Monday, May 20, 2019

Saint May 21 : St. Eugene de Mazenod the Founder of the Missionary Oblates who died in 1861 - #OMI

Eugene de Mazenod (1782-1861)

Bishop of Marseille, founder of the Congregation
of the Missionaries, Oblates of Mary Immaculate  

CHARLES JOSEPH EUGENE DE MAZENOD came into a world that was destined to change very quickly. Born in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France on August 1, 1782, he seemed assured of position and wealth from his family, who were of the minor nobility. However, the turmoil of the French Revolution changed all that forever. When Eugene was just eight years old his family fled France, leaving their possessions behind, and started a long and increasingly difficult eleven year exile.
Eugene de Mazenod speaks to us God our Father, we thank you for having called Saint Eugene de Mazenod to follow Christ the Saviour and Evangelizer. Passionately in love with your Son Jesus and sharing in his compassion for humanity Eugene put himself unconditionally at the service of your Church for the evangelization of those most in need. Through his intercession, help us to reach out with the healing touch of Christ who calls us to Holiness and to Mission. May we build communities which are signs of your presence, and share the Good News of salvation with all peoples. For this we dedicate ourselves, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory be
 Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Share with us your love for Christ. Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Help us to stand firm in goodness. Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Be with us in all our efforts. Saint Eugene de Mazenod, pray for us. Amen
********** Biography
The Years in Italy
The Mazenod family, political refugees, trailed through a succession of cities in Italy. His father, who had been President of the Court of Accounts, Aids and Finances in Aix, was forced to try his hand at trade to support his family. He proved to be a poor businessman, and as the years went on the family came close to destitution. Eugene studied briefly at the College of Nobles in Turin, but a move to Venice meant the end to formal schooling. A sympathetic priest, Don Bartolo Zinelli, living nearby, undertook to educate the young French emigre. Don Bartolo gave the adolescent Eugene a fundamental education, but with a lasting sense of God and a regimen of piety which was to stay with him always, despite the ups and downs of his life. A further move to Naples, because of financial problems, led to a time of boredom and helplessness. The family moved again, this time to Palermo where, thanks to the kindness of the Duke and Duchess of Cannizzaro, Eugene had his first taste of noble living and found it very much to his liking. He took to himself the title of "Count" de Mazenod, did all the courtly things, and dreamed of a bright future.
Return to France: the Priesthood
In 1802, at the age of 20, Eugene was able to return to his homeland - and all his dreams and illusions were quickly shattered. He was just plain "Citizen" de Mazenod, France was a changed world, his parents had separated, his mother was fighting to get back the family possessions. She was also intent on marrying off Eugene to the richest possible heiress. He sank into depression, seeing little real future for himself. But his natural qualities of concern for others, together with the faith fostered in Venice began to assert themselves. He was deeply affected by the disastrous situation of the French Church, which had been ridiculed, attacked and decimated by the Revolution. A calling to the priesthood began to manifest itself, and Eugene answered that call. Despite opposition from his mother, he entered the seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris, and on December 21, 1811, he was ordained a priest in Amiens.

Apostolic endeavours: Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Returning to Aix-en-Provence, he did not take up a normal parish appointment, but started to exercise his priesthood in the care of the truly spiritually needy-prisoners, youth, servants, country villagers. Often in the face of opposition from the local clergy, Eugene pursued his course. Soon he sought out other equally zealous priests who were prepared to step outside the old, even outmoded, structures. Eugene and his men preached in Provencal, the language of the common people, not in "educated" French. From village to village they went, instructing at the level of the people, spending amazingly long hours in the confessional. In between these parish missions the group joined in an intense community life of prayer, study and fellowship. They called themselves "Missionaries of Provence". However, so that there would be an assured continuity in the work, Eugene took the bold step of going directly to the Pope and asking that his group be recognized officially as a Religious Congregation of pontifical right. His faith and his persistence paid off-and on February 17d, 1826, Pope Leo XII approved the new Congregation, the "Oblates of Mary Immaculate". Eugene was elected Superior General, and continued to inspire and guide his men for 35 years, until his death. Together with their growing apostolic endeavours-preaching, youth work, care of shrines, prison chaplaincy, confessors, direction of seminaries, parishes - Eugene insisted on deep spiritual formation and a close community life. He was a man who loved Christ with passion and was always ready to take on any apostolate if he saw it answering the needs of the Church. The "glory of God, the good of the Church and the sanctification of souls" were impelling forces for him.
Bishop o f Marseilles
The Diocese of Marseilles had been suppressed after the 1802 Concordat, and when it was re-established, Eugene's aged uncle, Canon Fortune de Mazenod, was named Bishop. He appointed Eugene Vicar General immediately, and most of the difficult work of re-building the Diocese fell to him. Within a few years, in 1832, Eugene himself was named auxiliary bishop. His Episcopal ordination took place in Rome, in defiance of the pretensions of the French Government that it had the right to sanction all such appointments. This caused a bitter diplomatic battle, and Eugene was caught in the middle, with accusations, misunderstandings, threats, and recriminations swirling around him. It was an especially devastating time for him, further complicated by the growing pains of his religious family. Though battered, Eugene steered ahead resolutely, and finally the impasse was broken. Five years later, he was appointed to the See of Marseilles as its Bishop, when Bishop Fortune retired.
A heart as big as the world
Whilst he had founded the Oblates of Mary Immaculate primarily to serve the spiritually needy and deprived of the French countryside, Eugene's zeal for the Kingdom of God and his devotion to the Church moved the Oblates to the advancing edge of the apostolate. His men ventured into Switzerland, England, Ireland. Because of his zeal, Eugene had been dubbed "a second Paul," and bishops from the missions came to him asking for Oblates for their expanding mission fields. Eugene responded willingly despite small initial numbers, and sent his men out to Canada, to the United States, to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), to South Africa, to Basutoland (Lesotho). As missionaries in his mould, they fanned out preaching, baptising, caring. They frequently opened up previously uncharted lands, established and manned many new dioceses, and in a multitude of ways they "left nothing undared that the Kingdom of Christ might be advanced." In the years that followed, the Oblate mission thrust continued, so that today the impulse of Eugene de Mazenod is alive in his men in 68 different countries.
Pastor of his Diocese
During all this ferment of missionary activity, Eugene was an outstanding pastor of the Church of Marseilles-ensuring the best seminary training for his priests, establishing new parishes, building the city's cathedral and the spectacular Shrine of Notre Dame de la Garde above the city, encouraging his priests to lives of holiness, introducing many Religious Congregations to work in the diocese, leading his fellow Bishops in support of the rights of the Pope. He grew into a towering figure in the French Church. In 1856, Napoleon III appointed him a Senator, and at his death he was the senior bishop of France.
Legacy of a Saint
May 21, 1861, saw Eugene de Mazenod returning to his God, at the age of 79, after a life crowded with achievements, many of them born in suffering. For his religious family and for his diocese, he was a founding and life-giving source: for God and for the Church, he was a faithful and generous son. As he lay dying he left his Oblates a final testament, "Among yourselves-charity, charity, charity: in the world-zeal for souls." The Church in declaring him a saint on December 3, 1995, crowns these two pivots of his living-love and zeal. His life and his deeds remain for all a window unto God Himself. And that is the greatest gift that Eugene de Mazenod, Oblate of Mary Immaculate, can offer us.
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Pope Francis explains "Jesus loved us first, he loved us despite our frailties, our limitations..." Full Text + Video


St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 19 May 2019

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today's Gospel leads us to the Cenacle to make us hear some of the words that Jesus addressed to the disciples in the "farewell speech" before his passion. After having washed the feet of the Twelve, He says to them: "I give you a new commandment: that you love one another. As I have loved you, so let you also love one another "(Jn 13:34). But in what sense does Jesus call this commandment "new"? Because we know that already in the Old Testament God had commanded the members of his people to love their neighbor as themselves (see Lv 19:18). Jesus himself, to those who asked him what was the greatest commandment of the Law, answered that the first is to love God with all one's heart and the second to love one's neighbor as oneself (see Mt 22: 38-39).

So what is the novelty of this commandment that Jesus entrusts to his disciples? Why do you call it a "new commandment"? The ancient commandment of love has become new because it was completed with this addition: "as I have loved you", "love you as I have loved you". The novelty is all in the love of Jesus Christ, the one with which he gave his life for us. It is a question of the love of God, universal, without conditions and without limits, which finds its apex on the cross. In that moment of extreme lowering, in that moment of abandonment to the Father, the Son of God has shown and given to the world the fullness of love. Thinking back to the passion and agony of Christ, the disciples understood the meaning of those words of his: "As I have loved you, so let you also love one another".

Jesus loved us first, he loved us despite our frailties, our limitations and our human weaknesses. It was He who made us become worthy of his love that knows no limits and never ends. By giving us the new commandment, he asks us to love each other not only and not so much with our love, but with his, which the Holy Spirit infuses in our hearts if we invoke him with faith. In this way - and only in this way - we can love each other not only as we love ourselves, but as He loved us, that is immensely more. God loves us much more than we love ourselves. And so we can spread everywhere the seed of love that renews relationships between people and opens horizons of hope. Jesus always opens horizons of hope, his love opens horizons of hope. This love makes us become new men, brothers and sisters in the Lord, and makes us the new People of God, that is, the Church, in which all are called to love Christ and in Him to love one another.

The love that is manifested in the cross of Christ and that He calls us to live is the only force that transforms our heart of stone into a heart of flesh; the only force capable of transforming our heart is the love of Jesus, if we also love with this love. And this love makes us capable of loving our enemies and forgiving those who have offended us. I will ask you a question, everyone will answer in his heart. Am I capable of loving my enemies? We all have people, I don't know if they are enemies, but that doesn't agree with us, who is "on the other side"; or does anyone have people who hurt them ... am I capable of loving those people? That man, that woman who hurt me, who offended me? Am I able to forgive him? Everyone responds in his heart. The love of Jesus makes us see the other as a present or future member of the community of the friends of Jesus; it stimulates us to dialogue and helps us to listen to and know each other. Love opens us to the other, becoming the basis of human relationships. It makes us able to overcome the barriers of our weaknesses and prejudices. The love of Jesus in us creates bridges, teaches new ways, triggers the dynamism of fraternity. May the Virgin Mary help us, with her maternal intercession, to welcome from her Son Jesus the gift of his commandment, and from the Holy Spirit the strength to practice it in everyday life.

 After the Regina Coeli

Dear brothers and sisters!

Yesterday in Madrid, Maria Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri was beatified, a faithful laity of Opus Dei, who joyfully served her brothers by combining teaching and the proclamation of the Gospel. His testimony is an example for Christian women engaged in social and scientific research. Let's applaud the new Blessed, all together!

I address my cordial greetings to you, pilgrims from Italy and from different countries. In particular those from Mexico, California, Haiti; to the faithful of Cordoba (Spain) and of Viseu (Portugal); to the students of Pamplona and Lisbon.
I greet the Canonesses of the Cross on the centenary of their foundation; the leaders of the Community of St. Egidio from different countries; the Polish pilgrims, in particular the scouts, accompanied by the Military Ordinary, who came on the 75th anniversary of the battle of Montecassino.

I greet the faithful of Biancavilla and Cosenza; those of Pallagorio with the choir; the boys of the Confirmation of Senigallia and Campi Bisenzio; the choir of San Marzano sul Sarno and that of San Michele in Bolzano; the School of the Daughters of St. Anne in Bologna and the cyclists of the Bambino Gesù Hospital.

I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!
Text Source: - Unofficial Trans. - Image source:

#BreakingNews 15,000 at March for Life in Rome, Italy - 9th Annual Pro-Life Event - Video

Thousands of Pro-Lifers and many youth at "March for Life" in Rome, Italy.

  Around 15,000 pro-lifers marched against abortion and euthanasia in the annual event on the weekend in Rome. This was reported by the Italian newspaper "Avvenire" (Sunday), citing the organizers. The participants included international associations for the protection of life, bishops, priests and religious, as well as Cardinals Willem Jacobus Eijk (Netherlands) and Raymond Burke (USA). It was about "defending the right to life from conception to natural death", quoted "Avvenire" the spokeswoman for the Italian "Marcia per la Vita", Virginia Coda Nunziante.

The demonstration took place in Italy for the ninth time. Pro-Life movements gather around the world on different dates every year for similar protest marches, for example in Berlin, Paris, Washington or Poland.
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Today's Mass Readings and Video : Mon. May 20, 2019 - #Eucharist in Eastertide

Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Lectionary: 285

Reading 1 ACTS 14:5-18

There was an attempt in Iconium
by both the Gentiles and the Jews,
together with their leaders,
to attack and stone Paul and Barnabas.
They realized it,
and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe
and to the surrounding countryside,
where they continued to proclaim the Good News.

At Lystra there was a crippled man, lame from birth,
who had never walked. 
He listened to Paul speaking, who looked intently at him,
saw that he had the faith to be healed,
and called out in a loud voice, "Stand up straight on your feet."
He jumped up and began to walk about.
When the crowds saw what Paul had done,
they cried out in Lycaonian,
"The gods have come down to us in human form." 
They called Barnabas "Zeus" and Paul "Hermes,"
because he was the chief speaker.
And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city,
brought oxen and garlands to the gates,
for he together with the people intended to offer sacrifice.

The Apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their garments
when they heard this and rushed out into the crowd, shouting,
"Men, why are you doing this? 
We are of the same nature as you, human beings. 
We proclaim to you good news
that you should turn from these idols to the living God,
who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them.
In past generations he allowed all Gentiles to go their own ways;
yet, in bestowing his goodness,
he did not leave himself without witness,
for he gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons,
and filled you with nourishment and gladness for your hearts."
Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds
from offering sacrifice to them.

Responsorial PsalmPS 115:1-2, 3-4, 15-16

R.(1ab) Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
R. Alleluia.
Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name give glory
because of your mercy, because of your truth.
Why should the pagans say,
"Where is their God?"
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
R. Alleluia.
Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
R. Alleluia.
May you be blessed by the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
Heaven is the heaven of the LORD,
but the earth he has given to the children of men.
R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 14:26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 14:21-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him."
Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him,
"Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us
and not to the world?"
Jesus answered and said to him,
"Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

"I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit 
whom the Father will send in my nameB 
he will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you."