Monday, September 30, 2019

Saint October 1 : St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, the Patron of AIDS, Illness, and Missionaries - Known for sending Roses from Heaven!


DISCALCED CARMELITE MYSTIC, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Born:
January 2, 1873, Alençon, France
Died:
September 30, 1897, Lisieux, France
Canonized:
May 17, 1925 by Pope Pius XI
Major Shrine:
Basilique de Sainte-Thérèse, Lisieux, France
Patron of:
AIDS sufferers; aviators; bodily ills; florists; France; illness; loss of parents; missionaries; tuberculosis


At the age of 14, on Christmas Eve in 1886, Therese had a conversion that transformed her life. From then on, her powerful energy and sensitive spirit were turned toward love, instead of keeping herself happy. At 15, she entered the Carmelite convent in Lisieux to give her whole life to God. She took the religious name Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. Living a hidden, simple life of prayer, she was gifted with great intimacy with God. Through sickness and dark nights of doubt and fear, she remained faithful to God, rooted in His merciful love. After a long struggle with tuberculosis, she died on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24. Her last words were the story of her life: "My God, I love You!"

The world came to know Therese through her autobiography, "Story of a Soul". She described her life as a "little way of spiritual childhood." She lived each day with an unshakable confidence in God's love. "What matters in life," she wrote, "is not great deeds, but great love." Therese lived and taught a spirituality of attending to everyone and everything well and with love. She believed that just as a child becomes enamored with what is before her, we should also have a childlike focus and totally attentive love. Therese's spirituality is of doing the ordinary, with extraordinary love.


She loved flowers and saw herself as the "little flower of Jesus," who gave glory to God by just being her beautiful little self among all the other flowers in God's garden. Because of this beautiful analogy, the title "little flower" remained with St. Therese.

Her inspiration and powerful presence from heaven touched many people very quickly. She was canonized by Pope Pius XI on May 17, 1925. Had she lived, she would have been only 52 years old when she was declared a Saint.

"My mission - to make God loved - will begin after my death," she said. "I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses." Roses have been described and experienced as Saint Therese's signature. Countless millions have been touched by her intercession and imitate her "little way." She has been acclaimed "the greatest saint of modern times." In 1997, Pope John Paul II declared St. Therese a Doctor of the Church - the only Doctor of his pontificate - in tribute to the powerful way her spirituality has influenced people all over the world. Text Source: www.littleflower.org - Image Source: Google Images - Grapevine.is

Happy Rosh Hashanah! 10 Points to SHARE about the Jewish New Year and Links to Catholicism


1. Rosh Hashanah is the birthday of the universe, the day God created Adam and Eve, and it’s celebrated as the head of the Jewish year.
 2. It is celebrated on the first two days of the Jewish new year, Tishrei 1 and 2, beginning at sundown on the eve of Tishrei 1. Rosh Hashanah 2019 begins at sundown on September 29 and continues to October 1 .
 3. It is celebrated by Candle lighting in the evenings, prayer services, festive meals with eating sweet delicacies during the night and day.
4. At the prayer services the ram’s horn (shofar) is sounded on both mornings.
5. As the horn is being blown,  you are to think about your actions in the past year, repent, start afresh etc.
6. It’s also traditional to wear white (as a colour of purity) on Rosh Hashanah. New clothes are also traditional.
7. The following week is regarded as a period of reflection (although normal life resumes), culminating next weekend in the festival of Yom Kippur – a 25-hour fast during which  ‘repenting’ becomes important.
8. Many Jews who converted to Catholicism still celebrate these Jewish festivals.
9. It is traditional to say Shanah Tovah Umetukah (Hebrew: שנה טובה ומתוקה‎), meaning "A Good and Sweet Year".
10. Traditionally, apples, honey and bread (Challah) are eaten - You can find some easy recipes here: https://www.chabad.org/recipes/recipe_cdo/aid/4323/jewish/Rosh-Hashanah-Recipes.htm


Image Source chanukkah2016.com
Watch this Video Explaining Rosh Hashanah and the Jewish Roots of Catholicism:



#Breaking Abortion Rights Activists try to Burn the Cathedral in Mexico City


On Saturday during a protest for the legalisation of abortion, activists tried to set fire to the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral.  Catholics gathered before the front doors of the cathedral on Sept. 28 to try to protect it. Mauricio Alfonso Guitar, deputy head of the Cristera National Guard in Mexico City, told CNA’s Spanish language sister agency ACI Prensa that “thanks to the denunciations in Catholics’ social networks, offering to defend the churches, the government … sent police to defend them.”

Pope Francis' New Motu Proprio on "Sunday of the Word of God" - "The Bible is the book of the Lord’s people..." Full Text



APOSTOLIC LETTER
ISSUED "MOTU PROPRIO"

BY THE SUPREME PONTIFF
FRANCIS
APERUIT ILLIS
INSTITUTING THE
SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD

1. “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Lk 24:45).  This was one of the final acts of the risen Lord before his Ascension.  Jesus appeared to the assembled disciples, broke bread with them and opened their minds to the understanding of the sacred Scriptures. To them, amid their fear and bewilderment, he unveiled the meaning of the paschal mystery: that in accordance with the Father’s eternal plan he had to suffer and rise from the dead, in order to bring repentance and the forgiveness of sins (cf. Lk 24:26.46-47). He then promised to send the Holy Spirit, who would give them strength to be witnesses of this saving mystery (cf. Lk 24:49).
The relationship between the Risen Lord, the community of believers and sacred Scripture is essential to our identity as Christians. Without the Lord who opens our minds to them, it is impossible to understand the Scriptures in depth. Yet the contrary is equally true: without the Scriptures, the events of the mission of Jesus and of his Church in this world would remain incomprehensible. Hence, Saint Jerome could rightly claim: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” (Commentary on the Book of Isaiah, Prologue: PL 24,17B).
2. At the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I proposed setting aside “a Sunday given over entirely to the word of God, so as to appreciate the inexhaustible riches contained in that constant dialogue between the Lord and his people” (Misericordia et Misera, 7). Devoting a specific Sunday of the liturgical year to the word of God can enable the Church to experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world. Here, we are reminded of the teaching of Saint Ephrem: “Who is able to understand, Lord, all the richness of even one of your words? There is more that eludes us than what we can understand. We are like the thirsty drinking from a fountain. Your word has as many aspects as the perspectives of those who study it. The Lord has coloured his word with diverse beauties, so that those who study it can contemplate what stirs them. He has hidden in his word all treasures, so that each of us may find a richness in what he or she contemplates” (Commentary on the Diatessaron, 1, 18).
With this Letter, I wish to respond to the many requests I have received from the people of God that the entire Church celebrate, in unity of purpose, a Sunday of the Word of God. It is now common for the Christian community to set aside moments to reflect on the great importance of the word of God for everyday living. The various local Churches have undertaken a wealth of initiatives to make the sacred Scripture more accessible to believers, to increase their gratitude for so great a gift, and to help them to strive daily to embody and bear witness to its teachings.
The Second Vatican Council gave great impulse to the rediscovery of the word of God, thanks to its Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, a document that deserves to be read and appropriated ever anew. The Constitution clearly expounds the nature of sacred Scripture, its transmission from generation to generation (Chapter II), its divine inspiration (Chapter III) embracing the Old and New Testaments (Chapters IV and V), and the importance of Scripture for the life of the Church (Chapter VI). To advance this teaching, Pope Benedict XVI convoked an Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 2008 on “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church”, and then issued the Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, whose teaching remains fundamental for our communities.[1] That document emphasizes in particular the performative character of the Word of God, especially in the context of the liturgy, in which its distinctively sacramental character comes to the fore.[2]
It is fitting, then that the life of our people be constantly marked by this decisive relationship with the living word that the Lord never tires of speaking to his Bride, that she may grow in love and faithful witness.
3. Consequently, I hereby declare that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the word of God. This Sunday of the Word of God will thus be a fitting part of that time of the year when we are encouraged to strengthen our bonds with the Jewish people and to pray for Christian unity. This is more than a temporal coincidence: the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God has ecumenical value, since the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity.
The various communities will find their own ways to mark this Sunday with a certain solemnity. It is important, however, that in the Eucharistic celebration the sacred text be enthroned, in order to focus the attention of the assembly on the normative value of God’s word. On this Sunday, it would be particularly appropriate to highlight the proclamation of the word of the Lord and to emphasize in the homily the honour that it is due. Bishops could celebrate the Rite of Installation of Lectors or a similar commissioning of readers, in order to bring out the importance of the proclamation of God’s word in the liturgy. In this regard, renewed efforts should be made to provide members of the faithful with the training needed to be genuine proclaimers of the word, as is already the practice in the case of acolytes or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Pastors can also find ways of giving a Bible, or one of its books, to the entire assembly as a way of showing the importance of learning how to read, appreciate and pray daily with sacred Scripture, especially through the practice of lectio divina.
4. The return of the people of Israel to their homeland after the Babylonian exile was marked by the public reading of the book of the Law. In the book of Nehemiah, the Bible gives us a moving description of that moment. The people assembled in Jerusalem, in the square before the Water Gate, to listen to the Law. They had been scattered in exile, but now they found themselves gathered “as one” around the sacred Scripture (Neh 8:1). The people lent “attentive ears” (Neh 8:3) to the reading of the sacred book, realizing that in its words they would discover the meaning of their lived experience. The reaction to the proclamation of was one of great emotion and tears: “[The Levites] read from the book, from the law of God, clearly; and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep’. For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, ‘Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength’” (Neh 8:8-10).
These words contain a great teaching. The Bible cannot be just the heritage of some, much less a collection of books for the benefit of a privileged few. It belongs above all to those called to hear its message and to recognize themselves in its words. At times, there can be a tendency to monopolize the sacred text by restricting it to certain circles or to select groups. It cannot be that way. The Bible is the book of the Lord’s people, who, in listening to it, move from dispersion and division towards unity. The word of God unites believers and makes them one people.
5. In this unity born of listening, pastors are primarily responsible for explaining sacred Scripture and helping everyone to understand it. Since it is the people’s book, those called to be ministers of the word must feel an urgent need to make it accessible to their community.
The homily, in particular, has a distinctive function, for it possesses “a quasi-sacramental character” (Evangelii Gaudium, 142). Helping people to enter more deeply into the word of God through simple and suitable language will allow priests themselves to discover the “beauty of the images used by the Lord to encourage the practice of the good” (ibid.). This is a pastoral opportunity that should not be wasted!
For many of our faithful, in fact, this is the only opportunity they have to grasp the beauty of God’s word and to see it applied to their daily lives. Consequently, sufficient time must be devoted to the preparation of the homily. A commentary on the sacred readings cannot be improvised. Those of us who are preachers should not give long, pedantic homilies or wander off into unrelated topics. When we take time to pray and meditate on the sacred text, we can speak from the heart and thus reach the hearts of those who hear us, conveying what is essential and capable of bearing fruit. May we never tire of devoting time and prayer to Scripture, so that it may be received “not as a human word but as what it really is, the word of God” (1 Thess 2:13).
Catechists, too, in their ministry of helping people to grow in their faith, ought to feel an urgent need for personal renewal through familiarity with, and study of, the sacred Scriptures. This will help them foster in their hearers a true dialogue with the word of God.
6. Before encountering his disciples, gathered behind closed doors, and opening their minds to the understanding of the Scriptures (cf. Lk 24:44-45), the risen Lord appeared to two of them on the road to Emmaus from Jerusalem (cf. Lk 24:13-35). Saint Luke’s account notes that this happened on the very day of his resurrection, a Sunday. The two disciples were discussing the recent events concerning Jesus’ passion and death. Their journey was marked by sorrow and disappointment at his tragic death. They had hoped that he would be the Messiah who would set them free, but they found themselves instead confronted with the scandal of the cross. The risen Lord himself gently draws near and walks with them, yet they do not recognize him (cf. v. 16). Along the way, he questions them, and, seeing that they have not grasped the meaning of his passion and death, he exclaims: “O foolish men, and slow of heart” (v. 25). Then, “beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the Scriptures” (v.27). Christ is the first exegete! Not only did the Old Testament foretell what he would accomplish, but he himself wished to be faithful to its words, in order to make manifest the one history of salvation whose fulfilment is found in Christ.
7. The Bible, as sacred Scripture, thus speaks of Christ and proclaims him as the one who had to endure suffering and then enter into his glory (cf. v. 26). Not simply a part, but the whole of Scripture speaks of Christ. Apart from the Scriptures, his death and resurrection cannot be rightly understood. That is why one of the most ancient confessions of faith stressed that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas” (1Cor15:3-5). Since the Scriptures everywhere speak of Christ, they enable us to believe that his death and resurrection are not myth but history, and are central to the faith of his disciples.
A profound bond links sacred Scripture and the faith of believers. Since faith comes from hearing, and what is heard is based on the word of Christ (cf. Rom 10:17), believers are bound to listen attentively to the word of the Lord, both in the celebration of the liturgy and in their personal prayer and reflection.
8. The journey that the Risen Lord makes with the disciples of Emmaus ended with a meal. The mysterious wayfarer accepts their insistent request: “Stay with us, for it is almost evening and the day is now far spent” (Lk 24:29). They sit down at table, and Jesus takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it and offers it to them. At that moment, their eyes are opened, and they recognize him (cf. v. 31).
This scene clearly demonstrates the unbreakable bond between sacred Scripture and the Eucharist. As the Second Vatican Council teaches, “the Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures as she has venerated the Lord’s body, in that she never ceases, above all in the sacred liturgy, to partake of the bread of life and to offer it to the faithful from the one table of the word of God and the body of Christ” (Dei Verbum, 21).
Regular reading of sacred Scripture and the celebration of the Eucharist make it possible for us to see ourselves as part of one another. As Christians, we are a single people, making our pilgrim way through history, sustained by the Lord, present in our midst, who speaks to us and nourishes us. A day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but rather a year-long event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the risen Lord, who continues to speak his word and to break bread in the community of believers. For this reason, we need to develop a closer relationship with sacred Scripture; otherwise, our hearts will remain cold and our eyes shut, struck as we are by so many forms of blindness.
Sacred Scripture and the sacraments are thus inseparable. When the sacraments are introduced and illumined by God’s word, they become ever more clearly the goal of a process whereby Christ opens our minds and hearts to acknowledge his saving work. We should always keep in mind the teaching found in the Book of Revelation: the Lord is standing at the door and knocking. If anyone should hear his voice and open for him, he will come in and eat with them (cf. 3:20). Christ Jesus is knocking at our door in the words of sacred Scripture. If we hear his voice and open the doors of our minds and hearts, then he will enter our lives and remain ever with us.
9. In the Second Letter to Timothy, which is in some ways his spiritual testament, Saint Paul urges his faithful co-worker to have constant recourse to sacred Scripture. The Apostle is convinced that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (3:16). Paul’s exhortation to Timothy is fundamental to the teaching of the conciliar Constitution Dei Verbum on the great theme of biblical inspiration, which emphasizes the Scriptures’ saving purposespiritual dimension and inherent incarnational principle.
First, recalling Paul’s encouragement to Timothy, Dei Verbum stresses that “we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the sacred Scriptures” (No. 11). Since the Scriptures teach with a view to salvation through faith in Christ (cf. 2 Tim 3:15), the truths contained therein are profitable for our salvation. The Bible is not a collection of history books or a chronicle, but is aimed entirely at the integral salvation of the person. The evident historical setting of the books of the Bible should not make us overlook their primary goal, which is our salvation. Everything is directed to this purpose and essential to the very nature of the Bible, which takes shape as a history of salvation in which God speaks and acts in order to encounter all men and women and to save them from evil and death.
To achieve this saving purpose, sacred Scripture, by the working of the Holy Spirit, makes human words written in human fashion become the word of God (cf. Dei Verbum, 12). The role of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures is primordial. Without the work of the Spirit, there would always be a risk of remaining limited to the written text alone. This would open the way to a fundamentalist reading, which needs to be avoided, lest we betray the inspired, dynamic and spiritual character of the sacred text. As the Apostle reminds us: “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor 3:6). The Holy Spirit, then, makes sacred Scripture the living word of God, experienced and handed down in the faith of his holy people.
10. The work of the Holy Spirit has to do not only with the formation of sacred Scripture; it is also operative in those who hear the word of God. The words of the Council Fathers are instructive: sacred Scripture is to be “read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit through whom it was written” (Dei Verbum, 12). God’s revelation attains its completion and fullness in Jesus Christ; nonetheless, the Holy Spirit does not cease to act. It would be reductive indeed to restrict the working of the Spirit to the divine inspiration of sacred Scripture and its various human authors. We need to have confidence in the working of the Holy Spirit as he continues in his own way to provide “inspiration” whenever the Church teaches the sacred Scriptures, whenever the Magisterium authentically interprets them (cf. ibid., 10), and whenever each believer makes them the norm of his or her spiritual life. In this sense, we can understand the words spoken by Jesus to his disciples when they told him that they now understood the meaning of his parables: “Every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old” (Mt 13:52).
11. Finally, Dei Verbum makes clear that “the words of God, expressed in human language, are in every way like human speech, just as the Word of the eternal Father, in taking upon himself the weak flesh of human beings, also took on their likeness” (No. 13). We can say that the incarnation of the eternal Word gives shape and meaning to the relationship between God’s word and our human language, in all its historical and cultural contingency. This event gives rise to Tradition, which is also God’s word (cf. ibid., 9). We frequently risk separating sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition, without understanding that together they are the one source of Revelation. The written character of the former takes nothing away from its being fully a living word; in the same way, the Church’s living Tradition, which continually hands that word down over the centuries from one generation to the next, possesses that sacred book as the “supreme rule of her faith” (ibid., 21). Moreover, before becoming a written text, sacred Scripture was handed down orally and kept alive by the faith of a people who, in the midst of many others, acknowledged it as their own history and the source of their identity. Biblical faith, then, is based on the living word, not on a book.
12. When sacred Scripture is read in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written, it remains ever new. The Old Testament is never old once it is part of the New, since all has been transformed thanks to the one Spirit who inspired it. The sacred text as a whole serves a prophetic function regarding not the future but the present of whoever is nourished by this word. Jesus himself clearly stated this at the beginning of his ministry: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21). Those who draw daily nourishment from God’s word become, like Jesus, a contemporary of all those whom they encounter: they are not tempted to fall into sterile nostalgia for the past, or to dream of ethereal utopias yet to come.
Sacred Scripture accomplishes its prophetic work above all in those who listen to it. It proves both sweet and bitter. We are reminded of the words of the prophet Ezekiel when, commanded by the Lord to eat the scroll of the book, he tells us: “It was in my mouth as sweet as honey” (3:3). John the Evangelist too, on the island of Patmos, echoes Ezekiel’s experience of eating the scroll, but goes on to add: “It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter” (Rev 10:10).
The sweetness of God’s word leads us to share it with all those whom we encounter in this life and to proclaim the sure hope that it contains (cf. 1 Pet 3:15-16). Its bitterness, in turn, often comes from our realization of how difficult it is to live that word consistently, or our personal experience of seeing it rejected as meaningless for life. We should never take God’s word for granted, but instead let ourselves be nourished by it, in order to acknowledge and live fully our relationship with him and with our brothers and sisters.
13. Yet another challenge raised by sacred Scripture has to do with love. God’s word constantly reminds us of the merciful love of the Father who calls his children to live in love. The life of Jesus is the full and perfect expression of this divine love, which holds nothing back but offers itself to all without reserve. In the parable of Lazarus, we find a valuable teaching. When both Lazarus and the rich man die, the latter, seeing the poor man Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, asks that Lazarus be sent to his brothers to warn them to love their neighbour, lest they also experience his torment. Abraham’s answer is biting: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Lk 16:29). To listen to sacred Scripture and then to practise mercy: this is the great challenge before us in life. God’s word has the power to open our eyes and to enable us to renounce a stifling and barren individualism and instead to embark on a new path of sharing and solidarity.
14. One of the most significant moments in Jesus’ relationship with his disciples is found in the account of the Transfiguration. He goes up the mountain with Peter, James and John to pray. The evangelists tell us that as Jesus’ face and clothing became dazzlingly white, two men conversed with him: Moses and Elijah, representing respectively the Law and the Prophets; in other words, sacred Scripture. Peter’s reaction to this sight is one of amazement and joy: “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah” (Lk 9:33). At that moment a cloud overshadows them, and the disciples are struck with fear.
The Transfiguration reminds us of the Feast of Tabernacles, when Ezra and Nehemiah read the sacred text to the people after their return from exile. At the same time, it foreshadows Jesus’ glory, as a way of preparing the disciples for the scandal of the Passion: that divine glory is also evoked by the cloud enveloping the disciples as a symbol of God’s presence. A similar transfiguration takes place with sacred Scripture, which transcends itself whenever it nourishes the lives of believers. As the Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini reminds us: “In rediscovering the interplay between the different senses of Scripture it becomes essential to grasp thepassage from letter to spirit. This is not an automatic, spontaneous passage; rather, the letter needs to be transcended” (No. 38).
15. Along our path of welcoming God’s word into our hearts, the Mother of the Lord accompanies us. She is the one who was called blessed because she believed in the fulfilment of what the Lord had spoken to her (cf. Lk 1:45). Mary’s own beatitude is prior to all the beatitudes proclaimed by Jesus about the poor and those who mourn, the meek, the peacemakers and those who are persecuted, for it is the necessary condition for every other kind of beatitude. The poor are not blessed because they are poor; they become blessed if, like Mary, they believe in the fulfilment of God’s word. A great disciple and master of sacred Scripture, Saint Augustine, once wrote: “Someone in the midst of the crowd, seized with enthusiasm, cried out: ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you’ and Jesus replied, ‘Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it’. As if to say: My mother, whom you call blessed, is indeed blessed, because she keeps the word of God. Not because in her the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, but because she keeps that same word of God by which she was made and which, in her womb, became flesh” (Tractates on the Gospel of John, 10, 3).
May the Sunday of the Word of God help his people to grow in religious and intimate familiarity with the sacred Scriptures. For as the sacred author taught of old: “This word is very near to you: it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance” (Dt 30:14).
Given in Rome, at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, on 30 September 2019, the liturgical Memorial of Saint Jerome, on the inauguration of the 1600th anniversary of his death.

FRANCIS



[1] Cf. AAS 102 (2010), 692-787.
[2] “The sacramentality of the word can thus be understood by analogy with the real presence of Christ under the appearances of the consecrated bread and wine.  By approaching the altar and partaking in the Eucharistic banquet we truly share in the body and blood of Christ. The proclamation of God’s word at the celebration entails an acknowledgment that Christ himself is present, that he speaks to us, and that he wishes to be heard”(Verbum Domini, 56).

#BreakingNews Tens of Thousands continue to March in Hong Kong against Sexual Abuse and Torture by Police


Tens of thousands march against the sexual abuse and torture by Hong Kong police
by Paul Wang
Protests over the detention center of San Uk Ling, near the border with China. Five direct and indirect testimonies on abuses. A young man was tortured and sexually abused because he did not want to reveal the password to his smartphone. Dozens of people arrested were hospitalized, some with broken bones.


Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Tens of thousands of people gathered yesterday evening in Edinburgh Place to report violence - including sexual abuse and torture - by Hong Kong police against demonstrators of the anti-extradition movement locked up in San Uk prison Ling, near the border with China.

One day earlier, executive chief Carrie Lam said the detention center will no longer be used to imprison demonstrators. Yesterday, the police spokesman said that there are no members of the movement in San Uk Ling and that the accusations made against them are inconsistent.

But yesterday evening the approximately 50,000 gathered in Edinburgh Place were able to hear the direct or indirect testimonies of five victims. A student of the Chinese University, "S." said that while being arrested, a policeman palpated her breasts and she had to urinate in front of male policemen "voyeur" at Kwai Chung police station.

Another testimony, read by a volunteer because the victim is still under shock, tells of a young man who, arrested, refused to unlock his smartphone to save the privacy of his contacts. The young man was doused with pepper spray, then stripped naked, with his head covered, tied to a table and sexually abused.

A policeman told him: "Nothing would have happened to you if you had told us the password [of your smartphone]". After that, the police washed his body with disinfectant and water and dressed him, presented him at the court. He could not contact any lawyer for about 30 hours after his arrest.

Claudia Yip, of the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor organization, pointed out that in other police stations such abuses occurred, including the lack of access to medical care or to a lawyer.

According to the police, the San Uk Ling center was used only for 75 demonstrators at four different times. The members of the movement denounce that on August 11, out of 54 arrested, 31 were detained and then sent to the hospital. Six of them had broken bones.

The anti-extradition movement continues to demand an independent investigation into the excessive use of force by the police, but the government refuses to grant it.
Full Text Source: AsiaNews IT

Pope Francis tells Missionaries "Baptized and sent", chosen precisely to remember that the intrinsic nature of the Church is missionary." Full Text


SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE DELEGATIONS OF ITALIAN MISSIONARY INSTITUTIONS

Sala Clementina
Monday, 30 September 2019

Dear brothers and sisters!

I am happy to meet you, and I am grateful to you for asking for this audience together, as specifically missionary religious institutes born in Italy. Thank you for the greeting and introduction. The fact of meeting on the eve of the Extraordinary Missionary Month I consider it providential, because it allows us to reflect together on the mission and, above all, to invoke God's grace on it.

First of all I feel the need to express gratitude to your Founders. In a troubled historical era - from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century - the foundation of your religious families, with their generous openness to the world, was a sign of courage and trust in the Lord. When everything seemed to lead to the preservation of the existing, your Founders - but other figures could be added, such as Santa Cabrini - on the contrary were the protagonists of a new impetus towards the other and the distant. From conservation to momentum.

The missionary lives the courage of the Gospel without too many calculations, sometimes even going beyond common sense because he is driven by the trust placed exclusively in Jesus. There is a mystique of mission, a thirst for communion with Christ through the testimony that your Founders and your Foundresses lived, and pushed them to give themselves totally. It is necessary to rediscover this mystique in all its fascinating beauty, because it preserves its extraordinary strength for all time. As Saint Paul says: "The love of Christ indeed possesses us; and we know well that one has died for all "(2 Cor 5.14).

Also in this, the Virgin Mary is a teacher: she who, immediately after having conceived Jesus, left in a hurry to go and help her cousin; and so he brought Jesus into that house, into that family, and at the same time brought it to the people of Israel and brought it to the world. Mary leaves because she is inhabited by Christ and by his Spirit. This is why you too leave because they are inhabited by Christ and his Spirit. There is no other reason but the Risen Christ to decide to leave, to leave the dearest affections, one's country, one's friends, one's culture. It is beautiful to hear in your words this passion for Christ and for his Kingdom; as in the memorable speech of Paul VI in Manila that you mention in your Document.

Then, on this basis, your confirmation of the dedication to the mission ad gentes is well founded. I thank you for the clear witness you give of your vocation, which is inseparably ecclesial and charismatic. Ecclesial in the fund, rooted in Baptism, and at the same time linked to the charism towards which the Lord has attracted you and in which your life has taken shape.

I was struck by hearing you repeat without hesitation: "We are missionaries and missionaries ad gentes ... ad extra ... ad vitam". And don't say it as a slogan - this would be dangerous! -, but with the necessary motivations and specifications. You say it without triumphalism or a sense of challenge, indeed, in the awareness of the current crisis, accepted as an opportunity for discernment, conversion and renewal.

With the consecration to the mission ad gentes, you make your specific contribution to the evangelization commitment of the whole Church. With the richness of the charisms of your Institutes - which means hearts, faces, stories and even the blood of missionaries and missionaries - you interpret the message of Evangelii nuntiandi of St. Paul VI, that of Redemptoris missio of St. John Paul II, and that of Evangelii gaudium. And with this hermeneutic incarnated in your life and in your communities you enrich the feeling and the walking of the Church.

Help keep the people of God alive in the awareness of being constitutively "outgoing", sent to bring to all people the blessing of God who is Jesus Christ. And also help him to remember that the mission is not an individual work, of "solitary champions", but is communal, fraternal, shared. In this sense, collaboration between your Institutes is an added value: go on like this!
Another typical contribution that you offer to the Church is to show that the mission is not "one way" - from Europe to the rest of the world: these are the traces of the old colonialism - but it lives on an interchange that is now evident but must be grasped as a value, a sign of the times. Today most priestly and religious vocations arise in territories that previously only received missionaries. This fact, on the one hand, increases in us the sense of gratitude towards the holy evangelizers who have sown with great sacrifices in those lands; and on the other hand it constitutes a challenge for the Churches and for the Institutes: a challenge for communion and for formation. But a challenge to be accepted without fear, with confidence in the Holy Spirit who is Master in harmonizing diversity. I remember, in our 32nd General Congregation - I am talking about 1974 - I remember that there was talk of the Society of Jesus in several places, and someone said: "Perhaps we will have an Indian superior, or an African superior ...". At that time it was strange. All [superiors] had to be Europeans. And today how many, how many religious congregations have superiors and generals who come from those lands! We too today have a Latin American, as superior general. The matter has been reversed: what was a utopia in '74, today is reality.

Dear brothers and sisters, starting from your beloved country is a sign that restores strength and courage to your communities of origin. With your departure you continue to say: with Christ there is no boredom, tiredness and sadness, because He is the continuous novelty of our life. The missionary needs the joy of the Gospel: without it there is no mission, a gospel is announced which does not attract. And the core of the mission is this attraction of Christ: it is the only one that attracts. The men and women of today, in Italy and in the world, need to see people who have in their hearts the joy of the Risen One, who have been attracted to the Lord. This witness, visible in dialogue, in mutual charity, in mutual acceptance and sharing, says the beauty of the Gospel, attracts to the joy of believing in Jesus and anchoring oneself to him. It is Jesus himself who attracts us. And he! This joy, this beauty of the Gospel always find space in your heart, in your gestures, in your words, in the way you live relationships.

The announcement of the beauty, joy and novelty of the Gospel is explicit and implicit, it touches all the situations of human adventure. Do not be afraid to witness to Jesus even when it is inconvenient or inconvenient. To witness it with all life, not with entrepreneurial methodologies that respond more to a spirit of proselytism than to a true evangelization. Do not forget that the protagonist of evangelization is the Holy Spirit. He, the Lord, will know how to find ways to make that little seed take root, its name pronounced in love by a missionary or a missionary, and gradually transform it into a plant of solid faith in whose shade many will be able to rest. The buried seed ... I am reminded of something that Cardinal Hummes told me: he is "retired" but he is the one in charge of the Brazilian Episcopate for the whole Amazon region, and when he goes to a village, in a town, one of the first things he does is go to the cemetery, to see the graves of missionaries and missionaries. He told me this and then added: "All those deserve to be canonized, for the seed they threw there". A nice thought.The Italian Church also needs you, your testimony, your enthusiasm and your courage to take new paths to proclaim the Gospel. He needs to realize that the distant gentes have now come to live in our countries, they are the strangers next door. Even the Italians next door, our fellow citizens. It is necessary to rediscover the fascinating adventure of getting close, of becoming friends, of welcoming oneself and helping oneself. This attitude concerns everyone: priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful. The theme of the October 2019 extraordinary missionary is "Baptized and sent", chosen precisely to remember that the intrinsic nature of the Church is missionary. The Church exists on the way; there is no church on the sofa.

May your Institutes collaborate more and more with the particular Churches "in order to arouse more awareness of the missio ad gentes and to resume the missionary transformation of life and pastoral care with new enthusiasm" (Letter of announcement of the extraordinary missionary month 2019). I accompany you with my prayer and I cordially bless you. And you, please, don't forget to pray for me. Thanks.
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation from Italian

Prime Minister Modi of India expresses tribute for Canonization of Indian Sister Mariam Thresia on Radio


ASIA/INDIA - Indian Prime Minister praises the canonization of Sister Mariam Thresia
Monday, 30 September 2019
2019-09-09

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed appreciation that an Indian is among the five Catholics who will be canonized by Pope Francis in October. "It is a matter of pride for every Indian that, on the coming October 13, his holiness Pope Francis will declare Sister Beata Mariam Thresia a Saint" the Prime Minister said on September 29 during "Mann Ki Baat" ("The Voice of the Heart"), his monthly radio program.
" I pay heartfelt tributes to sister Maria Mariam Thresia and congratulate the citizens of India, and especially our Christian brothers and sisters, for this achievement", said the Prime Minister.
Sister Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan (1876-1926) founded the Congregation of the Holy Family to spread Christian values to families on May 14, 1914 in Mannuthy, a village near the town of Thrissur in the state of Kerala, in southern India.
The Indian nun will be canonized during a Holy Mass in the Vatican together with English Cardinal John Henry Newman, Italian nun Josephine Vannini, the Swiss, Marguerite Bays and Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes.
At the Shrine of Blessed Mariam Thresia in Kuzhikkattussery in the district of Thrissur, in Kerala, celebrations began after Pope Francis approved her canonization.
"The faithful of Kerala will participate in a special prayer vigil the day before the canonization in the Vatican", said Sister Rosmin Mathew of the Mariam Thresia convent in Kuzhikkattussery.
Sister Mariam was born into a Syro-Malabar family on April 26, 1876, in the village of Puthenchira in Kerala and died on June 8, 1926 in Kuzhikkattussery. she was declared "venerable" on June 28th 1999 and beatified on April 9th 2000 by Pope John Paul II in Rome.
She built many schools, hostels and orphanages and dedicated herself to the cause of the education of women in India throughout her life.
Mariam Thresia will be the fourth Catholic of Kerala to be declared a "saint" in the Catholic Church. The first was Sister Alphonsa, a member of the Congregation of the Franciscan Poor Clares, in 2008. Pope Francis canonized Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia in 2014.
Today her congregation now has more than 1,500 professed nuns and 119 novices living in 176 homes in seven provinces, most of them in India, but also engaged in Germany, Italy and Ghana. (SD) (Full Text Source: Agenzia Fides, 30/9/2019) Image Share Google Images - TOI

At Mass, Pope Francis says “When a country grows old and there are no children, when you don't see children's carriages on the streets and you don't see pregnant women …. it's tragic!”


Pope at Mass: promote a culture of hope by caring for the young and the old
Pope Francis urges us to care for the young and for the old, in families and in society at large. Speaking at Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, he says that to neglect children and the elderly because they are not productive is not a sign of God's presence.
By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis told the faithful on Monday that God's love for his people is like a burning flame. He said that notwithstanding the fact that His people betrayed Him and forgot about Him, His Love is such that His promise of salvation continues to be offered to each and every one of us.

Reflecting on the 8th chapter of the Book of the Prophet Zechariah which says “I am intensely jealous for Zion,” and “I will return to Zion,” the Lord, the Pope said,  is telling us that thanks to His love,  Jerusalem will live.

Caring for the elderly and for children is a promise of future
In this First Reading, the Pope noted, the "signs of the presence of the Lord" with his people are clear. They are made evident by an abundance of life in families and in society: old men and women sitting in the streets, boys and girls playing.

When there is respect, care and love for life, the Pope explained, this is a sign of God’s presence in our communities.

The presence of the elderly, he continued, is a sign of maturity. This is beautiful: “Old men and old women, each with staff in hand because of old age, shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem.”

And so many children too, he continued, who bring with them a swarm of activity.

“The abundance of elderly people and children. This is the sign that when a people care for the old and for the young, and consider them a treasure, there is the presence of God, a promise of future,” he said.

Culture of waste
The Pope recalled the prophecy of Joel:” your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” explaining that there is a reciprocal exchange between them, and that he said, is something that does not happen when the culture of waste prevails.

He described the culture of waste - a culture that “sends children on their way back to the sender” or that locks the elderly up in retirement homes because “they are not productive” and perhaps hinder us in our everyday lives – as a ruinous one.

Pope Francis recalled a story his own grandmother used to tell him about a family in which the father decided to move the grandfather to the kitchen during meal times because he would spill his soup and soil his clothes.

“One day,” the Pope said, “the father came home to find his son building himself a little table because he assumed that sooner or later he too would be a victim of that same kind of isolation.”

When you neglect children and the elderly, he said, you end up being part of those modern societies who have given life to a demographic winter.

“When a country grows old and there are no children, when you don't see children's prams on the streets and you don't see pregnant women (…), when you read that in that country there are more pensioners than workers, it's tragic!” he said.

It’s tragic also to lose the traditions passed down by the elder generations, the Pope said, describing traditions “not as museums,” but as lessons for the future:  “the lymph of the roots that make the tree grow and bear flowers and fruits”.

The old and the young: hope for the nation and for the Church
At the heart of God's message, Pope Francis explained, is a “culture of hope” which is represented by the old and the young.

"The elderly and the young, together. This is the sign that a people cherishes life, that there is a culture of hope: the care of the young and the elderly," he said, “they are the certainty of the survival of a country and of the Church.”

Pope Francis concluded his homily recalling how during many of his journeys across the world, he has been struck by those parents who raise their children up to him when he passes by asking for a blessing, and at the same time showing him who their true treasure is.
Image Source: Vatican.va - Full Text Source: VaticanNews.va

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday, September 30, 2019 - #Eucharist


Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 455

Reading 1ZEC 8:1-8

This word of the LORD of hosts came:

Thus says the LORD of hosts:

I am intensely jealous for Zion,
stirred to jealous wrath for her.
Thus says the LORD:
I will return to Zion,
and I will dwell within Jerusalem;
Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city,
and the mountain of the LORD of hosts,
the holy mountain.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:  Old men and old women,
each with staff in hand because of old age,
shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem.
The city shall be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Even if this should seem impossible
in the eyes of the remnant of this people,
shall it in those days be impossible in my eyes also,
says the LORD of hosts?
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Lo, I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun,
and from the land of the setting sun.
I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem.
They shall be my people, and I will be their God,
with faithfulness and justice.

Responsorial PsalmPS 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 AND 22-23

R.  (17) The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
"The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die."
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence.
That the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion;
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together,
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.

AlleluiaMK 10:45

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Son of Man came to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 9:46-50

An argument arose among the disciples
about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child
and placed it by his side and said to them,
"Whoever receives this child in my name receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
For the one who is least among all of you
is the one who is the greatest."

Then John said in reply,
"Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company."
Jesus said to him,
"Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you."

Image Source: Google Images