Thursday, September 13, 2018

Saint September 14 : The Exaltation of the Holy Cross Feast - #Cross

The Feast of the Cross like so many other liturgical feasts, had its origin at Jerusalem, and is connected with the commemoration of the Finding of the Cross and the building, by Constantine, of churches upon the sites of the Holy Sepulchre and Calvary. In 335 the dedication of these churches was celebrated with great solemnity by the bishops who had assisted at the Council of Tyre, and a great number of other bishops. This dedication took place on the 13th and 14th of September. This feast of the dedication, which was known by the name of the Encnia, was most solemn; it was on an equal footing with those of the Epiphany and Easter. The description of it should be read in the "Peregrinatio", which is of great value upon this subject of liturgical origins. This solemnity attracted to Jerusalem a great number of monks, from Mesopotamia, from Syria, from Egypt, from the Thebaïd, and from other provinces, besides laity of both sexes. Not fewer than forty or fifty bishops would journey from their dioceses to be present at Jerusalem for the event. The feast was considered as of obligation, "and he thinks himself guilty of a grave sin who during this period does not attend the great solemnity". It lasted eight days. In Jerusalem, then, this feast bore an entirely local character. It passed, like so many other feasts, to Constantinople and thence to Rome. There was also an endeavour to give it a local feeling, and the church of "The Holy Cross in Jerusalem" as intended, as its name indicates, to recall the memory of the church at Jerusalem bearing the same dedication.
The feast of the Exaltation of the Cross sprang into existence at Rome at the end of the seventh century. Allusion is made to it during the pontificate of Sergius I (687-701) but, as Dom Bäumer observes, the very terms of the text (Lib. Pontif., I, 374, 378) show that the feast already existed. It is, then, inexact, as has often been pointed out, to attribute the introduction of it to this pope. The Gallican churches, which, at the period here referred to, do not yet know of this feast of the 14th September, have another on the 3rd of May of the same signification. It seems to have been introduced there in the seventh century, for ancient Gallican documents, such as the Lectionary of Luxeuil, do not mention it; Gregory of Tours also seems to ignore it. According to Mgr. Duchesne, the date seems to have been borrowed from the legend of the Finding of the Holy Cross (Lib. Pontif., I, p. cviii). Later, when the Gallican and Roman Liturgies were combined, a distinct character was given to each feast, so as to avoid sacrificing either. The 3rd of May was called the feast of the Invention of the Cross, and it commemorated in a special manner Saint Helena's discovery of the sacred wood of the Cross; the 14th of September, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, commemorated above all the circumstances in which Heraclius recovered from the Persians the True Cross, which they had carried off. Nevertheless, it appears from the history of the two feasts, which we have just examined, that that of the 13th and 14th of September is the older, and that the commemoration of the Finding of the Cross was at first combined with it.
The Good Friday ceremony of the Adoration of the Cross also had its origin in Jerusalem, as we have seen, and is a faithful reproduction of the rites of Adoration of the Cross of the fourth century in Jerusalem which have been described above, in accordance with the description of the author of the "Peregrinatio". This worship paid to the Cross in Jerusalem on Good Friday soon became general. Gregory of Tours speaks of the Wednesday and Friday consecrated the Cross—probably the Wednesday and Friday of Holy Week. (Cf. Greg., De Gloriâ Mart. I, v.) The most ancient adoration of the Cross in Church is described in the "Ordo Romanus" generally attributed to Saint Gregory. It is performed, according to this "Ordo", just as it is nowadays, after a series of responsory prayers. The cross is prepared before the altar; priests, deacons, subdeacons, clerics of the inferior grades, and lastly the people, each one comes in his turn; they salute the cross, during the singing of the anthem, "Ecce lignum crucis in quo salus mundi pependit. Venite, adoremus" (Behold the wood of the cross on which the salvation of the world did hang. Come, let us adore) and then Psalm 118. (See Mabillon, Mus. Ital., Paris, 1689, II, 23.) The Latin Church has kept until today the same liturgical features in the ceremony of Good Friday, added to it is the song of the Improperia and the hymn of the Cross, "Pange, lingua, gloriosi lauream certaminis".
Besides the Adoration of the Cross on Good Friday and the September feast, the Greeks have still another feast of the Adoration of the Cross on the 1st of August as well as on the third Sunday in Lent. It is probable that Gregory the Great was acquainted with this feast during his stay in Constantinople, and that the station of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, on Lætare Sunday (the fourth Sunday in Lent), is a souvenir, or a timid effort at imitation, of the Byzantine solemnity.

#BreakingNews Pope Francis Meets Today with US Bishops and Discusses Abuse Crisis - Text with Video

Pope receives US Church leaders to discuss clerical sex abuse crisis
Vatican News reports that: Pope Francis on Thursday received a delegation of the leadership of the U.S. Bishops Conference at the Vatican to discuss the Church’s response to the clerical sex abuse crisis. Following a private audience with Pope Francis on Thursday morning in Vatican City, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement regarding the recent moral crisis in the American Catholic Church. "We are grateful to the Holy Father for receiving us in audience. We shared with Pope Francis our situation in the United States - how the Body of Christ is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse. He listened very deeply from the heart. It was a lengthy, fruitful, and good exchange. As we departed the audience, we prayed the Angelus together for God's mercy and strength as we work to heal the wounds. We look forward to actively continuing our discernment together identifying the most effective next steps." Text Source Vatican News

Pope Francis “four details for living the Christian life”: “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those..." Homily

Pope Francis at Mass: Mercy is the Christian "style"
In the chapel at the Casa Santa Marta, the Pope celebrates the Mass and recalls that Christians do not follow the “spirit of the world,” but live the “folly of the Cross.”
  By Barbara Castelli
“Being Christian is not easy,” but makes us “happy”: the path pointed out to us by the heavenly Father is that of “mercy” and of “interior peace.” Beginning from the day’s Gospel from St Luke (6:27-38), Pope Francis once again clarified the distinctive traits of the “Christian style.” The Pope said that the Lord always indicates to us what the “life of the disciple” must be. He does so, for example, through the Beatitudes or the Works of Mercy. Going against the logic of the world
In a particular way, the day’s liturgy focuses on “four details for living the Christian life”: “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” In his homily, Pope Francis said that Christians should never enter “into gossiping,” or “into the logic of insults,” which only cause “war,” but to always find time “to pray for annoying people”:
This is the Christian style, this is the manner of Christian living. But if I do not do these four things? Loving enemies, doing good to those who hate me, blessing those who curse me, and praying for those who mistreat me, am I not a Christian? Yes, you are a Christian because you have received Baptism, but you are not living like a Christian. You are living like a pagan, with the spirit of worldliness.

The folly of the Cross

It is certainly easy to “badmouth enemies or those who are of a different party,” but Christian logic goes against the current, and follows the “folly of the Cross.” The ultimate goal, Pope Francis added, “is to get to the point where we behave ourselves like children of our Father”:
Only the merciful are like God the Father. ‘Be merciful, as your Father is merciful.’ This is the path, the path that goes against the spirit of the world, that thinks differently, that does not accuse others. Because among us is the “Great Accuser,” the one who is always going about to accuse us before God, to destroy. Satan: he is the “Great Accuser.” And when I enter into this logic of accusing, of cursing, seeking to do evil to others, I enter into the logic of the “Great Accuser” who is the “Destroyer,” who does not know the word mercy, does not know, has never lived it.

The mercy of the Christian

Life fluctuates between two invitations: That of the Father and that of the “Great Accuser,” “who pushes us to accuse others, to destroy them”:
But it is he who is destroying me! And you cannot do it to the other. You cannot enter into the logic of the accuser. ‘But Father, I have to accuse.’ Yes, accuse yourself. You do well. For the other, only mercy, because we are children of the Father who is merciful. 
FULL TEXT Release of Vatican News

#BreakingNews Catholic Priest Killed by Armed men in Nigeria - RIP Fr. Jude Egbom

"Fr. Jude Egbom was shot dead by armed men on the evening of Monday 10 September 2018 in Nigeria", reports the Facebook page of the diocese of Orlu, in the State of Imo in southern Nigeria.Fr. Egbom, was the Parish Priest of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Amucha, Orlu of Imo State. Fr. Egbom was on his way to his parish, from an official engagement, when he ran into the attackers. “The ever smiling Catholic priest, was returning to his parish, when he unfortunately ran into the robbers, who were operating at the time, on the road leading to Orlu”, a Catholic faithful said and reported by Vanguard. Upon sight of the priest's vehicle, the robbers quickly open fire. “The firing was so intense that the priest was hit at several deadly points. He died on the spot, before anything could be done to save his life,” the Catholic faithful said. State Police Command, confirmed the incident.  Edited from Vanguard of Nigeria

Women of the Third Millennium and the Catholic Clergy Abuse Mess

Women of the Third Millennium and the Catholic Clergy Abuse Mess
by: Kathy Vestermark, MA

I'm having a difficult time staying calm, logical and faith-filled. 

Betrayal can do that to a person.

And since the recent revelations regarding Carndinal McCarrick's escapades, the grand jury report out of Pennsylvania, and what I watched today regarding hundreds of abuses in Kansas and Missouri dioceses, I FEEL BETRAYED.

I am not a clergy abuse victim, but I am no stranger to the ravages of abuse, sexual or otherwise. The Church should and must be a place where the little ones should be protected and encouraged in the heart and strength of Christ Jesus who said in the Gospel of Matthew, "Let the children come to me". That is an invitation to love, not to abuse and betrayal.

I have read letter after letter, listened to "good and holy men" give stirring homilies about how sickened they are in light of the horrors reported to have been done by clergy up the ranks of the hierarchy. Cover ups, payments as hush money, turning a blind eye when it abuses were a well known fact and reassignments where more abuses took place add up to a devastating problem for the laity -- WE DON'T KNOW WHO TO TRUST. 

You may give impassioned homily -- so did McCarrick and his brother priest abusers.

You may offer prayers for the victims -- so did McCarrick and his brother priest abusers.

You may say that "credible" accounts will be turned over to the police -- McCarrick was a lead in writing the Dallas Charter on the protection of children and youth with his brother bishops.

Why should we trust you? 

How can we trust you?

It should come as no surprise at this point that I don't believe the hierarchy is capable of self-governance on this issue. But, it may surprise you that I think the solution should come from an unordainable source -- WOMEN.

John Paul II wrote in his Letter to Women in 1995 about the dignity and rights of women in modern society. He wrote: This word of thanks to the Lord for his mysterious plan regarding the vocation and mission of women in the world is at the same time a concrete and direct word of thanks to women, to every woman, for all that they represent in the life of humanity (2).

Women represent!

And that is what women must do now. 

We have a job to do in the Church which not only encompasses our dignity, but should be seen as our right -- we need to have a clear and cogent voice in answer to this scandal. This voice must be heard, and sincerely taken to heart by the hierarchy if we are to trust and believe what is written in Lumen Gentium 37 about dignity and rights of the laity:
The laity have the right, as do all Christians, to receive in abundance from their spiritual shepherds the spiritual goods of the Church...They are, by reason of the knowledge, competence or outstanding ability which they may enjoy, permitted and sometimes even obliged to express their opinion on those things which concern the good of the Church. (LG 37)
The way beyond this depravity is through the heart, knowledge and generosity of women. Just as the Blessed Mother played a necessary role  in salvation history by bringing Our Lord and Savior into the world, women in this age must follow that example and make Jesus present again in the Church's leadership. And just as Mary was at the foot of the Cross and cried out in anguish at the death of her Son, women in this age, at this horrible time in the life of the Church, must raise their voices high in disgust and anger over the death of virtue within the clergy.

St. John Paul the Great offers another crucial reason why women should have substantial role to play in the reforms that must come following this egregious betrayal. He writes this in article 3 of the letter, barely getting past the introduction and effusive thanks: "Through the insight which is so much a part of your womanhood you enrich the world's understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic." (Letter to Women 3, emphasis mine)

This may be the most compelling argument if ever any was made that women need to be heard and involved in the process of reformation of this systemic problem of sex abuse within the hierarchy. Women have an insight that makes human relations more honest and authentic! If ever there was a time for honesty and authenticity, I would say it's now!

As if speaking to women specifically regarding their involvement in this crucial turning point in the Church, St. John Paul the great says this:
And how can we overlook the many women, inspired by faith, who were responsible for initiatives of extraordinary social importance, especially in serving the poorest of the poor? The life of the Church in the Third Millennium will certainly not be lacking in new and surprising manifestations of "the feminine genius" (Letter to Women 12, emphasis mine).
And there you are. Women in the Third Millennium are called to "initiatives of extraordinary social importance". I would say that this crisis constitutes just that and the "poorest of the poor" are the clergy who need to hear the feminine genius voiced with fortitude, justice, prudence and temperance so that faith, hope and charity can be restored.
Kathryn Vestermark lives in Northern Virginia and is a wife and mother of six children, one with significant special needs. She worked for 13 yrs. in medical education at USUHS on a project to include families of children with special needs as faculty and advisors to medical education. She received her MA in Theology from Catholic Distance University, and has put it to use as a Coordinator/Instructor of RCIA at her parish, Women's Bible Study facilitator, author of a Catholic blog and contributor to other Catholic/Secular publications.

(c) 2018

#BreakingNews Great Crowds at Pro-Life March in the Dominican Republic “Let’s Save Both Lives”

A Pro-Life March was held on Sunday in the Dominican Republic. People gathered in the capital to protest a bill that would legalize the killing of unborn babies in their country,  Unborn babies are currently protected under the law in the Dominican. Pro-lifers gathered with Catholic Archbishop Francisco Ozoria Acosta of Santiago for the “Let’s Save Both Lives” march. The marchers included a large number of Catholics and Protestants. They called on the government to keep the regulations protecting the unborn in place. The Archdiocese of Santo Domingo warned people saying, “Our obligation is to warn what will happen if abortion on three grounds is approved,” in a statement. In 2009, the country approved a pro-life constitutional change. The amendment states that “the right to life is inviolable from conception until death.” It passed with 128 in favor and 32 opposed. According to statistics Central and South American countries are very pro-life. Along with the Dominican Republic, Chile, El Salvador, Suriname, Honduras and Nicaragua protect unborn babies by banning abortion, as indicated by the Center for Reproductive Rights. Edited from LifeNews

#BreakingNews 55 People Killed in India as Bus Falls off Cliff - Please Pray

A Bus plunged off cliff in southern India, killing at least 55 people. A bus carrying pilgrims from a Hindu temple in south India plunged off a road Tuesday, killing at least 55 people. At least 33 others were injured. The driver lost control as he tried to avoid another bus on the  road leading from the Anjaneya Swamy temple in Telangana state. Crowds often go to the temple on Tuesdays. Volunteers crawled into the bus through broken windows, carrying the dead and injured though  grass and up the hill to the road. The injured were taken to hospitals. More than 100,000 people die every year on India's roads, from reckless driving, bad roads and overcrowded vehicles. 

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday September 13, 2018 - #Eucharist

Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 440

Reading 11 COR 8:1B-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters:
Knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up.
If anyone supposes he knows something,
he does not yet know as he ought to know.
But if one loves God, one is known by him.

So about the eating of meat sacrificed to idols:
we know that there is no idol in the world,
and that there is no God but one.
Indeed, even though there are so-called gods in heaven and on earth
(there are, to be sure, many "gods" and many "lords"),
yet for us there is 

one God, the Father,
from whom all things are and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ,
through whom all things are and through whom we exist.

But not all have this knowledge.
There are some who have been so used to idolatry up until now
that, when they eat meat sacrificed to idols,
their conscience, which is weak, is defiled.

Thus, through your knowledge, the weak person is brought to destruction,
the brother for whom Christ died.
When you sin in this way against your brothers
and wound their consciences, weak as they are,
you are sinning against Christ.
Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin,
I will never eat meat again,
so that I may not cause my brother to sin.

Responsorial PsalmPS 139:1B-3, 13-14AB, 23-24

R. (24b) Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother's womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Probe me, O God, and know my heart;
try me, and know my thoughts;
See if my way is crooked,
and lead me in the way of old.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

Alleluia1 JN 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If we love one another,
God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
"To you who hear I say, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount. 
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.

"Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you."

#BreakingNews 6 Killed in California as Gunman goes on Shooting Spree and then Kills Himself

A man, in Southern California, has killed his wife, and four others at two separate locations.  A gunman opened fire, in Bakersfield, Calif. The gunman killed five people, including his wife, before turning the gun on himself, authorities said. The killings occurred at a home and a business in Bakersfield, which is  north of Los Angeles.  Six people died in a short amount of time, according to authorities. The man first showed up at a trucking business with his wife shortly before 5:30 p.m. PT where he confronted another man. "The suspect, the husband, shot the person at the trucking company and then turned and shot his wife," then chased and shot another man who showed up. The gunman then went to a home where he shot and killed a man and a woman, the sheriff said. He then carjacked a woman who was driving her child. The woman and child escaped and the man drove to a highway where a sheriff's deputy saw him.  The gunman saw the deputy and pulled into a lot. When the deputy confronted him at gunpoint the man shot himself in the chest, the sheriff said. His identity was not immediately released. Please Pray for the victims and their families...

#BreakingNews Pope Francis will meet in February with all Head Bishops in the World to discuss Abuse

Pope to meet with Bishops to discuss protection of minors
Pope Francis will meet in February with representatives of all the Catholic bishops of the world in order to discuss the protection of minors and vulnerable adults.
By Christopher Wells
Pope Francis has convened the Presidents of all the Episcopal Conferences of the whole world for a meeting in Rome to discuss the prevention of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.
The announcement was made by the Vice-director of the Holy See Press Office, Paloma García Ovejero, at a press briefing on the meeting of the Council of Cardinal Advisers, which concluded Wednesday morning.
Meeting on prevention of abuse
A communiqué by from the Council of Cardinals gave further details. The meeting with the Pope will take place in the Vatican from 21-24 February 2019. The Cardinals’ statement noted that during this week’s reunion, the Council had “reflected fully together with the Holy Father on the issue of abuse."
Wednesday’s press briefing was dedicated to a review of this week’s meeting of the Council of Cardinal Advisors. Ovejero noted that all the members of the Council were present, with the exception of Cardinal George Pell, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, and Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya. Pope Francis participated fully in the work of the Cardinals, although he was absent at certain points on account of other official duties.
Reform of the Curia
According to the Vicedirector, “A large part of the work of the Council was dedicated to the final adjustments to the draft of the new Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, which has for a provisional title Praedicate evangelium.” A copy of the provisional text has been delivered to the Holy Father, with the expectation that the document will be reviewed in terms of canon law, and subject to further revision.
During the meetings of the Council, Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., updated those present on the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
Finally, the Cardinals once again expressed their full solidarity with Pope Francis with regard to what has happened in the last weeks.
SOURCE: Vatican News