Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Saint October 10 : St. Francis Borgia a Jesuit and Patron of Earthquakes and Portugal

St. Francis Borgia
Born:October 28, 1510, Valencia, Spain
Died:September 30, 1572, Rome, Italy
Canonized:1671 by Clement X
Major Shrine:relics translated to the Jesuit church in Madrid, Spain in 1901
Patron of:against earthquakes; Portugal; Rota, Marianas

Francis Borgia, born 28 October, 1510, was the son of Juan Borgia, third Duke of Gandia, and of Juana of Aragon; died 30 September, 1572. The future saint was unhappy in his ancestry. His grandfather, Juan Borgia, the second son of Alexander VI, was assassinated in Rome on 14 June, 1497, by an unknown hand, which his family always believed to be that of Cæsar Borgia. Rodrigo Borgia, elected pope in 1402 under the name of Alexander VI, had eight children. The eldest, Pedro Luis, had acquired in 1485 the hereditary Duchy of Gandia in the Kingdom of Valencia, which, at his death, passed to his brother Juan, who had married Maria Enriquez de Luna. Having been left a widow by the murder of her husband, Maria Enriquez withdrew to her duchy and devoted herself piously to the education of her two children, Juan and Isabel. After the marriage of her son in 1509, she followed the example of her daughter, who had entered the convent of Poor Clares in Gandia, and it was through these two women that sanctity entered the Borgia family, and in the House of Gandia was begun the work of reparation which Francis Borgia was to crown. Great-grandson of Alexander VI, on the paternal side, he was, on his mother's side, the great-grandson of the Catholic King Ferdinand of Aragon. This monarch had procured the appointment of his natural son, Alfonso, to the Archbishopric of Saragossa at the age of nine years. By Anna de Gurrea, Alfonso had two sons, who succeeded him in his archiepiscopal see, and two daughters, one of whom, Juana, married Duke Juan of Gandia and became the mother of our saint. By this marriage Juan had three sons and four daughters. By a second, contracted in 1523, he had five sons and five daughters. The eldest of all and heir to the dukedom wasFrancis. Piously reared in a court which felt the influence of the two Poor Clares, the mother and sister of the reigning duke, Francis lost his own mother when he was but ten. In 1521, a sedition amongst the populace imperilled the child's life, and the position of the nobility. When the disturbance was suppressed, Francis was sent to Saragossa to continue his education at the court of his uncle, the archbishop, an ostentatious prelate who had never been consecrated nor even ordained priest. Although in this court the Spanish faith retained its fervour, it lapsed nevertheless into the inconsistencies permitted by the times, and Francis could not disguise from himself the relation in which his grandmother stood to the dead archbishop, although he was much indebted to her for his early religious training. While at Saragossa Francis cultivated his mind and attracted the attention of his relatives by his fervour. They being desirous of assuring the fortune of the heir of Gandia, sent him at the age of twelve toTordesillas as page to the Infanta Catarina, the youngest child and companion in solitude of the unfortunate queen, Juana the Mad.

In 1525 the Infanta married King Juan III of Portugal, and Francis returned to Saragossa to complete his education. At last, in 1528, the court of Charles V was opened to him, and the most brilliant future awaited him. On the way to Valladolid, while passing, brilliantly escorted, through Alcalá de Henares, Francis encountered a poor man whom the servants of the Inquisition were leading to prison. It was Ignatius of Loyola. The young nobleman exchanged a glance of emotion with the prisoner, little dreaming that one day they should be united by the closest ties. The emperor and empress welcomed Borgia less as a subject than as a kinsman. He was seventeen, endowed with every charm, accompanied by a magnificent train of followers, and, after the emperor, his presence was the most gallant and knightly at court. In 1529, at the desire of the empress, Charles V gave him in marriage the hand of Eleanor de Castro, at the same time making him Marquess of Lombay, master of the hounds, and equerry to the empress, and appointing Eleanor Camarera Mayor. The newly-created Marquess of Lombay enjoyed a privileged station. Whenever the emperor was travelling or conducting a campaign, he confided to the young equerry the care of the empress, and on his return to Spain treated him as a confidant and friend. In 1535, Charles V led the expedition against Tunis unaccompanied by Borgia, but in the following year the favourite followed his sovereign on the unfortunate campaign in Provence. Besides thevirtues which made him the model of the court and the personal attractions which made him its ornament, the Marquess of Lombay possessed a cultivated musical taste. He delighted above all in ecclesiastical compositions, and these display a remarkable contrapuntal style and bear witness to the skill of the composer, justifying indeed the assertion that, in the sixteenth century and prior to Palestrina, Borgia was one of the chief restorers of sacred music.
In 1538, at Toledo, an eighth child was born to the Marquess of Lombay, and on 1 May of the next year the Empress Isabella died. The equerry was commissioned to convey her remains to Granada, where they were interred on 17 May. The death of the empress caused the first break in the brilliant career of the Marquess and Marchioness of Lombay. It detached them from the court and taught the nobleman the vanity of life and of its grandeurs. Blessed John of Avila preached the funeral sermon, and Francis, having made known to him his desire of reforming his life, returned to Toledo resolved to become a perfect Christian. On 26 June, 1539, Charles V named Borgia Viceroy of Catalonia, and the importance of the charge tested the sterling qualities of the courtier. Precise instructions determined his course of action. He was to reform the administration of justice, put the finances in order, fortify the city of Barcelona, and repress outlawry. On his arrival at the viceregal city, on 23 August, he at once proceeded, with an energy which no opposition could daunt, to build the ramparts, rid the country of thebrigands who terrorized it, reform the monasteries, and develop learning. During his vice-regency he showed himself an inflexible justiciary, and above all an exemplary Christian. But a series of grievous trials were destined to develop in him the work of sanctification begun at Granada. In 1543 he became, by the death of his father, Duke of Gandia, and was named by the emperor master of the household of Prince Philip of Spain, who was betrothed to the Princess of Portugal. This appointment seemed to indicate Francis as the chief minister of the future reign, but by God's permission the sovereigns of Portugal opposed the appointment. Francis then retired to his Duchy of Gandia, and for three years awaited the termination of the displeasure which barred him from court. He profited by this leisure to reorganize his duchy, to found a university in which he himself took the degree of Doctor of Theology, and to attain to a still higher degree of virtue. In 1546 his wife died. The duke had invited the Jesuits to Gandia and become their protector and disciple, and even at that time their model. But he desired still more, and on 1 February, 1548, became one of them by the pronunciation of thesolemn vows of religion, although authorized by the pope to remain in the world, until he should have fulfilled his obligations towards his children and his estates—his obligations as father and as ruler.

On 31 August, 1550, the Duke of Gandia left his estates to see them no more. On 23 October he arrived at Rome, threw himself at the feet of St. Ignatius, and edified by his rare humility those especially who recalled the ancient power of the Borgias. Quick to conceive great projects, he even then urged St. Ignatius to found the Roman College. On 4 February, 1551, he left Rome, without making known his intention of departure. On 4 April, he reached Azpeitia in Guipuzcoa, and chose as his abode the hermitage of Santa Magdalena near Oñate. Charles V having permitted him to relinquish his possessions, he abdicated in favour of his eldest son, was ordained priest 25 May, and at once began to deliver a series of sermons in Guipuzcoa which revived the faith of the country. Nothing was talked of throughout Spain but this change of life, and Oñate became the object of incessant pilgrimage. The neophyte was obliged to tear himself from prayer in order to preach in the cities which called him, and which his burning words, his example, and even his mere appearance, stirred profoundly. In 1553 he was invited to visit Portugal. The court received him as a messenger from God and vowed to him, thenceforth, a veneration which it has always preserved. On his return from this journey, Francis learned that, at the request of the emperor, Pope Julius III was willing to bestow on him the cardinalate. St. Ignatius prevailed upon the pope to reconsider this decision, but two years later the project was renewed and Borgia anxiously inquired whether he might in conscience oppose the desire of the pope. St. Ignatius again relieved his embarrassment by requesting him to pronounce the solemn vows of profession, by which he engaged not to accept any dignities save at the formal command of the pope. Thenceforth the saint was reassured. Pius IV and Pius V loved him too well to impose upon him a dignity which would have caused him distress. Gregory XIII, it is true, appeared resolved, in 1572, to overcome his reluctance, but on this occasion death saved him from the elevation he had so long feared.

On 10 June, 1554, St. Ignatius named Francis Borgia commissary-general of the Society in Spain. Two years later he confided to him the care of the missions of the East and West Indies, that is to say of all the missions of the Society. To do this was to entrust to a recruit the future of his order in the peninsula, but in this choice the founder displayed his rare knowledge of men, for within seven years Francis was to transform the provinces confided to him. He found them poor in subjects, containing but few houses, and those scarcely known. He left them strengthened by his influence and rich in disciples drawn from the highest grades of society. These latter, whom his example had done so much to attract, were assembled chiefly in his novitiate at Simancas, and were sufficient for numerous foundations. Everything aided Borgia — his name, his sanctity, his eager power of initiative, and his influence with the Princess Juana, who governed Castile in the absence of her brother Philip. On 22 April, 1555, Queen Juana the Mad died at Tordesillas, attended by Borgia. To the saint's presence has been ascribed the serenity enjoyed by the queen in her last moments. The veneration which he inspired was thereby increased, and furthermore his extreme austerity, the care which he lavished on the poor in the hospitals, the marvellous graces with which God surrounded his apostolate contributed to augment a renown by which he profited to further God's work. In 1565 and 1566 he founded the missions of Florida, New Spain, and Peru, thus extending even to the New World the effects of his insatiable zeal.
In December, 1556, and three other times, Charles V shut himself up at Yuste. He at once summoned thither his old favourite, whose example had done so much to inspire him with the desire to abdicate. In the following month of August, he sent him to Lisbon to deal with various questions concerning the succession of Juan III. When the emperor died, 21 September, 1558, Borgia was unable to be present at his bedside, but he was one of the testamentary executors appointed by the monarch, and it was he who, at the solemn services at Valladolid, pronounced the eulogy of the deceased sovereign. A trial was to close this period of success. In 1559 Philip II returned to reign in Spain. Prejudiced for various reasons (and his prejudice was fomented by many who were envious of Borgia, some of whose interpolated works had been recently condemned by the Inquisition), Philip seemed to have forgotten his old friendship for the Marquess of Lombay, and he manifested towards him a displeasure which increased when he learned that the saint had gone to Lisbon. Indifferent to this storm, Francis continued for two years in Portugal his preaching and his foundations, and then, at the request of Pope Pius IV, went to Rome in 1561. But storms have their providential mission. It may be questioned whether but for the disgrace of 1543 the Duke of Gandia would have become a religious, and whether, but for the trial which took him away from Spain, he would have accomplished the work which awaited him in Italy. At Rome it was not long before he won the veneration of the public. Cardinals Otho Truchsess, Archbishop of Augsburg, Stanislaus Hosius, and Alexander Farnese evinced towards him a sincere friendship. Two men above all rejoiced at his coming. They were Michael Chisleri, the future Pope Pius V, and Charles Borromeo, whom Borgia'a example aided to become a saint.

On 16 February, 1564, Francis Borgia was named assistant general in Spain and Portugal, and on 20 January, 1565, was elected vicar-general of the Society of Jesus. He was elected general 2 July, 1565, by thirty-one votes out of thirty-nine, to succeed Father James Laynez. Although much weakened by his austerities, worn by attacks of gout and an affection of the stomach, the new general still possessed much strength, which, added to his abundant store of initiative, his daring in the conception andexecution of vast designs, and the influence which he exercised over the Christian princes and at Rome, made him for the Society at once the exemplary model and the providential head. In Spain he had had other cares in addition to those of government. Henceforth he was to be only the general. The preacher was silent. The director of souls ceased to exercise his activity, except through his correspondence, which, it is true, was immense and which carried throughout the entire world light and strength to kings, bishops and apostles, to nearly all who in his day served the Catholic cause. His chief anxiety being to strengthen and develop his order, he sent visitors to all the provinces of Europe, to Brazil, India, and Japan. The instructions, with which he furnished them were models of prudence, kindness, and breadth of mind. For the missionaries as well as for the fathers delegated by the pope to the Diet of Augsburg, for the confessors of princes and the professors of colleges he mapped out wide and secure paths. While too much a man of duty to permit relaxation or abuse, he attracted chiefly by his kindness, and won souls to good by his example. The edition of the rules, at which he laboured incessantly, was completed in 1567. He published them at Rome, dispatched them (throughout the Society), and strongly urged their observance. The text of those now in force was edited after his death, in 1580, but it differs little from that issued by Borgia, to whom the Society owes the chief edition of its rules as well as that of the Spiritual, of which he had borne the expense in 1548. In order to ensure the spiritual and intellectual formation of the young religious and the apostolic character of the whole order, it became necessary to take other measures. The task of Borgia was to establish, first at Rome, then in all the provinces, wisely regulated novitiates and flourishing houses of study, and to develop the cultivation of the interior life by establishing in all of these the custom of a daily hour of prayer.

He completed at Rome the house and church of S. Andrea in Quirinale, in 1567. Illustrious novices flocked thither, among them Stanislaus Kostka (d. 1568), and the future martyr Rudolph Acquaviva. Since his first journey to Rome, Borgia had been preoccupied with the idea of founding a Roman college, and while in Spain had generously supported the project. In 1567, he built the church of the college, assured it even then an income of six thousand ducats, and at the same time drew up the rule of studies, which, in 1583, inspired the compilers of the Ratio Studiorum of the Society. Being a man of prayer as well as of action, the saintly general, despite overwhelming occupations, did not permit his soul to be distracted from continual contemplation. Strengthened by so vigilant and holy an administration the Society could not but develop. Spain and Portugal numbered many foundations; in Italy Borgia created the Roman province, and founded several colleges in Piedmont. France and the Northern province, however, were the chief field of his triumphs. His relations with the Cardinal de Lorraine and his influence with the French Court made it possible for him to put an end to numerous misunderstandings, to secure the revocation of several hostile edicts, and to found eight colleges in France. In Flanders and Bohemia, in the Tyrol and in Germany, he maintained and multiplied important foundations. The province of Poland was entirely his work. At Rome everything was transformed under his hands. He had built S. Andrea and the church of the Roman college. He assisted agenerously in the building of the Gesù, and although the official founder of that church was Cardinal Farnese, and the Roman College has taken the name of one of its greatest benefactors, Gregory XIII, Borgia contributed more than anyone towards these foundations. During the seven years of his government, Borgia had introduced so manyreforms into his order as to deserve to be called its second founder. Three saints of this epoch laboured incessantly to further the renaissance of Catholicism. They were St. Francis Borgia, St. Pius V, and St. Charles Borromeo.
The pontificate of Pius V and the generalship of Borgia began within an interval of a few months and ended at almost the same time. The saintly pope had entire confidence in the saintly general, who conformed with intelligent devotion to every desire of the pontiff. It was he who inspired the pope with the idea of demanding from the Universities of Perugia and Bologna, and eventually from all the Catholic universities, a profession of the Catholic faith. It was also he who, in 1568, desired the pope to appoint a commission of cardinals charged with promoting the conversion of infidels and heretics, which was the germ of the Congregation for the Propogation of the Faith, established later by Gregory XV in 1622. A pestilential fever invaded Rome in 1566, and Borgia organized methods of relief, established ambulances, and distributed forty of his religious to such purpose that the same fever having broken out two years later it was to Borgia that the pope at once confided the task of safeguarding the city.
Francis Borgia had always greatly loved the foreign missions. He reformed those of India and the Far East and created those of America. Within a few years, he had the glory of numbering among his sons sixty-six martyrs, the most illustrious of whom were the fifty-three missionaries of Brazil who with their superior, Ignacio Azevedo, were massacred by Huguenot corsairs. It remained for Francis to terminate his beautiful life with a splendid act of obedience to the pope and devotion to the Church.

On 7 June, 1571, Pius V requested him to accompany his nephew, Cardinal Bonelli, on an embassy to Spain and Portugal. Francis was then recovering from a severe illness; it was feared that he had not the strength to bear fatigue, and he himself felt that such a journey would cost him his life, but he gave it generously. Spain welcomed him with transports. The old distrust of Philip II was forgotten. Barcelona and Valencia hastened to meet their former viceroy and saintly duke. The crowds in the streets cried: "Where is the saint?" They found him emaciated by penance. Wherever he went, he reconciled differences and soothed discord. At Madrid, Philip II received him with open arms, the Inquisition approved and recommended his genuine works. The reparation was complete, and it seemed as though God wished by this journey to give Spain to understand for the last time this living sermon, the sight of a saint. Gandia ardently desired to behold its holy duke, but he would never consent to return thither. The embassy to Lisbon was no less consoling to Borgia. Among other happy results he prevailed upon the king, Don Sebastian, to ask in marriage the hand of Marguerite of Valois, the sister of Charles IX. This was the desire of St. Pius V, but this project, being formulated too late, was frustrated by the Queen of Navarre, who had meanwhile secured the hand of Marguerite for her son. An order from the pope expressed his wish that the embassy should also reach the French court. The winter promised to be severe and was destined to prove fatal to Borgia. Still more grievous to him was to be the spectacle of the devastation which heresy had caused in that country, and which struck sorrow to the heart of the saint. At Blois, Charles IX and Catherine de' Medici accorded Borgia the reception due to a Spanish grandee, but to the cardinal legate as well as to him they gave only fair words in which there was little sincerity. On 25 February they left Blois. By the time they reached Lyons, Borgia's lungs were already affected. Under these conditions the passage of Mt. Cenis over snow-covered roads was extremely painful. By exerting all his strength the invalid reached Turin. On the way the people came out of the villages crying: "We wish to see the saint". Advised of his cousin's condition, Alfonso of Este, Duke of Ferrara, sent to Alexandria and had him brought to his ducal city, where he remained from 19 April until 3 September. His recovery was despaired of and it was said that he would not survive the autumn. Wishing to die either atLoretto or at Rome, he departed in a litter on 3 September, spent eight days at Loretto, and then, despite the sufferings caused by the slightest jolt, ordered the bearers to push forward with the utmost speed for Rome. It was expected that any instant might see the end of his agony. They reached the "Porta del Popolo" on 28 September. The dying man halted his litter and thanked God that he had been able to accomplish this act of obedience. He was borne to his cell which was soon invaded by cardinals and prelates. For two days Francis Borgia, fully conscious, awaited death, receiving those who visited him and blessing through his younger brother, Thomas Borgia, all his children and grandchildren. Shortly after midnight on 30 September, his beautiful life came to a peaceful and painless close. In the Catholic Church he had been one of the most striking examples of the conversion of souls after the Renaissance, and for the Society of Jesus he had been the protector chosen by Providence to whom, after St. Ignatius, it owes most.
In 1607 the Duke of Lerma, minister of Philip III and grandson of the holy religious, having seen his granddaughter miraculously cured through the intercession of Francis, caused the process for his canonization to be begun. The ordinary process, begun at once in several cities, was followed, in 1637, by the Apostolic process. In 1617 Madrid received the remains of the saint. In 1624 the Congregation of Rites announced that his beatification and canonization might be proceeded with. The beatification was celebrated at Madrid with incomparable splendour. Urban VIII having decreed, in 1631, that a Blessed might not be canonized without a new procedure, a new process was begun. It was reserved for Clement X to sign the Bull of canonization of St. Francis Borgia, on 20 June, 1670. Spared from the decree of Joseph Bonaparte who, in 1809, ordered the confiscation of all shrines and precious objects, the silver shrine containing the remains of the saint, after various vicissitudes, was removed, in 1901, to the church of the Society at Madrid, where it is honoured at the present time.
It is with good reason that Spain and the Church venerate in St. Francis Borgia a great man and a great saint. The highest nobles of Spain are proud of their descent from, or their connexion with him. By his penitent and apostolic life he repaired the sins of his family and rendered glorious a name, which but for him, would have remained a source of humiliation for the Church. His feast is celebrated 10 October.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Pope Francis explains "....the impact of his love that can only make a heart of stone a heart of flesh, capable of embracing "the same sentiments of Christ Jesus " Full Text


Wednesday, 9 October 2019
Catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles - 11. "The instrument I have chosen for me" (Acts 9:15). Saul, from persecutor to evangelizer.

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Starting from the episode of the stoning of Stephen, a figure appears who, next to that of Peter, is the most present and incisive in the Acts of the Apostles: that of "a young man, called Saul" (Acts 7,58). He is described at the beginning as one who approves the death of Stephen and wants to destroy the Church (see Acts 8: 3); but then it will become the instrument chosen by God to proclaim the Gospel to the nations (see Acts 9:15; 22.21; 26.17).

With the authorization of the high priest, Saul chases the Christians and captures them. You who come from some peoples who have been persecuted by dictatorships, you understand well what it means to hunt down people and capture them. So did Saul. And this he does thinking of serving the Law of the Lord. Luke says that Saul "breathed" "threats and massacres against the disciples of the Lord" (Acts 9: 1): in him there is a breath that smacks of death, not of life.

The young Saul is portrayed as an intransigent, that is, one who shows intolerance towards those who think differently from him, absolutizes his political or religious identity and reduces the other to a potential enemy to fight. An ideologue. In Saul, religion had turned into ideology: religious ideology, social ideology, political ideology. Only after having been transformed by Christ, then will he teach that the true battle "is not against the flesh and blood, but against [...] the rulers of this dark world, against the spirits of evil" (Eph 6:12). He will teach that people should not be fought, but the evil that inspires their actions.

The angry condition - because Saul was angry - and Saul's conflictual situation invites everyone to ask themselves: how do I live my life of faith? Do I go to meet others or am I against others? Do I belong to the universal Church (good and bad, everyone) or do I have a selective ideology? Do I love God or do I love dogmatic formulations? What is my religious life like? Does professing faith in God make me friendly or hostile towards those who are different from me?

Luke says that while Saul is intent on rooting out the Christian community, the Lord is on his trail to touch his heart and convert it to himself. It is the method of the Lord: it touches the heart. The Risen One takes the initiative and manifests himself to Saul on the road to Damascus, an event that is narrated three times in the Book of Acts (see Acts 9: 3-19; 22.3-21; 26,4-23) . Through the binomial «light» and «voice», typical of theophanies, the Risen One appears to Saul and asks him to account for his fratricidal fury: «Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?» (Acts 9,4). Here the Risen One manifests his being one with those who believe in Him: to strike a member of the Church is to strike Christ himself! Even those who are ideologues because they want the "purity" - in quotation marks - of the Church, strike Christ.

The voice of Jesus tells Saul: "Get up and enter the city and you will be told what you must do" (Acts 9: 6). Once standing, however, Saul no longer sees anything, he has become blind, and from a strong, authoritative and independent man he becomes weak, needy and dependent on others, because he does not see. The light of Christ has dazzled and blinded him: "Thus also appears externally what was his inner reality, his blindness to the truth, to the light that is Christ" (Benedict XVI, General Audience, 3 September 2008).

From this "body to body" between Saul and the Risen one begins a transformation that shows the "personal Easter" of Saul, his passage from death to life: what before was glory becomes "garbage" to be rejected to buy the true gain that is Christ and life in Him (see Phil 3: 7-8).

Paul receives baptism. Baptism thus marks for Saul, as for each of us, the beginning of a new life, and is accompanied by a new gaze on God, on himself and on others, who from being enemies become brothers in Christ.

Let us ask the Father to let us too, like Saul, experience the impact of his love that can only make a heart of stone a heart of flesh (see Ez 11,15), capable of embracing "the same sentiments of Christ Jesus "(Phil 2,5).
Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les personnes venues de Haïti, du Burkina Faso, de Suisse et de France. Demandons au Père, à la suite de Paul, de nous apprendre à ne plus combattre les personnes mais le mal qui les inspire, à ne plus aller contre les autres mais à leur rencontre. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Nigeria, Uganda, Belize, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Korea, Canada, and the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!
Ein herzliches Willkommen den Pilgern deutscher Sprache. Ich grüße insbesondere die Schulgemeinschaft Walburgisgymnasium und -realschule Menden sowie die Teilnehmer an der Informationswoche der Päpstlichen Schweizer Garde. Bitten wir den Herrn um die Gnade der persönlichen Begegnung mit ihm und einer wahren Bekehrung des Herzens.
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española. A todos los invito a experimentar, como Saulo, el impacto del amor de Dios en nuestra vida, que transforma nuestro corazón de piedra en un corazón de carne, capaz de acoger los sentimientos de Cristo y hacerlos llegar a los que nos rodean. Que Dios los bendiga.
De coração saúdo todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, com menção particular dos fiéis brasileiros de Naviraí e Erexim. Encorajo-vos a cultivar um olhar de fé para com o próximo, procurando estar junto de todos, incluindo aqueles que são diferentes de nós. Vele sobre o vosso caminho a Virgem Maria e vos ajude a ser sinal deste amor sem condições no meio dos vossos irmãos. Sobre vós e vossas famílias desça a Bênção de Deus.
[I warmly greet all Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, especially the Brazilian faithful of Naviraí and Erexim. I encourage you to cultivate a look of faith towards others, trying to be close to everyone, even those who are different from us. May the Virgin Mary watch over your path and help you to be this sign of love without conditions among your brothers. May God's Blessing descend upon you and your families.]
أرحب بالحاضرين الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصة بالقادمين من لبنان، ومن الأراضي المقدسة، ومن الشرق الأوسط. إن التحول من شاول إلى بولس، من المضطهد إلى رسول الخبر السار، يعلمنا أن اللقاء مع القائم من بين الأموات يتوب القلب. لقد غمر نور المسيح وجود بولس وأضاءه، ووجه حماسه لخدمة الله والشريعة نحو خدمة الآخرين وكلمة الله. لنطلب من الرب القائم من بين الأموات أن ينير ويحول جميع الأشخاص الذين ما زالوا اليوم يضطهدون المؤمنين، معتقدين أنهم بهذا يتممون مشيئة إلههم. ليبارككم الرب جميعا ويحرسكم دائما من الشرير!
[I cordially welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, in particular those from Lebanon, the Holy Land and the Middle East. Saul's conversion to Paul, from a persecutor to the Apostle of the Good News, teaches us that the encounter with the Risen One changes the heart. The light of Christ has filled and illuminated Paul's existence, directing his zeal to serve God and the Law towards the service of others and of the Word of God. We ask the Risen Lord to enlighten and convert all the people who still today they persecute believers, believing they are doing the will of their God. The Lord bless you all and always protect you from the evil one!]
Pozdrawiam serdecznie pielgrzymów polskich. W poniedziałek obchodziliśmy wspomnienie Najświętszej Maryi Panny Różańcowej. Objawiając się w Polsce, w Gietrzwałdzie, Matka Boża poleciła: „Życzę sobie, abyście codziennie odmawiali różaniec”. Zapewniała, że łaski wyproszone przez tę modlitwę będą zbawienne i doprowadzą ludzi do szczęścia w niebie. Pamiętajcie o tym szczególnie teraz, w październiku, w miesiącu Różańca świętego. Przez wstawiennictwo Maryi, Pośredniczki łask, wypraszajcie pokój dla świata, mądrość dla rządzących oraz wiarę i jedność dla rodzin. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.
[I cordially greet the Polish pilgrims. Last Monday we celebrated the memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary. During her apparitions in Gietrzwałd, Poland, Our Lady recommended: "It is my desire that you recite the rosary every day". He assured that the graces impregnated by this prayer would be salvific and would lead men to happiness in heaven. Remember these words, especially now, in October, dedicated to the Holy Rosary. Through the intercession of Mary Mediatrix of Graces, ask for peace for the world, wisdom for the rulers, and faith and unity for families. Praised be Jesus Christ.]
Od srca pozdravljam hrvatske hodočasnike, osobito studente Katoličkoga bogoslovnog fakulteta Sveučilišta u Splitu. U ovom Izvanrednom misijskom mjesecu pozivam vas da hrabro odgovorite na Božji poziv, kako biste, po studiju i molitvi, rasli u nadnaravnim darovima vjere, nade i ljubavi na dobrobit braće i sestara. Hvaljen Isus i Marija!
[I cordially greet Croatian pilgrims, in particular the students of the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the University of Split. In this Extraordinary Mission Month, I invite you to respond courageously to the divine vocation so that you grow, through study and prayer, in the supernatural gifts of faith, hope and charity for the good of the brothers and sisters. Praised be Jesus and Mary!]
* * *
I warmly welcome the Italian-speaking faithful.

I am pleased to welcome the International Military Pilgrimage Commission; the Brothers of St. Gabriel; the Religious of the Major Union of Italy; and the members of the Institute of the Daughters of Jesus, from the Diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla; and of the Institute of the Sons of Providence, by the Diocese of Milan.

I greet the Cresimati of the Diocese of Faenza-Modigliana, with the Bishop, Mons. Mario Toso; the Parishes, in particular those of Bosto and Andria. I also greet the participants in the Golf Open of Italy; the soldiers of the "Julia" Brigade; and the Delegation of the Municipality of Cervia.

I am particularly interested in young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds. These that make noise are the newlyweds ... I call them "the brave", because it takes courage to get married today. They're good! In this Marian month, imitate the zeal and missionary zeal of the Madonna, make yourselves proclaimers of Christ in your every environment of life.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: - Unofficial Tranlsation

Latest from the Amazon Synod "...beginning with Jesus, a language of love, of walking together, that bears witness to a simple, humble life."

Amazon Synod Briefing: Defending and protecting indigenous peoples
At the press briefing following the morning’s General Congregation, the Prefect for the Dicastery for Communication reviews the various topics raised in the opening days of the Synod; while other speakers emphasized different aspects of the discussions.
By Christopher Wells

Among the topics highlighted by Dr Ruffini were the need of indigenous people for the sacraments, the importance of formation for pastoral ministers, the destruction caused by exploitative interests, and inculturation within the Church.

Diversity leads to discernment
Father Giacomo Costa, the Secretary of the Commission for Information, explained the synodal method both in prepared remarks and in response to questions in the press. Each participant is able to address the Synod, speaking from their own perspective and according to their own lights. This leads to discussion, rather than debate; and this diversity allows the Synod to exercise genuine discernment.

Cardinal Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, S.J.
In the first guest intervention on Tuesday, Jesuit Cardinal Pedro Barreto, Archbishop of Huancayo, Peru, and Vice President of REPAM, noted the “lights and shadows” that have marked the Church’s involvement in the Amazon region. The Church has for centuries been close to the sufferings of the Amazonian people; but she must also recognize the injustices of the past and apologize for them. He expressed a desire for a single language, beginning with Jesus, a language of love, of walking together, that bears witness to a simple, humble life.

Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz
Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, emphasized the violence native populations experience, and highlighted the challenges they face, including the criminalization of leaders, the exploitation of land, pollution, and even ethnicide. She said indigenous peoples must be protected by the international community, and stressed the importance of the Church using her moral and spiritual authority to support them.

Moema Maria Marques de Miranda
The final speaker, Moema Maria Marques de Miranda, a lay Franciscan, struck an apocalyptic note, saying we are the first generation to experience the possibility of the end of the world. Pope Francis, she said, also feels the urgency. It is only in recent decades that we have recognized the interconnectedness of the world; we can and should learn from indigenous people how to live in harmony with creation. And she noted that it is not surprising that is precisely those voices from the “ends of the earth” – people like Pope Francis and Greta Thunberg, who are showing us where we truly stand in this moment in history.

Question and Answer
After the main presentations, the panel fielded questions from journalists.

In response to a question about the Church’s involvement in political questions in the Amazon, Marques de Miranda spoke about the connection between economy and ecology, saying that we must understand how the world works in order to maintain it as a habitable home. Cardinal Barreto added that this is a question that must be placed in a global context, and noted Pope Francis’ insistence that some modern, technocratic economic models are no longer adequate.

Rights and duties
One journalist asked about aspects of indigenous culture that are at odds with contemporary understandings of human rights, referring specifically to infanticide, which he said was practiced by numerous Amazonian tribes. Tauli-Corpuz acknowledged that some indigenous practices are “strange”, and noted an ongoing debate about the balance between respecting indigenous rights, and the duty of indigenous peoples to conform their practices to international law, especially regarding women and children. Indigenous peoples, she said, must correct and rectify some of their customs.

Cardinal Barreto said he had never heard of the practice of infanticide among indigenous peoples, and said people making such claims must back them up with proof. Nonetheless, while recognizing the value of ancestral wisdom, he acknowledged that Jesus asks us to defend life, saying that a culture of life is essential to the Gospel.

The importance of listening
In response to a final question regarding the question of diversity of opinion within the Synod, Fr Costa said there were certainly differences of opinion among participants. However, the format of the Synod ensured that individuals could express their own thoughts without directly engaging in controversy with others. He emphasized again the importance of listening, so that all opinions can be heard.

Unlike a parliament, he said, the Synod will not make decisions, but will offer suggestions and proposals for Pope Francis, who will ultimately give guidance on the path forward. Full Text Source:

Protests continue in Hong Kong with Tens of Thousands calling for Freedom

Hong Kong, cerebral hemorrhage for a young demonstrator. Maybe hit by the police
by Paul Wang
Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor: The use of the cane can be fatal. Last weekend, 240 people were detained; 77 were arrested; 24 were taken to the hospital. Law enforcement officials accused of slipping Hong Kong into a "police state" and are branded a "dictatorship tool". An appeal by 200 firefighters against police violence.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - A young 27-year-old is hospitalized in intensive care with an evident cerebral hemorrhage. The young man, an anti-extradition movement demonstrator, has been at the Tuen Mun hospital since October 7, since he was arrested by the police. According to health sources he was hit by a heavy object in the head. Many suspect that the heavy object could be a stick, supplied to the police.

Director of Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, Law Yuk-kai, said that some policemen hit the demonstrators in the head and this "could be fatal." "It is more than a single incident," he added. I am worried because it could become a systematic abuse ".

On October 6 and 7, tens of thousands of people paraded in many parts of the territory wearing masks, and challenging the ban imposed by a government emergency law. Since the law was imposed on October 5, police have arrested at least 240 people, of whom 77 have been arrested for wearing masks. At least 24 people were taken to hospital because they were injured.

Since the anti-extradition movement arose about 4 months ago, the police have been accused of excessive use of force and the protesters demand an independent investigation, which is continually denied by the government. At the same time extreme fringes of the movement use violence and vandalism.

The police are now accused of slipping Hong Kong into a "police state" and are branded as a "dictatorship tool". Today a platform of protesters, the Citizen's Press Conference, published an appeal by 200 firefighters who criticize the police because "on many occasions we have witnessed policemen braking, manipulating and even insulting firemen and medical personnel" who come to the rescue of the people during the events.

The reference is above all to what the police did on July 31 last, in the Prince Edward underground station, when dozens of officers beat, pepper sprayed and arrested demonstrators and passengers indiscriminately. For two hours the station was closed by the policemen, not even allowing the firemen to intervene.
FULL TEXT Source: Asia News IT

Saint October 9 : St. John Leonardi who formed the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine - Patron of Pharmacists

(1541 – October 9, 1609)

Saint John Leonardi chose to become a priest.

After his ordination, Fr. Leonardi became very active in the works of the ministry, especially in hospitals and prisons. The example and dedication of his work attracted several young laymen who began to assist him. They later became priests themselves.

John lived after the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent. He and his followers projected a new congregation of diocesan priests. For some reason the plan, which was ultimately approved, provoked great political opposition. John was exiled from his home town of Lucca, Italy, for almost the entire remainder of his life. He received encouragement and help from Saint Philip Neri, who gave him his lodgings—along with the care of his cat!

In 1579, John formed the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, and published a compendium of Christian doctrine that remained in use until the 19th century.

Father Leonardi and his priests became a great power for good in Italy, and their congregation was confirmed by Pope Clement in 1595. John died at the age of 68 from a disease caught when tending those stricken by the plague.

By the deliberate policy of the founder, the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God have never had more than 15 churches, and today form only a very small congregation. The Liturgical Feast of Saint John Leonardi is October 9.

Edited from Franciscan Media
giver of all good things,
you proclaimed the good news to countless people
through the ministry of Saint John Leonardi.
By the help of his prayers
may the true faith continue to grow.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Saint October 9 : St. Denis the Patron of Headaches, Rabies, and Possessed People with Novena Prayer

St. Denis

Third century, Italy
258 at Montmarte
Major Shrine:
Abbey of Saint-Denis, Saint Denis Basilica
Patron of:
France; Paris; against frenzy; against strife; headaches; hydrophobia; possessed people; rabies

Bishop of Paris, and martyr. Born in Italy, nothing is definitely known of the time or place, or of his early life. His feast is kept on 9 October. He is usually represented with his head in his hands because, according to the legend, after his execution the corpse rose again and carried the head for some distance. That, however, while still very young he was distinguished for hisvirtuous life, knowledge of sacred things, and firm faith, is proved by the fact that Pope Fabian (236-250) sent him with some other missionary bishops to Gaul on a difficult mission. The Church of Gaul had suffered terribly under the persecution of the Emperor Decius and the new messengers of Faith were to endeavour to restore it to its former flourishing condition. Denis with his inseparable companions, the priest Rusticus and the deacon Eleutherius, arrived in the neighbourhood of the present city of Paris and settled on the island in the Seine. The earliest document giving an account of his labours and of his martyrdom (Passio SS. Dionsyii, Rustici et Eleutherii), dating from the end of the sixth or the beginning of the seventh century and wrongly attributed to the poet Venantius Fortunatus, is interwoven with much legend, from which, however, the following facts can be gleaned.
On the island in the Seine Denis built a church and provided for a regular solemnization of the Divine service. His fearless and indefatigable preaching of the Gospel led to countless conversions. This aroused the envy, anger and hatred of the heathen priests. They incited the populace against the strangers and importuned the governor Fescenninus Sisinnius to put a stop by force to the new teaching. Denis with his two companions were seized and as they persevered in their faith were beheaded (about 275) after many tortures. Later accounts give a detailed description of the confessors' sufferings. They were scourged, imprisoned, racked, thrown to wild beasts, burnt at the stake, and finally beheaded. Gregory of Tours simply states: "Beatus Dionysius Parisiorum episcopus diversis pro Christi nomine adfectus poenis praesentem vitam gladio immente finivit" (Hist. Franc. I, 30). The bodies of the three holy martyrs received an honourable burial through the efforts of a pious matron named Catulla and a small shrine was erected over their graves. This was later on replaced by a beautiful basilica (egregium templum) which Venantius celebrated in verse (Carm. I, ii).
From the reign of King Dagobert (622-638) the church and the Benedictine monastery attached to it were more and more beautifully adorned; the veneration of St. Denis became by degrees a national devotion, rulers and princes vying with one another to promote it. This development is due in no small degree to an error prevailing throughout the Middle Ages, which identified St. Denis of Paris with St. Dionysius the Areopagite, and with the Pseudo-Dionysius, the composer of the Areopagitic writings. The combining of these three persons in one was doubtless effected as early as the eighth or perhaps the seventh century, but it was only through the "Areopagitica" written in 836 byHilduin, Abbot of Saint-Denis, at the request of Louis the Pious, that this serious error took deep root. The investigations of Launoy first threw doubt on the story and the Bollandist de Bye entirely rejected it. Hilduin was probably deceived by the same apocryphal Latin and Greek fictions. The possession of the Areopagitic writings (since 827 in Saint-Denis) strengthened his conviction of this truth. Historiographers of the present day do not dispute this point. All attempts of Darras, Vidieu, C. Schneider, and others to throw some light on the subject have proved fruitless.

Text shared from the Catholic Encyclopedia
Novena in Honor of St. Denis
Preparatory Prayer 
For Each  Novena to a Holy Helper
ALMIGHTY and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy Heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy Divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the Saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy Divine Son.
Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saying, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.
Prayer in Honor of St. Denis
O GOD, Who didst confer Thy saving faith on the people of France through Thy holy Bishop and Martyr Denis, and didst glorify him before and after his Martyrdom by many miracles; grant us through his intercession that the Faith practiced and preached by him be our light on the way of life, so that we may be preserved from all anxieties of conscience, and if by human frailty we have sinned, we may return to Thee speedily by true penance. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Invocation of St. Denis
GLORIOUS servant of God, St. Denis, with intense love thou didst devote thyself to
Christ after learning to know Him through the apostle St. Paul, and didst preach His saving  name to the nations, to bring whom to His knowledge and love thou didst not shrink from Martyrdom; implore for me a continual growth in the knowledge and love of Jesus, so that my restless heart may experience that peace which He alone can give. Help me by thy powerful intercession with God to serve Him with a willing heart, to devote myself with abiding love to His service, and thereby to attain the eternal bliss of Heaven. Amen.
My Lord and God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the Saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.
Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen.
THE FOURTEEN HOLY HELPERS, Fr. Bonaventure Hammer, O.F.M. 

US Bishops' Issue statement on Redefinition of "Sex" in the Civil Rights Law - Full Text

USCCB Chairmen Issue Statement on Supreme Court Cases on Redefinition of “Sex” in Civil Rights Law

October 8, 2019
WASHINGTON— Bishop chairmen of three committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) commented on three cases argued before the Supreme Court today – Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., Altitude Express v. Zarda, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. These cases present the question whether the prohibition on employment discrimination based on “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” discrimination, respectively.
Bishop Robert J. McManus, of Worcester, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, of Venice, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop James D. Conley, of Lincoln, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, issued the following statement:
“Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument regarding the meaning of the word ‘sex’ in federal law. Words matter; and ‘sex’ should not be redefined to include sexual inclinations or conduct, nor to promulgate the view that sexual identity is solely a social construct rather than a natural or biological fact. The Supreme Court affirmed that sex is an ‘immutable characteristic’ in the course of establishing constitutional protections for women against sex discrimination in the 1970s. Such protection is no less essential today. Title VII helps ensure the dignified treatment of all persons, and we as Catholics both share and work toward that goal. Redefining ‘sex’ in law would not only be an interpretive leap away from the language and intent of Title VII, it would attempt to redefine a fundamental element of humanity that is the basis of the family, and would threaten religious liberty.”
Source: USCCB

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday, October 9, 2019 - #Eucharist

'Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 463

Reading 1JON 4:1-11

Jonah was greatly displeased
and became angry that God did not carry out the evil
he threatened against Nineveh.
He prayed, “I beseech you, LORD,
is not this what I said while I was still in my own country?
This is why I fled at first to Tarshish.
I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God,
slow to anger, rich in clemency, loath to punish.
And now, LORD, please take my life from me;
for it is better for me to die than to live.”
But the LORD asked, “Have you reason to be angry?”

Jonah then left the city for a place to the east of it,
where he built himself a hut and waited under it in the shade,
to see what would happen to the city.
And when the LORD God provided a gourd plant
that grew up over Jonah’s head,
giving shade that relieved him of any discomfort,
Jonah was very happy over the plant.
But the next morning at dawn
God sent a worm that attacked the plant,
so that it withered.
And when the sun arose, God sent a burning east wind;
and the sun beat upon Jonah’s head till he became faint.
Then Jonah asked for death, saying,
“I would be better off dead than alive.”

But God said to Jonah,
“Have you reason to be angry over the plant?”
“I have reason to be angry,” Jonah answered, “angry enough to die.”
Then the LORD said,
“You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor
and which you did not raise;
it came up in one night and in one night it perished.
And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city,
in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons
who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left,
not to mention the many cattle?”

Responsorial PsalmPS 86:3-4, 5-6, 9-10

R.(15) Lord, you are merciful and gracious.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
R. Lord, you are merciful and gracious.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my pleading.
R. Lord, you are merciful and gracious.
All the nations you have made shall come
and worship you, O Lord,
and glorify your name.
For you are great, and you do wondrous deeds;
you alone are God.
R. Lord, you are merciful and gracious.

AlleluiaROM 8:15BC

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You have received a spirit of adoption as sons
through which we cry: Abba! Father!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 11:1-4

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
"Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples."
He said to them, "When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test."