Saturday, January 20, 2018

#PopeFrancis "Mary will always be a mestiza Mother, because in her heart all races find a place..." FULL TEXT + Video

Pope Francis´full speech at Virgin of the Door marian celebration
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I thank Monsignor Héctor Miguel for his words of welcome in the name of the whole pilgrim people of God in these lands.
In this beautiful and historical square of Trujillo, that awakened dreams of freedom for all Peruvians, we are gathered today to meet our “Dear Mother of Otuzco”. I know that many of you have travelled a great distance to be present today, gathered beneath our Mother’s gaze. This square has thus become an open-air shrine where all of us want to let our Mother look upon us with her maternal and tender gaze. She is a mother who knows the heart of her Peruvian children from the north and from so many other places; she has seen your tears, your laughter, your desires. In this square we want to cherish the memory of a people that knows that Mary is a Mother who does not abandon her children.
This “home” is decorated in a particularly festive way. We are surrounded by images from throughout this region. Together with the beloved Immaculate Virgin of the Gate of Otuzco, I greet and welcome the Most Holy Cross of Chalpón from Chiclayo, the Captive Lord from Ayabaca, Our Lady of Mercies from Paita, the Child Jesus of the Miracle from Eten, the Mother of Sorrows from Cajamarca, Our Lady of the Assumption from Cutervo, the Immaculate Conception of Chota, Our Lady of Alta Gracia from Huamachuco, Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo from Tayabamba (Huamachuco), Our Lady of the Assumption from Chachapoyas, Our Lady of the Assumption of Usquil, Our Lady of Succour from Huanchoco, and the relics of the Conventual Martyrs of Chimbote.
Every community, each tiny corner of this land, is accompanied by the face of a saint, and by love for Jesus Christ and for his Mother. If we consider that wherever there is a community, wherever there is life and hearts longing to find reasons to hope, to sing and to dance, to long for a decent life... there is the Lord, there we find his Mother, and there too the example of all those saints who help us to remain joyful in hope.
With you, I give thanks for the attentiveness of our God. He looks for the best way to draw near to each person, so that he or she can receive him. That is the origin of his many and varied invocations and titles. Those titles express the desire of our God to be close to each heart, so that the language of God’s love is always spoken in dialect; there is no other way of doing it, and what is more, it inspires hope to see how the Mother takes on the features of her children, their way of dressing and their dialect, in order to make them share in her blessing. Mary will always be a mestiza Mother, because in her heart all races find a place, for love seeks out every possible way to love and to be loved. All these images remind us of the tender love with which God wants to be close to every village and every family, to you and me, to everyone.
I know of the love that you have for the Immaculate Virgin of the Gate of Otuzco. Today, together with you, I wish to declare her: Our Lady of the Gate, “Mother of Mercy and Hope”. Our Lady, who in centuries past showed her love for the children of this land when, placed above a gateway, she defended and protected them from the threats that afflicted them, awakening the love of all Peruvians even to our own day.
Mary continues to defend us and point out the gate that opens for us the way to authentic life, to the Life that does not pass away. She walks beside every one of her children, in order to lead them home. She accompanies us all the way to the Gate that gives Life, for Jesus does not want anyone to remain outside, in the cold. In this way, she accompanies “the yearning of so many people to turn back to the house of the Father, who awaits their return”[1], yet so often do not know how to do so. As Saint Bernard said: “You who feel far away from terra firma, dragged down by the waves of this world, in the midst of storms and tempests: look to the Star and call upon Mary”.[2] She shows us the way home. She brings us to Jesus, who is the Gate of Mercy.
In 2015, we had the joy of celebrating the Jubilee of Mercy. In the course of that year, I invited all the faithful to pass through the Door of Mercy, “through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope”. I would like to repeat with you now that same hope: “How much I desire that the years to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God!” How much I desire that this land, which clings to the Mother of Mercy and Hope, can abound in God’s goodness and tender love and bring it everywhere. For there is no better medicine, dear brothers and sisters, to cure many wounds than a heart that has known mercy, than a heart that is compassionate before sorrow and misfortune. A heart compassionate before people’s mistakes and their desire to change, without knowing where to start.

Compassion is active, for “we have learned that God bends down to us (cf. Hos 11:4), so that we may imitate him in bending down to our brothers and sisters”, above all to those who suffer the most. And like Mary, in being attentive to those who lack the wine of gladness, as happened at the wedding feast of Cana.
Looking to Mary, I do not want to conclude without asking all of us to think of the mothers and grandmothers of this nation; they are a true driving force for the life and the families of Peru. What would Peru be like, without its mothers and grandmothers! What would our lives be like without them! Our love for Mary must help us to feel appreciation and gratitude for women, for our mothers and grandmothers, who are a bastion in the life in our cities. Almost always in silence, they carry life forward. It is the silence and strength of hope. Thank you for your witness.
Appreciation and gratitude. But in thinking of our mothers and grandmothers, I want to invite you to combat a scourge that affects our American continent: the numerous cases where women are killed. And the many situations of violence that are kept quiet behind so many walls. I ask you to fight against this source of suffering by calling for legislation and a culture that repudiates every form of violence.
Brothers and sisters, Our Lady of the Gate, Mother of Mercy and Hope, shows us the way and points out the best defence against the evil of indifference and insensitivity. She brings us to her Son and encourages us to promote and spread a “culture of mercy based on the rediscovery of encounter with others, a culture in which no one looks at another with indifference or turns away from the suffering of our brothers and sisters”.

#PopeFrancis "...merciful love that impels us in the depths of our being to go out and serve others as Jesus did." FULL TEXT to Religious

Pope addresses priest, seminarians, religious in Trujillo: Full text
Pope Francis addresses priests, religious men and women, and seminarians in Trujillo on the second day of his Apostolic Journey to Peru. This is the full text of his speech: Meeting with Priests, Men and Women Religious, and Seminarians
Saints Carlos and Marcelo Seminary College (Trujillo)
Saturday, 20 January 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Good afternoon!
         I am grateful for the words of greeting that Archbishop José Antonio Eguren Anselmi of Piura addressed to me in the name of all those present.
         Meeting with you, getting to know you, listening to you and sharing our love for the Lord and for the mission he has given us is very important.  I know you have made great efforts to be here.  Thank you!
         This Seminary College that welcomes us was one of the first to be founded in Latin America for the formation of future generations of evangelizers.  Being together in this place makes us realize that we are in one of those “cradles” that have produced countless missionaries.  Nor can I forget that Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo, the patron of the Latin American bishops, died in this land, in the midst of his missionary activity.  All these things invite us to look to our roots, to what enables us through time and history to grow and to bear fruit.  Our vocations will always have that double dimension: roots in the earth and hearts in heaven.  When one of these two is missing, something begins to go wrong and our life gradually withers (cf. Lk 13:6-9).
         I like to point out that our faith, our vocation, is one of remembrance, that “deuteronomic” dimension of life.  One of remembrance, because it recognizes that neither life, nor faith, nor the Church began with the birth of any one of us.  Remembrance looks to the past in order to discover the sap that nourished the hearts of disciples for centuries, and thus comes to recognize God’s presence in the life of his people.  We remember the promise he made to our forebears and that, by his continuing presence in our midst, he is the cause of the joy that makes us sing: “The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad” (Ps 125:3).
         I would like to share with you some of the virtues of this remembrance.
1.      A joyful self-awareness
         The Gospel that we have heard is usually read in a vocational key, and so we concentrate on the disciples’ encounter with Jesus.  I would like to go back even earlier, and take a look at John the Baptist.  He was with two of his disciples, and seeing Jesus pass by, he told them: “Behold the Lamb of God” (Jn 1:36).  On hearing this, they left John and followed Jesus (cf. v. 37).  This is somewhat surprising, since they had been with John, they knew that he was a good man, and that, as Jesus would say, of those born of woman none was greater than he (Mt 11:11), yet he was not the one who was to come.  John was waiting for someone greater than himself.  He clearly understood that he was not the Messiah, but simply the herald of his coming.  John remembered; he was mindful of the promise and of his own place in history.
         John embodies the awareness of a disciple conscious that he is not, and never will be, the Messiah, but only one called to point out the Lord’s presence in the life of his people.  As consecrated men and women, we are not called to supplant the Lord by our own works, our missions, or our countless activities.  All that we are asked to do is to work with the Lord, side by side, never forgetting that we do not replace him.  This does not make us “slacken” in the work of evangelization; rather, it impels us to work all the harder, ever mindful that we are disciples of the one Master.  A disciple knows that he or she is there, now and always, to support the Master.  That is the source of our joy.
         It is good to know that we are not the Messiah!  It frees us from thinking that we are overly important or too busy (in some places it is not uncommon to hear people say: “No, don’t go to that parish because the pastor is always busy!”).  John the Baptist knew that his mission was to point the way, to make beginnings, to open up spaces, to proclaim that “another” was the bearer of God’s Spirit.  To be a people of remembrance frees us from the temptation of thinking that we are messiahs.
         We can fight this temptation in many ways, but also with laughter.  Yes, learning to laugh at ourselves gives us the spiritual ability to stand before Lord with our limitations, our mistakes and our sins, but also our successes, and the joy of knowing that he is at our side.  A good spiritual test is to ask ourselves whether we can laugh at ourselves.  Laughter saves us from the “self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others”.[1]  Brothers and sisters, laugh in community, and not at the community or at others!  Let us be on guard against people so important that they have forgotten to smile in their lives.
2.      The time of the call
         John the Evangelist mentions in his Gospel the time when his life changed: “it was about the tenth hour” (Jn 1:39).  An encounter with Jesus changes our lives, it establishes a “before” and an “after”.  It is always good to remember the hour, that special day when each of us we realized that the Lord expected something more of us.  The memory of that hour in which we were touched by his gaze.
         When we forget that hour, we forget our origins, our roots; and by losing these basic coordinates, we lose sight of the most precious part of our lives as consecrated persons: the Lord’s gaze.  Perhaps you don’t like the place where the Lord found you, perhaps it wasn’t an ideal situation, or “it could have been better”.  But it was there that he found you and healed your wounds.  Each of us knows where and when: perhaps it was a time of complicated situations, of painful situations; yes, but it was there that the God of Life met you and made you a witness to his Life, a part of his mission and, in union with him, a caress of God for many people.  We do well to remember that our vocations are a loving call to love in return, and to serve.  If the Lord fell in love with you and chose you, it was not because you were more numerous than the others, for you are the least of peoples, but out of pure love! (cf. Deut 7:7-8).  His is a visceral love, a merciful love that impels us in the depths of our being to go out and serve others as Jesus did.
         I would like to emphasize one aspect that I consider important.  Many of us, when we entered the seminary or the house of formation, were shaped by the faith of our families and neighbours.  This is how we took our first steps, frequently sustained by displays of popular piety, which in Peru have taken on the most exquisite forms and have deep roots in God’s simple and faithful people.  Your people have demonstrated an immense love of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and your saints and blesseds, in so great a number of devotions that I dare not name them for fear of leaving some of them out.  In their shrines, “many pilgrims make decisions that mark their lives.  The walls [of those shrines] contain many stories that millions could tell of conversion, forgiveness, and gifts received”.[2]  For many of you, the story of your vocation could also be written on those walls.  I urge you not to forget, much less look down on, the solid and simple faith of your people.  Welcome, accompany and stimulate their encounter with the Lord.  Do not become “professionals of the sacred” by forgetting your people, from whose midst the Lord took you.  Do not lose your remembrance and respect for those who taught you how to pray.
Remembering the moment of our call, rejoicing in the memory of Christ’s entrance into our lives, will help us to say that beautiful prayer of Saint Francisco Solano, the great preacher and friend of the poor: “My good Jesus, my redeemer and my friend!  What do I have, that you have not given me?  What do I know, that you have not taught me?”
In this way, a religious, a priest, a consecrated woman or man is a person of remembrance, joy and gratitude: three things we need to appropriate and keep as “weapons” against all vocational pretense.  Grateful awareness enlarges the heart and inspires us to service.  Without gratitude, we can be efficient dispensers of sacred things, but we will lack the anointing of the Spirit to become servants of our brothers and sisters, especially those most in need.  The faithful People of God have a sense of smell that enables them to distinguish a functionary of the sacred from a grateful servant.  They are able to distinguish someone who is mindful from someone who is not.  The People of God are patient, but they also know who serves and heals their wounds with the balm of joy and gratitude.
3.      Contagious joy
Andrew was one of the disciples of John the Baptist who followed Jesus that day.  After spending time with Jesus and seeing where he lived, he returned to the house of his brother Simon Peter and told him: “We have found the Messiah” (Jn 1:41).  That was the greatest news he could give him, and it brought him to Jesus.  Faith in Jesus is contagious; it cannot be restrained or kept within.  Here we see how witness becomes fruitful: the newly called disciples go on to attract others by their testimony of faith, just as Jesus, in the Gospel passage, calls us through others.  The mission springs spontaneously from the encounter with Christ.  Andrew begins his apostolate with those closest to him, with his brother Simon, almost naturally, by radiating joy.  Joy is the surest sign that we have “discovered” the Messiah.  Joy is a constant in the hearts of the apostles, and we see it in the enthusiasm with which Andrew tells his brother: “We have found him!”  For “the joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and the lives of all who encounter Jesus.  Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness.  With Christ, joy is constantly born anew”.[3]
This joy opens us up to others; it is a joy to be shared.  In the fragmented world in which we live, a world that can make us withdrawn, we are challenged to become builders and prophets of community.  For no one is saved alone.  I would like to be clear about this.  Fragmentation or isolation are not things that just happen “out there”, only a problem with the “world”.  Brothers and sisters, divisions, wars and isolation are found within our communities, and what harm they bring us!  Jesus sends us out to build communion and unity, yet often it seems we go about this by displaying our disunity and, worse yet, trying to trip each other up.  We are called to be builders of communion and unity, but this does not mean thinking everyone is the same, or doing things always the same way.  It means discerning what everyone has to offer, respecting their differences, and acknowledging the gift of charisms within the Church, knowing that while each of us contributes what he or she has, we also need one another.  Only the Lord has the fullness of the gifts; only he is the Messiah.  He wanted to distribute his gifts in such a way that we can give what is ours while being enriched by that of others.  We must be on guard against the temptation of the “only child”, who wants everything for himself because there is no one to share it with.  I ask those of you who are in positions of authority: please not to become self-referential.  Try to care for your brothers and sisters; try to keep them happy, because happiness is contagious.  Do not fall into the trap of an authority that turns into authoritarianism by forgetting that its mission is primarily one of service.
Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you once more.  May this “deuteronomic” remembrance make us more joyful and grateful to be servants of unity in the midst of our people.
May the Lord bless you and may Our Lady protect you. Please do not forget to pray for me.
[1] Cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 94.
[2] Cf. Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops, Aparecida Document, 29 June 2007, 260.
[3] Evangelii Gaudium, 1.
Text Source: Vatican News

#PopeFrancis "..Jesus wants to be close to us in every painful situation, to give us a hand and to help lift us up." FULL TEXT Homily + Mass Video

Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass in Trujillo: Full text
On the second full day of his apostolic visit to Peru, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the northern coastal town of Trujillo. This is the full text of his homily: Homily of the Holy Father Mass in Huanchaco Saturday, 20 January 2018
These lands have the flavour of the Gospel.  Everything around us, against the backdrop of this immense sea, helps us better to understand the experience that the apostles had with Jesus and that today we too are invited to relive.  I am happy to know that you have come from different parts of northern Peru to celebrate this joy of the Gospel. 
Those disciples, like so many of you today, made their living from fishing.  They went out in boats, just like some of you who continue to go out in your caballitos de totora (traditional reed boats), for the same reason that you do: to earn your daily bread.  Much of our daily fatigue has to do with just this: trying to support our families and to provide them with what will help them to build a better future.
This “lake of golden fish”, as you call it, has been a source of life and blessing for many generations.  It has nurtured dreams and hopes over the years.
Like the apostles, you know the power of nature, you have experienced its force.  Just as the  apostles faced the storm on the sea, you had to face the brunt of the “Niño costero” whose painful consequences are still present in so many families, especially those who are not yet able to rebuild their homes.  This is also why I wanted to be here and to pray with you.
We also bring to this Eucharistic celebration that difficult moment that questions our faith and often causes it to waver.  We want to unite ourselves to Jesus.  He knows our pain and our trials; he endured the greatest of sufferings in order to accompany us in our own trials.  The crucified Jesus wants to be close to us in every painful situation, to give us a hand and to help lift us up.  Because he entered into our history, he wanted to share in our journey and touch our wounds.  Ours is a God who is not unfamiliar with what we feel and suffer; on the contrary, in the midst of our pain, he stretches out his hand to us.
These times of being “buffeted” call into question and challenge our strength of spirit and our deepest convictions.  They make us realize how important it is to stand united, not alone, and to be filled with that unity which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
What happened to the virgins in the Gospel passage that we just listened to?  Suddenly they heard a loud cry that woke them up and made them scurry.  Some of them realized that they did not have sufficient oil to make their way in the darkness, while others filled their lamps and could see and follow the path that led to the bridegroom.  At the appointed time, each of them showed what they had filled their life with.
The same thing happens to us.  There are times when we realize what we have filled our lives with.  How important it is to fill our lives with the oil that lets us light our lamps in situations of darkness and to find the paths to move forward!
I know that, in the time of darkness, when you felt the brunt of the Niño, these lands kept moving forward; you had the oil needed to go out to help one another like true brothers and sisters.  You had the oil of solidarity and generosity that stirred you to action, and you went out to meet the Lord with countless concrete gestures of support.  In the midst of darkness, you, together with so many others, were like living candles that lighted up the path with open hands, ready to help soothe the pain and share what you had, from your poverty, with others.
In the Gospel account, we see how the virgins who did not have oil went to the town to buy some.  At the crucial moment of their lives, they realized that their lamps were empty and that they lacked what was essential to find the path of authentic joy.  They went off by themselves, and so they missed out on the party.  There are things, as you well know, that cannot be improvised, much less be bought.  The soul of a community is measured by how it manages to come together to face times of difficulty and adversity, in order to keep hope alive.  By doing so, they give the greatest witness to the Gospel: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).  For faith opens us to a love that is concrete, practical, generous and compassionate, a love that can build and rebuild hope when it seems that all is lost.  In this way, we share in God’s own work, which the apostle John describes in showing us a God who wipes the tears of his children.  God carries out this divine work with the same tender love that a mother has when she dries the tears of her children.  What a beautiful question the Lord will ask us: how many tears did you dry today?
Other “storms” can hit these coasts, with devastating effects on the lives of the children of these lands.  These storms too make us question ourselves as a community and test the strength of our spirit.  Among these are organized violence, like “contract killings”, and the insecurity that they breed.  Or the lack of educational and employment opportunities, especially among young people, which prevents them from building a future with dignity.  Or the lack of secure housing for so many families forced to live in highly unstable areas without safe access.  Or the many other situations that you have to experience, which, like terrible earthquakes, destroy the mutual trust so necessary to build a network of support and hope; earthquakes that shake the soul and require all the oil we have, if we are respond to them.
We often wonder about how to face these storms, or how to help our children pull through in these situations.  I want to tell you that no better way exists than that of the Gospel: it is called Jesus Christ.  Fill your lives always with the Gospel.  I want to encourage you to be a community that lets itself be anointed by the Lord with the oil of the Spirit.  He transforms, renews and strengthens everything.  In Jesus, we have the strength of the Spirit not to treat as natural the things that hurt us, that dry up our spirit and, what is worse, rob us of hope.  In Jesus, we have the Spirit who keeps us united so that we can support one another and take a stand against whatever would take away all that is best in our families.  In Jesus, God makes us a believing community able to sustain itself; a community that hopes and therefore struggles to reverse and transform every adversity; a community that loves, because it will not let us fold our arms.  With Jesus, the soul of this town of Trujillo can continue to be called “the city of eternal spring”, because with him, everything is an opportunity for hope.
I know of the love that this land has for the Virgin, and I know how devotion to Mary always sustains you and lifts you up to Jesus.  Let us ask Our Lady to cover us with her mantle and always bring us to her Son.  But let us do so by singing along to that lovely Andean marinera [folk dance]: “Our Lady of the Gate, grant me your blessing.  Our Lady of the Gate, give us peace and much love”.
Text Source: Vatican News

Five Minute Reflection: "I believe that I may understand" - on the Healing Power of Jesus

Five Minute Reflection: "I believe that I may understand"
Gospel Mk 3:1-6 Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
"Come up here before us."
Then he said to the Pharisees,
"Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?"
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, "Stretch out your hand."
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

Jesus goes to the synagogue to give the example of right worship in observation of the 3rd Commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day. Jesus shows the deeper sense of the commandment to keep the day holy -- to do what is good and what is just, to serve. And, in that moment he calls a man to healing.

Imagine you are the man with the withered hand. Perhaps you are unable to work, to support your family, to handle the basic needs of everyday life because of your disability. But, there you are in the synagogue -- perhaps you are begging alms, praying, looking for mercy among those who should readily be able to afford it to you. The regulars, the people who have seen you week after week, day after day, in your infirmity use you as a pawn to trap Jesus.

Then, Jesus asks you to do something that goes against the grain. You have been faithful, have come to the synagogue although you are considered "unclean" because of your withered hand. And now, He asks you to come forward to be healed on the Sabbath. He asks you to believe in something greater than what you understand. Are you afraid to follow Jesus? Do you wonder what the Pharisees will do to you if you disobey the Jewish law? Or, does being in the presence of God bring you to belief beyond your understanding and transform you in mind and body?

You believe.

You approach.

You submit.

You are healed.

Here is the lesson for all of us today -- although most of us may not have a withered hand, we might have a complicated life, a broken spirit, an illness or mind or body. For most of us, the difficulty begins with the willingness to believe because of the fear of the unknown. We like to have things neat and tidy, understandable and without mystery. For others, they believe but with limitations; approaching God causes them to stumble because it means they must acknowledge a higher authority than their own. And still for others, they can come before God, but true submission to that power is where the obstacle is most profound. They can believe and approach, but there is still reservation in their heart. It is so hard to let go of pride, arrogance, conceit. The fear of not being one's own master is recognized clearly in the inability to submit.

Ultimately, these three difficult steps of professing belief, being in the presence of God and giving Him all that we have -- joys, sorrows, prayers and deeds, all that we do and all that we will do -- brings believera to healing. It's that example that we see in the Gospel story of the healing of the man with the withered hand. It's that example we should and must follow.

St. Anselm of Canterbury proclaimed: "I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but rather, I believe in order that I may understand." 

First believe. Then, like the man with the withered hand, approach, submit and be healed, even if you don't understand.
By: Kathy Vestermark, US Correspondent of Catholic News World, Professor at CDU and Homeschooling Mother of 6

Top 10 Pro-Life Quotes by Pope Francis to SHARE - #ProLife

1. “The right to life is the first human right. Abortion is killing someone that cannot defend him or herself.” – Cardinal Bergoglio with Rabbi Abraham Skorka in book
 2. “All life has inestimable value even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.” – Message to Catholics taking part in annual Day for Life in Britain and Ireland July 28, 2013
3. “Let’s say ‘Yes’ to life and ‘No’ to death.” – Message to Catholics taking part in March for Life in France Jan. 19, 2014.
 4. “Every child who, rather than being born, is condemned unjustly to being aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who even before he was born, and then just after birth, experienced the world’s rejection. And every elderly person…even if he is ill or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the ‘culture of waste’ suggests!” – Speech to Catholic healthcare professionals and gynecologists Sept. 20, 2013
5.... it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity.” – Speech to diplomats Jan. 13, 2014
 6. “The victims of this [throwaway] culture are precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings — the unborn, the poorest, the sick and elderly, the seriously handicapped, etc. — who are in danger of being ‘thrown away,’ expelled from a system that must be efficient at all costs. …It is necessary to raise awareness and form the lay faithful, in whatever state, especially those engaged in the field of politics, so that they may think in accord with the Gospel and the social doctrine of the church and act consistently by dialoguing and collaborating with those who, in sincerity and intellectual honesty, share — if not the faith — at least a similar vision of mankind and society and its ethical consequences. – Speech to a delegation from the Dignitatis Humanae Institute Dec. 7, 2013
7. “Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? ” – Laudato Si
8. "Every life counts: from the beginning to the end, from conception to natural death" Tweet Jan.19,2018
9. The fight against abortion is “part of the battle in favor of life from the moment of conception until a dignified, natural end. This includes the care of the mother during pregnancy, the existence of laws to protect the mother postpartum, and the need to ensure that children receive enough food, as well as providing healthcare throughout the whole length of life…” …On science being aware it is human life: “A pregnant woman isn’t carrying a toothbrush in her belly, or a tumor…We are in the presence of a human being.” – Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in book of interviews “Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words”
10. "Defend the Unborn Against Abortion even if they persecute you calumniate you set traps for you take you to court or kill you."

#BreakingNews 52 Killed in Bus Fire in Uzbekistan - Please Pray

Mirziyoyev: 52 dead in bus fire, victims of unemployment

ASIA NEWS IT REPORT: The victims were all Uzbeks. Yesterday, the repatriation of bodies. 30 of them have already been identified. "We still have a lot to do for our people" forced to look for work abroad.

Tashkent (AsiaNews / Agencies) - "The tragedy in Aktobe indicates many things, including the fact that we still have a lot to do for our people. People must look for a job in other countries, because we have not created any possibility for them ". This is how Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev comments on the death of 52 Uzbek citizens in a bus explosion on January 18.
The Uzbek head of state prayed yesterday for the victims at the Khakimi at-Termez mausoleum (see photo 2). Prayers of condolences were held in all the mosques of the predominantly Muslim country.
The "Ikarus" bus caught fire on the 1,068 kilometer of the Samara-Shymkent road in the Irgiz district. On board there were two drivers and 55 passengers, almost all - with the exception of two Kazakh citizens - of Uzbek citizenship. Of the people on board, only five managed to save themselves. At the moment, investigations are still under way, but a malicious origin of the fire has been excluded.
Yesterday morning, the plane of the Uzbek Ministry for Emergency situations left the region of Aktobe carrying the 52 bodies, 30 have already been identified. Shukhrat Teshaboyev, Uzbek consul in Kazakhstan, adds that the bodies still lacking in identity will be subjected to DNA tests in Uzbekistan.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Sat. January 20, 2018 - #Eucharist

Saturday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 316

Reading 12 SM 1:1-4, 11-12, 19, 23-27

David returned from his defeat of the Amalekites 
and spent two days in Ziklag.
On the third day a man came from Saul's camp, 
with his clothes torn and dirt on his head.
Going to David, he fell to the ground in homage.
David asked him, "Where do you come from?"
He replied, "I have escaped from the camp of the children of Israel."
"Tell me what happened," David bade him.
He answered that many of the soldiers had fled the battle 
and that many of them had fallen and were dead, 
among them Saul and his son Jonathan.

David seized his garments and rent them, 
and all the men who were with him did likewise.
They mourned and wept and fasted until evening 
for Saul and his son Jonathan, 
and for the soldiers of the LORD of the clans of Israel, 
because they had fallen by the sword.

"Alas! the glory of Israel, Saul, 
slain upon your heights;
how can the warriors have fallen!

"Saul and Jonathan, beloved and cherished,
separated neither in life nor in death,
swifter than eagles, stronger than lions!
Women of Israel, weep over Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and in finery,
who decked your attire with ornaments of gold.

"How can the warriors have fallen– 
in the thick of the battle,
slain upon your heights!

"I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother!
most dear have you been to me;
more precious have I held love for you than love for women.

"How can the warriors have fallen,
the weapons of war have perished!"

Responsorial PsalmPS 80:2-3, 5-7

R. (4b) Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
O guide of the flock of Joseph!
From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth
before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Rouse your power, 
and come to save us.
R. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.
O LORD of hosts, how long will you burn with anger
while your people pray?
You have fed them with the bread of tears
and given them tears to drink in ample measure.
You have left us to be fought over by our neighbors, 
and our enemies mock us.
R. Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.

AlleluiaSEE ACTS 16:14B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Open our hearts, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia

GospelMK 3:20-21

Jesus came with his disciples into the house.
Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat.
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, 
for they said, “He is out of his mind.” 

Saint January 20 : St. Sebastian : #Martyr : #Patron of #Soldiers and #Athletes

Feast Day:
January 20
Patron of:
Soldiers, plagues, arrows,  athletes
Roman martyr; little more than the fact of his martyrdom can be proved about St. Sebastian. In the "Depositio martyrum" of the chronologer of 354 it is mentioned that Sebastian was buried on the Via Appia. St. Ambrose ("In Psalmum cxviii"; "Sermo", XX, no. xliv in PL, XV, 1497) states that Sebastian came from Milan and even in the time of St. Ambrose was venerated there. The Acts, probably written at the beginning of the fifth century and formerly ascribed erroneously to Ambrose, relate that he was an officer in the imperial bodyguard and had secretly done many acts of love and charity for his brethren in the Faith. When he was finally discovered to be a Christian, in 286, he was handed over to the Mauretanian archers, who pierced him with arrows; he was healed, however, by the widowed St. Irene. He was finally killed by the blows of a club. These stories are unhistorical and not worthy of belief. The earliest mosaic picture of St. Sebastian, which probably belongs to the year 682, shows a grown, bearded man in court dress but contains no trace of an arrow. It was the art of the Renaissance that first portrayed him as a youth pierced by arrows. In 367 a basilica which was one of the seven chief churches of Rome was built over his grave. The present church was completed in 1611 by Scipio Cardinal Borghese. His relics in part were taken in the year 826 to St. Medard at Soissons. Sebastian is considered a protector against the plague. Celebrated answers to prayer for his protection against the plague are related of Rome in 680, Milan in 1575, and Lisbon in 1599. His feast day is 20 January.

Saint January 20 : St. Fabian : #Pope and #Martyr

Feast Day:January 20
Died:January 20, 250 Rome, Italy

He succeeded St. Anterus in the pontificate in the year 236. Eusebius relates that in an assembly of the people and clergy, held for the election of a pastor in his room, a dove, unexpectedly appearing, settled, to the great surprise of all present, on the head of St. Fabian, and that this miraculous sign united the votes of the clergy and people in promoting him, though not thought of before, as being a layman and a stranger. He governed the church sixteen years, sent St. Dionysius and other preachers into Gaul, and condemned Privatus, a broacher of a new heresy in Africa, as appears from St. Cyprian. St. Fabian died a glorious martyr in the persecution of Decius, in 250, as St. Cyprian and St. Jerome witness. The former, writing to his successor, St. Cornelius, calls him an incomparable man, and says that the glory of his death had answered the purity and holiness of his life.
The saints made God, and the accomplishment of his holy will, the great object of all their petitions in their prayers, and their only aim in all their actions. "God," says St. Austin,[3] "in his promises to hear our prayers, is desirous to bestow himself upon us; if you find any thing better than him, ask it, but if you ask any thing beneath him, you put an affront upon him, and hurt   yourself by preferring to him a creature which he framed: pray in the spirit and sentiment of love, in which the royal prophet said to him, 'Thou, O Lord, art my portion.'[4] Let others choose to themselves portions among creatures; for my part, Thou are my portion, Thee alone I have chosen for my whole inheritance."

(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)