Friday, November 9, 2018

#BreakingNews Pope Francis Signs Statement Against Violence in Middle East with Patriarch of Assyrian Church - FULL Official TEXT + Video

Friday, 9 November 2018
Your Holiness,
Dear Brothers,
“Peace and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 6:23). With these words of the Apostle Paul, I greet you and, through you, the members of the Holy Synod, the bishops, the clergy and all the faithful of the beloved Assyrian Church of the East.
Two years have passed since our first encounter, but in the meantime I had the joy of again meeting Your Holiness in Bari last 7 July, at the Day of Reflection and Prayer for Peace in the Middle East, which you too had so greatly desired. Indeed, we share the great suffering resulting from the tragic situation endured by so many of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, who are victims of violence and frequently forced to leave the lands in which they have always lived. They tread the via crucis in the footsteps of Christ and, though belonging to different communities, they are forging fraternal relationships among one another and thus becoming, for us, witnesses of unity. Shortly we shall join in prayer for an end to all this suffering and implore from the Lord the gift of peace for the Middle East, above all for Iraq and Syria.
We share a particular reason for thanksgiving to God: the Joint Committee for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East. Just one year ago, I had the joy of receiving its members on the occasion of the signing of the Common Statement on ‘Sacramental Life’. The Committee, itself the fruit of dialogue, shows that practical and disciplinary differences are not always an obstacle to unity, and that certain differences in theological expression can be considered complementary rather than conflicting. I pray that the work of the Committee, which in these days enters a third phase of study on ecclesiology, will help us to take one more step on our journey towards the much-desired goal of being able to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Lord at the same altar.
This journey propels us forward, yet it also demands that we continue to preserve our historical memory, in order to draw inspiration from the witnesses of the past. This year the Assyrian Church of the East, together with the Chaldean Church, celebrates the seven-hundredth anniversary of the death of Abdisho bar Berika, Metropolitan of Nisibis, one of the most famous authors of the Syro-Oriental tradition. His works, particularly in the area of canon law, are still fundamental texts of your Church. I rejoice that Your Holiness and the distinguished Members of your Delegation are taking part in the international colloquium organized on this occasion by the Pontifical Oriental Institute. May the study of this great theologian help to make better known the richness of the Syriac tradition and to receive it as a gift for the entire Church.
Your Holiness, dear brother, with affection I wish to express my gratitude for your visit and for the gift of being able to pray together for one another today, making our own the prayer of the Lord: “that they may all be one… so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21).
[01796-EN.01] [Original text: Italian]
Dichiarazione Comune
1. Praising the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we, Pope Francis and Catholicos Patriarch Mar Gewargis III, raise our minds and hearts in thanksgiving to the Almighty for the increasing closeness in faith and love between the Assyrian Church of the East and the Catholic Church. Our meeting today as brothers echoes the words of the blessed Apostle Paul: “Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 6:23).
2. In recent decades, our Churches have grown closer together than they have ever been over the centuries. From the time of their first meeting in Rome in 1984, our Predecessors of blessed memory, Pope Saint John Paul II and Catholicos Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV, embarked on a journey of dialogue. We are most grateful for the fruits of this dialogue of love and truth, which confirm that a diversity of customs and disciplines is in no way an obstacle to unity, and that certain differences in theological expressions are often complementary rather than conflicting. It is our prayerful hope that our theological dialogue may help us to smooth the path to the long-awaited day when we will be able to celebrate together the Lord’s sacrifice on the same altar. In the meantime, we intend to move forward in mutual recognition and shared witness to the Gospel. Our common Baptism is the solid foundation of the real communion that already exists between us: “in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor12:13). Walking together in trust, we seek the charity that “binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col 3:14).
3. On our pilgrimage towards visible unity, we experience a common suffering, arising from the dramatic situation of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria. The significance of the Christian presence and mission in the Middle East was once more clearly highlighted at the Day of Prayer and Reflection held in Bari on 7 July 2018, when the Heads of Churches and Christian communities of the Middle East gathered to pray and speak with one another. The Good News of Jesus, crucified and risen out of love, came from the Middle East and has won over human hearts down the centuries, due not to worldly power but the unarmed power of the Cross. Yet for decades now, the Middle East has been an epicentre of violence where entire populations endure grievous trials every day. Hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children suffer immensely from violent conflicts that nothing can justify. Wars and persecutions have increased the exodus of Christians from lands where they have lived side by side with other religious communities since the time of the Apostles. Without distinction of rite or confession, they suffer for professing the name of Christ. In them, we see the Body of Christ which, today too, is afflicted, beaten and reviled. We are profoundly united in our prayer of intercession and in our charitable outreach to these suffering members of Christ’s body.
4. Amid such suffering, whose immediate end we implore, we continue to see brothers and sisters who tread the way of the cross, meekly following in Christ’s footsteps, in union with him who reconciled us by his cross “and thus put hostility to death in himself” (cf. Eph 2:14-16). We are grateful to these brothers and sisters of ours, who inspire us to follow the path of Jesus in order to defeat enmity. We are grateful to them for the witness they give to the Kingdom of God by the fraternal relationships existing among their various communities. Just as the blood of Christ, shed out of love, brought reconciliation and unity, and caused the Church to flourish, so the blood of these martyrs of our time, members of various Churches but united by their shared suffering, is the seed of Christian unity.
5. In the face of this situation, we stand together with our persecuted brothers and sisters, to be a voice for the voiceless. Together we will do all we can to alleviate their suffering and help them to find ways to start a new life. We wish to affirm yet again that it is not possible to imagine the Middle East without Christians. This conviction is founded not simply on religious grounds, but also on social and cultural realities, since Christians, with other believers, greatly contribute to the specific identity of the region: a place of tolerance, mutual respect and acceptance. The Middle East without Christians would no longer be the Middle East.
6. Convinced that Christians will remain in the region only if peace is restored, we lift up our earnest prayers to Christ, the Prince of Peace, asking for the return of that essential “fruit of justice” (cf. Is 32:17). A truce maintained by walls and displays of power will not lead to peace, since genuine peace can only be attained and preserved through mutual listening and dialogue. We therefore call once again upon the International Community to implement a political solution that recognizes the rights and duties of all parties involved. We are convinced of the need to guarantee the rights of every person. The primacy of law, including respect for religious freedom and equality before the law, based on the principle of “citizenship”, regardless of ethnic origin or religion, is a fundamental principle for the establishment and preservation of a stable and productive coexistence among the peoples and communities of the Middle East. Christians do not want to be considered a “protected minority” or a tolerated group, but full citizens whose rights are guaranteed and defended, together with those of all other citizens.
7. Finally, we reaffirm that the more difficult the situation, the more necessary is interreligious dialogue grounded in an attitude of openness, truth and love. Such dialogue is also the best antidote to extremism, which is a threat to the followers of every religion.
8. As we meet here in Rome, we pray together to the Apostles Peter and Paul that through their intercession God may bestow his abundant blessings on the Christians of the Middle East. We ask the Most Holy Trinity, model of true unity in diversity, to strengthen our hearts so that we may respond to the Lord’s call that his disciples be one in Christ (cf. Jn 17:21). May the Almighty who has begun this good work in us bring it to completion in Christ Jesus (cf. Phil 1:6).
From the Vatican, 9 November 2018
Source: - Official Translation

Pope Francis "the core of corruption is precisely an idolatry: it is having sold the soul to the god of money, to the god of power" Homily

Pope at Mass warns against idolatry of money in the Church
At Mass, Friday morning, Pope Francis invited Christians to respect churches as the house of God and not turn them into marketplaces of money and worldliness. By Robin Gomes Pope Francis on Friday urged that churches be given due respect as the “house of God” and not be transformed into markets or social lounges dominated by “worldliness”.   Celebrating his morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican, he warned that churches risked transforming themselves into marketplaces with sacraments on sale, which are free.
He was reflecting the Gospel reading on the feast of the Dedication of Rome’s St. John Lateran Basilica, where Jesus cleanses the temple of Jerusalem of all buyers and sellers, warning them against turning his Father’s house into a marketplace.   
Idols enslave
Jesus noted that the temple was populated by idolaters - men ready to serve "money" instead of "God". "Behind money there is an idol,” the Pope said, adding idols are always of gold that enslaves.
Pope Francis wondered if we treat our  “temples, our churches” as the house of God, the house of prayer, a place of meeting the Lord, and whether the priests treat it like that.
The Pope recalled instances of a price list for the sacraments that are free of cost. To those who argue that it is an offering, the Pope said, offerings are to be put secretly into the box without anyone noticing it.  He warned that there is this danger even today.
Pope Francis admitted the Church needs to be maintained by the faithful but this is done in the offering box, not with a price list. 
Another danger that the Pope warned against was the temptation of worldliness.  He noted that in some celebrations or commemorations in the Church one cannot make out if the house of God is a place of worship or a social parlour.   
The Pope said that some church celebrations slip into worldliness.  Celebrations must be beautiful but not worldly, because, he said, worldliness depends on the god of money.  He called this idolatry and said it should make us think about our zeal for our churches and the respect that we give when we enter them.   
Pope Francis then drew attention to the First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians which speaks about our hearts as the temple of God.  Despite our sinfulness, the Pope said, each one of us should ask ourselves whether our hearts are "worldly and idolatrous".
The Holy Father said it is not the question of what our sins are, but of finding out if there is the lord of money within us.   If there is a sin, he said, we have the Lord, the merciful God, who forgives if we go to Him.  But if there is other lord, the god money, we are an idol worshipper, a corrupt person, and not a former sinner.
The Pope concluded saying the core of corruption is precisely an idolatry, of having sold one’s soul to the god of money, to the god of power.
FULL TEXT Release from Vatican News va - and Image Share

#BreakingNews Underground Catholic Bishop Taken by Police in China - Please Pray

Wenzhou's bishop Shao Zhumin taken by police
by Bernardo Cervellera
He will be subjected to isolation and indoctrination for 10-15 days. The faithful ask the Church worldwide for prayers. Bishop Shao is recognized by the Holy See, but not by the government. In the diocese, official and underground communities are united. Official priests banned from visiting the tombs of underground priests and bishops. Prohibition of participation in mass and catechism for young people under 18 years. The Church must remain "independent" despite the Sino-Vatican agreement.
Rome (AsiaNews) - The bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang), Msgr. Pietro Shao Zhumin, was kidnapped by police this morning at 9 and will be kept away from the diocese for "10 or 15 days". Usually such forced seizures are defined by the police as "vacation periods". They are actually periods of interrogation and indoctrination. The faithful of the diocese have invited all the communities and the Church in the world to pray for the bishop.
Msgr. Shao, 55, belongs to the unofficial community, not recognized by the government, but he is recognized by the Holy See as bishop of Wenzhou. In the last two years, he has been taken away by the police at least 5 times. The last time was in May 2017, he was only released after 7 months.
As an "underground" bishop, in the periods of kidnapping he is coerced to submit to the religious policy of China, which requires registration with the government and membership of the Patriotic Association (PA). But membership of these bodies implies adhering to the project of an "independent" Church [from the Holy See], which Msgr. Shao refuses. The Letter to the Chinese Catholics of Benedict XVI also judges the status of the PA as "irreconcilable with Catholic doctrine".
Despite being an "underground" bishop, Msgr. Shao is also appreciated by the official community The Catholic community in Wenzhou has about 130 thousand faithful, more than 80 thousand members of the unofficial community; there are priests 70, divided equally between the two branches. For decades the Wenzhou Church has been strongly divided. But now the two communities work together.
In the United Church of Wenzhou, even the official priests are subject to restrictions and controls. During the octave for the souls of the dead, official priests were forbidden to visit the tomb of some underground priests and bishops, highly esteemed by all the faithful.
In the official and unofficial churches, on Sundays, the police forbid minors under the age of 18 to enter the church and ensure that there is no Sunday catechism.
After the agreement between China and the Vatican on the appointment of bishops, the PA has stepped up controls and the persecution of underground communities, and reiterated in the meetings with the official clergy that the Chinese Church remains "independent", despite the agreement.
FULL TEXT Source: Asia News IT
Please PRAY for the Catholic Church in China....

#BreakingNews 2 Catholic Priests Die in Car Accident in India - RIP Fr. Maxim and Fr. John

Rest In Peace Fr Maxim Furtado (74) and Fr John D'Souza (73), both of whom were living at Vianney Home for Retired Priests when they died in an accident. Fr Joseph Martis, rector of St Joseph Seminary, Jeppu, who was driving the jeep, sustained minor injuries and admitted to hospital. He is recuperating. It was explained that they were going to Kulur church to take part in mass on the occasion of the birthday of parish priest Fr Harold D'Souza, when a speeding bullet tanker hit their vehicle from behind near Kottara Chowki. They were rushed to different hospitals, where Fr Maxim and Fr John were declared dead. Fr Maxim E Furtado, from Madanthyar, was born on November 19, 1941. He served at Thottam, Kota, Byndoor, Olavinahalli and other parishes. He retired from his service a year back and started staying at Vianney Home from last year. Fr John D'Souza, from Kinnigoli, was born on April 22, 1942. He served at Urwa, Angelore and Siddakatte and worked as professor at Jeppu seminary. He retired two years back and came to Vianney Home for his post-retirement life. During his tenure new church building at Urwa was built. Incidentally, both the deceased priests were ordained on the same day, that is, September 27, 1967. Dr Aloysius Paul D'Souza the bishop of Mangaluru visited the hospital after the tragic news came. MLA J R Lobo, priests and lots of people also visited the hospital. 

Wow Amazing New Catholic Video Series for Kids! The Opus Joyous Show - #CatholicKids!

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In addition to the main storyline continued through the 4 episodes, the Opus Joyous Show also features a debrief teaching session at the end of each episode lead by the loveable, quirky and high-energy Sister Mary Kate!
The Opus Joyous Show will bring you to the edge of your seat while the characters heroicly respond to Christ's call to bring his light to the world.  Head out on a high sea voyage, travel through time collecting relics from the life of Christ, meet Mother Mary and learn about the Catholic faith in this epic new Catholic adventure series like no other!

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Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday November 9, 2018 - #Eucharist

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Lectionary: 671

Reading 1EZ 47:1-2, 8-9, 12

The angel brought me
back to the entrance of the temple,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the fa├žade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the southern side.
He said to me,
"This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine."

Responsorial PsalmPS 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

R. (5) The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!

Reading 21 COR 3:9C-11, 16-17

Brothers and sisters:
You are God's building.
According to the grace of God given to me,
like a wise master builder I laid a foundation,
and another is building upon it.
But each one must be careful how he builds upon it,
for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there,
namely, Jesus Christ.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God's temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Alleluia2 CHR 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I have chosen and consecrated this house, says the Lord,
that my name may be there forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 2:13-22

Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money-changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money-changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
"Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father's house a marketplace."
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
"What sign can you show us for doing this?"
Jesus answered and said to them,
"Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."
The Jews said,
"This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?"
But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.

Pope Francis " ...people who sicken and often die as a result of contaminated water, is a great shame for humanity of the 21st century." FULL TEXT

Message of the Holy Father Francis
to the participants in the International Conference
“The management of a common asset: access to drinkable water for all”
Pontifical Urban University, 8 November 2018]

Mister Cardinal,
Magnificent Rector,
Brothers and sisters
I congratulate you for the organization of the Conference The management of a common asset: access to drinkable water for all.
Water is fundamental for life. In many areas of the world, our brothers and sisters cannot have a dignified life precisely due to the lack of access to clean water. The dramatic statistics on thirst, especially the situation of those people who sicken and often die as a result of contaminated water, is a great shame for humanity of the 21st century.
Unfortunately, in many of the countries where the population does not have regular access to drinkable water, there is no lack of supply of weapons and ammunition, which continue to deteriorate the situation! Corruption and the interests of an economy that excludes and kills too often prevail over efforts made in solidarity to guarantee access to water. The statistics on thirst demand commitment and determination, and all the institutional, organizational, educational, technological and financial efforts must not be lacking.
I have already proposed several considerations on this issue in the Encyclical Laudato si’, and in the recent Message for the Day of Prayer for the protection of creation. I hope that those who intervene and participate in this Conference may share in their professional and political environments the necessary urgency, will and determination. The Holy See and the Church are committed to promoting access to drinkable water for all. This commitment is made manifest in many initiatives such as the realization of infrastructure, training, advocacy, assistance to endangered populations whose water supply is compromised, including migrants, and the reiteration of the set of ethical references and principles that spring from the Gospel and from a healthy anthropology.
A suitable anthropology is indeed indispensable for responsible and solidary lifestyles, for a true ecology (cf. Laudato si’, 118; 122), as well as for the acknowledgement of access to water as a right deriving from human dignity, and therefore incompatible with the concept of water as an asset like any other. Gospel principles and values must lead to concrete effort on the part of all to achieve the common good of the entire human family (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 179-183). This Conference opportunely involves representatives of various faiths and cultures; the dual spiritual and cultural dimension of water must never be neglected, inasmuch as it is central in forming the social fabric, co-existence and community organization.
I invite you to reflect on the symbolism of water in the main religious traditions, also urging you to contemplate this resource that, as Saint Francis of Assisi wrote, is «multo utile et humile et preziosa et casta».
I implore the blessing of the Most High Creator upon each one of you, your families, and the initiatives aiming at a better management of water. I wish you all the best in your work, and I ask you, please, to pray for me.
From the Vatican, 7 November 2018