Friday, July 5, 2019

Saint July 6 : St. Maria Goretti the Patron of Teen Girls and Crime Victims with Special Prayer

St. Maria Goretti was born to a poor peasant family on 16 October 1890 in Corinaldo, a town near Ancona, Italy. Maria was the third of seven children of Luigi and Assunta Goretti. When she was seven years old, the Goretti family moved to Ferriere di Conca, a village near Anzio, where they shared a home with Giovanni Serenelli and his son Alessandro. Maria was nine years old when her father died of malaria. While her mother worked the farm Maria took care of her siblings and also cooked for the Serenellis. Maria was known for her unusual serious-mindedness and piety. Every night she would recite the Holy Rosary for the repose of her father’s soul. As Ferriere had no parish church, nor a priest, Maria would walk for kilometers for the privilege of hearing Mass.
At the time it was not customary to receive First Holy Communion before the age of twelve, but Maria, extremely devout and religious, pleaded with her mother to let her take instructions when Maria was not quite eleven years of age. Every day, Maria walked to the village of Mazzoleni, where she received catechetical instructions. During this time Maria intensified her piety, obedience to her mother and love for her siblings. She was busy preparing her soul to receive Jesus. On Thursday, 29 May 1902, the feast of Corpus Christi, she received her Lord for the first time. Maria would receive the Body of Christ only 4 more times before she died.
Being a beautiful child, Maria attracted the attention of 20-year-old Alessandro. It was 5 July 1902 when Alessandro tried to force his attention on her. He was furious over her refusal to commit an act of impurity and when Maria resisted him with all her strength, crying out repeatedly, “It is a sin. God forbids it,” he drew a knife and stabbed her fourteen times.
At about 6 o’clock in the evening her weakened body was put on a stretcher and put in a horse-drawn ambulance which took her to the hospital at Nettuno. Doctors worked feverishly to save her life. No anesthetic was administered because the attendants feared peritonitis. Despite the intense pain, she uttered not a sound, till she finally lost consciousness. In the morning of 6 July 1902, Maria received Holy Communion for the last time, and openly forgave Alessandro, her murderer. Then Maria died.
Alessandro Serenelli was captured soon after Maria’s death. Originally, he was going to be sentenced to death, but since he was a minor at that time the sentence was commuted to 30 years in prison. He remained unrepentant and incommunicative to the world. In his 8th year of imprisonment he had a vision of Maria. He saw a garden, where a young girl dressed in white was gathering lilies. She smiled, came near him and invited him to accept an armful of lilies. As he accepted them, each lily transformed into a still white flame. Maria then disappeared.
A local bishop, Monsignor Giovanni Blandini, visited Alessandro in jail. He wrote a thank you note to the Bishop, asking for his prayers and telling him about his dream. Alessandro’s conversion was complete. When he was released from prison after serving 27 years, his first act was to travel to Maria’s mother, Assunta, to beg her forgiveness. She forgave him, saying that if Maria had forgiven him on her deathbed then she could not do less, and they attended Mass together the next day, receiving Holy Communion side by side. Alessandro reportedly prayed every day to Maria Goretti, referring to her as “my little saint.”
Alessandro later became a Capuchin laybrother, living in a convent and working as its receptionist and gardener, until dying peacefully in 1970.
On 27 April 1947, His Holiness, Pope Pius XII beatified Maria, and on 24 June 1950, the same Pope solemnly canonized her and proclaimed Saint Maria Goretti the new patroness of Catholic Youth. This ceremony was attended by 250,000 faithful, including her mother (the first mother to see her child canonized) and her brothers and sisters. St. Maria Goretti has also been a principal patron of the World Youth Day celebrations, begun by Blessed Pope John Paul II, and held around the world.
O Saint Maria Goretti, who, strengthened by God’s grace, did not hesitate, even at the age of twelve, to shed your blood and sacrifice life to defend your virginal purity, deign to look graciously on the unhappy human race, which has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation.
Teach us all, and especially modern youth, with what courage and promptitude we should flee anything that could offend Jesus and defile our souls with sin. Obtain for us from God great horror of sin so that, keeping our souls undefiled, we may live holy lives on earth and win eternal glory in heaven.  Amen.
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Pope Francis' July Prayer Intention "Let us pray that those who administer justice may work with integrity..." Full Text + Video

Pope Francis' prayer intention for July, 2019 is " Integrity of Justice".
Pope Francis calls us to pray that those who administer justice may work with integrity, and that the injustice which prevails in the world may not have the last word.
Full text of his intention :
The decisions made by judges influence the rights and property of citizens.
Their independence should keep them safe from favoritism and from pressures that could contaminate the decisions they have to make.

Judges must follow the example of Jesus, who never negotiates the truth.

Let us pray that those who administer justice may work with integrity, and that the injustice which prevails in the world may not have the last word.

#BreakingNews Kidnapped Catholic Priest found Dead - RIP Fr. Paul Mbon in Congo - Africa

AFRICA/CONGO - The body of a priest kidnapped at the end of June has been found Friday, 5 July 2019 Brazzaville (Agenzia Fides) – “Investigations are underway to better understand the circumstances of the death of Fr. Paul. For this reason we prefer not to issue statements at the moment”, say sources of the diocese of Ouesso, in the north of the Republic of Congo, to Agenzia Fides, after the discovery of the body of Paul Mbon, a Catholic priest who served in the parish of SembĂ©. According to press reports, the priest was kidnapped by s strangers while he was taking a walk with a priest friend on the night between 28 and 29 June, in Ouesso where he had gone for an ordination. The body of Fr. Mbon in a state of decomposition with wounds, was rescued in the Sangha waters. His burial took place on 4 July in Ouesso. For several years, Fr. Mbon served in the diocese of Ouesso and was recently assigned to the parish of SembĂ© in the department of Sangha. While the security services and local authorities have not yet confirmed the hypothesis of an assassination, investigations are underway and a first suspect has been arrested. (L.M.) (Full Text share from - Agenzia Fides, 5/7/2019)

Pope Francis ".. encounter with Jesus, the spiritual life, the prayer that vibrates in the beauty of your Liturgy..." to Ukrainian Greek-Catholics - Full Text

Audience with the members of the permanent synod of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, 05.07.2019

This morning, in the Sala Bologna of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the members of the permanent synod of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and addressed the following to them:

Speech of the Holy Father

Beatitude, Dear Brother Major Archbishop,
Eminences, Excellencies,
Dear brothers!

It was my desire to invite you here in Rome for a fraternal sharing, also with the Superiors of the competent Dicasteries of the Roman Curia. I thank you for accepting the invitation, it's nice to see you. Ukraine has been living for a long time a difficult and delicate situation, for over five years wounded by a conflict that many call "hybrid", composed as it is by war actions where those responsible are camouflaged; a conflict where the weakest and the smallest pay the highest price, a conflict aggravated by propaganda falsifications and various types of manipulation, including the attempt to involve the religious aspect.

I carry you in my heart and I pray for you, dear Ukrainian Brothers. And I trust you that sometimes I do it with the prayers I remember and that I learned from Bishop Stefano Chmil, then a Salesian priest; he taught me when I was 12, in 1949, and I learned from him to serve the Divine Liturgy three times a week. I thank you for your fidelity to the Lord and to the Successor of Peter, which is often expensive throughout history, and I beg the Lord to accompany the actions of all political leaders to seek not the so-called partisan good, which in the end is always an interest at the expense of someone else, but the common good, peace. And I ask the "God of all consolation" (2 Cor 1: 3) to comfort the souls of those who have lost their loved ones because of the war, of those who bear their wounds in body and spirit, of those who had to leave the home and work and face the risk of looking for a more human future elsewhere, far away. You know that my gaze goes every morning and every evening to the Madonna of whom His Beatitude gave me as a gift, when he left Buenos Aires to assume the office of Major Archbishop that the Church had entrusted to him. In front of that icon I begin and end the days entrusting to the tenderness of the Madonna, who is Mother, all of you, your Church. We can say that I start the days and finish them "in Ukrainian", looking at the Madonna.

The main role of the Church, faced with the complex situations caused by conflicts, is to offer a witness of Christian hope. Not a hope of the world, which is based on things that pass, come and go, and often divide, but the hope that never disappoints, that does not give way to discouragement, that knows how to overcome all tribulation in the sweet force of the Spirit (see Rm 5,2-5). Christian hope, nourished by the light of Christ, makes the resurrection and life shine even in the darkest nights of the world. Therefore, dear Brothers, I believe that in difficult times, even more than in those of peace, the priority for believers is to be united to Jesus, our hope. It is a question of renewing that union founded on baptism and rooted in faith, rooted in the history of our communities, rooted in great witnesses: I think of the host of heroes of everyday life, of those numerous saints next door who, with simplicity, in your people they have responded to evil with good (see Romans 12:21). They are the examples to look at: those who in the mildness of the Beatitudes had the Christian courage, that of not opposing the wicked, of loving their enemies and praying for the persecutors (see Mt 5: 39.44). They, in the violent field of history, have planted the cross of Christ. And they brought fruit. These brothers and sisters of yours who have suffered persecution and martyrdom and who have only rejected the Lord Jesus, have rejected the logic of the world, according to which violence is answered with violence, have written the clearest pages of faith with their lives: they are fruitful seeds of Christian hope. I read the book Perseguitati per il producing. Behind those priests, bishops, nuns, there is the people of God, who carry out all the people with faith and prayer.
A few years ago the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church adopted the pastoral program entitled The Living Parish, a meeting place with the living Christ. In some translations, the expression "living parish" has been rendered with the adjective "vibrant". Indeed, the encounter with Jesus, the spiritual life, the prayer that vibrates in the beauty of your Liturgy transmit that beautiful force of peace, which soothes wounds, instills courage but not aggression. When, as from a well of spring water, we draw on this spiritual vitality and transmit it, the Church becomes fruitful. Become the announcer of the Gospel of hope, teacher of that interior life that no other institution is able to offer.

This is why I wish to encourage you all, as Pastors of God's holy people, to have this primary concern in all your activities: prayer, spiritual life. It is the first job, no one else has to go before it. They all know and see that in your tradition you are a Church that knows how to speak in spiritual and not worldly terms (see 1 Cor 2:13). Because of heaven on earth he needs every person who approaches the Church, not anything else. May the Lord grant us this grace and make all of us dedicated to our sanctification and that of the faithful entrusted to us. On the night of the conflict you are going through, as in Gethsemane, the Lord asks his people to "watch and pray"; not to defend oneself, let alone to attack. But the disciples slept instead of praying and at the arrival of Judas they brought out their swords. They had not prayed and had fallen into temptation, into the temptation of worldliness: the violent weakness of the flesh had prevailed over the meekness of the spirit. Not sleep, not the sword, not flight (see Mt, but prayer and self-giving to the end are the answers the Lord expects from his. Only these answers are Christian, they alone save from the worldly spiral of violence.

The Church is called to carry out her pastoral mission by various means. Closeness comes after prayer. What the Lord had asked his Apostles that evening, to stay close to him and to watch (see Mk 14:34), today he asks his Pastors: to be with the people, keeping watch beside those who go through the night of pain . The proximity of the Pastors to the faithful is a channel that is built day by day and that brings the living water of hope. This is how it is built, meeting after meeting, with the priests who know and take to heart the concerns of the people, and the faithful who, through the care they receive, assimilate the proclamation of the Gospel that the Pastors transmit. They do not understand it if the Pastors are only intent on saying God; they understand it if they do their utmost to give God: by giving themselves, standing nearby, witnesses to the God of hope who became flesh to walk on man's roads. The Church is the place where hope is drawn, where the door is always open, where consolation and encouragement are received. Never closed, with no one, but open heart; never watch the clock, never send home those who need to be heard. We are servants of time. We live in time. Please do not fall into the temptation of living as watch slaves! Time, not the clock.
Pastoral care includes first and foremost the liturgy which, as the Major Archbishop has often emphasized, together with spirituality and catechesis constitutes an element that characterizes the identity of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. It, to the world "still disfigured by selfishness and greed, reveals the way to the balance of the new man" (St. John Paul II, Orientale lumen, 11): the way of charity, of the unconditional love, within which every other activity must be routed, so that the fraternal bond between people, inside and outside the community, is nourished. With this spirit of closeness in 2016 I promoted a humanitarian initiative, to which I invited the Churches in Europe to participate, to offer help to those who had been most directly affected by the conflict. I again warmly thank all those who have contributed to the creation of this collection, both economically and on an organizational and technical level. To that first initiative, now substantially completed, I would like other special projects to follow. Already at this meeting some information can be provided. It is so important to be close to everyone and to be concrete, also to avoid the danger that a serious situation of suffering falls into the general oblivion. One cannot forget the brother who suffers, wherever he comes from. One cannot forget the brother who suffers.

I would like to add a third word to prayer and closeness, which is so familiar to you: synodality. Being Church is being a community that walks together. It is not enough to have a synod, you must be a synod. The Church needs an intense internal sharing: a living dialogue between the Pastors and between the Pastors and the faithful. As an Eastern Catholic Church, you already have a marked synodal expression in your canonical order, which calls for frequent and regular recourse to the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops. But every day we must make a synod, striving to walk together, not only with those who think in the same way - this would be easy - but with all believers in Jesus.

Three aspects revive synodality. First of all, listening: listening to the experiences and suggestions of the bishops and priests. It is important that everyone within the Synod feels heard. Listening is all the more important as you go up in the hierarchy. Listening is sensitivity and openness to the opinions of the brothers, even those younger, even those considered less experienced. A second aspect: co-responsibility. We cannot be indifferent to the errors or the carelessness of others, without intervening in a fraternal but convinced way: our confreres need our thoughts, our encouragement, as well as our corrections, because, precisely, we are called to walk together. You cannot hide what is wrong and move on as if nothing had happened to defend your good name at all costs: charity must always be lived in truth, in transparency, in that parresia that purifies the Church and keeps it going. Synodality - third aspect - also means involvement of the laity: as full members of the Church, they too are called to express themselves, to give suggestions. Participants of ecclesial life, they should not only be welcomed but listened to. And I emphasize this verb: to listen. Whoever listens afterwards can speak well. Those who are used to not listening, do not speak, bark.
Synodality also leads to broadening horizons, to living the richness of one's own tradition within the universality of the Church: to benefit from good relations with other rites; to consider the beauty of sharing significant parts of one's own theological and liturgical treasure with other communities, even non-Catholic ones; to weave fruitful relations with other particular Churches, as well as with the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia. Unity in the Church will be all the more fruitful, the more the understanding and cohesion between the Holy See and the particular Churches will be real. More precisely: how much more understanding and cohesion between all the Bishops with the Bishop of Rome. This certainly must not "lead to a decrease in the awareness of one's own authenticity and originality" (Orientale lumen, 21), but shape it within our Catholic identity, that is, universal. As universal, it is endangered and can be worn down by attachment to particularisms of various kinds: ecclesial particularisms, nationalistic particularisms, political particularisms.

Dear Brothers, these two days of meeting, which I strongly wanted, are strong moments of sharing, of reciprocal listening, of free dialogue, always animated by the search for good, in the spirit of the Gospel. Help us to walk better together. It is, in a sense, a sort of Synod dedicated to the issues that are most dear to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in this period, burdened by the ongoing military conflict and characterized by a series of political and ecclesial processes far more extensive than those concerning our Catholic Church. But I commend to you this spirit, this discernment on which to occur: prayer and spiritual life in the first place; then closeness, especially to those who suffer; therefore synodality, journey together, open path, step by step, with meekness and docility. I thank you, I accompany you on this journey and I ask you, please, to remember me in your prayers.

Thank you!
FULL TEXT + Image  shared from - Unofficial Translation

Today's Mass Readings and Video : #1stFriday July 5, 2019 - #Eucharist

Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 381

Reading 1GN 23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8, 62-67

The span of Sarah's life was one hundred and twenty-seven years.
She died in Kiriatharba (that is, Hebron)
in the land of Canaan,
and Abraham performed the customary mourning rites for her.
Then he left the side of his dead one and addressed the Hittites:
"Although I am a resident alien among you,
sell me from your holdings a piece of property for a burial ground,
that I may bury my dead wife."

After the transaction, Abraham buried his wife Sarah
in the cave of the field of Machpelah,
facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan.

Abraham had now reached a ripe old age,
and the LORD had blessed him in every way.
Abraham said to the senior servant of his household,
who had charge of all his possessions:
"Put your hand under my thigh,
and I will make you swear by the LORD,
the God of heaven and the God of earth,
that you will not procure a wife for my son
from the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I live,
but that you will go to my own land and to my kindred
to get a wife for my son Isaac."
The servant asked him:
"What if the woman is unwilling to follow me to this land?
Should I then take your son back to the land from which you migrated?"
"Never take my son back there for any reason," Abraham told him.
"The LORD, the God of heaven,
who took me from my father's house and the land of my kin,
and who confirmed by oath the promise he then made to me,
'I will give this land to your descendants'–
he will send his messenger before you,
and you will obtain a wife for my son there.
If the woman is unwilling to follow you,
you will be released from this oath.
But never take my son back there!"

A long time later, Isaac went to live in the region of the Negeb.
One day toward evening he went out . . . in the field,
and as he looked around, he noticed that camels were approaching.
Rebekah, too, was looking about, and when she saw him,
she alighted from her camel and asked the servant,
"Who is the man out there, walking through the fields toward us?"
"That is my master," replied the servant.
Then she covered herself with her veil.

The servant recounted to Isaac all the things he had done.
Then Isaac took Rebekah into his tent;
he married her, and thus she became his wife.
In his love for her, Isaac found solace
after the death of his mother Sarah.

Responsorial PsalmPS 106:1B-2, 3-4A, 4B-5

R. (1b) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Who can tell the mighty deeds of the LORD,
or proclaim all his praises?
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Blessed are they who observe what is right,
who do always what is just.
Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Visit me with your saving help,
That I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones,
rejoice in the joy of your people,
and glory with your inheritance.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

AlleluiaMT 11:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 9:9-13

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, "Follow me."
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
"Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
He heard this and said,
"Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."