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APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO ROMANIA [31 MAY - 2 JUNE 2019]
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS
Catholic Saint Joseph Cathedral (Bucarest) Friday, 31 May 2019
The Gospel we have just heard draws us into the encounter between two women who embrace, overflowing with joy and praise. The child leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb and she blesses her cousin for her faith. Mary sings of the mighty things that the Lord has done for his humble servant; hers is the great hymn of hope for those who can no longer sing because they have lost their voice. That hymn of hope is also meant to rouse us today, and to make us join our voices to it. It does this with three precious elements that we can contemplate in the first of the disciples: Mary journeys, Mary encounters, Mary rejoices.
Mary journeys… from Nazareth to the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth. It is the first of Mary’s journeys, as related by the Scriptures. The first of many. She will journey from Galilee to Bethlehem, where Jesus will be born; she will go down to Egypt to save her Child from Herod; she will go up again every year to Jerusalem for the Passover (cf. Lk 2:31), and ultimately she will follow Jesus to Calvary. These journeys all have one thing in common: they were never easy; they always required courage and patience. They tell us that Our Lady knows what it means to walk uphill, she knows what it means for us to walk uphill, and she is our sister at every step of the way. She knows what it is to be weary of walking and she can take us by the hand amid our difficulties, in the most perilous twists and turns in our life’s journey.
As a good mother, Mary knows that love grows daily amid the little things of life. A mother’s love and ingenuity was able to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 286). Contemplating Mary enables us to turn our gaze to all those many women, mothers and grandmothers of these lands who, by their quiet sacrifices, devotion and self-denial, are shaping the present and preparing the way for tomorrow’s dreams. Theirs is a silent, tenacious and unsung sacrifice; they are unafraid to “roll up their sleeves” and shoulder difficulties for the sake of their children and families, “hoping against hope” (Rm 4:18). The living memory of your people preserves this powerful sense of hope against every attempt to dim or extinguish it. Looking to Mary and to all those mothers’ faces, we experience and are nourished by that sense of hope (cf.Aparecida Document, 536), which gives birth to and opens up the horizons of the future. Let us state it emphatically: in our people there is much room for hope. That is why Mary’s journey continues even today; she invites us, with her, to journey together.
Mary encounters Elizabeth (cf. Lk 1:39-56), a woman already advanced in years (v. 7). But Elizabeth, though older, is the one who speaks of the future and, “filled with the Holy Spirit” (v. 41), prophesies in words that foreshadow the last of the Gospel beatitudes: “Blessed are those who believe” (cf. Jn 20:29). Remarkably, the younger woman goes to meet the older one, seeking her roots, while the older woman is reborn and prophetically foretells the future of the younger one. Here, young and old meet, embrace and awaken the best of each. It is a miracle brought about by the culture of encounter, where no one is discarded or pigeonholed, but all are sought out, because all are needed to reveal the Lord’s face. They are not afraid to walk together, and when this happens, God appears and works wonders in his people. The Holy Spirit impels us to go out from ourselves, from all that hems us in, from the things to which we cling.
The Spirit teaches us to look beyond appearances and enables us to speak well of others – to bless them. This is especially true with regard to our brothers and sisters who are homeless, exposed to the elements, lacking perhaps not only a roof over their head or a crust of bread, but the friendship and warmth of a community to embrace, shelter and accept them. This is the culture of encounter; it urges us as Christians to experience the miraculous motherhood of the Church, as she seeks out, protects and gathers her children. In the Church, when different rites meet, when the most important thing is not one’s own affiliation, group or ethnicity, but the People that together praises God, then great things take place. Again, let us state it emphatically: Blessed are those who believe (cf. Jn 20:29) and who have the courage to foster encounter and communion.
Mary, as she journeys to visit Elizabeth, reminds us where God desired to dwell and live, where his sanctuary is, and where we can feel his heartbeat: it is in the midst of his People. There he is, there he lives, there he awaits us. We can apply to ourselves the prophet’s call not to fear, not to let our arms grow weak! For the Lord our God is in our midst; he is a powerful saviour (cf. Zeph3:16-17) and he is in the midst of his people. This is the secret of every Christian: God is in our midst as a powerful saviour. Our certainty of this enables us, like Mary, to sing and exult with joy.
Mary rejoices. She rejoices because she bears in her womb Emmanuel, God-with-us: “The Christian life is joy in the Holy Spirit” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 122). Without joy, we remain paralyzed, slaves to our unhappiness. Often problems of faith have little to do with a shortage of means and structures, of quantity, or even the presence of those who do not accept us; they really have to do with a shortage of joy. Faith wavers when it just floats along in sadness and discouragement. When we live in mistrust, closed in on ourselves, we contradict the faith. Instead of realizing that we are God’s children for whom he does great things (cf. v. 49), we reduce everything to our own problems. We forget that we are not orphans. In our sadness, we forget that we are not orphans, for we have a Father in our midst, a powerful saviour. Mary comes to our aid, because instead of reducing things, she magnifies them in “magnifying” the Lord, in praising his greatness.
Here we find the secret of our joy. Mary, lowly and humble, starts from God’s greatness and despite her problems – which were not few – she is filled with joy, for she entrusts herself to the Lord in all things. She reminds us that God can always work wonders if we open our hearts to him and to our brothers and sisters. Let us think of the great witnesses of these lands: simple persons who trusted in God in the midst of persecution. They did not put their hope in the world, but in the Lord, and thus they persevered. I would like to give thanks for these humble victors, these saints-next-door, who showed us the way. Their tears were not in vain; they were a prayer that rose to heaven and nurtured the hope of this people.
Dear brothers and sisters, Mary journeys, encounters and rejoices because she carries something greater than herself: she is the bearer of a blessing. Like her, may we too be unafraid to bear the blessing that Romania needs. May you be promoters of a culture of encounter that gives the lie to indifference, a culture that rejects division and allows this land to sing out the mercies of the Lord.
FULL TEXT + Image Screenshot from Vatican.va - Official Translation
Holy Mass starts at 3hour:15min in the Video below:
APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO ROMANIA [31 MAY - 2 JUNE 2019]
THE LORD’S PRAYER
GREETING OF HIS HOLINESS
New Orthodox Cathedral (Bucarest) Friday, 31 May 2019
Your Holiness, Dear Brother, Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am grateful and moved to be in this holy temple that brings us together in unity. Jesus called the brothers Andrew and Peter to leave their nets and to become together fishers of men (cf. Mk 1:16-17). The calling of one brother was incomplete without that of the other. Today we wish to raise, side by side, from the heart of this country, the Lord’s Prayer. That prayer contains the sure promise made by Jesus to his disciples: “I will not leave you orphaned” (Jn 14:18), and gives us the confidence to receive and welcome the gift of our brothers and sisters. I would like therefore to share some thoughts in preparation for this prayer, which I will recite for our journey of fraternity and for the intention that Romania may always be a home for everyone, a land of encounter, a garden where reconciliation and communion flourish.
Each time we say “Our Father”, we state that the word Father cannot stand on its own, apart from Our. United in Jesus’ prayer, we are also united to his experience of love and intercession, which leads us to say: “My Father and your Father, my God and your God” (cf. Jn 20:17). We are invited to make my become our,and our to become a prayer. Help us, Father, to take our brother or sister’s lives seriously, to make their history our history. Help us, Father, not to judge our brother or sister for their actions and their limitations, but to welcome them before all else as your son or daughter. Help us to overcome the temptation to act like the elder brother, who was so concerned with himself that he forgot the gift of the other person (cf. Lk 15:25-32).
To you, Father, who art in heaven, a heaven that embraces all and in which you make the sun rise on the good and the evil, on the just and the unjust (cf. Mt 5:45), we implore the peace and harmony that here on earth we have failed to preserve. We ask this through the intercession of all those brothers and sisters in faith who dwell with you in heaven after having believed, loved and suffered greatly, even in our own days, simply for the fact that they were Christians.
Together with them, we wish to hallow your name, placing it at the heart of all we do. May your name, Lord, and not ours, be the one that moves and awakens in us the exercise of charity. How many times, in prayer, do we limit ourselves to asking for gifts and listing requests, forgetting that the first thing we should do is praise your name, adore you, and then go on to acknowledge, in the brother or sister whom you have placed at our side, a living image of you. In the midst of all those passing things in which we are so caught up, help us, Father, to seek what truly lasts: your presence and that of our brother or sister.
We wait in expectation for your kingdom to come. We ask for it and we long for it, because we see that the workings of this world do not favour it, organized as they are around money, personal interests and power. Sunken as we are in an increasingly frenetic consumerism that entices us with glittering but fleeting realities, we ask you to help us, Father, to believe in what we pray for: to give up the comfortable security of power, the deceptive allure of worldliness, the vain presumption of our own self-sufficiency, the hypocrisy of cultivating appearances. In this way, we will not lose sight of that Kingdom to which you summon us.
Thy will be done, not our will. “God’s will is that all be saved” (SAINT JOHN CASSIAN, Spiritual Conferences, IX, 20). We need to broaden our horizons, Father, lest we place our own limits on your merciful, salvific will that wishes to embrace everyone. Help us, Father, by sending to us, as at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, source of courage and joy, to impel us to preach the good news of the Gospel beyond the confines of the communities to which we belong, our languages, our cultures and our nations.
Each day we need him, our daily bread. He is the breadof life (cf. Jn 6:35.48) that makes us realize that we are beloved sons and daughters, and makes us feel no longer isolated and orphaned. He is the bread of service, broken to serve us, and asking us in turn to serve one another (cf. Jn 13:14). Father, as you give us our daily bread, strengthen us to reach out and serve our brothers and sisters. And as we ask you for our daily bread, we ask also for the bread of memory, the grace to nurture the shared roots of our Christian identity, so indispensable in an age when humanity, and the young in particular, tend to feel rootless amid the uncertainties of life, and incapable of building their lives on a solid foundation. The bread that we ask begins with a seed, slowly grows into an ear of grain, is then harvested and is finally brought to our table. May it inspire us to be patient cultivators of communion, tireless in sowing seeds of unity, encouraging goodness, working constantly at the side of our brothers and sisters. Without suspicion or reserve, without pressuring or demanding uniformity, in the fraternal joy of a reconciled diversity.
The bread we ask today is also the bread of which so many people today are lacking, while a few have more than enough. The Our Father is a prayer that leaves us troubled and crying out in protest against the famine of love in our time, against the individualism and indifference that profane your name, Father. Help us to hunger to give freely of ourselves. Remind us, whenever we pray, that life is not about keeping ourselves comfortable but about letting ourselves be broken; not about accumulating but about sharing; not about eating to our heart’s content but about feeding others. Prosperity is only prosperity if it embraces everyone.
Each time we pray, we ask that our trespasses, our debts, be forgiven. This takes courage, for it means that we must forgive the trespasses of others, the debts that others have incurred in our regard. We need to find the strength to forgive our brother or sister from the heart (cf. Mt 18:35), even as you, Father, forgive our trespasses: to leave the past behind us and, together, to embrace the present. Help us, Father, not to yield to fear, not to see openness as a threat, to find the strength to forgive each other and move on, and the courage not to settle for a quiet life but to keep seeking, with transparency and sincerity, the face of our brothers and sisters.
And when the evil that lurks at the doorway of our heart (cf. Gen 4:7) makes us want to close in on ourselves; when we feel more strongly the temptation to turn our back on others, help us again, Father, for the essence of sin is withdrawal from you and from our neighbour. Help us to recognize in every one of our brothers and sisters a source of support on our common journey to you. Inspire in us the courage to say together: Our Father. Amen.
And now, let us recite the prayer that the Lord has taught us.
FULL TEXT + Image Share from Vatican.va - Official Translation
APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO ROMANIA [31 MAY - 2 JUNE 2019]
MEETING WITH THE PERMANENT SYNOD OF THE ROMANIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS
Palace of the Patriarchate (Bucarest) Friday, 31 May 2019
Your Holiness, Venerable Metropolitans and Bishops of the Holy Synod,
Cristos a înviat! [Christ is risen!] The Lord’s resurrection is the very heart of the apostolic preaching handed down and preserved by our Churches. On the day of Easter, the Apostles rejoiced to see the Risen Lord (cf. Jn 20:20). In this Easter season, I too rejoice to see a reflection of him, dear Brothers, in your own faces. Twenty years ago, before this Holy Synod, Pope John Paul II said, “I have come to contemplate the Face of Christ etched in your Church; I have come to venerate this suffering Face, the pledge to you of new hope” (Address to Patriarch Teoctist and the Holy Synod, 8 May 1999: Insegnamenti XXII.1 , 938). Today I too have come here as a pilgrim, a pilgrim brother, desirous of seeing the Lord’s face in the faces of my Brothers. As now I look at you, I offer you heartfelt thanks for your welcome.
The bonds of faith that unite us go back to the Apostles, the witnesses of the risen Jesus, and in particular to the bond between Peter and Andrew, who according to tradition brought the faith to these lands. Blood brothers (cf. Mk 1:16-18), they were also in an exceptional way brothers in shedding their blood for the Lord. They remind us that there exists a fraternity of blood that precedes us and, like a silent and life-giving stream flowing down the centuries, has never ceased to nourish and sustain us on our journey.
Here, as in so many other places nowadays, you have experienced the passover of death and resurrection: how man sons and daughters of this country, from various Churches and Christian communities, knew the Friday of persecution, endured the Saturday of silence and experienced the Sunday of rebirth. How many were the martyrs and confessors of the faith! In recent times, how many, from different confessions, stood side by side in prisons to support one another in turn! Today their example stands before us and before the young, who did not experience those dramatic conditions. What they suffered for, even to the sacrifice of their lives, is too precious an inheritance to be disregarded or tarnished. It is a shared inheritance and it summons us to remain close to our brothers and sisters who share it. United to Christ in suffering and sorrows, and united to Christ in the resurrection, so that “we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4).
Your Holiness, dear Brother, twenty-five years ago, the meeting between our Predecessors was an Easter gift, an event that contributed not only to renewed relations between Orthodox and Catholics in Romania, but also to the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue in general. That visit, the first of a Bishop of Rome to a country of Orthodox majority, opened the way to other similar events. Here I remember with gratitude Patriarch Teoctist. How can we fail to recall the spontaneous cry “Unitate, unitate!” that was raised here in Bucharest in those days! It was a proclamation of hope rising up from the people of God, a prophecy that inaugurated a new time: the time of journeying together in the rediscovery and revival of the fraternity that even now unites us. And this is already unitate.
Journeying together with the strength of memory. Not the memory of wrongs endured and inflicted, judgments and prejudices, excommunications that enclose us in a vicious circle and bring only barrenness. Rather, the memory of roots: the first centuries when the Gospel, preached with boldness and prophetic spirit, encountered and enlightened new peoples and cultures; the first centuries of the martyrs, of the Fathers and the confessors of the faith, the holiness daily lived out and witnessed to by so many simple persons who share the same Christ. Those first centuries of parrhesia and prophecy. Thank God, our roots are sound, sound and sure, and, even if their growth has undergone the twists and turns of time, we are called, like the Psalmist, to remember with gratitude all that the Lord has done in our midst and to raise to him a song of praise for each other (cf. Ps 77:6.12-13). The remembrance of steps taken and completed together encourages us to advance to the future in the awareness – certainly – of our differences, but above all in thanksgiving for a family atmosphere to be rediscovered and a memory of communion to be revived, that, like a lamp, can light up the steps of our journey.
Journeying together in listening to the Lord. We have an example in the way our Lord acted on the evening of Easter as he walked alongside his disciples on the way to Emmaus. They were discussing all that had happened, their worries, hesitations and questions. There the Lord listened patiently and entered into heartfelt dialogue with them, helping them to understand and to discern what had happened (cf. Lk 24:15-27).
We too need to listen together to the Lord, especially in these more recent years, when our world has experienced rapid social and cultural changes. Technological development and economic prosperity may have benefitted many, yet even more have remained hopelessly excluded, while a globalization that tends to level differences has contributed to uprooting traditional values and weakening ethics and social life, which more recently has witnessed a growing sense of fear that, often skillfully stoked, leads to attitudes of rejection and hate. We need to help one another not to yield to the seductions of a “culture of hate”, a culture of individualism that, perhaps no longer ideological as in the time of the atheist persecution, is nonetheless more persuasive and no less materialist. Often it takes on the appearance of a path to development that appears fast and easy, but in reality is indifferent and superficial. The weakening of social bonds, which leads to isolation, has particular repercussions on the fundamental cell of society, the family. It requires us to make an effort to go out and engage with the difficulties faced by our brothers and sisters, especially the very young, not with discouragement and nostalgia, like that of the disciples of Emmaus, but with the desire to communicate the risen Jesus, the heart of hope. Together with our brothers and sisters, we need to listen once more to the Lord, so that our hearts can burn within us and our preaching not grow weak (ibid., vv. 32.35). We need to let our hearts be warmed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The journey comes to an end, as it did in Emmaus, with the insistent prayer that the Lord remain with us (cf. vv. 28-29). The Lord who is revealed in the breaking of the bread (cf. vv. 30-31), calls us to charity, to mutual service, to “give God” before we “speak of God”, to a goodness that is not passive, but prepared to get up and set out, a service that is active and collaborative (cf. v. 33). We see an excellent example of this in the many Romanian Orthodox communities that cooperate fruitfully with the many Catholic dioceses in Western Europe where they are present. In many cases, a relationship of reciprocal trust and friendship has developed, grounded in fraternity and nurtured by concrete gestures of acceptance, support and solidarity. Through the growth of this reciprocal knowledge, many Catholics and Romanian Orthodox have discovered that they are not strangers, but brothers, sisters and friends.
Journeying together towards a new Pentecost. The path before us leads from Easter to Pentecost: from that Paschal dawn of unity that emerged here twenty years ago, we have set out towards a new Pentecost. For the disciples, Easter marked the beginning of a new journey, even if their fears and uncertainties did not vanish. Thus it was, even until the day of Pentecost, when, gathered around the Holy Mother of God, the Apostles, in the one Spirit and a plurality and richness of languages, bore witness to the Risen Lord by their words and by their lives. Our own journey has begun anew with the certainty that we are brothers and sisters walking side by side, sharing the faith grounded in the resurrection of the one Lord. From Easter to Pentecost: a time of gathering and praying together under the protection of the Holy Mother of God, a time of invoking the Spirit for one another. May the Holy Spirit renew us, for he disdains uniformity and loves to shape unity from the most beautiful and harmonious diversity. May his fire consume our lack of confidence and his breath sweep away the hesitation that holds us back from bearing witness together to the new life he offers us. May he, the builder of fraternity, give us the grace to walk beside one another. May he, the creator of newness, make us courageous as we experience unprecedented ways of sharing and of mission. May he, the strength of the martyrs, keep us from making his self-gift fruitless.
Your Holiness and dear Brothers, let us journey together, to the praise of the Most Holy Trinity and for our mutual benefit, as we seek to help our brothers and sisters to see Jesus. I once more assure you of my gratitude and of my own affection, friendship, fraternity and prayer, and that of the Catholic Church.
FULL TEXT + Image Share from Vatican.va - Official Translation
Act of Consecration to Jesus through Mary
O ETERNAL and incarnate Wisdom! O sweetest and most adorable Jesus! True God and true man, only Son of the Eternal Father, and of Mary, always virgin! I adore Thee profoundly in the bosom and splendors of Thy Father during eternity; and I adore Thee also in the virginal bosom of Mary, Thy most worthy Mother, in the time of Thine incarnation. I give Thee thanks for that Thou hast annihilated Thyself, taking the form of a slave in order to rescue me from the cruel slavery of the devil. I praise and glorify Thee for that Thou hast been pleased to submit Thyself to Mary, Thy holy Mother, in all things, in order to make me Thy faithful slave through her.
But, alas! Ungrateful and faithless as I have been, I have not kept the promises which I made so solemnly to Thee in my Baptism; I have not fulfilled my obligations; I do not deserve to be called Thy child, nor yet Thy slave; and as there is nothing in me which does not merit Thine anger and Thy repulse, I dare not come by myself before Thy most holy and august Majesty. It is on this account that I have recourse to the intercession of Thy most holy Mother, whom Thou hast given me for a mediatrix with Thee. It is through her that I hope to obtain of Thee contrition, the pardon of my sins, and the acquisition and preservation of wisdom. Hail, then, O immaculate Mary, living tabernacle of the Divinity, where the Eternal Wisdom willed to be hidden and to be adored by angels and by men! Hail, O Queen of Heaven and earth, to whose empire everything is subject which is under God. Hail, O sure refuge of sinners, whose mercy fails no one. Hear the desires which I have of the Divine Wisdom; and for that end receive the vows and offerings which in my lowliness I present to thee.
I, ________________, a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before. In the presence of all the heavenly court I choose thee this day for my Mother and Mistress. I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, for the greater glory of God in time and in eternity.
Receive, O benignant Virgin, this little offering of my slavery, in honor of, and in union with, that subjection which the Eternal Wisdom deigned to have to thy maternity; in homage to the power which both of you have over this poor sinner, and in thanksgiving for the privileges with which the Holy Trinity has favored thee. I declare that I wish henceforth, as thy true slave, to seek thy honor and to obey thee in all things.
O admirable Mother, present me to thy dear Son as His eternal slave, so that as He has redeemed me by thee, by thee He may receive me! O Mother of mercy, grant me the grace to obtain the true Wisdom of God; and for that end receive me among those whom thou lovest and teachest, whom thou leadest, nourishest and protectest as thy children and thy slaves. O faithful Virgin, make me in all things so perfect a disciple, imitator and slave of the Incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ thy Son, that I may attain, by thine intercession and by thine example, to the fullness of His age on earth and of His glory in Heaven. Amen. (By: St. Louis Marie Gringnon de Montfort - from "The True Devotion to Mary")
Litany of Our Lady - Loreto
V. Lord, have mercy. R. Christ have mercy.
V. Lord have mercy. Christ hear us. R. Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of Virgins, [etc.]
Mother of Christ,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good Counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Savior,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Vessel of honor,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Tower of David,
Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of families,
Queen of peace,
V. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, R. Spare us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, R. Graciously hear us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray. Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, that we thy servants may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of blessed Mary, ever Virgin, may we be freed from present sorrow, and rejoice in eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen. The versicle and prayer after the litany may be varied by season. Thus, during Advent (from the fourth Sunday before Christmas to Christmas Eve):
V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Let us pray. O God, who hast willed that by the message of an Angel, thy Word should receive flesh from the womb of the Virgin Mary: grant unto thy suppliants, that we who believe that she is truly the Mother of God, may be assisted by her intercession before Thee. Through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen. From Christmas to Candlemass (the Feast of the Presentation), that is through February 1:
V. Thou gavest birth without loss of thy virginity.
R. Intercede for us, O holy Mother of God.
Let us pray. O God, Who by the fruitful virginity of blessed Mary hast offered unto the human race the rewards of eternal salvation, grant, we beseech thee, that we may know the effects of her intercession, through whom we have deserved to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son. R. Amen. From Candlemass to Easter (through Holy Week), AND from the day after Pentecost (or from Trinity Sunday, if Pentecost is celebrated with octave) to the beginning of Advent:
V. "Pray for us" and prayer "Grant unto thy servants," as above: During Eastertide (from Easter day through Pentecost, and throughout the octave of Pentecost if it is celebrated):
V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. For the Lord is truely risen, alleluia.
Let us pray. O God, Who by the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, hast vouchsafed to make glad the whole world, grant, we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His mother, we may attain the joys of eternal life, through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
The Magnificat - Sung by Mary at the Visitation
The Magnificat is a canticle of the Blessed Virgin from the Gospel of Luke Also known as the Song of Mary:
My soul magnifies the Lord; my spirit has found joy in God my Saviour, Because he has looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid. Behold, from this day forward all generations will count me blessed; Because he who is mighty, he whose name is holy, has wrought for me his wonders. He has mercy upon those who fear him, from generation to generation; He has done valiantly with the strength of his arm, driving
the proud astray in the conceit of their hearts; He has put down the mighty from their seat, and has exalted the lowly; He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty-handed. He has protected his servant Israel, keeping his merciful design in remembrance, according to the promise which he made to our forefather, Abraham and his posterity for evermore.
TANZANIA: Catholic Church mourns the death of two Catholic bishops
May 17, 2019,
The Catholic Church in Tanzania is mourning the death of two emeritus bishops, Bishop emeritus of Mtwara Diocese Rt. Rev. Gabriel Mmole and Bishop Emeritus of Mbinga Diocese Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Mapunda who died within this week.
Bishop Mmole died on 15th May 2019 at his house after a long sickness while Bishop Mapunda died on 16th May 2019 in the air plane when he was being rushed to Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam for treatment.
Bishop Mmole will be buried on 21st at the Cathedral of All Saints in Mtwara Diocese and Bishop Mapunda will be buried on 24th at the Cathedral of St. Killian in Mbinga Diocese.
Announcing the death of Bishop Mmole
, Bishop of Mtwara Diocese Rt. Rev Titus Mdoe said the late bishop Mmole has been sickly for long and that because of his age he continued to become weak. The late Bishop had been receiving treatment from different hospitals but his condition continued to worsen, leading to his death.
Bishop Mdoe said that the diocese has lost a good shepherd who in his life dedicated himself on education.
“He gave education first priority especially to the community around the coastal area whose interest is largely fishing.
He established different Catholic Schools within Diocese and later he was able to set up the Stella Maris University affiliated from Saint Augustine University of Tanzania,” he said.
The late Bishop Mmole wrote various books that have helped build the foundations of the faith of believers. Among his books include ‘You are the salt of the world’ and ‘Uchumba sio ndoa’ which means ‘Betrothal is not marriage’.
The Catholic bishops in Tanzania offered their condolences to Bishop Mdoe, priests, religious and lay people of Mtwara Diocese for the loss of their bishop.
Bishop Mmole served the Church as Bishop of the Catholic Church in Mtwara for more than 28 years. He was born on January 1 in 1939 in the village with Nangoo Parish in Masasi District and did his primary education at Ndanda Primary School; he did the middle School at Lukuledi from 1955 to 1956 and later joined the Peramiho Teachers College in 1959-1960. In 1962-1964 he did his education at Namupa junior Seminar which is located in Lindi. In 1967-1970 he went for theology in Major Peramiho Seminary and he was ordained to priesthood in 1971.
In 1973 he joined the College of Pastors and Religion (GABA) in Uganda. In 1974 he was the Head of Namupa junior Seminar until March 12 1988 when Pope (Now saint) John Paul II appointed him as bishop of Mtwara Diocese.
While serving as bishop he served Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC), as a Chairman of Seas, Immigrants and Foreign Immigration Commission. Late Bishop Gabriel Mmole retired on October 15, 2016 after reaching 75 years of age according to the Catholic Church system.
Late Bishop Emmanuel Mapunda was born was born on 10th December 1935. He was ordained to a priest of Songea Diocese on 8th August 1965; he was appointed Bishop of Mbinga on 22nd December 1986 and he was consecrated as Bishop on 6th January 1987. He retired from episcopate in March 2011.
Full Text Release from Amecea - Episcopal Conferences of E. Africa - Sarah Pelaji
APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO ROMANIA [31 MAY - 2 JUNE 2019]
MEETING WITH THE AUTHORITIES, WITH CIVIL SOCIETY AND WITH THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS
Unirii Hall of the Cotroceni Palace (Bucarest) Friday, 31 May 2019
Mr President Madam Prime Minister, Your Beatitude, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Distinguished Authorities, Representatives of the different Religious Confessions and of Civil Society, Dear Friends,
I offer a cordial greeting and express my gratitude to Their Excellencies the President and the Prime Minister for the invitation to visit Romania and for their kind words of welcome, extended also in the name of the other Authorities of the nation, and of this beloved people. I greet the members of the Diplomatic Corps and the representatives of civil society gathered here.
I greet with fraternal love my brother Daniel. My respectful greeting goes likewise to all the Metropolitans and Bishops of the Holy Synod, and to all the faithful of the Romanian Orthodox Church. With affection, I greet the Bishops and priests, men and women religious, and all the members of the Catholic Church, whom I have come to confirm in faith and to encourage on their journey of life and Christian witness.I am happy to find myself in your beautiful land twenty years after the visit of Saint John Paul II and in this semester when Romania, for the first time since its entrance into the European Union, holds the presidency of the Council of Europe.
This is a fitting time to think back on the thirty years that have passed since Romania was liberated from a regime that oppressed civil and religious liberty, isolated the nation from other European countries, and led to the stagnation of its economy and the exhaustion of its creative powers. In these years, Romania has been committed to building a sound democracy through the plurality of its political and social forces and their reciprocal dialogue, through the fundamental recognition of religious freedom and through the country’s full participation on the greater international stage. It is important to acknowledge the great strides made on this journey, despite significant difficulties and privations. The determination to advance in various areas of civil, social, cultural, and scientific life has released much energy and generated many projects; it has unleashed great creative forces that had previously been pent up, and has encouraged a number of new initiatives that have guided the country into the twenty-first century. I trust that you will carry forward these efforts to consolidate the structures and institutions needed to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the citizenry and to encourage the nation’s people to realize its full potential and native genius.
At the same time, it must be acknowledged that while the changes brought by the dawn of this new era have led to genuine achievements, they have also entailed inevitable hurdles to be overcome and problematic consequences for social stability and the governance of the territory itself. I think in the first place of the phenomenon of emigration and the several million people who have had to leave their homes and country in order to seek new opportunities for employment and a dignified existence. I think too of the depopulation of many villages, which have lost many of their inhabitants, the effects of this on the quality of life in those areas, and the weakening of the profound cultural and spiritual roots that have sustained you in difficult times, in times of trial. At the same time, I pay homage to the sacrifices endured by so many sons and daughters of Romania who, by their culture, their distinctive identity and their industriousness, have enriched those countries to which they have emigrated, and by the fruit of their hard work have helped their families who have remained at home. To think of our brothers and sisters abroad is an act of patriotism, an act of fraternity, an act of justice. Continue to do so.
Confronting the problems of this new chapter of history, identifying effective solutions, and finding the resolve to implement them, calls for greater cooperation on the part of the nation’s political, economic, social and spiritual forces. It is necessary to move forward together in unity and conviction in following the highest calling to which every state must aspire: that of responsibility for the common good of its people. To move forward together, as a way of shaping the future, requires a noble willingness to sacrifice something of one’s own vision or best interest for the sake of a greater project, and thus to create a harmony that makes it possible to advance securely towards shared goals. This is the basis of a society’s nobility.
This is the path to the building of an inclusive society, one in which everyone shares his or her own gifts and abilities, through quality education and creative, participatory and mutually supportive labour (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 192). In this way, all become protagonists of the common good, where the weak, the poor and the least are no longer seen as undesirables that keep the “machine” from functioning, but as citizens and as brothers and sisters to be fully incorporated into the life of society. Indeed, how they are treated is the best indicator of the actual goodness of the social model that one is attempting to build. Only to the extent that a society is concerned for its most disadvantaged members, can it be considered truly civil.
This entire process needs to have a heart and soul, and a clear goal to achieve, one imposed not by extrinsic considerations or by the growing power of centres of high finance, but by an awareness of the centrality of the human person and of his or her inalienable rights (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 203). For a harmonious and sustainable development, the concrete practice of solidarity and charity, and the increased concern of social, civil and political forces for the pursuit of the common good, it is not enough to modernize economic theories, or professional techniques and abilities, however necessary these in themselves may be. It requires developing not just material conditions but the very soul of your people. Because peoples have a soul; they have their own way of perceiving and experiencing reality. To keep going back to its very soul: this is what makes a people progress.
In this regard, the Christian Churches can help to rediscover and strengthen the beating heart that can be the source of a political and social action based on the dignity of the person and leading to commitment to work with fairness and generosity for the overall common good. At the same time, they themselves seek to become a credible reflection of God’s presence and an attractive witness to his works, and, in this way, they grow in authentic mutual friendship and cooperation. This is the path that the Catholic Church wishes to follow. She desires to contribute to the building up of society. She desires to be a sign of harmony in the hope of unity and to be at the service of human dignity and the common good. She wishes to cooperate with the civil authorities, with the other Churches and with all men and women of good will, journeying together with them and placing her specific gifts at the service of the entire community. The Catholic Church is no stranger to this; she shares fully in the spirit of the nation, as is demonstrated by the participation of her faithful in the shaping of the country’s future and in the creation and development of the structures of integral education and forms of charitable assistance suited to a modern state. In this way, she desires to contribute to the building up of society and of civil and spiritual life in your beautiful land of Romania.
In offering my prayerful good wishes for Romania’s prosperity and peace, I invoke upon you, your family, upon all those here present, and upon all the country’s people an outpouring of God’s blessings and the protection of the Holy Mother of God.
God bless Romania! Full Text from Vatican.va - Official Translation - Image source; Screen shot Vatican Media
AFRICA/DR CONGO - "No to the culture of free death": Bishop's appeal after another boat sinks
Friday, 31 May 2019 bishops
Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "We have to put an end to the culture of free death", invoked His Exc. Mgr. Donatien Bafuidinsoni Maloko-Mana, Bishop of Inongo, in the west of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the message of condolences for the victims of the shipwreck on Mai-Ndombe lake, on 25 May.
The tragedy caused the death of 32 people, while 183 survived; however, there are still several missing among the almost 400 people on board, according to estimates by the authorities of the province of Mai-Ndombe.
In his letter of condolences to the families affected by the tragedy, the Bishop of Inongo, expressed his grief and his spiritual closeness: "Dear brothers and sisters of Mai-Ndombe, we are deeply saddened to learn, once again, that a shipwreck cost the lives of hundreds of people on May 25, when a barge sank as it was crossing the lake from Inongo to the village of Lokanga".
"Almost all of these people on board the boat, we learned, were civil servants who had just received their salaries", the Bishop said. "To all the community of Mai-Ndombe, in particular to the community of Bolia, painfully affected by these free deaths, we sincerely present our most heartfelt Christian condolences. May our prayers accompany the whole community", invoked Mgr. Bafuidinsoni who concluded by launching an appeal to the authorities and those in charge of the means of transport, so that they "assume their responsibilities in order to put an end to this culture of free death".
In recent months there have been several shipwrecks in the DRC like that of April 15 on Lake Kivu which caused the death of 13 people and over 114 missing. The cause of these tragedies is attributed to the obsolescence and overloading of boats. (L.M.) (Full Text Source: Agenzia Fides, 31/5/2019)
Vatican News report: Pope Francis welcomed to Bucharest for 3-day visit to Romania
As the papal plane touches down in Bucharest on Friday morning, Pope Francis is welcomed to Romania’s capital by President Klaus Iohannis and a delegation of Catholic and Orthodox leaders, at the start of his 3-day Apostolic Journey to the EU member state.
By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis’ visit to Romania is his 30th Apostolic Journey abroad, and takes place under the official motto “Let’s walk together”.
He follows in the footsteps of Pope St. John Paul II, who made the first papal visit to the Orthodox-majority nation 20 years ago in May 1999.
Friday in Bucharest
The Holy Father spends Friday in the capital, Bucharest. His first engagement is with Romania’s civil authorities at the Presidential Palace. He also encounters the permanent Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, and prays the Our Father with them at the new Orthodox Cathedral.
The Pope finishes the day by celebrating Mass for the city’s Catholics at Saint Joseph Cathedral.
On Saturday, Pope Francis flies to the northeastern city of Bacău, where he will take a helicopter to Miercurea Ciuc, in the Transylvania region, to celebrate Mass at the Marian Shrine of Şumuleu Ciuc.
He also travels to Romania’s second largest city, Iași. There he will make a private visit to Our Lady Queen of Iași Cathedral, and hold a Marian encounter with young people and families.
Sunday in Blaj
On the last day of his visit, Pope Francis visits the central city of Blaj.
In the morning he will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and beatify 7 Greek Catholic bishops who were martyred under the communist regime.
The last event on the Pope’s schedule is an encounter with the Roma community in the Barbu Lautaru neighborhood of Blaj.
Pope Francis departs Sunday afternoon from Sibiu’s airport, and returns to the Vatican in the early evening.
Buffalo News reports that vandals did as much as $50,000 worth of damage to statues and other outdoor displays at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine.
Father Peter M. Calabrese, associate director, said four statues, two of them made of marble and two of fiberglass, were tipped over or had pieces knocked off. Two of the statues, one depicting Jesus and the other St. Gaudenza, were knocked to the ground.
Also, a large urn, some marble benches and a pillar in the outdoor chapel were damaged in the vandalism, which occurred late Tuesday night or in the early hours of Wednesday.
Father Calabrese said there have been some less extensive vandalism incidents at the Swann Road shrine in the past, including one in which a statue's head was knocked off.
"This is the first time we've had so much at one time," he said. Lewiston Police are investigating.
The shrine, which opened in 1956, is operated by the Barnabite Fathers. Full Text share from Buffalo News.com - Image source Google Images ********************************
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The Relics of the Fatima child saints have been stolen from an Italian church. The Catholic church in Verona, Italy held the relics as they were travelling on a pilgrimage tour in Italy.
The Rev. Andrea Ronconi said Thursday that small pieces of clothing belonging to the Portuguese shepherd children made saints in 2017 were stolen Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Police were looking for two suspects.
Ronconi, priest at the Jesus Christ Divine Worker parish, said he was “heartbroken and mortified” by the theft, which also included copies of a crown and rosary of the Fatima Virgin Mary statue. Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Marto, were the visionaries of the Virgin Mary more than 100 years ago, and were declared saints on May 13, 2017. The Portuguese town of Fatima has become one of the world’s most important Catholic shrines. Edited from AP - National Post
Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Lectionary: 572
Reading 1ZEP 3:14-18A
Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The LORD has removed the judgment against you, he has turned away your enemies; The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear. On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem: Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.
Or ROM 12:9-16
Brothers and sisters: Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.
Responsorial PsalmISAIAH 12:2-3, 4BCD, 5-6
R.(6) Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel. God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior. With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation. R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel. Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name; among the nations make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name. R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel. Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement; let this be known throughout all the earth. Shout with exultation, O city of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel! R. Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
AlleluiaSEE LK 1:45
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."
And Mary said:
"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever."
Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Assuming that the Annunciation and the Incarnation took place about the vernal equinox, Mary left Nazareth at the end of March and went over the mountains to Hebron, south of Jerusalem, to wait upon her cousin Elizabeth, because her presence and much more the presence of the Divine Child in her womb, according to the will of God, was to be the source of very great graces to the Blessed John, Christ's Forerunner. The event is related in Luke 1:39-57. Feeling the presence of his Divine Saviour, John, upon the arrival of Mary, leaped in the womb of his mother; he was then cleansed from original sin and filled with the grace of God. Our Lady now for the first time exercised the office which belonged to the Mother of God made man, that He might by her mediation sanctify and glorify us. St. Joseph probably accompanied Mary, returned to Nazareth, and when, after three months, he came again to Hebron to take his wife home, the apparition of the angel, mentioned in Matthew 1:19-25, may have taken place to end the tormenting doubts of Joseph regarding Mary's maternity.
St. Mechtildis was born around 1125 in Bavaria. Here parents were Count Berthold of Andechs and Sophia. When Mechtildis was five, her parents placed her in the Monastery they had founded on their estate at Diessen, Bavaria. The Nuns brought her up, and Mechtildis grew up to be a devout and prayerful young lady.
She grew in piety and eventually became a Benedictine Nun. She was elected Abbess at a young age after her Superior died. Although her parents founded the Monastery, she felt God chose her calling to become a Nun. Her holiness and reputation spread, and when she was twenty eight, the Bishop of Augsburg appointed her Abbess of Edelstetten and told her to reform the Convent. Despite her protests that she was not old enough for the task and could be unable to cope with the problems of the Convent, she accepted the appointment.
She received instructions from Pope Anastasius IV about the reform that he desired. She received a warm welcome at first, but soon into her new position she was met with a great deal of resistance. When she began to enforce discipline, they were not cooperative with her. The measures that she took were that the Nuns start observing the Benedictine Rule, that the enclosure of the Convent be followed, especially the rule denying admission to visitors who came to spread gossip. She was only able to succeed after the Bishop expelled the main troublemakers. Soon she won over the other Sisters. In addition to her reputation for holiness, she had strong administration skills. She became well know for her miracles of healing, restoring speech and vision, and her mystical trances and ecstasies that would often last for hours. She was considered a model of Religious life. Shortly before her death in 1160,
St. Mechtildis resigned as Abbess and returned to Diessen, where she died on May 31. Her life is an example that reminds us, whether we are Religious, Married or Single, we are all called to enter into the holiness and love of God, and to be of service to others. Shared from Newman Connection
ASIA/INDIA - Cardinal Gracias: "Let us work for a new, strong and inclusive India"
Monday, 27 May 2019
New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - "On behalf of the Catholic Church in India, I offer my sincere congratulations to you and to the Bharatiya Janata Party. I want to assure you of our prayers and best wishes for you and your team as you lead our country in building a strong and inclusive India": this is what Cardinal Oswald Gracias states in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, winner of the recent general election. As Fides learns, Cardinal Gracias, president of the Indian Bishops' Conference, Archbishop of Bombay, the largest diocese in India, sent the letter on May 25, pointing out that the Indian people gave "a clear mandate for a stable and effective government".
The Cardinal also congratulated Amit Shah, president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, who played the key role in the electoral victory, ensuring the prayer of the Catholic community "for health, wisdom and strength to carry out the great responsibilities entrusted to him".
The Church, the text adds, intends to collaborate with the government to create "a new India": "We are all eager to work together for the vision of a new India which gives hope and energy to our youth, empowers our women especially in rural areas, opens new and sustainable opportunities for our farmers and strengthens our economy while leaving no one behind: a new India that enjoys peace and prosperity and continues to make progress".
The results of the Indian general elections, held in seven phases from 11 April to 19 May, were announced on 23 May. Modi's alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party won 353 seats out of the 543 of Lok Sabha, the lower House of parliament. Modi's commitments include "liberating India from poverty, dirt, corruption, terrorism, casteism and communalism by 2022". (SD-PA) (Full Text Source: Agenzia Fides, 27/5/2019)