Sunday, February 10, 2019

Saint February 11 : Our Lady of Lourdes - #Lourdes

The pilgrimage of Lourdes is founded on the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin to a poor, fourteen-year-old girl, Bernadette Soubiroux. The first apparition occurred 11 February, 1858. There were eighteen in all; the last took place 16 July, of the same year. Bernadette often fell into an ecstasy. The mysterious vision she saw in the hollow of the rock Massabielle was that of a young and beautiful lady. "Lovelier than I have ever seen" said the child. But the girl was the only one who saw the vision, although sometimes many stood there with her. Now and then the apparition spoke to the seer who also was the only one who heard the voice. Thus, she one day told her to drink of a mysterious fountain, in the grotto itself, the existence of which was unknown, and of which there was no sign, but which immediately gushed forth. On another occasion the apparition bade Bernadette go and tell the priests she wished a chapel to be built on the spot and processions to be made to the grotto. At first the clergy were incredulous. It was only four years later, in 1862, that the bishop of the diocese declared the faithful "justified in believing the reality of the apparition". A basilica was built upon the rock of Massabielle by M. Peyramale, the parish priest. In 1873 the great "national" French pilgrimages were inaugurated. Three years later the basilica was consecrated and the statue solemnly crowned. In 1883 the foundation stone of another church was laid, as the first was no longer large enough. It was built at the foot of the basilica and was consecrated in 1901 and called the Church of the Rosary. Pope Leo XIII authorized a special office and a Mass, in commemoration of the apparition, and in 1907 Pius X extended the observance of this feast to the entire Church; it is now observed on 11 February.
Never has a sanctuary attracted such throngs. At the end of the year 1908, when the fiftieth anniversary of the apparition was celebrated, although the record really only began from 1867, 5297 pilgrimages had been registered and these had brought 4,919,000 pilgrims. Individual pilgrims are more numerous by far than those who come in groups. To their number must be added the visitors who do not come as pilgrims, but who are attracted by a religious feeling or sometimes merely by the desire to see this far-famed spot. The Company of the Chemins de Fer du Midi estimates that the Lourdes station receives over one million travellers per annum. Every nation in the world furnishes its contingent. Out of the total of pilgrimages given above, four hundred and sixty-four came from countries other than France. They are sent by the United States, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Italy, England, Ireland, Canada, Brazil, Bolivia, etc. The bishops lead the way. At the end of the year of the fiftieth anniversary, 2013 prelates, including 546 archbishops, 10 primates, 19 patriarchs, 69 cardinals, had made the pilgrimage to Lourdes. But more remarkable still than the crowd of pilgrims is the series of wonderful occurrences which take place under the protection of the celebrated sanctuary. Passing over spiritual cures, which more often than not escape human observance, we shall confine ourselves to bodily diseases. The writer of this article has recorded every recovery, whether partial or complete, and in the first half-century of the shrine's existence he has counted 3962. Notwithstanding very careful statistics which give the names and surnames of the patients who have recovered, the date of the cure, the name of the disease, and generally that of the physician who had charge of the case, there are inevitably doubtful or mistaken cases, attributable, as a rule, to the excited fancy of the afflicted one and which time soon dispels. But it is only right to note: first, that these unavoidable errors regard only secondary cases which have not like the others been the object of special study; it must also be noted that the number of cases is equalled and exceeded by actual cures which are not put on record. The afflicted who have recovered are not obliged to present themselves and half of them do not present themselves, at the Bureau des Constatations M├ędicales at Lourdes, and it is from this bureau's official reports that the list of cures is drawn up.
The estimate that about 4000 cures have been obtained at Lourdes within the first fifty years of the pilgrimage is undoubtedly considerably less than the actual number. The Bureau des Constatations stands near the shrine, and there are recorded and checked the certificates of maladies and also the certificates of cure; it is free to all physicians, whatever their nationality or religious belief. Consequently, on an average, from two to three hundred physicians annual visit this marvellous clinic. As to the nature of the diseases which are cured, nervous disorders so frequently mentioned, do not furnish even the fourteenth part of the whole; 278 have been counted, out of a total of 3962. The present writer has published the number of cases of each disease or infirmity, among them tuberculosis, tumours, sores, cancers, deafness, blindness, etc. The "Annales des Sciences Physiques", a sceptical review whose chief editor is Doctor Ch. Richet, Professor at the Medical Faculty of Paris, said in the course of a long article, apropos of this faithful study: "On reading it, unprejudiced minds cannot but be convinced that the facts stated are authentic."

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

#BreakingNews Pope Francis voted Gallup International's World's Best Leader

Pope Francis has been voted as the world's best leader. This is according to Gallup International’s Annual Global Survey which surveyed 55 countries.

Pope Francis gained 56 percent, this first place position replaces Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. They have been moved to second and third place respectively.

Specific countries where the pope is best rated are Colombia, Croatia, Italy, Spain and Mexico. 

Pope Francis "Prayer is the force that sustains our common commitment." Prays for end to Trafficking at Angelus - Full Text + Video


St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 10 February 2019

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

The Gospel of today (cf. Lk 5: 1-11) offers us, in Luke's account, the call of St. Peter. His name - we know - was Simone, and he was a fisherman. Jesus, on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, sees him while he is setting up the nets, along with other fishermen. He finds it fatigued and disappointed, because that night they had not fished anything. And Jesus surprises him with an unexpected gesture: he climbs on his boat and asks him to get away from the ground a bit because he wants to talk to people from there - there were so many people. So Jesus sits on Simon's boat and teaches the crowd gathered along the shore. But his words also re-open Simone's heart to trust. Then Jesus, with another surprising "move", tells him: "Take off and throw your fishing nets" (v. 4).

Simone answers with an objection: «Master, we struggled all night and we did not take anything ...». And, as an expert fisherman, he could have added: "If we did not take anything at night, let alone take it by day". Instead, inspired by the presence of Jesus and enlightened by his Word, he says: "... but on your word I will throw the nets" (v. 5). It is the response of faith, which we too are called to give; it is the attitude of availability that the Lord asks of all his disciples, above all those who have duties of responsibility in the Church. And Peter's confident obedience generates a prodigious result: "They did so and took a huge quantity of fish" (v. 6).

It is a miraculous peach, a sign of the power of the word of Jesus: when we place ourselves generously at his service, He does great things in us. Thus he acts with each one of us: he asks us to welcome him on the boat of our life, to start again with him and to plow a new sea, which reveals itself full of surprises. His invitation to go out into the open sea of ​​the humanity of our time, to be witnesses of goodness and mercy, gives new meaning to our existence, which often risks becoming flat on itself. Sometimes we may be surprised and hesitant in the face of the call that the Divine Master addresses to us, and we are tempted to refuse it because of our inadequacy. Even Peter, after that incredible fishing, said to Jesus: "Lord, turn away from me, for I am a sinner" (verse 8). This humble prayer is beautiful: "Lord, turn away from me, for I am a sinner". But he said it on his knees before the One who now recognizes as "Lord". And Jesus encourages him saying: "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be a fisherman of men "(v. 10), because God, if we trust Him, frees us from our sin and opens before us a new horizon: to collaborate in his mission.

The greatest miracle accomplished by Jesus for Simon and the other fishermen disappointed and tired, is not so much the network full of fish, as having helped them not to fall victim to disappointment and discouragement in the face of defeats. He opened them to become proclaimers and witnesses of his word and of the kingdom of God. And the disciples' response was prompt and total: "Pull the boats ashore, leave everything and follow him" (v. 11). May the Blessed Virgin, model of prompt adherence to the will of God, help us to feel the appeal of the Lord's call, and make us available to collaborate with him to spread his word of salvation everywhere.

 After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,

Two days ago, the fifth "World Day against Trafficking in Persons" took place in the liturgical memorial of Saint Josephine Bakhita. This year's motto is "Together against the line" [Square applauds] - Another time! [repeat] "Together against trafficking"! Do not forget this. Invite to join forces to win this challenge. I thank all those who fight on this front, especially many religious. I especially appeal to the governments, so that the causes of this plague are resolved and the victims protected. But we all can and must collaborate by denouncing the cases of exploitation and slavery of men, women and children. Prayer is the force that sustains our common commitment. For this reason, now I invite you to recite with me the prayer to Saint Josephine Bakhita that has been distributed in the Piazza. Let's pray together.

Santa Josephine Bakhita, as a child you were sold as a slave and you had to face untold difficulties and sufferings.

Once freed from your physical slavery, you found true redemption in the encounter with Christ and his Church.

Saint Josephine Bakhita, helps all those who are trapped in slavery.

In their name, intercede with the God of mercy, so that the chains of their captivity can be broken.
May God himself release all those who have been threatened, injured or mistreated by trafficking and trafficking in human beings. It brings relief to those who survive this slavery and teaches them to see Jesus as a model of faith and hope so that they can heal their wounds.

We beseech you to pray and intercede for all of us: so that we do not fall into indifference, so that we open our eyes and can look at the misery and wounds of so many brothers and sisters deprived of their dignity and freedom and hear their cry for help. Amen.

Saint Josephine Bakhita, pray for us.

I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims! In particular, the faithful of Verona and the "Mendicanti di Sogni" group from Schio.

I wish everyone a happy Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye.