attacks of its old enemies, confided himself."
[Letter, Cum iam lustri abeat, 1951]

In September, the men joined with the German troops under John George, Elector of Saxony, and Prince Charles of Lorraine. On the eighth day of the month, the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, Sobieski prepared himself for the ensuing conflict by the reception of Holy Communion.

Battle was engaged before the walls of Vienna on September 12, 1683, with Sobieski seemingly put to flight by "the fierce Turkish forces. However, this retreat was a minor setback only. The Hussars renewed their assault and charged the Turks, this time sending the enemy into a retreat. The combat raged on, until Sobieski finally stormed the enemy camp. The Turkish forces were routed, Vienna was saved, and Sobieski sent the "Standard of the Prophet" to Pope Innocent XI along with the good news. In a letter to the Pontiff, Sobieski summed up his victory in these words: Veni, vidi, Deus vicit -----"I came, I saw, God conquered!" To commemorate this glorious victory, and render thanksgiving to God and honor to Our Lady for their solicitude in the struggle, Pope Innocent XI extended "The Feast of the Holy Name of Mary" to the Universal Church. Although the feast was originally celebrated on the Sunday after the Nativity of Mary, Pope St. Pius X [+1914] decreed that it be celebrated on September 12, in honor of the victory of the Catholic forces under John Sobieski. The history of this feast reminds us in some ways of that of "Our Lady of the Rosary," which was instituted to celebrate and commemorate the victory of the Catholic forces over the Turkish navy at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571: "And thus Christ's faithful warriors, prepared to sacrifice their life and blood for the welfare of their Faith and their country, proceeded undauntedly to meet their foe near the Gulf of Corinth; while those who were unable to join them formed a band of pious supplicants, who called on Mary and, as one, saluted Her again and again in the words of the Rosary, imploring Her to grant victory to their companions engaged in battle. Our sovereign Lady did grant Her aid." [Pope Leo XIII, Supremi Apostolatus, 1883]

Pondering the Meaning of "Mary"

In Hebrew, the name Mary is Miriam. In Our Lady's time, Aramaic was the spoken language, and the form of the name then in use was Mariam. Derived from the root, merur, the name signifies "bitterness."

Miryam was the name of the sister of Moses; and the ancient rabbinical scholars perceiving in it a symbol of the slavery of the Israelites at the hands of the Egyptians, held that Miryam was given this name because she was born during the time of the oppression of her people.
Miryam, the sister of Moses is a "type" of the Blessed Virgin. Miryam was a prophetess who sang a canticle of thanksgiving after the safe crossing of the Red Sea and the destruction of Pharaoh's army; Mary prophesied in Her Magnificat that all generations would honor Her, and She sang of how God would topple the proud and raise the lowly. Miryam supported her brother, Moses, the liberator of his people; as the Co-Redemptrix who united Her sufferings to those of the One Mediator on Calvary, Mary labored alongside the Redeemer, the true Liberator of His people. Just as Jesus was the "antitype" [i.e., fulfillment] of Moses, so was Our Lady the "antitype" of Miryam.

FULL TEXT In-Flight Press Conference of #PopeFrancis " And all of us have a responsibility, all… everyone… a little one, a big one, a moral responsibility," + Video

Full transcript of Pope Francis' flight press conference from Columbia to Rome.
Greg Burke: Thank you, Holy Father, for the time you are dedicating to us today after an intense, tiring trip; very tiring for some, but also a very fruitful trip. On several occasions you thanked the people for what they taught you. We also learn many things in this culture of encounter and we thank you for it.
Colombia in particular, with its recent past, and not only recent, offered us some strong testimonies, some emotional testimonies of forgiveness and reconciliation. But it also offered us a continuous lesson of joy and hope, two words that you used a lot in this trip. Now perhaps you want to say something, and then we can go to the questions. Thank you.
Pope Francis: Good afternoon and thank you very much for your work. I am moved by the joy, the tenderness, the youth and the goodness of the Colombian people. A noble people that isn't afraid to express how they feel, isn't afraid to listen and to make seen how they feel. This is how I perceive it. This is the third time I remember [that I have been in Colombia] - but there is a bishop who told me: no, you have been a fourth time - but only for small meetings. One time in Laceja and the other two in Bogota, or three, but, I did not know Colombia well, what you see on the streets. Well, I appreciate the testimony of joy, of hope, of patience in suffering of this people. It did me a lot of good. Thank you.
Greg Burke: Okay, Holy Father. The first question is from César Moreno of Radio Caracol.
Moreno: Thank you, Your Holiness. Good evening. First of all, I would like to thank you on behalf of all the Colombian media that are accompanying us here on this trip, and all of the colleagues and friends for having come to our country, for having given us so many beautiful, profound and affectionate messages, and for such closeness that you demonstrated to the Colombian people. Thank you, Your Holiness.
You arrived, Holy Father, to a divided country. Divided on account of a peace process, between those who accept and those who don't accept this process. What concretely can be done, what steps can be taken, so that the divided parts grow closer, so that our leaders stop this hate, this grudge? If Your Holiness returns, if you could return to our country in a few years, what do you think, how would you like to see Colombia? Thank you.
Pope Francis: I would like the motto to at least be: “Let us take the second step.” That at least it is this. I thought that there were more. I counted 60, but they told me 54 years of the guerrillas, more or less. And here it accumulates a lot, a lot. A lot of hatred, a lot of resentment, a lot of sickness in the soul. And the sickness isn't to blame. It comes. The measles grabs and drags you...oh, sorry! I'll speak in Italian. The sickness is not something to blame, it comes. And in these guerrilla wars - that they really waged, whether they were guerrillas, paramilitaries, or others - and also the corruption in the country, they committed gross sins that lead to this disease of hatred, of...But if they have taken steps that give hope, steps in negotiation, but it has been the last. The ELN ceasefire, and I am very grateful for it, very grateful for this. But there is something else that I perceived. The desire to go forward in this process goes beyond negotiations that they are being done or should be done. It is a spontaneous desire, and this is the strength of the people. This people wants to breathe, but we must help them with the closeness of prayer, and above all with the understanding of how much pain there is inside so many people.
Greg Burke: Now Holy Father, José Mojica, from El Tiempo.
José Mojica: Holy Father, it's an honor to be here, to be here with you. My name is José Mojica and I am a journalist for El Tiempo, the editorial home of Colombia, and I also greet you in the name of my Colombian colleagues and all communications media in my country.
Colombia has suffered many decades of violence due to the war, the armed conflict and also drug trafficking. However, the ravages of corruption in politics have been just as damaging as the war itself, and although corruption is not new, we have always known that it exists, now it's more visible because we no longer have news of the war and the armed conflict. What can we do in front of this scourge, up to what point can we stand the corrupt, how do we punish them? And finally, should the corrupt be excommunicated?
Pope Francis: You ask me a question I have asked myself many times. I put it to myself in this way: do the corrupt have forgiveness? I asked myself like this. And I asked myself when there was an act the province of Catamarca, in Argentina, an act of mistreatment, abuse, the rape of a girl. And there were people stuck there, very attached to political and economic powers in this province.
An article published in La Nacion at that time moved me a lot, and I wrote a small book which is called “Sin and Corruption.” ...always we are all sinners, and we know that the Lord is close to us, that he never tires of forgiving. But the difference: God never tires of forgiving, the sinner sometimes wakes up and asks for forgiveness. The problem is that the corrupt get tired of asking for forgiveness and forget how to ask for forgiveness, and this is the serious problem. It's a state of insensitivity before values, before destruction, before the exploitation of people. They are not able to ask forgiveness, it's like a condemnation, so it's very hard to help the corrupt, very hard. But God can do it. I pray for that.
Greg Burke: Holy Father, now Hernan Reyes, from TELAM.
Hernán Reyes: Holiness, the question is from the Spanish language group of journalists. You spoke of this first step that Colombia has made. Today at the Mass, you said that there hasn’t been enough dialogue between the two parts, but was it necessary to incorporate more actors. Do you think it’s possible to replicate this Colombia model in other conflicts in the world?
Pope Francis: Integrating other people. Also today in the homily I spoke of this, taking a passage from the Gospel. Integrating other people. It’s not the first time, in so many conflicts many people have been involved. It’s a way of moving ahead, a sapiential way of politics. There is the wisdom of asking for help, but I believe that today I wished to note it in the homily - which is a message, more than a homily - I think that these technical, let’s say 'political', resources help and interventions of the United Nations are sometimes requested to get out of the crisis. But a peace process will go forward only when the people take it in their hands. If the people don’t take it in hand, it can go a bit forward, they arrive at a compromise. It is what I have tried to make heard during this visit: the protagonist of the peace process either is the people or it arrives to a certain point, but when the people take it in hand, they are capable of doing it well… that is the higher road.
Greg Burke: Now, Elena Pinardi.
Elena Pinardi (EBU): Good evening, Holiness. First of all, we would like to ask how you are doing. We saw that you hit your head… how are you? Did you hurt yourself?
Pope Francis: I turned there to greet children and I didn’t see the glass and boom!
Pinardi: The question is this: while we were flying, we passed close to Hurricane Irma, which after causing … deaths and massive damage in the Caribbean islands and Cuba, it’s feared that broad areas of Florida could end up underwater, and 6 million people have had to leave their homes. After Hurricane Harvey, there have been almost simultaneously three hurricanes in the area. Scientists say that the warming of the oceans is a factor that contributes to making the storms and seasonal hurricanes more intense. Is there a moral responsibility for political leaders who reject collaborating with the other nations to control the emission of greenhouse gas? Why do they deny that climate change is also be the work of man?
Pope Francis: Thanks. For the last part, to not forget, whoever denies this should go to the scientists and ask them. They speak very clearly. The scientists are precise. The other day, when the news of that Russian boat came out, I believe, that went from Norway to Japan or Taipei by way of the North Pole without an icebreaker and the photographs showed pieces of ice. To the North Pole, you could go. It’s very, very clear. When that news came from a university, I don’t remember from where, another came out that said, ‘We only have three years to turn back, otherwise the consequences will be terrible.’ I don’t know if three years is true or not, but if we don’t turn back we’re going down, that’s true. Climate change, you see the effects and scientists say clearly which is the path to follow. And all of us have a responsibility, all… everyone… a little one, a big one, a moral responsibility, and to accept from the opinion or make decisions, and we have to take it seriously. I think it’s something that’s not to joke around with. It’s very serious. And you ask me: what is the moral responsibility. Everyone has his. Politicians have their own. Everyone has their own according to the response he gives.
I would say: everyone has their own moral responsibility, first. Second, if one is a bit doubtful that this is not so true, let them ask the scientists. They are very clear. They are not opinions on the air, they are very clear. And then let them decide, and history will judge their decisions. Thanks.
Enzo Romeo (TG2): Good afternoon, Holy Father. I unite myself to the question my colleague made earlier because you frequently in the speeches you gave in Colombia, called again, in some way, to make peace with creation. Respecting the environment as a necessary condition so that a stable social peace may be created. The effects of climate change, here in Italy - I don’t know if you’ve been informed - has caused many deaths in Livorno...
Pope Francis: After three-and-a-half months of drought.
Romeo: … much damage in Rome. We are all concerned by this situation. Why is there a delay in taking awareness, especially by governments, that nevertheless appear to be solicitous perhaps in other areas, for example, in arms trade? We are seeing the crisis in Korea, also about this I would like to have your opinion.
Pope Francis: Why? A phrase comes to me from the Old Testament, I believe from the Psalm: Man is stupid. He is stubborn one who does not see, the only animal of creation that puts his leg in the same hole is man… the horse, no, they don’t do it… There is arrogance, the sufficiency of “it’s not like that,” and then there is the “pocket” God, not only about creation, so many decisions, so many contradictions (...) depend on money. Today, in Cartagena, I started in a part, let’s call it poor, of Cartagena. The other part, the touristic side, luxury, luxury without moral measure… but those who go there don’t realize this, or the socio-political analysts don’t realize… ‘man is stupid,’ the Bible said. It’s like that: when you don’t want to see, you don’t see. You just look in another direction. And of North Korea, I’ll tell the truth, I don’t understand. Truly, I don’t understand that world of geopolitics. It’s very tough for me. But I believe that what I see, there is a struggle of interests that don’t escape me, I truly can’t explain… but the other important thing: we don’t take awareness. Think to Cartagena today. Is this unjust. Can we take awareness? This is what comes to me. Thanks.
Valentina Alazraki, Noticieros Televisa: I'm sorry. Holy Father, every time you meet with youth in any part of the world you always tell them: 'Don't let yourselves be robbed of hope, don't let yourselves be robbed of the future.' Unfortunately, in the United States they have abolished the law of the “dreamers.” They speak of 800,000 youth: Mexicans, Colombians, from many countries. Do you think that with the abolition of this law the youth lose joy, hope and their future? And, after, abusing your kindness, could you make a small prayer, a small thought, for all the victims of the earthquake in Mexico and of Hurricane Irma? Thank you.
Pope Francis: I have heard of this law. I have not been able to read the articles, how the decision was made. I don't know it well. Keeping young people away from family is not something that brings good fruit. Every young person has their family. I think that this law, which I think comes not from parliament [sic], but from the executive, if this is the case, which I am not sure, I hope that it will be rethought a little, because I have heard the President of the United States speak as a pro-life man. If he is a good pro-life man, he understands that the family is the cradle of life, and unity must be defended. This is what comes to me. That's why I'm interested in studying the law well.
Truly, when youth feel, in general, whether in this case or another, exploited, in the end they feel that they have no hope. And who steals it from them? Drugs, other dependencies, suicide...youth suicide is very strong and comes when they are taken out from their roots. Uprooted young people today ask for help, and this is why I insist so much on dialogue between the elderly and the youth. That they talk to their parents, but (also) the elderly. Because the roots are there...[inaudible] to avoid the conflicts that can happen with the nearest roots, with the parents. But today's youth need to rediscover their roots. Anything that goes against the root robs them of hope. I don’t know if I answered, more or less.
Alazraki: They can be deported from the United States...
Pope Francis: Eh, yes, the lose a root. But truthfully, on this law I don't want to express myself, because I have not read it and I don't like to talk about something I don't understand.
And then, Valentina is Mexican, and Mexico has suffered a lot. I ask everyone for solidarity with the dean (Editor’s note: a reference to the journalist, who is a veteran reporter and on friendly terms with the Pope)and a prayer for the country. Thank you.
Greg Burke: Thank you, Holy Father. Now, Fausto Gasparroni from ANSA.
Fausto Gasparroni: Holiness, in the name of the Italian group, I’d like to pose you a question about the issue of immigrants, particularly about what the Italian Church has recently expressed, let’s say, a sort of comprehension about the new policy of the government of restricting the exit from Libya in boats. It has been written also that about this you had a meeting with the President of the Council, Gentiloni. We’d like to know if effectively in this meeting this topic was spoken about and especially what you think of this policy of closing the exits, considering also the fact that after the immigrants that stay in Libya, as has also been documented by investigations, live in inhuman conditions, in very, very precarious conditions. Thanks.
Pope Francis: The meeting with Minister Gentiloni was a personal meeting and not about that topic. It was before this issue, which came out later, some weeks later. Almost a month later. (It was) before this issue. Secondly, I feel the duty and gratitude toward Italy and Greece because they opened their hearts to immigrants, but it’s not enough to open the heart. The problem of the immigrant is: first an ever open heart, it’s also a commandment of God, no? “Receive them, because you have been a slave in Egypt.” But a government must manage that problem with the virtue proper of a governor: prudence. What does that mean? First: How many places do I have? Second: Not only to receive… (but to) integrate, integrate. I’ve seen examples, here in Italy, of precious integrations. I went to Roma Tre University and three students asked me questions. One was the last one. I looked at her and said, “I know that face.” It was one who, less than a year earlier, had come from Lesbos with me in the plane. She learned the language, is studying biology. They validated her classes and she continued. She learned the language. This is called integrating. On another flight, I think when we were coming back from Sweden, I spoke about the policy of integration of Sweden as a model. But also Sweden said prudently: this number I cannot do. Because there exists the danger of no integration. Third: it’s a humanitarian issue. Humanity takes awareness of these concentration camps, the conditions, the desert… I’ve seen photographs. First of the exploiters. The Italian government gives me the impression that it is doing everything, in humanitarian work, to resolve the problem that it cannot assume. Heart always open, prudence, integration, humanitarian closeness.
And there is a final thing that I want to say, above all for Africa There is a motto, a principle in our collective consciousness: Africa must be exploited. Today in Cartagena we saw an example of human exploitation, in any case. A chief of government said a truth about this: those who flee from war are another problem, but there are many who flee from hunger. Let us invest there so that it may grow, but in the collective consciousness there is the issue that when the developed nations go to Africa it’s to exploit it.
Africa is a friend and must be helped to grow. Today, other problems of war go in another direction. I don’t know if I clarified with this.
Xavier Le Normand (iMedia): Holy Father, today you spoke in the Angelus, you asked that all kinds of violence in political life be rejected. Thursday, after Mass in Bogota, you greeted five Venezuelan bishops. We all know that the Holy See is very committed to a dialogue with this country. For many months you have asked for an end to all violence. But President Maduro, on one hand, has many violent words against the bishops, and on the other hand says that he is with Pope Francis. Would it not be possible to have stronger and perhaps clearer words? Thank you.
Pope Francis: I think that the Holy See has spoken strongly and clearly. What President Maduro says, he can explain. I don't know what he has in his mind, but the Holy See has done a lot, it sent there - with the working group of four ex-presidents there - it has sent a first-level nuncio. After speaking with the people, it spoke publicly. Many times in the Angelus I have spoken about the situation, always looking for an exit, helping, offering help to get out. It seems that it's a very hard thing, and the most painful is the humanitarian problem, the many people who escape or suffer...we must help to resolve it in anyway (possible). I think the UN must also make itself heard there to help.
Greg Burke: Thank you, Holiness. I think we have to go.
Pope Francis: For the turbulence? They say there is some turbulence and we need to go. Many thanks for your work. And once more I’d like to thank the example of the Colombian people. I would like to conclude with an image. What most struck me about the Colombians in the four cities was the people in the streets, greeting me. What must struck me is that the father, mother, raised up their children to help them see the Pope and so the Pope could bless them, as if saying, ‘This is my treasure, this is my hope. This is my future.’ I believe you. This struck me. The tenderness. The eyes of those fathers, of those mothers. Precious, precious. This is a symbol, a symbol of hope, of future. A people that is capable of having children and then shows them to you, make them see as well, as if saying, ‘This is my treasure,’ is a people that has hope and future. Many thanks.
Transcript Blog SHARED from CNA

#PopeFrancis "Bring them the embrace of peace, free of all violence. Be “slaves of peace, forever”. at Farewell Ceremony FULL Video/Text

Pope Francis  offered a final greeting at the conclusion of his Apostolic Visit to Colombia.
Please find below the official English translation of the Pope’s prepared remarks:
At the conclusion of this celebration, I would like to thank His Grace Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal, Archbishop of Cartagena, for his kind words on behalf of his brother bishops and the entire people of God.
I also greet President Juan Manuel Santos, the civil authorities, and all those who have taken part in this Eucharistic celebration, whether here or through the communications media.

I am deeply grateful for the hard work and sacrifice that have made this visit possible.  Many people helped, giving freely and readily of their time and energy.  These have been intense and beautiful days; I have been able to meet many people and to experience many things that have touched me deeply.  You have done me much good.
Dear brothers and sisters, I would like to leave you with one last word.  Let us not be content with “taking the first step”.  Instead, let us continue our journey anew each day, going forth to encounter others and to encourage concord and fraternity. We cannot just stand still. In this very place, on 8 September 1654, Saint Peter Claver died, after forty years of voluntary slavery, of tireless work on behalf of the poor.  He did not stand still: his first step was followed by many others.  His example draws us out of ourselves to encounter our neighbours.  Colombia, your brothers and sisters need you.  Go out to meet them.  Bring them the embrace of peace, free of all violence.  Be “slaves of peace, forever”.  SLAVES OF PEACE, FOREVER.

#PopeFrancis "the Blessed Virgin holds each one of us in her arms as her beloved children." FULL TEXT at Angelus + Video

Pope Francis prayed the Angelus on Sunday in Cartagena during his Apostolic Visit to Colombia.
The Pope recited the prayer outside the Church and Monastery of St. Peter Claver in Cartagena de Indias.
Please find below the official English translation of the Pope’s prepared remarks:
Cartagena de Indias
Sunday, 10 September 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Shortly before I entered this church where the relics of Saint Peter Claver are kept, I blessed the first stones of two institutions that will minister to the those most in need, and I visited the house of Mrs Lorenza, who daily welcomes many of our brothers and sisters, offering them food and affection.   These visits have done me much good because they demonstrate how the love of God is made visible each day.
As we pray the Angelus, recalling the incarnation of the Word, we also reflect on Mary who conceived Jesus and brought him into the world.   We look to her this morning under the title of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá.  As you well know, over a long period of time this image was abandoned, discoloured, torn and full of holes.  It was treated like an old piece of cloth, shown no respect, and finally discarded.
It was then that, according to tradition, a humble woman, Maria Ramos, and the first devotee of the Blessed Virgin of Chiquinquirá, saw something different in that piece of cloth.  She had the courage and faith to put this blurred and torn fabric in a special place, restoring its lost dignity.  She encountered and honoured Mary who held her Son in her arms, doing precisely what was despicable and useless in the eyes of others.
And so, this woman became a model for all those who, in different ways, seek to restore the dignity of our brothers and sisters lost through the pain of life’s wounds, to restore the dignity of those who are excluded.  She is a model for all those who make efforts to provide dignified accommodation and care to those most in need.  She is, above all, a model for all those who pray perseveringly so that the men and women who are suffering may regain the splendour of the children of God which they have been robbed of.
The Lord teaches us through the example of the humble and those who are not valued.  While he gave María Ramos, an ordinary woman, the grace to receive the image of the Blessed Virgin in its poor and torn state, he also granted to the indigenous Isabel and her son Miguel the grace of being the first to see the transformed and renewed fabric of the Blessed Virgin.  They were the first to look humbly upon this completely renewed piece of fabric and recognize there the radiance of divine light which transforms and renews all things. They are the poor, humble ones, who contemplate the presence of God, and to whom the mystery of God’s love is revealed most clearly.  They, the poor and simple of heart, were the first to see the Blessed Virgin of Chinquinquirá and they became missionaries and heralds of her beauty and holiness.
In this church we will pray to Mary, who referred to herself as “the handmaid of the Lord”, and to Saint Peter Claver, the “slave of the blacks forever”, as he wanted others to know him from the day of his solemn profession.  He waited for the ships from Africa to arrive at the New World’s main centre of commerce in slavery.  Given the impossibility of verbal communication due to the language difference, he often ministered to these slaves simply through evangelizing gestures.  He knew that the language of charity and mercy was understood by all.  Indeed, charity helps us to know the truth and truth calls for acts of kindness.  Whenever he felt revulsion towards the slaves, he kissed their wounds.
Saint Peter Claver was austere and charitable to the point of heroism.  After consoling hundreds of thousands of people in their loneliness, he spent the last four years of his life in sickness and confined to his cell which was in a terrible state of neglect.
Saint Peter Claver witnessed in a formidable way to the responsibility and care that we should have for one another. Furthermore, this saint was unjustly accused of being indiscreet in his zealousness and he faced strong criticism and persistent opposition from those who feared that his ministry would undermine the lucrative slave trade.
Here in Colombia and in the world millions of people are still being sold as slaves; they either beg for some expressions of humanity, moments of tenderness, or they flee by sea or land because they have lost everything, primarily their dignity and their rights.
María de Chiquinquirá and Peter Claver invite us to work to promote the dignity of all our brothers and sisters, particularly the poor and the excluded of society, those who are abandoned, immigrants, and those who suffer violence and human trafficking.  They all have human dignity because they are living images of God.  We all are created in the image and likeness of God, and the Blessed Virgin holds each one of us in her arms as her beloved children.
Let us now turn to Our Blessed Virgin Mother in prayer, so that she may help us recognize the face of God in every man and woman of our time.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday September 11, 2017 - #Eucharist

Monday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 437

Reading 1COL1:24–2:3

Brothers and sisters:
I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
on behalf of his Body, which is the Church,
of which I am a minister
in accordance with God's stewardship given to me
to bring to completion for you the word of God,
the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.
But now it has been manifested to his holy ones,
to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory
of this mystery among the Gentiles;
it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
It is he whom we proclaim,
admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
For this I labor and struggle,
in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.

For I want you to know how great a struggle I am having for you
and for those in Laodicea
and all who have not seen me face to face,
that their hearts may be encouraged
as they are brought together in love,
to have all the richness of assured understanding,
for the knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ,
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Responsorial PsalmPS 62:6-7, 9

R. (8) In God is my safety and my glory.
Only in God be at rest, my soul,
for from him comes my hope.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.
R. In God is my safety and my glory.
Trust in him at all times, O my people!
Pour out your hearts before him;
God is our refuge!
R. In God is my safety and my glory.

AlleluiaJN 10:27

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

GospelLK 6:6-11

On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
"Come up and stand before us."
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
"I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?"
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
"Stretch out your hand."
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

Pope Francis "Finally, Jesus asks us to pray together, so that our prayer...arises as one single cry." FULL TEXT Homily + Mass Video

Please find below the official English translation of the Pope’s prepared homily:
Homily: “The Dignity of the Person and Human Rights.”
Cartagena de Indias
Sunday, 10 September 2017
In this city, which has been called “heroic” for its tenacity in defending freedom two hundred years ago, I celebrate the concluding Mass of my Visit to Colombia.  For the past thirty-two years Cartagena de Indias is also the headquarters in Colombia for Human Rights.  For here the people cherish the fact that, “thanks to the missionary team formed by the Jesuit priests Peter Claver y Corberó, Alonso de Sandoval and Brother Nicolás González, accompanied by many citizens of the city of Cartagena de Indias in the seventeenth century, the desire was born to alleviate the situation of the oppressed of that time, especially of slaves, of those who implored fair treatment and freedom” (Congress of Colombia 1985, law 95, art. 1).
Here, in the Sanctuary of Saint Peter Claver, where the progress and application of human rights in Colombia continue to be studied and monitored in a systematic way, the Word of God speaks to us of forgiveness, correction, community and prayer.
In the fourth sermon of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to us, who have decided to support the community, to us, who value life together and dream of a project that includes everyone.  The preceding text is that of the good shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine sheep to go after the one that is lost.  This fact pervades the entire text: there is no one too lost to deserve our care, our closeness and our forgiveness.  From this perspective, we can see that a fault or a sin committed by one person challenges us all, but involves, primarily, the victim of someone’s sin.  He or she is called to take the initiative so that whoever has caused the harm is not lost.
During these past few days I have heard many testimonies from those who have reached out to people who had harmed them; terrible wounds that I could see in their own bodies; irreparable losses that still bring tears.  Yet they have reached out, have taken a first step on a different path to the one already travelled.  For decades Colombia has yearned for peace but, as Jesus teaches, two sides approaching each other to dialogue is not enough; it has also been necessary to involve many more actors in this dialogue aimed at healing sins.  The Lord tells us in the Gospel: “If your brother does not listen to you, take one or two others along with you” (Mt 18:16).
We have learned that these ways of making peace, of placing reason above revenge, of the delicate harmony between politics and law, cannot ignore the involvement of the people.  Peace is not achieved by normative frameworks and institutional arrangements between well-intentioned political or economic groups.  Jesus finds the solution to the harm inflicted through a personal encounter between the parties.  It is always helpful, moreover, to incorporate into our peace processes the experience of those sectors that have often been overlooked, so that communities themselves can influence the development of collective memory.  “The principal author, the historic subject of this process, is the people as a whole and their culture, and not a single class, minority, group or elite. We do not need plans drawn up by a few for the few, or an enlightened or outspoken minority which claims to speak for everyone. It is about agreeing to live together, a social and cultural pact” (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 239).
We can contribution greatly to this new step that Colombia wants to take.  Jesus tells us that this path of reintegration into the community begins with a dialogue of two persons.  Nothing can replace that healing encounter; no collective process excuses us from the challenge of meeting, clarifying, forgiving.  Deep historic wounds necessarily require moments where justice is done, where victims are given the opportunity to know the truth, where damage is adequately repaired and clear commitments are made to avoid repeating those crimes.  But that is only the beginning of the Christian response.  We are required to generate “from below” a change in culture: so that we respond to the culture of death and violence, with the culture of life and encounter.  We have already learned this from your own beloved author whom we all benefit from:  “This cultural disaster is not remedied with lead or silver, but with an education for peace, built lovingly on the rubble of an angry country where we rise early to continue killing each other... a legitimate revolution of peace which channels towards life an immense creative energy that for almost two centuries we have used to destroy us and that vindicates and exalts the predominance of the imagination” (Gabriel García Márquez, Message About Peace, 1998).  
How much have we worked for an encounter, for peace? How much have we neglected, allowing barbarity to become enfleshed in the life of our people?  Jesus commands us to confront those types of behaviour, those ways of living that damage society and destroy the community.  How many times have we “normalized” the logic of violence and social exclusion, without prophetically raising our hands or voices!  Alongside Saint Peter Claver were thousands of Christians, many of them consecrated… but only a handful started a counter-cultural movement of encounter.  Saint Peter was able to restore the dignity and hope of hundreds of thousands of black people and slaves arriving in absolutely inhuman conditions, full of dread, with all their hopes lost.  He did not have prestigious academic qualifications, and he even said of himself that he was “mediocre” in terms of intelligence, but he had the genius to live the Gospel to the full, to meet those whom others considered merely as waste material.  Centuries later, the footsteps of this missionary and apostle of the Society of Jesus were followed by Saint María Bernarda Bütler, who dedicated her life to serving the poor and marginalized in this same city of Cartagena.[1]
In the encounter between us we rediscover our rights, and we recreate our lives so that they re-emerge as authentically human.  “The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, of every man and every woman, the poor, the elderly, children, the infirm, the unborn, the unemployed, the abandoned, those considered disposable because they are only considered as part of a statistic. This common home of all men and women must also be built on the understanding of a certain sacredness of created nature” (Address to the United Nations, 25 September 2015).
Jesus also shows us the possibility that the other may remain closed, refusing to change, persisting in evil.  We cannot deny that there are people who persist in sins that damage the fabric of our coexistence and community: “I also think of the heart-breaking drama of drug abuse, which reaps profits in contempt of the moral and civil laws.  I think of the devastation of natural resources and ongoing pollution, and the tragedy of the exploitation of labour. I think too of illicit money trafficking and financial speculation, which often prove both predatory and harmful for entire economic and social systems, exposing millions of men and women to poverty. I think of prostitution, which every day reaps innocent victims, especially the young, robbing them of their future. I think of the abomination of human trafficking, crimes and abuses against minors, the horror of slavery still present in many parts of the world; the frequently overlooked tragedy of migrants, who are often victims of disgraceful and illegal manipulation” (Message for the World Day of Peace, 2014, 8), and even with a pacifist “sterile legality” that ignores the flesh of our brothers and sisters, the flesh of Christ.  We must also be prepared for this, and solidly base ourselves upon principles of justice that in no way diminish charity.  It is only possible to live peacefully by avoiding actions that corrupt or harm life.  In this context, we remember all those who, bravely and tirelessly, have worked and even lost their lives in defending and protecting the rights and the dignity of the human person.   History asks us to embrace a definitive commitment to defending human rights, here in Cartagena de Indias, the place that you have chosen as the national seat of their defence.
Finally, Jesus asks us to pray together, so that our prayer, even with its personal nuances and different emphases, becomes symphonic and arises as one single cry.  I am sure that today we pray together for the rescue of those who were wrong and not for their destruction, for justice and not revenge, for healing in truth and not for oblivion.  We pray to fulfil the theme of this visit: “Let us take the first step!” And may this first step be in a common direction.
To “take the first step” is, above all, to go out and meet others with Christ the Lord.  And he always asks us to take a determined and sure step towards our brothers and sisters, and to renounce our claim to be forgiven without showing forgiveness, to be loved without showing love.  If Colombia wants a stable and lasting peace, it must urgently take a step in this direction, which is that of the common good, of equity, of justice, of respect for human nature and its demands.  Only if we help to untie the knots of violence, will we unravel the complex threads of disagreements.  We are asked to take the step of meeting with our brothers and sisters, and to risk a correction that does not want to expel but to integrate.  And we are asked to be charitably firm in that which is not negotiable.  In short, the demand is to build peace, “speaking not with the tongue but with hands and works” (Saint Peter Claver), and to lift up our eyes to heaven together.  The Lord is able to untie that which seems impossible to us, and he has promised to accompany us to the end of time, and will bring to fruition all our efforts.
[1] She also had the wisdom of charity and knew how to find God in her neighbour; nor was she paralyzed by injustice and challenges, because “when conflict arises, some people simply look at it and go their way as if nothing happened; they wash their hands of it and get on with their lives. Others embrace it in such a way that they become its prisoners; they lose their bearings, project onto institutions their own confusion and dissatisfaction and thus make unity impossible. But there is also a third way, and it is the best way to deal with conflict. It is the willingness to face conflict head on, to resolve it and to make it a link in the chain of a new process” (Evangelii Gaudium, 227).

Saint September 11 : St. John Gabriel Perboyre : #Priest and Martyr of #China

St. John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840)
priest, martyr of the Congregation of the Mission  

The formation years
Nothing happens by chance. Neither life, nor death, nor vocation. JOHN GABRIEL PERBOYRE was born in Montgesty, near Cahors, in southern France, on 6 January 1802 into a family which gave three missionaries of St. Vincent and two Daughters of Charity to the Church. Such an environment exuded faith, simple and healthy values, and the sense of life as gift.
The one who "calls by name" seemed to ignore him as a teenager. The call came to his younger brother Louis for entrance into the seminary. John Gabriel was asked to accompany his younger brother for a time, while waiting for him to get adjusted to the surroundings. John Gabriel's presence at the seminary, then, happened by chance and he should have left quickly. But chance revealed to the astonished eyes of the young man unexpected horizons: that in the seminary he had found his path.
The Church of France had at that time just emerged from the throes of the French Revolution with the red-colored garments of martyrdom for some, and with the pain of the apostasy of many. The panorama at the beginning of the 1800's was desolate: buildings destroyed, convents sacked, people without pastors. Thus, it was no accident that the ideal of the priesthood appeared to the young man not as a feeble arrangement for life, but as the destiny of heroes.
His parents, surprised, accepted the choice of their son and accompanied him with their encouragement. Not by chance, his paternal uncle Jacques was a missionary of St. Vincent. This explains why in 1818 the missionary ideal matured in the young John Gabriel. At that time, the missions meant principally China. But China was a faraway mirage. To leave meant never to find again the home milieu, taste its flavors, enjoy its affections. It was natural for him to choose the Congregation of the Mission founded by St. Vincent de Paul in 1625 for the evangelization of the poor, the formation of the clergy, but above all to push those very missionaries toward holiness. The mission is not propaganda. The Church has always demanded that the proclaimers of the Word be spiritual persons, mortified, full of God and charity. In order to illuminate the darkness in people, a lamp is not sufficient if there is no oil.
John Gabriel did not think in half-measures. If he was a martyr it is because he was a saint.
From 1818 to 1835 he was a missionary in his own country. First, in his formation period, he was a model novice and student. After his priestly ordination (1826), he was charged with the formation of seminarians.
The missionary attraction
A new factor, certainly not haphazard, modified John Gabriel's life. The protagonist was once again his brother Louis. He also had entered the Congregation of the Mission and had asked to be sent to China where the sons of St. Vincent had had a new martyr in the person of Blessed Francis Regis Clet (18 February 1820). During the voyage, however, the young Louis, only 24 years of age, was called to the mission in heaven.
All that the young man had hoped for and done would have been useless if John Gabriel had not made the request to replace his brother in the breach.
John Gabriel reached China in August of 1835. At that time the Occident knew almost nothing about the Celestial Empire, and the ignorance was reciprocal. The two worlds felt a mutual attraction, but dialogue was difficult. In the countries of Europe one did not speak of a Chinese civilization, but only of superstitions, of "ridiculous" ceremonies and customs. The judgments were thus prejudices. China's appreciation of Europe and Christianity was not any better.
There was a dark gap between the two civilizations. Someone had to cross it in order to take on himself the evil of many, and to consume it with the fires of charity.
After getting acclimated in Macau, John Gabriel began the long trip in a Chinese junk, on foot, and on horseback, which brought him after eight months to Nanyang in Henan, where the obligation to learn the language imposed itself.
After five months, he was able to express himself, though with some trouble, in good Chinese, and at once threw himself into the ministry, visiting the small Christian communities. Then he was transferred to Hubei, which is part of the region of lakes formed by the Yangtze kiang (blue river). Even though he maintained an intense apostolate, he suffered much in body and spirit. In a letter he wrote: "No, I am no more of a wonder man here in China than I was in France ... ask of him first of all for my conversion and my sanctification and then the grace that I do not spoil his work too much..." (Letter 94). For one who looks at things from the outside, it was inconceivable that such a missionary should find himself in a dark night of the soul. But the Holy Spirit was preparing him in the emptiness of humility and the silence of God for the supreme testimony.
In chains for Christ
Unexpectedly in 1839 two events, apparently unrelated, clouded the horizon. The first was the renewed outbreak of persecution which flowed from the decree of the Manchurian emperor, Quinlong (1736-1795), which had proscribed the Christian religion in 1794.
The second was the outbreak of the Chinese-British War, better known as the "Opium War" (1839-1842). The closure of the Chinese frontier and the pretence of the Chinese government to require an act of dependence from the foreign ambassadors had created an explosive situation. The spark came from the confiscation of loads of opium stowed in the port of Canton; this action harmed the merchants, most of whom were English. The British flotilla intervened, and the war began.
The missionaries, obviously interested only in the first event dealing with the persecution of Christians, were always on their guard. As often happens, too many alarms diminished the vigilance. And that is what happened on 15 September 1839 at Cha-yuen-ken, where Perboyre lived. On that day he was with two other European missionaries, his confrere, Baldus, and a Franciscan, Rizzolati, and a Chinese missionary, Fr. Wang. They were informed of the approach of a column of about one hundred soldiers. The missionaries underestimated the information. Perhaps the soldiers were going elsewhere. Instead of being wary, the missionaries continued enjoying a fraternal conversation. When there was no longer any doubt about the direction of the soldiers, it was late. Baldus and Rizzolati decided to flee far away. Perboyre hid himself in the surroundings because the nearby mountains were rich with bamboo forests and hidden caves. As Fr. Baldus has attested for us, however, the soldiers used threats to force a catechumen to reveal the place where the missionary was hiding. The catechumen was a weak person, but not a Judas.
Thus began the sad Calvary of John Gabriel. The prisoner had no rights, he was not protected by laws, but was at the mercy of the jailers and judges. Given that he was arrested it was presumed that he was guilty, and if guilty, he would be punished.
A series of trials began. The first was held at Kou-Ching-Hien. The replies of the martyr were heroic:
- Are you a Christian priest?
- Yes, I am a priest and I preach this religion.
- Do you wish to renounce your faith?
- No, I will never renounce the faith of Christ.
They asked him to reveal his companions in the faith and the reasons for which he had transgressed the laws of China. They wanted, in short, to make the victim the culprit. But a witness to Christ is not an informer. Therefore, he remained silent.
The prisoner was then transferred to Siang-Yang. The cross examinations were made close together. He was held for a number of hours kneeling on rusty iron chains, was hung by his thumbs and hair from a rafter (the hangtze torture), was beaten several times with bamboo canes. Greater than the physical violence, however, remained the wound of the fact that the values in which he believed were put to ridicule: the hope in eternal life, the sacraments, the faith.
The third trial was held in Wuchang. He was brought before four different tribunals and subjected to 20 interrogations. To the questioning were united tortures and the most cruel mockery. They prosecuted the missionary and abused the man. They obliged Christians to abjure, and one of them even to spit on and strike the missionary who had brought him to the faith. For not trampling on the crucifix, John Gabriel received 110 strokes of pantse.
Among the various accusations, the most terrible was the accusation that he had had immoral relations with a Chinese girl, Anna Kao, who had made a vow of virginity. The martyr defended himself. She was neither his lover nor his servant. The woman is respected not scorned in Christianity, was the sense of John Gabriel's reply. But he remained upset because they made innocents suffer for him.
During one interrogation he was obliged to put on Mass vestments. They wanted to accuse him of using the privilege of the priesthood for private interests. But the missionary, clothed in the priestly garments, impressed the bystanders, and two Christians drew near to him to ask for absolution.
The cruelest judge was the Viceroy. The missionary was by this time a shadow. The rage of this unscrupulous magistrate was vented on a ghost of a man. Blinded by his omnipotence the Viceroy wanted confessions, admissions, and accusations against others. But if the body was weak, the soul was reinforced. His hope by now rested in his meeting God, which he felt nearer each day.
When John Gabriel told him for the last time: "I would sooner die than deny my faith!," the judge pronounced his sentence. John Gabriel Perboyre was to die by strangulation.
With Christ priest and victim
Then began a period of waiting for the imperial confirmation. Perhaps John Gabriel could hope in the clemency of the sovereign. But the war with the English erased any possible gesture of good-will. Thus, on 11 September 1840, an imperial envoy arrived at full speed, bearing the decree confirming the condemnation.
With seven criminals the missionary was led up a height called the "Red Mountain." As the criminals were killed first, Perboyre reflected in prayer, to the wonderment of the bystanders.
When his turn came, the executioners stripped him of the purple tunic and tied him to a post in the form of a cross. They passed a rope around his neck and strangled him. It was the sixth hour. Like Jesus, John Gabriel became like a grain of wheat. He died, or better was born into heaven, in order to make fall on the earth the dew of God's blessing.
Many circumstances surrounding his last year of life (the betrayal, the arrest, the death on a cross, its day and hour), are similar to the Passion of Christ. In reality, all his life was that of a witness and a faithful disciple of Christ. St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote: "I look for him who died for us; I yearn for him who rose for us. Behold, the moment is near in which I will be brought forth! Have compassion on me, brothers! Do not prevent me from being born to life!"
John Gabriel "was born to life" on 11 September 1840, because he always had sought "him who died for us." His body was brought back to France, but his heart remained in his adopted homeland, the land of China. There he gave his witness to the sons and daughters of St. Vincent who also wait to be born to heaven after a life spent for the gospel and for the poor.
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