Friday, October 11, 2019

Saint October 12 : St. Wilfrid, a Bishop Confessor and the Patron of England - A great defender of the rights of the Holy See


634 in Northumbria, England
709 at Oundle, Northhamptonshire, England
Patron of:
Middlesbrough, England (image source: GOOGLE)

Bishop of York, son of a Northumbrian thegn, born in 634; died at Oundle in Northamptonshire, 709. He was unhappy at home, through the unkindness of a stepmother, and in his fourteenth year he was sent away to the Court of King Oswy, King of Northumbria. Here he attracted the attention of Queen Eanfleda and by her, at his own request, he was sent to the Monastery of Lindisfarne. After three years spent here he was sent for, again through the kindness of the queen, to Rome, in the company of St. Benedict Biscop. At Rome he was the pupil of Boniface, the pope's archdeacon. On his way home he stayed for three years at Lyons, where he received the tonsure from Annemundas, the bishop of that place. Annemundas wanted him to remain at Lyons altogether, and marry his niece and become his heir, but Wilfrid was determined that he would be a priest. Soon after persecution arose at Lyons, and Annemundas perished in it. The same fate nearly came to Wilfrid, but when it was shown that he was a Saxon he was allowed to depart, and came back to England. In England he received the newly founded monastery at Ripon as the gift of Alchfrid, Oswy's son and heir, and here he established the full Benedictine Rule. The Columbite monks, who had been settled previously at Ripon, withdrew to the North. It was not until he had been for five years Abbot of Ripon, that Wilfrid became a priest. His main work at Ripon was the introduction of Roman rules and the putting forward of a Roman practice with regard to the point at issue between the Holy See and the Scottish monks in Northumbria; to settle these questions the synod of Whitby was held in 664. Chiefly owing to Wilfrid's advocacy of the claims of the Holy See the votes of the majority were given to that side, and Colman and his monks, bitterly disappointed, withdrew from Northumbria. Wilfrid, in consequence of the favours he had then obtained, was elected bishop in Colman's place, and, refusing to receive consecration from the northern bishops, whom he regarded as schismatics, went over to France to be consecrated at Compiègne.
He delayed some time in France, whether by his own fault or not is not quite clear, and on his return in 666 was driven from his course by a storm and shipwrecked on the coast of Sussex, where the heathen inhabitants repelled him and almost killed him. He succeeded in landing, however, in Kent not far from Sandwich. Thence he made his way to Northumbria, only to find that, owing to his long absence, his see had been filled up, and that a St. Chad was bishop in his place. He retired to his old monastery at Ripon, and from thence went southwards and worked in Mercia, especially at Lichfield, and also in Kent.
In 669 Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury visited Northumbria, where he found Chad working as bishop. He pointed out to him the defects of his position and, at his instigation, St. Chad withdrew and Wilfrid once more became Bishop of York. During his tenure of the see, he acted with great vigour and energy, completing the work of enforcing the Roman obedience against the Scottish monks. He founded a great many monasteries of the Benedictine Order, especially at Henlam and at Ripon, and completely rebuilt the minster at York. In all that he did he acted with great magnificence, although his own life was always simple and restrained.
So long as Oswy lived all went well, but with Ecgfrid, Oswy's son and successor, Wilfrid was very unpopular, because of his action in connection with Ecgfrid's bride Etheldrida, who by Wilfrid's advice would not live with her husband but retired into a monastery. It was just at this juncture that Theodore, possibly exceeding his powers as Archbishop of Canterbury, proceeded to subdivide the great diocese over which Wilfrid ruled, and to make suffragan bishops of Lindisfarne, Hexham, and Witherne. Wilfrid, whether or not he approved of the principle of subdivision, refused to allow Theodore's right to make it, and appealed to the central authority at Rome, whither he at once went. Theodore replied by consecrating three bishops in Wilfrid's own church at York and dividing his whole bishopric between them.
An attempt was made by his enemies to prevent Wilfrid from reaching Rome, but by a singular coincidence Winfrid, Bishop of Lichfield, happened to be going to Rome at the same time, and the singularity of the name led to his being stopped while Wilfrid got through safely. At Rome a council was called by Pope Agatho to decide the case, and Wilfrid appeared before it in person, while Theodore was represented. The case was decided in Wilfrid's favour, and the intruding bishops were removed. Wilfrid was to return to York, and since subdivision of his diocese was needed, he was to appoint others as his coadjutors. He came back to Northumbria with this decision, but the king, though not disputing theright of Rome to settle the question, said that Wilfrid had brought the decision and put him in prison at Bambrough. After a time this imprisonment was converted to exile, and he was driven from the kingdom of Northumbria. He went south to Sussex where the heathen inhabitants had so inhospitably received him fifteen years before, and preached as a missionary at Selsey.
In 686 a reconciliation took place between Theodore and Wilfrid, who had then been working in Sussex for five years. Through Theodore's good offices Wilfrid was received back in Northumbria, where Aldfrid was now king. He became Bishop of Hexham at once, and before long, when York again fell vacant, he took possession there once more. For some years all went well, but at the end of that time great difficulties arose with the king because Wilfrid utterly refused to recognize what had been done by Theodore but annulled by Rome in the matter of the subdivision of his diocese, and he once more left York and appealed to Rome. He reached Rome for the third and last time in 704.
The proceedings at Rome were very lengthy, but after some months Wilfrid was again victorious. Archbishop Brihtwald was to hold a synod and see justice done. Wilfrid started again for England but on his way was taken ill at Meaux and nearly died. He recovered, however, and came back to England, where he was reconciled to Brihtwald. A synod was held, and it was decided to give back to Wilfrid, Hexham and Ripon, but not York, a settlement which, though unsatisfactory, he decided to accept, as the principle of Roman authority had been vindicated.
Beyond all others of his time, St. Wilfrid stands out as the great defender of the rights of the Holy See. For that principle he fought all through his life, first against Colman and the Scottish monks from Iona, and then against Theodore and his successor in the See of Canterbury; and much of his life was spent in exile for this reason. But to him above all others is due the establishment of the authority of the Roman See in England, and for that reason he will always have a very high place among English saints.
Eddius, the biographer of St. Wilfrid, was brought by that saint from Canterbury when he returned to York in 669. His special work was to be in connection with the music of the church of York, and he was to teach the Roman method of chant. He was an inmate of the monastery of Ripon in 709, when St. Wilfrid spent his last days there, and he undertook the work of writing the life of the saint at the request of Acca, St. Wilfrid's successor in the See of Hexham. The best edition of the work is in Raines, "Historians of the Church of York" (Rolls Series).
SOURCE The Catholic Encyclopedia

Free Catholic Movie : The Good Pope : Drama of Pope John XXIII : Stars Bob Hoskins

This movie on the life of St. Pope John XXIII Stars Bob Hoskins. Angelo Roncalli, born in Sotto Il Monte in 1881, is known for his profound spirituality as well as his extraordinary goodness from the young years of his life. When he feels a need to serve God, Angelo goes to study theology in Bergamo, and in Apollinare School (Rome) and becomes a priest. During his studies, he gets to know his two dearest friends, Mattia and Nicola. Very soon, most people see marvelous talents in him, including his wide knowledge and a constant readiness for sacrifice. The Holy See makes him go further to bishop and cardinal, and the Holy Father sends him to various places as a representative of the Church. When Pius XII dies on October, the 9th, 1958, 77 year-old Angelo goes to Rome, to conclave to choose a new pope. However, this time, it is him who hears gentle words of Jesus "Tu es Petrus!" ("You are Peter!") and from October, the 28th leads the church as pope John XXIII. Anonymous (Imdb)
 Ricky Tognazzi
2003 Film Stars:
 Bob Hoskins, Carlo Cecchi, Roberto Citran 

#BreakingNews St. Mary's Catholic Church set on Fire - Priest says it was “Miraculous” that it didn't Burn down and Prays for Arsonist

Suspect breaks into St. Mary Church in St. Clair, sets fire to altar, steals crucifix

The main altar of St. Mary Parish in St. Clair sustained significant damage after a suspect broke into the church in the early morning of Oct. 1 and lit the altar linens ablaze. St. Mary pastor Fr. Michael Zuelch said the community is praying for the apparent arsonist's conversion, calling it “miraculous” that the church itself didn't burn. (Photo courtesy of St. Mary Parish)
'Miraculous' that historic church didn't burn down, pastor says; parish prays for apparent arsonist's conversion
ST. CLAIR — In the early morning hours of Oct. 1, a man broke through a side door of St. Mary Parish in St. Clair. Surveillance video showed the man walked around the church for approximately 20 minutes with a knife in hand, taking a few dollars from the St. Vincent de Paul box.

About 2:30 a.m., he hopped the Communion rail, took a crucifix from the altar, and set the altar linens on fire. He also started a fire on a side altar with a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At 6 a.m., the parish’s maintenance director entered the sanctuary to find it filled with smoke.

Fr. Michael Zuelch, St. Mary’s pastor, immediately secured the Blessed Sacrament and began to pray.

A crucifix that was stolen from St. Mary Church in St. Clair is pictured.

“Our church has been a pillar of the community since 1850, and no one would expect an individual to attempt to burn it down or desecrate our church,” Fr. Zuelch said in a statement to Detroit Catholic. “We are thankful and quite aware that it is miraculous for the fire not to have spread to the entire sanctuary and church.”

The main altar was on fire for more than four hours, Fr. Zuelch said.

“Roughly half of it burned, and the fire never spread to the altar stone or lit the remaining linens and altar cover on fire,” Fr. Zuelch said. “Our Blessed Mother’s altar was also set on fire and sustained little damage. The best response to the situation are the words, ‘It was the tears of Mary that put the fire out.’”

Extensive smoke damage was sustained throughout the church, which will require scrubbing and potentially repainting. Repairs and restoration could take several months. The parish had just completed a sanctuary renovation this year.

St. Clair Police Chief Timothy Raker found it strange that the suspect could have done more damage, but instead attempted to destroy the altar, leaving behind many valuable articles. His department is working with state police forensics and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to investigate all credible leads.

Fr. Michael Zuelch celebrated Mass on Oct. 5 for parishioners of St. Mary Parish in a large tent on the parish grounds, which was initially set up for the parish's Fall Festival.
Edited from

Latest from the Amazon Synod : "... the Church needs to speak with a “prophetic voice” in order to address the health of the entire planet." Full Video

Amazon Synod Briefing: Ecological sins and integral responses
The Day 5 briefing in the Holy See Press Office hears testimonies and answers questions regarding the Synod for the Amazon.
By Vatican News

There were four Synod participants on the podium in the Holy See Press Office on Friday afternoon, each of them sharing their impressions of the discussions so far, and responding to journalist’s questions.

Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, Archbishop of México (Mexico)
Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes opened his presentation with a call for “ecological conversion”. Climate change has amplified the “cry of the poor”, he said, and an “integral ecology” is the Church’s response. The Cardinal explained that an integral ecology means a change of lifestyle, abandoning the throwaway culture. It is essential we increase awareness, he said, because it is the poorest people on earth who are being affected.

Archbishop Pedro Brito Guimarâes, of Palmas (Brazil)
Archbishop Pedro Brito Guimarâes, of Palmas, said he comes from Brazil’s youngest State, in the heart of the country. 1.5 million people live there, along with 9 million heads of cattle. The cattle, said the Archbishop, often enjoy better healthcare than the people. That’s because their meat is exported to countries overseas. The primary animal feed in the region is soybean meal, but overplanting has had a negative impact on the earth, said Archbishop Pedro. The land is eroded, while pesticides and chemicals used to grow the soy have polluted the rivers. Cattle raising also requires a lot of water, and this too risks destroying natural resources.

Archbishop Pedro went on to speak of what he called “ecological sins”. They may be something new, he said, but we need to start confessing them. Quoting Pope Francis, he added how “everything is connected”, when you touch something you create a chain reaction, he said. The whole of humanity will feel the effects of decisions taken at this Synod, concluded the Archbishop.

Bishop Joaquín Pertíñez Fernández O.A.R. of Rio Branco (Brazil)
Bishop Joaquín Pertíñez Fernández began by emphasizing he comes from an area that crosses two time zones. The Bishop went on to speak about the history of his Amazon Region, which is not well known, he said. This is partly because the local culture is based on wood, rather than stone, so things disintegrate more easily. He spoke of coming of a land of martyrs where someone is “buried under every tree”. Bishop Fernàndez described how the people of this area were enslaved. Forced to sell their produce to their employers, they were trapped in a situation from which they rarely escaped alive, he said.

The Church was not present in this “place of human suffering”, explained the Bishop, because of the distances and lack of communication. It could take a month for the bishop to reach this area by canoe. And it will take a long time for the people of this territory to recover from all their “sad and cruel history of violence”, said Bishop Fernández. It will take several generations before they feel free to think for themselves and to make decisions, he said.

Sister Birgit Weiler, Congregation of Medical Missionary Sisters
Sister Birgit Weiler began her presentation by confirming that the Church wants to walk together with the people of the Amazon Region in order to confront this dramatic situation. Quoting the Instrumentum laboris, she said the Church needs to speak with a “prophetic voice” in order to address the health of the entire planet. We need to welcome the culture of the indigenous people, said Sister Weiler, and their vision of “buen vivir”, which means to live more in common among ourselves and in solidarity with the Earth itself.

When we maltreat the earth, we are maltreating ourselves too, she added. Sister Weiler called for the introduction of an integral ecology at all levels of the Church, and suggested reducing the use of plastic to zero. She also spoke in favour of advocating for indigenous peoples, especially when their rights are violated.

A question about multinational corporations
Sister Birgit Weiler also responded to the first question regarding multinationals not complying with the law. She affirmed how we all live in a common home and fighting for the rights of others is important. Then she gave the example of how Germany has passed a law according to which companies that cause environmental damage are held accountable even when they commit that damage in other countries.

Sister Weiler spoke of a network of collaboration among conferences of men and women religious, especially in Peru, where she works. Shareholders from multinational companies need to be made aware of the situation through lobbying, she added, to ensure companies respect local peoples’ rights. Often, the lives of Europeans and Americans are considered more valuable than those of people living in these territories – despite us all living together in one common home.

A question about isolated indigenous communities
Archbishop Pedro Brito Guimarâes chose to respond to the issue of isolated indigenous communities. Some of them choose to remain isolated, he explained. Others are forced to escape because their territory his being invaded. They go deeper and deeper into the forest, continued the Archbishop, and have no contact with other people. This leaves them open to diseases. Some die from a common cold. Sometimes it is impossible to reach them, he said. Not having any contact with these isolated peoples, we do not know how they think, or what they want. The Synod is discussing this theme, said Archbishop Guimarâes. It is important for the Church to protect their right to live in their own way, he added.

A question about evangelical churches
Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes began answering the question regarding the presence of evangelical churches in the Amazon Region, by affirming that people “want the Word of God, first and foremost”. He cited studies that show people migrating from one Church to another, but said it will take time to analyze this phenomenon properly. Sometimes it is simply because people hope to solve a series of difficulties and look for responses in different areas, he said.

Archbishop Pedro Brito Guimarâes added his reflection, saying it is impossible for priests to be everywhere, given the vast distances. If someone comes proclaiming the Word of God, people will follow them, he said.

Bishop Joaquín Pertíñez Fernández agreed that the Synod needs to analyze this situation but that we cannot solve all health, educational, or financial problems.

Sister Birgit Weiler quoted the Synod working document as saying the Church needs to move from a pastoral ministry of visit to a ministry of presence. Being with these peoples is extremely important, she said. We need to explore all the ministries, not just ordained ministries, said Sister Weiler, because “everything is connected” regarding this challenge.

A question about women’s participation at the Synod
Sister Birgit Weiler went on to answer the following question about the atmosphere in the small working groups and the recognition of women’s ministry. She began by affirming “there is not a clerical attitude” in the working groups, and how “freedom of speech” has favoured an atmosphere where “critical questions can be put on the table respectfully and openly”. She described it as a beautiful experience of “discerning together”.

A good number of Bishops and Cardinals share the concerns the women have, and understand there are things that pain them and why, continued Sister Weiler. She confirmed there is recognition of women, but added that becoming a fully synodal Church means walking together, deciding together, having women in positions of leadership. All women, lay and religious, ought to be able to assume positions of responsibility, she said.

Sister Weiler recalled how the Synod working document confirms that women perform most of the pastoral work in the Amazon Region. Many women are working with indigenous peoples and want to be involved with indigenous theology, she said. She described this as “a sign of our time” that women are involved at this level. She also mentioned working to overcome violence against women, standing up for justice, and overcoming a “machismo” culture.

“Creation is a gift of love from God the Creator”, she said, and this is the meeting point with women of other religions. Many women are working to build bridges where differences often cause separation. This is not a power struggle, explained Sister Weiler, it is This is not a power struggle, but a sharing of our “gifts of baptism, our vocation and insights, talents and charisms”.

Responding to a follow-up question concerning women voting on the Synod final document, Sister Weiler noted how there are 35 women present in various capacities in the Synod, and this is a significant step forward. Like many other religious women, she said, they would like to reach the point where their Superiors General would be able to vote just as Men Superiors General can. There is no real reason why they shouldn’t, she said.

A question about ecological sins
Archbishop Pedro Brito Guimarâes picked up on his earlier comment about “ecological sins”. He confirmed he is an optimist and is convinced that “a different world is possible”. However, unless we take care of nature, “we compromise the preconditions for our lives”, he said. While we profess in the Creed that we believe in God, “the Creator of Heaven and Earth”, we continue to sin against nature “without ever questioning ourselves”.

We need to start thinking about a simpler, more essential, life-style, suggested the Archbishop. We need to question ourselves, from a religious, social, economic perspective, he added. “We are not owners of Nature”, said Archbishop Guimarâes, only her guardians.

We have no other planet where we can live, he concluded. So we had better take care of this one.

Full Text Release by

Attack on Synagogue in Halle, Germany leaves 2 Dead and several Injured - the Pope prays for the Victims

Vatican News reports that two people died and several bystanders were injured in an attack, which took place on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, Wednesday, October 9, 2019. The attack occurred in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, in Germany at the Jewish Synagogue. The Times of Israel names the victims as local residents Jana Lange, 40, and Kevin S., 20, were gunned down. (pic. below)

The gunman has been identified as a 27-year old neo-Nazi, named Stephan Balliet, who attempted to break into the synagogue which was filled with over 70 people, including children. A group of worshippers barricaded the door at the sound of the gunfire which prevented further bloodshed.

The German Minister of the Interior has confirmed the “anti-Semitic” motivations for the attack, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended a memorial vigil for the victims in Berlin.

The European Parliament in Brussels stopped to hold a minute’s silence, while political and religious leaders called for renewed efforts to resist the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.

In the Vatican, before concluding the day’s work at the Synod on the Amazon, Pope Francis prayed for the victims and their families.

Earlier this week, the Pope sent a message of good wishes to the Jewish Community of Rome for the feats of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Edited from VaticanNews and the Times of Israel - Images Source: DailyMail - Google Images

RIP Cardinal Serafim Fernandes de Araújo - Pope sends condolences at Death of Cardinal from Brazil at the age of 95

VaticanNews: Cardinal Serafim Fernandes de Araújo

Pope sends telegram for death of Cardinal Serafim Fernandes de Araújo
In a telegram, Pope Francis expresses his sadness at the passing of the Archbishop Emeritus of Belo Horizonte in Brazil, who died on Tuesday morning at the age of 95.
By Vatican News

In the telegram, addressed to Archbishop Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo, President of the Brazilian Bishops Conference, Pope Francis expresses his closeness in prayer to the relatives of Cardinal de Araújo, and to all the faithful in "this moment of mourning".

The Pope entrusts the Cardinal to the mercy of God and emphasizes the "zeal" with which he "served the Church" as a priest at the Second Vatican Council, and during the fifty years spent in his Brazilian Archdiocese where, with "missionary passion, he helped increase the love for Jesus Christ and His Church in the hearts of the faithful”.

"May God welcome into eternal happiness this good and faithful servant", prays the Pope, while extending his Apostolic Blessing to the "Archdiocesan community, to the Church of Brazil, and to those who share this moment of sadness".

A man of many talents

Cardinal Serafim Fernandes de Araújo was born on August 13, 1924, in Minas Novas, in the Brazilian state of Alto Jequitinhonha. He lived his childhood in Itamarandiba, also in the Jequitinhonha region, and at the age of 12 he began to study at the Diamantina Seminary, where he graduated in Humanities and in Philosophy.

He was chosen to study in Rome, where he obtained a Masters in Theology and Canon Law from the Pontifical Gregorian University. His priestly ordination took place on March 12, 1949, at the Cathedral of St. John Lateran in Rome.

Cardinal de Araújo returned to Brazil in 1951 and began his priestly activity as parish priest in the city of Gouveia where he remained until 1957.

During this same period he served as chaplain of the Companhia Industrial de São Roberto. From 1956 to 1957 he assumed the position of military chaplain of the 3rd Military Battalion of the Military Police of Minas Gerais. He was also director of Religious Education of the Archdiocese of Diamantina and professor of Canon Law at the Provincial Seminary. In Curvelo, where he was parish priest in 1957 and canon from 1958 to 1959, he also acted as a teacher in several schools.

Commitment to education and communication

Cardinal de Araújo was deeply committed to education and social communications. In 1960, he was appointed the Rector at the Catholic University of Belo Horizonte and for several years he was in charge of a daily radio programme, "A Palavra de Deus", broadcast by Rádio América and of a Sunday TV programme.

Cardinal de Araújo participated in the Second Vatican Council, from 1962 to 1965, and he participated in the General Conferences of the Latin American Bishops (CELAM) held in Puebla in 1979 and in Santo Domingo in 1992.

He was created a Cardinal by Pope Saint John Paul II in the Consistory of 21 February 1998. From 2004, he was Archbishop Emeritus of Belo Horizonte in Brazil.
Full Text Release from - Image Source: - Google Images

#BreakingNews Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali for his efforts to achieve peace - Full Official Press Release

Nobel Prize Official Release: 
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea. The prize is also meant to recognise all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.
When Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister in April 2018, he made it clear that he wished to resume peace talks with Eritrea. In close cooperation with Isaias Afwerki, the President of Eritrea, Abiy Ahmed quickly worked out the principles of a peace agreement to end the long “no peace, no war” stalemate between the two countries. These principles are set out in the declarations that Prime Minister Abiy and President Afwerki signed in Asmara and Jeddah last July and September. An important premise for the breakthrough was Abiy Ahmed’s unconditional willingness to accept the arbitration ruling of an international boundary commission in 2002.
Peace does not arise from the actions of one party alone. When Prime Minister Abiy reached out his hand, President Afwerki grasped it, and helped to formalise the peace process between the two countries. The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes the peace agreement will help to bring about positive change for the entire populations of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
In Ethiopia, even if much work remains, Abiy Ahmed has initiated important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future. He spent his first 100 days as Prime Minister lifting the country’s state of emergency, granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalising outlawed opposition groups, dismissing military and civilian leaders who were suspected of corruption, and significantly increasing the influence of women in Ethiopian political and community life. He has also pledged to strengthen democracy by holding free and fair elections.
In the wake of the peace process with Eritrea, Prime Minister Abiy has engaged in other peace and reconciliation processes in East and Northeast Africa. In September 2018 he and his government contributed actively to the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Eritrea and Djibouti after many years of political hostility. Additionally, Abiy Ahmed has sought to mediate between Kenya and Somalia in their protracted conflict over rights to a disputed marine area. There is now hope for a resolution to this conflict. In Sudan, the military regime and the opposition have returned to the negotiating table. On the 17th of August, they released a joint draft of a new constitution intended to secure a peaceful transition to civil rule in the country. Prime Minister Abiy played a key role in the process that led to the agreement.
Ethiopia is a country of many different languages and peoples. Lately, old ethnic rivalries have flared up. According to international observers, up to three million Ethiopians may be internally displaced. That is in addition to the million or so refugees and asylum seekers from neighbouring countries. As Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed has sought to promote reconciliation, solidarity and social justice. However, many challenges remain unresolved. Ethnic strife continues to escalate, and we have seen troubling examples of this in recent weeks and months. No doubt some people will think this year’s prize is being awarded too early. The Norwegian Nobel Committee believes it is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts deserve recognition and need encouragement.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes that the Nobel Peace Prize will strengthen Prime Minister Abiy in his important work for peace and reconciliation. Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country and has East Africa’s largest economy. A peaceful, stable and successful Ethiopia will have many positive side-effects, and will help to strengthen fraternity among nations and peoples in the region. With the provisions of Alfred Nobel’s will firmly in mind, the Norwegian Nobel Committee sees Abiy Ahmed as the person who in the preceding year has done the most to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019.
Oslo, 11 October 2019 (Image Source: Google Images - Vatican Media)

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Saint October 11 : Saint María Soledad Torres Acosta the Foundress and Mother of the Servants of Mary

Foundress and Mother of the Servants of Mary, Ministers to the Sick
(1826 – 1887)

Soledad Torres Acosta was a woman who was completely open to the action of the Holy Spirit. She knew how to see the hand of God in everything that happened around her. She let herself be seduced by His loving and irresistible call that invited her to follow Him. She welcomed Christ into her heart, and her life was transformed into a gift for others. In humility and with God as her sole support, she even dared to undertake a great work in the Church: The Institute of the Servants of Mary.
Saint María Soledad was born on December 2, 1826, in Madrid, Spain. She was the second child of Francisco Torres and Antonia Acosta. She was baptized two days later and was given the name Antonia Bibiana Manuela.
Her childhood and youth passed by in the simplicity of daily life like any other young girl of her time; however, her love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and for prayer already stood out in her. When she was 25 years old, she heard the Lord’s call and asked to be admitted into the new Institute of the Servants of Mary that Father Michael Martínez, the parish priest of the neighborhood of Chamberí, had set out to begin for the purpose of caring for the sick in their own homes. The foundation took place on August 15, 1851. Manuela, who from then on would be called Sister María Soledad, would be the seventh of the founding group.

This is how Mother Soledad began her long journey through inspirations and darkness as she placed herself at the service of the poorest of the poor–the sick- seeing in them Christ Himself. With the total gift of herself, she went about showering the most exquisite and diligent charity upon the sick and poor. With profound humility and her great capacity to love, she understood the richness that the poor and sick possessed: they were nothing less than Christ Himself, the Divine Patient. It was Him for whom she kept vigil at night. She would look at Him, talk to Him, love Him and cure His wounds and kiss them… and the encounter was transformed into trust, hope and salvation. In this way she collaborated in the building up of the Kingdom of God.
After five years of complete dedication to the care of the sick, she saw that it was necessary for her to accept the position of General Superior. When Father Michael departed for the missions, she took charge of the Congregation, trusting in Divine Providence, and became the Foundress and Mother of the Servants of Mary.
Day after day, Mother Soledad did everything possible to provide for her Daughters’ spiritual wellbeing; her entire person reflected the gratuitousness and goodness of God. Her meek and humble heart was empty of herself and open to all; there were no limits of any kind for she knew that she belonged exclusively to God, and she gave her life as a free gift without receiving anything in return.
Open and willing to carry out the divine will, she had a deep sense of God’s presence within her. She constantly lived in the presence of God in everything she did: her work, various circumstances, unexpected events, the most ordinary tasks. She discovered God in everything because her heart was immersed in Him.
She solved everything with the logic of love based on humility, charity and gratitude. Because she lived poverty to the extreme and because she was profoundly humble, she acquired the liberty of spirit to be equable and magnanimous toward all, making herself the smallest and least of all.
Her secret was simple: seek the will of God always and in everything: in her many hours of prayer, in her personal encounter with God’s providence, in her friendship with Christ in the Holy Spirit whose growing presence she perceived in her soul as it became more transparent and penetrating every day, impelling her to work in her preferred and beloved field: the sick.
Her life revolved around the Lord’s presence in the Eucharist. Her nourishment was the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, from whom she received the strength necessary to endure life’s hardships with patience and serenity and to guide the Congregation with faith and unlimited trust in God whom she recognized as the ultimate guiding hand of the Institute. From the Eucharist Mother Soledad received the grace to give herself without reserve to her work as can be seen in her Letter 89: “May the Lord grant us His holy peace and patience so that with these two shields, we may carry the holy cross that Our Lord in His mercy has destined for us.
Her goal was clear: to be transformed into another Christ. From the very beginning, a clear sign of this transformation was her love for all, especially the most abandoned of society: those with contagious diseases. “The poor are my brothers”, she would say. She was so generous in sharing the little she had that all who came to her were surprised by this small woman with such a great soul. By her presence or her smile or by giving away a piece of bread, she revealed that God dwelled within her and that God is Love.
Mother Soledad showed us that the most wonderful gift from God is to be able to be fully identified with Christ who was obedient unto death on the cross. She experienced the emptiness, the loneliness and the abandonment of many, but never did she lack trust in Him who can do all things. She knew that the Cross of Christ is the source of strength and joy and that there are crosses that renew the life of the Church. She would exclaim, “May I know how to suffer”.  “Give me light and grace to be able to suffer and endure more for You”  (Letter 75). For her Daughters she prayed for “the grace to follow Him unto Calvary and to die crucified for love of Him” (Letter 75).
Mother Soledad took upon herself the suffering of the sick, of all of her Daughters, of the Church and of the entire world. She completed in her own body what was lacking in the passion of Christ, and her love and union with the Crucified Christ reached its fullness when she no longer desired anything else for herself or for her Daughters other than to “love the cross of Christ and not desire anything else” (Letter 63). This is the logic of love.
Mother Soledad relied on an exceptional woman for support and assistance who was her Mother on her journey: Our Lady, Health of the Sick. She was her model who she called her Mother, her consolation and her joy. Like Mary, she also gave her unconditional yes to the will of God and allowed herself to be molded in the forge of divine love. She was a bearer of Christ as she cared for the sick and proclaimed the Good News by her words and actions. She anticipated the needs of others in a motherly spirit of service to all. Like Mary she was at the foot of the Cross as she stayed at the bedside of suffering in an attitude of salvific offering. She was able to read history in the light of faith and hoped against all hope.
I have placed my confidence in Mary”, she would often repeat as she placed the “little boat” of the Congregation in her hands so she could lead it safely home. Full of gratitude and abandoned into the hands of the Father, she left this earthly life on October 11, 1887, a nine o’clock in the morning. She died like a grain of wheat as she reached the fullness of love. She left the “tree” of the Congregation flourishing with 46 foundations in Spain and overseas.
Today we can say that Mother Soledad let herself be led by the Holy Spirit who emptied her of herself so as to fill her with God. Flooded with His love, she caught a glimpse of new horizons in the Church, and impelled by this same Spirit from whom she received the precious gift of the new charism, she enriched and renewed the Church with the new Institute according to the Gospel: “Go and cure the sick”.  She revealed to us by her life the new and unique language of God: love. “The sick are the image of the suffering Christ and it is Him that we serve.” Mother Soledad taught us how to discover Christ in the poorest of the poor: the sick. “You did it to me.” Through her life she left us these finishing touches of her spiritual disposition:
Our own spirituality: Contemplatives in action, abandoned to Divine Providence, collaborators with Christ and Mary in the salvation of mankind.
Specific charism: the diligent and gratuitous care of the sick, preferably in their own home.
Her message: May you have peace and union and keep the Rule of Institute.
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Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday, October 11, 2019 - #Eucharist

Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 465

Reading 1JL1:13-15; 2:1-2

Gird yourselves and weep, O priests!
wail, O ministers of the altar!
Come, spend the night in sackcloth,
O ministers of my God!
The house of your God is deprived
of offering and libation.
Proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the elders,
all who dwell in the land,
Into the house of the LORD, your God,
and cry to the LORD!

Alas, the day!
for near is the day of the LORD,
and it comes as ruin from the Almighty.

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all who dwell in the land tremble,
for the day of the LORD is coming;
Yes, it is near, a day of darkness and of gloom,
a day of clouds and somberness!
Like dawn spreading over the mountains,
a people numerous and mighty!
Their like has not been from of old,
nor will it be after them,
even to the years of distant generations.

Responsorial PsalmPS 9:2-3, 6 AND 16, 8-9

R.(9) The Lord will judge the world with justice.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will declare all your wondrous deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, Most High.
R. The Lord will judge the world with justice.
You rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
their name you blotted out forever and ever.
The nations are sunk in the pit they have made;
in the snare they set, their foot is caught.
R. The Lord will judge the world with justice.
But the LORD sits enthroned forever;
he has set up his throne for judgment.
He judges the world with justice;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord will judge the world with justice.

AlleluiaJN 12:31B-32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The prince of this world will now be cast out,
and when I am lifted up from the earth
I will draw all to myself, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 11:15-26

When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said:
"By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons."
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
"Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

"When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,
it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says,
'I shall return to my home from which I came.'
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there,
and the last condition of that man is worse than the first."