Friday, June 28, 2019

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Sat. June 29, 2019 - #Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul - Eucharist

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles - Mass during the Day
Lectionary: 591

Reading 1ACTS 12:1-11

In those days, King Herod laid hands upon some members of the Church to harm them.
He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword,
and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews
he proceeded to arrest Peter also.
–It was the feast of Unleavened Bread.–
He had him taken into custody and put in prison
under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each.
He intended to bring him before the people after Passover.
Peter thus was being kept in prison,
but prayer by the Church was fervently being made
to God on his behalf.

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial,
Peter, secured by double chains,
was sleeping between two soldiers,
while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him
and a light shone in the cell.
He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying,
“Get up quickly.”
The chains fell from his wrists.
The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.”
He did so.
Then he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.”
So he followed him out,
not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real;
he thought he was seeing a vision.
They passed the first guard, then the second,
and came to the iron gate leading out to the city,
which opened for them by itself.
They emerged and made their way down an alley,
and suddenly the angel left him.
Then Peter recovered his senses and said,
“Now I know for certain
that the Lord sent his angel
and rescued me from the hand of Herod
and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (5) The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

Reading 2 2 TM 4:6-8, 17-18

I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

The Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.
And I was rescued from the lion's mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat
and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.
To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

AlleluiaMT 16:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter said in reply,
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." 

Saint June 29 : St. Peter, Apostle and 1st Pope - the Patron of Fishermen, Bakers, and the Church

Feast Day:
June 29
64, Rome, Italy
Major Shrine:
St. Peter's Basilica
Patron of:
against frenzy, bakers, bridge builders, butchers, clock makers, cobblers, feet problems, fever, fishermen, foot problems, harvesters, locksmiths, longevity, masons, net makers, papacy, ship builders, shoemakers, Universal Church, many more...
June 29, we celebrate the Feast of Saint Peter and Paul, foundations of the Church, and martyrs for the faith. Instrumental in the formation and propagation of the faith, both Peter and Paul worked tirelessly after the crucifixion to continue spreading the Good News of Christ. While the Scriptures do not record the deaths of Peter or Paul, from an early date it has been said that they were martyred in Rome at the command of Emperor Nero, and buried there. As a Roman citizen, Paul was beheaded with a sword, whereas Peter was sentenced to crucifixion. However, proclaiming that he was not “worthy” of the same death that Christ endured, Peter was crucified with his head pointed downward.
Saint Augustine wrote of these holy men: “Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles' blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith.”
Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdom: Grant that your Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Saint Peter (1-64), disciple of Christ, first Pope, and “rock” of the Church., was born Simeon, but renamed by Christ to reflect his special role in the formation of the Church. He later confirmed his “new” name, and endowed him with the powers of the keys of heaven:
16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter [translated as “the rock”], and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16: 16-19)
Jesus also specifically charged Saint Peter with the task of shepherding His flock as first Vicar of the Church. In Saint Peter and his successors, we have a visible sign of unity and communion in faith and charity:
15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." 16Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." 17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. (John 21: 15-17)
Peter was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. Like his younger brother Andrew, he was a professional fisherman and dwelt at Capernaum, where Jesus would stay, performing miracles, whenever he was preaching in that area. Following the miraculous catch of fish that Christ used to make them “fishers of men,” together with his brothers John and Andrew, Peter felt the call to become the first of Jesus' disciples.
Following his encounter with Jesus, Peter’s life changed dramatically. We know that he left his wife, family, and job to follow Christ. He served as the leader of the disciples, especially following the crucifixion, but beforehand as well. Peter occupied a privileged station as spokesperson for the group, as well as selection to be present at the Transfiguration and the Agony in the Garden. Somewhat quick to anger and temperamental, Peter’s words and deeds sometimes got him into trouble, but also set the stage for his thrice-over denial of Jesus, a lesson which led to great humility and prepared him for his position as Pope. After the Ascension of Christ, we know that Peter took a leading role, embracing the office of shepherd that had been entrusted to him. He delivered the first sermon on Pentecost, during the descent of the Holy Spirit, and confirmed the first Gentiles into the Church:
42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." (Acts 10: 42-43)
But much of Saint Peter’s life is lost to history. We know that he was present at the Council of Jerusalem (where he gave support to preaching to the Gentiles, leading to the universality of the Church), became the first bishop of Antioch, received and visited with saint Paul, and labored in Rome as an apostle. He is responsible for appointed the replacement of Judas Iscariot, and was the first to perform miracles in the name of the Lord. He further wrote two epistles, the first Papal Encyclicals of the Church.
16We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."18We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. (2 Peter 1: 16-18)
Saint Peter was imprisoned by King Herod Agrippa, and was miraculously freed by an angel. Rather than turn from his apostolic mission, he returned to Jerusalem, traveled teaching the Good News, and returned to Rome (where he labored for 25 years, building the Church of God). He was crucified by Emperor Nero on Vatican Hill, and his relics are now enshrined under the high alter of Saint Peter’s Basilica. From the earliest days of the Church, Peter was recognized as the Prince of the Apostles and the first Supreme Pontiff. His see, Rome, has thus enjoyed the position of primacy over the entire Catholic Church.
O Glorious Saint Peter, because of your vibrant and generous faith, sincere humility and flaming love our Lord honored you with singular privileges and especially leadership of the whole Church. Obtain for us the grace of a living faith, a sincere loyalty to the Church, acceptance of all her teaching, and obedience to all her precepts. Let us thus enjoy an undisturbed peace on earth and everlasting happiness in heaven. Amen. Biography shared from 365 Rosaries Blog

Saint June 29 : St. Paul : Apostle the Patron of Journalists and Evangelists

Feast Day:
June 29
65 at Rome, Italy
Major Shrine:
Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls
Patron of:
against snakes, authors, Catholic Action, Cursillo movement, evangelists, hailstorms, hospital public relations, journalists, lay people, missionary bishops, musicians, newspaper editorial staff, public relations work, publishers, reporters, rope makers, saddlemakers, tent makers, many more...
From St. Paul himself we know that he was born at Tarsus in Cilicia (Acts 21:39), of a father who was a Roman citizen (Acts 22:26-28; cf. 16:37), of a family in which piety was hereditary (2 Timothy 1:3) and which was much attached to Pharisaic traditions and observances (Philippians 3:5-6). St. Jerome relates, on what ground is not known, that his parents were natives of Gischala, a small town of Galilee and that they brought him to Tarsus when Gischala was captured by the Romans (Illustrious Men 5; "In epist. ad Phil.", 23). This last detail is certainly an anachronism, but the Galilean origin of the family is not at all improbable.
As he belonged to the tribe of Benjamin he was given at the time of his circumcision the name of Saul, which must have been common in that tribe in memory of the first king of the Jews (Philippians 3:5). As a Roman citizen he also bore the Latin name of Paul. It was quite usual for the Jews of that time to have two names, one Hebrew, the other Latin or Greek, between which there was often a certain assonance and which were joined together exactly in the manner made use of by St. Luke (Acts 13:9: Saulos ho kai Paulos). See on this point Deissmann, "Bible Studies" (Edinburgh, 1903, 313-17.) It was natural that in inaugurating his apostolate among the Gentiles Paul should have adopted his Roman name, especially as the name Saul had a ludicrous meaning in Greek.
As every respectable Jew had to teach his son a trade, young Saul learned how to make tents (Acts 18:3) or rather to make the mohair of which tents were made (cf. Lewin, "Life of St. Paul", I, London, 1874, 8-9). He was still very young when sent to Jerusalem to receive his education at the school of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Possibly some of his family resided in the holy city; later there is mention of the presence of one of his sisters whose son saved his life (Acts 23:16).
From that time it is absolutely impossible to follow him until he takes an active part in the martyrdom of St. Stephen (Acts 7:58-60; 22:20). He was then qualified as a young man (neanias), but this was very elastic appellation and might be applied to a man between twenty and forty. Conversion and early labours
We read in the Acts of the Apostles three accounts of the conversion of St. Paul (9:1-19; 22:3-21; 26:9-23) presenting some slight differences, which it is not difficult to harmonize and which do not affect the basis of the narrative, which is perfectly identical in substance. See J. Massie, "The Conversion of St. Paul" in "The Expositor", 3rd series, X, 1889, 241-62. Sabatier, agreeing with most independent critics, has well said (L'Apotre Paul, 1896, 42): These differences cannot in any way alter the reality of the fact; their bearing on the narrative is extremely remote; they do not deal even with the circumstances accompanying the miracle but with the subjective impressions which the companions of St. Paul received of these circumstances. . . . To base a denial of the historical character of the account upon these differences would seem therefore a violent and arbitrary proceeding. All efforts hitherto made to explain without a miracle the apparition of Jesus to Paul have failed. Naturalistic explanations are reduced to two: either Paul believed that he really saw Christ, but was the victim of an hallucination, or he believed that he saw Him only through a spiritual vision, which tradition, recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, later erroneously materialized. Renan explained everything by hallucination due to disease brought on by a combination of moral causes such as doubt, remorse, fear, and of physical causes such as ophthalmia, fatigue, fever, the sudden transition from the torrid desert to the fresh gardens of Damascus, perhaps a sudden storm accompanied by lightning and thunder. All this combined, according to Renan's theory, to produce a cerebral commotion, a passing delirium which Paul took in good faith for an apparition of the risen Christ.
The other partisans of a natural explanation while avoiding the word hallucination, eventually fall back on the system of Renan which they merely endeavour to render a little less complicated. Thus Holsten, for whom the vision of Christ is only the conclusion of a series of syllogisms by which Paul persuaded himself that Christ was truly risen. So also Pfleiderer, who however, causes the imagination to play a more influential part:
An excitable, nervous temperament; a soul that had been violently agitated and torn by the most terrible doubts; a most vivid phantasy, occupied with the awful scenes of persecution on the one hand and on the other by the ideal image of the celestial Christ; in addition the nearness of Damascus with the urgency of a decision, the lonely stillness, the scorching and blinding heat of the desert — in fact everything combined to produce one of those ecstatic states in which the soul believes that it sees those images and conceptions which violently agitate it as if they were phenomena proceeding from the outward world (Lectures on the influence of the Apostle Paul on the development of Christianity, 1897, 43). We have quoted Pfleiderer's words at length because his "psychological" explanation is considered the best ever devised. It will readily be seen that it is insufficient and as much opposed to the account in the Acts as to the express testimony of St. Paul himself. Paul is certain of having "seen" Christ as did the other Apostles (1 Corinthians 9:1); he declares that Christ "appeared" to him (1 Corinthians 15:8) as He appeared to Peter, to James, to the Twelve, after His Resurrection. He knows that his conversion is not the fruit of his reasoning or thoughts, but an unforeseen, sudden, startling change, due to all-powerful grace (Galatians 1:12-15; 1 Corinthians 15:10).
He is wrongly credited with doubts, perplexities, fears, remorse, before his conversion. He was halted by Christ when his fury was at its height (Acts 9:1-2); it was "through zeal" that he persecuted the Church (Philippians 3:6), and he obtained mercy because he had acted "ignorantly in unbelief" (1 Timothy 1:13).
All explanations, psychological or otherwise, are worthless in face of these definite assertions, for all suppose that it was Paul's faith in Christ which engendered the vision, whereas according to the concordant testimony of the Acts and the Epistles it was the actual vision of Christ which engendered faith.
After his conversion, his baptism, and his miraculous cure Paul set about preaching to the Jews (Acts 9:19-20). He afterwards withdrew to Arabia — probably to the region south of Damascus (Galatians 1:17), doubtless less to preach than to meditate on the Scriptures. On his return to Damascus the intrigues of the Jews forced him to flee by night (2 Corinthians 11:32-33; Acts 9:23-25). He went to Jerusalem to see Peter (Galatians 1:18), but remained only fifteen days, for the snares of the Greeks threatened his life. He then left for Tarsus and is lost to sight for five or six years (Acts 9:29-30; Galatians 1:21). Barnabas went in search of him and brought him to Antioch where for a year they worked together and their apostolate was most fruitful (Acts 11:25-26). Together also they were sent to Jerusalem to carry alms to the brethren on the occasion of the famine predicted by Agabus (Acts 11:27-30). They do not seem to have found the Apostles there; these had been scattered by the persecution of Herod.
Apostolic career of Paul
This period of twelve years (45-57) was the most active and fruitful of his life. It comprises three great Apostolic expeditions of which Antioch was in each instance the starting-point and which invariably ended in a visit to Jerusalem. First mission (Acts 13:1-14:27)
Set apart by command of the Holy Ghost for the special evangelization of the Gentiles, Barnabas and Saul embark for Cyprus, preach in the synagogue of Salamina, cross the island from east to west doubtless following the southern coast, and reach Paphos, the residence of the proconsul Sergius Paulus, where a sudden change takes place. After the conversion of the Roman proconsul, Saul, suddenly become Paul, is invariably mentioned before Barnabas by St. Luke and manifestly assumes the leadership of the mission which Barnabas has hitherto directed. The results of this change are soon evident. Paul, doubtless concluding that Cyprus, the natural dependency of Syria and Cilicia, would embrace the faith of Christ when these two countries should be Christian, chose Asia Minor as the field of his apostolate and sailed for Perge in Pamphylia, eighty miles above the mouth of the Cestrus. It was then that John Mark, cousin of Barnabas, dismayed perhaps by the daring projects of the Apostle, abandoned the expedition and returned to Jerusalem, while Paul and Barnabas laboured alone among the rough mountains of Pisidia, which were infested by brigands and crossed by frightful precipices. Their destination was the Roman colony of Antioch, situated a seven day's journey from Perge. Here Paul spoke on the vocation of Israel and the providential sending of the Messias, a discourse which St. Luke reproduces in substance as an example of his preaching in the synagogues (Acts 13:16-41). The sojourn of the two missionaries in Antioch was long enough for the word of the Lord to be published throughout the whole country (Acts 13:49).
When by their intrigues the Jews had obtained against them a decree of banishment, they went to Iconium, three or four days distant, where they met with the same persecution from the Jews and the same eager welcome from the Gentiles. The hostility of the Jews forced them to take refuge in the Roman colony of Lystra, eighteen miles distant. Here the Jews from Antioch and Iconium laid snares for Paul and having stoned him left him for dead, but again he succeeded in escaping and this time sought refuge in Derbe, situated about forty miles away on the frontier of the Province of Galatia. Their circuit completed, the missionaries retraced their steps in order to visit their neophytes, ordained priests in each Church founded by them at such great cost, and thus reached Perge where they halted to preach the Gospel, perhaps while awaiting an opportunity to embark for Attalia, a port twelve miles distant. On their return to Antioch in Syria after an absence of at least three years, they were received with transports of joy and thanksgiving, for God had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. The problem of the status of the Gentiles in the Church now made itself felt with all its acuteness. Some Judeo-Christians coming down from Jerusalem claimed that the Gentiles must be submitted to circumcision and treated as the Jews treated proselytes. Against this Paul and Barnabas protested and it was decided that a meeting should be held at Jerusalem in order to solve the question. At this assembly Paul and Barnabas represented the community of Antioch. Peter pleaded the freedom of the Gentiles; James upheld him, at the same time demanding that the Gentiles should abstain from certain things which especially shocked the Jews.
It was decided, first, that the Gentiles were exempt from the Mosaic law. Secondly, that those of Syria and Cilicia must abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from fornication. Thirdly, that this injunction was laid upon them, not in virtue of the Mosaic law, but in the name of the Holy Ghost. This meant the complete triumph of Paul's ideas.
The restriction imposed on the Gentile converts of Syria and Cilicia did not concern his Churches, and Titus, his companion, was not compelled to be circumcised, despite the loud protests of the Judaizers (Galatians 2:3-4). Here it is to be assumed that Galatians 2 and Acts 15 relate to the same fact, for the actors are the same, Paul and Barnabas on the one hand, Peter and James on the other; the discussion is the same, the question of the circumcision of the Gentiles; the scenes are the same, Antioch and Jerusalem; the date is the same, about A.D. 50; and the result is the same, Paul's victory over the Judaizers.
However, the decision of Jerusalem did not do away with all difficulties. The question did not concern only the Gentiles, and while exempting them from the Mosaic law, it was not declared that it would not have been counted meritorious and more perfect for them to observe it, as the decree seemed to liken them to Jewish proselytes of the second class. Furthermore the Judeo-Christians, not having been included in the verdict, were still free to consider themselves bound to the observance of the law. This was the origin of the dispute which shortly afterwards arose at Antioch between Peter and Paul. The latter taught openly that the law was abolished for the Jews themselves. Peter did not think otherwise, but he considered it wise to avoid giving offence to the Judaizers and to refrain from eating with the Gentiles who did not observe all the prescriptions of the law. As he thus morally influenced the Gentiles to live as the Jews did, Paul demonstrated to him that this dissimulation or opportuneness prepared the way for future misunderstandings and conflicts and even then had regrettable consequences. His manner of relating this incident leaves no room for doubt that Peter was persuaded by his arguments (Galatians 2:11-20).
Second mission (Acts 15:36-18:22)
The beginning of the second mission was marked by a rather sharp discussion concerning Mark, whom St. Paul this time refused to accept as travelling companion. Consequently Barnabas set out with Mark for Cyprus and Paul chose Silas or Silvanus, a Roman citizen like himself, and an influential member of the Church of Jerusalem, and sent by it to Antioch to deliver the decrees of the Apostolic council. The two missionaries first went from Antioch to Tarsus, stopping on the way in order to promulgate the decisions of the Council of Jerusalem; then they went from Tarsus to Derbe, through the Cilician Gates, the defiles of Tarsus, and the plains of Lycaonia. The visitation of the Churches founded during his first mission passed without notable incidents except the choice of Timothy, whom the Apostle while in Lystra persuaded to accompany him, and whom he caused to be circumcised in order to facilitate his access to the Jews who were numerous in those places.
It was probably at Antioch of Pisidia, although the Acts do not mention that city, that the itinerary of the mission was altered by the intervention of the Holy Ghost. Paul thought to enter the Province of Asia by the valley of Meander which separated it by only three day's journey, but they passed through Phrygia and the country of Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Ghost to preach the word of God in Asia (Acts 16:6). These words (ten phrygian kai Galatiken choran) are variously interpreted, according as we take them to mean the Galatians of the north or of the south (see GALATIANS). Whatever the hypothesis, the missionaries had to travel northwards in that portion of Galatia properly so called of which Pessinonte was the capital, and the only question is as to whether or not they preached there. They did not intend to do so, but as is known the evangelization of the Galatians was due to an accident, namely the illness of Paul (Galatians 4:13); this fits very well for Galatians in the north. In any case the missionaries having reached the upper part of Mysia (kata Mysian), attempted to enter the rich Province of Bithynia, which lay before them, but the Holy Ghost prevented them (Acts 16:7). Therefore, passing through Mysia without stopping to preach (parelthontes) they reached Alexandria of Troas, where God's will was again made known to them in the vision of a Macedonian who called them to come and help his country (Acts 16:9-10).
Paul continued to follow on European soil the method of preaching he had employed from the beginning. As far as possible he concentrated his efforts in a metropolis from which the Faith would spread to cities of second rank and to the country districts. Wherever there was a synagogue he first took his stand there and preached to the Jews and proselytes who would consent to listen to him. When the rupture with the Jews was irreparable, which always happened sooner or later, he founded a new Church with his neophytes as a nucleus. He remained in the same city until persecution, generally aroused by the intrigues of the Jews, forced him to retire. There were, however, variations of this plan. At Philippi, where there was no synagogue, the first preaching took place in the uncovered oratory called the proseuche, which the Gentiles made a reason for stirring up the persecution. Paul and Silas, charged with disturbing public order, were beaten with rods, imprisoned, and finally exiled. But at Thessalonica and Berea, whither they successively repaired after leaving Philippi, things turned out almost as they had planned.
The apostolate of Athens was quite exceptional. Here there was no question of Jews or synagogue, Paul, contrary to his custom, was alone (1 Thessalonians 3:1), and he delivered before the areopagus a specially framed discourse, a synopsis of which has been preserved by Acts 17:23-31 as a specimen of its kind. He seems to have left the city of his own accord, without being forced to do so by persecution. The mission to Corinth on the other hand may be considered typical. Paul preached in the synagogue every Sabbath day, and when the violent opposition of the Jews denied him entrance there he withdrew to an adjoining house which was the property of a proselyte named Titus Justus. He carried on his apostolate in this manner for eighteen months, while the Jews vainly stormed against him; he was able to withstand them owing to the impartial, if not actually favourable, attitude of the proconsul, Gallio. Finally he decided to go to Jerusalem in fulfillment of a vow made perhaps in a moment of danger. From Jerusalem, according to his custom, he returned to Antioch. The two Epistles to the Thessalonians were written during the early months of his sojourn at Corinth. For occasion, circumstances, and analysis of these letters see THESSALONIANS.
Third mission (Acts 18:23-21:26)
Paul's destination in his third journey was obviously Ephesus. There Aquila and Priscilla were awaiting him, he had promised the Ephesians to return and evangelize them if it were the will of God (Acts 18:19-21), and the Holy Ghost no longer opposed his entry into Asia. Therefore, after a brief rest at Antioch he went through the countries of Galatia and Phrygia (Acts 18:23) and passing through "the upper regions" of Central Asia he reached Ephesus (19:1). His method remained the same. In order to earn his living and not be a burden to the faithful he toiled every day for many hours at making tents, but this did not prevent him from preaching the Gospel. As usual he began with the synagogue where he succeeded in remaining for three months. At the end of this time he taught every day in a classroom placed at his disposal by a certain Tyrannus "from the fifth hour to the tenth" (from eleven in the morning till four in the afternoon), according to the interesting addition of the "Codex Bezae" (Acts 19:9). This lasted two years, so that all the inhabitants of Asia, Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord (Acts 19:20). Naturally there were trials to be endured and obstacles to be overcome. Some of these obstacles arose from the jealousy of the Jews, who vainly endeavoured to imitate Paul's exorcisms, others from the superstition of the pagans, which was especially rife at Ephesus. So effectually did he triumph over it, however, that books of superstition were burned to the value of 50,000 pieces of silver (each piece about a day's wage). This time the persecution was due to the Gentiles and inspired by a motive of self-interest. The progress of Christianity having ruined the sale of the little facsimiles of the temple of Diana and statuettes of the goddess, which devout pilgrims had been wont to purchase, a certain Demetrius, at the head of the guild of silversmiths, stirred up the crowd against Paul. The scene which then transpired in the theatre is described by St. Luke with memorable vividness and pathos (Acts 19:23-40). The Apostle had to yield to the storm. After a stay at Ephesus of two years and a half, perhaps more (Acts 20:31: trietian), he departed for Macedonia and thence for Corinth, where he spent the winter. It was his intention in the following spring to go by sea to Jerusalem, doubtless for the Pasch; but learning that the Jews had planned his destruction, he did not wish, by going to sea, to afford them an opportunity to attempt his life. Therefore he returned by way of Macedonia. Numerous disciples divided into two groups, accompanied him or awaited him at Troas. These were Sopater of Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus of Thessalonica, Gaius of Derbe, Timothy, Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia, and finally Luke, the historian of the Acts, who gives us minutely all the stages of the voyage: Philippi, Troas, Assos, Mitylene, Chios, Samos, Miletus, Cos, Rhodes, Patara, Tyre, Ptolemais, Caesarea, Jerusalem. Three more remarkable facts should be noted in passing. At Troas Paul resuscitated the young Eutychus, who had fallen from a third-story window while Paul was preaching late into the night. At Miletus he pronounced before the ancients of Ephesus the touching farewell discourse which drew many tears (Acts 20:18-38). At Caesarea the Holy Ghost by the mouth of Agabus, predicted his coming arrest, but did not dissuade him from going to Jerusalem. St. Paul's four great Epistles were written during this third mission: the first to the Corinthians from Ephesus, about the time of the Pasch prior to his departure from that city; the second to the Corinthians from Macedonia, during the summer or autumn of the same year; that to the Romans from Corinth, in the following spring; the date of the Epistle to the Galatians is disputed. On the many questions occasioned by the despatch and the language of these letters, or the situation assumed either on the side of the Apostle or his correspondents, see EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS; EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS; EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS.
Captivity (Acts 21:27-28:31)
Falsely accused by the Jews of having brought Gentiles into the Temple, Paul was ill-treated by the populace and led in chains to the fortress Antonia by the tribune Lysias. The latter having learned that the Jews had conspired treacherously to slay the prisoner sent him under strong escort to Caesarea, which was the residence of the procurator Felix. Paul had little difficulty in confounding his accusers, but as he refused to purchase his liberty. Felix kept him in chains for two years and even left him in prison in order to please the Jews, until the arrival of his successor, Festus. The new governor wished to send the prisoner to Jerusalem there to be tried in the presence of his accusers; but Paul, who was acquainted with the snares of his enemies, appealed to Caesar. Thenceforth his cause could be tried only at Rome. This first period of captivity is characterized by five discourses of the Apostle: The first was delivered in Hebrew on the steps of the Antonia before the threatening crowd; herein Paul relates his conversion and vocation to the Apostolate, but he was interrupted by the hostile shouts of the multitude (Acts 22:1-22). In the second, delivered the next day, before the Sanhedrin assembled at the command of Lysias, the Apostle skillfully embroiled the Pharisees with the Sadducees and no accusation could be brought. In the third, Paul, answering his accuser Tertullus in the presence of the Governor Felix, makes known the facts which had been distorted and proves his innocence (Acts 24:10-21). The fourth discourse is merely an explanatory summary of the Christian Faith delivered before Felix and his wife Drusilla (Acts 24:24-25). The fifth, pronounced before the Governor Festus, King Agrippa, and his wife Berenice, again relates the history of Paul's conversion, and is left unfinished owing to the sarcastic interruptions of the governor and the embarrassed attitude of the king (Acts 26). The journey of the captive Paul from Caesarea to Rome is described by St. Luke with an exactness and vividness of colours which leave nothing to be desired. For commentaries see Smith, "Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul" (1866); Ramsay, "St. Paul the Traveller and Roman Citizen" (London, 1908). The centurion Julius had shipped Paul and his fellow-prisoners on a merchant vessel on board which Luke and Aristarchus were able to take passage. As the season was advanced the voyage was slow and difficult. They skirted the coasts of Syria, Cilicia, and Pamphylia. At Myra in Lycia the prisoners were transferred to an Alexandrian vessel bound for Italy, but the winds being persistently contrary a place in Crete called Goodhavens was reached with great difficulty and Paul advised that they should spend the winter there, but his advice was not followed, and the vessel driven by the tempest drifted aimlessly for fourteen whole days, being finally wrecked on the coast of Malta. The three months during which navigation was considered most dangerous were spent there, but with the first days of spring all haste was made to resume the voyage. Paul must have reached Rome some time in March. "He remained two whole years in his own hired lodging . . . preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, without prohibition" (Acts 28:30-31). With these words the Acts of the Apostles conclude.
There is no doubt that Paul's trial terminated in a sentence of acquittal, for the report of the Governor Festus was certainly favourable as well as that of the centurion. The Jews seem to have abandoned their charge since their co-religionists in Rome were not informed of it (Acts 28:21). The course of the proceedings led Paul to hope for a release, of which he sometimes speaks as of a certainty (Philippians 1:25; 2:24; Philemon 22). The pastorals, if they are authentic, assume a period of activity for Paul subsequent to his captivity. The same conclusion is drawn from the hypothesis that they are not authentic, for all agree that the author was well acquainted with the life of the Apostle. It is the almost unanimous opinion that the so-called Epistles of the captivity were sent from Rome. Some authors have attempted to prove that St. Paul wrote them during his detention at Caesarea, but they have found few to agree with them. The Epistles to the Colossians, the Ephesians, and Philemon were despatched together and by the same messenger, Tychicus. It is a matter of controversy whether the Epistle to the Philippians was prior or subsequent to these, and the question has not been answered by decisive arguments (see EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS; EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS; EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS; EPISTLE TO PHILEMON).
Last years
This period is wrapped in deep obscurity for, lacking the account of the Acts, we have no guide save an often uncertain tradition and the brief references of the Pastoral epistles. Paul had long cherished the desire to go to Spain (Romans 15:24, 28) and there is no evidence that he was led to change his plan. When towards the end of his captivity he announces his coming to Philemon (22) and to the Philippians (2:23-24), he does not seem to regard this visit as immediate since he promises the Philippians to send them a messenger as soon as he learns the issue of his trial; he therefore plans another journey before his return to the East. Finally, not to mention the later testimony of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome, St. Chrysostom, and Theodoret, the well-known text of St. Clement of Rome, the witness of the "Muratorian Canon", and of the "Acta Pauli" render probable Paul's journey to Spain. In any case he can not have remained there long, for he was in haste to revisit his Churches in the East. He may have returned from Spain through southern Gaul if it was thither, as some Fathers have thought, and not to Galatia, that Crescens was sent later (2 Timothy 4:10). We may readily believe that he afterwards kept the promise made to his friend Philemon and that on this occasion he visited the churches of the valley of Lycus, Laodicea, Colossus, and Hierapolis.
The itinerary now becomes very uncertain, but the following facts seem indicated by the Pastorals: Paul remained in Crete exactly long enough to found there new churches, the care and organization of which he confided to his fellow-worker Titus (Titus 1:5). He then went to Ephesus, and besought Timothy, who was already there, to remain until his return while he proceeded to Macedonia (1 Timothy 1:3). On this occasion he paid his promised visit to the Philippians (Philippians 2:24), and naturally also saw the Thessalonians. The letter to Titus and the First Epistle to Timothy must date from this period; they seem to have been written about the same time and shortly after the departure from Ephesus. The question is whether they were sent from Macedonia or, which seems more probable, from Corinth. The Apostle instructs Titus to join him at Nicopolis of Epirus where he intends to spend the winter (Titus 3:12). In the following spring he must have carried out his plan to return to Asia (1 Timothy 3:14-15). Here occurred the obscure episode of his arrest, which probably took place at Troas; this would explain his having left with Carpus a cloak and books which he needed (2 Timothy 4:13). He was taken from there to Ephesus, capital of the Province of Asia, where he was deserted by all those on whom he thought he could rely (2 Timothy 1:15). Being sent to Rome for trial he left Trophimus sick at Miletus, and Erastus, another of his companions, remained at Corinth, for what reason is not clear (2 Timothy 4:20). When Paul wrote his Second Epistle to Timothy from Rome he felt that all human hope was lost (4:6); he begs his disciple to rejoin him as quickly as possible, for he is alone with Luke. We do not know if Timothy was able to reach Rome before the death of the Apostle.
Ancient tradition makes it possible to establish the following points:
Paul suffered martyrdom near Rome at a place called Aquae Salviae (now Tre Fontane), somewhat east of the Ostian Way, about two miles from the splendid Basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura which marks his burial place.
The martyrdom took place towards the end of the reign of Nero, in the twelfth year (St. Epiphanius), the thirteenth (Euthalius), or the fourteenth (St. Jerome).
According to the most common opinion, Paul suffered in the same year and on the same day as Peter; several Latin Fathers contend that it was on the same day but not in the same year; the oldest witness, St. Dionysius the Corinthian, says only kata ton auton kairon, which may be translated "at the same time" or "about the same time".
From time immemorial the solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul has been celebrated on 29 June, which is the anniversary either of their death or of the translation of their relics.
Formerly the pope, after having pontificated in the Basilica of St. Peter, went with his attendants to that of St. Paul, but the distance between the two basilicas (about five miles) rendered the double ceremony too exhausting, especially at that season of the year. Thus arose the prevailing custom of transferring to the next day (30 June) the Commemoration of St. Paul. The feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (25 January) is of comparatively recent origin. There is reason for believing that the day was first observed to mark the translation of the relics of St. Paul at Rome, for so it appears in the Hieronymian Martyrology. It is unknown to the Greek Church (Dowden, "The Church Year and Kalendar", Cambridge, 1910, 69; cf. Duchesne, "Origines du culte chrétien", Paris, 1898, 265-72; McClure, "Christian Worship", London, 1903, 277-81).
Abridged from the Catholic Encyclopedia

Consecrate your Family and Home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus with this Enthronement Prayer to Share!

The Sacred Heart of Jesus, is especially celebrated on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart (the Friday after the second Sunday following Pentecost) is celebrated on June 28, 2019.
Traditionally, “enthronement,” or “consecration” prayers of your house (family and heart) to Jesus are said. Jesus promised to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque that, “I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.” Thus, enthronement consists of reciting the prayer and placing an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in one's home.  This is especially powerful against Evil which can attack the people of God in their homes.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque wrote this special prayer of consecration
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials, and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying Thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to Thee, and to do all for Thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease Thee.
I take Thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life, and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. Be Thou, O Most Merciful Heart, my justification before God Thy Father, and screen me from His anger which I have so justly merited. I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in Thee, O Heart of Love, I hope all from Thine infinite Goodness. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist Thee. Imprint Thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget Thee or be separated from Thee.
I beseech Thee, through Thine infinite Goodness, grant that my name be engraved upon Thy Heart, for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live and to die as one of Thy devoted servants. Amen. 
Another Form: Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (by Pope Pius Xi)
Most sweet Jesus,  Redeemer of the human race, 
look down upon us, 
humbly prostrate before Thine altar.

We are Thine and Thine we wish to be; 
but to be more surely united with Thee, 
behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today 
to Thy Most Sacred Heart.

Many, indeed, have never known Thee; 
many, too, despising Thy precepts, 
have rejected Thee.

Have mercy on them all, 
most merciful Jesus, 
and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart.

Be Thou King, O Lord, 
not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, 
but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee, 
grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house, 
lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, 
or whom discord keeps aloof 
and call them back to the harbour of truth and unity of faith, 
so that soon there may be but one flock and one shepherd.

Be Thou King of all those who even now sit in the shadow of idolatry or Islam, 
and refuse not Thou to bring them into the light of Thy kingdom. 
Look, finally, with eyes of pity upon the children of that race, 
which was for so long a time Thy chosen people; 
and let Thy Blood, which was once invoked upon them in vengeance, 
now descend upon them also in a cleansing flood of redemption and eternal life.

Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church, 
assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; 
give peace and order to all nations, 
and make the earth resound 
from pole to pole with one cry:
Praise to the Divine Heart
that wrought our salvation:
to it be glory 
and honour forever. Amen

Pope Francis says "To enter into prayer is to enter...into the heart of Jesus..." to "Apostolate of Prayer" on Anniversary - Full Text



Paul VI Hall
Friday, June 28, 2019

Dear brothers and sisters,

Thank you for this visit! I take this opportunity to renew my gratitude for your commitment to prayer and apostolate in favor of the Church's mission. I also thank you for the testimonies, which I had read, otherwise I would not have understood in Chinese! And for this I will answer more or less or I will continue the reflection of all of you. Yours is a service that is as necessary as ever, which emphasizes the primacy of God in people's lives, fostering communion in the Church.

1. Father Matthew, who works in Taiwan, offered us interesting information about the version of Click to pray in Chinese. It is nice to know that the Chinese, beyond the difficulties of a different nature, can really feel united in prayer, finding in it a valid support in the knowledge and witness of the Gospel. Prayer always arouses feelings of fraternity, breaks down barriers, overcomes boundaries, creates invisible but real and effective bridges, opens horizons of hope.

2. Marie Dominique told us about the mission of the Apostolate of Prayer in France, where this reality arose 175 years ago. From his testimony we have understood that prayer intentions make the mission of Jesus in the world concrete. The Church, through her prayer network and the intentions she entrusts each month, speaks to the hearts of the men and women of our time. All of us, pastors, consecrated and lay faithful, we are called to place ourselves in the concrete history of the people who are near us especially praying for them, assuming their joys and sufferings in prayer. We will thus respond to the appeal of Jesus who asks us to open our hearts to our brothers, especially those who are tried in body and in spirit. It is important to talk about the brothers but there are two ways to talk about the brothers or to bless the brothers that is to speak well of the brothers or to chat, to talk about them. Chatting - in this sense - is a bad thing, not of Jesus. Jesus never chatted. Instead of talking, yes. And prayer is talking to Jesus about the brothers, saying: "Lord, for this problem, for this difficulty, for this situation ...". And this is a path of union, of community. Instead of talking about others is a path of destruction.

3. It is good, on this day of the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to remember the foundation of our mission, as did Bettina (Argentina). It is a mission of compassion for the world, we could say a "journey of the heart", that is, a prayerful journey that transforms people's lives. The Heart of Christ is so great that it wishes to welcome us all into the revolution of tenderness. The closeness to the Heart of the Lord urges our hearts to approach their brother with love, and helps to enter into this compassion for the world. We are called to be witnesses and messengers of God's mercy, to offer the world a perspective of light where darkness is, of hope where despair reigns, of salvation where sin abounds. To enter into prayer is to enter with my heart into the heart of Jesus, to make a way inside the heart of Jesus, what Jesus feels, the feelings of compassion of Jesus and also to make a journey inside my heart to change my heart in this relationship with the heart of Jesus.

4. The testimony of Sister Selam (Ethiopia) with the youth of the Youth Eucharistic Movement helps to contemplate the action of the Holy Spirit in that land. It is important to help the new generations grow in friendship with Jesus through an intimate encounter with him in prayer, in listening to his Word, approaching the Eucharist to be a gift of love to others. Personal or community prayer encourages us to spend ourselves in evangelization and urges us to seek the good of others. We must offer young people opportunities for interiority, moments of spirituality, schools of the Word, so that they can be enthusiastic missionaries in different environments. Thus they will discover that praying does not separate them from real life, but helps them to interpret existential events in the light of God. Teach children to pray. It pains me when I see so many children who don't even know how to make the sign of the cross. I say: "Make the sign of the cross" and do so [a confused gesture] ... They don't know. Teach children to pray. Because they immediately reach the heart of Jesus, immediately. Jesus wants them. And to young people, to teach that prayer is a great way to move forward in life. Thank you, Sister, for what you do. Thank you.
5. I was pleased to hear the enthusiasm of Diego (Guatemala) in fostering the encounter between grandparents and grandchildren in prayer for world peace and for the great challenges of today's humanity. Several generations meet in the Pope's prayer network; it's nice to think how grandparents can set an example to young people, telling them to walk the road of prayer. The wisdom of the elderly, their experience and ability to "reason" with the heart. Some might say, "But, father, you think with your head!" No, it is not true: it is reasoned with the head and with the heart, it is a capacity that we must develop. Ability to reason with the heart. And these experiences of the elderly constitute a precious teaching to learn a fruitful methodology in intercessory prayer. And this is a great prayer, that of intercession: "Lord, I ask you for this, I ask you for that other ...". And to intercede is what Jesus does in heaven, because the Bible tells us that Jesus is before the Father and intercedes for us, he is our intercessor, and we must imitate Jesus, be intercessors. Throughout history, the greatest men and women of God have been intercessors like Jesus. Intercede.

6. Finally, thanks to the testimony of Father Antonio (Portugal). He told us how the Apostolate of Prayer, entering the digital world, approaches the elderly and the young, helping them to give new vitality to the traditional apostolate of prayer. It is necessary for the Church's mission to adapt to the times and to use the modern tools that the technique makes available. It is a matter of entering into the modern areopagus to announce the mercy and goodness of God. However, care must be taken to use these means, especially the Internet, without becoming servants of the means. We must avoid becoming hostages of a network that takes us, instead of "catching fish", that is, attracting souls to bring them to the Lord.

I renew my sincere thanks to each of you for your precious activity, which flows from a heart that is truly attentive to others. The Apostolate of Prayer, with its worldwide network of prayer for the Pope and in communion with him, reminds us that the heart of the Church's mission is prayer. Be careful: the heart of the Church's mission is prayer. We can do many things, but without prayer the thing is not right. The heart is prayer. I encourage you to continue with joy in the awareness of the importance and necessity of your work. You help people to have a spiritual look, a look of faith on the reality that surrounds them, to recognize what God himself works in them; it's a great look of hope! Thank you very much!

I would also like to thank the Society of Jesus. It is thought that the Jesuits are the intellectuals, those who think ... But it was the Jesuits who created this prayer network. The Jesuits are men who pray, and this is great. And then, in a special way, I would like to thank the dedication and creativity of Father Fornos: thank you, brother!

Now we will have a moment of prayer all together, to signify the importance of this and to intercede all together addressed to Jesus. First of all we will do it in silence, everyone, everyone prays with his heart.

[silent prayer]

[prayer of the World Prayer Network]

And now we pray for the intentions that have been proposed by me to the whole Church for the month of July:

Let us pray for the priests, so that with the sobriety and humility of their lives they commit themselves to active solidarity, especially towards the poor. All together we say: "Let us pray". And in silence we pray ...

Let us pray that all those who administer justice work with integrity, and why injustice, which runs through the world, does not have the last word. Let's pray.

[Our Father and blessing]

#BreakingNews Bomb Explodes near Cathedral in Tunisia with 1 person Killed and 8 Injured

AFRICA/TUNISIA - "I am confident: Tunisians will be able to react with strength and courage" says the Archbishop of Tunis
Friday, 28 June 2019 bishops   terrorism

"I am confident: Tunisians will be able to react with strength and courage" says the Archbishop of Tunis
Tunis (Agenzia Fides) - "We distinctly heard the explosion that took place 200 meters from the Cathedral", says to Agenzia Fides His Exc. Mgr. Ilario Antoniazzi, Archbishop of, where a suicide bomber detonated explosives yesterday, June 27 next to a police vehicle, killing a policeman and injuring 8 others along Avenue Habib Bourguiba. Another bomber blew himself up at the entrance to the Gorjani security complex, on the outskirts of the capital, injuring 4 people. Both attacks were claimed by ISIS.
"I was impressed by the reaction of the people. There was no hysteria. The police promptly intervened and removed those present. Within three quarters of an hour the whole area of the attack was empty", says Bishop Antoniazzi.
The site of the attack has a highly symbolic value, 200 meters from the Cathedral which is located in front of the French Embassy. A little further on, about half a kilometer away, there is the Ministry of the Interior. Furthermore, as pointed out by Mgr. Antoniazzi, "half way from where the attack occurred, the Medina, the old city of Tunis" begins, a place of strong tourist attraction.
"On the evening before the attack, there were dozens of tourist buses on the Avenue Habib Bourguiba. I said to myself: thank God, tourism is returning to Tunisia. Tourism is essential for us", says Mgr. Antoniazzi.
"We hope that yesterday's attacks will not have a negative influence", said Mgr. Antoniazzi, who says he is confident that the Tunisians will be able to react. "Tunisia - he says - has accustomed us to surprises. I think we will have a nice surprise in the face of Tunisia's reaction to this. It is not the first time that Tunisia has been hit by terrorists, but has always known how to react with strength and courage. Without being a prophet, I am optimistic, in spite of everything. I trust the Tunisian people who want to live in peace and build their own Country", concludes the Archbishop. (L.M.) (Full Text Release by Agenzia Fides, 28/6/2019) - (Image Share from Google images of Tunis St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Cathedral in Tunisia - Est. 1897)

A Dominican's Inspirational Vocation Story : Called and Sent to Preach: From Cameroon to Ottawa

A beautiful vocation story by a dedicated Dominican priest from Cameroon, Africa, who was  ordained a deacon in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and recently ordained a priest in the Cameroon, Africa. (Picture: Fr. Tagheu on the day of his diaconal ordination with Archbishop Terrence Prendergast in Ottawa)
Called and Sent to Preach: From Cameroon to Ottawa
I am Brother Jean Paul Tagheu, OP, from the West Cameroon region. I entered the Order thanks to Gabriel Tchonang, a priest from the Diocese of Strasbourg, and Brigitte, a Christian from the same diocese. After the novitiate in Kigali (Rwanda), I made my first profession on August 8, 2011 at Mount Sion in Bujumbura (Burundi). I belong to the Vicariate of Equatorial Africa (a Vicariate of the Province of France) which currently includes three countries of Central Africa: Cameroon, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) and the Central African Republic.
Before entering the Order, I studied French modern letters until my master's degree. I had also studied philosophy until Master and did a year of theology. During my high school and university years, I was an agri-food trader in my home region. I then went to Yaounde (the political capital of Cameroon) where I worked as a manager in a commercial store and in the marketing of food products of several consumer companies of the place. For five years, precisely from 2006-2010, I worked finally as secretary of supervision at the exams of the second cycle at the Catholic college François Xavier Vogt of Yaounde.
In the parish, from 1999 to 2010, I worked as a pastoral animator in the field of catechesis, parish caritas, street evangelism, etc. As part of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal where I discerned the divine call, I worked in the ministry of public evangelization, caritas with the S.D.F. (Without Fixed Residence), and that of the visit to the sick in hospitals. That is why the compassion and mercy of Dominic ("My God, my mercy, have mercy on your people, what will become of sinners?") Has been, in my life, like the "tolle lege! (Take and read!) In the life of St. Augustine. It is she who motivated me to the fact of my vocation of brother preacher that I still learn to be, "in faith to the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. "(Ga 2,20).
Indeed, still young, in my 19-20 years, while I was finishing high school in my native region, my dream was to go to Ethiopia to take one or two children that I will raise and adopt as my own so to save them from the misery and famine that was raging in Ethiopia at the time. So I decided not to get married, but not yet for religious reasons. It was a philanthropic or altruistic humanism that I learned from personalist philosophers such as Mounier Emmanuel, Gabriel Marcel and poets of African resistance and rebirth, such as Césaire, Frantz Fanon, and many others, in the context of colonization and the wars of independence of the 60s. Thus, my discovery that Dominic, our father and brother in Christ, sold his academic goods to help the poor of his time bruised by misery joined me a lot in this project . Rather, I understood that I could be part of his project following Christ.
So far, I have understood from the mercy which is the premise of the gifts we ask for at the entrance of the Order, that I am the first 'Ethiopian' to save by my conversion to this Mercy, the search for the Truth, life following this Truth and its preaching in word and deed (1 Jn 3: 18). It is from there, perhaps, that I will be able to realize my dream of youth, no longer as such, but by preaching for the salvation of the poor sinners of whom I am the first.
It is surely to help me to fulfill this mission that, within the framework of the IAOP (the Dominican inter-African of Africa), I was sent to the Dominican University College of Ottawa for a thesis in dogmatic theology, precisely the Christology of incarnation.
 For the begging of this mercy, I like this prayer of St. Augustine that will follow. I love it, not because I am the youngest of my family - "we are born too late in a world too old" (Alfred de Musset), but also because, if I dare to believe it and say it, I am one of the last-hour called (Mt 20: 1-16): perhaps not those of the eleventh hour necessarily (17 pm), but not those of the sixth (noon) either. Here is the prayer. Pray with me so that the Gospel prophecy that "the first will be the last" (Mt 20, 16 TOB) is also fulfilled for me with regard to my vocation, my life and my mission as a preacher in the Order of Friars Preachers:
Well late, I loved you, O Beauty
Very late I loved you, O beauty so old, and always so new, very late I loved you. But what! You were inside, me outside of myself; and I sought you outside; and I pursued the beauty of your creatures with my ugliness. Well late, I loved you, O Beauty
Very late I loved you, O beauty so old, and always so new, very late I loved you. But what! You were inside, me outside of myself; and I sought you outside; and I pursued the beauty of your creatures with my ugliness. You were with me, and I was not with you; kept away from you by all that, without you, would be nothingness. You called me, and now your cry is forcing the deafness of my ear; Your splendor shines, it drives away my blindness; Your perfume, I breathe it, and behold, I sigh for you; I have tasted you, and I am consumed with hunger and thirst; You touched me, and I burn with the desire of Your peace. Amen (St. Augustine, Confessions VII, chap 10, 16, X, chap 27, 38.)
Submitted to Catholic News World - by: Brother Jean Paul TAGHEU, OP

Pope Francis to Orthodox Patriarchate "...the restoration of full unity between Catholics and Orthodox will come about through respect..." Full Text

Friday, 28 June 2019

Dear Brothers in Christ,
I offer a cordial greeting and a warm welcome to you, the distinguished members of the Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate whom my beloved brother Bartholomew and the Holy Synod have sent on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Your presence manifests the solid bonds existing between the Churches of Rome and Constantinople, and our common effort to journey towards the fullness of communion for which we long, in obedience to the clear will of Jesus (cf. Jn 17:21). The feast of Saints Peter and Paul, which falls on the same day in the liturgical calendars of East and West, invites us to renew the charity that generates unity.
At the same time, this feast reminds us of the apostolic courage of proclamation, which also entails a commitment to respond to the new challenges of the present time. This, too, is fidelity to the Gospel. With regard to such concern for today’s situation, I like to think of the attention given by the Ecumenical Patriarch to the protection of creation; it has been a source of inspiration for me as well. Given the alarming ecological crisis that we are experiencing, promoting care for our common home is not only, for us believers as for all others, a pressing need that can no longer be deferred, but also a concrete way to serve our neighbour in the spirit of the Gospel. I likewise see as a positive sign the cooperation between the Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate concerning other timely questions, such as efforts to combat modern forms of slavery, the need to accept and integrate migrants, displaced persons and refugees, and the promotion of peace at various levels.
Last month, during my pastoral journeys to Bulgaria and Romania, I had the joy of meeting Patriarchs Neofit and Daniel and their Holy Synods, and was able to admire the faith and wisdom of those Pastors. On such occasions, as in my different meetings with my brother Bartholomew and with other Heads of Churches, I have been able to appreciate the spiritual richness present in Orthodoxy. I assure you that I left those countries with a greater desire for communion. I am increasingly convinced that the restoration of full unity between Catholics and Orthodox will come about through respect for specific identities and a harmonious coexistence in legitimate forms of diversity. The Holy Spirit, for that matter, is the one who creatively awakens a multiplicity of gifts, harmonizes them and brings them into authentic unity, which is not uniformity but a symphony of many voices in charity. As Bishop of Rome I wish to reaffirm that, for us Catholics, the purpose of dialogue is full communion in legitimate forms of diversity, not a monotonous levelling, much less absorption.
For this reason, I consider it valuable in our encounters to share our roots, to rediscover the goodness that the Lord has sown and made grow in each of us, and to share it, learning from one another and helping each other not to fear dialogue and concrete collaboration. The scandal of divisions not fully healed can only be removed by the grace of God as we journey together, accompanying in prayer each other’s steps, proclaiming the Gospel in harmony, working to serve those in need and dialoguing in truth, without allowing ourselves to be conditioned by past prejudices. Thus, in that sincerity and transparency which the Lord loves, we will grow closer to one another and come to appreciate more fully our own identity. We will grow in knowledge and mutual affection. We will experience the fact that, for all our differences, there is indeed much more that unites us and inspires us to move forward together.

Your Eminence, dear Brothers, I thank you for your visit and for your kind expression of closeness. I ask you to convey my warm fraternal greetings to His Holiness Bartholomew and to the members of the Holy Synod. And I ask you also, please, to keep for me a place in your prayers. May God the Almighty and Merciful, through the intercession of the Holy Apostles Peter, Paul and Andrew, the brother of Peter, bless and sustain our efforts on the path to full communion. Thank you.

FULL TEXT + Image  Screenshot shared from - Official Translation

New US Government Report Released on International Religious Freedom - Ambassador Brownback explains - Video

On June 21, 2019 the United States  released its 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom. The annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom – the International Religious Freedom Report – describes the status of religious freedom in every country. The report covers government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations and individuals, and U.S. policies to promote religious freedom around the world. The U.S. Department of State submits the reports in accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

The Report Explained: Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback explained the 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom. He said, the fight against religious freedom is mounting. There was a report that 80 percent of people live in places where religious freedom is under attack, yet most of the world organizes their life around a set of religious beliefs. They must be free to do so. The Trump administration has done exactly what it promised to do about making religious freedom a top foreign policy priority, and it is. We’ve jumped off the sidelines to fight for people of all faiths.

This is because we believe there is no more important a time for the United States to promote religious freedom than now. We will not stop until we see the iron curtain of religious persecution come down; until governments no longer detain and torture people for simply being of a particular faith or associated with it; until people are no longer charged and prosecuted on specious charges of blasphemy; until the world no longer believes it can get away with persecuting anyone of any faith without consequences. We will not stop.
I lead an incredible office of people who relentlessly work to advance religious freedom around the globe. Today’s rollout of the 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom was made possible by them, and I’d like to specifically highlight Bob Boehme, who heads up our report team, as well as all of our editors and numerous State Department officers and personnel in embassies and consulates around the world who diligently prepared these comprehensive reports.
Every day of the past year and a half that I’ve been on this job, I’ve been grateful for this team and their commitment to this work. We’ve been working with foreign governments to help them organize their own conferences, to encourage a regional and context-specific look at religious freedom. We’ve increased our engagement with the NGO community, expanding a religious freedom roundtable on Capitol Hill which I co-host every Tuesday that I’m in town. We’ve supported religious freedom roundtables starting up in other countries around the world.
A grassroots movement for religious freedom is beginning to take hold around the world. We’re seeing the fruit of our labor. President Trump led a government-wide effort to secure the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson. Pakistan released Asia Bibi after their supreme court upheld her acquittal of blasphemy charges. And as Secretary Pompeo said, Uzbekistan, for the first time since 2006, is no longer a Country of Particular Concern.
But the religious freedom central to our experience at home is still encroached upon in many areas of the world, as our 2018 report shows. For example, Iran has one of the worst records on religious freedom in the world and continues to show a blatant disregard for protecting individuals’ religious freedom. Countless members of Iranian religious minorities, including Baha’is, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and Sunni and Sufi Muslims, face discrimination, harassment, and unjust imprisonment because of their beliefs. Their religious books are banned. They are denied access to education. Their cemeteries are desecrated. Blasphemy and proselytization of Muslims is punishable by death. Last year, the Iranian regime violently cracked down on the peaceful protest of Gonabadi Sufi dervishes in what Human Rights Watch called “one of the largest crackdowns against a religious minority in Iran in a decade.” To Iran we say we are watching and we will stand up for all those whose right to religious freedom is infringed upon.
China has declared war on faith. We’ve seen increasing Chinese Government abuse of believers of nearly all faiths and from all parts of the mainland. In Xinjiang, China has detained more than a million ethnic Muslims in camps that are designed to strip away the culture, identity, and faith of these religious communities. We share reports – again, that others make – that Chinese authorities have subjected prisoners of conscience, including Falun Gong, Uighurs, Tibetan Buddhists, and underground Christians, to forcible organ harvesting. This should shock everyone’s conscience. China also continues to interfere in Tibetan Buddhist practices and Tibetan culture, including by interfering in the selection, education, and veneration of Tibetan Buddhist lamas. They’ve increased their repression of Christians, shutting down churches and arresting adherents for their peaceful religious practices. And to this we say to China: Do not be mistaken, you will not win your war on faith. This will have consequences on your standing at home and around the world.
In Eritrea, authorities continue to confine Eritrean Orthodox Church Patriarch Antonios, who has been under house arrest since 2006. He along with hundreds of other prisoners of conscience should be free.
In Turkey, the government of President Erdogan continues to keep the Halki seminary closed. We call on them to let it be reopened.
And in Nicaragua, religious leaders report constant surveillance, intimidation, and threats. The national police assault priests in full daylight, revealing the government’s contempt for any religious leaders they view as a threat to their authority.
The United States cannot secure religious freedom alone. We need everyone’s help; everyone has a stake in the fight. That’s why this year’s second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom is more important than ever. We expect this year’s event to be bigger, broader, and better than last year’s groundbreaking event. The continuing and complex challenges to religious freedom demand an even greater stage with more stakeholders working together to identify solutions. The ministerial will also provide a platform to amplify the voices of survivors of religious persecution, these from around the world, whose stories will demonstrate the unrelenting power of faith.
Our work is still cut out for us. We must move religious freedom forward around the world. We look forward to working with other governments and our partners in civil society and the religious community to do just that.