Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Saint February 21 : St. Peter Damian : Bishop and Doctor of the Church

988, Ravenna

February 22, 1072, Faenza
(Or Damiani). Doctor of the Church, Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia, b. at Ravenna "five years after the death of the Emperor Otto III," 1007; d. at Faenza, 21 Feb., 1072. He was the youngest of a large family; his parents were noble, but poor. At his birth an elder brother protested against this new charge on the resources of the family with such effect that his mother refused to suckle him and the babe nearly died. A family retainer, however, fed the starving child and by example and reproaches recalled his mother to her duty. Left an orphan in early years, he was at first adopted by an elder brother, who ill-treated and under-fed him while employing him as a swineherd. The child showed signs of great piety and of remarkable intellectual gifts, and after some years of this servitude another brother, who was archpriest at Ravenna, had pity on him and took him away to be educated. This brother was called Damian and it was generally accepted that St. Peter added this name to his own in grateful recognition of his brother's kindness. He made rapid progress in his studies, first at Ravenna, then at Faenza, finally at the University of Parma, and when about twenty-five years old was already a famous teacher at Parma and Ravenna. But, though even then much given to fasting and to other mortifications, he could not endure the scandals and distractions of university life and decided (about 1035) to retire from the world. While meditating on his resolution he encountered two hermits of Fonte-Avellana, was charmed with their spirituality and detachment, and desired to join them. Encouraged by them Peter, after a forty days' retreat in a small cell, left his friends secretly and made his way to the hermitage of Fonte-Avellana. Here he was received, and, to his surprise, clothed at once with the monastic habit. Both as novice and as professed religious his fervour was remarkable and led him to such extremes of penance that, for a time, his health was affected. He occupied his convalescence with a thorough study of Holy Scripture and, on his recovery, was appointed to lecture to his fellow-monks. At the request of Guy of Pomposa and other heads of neighbouring monasteries, for two or three years he lectured to their subjects also, and (about 1042) wrote the life of St. Romuald for the monks of Pietrapertosa. Soon after his return to Fonte-Avellana he was appointed economus of the house by the prior, who also pointed him out as his successor. This, in fact, he became in 1043, and he remained prior of Fonte-Avellana till his death. His priorate was characterized by a wise moderation of the rule, as well as by the foundation of subject-hermitages at San Severino, Gamugno, Acerata, Murciana, San Salvatore, Sitria, and Ocri. It was remarkable, too, for the introduction of the regular use of the discipline, a penitential exercise which he induced the great abbey of Monte Cassino to imitate. There was much opposition outside his own circle to this practice, but Peter's persistent advocacy ensured its acceptance to such an extent that he was obliged later to moderate the imprudent zeal of some of his own hermits. Another innovation was that of the daily siesta, to make up for the fatigue of the night office. during his tenure of the priorate a cloister was built, silver chalices and a silver processional cross were purchased, and many books added to the library. (See Fonte-Avellana.) Although living in the seclusion of the cloister, Peter Damian watched closely the fortunes of the Church, and like his friend Hildebrand, the future Gregory VII, he strove for her purification in those deplorable times. In 1045 when Benedict IX resigned the supreme pontificate into the hands of the archpriest John Gratian (Gregory VI), Peter hailed the change with joy and wrote to the pope, urging him to deal with the scandals of the church in Italy, especially with the evil bishops of Pesaro, of Città di Castello, and of Fano (see BENEDICT IX; GREGORY VI.) He was present in Rome when Clement II crowned Henry III and his wife Agnes, and he also attended a synod held at the Lateran in the first days of 1047, in which decrees were passed against simony. After this he returned to his hermitage (see CLEMENT II; DAMASUS II). Pope St. Leo IX was solemnly enthroned at Rome, 12 Feb., 1049, to succeed Damasus II, and about two years later Peter published his terrible treatise on the vices of the clergy, the "Liber Gomorrhianus", dedicating it to the pope. It caused a great stir and aroused not a little enmity against its author. Even the pope, who had at first praised the work, was persuaded that it was exaggerated and his coldness drew from Damian a vigorous letter of protest. Meanwhile the question arose as to the validity of the ordinations of simoniacal clerics. The prior of Fonte-Avellana was appealed to and wrote (about 1053) a treatise, the "Liber Gratissimus", in favour of their validity, a work which, though much combatted at the time, was potent in deciding the question in their favour before the end of the twelfth century. In June, 1055, during the pontificate of Victor II, Damian attended a synod held at Florence, where simony and clerical incontinence were once more condemned. About two years later he fell ill at Fonte-Avellana and nearly died, but suddenly, after seven weeks of pain, recovered, as he believed, through a miracle. During his illness the pope died, and Frederic, abbot of Monte Cassino, was elected as Stephen X. In the autumn of 1057, Stephen X determined to create Damian a cardinal. For a long time he resisted the offer, but was finally forced, under threat of excommunication, to accept, and was consecrated Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia on 30 Nov., 1057. In addition he was appointed administrator of the Diocese of Gubbio. The new cardinal was impressed with the great responsibilities of his office and wrote a stirring letter to his brother-cardinals, exhorting them to shine by their example before all. Four months later Pope Stephen died at Florence and the Church was once more distracted by schism. The Cardinal of Ostia was vigorous in his opposition to the antipope Benedict X, but force was on the side of the intruder and Damian retired to Fonte-Avallana. (See NICHOLAS II; GREGORY VII.) About the end of the year 1059 Peter was sent as legate to Milan by Nicholas II. The Church at Milan had been, for some time, the prey of simony and incontinence. So bad was the state of things, that benefices were openly bought and sold and the clergy publicly "married" the women they lived with. But the faithful of Milan, led by St. Ariald the Deacon and St. Anselm, Bishop of Lucca, strove hard to remedy these evils. At length the contest between the two parties became so bitter that an appeal was made to the Holy See to decide the matter. Nicholas II sent Damian and the Bishop of Lucca as his legates. But now the party of the irregular clerics took alarm and raised the cry that Rome had no authority over Milan. At once Peter took action. Boldly confronting the rioters in the cathedral, he proved to them the authority of the Holy See with such effect that all parties submitted to his decision. He exacted first a solemn oath from the archbishop and all his clergy that for the future no preferment should be paid for; then, imposing a penance on all who had been guilty, he re-instated in their benefices all who under took to live continently. This prudent decision was attacked by some of the rigourists at Rome, but was not reversed. Unfortunately, on the death of Nicholas II, the same disputes broke out; nor were they finally settled till after the martyrdom of St. Ariald in 1066. Meanwhile Peter was in vain pleading to be released from the cares of his office. Neither Nicholas II nor Hildebrand would consent to spare him. In July, 1061, the pope died and once more a schism ensued. Damian used all his powers to persuade the antipope Cadalous to withdraw, but to no purpose. Finally Hanno, the Regent of Germany, summoned a council at Augsburg at which a long argument by St. Peter Damian was read and greatly contributed to the decision in favour of Alexander II. In 1063 the pope held a synod at Rome, at which Damian was appointed legate to settle the dispute between the Abbey of Cluny and the Bishop of Mâcon. He proceeded to France, summoned a council at Châlon-sur-Saône, proved the justice of the contentions of Cluny, settled other questions at issue in the Church of France, and returned in the autumn to Fonte-Avellana. While he was in France the antipope Cadalous had again become active in his attempts to gain Rome, and Damian brought upon himself a sharp reproof from Alexander and Hildebrand for twice imprudently appealing to the royal power to judge the case anew. In 1067 the cardinal was sent to Florence to settle the dispute between the bishop and the monks of Vallombrosa, who accused the former of simony. His efforts, however, were not successful, largely because he misjudged the case and threw the weight of his authority on the side of the bishop. The matter was not settled till the following year by the pope in person. In 1069 Damian went as the pope's legate to Germany to prevent King Henry from repudiating his wife Bertha. This task he accomplished at a council at Frankfort and returned to Fonte-Avellana, were he was left in peace for two years. Early in 1072 he was sent to Ravenna to reconcile its inhabitants to the Holy See, they having been excommunicated for supporting their archbishop in his adhesion to the schism of Cadalous. On his return thence he was seized with fever near Faenza. He lay ill for a week at the monastery of Santa Maria degl'Angeli, now Santa Maria Vecchia. On the night preceding the feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Antioch, he ordered the office of the feast to be recited and at the end of the Lauds he died. He was at once buried in the monastery church, lest others should claim his relics. Six times has his body been translated, each time to a more splendid resting-place. It now lies in a chapel dedicated to the saint in the cathedral of Faenza in 1898. No formal canonization ever took place, but his cultas has existed since his death at Faenza, at Fonte-Avellana, at Monte Cassino, and at Cluny. In 1823 Leo XII extended his feast (23 Feb.) to the whole Church and pronounced him a Doctor of the Church. The saint is represented in art as a cardinal bearing a discipline in his hand; also sometimes he is depicted as a pilgrim holding a papal Bull, to signify his many legations. Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis "He who loves the Church knows how to forgive, because he knows that he himself is a sinner and is in need of God’s forgiveness"

Vatican Basilica
Thursday, 20 February 2019

Good morning! So many of you have come, it seems like a canonization! Many thanks to the bishop, to the mayors, to all, thank you for this courtesy which certainly indicates a kindness of the soul, thank you.
Dear brothers and sisters, I am pleased to welcome you and to address my warm welcome to you. You have come to Rome, with your pastor Msgr. Felice Accrocca, to return the visit I had the joy of making to Pietrelcina on 17 March last year, on the occasion of the centenary of the apparition of the permanent stigmata of Saint Pio and on the fiftieth anniversary of his death.
I wish to renew to you all my sincere thanks for the warm welcome you reserved for me on that occasion. I will never forget that day, just as I will never forget the many sick people I greeted; that visit has stayed in my heart. May the memory of that event, full of ecclesial and spiritual significance, revive in each one of you the will to deepen the life of faith, following the teachings of your illustrious and holy countryman Padre Pio. He was distinguished for his steadfast faith in God, firm hope in the heavenly realities, generous dedication to the people, and fidelity to the Church, whom he always loved with all her problems and her adversities. I will pause a little on this. He loved the Church, with the many problems the Church has, with so many adversities, with so many sinners. Because the Church is holy, she is the Bride of Christ, but we, the children of the Church, are all sinners – some big ones! – but he loved the Church as she was, he did not destroy her with the tongue, as it is the fashion to do now. No! He loved her. He who loves the Church knows how to forgive, because he knows that he himself is a sinner and is in need of God’s forgiveness. He knows how to arrange things, because the Lord wants to arrange things well but always with forgiveness: one cannot live an entire life accusing, accusing, accusing the Church. Whose is the office of the accuser! The devil! And those who spend their life accusing, accusing, accusing, are – I will not say children, because the devil does not have any – but friends, cousins, relatives of the devil. And no, this is not good, flaws must be indicated so they can be corrected, but at the moment that flaws are noted, flaws are denounced, one loves the Church. Without love, that is of the devil. Saint Padre Pio had both of these things; he loved the Church with all her problems and her adversities, with the sins of her children. Do not forget this.
I encourage you to under stand and always welcome God’s love, the wellspring and reason for our true joy. We are called to give this love that changes life, especially to the weakest and neediest. Each one of us, spreading divine charity, contributes to building a more just and fraternal world. Following the example of Padre Pio, please, never tire of entrusting yourselves to Christ and of announcing His goodness and his mercy with the witness of your life. It is this that the men and women of our time too expect from the Lord’s disciples. Witness. Think of Saint Francis – whom your bishop knows well – what did he say to his followers? “Go, bear witness, words are not necessary”. At times one must speak, but start out with witness, live as Christians, bearing witness that love is more beautiful than hatred, that friendship is more beautiful than enmity, that the brotherhood between us is more beautiful than war.
Thank you again for this visit! I heartily impart to all of you my Blessing, which I extend to your families, your communities and the entire archdiocese of Benevento. Many thanks!

Pope Francis "...there is a God in heaven Who loves us like no-one on this earth has ever done or will ever be able to do." Full Text + Video at Audience

Catechesis of the Holy Father
Greetings in various languages

This morning’s General Audience took place in two distinct phases. At 9.10, in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father Francis received the participants in the pilgrimage from the archdiocese of Benevento.
At 9.45, in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and all over the world.
In his address in Italian the Pope continued his cycle of catechesis on the Lord’s Prayer, focusing on the theme “Our Father Who is in heaven” (Bible passage: Isaiah, 49: 14-16).
After summarising his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father addressed special greetings to the groups of faithful present.
The General Audience concluded with the recitation of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.

Catechesis of the Holy Father
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today’s audience takes place in two places. First I met with the faithful of Benevento, who were in Saint Peter’s, and now with you. And this is due to the delicacy of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, who did not want you to get cold: let us thank them, they did this. Thank you.
Let us continue the catechesis on the Lord’s Prayer. The first step of every Christian prayer is the entry into a mystery, that of God’s paternity. We cannot pray like parrots. Either you enter into the mystery, in the awareness that God is your Father, or you do not pray. If I want to pray to God my Father the mystery begins. To understand the measure to which God is Father, let us think of the figures of our parents, but to some extent we have to “refine” them, purify them. The Catechesism of the Catholic Church also says so: “The purification of our hearts has to do with paternal or maternal images, stemming from our personal and cultural history, and influencing our relationship with God” (2779).
None of us has had perfect parents, no-one; just as we, in turn, will never be perfect parents or pastors. We all have flaws, all of us. Our relations of love are always lived in terms of our limits and also of our selfishness; therefore they are often contaminated by desires to possess or manipulate the other. For this reason, at times declarations of love transform into sentiments of anger and of hostility. But look, these two loved each other so much last week, today they mortally hate each other: we see this every day! It is for this reason, since we all have bitter roots inside, that are not good and at times come out and do harm.
This is why, when we speak about God as a “father”, while we think of the image of our parents, especially if they have loved us, at the same time we must go beyond. Because God’s love is that of the Father “who is in heaven”, according to the expression that Jesus invites us to use: it is the total love that we in this life taste only in an imperfect way. Men and women are eternally mendicants of love – we are mendicants of love, we need love – they seek a place where they can finally be loved, but they do not find it. How many disappointed friendships and how many disappointed loves are there in our world; so many!
The Greek god of love, in mythology, is the most tragic one of all: it cannot be understood if he is an angelic being or a demon. The mythology says that he is the son of Poros and Penía, that is, of astuteness and poverty, destined to carry within himself a little of the features of these parents. From this we can think of the ambivalent nature of human love: capable of flourishing and of overbearing living at one time of the day, and immediately afterwards fading and dying: that which it grasps, always flees from it (cf Plato, Symposium, 203). There is an expression of the prophet Hosea which outlines pitilessly the congenital weakness of our love: “Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears” (6: 4). This is what our love often is: a promise that we struggle to maintain, an attempt that soon dries up and evaporates, a little like when in the morning the sun comes out and takes away the night-time dew.
How often we men love in such a weak and intermittent way. We all have the experience: we have loved but then that love falls and or becomes weak. Desiring to love, we then come up against our limits, with the paucity of our forces: incapable of maintaining a promise that in the days of grace seemed easy to fulfil. In the end, even the apostle Peter was afraid and had to flee. The apostle Peter was not faithful to Jesus’ love. There is always this weakness that makes us fall. We are mendicants who on the journey risk never completely finding that treasure we seek from the first day of our life: love.
However, there exists another love, that of the Father “who is in heaven”. No-one must doubt that they are the recipient of this love. He loves us. “He loves me”, we can say. If not even our father and mother loved us – an historic hypothesis – there is a God in heaven Who loves us like no-one on this earth has ever done or will ever be able to do. God’s love is constant. The prophet Isaiah says: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me” (49: 15-16). Today tattoos are in fashion: “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands”. I have made a tattoo of you on my hands. I am in God’s hands, in this way, and I cannot remove this. God’s love is like the love of a mother, who can never forget. And if a mother were to forget? “I will not forget you”, says the Lord. This is the perfect love of God, in this way we are beloved by Him. If all our earthly loves were to disintegrate and nothing were to remain in our hands but dust, there is always for all of us, ardent, the unique and faithful love of God.
In the hunger for love we all feel, let us not seek something that does not exist: this is instead the invitation to know God Who is the Father. The conversion of Saint Augustine, for example, took place through this path: the young and brilliant rhetorician simply sought among the creatures something that no creature could give him, until one day he had the courage to look up. And on that day he know God. God Who loves.
The expression “in heaven” is not intended to express distance, but a radical diversity of love, another dimension of love, a tireless love, a love that will always remain, rather, that is always within reach. It is enough to say, “Our Father Who is in heaven”, and that love comes.
So, do not be afraid! None of us is alone. If even by misfortune your earthly father were to forget about you, and you resented him, the fundamental experience of Christian faith would not be denied to you: that of knowing that you are a beloved son of God, and that there is nothing in life that can extinguish His impassioned love for you.

Greetings in various languages
I cordially greet French speakers, especially the young people from France and the pilgrims from Switzerland and Munich. I invite you, on the occasion of your pilgrimage to Rome, to relive the experience of this immense fatherly love that God has for us, to enable it to be discovered by others. God bless you!
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace. God bless you!
A warm welcome to German-speaking pilgrims. To be a child of the Father of heaven means to love one’s neighbour and to be close to those who are alone and in difficulty. For this testimony of divine mercy, may the Lord gives to you and your families His Paraclete and His grace.
I cordially greet Spanish-speaking pilgrims from Spain and Latin America, in particular the seminarians of the diocese of Getafe accompanied by their bishop, Msgr. Ginés García Beltrán, who celebrate 25 years of the creation of this centre for formation. Welcome.
May the Lord grant us the grace not to be afraid and to know that we are not alone, because there is nothing in this life that can separate us from our Father’s love.
God bless you all. Thank you.
With great affection I greet Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, hoping that you may all always realize that truly life is a wonderful gift. May the Virgin Mary watch over your path and help you to be a sign of trust and hope among your brothers. May God’s blessing descend upon you and your families.
I extend a cordial welcome to Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from Jordan, the Holy Land and the Middle East. The restless heart of man finds his peace only in God’s faithful love. Indeed, only the love of God the Father is able to fill our insatiable hunger for love. May the Lord bless you and always protect you from the evil one!
I cordially greet Polish pilgrims. Dear brothers and sisters, never forget that we are beloved children of God, and that there is nothing that can extinguish His impassioned love for us. May the prayer to our Father Who is in heaven fill every lack of love in the life of each and every one of you. God bless you!
I address a cordial welcome to Italian-speaking pilgrims.
I am pleased to welcome the Sisters of Mary Help of Christians and the parish groups, especially that of Sant’Arcangelo of Romagna.
I welcome the faithful from San Giorgio Lucano: I gladly bless the image of Our Lady of the Angels, which is venerated in the local Shrine.
I greet the Lazio Regional Committee of the Italian Football Federation-National Amateur League; the group of staff from the Campobasso Police Headquarters; the families of the Paediatric Oncohaematology Ward of the Salesi Hospital of Ancona; students of the anticorruption master’s course from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, and school institutes.
And I wish to remind you from Campobasso of a curious historical fact that affects you. I am from the South, near the Antarctic. You know that the first chaplain who went to the Antarctic was one of your fellow countrymen, born in Campobasso. Compliments for this honour!
I address a special though to the young, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds.
Next Friday we will celebrate the feast of the Cathedra of Saint Peter the Apostle. Pray for me and for my ministry, and also for Pope Benedict, in order that I may confirm brothers in the faith always and everywhere.

#BreakingNews Christian Father of 5 Killed by Beheading for his Faith in India - Please Pray

Orissa, a Christian beheaded for his faith
The man's name was Anant Ram Gand and he was the father of five children. He was dragged away from his house before his son's eyes. He was baptized two months ago in the Evangelical Church, but his conversion was opposed by the village radicals. President of Persecution Relief: "We want freedom of worship".
New Delhi (AsiaNews) - A Christian evangelical man was beheaded in Orissa because of his faith. Shibu Thomas, founder of the Persecution Relief network that deals with defending discriminated Christians in India, denounces it to AsiaNews.
The victim was called Anant Ram Gand, he was 40 and was the father of five children. Thomas says that he "had converted to Christianity nine months ago and had been baptized for only two months. His conversion has aroused the ire of the villagers, mostly Hindu fanatics. They armed the Naxal [Indian Maoist guerrilla, ed] who physically committed the murder ".
The Christian leader then declares: "As president of the group, I ask the prime minister and the Chief minister of the State to please order a probe. The government should provide compensation to the family and five small children. They should speak clearly against persecution of Christians and to protect freedom of worship. Enough is enough!". The murder took place on 11 February in the village of Raigarh Tehsil, in the district of Nabarangapur. The news was released yesterday by Persecution Relief, after a meeting with the Christian's family. The group reports that on the day of the murder of Sukbati (38), wife of the victim, went to the nearby village together with her four daughters (aged 13, 11, 3 and 2), while Anant, in the company of the son of 6 years in the name of Purno, he had remained at home.
The child said he woke up at the sound of three men knocking at the door and shouting at his father. Then they tied his hands behind his back and dragged him away. The murderers did not stop even before the crying of the little one chasing them: drove off with ferocity, the three men told him not to follow them. At that point the child reached his uncle's house nearby and raised the alarm. Anant's body was found in the middle of a road, in broad daylight, beheaded. Previously, the skull had been smashed with a stone. The murderous fury was triggered by his conversion to Christianity nine months ago, followed by that of the whole family. According to the locals, the Hindu radicals of the village never accepted it, and used the Naxals to carry out the murder.
In fact, in the past the man had expressed sympathy for the Maoist guerrillas. Thomas reveals: "He was never a part of the fighters, but the Hindus made the Naxals believe that the Christian would reveal their secrets to the police. Instead Anant Ram was no enemy of anyone".
According to the Christian leader, the faithful was not a threat to anyone. On the contrary, he was threatened by the inhabitants, who "discriminated against him and did not allow him to collect water from the public well". After the conversion, the man had been banned from the village and had moved about a mile away.
Anant belonged to the Indian Evangelical Team, (Ied). "Being a Christian today in India - Thomas says - means being harassed every day: if you pray in the family you are beaten, if you pray in a domestic church you are beaten, in the streets you are beaten. Article 25 of the Constitution [which protects the freedom of belief and the spread of the faith, ed.] Is not applicable for Christians in India. We want to be protected. Now the Christians of the villages live in fear".
FULL TEXT Shared from Asia News IT

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - #Eucharist

Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 337

Reading 1GN 8:6-13, 20-22

At the end of forty days Noah opened the hatch he had made in the ark,
and he sent out a raven,
to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
It flew back and forth until the waters dried off from the earth.
Then he sent out a dove,
to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
But the dove could find no place to alight and perch,
and it returned to him in the ark,
for there was water all over the earth.
Putting out his hand, he caught the dove
and drew it back to him inside the ark.
He waited seven days more and again sent the dove out from the ark.
In the evening the dove came back to him,
and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf!
So Noah knew that the waters had lessened on the earth.
He waited still another seven days
and then released the dove once more;
and this time it did not come back.

In the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life,
in the first month, on the first day of the month,
the water began to dry up on the earth.
Noah then removed the covering of the ark
and saw that the surface of the ground was drying up.

Noah built an altar to the LORD,
and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird,
he offered burnt offerings on the altar.
When the LORD smelled the sweet odor, he said to himself:
“Never again will I doom the earth because of man
since the desires of man’s heart are evil from the start;
nor will I ever again strike down all living beings, as I have done.
As long as the earth lasts,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
Summer and winter,
and day and night
shall not cease.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 116:12-13, 14-15, 18-19

R.  (17a)  To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.
 How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD. 
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones. 
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O Jerusalem. 
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia SEE EPH 1:17-18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to his call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida,
people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked,
“Do you see anything?”
Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”
Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly;
his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”