Thursday, August 29, 2019

Saint August 30 : St. Jeanne Jugan, Founder of the Little Sisters of the Poor, who was on fire with love for God! - with Novena Prayer

Who is Jeanne Jugan? Jeanne Jugan, a Saint for old age and every age
Jeanne Jugan is the foundress and first Little Sister of the Poor. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 3, 1982 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2009.

A Saint for old age and every age

Jeanne Jugan gave herself entirely to God and the elderly poor. As our aging population continues to grow and dignity at the end of life is increasingly threatened, Jeanne Jugan offers herself as a friend and patron of the elderly. She is a Saint for old age.

But she is more than that!

Jeanne is a Saint for every age as she challenges young people to give themselves to God and neighbor.
She is a role model for those who care for the poor, the sick and the aging.
To those who feel anxious in these tough economic times, she offers an invitation to live the Beatitudes, trusting that God will provide.
She challenges all of us to do everything through love.
Jeanne is a friend of God and a hero for the poor. She is a Gospel witness for our time and a Saint for all times!

Her Life

Growing up in hard times
Jeanne Jugan grew up in a small town in revolutionary France. Times were tough. Violence ruled the day. For thousands, begging was a way of life.
Those who openly practiced their faith were not merely ridiculed—they were imprisoned or killed. Jeanne received her faith formation—secretly and at great risk—from her mother and a group of women who belonged to an ecclesial movement of the day.
By the time Jeanne was four years old her father had been lost at sea. Her mother found odd jobs to make ends meet. Neighbor helped neighbor. As a young girl Jeanne worked as a shepherdess. She learned to knit and spin wool. Later she went to work as a kitchen maid for a wealthy family.

On fire with love for God

Jeanne barely learned to read and write. Her education consisted mostly of on-the-job training in the school of real life. Neither beautiful nor talented in the usual sense, she was gifted with an extraordinary heart. Jeanne was on fire with love for God!
Those who let themselves be seized by the love of Christ cannot help abandoning everything to follow him… Barely out of her teens, Jeanne felt the call of divine love. Preparing to leave home, she told her mother “God wants me for himself. He is keeping me for a work which is not yet founded.”
Jeanne took the road less traveled, setting out to work among the poor and forsaken in a local hospital.

Jeanne meets Christ in the Poor
Many years went by before Jeanne discovered her vocation. Finally, one cold winter night she met Jesus Christ in the person of an elderly, blind and infirm woman who had no one to care for her. Jeanne carried the woman home, climbed up the stairs to her small apartment and placed her in her own bed. From then on, Jeanne would sleep in the attic.
God led more poor old people to her doorstep. Generous young women came to help. Like Jeanne, they wanted to make a difference. Like her, they believed that “the poor are Our Lord.” A religious community was born!
There were so many old people in need of a home, so many souls hungry for love! The work rapidly spread across France and beyond. Struck by their spirit of humble service, local citizens dubbed the group the Little Sisters of the Poor. The name stuck!
For herself Jeanne chose the religious name Sister Mary of the Cross. She would live it in its fullness.…
Jeanne is grafted into the cross
The work of the Little Sisters continued to spread, borne by the wind of the Spirit. So did Jeanne’s renown—until one day she was mysteriously cast aside by an ambitious priest who had taken over the direction of the young community.
Jeanne was replaced as superior and sent out begging on behalf of the poor. And then one day she was placed in retirement, relegated to the shadows. At the time of her death 27 years later, the young Little Sisters didn’t even know that she was the foundress.
Jeanne had often told them, “We are grafted into the cross and we must carry it joyfully unto death.” How she lived these words! What a radiant example of holiness she gave to generations of Little Sisters!

God lifts up the lowly

Like the grain of wheat that falls into the earth and dies, Jeanne’s life would bear much fruit. Thousands of young women followed in her footsteps. The Little Sisters’ mission of hospitality spread to the ends of the earth, like a great wave of charity.
In his time, God would raise Jeanne up. At her beatification Pope John Paul II said that “God could glorify no more humble a servant than she.”
Pope Benedict said that Saint Jeanne’s canonization would “show once again how living faith is prodigious in good works, and how sanctity is a healing balm for the wounds of humankind.”

A friend of the poor — a Gospel witness for our time — a Saint for old age and every age!

Shared from Little Sisters of the Poor Website

#BreakingNews 150 Eritrean Christians including Children Arrested by Government

WWM Release: At least 150 Eritrean Christians were arrested by government officials during the last two months, with some of them held in an underground prison made up of tunnels.
The most recent arrests occurred 18 August when Eritrean security officials detained 80 Christians from Godayef, an area near the airport of the capital, Asmara. They were taken to a police station and have been held there ever since, a local source told World Watch Monitor.
Four days later, on 22 August, the United Nations observed its first annual commemoration of victims of religiously motivated violence. “On this day, we reaffirm our unwavering support for the victims of violence based on religion and belief. And we demonstrate that support by doing al in our power to prevent such attacks and demanding that those responsible are held accountable,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Eritrea’s government current clampdown on Christians began 23 June when Eritrean security officials arrested 70 members of the Faith Mission Church of Christ, in Eritrea’s second city, Keren.
The church’s members, among them 35 women and 10 children, were taken to Ashufera prison, 25kms from the city.
The prison is a vast underground tunnel system and the conditions in which the detainees are held are very harsh, the local source said. It’s location far from a main road, the source said, “means that anyone who wants to visit loved ones there will have to walk a minimum of 30 minutes to reach the entrance. Inmates are forced to dig additional tunnels when officers need extra space for more prisoners.”
After the arrests, the government officials also closed the church-run school, said the local source, whose identity World Watch Monitor is withholding for security reasons.
The Faith Mission Church of Christ was the last church still open in the majority-Muslim city 90kms northwest of Asmara. It was established more than 60 years ago and once had schools and orphanages all over the country, according to religious freedom advocacy group CSW.
It had been waiting for registration since it submitted an application in 2002 when the government introduced a new law that forbids all Churches except for the Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran Churches, as well as Sunni Islam.
On 16 August, six Christians, also from Keren and who were government employees, were taken to a court in Asmara where the judge told them to renounce their faith. The six responded by saying they would “not negotiate their faith” and would “continue following Jesus,” the source said. “Reportedly, the judge angrily told them to leave while he considers the next steps. They don’t know when to expect his decision.”
The government clampdown has sent other Christians in Keren into hiding, the source said.
It follows the government’s June seizure of all Catholic-run health clinics in the country, and the arrest of five Orthodox priests. The moves prompted the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Eritrea, Daniela Kravetz, to call on the government to uphold religious freedom for its citizens and “release those who have been imprisoned for their religious beliefs.”
In May, a monitoring group for the UN said “thousands” of Christians are facing detention as “religious freedom continue[s] to be denied in Eritrea” and questioned why the UN was not monitoring the situation more closely.
Earlier this month, Eritrea’s Orthodox patriarch, Abune Antonios, was expelled by pro-government bishops of his church on accusations of heresy. Antonios had been under house arrest since 2007, when he refused to comply with the regime’s attempts to interfere with church affairs.
Eritrea is 7th on the Open Doors 2019 World Watch List of the 50 countries in which it is most difficult to live as a Christian.
Source: ( )World Watch Moniter Full Text Release

#BreakingNews Young Catholic Female Volunteer Killed - RIP Genifer Buckley, age 24, - from the Jesuit Volunteer Philippines Movement - #JVP

ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Filipino female Jesuit volunteer killed: the Church thanks her for the testimony of love and service

Cagayan De Oro City (Agenzia Fides) - The killing of a Jesuit volunteer woman "was an execrable act, which we condemn: we ask for justice, while we pray for her and her family", Jesuit Father Jason Dy told Fides, Chaplain of the Jesuit Volunteer Philippines Movement (JVP).
On 23 August, Genifer Buckley, a young 24-year-old, originally from Zamboanga del Sur, was stabbed to death in the house where she lived with her companion. The other volunteer, lawyer Anne Kathleen Gatdula, 30, was injured but managed to escape after being chased, and is currently hospitalized in a local hospital. The two volunteers were serving at Pangantucan Community High School, Bukidnon, in a project of the JVP movement. Police arrested a suspect, Arnold Naguilla, 36, shortly after the murder. According to first investigations, the man allegedly attacked the two young women while he was trying to steal, but it is not yet clear why he killed them. "Justice in this case will be of primary importance. Our sincere prayers go to members of Buckley's family and Gatdula's speedy recovery", said Father Dy.
A local resident, Agnes Medina, told Fides: "We are grateful to Buckley and Gatdula for serving the people of Bukidnon. We express condolences to the Buckley’s family and friends. The JVP Volunteers have been assisting poor communities in Mindanao for many years . We thank them for the testimony of love and service".
Buckly earned a bachelor's degree in Education at Zamboanga University run by the Jesuits in 2015 and subsequently taught at the University's Junior High School for four years before enrolling in the JVP this year. Later she volunteered to teach at Pangantucan Community High School since May 27th.
Jesuit Father Karel San Juan, president of the Zamboanga University, praised Buckly for her service to the community as a teacher and volunteer: "We will miss her very much. We remember her with affection and for her precious service to people. She was a courageous soul, eager to take the path of loving service for God and for the Country".
The JVP is committed to bringing hope to marginalized populations. For 39 years, Jesuit volunteers have been working with schools, parishes and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to teach, train community leaders, assist cooperatives, implement livelihood projects, assist disabled people and victims of violence, engage in the training of young people, supporting environmental issues, defending the dignity of indigenous peoples, fighting for the rights of the oppressed.
The JVP, says a note from the organization, is made up of young people "eager to take the path of loving service to God and the Country". A JVP member must be single, under the age of 35, a graduate or university student, willing to serve, share knowledge and skills in a community for at least 10 months. (SD) (Full Text Source: Agenzia Fides, 28/8/2019)
Image Source: Facebook via Fr Danny Huang SJ/Fr Karen San Juan SJ:

RIP Cardinal Achille Silvestrini - a great Vatican Diplomat - Death of Cardinal Silvestrini at age 95 - Video

Death of Cardinal Achille Silvestrini
The Italian cardinal, a great figure of Vatican diplomacy, died on Thursday 29 August 2019, just weeks before his 96th birthday.
Born in Brisighella in northeastern Italy in 1923, Achille Silvestrini entered the diocesan seminary at the age of 19, before being ordained a priest in July 1946. After studying at the Roman Lateran University, he entered the prestigious Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, which trained the diplomatic staff of the Holy See. Then begins a long and prolific career at the Secretariat of State, where he deals with issues related to Asia (China, Vietnam, Indonesia).

He then became the close collaborator of the Secretaries of State Domenico Tardini and Amleto Giovanni Cicognani during the pontificates of St. John XXIII and John Paul I. He is then responsible for relations with international organizations; as such, it deals with issues of peace and disarmament. He then became a figurehead of the Vatican ostpolitik advocated by Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, then Secretary of State, and accompanied him to Moscow in 1971 to deposit the accession of the Holy See to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. nuclear. In 1979, he was appointed Secretary for Relations with States; the diplomatic missions entrusted to it in the course of its functions are innumerable: Malta, Buenos-Aires (Falklands crisis), Nicaragua and Salvador, Poland, Syria and Lebanon, etc.

Saint John Paul II created him cardinal during the consistory of June 28, 1988, and named him three days later Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. From 1991 to 2000, he also served as prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches.

He lost his cardinal-elector status in 2003, when he was 80 years old, and therefore did not participate in the conclaves of 2005 (election of Benedict XVI) and 2013 (election of François).

He was also very attentive to young people, as evidenced by his close proximity to Maison Nazareth, a university institution founded in 1946 by Cardinal Tardini, of which he was president. This structure welcomes free students with a brilliant and exemplary school career, but whose parents can not pay for their studies.

2 New Bishops Consecrated in China under the Vatican-China Agreement - Bishop Stefano Xu Hongwei of Hanzhong (Shaanxi)

Vatican News: China, second bishop consecrated under Sino-Holy See agreement
The Vatican on Wednesday confirmed the second episcopal consecration in China under last year's Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and China. Monsignor Stefano Xu Hongwei was consecrated bishop on 28 August under the Pontifical Mandate.
The Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People's Republic of China, on the appointment of bishops in China, was signed in Beijing on 22 September 2018.

Nearly a year on, the deal is bearing fruit.

On Wednesday, 28 August, Monsignor Stefano Xu Hongwei, was consecrated Coadjutor Bishop of Hanzhong (Shaanxi) in China.

Responding to the questions received from journalists, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, made the following statement on Wednesday in the Vatican.

“I can confirm that also H.E. Mgr. Stefano Xu Hongwei, who has been consecrated today, 28th August 2019, Coadjutor Bishop of Hanzhong (Shaanxi) in China, received the Papal Mandate and his ordination also took place in the framework of the Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People's Republic of China signed in Beijing on 22nd September 2018”.

Bishop Xu became the second bishop to be consecrated after the Provisional Agreement, following that of Monsignor Antonio Yao Shun of Jining/Wulanchabu, Inner Mongolia (China), on Monday.   

The consecration ceremony of Bishop Xu in the Cathedral of St. Michael in Hanzhong was presided over by Bishop Ma Yinglin of Kunming (Yunnan), the president of the Council of Chinese bishops, AsiaNews reported.  Five other bishops and 80 priests concelebrated the Mass in the presence of around a thousand people.

AsiaNews also provided other details of the 44-year old bishop, born on 16 January 1975. In September 1993 he entered the minor seminary of the diocese of Minnan.  In September 1996, he entered the seminary of Xian and in July 2002, he was ordained a priest in the diocese of Hanzhong. In August of the same year, he was assigned as parish priest of the Nanzheng District Parish, with the task of helping in the pastoral work of Hanzhong Cathedral.

From July 2004 to June 2008 he studied at the Pontifical Urbanianum University in Rome (Vatican), obtaining a pastoral license; from November 2008 to April 2010 he continued his pastoral studies in the diocese of Vancouver (Canada).

In April 2010 he was appointed pastor of West Street Cathedral, in the Hantai district. In December 2015 he became a member of the Catholic Provincial Committee ("the two sessions": Patriotic Association and Council of Bishops).

In 2012, and in 2017, he was also a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Consultative Political Conference in the district of Ren Hantai.  On 11 April 2019, he was chosen as bishop of the Diocese of Hanzhong.

The Diocese of Hanzhong is an old mission of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME). It has about 30 thousand faithful, served by 30 priests and 11 women religious with 20 thousand faithful.
FULL TEXT Source: + Image Share

#BreakingNews Russian-Syrian Air Bombs Kill 16 Civilians including 6 Children - Please Pray!

Idlib: Russian-Syrian air strikes leave 16 civilians dead, six of them children
At least 12 victims in the bombing of Maaret al-Noomane residential neighborhoods. The town is located along the highway that connects Aleppo to the capital. Also yesterday, Assad's forces struck in the Cheikh Maghar region, Hama province. A shot past a Turkish army observation point.
Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 16 civilians were killed and more injured in a series of air raids yesterday by the Syrian air force supported by the Russian ally in the north of the country, in an area controlled by rebels and jihadists. Among the victims, at least 12 people - including six children - died in the aerial bombardment concentrated on the residential districts of the town of Maaret al-Noomane, in the province of Idlib.

The death toll was recorded by activists on the ground linked to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (Sohr), a UK-based NGO, which in throughout the conflict has often been the only  -  and sometimes controversial - source of information.

The town of Maaret al-Noomane rises along the highway that connects the capital Damascus to Aleppo, once the economic and commercial metropolis of the country.

A part of the province of Idlib and some sectors of the adjacent province of Aleppo and Latakia remain in the hands of the jihadists of Hayat Tahrir al-Cham (Syrian faction of al-Qaeda) and of rebel groups supported by neighboring Turkey.

Syrian government forces, with Moscow's help, have long targeted this sector and on 8 August launched a ground offensive after four months of daily air raids.

Also yesterday afternoon, Assad's forces struck in the Cheikh Maghar region, in the northwest of the province of Hama, an area close to an observation point for the Turkish army.

A few hours after the air raids, the official Turkish agency Anadolu assured that Ankara’s "army posts" [at least 12 in total] “have not been affected".

In the Idlib region there is an agreement signed in September 2018 which provides for a "de-militarized zone" drawn by Russia and Turkey to separate Syrian government forces and jihadist and rebel militias. However, this agreement has been ignored on several occasions by the parties and has not prevented the resumption - recently - of the offensive by loyalist troops.

Since the end of April, bombings by the Syrian regular army and its Russian ally in the area have killed about 900 civilians. United Nations sources speak of more than 400,000 displaced people.

What began in March 2011 as an internal revolt against the Syrian government, the war caused more than 370,000 deaths and millions of refugees, triggering one of the worst humanitarian emergencies since the Second World War.
FULL TEXT + Image Source:

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday, August 29, 2019 - #Eucharist - Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist
Lectionary: 428/634

Reading 11 THES 3:7-13

We have been reassured about you, brothers and sisters,
in our every distress and affliction, through your faith.
For we now live, if you stand firm in the Lord.

What thanksgiving, then, can we render to God for you,
for all the joy we feel on your account before our God?
Night and day we pray beyond measure to see you in person
and to remedy the deficiencies of your faith.
Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus
direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase
and abound in love for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts, 
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Responsorial PsalmPS 90:3-5A, 12-13, 14 AND 17

R. (14) Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
You turn man back to dust,
saying, "Return, O children of men."
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

AlleluiaMT 5:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 6:17-29

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias, 
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
"It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers,
his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias' own daughter came in
and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
"Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you."
He even swore many things to her,
"I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom."
She went out and said to her mother,
"What shall I ask for?"
She replied, "The head of John the Baptist."
The girl hurried back to the king's presence and made her request,
"I want you to give me at once
on a platter the head of John the Baptist."
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders
to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Novena to St. John the Baptist : Patron of Baptism, Monks - Powerful Prayers to the cousin of Jesus

Novena Prayer
O Holy St. John, from all eternity you were chosen
To prepare the way for Our Lord Jesus Christ.
We implore your intercession for ...,
For all of our members in their work
And for all those we serve.

Pray for us that we may receive the courage and strength
To persevere in announcing the Good News of Jesus Christ,
Who came to seek and save the lost,

To heal the broken hearted and to bind up their wounds.

May we be guided by the Holy Spirit
With good words of counsel for those in need.
May we be strengthened by your prayers
And good example as we prepare the way for the
Healing power of Jesus to heal and transform
Those entrusted to our care.

We ask all of this through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Say one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be.
St. John the Baptist, pray for us!