Friday, March 29, 2019

Pope Francis Celebrates 24-hour Confession "Let us start over, then, from Confession, let us restore to this sacrament the place it deserves..." FULL TEXT + Video

24 Hours for the Lord:  For the 6th year, Pope Francis opens the 24 Hours for the Lord on Friday in St Peter’s Basilica.  Pope Francis celebrated the opening of the traditional 24 Hours for the Lord. The penitential celebration took place in St Peter’s Basilica and was organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.

Vatican Basilica
Venerdì, 29 marzo 2019

“The two of them alone remained: mercy with misery” (In Joh 33, 5). In this way Saint Augustine sums up the end of the Gospel we have just heard. Those who came to cast stones at the woman or to accuse Jesus with regard to the Law have gone away, having lost interest. Jesus, however, remains. He remains because what is of value in his eyes has remained: that woman, that person. For him, the sinner comes before the sin. I, you, each one of us come first in the heart of God: before mistakes, rules, judgements and our failures. Let us ask for the grace of a gaze like that of Jesus, let us ask to have the Christian perspective on life. Let us look with love upon the sinner before his or her sin; upon the one going astray before his or her error; upon the person before his or her history.
“The two of them alone remained: mercy with misery”. The woman caught in adultery does not represent for Jesus a paragraph of the Law, but instead a concrete situation in which he gets involved. Thus he remains there with the woman, for the most part standing in silence. Meanwhile, he twice performs a mysterious gesture: he writes with his finger on the ground (Jn 8:6, 8). We do not know what he wrote and perhaps that is not the most important element: the attention of the Gospel focuses on the fact that the Lord writes. We think of the episode at Sinai when God wrote the tablets of the Law with his finger (cf. Ex 31:18), just as Jesus does now. Later, God, through the prophets, promised that he would no longer write on tablets of stone, but directly on the heart (cf. Jer 31:33), on the tablets of the flesh of our hearts (cf. 2 Cor 3:3). With Jesus, the mercy of God incarnate, the time has come when God writes on the hearts of men and women, when he gives a sure hope to human misery: giving not so much external laws which often keep God and humanity at a distance, but rather the law of the Spirit which enters into the heart and sets it free. It happens this way for the woman, who encounters Jesus and resumes her life: she goes off to sin no more (cf. Jn 8:11). It is Jesus who, with the power of the Holy Spirit, frees us from the evil we have within us, from the sin which the Law could impede but not remove.
All the same, evil is strong, it has a seductive power: it attracts and fascinates. Our own efforts are not enough to detach ourselves from it: we need a greater love. Without God, we cannot overcome evil. Only his love raises us up from within, only his tender love poured out into our hearts makes us free. If we want to be free from evil, we have to make room for the Lord who forgives and heals. He accomplishes this above all through the sacrament we are about to celebrate. Confession is the passage from misery to mercy; it is God’s writing upon the heart. There – in our hearts – we constantly read that we are precious in the eyes of God, that he is our Father and that he loves us even more than we love ourselves.
“The two of them alone remained: mercy with misery”. Those two, alone. How many times do we feel alone, that we have lost our way in life. How many times do we no longer know how to begin again, overwhelmed by the effort to accept ourselves. We need to start over, but we don’t know where to begin. Christians are born from the forgiveness they receive in Baptism. They are always reborn from the same place: from the surprising forgiveness of God, from his mercy which restores us. Only by being forgiven can we set out again with fresh confidence, after having experienced the joy of being loved by the Father to the full. Only through God’s forgiveness do truly new things happen within us. Let us hear again words the Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah: “Behold, I am doing a new thing” (Is 43:19). Forgiveness gives us a new beginning, makes us new creatures, helps us take hold of a new life. God’s forgiveness is not a photocopy which is identically reproduced in every passage through the confessional. Receiving pardon for our sins through a priest is always a new, distinctive and unique experience. We pass from being alone with our miseries and accusers, like the woman in the Gospel, to being raised up and encouraged by the Lord who grants us a new start.
“The two of them alone remained: mercy with misery”. What do we need to do to come to love mercy, to overcome the fear of Confession? Let us accept once more the invitation of Isaiah: “Do you not perceive it?” (Is 43:19). It is important to perceive God’s forgiveness. It would be beautiful, after Confession, to remain like that woman, our eyes fixed on Jesus who has just set us free: no longer looking at our miseries, but rather at his mercy. To look at the Crucified One and say with amazement: “That’s where my sins ended up. You took them upon yourself. You didn’t point your finger at me; instead, you opened your arms and forgave me once again”. It is important to be mindful of God’s forgiveness, to remember his tender love, and taste again and again the peace and freedom we have experienced. For this is the heart of Confession: not the sins we declare, but the divine love we receive, of which we are ever in need. We may still have a doubt: “Confessing is useless, I am always committing the same sins”. The Lord knows us, however; he knows that the interior struggle is difficult, that we are weak and inclined to fall, that we often relapse into doing what is wrong. So he proposes that we begin to relapse into goodness, into asking for mercy. He will raise us up and make us new creatures. Let us start over, then, from Confession, let us restore to this sacrament the place it deserves in life and pastoral ministry!
“The two of them alone remained: mercy with misery”. Today, in Confession, we too draw life from this saving encounter: we with our miseries and sins, and the Lord who knows us, loves us and frees us from evil. Let us enter into this encounter, asking for the grace to rediscover its saving power.
FULL TEXT Source: - Official Translation

Saint March 30 : St. John Climacus : Abbott of Sinai

525, Syria
30 March 606, Mount Sinai
St John, generally distinguished by the appellation of Climacus, from his excellent book entitled Climax, or the Ladder to Perfection, was born about the year 525, probably in Palestine. 
By his extraordinary progress in the arts and sciences he obtained very young the surname of the Scholastic. But at sixteen years of age he renounced all the advantages which the world promised him to dedicate himself to God in a religious state, in 547. He retired to Mount Sinai, which, from the time of the disciples of St. Anthony and St. Hilarion, had been always peopled by holy men, who, in imitation of Moses, when he received the law on that mountain, lived in the perpetual contemplation of heavenly things. Our novice, fearing the danger of dissipation and relaxation to which numerous communities are generally more exposed than others, chose not to live in the great monastery on the summit, but in an hermitage on the descent of the mountain, under the discipline of Martyrius, an holy ancient anchoret. By silence he curbed the insolent itch of talking about everything, an ordinary vice in learned men, but usually a mark of pride and self-sufficiency. By perfect humility and obedience he banished the dangerous desire of self-complacency in his actions. He never contradicted, never disputed with anyone. So perfect was his submission that he seemed to have no self-will. He undertook to sail through the deep sea of this mortal life securely, under the direction of a prudent guide, and shunned those rocks which he could not have escaped, had he presumed to steer alone, as he tells us. From the visible mountain he raised his heart, without interruption, in all his actions, to God, who is invisible; and, attentive to all the motions of his grace, studied only to do his will. Four years he spent in the trial of his own strength, and in learning the obligations of his state, before he made his religious profession, which was in the twentieth year of his age. In his writings he severely condemns engagements made by persons too young, or before a sufficient probation. By fervent prayer and fasting he prepared himself for the solemn consecration of himself to God, that the most intense fervour might make his holocaust the more perfect; and from that moment he seemed to be renewed in spirit; and his master admired the strides with which, like a mighty giant, the young disciple advanced daily more and more towards God, by self-denial, obedience, humility, and the uninterrupted exercises of divine love and prayer.

In the year 560, and the thirty-fifth of his age, he lost Martyrius by death; having then spent nineteen years in that place in penance and holy contemplation. By the advice of a prudent director, he then embraced an eremitical life in a plain called Thole, near the foot of Mount Sinai. His cell was five miles from the church, probably the same which had been built a little before, by order of the Emperor Justinian, for the use of the monks at the bottom of this mountain, in honour of the Blessed Virgin, as Procopius mentions. Thither he went every Saturday and Sunday to assist, with all the other anchorets and monks of that desert, at the holy office and at the celebration of the divine mysteries, when they all communicated. His diet was very sparing, though, to shun ostentation and the danger of vainglory, he ate of everything that was allowed among the monks of Egypt, who universally abstained from flesh, fish, &c. Prayer was his principal employment; and he practiced what he earnestly recommends to all Christians, that in all their actions, thoughts, and words they should keep themselves with great fervour in the presence of God, and direct all they do to his holy will. By habitual contemplation he acquired an extraordinary purity of heart, and such a facility of lovingly beholding God in all his works that this practice seemed in him a second nature. Thus he accompanied his studies with perpetual prayer. He assiduously read the holy scriptures and fathers, and was one of the most learned doctors of the church. But, to preserve the treasure of humility, he concealed, as much as possible, both his natural and acquired talents, and the extraordinary graces with which the Holy Ghost enriched his soul. By this secrecy he fled from the danger of vainglory, which, like a leech, sticks to our best actions and, sucking from them its nourishment, robs us of their fruit. As if this cell had not been sufficiently remote from the eyes of men, St. John frequently retired into a neighbouring cavern which he had made in the rock, where no one could come to disturb his devotions or interrupt his tears. So ardent were his charity and compunction, that his eyes seemed two fountains, which scarce ever ceased to flow; and his continual sighs and groans to heaven, under the weight of the miseries inseparable from his moral pilgrimage, were not to be equaled by the vehemency of the cries of those who suffer from knives and fire. Overcome by importunities, he admitted a holy anchoret named Moyses to live with him as his disciple.
God bestowed on St. John an extraordinary grace of healing the spiritual disorders of souls. Among others, a monk called Isaac was brought almost to the brink of despair by most violent temptations of the flesh. He addressed himself to St. John, who perceived by his tears how much he underwent from that conflict and struggle which he felt within himself. The servant of God commended his faith, and said, "My son, let us have recourse to God by prayer." They accordingly prostrated themselves together on the ground in fervent supplication for a deliverance, and from that time the infernal serpent left Isaac in peace. Many others resorted to St. John for spiritual advice; but the devil excited some to jealousy, who censured him as one who, out of vanity, lost much time in unprofitable discourse. The saint took this accusation, which was a mere calumny, in good part, and as a charitable admonition; he therefore imposed on himself a rigorous silence for near a twelvemonth. This, his humility and modesty, so much astonished his calumniators that they joined the rest of the monks in beseeching him to reassume his former function of giving charitable advice to all that resorted to him for it, and not to bury that talent of science which he had received for the benefit of many. He who knew not what it was to contradict others, with the same humility and deference again opened his mouth to instruct his neighbour in the rules of perfect virtue, in which office, such was the reputation of his wisdom and experience, that he was regarded as another Moses in that holy place. St. John was now seventy-five years old, and had spent forty of them in his hermitage, when, in the year 600, he was unanimously chosen Abbot of Mount Sinai, and superior-general of all the monks and hermits in that country. Soon after he was raised to this dignity, the people of Palestine and Arabia, in the time of a great drought and famine, made their application to him as to another Elias, begging him to intercede with God in their behalf. The saint failed not, with great earnestness, to recommend their distress to the Father of mercies, and his prayer was immediately recompensed with abundant rains. St. Gregory the Great, who then sat in St. Peter's chair, wrote to our holy abbot, recommending himself to his prayers, and sent him beds, with other furniture and money, for his hospital, for the use of pilgrims near Mount Sinai. John, who had used his utmost endeavours to decline the pastoral charge when he saw it laid upon him, neglected no means which might promote the sanctification of all those who were entrusted to his care. That posterity might receive some share in the benefit of his holy instructions, John, the learned and virtuous Abbot of Raithu, a monastery situate towards the Red Sea, entreated him by that obedience he had ever practiced, even with regard to his inferiors, that he would draw up the most necessary rules by which fervent souls might arrive at Christian perfection. The saint answered him that nothing but extreme humility could have moved him to write to so miserable a sinner, destitute of every sort of virtue; but that he received his commands with respect, though far above his strength, never considering his own insufficiency. Wherefore, apprehensive of falling into death by disobedience, he took up his pen in haste, with great eagerness mixed with fear, and set himself to draw some imperfect outlines, as an unskillful painter, leaving them to receive from him, as a great master, the finishing strokes. This produced the excellent work which he called "Climax; or, the Ladder of religious Perfection." This book, being written in sentences, almost in the manner of aphorisms, abounds more in sense than words. A certain majestic simplicity- an inexpressible unction and spirit of humility, joined with conciseness and perspicuity-very much enhance the value of this performance; but its chief merit consists in the sublime sentiments and perfect description of all Christian virtues which it contains. The author confirms his precepts by several edifying examples, as of obedience and penance. In  describing a monastery of three hundred and thirty monks which he had visited near Alexandria, in Egypt, he mentions one of the principal citizens of that city, named Isidore, who, petitioning to be admitted into the house, said to the abbot, "As iron is in the hands of the smith, so am I in your hands." The abbot ordered him to remain without the gate, and to prostrate himself at the feet of everyone that passed by, begging their prayers for his soul struck with a leprosy. Thus he passed seven years in profound humility and patience. He told St. John that, during the first year, he always considered himself as a slave condemned for his sins, and sustained violent conflicts; the second year he passed in tranquillity and confidence; and the third with relish and pleasure in his humiliations. So great was his virtue that the abbot determined to present him to the bishop in order to be promoted to the priesthood, but the humility of the holy penitent prevented the execution of that design; for, having begged at least a respite, he died within ten days. St. John could not help admiring the cook of this numerous community, who seemed always recollected, and generally bathed in tears amidst his continual occupation, and asked him by what means he nourished so perfect a spirit of compunction, in the midst of such a dissipating laborious employment. He said that serving the monks, he represented to himself that he was serving not men, but God in his servants; and that the fire he always had before his eyes reminded him of that fire which will burn souls for all eternity. The moving description which our author gives of the monastery of penitents called the Prison, above a mile from the former, hath been already abridged in our language. John the Sabaite told our saint, as of a third person, that seeing himself respected in his monastery, he considered that this was not the way to satisfy for his sins; wherefore, with the leave of his abbot, he repaired to a severe monastery in Pontus, and after three years saw in a dream a schedule of his debts, to the amount in appearance of one hundred pounds of gold, of which only ten were cancelled. He therefore repeated often to himself, "Poor Antiochus, thou hast still a great debt to satisfy." After passing other thirteen years in contempt and the most fervent practices of penance, he deserved to see in a vision his whole debt blotted out. Another monk, in a grievous fit of illness, fell into a trance, in which he lay as if he had been dead for the space of an hour; but, recovering, he shut himself up in a cell, and lived a recluse twelve years, almost continually weeping, in the perpetual meditation of death. When he was near death, his brethren could only extort from him these words of edification, "He who hath death always before his eyes will never sin." John, Abbot of Raithu, explained this book of our saint by judicious comments, which are also extant. We have likewise a letter of St. John Climacus to the same person concerning the duties of a pastor, in which he exhorts him in correcting others to temper severity with mildness, and encourages him zealously to fulfil the obligations of his charge; for nothing is greater or more acceptable to God than to offer him the sacrifice of rational souls sanctified by penance and charity.
St. John sighed continually under the weight of his dignity during the four years that he governed the monks of Mount Sinai; and as he had taken upon him that burden with fear and reluctance, he with joy found means to resign the same a little before his death. Heavenly contemplation, and the continual exercise of divine love and praise, were his delight and comfort in his earthly pilgrimage: and in this imitation of the functions of the blessed spirits in heaven he placeth the essence of the monastic state. In his excellent maxims concerning the gift of holy tears, the fruit of charity, we seem to behold a lively portraiture of his most pure soul. He died in his hermitage on the 30th day of March, in 605, being fourscore years old. His spiritual son, George, who had succeeded him in the abbacy, earnestly begged of God that he  might not be separated from his dear master and guide; and followed him by a happy death within a few days. On several Greek commentaries on St. John Climacus's ladder, see Montfaucon, Biblioth. Coisliana, pp. 305, 306.
St. John Climacus, speaking of the excellence and the effects of charity, does it with a feeling and energy worthy of such a subject: "A mother," says he, "feels less pleasure when she folds within her arms the dear infant whom she nourishes with her own milk than the true child of charity does when united as he incessantly is, to his God, and folded as it were in the arms of his heavenly Father.—Charity operates in some persons so as to carry them almost entirely out of themselves. It illuminates others, and fills them with such sentiments of joy, that they cannot help crying out: The Lord is my helper and my protector: in him hath my heart confided, and I have been helped And my flesh hath flourished again, and with my will I will give praise to him. This joy which they feel in their hearts, is reflected on their countenances; and when once God has united, or, as we may say, incorporated them with his charity, he displays in their exterior, as in the reflection of a mirror, the brightness and serenity of their souls: even as Moses, being honored with a sight of God, was encompassed round by his glory." St. John Climacus composed the following prayer to obtain the gift of charity: "My God, I pretend to nothing upon this earth, except to be so firmly united to you by prayer that to be separated from you may be impossible; let others desire riches and glory; for my part, I desire but one thing, and that is, to be inseparably united to you, and to place in you alone all my hopes of happiness and repose." The Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis ".. the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a real way of sanctification; it is the effective sign that Jesus left to the Church .." FULL TEXT

Paul VI Audience Hall
Friday, 29 March 2019

Dear brothers, good morning!
I greet you in this Lenten time, on the occasion of the course on the Internal Forum, which this year reaches the thirtieth edition.
And I would like to add – outside the text – a word on the term “internal forum”. This is not a nonsense expression: it is said seriously” The internal forum is an internal forum, and cannot come out into the open. And I say this because I have realized that some groups in the Church, appointees, superiors, let us say – mix the two things and take decisions made in the internal forum for those taken in the external one, and vice versa. Please, this is a sin! It is a sin against the dignity of the person who trusts the priest, who expresses their own reality to ask for forgiveness, and then uses it to put things in order for a group or a movement, perhaps – I don’t know, I am making it up – perhaps even a new congregation, I don’t know. But the internal forum is the internal forum. And it is sacred. This I wanted to say, because I am concerned about this.
I address a warm greeting to Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Major Penitentiary, and I thank him for the kind words he addressed to me. With him, I greet all the family of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
The importance of the “ministry of mercy” justifies, demands and almost imposes an adequate formation, so that the encounter with the faithful who ask for God’s forgiveness may always be a real encounter of salvation, in which the embrace of the Lord may be perceived in all its strength, capable of changing, converting, healing and forgiving.
Thirty years of experience of your Course on the sacramental Internal Forum are not many compared to the long history of the Church and with regard to the antiquity of the Apostolic Penitentiary, which is the oldest Tribunal in the Pope’s service: a tribunal of mercy! And I like it to be this way.
However, thirty years, in this time of ours, which passes so quickly, are a long enough time to be able to reflect and arrive at a balance. In addition, the very high number of participants … this year, more than seven hundred! The cardinal said that he had to stop enrolment for logistical reasons! It seems like a job that there is no space in the Vatican! It seems a joke! [The very high number of participants] indicates how acute the need for formation and security is, with regard to matters so important for the very life of the Church and the fulfilment of the mission that the Lord Jesus has entrusted to her.
While it is held by many that Confession, and with it the sense of sin, is in crisis – and we cannot fail to recognize a certain difficulty of contemporary man in this regard – this extensive participation by priests, newly ordained and ordinands, testifies to the continuing interest in working together to face and overcome the crisis, primarily with the “weapons of faith”, and offering an ever more qualified service capable of truly manifesting the beauty of divine Mercy.
Jesus came to save us by revealing to us the merciful face of God and drawing us to Him with His Sacrifice of love. Then, we must always remember that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a real way of sanctification; it is the effective sign that Jesus left to the Church so that the door of the Father’s house would always remain open and that the return of men to Him was always possible.
Sacramental Confession is the way of sanctification both for the penitent and for the confessor. And you, dear young confessors, will soon have experience of this.
For the penitent it is clearly the way of sanctification, because, as was underlined several times during the recent Jubilee of Mercy, sacramental absolution, validly celebrated, restores to us our baptismal innocence, the full communion with God. That communion that God never interrupts towards man, but which man sometimes removes by using badly the stupendous gift of freedom.
For the meeting with the priests in my diocese, this year they chose as a motto “Reconciliation, sister of Baptism”. The sacrament of Penance is the “brother” of Baptism. For us priests, the fourth sacrament is the way of sanctification, first and foremost when, humbly, like all sinners, we kneel before the confessor and implore divine mercy for ourselves. Let us always remember – and this will help us greatly – before going to the confessional, that we are first of all forgiven sinners, and only then are we ministers of forgiveness.
Furthermore - and this is one of the many gifts that Christ’s love of predilection holds for us – as confessors we have the privilege of constantly contemplating the “miracles” of conversions. We must always recognize the powerful action of grace, which is capable of transforming the heart of stone into a heart of flesh (cf. Ez 11: 19), of changing a sinner who fled far away into a repentant son who returns to his father’s house (see Lk 15: 11-32).
For this reason the Penitentiary, with this Course on the Internal Forum, offers an important ecclesial service, favouring the necessary formation for a correct and effective celebration of the sacrament of Reconciliation, an indispensable prerequisite for its fruitfulness. This is because every single Confession is always a new and definitive step towards a more perfect sanctification; a tender embrace, full of mercy, which helps to expand the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of love, truth and peace.
Reconciliation itself is a good that the wisdom of the Church has always safeguarded with all her moral and legal force with the sacramental seal. Although not always understood by the modern mentality, it is indispensable for the sanctity of the sacrament and for the freedom of conscience of the penitent; who must be certain, at any time, that the sacramental conversation will remain in the secrecy of the confessional, between one’s conscience that opens to grace, and God, with the necessary mediation of the priest. The sacramental seal is indispensable and no human power has, nor may it claim, jurisdiction over it.
Dear young priests, future priests and dear Penitentiaries, I urge you to always listen with great generosity to the Confessions of the faithful, to walk with them the way of sanctification which is the sacrament, to contemplate the “miracles” of conversion that grace operates in the secret of confessional, miracles of which only you and the angels will be witnesses. And may you sanctify yourself above all, in the humble and faithful exercise of the ministry of Reconciliation.
Thank you for your service! And remember to pray for me too.

Pope Francis Video Message for Visit to Morocco "As Christians and Muslims we believe in God the Creator and Merciful One, who has created men and women..." FULL TEXT


[30-31 MARCH 2019]

Dear people of Morocco!
As-Salamu Alaikum!
Soon I shall be arriving for a two-day visit to your country, and I thank God for granting me this opportunity.
I am grateful to His Majesty King Mohammed VI for his kind invitation, and to the Moroccan authorities for their diligent cooperation.
Following in the footsteps of my predecessor Saint John Paul II, I come as a pilgrim of peace and of fraternity, in a world which has great need of both. As Christians and Muslims we believe in God the Creator and Merciful One, who has created men and women and placed them on the earth so that they might live together as brothers and sisters, respecting each other’s diversity and helping each other in their need. He has entrusted the earth – our common home – to them, to care for it responsibly and to preserve it for future generations.
It will be a joy for me to share these firm convictions with you directly at our meeting in Rabat. This journey also offers me the invaluable occasion to visit the Christian community in Morocco and to encourage its progress. I will meet migrants too, who represent an appeal to build together a more just and fraternal world.
Dear Moroccan friends, I already express my heartfelt thanks for your welcome, and above all for your prayers; and I assure you of my own prayers for you and for your dear country.

See you soon!

Pope Francis issues Apostolic Letter on the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Persons - FULL TEXT


DEL SOMMO Pope Francis


The protection of minors and vulnerable persons is an integral part of the gospel message that the Church and all its members are called to spread throughout the world. In fact, Christ himself entrusted us with the care and protection of the smallest and most defenseless: "whoever welcomes one child like this in my name, welcomes me" (Mt 18: 5). Therefore, we all have the duty to generously welcome minors and vulnerable people and to create a safe environment for them, taking their interests first. This requires a continuous and profound conversion, in which personal holiness and moral commitment can contribute to promoting the credibility of the Gospel proclamation and to renewing the educational mission of the Church.

Therefore, I would like to further strengthen the institutional and regulatory framework to prevent and combat abuses against children and vulnerable people so that in the Roman Curia and in the Vatican City State:

- a community that is respectful and aware of the rights and needs of children and vulnerable persons is maintained, as well as being careful to prevent any form of physical or mental violence or abuse, neglect, neglect, abuse or exploitation that may occur both in the interpersonal relationships that in structures or places of sharing;

- everyone is aware of the duty to report abuses to the competent Authorities and to cooperate with them in prevention and contrast activities;

- any abuse or abuse against minors or against vulnerable persons is effectively prosecuted;

- the right to be received, listened to and accompanied is recognized to those who claim to have been victims of exploitation, sexual abuse or abuse, as well as their families;

- appropriate pastoral care is offered to victims and their families, as well as adequate spiritual, medical, psychological and legal support;

- the defendants are guaranteed the right to a fair and impartial trial, in compliance with the presumption of innocence, as well as the principles of legality and proportionality between the crime and the sentence;

- the person convicted for having abused a child or a vulnerable person is removed from his duties and, at the same time, he is offered adequate support for psychological and spiritual rehabilitation, also for the purpose of social reintegration;

- everything possible is done to rehabilitate the good reputation of those who have been wrongly accused;

- adequate training is provided for the protection of minors and vulnerable persons.

Therefore, with the present Letter I establish that:

1. The competent judicial organs of the Vatican City State exercise criminal jurisdiction also with regard to the crimes referred to in articles 1 and 3 of Law No. CCXCVII, on the protection of minors and vulnerable persons, committed on 26 March 2019, on the occasion of the exercise of their functions, by the subjects referred to in point 3 of the Motu Proprio «To our times», of 11 July 2013

2. Without prejudice to the sacramental seal, the subjects referred to in point 3 of the Motu Proprio "To our times", of 11 July 2013, are obliged to present, without delay, a complaint to the promoter of justice at the court of the State of the City of the Vatican whenever, in the exercise of their functions, they have news or reasonable reasons to believe that a child or a vulnerable person is a victim of one of the crimes referred to in Article 1 of Law No. CCXCVII, if also committed alternatively:

the. in the territory of the State;

ii. in prejudice of citizens or residents in the State;

iii. on the occasion of the exercise of their functions, by the public officials of the State or by the subjects referred to in point 3 of the Motu Proprio "To our times", of 11 July 2013.

3. Spiritual, medical and social assistance is offered to persons who have been abused by the crimes referred to in Article 1 of Law No. CCXCVII, including therapeutic and psychological urgency assistance, as well as useful information of a legal nature, through the Managed Accompanying Service by the Directorate of Health and Hygiene of the Governorate of the Vatican City State.

4. The Labor Office of the Apostolic See organizes, together with the Accompanying Service of the Directorate of Health and Hygiene, training programs for the personnel of the Roman Curia and of the Institutions connected with the Holy See concerning the risks in the matter of exploitation , of sexual abuse and mistreatment of children and vulnerable persons, as well as on the means to identify and prevent such offenses and the obligation to report.
5. In the selection and recruitment of personnel from the Roman Curia and institutions connected with the Holy See, as well as those who collaborate on a voluntary basis, the suitability of the candidate to interact with minors and vulnerable persons must be ascertained .

6. The Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the institutions connected with the Holy See to which minors or vulnerable persons have access have adopted, with the assistance of the Accompanying Service of the Health and Hygiene Directorate, good practices and guidelines for their protection.

I establish that the present Apostolic Letter in the form of "Motu Proprio" is promulgated through the publication in L'Osservatore Romano and, subsequently, inserted in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

I agree that what has been established has full and stable value, even repealing all incompatible provisions, starting from June 1, 2019.

Given in Rome at St. Peter's, March 26, 2019, seventh of the Pontificate.


 FULL TEXT Unofficial Translation from - Will be replaced with official Translation

Law No. CCXCVII on the protection of minors and vulnerable persons of the Vatican City State

Guidelines for the protection of minors and vulnerable persons for the Vicariate of the Vatican City

Wow Catholic Priest Friar Calls People to Come to Church with Canoe and Bell on the Bayou River

The people of Dulac, near New Orleans, in the USA saw Rev. Antonio Maria Speedy put on a life jacket, on a pirogue — the regional version of a canoe — with a sign that read, “Dulac, come back to Mass!” He rang a bell as he passed by the fishing boats.

The 42-year-old friar said his plan to boost church attendance is slowly but surely paying off.
“This had to be a sign,” Speedy said. “So I while I was praying vespers, I saw that the first sentence was ‘The Lord’s voice resounding over the waters.’ So I figured this very well could be God’s will.”

“We’ve been looking at different ways to evangelize this diocese,” the Australian native said. “One time we did a walking procession over the Intracoastal Canal Waterway bridge from St. Francis de Sales. We also did a Eucharistic procession up Bayou Lafourche in October.”

After photos and videos of his endeavor went viral on social media the friar said some people have been returning to the pews at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Dulac.

Speedy, who was ordained as a priest in 2014, is a member of the Poor Friars, a 34-member religious order under the Catholic Church.
The Poor Friars originated in Italy and established a community in Houma in 2012. Since members take a vow of poverty, the friars don’t have any money and often hitchhike to get around town.

Source - Edited from the article by Dan Copp, The Houma (La.) Courier
Here is a vocational video with Fr. Antonio on his boat.....
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Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday, March 29, 2019 - #Eucharist in Lent

Friday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 241

Reading 1 HOS 14:2-10

Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, "Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, 'Our god,'
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion."

I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
"I am like a verdant cypress tree"–
Because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.

Responsorial PsalmPS 81:6C-8A, 8BC-9, 10-11AB, 14 AND 17

R. (see 11 and 9a)  I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
An unfamiliar speech I hear:
"I relieved his shoulder of the burden;
his hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I rescued you."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"Unseen, I answered you in thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear, my people, and I will admonish you;
O Israel, will you not hear me?"
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"There shall be no strange god among you
 nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
"If only my people would hear me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
I would feed them with the best of wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would fill them."
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.

Verse Before The GospelMT 4:17

Repent, says the Lord;
the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

GospelMK 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself

is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
"You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.