Thursday, October 1, 2020

Pope Francis Brings 7 People Closer to Sainthood and Recognizes 1 Miracle through Intercession

Vatican News reports that the Pope authorized new decrees on causes of sainthood.
Pope Francis has authorized the promulgation of three new decrees regarding seven candidates, bringing them a step closer to sainthood.
By Vatican News

Pope Francis on Tuesday, authorized the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the three decrees. There is a decree a miracle and another on martyrdom.  Two separate decrees are on the heroic virtues of two women.

Of the 7 persons, 5 have been cleared for beatification.  They are four martyrs and a layperson through whose intercession a miracle has been recognized.

The decree on the miracle is attributed to Venerable Servant of God Gaetana Tolomeo, known as Nuccia, an Italian layman who was born on April 10, 1936 in Catanzaro and died there on January 24, 1997.  He is to be declared a Blessed.

The decree on martyrdom regards Spanish Servants of God Francesco Cástor Sojo López and his 3 companions of the Secular Association of Diocesan Worker Priests.  They were killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 1936 and 1938. These four will also be declared Blessed.

A decree on heroic virtues regards Spanish Servant of God Francisca Pascual Doménech, foundress of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate.  She was born on October 13, 1833, in Moncada (Spain) and died there on April 26, 1903.

Another decree on heroic virtues regards Spanish Servant of God Maria Dolores Segarra Gestoso, foundress of the Missionary Sisters of Christ the Priest.  She was born
on March 15, 1921, in Melilla (Spain) and died in Granada (Spain) on March 1, 1959.

Quote to SHARE by St. Thérèse "It is not to remain in a golden ciborium that He comes down each day from Heaven, but to find another Heaven..."

"It is not to remain in a golden ciborium that He comes down each day from Heaven, but to find another Heaven, the Heaven of our soul in which He takes delight."
by St.  Therese of Lisieux(1915) in 
“Thoughts of Saint Thérèse”, p.72, TAN Books

Catholic Priest Beaten and Kidnapped for Second Time is Released in Nigeria

AFRICA/NIGERIA - A priest kidnapped and then released
Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - Yet another kidnapping of a priest in Nigeria. Fr Jude Onyebadi, who works in the parish at Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Issele-Azagba , about 10 miles southeast of Issele-Uku, was kidnapped from his farm September 26. The gunmen also abducted three workers from the farm along with the priest, but released them after a few hours. The priest's family members, in collaboration with some volunteers in the area, had immediately organized a search for the kidnapped priest but without any results.
Fr. Onyebadi was released in the early afternoon of 29 September. Fr. Charles Uganwa, communications director for the Issele-Uku diocese, said the priest was beaten at the time of the kidnapping but did not suffer serious injuries. Fr.Uganwa said he has not been able to confirm whether any ransom was paid for his release. The Nigerian bishops' conference announced that the diocese ought not pay ransom for a priest’s release, so oftentimes well-meaning parishioners will pool together their money to get their priest back. Fr. Onyebadi had already been kidnapped in 2016, in the same place, and was released after a few days. The kidnappers are believed to be Fulanis herders.
Delta State, where Issele-Uku is located, is overwhelmingly Christian, but small bands of Muslim militants who hide in the dense bush are an ongoing threat. Many of them appear to be Fulanis. Before the abduction of Father Onyebadi, at least six priests of the Issele-Uku diocese had been kidnapped since 2018.
The most serious case of kidnapping of Church members occurred earlier this year, when on January 8 gunmen kidnapped four seminarians from the Good Shepherd Seminary in Kaduna (see Fides 13/1/2020). The kidnappers then released three seminarians, but killed 18-year-old Michael Nnadi after he refused to renounce his faith (see Fides 4/5/2020). (L.M.) (FULL TEXT Release Agenzia Fides, 30/9/2020) - Image Source:

Novena to St.Therese Little Flower and Special Prayers with Litany, Rosary to Share! #LittleFlower

Prayers to St. Therese
of the Child Jesus,
the Little Flower

Patroness of the Missions & Missionaries
O glorious Saint Therese, whom Almighty God has raised up to aid and counsel mankind, I implore your Miraculous Intercession.
So powerful are you in obtaining every need of body and soul our Holy Mother Church proclaims you a "Prodigy of Miracles...the Greatest Saint of Modern Times." Now I fervently beseech you to answer my petition (mention specifics here) and to carry out your promises of spending Heaven doing good upon the earth...of letting fall from Heaven a Shower of Roses.
Henceforth, dear Little Flower, I will fulfill your plea "to be made known everywhere" and I will never cease to lead others to Jesus through you.
Little Flower Prayer
St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love; ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore and tell Him I will love Him each day more and more. Amen.

The Little Flower Rosary
Make the Sign of the Cross, and say on the first bead:
St. Therese of the Infant Jesus, Patroness of Missions, pray for us!
On each of the remaining 24 beads say 1 Glory be in honor of the Blessed Trinity, in thanksgiving for giving the world the Little Saint who lived only 24 years.
Concluding prayer to St. Therese:
St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavently garden and sent it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore and tell Him I will love Him each day more and more.

Litany of the Little Flower of Jesus 
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face
Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, have mercy on us,
Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, hear us,
Christ, graciously hear us,
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us,
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us,
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us,
Holy Mary, Pray for us
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pray for us
Our Lady of Victory,  Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  servant of God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  victim of the merciful love of God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  spouse of Jesus, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  gift of Heaven, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  remarkable in childhood, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  an example of obedience, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  resigned to the Divine Will of God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of peace, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of patience, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of gentleness, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  heroic in sacrifices, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  generous in forgiving, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  benefactress of the needy, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of Jesus, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  devoted to the Holy Face, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  consumed with Divine love of God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  advocate of extreme cases, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  persevering in prayer, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  a powerful advocate with God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  showering roses, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  doing good upon earth, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  answering all prayers, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of Holy Chastity, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of voluntary poverty, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  lover of obedience, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  burning with zeal for God's glory, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  inflamed with the Spirit of Love,  Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  child of benediction, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  perfect in simplicity,  Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  so remarkable for trust in God, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  gifted with unusual intelligence, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  never invoked without some answer, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  teaching us the sure way, Pray for us
Little Thérèse,  victim of Divine Love, Pray for us
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O LordLamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Little Flower of Jesus, pray for us.
   Let us Pray:
         O God, Who didst inflame with Thy Spirit of Love the soul of Thy Servant Therese of the Child Jesus, grant that we also may love Thee and make Thee much loved.   Amen.

For Healing
Dearest Saint Therese, you are the Little Flower of Jesus. Pray this day that I may be made well in body, mind, and spirit. Help me to always see, as you so clearly did, that my sufferings and trials are meant to cleanse and purify me so that I may be more worthy to receive God's unending Love. Amen.

Little Flower Novena (to be prayed for 9 consecutive days)
Prayers to be said each day:
Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of divine love.
V. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
Let us prayO God, who have instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant that by the gift of the same Spirit, we may be ever truly wise and rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love: O my God! I believe in Thee: strengthen my faith. All my hopes are in Thee: do Thou secure them. I love Thee: teach me to love Thee daily more and more.
The Act of Contrition: O my God! I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance , and to amend my life. Amen.

Concluding Prayer Prayed Each Day:
O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.
Special Prayers for Each Day:
First Day
St. Thérèse, privileged Little Flower of Jesus and Mary, I approach you with childlike confidence and deep humility. I lay before you my desires, and beg that through your intercession they may be realized. Did you not promise to spend your heaven doing good upon earth? Grant me according to this promise the favors I am asking from you.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but specially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Confidence in God. We can never have too much confidence in the good God who is so powerful and so merciful. We obtain from Him as much as we hope for. If you are nothing, do you forget that Jesus is everything? You have only to lose your nothingness in His Infinity and think only of loving Him.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Second Day
O dear little Saint, now that you see the crucified Jesus in heaven, still bearing the wounds caused by sin, you know still more clearly than you did upon earth the value of souls, and the priceless worth of that Precious Blood which He shed to save them. As I am one of those children for whom Christ died, obtain for me all the graces I need in order to profit by that Precious Blood. Use your great power with our divine Lord and pray for me.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Sin. The only grace I ask, O Jesus, is never to offend Thee. By love and not by fear, does a soul avoid committing the least fault. Yes, even if I have on my conscience every possible crime, I should lose none of my confidence; my heart breaking with sorrow, I should go and throw myself into the arms of my Savior. The remembrance of my faults humbles me and makes me afraid to rely on my own strength, which is nothing but weakness.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Third Day
Dear Little Flower, make all things lead me to heaven and God, Whether I look at the sun, the moon, the stars and the vast expanse in which they float, or whether I look at the flowers of the field, the trees of the forest, the beauties of the earth so full of color and so glorious, may they speak to me of the love and power of God; may they all sing His praises in my ear. Like you may I daily love Him more and more in return for His gifts. Teach me often to deny myself in my dealings with others, that I may offer to Jesus many little sacrifices.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: The Use of God’s Gifts. How much benefit have I received from the beauties of nature, bestowed in such abundance. How they raise me to Him who placed such wonders in this land of exile which is only to last a day. O sparkling nature, if I did not see God in you, you would be naught but a great tomb. With your little hand which caresses Mary, You sustain the universe and bestow life; and You think of me, O Jesus my little King. I do not wish creatures to have one atom of my love. I wish to give all to Jesus, since He has shown me that He alone is perfect happiness.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Fourth Day
Dear Little Flower of Carmel, bearing so patiently the disappointments and delays allowed by God, and preserving in the depths of your soul an unchanging peace because you sought only God’s will, ask for me complete conformity to that adorable Will in all the trials and disappointments of life. If the favors I am asking during this Novena are pleasing to God, obtain them for me. If not, it is true I shall feel the refusal keenly, but I too wish only God’s Will, and pray in the words you used, that I "may ever be perfectly fulfilled in me."
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Abandonment to God. I fear only one thing---to keep my own will; take it, my God, for I choose all that You choose. The only happiness here below is to strive to be always content with what Jesus gives us. I can demand nothing with fervor, except the perfect accomplishment of God’s will in my soul. O my Beloved, I offer myself to You, that You may perfectly accomplish in me Your holy designs, and I will not allow anything created to be an obstacle in their path.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Fifth Day
Little Flower of Jesus, from the very first moment of your religious life you thought only of denying yourself in all things so as to follow Jesus more perfectly; help me to bear patiently the trials of my daily life. Teach me to make use of the trials, the sufferings, the humiliations, that come my way, to learn to know myself better and to love God more.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Patience in Sufferings. I do not fear trials sent by Jesus, for even in the most bitter suffering we can see that it is His loving hand which causes it. When we are expecting nothing but suffering, we are quite surprised at the least joy; but then suffering itself becomes the greatest of joys when we seek it as a precious treasure. Far from resembling those beautiful saints who practiced all sorts of austerities from childhood, my penance consisted in breaking my self-will, in keeping back a sharp reply, in doing little kindnesses to those about me, but considering these deeds as nothing.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Sixth Day
St. Thérèse, Patroness of the Missions, be a great missionary throughout the world to the end of time. Remind our Master of His own words, "The harvest is great, but the laborers are few." Your zeal for souls was so great, obtain a like zeal for those now working for souls, and beg God to multiply their numbers, that the millions to whom Jesus is yet unknown may be brought to know, love and follow Him.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Zeal for souls. Let us work together for the salvation of souls. We have only the day of this life to save souls and to give them to the Lord as proofs of our love. I tell Jesus that I am glad not to be able to see, with the eyes of my soul, this beautiful heaven which awaits me, in order that He may vouchsafe to open it forever to poor unbelievers. I cannot perform brilliant works; I cannot preach the Gospel or shed my blood. But what matter? My brothers work in place of me, and I a little child, keep very close to the royal throne. I love for those who are carrying on the warfare. My deeds, my little sufferings, can make God loved all over the world.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Seventh Day
O little martyr of Love, you know now even better than in the days of your pilgrimage that Love embraces all vocations; that it is Love alone which counts, which unites us perfectly to God and conforms our will with His. All you sought on earth was love; to love Jesus as He had never yet been loved. Use your power in heaven to make us love Him. If only we love Him we shall desire to make Him loved by others; we shall pray much for souls. We shall no longer fear death, for it will unite us to Him forever. Obtain for us the grace to do all for the love of God, to give Him pleasure, to love Him so well that He may be pleased with us as He was with you.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Love of God. I will love God alone and will not have the misfortune of attaching myself to creatures, now that my heart perceive what He has in store for those who love Him. What attracts me to the kingdom of Heaven is the call of our Lord, the hope of loving Him as I have so desired and the thought that I shall be able to make Him loved by a great number of souls who will bless Him forever. When Christ said, "Give Me a Drink," it was the love of His poor creatures that He, the Creator of all things, desired. He thirsted for love. Remember that the dear Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you, for you alone. Remember that He is consumed with a desire to come into your heart.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Eighth Day
Dear St. Thérèse, like you I have to die one day. I beseech you, obtain from God, by reminding Him of your own precious death, that I may have a holy death, strengthened by the Sacraments of the Church, entirely resigned to the most holy Will of God, and burning with love for Him. May my last words on earth be, "My God. I love You."
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: Death. It says in the catechism that death is nothing but the separation of the soul and body. Well, I have no fear of a separation which will unite me forever with the good God. I am happy to die because I shall be able to help souls who are dear to me, far more than I can here below. Life is not sad; it is very joyous. If you say, "This exile is sad," I understand you. We are wrong to give the name "life" to something which will end; it is only to the things of Heaven that we should apply this beautiful name.
Pray the Concluding Prayer

Ninth Day
Dear Little St. Thérèse, by love and suffering while you were on earth, you won the power with God which you now enjoy in heaven. Since your life there began, you have showered down countless blessings on this poor world; you have been an instrument made use of by your divine Spouse to work countless miracles. I beg of you to remember all my wants. Sufferings must come to me also, may I use them to love God more, and follow my Jesus better. You are especially the little missionary of love. Make me love Jesus more, and all others for His sake. With all my heart I thank the most Holy Trinity for the wonderful blessings conferred on you, and upon the world through you.
Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.
Thought for the day: The Mission of the Little Flower. I do not intend to remain inactive in Heaven. I want to work for the Church and for souls. I have asked this of God and I am certain that He will grant my request. I will spend my Heaven doing good upon earth. This is not impossible, since the angels though always enjoying the beatific vision, watch over us. No, I cannot be at rest until the end of the world. I beseech Thee, O Jesus, to cast Thy divine glance on a great number of little souls. I beg of Thee to choose in this world a legion of little victims, worthy of Thy Love.
Pray the Concluding Prayer
Novena Source:

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Thursday, October 1, 2020 - #StTherese Memorial - Your Virtual Church

Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 458

Reading 1
JB 19:21-27
Job said:

Pity me, pity me, O you my friends,
for the hand of God has struck me!
Why do you hound me as though you were divine,
and insatiably prey upon me?

Oh, would that my words were written down!
Would that they were inscribed in a record:
That with an iron chisel and with lead
they were cut in the rock forever!
But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives,
and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust;
Whom I myself shall see:
my own eyes, not another’s, shall behold him,
And from my flesh I shall see God;
my inmost being is consumed with longing.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 27:7-8A, 8B-9ABC, 13-14
R. (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
Hear, O LORD, the sound of my call;
have pity on me, and answer me.
Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

MK 1:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
LK 10:1-12
Jesus appointed seventy-two other 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 his 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.’
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.’
Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand.
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day
than for that town.”
Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion.
At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint October 1 : St. Therese of Lisieux, Little Flower, the Patron of AIDS, Illness, and Missionaries - Known for sending Roses from Heaven!

January 2, 1873, Alençon, France
September 30, 1897, Lisieux, France
May 17, 1925 by Pope Pius XI
Major Shrine:
Basilique de Sainte-Thérèse, Lisieux, France
Patron of:
AIDS sufferers; aviators; bodily ills; florists; France; illness; loss of parents; missionaries; tuberculosis

At the age of 14, on Christmas Eve in 1886, Therese had a conversion that transformed her life. From then on, her powerful energy and sensitive spirit were turned toward love, instead of keeping herself happy. At 15, she entered the Carmelite convent in Lisieux to give her whole life to God. She took the religious name Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. Living a hidden, simple life of prayer, she was gifted with great intimacy with God. Through sickness and dark nights of doubt and fear, she remained faithful to God, rooted in His merciful love. After a long struggle with tuberculosis, she died on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24. Her last words were the story of her life: "My God, I love You!"
The world came to know Therese through her autobiography, "Story of a Soul". She described her life as a "little way of spiritual childhood." She lived each day with an unshakable confidence in God's love. "What matters in life," she wrote, "is not great deeds, but great love." Therese lived and taught a spirituality of attending to everyone and everything well and with love. She believed that just as a child becomes enamored with what is before her, we should also have a childlike focus and totally attentive love. Therese's spirituality is of doing the ordinary, with extraordinary love.

She loved flowers and saw herself as the "little flower of Jesus," who gave glory to God by just being her beautiful little self among all the other flowers in God's garden. Because of this beautiful analogy, the title "little flower" remained with St. Therese.

Her inspiration and powerful presence from heaven touched many people very quickly. She was canonized by Pope Pius XI on May 17, 1925. Had she lived, she would have been only 52 years old when she was declared a Saint.
"My mission - to make God loved - will begin after my death," she said. "I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses." Roses have been described and experienced as Saint Therese's signature. Countless millions have been touched by her intercession and imitate her "little way." She has been acclaimed "the greatest saint of modern times." In 1997, Pope John Paul II declared St. Therese a Doctor of the Church - the only Doctor of his pontificate - in tribute to the powerful way her spirituality has influenced people all over the world. Text Source: - Image Source: Google Images -
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, Please pick a rose for me
From the heavenly gardens And send it to me As a message of love.
O little flower of Jesus, Ask God today to grant the favors
I now place with confidence In your hands.
(Mention your specific requests)

St. Therese, help me to always believe, As you did,
In God's great love for me, So that I might imitate your
"Little Way" each day. Amen

Pope Francis Says We Should Keep "Our eyes fixed on Jesus, who saves and heals the world." FULL TEXT + Video

San Damaso courtyard
Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Catechesis “Healing the world”: 9. Preparing the future together with Jesus who saves and heals
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
In recent weeks we have reflected together, in the light of the Gospel, on how to heal the world that is suffering from a malaise that the pandemic has highlighted and accentuated. The malaise was already there: the pandemic highlighted it more, it accentuated it. We have walked the paths of dignity, solidarity and subsidiarity, paths that are essential to promote human dignity and the common good. And as disciples of Jesus, we have proposed to follow in His steps, opting for the poor, rethinking the use of material goods and taking care of our common home. In the midst of the pandemic that afflicts us, we have anchored ourselves to the principles of the social doctrine of the Church, letting ourselves be guided by faith, by hope and by charity. Here we have found solid help so as to be transformers who dream big, who are not stopped by the meanness that divides and hurts, but who encourage the generation of a new and better world.

I hope this journey will not come to an end with this catechesis of mine, but rather that we may be able to continue to walk together, to “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus” (Heb 12:2), as we heard at the beginning; our eyes fixed on Jesus, who saves and heals the world. As the Gospel shows us, Jesus healed the sick of every type (see Mt 9:35), He gave sight to the blind, the word to the mute, hearing to the deaf. And when He cured diseases and physical infirmity, He also healed the spirit by forgiving sins, because Jesus always forgives, as well as “social pains” by including the marginalised (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1421). Jesus, who renews and reconciles every creature (see 2 Cor 5.17; Col 1:19-20), gives us the gifts necessary to love and heal as He knew how to do (see Lk 10:1-9; Jn  15:9-17), to take care of all without distinction on the basis of race, language or nation.
So that this may truly happen, we need to contemplate and appreciate the beauty of every human being and every creature. We were conceived in the heart of God (see Eph 1:3-5). “Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary”.[1] Furthermore, every creature has something to say to us about God the creator (see Encyclical Laudato si’, 69239). Acknowledging this truth and giving thanks for the intimate bonds in our universal communion with all people and all creatures activates “generous care, full of tenderness” (ibid., 220). And it also helps us to recognise Christ present in our poor and suffering brothers and sisters, to encounter them and to listen to their cry and the cry of the earth that echoes it (see ibid., 49).
Inwardly mobilised by these cries that demand of us another course (see ibid., 53), that demand we change, we will be able to contribute to the restoration of relations with our gifts and capacities (cf. ibid., 19). We will be able to regenerate society and not return to so-called “normality”,  which is an ailing normality, which was ailing before the pandemic: the pandemic highlighted it! “Now we return to normality”: no, this will not do, because this normality was sick with injustice, inequality and environmental degradation. The normality to which we are called is that of the Kingdom of God, where  “the blind see again, and the lame walk, those suffering from virulent skin-diseases are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the good news is proclaimed to the poor” (Mt 11:5). And nobody plays dumb by looking the other way. This is what we have to do in order to change. In the normality of the Kingdom of God, there is bread for all and more to spare, social organisation is based on contributing, sharing and distributing, not on possessing, excluding and accumulating (see Mt 14:13-21).
The gesture that enables progress in a society, a family, a neighbourhood, or a city, all of them, is to give oneself, to give, which is not giving alms, but to give from the heart. A gesture that distances us from selfishness and the eagerness to possess. But the Christian way of doing this is not a mechanical way: it is a human way. We will never be able to emerge from the crisis that has been highlighted by the pandemic, mechanically, with new tools - which are very important, they allow us to move forward, and we must not be afraid of them - but knowing that even the most sophisticated means, able to do many things, are incapable of one thing: tenderness. And tenderness is the very sign of Jesus' presence. Approaching others in order to walk together, to heal, to help, to sacrifice oneself for others.
So it is important, that normality of the Kingdom of God: there is bread for everyone, social organisation is based on contributing, sharing and distributing, with tenderness; not on possessing, excluding and accumulating. Because at the end of life, we will not take anything with us into the other life!
A small virus continues to cause deep wounds and to expose our physical, social and spiritual vulnerabilities. It has laid bare the great inequality that reigns in the world: inequality of opportunity, inequality of goods, inequality of access to health care, inequality of technology,  education: millions of children cannot go to school, and so the list goes on. These injustices are neither natural nor inevitable. They are the work of man, they come from a model of growth detached from the deepest values. Food waste: with that waste one can feed others. And this has made many people lose hope and has increased uncertainty and anguish. That is why, to come out of the pandemic, we must find the cure not only for the coronavirus - which is important! - but also for the great human and socio-economic viruses. They must not be concealed or whitewashed so they cannot be seen. And certainly we cannot expect the economic model that underlies unfair and unsustainable development to solve our problems. It has not and will not, because it cannot do so, even though some false prophets continue to promise the “trickle-down” that never comes.[2] You have heard yourselves, the theory of the glass: it is important that the glass is full, and then overflows to the poor and to others, and they receive wealth. But there is a phenomenon: the glass starts to fill up and when it is almost full it grows, it grows and it grows, and never overflows. We must be careful.
We need to set to work urgently to generate good policies, to design systems of social organisation that reward participation, care and generosity, rather than indifference, exploitation and particular interests. We must go ahead with tenderness. A fair and equitable society is a healthier society. A participatory society - where the “last” are taken into account just like the “first” - strengthens communion. A society where diversity is respected is much more resistant to any kind of virus.
Let us place this healing journey under the protection of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Health. May she, who carried Jesus in her womb, help us to be trustful. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, we can work together for the Kingdom of God that Christ inaugurated in this world by coming among us. It is a Kingdom of light in the midst of darkness, of justice in the midst of so many outrages, of joy in the midst of so much pain, of healing and of salvation in the midst of sickness and death, of tenderness in the midst of hatred. May God grant us to “viralise" love and to “globalise” hope in the light of faith.

[1] Benedict XVI, Homily for the beginning of the Petrine ministry (24 April 2005); see Encyclical Laudato si’, 65.
[2] “Trickle-down effect” in English, “derrame” in Spanish (see Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 54).


Today I signed the Apostolic Letter "Sacrae Scripturae affectus", on the 16th centenary of the death of Saint Jerome.

May the example of this great doctor and father of the Church, who put the Bible at the center of his life, arouse in everyone a renewed love for Sacred Scripture and the desire to live in personal dialogue with the Word of God.

* * *

I address a cordial greeting to the Italian-speaking faithful. May the Lord obtain for you the good that your heart desires for yourselves and for those close to you on the journey of life.

Finally, my thoughts go, as usual, to the elderly, young people, the sick and newlyweds. Each one, in the situation in which he finds himself, knows how to be generous both in the commitment for a better future, both in the acceptance of trial and suffering, and in the mutual love for building a harmonious and true family.

Special greetings

I cordially greet the English-speaking faithful, especially the new seminarians who have arrived in Rome to begin their years of formation and the deacons of the Pontifical North American College. May the Lord sustain their efforts to be faithful servants of the Gospel. Upon all of you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!
Je salue cordialement les personnes de langue française. Frères et sœurs, sous la protection de la Vierge Marie, mettons-nous à l’œuvre, chacun selon nos moyens, pour réaliser autour de nous une société où les derniers sont pris en considération au même titre que les premiers. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
[I cordially greet the French-speaking faithful. Brothers and sisters, under the protection of the Virgin Mary, let us set to work, each according to his own means, to create around us a society in which the last are considered as the first. God bless you!]
In einigen Tagen begehen wir das Schutzengelfest. Wenden wir uns im Gebet oft an sie, auf dass sie uns in allen Lebenslagen beistehen und uns helfen, unseren Blick fest auf Jesus, unsere einzige Rettung, zu richten.
[In a few days we will celebrate the feast of the Guardian Angels. Let us turn to them frequently in prayer, so that they will help us in all situations of our life and help us keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, our only salvation.]
Saludo cordialmente a los fieles de lengua española. De modo particular, saludo al grupo de sacerdotes del Pontificio Colegio Mexicano, que siguen aquí en Roma su formación integral, para conformarse cada día más a Cristo Buen Pastor. Hoy hacemos memoria de san Jerónimo, un estudioso apasionado de la Sagrada Escritura, que hizo de ella el motor y el alimento de su vida. Que su ejemplo nos ayude también a nosotros a leer y conocer la Palabra de Dios, «porque ignorar las Escrituras ― decía él― es ignorar a Cristo». Que el Señor los bendiga.
(I cordially greet the Spanish-speaking faithful. In a particular way, I greet the group of priests of the Pontifical Mexican College, who continue their integral formation here in Rome, to conform more and more to Christ the Good Shepherd. Today we remember Saint Jerome, a passionate student of Sacred Scripture, who made it the engine and the nourishment of his life. May his example help us also to read and know the Word of God, "because to ignore the Scriptures - he said - is to ignore Christ." May the Lord bless you.)

Dirijo uma cordial saudação aos fiéis de língua portuguesa. Hoje celebramos a memória de São Jerônimo que nos lembra que a ignorância das Escrituras é ignorância de Cristo. Queridos amigos, de bom grado fazei da Bíblia o alimento diário do vosso diálogo com o Senhor, assim vos convertereis em colaboradores sempre mais disponíveis para trabalhar pelo Reino que Jesus inaugurou neste mundo. Que Deus vos abençoe a vós e a vossos entes queridos!
[I address a cordial greeting to the Portuguese-speaking faithful. Today we celebrate the memory of St. Jerome who reminds us that ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. Dear friends, gladly make the Bible the daily food of your dialogue with the Lord, in this way you will become collaborators more and more willing to work for the Kingdom that Christ has inaugurated in this world. God bless you and those dear to you!]أحيّي المؤمنين الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية. لِنَنْظُرْ إلى المسيح بشجاعة، ولِنَتأَمَلْ حياتَه ولِنَعْمَلْ معًا من أجلِ ملكوتِه الذي بدأه في هذا العالم عندما عاشَ بيننا. إنّه ملكوتُ النورِ في وسطِ الظلام، وملكوتُ العدالةِ في وسطِ العديدِ من الإساءات، وملكوتُ الفرحِ في وسطِ الكثيرِ من الآلام، وملكوتُ الشفاءِ والخلاصِ في وسطِ الأمراضِ والموت. ليباركْكُم الرّبُّ جميعًا ويحرسْكُم دائمًا من كلِّ شر!
[I greet the Arabic-speaking faithful. Let us look to Christ with courage, contemplating his life and working together for his Kingdom, which he inaugurated in this world by coming among us. A Kingdom of light in the midst of darkness, of justice in the midst of so many outrages, of joy in the midst of so many pains, of healing and salvation in the midst of sickness and death. The Lord bless you all and always protect you from all evil!]
‎‎‎Serdecznie pozdrawiam Polaków. Drodzy bracia i siostry, wchodzimy w miesiąc październik, tradycyjnie poświęcony Matce Bożej Różańcowej. Bądźcie wierni waszemu zwyczajowi modlitwy różańcowej w waszych wspólnotach, a szczególnie w rodzinach. Rozważając każdego dnia w tajemnice życia Maryi w świetle zbawczego dzieła Jej Syna, pozwólcie Jej uczestniczyć w waszych radościach, w waszych troskach i w chwilach szczęścia. Niech przez Jej ręce Bóg wam błogosławi!
[I cordially greet the Poles. Dear brothers and sisters, we are about to enter the month of October, traditionally dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. Be faithful to your custom of praying the rosary in your communities and, above all, in families. By meditating every day on the mysteries of Mary's life in the light of her Son's saving work, let her share in your joys, your worries and moments of happiness. By his hands God bless you!]

FULL TEXT at Freedom Symposium - US Sec. State Mike Pompeo Quotes Pope Francis saying the Church should be “permanently in a state of mission.” + Video

Moral Witness and Religious Freedom



SECRETARY POMPEO:  Good morning, everyone.

Thank you, Ambassador Gingrich, for that incredibly kind introduction.  You’ve done wonderful work with this important symposium.  I’m glad to be here for the second time.

To Your Eminence Cardinal Parolin, thank you for being here.

It’s great to see you again too, Archbishop Gallagher.

It’s wonderful to be with a lot of good friends, old friends.

I want to also welcome other members of the clergy, members of the diplomatic corps who are here as well, and all of the distinguished guests.  It’s an honor to be here.  It truly is.

I especially want to recognize many of the leaders of faith-based groups we have in the audience today.  You reflect the grace of God in serving others.  Thank you for what you do, and may God bless all of you.

And I’m humbled too by those of you here who have spent your entire lives in service of God in full-time pastoral ministry, makes my job look easy.

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, an anniversary that I’ve reflected on quite a bit as I’ve traveled throughout Europe several times this year.

That life or death struggle was a crucible, a proving ground of moral witness.  Individual stories of valor were legion.  But I remember especially Father Bernhard Lichtenberg.

Some of you may know the story, but Father Lichtenberg – some of you may not – Father Lichtenberg was a priest in Berlin in the 1930s, who fervently resisted the Nazi regime, and helped Jews with finances, advice, emigration assistance as the Nazi fist tightened.

In 1938, in the aftermath of Kristallnacht, he began to speak up more loudly on their behalf, proclaiming at St. Hedwig’s Cathedral in Berlin, quote, “Outside the synagogue is burning, and that too, is a house of God.”

Father Lichtenberg didn’t stop with mere words.  From then on, he fearlessly prayed each day publicly for the Jews and other victims of Nazi brutality.

Eventually, the Nazis arrested him in 1941, October.  They offered that he could make a deal: He could go free in exchange for stopping his subversive preaching.  Instead, he asked to accompany deported Jews and Jewish Christians to Poland, so he could minister to them.

In May of 1942, some eight months later, he was given a two-year prison sentence.  When asked if he had anything to add when the sentence was read, he said, quote, “I submit that no harm results to the state by citizens who pray for the Jews.”

Towards the end of his sentence, the Nazis realized they could never break his spirit.  They ordered him sent to Dachau concentration camp, but he died on the way before he reached that grim destination.

Father Lichtenberg bore an incredible moral witness, and in 2004 he was honored by the State of Israel as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, a non-Jew who risked his life to save Jews from Nazis.

Today, as we think about that man, I urge all faith leaders to exhibit a similarly moral, bold witness for the sake of religious freedom, for human dignity, and for peace.

Now, many of you know when I was here last year, I spoke about religious freedom at length.

It was important for me to attend this year, because the mission of defending human dignity – and religious freedom in particular – remains at the core of American foreign policy.

That’s because it’s at the heart of the American experiment.  Our founders regarded religious freedom as an absolutely essential right of mankind and central to our founding.

Indeed, I would say it’s an integral part to what Pope John Paul II described as the “universal longing for freedom” at the United Nations when he spoke in 1995.  Billions of people today – as Ambassador Gingrich said, people have always seeked to worship according to their conscience.

But sadly, authoritarian regimes, terrorists, and even secularists, free societies are – in their different ways – trampling religious freedom all around the world.

Vast swathes of humanity live in countries where religious freedom is restricted, from places like Iran, to Nigeria, and to Cuba, and beyond.

The State Department spends ample resources at chronicling these horrific situations in an annual report that extends to the thousands of pages.

Nowhere, however – nowhere is religious freedom under assault more than it is inside of China today.  That’s because, as with all communist regimes, the Chinese Communist Party deems itself the ultimate moral authority.

An increasingly repressive CCP, frightened by its own lack of democratic legitimacy, works day and night to snuff out the lamp of freedom, especially religious freedom, on a horrifying scale.

I spoke on this topic last year for a bit, and I paid special attention last year to the Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang.

But they’re not the only victims.  The Chinese Communist Party has battered every religious community in China: Protestant house churches, Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong devotees, and more.

Nor, of course, have Catholics been spared this wave of repression:

Catholic churches and shrines have been desecrated and destroyed.

Catholic bishops like Augustine Cui Tai have been imprisoned, as have priests in Italy.[1]

And Catholic lay leaders in the human rights movement, not least in Hong Kong, have been arrested.

Authorities order residents to replace pictures of Jesus with those of Chairman Mao and those of General Secretary Xi Jinping.

All of these believers are the heirs of those Pope John Paul celebrated in his speech to the UN, those who had “taken the risk of freedom, asking to be given a place in social, political, and economic life which is commensurate with their dignity as free human beings.”

We must support those demanding freedoms in our time, like Father Lichtenberg did.

Now, the United States can and does play its part in speaking up for those oppressed, although we too can do more.  But we work hard to shine the light on abuses, punish those responsible, and encourage others to join us in this advocacy.

But for all that nation-states can do, ultimately, our efforts are constrained by the realities of world politics.  Countries must sometimes make compromises to advance good ends, leaders come and go, and indeed priorities change.

The Church is in a different position.  Earthly considerations shouldn’t discourage principled stances based on eternal truths.  And as history shows, Catholics have often deployed their principles in glorious, glorious service of human dignity.

The French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain helped lay the intellectual foundation for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

In the wake of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, the bishops of Poland and West Germany led the way towards reconciliation between their countries.

And every serious scholar of the Cold War now acknowledges that Pope John Paul II played a pivotal role in igniting the revolution of conscience that brought down the Iron Curtain.

John Paul II was also unafraid.  He challenged Latin America authoritarianism and helped inspire democratic transition.

Pope Emeritus Benedict described religious freedom as “an essential element of a constitutional state,” and indeed, “the litmus test for the respect of all human rights.”

And just like Pope Benedict, Pope Francis has spoken eloquently about the “human ecology” essential to decent societies.

And in my own country, movements to end slavery in the 19th century and expand civil rights for African Americans in the 20th century were largely led by Christians of many denominations who appealed to our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage, as well to our core founding principles.

These examples, these remarkable examples of Christian action for freedom, justice, and human dignity shame those who are trying to drive faith from the public square.

But even more importantly, they should inspire us today, and especially those of you who hold spiritual authority of any faith, to lead in our own time.

Pope Francis has exhorted the Church to be “permanently in a state of mission.”  It’s a hope that resonates with this evangelical Protestant who believes, as the Holy Father does, that those of us given the gift of Christian faith have an obligation to do our best to bless others.

To be a Church “permanently in a state of mission” has many meanings.  Surely, one of them is to be a Church permanently in defense of basic human rights.

A Church permanently in opposition to tyrannical regimes.

A Church permanently engaged in support of those who wish to take “the risk of freedom” of which Pope John Paul II spoke, especially, most especially where religious freedom is denied, or limited, or even crushed.

As Christians, we all know we live in a fallen world.  That means that those who have responsibility for the common good must sometimes deal with wicked men and indeed with wicked regimes.  But in doing so – in doing so, statesmen representing democracies must never lose sight of the moral truths and human dignity that make democracy itself possible.

So also should religious leaders.  Religious leaders should understand that being salt and light must often mean exercising a bold moral witness.

And this call to witness extends to all faiths, not just to Christians and Catholics.  It’s for leaders of all faiths at – indeed, at every level.

It’s my fervent hope that Muslim leaders will speak up for the Uyghurs and other oppressed Muslims in China, including ethnic Kazakhs and the Krygyz.

Jewish leaders, too, must stand up for the dwindling Jewish community in Yemen.

Christian leaders have an obligation to speak up for their brothers and sisters in Iraq, in North Korea, and in Cuba.

I call on every faith leader to find the courage to confront religious persecution against their own communities, as well as Father Lichtenberg did against members of other faiths as well.

Every man and woman of faith is called to exercise a moral witness against the persecution of believers.  Indeed – we’re here today to talk about religious freedom – the very future of religious freedom depends upon these acts of moral witness.

It’s now some twenty years ago this very week that Pope John Paul II canonized 87 Chinese believers and 33 European missionaries killed in China before the current Communist regime took power.

At the time, he said the following:  He said that “the Church intends merely to recognize that those martyrs are an example of courage and consistency to us all, and that they honor the noble Chinese people.”

Brave men and women all over the world, taking that “risk of freedom,” continue to fight for respect for their right to worship, because their conscience demands it.

Pope John Paul II bore witness to his flock’s suffering, and he challenged tyranny.  By doing so, he demonstrated how the Holy See can move our world in a more humane direction, like almost no other institution.

May the Church, and all those who know that we are ultimately accountable to God, be so bold in our time.  May we all be so bold in our time.

Thank you.

And may God bless each and every one of you who are here today.

Thank you.

[1] as have priests and laity.