Friday, February 8, 2019

Pope Francis "...the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita, the patron of victims of human trafficking. She knew from painful experience the reality..." FULL TEXT + Video

Consistory Hall
Friday, 8 February 2019

Dear Friends,
I extend cordial greetings to you, the trustees and benefactors of the Galileo Foundation, and willingly take this opportunity to convey my appreciation for your generous commitment to the Church’s pastoral mission. Your sponsorship of a wide variety of projects expresses something of the very universality of the Church herself.
As lay people, with unique ways of following the Lord in your own specific vocations and responsibilities, you have an essential part to play in making known the saving message of the Gospel to the people of our time, and especially to the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters. I encourage you to keep on generously offering such important witness.
I would like principally to emphasize your contribution to raising awareness of the plight of those who suffer from poverty and exploitation, especially those entrapped by the deadly crime of human trafficking. This is an urgent and essential duty for today’s Christians. As such, it is surely no coincidence that we meet on the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita, the patron of victims of human trafficking. She knew from painful experience the reality of slavery and its humiliating and violent consequences. Yet, by God’s grace, she also came to know true freedom and joy. Her holiness of life is a summons not only to fight with greater determination against modern forms of slavery which are an open wound on the body of society, a scourge upon the body of Christ and a crime against humanity (cf. Address to the International Conference on Combating Human Trafficking, 10 April 2014), but also to learn from her great example. What does she say to us? She teaches us how to attend to the poor with tenderness, gentleness and compassion.
Dear friends, in your ongoing projects and work, may you be sustained by an ever deeper rootedness in prayer, by the intercession of Saint Josephine Bakhita and by the strength that the Holy Spirit alone can give. And as you serve the Lord, I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace upon you and your families. I thank you for your prayers and ask you please to continue to pray for me. Thank you.

Wow Tim Tebow Hosts "Night to Shine" for People with Disabilities in 600 Churches with 100,000 Young Adults

Tim Tebow's 'Night to Shine' was held on Friday, February 8, 2019 in 600 Churches, with 100,000 Kings and Queens.

Over 600 churches from around the world are hosting special prom events honoring young adults with special needs and disabilities.

The event is called "Night to Shine" and it was the idea of former NFL quarterback and current professional baseball player Tim Tebow.

It's sponsored by his Tim Tebow Foundation. Their website describes as an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God's love for people ages 14 and older with special needs.

"I truly believe that the world is coming together to celebrate the love that God has for every single one of us," Tebow says.

Over 100,000 honored guests will be crowned as kings and queens at these special prom events.

Tebow says over 200,000 volunteers in 20 countries are working together to make it all happen as the Night to Shine celebrates its fifth year.

The mission of Night to Shine is "to bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need."

Tebow says in a video that one of the favorite letters he's ever received in his entire life came to him after the 2016 Night to Shine.

A mom whose daughter has special needs wrote to him saying her heart's desire is that her girl won't be forgotten. She wrote, "At Night to Shine, God whispered to me, 'I will never ever forget her. She is famous to me like an A-lister walking the red carpet... She is precious and she is mine.' How extravagant is the love of God for us."

Pope Francis "Hatred is the breath of satan: let's remember that he can not love..." Homily


Four characters in search of the author

Friday, 8 February 2019

Four characters in search of the Author of life. The martyrdom of John, with the crude and bleak image of the disciples who go to take his body in his cell to give him a burial, suggested to the Pope - at the Mass celebrated on Friday 8 February in Santa Marta - an appeal to know how to give one's existence to others. And not to fall into that corruption, between hatred and vanity, of which Satan had wrapped King Herod, Herodias and his daughter.

"The disciples of John, having learned of the fact, came and took the corpse and placed it in a sepulcher." It is with these words - taken from the passage of the Gospel of Mark (6, 14-29) - that, as pointed out by Francis at the beginning of his homily, «ended the story of this man to whom Jesus had given the title of" greatest man born as a woman "». So, "the greatest ended like this".

«But John - the Pontiff insisted - knew this, he knew he had to annihilate himself, he did not know how he would die, but he knew he had to annihilate himself». And "from the beginning he had said it, speaking of Jesus:" He must grow, but I should diminish "». In fact, he explained, Giovanni "has decreased to death. He was the forerunner of the coming of Jesus, the announcer: he showed it to the disciples, to the first disciples ». And "then his light had gone out little by little, little by little, to the dark of that cell, in the prison, where, alone, he was beheaded."

«This is the story of the" greatest man born of a woman "» the Pope re-launched, pointing out that «the life of martyrs is not easy to tell: martyrdom is a service, it is a mystery, it is a gift of life very special and very big ». And "in the end things happen violently, because in the middle there are human attitudes that lead to take away the life of a Christian, of an honest person, and to make him a martyr".

In particular, Francis indicated "some attitudes in this passage of the Gospel" proposed by the liturgy. And "the first is the attitude of the king: it is said that he believed that John was a prophet. He believed, he listened willingly; at one point he protected him, but he had put him in jail: half and half ". He was "undecided, because John rebuked the king for the sin of adultery and he remained very perplexed when he heard it: he felt the voice of God telling him" change life ", but he could not do it». In short, the Pontiff affirmed, "the king was corrupt and where there is corruption it is very difficult to get out". Precisely because "corrupt", the king "tried to make diplomatic balances, let's say, between his own life - not only adultery, but also the life full of so many injustices that this king carried out - and the holiness of the prophet who had ». And "this was the perplexity, and never came to melt that knot". Therefore, "the first protagonist of this ending is a corrupt".

"The second protagonist is the wife of the king's brother, Erodìade," the Pope continued. Only of her "the Gospel says that" he hated "John" and "hated him because John spoke clearly". Francis was careful to point out the word "hated" because "we know that hate is capable of everything, it is a great force. Hatred is the breath of satan: let's remember that he can not love, Satan can not love, can not love. His "love" is hate ". And "this woman had the satanic spirit of hatred" and "hatred destroys".

"The third character - the Pope said - is the girl, the daughter of Herodias: she was good at dancing, to the point that it pleased so much the guests, the king". And "the king, in that enthusiasm - a bit of enthusiasm, too much wine and lots of people there - gave this vain girl a promise:" I will give you everything "». The Pope pointed out that "he uses the same words that he used Satan to tempt Jesus:" If you worship me I will give you everything, all the kingdom, everything "». Nor did he "know that he used the same words". Because "behind these characters there is satan, sower of hatred in the woman, sower of vanity in the girl, sower of corruption in the king".

In this context the "greatest man born as a woman" ended up alone, in a dark cell of the prison, on the whim of a vain dancer, the hatred of a diabolical woman and the corruption of an undecided king ". John is "a martyr who let his life be less, less, less, to give place to the Messiah". And «he died there, in anonymity, like so many of our martyrs». So much so that "only the Gospel tells us that the disciples went to take the body to give it burial".

In this context the "greatest man born as a woman" ended up alone, in a dark cell of the prison, on the whim of a vain dancer, the hatred of a diabolical woman and the corruption of an undecided king ". John is "a martyr who let his life be less, less, less, to give place to the Messiah". And «he died there, in anonymity, like so many of our martyrs». So much so that "only the Gospel tells us that the disciples went to take the body to give it burial".

"Each of us can think: this testimony is a great testimony of a great man, of a great saint," said the Pontiff. "Life - he pointed out - has value only in giving it, in giving it in love, in truth, in giving it to others, in daily life, in the family". But "always give it". And "if someone takes life for himself, to guard it, like the king in his corruption or the lady with hatred, or the girl, the girl, with her own vanity - a little adolescent, unconscious - life dies, life ends withered, no use ". On the contrary, John "gave his life:" I, on the contrary, must diminish so that He may be heard, be seen, so that He may manifest himself, the Lord "».

In conclusion, Francis suggested "to remember four characters: the corrupt king, the lady who only knew how to hate, the vain girl who has no conscience of nothing and the prophet beheaded only in the cell." With the hope that "everyone will open their hearts so that the Lord will speak to him about this".

Pope Francis "I encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, so as never to forget that the true missionary..." FULL TEXT


Sala Clementina
Friday, 8 February 2019

Dear brothers and sisters,

I welcome you with joy on the occasion of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Society of Missionaries of Africa and of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa. I thank your Superiors General for the words they have addressed to me, and I wish to express my cordial greeting and my spiritual closeness to you and, through you, to all the members of your Institutes present in Africa and in other regions of the world. . Thanks to you, for the service to the mission of the Church, lived with passion and generosity, in fidelity to the evangelical intuitions of your common founder, Cardinal Lavigerie.
During the past three years, you have prepared to celebrate this jubilee. As members of the great "Lavigerie family", you have returned to your roots, you have looked at your history with gratitude, to enable you to live your present commitment with a renewed passion for the Gospel and to be sowers of hope. Together with you I give thanks to God, not only for the gifts he has given to the Church through your Institutes, but also and above all for the fidelity of his love, which you celebrate in this Jubilee. May this jubilee year strengthen in you the certainty that "worthy of faith is God, from whom you have been called to communion with his son Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor 1: 9). May your consecration, your ministry be able to manifest concretely, in your fraternal life and in your various commitments, the fidelity of God's love and his closeness, to sow the hope in the hearts of those who are wounded, tested, discouraged, and they feel so often abandoned.

Dear friends, you know: when Monsignor Lavigerie, then archbishop of Algiers, was guided by the Spirit to found the Society of the Missionaries of Africa, and then the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters, he had in his heart the passion for the Gospel and the desire to announce it to everyone, becoming "all to all" (cf. 1 Cor 9:22). For this reason, your roots are marked by the mission ad extra: it's in your DNA. So, in the footsteps of the Founder, your first concern, your holy restlessness, is "that so many of our brothers live without the strength, the light and the consolation of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith that welcomes them, without a horizon of meaning and life "(Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 49). But, in the light of the journey made up to now from your foundation, you know that the proclamation of the Gospel is not synonymous with proselytism; it is that dynamic that leads us to be close to others to share the gift received, the encounter of love that changed your life and led you to choose to consecrate life to the Lord Jesus, the Gospel for the life and salvation of world. It is always for him, with him and in him that the mission is lived. Therefore, I encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, so as never to forget that the true missionary is above all a disciple. Take care to cultivate the particular bond that unites you to the Lord, by listening to his Word, the celebration of the sacraments and the service of the brothers, so that your actions may manifest his presence, his merciful love, his compassion for those to whom the Spirit sends you and leads you. May the celebration of your jubilee help you become "nomads for the Gospel", men and women who are not afraid to go to the deserts of this world and to seek together the means to accompany the brothers to the oasis which is the Lord, so that the living water of his love will extinguish all their thirst.
I hope that this Jubilee Year will also contribute to developing the fraternal bonds between you, so that the proclamation of the Gospel can not be lived except through an authentic missionary communion. With the power of the Holy Spirit, be witnesses of hope that does not disappoint (see Rom 5: 5), despite the difficulties. In fidelity to your roots, do not be afraid to risk yourselves on the roads of the mission, to witness that "God is always news, which continually urges us to leave and change places to go beyond the known, to the suburbs and the frontiers" (Exhort. ap. Gaudete et exsultate, 135). The Holy Spirit makes you builders of bridges among men. Where the Lord has sent you, may you help to grow a culture of encounter, be at the service of a dialogue that, while respecting differences, can draw wealth from the diversity of others. And I thank you in particular for the work you have already done in favor of dialogue with Islam, with the Muslim sisters and brothers. With the style and simplicity of your way of life, you also manifest the need to take care of our common home, the earth. Finally, in the wake of Cardinal Lavigerie, you are called to sow hope, fighting against all today's forms of slavery; making you close of the little ones and the poor, of those who wait, in the suburbs of our society, to be recognized in their dignity, to be welcomed, protected, raised, accompanied, promoted and integrated.

With this hope, I entrust you to the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Africa. I have learned the Apostolic Blessing to you and to all the members of your communities, and I invoke God's blessing on those whose life you share, where the Lord has sent you. And please do not forget to pray for me. Thank you.

Saint February 8 : St. Jerome Emiliani : Patron of Orphans - Founder of the Order of #Somascha

Feast Day:
February 8
1481, Venice Died:
8 February 1537, Somasca
1767 by Pope Clement XIII
Patron of:
Founder of the Order of Somascha; b. at Venice, 1481; d. at Somascha, 8 Feb., 1537; feast, 20 July; son of Angelo Emiliani (popularly called Miani) and of Eleonore Mauroceni, joined the army, and in 1508 defended Castelnuovo against the League of Cambray. Taken prisoner and miraculously liberated, he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Treviso, in fulfillment of a vow. He was then appointed podestà of Castelnuovo, but after a short time returned to Venice to supervise the education of his nephews. All his spare time was devoted to the study of theology and to works of charity. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1518, the hospitals and the hovels of the poor were his favourite resorts. In the year of plague and famine (1528), he seemed to be everywhere, and showed his zeal especially for the orphans, whose number had so greatly increased. He rented a house for them near the church of St. Rose and, with the assistance of some pious laymen, ministered to their wants. To his charge was also committed the hospital for incurables, founded by St. Cajetan. In 1531 he went to Verona and induced the citizens to build a hospital; at Brescia he erected an orphanage, at Bergamo one for boys and another for girls. Here also he founded the first home for fallen women who wished to do penance. Two priests, Alessandro Besuzio and Agostino Bariso, now joined him in his labours of charity, and in 1532 Jerome founded a religious society, placing the motherhouse at Somascha, a secluded hamlet between Milan and Bergamo. In the rule, Jerome puts down as the principal work of the community the care of orphans, poor, and sick, and demands that dwellings, food and clothing shall bear the mark of religious poverty. Jerome fell a martyr to his zeal; contracting a disease at Bergamo, he died at Somascha. He was beatified by Benedict XIV in 1747, and canonized by Clement XIII in 1767. The Office and Mass in his honour were approved eight years later. His biography was first written by Scipio Albani (1600); another by Andreas Stella (1605). The best was written by Aug. Tortora (Milan, 1620; in "Acta SS.", Feb., II, 217 sq.).
After the death of Jerome his community was about to disband, but was kept together by Gambarana, who had been chosen superior. He obtained the approval (1540) of Paul III. In 1547 the members vainly sought affiliation with the Society of Jesus; then in 1547-1555 they were united with the Theatines. Pius IV (1563) approved the institution, and St. Pius V raised it to the dignity of a religious order, according to the Rule of St. Augustine, with solemn vows, the privileges of the mendicants, and exemption. In 1569 the first six members made their profession, and Gambarana was made first superior general. Great favour was shown to the order by St. Charles Borromeo, and he gave it the church of St. Mayeul at Pavia, from which church the order takes its official name "Clerici regulares S. Majoli Papiae congregationis Somaschae". Later the education of youth was put into the programme of the order, and the colleges at Rome and Pavia became renowned. It spread into Austria and Switzerland, and before the great Revolution it had 119 houses in the four provinces of Rome, Lombardy, Venice, and France. At present the order has ten houses in Italy two of which are in Rome. The general resides in Rome at S. Girolamo della Carita.

(Taken frrom Catholic Encyclopedia) 

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday February 8, 2019 - #Eucharist

Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 327

Reading 1HEB13:1-8

Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.
Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment,
and of the ill-treated as of yourselves,
for you also are in the body.
Let marriage be honored among all
and the marriage bed be kept undefiled,
for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.
Let your life be free from love of money
but be content with what you have,
for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you.
Thus we may say with confidence:

The Lord is my helper,
and I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.
Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Responsorial PsalmPS 27:1, 3, 5, 8B-9ABC

R. (1a)  The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
even then will I trust.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
For he will hide me in his abode
in the day of trouble;
He will conceal me in the shelter of his tent,
he will set me high upon a rock.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

AlleluiaSEE LK 8:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart,
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 6:14-29

King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
"John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
That is why mighty powers are at work in him."
Others were saying, "He is Elijah";
still others, "He is a prophet like any of the prophets."
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
"It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up."

Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
"It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers,
and the leading men of Galilee.
His own daughter came in and performed a dance
that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
"Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you."
He even swore many things to her,
"I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom."

She went out and said to her mother,
"What shall I ask for?"
Her mother replied, "The head of John the Baptist."
The girl hurried back to the king's presence and made her request,
"I want you to give me at once on a platter
the head of John the Baptist."
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner
with orders to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.