Friday, September 21, 2018

Saint September 22 : St. Thomas of Villanova of #Valencia #Spain

St. Thomas of Villanova

Feast: September 22
Feast Day:
September 22
1488, Spain
1555, in Valencia, Spain
November 1, 1658 by Pope Alexander VII

Educator, philanthropist, born at Fuentellana, Spain, 1488; died at Valencia, 8 September, 1555. Son of Aloazo Tomas Garcia and Lucia Martinez Castellanos, the saint was brought up in the practices of religion and charity. Every Friday his father was wont to give in alms all the meal he earned at the mill, besides his usual daily dole of bread. On great feast-days he added wood, wine, and money; while to poor farmers he loaned money and seed. On the death of her husband, Lucia continued the usual alms, and supplied indigent maidens in the neighbourhood with clothing and money. When sixteen tears old, Thomas entered the University of Alcala, where, after proceeding master of arts and licentiate in theology, he filled the chair (1514) of arts, logic, and philosophy. Among his auditors were the famed scholars Ferdinand de Encina and Dominic Soto. With Alcala, however, ended his university associations, he having declined the chair of natural philosophy at Salamanca, where he joined the Augustinians in 1516, his vows following a year later, and his ordination to priesthood the year after; his first Mass was celebrated at Christmas, 1518. At Salamanca Convent Thomas was given the class of scholastic theology because of his attachment for books, chiefly the Lombard and St. Thomas, and his exemplary life. Preaching in the pulpits of Spain was soon added to his duties, among other places at Valencia, the field of his later trials, and Valladolid, seat of the imperial Court and residence of the Emperor Charles V when on his visits to the Low Countries. In this last-named city St. Thomas was named by the emperor his court preacher, and one of his councillors of state. Rarely, however, did the saint pay visits of ceremony to the then master of Europe, though his written correspondence with Charles, who held his opinions in high esteem, was voluminous. Towards the close of his life, while at Valencia, he had all the emperor's letters destroyed; his own letters to the emperor, however, are now stored at Simancas.
 Apart from these burdens Thomas held many offices of trust in his order, e.g. as convent prior in various cities, among others at Valladolid in 1544, the very year he was called to the See of Valencia. Moreover, he was twice provincial-prior, first of Andalusia and Castile in 1527, then six years later of Castile alone, whence the first mission band of his brethren was sent across the Atlantic in 1533 to establish houses of their order in Mexico. On 5 Aug., 1544, he received his nomination to the Archbishopric of Valencia, a post that for well-nigh a hundred years had witnessed no bishop in residence, an appointment that was confirmed by Paul III. Previously St. Thomas had declined the See of Granada, offered him by the emperor, while that of Valencia he accepted only through obedience to his superiors. He was consecrated in the church of his order at Valladolid by Juan, Cardinal Tavera de Pardo, Archbishop of Toledo. On his entrance to his see on 1 Jan., 1545, of which he was thirty-second bishop and eighth archbishop, St. Thomas opened his career as legislator and philanthropist, which won for him the titles of "Almsgiver", "Father of the Poor", and "Model of Bishops", given him at his beatification in 1618 by Paul V. During his eleven years of episcopal rule his most noteworthy deeds were as follows: a visitation of his diocese, opened a few weeks after entrance into his see. Among other amendments he inhibited his visitators from accepting any gifts whatever. He then held a synod, the first at Valencia for many years, whereby he sought to do away with a number of abuses, as bloodshed, divorce, concubinage, and many excessive privileges or unreasonable exemptions; he abolished the underground prisons; rebuilt the general hospital at Valencia which had just been destroyed by fire; founded two colleges, one for young ecclesiastics, the other for poor students; laboured for the conversion of the , whose profession of Christianity was largely mere outward show; established a creche near his palace for foundlings and the offspring of indigent parents; had Mass said at early hours for the working-classes; and in brief, by statutes, by preaching, and by example, strove to reform the morals of churchman and layman.
Towards the poor especially his heart was ever alive with pity; to them his palace gate was always open; daily he had a repast for every poor person that applied for help, as many even as four to five hundred thus getting their meals at his hands. In every district of the city he had almoners appointed with orders especially to search out the respectable persons who shrank from asking alms; these he had supplied with money, food, clothing, while as to indigent workmen, poor farmers, and mechanics, he replenished their stock and brought them tools, thus putting them in the way of making a living. His whole life as replete with acts of practical kindness. He spent his spare time chiefly in prayer and study; his table was one of simple fare, with no luxuries. His dress was inexpensive; he mended with his own hands whatever needed repairs. Numberless are the instances of St. Thomas' supernatural gifts, of his power of healing the sick, of multiplication of food, of redressing grievances, of his ecstasies, of his conversions of sinners. He was taken ill in August, 1555, of angina pectoris, of which he died at the age of 67, at the termination of Mass in his bedroom. His last words were the versicles: "In manus tuas, Domine", etc.; his remains were entombed at the convent Church of Our Lady of Help of his order outside the city walls, whence later they were brought to the cathedral. The saint was of well-knit frame, of medium height, with dark complexion, brilliant eyes, ruddy cheeks, and Roman nose. He was beatified by Paul V (7 Oct., 1618), who set his feast-day for 18 Sept., and canonized by Alexander VII on 1 Nov., 1658.
Various reasons are given to account for St. Thomas' non-appearance at the Council of Trent, among them that he was ill, unable to stand the fatigue of travel; that his people would not brook his absence; and that the emperor was unable to do without his aid at home. The writings of St. Thomas, mainly sermons, are replete with practical norms of mystic theology. Some twenty editions have been published, the best and most complete being probably that of Manila, 1882-1884, in 5 tomes.SHARED FROM the Catholic Encyclopedia

#Novena #Feast of #Archangels : SHARE Miracle Prayer - St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael

September 29th is the Feast of the Archangels. Here are three novenas to the archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and ST. Raphael.Novena to St. Michael the Archangel

Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

St. Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and His people, I turn to you with confidence and seek your powerful intercession. For the love of God, Who made you so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my prayer. You know the value on my soul in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me. I desire to imitate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and your great love for God and people. And since you are God's messenger for the care of his people, I entrust to you this special request: (Mention your request).

St. Michael, since you are, by the Will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in your prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God's holy Will, my petition will be granted.

Pray for me, St. Michael, and also for those I love. Protect us in all dangers of body and soul. Help us in our daily needs. Through your powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death, and reach heaven where we may praise and love God with you forever. Amen.

Novena to St. Gabriel the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

St. Gabriel the Archangel, I venerate you as the "Angel of the Incarnation," because God has specially appointed you to bear the messages concerning the God-Man to Daniel, Zechariah, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Give me a tender and devoted Mother, more like your own.

I venerate you also as the "strength from God," because you are the giver of God's strength, consoler and comforter chosen to strengthen God's faithful and to teach them important truths. I ask for the grace of a special power of the will to strive for holiness of life. Steady my resolutions, renew my courage, comfort and console me in the problems, trials, and sufferings of daily living, as you consoled our Savior in His agony and Mary in her sorrows and Joseph in his trials. I put my confidence in you.

St. Gabriel, I ask you especially for this favor: (Mention your request). Through your earnest love for the Son of God-Made-Man and for His blessed Mother, I beg of you, intercede for me that my request may be granted, if it be God's holy Will.

Pray for us, St. Gabriel the Archangel. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray. Almighty and ever-living God, since You chose the Archangel Gabriel from among all the Angels to announce the mystery of Your Son's Incarnation, mercifully grant that we who honor him on earth may feel the benefit of his patronage in heaven. You live and reign for ever. Amen.

Novena to St. Raphael the Archangel
Novena Dates September 21 - 29, Feast Day September 29

Holy Archangel Raphael, standing so close to the throne of God and offering Him our prayers, I venerate you as God's special Friend and Messenger. I choose you as my Patron and wish to love and obey you as young Tobiah did. I consecrate to you my body and soul,all my work, and my whole life. I want you to be my Guide and Counselor in all the dangerous and difficult problems and decisions of my life.

Remember, dearest, St. Raphael, that the grace of God preserved you with the good Angels in heaven when the proud ones were cast into hell. I entreat you, therefore, to help me in my struggle against the world, the spirit of impurity, and the devil. Defend me from all dangers and every occasion of sin. Direct me always in the way of peace, safety, and salvation. Offer my prayers to God as you offered those of Tobiah, so that through your intercession I may obtain the graces necessary for the salvation of my soul. I ask you to pray that God grant me this favor if it be His holy Will: (Mention your request).

St. Raphael, help me to love and serve my God faithfully, to die in His grace, and finally to merit to join you in seeing and praising God forever in heaven. Amen.

Pope Francis at Mass “God's mercy seeks everyone, forgives everyone." Homily

Pope at Mass: ‘take the road of mercy to God’s heart’
Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass on Friday morning reflecting on the importance of not forgetting one’s own sins and remembering that the Lord chose us to be Christians.
  By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis on Friday told Christians the memory of their origins and of their sins must accompany them throughout their lives. Speaking to those gathered at the Casa Santa Marta for Holy Mass, the Pope reflected on the liturgical reading that tells of how Jesus invited Matthew, the tax collector, and other sinners to join him at his table.
“One may think that Jesus lacked the good sense to choose the right people as his followers” Francis said, but then he remarked on how in the life of the Church, so many Christians, so many saints have been chosen by Jesus from the ‘lowest ranks’.
Thus, the Pope said, Christians should always be aware of where they come from and they should never forget their sins; they must cherish the memory of the Lord “who had mercy of their sins and chose them to be a Christian, an apostle”.

Matthew never forgot his origins   

Describing the tax collector Matthew ’s reaction to the Lord’s call, the Pope said he did not dress in luxury, he did not begin to tell others “I am the prince of the apostles, I issue orders… No! He lived the rest of his life for the Gospel”.
When an apostle forgets his origins and starts off on a career path, the Pope explained, he distances himself from the Lord and become an ‘official’. An official who perhaps does a good job, but he is not an apostle. He is incapable of ‘transmitting’ Jesus; he is someone who organizes pastoral projects and plans and many other things; he is what he called an “affarista” -  a “wheeler-dealer” -  of the Kingdom of God because he has forgotten from where he was chosen.
That’s why, Francis continued, it is important to preserve the memory of our origins: “this memory must accompany the life of the apostle and of every Christian”.  

We lack generosity, the Lord does not

Instead of looking at ourselves, Pope Francis said,  we tend to look at others, at their sins, and to talk about them. This, he said, is a harmful habit.  It’s better to accuse oneself, the Pope suggested, and keep in mind from where the Lord chose us from.
“When the Lord chooses it is for something great. To be a Christian is a great thing, a beautiful thing” he said.
It is us, the Pope said, who distance ourselves: “we lack generosity and we negotiate with the Lord, but He awaits us”.

The doctors of the Law were scandalized

When Matthew was called by Jesus he renounced all to follow Him, the Pope said, noting that he invited his friends to sit with Jesus to celebrate the Master.  At that table, he said, sat “the very worst of society.  And Jesus with them".
The doctors of the Law, Francis continued, were scandalized. They called the disciples and said: "Why does your teacher eat with these people? Eating with some who is unclean contaminates you”. But, Jesus heard this and said “Go and learn the words:  ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’.
“God's mercy seeks everyone, forgives everyone. The only thing he asks of you is to say: ‘Yes, help me’. That’s all” he said.

The mystery of mercy

To those who were scandalized, Pope Francis concluded, Jesus said that “those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do”.
"The Lord's mercy is a mystery; God’s heart is the greatest and most beautiful mystery.  If you want to make your way to God’s heart, take the road of mercy, and allow yourself be treated with mercy”.
FULL TEXT from Vatican News - Image source: Google Images

BREAKING Cardinal Ouellet calls Attack on Pope Francis "a very serious offense" and expresses Solidarity with the Holy Father

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops in the Vatican, spoke at the Plenary Assembly of the European Bishops in Poznań, Poland.
He was questioned by EWTN's Andrea Gagliarducci, "So far, we have been speaking about abuse. The Pope is summoning the world’s bishops together to discuss this in February. As Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, what do you wish to say to the bishops of the world?"
Cardinal Ouellet responded: We are facing a crisis in the life of the Church, a crisis at the level of leadership, of bishops, and also to a certain extent of rebellion. This is a very serious matter that has to be dealt with in a very serious way, not only in a political way. So, I think for example when there is a direct attack against the Holy Father, I think it is a very bad example and a very serious offense. And I do not think it is responding positively because it is also an unjust attack recently. It was part of my message, to the bishops of CCEE, to express solidarity with the Holy Father. It is a conditio sine qua non of solidarity between ourselves as bishops to bring forward the mission of the Church, and I am pleased to recognize that there is something being prepared on the part of this body, of the bishops’ conference, to express to the Holy Father this solidarity in this current context.
Text Source: Press Interview - Quotation Excerpt from
It is important to Note Canon Law in this regard:
Canon 1373 A person who publicly incites his or her subjects to hatred or animosity against the Apostolic See or the Ordinary because of some act of ecclesiastical authority or ministry, or who provokes the subjects to disobedience against them, is to be punished by interdict or other just penalties.

#BreakingNews Ferry Capsizes in Tanzania Killing 127 People with many missing - Please Pray

The Tanzanian government said the passenger ferry capsized near the dock and that 37 people have been rescued. Authorities have indicated that the death toll has risen to 127 people were killed when a passenger ferry sank on the southern end of Tanzania's Lake Victoria near Ukara Island. A rescue team was able to save 37 people. Hundreds are still missing and it is unknown just how many passengers were onboard,  The Tanzanian government has said that as many as 200 people may have drowned in the accident.  In 1996, at least 500 people were killed when a ferry went down near the same spot as Thursday's capsizing on Lake Victoria. Edited from All Africa

#BreakingNews Death Toll from US Hurricane Florence at 42 People Killed - Please Pray

The US Hurricane Florence has killed 42 people. As the storm has subsided residents are returning to their flooded homes. The storm affected mainly North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The majority of the deaths occurred in vehicles  There is much damage with homes destroyed, mud on walls and floors, blown out windows and strong odors. South Carolina’s governor, Henry McMaster, estimated his state has suffered $1.2billion in damage. 

Wow Pope Francis meets with Singer Bono for Scholas Mission Projects - Full Video

Pope Francis with Bono to support Scholas Occurrentes
Pope Francis meets Paul David Hewson, otherwise known as Bono at the Casa Santa Marta. The Irish frontman of the rock band U2 expressed his support for the educational mission of the Pontifical Scholas Occurrentes Foundation, which works for the training and development of children and young people all over the world.
The pain of the Pope
"I saw the pain on his face," he told reporters in the Holy See Press Office after the meeting, referring to the issue of child abuse by members of the Church in Ireland. The world director of Scholas, José María del Corral, gave a brief introduction in which he highlighted some aspects of the audience between the Pope and the singer. Bono shared the story of his debut in the world of music, which was not , he said, without difficulties and obstacles.
Natural and fluid dialogue
Paul David Hewson defined his meeting with the Holy Father as a "lightning strike", and he spoke of a natural and fluid dialogue that touched on issues of great relevance, such as the education of young people, especially girls, who in different countries of the world suffer marginalization and exclusion.
Educational Revolution
The singer gave his support to Scholas, and its "innovative projects", in the great mission of generating an "educational revolution" that helps young people to discover the meaning of life.
During the meeting with the Pope of the care of the common house and of the encyclical "Laudato si '" was also discussed. "Pope Francis is an extraordinary man for these extraordinary times", said Bono before leaving the Vatican Press Office.
SOURCE: Vatican News - FULL TEXT Release

#BreakingNews US Bishops' Action Against Abuse with 3rd Party Abuse Reporting Hotline - FULL TEXT

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Administrative Committee Statement on Sex Abuse Scandals; Committee Releases Actions to be Taken Within Its Authority

September 19, 2018
WASHINGTON--The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Administrative Committee has issued the following statement today in response to the recent sex abuse scandals. In the statement, the bishops say they pledge to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us."
Turning to the Lord
"When each of us was ordained as a bishop, we were told:
'Keep watch over the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit has appointed you to shepherd the Church of God.'
We, the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, assembled last week in Washington at this time of shame and sorrow. Some bishops, by their actions or their failures to act, have caused great harm to both individuals and the Church as a whole. They have used their authority and power to manipulate and sexually abuse others. They have allowed the fear of scandal to replace genuine concern and care for those who have been victimized by abusers. For this, we again ask forgiveness from both the Lord and those who have been harmed. Turning to the Lord for strength, we must and will do better.
The Administrative Committee took the following actions within its authority:
1. Approved the establishment of a third-party reporting system that will receive confidentially, by phone and online, complaints of sexual abuse of minors by a bishop and sexual harassment of or sexual misconduct with adults by a bishop and will direct those complaints to the appropriate ecclesiastical authority and, as required by applicable law, to civil authorities.
2. Instructed the USCCB Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance to develop proposals for policies addressing restrictions on bishops who were removed or resigned because of allegations of sexual abuse of minors or sexual harassment of or misconduct with adults, including seminarians and priests.
3. Initiated the process of developing a Code of Conduct for bishops regarding the sexual abuse of a minor; sexual harassment of or sexual misconduct with an adult; or negligence in the exercise of his office related to such cases.
4. Supported a full investigation into the situation surrounding Archbishop McCarrick, including his alleged assaults on minors, priests, and seminarians, as well any responses made to those allegations. Such an investigation should rely upon lay experts in relevant fields, such as law enforcement and social services.
This is only a beginning. Consultation with a broad range of concerned parents, experts, and other laity along with clergy and religious will yield additional, specific measures to be taken to repair the scandal and restore justice. We humbly welcome and are grateful for the assistance of the whole people of God in holding us accountable.  
As these initiatives get underway, the Administrative Committee invites each of our brother bishops to join us in acts of prayer and penance. This is a time of deep examination of conscience for each bishop. We cannot content ourselves that our response to sexual assault within the Church has been sufficient. Scripture must be our guide forward, "be doers of the word and not hearers only" (James 1:22).
In all of this, we do not want anyone – ourselves included – to lose sight of those who have suffered from those who have acted or failed to act as the Gospel demanded. For survivors of sexual abuse, these days may re-open deep wounds. Support is available from the Church and within the community. Victims Assistance Coordinators are available in every diocese to help you find resources. We are grateful to hundreds of dedicated people who, since the adoption of the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, have been working with the Church to support survivors and prevent future abuse.
To anyone who has been abused, never hesitate to also contact local law enforcement. If you don't feel comfortable for any reason with the Church providing help, your diocese can connect you with appropriate community services. With compassion and without judgement, the bishops of the United States pledge to heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us.
Acting in communion with the Holy Father, with whom we once again renew our love, obedience, and loyalty, we make our own the prayer of Pope Francis in his August 20 letter to the people of God, "May the Holy Spirit grant us the grace of conversion and the interior anointing needed to express before these crimes of abuse our compunction and our resolve courageously to combat them."

#BreakingNews Pope Francis on Way to Lithuania sends Special Video Message to Baltics “Freedom, as we know, is a treasure..."

Pope Francis sends greetings ahead of Baltics visit
In a video message for his Apostolic Journey to three Baltic nations, Pope Francis sends warm words of greeting to the people of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. By Devin Watkins Pope Francis sent a video message ahead of his Apostolic Journey to Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, which takes place on 22-25 September. “Though I come as Pastor of the Catholic Church,” Pope Francis said, “I would like to embrace everyone and offer a message of peace, good will, and hope for the future.” He noted how his visit coincides with the 100th anniversary since the three nations’ independence, and said he intends on honoring “all whose past sacrifices have made our present freedoms possible.”
Precious legacy of freedom

“Freedom, as we know, is a treasure that must be constantly preserved and handed down, as a precious legacy, to new generations,” he said.
Pope Francis invited all people in the Baltics to work for a better society.
“In times of darkness, violence, and persecution, the flame of freedom is not extinguished, but inspires hope in a future where the every person’s God-given dignity is respected and each one of us feels called to collaborate towards building a just and fraternal society.”
The Holy Father pointed out that solidarity and service are more important now than ever.
“I hope that my visit will be a source of encouragement for all those people of good will who, inspired by the deepest spiritual and cultural values inherited from the past, are working peacefully to alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters in need and to promote unity and harmony at every level of society.”
Finally, Pope Francis thanked the many people working tirelessly to prepare his Apostolic Visit to Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
“To all of you, I assure you of my closeness in prayer and send my blessing.”
And, as always, the Pope asked us to continue praying for him.
“God bless you!”
SOURCE: Vatican News - FULL TEXT Release

Quote to SHARE by St. John Paul II "The rosary is a prayer both so humble and simple and theologically rich in Biblical content. I beg you to pray it" #JPII

"The rosary is a prayer both so humble and simple and theologically rich in Biblical content. I beg you to pray it"  
St. Pope John Paul ll

#BreakingNews Kidnapped Girl Leah Sharibu Refused to Deny Christ - Bishops call for Release by Boko Haram #FreeLeah

AFRICA/NIGERIA - The Bishops: "Release Leah Sharibu", the girl in the hands of Boko Haram who refused to denounce her Christian faith
Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "We see with great dismay that the violence we denounced in the past continues unabated", the Nigerian Bishops denounce in a statement published at the end of their Second Plenary Assembly held in Sokoto from 6 to 14 September .
"We observe with deep sadness how unarmed Nigerians are brutally slaughtered, owing to religious and political differences, boundary disputes, and other such reasons", says the document sent to Agenzia Fides. "We equally observe that Government is often slow in responding to these violent occurrences and often allows many of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to go unpunished, thus creating a culture of impunity", write the Bishops expressing their "total condemnation for these crimes" and call on "the Government to defend the life and property of every Nigerian citizen". The Bishops also appeal that the "thousands of our internally displaced compatriots be helped to return to their homes and their land restored to them as quickly as possible".
The statement continues by asking "Governments at all levels to respect the rights of citizens and groups to practise their religions unhindered". "In this spirit, Governments should make it possible for religious groups to acquire land for the building of places of worship, schools, hospitals and social welfare facilities whenever the need arises. At the same time, we enjoin everyone to avoid acts of religious fanaticism in order to promote peaceful co-existence and harmony. Religion is a matter of conviction, not coercion".
The Bishops finally launched an appeal for the unconditional release of Leah Sharibu, a student kidnapped in February in Dapchi, together with some of her friends, by a faction of Boko Haram. While her friends were released after four weeks, Leah Sharibu, who is 15, is still a prisoner because she refused to denounce her Christian faith.
"We demand that the Federal Government secure the unconditional release of Leah Sharibu. She is still being held captive because she refused to denounce her Christian faith. We further demand that the Federal Government ensure the safe release of the remaining Chibok girls and all other persons in captivity against their will. We urge their families to remain hopeful and steadfast in prayers, while assuring them of our prayers as well". (L.M.) (FULL TEXT Source: Agenzia Fides, 21/9/2018

#Novena to St. Matthew - SHARE this Prayer - Patron of Money, Bankers and Tax Collectors

Author unknown. 
Opening Prayer
God of mercy you chose a tax collector, Saint Matthew, to share the dignity of the apostles. By his example and prayers help us to follow Christ and remain faithful in your service. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
Day One
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”  (Matthew 5:3)
Dear Jesus, I have sinned against God and you.  I have gone against you and hurt you with each and every sin I have committed.  I am not worthy of your love, but you are my only hope.  Please save me, and please forgive me, for I am lost without you.
Saint Matthew, as you were one of the lucky twelve who walked the Earth with Jesus by your side, you were continually made aware of your own nothingness before his greatness and saw many evidences of God’s immense grace.  Help me to be so poor in spirit that I acknowledge my own nothingness before God on a moment-by-moment basis, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Day Two
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
Dear Jesus, even though I have committed such grave offenses against you and God, you still loved me enough to give your life for me so I could be free in Heaven.  With all my heart, please forgive me for ever having offended you.  I know it was my sins that condemned you to die.  I love you more than I love myself, and can do nothing without you.  All that I am and all that I hope to be is solely because of your grace and mercy and nothing else.
Saint Matthew, as a former tax-collector, you were considered one of the worst sinners, but Jesus called you anyway to be one of his apostles.  Help me to truly mourn for all the sins I have committed and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST). 
Day Three
Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.”(Matthew 5:5)
Dear Jesus, I know that I can do all things through you who gives me strength, but not according to my will, but yours.  Therefore, I submit my will totally to you.  Although evil may seem to triumph, these are temporary triumphs indeed, because the meek, not the wicked, shall inherit the Earth.
Saint Matthew, you gave up a life of worldly pleasures to follow God’s word made flesh in Jesus, trusting that he would take care of all your needs.  This must not have been easy, since you came from a life of privilege.  Please help me to have the quality of meekness before God constantly being produced within me, relying on his strength for every move I make and every action I take, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Day Four
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
Dear Jesus, I want to be just like you.  Please lead and guide me so I can live my life completely in conformity with the will of God, going contentedly wherever his will takes me.  Help me to do everything just as you would.
Saint Matthew, you left behind a very financially lucrative career and the ways of the world to follow Jesus’s way instead.  Help me to constantly hunger and thirst for righteousness just as you did, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST). 
Day Five
Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
Dear Jesus, thank you for the mercy you have shown me time and time again, even when my actions have not merited it.  Thank you for comforting me in times of sickness and trouble.  Help me to look at everyone I come across with a tender heart, truly feeling in my heart the pain and suffering of others.  Help me to always make the effort to ease the pain and suffering of others, with an ever ready, always affectionate, and joyful heart.
Saint Matthew, as an apostle, you were an extension of Jesus in the world.  You got to see his kindness and mercy displayed firsthand and then were asked to emulate it.  Help me to emulate Jesus by demonstrating true kindness and mercy to others, just as Jesus did, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Day Six
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”(Matthew 5:8)
Dear Jesus, I have so often let you down because of my impure heart; please forgive me.  Help me to be pure in my imagination, in my thoughts, in my words, in my decisions, and in my desires.  Help me to think how God thinks, desire what God desires, hate what God hates, and love only what God loves.  Please make my heart completely free of all evil thoughts.
Saint Matthew, I know you understand what it means to struggle with maintaining a pure heart because you were a man and struggled with the desires of the flesh just as I do.  Help me to remain truly pure in heart, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Day Seven
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Dear Jesus, first and foremost, help me to find peace with God, for only then can I find true peace with others.  Help me to do whatever it takes to create peace wherever I go, although my efforts may often meet with failure.  Help me to love, desire, and delight in peace.  Forgive me for all of the times my actions have resulted in discord and dissention, whether intentional or unintentional.
Saint Matthew, you made your peace with God through Jesus, now please help me to make mine.  Help me also to sow peace wherever I may go, just as you did, as a witness to Jesus Christ, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Day Eight
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)
Dear Jesus, please show me how to persevere in this struggle for things which are holy and honorable, because I fall down and grow weak so often.  Help me to be faithful to you in all things, so that your will may be done in and through my life.  Help me to be bold in my steady struggle for faith and unwavering in my commitment to all Godly things.
Saint Matthew, please guide me to be courageous like you in standing on the side of God’s truth, even in the face of being persecuted for righteousness, and please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).
Day Nine
Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”(Matthew 5:11)
Dear Jesus, as the times in which we live become darker and darker, living by your ways and following you is branding me in such a way that invites persecution and insult, just as it did you.  If I live by your ways and love you with my whole being, I live by the light and provide a target for those who do not live by the light.  Sinning is what gives most people pleasure, but I can no longer live that way, because I am aware of how much you sacrificed for me in love by dying on the cross.  For all that you have done for me, I no longer desire to live in the darkness.  Each time I receive an insult for belonging to you, please help me to bear it with great patience.
Saint Matthew, in being given the awesome honor of being chosen to be an apostle, you were persecuted just as Jesus was persecuted.  You felt, however, the persecution you experienced was also a great honor, because Jesus was not just a man, but he was indeed God.  Help me to be strong enough to love Jesus’s light and to run from the darkness of sin and then, when persecution comes, to be strong enough to handle that as well.  And please intercede with Jesus in asking him to grant my desperate request, (STATE REQUEST).

Bishop Accused of Rape in Kerala, India - gives temp. Resignation to Pope and is Interrogated by Police

Pope Francis accepts temporary resignation of bishop accused of rape
Mgr Franco Mulakkal requested he be relieved of his duties. The pontiff appointed Mgr Agnelo Rufino Gracias as apostolic administrator. Yesterday the bishop was interrogated for seven hours by Kerala police.
New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis "has received the request of Bishop Franco Mulakkal to be temporarily relieved of his responsibilities in the Diocese of Jalandhar,” says a press release by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI). The decision stems from rape allegations made by a nun from the Missionaries of Jesus against the prelate. The accusations against the bishop of Jalandar, Punjab, were first made in July, but the story has become front-page news in recent weeks as a result of an ongoing hunger strike by some Sisters in Kerala, where the case was filed.
In her complaint, the nun said that in 2014 the bishop raped her in a Church-owned hostel in Kuravilangad, Kerala. She told police she was sexually assaulted 13 times over the following two years. The case has sent shockwaves across the whole Indian Church. Recent rumors have it that the bishop would resign and that he might be sent away.
In reality, Mgr Mulakkal asked Pope Francis to temporarily relieve him of his duties so that he can better defend himself against the accusation of rape, which he has flatly denied. Questioned by Kerala police for about seven hours, Mgr Mulakkal stood his ground, denying any involvement, arguing instead that the nun is acting out of revenge. The bishop claims that he had threatened to have the nun investigated after he found her involved with a married man.
Kottayam police superintendent Harishankar, who is in charge of the investigation, said that no one is putting pressure to get the bishop arrested and that investigators are doing their job.
In its statement, the CBCI says: “Having considered all circumstances the Holy Father has accepted this request of Bishop Mulakkal and has appointed Bishop Agnelo Rufino Gracias, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Bombay as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Jullander, sede plena et ad mutum Sanctae Sedis with immediate effect. For its part, the Diocese of Bombay is gathered in prayer hoping that the bishop will not be arrested.
SOURCE: Full Text AsiaNews IT

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday September 21, 2018 - #Eucharist

Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist
Lectionary: 643

Reading 1EPH 4:1-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace:
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ's gift.

And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the Body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ. 

Responsorial PsalmPS 19:2-3, 4-5

R. (5) Their message goes out through all the earth.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. Their message goes out through all the earth.

Alleluia See Te Deum

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the glorious company of Apostles praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, "Follow me."
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
"Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
He heard this and said,
"Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

Pope Francis "This is the mercy of Jesus: He always forgives, He always receives."

Pope at Santa Marta Mass: Jesus teaches true love
In the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis calls us to be merciful like Jesus, and to not condemn others.
  By Giada Aquilino
Let us ask Jesus, “with His mercy and His forgiveness,” always to protect our Church which “like a mother, is holy,” but is also “full of sinful children, like us.”
This was the prayer of Pope Francis at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father was reflecting on the day’s readings, focusing on the words of Jesus: “her many sins have been forgiven; for she has shown great love.” Jesus sees small acts of love The Pope described three types of people in the day’s readings: Jesus and his disciples; Paul and the woman whose sins were forgiven; and the doctors of the law.
The woman in the Gospel is described as having “so much love towards Jesus,” while not hiding the fact that she is a sinner. Saint Paul, the Pope said, is similar in recognizing, and handing on to us, that “Christ died for our sins.” Both were seeking God “with love,” but their love was a kind of “half-love.” The Pope explained that when Paul was persecuting the Church, he thought that love was a law and his heart was closed to the revelation of Jesus Christ. He persecuted Christians out of zeal for the law; and this, the Pope said, was a love that was immature.
The woman, too, was seeking love, the “little love.” The Pharisees commented on the fact that she was a sinner, but Jesus explains: “This woman was forgiven much because she loved much.” The Pope puts a question in the mouth of the Pharisees:
“But how can she love? These people [sinners] do not know how to love.” [But] they seek love. And Jesus, speaking about these people, says – he once said – that they are before us, in the Kingdom of Heaven. “But what a scandal!” – the Pharisees [say] – “But these people!” Jesus looks upon the small gesture of love, the small gesture of good will, and takes it, and carries it forward. This is the mercy of Jesus: He always forgives, He always receives.

The scandal of the hypocrites

With regard to the “doctors of the law,” Pope Francis says that “they have an attitude that only the hypocrites use often: they are scandalized.” And they say:
“But look, what a scandal! You can’t live like that! We have lost our values. Now everyone has the right to enter into the church, even the divorced, everyone. But where are we?” The scandal of the hypocrites. This is the dialogue between the great love that forgives all, [the love of] Jesus; [and] the love “by halves” of Paul and of this woman, and also our [love], which is an incomplete love because none of us is a canonized saint. Let’s be honest. It is hypocrisy: the hypocrisy of the “just,” of the “pure,” of those who believe they are saved by their own proper external merits.

The Church historically persecuted by hypocrites

Jesus recognizes how such people show exteriorly that “all is well” – He speaks of “whitened sepulchers” – but within there is rot and decay. The Pope continued:
And the Church, when it journeys through history, is persecuted by hypocrites: hypocrites within and without. The devil has nothing to do with repentant sinners, because they look upon God and say, “Lord, I am a sinner, help me!” And the devil is impotent; but he is strong with hypocrites. He is strong, and he uses them to destroy, to destroy the people, to destroy society, to destroy the Church. The workhorse of the devil is hypocrisy, because he is a liar. He makes himself out to be a powerful prince, beautiful, and from behind he is an assassin.