Monday, June 17, 2019

Saint June 18 : St. Elizabeth of Schoenau the Patron Against Temptations also an Abbess and Mystic

St. Elizabeth of Schoenau

Feast Day:
June 18
1129 at Germany
18 June 1165 at Bonn, Germany
Patron of:
against temptations

Born about 1129; d. 18 June, 1165.-Feast 18 June. She was born of an obscure family, entered the double monastery of Schönau in Nassau at the age of twelve, received the Benedictine habit, made her profession in 1147, and in 1157 was superioress of the nuns under the Abbot Hildelin. After her death she was buried in the abbey church of St. Florin. When her writings were published the name of saint was added. She was never formally canonized, but in 1584 her name was entered in the Roman Martyrology and has remained there.

Given to works of piety from her youth, much afflicted with bodily and mental suffering, a zealous observer of the Rule of St. Benedict and of the regulation of her convent, and devoted to practices of mortification, Elizabeth was favoured, from 1152, with ecstasies and visions of various kinds. These generally occurred on Sundays and Holy Days at Mass or Divine Office or after hearing or reading the lives of saints. Christ, His Blessed Mother, an angel, or the special saint of the day would appear to her and instruct her; or she would see quite realistic representations of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension, or other scenes of the Old and New Testaments. What she saw and heard she put down on wax tablets. Her abbot, Hildelin, told her to relate these things to her brother Egbert (Eckebert), then priest at the church of Bonn. At first she hesitated fearing lest she be deceived or be looked upon as a deceiver; but she obeyed. Egbert (who became a monk of Schönau in 1155 and succeeded Hildelin as second abbot) put everything in writing, later arranged the material at leisure, and then published all under his sister's name.

Thus came into existence

* three books of "Visions". Of these the first is written in language very simple and in unaffected style, so that it may easily pass as the work of Elizabeth. The other two are more elaborate and replete with theological terminology, so that they show more of the work of Egbert than of Elizabeth.

* "Liber viarum Dei". This seems to be an imitation of the "Scivias" (scire vias Domini) of St. Hildegarde of Bingen, her friend and correspondent. It contains admonitions to all classes of society, to the clergy and laity, to the married and unmarried. Here the influence of Egbert is very plain. She utters prophetic threats of judgment against priests who are unfaithful shepherds of the flock of Christ, against the avarice and worldliness of the monks who only wear the garb of poverty and self-denial, against the vices of the laity, and against bishops and superiors delinquent in their duty; she urges all to combat earnestly the heresy of the Cathari; she declares Victor IV, the antipope supported by Frederick against Alexander III, as the one chosen of God. All of this appears in Egbert's own writings.

* The revelation on the martyrdom of St. Ursula and her companions. This is full of fantastic exaggerations and anachronisms, but has become the foundation of the subsequent Ursula legends.

There is a great diversity of opinion in regard to her revelations. The Church has never passed sentence upon them nor even examined them. Elizabeth herself was convinced of their supernatural character, as she states in a letter to Hildegarde; her brother held the same opinion; Trithemius considers them genuine; Eusebius Amort (De revelationibus visionibus et apparitionibus privatis regulae tutae, etc., Augsburg, 1744) holds them to be nothing more than what Elizabeth's own imagination could produce, or illusions of the devil, since in some things they disagree with history and with other revelations (Acta SS., Oct, IX, 81). A complete edition of her writings was made by F.W.E. Roth (Brunn, 1884); translations appeared in Italian (Venice, 1859), French (Tournai, 1864), and in Icelandic (1226-1254).

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Catholic Seminarian with Cancer who was Ordained in Hospital Dies - RIP Fr. Michala at age 31

This morning he died at 11.53 in the morning in Warsaw, Father Michala Losa, the 31-year-old Orionine priest who faced his terminal illness while testifying his faith in God from his hospital bed in Warsaw.

Fr. Michala Losa, FDP, died June 17 in the morning, the Congregation of the Orionine Fathers said in a Facebook post.
On May 22, Pope Francis granted the necessary dispensations for perpetual profession as Son of Divine Providence and, the following day, he was ordained a deacon and priest in the oncology ward of the Warsaw military hospital.  Msgr. Marek Solarczyk, auxiliary bishop of Warsaw-Prague officiated the ceremony.

His gesture and his determination to celebrate the Mass, from his hospital bed, "to be even more united to Christ", have become a testimony of faith that has reached all parts of the world and has united many in prayer.

On the day he was ordained, he said: “Praised be Jesus Christ! Thank you for all your prayers, and I hope you continue praying. I bless all of you in the name of the Father & the Son & the Holy Spirit." 


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"The news," said Father Tarcisio Vieira, general director of the Opera Don Orione, "we knew it would come, but it leaves us equally sad. However, we know that it was not death that took away his life, but it was he who wanted to give it out of love for Christ and the poor. This message from him and his testimony has taught us something and we will do it so that they do not get lost. We thank the Lord for having given us as a witness of great faith and love. "

19 people Killed in Burkina Faso “There is no Christian anymore in this town [Arbinda],” Please Pray

Gunmen killed at least 19 and injured 13 others in northern Burkina Faso on Sunday, June 9, 2019.

A local government official told AFP on the condition of anonymity that the attack occurred between 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and that 19 bodies were found at the time. 

Hours before the gunmen attacked, the source said the gunmen stopped three vehicles in the town of Arbinda and set them on fire. The official detailed that one of the drivers was killed.

The killing in Arbinda comes as armed groups have spread across the Shael region and committed atrocities in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. The United Nations reports that the violence has led to the displacement of at least 4.2 million people, 1 million more than in 2018.

“There is no Christian anymore in this town [Arbinda],” an anonymous contact told the Christian aid charity Barnabus Fund. “It's proven that they were looking for Christians. Families who hide Christians are killed. Arbinda had now lost a total of no less than 100 people within six months.”

Since 2016, armed Islamist groups linked to both al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Islamic State in Greater Sahara have been attacking civilian targets, police stations and military posts in Burkina Faso, according to Human Rights Watch.

Contacts told Barnabus Fund that as many as 82 pastors, 1,145 Christians and 151 households have fled from violence in different locations in the Muslim-majority nation.

But in May, a Catholic church was attacked in the northern town of Dablo, where gunmen also killed a pastor and five churchgoers, some of whom were church elders.

Also in May, four Catholics were killed during a procession with a statue of the Virgin Mary in the northern municipality of Zimtenga in the country’s Bam province.
Above report Edited from Christian Post
Premier report also reports that Churches and Schools are closed for security:
Many pastors and their families have been kidnapped and remain in captivity. Over 200 churches have been closed in northern parts of the country to avoid further attacks and Sunday worship services are discouraged in most rural areas for safety reasons.
“We have left everything we laboured for. Our children have been pushed out of school. Some of our men have been killed without provocation.”
Since the start of 2019, 90,000 people have been displaced. Health centres have been forced to shut or have cut back services, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without medical care.
Over a thousand schools remain closed.
Churches all over the country are arranging collection of food items to support the affected believers but are unable to keep up with the need.

Wow 500 year old Miniature Wood Carvings depicting Religious Scenes from the Life of Jesus

Some wooden carvings from 15th and 16th Centuries are displayed at the Art Gallery of Ontario. These Boxwood Carvings are very tiny and therefore researchers employed micro-CT scanning to view them.   This was because some parts of the sculptures are tinier than grass seed. These 500-year-old miniatures are tiny religious carvings carved in Flanders (Netherlands).  Advanced 3D analysis software was also used to see the beauty of the carvings. Religious  carvings declined during the Reformation period (1517-1648). When Protestant Churches gained popularity throughout Europe these church-related accessories became scarce. An exhibition of these carvings from the 1400s-1500s can be seen at the AGO.

#BreakingNews 2 young faithful Catholics Kidnapped and brutally Killed in Mexico - Please Pray

AMERICA/MEXICO - Bishops ask the authorities to intervene: Two young people kidnapped and killed in a few days
Friday, 14 June 2019

Mexico City (Agenzia Fides) - "In recent times we have experienced situations of great violence that have been a real ordeal for citizens and for many families in different parts of the country": says the Bishops’ Conference of Mexico (CEM) in a statement sent to Agenzia Fides in which, "with pain and sadness, reports the murder of the student at Hugo Leonardo Avendaño Chávez Intercontinental University". In the text, signed by the General Secretary of CEM, the Auxiliary Bishop of Monterrey, Mgr. Alfonso Miranda Guardiola, also remembers Norberto Ronquillo, another young student who was kidnapped and killed last week.
According to information gathered by Fides, Hugo Leonardo Avendaño Chávez, 29, was attending post-graduate courses at the Intercontinental University. He was kidnapped around 11pm on 11 June, while he was going to the parish, his body was found the next day in his van, wrapped in a blanket, in the district of Aculco, in the municipality of Iztapalapa, with signs of torture, he died due to strangulation. The relatives remember him as a young devotee who wanted to dedicate his life to God, he was happy and full of life, with a bright future. Norberto Ronquillo, 22, was also a young man from Meoqui, a student at the University of Pedregal, who was kidnapped while driving his car. His body was found on June 10, a week after being kidnapped, after the family had paid a large ransom. He too was tortured and killed due to strangulation.
"We are living in a climate of serious insecurity and fear - the Bishops write in their statement -, so once again we ask the competent authorities to deal with this wave of insecurity that has been increasing in our country. We ask our faithful and society in general not to be indifferent to the pain of others and to continue to build peace. As a Church we pray and work incessantly for the reconstruction of the social fabric".
The Mexican Bishops assure their "closeness and prayer to the family of Hugo Leonardo, as well as to that of Norberto Ronquillo", invoking Saint Mary of Guadalupe to "guide our steps on the path of peace and help us to recognize ourselves as brothers". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 14/6/2019)</div>

Pope Francis tells Franciscans "May you be instruments of forgiveness and mercy at all times."

Clementine Hall
Monday, 17 June 2019

Dear brothers!
I give a warm welcome to you, members of the General Chapter of your Order. I thank the new Minister General, Br. Carlos Trovarelli. I congratulate him and the Definitors General for the trust their brothers have placed in them.
Recently the Holy See approved your Constitutions, renewed in the Extraordinary General Chapter held last summer. To incorporate this revision, you have now discussed and approved the new General Statutes, which touch on essential elements of your fraternal and missionary life, such as formation, interculturality, sharing and transparency in economic management. This job is tiring, but the effort is well spent! Indeed, the Constitutions are the necessary instrument for safeguarding the charismatic heritage of an Institute and ensuring its future transmission. They express the concrete way of following Christ proposed by the Gospel, the absolute rule of life for all consecrated persons and particularly for the followers of Saint Francis of Assisi, who, in their profession, commit themselves to living “according to the form of the holy Gospel” (see Saint Francis, Testament, 14). I am struck by that advice Francis gave to the brothers: “Preach the Gospel, if necessary also with words”: it is a way of living. If every consecrated life “arises from listening to the Word of God and from accepting the Gospel as the norm of life” (Synod of Bishops on the Word of God, Propositio 24), the Franciscan life in all its manifestations arises from listening to the holy Gospel, as the Poverello shows us in the Porziuncola when, after hearing the story of the following, he exclaims: “This I want, this I ask, this yearning to do with all my heart!” (Thomas of Celano, Vita Prima, IX, 22).
The Gospel is for you, dear brothers, “rule and life” (Saint Francis, Regula Bullata, I, 1) and your mission is none other than that of being a living Gospel, “a living ‘exegesis’ of God’s word” as Benedict XVI said (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, 83). The Gospel must be your handbook. Always listen to it carefully; pray with it; and following the example of Mary, “Virgin made Church” (see Saint Francis, Greeting to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1), meditate assiduously, so that, by assimilating it, you may conform your life to the life of Christ.
This way of following is characterized, first of all, by fraternity, which Francis considered a gift: “The Lord gave me brothers” (Testament, 14). Fraternity is a gift to be received with gratitude. It is a reality that is always “on the move”, under construction, and therefore asks for the contribution of all, without anyone excluding himself or being excluded; in which there are no “consumers” but only builders (see General Constitution OFMConv, 55, 5). A reality in which we can live out paths of continuous apprenticeship, of openness to the other, of mutual interchange; a welcoming reality, ready and willing to accompany; a reality in which it is possible to take a break from everyday life, to cultivate silence and the contemplative gaze and thus recognize in it the imprint of God; a reality in which you all consider yourself brothers, both ministers and other members of the fraternity; an experience in which everyone is called to love and nurture his brother, just as a mother loves and nurtures her own child (see Saint Francis, Regula non Bullata, IX, 11). I urge you to nurture your fraternity with the spirit of holy prayer and devotion “to which all other temporal things must serve” (Id., Regula Bullata, V, 2). In this way, your fraternal life in community becomes a form of prophecy in the Church and in the world; and it becomes a school of communion, to be exercised always, following the example of Francis, in a relationship of love and obedience with the Pastors.
Another feature of your way of life is minority. I like this a lot: thinking of your minority. This is a difficult choice because it opposes the logic of the world, which seeks success at any cost, wishes to occupy the first places, to be considered as lords. Francis asks you to be minors, following the example of Jesus who did not come to be served but to serve (see Mt 20: 27-28) and Who tells us: “Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all” (Mk 10: 43-44). Let this be your only ambition: to be servants, to serve one another. Having lived like this, your existence will be a prophecy in this world where the ambition of power is a great temptation.
You preach peace. The Franciscan greeting that distinguishes you is “Peace and good unto you!”, “Shalom we tob”, in Hebrew, which we can translate well as reconciliation: reconciliation with oneself, with God, with others and with all creatures, that is, living in harmony: peace that brings you harmony. It is a reconciliation that takes the form of concentric circles, starting from the heart and extending to the universe - but in reality it starts from the heart of God, from the heart of Christ. Reconciliation is the prelude to the peace that Jesus left us (cf. Jn 14: 27). A peace that is not the absence of problems, but that comes with the presence of God within us and which manifests itself in all that we are, do and say. May you be messengers of peace, first of all with life and then with words. May you be instruments of forgiveness and mercy at all times. Your communities are places where mercy is experienced, as Saint Francis asks you in the Letter to a Minister: I wish to know in this way if you love the Lord and me, His servant and yours: that there is not any brother in the world who has sinned – however must he could have sinned – who, after he has looked into your eyes, would ever depart without your mercy, if he is looking for mercy. And if he were not looking for mercy, you would ask him if he wants mercy. And if he would sin a thousand times before your eyes, love him more than me so that you may draw him to the Lord; and always be merciful with brothers such as these” (9-11). There is no peace without reconciliation, without forgiveness, without mercy. Only one who has a reconciled heart can be a “minister” of mercy, a builder of peace.
For all this, an adequate formation is necessary. A formative path that favours in brothers the fullest conformation to Christ. An integral formation, that involves all the dimensions of the person. A personalized and ongoing formation, inasmuch as it is an itinerary that lasts a lifetime. A formation of the heart, that changes our way of thinking, feeling and behaving. A formation in faithfulness, well aware that today we are living in the culture of the temporary, that “for ever” is very difficult and definitive choices are not in fashion. In this context, there is a need for solid formators, experts in listening and in the roads that lead to God, capable of accompanying others on this journey (see Saint John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata, 65-66); formators who know the art of discernment and accompaniment. Only in this way can we contain, at least in part, the haemorrhage of abandonment that afflicts the priestly and consecrated life.
Dear brothers, I impart from the heart my Apostolic Blessing to you and to all the Communities of your Order. I pray for you. And it also comforts me that the Minister General said you will pray for me. Thank you!

Vatican expert Archbishop Scicluna joins Polish Bishops in Gathering to Prevent Abuse in the Church

The News pl reports that Archbishop Charles Scicluna, from Malta, described by the media as the Vatican’s top sexual-crimes investigator, attended a gathering of bishops in Wałbrzych, southwestern Poland, to share his experience in handling abuse cases. The meeting of the Polish Episcopal Conference, the central authority of the Catholic Church in Poland, follows a number of child sex abuse allegations against priests, a scandal that evoked a wave of soul searching in a deeply religious country. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki last month announced that Poland would hold a wide-ranging public inquiry into cases of paedophilia. Polish lawmakers in May voted through tougher penalties for child sex abuse, including longer prison terms for paedophiles. Meanwhile, senior churchmen have offered apologies after a recent documentary caused shock in Poland by highlighting cases of people who said they were molested by priests in childhood. Some conservatives have accused critics of using allegations of sex abuse by clerics to attack the Catholic Church. (pk/gs)
In an interview with the country’s Rzeczpospolita daily, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz said he was shocked by stories of sexual abuse of children and minors by priests described in the documentary film Tell No One, which was posted on YouTube in May. “I was greatly disturbed by the enormous tragedy and pain of the victims,” the cardinal said.
Roman Catholic Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the Primate of Poland, said in a statement that he was “deeply disturbed” by what he saw in the documentary film Tylko nie mów nikomu (Tell No One) by the brothers Tomasz Sekielski and Marek Sekielski.
Polak added that “the immense suffering of those harmed is something painful and shameful.”
“I apologise for every wound inflicted by the people of the Church,” Polak said in his statement.
He also said that all information disclosed in the film “must be explained.”
“No one in the Church can shirk responsibility; we must protect children and young people; there is no other way for the Church,"Polak said.
He thanked those who had “the courage to tell about their suffering.” Meanwhile, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, head of the Polish Episcopal Conference, the central authority of the Catholic Church in Poland, said in a statement that he was “stunned and saddened” as he watched the film.
Edited from combined reports from

Protesters gain Courage in Hong Kong as 2 Million March in protest of Forced Extradition to China - Video

The March of 2 million. Joshua Wong released, demands Carrie Lam’s resignation (Photo-Video)
by Paul Wang
Young and old, workers and business executives filled the streets of central Hong Kong to demand the cancellation of the extradition law. Justice and Peace delegation also present. Parents brought their children because they want "a better future" for them. The profound excuses of the chief executive. The "kindness" of the police.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - At least two million people, of all ages and from all walks of life, took part yesterday in the demonstration against the China extradition law.

The gigantic participation - "the greatest demonstration of all time" and Hong Kong has 7.4 million inhabitants - is even more extraordinary, considering that the day before Carrie Lam, the chief executive, had decided to stop discussion of the controversial law indefinitely.

But the organizers of the Civil Front for Human Rights had decided to go ahead with the demonstrations, demanding the complete withdrawal of the law.

Many also demanded the resignation of the Lam, who had called the young - the majority of the protesters - "rioters", justifying the excess use of violence by police.

This morning Joshua Wong, one of the leaders of the "Umbrella Movement" (Occupy Central), who was serving several weeks in prison added his voice to the calls for Lam’s resignation. Released this morning, he immediately declared that Carrie Lam must resign and that the extradition law must be canceled.

The government has claimed that the law closes a "legislative loop hole", allowing the extradition of criminal suspects to China and Taiwan, but lawyers, entrepreneurs, activists, ecclesial personalities fear that it could deliver people to the precarious Chinese legal system, which is not a guarantor of basic human rights.

Furthermore, the law could allow Beijing to demand the extradition of dissidents, fugitives, critical Party activists. Lawyers believe the law would render the Hong Kong legal system a slave to the Chinese, destroying the "one nation, two systems" principle on which the return of the territory to the motherland is based.

Yesterday's demonstration took place in a peaceful manner. Many parents - yesterday was Father's Day in Hong Kong - even brought their little ones in prams or baby carriers. Many of them stated that they wanted to participate "for a better future for their children". There was also a diocesan delegation of Justice and Peace, with their banners.

Protesters had been asked to wear a black T-shirt, as a sign of mourning and pain for the situation on the territory. The march also had one victim, Mr. Leung, who fell from a balcony of Pacific Place, in front of the government offices, while hanging a banner against the extradition law. Many demonstrators had white flowers in his honor, which they placed before his photograph.

Six hours after the demonstration began, Carrie Lam issued a government statement apologizing, promising to "adopt a more sincere and humble attitude, accentuating criticism and improving public service".

In an attempt to improve her image, stained by the violence of recent days, at the end of the event in very late evening, the police "asked, not imposed" the evacuation of the occupied area.
FULL TEXT Release from AsiaNewsIT

Alberta Catholic School Superintendent speaks of Pedagogy in today’s post-Christian society to Scholars

At the "Fellowship of Catholic Scholars" Conference in October, 2018, Mr. Gary Strother gave a powerful talk on pedagogy in a post-Christian society. The entire talk is shown in the video below. He noted the current challenges of today's society. He emphasized the importance of the teachers' living their faith. He explained a key is to show the beauty of the Catholic faith. Mr. Strother explained, "We see the face of God in every child that we see." In his description of his district he said, "Faith is permeated into all that we do." Strother showed a video clip on the history of the Catholic school system from CBC and a clip from Bishop Robert Barron on the beauty of the faith.

 Strother has been the chief superintendent of the Calgary Catholic School District since 2012. He leads the largest Catholic school district in Alberta, serving more than 55,000 students in 112 schools in Calgary, Airdrie, Cochrane, Chestermere and Rocky View County. Strother moved from Montreal to Calgary in 1983 when he began working with the district as a teacher, then served as a vice-principal, principal and area superintendent. Strother is committed to academic success and doing what is best for students. He believes in supporting each and every employee in the district to inspire excellence in students, which has helped make the district one of the top performers in the province. He has built a culture of shared responsibility, transparency and collaboration. Strother sits on various local and provincial boards, including the Board of Directors for the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, where he recently helped unveil a toolkit to better equip teachers to identify and report child abuse.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday, June 17, 2019 - #Eucharist

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 365

Reading 12 COR 6:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
As your fellow workers, we appeal to you
not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.
We cause no one to stumble in anything,
in order that no fault may be found with our ministry;
on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves
as ministers of God, through much endurance,
in afflictions, hardships, constraints,
beatings, imprisonments, riots,
labors, vigils, fasts;
by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness,
in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love, in truthful speech,
in the power of God;
with weapons of righteousness at the right and at the left;
through glory and dishonor, insult and praise.
We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful;
as unrecognized and yet acknowledged;
as dying and behold we live;
as chastised and yet not put to death;
as sorrowful yet always rejoicing;
as poor yet enriching many;
as having nothing and yet possessing all things.

Responsorial PsalmPS 98:1, 2B, 3AB, 3CD-4

R.(2a) The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
In the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.

AlleluiaPS 119:105

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 5:38-42

Jesus said to his disciples:
"You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow."