Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Saint December 18 : St. Winebald a Benedictine Abbot and Missionary who Died in 761

Wessex, England
18 December 761 at Heidenheim, Germany
Born in Wessex, England; died at Heidenheim, Germany, on December 18, 761.

ST. RICHARD, the English-Saxon king, seems to have been a prince of Westsex; for he was related to St. Boniface, and set out on his pilgrimage from Hamble-Haven in that country. It is thought that he was one of those princes who ruled in part of that kingdom, till they were compelled to give way to King Ceadwall. 1 God blessed him with three children, St. Winebald, the eldest, St. Willibald, who died bishop of Eystadt, and St. Walburga. St. Richard leaving his native country, took with him his two sons, and embarking at Hamble-Haven, landed on the coast of Normandy, and visiting all the places of devotion on his way, travelled into Italy, intending to go to Rome: but at Lucca fell sick and died about the year 722. His body was buried in the church of St. Frigidian, 2 and on account of certain famous miracles wrought at his tomb, was taken up by Gregory, bishop of Lucca, by the pope’s authority, and is kept in a rich shrine in that church. His name occurs in the Roman Martyrology on the 7th of February. SS. Winebald and Willibald accomplished their pilgrimage to Rome. After some stay there to perform their devotions, St. Willibald undertook another pilgrimage to the holy places in Palestine; but Winebald, who is by some called Wunibald, who was from his childhood of a weak sickly constitution, remained at Rome, where he pursued his studies seven years, took the tonsure, and devoted himself with his whole heart to the divine service. Then returning to England, he engaged a third brother and several amongst his kindred and acquaintance to accompany him in his journey back to Rome, and there dedicate themselves to God in a religious state. St. Boniface, who was our saint’s cousin, coming to that city in 738, prevailed with him upon motives of charity to undertake a share of his labours in the conversion of the infidels and in founding the infant church of Germany. Winebald accompanied him into Thuringia, and being ordained priest by that holy archbishop, took upon him by his commission, the care of seven churches in that country, especially at Erfurt, as the nun informs us in the life of our saint. These churches the chronicle of Andesches and Bruschius call seven monasteries; but without authority or probability, as Serarius observes. St. Willibald was made bishop of Aychstadt in Franconia in 781, and being desirous to erect a double monastery which might be a pattern and seminary of piety and learning to the numerous churches which he had planted, prevailed with his brother Winebald, and his sister Walburga, whom he invited out of England, to undertake that charge.

Winebald, therefore, translated his monastery from Schwanfield to Heidenheim, where, having purchased a wild spot of ground covered with shrubs and bushes, he cleared it and built first little cells or mean cottages for himself and his monks, and shortly after erected a monastery. A nunnery was founded by him in the neighbourhood, which St. Walburga governed. The idolaters often attempted the life of St. Winebald by poison and by open violence: but by the divine protection he escaped their snares, and continued by his zealous labours to extend on every side the pale of Christ’s fold. He was solicitous in the first place to maintain in his religious community the perfect spirit of their holy state, teaching them above all things to persevere instant in prayer, 3 and to keep inviolably in mind the humility of our Lord, and his meekness and holy conversation, as the standard from which they were never to turn their eyes. They who find a reluctance arising from the corruption of their passions, must nevertheless force themselves cheerfully to all that which is good, especially to divine love, fraternal compassion, patience when they are despised, meekness, and assiduous prayer; for God, beholding their conflicts and the earnestness of their desires and endeavours, will in the end grant them the true grace of prayer, meekness, and the bowels of mercy, and will fill them with the fruits of the Spirit, in which state the Lord seems to perform all things in them; so sweet do humility, love, meekness, and prayer become. Thus our holy abbot encouraged his spiritual children, and strengthened in them the spirit of Christ; but he inculcated to them both by word and example, that Christ never plants his spirit nor establishes the kingdom of his grace in souls which are not prepared by self-denial, mortification, obedience, simplicity, a life of prayer, and profound humility; for self-elevation is the greatest abasement, and self-abasement is the highest exaltation, honour, and dignity. For only he can cleave to the Lord who has freed his heart from earthly lusts, and disengaged his affections from the covetousness of the world. St. Winebald was afflicted many years with sickness, and had a private chapel erected in his own cell, in which he said mass when he was not able to go to church. Once, being looked upon as brought by his distemper to extremity, and almost to the point of death, he made a visit of devotion to the shrine of St. Boniface, once his spiritual father and much honoured friend in Christ; and in three weeks’ time was restored to his health. Some time after, he relapsed into his former ill state of health, and in his last moments earnestly exhorted his disciples to advance with their whole might towards God without stopping or looking behind them; for no one can be found worthy to enter the holy city, who strives not by doing his utmost that his name be written in heaven with the first-born. For this, in the earnestness of our desires, we ought to pour out tears day and night. Our saint had made them, as it were, the very food of the soul, and having been tried and purified by a lingering sickness as the pure gold in the furnace, went to God on the 18th of December, 760. After his death St. Willibald committed the superintendency over the monastery of monks to the holy abbess St. Walburga so long as she lived. The monastery of Heidenhem was finally dissolved upon the change of religion in the province of Brandenburg Anspach, in which it was situated. The nun who wrote the life of St. Winebald assures us, that several miraculous cures were performed at his tomb. St. Ludger also writes in the life of St. Gregory of Utrecht, “Winebald was very dear to my master Gregory, and shows by great miracles since his death what he did whilst living.” Rader testifies, that St. Winebald is honoured among the saints in several churches in Germany, though his name is not inserted in the Roman Martyrology, as Mabillon and Basnage remark. See his life, written, not by St. Walburga, as some have said, but by another contemporary nun of her monastery, who had before wrote the life of St. Willibald. In that of St. Winebald we have an account of the manner of canonizing saints in that age, and of the twofold labour to which monks then applied themselves, in tilling land and making that which was wild arable; and in instructing and preaching. This work was published entire by Canisius in his Leotiones Antiquæ, t. 4, more correctly by Mabillon, Act. Ben. t. 4, and most accurately by Basnage in his edition of Canisius in 1725, t. 2, part 2.

SOURCE Butlers Lives of the Saints

Saint December 17 : St. Josep Manyanet y Vives of Spain the Founder and of the Holy Family congregations (1833-1901)

Josep Manyanet y Vives (1833-1901)

Josep Manyanet was born within a large and Christian family on January 7, 1933 in Northeastern Spain, in the city of Tremp, province of Lleida. He was baptized on the same day at his parish Church of our Lady of Valldeflors, patroness of the city. At a very early age, when he was five years old, he was offered to our Lady by his mother. He had to work to complete his schooling with the Piarist Fathers in Barbastro and at the Seminaries of Lleida and Urgell. He was ordained priest on April 9, 1859.
After twelve years of hard work in the Diocese of Urgell at the service of his bishop as private secretary, librarian of the seminary, administrator of the chancery and secretary for pastoral Visitations, he felt God's call to become a religious priest and to found two religious congregations.

Founder and Apostle of the Holy Family
With the approval of his bishop, he founded, in 1864, the religious congregations of the Sons of the Holy Family Jesus, Mary and Joseph and, in 1874, the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth with the mission to honor, imitate and propagate the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth and the Christian formation of families, especially through the catholic education of children and youth and through priestly ministry.
With constant work and prayer, with and exemplary life full of virtues, with loving dedication and solicitude for the souls, he guided and encouraged for almost forty years, the formation and expansion of his Institutes, opening schools and centers of ministry in several towns in Spain. Today both Institutes are present in several European countries, in North and South America and in Africa as well.
Specially called by God to present to the world the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth, he wrote several books and booklets to spread the devotion of the Holy Family. He founded the magazine La Sagrada Familia and promoted the idea of the construction of a Temple dedicated to the Holy Family. The Temple, as yet unfinished in Barcelona, was built by the architectural genius and Servant of God Antonio Gaudí, destined to perpetuate the virtues and examples of the Family of Nazareth and to be the universal spiritual home of all families.

His Train of Thought
Blessed Josep Manyanet endeavored to spread the Gospel, both through his preaching and his writings. He wrote many letters, books and booklets for the formation of the members of his religious Institutes, for families and children and for the management of schools. One of the highlights is the School of Nazareth and Home of the Holy Family (Barcelona 1895), his spiritual autobiography in which through the dialogues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, with a literary character called Desideria, describes a process of Christian and religious perfection inspired in the spirituality of the home and school of Nazareth.
His book A Priceless Family Gem (Barcelona 1899) is a guide for marriages and families, which reminds them of the dignity of the sacrament of marriage as a vocation and the important task of the Christian education of their children.
 The spirit of the Holy Family is a book of meditations dedicated to the members of his religious Institutes, where he describes their vocation, identity and mission within the society and the church. There is an edition of his Selected Works (Madrid 1991). A forthcoming edition of his Complete Works will enrich those already published. The first volume is already on the way.

Illnesses and Death
His many endeavors were not free of difficulties. He also had to endure physical illnesses along his life, but his constancy and fortitude, nourished by his humble obedience to the will of God, helped him to overcome all of them.
Because of his poor health, due to open sores on his side, which he labelled God's mercies for 16 long years, on the 17th of December of 1901, full of virtues and good deeds, was called by God to his eternal home, in his school “Jesús, María y José” of Barcelona, central place of his work, surrounded by children, with the same simplicity that characterized all his life. His last words were his fervent prayer Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.
His remains are kept in a burial chapel at the same school were he died, accompanied by the prayer and gratitude of his religious sons and daughters as well as the numerous youth, children and families that, because of his example, live their lives close to God and to his teachings.

Witness to Holiness
His saintly life impressed many people who came in contact with him. The Process of Canonization was formally introduced in 1956. Once the practice of all virtues in a heroic grade was officially recognized by the church in 1982 and proof of a healing miracle attributed to his intercession, Pope John Paul II declared him Blessed in 1984. Now with the approval of another miracle through his intercession, his canonization is scheduled to take place in Rome, on May 16, 2004.
Pope John Paul II has stated that the sanctity demonstrated by Josep Manyanet stems from the Holy Family. He was called by God, so that “in his name every family on earth may be blessed”. The Holy spirit guided him to boldly proclaim the “Gospel of the family”. His inspiration was that “all families may imitate and bless the Holy Family of Nazareth”. That is: “to build a Nazareth in every home”, and to make of every family a “Holy Family”.
His canonization brings forth the truth of his sanctity and the unending value of his message from Nazareth. That makes him a Prophet of the family and the protector of our families.

Saint December 17 : St. Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the Dead and Brother of St. Martha, St. Mary Magdalene

The Bible depicts two characters named "Lazarus". The most recognized character is that of Lazarus of Bethany, also known as Saint Lazarus or Lazarus of the Four Days, who was a friend of Jesus, the brother of Martha and Mary. The miracle of Jesus in the Gospel of John, whereby Jesus restores Lazarus to life four days after his death (John 11). [2] In the various narratives on this character, he is sometimes vested as an apostle, or a bishop.

The second character, Lazarus found in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 16:19-31) tells of the relationship in life and in death, between an unnamed rich man (the traditional name for a rich man is "Dives") and a poor beggar named Lazarus. Lazarus was venerated as a patron saint of lepers [3] and forms the basis of one of two missions of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem which is dedicated to two ideals: aid to those suffering from the dreadful disease of leprosy and the defense of the Christian faith. Lazarus is often depicted as a starving beggar at the foot of the stairs leading up to a rich man's house, and who was covered in sores that even the dogs came to lick those sores. [4]

The Gospel of John can be divided into four sections: a) Prologue (John 1); b) Jesus' ministry (the "book of signs" - John 2-12): A narrative of Jesus' public ministry consisting of seven miracles or "signs" culminating with the raising of Lazarus form the dead; c) passion and resurrection (the "book of glory" - John 13-20); d) Epilogue (John 21). For convenience and interest, the paragraph describing Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead follows:
John 11:38-44
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.

Edited from: https://www.stlazarus.ca/content/oslj-st-lazarus.php
Excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia: Reputed first Bishop of Marseilles, died in the second half of the first century. According to a tradition, or rather a series of traditions combined at different epochs, the members of the family at Bethany, the friends of Christ, together with some holy women and others of His disciples, were put out to sea by the Jews hostile to Christianity in a vessel without sails, oars, or helm, and after a miraculous voyage landed in Provence at a place called today the Saintes-Maries.
 It is related that they separated there to go and preach the Gospel in different parts of the southeast of Gaul. Lazarus, of whom alone we have to treat here, went to Marseilles, and, having converted a number of its inhabitants to Christianity, became their first pastor. During the first persecution under Nero he hid himself in a crypt, over which the celebrated Abbey of St.-Victor was constructed in the fifth century. In this same crypt he was interred, when he shed his blood for the faith. During the new persecution of Domitian he was cast into prison and beheaded in a spot which is believed to be identical with a cave beneath the prison Saint-Lazare.
 His body was later translated to Autun, and buried in the cathedral of that town. But the inhabitants of Marseilles claim to be in possession of his head which they still venerate. Like the other legends concerning the saints of the Palestinian group, this tradition, which was believed for several centuries and which still finds some advocates, has no solid foundation. It is in a writing, contained in an eleventh century manuscript, with some other documents relating to St. Magdalen of Vézelay, that we first read of Lazarus in connection with the voyage that brought Magdalen to Gaul. Before the middle of the eleventh century there does not seem to be the slightest trace of the tradition according to which the Palestinian saints came to Provence. At the beginning of the twelfth century, perhaps through a confusion of names, it was believed at Autun that the tomb of St. Lazarus was to be found in the cathedral dedicated to St. Nazarius.
A search was made and remains were discovered, which were solemnly translated and were considered to be those of him whom Christ raised from the dead, but it was not thought necessary to inquire why they should be found in France. The question, however, deserved to be examined with care, seeing that, according to a tradition of the Greek Church, the body of St. Lazarus had been brought to Constantinople, just as all the other saints of the Palestinian group were said to have died in the Orient, and to have been buried, translated, and honoured there. It is only in the thirteenth century that the belief that Lazarus had come to Gaul with his two sisters and had been Bishop of Marseilles spread in Provence.
 It is true that a letter is cited (its origin is uncertain), written in 1040 by Pope Benedict IX on the occasion of the consecration of the new church of St.-Victor in which Lazarus is mentioned. But in this text the pope speaks only of relics of St. Lazarus, merely calling him the saint who was raised again to life. He does not speak of him as having lived in Provence, or as having been Bishop of Marseilles. The most ancient Provençal text alluding to the episcopacy of St. Lazarus is a passage in the "Otia imperialia" of Gervase of Tillbury (1212). Thus the belief in his Provençal apostolate is of very late date, and its supporters must produce more ancient and reliable documentary evidence. In the crypt of St.-Victor at Marseilles an epitaph of the fifth century has been discovered, which informs us that a bishop named Lazarus was buried there. In the opinion of the most competent archæologists, however, this personage is Lazarus, Bishop of Aix, who was consecrated at Marseilles about 407, and who, having had to abandon his see in 411, passed some time in Palestine, whence he returned to end his days in Marseilles. It is more than likely that it is the name of this bishop and his return from Palestine, that gave rise to the legend of the coming of the Biblical Lazarus to Provence, and his apostolate in the city of Marseilles. Source: New Advent

Saint December 17 : Blessed Matilde del Sagrado Corazón Téllez Robles the Founder of Congregation of the Daughters of Mary

Matilde Téllez Robles was born on 30 May 1841 in Robledillo de la Vera, Spain, the second of four children to Félix Téllez Gómez and Basilea Robles Ruiz. When she was 10, the family moved to Béjar where Matilde attended a private school while also receiving a solid Christian education at home from her parents.
Desire to live for God alone
When Matilde was still very young, she decided to give her life totally and forever to God, with the desire to win over as many hearts as she could for his Kingdom. She devoted much of her time to prayer and to the practice of virtue, and helped the poor and orphaned.
Matilde's father, on the other hand, wanted his daughter to marry and participate in social activities and functions, so he prevented Matilde from making her longed-for visits to church and dramatically reduced her prayer time. However, the young girl's love for God above all earthly pleasures was evident to everyone around her, and it was not long before her father finally consented to Matilde's desire to live for God alone, abandoning the idea that she get married.
The call to be a Foundress
Matilde was strongly assisted in her desire for prayer by the Association of the Daughters of Mary, of which she was later elected president, and she continued to help the poor and sick and to dedicate herself to prayer.
One day while deep in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Matilde felt called to begin a new religious institute that would be dedicated to Eucharistic Adoration and to helping the needy. Her spiritual director, Fr Manuel de la Oliva, approved this idea and with her father's permission, Matilde began the new foundation together with eight members of the Daughters of Mary.
The first foundation in Béjar
On 19 March 1975, Solemnity of St Joseph, when this group was to "officially" begin their new life together, only one young companion, María Briz, showed up at the house that had been prepared for them in Béjar. Although this was a great trial for Matilde, she placed her trust in God's Providence and did not succumb to discouragement; she instead went ahead with the foundation in Béjar, together with María Briz.
Matilde and María worked with orphaned children, the poor, the sick and shut-ins, and also opened a school for children. At home, their hours were spent in silence and prayer, especially in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.
Little by little, other young women asked to join them. A new foundation was also offered to them in the Province of Badajoz, where Matilde began a novitiate and opened a school for children, leaving the house in Bèjar.
New Congregation is born
On 19 March 1884, Bishop Pedro Casas y Souto of Plasencia raised the Institute to a Religious Congregation of Diocesan Rite, giving it the name:  "Daughters of Mary, Mother of the Church". On 29 June 1884, Mother Matilde made her religious profession together with some of the other Sisters.
With an outbreak of cholera in 1885, Mother Matilde and her daughters put their lives at the service of the sick and their families. Shortly thereafter, Sr María Briz, Mother Matilde's faithful companion, died of contagion. She was 33 years old.
Expansion, new foundations
Notwithstanding the difficulties, initial hardships and misunderstandings, the new Congregation continued to grow.
In 1889 a new foundation was opened in Cáceres, and others were later opened in Trujillo, Almendralejo, Los Santos de Maimona, Villaverde de Burguilios and again in Béjar.
Mother Matilde attentively looked after the new communities and each one of her daughters with great care, teaching the Sisters complete trust in God's Providence and a sense of responsibility and charity towards the poorest of the poor. She was a "reference point" not only for the Congregation, but also for townspeople and even strangers.
On 15 December 1902, after many years of hard work, deprivation and fatigue, Mother Matilde suffered a stroke. She died two days later, on 17 December, at 61 years of age.

Greetings to Say a Happy Birthday to Pope Francis from around the World as he turns 83 today!

VaticanNews Report:
Happy Birthday Pope Francis
Greetings have been arriving from around the world this 17th December as the Pope celebrates his 83rd birthday.
Pope Francis on Tuesday is marking his 83rd Birthday. It was only last Friday that the Pope celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

On the occasion of his birthday, the Pope has been receiving messages of congratulations from all over the world.

In a greeting to Pope Francis, the President of Italy, Sergio Matterella said he was particularly pleased to send the “most sincere and affectionate wishes” on this 83rd Birthday.

In his message, the President said the Pope’s incessant pastoral activity was “the crowning achievement of fifty years of generous priestly service”. He added that, the Pontiff’s voice was one that “continues to urge peoples and nations to overcome divisions, to preserve peace, to engage in dialogue..."

In a message from the Association of Italian Christian Workers (ACLI), the President of the Rome branch, Lidia Borzi thanked the Pope “for having enlightened our gaze, helping us to focus on the need to meet and sustain frailties.”

A special greeting also came all the way from Ireland and was posted on the website of the Irish Bishops Conference. It was from Eliza Long aged 8 from Co Meath. Eliza who is preparing for her first Holy Communion thanked the Pope “for his prayers for all the children across the world. She also assured him that “she is praying for him too.”

Last year, the Pope chose to celebrate his birthday by throwing a small party for himself and a group of children who were receiving medical care from the “Santa Marta” Paediatric Dispensary inside the Vatican. The children surprised him with a huge cake and the Pope thanked them, expressing how glad he was to be with them.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires on December 17, 1936, the son of Italian immigrants. In 1958 he joined the Jesuit Order. In 1998 he was appointed Archbishop of Buenos Aires by Pope John Paul II. Since his election on 13 March 2013 Pope Francis has been the 266th Bishop of Rome.
FULL TEXT Source: VaticanNews.va

Former Chaplain to the Queen and former Episcopal Bishop Gavin Ashenden to become Catholic in Advent

According to the Catholic Herald, Gavin Ashenden resigned his Anglican chaplaincy in 2017.
He left the Church of England that same year to become a bishop in the Christian Episcopal Church, a breakaway group of traditionalist Anglicans.
Writing in a forthcoming edition of the Catholic Herald, Ashenden said the Church of England had capitulated “to the increasingly intense and non-negotiable demands of a secular culture.”
The former chaplain said he was helped in his conversion by taking up the Rosary and by looking into Eucharistic miracles. “The fact that [the miracles] were unknown amongst those who celebrated the Anglican version of the Eucharist, carries obvious implications,” he wrote.
Gavin Ashenden lives partly in Shropshire and partly in Normandy.He grew up in S.W. London, and then Kent, and was educated at the King’s School in Canterbury. After originally reading Law at Bristol University, he found himself with a vocation to the priesthood.

He trained at Oak Hill Theological College in London, studying theology. He was ordained by + Mervyn Stockwood in Southwark Cathedral in 1980, and was appointed to a curacy in Bermondsey.

He spent the next ten years as a parish priest; as a curate at St James’, Bermondsey, then a docklands parish along the river Thames by Tower Bridge, and subsequently as a  Vicar of a Church on the edge of South London.

During the 1980’s when he was also vice-chair of Keston College, he was involved in smuggling bibles and medicine into the former Soviet Union, and samizdat out -for publication in the West. The experiences of being occasionally arrested and interrogated by the KGB and other security services played an important part in the development of his views on totalitarianism.

After postgraduate study in the Psychology of Religion with the Jesuits at Heythrop College in the University of London , he then completed a doctorate on the life and work of the Oxford Inkling, Charles Williams, and subsequently published ‘Alchemy and Integration- A study of the Life of writing of Charles Williams. (Kent State University Press).

He spent 23 years at the University of Sussex as a senior lecturer and senior chaplain, lecturing in the Psychology of Religion, Literature, and convening an MA programme in Monotheist Mysticism.

During this period he was also employed freelance by the BBC to present a weekly Faith and Ethics radio programme for four years.  He also become Presenter of the  the international Faith & Ethics podcast.

He has published on the Oxford Inklings and CS Lewis in particular, writing Op Ed pieces for the London Times and  the Daily Tekegraph and occasional articles and book reviews in the Church Times.

He was a member of the General Synod of the Church of England for 20 years, and was appointed one of the  theological canonries  at Chichester Cathedral. He is a member of the Society of the Holy Cross.

In 2008 he was appointed a Chaplain to the Queen (2008-2017).He spent a number of years as a member of the ecumenical priestly fraternity of the Little Brothers of Jesus (Charles de Foucauld)

He has lectured in the USA as a visiting theologian for the Lutheran Church in Oregon, spoken at a variety of Diocesan Conferences in the UK, and represented the Church of England as a delegate to the World Council of Churches.

In 2017 and he resigned from his chaplaincy to the Queen in order to be free to speak out for the faith in the contested public forum, and subsequently appeared on media outlets across the world, including Fox News in the USA and the Bolt Report in Australia.

Convinced that the consecration of women to the episcopate represented the replacement of apostolic and biblical patterns with the competing culture of the values of Cultural Marxism, and dissenting from the increasing accommodation of the Church of England to  radical secular views on gender, he  resigned from  the Church of England in 2017.

On the Feast of St Michael and All Angels 2017, the Archbishop of the Christian Episcopal Church announced that Dr Ashenden had been consecrated as a Missionary bishop to the UK and Europe.

Much of his ministry is found on the Internet. Between 100 and 400 people share in the daily office and the viewing figures of his weekly homilies vary between 200 and a 1,000 viewers.
Source of Biography and Image : https://ashenden.org/

BREAKING Pope Francis Abolishes Pontifical Secret in Cases of Sex Abuse - Full Text Official Release

His Holiness Pope Francis, in the Audience granted to His Excellency Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, on 4 December 2019, has decided to issue the Instruction On the Confidentiality of Legal Proceedings, attached to the present Rescriptum, of which it forms an integral part.
The Holy Father has determined that the Rescriptum shall have firm and stable application, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, even if worthy of special mention, that it shall be promulgated by publication in L’Osservatore Romano, with immediate force, and then be published in the official commentary Acta Apostolicae Sedis.
From the Vatican, 6 December 2019
Secretary of State
On the Confidentiality of Legal Proceedings
1. The pontifical secret does not apply to accusations, trials and decisions involving the offences referred to in:
a) Article 1 of the Motu proprio “Vos estis lux mundi” (7 May 2019);
b) Article 6 of the Normae de gravioribus delictis reserved to the judgement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in accordance with the Motu proprio “Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela” of Saint John Paul II (30 April 2001), and subsequent amendments.
2. Nor does the pontifical secret apply when such offenses were committed in conjunction with other offences.
3. In the cases referred to in No. 1, the information is to be treated in such a way as to ensure its security, integrity and confidentiality in accordance with the prescriptions of canons 471, 2° CIC and 244 §2, 2° CCEO, for the sake of protecting the good name, image and privacy of all persons involved.
4. Office confidentiality shall not prevent the fulfilment of the obligations laid down in all places by civil laws, including any reporting obligations, and the execution of enforceable requests of civil judicial authorities.
5. The person who files the report, the person who alleges to have been harmed and the witnesses shall not be bound by any obligation of silence with regard to matters involving the case.
[02062-EN.01] [Original text: Italian]
His Holiness Pope Francis, in the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Secretary of State and the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 4 October 2019, has decided to introduce the following amendments to the “Normae de gravioribus delictis” reserved to the judgement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in accordance with the Motu proprio of Saint John Paul II “Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela” (30 April 2001), as amended by the Rescriptum ex Audientia SS.mi dated 21 May 2010 and signed by the then-Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Levada:
Article 1
Art. 6 § 1, 2° Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela is replaced in its entirety by the following text:
“The acquisition, possession or distribution by a cleric of pornographic images of minors under the age of eighteen, for purposes of sexual gratification, by whatever means or using whatever technology”.
Article 2
§ 1 – Art. 13 Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela is replaced in its entirety by the following text:
“The role of Advocate or Procurator is carried out by a member of the faithful possessing a doctorate in canon law, who is approved by the presiding judge of the college”.
§ 2 – Art. 14 Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela is replaced in its entirety by the following text:
“In other Tribunals, for the cases under these norms, only priests can validly carry out the functions of Judge, Promoter of Justice and Notary”.
The Holy Father has ordered that the present Rescriptum be published in L’Osservatore Romano and in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, and take effect on 1 January 2020.
From the Vatican, 3 December 2019
Secretary of State
Prefect of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith

Source: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2019/12/17/1010/02063.html and http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2019/12/17/1011/02062.html

Bishop Kome of Cameroon says Human Rights have been Violated based on Report and calls for More Freedom

YAOUNDÉ, DECEMBER 13, 2019 (CISA)- Bishop Abraham Kome of the Catholic diocese of Bafang and the president of the Episcopal Conférence Nationale du Cameroun, (CENC)  has decried human rights violation in various sectors in the country.
“We have seen the difficulty with which political parties have to manifest. We see – and I say this with a lot of emotion – when we visit our country’s prisons, what we see there is poor infrastructure, poor treatment of inmates, and overcrowding in prison cells. When one sees that, one can only affirm, if one has to speak the truth, that human rights have deteriorated in our country,” he said.
Bishop Kome was speaking during a December 10 workshop on the state of human rights in Cameroon, days after the country’s National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms in Cameroon published its 2018 human rights report.
The report documented arbitrary killings, forced disappearances, and a crackdown on political freedom; as well as noting the limited access to justice for aggrieved persons.
Currently, the government is fighting two major internal conflicts: The first against separatists in the country’s Anglophone regions, and the second against Boko Haram militants in the north.
The report said that in these regions, human rights have been grossly violated, both by insurgents and the military.
“The climate of insecurity degenerated into allegations of violations of the right to life and to physical and moral integrity of persons and property; violations of the right to education, health, private property and access to administrative services and to a fair trial of suspects and the deplorable detention conditions,” the report states.
It further indicated that between January and December 2018, “close to 200 civilians were killed by separatists and government soldiers in the Anglophone regions alone.”
The war that started in 2016 as a protest by Anglophone lawyers and teachers over attempts to destroy the education and common law systems practiced in English speaking regions degenerated into an armed rebellion with many English speakers demanding for outright independence.
The report denotes poor prison conditions, limited access to justice for accused persons, the torching of schools that has forced about 800,000 children out of education, as well as attempts by the government to limit access to freedom of speech and assembly.
Bishop Kome also called for revision of Cameroon’s electoral code in order to “guarantee the peoples’ human right to freely choose the leaders they want.”
“The electoral code does not guarantee the transparency and authenticity of electoral results,” the bishop said as reported by Crux.
Full Text Source: CISA News Africa

Catholic Maronite Patriarch Rai of Lebanon says "politicians have not listened to the voice of God"

Patriarch Rai on the Lebanese crisis: "politicians have not listened to the voice of God"
Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - "If politicians were truly inspired by the divine will and prayed, Lebanon would not find itself today in a desperate economic and financial situation, with paralyzed institutions. The people would not be reduced to hunger, humiliated, with more than a third of its citizens below the poverty line, while about half of the Lebanese are unemployed". This was underlined by the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, during Mass on Sunday 15 December. During the homily the Primate of the Maronite Church wanted to express some criteria of spiritual discernment with respect to the situation of crisis experienced by the Country of Cedars, also exhausted from an economic point of view after two months of popular protests against the political class, accused of corruption and incompetence. "If the leaders had listened to the voice of God", the Patriarch continued, "they would not have squandered public funds, the ministries would not have been divided among themselves and they would not have ignored the requests of the people who demonstrate and strike". With regard to protest demonstrations, Cardinal Rai reiterated that in his opinion the popular uprising sees the various components of the Lebanese people express their dissatisfaction in a transversal manner, beyond sectarian divisions. A phenomenon that politicians "cannot ignore or underestimate".
The street protests led to the resignation from the government led by Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri, on 29 October. Hariri himself could receive an exploratory mandate tomorrow from President Michel Aoun to try to form a new government. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 16/12/2019)

Official Novena for Christmas : Day 1 : Prayer Novena with Plenary Indulgence to SHARE - #ChristmasNovena


Opening Prayer:

V. O God, come to my assistance.

R. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father and to
the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now
and ever shall be, world without


Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.


Day 1 Prayers

The Incarnation.

O most sweet infant Jesus, who descended from the bosom of the eternal Father into the womb of the Virgin Mary, where, conceived by the Holy Ghost, you took upon yourself, O Incarnate Word, the form of a servant for our salvation. Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord. Have mercy on us.

Hail Mary full of Grace the Lord is with Thee blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

NOVENA PREPARATORY TO CHRISTMAS In order to the devout preparation of ourselves for the glorious Birthday of our most loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, which the holy Church recalls to our memory every year on the 25th of December, and at the same time to render Him thanks for this great benefit, Pope Pius VII., by a Rescript of the Segretaria of the Memorials, dated August 12th, 1815 (which said Rescript is preserved in the Segretaria of the Vicariate), granted to all faithful Christians who, being contrite in heart, should prepare themselves for that great solemnity by a novena, consisting of pious exercises, prayers, acts of virtue, &c. -
i. An indulgence of 300 days each day of the said novena, and -
ii. A plenary indulgence to be gained on Christmas day, or on some day in its octave, by those who, after Confession and Communion, shall have made the said novena every day, and who shall pray according to the intentions of the Sovereigns Pontiff: and note that the Confession and Communion may be made on  any one of the days of the said novena, provided the novena is correctly kept. This was declared by Pope Pius VIII., of holy memory, by means of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, July 9, 1830. These indulgences were extended by the above-named Pius VII. to one other time in the year, besides the the specified, when any one should make the aforesaid novena in honour of the Child Jesus.

Australian Bishops Release Joint Statement on Abuse with 150 Religious Congregations on Anniversary of Royal Commission Report - Full Text

A joint statement by the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference and Catholic Religious Australia - of more than 150 member congregations - on the second anniversary of the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
 December 15, 2019
Significant progress made, but keeping kids safe remains top priority Catholic leaders have submitted a report to the National Office for Child Safety outlining the Church’s ongoing response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

 The publication of the report from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) coincides with the second anniversary of the release of the Royal Commission’s final report. The Church’s report, which focuses on progress from November 2018 to November 2019, is itself responding to one of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.
“The past year has seen steady and significant progress made across a range of areas, including in education, in governance reform and in responding to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse,” ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said.
 “Clearly, any institution that engages with young people must always be vigilant, working to ensure that strong and effective protocols and procedures are in place, generating a culture committed to prompt and decisive action when allegations arise.”
 CRA president Br Peter Carroll FMS said the adoption of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards earlier this year was an important moment in the Church’s response.
“The Standards that religious institutes and dioceses have endorsed build on the 10 key elements as outlined by the Royal Commission, adding an additional layer of requirements that reflect the circumstances of the Catholic Church,” he said. Br Peter said crucial work is under way to develop new national guidelines to strengthen and standardise responses to historical and more recent concerns and allegations of abuse. Work on those guidelines, being developed with input from survivors of abuse, will continue in 2020.
“Catholic Religious Australia and the Bishops Conference are working together to create or enhance approaches that are informed by best practice and reflect Catholic understandings. How we protect those in our care and how we respond to people who have been harmed by the Church is core to our ministry,” Br Peter said.
 Across the Catholic Church, all Catholic dioceses but one and the major religious institutes have joined the National Redress Scheme. “The Redress Scheme is one avenue for victims and survivors to pursue,” Archbishop Coleridge said. “They can contact institutions directly or access a pastoral response such as Towards Healing. Some will choose civil action. The Church’s clear statement is that sexual abuse allegations are to be taken straight to the police as such behaviour is a crime.” Br Peter and Archbishop Coleridge reaffirmed the Church’s unreserved commitment to keeping children and vulnerable people safe in Catholic settings at all times.
Source: https://www.catholic.org.au/acbc-media/media-centre/media-releases-new/2230-significant-progress-made-but-keeping-kids-safe-remains-top-priority/file

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - #Eucharist in Advent

Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 193
Reading 1GN 49:2, 8-10
 Jacob called his sons and said to them:
"Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob,
listen to Israel, your father.

"You, Judah, shall your brothers praise
–your hand on the neck of your enemies;
the sons of your father shall bow down to you.
Judah, like a lion's whelp,
you have grown up on prey, my son.
He crouches like a lion recumbent,
the king of beasts–who would dare rouse him?
The scepter shall never depart from Judah,
or the mace from between his legs,
While tribute is brought to him,
and he receives the people's homage."

Responsorial PsalmPS 72:1-2, 3-4AB, 7-8, 17

R.(see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king's son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
The mountains shall yield peace for the people,
and the hills justice.
He shall defend the afflicted among the people,
save the children of the poor.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 1:1-17

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham became the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah,
whose mother was Tamar.
Perez became the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz,
whose mother was Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed,
whose mother was Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king.

David became the father of Solomon,
whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amos,
Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers
at the time of the Babylonian exile.

After the Babylonian exile,
Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok.
Zadok became the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar became the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Thus the total number of generations
from Abraham to David
is fourteen generations;
from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations;
from the Babylonian exile to the Christ,
fourteen generations.