Friday, October 18, 2019

Saint October 19 : St. Peter Alcantara - a Franciscan who founded 1st Convent of the "Strict Observance."


PETER, while still a youth, left his home at Alcantara in Spain, and entered a convent of Discalced Franciscans. He rose quickly to high posts in the Order, but his thirst for penance was still unappeased, and in 1539, being then forty years old, he founded the first convent of the "Strict Observance." The cells of the friars resembled graves rather than dwelling-places. That of St. Peter himself was four feet and a half in length, so that he could never lie down; he ate but once in three days; his sack-cloth habit and a cloak were his only garments, and he never covered his head or feet. In the bitter winter he would open the door and window of his cell that, by closing them again, he might experience some sensation of warmth. Amongst those whom he trained to perfection was St. Teresa. He read her soul, approved of her spirit of prayer, and strengthened her to carry out her reforms. St. Peter died, with great joy, kneeling in prayer, October 18, 1562, at the age of sixty-three.
Reflection.—If men do not go about barefoot now, nor undergo sharp penances, as St. Peter did, there are many ways of trampling on the world; and Our Lord teaches them when He finds the necessary courage.
Butler's Lives of the Saints

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Latest from the Amazon Synod - Possibility of an Amazon Rite - A question about Ecological sins - Renewing consecrated life

Amazon Synod Press Conference: Ecological conversion and God’s dream
(Image Source: Screen Shot - Youtube - VaticanMedia)
The Holy Press Office hosts a press conference on Friday during which four Synod participants share some of the issues that have emerged in the small working groups.
By Vatican News

Synod participants have been examining a variety of issues in their so-called “circuli minores”. They shared the fruit of their discussions at Friday’s press conference. But, as Jesuit Fr Giacomo Costa, Secretary of the Synod Information Commission, confirmed, the results of these discussions do not yet represent “the perspective of the Synod”. At this stage, he said, participants are still expressing their “personal thoughts and observations”, while the Synod continues to “consider everyone’s contribution”.

Renewing consecrated life
Sr Daniela Adriana Cannavina is Secretary General of CLAR in Colombia. She opened the press conference summarizing some of the proposals that emerged in her small working group. These include the need to renew and strengthen consecrated life in the Amazon Region. Religious men and women working in the region bring with them the “voice of experience with the indigenous people”, she said.

A Synod focusing on the Amazon has repercussions for the Universal Church, continued Sr Daniela. Which is why we need to “go beyond our fears and concerns, and make changes”, responding to the realities of the Amazon Region as “mystics and prophets”, she said.

Reconsidering structures
Sr Daniela said her working group discussed how it is time for consecrated men and women to “reconsider their structures”, if they are to move forward with “new missionary zeal”. She said her group stressed the need for “dialogue and shared responsibility” among pastors and laypeople. Moving “outside our comfort zones” and providing a strengthening presence “starting from our charisms”, was also emphasized, she said.

Regarding the role of women, Sr Daniela spoke of letting them take on certain pastoral ministries “in a responsible way”. Again she stressed “cooperation and co-responsibility” as a priority, clarifying this is not about “clericalism or power”. Religious life is about service, she said.

An Amazon Rite
Archbishop Rino Fisichella is President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. His intervention focused on the universality and complementarity of the Church. He described the Church as “one, but comprising many different people”. This is why it is important to respect all cultures and all peoples, he said, because “respect implies recognizing complementarity”.

No one culture can ever exhaust the richness of Christian reality, said Archbishop Fisichella. Every tradition and culture has something to say, “so that our common heritage can be interpreted”. In fact, we need to enhance certain elements of the Amazon cultures, he added.

In this respect, the Archbishop said his group proposed an “Amazon rite for the Amazon”. Indigenous people may live different cultures, he said, but they all have elements that communicate “the greatness of the Christian faith”. An Amazon rite means making expressions of the faith “visible and tangible”, according to the unique features of those cultures.

Paths of the martyrs
Bishop Mario Antonio da Silva, of Roraima in Brazil, described this Synod as “an opportunity to get in touch with life, forests, water, animals, minerals, but especially communities that are filled with wisdom”, and that already may have answers to many of the challenges in the Amazon Region.

The Synod is an opportunity for the whole Church to recognize paths already developed by the martyrs, he said, to listen to “the Christian communities crying out with their problems”. He identified migration as one of the major challenges in his region, saying that often this is coupled with a “humanitarian crisis”.

His small group has been “following a process of discernment”, continued Bishop da Silva, and has come up with proposals “calling for more responsibility”.

God’s dream
Mr Mauricio Lopez is Executive Secretary of REPAM (Red Eclesial Pan Amazònica). He began his presentation referencing the “contemplative element in Ignatian spirituality”, and inviting everyone present in the Holy See Press Office to observe a moment of silence, in order “to contemplate our reality and God’s vision of this reality”.

We have to see reality for what it is, said Mr Lopez. Even more importantly, we have to see reality as God does, to ask ourselves “what is God’s dream for reality?”. To do so we have to “look into our hearts and into the faces of others”, he said.

The periphery and the centre
This Synod for the Amazon is not the “periphery taking the place of the centre”, but the centre “being enlighted from the periphery”. Mr Lopez said not to be afraid, and not to lose sight of “the importance of people, their future and their hopes”.

He concluded with a call for three kinds of conversion: pastoral, ecological, and synodal. God is inviting us to be part of His project, said Mr Lopez, “to find meaning in life”.

A question about ecological sins
At the press briefing last Friday, Archbishop Pedro Brito Guimarâes used the term “ecological sin”. The first question at this Friday’s press conference asked for examples.

Sr Daniela began by defining an ecological sin as anything that “excludes our indigenous brothers and sisters from their territories”, or “endangers their lives” because of the irreversible destruction caused by mining and oil companies.

Mauricio Lopez identified it as the “structural sin of inequality”: rights violations, land grabbing, the destruction of our common home. He cited the inequality of a world where a small group of people possesses 90%of all resources.

Archbishop Fisichella said ecological sin expresses itself “when human beings become individualistic”, when they fail to realize the value of “nature, creation, life, and relationships”. Sin occurs, he said, when we “erect barriers against God” and Creation, which is “a manifestation of God”.

Bishop da Silva said that, rather than a list of sins, he preferred to call attention to “concrete and sincere conversion”. Greed, profit, excess, all these contain “the DNA of evil and sin”, he said. But instead of “ecological sin” he said we should call for “ecological conversion”.

A question about funding
Bishop Mario Antonio da Silva responded to a question regarding funding from third parties that do not embrace the same values as the Catholic Church. He reaffirmed the Church’s commitment to defend life from birth to natural death. Specifying that all funding is used exclusively to “promote and develop life issues”, he listed “children, pregnant women, families, and the elderly” among its beneficiaries.

As Executive Secretary of REPAM, Mauricio Lopez clarified that his is “not an institution, but a network”, with no resources of its own. He called the Synod for the Amazon a “pro- life Synod that represents life itself”, as a process that seeks “to give meaning to life”.

The Prefect for the Dicastery for Communications, Dr Paolo Ruffini, added that money given to the Catholic Church is destined for charitable works, and that this is preferable to it being used for un-Chistlike purposes.

A question about ecological sins
Returning to the question of how the Synod for the Amazon can help bring the peripheries to the centre, Mauricio Lopez said the Amazon “can shake us and help us in positive way to be closer to God’s pro-life project”. This implies developing a more “global perspective”, he added. Scientific information tells us we must evaluate and take action in our present reality.

And the time, he said, “is now”.


Pope Francis meets with 40 Indigenous People and pointed out the dangers of new forms of colonization - Video

According to Vatican News, Pope Francis met with a group of indigenous people participating in the Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region.

On Thursday, October 17, 2019, around 3.30pm, Pope Francis met with about 40 indigenous people, some of them participants at the Synod for the Amazon, others engaged in cultural activities currently underway in Rome. The group was accompanied by Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, and Archbishop Roque Paloschi of Porto Velho, Brazil.
According to a statement by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, the meeting opened with two brief speeches, read by a woman and a man, representing the indigenous people. “They expressed their gratitude to the Holy Father for convoking the Synod, and asked for help in implementing their desire to ensure a peaceful and happy life for their peoples, caring for their land, and protecting its waters, for their descendants to enjoy”.

Pope Francis then addressed a few words to those present, underlining how the Gospel is like a seed, which falls onto the soil it finds, and grows with the characteristics of that soil. With reference to the Amazon Region, continues the Vatican Press Office statement, “the Holy Father pointed out the dangers of new forms of colonization”.

Finally, referring to the origins of Christianity, which was born in the Jewish world, developed in the Greek-Latin world, and then reached other lands, Slavic, Eastern, and American, Pope Francis reiterated the need to inculturate the Gospel so that “people can receive the announcement of Jesus with their own culture”.Edited from

Novena to St. Luke Evangelist - the Patron of Doctors and Artists -

Novena to St. Luke
Dear St. Luke, I love God with all my heart. Inflame my heart with an ardent love of God and worship of the Trinity. 
Please intercede for me and help me in this necessity: 
St. Luke, please help me to grow in grace and holiness, but above all, that I may rest with thee in eternity, help me to do God's will each and every day to the best of my ability.Help me to hear my Father's voice and love all with all my heart.Dear St. Luke, I love you. Thank you for your help. Be with me as I pray: Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory Be... (one each) Amen Say for 9 days in petition and 9 days in thanksgiving

Wow 2 Million at Largest Catholic Festival in Brazil "Círio de Nazaré" honoring Mary, Mother of the Church

The largest religious festival in Brazil was conducted this year by the papal nuncio D'Aniello
Brazil. One of the largest pilgrimages of the Catholic Church, the "Círio de Nazare" in Belem, has gathered hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in the city on the Amazon on Sunday. More than two million faithful participated in the four-kilometer procession from the Cathedral to St. Mary's Basilica. The theme of this year's pilgrimage was Mary, Mother of the Church. Archbishop Giovanni D'Aniello, especially as Belem's Archbishop Alberto Taveira currently participates in the Amazon Synod in Rome.

The "Cirio" procession is a "moment of grace" that allows the believing in the presence of God through his mother to Mary and help them to find their way to Jesus Christ, said Nuncio D'Aniello in his sermon. The Archbishop invited us to imitate the Mother of Jesus as a "model of simplicity, modesty and prayer life" and "to love God in our neighbor and in the most needy people".
The procession in honor of Saint Mary in Belem has been held on the second Sunday of October since 1790 and is considered the largest religious festival in Brazil. After a festive service celebrated in the early morning hours, a statue of the Virgin Mary is being carried on a litter through the streets and finally ships in the bay across the bay. Attached to the statue is a 400-meter long rope that the faithful try to touch. Para State Patronage Festival 2013 was included in the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Edited from

US Ambassador's Speech at Symposium "Women on the Frontlines" saying "Women religious are often the last beacons of hope for millions..." in Rome

U.S. Embassy to the Holy See
Rome, Italy
October 16, 2019
As Delivered:
Your Excellencies, sisters, distinguished guests, and friends, good morning and welcome to the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.
This is the second time our embassy has hosted a symposium recognizing the extraordinary contributions of women religious on the frontlines.
I am especially grateful to Sister Pat Murray and all of the sisters and staff at the UISG for lending their support to this program. The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See has been a longtime friend and partner of the UISG.
I’d also like to thank Father Frank Lemoncelli from the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, for joining us this morning, and for delivering our closing remarks.
We are here today to recognize and celebrate the work of women religious on the frontlines.
What do we mean when we say, “frontlines?” At our symposium in 2018, we highlighted the work of sisters in conflict zones and other dangerous places around the world – and the risks they encounter on a daily basis. We focused our attention on one of the most egregious forms of violence: the scourge of human trafficking.
But as much as human trafficking – and crimes like it – drive conflict and instability, we must ask ourselves what circumstances allowed them develop in the first place? What are the catalysts of conflict? What leads communities and countries to instability? What causes governments to fail?
This is what we’re here to explore this morning. To do so, we’ve convened a panel of women religious who work to promote and advance education, health, and development, in conflict zones and other dangerous parts of the world. We know that when these fundamental areas of life are threatened or unprotected, conflict and instability prevail.
We’re also here to emphasize a key point: Women religious are among the most effective and vital partners we have on the frontlines in fragile communities around the world.
Women religious are often the last beacons of hope for millions of people who otherwise would not have a voice. They serve the displaced and the desperate, frequently at the risk of personal harm, in places where governments have failed and humanitarian organizations struggle to operate.
Beyond the care and support women religious provide to local communities, sisters often have an unparalleled understanding of the social, economic, and political situations in their region.
Too often, the work of women religious is under appreciated or even unrecognized. It is my hope that this symposium will illustrate the remarkable contributions women religious make to advance peace and human dignity around the world.
I am honored that we are joined today by someone who fully embodies the qualities I just mentioned: Sister Orla Treacy.
Like so many religious sisters working on the frontlines, Sister Orla is a woman of immense courage.
In a country besieged by civil war and insecurity, Sister Orla serves as the head of the Loreto Rumbek Mission, overseeing a boarding school and a primary school for girls, as well as a healthcare facility for women and children.
In March of this year, in Washington D.C., she was recognized by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, as a 2019 International Woman of Courage.
Sister Orla is one of the many inspiring women religious – in this room and around the world – who work tirelessly to advance human dignity and freedom.
It has been an honor to meet and work with so many incredible sisters during my tenure as ambassador. I’m pleased that so many of you are here with us this morning. Thank you, sisters, for all that you do.
The United States Embassy to the Holy See will continue to shine a bright light on women religious and their extraordinary achievements.
Thank you and God bless.
Full Text Source: - Image Source: FB US Embassy to the Holy See

Latest from the Amazon Synod - The Church... needs to be even closer to the indigenous people “who are in the forefront” and who risk being “persecuted and killed”.

Amazon Synod Briefing: Education and the rights of Nature
Synod participants continue their discussions in small working groups on Thursday morning, and a panel of experts share their experiences during a briefing at the Holy See Press Office.
By Vatican News

Those experiences all came directly from the Amazon Region thanks to the four guests on the panel: they included an indigenous educator from Guyana, an expert in indigenous spirituality, and a specialist in indigenous rights, both from Brazil.

Ms Leah Rose Casimero
Ms Leah Rose Casimero coordinates a bilingual education programme for Wapichan children in Guyana. In her presentation, she spoke of how education systems have been “imposed” on her people “along with everything else”. The time has come, she said, “to take our future into our own hands”.

This implies “creating something better for our children” in terms of culture, traditional knowledge, and language, she said. In her educational model, language is not taught as a subject, but as the medium itself.

Ms Casimero is herself Wapichan and said indigenous people are not often listened to. This is not the case in the Synod, however, where she feels people respect one another, speaking and listening “as partners”.

Ms Patricia Gualinga
Ms Patricia Gualinga is an indigenous leader of the Kichwa community in Sarayaku, Ecuador. In her intervention she called for an “institutional commitment” to save the Amazon. Confirming it is one of the most important biomes on the planet, she said this kind of commitment would be “for the benefit of all humanity”.

The Church is present in the Amazon Region, said Ms Gualinga, but needs to be even closer to the indigenous people “who are in the forefront” and who risk being “persecuted and killed”. Nature, she concluded, is our common home.

Dr Felicio de Araujo Pontes Junior
Dr Felicio de Araujo Pontes Junior is a specialist in indigenous rights who works in Brazil. He described how he provides legal protection to indigenous people living in the forests, and along the rivers of the Amazon, when they come into conflict with “development models that are imposed on the region”.

Fr Justino Sarmento Rezende, S.D.B.
Fr Justino Sarmento Rezende has been a Salesian priest for 25 years, and is an expert in indigenous and inculturated pastoral spirituality in Brazil. His presentation focused on creating an Amazonian Church with “a new face”. He spoke of “giving value to tradition and cultures”, and said he dreams of developing “new ways of evangelizing”. Fr Rezende concluded by inviting journalists present in the Vatican Press Office to “Come to the Amazon and see for yourselves!”.

Archbishop Roque Paloschi
Archbishop Roque Paloschi of Porto Velho in Brazil said his intervention at the Synod had dealt with the issue of “indigenous people living in voluntary isolation”. He quoted Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato sì, when it addresses the dangers of allowing cultures to disappear, and repeated the need to “protect our vulnerable brothers and sisters” in the Amazon Region.

A question about a Church with an Amazonian face
In response to a question, Fr Justino Sarmento Rezende expanded on the idea of a Church with an Amazonian face: “A face is an expression of what is in our hearts”, he said. In this sense, it doesn’t necessarily mean doing things the way the original missionaries did, he added. We need to “evangelize in our own language”, we need to “know and understand the lives of indigenous people”. This means being “present”, said Fr Rezende.

A question about intercultural education
Answering a question directed at her personally, Ms Leah Rose Casimero described something of her experience in the field of intercultural education with Wapichan children in Guyana. That experience is just a year old, she said, as the bilingual model was only implemented in September 2018. Which is why “training teachers is a priority”, she said.

Ms Casimero explained how this is the first experiment at “incorporating indigenous language, knowledge, traditions, and ways of life”, with national educational standards. In fact, the Ministry of Education in Guyana is starting to revise the education system in the country and is following her programme “with interest”, she said, to see if it can be applied among other indigenous people.

A question about inculturation
Archbishop Roque Paloschi responded to a journalist who asked whether inculturation was seen as “an end in itself”. He explained that the Church is committed to inculturation which means respecting “both sides”, not eliminating the culture of the other, but preserving that which is already present. He quoted Benedict XVI as saying the Church does not evangelize by proselytizing, but by witnessing.

A question about development models
Dr Felicio de Araujo Pontes Junior responded to a question concerning development models, and considering Nature as a legal issue. He distinguished between what he called “predatory models”, like logging and mining, and “socio-environmental models” that engage with institutions and governments.

Research shows that “a new species is discovered in the Amazon every 15 days”, he said. The Amazon forest is an “asset”, he added. Allowing it to thrive “makes economic sense”, and the indigenous people are “the guardians” of these assets. “Nature has rights”, concluded Dr de Araujo Pontes. “Humanity cannot destroy ecosystems in the name of progress”, he said.
Full Text Source:

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday, October 18, 2019 - #Eucharist

Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist
Lectionary: 661

Reading 12 TM 4:10-17B

Demas, enamored of the present world,
deserted me and went to Thessalonica,
Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.
Luke is the only one with me.
Get Mark and bring him with you,
for he is helpful to me in the ministry.
I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
When you come, bring the cloak I left with Carpus in Troas,
the papyrus rolls, and especially the parchments.

Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm;
the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
You too be on guard against him,
for he has strongly resisted our preaching.

At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf,
but everyone deserted me.
May it not be held against them!
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.

Responsorial PsalmPS 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18

R.(12)  Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

AlleluiaSEE JN 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 10:1-9

The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter,
first say, 'Peace to this household.'
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
'The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.'"