Tuesday, May 21, 2019

#BreakingNews Catholic Priest Killed who ran Institute for the Blind - RIP Fr. Landry Ikwel


AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - Congolese priest who ran the institute for the blind was killed in Beira
Tuesday, 21 May 2019
Beira (Agenzia Fides) - "In the face of the death of our brother Landry Ibil Ikwel, in the hospital of Beira (Mozambique) following a brutal attack in the community house in Beira, we join our hearts to those of our brothers and sisters in Africa in pain, in prayer and in trust in the one who died violently on the cross forgiving his aggressors, we ask the Lord that wherever death seeks to prevail, life prevails instead". This is the statement of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, sent to Fides, on the tragic death of Fr. Landry Ibil Ikwel, 34, killed on May 19 in Beira.
The priest was stabbed in his community, taken to the hospital where he died due to his wounds. Investigations are underway.
Of Congolese nationality, Fr. Landry entered the novitiate in 2008 and was ordained a priest three years ago, on 7 February 2016, in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was the director of the Institute of the blind in Beira (IDV-B), a structure whose mission is formation, rehabilitation, education, social integration of children, young people and blind adults from all over the country, ensuring everyone an adequate education according to individual abilities, and thus making them emerge from the marginalization to which the society relegates them.
On presenting the Institute, Fr. Landry wrote: "We believe that the Congregation has made an excellent choice in accepting the management of IDV-B. Our presence responds to our charism, mission and spirituality. It is an eloquent testimony of our "preferential option for the poor". We work as part of human promotion, of social inclusion of the poor. Molokai is everywhere. The missionary dynamic today invites us to go to the margins. We believe that the work of the Congregation at IDV-B is a concrete response to this call. This work is a great challenge for today's mission". (SL) (FULL TEXT Source: Agenzia Fides, 21/5/2019)

Pope Francis explains - Living in peace with Jesus is having this experience within, which remains during all trials.. in Homily


Pope at Mass: The peace of Jesus is like the calm of a deep sea
In his homily during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the gift of peace promised by Christ to His Apostles as He prepared to leave them. That peace does not come from the world, but from the Holy Spirit. It remains during trial, and even gives us courage to go forward with a smile in our hearts.
By Vatican News

Pope Francis’ homily considered the question of how we can reconcile the “tribulations” and persecutions suffered by St Paul, related in the first reading; with the peace that Jesus promised to His disciples in His final words during the Last Supper, “I leave you peace, my peace I give you”, which are recorded in the day’s Gospel.

“Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you”
Although a “life of persecution and tribulations seems to be a life without peace”, Pope Francis recalled the last of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account”.

The peace of Jesus goes with this life of persecution, of tribulation. A peace that is deep down, deep down, very profound to all these things. A peace that no one can touch, a peace that is a gift, like the sea that deep down is tranquil, while on the surface there are waves. Living in peace with Jesus is having this experience within, which remains during all trials, all difficulties, all “tribulations”.

The Christian carries the burdens of life without losing peace
This, the Pope said, is the only way we can understand how so many saints lived their final moments without losing peace, to the point that witnesses would say they went to their martyrdom “like guests to a wedding”. This is the gift of the “peace of Jesus”, he said, that we cannot obtain through human means, like going to a doctor or taking anti-anxiety drugs. This peace is something different, which comes from “the Holy Spirit within us”, and that brings with it “strength”.

Pope Francis gave the example of a hard-working man he met who, because of an illness, had to give up all his plans, but managed to remain at peace. “This is a Christian”, the Pope explained.

Peace, the peace of Jesus, teaches us to go forward in life. It teaches us to endure. To endure: a word we don’t understand well, a very Christian word, it means to carry a burden. To endure, to carry the burden of life, the difficulties, the labour, everything, without losing peace; but rather bearing the burden and having the courage to go forward. This can only be understood when there is the Holy Spirit within, who gives us the peace of Jesus.

On the other hand, Pope Francis said, if we get caught up in a kind of “fervent nervousness” and lose this peace, “there is something that isn’t working”.

Peace doesn’t mean losing a sense of humour
The Holy Father encouraged us to face the greatest difficulties of life with this “gift promised by Jesus”, instead of that false peace that comes from the world, or from having money in the bank. Going beyond the day’s readings, Pope Francis invited us to go forward in life with an even greater capacity, the ability to “make the heart smile”.

The person who lives this peace never loses their sense of humour. They know how to smile at themselves, at others, even when things are dark they know how to smile at everything… this sense of humour which is very close to the grace of God. The peace of Jesus in daily life, the peace of Jesus in tribulations and with that little sense of humour that helps us breathe easier. May the Lord grant us this peace that comes from the Holy Spirit, this peace that comes precisely from Him, and that helps us to endure, to carry, the many difficulties in life.
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican News va

#BreakingNews US Bishosps' say "We are gravely disappointed with the Act’s passage in the U.S..." on Equality Act.”

U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Respond to U.S. House Vote on Equality Act

May 17, 2019
WASHINGTON—Five chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have responded to the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Equality Act (H.R. 5) on May 17, 2019. The Act would add the new terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” as well as “pregnancy […] or a related medical condition,” to the definition of “sex” in federal civil rights laws; expand the types of entities covered under those laws; and exempt itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Upon the bill’s passage by 236 to 173 in the House, the bishops said:
“Our faith calls us to uphold every individual’s dignity and rights against unjust discrimination – including in employment, housing, and services – regardless of characteristics or background. Rather than offering meaningful protections for individuals, the Equality Act would impose sweeping new norms that negatively impact the unborn, health care, charitable services, schools, personal privacy, athletics, free speech, religious liberties, and parental rights. The Act’s unsound definitions of ‘sex’ and ’gender identity’ would erase women’s distinct, hard-won recognition in federal laws. Its sex-based nondiscrimination terms would end women’s shelters and many single-sex schools. It would close faith-based foster care and adoption agencies that honor children’s rights to a mother and father. The bill would even act as an abortion mandate. We must pursue justice and equality for anyone denied it; but this is a regrettable approach. We are gravely disappointed with the Act’s passage in the U.S. House.”
The statement was jointly issued by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education; Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; some of whom had sent or cosigned letters to Members of Congress in opposition to the Equality Act in the months leading up to Friday’s vote.
FULL TEXT Release from USCCB - US Catholic Bishops' Conference

Niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. calls new Pro-Life bills "civil rights" for Babies - #Mlkjr

In an interview with Breitbart News Dr. Alveda King, niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, spoke about the recent laws enacted to protect the unborn.
 Dr. Alveda King, told Breitbart News that the recently passed pro-life laws seek to grant “civil rights” to babies in the womb and protect women, not punish them. King was speaking on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with Breitbart Senior Editor Rebecca Mansour.
King pointed to a famous quote from her uncle: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” “America is right to be concerned,” King said of the abortion debate around the nation, but she argued that the pro-life laws in states like Alabama and George “won’t hurt” Republicans in 2020. “Now, people are saying, ‘They’re going to put women in jail.’ Absolutely not,” King said. “But doctors who insist on continuing to abort little people in the womb will have to answer, because the doctors themselves medically know that that is a person. That is a human being. Ultrasound shows that to all of us, now, and science has caught up with us.” King said, “    Alabama’s new abortion law “is not to punish women,” stated King, “but it is to stop and give the baby civil rights. So women won’t be hauled off to jail.” King reflected on her own experiences with abortion in describing the pro-life movement’s commitment to protecting children and not punishing mothers. “I had abortions years ago,” said King, “and I said, ‘If you really start jumping on the women, you’ll probably want to come after me, but he Lord has forgiven me.’ We’re not going on a headhunt for women with the law in Alabama.” King affirmed that these pro-life laws are aimed at “making sure women and babies are protected.”  .....
“The objective is to give the babies civil rights, to protect and to help the mothers, and then to strengthen the family. That is the goal. It’s not too harsh. It’s not too much. It’s not too extreme.” King went on, “People say, ‘Well, what about rape?’ Well, two wrongs don’t make a right. You kill an innocent person and do further harm the woman, but you don’t deal with the person that did it. All of that has to be examined.”
Excerpts from Breitbart news interview

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - #Eucharist in Eastertide


Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 286

Reading 1ACTS 14:19-28

In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city.
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
"It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the Kingdom of God."
They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the Church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
Then they spent no little time with the disciples.

Responsorial PsalmPS 145:10-11, 12-13AB, 21

R.(see 12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.
May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD,
and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaSEE LK 24:46, 26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead,
and so enter into his glory.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 14:27-31A

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
'I am going away and I will come back to you.'
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me."

Saint May 21 : St. Godric of Finchale : #Hermit



HERMIT

Born:
1069 at Walpole, Norfolk, England
Died:
1170 at Finchale, County Durham, England
He was born of very mean parents at Walpole, in Norfolk, and in his youth carried about little peddling wares which he sold in villages. Having by degrees improved his stock, he frequented cities and fairs, and made several voyages by sea to traffic in Scotland. In one of these he called at Holy Island, or Lindisfarne, where he was charmed and exceedingly edified with the retirement and religious deportment of the monks, and especially with the account which they gave him of the wonderful life of St. Cuthbert. He inquired of them every particular relating to him, visited every corner of that holy solitude and of the neighboring isle of Fame, and falling on his knees, prayed with many tears for grace to imitate the fervor of that saint in serving God, resolving for that purpose to give up all earthly pretensions. He entered upon a new course of life by a penitential devout pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and visited Compostella in his way home. After his return into Norfolk, he accepted the charge of house-steward in the family of a very rich man. The servants were not very regular, and for  their private junketings often trespassed upon their neighbors. Godrick finding he was not able to prevent these injustices, and that the nobleman took no notice of his complaints about them, being easy so long as he was no sufferer himself, left his place for fear of being involved in the guilt of such an injustice.

After making a pilgrimage to St. Giles in France, and to Rome, he went to the north of England in order the better to carry into execution his design of devoting himself wholly to a retired life. A fervent servant of God, named Godwin, who had passed a considerable time in the monastery of Durham, and by conversing with the most holy monks and exercising himself in the interior and exterior practices of all virtues, was well qualified to be a director to an inexperienced novice, joined our saint, and they led together an austere anchoretical life in a wilderness situated on the north to Carlisle, serving one another, and spending both the days and nights in the praises of God. After two years God called Godwin to himself by a happy death after a short sickness. St. Godrick having lost his companion, made a second painful pilgrimage to Jerusalem. After his return he passed some time in the solitude of Streneshalch, now Whitby; but after a year and some months went to Durham to offer up his prayers before the shrine of St. Cuthbert, and from thence retired into the desert of Finchal, or Finkley, three miles from Durham, near the river Wear. St. John Baptist and St. Cuthbert he chose for his principal patrons and models. The austerities which he practiced are rather to be admired than imitated. He had his regular tasks of devotion, consisting of psalms and other prayers which he had learned by heart, and which he constantly recited at midnight, break of day, and the other canonical hours, besides a great number of other devotions. Though he was ignorant of the very elements of learning, he was too well experienced in the happy art of conversing with God and his own soul ever to be at a loss how to employ his time in solitude. Whole days and nights seemed too short for his rapturous contemplations, one of which he often wished with St. Bruno he could have continued without interruption for eternity, in inflamed acts of adoration, compunction, love, or praise. His patience under the sharpest pains of sicknesses or ulcers, and all manner of trials, was admirable; but his humility was vet more astonishing. His conversation was meek, humble, and simple. He concealed as much as possible from the sight and knowledge of all men whatever might procure their esteem, and he was even unwilling any one should see or speak with him. Yet this he saw himself obliged to allow on certain days every week to such as came with the leave of the prior of Durham, under whose care and obedience he died. A monk of that house was his confessor, said mass for him, and administered him the sacraments in a chapel adjoining to his cell, which the holy man had built in honor of St. John Baptist. He was most averse from all pride and vanity, and never spoke of himself but as of the most sinful of creatures, a counterfeit hermit, an empty phantom of a religious man: lazy, slothful, proud, and imperious, abusing the charity of good people who assisted him with their alms. But the more the saint humbled himself, the more did God exalt him by his grace, and by wonderful miraculous gifts. For several years before his death he was confined to his bed by sickness and old age. William of Newbridge, who visited him during that time, tells us that though his body appeared in a manner dead, his tongue was ever repeating the sacred names of the three divine Persons, and in his countenance there appeared a wonderful dignity, accompanied with an unusual grace and sweetness. Having remained in the desert sixty-three years, he was seized with his last illness, and happily departed to his Lord on the 21st of May, 1170, in the reign of Henry II. His body was buried  in the chapel of St. John Baptist. Many miracles confirmed the opinion of his sanctity, and a little chapel was built in his memory by Richard, brother to Hugh Pidsey, bishop of Durham. See William of Newbridge, 1. 2, c. 20; Matthew Paris, Matthew of Westminster, his life written by Nicholas of Durham his confessarius, and abridged by Harpsfield, Saec. 12, c. 45. Source : Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler

Monday, May 20, 2019

Saint May 21 : St. Eugene de Mazenod the Founder of the Missionary Oblates who died in 1861 - #OMI


Eugene de Mazenod (1782-1861)

Bishop of Marseille, founder of the Congregation
of the Missionaries, Oblates of Mary Immaculate  

  
CHARLES JOSEPH EUGENE DE MAZENOD came into a world that was destined to change very quickly. Born in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France on August 1, 1782, he seemed assured of position and wealth from his family, who were of the minor nobility. However, the turmoil of the French Revolution changed all that forever. When Eugene was just eight years old his family fled France, leaving their possessions behind, and started a long and increasingly difficult eleven year exile.
Prayers: 
Eugene de Mazenod speaks to us God our Father, we thank you for having called Saint Eugene de Mazenod to follow Christ the Saviour and Evangelizer. Passionately in love with your Son Jesus and sharing in his compassion for humanity Eugene put himself unconditionally at the service of your Church for the evangelization of those most in need. Through his intercession, help us to reach out with the healing touch of Christ who calls us to Holiness and to Mission. May we build communities which are signs of your presence, and share the Good News of salvation with all peoples. For this we dedicate ourselves, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory be
 Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Share with us your love for Christ. Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Help us to stand firm in goodness. Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Be with us in all our efforts. Saint Eugene de Mazenod, pray for us. Amen
********** Biography
The Years in Italy
The Mazenod family, political refugees, trailed through a succession of cities in Italy. His father, who had been President of the Court of Accounts, Aids and Finances in Aix, was forced to try his hand at trade to support his family. He proved to be a poor businessman, and as the years went on the family came close to destitution. Eugene studied briefly at the College of Nobles in Turin, but a move to Venice meant the end to formal schooling. A sympathetic priest, Don Bartolo Zinelli, living nearby, undertook to educate the young French emigre. Don Bartolo gave the adolescent Eugene a fundamental education, but with a lasting sense of God and a regimen of piety which was to stay with him always, despite the ups and downs of his life. A further move to Naples, because of financial problems, led to a time of boredom and helplessness. The family moved again, this time to Palermo where, thanks to the kindness of the Duke and Duchess of Cannizzaro, Eugene had his first taste of noble living and found it very much to his liking. He took to himself the title of "Count" de Mazenod, did all the courtly things, and dreamed of a bright future.
Return to France: the Priesthood
In 1802, at the age of 20, Eugene was able to return to his homeland - and all his dreams and illusions were quickly shattered. He was just plain "Citizen" de Mazenod, France was a changed world, his parents had separated, his mother was fighting to get back the family possessions. She was also intent on marrying off Eugene to the richest possible heiress. He sank into depression, seeing little real future for himself. But his natural qualities of concern for others, together with the faith fostered in Venice began to assert themselves. He was deeply affected by the disastrous situation of the French Church, which had been ridiculed, attacked and decimated by the Revolution. A calling to the priesthood began to manifest itself, and Eugene answered that call. Despite opposition from his mother, he entered the seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris, and on December 21, 1811, he was ordained a priest in Amiens.

Apostolic endeavours: Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Returning to Aix-en-Provence, he did not take up a normal parish appointment, but started to exercise his priesthood in the care of the truly spiritually needy-prisoners, youth, servants, country villagers. Often in the face of opposition from the local clergy, Eugene pursued his course. Soon he sought out other equally zealous priests who were prepared to step outside the old, even outmoded, structures. Eugene and his men preached in Provencal, the language of the common people, not in "educated" French. From village to village they went, instructing at the level of the people, spending amazingly long hours in the confessional. In between these parish missions the group joined in an intense community life of prayer, study and fellowship. They called themselves "Missionaries of Provence". However, so that there would be an assured continuity in the work, Eugene took the bold step of going directly to the Pope and asking that his group be recognized officially as a Religious Congregation of pontifical right. His faith and his persistence paid off-and on February 17d, 1826, Pope Leo XII approved the new Congregation, the "Oblates of Mary Immaculate". Eugene was elected Superior General, and continued to inspire and guide his men for 35 years, until his death. Together with their growing apostolic endeavours-preaching, youth work, care of shrines, prison chaplaincy, confessors, direction of seminaries, parishes - Eugene insisted on deep spiritual formation and a close community life. He was a man who loved Christ with passion and was always ready to take on any apostolate if he saw it answering the needs of the Church. The "glory of God, the good of the Church and the sanctification of souls" were impelling forces for him.
Bishop o f Marseilles
The Diocese of Marseilles had been suppressed after the 1802 Concordat, and when it was re-established, Eugene's aged uncle, Canon Fortune de Mazenod, was named Bishop. He appointed Eugene Vicar General immediately, and most of the difficult work of re-building the Diocese fell to him. Within a few years, in 1832, Eugene himself was named auxiliary bishop. His Episcopal ordination took place in Rome, in defiance of the pretensions of the French Government that it had the right to sanction all such appointments. This caused a bitter diplomatic battle, and Eugene was caught in the middle, with accusations, misunderstandings, threats, and recriminations swirling around him. It was an especially devastating time for him, further complicated by the growing pains of his religious family. Though battered, Eugene steered ahead resolutely, and finally the impasse was broken. Five years later, he was appointed to the See of Marseilles as its Bishop, when Bishop Fortune retired.
A heart as big as the world
Whilst he had founded the Oblates of Mary Immaculate primarily to serve the spiritually needy and deprived of the French countryside, Eugene's zeal for the Kingdom of God and his devotion to the Church moved the Oblates to the advancing edge of the apostolate. His men ventured into Switzerland, England, Ireland. Because of his zeal, Eugene had been dubbed "a second Paul," and bishops from the missions came to him asking for Oblates for their expanding mission fields. Eugene responded willingly despite small initial numbers, and sent his men out to Canada, to the United States, to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), to South Africa, to Basutoland (Lesotho). As missionaries in his mould, they fanned out preaching, baptising, caring. They frequently opened up previously uncharted lands, established and manned many new dioceses, and in a multitude of ways they "left nothing undared that the Kingdom of Christ might be advanced." In the years that followed, the Oblate mission thrust continued, so that today the impulse of Eugene de Mazenod is alive in his men in 68 different countries.
Pastor of his Diocese
During all this ferment of missionary activity, Eugene was an outstanding pastor of the Church of Marseilles-ensuring the best seminary training for his priests, establishing new parishes, building the city's cathedral and the spectacular Shrine of Notre Dame de la Garde above the city, encouraging his priests to lives of holiness, introducing many Religious Congregations to work in the diocese, leading his fellow Bishops in support of the rights of the Pope. He grew into a towering figure in the French Church. In 1856, Napoleon III appointed him a Senator, and at his death he was the senior bishop of France.
Legacy of a Saint
May 21, 1861, saw Eugene de Mazenod returning to his God, at the age of 79, after a life crowded with achievements, many of them born in suffering. For his religious family and for his diocese, he was a founding and life-giving source: for God and for the Church, he was a faithful and generous son. As he lay dying he left his Oblates a final testament, "Among yourselves-charity, charity, charity: in the world-zeal for souls." The Church in declaring him a saint on December 3, 1995, crowns these two pivots of his living-love and zeal. His life and his deeds remain for all a window unto God Himself. And that is the greatest gift that Eugene de Mazenod, Oblate of Mary Immaculate, can offer us.
Text from the Vatican.va Website

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Pope Francis explains "Jesus loved us first, he loved us despite our frailties, our limitations..." Full Text + Video



REGINA COELI

St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 19 May 2019


Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today's Gospel leads us to the Cenacle to make us hear some of the words that Jesus addressed to the disciples in the "farewell speech" before his passion. After having washed the feet of the Twelve, He says to them: "I give you a new commandment: that you love one another. As I have loved you, so let you also love one another "(Jn 13:34). But in what sense does Jesus call this commandment "new"? Because we know that already in the Old Testament God had commanded the members of his people to love their neighbor as themselves (see Lv 19:18). Jesus himself, to those who asked him what was the greatest commandment of the Law, answered that the first is to love God with all one's heart and the second to love one's neighbor as oneself (see Mt 22: 38-39).

So what is the novelty of this commandment that Jesus entrusts to his disciples? Why do you call it a "new commandment"? The ancient commandment of love has become new because it was completed with this addition: "as I have loved you", "love you as I have loved you". The novelty is all in the love of Jesus Christ, the one with which he gave his life for us. It is a question of the love of God, universal, without conditions and without limits, which finds its apex on the cross. In that moment of extreme lowering, in that moment of abandonment to the Father, the Son of God has shown and given to the world the fullness of love. Thinking back to the passion and agony of Christ, the disciples understood the meaning of those words of his: "As I have loved you, so let you also love one another".

Jesus loved us first, he loved us despite our frailties, our limitations and our human weaknesses. It was He who made us become worthy of his love that knows no limits and never ends. By giving us the new commandment, he asks us to love each other not only and not so much with our love, but with his, which the Holy Spirit infuses in our hearts if we invoke him with faith. In this way - and only in this way - we can love each other not only as we love ourselves, but as He loved us, that is immensely more. God loves us much more than we love ourselves. And so we can spread everywhere the seed of love that renews relationships between people and opens horizons of hope. Jesus always opens horizons of hope, his love opens horizons of hope. This love makes us become new men, brothers and sisters in the Lord, and makes us the new People of God, that is, the Church, in which all are called to love Christ and in Him to love one another.

The love that is manifested in the cross of Christ and that He calls us to live is the only force that transforms our heart of stone into a heart of flesh; the only force capable of transforming our heart is the love of Jesus, if we also love with this love. And this love makes us capable of loving our enemies and forgiving those who have offended us. I will ask you a question, everyone will answer in his heart. Am I capable of loving my enemies? We all have people, I don't know if they are enemies, but that doesn't agree with us, who is "on the other side"; or does anyone have people who hurt them ... am I capable of loving those people? That man, that woman who hurt me, who offended me? Am I able to forgive him? Everyone responds in his heart. The love of Jesus makes us see the other as a present or future member of the community of the friends of Jesus; it stimulates us to dialogue and helps us to listen to and know each other. Love opens us to the other, becoming the basis of human relationships. It makes us able to overcome the barriers of our weaknesses and prejudices. The love of Jesus in us creates bridges, teaches new ways, triggers the dynamism of fraternity. May the Virgin Mary help us, with her maternal intercession, to welcome from her Son Jesus the gift of his commandment, and from the Holy Spirit the strength to practice it in everyday life.

 After the Regina Coeli

Dear brothers and sisters!

Yesterday in Madrid, Maria Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri was beatified, a faithful laity of Opus Dei, who joyfully served her brothers by combining teaching and the proclamation of the Gospel. His testimony is an example for Christian women engaged in social and scientific research. Let's applaud the new Blessed, all together!

I address my cordial greetings to you, pilgrims from Italy and from different countries. In particular those from Mexico, California, Haiti; to the faithful of Cordoba (Spain) and of Viseu (Portugal); to the students of Pamplona and Lisbon.
I greet the Canonesses of the Cross on the centenary of their foundation; the leaders of the Community of St. Egidio from different countries; the Polish pilgrims, in particular the scouts, accompanied by the Military Ordinary, who came on the 75th anniversary of the battle of Montecassino.

I greet the faithful of Biancavilla and Cosenza; those of Pallagorio with the choir; the boys of the Confirmation of Senigallia and Campi Bisenzio; the choir of San Marzano sul Sarno and that of San Michele in Bolzano; the School of the Daughters of St. Anne in Bologna and the cyclists of the Bambino Gesù Hospital.

I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!

#BreakingNews 15,000 at March for Life in Rome, Italy - 9th Annual Pro-Life Event - Video




Thousands of Pro-Lifers and many youth at "March for Life" in Rome, Italy.

  Around 15,000 pro-lifers marched against abortion and euthanasia in the annual event on the weekend in Rome. This was reported by the Italian newspaper "Avvenire" (Sunday), citing the organizers. The participants included international associations for the protection of life, bishops, priests and religious, as well as Cardinals Willem Jacobus Eijk (Netherlands) and Raymond Burke (USA). It was about "defending the right to life from conception to natural death", quoted "Avvenire" the spokeswoman for the Italian "Marcia per la Vita", Virginia Coda Nunziante.

The demonstration took place in Italy for the ninth time. Pro-Life movements gather around the world on different dates every year for similar protest marches, for example in Berlin, Paris, Washington or Poland.
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Today's Mass Readings and Video : Mon. May 20, 2019 - #Eucharist in Eastertide


Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter


Lectionary: 285

Reading 1 ACTS 14:5-18

There was an attempt in Iconium
by both the Gentiles and the Jews,
together with their leaders,
to attack and stone Paul and Barnabas.
They realized it,
and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe
and to the surrounding countryside,
where they continued to proclaim the Good News.

At Lystra there was a crippled man, lame from birth,
who had never walked. 
He listened to Paul speaking, who looked intently at him,
saw that he had the faith to be healed,
and called out in a loud voice, "Stand up straight on your feet."
He jumped up and began to walk about.
When the crowds saw what Paul had done,
they cried out in Lycaonian,
"The gods have come down to us in human form." 
They called Barnabas "Zeus" and Paul "Hermes,"
because he was the chief speaker.
And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city,
brought oxen and garlands to the gates,
for he together with the people intended to offer sacrifice.

The Apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their garments
when they heard this and rushed out into the crowd, shouting,
"Men, why are you doing this? 
We are of the same nature as you, human beings. 
We proclaim to you good news
that you should turn from these idols to the living God,
who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them.
In past generations he allowed all Gentiles to go their own ways;
yet, in bestowing his goodness,
he did not leave himself without witness,
for he gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons,
and filled you with nourishment and gladness for your hearts."
Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds
from offering sacrifice to them.

Responsorial PsalmPS 115:1-2, 3-4, 15-16

R.(1ab) Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name give glory
because of your mercy, because of your truth.
Why should the pagans say,
"Where is their God?"
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.
May you be blessed by the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
Heaven is the heaven of the LORD,
but the earth he has given to the children of men.
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 14:26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


GospelJN 14:21-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him."
Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him,
"Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us
and not to the world?"
Jesus answered and said to him,
"Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

"I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit 
whom the Father will send in my nameB 
he will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you."

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Saint May 20 St. Bernardine of Siena who is the Patron of #Gamblers and Advertisers

 
St. Bernardine of Siena


FRANCISCAN PREACHER AND MISSIONARY

Feast Day:
May 20
Born:
1380, Massa Marittima, Italy
Died:
1444, Aquila, Italy
Canonized:
24 May 1450 by Pope Nicholas V
Patron of:
advertisers; advertising; Aquila, Italy; chest problems; Italy; gambling addicts; public relations personnel; public relations work; respitory illnesses
Prayer:
Saint Bernardine, who propagated the devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus, give us a tender love for the Redeemer and obtain for us protection from respiratory illnesses, with which you yourself were tried.  We ask this through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
-Pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be

**********
St. Bernardine, a true disciple of St. Francis, and an admirable preacher of the word of God, inflamed with the most ardent love of our divine Redeemer, was made by God an instrument to kindle the same holy fire in innumerable souls, and to inspire them with his spirit of humility and meekness. He was born at Massa in 1380, of the noble family of Albizeschi, in the republic of Sienna. He lost his mother when he was but three years old, and his father, who was chief magistrate of Massa, before he was seven. The care of his education devolved on a virtuous aunt called Diana who infused into his tender soul ardent sentiments of piety towards God, and a tender devotion to his blessed Mother. This aunt always loved him as if he had been her own son; and indeed his towardly dispositions won him exceedingly the affections of all who ever had the care of him. He was modest, humble, and devout; and took great delight in prayer, visiting churches, serving at mass, and hearing sermons, which he would repeat again to his companions with an admirable memory and gracefulness of action. In that tender age he had a great compassion for the poor. One day it happened that his aunt sent away a poor person from the door without an alms, because there was but one loaf in the house for the dinner of the family. Bernardine was much troubled to see the beggar go away unrelieved, and said to his aunt, "For God's sake, let us give something to this poor man; otherwise I will neither dine nor sup this day. I had rather the poor should have a dinner than myself." This  wonderfully comforted his good aunt, who never ceased to incite him to all virtues, and, according to his strength, to accustom himself by degrees to fasting. Young as he was, he fasted every Saturday in honor of the blessed Virgin; which pious custom he always continued. At eleven years of age he was called to Sienna by his uncles, and put to school under the ablest masters, who all admired the quickness of his parts, and the solidity of his judgment; but much more, his docility, modesty, and virtue. If he chanced to hear any word the least unbecoming, he, by blushing, testified what confusion it gave him, and how much it wounded his very heart; and though he was otherwise most condescending, civil, and respectful to all, he could never bear with patience any indecent discourse. For a single word of that kind he so severely reprimanded a man of quality, that it was to him a warning during the remainder of his life to govern his tongue; and many years alter, hearing Bernardine preach, he was so moved that he seemed to be drowned in tears. The modesty of the virtuous youth was a check to the most impudent, and kept them in awe in his presence: in whatever company, if the conversation was too free, it was dropped when he appeared, and the very loosest rakes would say, "Hush! here comes Bernardine:" as the presence of Cato among the Romans restrained the lewd libertinism of a festival.1 Nor did the saint behave on these occasions in such a manner as might render virtue the subject of ridicule, but with a surprising dignity. Nevertheless, an impure monster had once the insolence to make an attempt upon his virginal purity, and to solicit him to sin. But the saint, not content to testify his scorn and indignation, excited the whole troop of his little innocent playfellows against the lewd villain, who pelted him with clods and stones, and made him ashamed any more to show his face. Bernardine was exceeding comely and beautiful; but his known virtue secured him from any further assaults; and he never ceased to beg of God the grace of purity, particularly through the intercession of the blessed  Virgin Mary. When he had completed the course of his philosophy, he applied himself to the study of civil and canon law, and afterwards of that of the holy scriptures, with such ardor that he could never from that time relish any other study.
PRAYER O God, who gave the Priest Saint Bernardine of Siena a great love for the holy Name of Jesus, grant through his merits and prayers, that we may ever be set aflame with the spirit of your love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Saint Bernardine, please help those struggling with the addiction to Gambling. We ask this in the name of Jesus. AMEN St. Bernardine of Siena, Pray for Us!

At seventeen years of age he enrolled himself in the confraternity of Our Lady in the hospital of Scala, to serve the sick. Here he began with new vigor to tame his flesh by severe fasts, watchings, hair-shirts, disciplines, and other austerities; but he applied himself more to the interior mortification of his will, which rendered him always most mild, sweet, patient, and affable to every one. He had served this hospital four years, when, in 1400, a dreadful pestilence which had already made great havoc in several other parts of Italy, and was increased by the concourse of pilgrims to the jubilee, reached Sienna; insomuch that twelve, eighteen, or twenty persons died every day in this hospital; and among others were carried off almost all the priests, apothecaries, and servants, that belonged to the place. Bernardine therefore  persuaded twelve young men to bear him company in the service of the hospital, expecting heaven for their speedy recompense; and they all strove which should come up the nearest to Bernardine in cheerfulness, humility, and assiduity in performing the most sacred offices, and in exerting themselves in the service of the sick. The saint was intrusted in a manner with the whole care of the hospital, which, in the space of four months, he put into excellent order. It is hardly credible how many lives he saved, or with what charity and pains he night and day attended the patients, and furnished them with every comfort and succor which it was in his power to afford them. God preserved him from the contagion during these four months, at the end of which the pestilence ceased. He then returned home, but sick of a fever which he had contracted by his fatigues, which obliged him to keep his bed four months; during which time he edified the city, no less by his resignation and patience, than he had done by his charity. He was scarce well recovered when he returned to the like works of charity, and with incredible patience attended a dying aunt for fourteen months, named Bartholomaea, a woman of great piety, who was blind and bedridden. When God had called her to himself, Bernardine retired to a house at some distance from the city, making the walls of his garden the bounds of his enclosure. Here, in solitude, fasting, and prayer, he endeavored to learn the will of God in the choice of a state of life. After some time he took the habit of the order of St. Francis, among the fathers of the Strict Observance at Colombiere, a solitary convent a few miles from Sienna; and after the year of his novitiate, made his profession on the 8th of September, 1404. Having been born on the feast of the Nativity of the blessed Virgin, out of devotion to her, he chose the same day for the principal actions of his life: on it he took the religious habit, made his vows, said his first mass, and preached his first sermon. His fervor increased daily; and while some sought interpretations to mollify the severity of the rule, he was always studying to add to it greater austerities and heroic practices of virtue, the more perfectly to crucify in himself the old man. He was pleased with insults and humiliations, and whatever could be agreeable to the most ardent spirit of humility and self-denial. When he went through the streets in a threadbare short habit, the boys sometimes cast stones at him, with injurious language; in which contempt the saint found a singular joy and satisfaction. He showed the same sentiments when a near kinsman with bitter invectives reproached him, as disgracing his friends by the mean and contemptible manner of life he bad embraced. These and all other virtues he learned in the living book of Christ crucified, which he studied night and day, often prostrate before a crucifix, from which he seemed one day to hear our Lord speak thus to him: "My son, behold me hanging upon a cross: if thou lovest me, or art desirous to imitate me, be thou also fastened naked to thy cross, and follow me; thus thou wilt assuredly find me." In the same school he learned an insatiable zeal for the salvation of souls, redeemed by the blood of Christ. Having in retirement prepared himself for the office of preaching, his superiors ordered him to employ his talent that way for the benefit of others. He labored under a natural impediment from weakness and hoarseness of voice; the removal of which obstacle he obtained by addressing himself to his glorious patroness, the mother of God. For fourteen years his labors were confined to his own country; but when the reputation of his virtue was spread abroad, he shone as a bright light to the whole church.

In vain cloth the minister of God confide in the weak resources of mere human eloquence and pomp of words, by which he rather debases the dignity and majesty of the sacred oracles: while he pleases the ear and gains the applause of his audience, he leaves their hearts dry. The great apostle of Andalusia, the venerable holy John D'Avila, being desired to lay down some rules for the art of preaching, answered, he knew no other art than the most ardent love of God and zeal for his honor. He used to say to young clergymen, that one word spoken by a man of prayer would do more good, and have a more powerful influence, than all the most eloquent discourses; for it is only the language of the heart that speaks to the heart; and a life of mortification and prayer not only draws down the dew of the divine benediction upon the labors of the preacher, but it replenishes his soul with a sincere spirit of humility, compunction, and all virtues, and with an experimental knowledge and feeling sense of the great truths which he delivers. Zealous ministers who are filled with the Spirit of God, are a great blessing to the people among whom they labor; and this reflection unfolds the secret how saints possess so extraordinary a grace of converting souls to God. This was the excellent talent of Bernardine. They who heard him preach felt their souls to melt in sentiments of compunction, divine love, humility, and the contempt of the world, and returned home new men, striking their breasts, and bathed in tears. The word, of God was in his mouth as a fire, and as a hammer breaking the hardest rocks. Another eminent preacher of his order being asked the reason why his sermons did not produce equal fruit with those of Bernardine, answered, "Brother Bernardine is a fiery glowing coal. What is only warm hath not the power of kindling a fire in others like the burning coal." The saint himself being consulted what was the way to preach with profit, gave this rule: "In all your actions seek in the first place the kingdom of God and his glory; direct all you do purely to his honor; persevere in brotherly charity, and practice first all that you desire to teach others. By this means the Holy Ghost will be your master, and will give you such wisdom and such a tongue that no adversary will be able to stand against you." This he faithfully practiced, and from his assiduous communication with God he imbibed that eminent spirit of virtue which gave him the most powerful ascendant over the hearts of men. Among the great truths of religion, he principally labored to inculcate a sincere contempt of the vanity of the world, and an ardent love of our blessed Redeemer. He wished he could cry out with a trumpet which could be heard over the whole earth, that he might sound aloud in the ears of all men that great oracle of the Holy Ghost: O ye sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? Why do you love vanity, and seek after lying? O children, how long will you love childishness?3 And he never ceased with the thunder of his voice to raise men from grovelling always on this earth, to the important consideration of the things which belong to their eternal welfare, and to the love of Jesus Christ. So much was he affected with the mysteries of the incarnation and sufferings of the Son of God, that he could never pronounce his sacred name without appearing in transports of love and adoration. Often at the end of his sermon he showed to the people the sacred name of Jesus curiously cut on a board with gold letters, inviting them to adore Christ with him on their knees, reciting a pious doxology. This was misconstrued by some, who also cavilled at certain expressions which he had used. Upon their complaints, pope Martin V. summoned him to appear, and commanded him silence for a while. The humble saint meekly acquiesced without making any reply. But his holiness, after a full examination of his doctrine and conduct, dismissed him with his benediction, high commendations, and ample leave to preach everywhere. The same pope pressed him to accept the bishopric of Sienna in 1427; but he declined that dignity, alleging for his excuse, that if he were confined to one church, he could no longer employ himself in the service of so many souls. In 1431 he no less resolutely refused that of Ferrara, which Eugenius III. earnestly desired to confer upon him, and again that of Urbino, in 1435. When the saint preached first at Milan, the haughty duke Philip Mary Visconti took offence at certain things which he had said in his sermons, and threatened him with death if he should presume to speak any more on such subjects; but the saint declared, that no greater happiness could befall him than to die for the truth. The duke, to try him, sent him a present of one hundred ducats of gold in a golden bowl. The saint excused himself from receiving the money to two different messengers; but being compelled by a third to accept it, he took the messenger with him to the prisons, and laid it all out in his presence in releasing debtors. This disinterestedness turned the duke's aversion into the greatest veneration for the saint ever after.

St. Bernardine preached several times through the greatest part of Italy; some say also in Spain; but this seems uncertain. Nothing was more spoken of over all Italy than the wonderful fruit of his sermons, miraculous conversions, restitution of ill-gotten goods, reparations of injuries, and heroic examples of virtue. The factions of the Guelfs and Ghibellins then horribly divided many cities of Italy, and gave frequent employment to the saint. Hearing once of a great dissension at Perugia, he hastened thither from the marquisate of Ancona, and entering the city, thus addressed the inhabitants, "God, who is highly offended at this division among you, hath sent me, as his angel, to proclaim peace to men of good will upon earth." After preaching four sermons to persuade them to a mutual forgiveness of all injuries, and a general amnesty, at the end of the last he bade all those who forgave each other and desired to live in peace, to pass to the right hand. All present did so except one young nobleman, who stayed on the left, muttering some thing between his teeth. The saint, after a severe reproach, foretold him his sudden death, which happened soon after, and without the benefit of the sacraments. In 1433 he accompanied the emperor Sigismund to his coronation at Rome; after which he retired for a short time to Sienna, where he put the finishing hand to his works.

Amidst the greatest applause and honors, the most sincere humility always appeared in his words and actions; and he ever studied to conceal the talents with which God had enriched him. How great his esteem of humility was, he testified when a brother of his order asked him the means by which he might speedily arrive at perfection. The saint, instead of giving him any answer by words, threw himself at his feet; showing at the same time his own great affection to humility, and also that this virtue raises the soul to divine love and every grace. God, however, was pleased to honor his servant before men. Besides several predictions and miraculous cures of many lepers and other sick persons, the saint is recorded to have raised four dead to life. He was appointed vicar-general of his order of the Strict Observance in Italy, in 1438, in which he settled a rigorous reformation; but, after five years, obtained a discharge from his office; and in his old age continued the function of preaching through Romania, Ferrara, and Lombardy. He returned to Sienna in 1444, preached a most pathetic farewell sermon at Massa on concord and unity, and being taken ill of a malignant fever on the road, still preached as usual till he arrived at Aquila in Abruzzo. There, being confined to his bed, he prepared himself for his passage out of this life by the rites of the church. When he was speechless, he made a sign to be taken off his bed and laid upon the floor; where, lifting up his eyes to heaven, he surrendered his pure soul into the hands of his Creator on the 20th of May, 1444, after a life of sixty-three years, eight months, and thirteen days. His tomb was rendered illustrious by many miracles, and he was canonized by Nicholas V. in 1450. His body is kept in a crystal shrine, enclosed in one of silver, in the church of his order at Aquila.
Source Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler