Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pope Francis "Some...have lost the Christian sense of Sunday illumined by the Eucharist. This is sin!" FULL TEXT Audience + Video

The Holy Father’s Catechesis
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Taking up the series of catecheses on the Mass, today we ask ourselves: Why go to Mass on Sunday?
The Sunday celebration of the Eucharist is at the center of the life of the Church (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2177). We Christians go to Mass on Sunday to encounter the Risen Lord, or, better, to let ourselves be encountered by Him, to listen to His word, to eat at His table, and thus become Church, that is, His living Mystical Body in the world today.
It was understood, from the first moment, by Jesus’ disciples, who celebrated the Eucharistic encounter with the Lord in the day of the week that the Jews called “the first of the week” and the Romans “day of the sun,” because on that day Jesus rose from the dead and He appeared to His disciples, speaking with them, eating with them, giving them the Holy Spirit (Cf. Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:9.14; Luke  24:1.13; John 20:1.19), as we heard in the biblical Reading. The great effusion of the Holy Spirit also happened on Sunday, the fiftieth day after Jesus’ Resurrection. For these reasons, Sunday is a holy day for us, sanctified by the Eucharistic celebration, the Lord’s living presence among us and for us. Hence, it is the Mass that makes Sunday Christian! The Christian Sunday revolves around the Mass. For a Christian, what sort of Sunday is it that lacks the encounter with the Lord?

Unfortunately, there are Christian communities that cannot enjoy the Mass every Sunday; however, on this holy day, they are also called to recollect themselves in prayer in the Lord’s name, listening to the Word of God and keeping alive the desire of the Eucharist.
Some secularized societies have lost the Christian sense of Sunday illumined by the Eucharist. This is sin! In these contexts, it’s necessary to revive this awareness, to recover the meaning of the celebration, of the joy of the parish community, of solidarity, of the rest that restores the soul and the body (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 2177-2188). The Eucharist is the teacher of all these values, Sunday after Sunday. Therefore, Vatican Council II wanted to confirm that “Sunday is the primordial day of celebration which must be proposed and inculcated in the piety of the faithful, so that it also becomes a day of joy and of abstention from work” (Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, 106).
Sunday’s abstention from work didn’t exist in the first centuries: it’s a specific contribution of Christianity. By biblical tradition the Jews rest on Saturday, while in Roman society a weekday of abstention from servile works was not foreseen. It was the Christian sense of living as children and not as slaves, animated by the Eucharist, which made Sunday – almost universally – the day of rest.
Without Christ we are condemned to be dominated by tiredness of the every day, with its preoccupations and the fear of tomorrow. The Sunday encounter with the Lord gives us strength to live today with trust and courage and to go on with hope. This is why we Christians go to encounter the Lord on Sunday in the Eucharistic celebration.
Eucharistic Communion with Jesus, Risen and Living for ever, anticipates the Sunday without sunset, when there will no longer be fatigue, or pain, or mourning, or tears, but only the joy of living fully and for ever with the Lord. Sunday Mass also speaks of this blessed rest, teaching us, in the flow of the week, to entrust ourselves to the hands of the Father who is in Heaven.
What can we answer one who says there is no need to go to Mass, not even on Sunday, because what is important is to live well, to love one’s neighbor? It’s true that the quality of a Christian life is measured by the capacity to love, as Jesus said: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another” (John 13:35); but how can we practice the Gospel without drawing the necessary energy to do so, Sunday after Sunday, from the inexhaustible source of the Eucharist? We don’t go to Mass to give God something, but to receive from Him what we truly need. The prayer of the Church reminds us of this, which addresses God thus: “You do not need our praise, but by a gift of your love you call us to render thanks to you; our hymns of blessing do not enhance your grandeur, but obtain for us the grace that saves us” (Roman Missal, Ordinary Preface IV).
In conclusion, why go to Mass on Sunday? It’s not enough to answer that it’s a precept of the Church; this helps to keep its value, but it’s not enough on its own. We Christians need to take part in Sunday Mass because only with Jesus’ grace, with His living presence in us and among us, can we put into practice His commandment, and thus be His credible witnesses.
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
In Italian
I’m happy to receive the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart and the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary. May the pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles be an occasion to grow in the love of God, so that you communities become places in which one experiences communion and mission. I greet the Parishes, the School Institutes, the Associations and the Groups, in particular the Jacques Maritain International Institute.
Finally, a thought goes to young people the sick and newlyweds. Today the liturgy remembers Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr: dear young people, contemplate the grandeur of the love of Jesus, who is born and dies for us; dear sick, accept your suffering with courage for the conversion of sinners; and you, dear newlyweds, make more room for prayer, especially in this Season of Advent, so that your life becomes a way of Christian perfection.
[Original text: Italian]  [Blog share of ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

#BreakingNews RIP Fr. Andrew Apostoli - Famous Franciscan Priest dies at 75 - FULL TEXT Statement from FFR

Press Release: It is with a profound joy mixed with sadness that we announce the passing of our dear founder and spiritual father. Father Andrew Joseph Apostoli, CFR, peacefully breathed his last at 9:26 AM, on Wednesday, December 13, 2017. He was surrounded by the love and prayers of his brothers. Funeral and viewing details will be posted here shortly.
Apostoli Inspired the Faithful with His Love of the Church, Devotion to Mary, and Joyful Preaching of the Gospel 

Fr. Andrew Apostoli, a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, admired preacher and retreat master, died on December 13, 2017. He was 75. Fr. Andrew was born on July 3, 1942,in Woodbury, NJ, to Dominic and Malvina Apostoli. After a devout upbringing, Fr. Andrew entered the Capuchin Friars in 1959 at the age of seventeen. He professed perpetual vows in 1963 and was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen on March 16, 1967. Twenty years later, in 1987, Fr. Andrew was one of eight Capuchin Friars who founded the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a reform community based in the South Bronx. One year later, he became the spiritual father and founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, whose mission of serving the poor and spreading the gospel is similar to that of the Friars. For over fifty years, Fr. Andrew served his community and the universal church in numerous capacities as a priest. These assignments include: teacher, spiritual director, novice master (1987- 1990), Community Superior (1993-1999), Professor of Spiritual Theology at St. Joseph Seminary (1985-2013), and vice postulator of the cause of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (2001-2017). In addition, Fr. Andrew was the spiritual father of the Blue Army Shrine in Washington, NJ, a well sought after retreat master, preacher, prolific writer, and beloved television host on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). Father Andrew is survived by older brother Emidio and his wife Gretchen; younger brother Michael and his wife Beth; sister-in-law Yvonne; four nephews and two nieces; numerous cousins; as well as by 128 CFR brothers and priests and 35 CFR sisters in community. He was preceded in death by his brother, Francis. 
Father Andrew had been a friend and confidant to Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta
As the night concluded the brothers gathered around his bed and sang this traditional hymn to Mother Mary. 
   Ultima in mortis hora
   Filium pro nobis ora
   Bonam mortem impetra
   Virgo, Mater Domina

   In our last and needful hour,
   Come and aid us with thy power,
   Happy death for us obtain,
   Virgin Mary, fairest Queen

What is St. Lucy Day - 10 Things to SHARE about #Traditions of #StLucy

1. On the 13th December St. Lucy is honored. She was a 4th century martyr from Sicily, Italy.
2. In Sweden and Norway the darkness of the day is broken by the Lucia figure dressed in a gown of white and a wreath of candles upon her head. December 13th was the longest night of the year in the Julian calendar.
3. According to tradition a white-clad woman, wearing a crown of burning candles, appeared at Sweden’s largest lake, Vänern, bringing food to starving villagers during a time of famine.
4. In Sweden and Norway, a girl is chosen to lead the Church procession with crown of candles. Similarly dressed girls (tärnor) and boys wearing a tall pointed hat carrying a star wand (stjärngossar) and follow her. Together they sing beautiful carols (see below) Once the singing is over, the procession enjoy coffee and saffron-flavored buns called lussekatter.

5. In homes the eldest daughter had the honour to be Lucia. She and her siblings woke up the family with their singing. Then the family gathered together with saffron buns at breakfast.
Saffron Buns Recipe: Ingredients: Servings: 24 Units: | 300 ml milk 1 g saffron 50 g baker's yeast 150 g sugar 125 g butter or 125 g margarine 700 g all-purpose flour 1 egg salt raisins Directions: 1 Melt butter or margarine in a pan and add the milk and the saffron. 2 Warm the mixture to 37 oC (100 oF). 3 Use a thermometer; the correct temperature is important! 4 Pour the mixture over the finely divided yeast; then add the remaining ingredients (except for the egg and the raisins), which should have a temperature of 21-23 oC (72-75 oF). 5 Mix into a smooth dough. 6 Cover the dough with a piece of cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes. 7 Knead the dough, divide it into 25-30 pieces and form each piece into a round bun. 8 Let the buns rest for a few minutes, covered by a piece of cloth. 9 Form each bun into a string, 15-20 cm long, then arrange the string in a suitable shape, e.g. an S or double S. Regardless of the shape, the ends of the string should meet. 10 Press a few raisins into the dough. 11 Cover the"Lucia cats" with a piece of cloth and let them rise for 40 minutes. 12 Whip the egg together with a few grains of salt, and paint the"Lucia cats" with the mixture. 13 Bake them for 5-10 minutes in the oven at 250 oC (475 oF) until golden brownish yellow.

It is traditional in Sweden to sing the Sankta Lucia song with the same melody as the well-known Italian song.
Natten går tunga fjät rund gård och stuva; kring jord, som sol förlät,skuggorna ruva. Då i vårt mörka hus, stiger med tända ljus, Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia. Natten går stor och stum nu hörs dess vingar i alla tysta rum sus som av vingar. Se, på vår tröskel står vitklädd med ljus i hår Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia. Mörkret ska flyta snart ur jordens dalar så hon ett underbart ord till oss talar. Dagen ska åter ny stiga ur rosig sky
 Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia. The night goes with heavy steps around farm and cottage; round the earth the sun has forsaken, the shadows are brooding.There in our darkened house, stands with lighted candles Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia. The night passes, large and mute now one hears wings in every silent room whispers as if from wings. See, on our threshold stands white-clad with candles in her hair Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia. The darkness shall soon depart from the earth's valleys then she speaks a wonderful word to us. The day shall be born anew Rising from the rosy sky. Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.
In Italy:
6. Santa Lucia is celebrated all over Italy.
7. In Sicily she is remembered for her intervention during a severe famine in 1582. Miraculously, ships filled with grain appeared in the harbor on December 13. The people were so hungry that they boiled the grains immediately.
8. On this day a most popular dish called cuccia which is made with boiled whole wheat berries, ricotta and sugar. In Lombardy and Veneto, goose is eaten on this day.
9. Santa Lucia brings the presents to children, not Father Christmas. She travels on a donkey on the eve of December 13, and children leave bowls of milk and carrots and hay to attract the hungry donkey and make sure Santa Lucia stops at their house.
10. Children sing for this feast: Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia Fill my stocking with candies If my mother won't do it My stocking will stay empty But with father's money Saint Lucia will prevail.

#BreakingNews RIP Underground Bishop Matthias - Death of Catholic Bishop of China who spent years in Forced Labor

Msgr. Matthias Yu Chengxin, underground bishop of Hanzhong, has died

Li Yuan

He spent several years under house arrest and then in forced labor. He was appointed coadjutor bishop of Hanzhong, when his brother, Msgr. Bartolomeo Yu, was arrested in 1989. Hit by a stroke, he retired, also to safeguard the new found unity of the diocese between official and underground.

Hanzhong (AsiaNews) - Msgr. Matthias Yu Chengxin, bishop coadjutor emeritus of Hanzhong (Shaanxi) died on December 7th at the age of 90. His funeral was celebrated yesterday in the church of Xiaozhai (county of Chengguo), coinciding with the 28th anniversary of the episcopal ordination of the deceased.
Msgr. Louis Yu Runchen, official bishop of Hanzhong presided over the funeral ceremony.
Msgr. Matthias Yu Chengxin was an underground bishop, not recognized by the government. For this reason, his episcopal title was mentioned only during the funeral service, but not written on any notice or sign during the funeral mass, concelebrated by 31 priests, most of the diocese. According to local Catholic sources, this silence was not due to particular pressures from the civil authorities. In the  funeral service, Msgr. Louis Yu defined the deceased as "monsignor".
Mathias Yu was born into  a Catholic family on December 27, 1927. He is the younger brother of Msgr. Bartholomew Yu, also Bishop of Hanzhong, who died in 2009. One of their sisters, Yu Rongjie, still living, is a nun. All three Yu bishops were approved by the Holy See, but only Louis Yu is recognized by the government.
Bishop Matthias studied at the Hanzhong seminary in 1950 and entered the regional seminary of Kaifeng (Henan) in 1956, but the seminary was closed two years later by the Three Self-Reform movement [for the building of a national Church autonomous from the Holy See - ed.). During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) he was first subjected to house arrest, then sent to a forced labor camp ("reform through work").
In 1980, after the opening of Deng Xiaoping and the resumption of religious life, he was ordained a priest and placed as spiritual director and teacher of Latin in the underground seminary of St. Joseph in Hanzhong. He is remembered as a jovial person, who toured the parishes on his bicycle to administer the sacraments to his faithful.
Msgr. Matthias was ordained bishop secretly in 1989. An eulogy read during the funeral service and signed by all the priests of Hanzhong, states that "he never exercised his episcopal ministry and never allowed others to call him bishop, nor did he ever appear with the episcopal insignia, in private or in public. He has always considered himself and has always served the Church as a priest ".
Some faithful say that the deceased bishop was an "auxiliary bishop" and not "coadjutor".
The different opinions and statements reflect the difficult history of the diocese, long divided between official and underground.
Msgr. Matthias Yu was secretly ordained as coadjutor bishop of Hanzhong by Msgr. Li Zhenrong of Xianxian on December 12, 1989, after his brother, Msgr. Bartholomew Yu Chengti, unofficial bishop of Hanzhong, was arrested in November of the same year, during a heavy repression against underground communities throughout China: the authorities had discovered that underground bishops had secretly gathered as an "episcopal conference" , in the so-called "Sanyuan meeting".
An authoritative ecclesial source spoke to AsiaNews about the mighty efforts of Msgr. Anthony Li Duan, official bishop of Xian (Shaanxi), to push his dear friend, Msgr. Bartholomew Yu, to rebuild communion in the diocese in 2000.
In 2005, shortly before the death of John Paul II, there was a turning point in the life of the diocese of Hanzhong: Msgr. Louis Yu asked to be reconciled with the Pope and the Holy See. The funeral mass for the Polish pope was also a ceremony of reconciliation because for the first time in decades Msgr. Bartholomew and Msgr. Louis celebrated the Eucharist together.
Until his death, Msgr. Bartholomew was the ordinary of the diocese; in 2009, at his death, Msgr. LouisYu succeeded him in leading Hanzhong.
The authoritative source states that "in a diocesan meeting, Msgr. Matthias has taken the initiative to retire and not to assert his episcopal status for love of communion in the diocese ". On the other hand, in 2007 Msgr. Matthias was hit by a stroke that created mobility problems. When Msgr. Bartholomew died, Msgr. Matthias was paralyzed and could not take care of himself and the diocese.
The eulogy read during the funeral service says that Msgr. Matthias "knew his abilities and the reality of the diocese well. He offered his sufferings, going against the expectations of some, but fulfilling the will of God ".
In this year 2017 nine bishops have died in the Church in China. In four of the dioceses concerned, the Chinese government has not yet allowed the ordination of the candidate bishops successors appointed by the Vatican, or has not recognized the successors secretly ordained in the past without government approval. This is creating even greater difficulties in the dialogue between China and the Holy See, which is precisely aimed at solving the thorny problem of the appointment of bishops.
AsiaNews Report

Novena to St. Lucy - Patron of Blind - SHARE #Prayers to #StLucy

Say this prayer for 9 days:
O St Lucy, you preferred to let your eyes be torn out instead of denying the faith and defiling your soul; and God, through an extraordinary miracle, replaced them with another pair of sound and perfect eyes to reward your virtue and faith, appointing you as the protector against eye diseases. I come to you for you to protect my eyesight and to heal the illness in my eyes.
 O St Lucy, preserve the light of my eyes so that I may see the beauties of creation, the glow of the sun, the colour of the flowers and the smile of children. Preserve also the eyes of my soul, the faith, through which I can know my God, understand His teachings, recognise His love for me and never miss the road that leads me to where you, St Lucy, can be found in the company of the angels and saints. St Lucy, protect my eyes and preserve my faith. Amen.
 (Say: 1 “Our Father”, 1 “Hail Mary”, 1 “Glory be”each day of 9 days)
 O! Glorious St Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, you greatly glorified the Lord by preferring to sacrifice your life rather than be unfaithful. Come to our aid and, through the love of this same most loveable Lord, save us from all infirmities of the eyes and the danger of losing them. Through your powerful intercession, may we spend our life in the peace of the Lord and be able to see Him with our transfigured eyes in the eternal splendour of the Celestial Homeland. Amen. St Lucy, pray for us and for the most needy, to Christ our Lord. Amen.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday December 13, 2017 - #Eucharist

Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
Lectionary: 183

Reading 1IS 40:25-31

To whom can you liken me as an equal?
says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
and see who has created these things:
He leads out their army and numbers them,
calling them all by name.
By his great might and the strength of his power
not one of them is missing!
Why, O Jacob, do you say,
and declare, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God"?

Do you not know
or have you not heard?
The LORD is the eternal God,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint nor grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives strength to the fainting;
for the weak he makes vigor abound.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles' wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.

Responsorial PsalmPS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8 AND 10

R. (1) O bless the Lord, my soul!
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. O bless the Lord, my soul!


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, the Lord comes to save his people;
blessed are those prepared to meet him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 11:28-30

Jesus said to the crowds:
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."

St. Lucy Crown Recipe - Special Sweet Bread - Easy to make #StLucy - SHARE - #Recipe

St. Lucy is the patron saint of light. She wore a wreath of candles on her head to free her arms to carry bread to starving Christians hiding in the catacombs. This is a sweet bread called a Lucia Crown. 

Santa Lucia Crown

1/2 cup warm water
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
4-1/4 to 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs, divided use
Powdered Sugar Glaze, optional (recipe follows)
Red candied cherry halves, optional

1) Place 1/4 cup warm water in large warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add remaining water, warm milk, sugar, butter, salt, saffron, and 1-1/2 cups flour; blend well. Stir in 2 eggs and enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
2) Punch dough down. Remove dough to lightly floured surface. Divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll each into a 36-inch rope. Braid ropes. Place on a greased baking sheet and knot into a crown shaped circle. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake crown for 25 minutes or until done, covering braid with foil during last 10 minutes to prevent excess browning. Remove braid from baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack.
4) Drizzle with Powdered Sugar Glaze and garnish with candied cherry halves. Insert candles.

Powdered Sugar Glaze: In small bowl, combine 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted; 4 to 5 teaspoons milk; and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.