Sunday, July 8, 2018

Saint July 9 : St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions of #China

(17th-20th centuries)

Christianity arrived in China by way of Syria in the 600s. Depending on China's relations with the outside world, Christianity over the centuries was free to grow or was forced to operate secretly.

The 120 martyrs in this group died between 1648 and 1930. Most of them (87) were born in China and were children, parents, catechists or laborers, ranging from nine years of age to 72. This group includes four Chinese diocesan priests.
The 33 foreign-born martyrs were mostly priests or women religious, especially from the Order of Preachers, the Paris Foreign Mission Society, the Friars Minor, Jesuits, Salesians and Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.
Augustine Zhao Rong was a Chinese solider who accompanied Bishop John Gabriel Taurin Dufresse (Paris Foreign Mission Society) to his martyrdom in Beijing. Augustine was baptized and not long after was ordained as a diocesan priest. He was martyred in 1815.
Beatified in groups at various times, these 120 martyrs were canonized in Rome on October 1, 2000.


The People's Republic of China and the Roman Catholic Church each have well over a billion members, but there are over 12 million Catholics in China. The reasons for that are better explained by historical conflicts than by a wholesale rejection of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Chinese-born martyrs honored by today's feast were regarded by their persecutors as dangerous because they were considered allies of enemy, Catholic countries. The martyrs born outside China often tried to distance themselves from European political struggles relating to China, but their persecutors saw them as Westerners and therefore, by definition, anti-Chinese.The Good News of Jesus Christ is intended to benefit all peoples; today's martyrs knew that. May 21st-century Christians live in such a way that Chinese women and men will be attracted to hear that Good News and embrace it.

A year after these martyrs were canonized, Saint John Paul II addressed a group of Chinese and Western scholars, gathered in Rome for a symposium honoring the 400th anniversary of the arrival in Beijing of Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit scholar and Chinese intellectual.

After noting the positive contributions that Christianity had made to China, especially in health care and education, Pope John Paul II continued: "History, however, reminds us of the unfortunate fact that the work of members of the church in China was not always without error, the bitter fruit of their personal limitations and of the limits of their action. Moreover, their action was often conditioned by difficult situations connected with complex historical events and conflicting political interests. Nor were theological disputes lacking, which caused bad feelings and created serious difficulties in preaching the Gospel….

"I feel deep sadness for these errors and limits of the past, and I regret that in many people these failings may have given the impression of a lack of respect and esteem for the Chinese people on the part of the Catholic Church, making them feel that the church was motivated by feelings of hostility toward China. For all of this I ask the forgiveness and understanding of those who may have felt hurt in some way by such actions on the part of Christians."

Text shared from American Catholic - Image Google Images

Free Christian Movie : The Story of Ruth - Stars Peggy Wood

The Story of Ruth (1960) 132 min | Drama | 17 June 1960 (USA) Inspired by the scriptural tale. Moabitess priestess Ruth is drawn both to a Judean man and to his talk of a forgiving God. After tragedy strikes, she begins a new life in Bethlehem.
 Director: Henry Koster Writer: Norman Corwin Stars: Stuart Whitman, Tom Tryon, Peggy Wood

Pope Francis "Let's think together with Mother Teresa....This little nun with prayer and her work has done wonders!" FULL TEXT at Angelus + Video


St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 8 July 2018

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today's Gospel page (cf. Mk 6: 1-6) presents Jesus who returns to Nazareth and on Saturday begins to teach in the synagogue. Since he had left and had begun to preach for the nearby villages and villages, he had never set foot in his homeland. Is back. Therefore, there will have been the whole country to listen to this son of the people, whose fame as a wise master and powerful healer was now spreading through Galilee and beyond. But what could be considered a success, turned into a resounding rejection, to the point that Jesus could not operate there any prodigy, but only a few healings (see verse 5). The dynamics of that day is reconstructed in detail by the evangelist Mark: the people of Nazareth first listen, and remain amazed; then he wonders perplexed: "where do these things come from", this wisdom ?; and in the end he is scandalized, recognizing in him the carpenter, the son of Mary, whom they saw growing (verses 2-3). Therefore Jesus concludes with the expression that has become proverbial: "A prophet is not despised except in his homeland" (v. 4).

We ask ourselves: how come Jesus's fellow citizens go from wonder to unbelief? They make a comparison between the humble origin of Jesus and his current capacities: he is a carpenter, he has not studied, yet he preaches better than the scribes and works miracles. And instead of opening up to reality, they are scandalized. According to the inhabitants of Nazareth, God is too great to stoop to speak through such a simple man! It is the scandal of incarnation: the disconcerting event of a God made flesh, who thinks with a human mind, works and acts with human hands, loves with a human heart, a God who struggles, eats and sleeps like one of us. The Son of God overturns every human scheme: it is not the disciples who have washed the feet of the Lord, but the Lord who has washed the feet of the disciples (cf. Jn 13: 1-20). This is a cause of scandal and disbelief not only in that era, in every age, even today.

The reversal made by Jesus commits his disciples of yesterday and today to a personal and community verification. In our day, in fact, it may happen to feed prejudices that prevent us from grasping reality. But the Lord invites us to adopt an attitude of humble listening and docile waiting, because the grace of God often presents itself to us in surprising ways, which do not correspond to our expectations. Let's think together with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, for example. A tiny little girl - nobody gave ten lire for her - that went to the streets to take the dying to have a worthy death. This little nun with prayer and her work has done wonders! The smallness of a woman has revolutionized the work of charity in the Church. It is an example of our days. God does not conform to prejudices. We must strive to open the heart and mind, to welcome the divine reality that comes to meet us. It is about having faith: the lack of faith is an obstacle to God's grace. Many baptized live as if Christ did not exist: the gestures and signs of faith are repeated, but they do not correspond to a real adhesion to the person of Jesus and to his Gospel. Every Christian - all of us, each of us - is called to deepen this fundamental belonging, trying to witness it with a coherent conduct of life, whose guiding thread will always be charity.

We ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, to dissolve the hardness of hearts and the narrowness of minds, because we are open to his grace, to his truth and to his mission of goodness and mercy, which is addressed to all, without any exclusion .

After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters!

Yesterday, in Bari, with the Patriarchs of the Churches of the Middle East and their representatives we lived a special day of prayer and reflection for peace in that region. I give thanks to God for this meeting, which was an eloquent sign of Christian unity, and saw the enthusiastic participation of the people of God. I thank the Brother Heads of Churches and those who have represented them; I was truly edified by their attitude and their testimonies. I thank the Archbishop of Bari, humble brother and servant, the collaborators and all the faithful who have accompanied and supported us with prayer and joyful presence.

Today is the "Sunday of the Sea", dedicated to seafarers and fishermen. I pray for them and for their families, as well as for the chaplains and volunteers of the Apostolate of the Sea. A special memory for those who live in situations of unworthy work at sea; as well as for those who are committed to freeing the seas from pollution.

I extend a cordial greeting to all of you, Romans and pilgrims! I greet the faithful who came from Poland with a special thoughts for the participants in the annual great pilgrimage of the Radio Maria family to the Shrine of Częstochowa. I greet the ministrants of the Philippines with their families; the young people of Padua, the group of students and teachers from Brescia and the scouts from Pont-Saint-Martin, Val d'Aosta. And I see Brazilian flags ... I greet the Brazilians and courage! Another time there will be! I wish everyone a good Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye.

Sunday Mass Online : Sun. July 8, 2018 - Readings + Video - 14th Ordinary Time - B - #Eucharist

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 101

Reading 1EZ 2:2-5

As the LORD spoke to me, the spirit entered into me
and set me on my feet,
and I heard the one who was speaking say to me:
Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites,
rebels who have rebelled against me;
they and their ancestors have revolted against me to this very day.
Hard of face and obstinate of heart
are they to whom I am sending you.
But you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD GOD!
And whether they heed or resist—for they are a rebellious house—
they shall know that a prophet has been among them.

Responsorial PsalmPS 123:1-2, 2, 3-4

R. (2cd) Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
To you I lift up my eyes
who are enthroned in heaven —
As the eyes of servants
are on the hands of their masters.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
As the eyes of a maid
are on the hands of her mistress,
So are our eyes on the LORD, our God,
till he have pity on us.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
Have pity on us, O LORD, have pity on us,
for we are more than sated with contempt;
our souls are more than sated
with the mockery of the arrogant,
with the contempt of the proud.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.

Reading 22 COR 12:7-10

Brothers and sisters:
That I, Paul, might not become too elated,
because of the abundance of the revelations,
a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan,
to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ;
for when I am weak, then I am strong.

AlleluiaCF. LK 4:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 6:1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Saint July 8 : St. Priscilla and St. Aquila - Friends of #StPaul

Today, July 8, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Priscilla and St. Aquila(first century),disciples and friends of Saint Paul. Priscilla and Aquila were a Jewish couple who had been exiled to Corinth, and hosted Saint Paul on his visit to that city. Likely converted by Saint Paul, they are later mentioned in the New Testament several times as “co-workers in Christ” and went on to preach and evangelize throughout the region. Holy legend tells us that Saint Priscilla was martyred by an angry mob at the end of her holy life.

3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. (Romans 16: 3-4)

19 The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. 20 All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. (1 Corinthians 16:19-20)

Saints Priscilla and Aquila were tentmakers, sharing the same profession as Saint Paul, which is likely why he stayed with them. Priscilla and Aquila had likely been exiled from Rome by the order of Emperor Claudius who forbade Jews to live within the city walls. Following his time in Corinth, we learn in Acts of the Apostles that the holy couple—who Paul likely converted—accompanied him to Ephesus and worked alongside him for three years. It was in their home that Mass was likely celebrated.
1 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 

18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. 19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. (Acts 18: 1-3; 18-19)

Upon Saint Paul’s departure, Aquila and Priscilla stayed behind, where they continued the work of the Lord.

24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately. (Acts 18: 24-26)

Saints Priscilla and Aquila, as evident in the writings of Saint Paul, later met up with Paul in Rome, where they were likely martyred around the same time as Saint Paul. Catacombs in Rome are named for Saint Priscilla, where many holy men and women are buried.
It is interesting to note that Aquila and Priscilla are mentioned six times throughout the New Testament, and in half of those references, Aquila is listed first, whereas in the other half, Priscilla is mentioned first. This is likely indicative of Paul’s love of both, and his consideration of their being on equal terms in ministry and the eyes of the Lord. It is clear from the descriptions of this holy couple that Saint Priscilla was an effective teacher and evangelist without usurping or undermining her husband's ecclesial authority.
God of grace and might, we praise thee for thy servants Priscilla and Aquila, whom thou didst plenteously endow with gifts of zeal and eloquence to make known the truth of the Gospel. Raise up, we pray thee, in every country, heralds and evangelists of thy kingdom, that the world may know the immeasurable riches of our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Shared from 365 Rosaries

New Document on the Order of Virgins - 50 years after its Restoration - FAQ on the Order of Virgins

Church reproposes Order of Virgins 50 years after its restoration
The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life releases the Instruction Ecclesiae Sponsae imago in view of the 50th anniversary of the revival of the ancient Order of Virgins. (
  By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
In 2020 it will be 50 years since Pope Paul VI revived the ancient Order of Virgins. Consecrated virgins now number approximately 5,000 and live in every part of the world. The Prefect for the Dicastery for Consecrated Life, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, says that the new Instruction Ecclesiae Sponsae imago is the first Document to address the make-up and discipline of this form of consecration. It is also a response to the interest shown in this revived vocation. It focuses specifically on its place in the Church’s life, and the necessary discernment and formation required, he says.


Presenting the document, Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, Secretary of the Dicastery, summarized the history of the Order of Virgins. The Order developed from the Gospel witness of women who gave up everything in order to follow the Lord. It so rooted itself in the fabric of the Church that it was eventually given the name Order, analogous with those of bishops, priests, deacons and widows. Eventually it was absorbed into monasticism in the middle ages.
Pope Paul VI restored the Order of Virgins in 1970, giving back to the Church a form of life which offers her a reflection of her own nature as Spouse of Christ. Archbishop Carballo said that Bishops, consecrated virgins and experts collaborated on Ecclesiae Sponsae imago. Each “offered their own contribution in order to highlight the peculiarity and richness of this form of consecrated life”, he said.

What is the Order of Virgins?

The first part of the document explores the vocation and witness of the Order of Virgins. It explains that the vocation is primarily Marian; one that embraces a chaste, poor, and obedient life as well as prayer, penance, and the works of mercy. A distinguishing factor is that “the charism to virginity is harmonized with the charism proper to each consecrated woman…with creative freedom”, Archbishop Carballo said.

How is the Order of Virgins organized?

Ecclesiae Sponsae imago explains in the second part that consecrated virgins, living singly or in their families or other groups, are organized at the diocesan level under the Bishop. Archbishop Carballo said that, as a “daughter of a particular Church, each consecrated woman shares its history…, contributes to its edification and participates in its mission with her own gifts”. Thus, the call to live a solitary life leads the consecrated woman to a life of profound communion.

How does a woman become a consecrated virgin?

Archbishop Carballo said the third part explains the discernment and formation aspects of the Order of Virgins. Here the participation of the Bishop is underlined in all of the stages, before and after a woman is consecrated.

50th anniversary of the Order of Virgins

With the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the Order of Virgins in 2020, Archbishop Carballo said that he hopes that reproposing this ancient form of consecration might demonstrate its value as “a truly attractive and demanding way of holiness”. In addition, Cardinal de Aviz hopes that the anniversary will bring consecrated virgins from all over the world to Rome for an international meeting “to celebrate the anniversary of the Rite with Peter”.
Text Source: Vatican News

Pope Francis "... taking care that no one will lack bread and work, dignity and hope, the screams of war will change into songs of peace." Full Text + Video at Farewell



Churchyard of the Basilica of San Nicola
Saturday, 7 July 2018

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am very grateful for the sharing we have had the grace of living. We have helped to rediscover our presence of Christians in the Middle East, as brothers. It will be all the more prophetic the more it will witness Jesus the prince of peace (cf. Is 9,5). He does not hold the sword, but asks his followers to put it back in its sheath (cf. Jn 18,11). Even our being Church is tempted by the logic of the world, logic of power and profit, hasty logic and convenience. And there is our sin, the inconsistency between faith and life, which obscures testimony. We feel that we have to convert once again to the Gospel, a guarantee of authentic freedom, and to do so urgently now, in the night of the Middle East in agony. As in the agonizing night of Gethsemane, it will not be the flight (cf. Mt 26,56) or the sword (cf. Mt 26,52) to anticipate the radiant dawn of Easter, but the gift of self in imitation of the Lord.

The good news of Jesus, crucified and risen for love, come from the lands of the Middle East, has conquered the heart of man down the centuries because it is linked not to the powers of the world, but to the helpless force of the cross. The Gospel commits us to a daily conversion to God's plans, to find in Him only security and comfort, to announce it to everyone and in spite of everything. The faith of the simple, so deeply rooted in the Middle East, is the source from which to draw and drink and purify us, as happens when we return to our origins, going pilgrims to Jerusalem, the Holy Land or the shrines of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and the other holy places of those regions.

Encouraged by each other, we interacted fraternally. It was a sign that encounter and unity are always sought, without fear of diversity. Peace is likewise: it must also be cultivated in dry lands of contrasts, because today, in spite of everything, there is no possible alternative to peace. Not the truces guaranteed by walls and strengths will bring peace, but the real will to listen and dialogue. We commit ourselves to walking, praying and working, and we implore that the art of encounter prevails over the strategies of confrontation, which at the ostentation of threatening signs of power take over the power of hopeful signs: men of good will and of different beliefs who they are not afraid to talk to each other, to accept the motives of others and to take care of each other. Only in this way, taking care that no one will lack bread and work, dignity and hope, the screams of war will change into songs of peace.

To do this it is essential that those in power finally and definitely set themselves to the true service of peace and not their own interests. Enough to the benefits of a few on the skin of many! Enough to the occupations of lands that tear the peoples! Enough to prevail the truth of part on people's hopes! Just use the Middle East for profits unrelated to the Middle East!

War is the scourge that tragically assails this beloved region. The poor people are the victims above all. Think of the battered Syria, especially the province of Deraa. There, bitter fighting resumed, causing a huge number of displaced people, exposed to terrible suffering. War is the daughter of power and poverty. It is defeated by renouncing the logic of supremacy and eradicating poverty. Many conflicts have also been fomented by forms of fundamentalism and fanaticism which, disguised as religious pretexts, have actually blasphemed the name of God, which is peace, and haunted the brother who has always lived beside. But violence is always fueled by weapons. You can not raise your voice to talk about peace while in secret you are pursuing unbridled races at the rear. It is a very serious responsibility, which weighs on the conscience of nations, especially the most powerful ones. Do not forget the last century, do not forget the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, do not transform the lands of the East, where the Word of Peace arose, in dark expanses of silence. No obstinate opposition is enough, enough to earn money, which does not look in the face of anyone but to grab deposits of gas and fuel, without restraint for the common home and unscrupulously on the fact that the energy market called the law of coexistence between peoples!

To open paths of peace, look instead at those who plead to live fraternally with others. All presences are protected, not just the majority ones. Also in the Middle East the road to the right to common citizenship is opened, a road to a renewed future. Even Christians are and are full citizens, with equal rights.

Strongly anguished, but never without hope, we turn our gaze to Jerusalem, city for all peoples, unique and sacred city for Christians, Jews and Muslims of the whole world, whose identity and vocation must be preserved beyond the various disputes and tensions, and whose status quo demands to be respected as deliberated by the international community and repeatedly requested by the Christian communities of the Holy Land. Only a solution negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians, firmly desired and favored by the Community of Nations, will lead to a stable and lasting peace, and guarantee the coexistence of two States for two peoples. Hope has the face of children. In the Middle East, for years, a frightening number of young cries violent deaths in the family and sees the native land threatened, often with the only prospect of having to flee. This is the death of hope. The eyes of too many children have spent most of their lives seeing rubble instead of schools, hearing the dull roar of bombs rather than the festive noise of games. Humanity hears - I beg you - the cry of children, whose mouth proclaims the glory of God (cf. Ps 8,3). It is by wiping their tears that the world will rediscover dignity. Thinking about children - let's not forget the children! - soon, we will let our desire for peace fly in the air, together with some doves. The yearning for peace rises higher than every dark cloud. Our hearts remain united and turned to Heaven, waiting for the tender twig of hope to come back, as in the days of the flood (cf. Gen 8:11). And the Middle East is no longer a war arch stretched across the continents, but an ark of peace welcoming to peoples and faiths. Beloved Middle East, the darkness of war, of power, of violence, of fanaticism, of unfair gains, of exploitation, of poverty, of inequality and of the non-recognition of rights are thinned out from you. "May peace be upon you" (Ps 122: 8) - together: "Peace be upon you" [repeat] - in you justice, God's blessing is placed on you. Amen.