Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Saint November 20 : St. Edmund the Martyr - a King of England and Patron against Plague, Kings, torture victims, wolves

St. Edmund the Martyr

841 probably at Nuremburg, Germany
Hoxne, Suffolk, England 20 November 870
Patron of:
against plague, kings, torture victims, wolves

Though from the time of King Egbert, in 802, the Kings of the West-Saxons were monarchs of all England, yet several kings reigned in certain parts after that time, in some measure subordinate to them. One Offa was King of the East-Angles, who, being desirous to end his days in penance and devotion to Rome, resigned his crown to St. Edmund, at that time only fifteen years of age, but a most virtuous prince, and descended from the old English-Saxon kings of this isle. The saint was placed on the throne of his ancestors, as Lydgate, Abbo, and others express themselves, and was crowned by Humbert, Bishop of Elman, on Christmas Day, in 855, at Burum, a royal villa on the Stour, now called Bures, or Buers. Though very young, he was by his piety, goodness, humility, and all other virtues, the model of good princes. He was a declared enemy of flatterers and informers, and would see with his own eyes and hear with his own ears, to avoid being surprised into a wrong judgment, or imposed upon by the passions or ill designs of others. The peace and happiness of his people were his whole concern, which he endeavoured to establish by an impartial administration of justice and religious regulations in his dominions. He was the father of his subjects, particularly of the poor, the protector of widows and orphans, and the support of the weak. Religion and piety were the most distinguishing part of his character. Monks and devout persons used to know the psalter without book, that they might recite the psalms at work, in travelling, and on every other occasion. To get it by heart St. Edmund lived in retirement a whole year in his royal tower at Hunstanton (which he had built for a country solitude), which place is now a village in Norfolk. The book which the saint used for that purpose was religiously kept at St. Edmundsbury till the dissolution of abbeys.

The holy king had reigned fifteen years when the Danes infested his dominions. Hinguar and Hubba, two brothers, the most barbarous of all the Danish plunderers landing in England, wintered among the East-Angles; then, having made a truce with that nation, they in summer sailed to the north, and landing at the mouth of the Tweed, plundered with fire and sword Northumberland, and afterwards Mercia, directing their march through Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, and Cambridgeshire. Out of a lust of rage and cruelty, and the most implacable aversion to the Christian name, they everywhere destroyed the churches and monasteries; and, as it were in barbarous sport, massacred all priests and religious persons whom they met with. In the great monastery of Coldingham, beyond Berwick, the nuns, fearing not death but insults which might be offered to their chastity, at the instigation of St. Ebba, the holy abbess, cut off their noses and upper lips, that appearing to the barbarians frightful spectacles of horror, they might preserve their virtue from danger; the infidels accordingly were disconcerted at such a sight, and spared their virtue, but put them all to the sword. In their march, amongst other monasteries, those of Bardney, Crowland, Peterborough, Ely, and Huntingdon were levelled with the ground, and the religious inhabitants murdered. In the Cathedral of Peterborough is shown a monument (removed thither from a place without the building) called Monks'-Stone, on which are the effigies of an abbot and several monks. It stood over the pit in which fourscore monks of this house were interred, whom Hinguar and Hubba massacred in 870. The barbarians, reeking with blood, poured down upon St. Edmund's dominions, burning Thetford, the first town they met with, and laying waste all before them. The people, relying upon the faith of treaties, thought themselves secure, and were unprepared. However, the good king raised what forces he could, met the infidels, or at least a part of their army near Thetford, and discomfited them. But seeing them soon after reinforced with fresh numbers, against which his small body was not able to make any stand, and being unwilling to sacrifice the lives of his soldiers in vain, and grieving for the eternal loss of the souls of his enemies, who would be slain in a fruitless engagement, he disbanded his troops and retired himself towards his castle of Framlingham, in Suffolk. The barbarian had sent him proposals which were inconsistent both with religion and with the justice which he owed to his people. These the saint rejected, being resolved rather to die a victim of his faith and duty to God, than to do anything against his conscience and religion. In his flight he was over taken and surrounded by infidels at Oxon, upon the Waveney: he concealed himself for some short time, but, being discovered, was bound with heavy chains and conducted to the general's tent. Terms were again offered him equally prejudicial to religion and to his people, which the holy Icing refused to confirm, declaring that religion was dearer to him than his life, which he would never purchase by offending God. Hinguar, exasperated at this answer, in his barbarous rage caused him to be cruelly beaten with cudgels, then to be tied to a tree and torn a long time together with whips. All this he bore with invincible meekness and patience, never ceasing to call upon the name of Jesus. The infidels were the more exasperated, and as he stood bound to the tree, they made him a mark wantonly to shoot at, till his body was covered with arrows like a porcupine. Hinguar at length, in order to put an end to the butchery, commanded his head to be struck off. Thus the saint finished his martyrdom on the 20th of November, in 870, the fifteenth of his reign, and twenty-ninth of his age; the circumstances of which St. Dunstan learned from one who was armour-bearer to the saint and an eye-witness. The place was then called Henglesdun, now Hoxon, or Hoxne; a priory of monks was afterwards built there which bore the name of the martyr.
The saint's head was carried by the infidels into a wood and thrown into a brake of bushes; but miraculously found by a pillar of light and deposited with the body at Hoxdon. These sacred remains were very soon after conveyed to Bedricsworth, or Kingston, since called St. Edmundsbury, because this place was St. Edmund's own town and private patrimony; not on account of his burial, for in the English-Saxon language signified a court or palace. A church of timber was erected over the place where he was interred, which was thus built according to the fashion of those times. Trunks of large trees were sawn lengthways in the middle and reared up with one end fixed in the ground, with the bark or rough side outermost. These trunks being made of an equal height and set up close to one another, and the interstices filled up with mud or mortar, formed the four walls, upon which was raised a thatched roof. Nor can we be surprised at the homeliness of this structure, since the same was the fabric of the royal rich abbey of Glastonbury, the work of the most munificent and powerful West-Saxon kings, till in latter ages it was built in a stately manner of stone. The precious remains of St. Edmund were honoured with many miracles. In 920, for fear of the barbarians under Turkil the Dane, in the reign of King Ethelred, they were conveyed to London by Alfun, bishop of that city, and the monk Egelwin, or Ailwin, the keeper of this sacred treasure, who never abandoned it. After remaining three years in the Church of St. Gregory, in London, it was translated again with honour to St. Edmundsbury in 923. The great church of timberwork stood till King Knute, or Canutus, to make reparation for the injuries his father Swein, or Sweno, had done to this place and to the relics of the martyr, built and founded there, in 1020, a new most magnificent church and abbey in honour of this holy martyr. The unparalleled piety, humility, meekness, and other virtues of St. Edmund are admirably set forth by our historians. This incomparable prince and holy martyr was considered by succeeding English kings as their special patron, and as an accomplished model of all royal virtues. The feast of St. Edmund is reckoned among the holidays of precept in this kingdom by the national council of Oxford in 1222; but is omitted in the constitutions of Archbishop Simon Islep, who retrenched certain holidays in 1362.
SOURCE The Catholic Encyclopedia
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Wow Pope Francis Invites 1,500 Poor People to Lunch at Vatican served by Volunteers on Annual World Day of the Poor - Video

Pope Francis invited about 1.500 poor people to lunch to mark the 3rd World Day of the Poor.

Vatican News reported that it has become customary to invite the poor for lunch at the Vatican on this day. It was 3 years ago that the World Day of the Poor was established by Pope Francis to mark the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. In fact, the Pope joined poor people and volunteers in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall for lunch on Sunday, November 17, 2019.

The Holy Father celebrated Mass for the poor in St. Peter’s Basilica,and described the poor as “the treasure of the Church” and told believers “the poor facilitate our access to heaven”. Afterwards, the Pope addressed  the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer and indicated the statistics regarding poverty and society’s painful indifference.

It was then that the lunch was served in the Paul VI Hall for about 1,500 poor people and about 50 volunteers in the nearby Paul VI Hall. The lunch composed of lasagna, chicken with mushrooms and potatoes, dessert, fruit and espresso coffee.

 Image Source: Screenshot - Youtube - Text edited from VaticanNews

#BreakingNews over 11,000 at March for Life in the Netherlands with many Young Pro-Lifers saying “we love them both” - Watch Video

Right to Life UK reports that there were thousands at the annual March for life in the Netherlands following a poll showing youth are now the most pro-life generation.
Posted on November 18, 2019

Over 11,000 people joined the Netherlands ‘March For Life’ 2019 to proclaim the right to life of unborn babies and highlight the suffering that abortion brings.

Campaigners marched in silence through the city of Utrecht carrying signs that said: “we stand up for the rights of the unborn child,” “we love them both” and “I am the pro-life generation”.

The organisers of the event, noted that a “striking” number of young people were in attendance.

The Leader of the Reformed Political Party, Kees Van der Staaij, also noted the young crowd, saying: “more and more younger people say that it has gone too far how that is arranged in the Netherlands”. He added: “There is change in the air”.

Gert Jan Maarten Segers, a member of the Christian Union Party, said: “It is 2019, not 1970. Young people think more critically about abortion and are open to arguments. How encouraging is that!”

Researchers at Tilburg University found that Dutch people in their 20s and 30s are more likely to be pro-life than those who are older than them.

The study, due to be published in the journal Mens en Maatschappij, is based on data from a European study that has been ongoing for almost 40 years. Over 7,000 Dutch people are part of the research project, answering questions on issues such as abortion and euthanasia.

The difference between younger and older generations is only getting bigger, the Tilburg researchers say.

This is an emerging trend across Europe and around the world.

UK polling, conducted in London earlier this year, shows that 18-34-year-olds were also more likely to be pro-life than those older than them.

Gallup’s annual public opinion poll on abortion revealed younger generations were more likely to call for Roe v. Wade’s overturn than older survey respondents.

The Director of Netherlands’ March for Life, Kees van Helden believes it is important to have the freedom to offer support to women outside abortion clinics. He told the young March for Life audience: “At the clinics we still find women who cancel their abortions at the entrance to the clinic every week. As long as we stand there and people abort the abortion, that means that there is something structurally wrong… So something really needs to change.”

He revealed the pro-life organisation are busier than ever assisting women with unplanned pregnancies. In 2014, they had 100 requests for help, but last year received over 520 requests.

Over 30,000 abortions take place in the Netherlands each year.
Full Text Source: https://righttolife.org.uk/
Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/SchreeuwomLeven/

BREAKING Catholic Church in Nicaragua Blocked by Police and army - Priest says "We just want to celebrate a Eucharist" - Video

AMERICA/NICARAGUA - Strengthening of police and army controls on the activities of the Catholic Church
Friday, 15 November 2019 Masaya (Agenzia Fides) - "The world sees and knows that there is no freedom of worship in Nicaragua!" says Father Edwin Roman, parish priest of San Miguel parish of Masaya, who cannot enter the church because is blocked by police and army members. Videos circulating on Social Media denounce the ultimately even stronger repression against the Catholic Church in Nicaragua by law enforcement. "We just want to celebrate a Eucharist", says Father Edwin Roman in a video, addressing the more than 30 agents who surrounded the church yesterday afternoon.
The mass, planned in particular to give comfort to mothers and relatives of political prisoners, was then celebrated without most of the family members, who were denied access and who remained outside. Only a small group, who had arrived early, managed to enter the church.
It is not the first time that the police follow or prevent the normal activities of the Catholic Church in the city of Masaya. The monthly meeting of the priests took place on November 12, but the venue of the meeting since the early hours of the morning was surrounded by policemen who prevented some of them from entering.
Father Edwin recently, speaking on television (see Fides, 17/10/2019), recalled a reality: "The attacks that the Church is experiencing today exceed the attacks of those who were victims in the 1980s during the civil war in our country. In the 1980s there was the dictatorship of Somoza, this instead is a dictatorship against unarmed people".
Through Twitter, Father Roman showed the messages with the death threats he received in recent days, including one recalling the assassination of Archbishop Romero: "What happened to Mgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero in El Salvador, must happen to you, a bullet is waiting you ...". (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 15/11/2019)

Pope Francis' message to Youth "...young people are the now of God, because his Son Jesus...walks and remains with them...".


To His Most Reverend Excellency
Monsignor Alfredo Vizcarra Mori, S.J.
Vicar Apostolic of Jaén
President of the Episcopal Commission for Laity and Youth

Vatican, November 4, 2019
Dear brother:

I cordially greet you as well as the organizers and participants in the XX Latin American Meeting of National Responsibilities of Youth Ministry, which takes place at the Juan Pablo II Coexistence House, in Santa Rosa Spa, with the motto: «Young people are sacred land , the now of God ».

You, by collaborating in the field of youth ministry, provide the Church with a service that cannot be neglected. Young people talk to us and challenge us, they make us realize the lights and shadows of our community, and with their enthusiasm they encourage us to give answers according to our time. They are the fertile and new terrain that God gives to Christian communities. You are entrusted with the task of accompanying them with respect and meekness in the way of their personal maturation, so that they become entrenched in faith and, with the grace of the Lord, bear fruits of love and hope.

In America, continent of hope, as in the whole world, young people are the now of God, because his Son Jesus, who is a manifestation of his goodness, walks and remains with them, and through Jesus, the Father continues to speak to us in the language of his love, "which knows more about rises than falls, reconciliation than prohibition, to give new opportunity to condemn, future and past" (WYD welcoming and opening ceremony, Panama January 24, 2019 ). I encourage you to go deeper and deeper into the knowledge of the person of Jesus, so that living in the intimacy of your heart, you can become missionary disciples and witnesses of your tenderness, and other young people can approach Him, the eternally young, experience the joy of their friendship and lead an existence founded on Christian fraternity and solidarity.

With these sentiments, I ask the Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patron of America, to support with her grace the pastors, those responsible for youth ministry and all the youth of Latin America, strengthening them in reciprocal love and accompanying them In your daily life.

May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin help you in your purposes of good. And please, don't forget to pray for me.



Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen to be Beatified on December 21, 2019 - Full Text Announcement from Diocese of Peoria

PEORIA, IL: It is with great joy and thanksgiving that the Most Reverend Daniel Jenky, C.S.C., Bishop of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois announces that he received notification from the Vatican today that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has called for Venerable Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen’s Beatification on December 21, 2019.
Confirmation of Sheen’s Beatification date was received with enthusiasm, and plans for the Beatification are already underway. The Beatification Ceremony will be held at 10:00 a.m. on December 21, 2019, at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria, Illinois. This is the same Cathedral where Sheen was ordained a priest 100 years ago on September 20, 1919. It seems entirely fitting that the Beatification will take place at the end of this 100-year anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. The Cathedral is also the current resting place for Sheen, who is entombed in a marble vault next to the altar where he was ordained.
Further information regarding the Beatification will be released in the next few days. Information about the Cause for Beatification of Fulton Sheen can be found at celebratesheen.com.
Full Text Source: Diocese of Peoria

Pope Francis sends Video message to Japan before visit and says chosen theme is "Protect All Life". Full Text

Pope Francis sent a video message to the people of Japan, and urged them to protect all life  and to pray for his upcoming Apostolic Journey.
The Pope mentioned the theme of his 23-26 November visit: “Protect All Life”.

Vatican News Transcript of the Pope’s video message:

Dear friends,

As I prepare for my upcoming visit to Japan, I would like to address to you these words of friendship.

The theme chosen for my visit is "Protect All Life". This strong instinct, which resonates in our hearts – to defend the value and dignity of every human person – takes on particular importance in light of the threats to peaceful coexistence that the world faces today, especially in armed conflicts.

Your country is well aware of the suffering caused by war. Together with you, I pray that the destructive power of nuclear weapons will never be unleashed again in human history. The use of nuclear weapons is immoral.

You also know the importance of a culture of dialogue, of fraternity, especially among different religious traditions, which can help to overcome division, promote respect for human dignity, and advance the integral development of all peoples.

I trust that my visit will encourage you along the path of mutual respect and encounter that leads to a secure and lasting peace, which never turns back upon itself. Peace is beautiful. And when it is real, it does not retreat: it defends itself with every ounce of strength.

I will also have the opportunity to appreciate the vast natural beauty that characterizes your nation, and express our shared desire to promote and strengthen the protection of all life, which includes the earth, our common home, which your culture beautifully symbolizes with cherry blossoms.

I know there are many people who are working to prepare for my visit. I sincerely thank you for these efforts. In the hope that our time together will be rich in grace and joy, I assure you of my heartfelt prayer for each and every one of you.

I ask you, please, to also pray for me. Thank you very much.

Source: VaticanNews.va

#BreakingNews Almost 6 months of Protests in Hong Kong as University Students try to Escape amid Chaos - Please Pray!

At least 100 demonstrators in the PolyU besieged by the Hong Kong police
by Paul Wang
They have no access to food or medicine. Parents kneel and beg police to let their children go free. Human chains to bring food to the besieged, stopped by the police. About 200 high school students taken out of university. At least 100 of them, 18 or older, have been arrested. The others will be arrested later. From tomorrow the schools reopen.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - At least 100 people from the anti-extradition movement are barricaded in the Polytechnic, besieged for the third day by the police. According to some parliamentarians, the young people cannot last long because they lack food and medicine and several of them are injured.

Since November 17, police have surrounded and penetrated some areas of the PolyU, using tear gas and rubber bullets and threatening the use of deadly weapons. The youth defended themselves with molotovs and stones.

The occupation of the PolyU, near the Harbor Tunnel, was to serve as a base for a global strike of the territory. The siege by the police stopped the project.

A large part of the population still supports young people. Yesterday several groups of parents went to beg the police to let their children go free, kneeling down before them. Other groups of elders who "protect Hong Kongs’ children" tried to enter the university, but were turned away by the police. The same happened for groups of thousands of people who in human chains tried to bring food for the besieged in PolyU. The police tried to stop them in Tsim Sha Tsui, Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok.

Yesterday, several dozen young people were arrested as they tried to escape from the university. Others managed to escape by descending with ropes from the university bridges that lead to roads where they were collected by motorcyclists.

Yesterday evening, the MP Ip Kin-yuen and some secondary school principals received permission to enter PolyU and escort outside about 200 junior high school students. The pact with the police was that all those under the age of 18 would not be arrested, but the police could incriminate them in the future. The other students 18 or older will be arrested. About 100 were arrested immediately; the minors were only registered.

Some commentators note the difference in treatment by the police: it gave permission to a pro-Beijing parliamentarian to enter PolyU, but previously denied permission to Democratic parliamentarians and auxiliary bishop Joseph Ha.

In a press conference given this morning before the Executive Council, Carrie Lam, the chief executive, said that at least 600 people - 200 of them under the age of 18 - have left the university and about 100 are still trapped inside. Lam has asked for collaboration, "even from the rioters", to allow the siege end peacefully: the besieged must surrender themselves to the police together with their weapons.

Lam has also defended the "voluntary" work of the garrison of the People's Liberation Army which in recent days has "cleaned" the streets of the center. Although the work of the soldiers is against the Basic Law of Hong Kong - given that their intervention was not requested by the government of the territory - Lam asked the media not to "inflate the interpretations" on a gesture of simple help.

The Education Office has issued the warning that from tomorrow elementary and secondary schools will reopen their doors, after more than a week of closure, due to communication and transport disruptions.
FULL TEXT Source: AsiaNewsIT

3 US States begin Process to Bar Puberty-blocking Drugs and Medical Transitioning of Children

Christian Post reports that there is a push to bar puberty-blocking drugs, and medical gender-transitioning of children. widens to 3 states
Brandon Showalter, a CP Reporter reported on Tuesday, November 05, 2019 that following the outcry over 7-year-old James Younger in Texas, whose mother is seeking to medically transition him into a girl named Luna, the push to ban medical gender-transitioning for minors is expanding to other states.

Republicans in three states have now either announced their intentions to or are already drafting bills that would restrict or assign criminal penalties to the practice of medically altering the biological sex of a child in pursuit of becoming the opposite sex, known as "transitioning."

In Georgia, state representative Ginny Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) is introducing legislation making it a felony act for medical professional to assist a minor child with a gender transition.

“We’re talking about children that can’t get a tattoo or smoke a cigar or a cigarette in the state of Georgia but can be castrated and get sterilized,” Ehrhart said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“There may be some implication for the responsibility of the parent to subject the child to this sort of dangerous medical intervention,” she said.

The Republican legislator, who last year defeated an incumbent Democrat with a transgender-identifying child, indicated she was compelled to propose the bill in light of the situation with Younger, who is at the center of a center of a custody battle and gained international attention last month.

Republican Texas Rep. Matt Krause said amid the swirl of news about Younger that he would introduce legislation prohibiting puberty-blocking drugs for children under the age of 18 during the next session, which will occur in 2021, unless a special session is called before then.

In Kentucky, state representative Savannah Maddox, also a Republican, announced she was drafting a similar bill for her state.

"I am sure that many of you have read about the shocking case of this 7 yr old boy in Texas whose parents are in the midst of an ugly courtroom battle as a result of his mother's desire to transition his gender from male to female, but truth be told this has been in my mind and on my heart for quite a while," Maddox wrote in an Oct 25 post on her Facebook page.

“I am a strong advocate for parents' rights — but it is not the right of a parent to permanently alter a child's gender or identity, even when based upon certain behaviors or the perceptions of a child's mind which has not yet had time to fully develop.”

It is a widely held consensus that the pre-frontal cortex, the decision-making part of the brain, does is not fully form until people are into their 20s.

In the United States, criticism of the medicalization of gender has largely come from the political right and religious and conservative-leaning media outlets. Left-leaning critics of transitioning minors and of transgender ideology more generally include radical feminists and lesbians, who also stress that transgenderism erases women's sex-based rights and have said they struggle to be heard in major media.

Yet criticism of the medical treatments is slowly percolating into the mainstream press as what are known as detransitioners — individuals who once identified as transgender but no longer do — share their journeys.

Writing in New York magazine Saturday, Andrew Sullivan argued for greater caution and putting additional safeguards in place for teenagers desiring to transition, "as opposed to swift affirmation and handing out testosterone like candy," he quipped.

"Social transition is one thing. Off-label puberty blockers and irreversible hormones and surgeries are quite another. And this is zero-sum," Sullivan said, noting that he had recently interviewed several women in their early 20s, none of them religious extremists or bigoted, who recently desisted back to their biological sex.

"Their transition was based entirely on how they felt at the moment, which they now regard as a false signal about their long-term identity," he explained.

"Right now, we are effectively experimenting on minors who cannot give meaningful consent. And that alone should give us pause."
Source: ChristianPost

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - #Eucharist

Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 498

Reading 12 MC 6:18-31

Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes,
a man of advanced age and noble appearance,
was being forced to open his mouth to eat pork.
But preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement,
he spat out the meat,
and went forward of his own accord to the instrument of torture,
as people ought to do who have the courage to reject the food
which it is unlawful to taste even for love of life.
Those in charge of that unlawful ritual meal took the man aside privately,
because of their long acquaintance with him,
and urged him to bring meat of his own providing,
such as he could legitimately eat,
and to pretend to be eating some of the meat of the sacrifice
prescribed by the king;
in this way he would escape the death penalty,
and be treated kindly because of their old friendship with him.
But Eleazar made up his mind in a noble manner,
worthy of his years, the dignity of his advanced age,
the merited distinction of his gray hair,
and of the admirable life he had lived from childhood;
and so he declared that above all
he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God.

He told them to send him at once
to the abode of the dead, explaining:
"At our age it would be unbecoming to make such a pretense;
many young people would think the ninety-year-old Eleazar
had gone over to an alien religion.
Should I thus pretend for the sake of a brief moment of life,
they would be led astray by me,
while I would bring shame and dishonor on my old age.
Even if, for the time being, I avoid the punishment of men,
I shall never, whether alive or dead,
escape the hands of the Almighty.
Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now,
I will prove myself worthy of my old age,
and I will leave to the young a noble example
of how to die willingly and generously
for the revered and holy laws."

Eleazar spoke thus,
and went immediately to the instrument of torture.
Those who shortly before had been kindly disposed,
now became hostile toward him because what he had said
seemed to them utter madness.
When he was about to die under the blows,
he groaned and said:
"The Lord in his holy knowledge knows full well that,
although I could have escaped death,
I am not only enduring terrible pain in my body from this scourging,
but also suffering it with joy in my soul
because of my devotion to him."
This is how he died,
leaving in his death a model of courage
and an unforgettable example of virtue
not only for the young but for the whole nation.

Responsorial PsalmPS 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (6b) The Lord upholds me.
O LORD, how many are my adversaries!
Many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“There is no salvation for him in God.”
R. The Lord upholds me.
But you, O LORD, are my shield;
my glory, you lift up my head!
When I call out to the LORD,
he answers me from his holy mountain.
R. The Lord upholds me.
When I lie down in sleep,
I wake again, for the LORD sustains me.
I fear not the myriads of people
arrayed against me on every side.
R. The Lord upholds me.

Alleluia1 JN 4:10B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God loved us, and sent his Son
as expiation for our sins.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 19:1-10

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”

Monday, November 18, 2019

Saint November 19 : St. Mechtilde a Benedictine Nun from Germany who directed choir and had a voice like a nightingale

St. Mechtilde

1240 or 1241 at the ancestral castle of Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony
19 November, 1298

Benedictine; born in 1240 or 1241 at the ancestral castle of Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony; died in the monastery of Helfta, 19 November, 1298. She belonged to one of the noblest and most powerful Thuringian families, while here sister was the saintly and illustrious Abbess Gertrude von Hackeborn. Some writers have considered that Mechtilde von Hackeborn and Mechtilde von Wippra were two distinct persons, but, as the Barons of Hackeborn were also Lords of Wippra, it was customary for members of that family to take their name indifferently from either, or both of these estates. So fragile was she at birth, that the attendants, fearing she might die unbaptized, hurried her off to the priest who was just then preparing to say Mass. He was a man of great sanctity, and after baptizing the child, uttered these prophetic words: "What do you fear? This child most certainly will not die, but she will become a saintly religious in whom God will work many wonders, and she will end her days in a good old age." When she was seven years old, having been taken by her mother on a visit to her elder sister Gertrude, then a nun in the monastery of Rodardsdorf, she became so enamoured of the cloister that her pious parents yielded to her entreaties and, acknowledging the workings of grace, allowed her to enter the alumnate. Here, being highly gifted in mind as well as in body, she made remarkable progress in virtue and learning.
Ten years later (1258) she followed her sister, who, now abbess, had transferred the monastery to an estate at Helfta given her by her brothers Louis and Albert. As a nun, Mechtilde was soon distinguished for her humility, her fervour, and that extreme amiability which had characterized her from childhood and which, like piety, seemed hereditary in her race. While still very young, she became a valuable helpmate to Abbess Gertrude, who entrusted to her direction the alumnate and the choir. Mechtilde was fully equipped for her task when, in 1261, God committed to her prudent care a child of five who was destined to shed lustre upon the monastery of Helfta. This was that Gertrude who in later generations became known as St. Gertrude the Great. Gifted with a beautiful voice, Mechtilde also possessed a special talent for rendering the solemn and sacred music over which she presided as domna cantrix. All her life she held this office and trained the choir with indefatigable zeal. Indeed, Divine praise was the keynote of her life as it is of her book; in this she never tired, despite her continual and severe physical sufferings, so that in His revelations Christ was wont to call her His "nightingale". Richly endowed, naturally and supernaturally, ever gracious, beloved of all who came within the radius of her saintly and charming personality, there is little wonder that this cloistered virgin should strive to keep hidden her wondrous life. Souls thirsting for consolation or groping for light sought her advice; learned Dominicans consulted her on spiritual matters. At the beginning of her own mystic life it was from St. Mechtilde that St. Gertrude the Great learnt that the marvellous gifts lavished upon her were from God.
Only in her fiftieth year did St. Mechtilde learn that the two nuns in whom she had especially confided had noted down the favours granted her, and, moreover, that St. Gertrude had nearly finished a book on the subject. Much troubled at this, she, as usual, first had recourse to prayer. She had a vision of Christ holding in His hand the book of her revelations, and saying: "All this has been committed to writing by my will and inspiration; and, therefore you have no cause to be troubled about it." He also told her that, as He had been so generous towards her, she must make Him a like return, and that the diffusion of therevelations would cause many to increase in His love; moreover, He wished this book to be called "The Book of Special Grace", because it would prove such to many. When the saint understood that the book would tend to God's glory, she ceased to be troubled, and even corrected the manuscript herself. Immediately after her death it was made public, and copies were rapidly multiplied, owing chiefly to the widespread influence of the Friars Preachers. Boccaccio tells how, a few years after the death of Mechtilde, the book of her revelations was brought to Florence and popularized under the title of "La Laude di donna Matelda". It is related that the Florentines were accustomed to repeat daily before their sacred images the praises learned from St. Mechtilde's book. St. Gertrude, to whose devotedness we owe the "Liber Specialis Gratiae" exclaims: "Never has there arisen one like to her in our monastery; nor, alas! I fear, will there ever arise another such!" -- little dreaming that her own name would be inseparably linked with that of Mechtilde. With that of St. Gertrude, the body of St. Mechtilde most probably still reposes at Old Helfta thought the exact spot is unknown. Her feast is kept 26 or 27 February in different congregations and monasteries of her order, by special permission of the Holy See.There is another honour, inferior certainly to that of sanctity, yet great in itself and worthy of mention here: the homage of a transcendent genius was to be laid at the feet of St. Mechtilde. Critics have long been perplexed as to one of the characters introduced by Dante in his "Purgatorio" under the name of Matelda. After ascending seven terraces of a mountain, on each of which the process of purification is carried on, Dante, in Canto xxvii, hears a voice singing: "Venite, benedicti patris mei"; then later, in Canto xxviii, there appears to him on the opposite bank of the mysterious stream a lady, solitary, beautiful, and gracious. To her Dante addresses himself; she it is who initiates him into secrets, which it is not given to Virgil to penetrate, and it is to her that Beatrice refers Dante in the words: "Entreat Matilda that she teach thee this." Most commentators have identified Matilda with the warrior-Countess of Tuscany, the spiritual daughter and dauntless champion of St. Gregory VII, but all agree that beyond the name the two have little or nothing in common. She is no Amazon who, at Dante's prayer that she may draw nearer to let him understand her song, turns towards him "not otherwise than a virgin that droppeth her modest eyes". In more places than one the revelations granted to the mystics of Helfta seem in turn to have become the inspirations of the Florentine poet. All writers on Dante recognize his indebtedness to St. Augustine, the Pseudo-Dionysius, St. Bernard, and Richard of St. Victor. These are precisely the writers whose doctrines had been most assimilated by the mystics of Helfta, and thus they would the more appeal to the sympathies of the poet. The city of Florence was among the first to welcome St. Mechtilde's book. Now Dante, like all true poets, was a child of his age, and could not have been a stranger to a book which was so popular among his fellow-citizens. The "Purgatorio" was finished between 1314 and 1318, or 1319 --just about the time when St. Mechtilde's book was popular. This interpretation is supported by the fact that St. Mechtilde in her "Book of Special Grace" (pt. I, c. xiii) describes the place of purification under the same figure of a seven-terraced mountain. The coincidence of the simile and of the name, Matelda, can scarcely be accidental. For another among many points of resemblance between the two writers compare "Purgatorio", Canto xxxi, where Dante is drawn by Matelda through the mysterious stream with pt. II, c. ii. of the "Liber Specialis Gratiae". The serene atmosphere which seems to cling about the gracious and beautiful songstress, her virgin modesty and simple dignity, all seem to point to the recluse of Helfta rather than to the stern heroine of Canossa, whose hand was thrice bestowed in marriage. Besides, in politics Dante, as an ardent Ghibelline, supported the imperial pretensions and he would have been little inclined to sing the praises of the Tuscan Countess. The conclusion may therefore be hazarded that this "Donna Matelda" of the "Purgatorio" personifies St. Mechtilde as representing mystic theology.
SOURCE The Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis tells Evangelization Volunteers "May your proclamation become a testimony of mercy..." Full Text


Paul VI Hall
Monday, November 18, 2019

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

I'm glad you chose to return to Rome to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of your history. I thank Fr Piergiorgio Perini for the tireless work of evangelization he has accomplished in these decades. Now he can admire some fruits that the Lord has granted him with his grace. And I thank you for the testimony of 65 years of priesthood and 90 years of age! I asked him for the recipe: what does it do to be like this?

The Lord Jesus left his disciples with a challenging teaching when he told them: "I have appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide" (Jn 15:16). Go, bear fruit and stay. This is the call to which one cannot escape when one meets the Lord and is conquered by his Gospel. Of course, Jesus did not tell the disciples that they would see the fruits of their work. He only ensured that the fruits would remain. This promise also applies to us. It is human to think that after so much work we also want to see the fruit of our commitment; yet, the Gospel moves towards another direction.

Jesus did not discount his disciples when he spoke of the radical nature with which he must be followed. He told them: "When you have done all that you have been told, say:" We are useless servants. We have done what we had to do "" (Lk 17:10). However, if our effort to proclaim the Gospel is total and always finds us ready, then the perspective changes. Another parable reminds us of this, when Jesus says: "Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he returns; in truth I tell you, the garments will be tightened on the sides, he will set them at the table and pass on to serve them "(Lk 12:37). We touch so many times how great and infinite is God's love for us! If we are faithful and vigilant, then He grants us to see also the fruits of our work.

Your history of Evangelizing Parish Cells can easily be inscribed in this context. The fruitfulness of your commitment is reflected in the multiplication of cells that are now present in many parts of the world. Never tire of following the paths that the Spirit of the Risen Lord puts before you. Do not hold back any fear of the new, and do not slow down your steps the difficulties that are inevitable in the way of evangelization. When one is a missionary disciple, then enthusiasm can never fail! In the effort, support the prayer addressed to the Holy Spirit who is the Comforter; in weakness, you feel the strength of the community that never allows you to be left to yourself.

Our parishes are invaded by many initiatives, where often, however, there is no deep impact on people's lives. You too are entrusted with the task of reviving, especially in this period, the life of our parish communities. This will be possible insofar as they become, above all, a place to listen to the Word of God and celebrate the mystery of his death and resurrection. Only from here can we think that the work of evangelization becomes effective and fruitful, capable of bearing fruit. Unfortunately, for many reasons, many have moved away from our parishes. It is therefore urgent that we recover the need for the meeting to reach people where they live and work. If we have encountered Christ in our lives, then we cannot just keep it for ourselves. It is crucial that we share this experience also with others; this is the main road to evangelization.

Don't forget: every time you meet someone, you play a true story that can change a person's life. And this is not proselytizing, it is giving witness. It has always happened this way. When Jesus, passing along the shore of the lake, saw Peter, Andrew, James and John who were working, he fixed his eyes on them and transformed their lives (see Lk 5: 1-11). The same thing is repeated also in our days, when the encounter is the fruit of Christian love, it changes life because it reaches the hearts of people and touches them in depth. May your proclamation become a testimony of mercy, with which it is clear that any attention given to one of the youngest is made towards Jesus himself who identifies with them (see Mt 25:40).

I accompany you with my blessing and I ask you please do not forget to pray for me. Thanks.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va

Quote to SHARE by St. Alphonsus Liguori "Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him...as to the dearest and most loving of friends."

"Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him, familiarly and with confidence and love, as to the dearest and most loving of friends."
St. Alphonsus Liguori

Wow Pope Francis blesses Palace for the Poor a 4-storey Vatican property as new Night and Day Care Center for Homeless - Watch Video

Friday of Mercy: Pope blesses ‘Palace’ for the Poor
Pope Francis inaugurates the new Night and Day Care Center for homeless people near St. Peter’s Square, as part of his Friday of Mercy initiative.
By Devin Watkins

A Palace for the Poor: That’s what Pope Francis blessed on Friday afternoon, just ahead of the World Day of the Poor.

The 4-storey Vatican property sits in a prestigious location right off the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square. It still carries the name of the Roman family that built it in the 1800s: Palazzo Migliori – “Palace of the Best”.

Acquired by the Vatican in the 1930s, the building was recently vacated by a congregation of religious sisters.

Pope Francis personally directed his Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, to turn it into a place where the homeless and poor of Rome can sleep, eat, and learn.

The charitable operation is staffed and run by the Sant’Egidio Community.

Space for all
In a communique, Cardinal Krajewski described how the palace is to be used.

The upper two floors are dormitories where around 50 men and women can sleep, though it is able host more when Roman temperatures plummet and the need is greater.

Those guests are offered breakfast and supper in the refectory on the 2nd floor.

Volunteers will also be able to use the kitchen to prepare hot meals to be distributed in the evenings to the homeless who find shelter at one of Rome’s train stations.

During the day, the bottom two floors provide space for volunteers to teach those in need to use the computer. There is also space for reading, recreation, and psychological counseling.

The construction company that renovated the “Palace of the Best” employed a group of homeless people – at the Vatican’s urging.

The company was so impressed by their work ethic that it hired them!
FULL TEXT Source: VaticanNews.va

#BreakingNews Most Violent Night in Hong Kong as Police trap University Students - links to Tiananmen Square - Please Pray!

Police take PolyU. Student: We don't want another Tiananmen
by Paul Wang
Many students and activists arrested. Clashes took place all night and yesterday. At 2 am this morning, Msgr. Joseph Ha and some democratic parliamentarians tried to get the police and students to talk, but without success. The Hong Kong Supreme Court decrees that the anti-mask law is unconstitutional. The articles of the People's Daily.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - In the early hours of this morning, around 5.30 am, the Hong Kong police entered the PolyU (Polytechnic University) after a day of siege, arresting dozens of students, former students and activists of the anti-extradition movement .

A few hours earlier, a student had told the media: "We don't want to see another 8964 [June 4, 1989, the date of the Tiananmen massacre] here in Hong Kong or even at the PolyU, our second home."

Throughout the day yesterday the police had tried to enter the university occupied by about 500 people, who had also managed to block the traffic of the nearby Crossing Harbor Tunnel, the underwater tunnel that connects the Kowloon peninsula with the island of Hong Kong, one of the most important arteries in the area.

Law enforcement agencies used tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and in some parts deadly bullets. The occupants defended themselves with stones, Molotov cocktails, and in recent days even with arrows and catapults.

Around 2 am, Msgr. Joseph Ha, Auxiliary bishop of Hong Kong, together with some parliamentarians from the Democratic group and members of the PolyU tried to dialogue with the police commander to find a peaceful solution to the siege (photo n. 3). But the policemen, blinding them with the spotlights, warned them: "Go away. This is a warning. " The group led by Msgr. Ha tried to enter the university from other entrances, but was always thrown back by the police.

Even members of the social workers' union tried to talk to the police, but it was useless.

The police pointed out that it was not a "raid" on the university, but a "dispersal operation and arrests" against "a large band of rioters" who threw Molotov cocktails against the police and burned objects.

Meanwhile, in these very hours, the Supreme Court of Hong Kong has decreed that the emergency law that prohibits people from wearing masks in public "is unconstitutional": it gives a power to the chief executive that is not provided by the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s the mini-constitution.

The law was introduced last October 5 by the head of the executive Carrie Lam, exploiting a regulation of the colonial time that gave power to the governor in moments of "public danger". The aim was to stop participation in demonstrations, where the demonstrators, in fear of being recognized by the police, wore masks. With it the police had the power to arrest masked people and to fine them. The measure was useless: many demonstrators challenged the ban, marching in the streets and wearing masks of different shapes.

In China, nationalist and anti-Hong Kong propaganda continues. Yesterday the "People's Daily" reported an article stating that what is going on in the territory is now a battle for life or death ", between "subversion and anti-subversion" movements and that it is no longer permissible to stand by and watch as  "Hong Kong drowns".

Today, the same newspaper, the official organ of the Chinese Communist Party, says that there is no more room for the "compromise" in the fight against the protests, which it claims aim to destroy the "One nation, two systems" principle.
Full Text Source: AsiaNewsIT

Pope Francis to Group on Interreligious dialogue that there is an "....urgent task of building bridges between peoples and cultures. "

Clementine Hall
Monday, 18 November 2019

Ladies and gentlemen:
I am happy to welcome all of you who are taking part in the meeting focusing on the document: “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together”, signed in Abu Dhabi last 4 February.
I thank all the organizers of this meeting, promoted by His Excellency Mr. Rogelio Pfirter, ambassador of the Argentine Republic to the Holy See, under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and in collaboration with the Institute of Interreligious Dialogue of Buenos Aires.
I am pleased to note that this document, which is universal in nature, is also being disseminated in the Americas. I am convinced that the particularity and sensitivity of different countries and continents can truly contribute to a detailed reading of this Document and to a greater and more effective understanding of the message it conveys.
As I said during the World Conference of Human Fraternity: “There is no alternative: we will either build the future together or there will not be a future. Religions, in particular, cannot renounce the urgent task of building bridges between peoples and cultures. The time has come when religions should more actively exert themselves, with courage and audacity, and without pretence, to help the human family deepen the capacity for reconciliation, the vision of hope and the concrete paths of peace” (4 February 2019). Our religious traditions are a necessary source of inspiration to foster a culture of encounter. It is fundamental for there to be interreligious cooperation, based on the promotion of sincere and respectful dialogue that goes towards unity without confusion, maintaining identities. But a unity that transcends the mere political pact. Once, at the beginning of last February, a very wise man, a very wise European politician, told me about this document: “it goes beyond the methodology of the pact to maintain balance and peace, which is very good, but these documents go further”. And he gave me this example: “let us think of the end of the Second World War, let us think of Yalta; in Yalta a balance was struck in order to break the impasse, a balance that was weak but possible. The cake was shared, and a period of peace was maintained, but these documents, this attitude that goes towards dialogue among the transcendent, creates fraternity, surpasses pacts, surpasses the political; it is political in that it is human, but it surpasses this, it transcends this, it makes it nobler”. This is the way. And meanwhile, yes, at the political level, doing what can be done, because it is also important.
The world observes us, believers, to see what our attitude is to the common home and to human rights; it also asks us to collaborate among ourselves and with men and women of good will who do not profess any religion, so that we may give effective responses to the many scourges in our world, such as war, hunger, the poverty that afflicts millions of people, the environmental crisis, violence, corruption and moral degeneration, the crisis of the family and of the economy and, above all, the lack of hope.
The intention of the Document is to adopt: the culture of dialogue as a way; common collaboration as conduct; mutual knowledge as a method and criterion. From now on it can be affirmed that religions are not a closed system that cannot be changed, but with their own identity. And this is the key: identity cannot be negotiated, because if you negotiate identity there is no dialogue, there is submission. With their own identity, they are in motion.
Fraternity is a complex human reality, to which one must pay attention and treat with delicacy. When God asks us: “Where is your brother?”, the first question on fraternity that is in the Bible, “Where is your brother?” no one may answer: “I do not know” (cf. Gen 4: 9). Then different questions arise: How can we take care of each other in the one human family in which we are all brothers? How can we nurture a fraternity so that it is not theoretical and so that it translates into fraternity? How can we make the inclusion of the other prevail over exclusion in the name of belonging? What can we do so that religions are channels of fraternity instead of barriers of division? A little history should alarm us: religious wars, Christians, let us think of the last thirty years, even if we just think of Saint Bartholomew’s Eve. If one does not feel a little alarmed inside, one should wonder why.
It is important to demonstrate that we believers are a factor of peace for human societies, and that we will thus respond to those who unjustly accuse religions of fomenting hatred and being the cause of violence. In today’s precarious world, dialogue among religions is not a sign of weakness. It finds its own raison d'être in God’s dialogue with humanity. It is about changing historical attitudes. A scene from The Song of Roland comes to me as a symbol, when the Christians defeat the Muslims and put them all in line in front of the baptismal font, and one with a sword. And Muslims had to choose between baptism or the sword. That is what we Christians did. It was a mentality that today we cannot accept, nor understand, nor can it work anymore. Beware of the fundamentalist groups: everyone has his own. In Argentina too there is a little fundamentalist corner. And let us try, with fraternity, to go forward. Fundamentalism is a scourge and all religions have some kind of fundamentalist first cousin there, which forms a group.
I hope that this Message of Fraternity will be received by the international community, for the good of the whole human family, which must move from simple tolerance to true coexistence and peaceful coexistence. Keep up the good work.
And please do not forget to pray for me, as I need it. Thank you.

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) new President Archbishop Richard Gagnon

Bishops Elect New CCCB Executive and Bring 2019 Plenary Assembly to a Close
Saturday, September 28 2019

Cornwall, Ontario – The Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) elected the Most Reverend Richard Gagnon, Archbishop of Winnipeg, as its next President, and the Most Reverend Raymond Poisson, Bishop of St-Jérôme, as its next Vice President.

Archbishop Richard Gagnon succeeds the Most Reverend Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil as President at the conclusion of the 2019 Plenary Assembly. Archbishop Gagnon, was born in 1948 in Lethbridge, Alberta. After seminary studies at the Pontifical Beda College in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1983 for the Archdiocese of Vancouver. He was named Bishop of Victoria in 2004 and appointed Archbishop of Winnipeg in October 2013. He has served from 2007 to 2008 on the CCCB Permanent Council as the regional representative of the Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops and from 2017 to 2019 as the CCCB Vice-President.

The newly elected Vice President, Bishop Raymond Poisson, was born in Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Rouville, Québec, on 30 April 1958. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil on 9 December 1983. On 1 May 2012, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Saint-Jérôme and ordained Auxiliary Bishop in Saint-Jérôme on 15 June 2012. On 7 September 2015, he was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Joliette and installed on 4 November 2015. On 18 May 2018, he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Saint-Jérôme. He assumed the pastoral governance of the Diocese on 20 May 2019.
The incoming Executive Committee also includes two Co-Treasurers: from the English Sector, for a second term, the Most Reverend William McGrattan, Bishop of Calgary, and from the French Sector, for a first term, the Most Reverend Pierre Goudreault, Bishop of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière.

As part of the regular proceedings of the meeting, the Bishops were presented with two reports pertaining to the Canadian Catholic Organization of Development and Peace-Caritas Canada (Development and Peace). The reports, one concerning the joint partnership review and the second concerning the organizational review, were received and discussed during the Plenary Assembly. While the reports mark a significant milestone in the process toward the conclusion of these initiatives, the Bishops continue to discern questions related to these reports.

The meeting concluded with the presentations of various reports from, among others, the Canadian Appeal Tribunal, the Regional Assemblies, Northern Bishops, the Eastern Churches, and the Military Ordinariate of Canada.

At the close of the meeting, the bishops agreed to reconvene in one year's time for the 2020 Plenary Assembly from September 21 to 25, 2020.
Source - CCCB

Pope Francis to World Food Programme "...each human being has a right to healthy and sustainable nutrition." Full Text


To Mr David M. Beasley
Executive Director of the World Food Programme
On the occasion of the opening of the second regular session of the World Food Programme, I am pleased to greet Mr David M. Beasley, Executive Director, and Ambassador Hisham Mohamed Badr, current President of the Executive Board, together with all members and participants.
At the beginning of this new session, you are seeking to formulate practical initiatives aimed at making more effective the fight against hunger in the world. Your many projects include promoting decisive measures to eliminate food waste, a phenomenon that increasingly weighs on our conscience.
In many places, our brothers and sisters do not have access to sufficient and healthy food, while in others, food is discarded and squandered. This is what my predecessor Saint John Paul II called the paradox of abundance, which continues to be an obstacle to resolving the problem of feeding humanity (cf. Address at the Opening of the International Conference on Nutrition, 5 December 1992).
This paradox involves mechanisms of superficiality, negligence and selfishness that underlie the culture of waste. Unless we recognize this dynamic and seek to contain it, it will be difficult to honour the commitments of the Paris Agreement on climate change and realize the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. Accomplishing this objective is the responsibility not only of international organizations and governments, but of everyone. Families, schools, and the communications media have an important task in educating and raising awareness in this regard. No one can be considered exempt from the need to combat this culture that oppresses so many people, especially the poor and vulnerable in society.
The World Food Programme contributes to this cause by recently launching its global campaign Stop the Waste, highlighting the fact that food waste damages the lives of many individuals and prevents the progress of peoples. If we wish to build a future where no one is left behind, we must create a present that radically rejects the squandering of food. Together, without losing time, by pooling resources and ideas, we can introduce a lifestyle that gives food the importance it deserves. This new lifestyle consists in properly valuing what mother Earth gives us, and will have an impact on humanity as a whole.
I assure you, in addition, that the Catholic Church is working to foster solidarity among all people and desires to cooperate with the World Food Programme by reaffirming that each human being has a right to healthy and sustainable nutrition.
I would like this campaign to help assist all those who in our time suffer the effects of poverty, and to demonstrate that whenever the human person is put at the centre of political and economic decisions, peace and stability are consolidated between nations, even as mutual understanding, the foundation of authentic human progress, everywhere increases.
May your commitment and dedication awaken in all people of good will the desire to build a new and better world under the banner of fraternity, justice and peace. May God bless all those who walk on this path.
From the Vatican, 18 November 2019
 FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va