Saturday, November 23, 2019

Saint November 24 : St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions the Martyrs of Vietnam

1785 in Vietnam
21 December 1839 in Hanoi, Vietnam
19 June 1988 by Pope John Paul II Vietnamese priest and martyr and companion of St. Peter Thi. Andrew was arrested and beheaded on Dcember 21, 1839, with Peter Thi during the harsh anti-Christian persecutions. He was canonized in 1988.(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints)

Pope Francis explains to Bishops the Importance of "Protecting every life and proclaiming the Gospel..." in Japan - Full Text + Video

(19 - 26 November 2019)



Apostolic Nunciature (Tokyo)
Saturday, November 23, 2019

Dear brothers!

First of all, I want to apologize and ask forgiveness because I entered without saying goodbye to anyone: how rude we are, we Argentines! Excuse me for this.

I am very happy to be among you. The Japanese have a reputation for being methodical and workers, and the proof is this: the Pope gets off the plane and they work right away! Thank you very much.

I am happy for the gift of visiting Japan and for the welcome you have given me. I particularly thank Archbishop Takami for his words on behalf of the entire Catholic community in this country. Being here with you, in this first official meeting, I want to greet each and every one of your communities, lay people, catechists, priests, religious, consecrated persons, seminarians. And I also wish to extend the embrace and my prayers to all the Japanese in this period characterized by the enthronement of the new Emperor and the beginning of the Reiwa era.

I don't know if you know, but since I was young I felt sympathy and affection for these lands. Many years have passed since that missionary impulse, whose realization was long in coming. Today the Lord offers me the opportunity to be among you as a missionary pilgrim in the footsteps of great witnesses to the faith. 470 years have passed since the arrival of St. Francis Xavier in Japan, which marked the beginning of the spread of Christianity in this land. In his memory, I want to join you to thank the Lord for all those who, over the centuries, have dedicated themselves to sowing the Gospel and serving the Japanese people with great anointing and love; this dedication has given the Japanese Church a very special face. I am thinking of the martyrs Saint Paul Miki and his companions and of Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon, who in the midst of many trials gave testimony until his death. This self-offering to keep the faith alive through persecution has helped the small Christian community to grow, consolidate and bear fruit. We also think of the "hidden Christians" of the Nagasaki region, who have kept their faith for generations thanks to baptism, prayer and catechesis. Authentic domestic Churches that shone in this land, perhaps without knowing it, like mirrors of the Family of Nazareth.

The way of the Lord shows us how your presence is played out in the daily life of the faithful people, who look for ways to continue to make present the memory of Him; a silent presence, a living memory that reminds us that where two or more are gathered in his name, He will be there, with the strength and tenderness of his Spirit (see Mt 18,20). The DNA of your communities is marked by this testimony, an antidote against despair, which shows us the path to which we can orient ourselves. You are a living Church, which has been preserved by pronouncing the Name of the Lord and contemplating how He guided you in the midst of persecution.

The confident sowing, the testimony of the martyrs and the patient waiting for the fruits that the Lord gives in his time, have characterized the apostolic modality with which you have been able to accompany Japanese culture. As a result, over the years you have shaped an ecclesial face that is generally very appreciated by Japanese society, thanks to your many contributions to the common good. This important chapter in the history of the country and of the universal Church has now been recognized with the designation of the churches and villages of Nagasaki and Amakusa as places of World Cultural Heritage; but, above all, as a living memory of the soul of your communities, a fruitful hope for every evangelization.

This apostolic journey is marked by the motto "Protect every life", which may well symbolize our episcopal ministry. The bishop is the one whom the Lord has called among his people, to return him as a pastor capable of protecting every life, and this determines to a certain extent the scenario to which we must aim.
The mission in these lands has been characterized by a strong search for inculturation and dialogue, which has allowed the formation of new modes independent of those developed in Europe. We know that, from the beginning, writings, theater, music and all kinds of instruments were used, mostly in Japanese. This fact demonstrates the love that the first missionaries felt for these lands. Protecting every life means, first of all, having a contemplative gaze capable of loving the life of all the people entrusted to you, to recognize in it first of all a gift of the Lord. «Because only what you love can be saved. Only what is embraced can be transformed "(Speech in the Vigil with the young, Panama, 26 January 2019). Principle of incarnation, which can help us place ourselves before each life as a free gift, above other considerations, valid but secondary. Protecting every life and proclaiming the Gospel are not two separate or opposing things: they call each other and demand each other. Both entail being careful and vigilant about anything that could hinder, in these lands, the integral development of the people entrusted to the light of the Gospel of Jesus.

We know that in Japan the Church is small and Catholics are a minority, but this must not diminish your commitment to evangelization which, in your particular situation, the strongest and clearest word it can offer is that of a humble, daily testimony and of dialogue with other religious traditions. The hospitality and care you show to the many foreign workers, who represent more than half of Japan's Catholics, not only serve as a testimony of the Gospel within Japanese society, but also attest to the universality of the Church, demonstrating that our union with Christ he is stronger than any other bond or identity and is able to reach all realities.

A martyrial Church can speak with more freedom, especially in dealing with urgent issues of peace and justice in our world. Tomorrow I will visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima, where I will pray for the victims of the catastrophic bombing of these two cities and I will echo your prophetic appeals to nuclear disarmament. I wish to meet those who still suffer the wounds of that tragic episode in human history; as well as the victims of the "triple disaster". Their prolonged suffering is an eloquent warning to our human and Christian duty to help those who suffer in body and spirit and to offer everyone the gospel message of hope, healing and reconciliation. Let us remember that evil does not make people's preferences and is not informed about belonging; it simply bursts with its destructive force, as happened recently with the devastating typhoon that caused so many casualties and material damage. We entrust to the Lord's mercy those who have died, their families and all those who have lost their homes and material possessions. We are not afraid to carry on always, here and throughout the world, a mission capable of raising the voice and defending every life as a precious gift from the Lord.

I therefore encourage you in your efforts to ensure that the Catholic community in Japan offers a clear testimony of the Gospel in the midst of all society. The appreciated educational apostolate of the Church represents a great resource for evangelization and demonstrates the commitment with the broader intellectual and cultural currents; the quality of his contribution will naturally depend on the promotion of his identity and his mission.

We are aware of the fact that there are several scourges that threaten the lives of some people in your communities, which are marked, for various reasons, by loneliness, despair and isolation. The increase in the number of suicides in your cities, as well as bullying (ijime) and various forms of self-need, are creating new types of alienation and spiritual disorientation. How much this affects young people above all! I invite you to pay particular attention to them and their needs, to try to create spaces in which the culture of efficiency, performance and success can open up to the culture of a free and selfless love, able to offer everyone, and not only to those "arrived", possibility of a happy and successful life. With their enthusiasm, their ideas and their energies, as well as with a good formation and a good accompaniment, your young people can be an important source of hope for their peers and give a living testimony of Christian charity. A creative, inculturated and ingenious search for the kerygma can have a strong reflection in so many lives thirsty for compassion.
I know the harvest is great and the workers are few. I encourage you to seek, develop and grow a mission capable of involving families and promoting a formation capable of reaching people where they are, always bearing in mind the reality: the starting point for every apostolate comes from the place where the people find themselves, with their habits and occupations, not in artificial places. There, we must reach the soul of the cities, of the workplaces, of the universities to accompany the faithful entrusted to us with the Gospel of compassion and mercy.

Thanks again for the opportunity you offer me to visit your particular Churches and to celebrate together with them. Peter wants to confirm you in faith, but Peter also comes to touch and let himself be renewed in the footsteps of so many martyrs who are witnesses of the faith; pray for the Lord to grant me this grace.

I ask the Lord to bless you and, in you, to bless your communities. Thanks.
Full Text + Image Source: - Unofficial Translation

Why You should Sign Up for Eucharistic Adoration at your Church - a time of Intimate Prayer with Jesus that will Change your Life!

God, the Author of life, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, has the power to advance the protection of human life and family!
We encourage and promote Eucharistic adoration for the intentions of the pro-life movement. 
All are invited to make holy hours and visits before the Blessed Sacrament for the protection of the unborn, those tempted to commit suicide and the vulnerable of all ages, from the moment of conception until natural death.
Holy Hours for Pro-Life Intentions
The US Bishops’ website offers “A Holy Hour for Life: Prayers Before the Blessed Sacrament for the Gospel of Life”. 
The Holy Hour devotion can be traced back to Christ Himself who says: “Could you not watch one hour with Me?”  (Matt. 26:40) In a Church approved apparition to St. Margaret Mary in 1674, He asked her to make an hour of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament on Thursdays. This was in order to share in the agony Christ suffered in the Garden of Olives, mitigate the wrath of God and beg mercy for sinners. He invited her also to honour and relieve the heaviness of heart He experienced when His disciples failed to watch even one hour with Him.
Pro-life leaders including Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen and Fr. John Hardon SJ, promoted making holy hours and devotion to Our Blessed Mother. The Eucharist fueled their priesthood and pro-life preaching.
Archbishop Sheen was a popular priest and preacher with his own television show called “Life is Worth Living”. He was friendly with his audience who could understand him quite easily. 
 In his TV series, he frequently stressed the priority he placed on taking one hour every day for adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.  Eucharistic Adoration Canada offers assistance for starting or increasing perpetual adoration and holy hours. 
On March 25, 2019, Eternal Word Television Network featured a program with Allan J. Smith, founder and director of the Fulton J. Sheen Mission Society of Canada that promotes making a daily holy hour. Radio Immaculata broadcasts a weekly online International Holy Hour for Life.
Powerhouse of Prayer around the Real Presence of Jesus
The late Fr. Jim Whalen, founding national director of Priests for Life Canada started a perpetual adoration chapel in his parish.  In an article he wrote called “Adoration: Radical Life Transformation” for the Priests for Life newsletter he wrote:
 “Devotion to the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament is a universal devotion – the central devotion of the Church. To be effective pro-life missionaries, to build a Eucharistic Culture of Life, we must return to our source of strength, building a powerhouse of prayer around the Real Presence of our Leader, Jesus Christ.”
Different types spiritual activism have and can continue to be initiated to sustain and bolster pro-life endeavors. For example, celebrate and have Masses offered; ask your pastor if your parish can have perpetual adoration, arrange for processions with the Blessed Sacrament; use sacramentals; exorcism when necessary; display images of and pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the pro-life movement.  Pray the Rosary, prayers to St. Michael the Archangel and to St. Joseph who protected the Christ-child from death.  Recite deliverance prayers and fast. 
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a necessity to restore and renew respect for life.  When we focus on Christ, miracles do happen and souls and lives can be saved.
Our centre for the establishment of perpetual Eucharistic adoration offers comprehensive assistance in person or from a distance for starting and organizing partial or round the clock perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in parishes primarily through Adoration Sign-Up weekends. We can be reached through our website:
Submitted to CNW by The Team at Eucharistic Adoration Canada

#BreakingNews Pope Francis arrives in Japan to Rain and Wind but fulfills Missionary Dream

Pope Francis arrived in Tokyo, Japan on a rainy and windy evening. Bulletin: Welcome ceremony at Tokyo Haneda Airport

Upon arrival at Tokyo-Haneda Airport, the Holy Father Francis was welcomed at the foot of the plane by the Deputy Prime Minister of Japan, S.E. Mr. Tarō Asō. Two children in traditional dress offered him a floral tribute, in the presence of about 100 students from Catholic schools. Then, after the greetings of the respective Delegations and after crossing the Honor Guard, the Pope and the Deputy Prime Minister had a brief private meeting in the VIP 3 hall of the Airport.

At the end the Holy Father moved by car to the Apostolic Nunciature of Tokyo where, upon his arrival, he was welcomed in the courtyard by a group of 200 faithful and at the entrance of the house by the staff of the Nunciature. Reports that Pope Francis as a young priest desired to become a missionary to Japan but this was rejected had to do with his health. He caught a severe case of pneumonia at the age of 21, and had to have surgery to remove a portion of his right lung.
The news agency further reported that on the same week as his arrival, Japan’s government made a historic decision related to the Japanese-language characters they use to write the word “Pope”. For a long time the official characters – transliterated as Hōō – meant “Emperor of the Law”. A similar term is used to designate the highest-ranking official in Buddhism. But the Catholic Church in Japan uses a different term. Theirs – Kyō-kō – is more like “Emperor of Teaching”. Japanese Catholics have been asking the government to recognize that term for over 40 years. The move could be called a sign of goodwill to prepare the Pope’s path in the East Asian nation.

Saint November 23 : St. Columban a Monk and Abbot of Ireland and Patron of the Columban Missionaries

St. Columban

540, Leinster, Ireland
23 November 615
Major Shrine:
Abbey church at Bobbio

Already a monk at Bangor Columban set out from Ireland with twelve companions as a wandering pilgrim for Christ.
St Columban (543-615)
Already a monk at Bangor Columban set out from there with twelve companions as a wandering pilgrim for Christ. Passing to mainland Europe, he had enormous influence by setting up monastic foundations in France and Italy. A vibrant missionary society serving in fourteen countries worldwide today bears his name – the Columban Missionaries. Patrick Duffy tells Columban’s story.
Formation by Sinell at Cluain Inis and Comgall at Bangor
Born in Leinster, Columban receive a good education in the Bible, classical authors and the Latin Fathers. Finding that girls were distracting him from his studies, a woman hermit advised him to become a monk. After some time with Sinell at the Lough Erne island of Cluain Inis, his major formation was under St Comgall at Bangor, where he spent many years teaching before setting on his wanderings for Christ, probably in 590.
Saint Columban, abbot: “Seek then the highest wisdom, not by arguments in words but by the perfection of your life, not by speech but by faith that comes from God.
In the kingdom of the Franks Columban travelled with a group of companions by sea and land across Cornwall, the English Channel, Brittany and pressed on in a south-easterly direction into the kingdom of the Franks, by then partitioned (since 561) and thoroughly lapsed from its earlier Christianity under Clovis (d. 511) and his his queen, St Clotilde.
The Irish monks found paganism, witchcraft, magic, and brutal ritual murder rife. On their way they had visited the court of King Childebert II of Austrasia (now roughly = Alsace) and then being given an old Roman fort at Annagray, in the foothills of the Vosges mountains, they established their first monastery. Soon they founded another eight miles to the west at Luxeuil.
Conflict with Frankish bishopsTheir austere way of life, codified in Columban’s own Rule, attracted many followers, but their Irish customs, with a bishop subordinate to the abbot, a different date for Easter, and the Irish tonsure across the front part of the head, and some very penitential practices based on those of the desert fathers, all annoyed the Frankish bishops, who summoned Columban to explain himself at a synod. Regarding them as negligent and lax, Columban refused to attend, but wrote them a letter effectively suggesting that they were bothering about trifles and should leave him, “a poor stranger in these parts for the cause of Christ”, and his monks in peace.
Here the abbot and his monks led the simplest of lives, their food often consisting of nothing but forest herbs, berries, and the bark of young trees. The fame of Columbanus’s sanctity spread far and wide.
But the bishops renewed their attacks, concentrating on the Easter question, and Columban wrote to Pope St Gregory I asking for confirmation of the validity of his tradition. Gregory sent him  a copy of his Pastoral Care and advised him consult the Abbot of Lerins.
A kind of truce ensued for some years, followed by renewed attacks and a fresh appeal for tolerance. The Irish introduced a practice of confession with the imposition of harsh penances according to a Penitential Book compiled by Columban.
Writes to Pope Gregory
But the bishops renewed their attacks, concentrating on the Easter question, and Columban wrote to Pope St Gregory I asking for confirmation of the validity of his tradition. Gregory sent him  a copy of his Pastoral Care and advised him consult the Abbot of Lerins. A kind of truce ensued for some years, followed by renewed attacks and a fresh appeal for tolerance.
Conflict with the Burgundian royal family
Columban then fell foul of the Burgundian royal family. The king respected him and used him as an adviser, but Columban could not tolerate the fact that the king kept concubines. He refused to bless the king’s illegitimate children. This incurred the wrath of Theodoric’s formidable grandmother, Brunhilda, who exercised a matriarchal rule and did not want Theodoric marrying and so introducing a legitimate queen who might be a rival. She harrassed the Irish monks until they were forced to leave the kingdom, though the Franks who had joined their monasteries were allowed to stay.
Deported… but sailed up the RhineColumban and his Irish compatriots first tried to settle at Tours but were were forced under military escort to Nantes, to be deported back to Ireland by sea. Their ship ran into a fierce storm and was forced to turn back. They then crossed Gaul once more, but by a more northly route, to Metz, where the Austrasian king, Theodebert II, received them kindly. Finally they rowed up the Rhine in the depths of winter, hoping to settle at Bregenz on Lake Constance, but the excessive zeal of their preaching made them enemies, and when Austrasia and Burgundy went to war and Austrasia was defeated, Columban moved on.

God’s wanderer and fierce defender of the faith.
Into Italy
By now aged about 70, he crossed the Alps to Milan, leaving his disciple in Gall and some other monks behind, after what may have been a quarrel. He was well received by the king of Lombardy, an Arian, though his wife and children were Catholics. He found himself caught up in the complex doctrinal issue of the writings (and writers) known as the Three Chapters, about which he knew little. Persuaded by the king’s wife, a passionate defender of the Three Chapters, he wrote a letter to Pope Boniface IV, ostensibly in their defence, but actually defending the orthodoxy of his own position: “We are disciples of Saints Peter and Paul and all the disciples who by the Holy Spirit wrote the divine canon. No one of us has been a heretic, no one a Jew, no one a schismatic… the Catholic faith is maintained unchanged.”
Death and influenceThe royal couple gave Columban land at Bobbio, in an Apennine pass between Genoa and Piacenza, and here he built his last monastery. Invited to return to the Frankish kingdom, he declined, now nearing death.

St Columban’s tomb is in Bobbio
He died at Bobbio on 3 November 615 and was buried there.
The next abbot commissioned a monk named Joncas, who had joined the abbey three years after Columban’s death, to write his Life. Joncas completed this with the help of many who had known him. Over the centuries Bobbio acquired a great library and became a major influence on learning in northern Italy until the 16th century. It was finally suppressed by the French in 1803. Columban’s foundation at Luxeuil also flourished until the French Revolution.
Columban Missionaries todayIn 1918 a missionary society under the patronage of St Columban was founded from the Irish seminary of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth sending missionaries especially to China. There are presently over 500 Columban priests of ten nationalities and many lay missionaries in the Society ministering in 14 countries. Shared from Catholicireland Net

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Saturday, November 23, 2019 - #Eucharist

Saturday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 502

Reading 11 MC 6:1-13

As King Antiochus was traversing the inland provinces,
he heard that in Persia there was a city called Elymais,
famous for its wealth in silver and gold,
and that its temple was very rich,
containing gold helmets, breastplates, and weapons
left there by Alexander, son of Philip,
king of Macedon, the first king of the Greeks.
He went therefore and tried to capture and pillage the city.
But he could not do so,
because his plan became known to the people of the city
who rose up in battle against him.
So he retreated and in great dismay withdrew from there
to return to Babylon.

While he was in Persia, a messenger brought him news
that the armies sent into the land of Judah had been put to flight;
that Lysias had gone at first with a strong army
and been driven back by the children of Israel;
that they had grown strong
by reason of the arms, men, and abundant possessions
taken from the armies they had destroyed;
that they had pulled down the Abomination
which he had built upon the altar in Jerusalem;
and that they had surrounded with high walls
both the sanctuary, as it had been before,
and his city of Beth-zur.

When the king heard this news,
he was struck with fear and very much shaken.
Sick with grief because his designs had failed, he took to his bed.
There he remained many days, overwhelmed with sorrow,
for he knew he was going to die.

So he called in all his Friends and said to them:
"Sleep has departed from my eyes,
for my heart is sinking with anxiety.
I said to myself: 'Into what tribulation have I come,
and in what floods of sorrow am I now!
Yet I was kindly and beloved in my rule.'
But I now recall the evils I did in Jerusalem,
when I carried away all the vessels of gold and silver
that were in it, and for no cause
gave orders that the inhabitants of Judah be destroyed.
I know that this is why these evils have overtaken me;
and now I am dying, in bitter grief, in a foreign land."

Responsorial PsalmPS 9:2-3, 4 AND 6, 16 AND 19

R. (see 16a) I will rejoice in your salvation, O Lord.
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. I will rejoice in your salvation, O Lord.
Because my enemies are turned back,
overthrown and destroyed before you.
You rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
their name you blotted out forever and ever.
R. I will rejoice in your salvation, O Lord.
The nations are sunk in the pit they have made;
in the snare they set, their foot is caught.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
nor shall the hope of the afflicted forever perish.
R. I will rejoice in your salvation, O Lord.

AlleluiaSEE 2 TM 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 20:27-40

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying,
"Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone's brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.

Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her."
Jesus said to them,
"The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called  'Lord'
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive."
Some of the scribes said in reply,
"Teacher, you have answered well."
And they no longer dared to ask him anything.

Saint November 23 : St. Clement I a Pope - Patron of Boatmen, Sailors, Sick children, Stonecutters and Author of Letter to the Church of Corinth

St. Clement I
Rome, Italy
Patron of: boatmen, marble workers, mariners, sailors, sick children, stonecutters, watermen
Saint Clement I, byname Clement Of Rome, Latin Clemens Romanus   (born, Rome—died 1st century ad, Rome; feast day November 23), first Apostolic Father, pope from 88 to 97, or from 92 to 101, supposed third successor of St. Peter. According to the early Christian writer Tertullian, he was consecrated by Peter. Bishop St. Irenaeus of Lyon lists him as a contemporary of the Apostles and witness of their preaching. Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea dates his pontificate from 92 to 101. His martyrdom is legendary, and he has been hypothetically identified with the Clement mentioned in Phil. 4:3. His attribute is an anchor, to which he was tied and cast into the sea, according to spurious tales.

The authorship of the Letter to the Church of Corinth (I Clement), the most important 1st-century document other than the New Testament, has been traditionally ascribed to him. Still extant, it was written to settle a controversy among the Corinthians against their church leaders and reveals that Clement considered himself empowered to intervene (the first such action known) in another community’s affairs. His Letter achieved almost canonical status and was regarded as Scripture by many 3rd- and 4th-century Christians.
Numerous Clementine writings—those that at various times were added to the first Letter—show the high regard for Clement in the early church. He is credited with transmitting to the church theOrdinances of the Holy Apostles Through Clement (Apostolic Constitutions), which, reputedly drafted by the Apostles, is the largest collection of early Christian ecclesiastical law; the constitutions are now believed, however, to have been written in Syria c. 380. W.K. Lowther Clarke’s edition of The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians was published in 1937. Text from Britannica