Friday, January 3, 2020

Saint January 4 : St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Convert and the Foundress of the Sisters of Charity ; Patron of Catholic Schools

28 August 1774 in New York City, New York, USA 
4 January 1821 in Emmitsburg, Maryland
14 September 1975 by Pope Paul VI
Patron of:
Catholic Schools; State of Maryland
 She founded the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity. She opened the first American parish school and established the first American Catholic orphanage. All this she did in the span of 46 years while raising her five children.
Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton is a true daughter of the American Revolution, born August 28, 1774, just two years before the Declaration of Independence. By birth and marriage, she was linked to the first families of New York and enjoyed the fruits of high society. Reared a staunch Episcopalian by her mother and stepmother, she learned the value of prayer, Scripture and a nightly examination of conscience. Her father, Dr. Richard Bayley, did not have much use for churches but was a great humanitarian, teaching his daughter to love and serve others.
The early deaths of her mother in 1777 and her baby sister in 1778 gave Elizabeth a feel for eternity and the temporariness of the pilgrim life on earth. Far from being brooding and sullen, she faced each new “holocaust,” as she put it, with hopeful cheerfulness.
At 19, Elizabeth was the belle of New York and married a handsome, wealthy businessman, William Magee Seton. They had five children before his business failed and he died of tuberculosis. At 30, Elizabeth was widowed, penniless, with five small children to support.
While in Italy with her dying husband, Elizabeth witnessed Catholicity in action through family friends. Three basic points led her to become a Catholic: belief in the Real Presence, devotion to the Blessed Mother and conviction that the Catholic Church led back to the apostles and to Christ. Many of her family and friends rejected her when she became a Catholic in March 1805.
To support her children, she opened a school in Baltimore. From the beginning, her group followed the lines of a religious community, which was officially founded in 1809.
The thousand or more letters of Mother Seton reveal the development of her spiritual life from ordinary goodness to heroic sanctity. She suffered great trials of sickness, misunderstanding, the death of loved ones (her husband and two young daughters) and the heartache of a wayward son. She died January 4, 1821, and became the first American-born citizen to be beatified (1963) and then canonized (1975). She is buried in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Easy #Novena to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton - #Prayers to SHARE
Text from American Catholic - Image source Google Images

What is 1st Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart? Consecration to the #SacredHeart of Jesus Explained with Promises and Instructions - Prayers to Share!

Devotion to His Sacred Heart involves the First Friday Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is based on a promise made by Our Lord Jesus Christ during an Apparition to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. This promise was implicitly approved by the Church in the 1920 canonization of St. Margaret Mary.
The promise reads:
"I promise you in the excessive Mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful Love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the Grace of Final Penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."
 The Purpose of the Devotion is reparation to the Heart of Jesus for sins committed against God.
In order to receive these graces we should: 
 1-Recieve without interruption Holy Communion for nine consecutive first Fridays of any month.
 2-Have the intention of honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus persevering in our faith until the end.
3-Offer each Holy Communion as an act of expiation for the offenses committed against this Holy Sacrament.
 4-Pray: "O Lord, who in the Heart of Your Son, wounded by our sins, has deposited infinite treasures of grace - we pray, that upon receiving the homage of our love, we have offered you a sufficient reparation.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Heart of Jesus, I trust in You."
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
 "O Sacred Heart of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to Thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying Thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to Thee, and to do all for Thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease Thee. "I take Thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life, and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. . . I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in Thee, O Heart of Love, I hope for all from Thine infinite goodness. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist Thee. Imprint Thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget Thee or be separated from Thee. I beseech Thee, through Thine infinite goodness, grant that my name be engraved on Thy Heart for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live and to die as one of Thy devoted servants. Amen.

 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus 
 1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
2. I will give peace in their families.
3. I will console them in all their troubles.
4. I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.
5. I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
9. I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
 11. Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.
12. In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.

Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (said by Padre Pio)I. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you." Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of...... (here name your request)
Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father....Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

II. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of.......(here name your request) Our Father...Hail Mary....Glory Be To the Father....Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

III. O my Jesus, you have said: "Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away." Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of.....(here name your request) Our Father....Hail Mary....Glory Be to the Father...Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you


Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

Christ, hear us
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God, the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, One God,
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father,
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother,
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God,
Heart of Jesus, of Infinite Majesty,
Heart of Jesus, Sacred Temple of God,
Heart of Jesus, Tabernacle of the Most High,
Heart of Jesus, House of God and Gate of Heaven,
Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity,
Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love,
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues,
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts,
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells the fullness of divinity,
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased,
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received,
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,
Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful,
Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke Thee,
Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness,
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, loaded down with opprobrium,
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our offenses,
Heart of Jesus, obedient to death,
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection,
Heart of Jesus, our peace and our reconciliation,
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the Saints,

Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,

V. Jesus, meek and humble of heart.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.

have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.
have mercy on us.

spare us, O Lord.

graciously hear us, O Lord.

have mercy on us, O Lord.

R. Make our hearts like to Thine.
Let us pray;

Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Thy most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which He offers Thee in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Thy mercy, in Thy great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who livest and reignest with Thee forever and ever. Amen.

Pope Francis' January Prayer Intention is for the "Promotion of World Peace" by Christians, followers of other religions, and all people of goodwill - Full Text + Video

Pope Francis' prayer intention for January 2020,  is "Promotion of World Peace".
In his prayer intention for the month of January, Pope Francis calls us to pray that Christians, followers of other religions, and all people of goodwill may promote together peace and justice in the world.

The full text of his intention is below:

In a divided and fragmented world, I want to invite all believers, and also all people of good will, to reconciliation and fraternity.

Our faith leads us to spread the values of peace and mutual understanding, of the common good.

We pray that Christians, followers of other religions, and all people of goodwill may promote together peace and justice in the world.

Thank you.

#BreakingNews over 80 People Killed and over 100 Injured and Thousands Displaced in Attack of West Dafur, Sudan

Sudan: West Darfur Attacks - Death Toll Rises to 80+, More Than 8,000 Families Displaced

All report from Radio Dabanga (Amsterdam):
El Geneina — More than 80 people were reportedly killed and at least 190 others injured in the tribal violence that broke out in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, on Sunday. At least 80,000 people have been effected. 8,111 families fled their homes. The El Geneina Crisis Committee formed after the violent events accuses the West Darfur government of complicity.

Fighting reportedly broke out on Sunday evening after a young Masalit tribesman killed an Maaliya herder at El Bursa Market in Kerending camp. In response the relatives of the victim attacked relatives of the perpetrator and killed two of them, wounded others, and torched the market.

The Masalit Sultanate said in a press statement on Tuesday that a number of militant herders were riding in vehicles belonging to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia. Others came in private vehicles, motorcycles, horses, and camels. They torched the two Kerending camps, and attacked districts in El Geneina, a number of neighbouring villages, and the western part of Mornei camp.

Osman Jaafar, Secretary General of the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, said that 8,111 families fled the two Kerending camps that burned to ashes, and Hashaba, Mouli, and Habila villages. They are currently accommodated in schools and mosques in El Geneina.

The High-level Crisis Management Committee for the Events in El Geneina and the Kerending Camps reported on Thursday that more than 80 people died and 190 others were injured. More than 5,000 heads of livestock, 200 motorcycles, 300 rickshaws, more than 180 vehicles of all kinds, and millions of Pounds in cash were stolen.

According to the committee, the total number of affected consists of 32,555 displaced people from the burned Kerending camps and more than 50,000 residents of villages and El Geneina districts neighbouring the camps.

People who fled from Amrallah village, north-east of El Geneina, reported that gunmen riding in two vehicles attacked their village on Wednesday evening. Two villagers were killed and their shops were plundered. A source from Manjowa village, north of El Geneina, said that gunmen on motorcycles killed Ezo Ibrahim, and fled.

The Sudanese Red Crescent Society stated on Thursday that it transported 48 bodies to the morgue of El Geneina Hospital on Wednesday. They counted 241 injured.

Red Crescent Society staff took 55 injured people to El Geneina Hospital on Wednesday. 19 others were transported in a critical condition to El Geneina Airport and from there to better equipped hospitals in Khartoum. First aid was provided in the field to 167 wounded.

"The events began on Saturday, December 28, when members of the Rapid Support Forces and janjaweed militiamen gathered near the camps with all their arms, and with the knowledge of the state authorities." - El Geneina Crisis Committee
Peace talks

On Monday, the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance in the South Sudanese capital of Juba, where peace talks are being held between the Sudanese government and armed movement, responded to the events by suspending negotiations on the Darfur track. They said they hold the government in Khartoum responsible, and will only return to the negotiation table after a proper investigation into the violence.

Shortened from the Text Source: All report from Radio Dabanga (Amsterdam)

Pope Francis' message for World Day of the Sick "Life must be welcomed, protected, respected and served from its beginning to its end..." Full Test

11 February 2020

“Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened,
and I will give you rest” (
Mt 11:28)

Dear brothers and sisters,
1. Jesus’ words, “Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28) point to the mysterious path of grace that is revealed to the simple and gives new strength to those who are weary and tired. These words of Christ express the solidarity of the Son of Man with all those who are hurt and afflicted. How many people suffer in both body and soul! Jesus urges everyone to draw near to him – “Come to me!” – and he promises them comfort and repose. “When Jesus says this, he has before him the people he meets every day on the streets of Galilee: very many simple people, the poor, the sick, sinners, those who are marginalized by the burden of the law and the oppressive social system... These people always followed him to hear his word, a word that gave hope! Jesus’ words always give hope!” (Angelus, 6 July 2014).
On this XXVIII World Day of the Sick, Jesus repeats these words to the sick, the oppressed, and the poor. For they realize that they depend entirely on God and, beneath the burden of their trials, stand in need of his healing. Jesus does not make demands of those who endure situations of frailty, suffering and weakness, but offers his mercy and his comforting presence. He looks upon a wounded humanity with eyes that gaze into the heart of each person. That gaze is not one of indifference; rather, it embraces people in their entirety, each person in his or her health condition, discarding no one, but rather inviting everyone to share in his life and to experience his tender love.
2. Why does Jesus have these feelings? Because he himself became frail, endured human suffering and received comfort from his Father. Indeed, only those who personally experience suffering are then able to comfort others. There are so many kinds of grave suffering: incurable and chronic diseases, psychological diseases, situations calling for rehabilitation or palliative care, numerous forms of disability, children’s or geriatric diseases… At times human warmth is lacking in our approach to these. What is needed is a personalized approach to the sick, not just of curing but also of caring, in view of an integral human healing. In experiencing illness, individuals not only feel threatened in their physical integrity, but also in the relational, intellectual, affective and spiritual dimensions of their lives. For this reason, in addition to therapy and support, they expect care and attention. In a word, love. At the side of every sick person, there is also a family, which itself suffers and is in need of support and comfort.
3. Dear brothers and sisters who are ill, your sickness makes you in a particular way one of those “who labour and are burdened”, and thus attract the eyes and heart of Jesus. In him, you will find light to brighten your darkest moments and hope to soothe your distress. He urges you: “Come to me”. In him, you will find strength to face all the worries and questions that assail you during this “dark night” of body and soul. Christ did not give us prescriptions, but through his passion, death and resurrection he frees us from the grip of evil.
In your experience of illness, you certainly need a place to find rest. The Church desires to become more and more the “inn” of the Good Samaritan who is Christ (cf. Lk 10:34), that is, a home where you can encounter his grace, which finds expression in closeness, acceptance and relief. In this home, you can meet people who, healed in their frailty by God’s mercy, will help you bear your cross and enable your suffering to give you a new perspective. You will be able to look beyond your illness to a greater horizon of new light and fresh strength for your lives.
A key role in this effort to offer rest and renewal to our sick brothers and sisters is played by healthcare workers: physicians, nurses, medical and administrative professionals, assistants and volunteers. Thanks to their expertise, they can make patients feel the presence of Christ who consoles and cares for the sick, and heals every hurt. Yet they too are men and women with their own frailties and even illnesses. They show how true it is that “once Christ’s comfort and rest is received, we are called in turn to become rest and comfort for our brothers and sisters, with a docile and humble attitude in imitation of the Teacher” (Angelus, 6 July 2014).
4. Dear healthcare professionals, let us always remember that diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic treatments, research, care and rehabilitation are always in the service of the sick person; indeed the noun “person” takes priority over the adjective “sick”. In your work, may you always strive to promote the dignity and life of each person, and reject any compromise in the direction of euthanasia, assisted suicide or suppression of life, even in the case of terminal illness.
When confronted with the limitations and even failures of medical science before increasingly problematic clinical cases and bleak diagnoses, you are called to be open to the transcendent dimension of your profession that reveals its ultimate meaning. Let us remember that life is sacred and belongs to God; hence it is inviolable and no one can claim the right to dispose of it freely (cf. Donum Vitae, 5; Evangelium Vitae, 29-53). Life must be welcomed, protected, respected and served from its beginning to its end: both human reason and faith in God, the author of life, require this. In some cases, conscientious objection becomes a necessary decision if you are to be consistent with your “yes” to life and to the human person. Your professionalism, sustained by Christian charity, will be the best service you can offer for the safeguarding of the truest human right, the right to life. When you can no longer provide a cure, you will still be able to provide care and healing, through gestures and procedures that give comfort and relief to the sick.
Tragically, in some contexts of war and violent conflict, healthcare professionals and the facilities that receive and assist the sick are attacked. In some areas, too, political authorities attempt to manipulate medical care for their own advantage, thus restricting the medical profession’s legitimate autonomy. Yet attacking those who devote themselves to the service of the suffering members of society does not serve the interests of anyone.
5. On this XXVIII World Day of the Sick, I think of our many brothers and sisters throughout the world who have no access to medical care because they live in poverty. For this reason, I urge healthcare institutions and government leaders throughout the world not to neglect social justice out of a preoccupation for financial concerns. It is my hope that, by joining the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity, efforts will be made to cooperate in ensuring that everyone has access to suitable treatments for preserving and restoring their health. I offer heartfelt thanks to all those volunteers who serve the sick, often compensating for structural shortcomings, while reflecting the image of Christ, the Good Samaritan, by their acts of tender love and closeness.
To the Blessed Virgin Mary, Health of the Sick, I entrust all those who bear the burden of illness, along with their families and all healthcare workers. With the assurance of a remembrance in my prayers, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 3 January 2020
Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Full Text + Image Source: - Official Translation

Holy Land's Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa's 2020 message "Building peace then means persevering in faith and intercession. Praying is the first means as a Church..." Full Text

Homily for New Year 2020
January 1, 2020
Most Reverend Excellencies,
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May the Lord give you peace!
This year, as with the previous year, I take the liberty of not commenting on the Word of God just proclaimed, but rather to reflect with you on the meaning of this day; a day has been dedicated to praying for Peace for the past 50 years.
The foresight of Pope Paul VI is still very timely. Significantly, the Day for Peace is entrusted to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, whose divine motherhood we are celebrating today. As in every family, so also in the Church, we need to entrust to our Mother this unique, fascinating and irreplaceable role of mediation, intercession, and custody of our truest and deepest desires. And the first of these is peace.
The message of the Holy Father this year is particularly meaningful for us: “Peace as a path of hope: dialogue, reconciliation, and ecological conversion.”
Frankly, we must admit that these are words are quite distant from our current experience here, in the Holy Land. Indeed, it seems that for a long time there has been no real dialogue, except in small albeit significant institutions, in limited circles, but certainly not between the authorities, be they political or religious or at a general level. Furthermore, the word ‘reconciliation’ is almost taboo here. How can we speak of reconciliation – it is said – as long as this situation of injustice exists in our land?
Finally, ecological conversion: we do not even understand what this is. It is a topic of capital importance and of a global dimension, but it is discussed almost exclusively in rich countries, certainly not in ours.
Are we therefore hopeless? Of course not. The first part of the title of the message speaks precisely of a “path of hope.” We can, therefore, say that we want to place ourselves there, on that path of hope, which is the vocation proper to our Church, and which must lead us to peace.
It is not possible to comment on the whole document, so I thought of concentrating on one of the themes of Pope Francis’ message, which is dialogue.
I am sure that for many of us, this word has become annoying. It is annoying because, on the one hand, we see it regularly used in our public and private speeches; but on the other hand, we see that the reality is opposite of what we say. Apparently there is not much dialogue between us. This is not only in the political sphere but also between the various sectors that make up our societies, for example at work, among members of the different religious faiths, within our families, in our religious and parish communities ….
Within our ecclesial contexts, we see that our parish priests must intervene more and more to mediate within our families. Our ecclesiastical courts are trying to create structures to support dialogue for families, to enable dialogue with each other before asking for official separation. Let us not talk about the problems in religious communities. Dialogue has become somewhat synonymous with an amicable but unrealistic attitude. In short, this word is essential to our relationships at all levels. We say it, but it seems that we do not know how to do it very well.
Dialogue, however, is essential for any prospect of peace. Peace, at the same time, is the fruit of dialogue. But it is also its prerequisite: a true and sincere dialogue leads to peace in relationships; nevertheless, in order to have a serious dialogue, it is necessary to have a desire for peace and encounter.
The Church has made dialogue the main axis of her proclamations, especially since Vatican II and with the encyclical of Pope Paul VI Ecclesiam Suam, which focuses almost exclusively on this theme. Paul VI proposed that revelation begins with a dialogue between God and men and this relationship then becomes constitutive of the Church, which in turn “becomes dialogue” (ES 67). For Pope Paul VI, dialogue must be done with clarity and gentleness. Those were times full of hope and great optimism.
More than fifty years later, we must deal with the many failures that forces us to look at this issue with greater disenchantment than the saintly Pope Paul VI.
In general, we observe that since then, conflicts have increased rather than decreased; an individualistic mentality has become increasingly widespread, which highlights personal and individual interests with disregard for the sense of community. At a social level, we can speak more of negotiation rather than dialogue, that is, defense of specific interests, of contractual agreements, and less of attitudes of mutual trust. Families and social cohesion, in general, have become more fragile; the nostalgia for identity against religious and cultural pluralism increases, and, more generally, against the complexities of our societies. Religions are perceived as opposing factors to co-existence and as fomenters of violence. Instead of trying to resolve issues by listening to each other, we appeal to the powerful authorities, who solve the problems on our behalf, saving us the trouble of engaging together.
In our local context, we must deal with the failures of the many talks on possible peace agreements between Israelis and Palestinians, with the failure of the agreements already reached, with continuous violence. We must deal with general mistrust for possible new perspectives, for the desire for peace, for possible change. In short, we talk about dialogue and peace when foreigners come, and at the various conferences organized from abroad, but we know in our hearts that the reality here is very different and that dialogue is far from our reality.
So, what can we do? Is everything lost? Are we without hope? Of course not! It would be a serious lack of faith to yield to this defeatist and resigned attitude. Dialogue is above all a spiritual attitude and indicates the ability to go out of oneself in order to carefully listen to the interests and expectations of others. The believer builds his life on a relationship, on a dialogue that nourishes him daily. Faith is a dialogue with God, it is an encounter with Him. Let us not delude ourselves: if we do not know how to talk with each other, then we do not even know how to talk with God. How can we dialogue with God and not be able to dialogue with others? The believer must be capable of integrating within himself, creating unity between what he believes and what he lives. It is a continuous effort, but one which constitutes the life of faith.
Adhering to the Christian faith, therefore, does not automatically make us capable of dialogue and experts of peace. We are all called to make this personal and communal journey, this spiritual struggle, which leads us to encounter the other.
I often meet individuals who live by this desire for dialogue and peace, who spend their whole lives for this purpose. They create many initiatives, organizations and relationships. They are self-sacrificing people and are completely dedicated to building relationships. I believe that all of us here have at least once in our lifetime, met people or organizations with this purpose here in the Holy Land. All these are results of someone who wanted to be involved.
Despite on a personal level, we frequently meet people of faith, reconciled and full of life and therefore constructors of dialogue, it is more difficult to meet ecclesial communities that express this same desire.
And I am thinking particularly of our ecclesial community in the Holy Land and of our Church. We are not called to witness our desire for dialogue only as individual believers. As we said at the beginning, it must primarily be a testimony of the entire Church understood as a community and not as an institution. This is the primary vocation of our Church in the Holy Land. How does this materialize here and now, in our context?
How, in the context of distrust, suspicion, fear of each other, can our Church announce dialogue and peace seriously and credibly, without it being empty talk? What are the ways in which to witness to our Christian values? Allow me here to highlight some possible paths.
1) Recognize the reality
Firstly, we are invited to accept the reality in which we live with its specifics, its struggles, its conflicts. Imagine being the Church in the Holy Land avoiding or fleeing conflicts or trying to resolve them with non-Gospel methods. Perhaps this would preserve our structures, but it would not nourish the faith and hope of our Christians.
Recognizing our difficult reality of life, by making sure that people are listened in their pain, is therefore the first step for a meaningful community witness.
2) Vocation and prophecy
The starting point of our pastoral strategies must start not so much from the situation of our Churches and communities that at times we cannot but be worried, but from the vocation that our Churches have in this difficult context. This vocation consists in focusing more on beautiful and constructive dynamics of life within and outside our communities; to reject the temptations of flight and resignation; to avoid easy compromises by use of might or violent responses.
Our mission in these lands, despite the difficulties we experience, but lived in the free and generous gift of ourselves, is our concrete way in doing as the Lord has done so that there may be a resurrection for us and our Church. We will be an “interesting” Church insofar as prophecy is our daily witness. That means we will continue to affirm the way of the Gospel as the only possible way leading to peace in a social and political context where oppression, closure, and violence seem the only possible ways.

3) Prayer
Building peace then means persevering in faith and intercession. Praying is the first means as a Church to stand “between” people and God, involved and sharing in their cries and pleas, and, at the same time, with eyes and hearts turned to heaven. It is a liturgy and prayer that are not only the preservation and re-presentation of rites, but which are open to the hopes and anxieties of many brothers and sisters. It is the first service that we are called to offer as a Church. Intensifying prayer, creating occasions like this today and like many experiences in our communities, is to give back space to God amid violence and despair. It is maintaining an openness to words and gestures that come from above, full of beauty and love. It is to build bonds of faith and humanity wherever constant disputes tear apart and destroy every relationship and connection.
4) Charity
This second service of the Church is similar to the first: to actively share the struggles and sufferings of the victims, the weak and the poor, with a lively and intelligent charity that testifies to a different possibility of being in the world.
5) Ecumenical dialogue
In a context marked by wounds and disparities, the Church can become a place and experience of a possible peace. If we have little opportunity to intervene in political conflicts or to sit at international conferences, we have however all the possibilities, and the duty, to construct reconciled and hospitable communities, open and available to an encounter; authentic spaces of shared fraternity and sincere dialogue.
Every day, the Church must oppose the strategy of opposition and confrontation with the art of encounter and dialogue, not as an opportunistic tactic or as a mere survival strategy, but because engaging in dialogue is a constitutive element of God’s relationship with men and women, and individuals among themselves.
6) (Parrhesia) – Freedom of Expression
Sent, therefore, to be witnesses, we finally have the duty to announce, through life but also through words, the Gospel of justice and peace that has been given to us. Our being in the world cannot remain in devotional introversion, nor can it be limited only to the service of charity for the poorest, but it is also freedom of expression, that is, it cannot exempt itself from expressing a judgment on the world and on its dynamics, in a manner proper to the Church, (cf. Jn 16:8.11). Our faithful expect from us a word of hope, of consolation, but also of truth. One cannot be silent in the face of injustice or invite Christians to quiet living and disengagement. The preferential option for the poor and weak, however, does not make the Church a political party. The Church loves and serves the polis and shares with the civil authorities concern and action for the common good, in the general interest of all and especially the poor, always raising her voice to defend the rights of God and man, but it does not enter into the dynamics of competition and division. Here, a very difficult and continuous discernment on what and how to speak is required.
To those who asked Him the reason for the blind and arbitrary violence of His time, the Lord responded by inviting to conversion, since in every situation we are given to live, there is an appeal of God to our life (cf. Lk 13:1-9). The current painful situation must be lived without excessive fears. Rather, it is the opportunity that is offered to us to bear witness to love for Christ and for our brothers and sisters: a serious love that is gratuitous, generous and painful.
May the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, help us, also in this New Year, to give witness to the love that has conquered our hearts.
Happy New Year to all!

Raid causes Death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Qods after Attack on US Embassy

AsiaNews Report: Baghdad: Gen. died in a US raid Iranian Soleimani, head of the Qods
The order to attack would have come from President Trump himself.  Tehran's reaction is very hard: the supreme guide Khamenei announces a "very hard revenge" for martyrdom.  The senior officer was among the most prominent personalities in the country.  The deal risks escalating between the two nations, already at their lowest.

Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The powerful Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Qods special forces, died in a US raid in the area of ​​Baghdad international airport in Iraq this morning.  According to the first reconstructions, the order to attack would have come in person from US President Donald Trump and risks dragging the two nations to the brink of open war;  since the Islamic revolution of 1979, in fact, the two countries have never found themselves at such a heightened level of tension.

Not surprisingly, among the first official reactions to the attack - in addition to Trump who tweeted a US flag and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who relaunches a video of (alleged) "Iraqi citizens" celebrating - there is that of the Iranian Drand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who immediately announced a "very hard revenge" for the "martyrdom" of Soleimaini, "prized for his incessant efforts of these years".

Announced three days of national mourning, he then added that even in the face of his death "his work will not be interrupted" and a "harsh revenge awaits the criminals who have their hands stained with his blood".  Khamenei has called the head of the Qods force - among the fiercest opponents of the United States (and Israel) in the area - the "international face of the resistance" and everyone who supports it will be his "avengers".

The Qods Force is a special unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (the Iranian Pasdarans, who respond to the Supreme Leader in person).  The departments, mostly highly specialized elite teams, are responsible for military and tactical operations outside the country.  The same general was among the most powerful and respected figures in the Islamic Republic, he was considered a fine military strategist and was closely linked to Khamenei.

The 62-year-old Soleimani was in a car (the convoy was made up of two cars) near Baghdad international airport, along with some local exponents of the pro-Iranian militias.  He would have arrived earlier from Syria or Lebanon, but there is no certain confirmation of this.  In recent years, the senior officer has orchestrated, among others, Assad's war in Syria (Tehran and Moscow are the main allies of Damascus), the conflict in Iraq and the fight against the Islamic State (IS, ex Isis) in the region.

Unofficial sources speak of "several missiles" that hit the cars, killing at least five people.  The Pentagon confirmed the killing, carried out "on the instructions of the president".  Among the victims, there would also be the leader of the PMU (Iraqi popular mobilization forces) Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, the man who on 30 December spurred the crowd to attack the US embassy.

The military operation threatens to further escalate the tension between Washington and Tehran, which could result in open conflict.  The two nations, among which there are no diplomatic relations, are already the protagonists of proxy wars in many areas of the world, from Syria to Iraq, up to Yemen.  Accelerating the crisis of the last two years, the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the Iranian nuclear agreement (JCPOA) combined with the policy of maximum pressure with the sanctions and the assault of pro-Tehran militias of the last few days at the US embassy in Baghdad  .
Full Text Source: AsiaNewsIT - Image Source: Google Images of General Soleimani
UPDATE: Reports that the Papal Nuncio to Iran, describes the tense situation and consequent protests caused by the killing of General Solemaini by an US raid, saying that the arms of negotiation and justice need to be used.
The Archbishop Leo Boccardi said that the Pope has been apprised of the entire situation after the killing of General Solemaini. All this, he said, creates concern and demonstrates how difficult it is to build and believe in peace. Constructive politics, he said, is at the service of peace to which the entire international community must be committed, not only in the Middle East, but in the whole world as well.
Please Pray for the souls of all the departed and the victims involved....

US Bishops' Pro-Life Chaiman Commends Final Rule Separating Abortion Payments from Health Care - Full Text

Pro-Life Chairman Commends Final Rule Separating Abortion Payments from Health Care Coverage

USCCB: December 23, 2019
WASHINGTON–On Friday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the Exchange Program Integrity Final Rule. Among other provisions, the rule ensures that when Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange plans include elective abortion coverage— for which public funding is prohibited by federal law—customers receive separate bills for abortion coverage from their health insurance. The fact sheet additionally noted that “if the policy holder fails to pay the separate bill in a separate transaction as instructed by the issuer, the issuer may not terminate the policy holder’s coverage on this basis, provided the amount due is otherwise paid.”

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), shared the following statement:

“Consumers have a right to know if they are paying for elective abortion. While the Affordable Care Act still allows government-subsidized plans to cover abortion, at least with this rule, Americans can now see and try to avoid complicity by choosing plans consistent with their consciences. I commend the Administration for enforcing the law, for its efforts to ensure transparency in healthcare, and for attempting to respect unborn human life.”


Archdiocese in Colombia declares 2020 a Year of Fraternity "we will learn the importance of dialogue"

Year of fraternity in the Archdiocese of Popayan: personal, social and ecological conversion
Friday, 3 January 2020 
 This is what the Archbishop of Popayán, Mgr. Luis José Rueda Aparicio writes in his pastoral message to the people of God published on January 1, in which he announces that the Year of Fraternity will mark the pastoral life of the diocese in 2020. The letter, sent to Agenzia Fides, begins by quoting the prophet Isaiah - "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light ..." (Is 9,1) - "These words fill us with hope at the beginning of the year 2020 - writes the Archbishop - they are motivating words to start a new year of life and work, they have the strength that comes from God to support us, to take us out of uncertainties and pessimism. We are convinced that this great light will lead us along paths of peace and brotherhood".
Therefore Archbishop Luis José Rueda Aparicio remembers that "Christ is the source and model of fraternity", sent by the Father, always accompanies us on our journey, even if "in some moments of our life we are not fully aware of his presence". The Church, people of God on the move, in the countryside and in the cities, walks "announcing the Good News, renewing hope with its permanent mission, building the civilization of love, celebrating redemptive brotherhood in the sacraments of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit".
In the wake of the path of the New Evangelization, the Archbishop urges the lay faithful to live their faith in small communities, in the style of the first Christian communities.
Mgr. Rueda Aparicio invites to cultivate fraternity in families, in workplaces, on the streets, in all environments: "we will learn the importance of dialogue" in all its aspects, enhancing listening to find solutions to problems, avoiding the polarizations that bring violence and exclusion, placing prayer as the foundation of fraternity. "Fraternity is first of all seeing and feeling the other as a gift from God - explains the Archbishop . In this way, fraternity leads us to unity and forgiveness to overcome resentments. Fraternity helps us to be welcoming, pushes us to defend those who think differently from us, to overcome hatred and consolidate peace". (SL) (Text Source: Agenzia Fides, 3/1/2020)

Pakistan Cardinal Coutts says the World needs Peace and " end to war, conflicts, environmental decay and the moral and cultural decline ..."

Card Coutts says the world needs peace makers in his message for 2020
by Shafique Khokhar
The cardinal follows Pope Francis's message for the 53rd World Peace Day. The archbishop of Karachi cites two events, namely the signing of the Document on human fraternity in Abu Dhabi, and the meeting between Pope Francis and the leaders of South Sudan, during which the pontiff kissed their feet.

Karachi (AsiaNews) – In his message for 2020, Card Joseph Coutts, archbishop of Karachi, said that the world needs makers.

In the Mass he led yesterday in Karachi’s St Patrick's Cathedral, the cardinal noted that Pope Francis described peace as a "journey of hope" based on "dialogue, reconsolidation and ecological conversion” in his message for the 53rd World Day of Peace.

As pontiff put it, “the world doesn't need empty words but peace makers who are often to a dialogue that rejects exclusion of manipulation. In fact, we cannot truly achieve peace without a convinced dialogue between men and women who seek the truth beyond ideologies and differing opinions. Peace “’must be built up continually’”.

Card Coutts went on to say that the world today needs everyone to live together as brothers and sisters and focus on the values of peace and "a culture of dialogue" to "bring an end to war, conflicts, environmental decay and the moral and cultural decline that the world is presently facing.”

For him, two events stand out indicating how the Pope showed with deeds that peace can be achieved. First, on 11 April, he met with the leaders of South Sudan. After kneeling before them he kissed their feet. Secondly, in February, he met the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi and together they signed the historic Document on human fraternity.

All this reminds us that peace is possible if we are ready to reach out for it. We must work together and leave behind all the hatred in our hearts and join our hands and stand with each other. “Let's work for peace and love each other,” Card Coutts said.
Full Text Source: Asia News IT - Image Source: Google Images -

Holy Name of Jesus Feast with Powerful Prayers Against Evil including Litany + Novena to the Holy Name

  Feast of the Holy Name of JESUS: January 3. This is celebrated on different dates depending on the rite. In the Novus ordo this is an optional memorial of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. In the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite this feast is celebrated on January 2. 

Traditionally, the entire month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus.
However, the 8 days after Christmas signify the date of the Circumcision of Jesus. On that day Jesus was given His name as foretold by the angel. The monogram signifying the Holy Name of Jesus consists of the three letters: IHS. In the Middle Ages the Name of Jesus was written: IHESUS; the monogram contains the first and last letter of the Holy Name. (IMAGE SOURCE/SHARE GOOGLE)
O Merciful Jesus, Who didst in Thy early infancy commence Thy office of Savior by shedding Thy Precious Blood, and assuming for us that name which is above all names; we thank Thee for such early proofs of Thine infinite love. We venerate Thy sacred name, in union with the profound respect of the Angel who first announced it to the earth, and unite our affections to the sentiments of tender devotion which the adorable name of Jesus has in all ages enkindled in the hearts of Thy Saints.

Animated with a firm faith in Thy unerring word, and penetrated with confidence in Thy mercy, we now most humbly remind Thee of the promise Thou hast made, that where two or three should assemble in Thy name, Thou Thyself wouldst be in the midst of them. Come, then, into the midst of us, most amiable Jesus, for it is in Thy sacred name we are here assembled; come into our hearts, that we may be governed by Thy holy spirit; mercifully grant us, through that adorable name, which is the joy of Heaven, the terror of Hell, the consolation of the afflicted, and the solid ground of our unlimited confidence,
all the petitions we make in this novena.

Oh! blessed Mother of our Redeemer! Who didst participate so sensibly in the sufferings of thy dear Son when He shed His Sacred Blood and assumed for us the name of Jesus, obtain for us,through that adorable name, the favors we petition in this novena.

Beg also, that the most ardent love may imprint on our hearts that sacred name, that it may be always in our minds and frequently on our lips; that it may be our defense and our refuge in the temptations and trials of life, and our consolation and support in the hour of death. Amen.

Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

God our Father in heaven
have mercy on us
God the Son,
have mercy on us
Redeemer of the world
have mercy on us
God the Holy Spirit
have mercy on us
Holy Trinity, one God
have mercy on us
Jesus, Son of the living God
have mercy on us
Jesus, splendor of the Father
have mercy on us
Jesus, brightness of everlasting light
have mercy on us
Jesus, king of glory
have mercy on us
Jesus, dawn of justice
have mercy on us
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary
have mercy on us
Jesus, worthy of our love
have mercy on us
Jesus, worthy of our wonder
have mercy on us
Jesus, mighty God
have mercy on us
Jesus, father of the world to come
have mercy on us
Jesus, prince of peace
have mercy on us
Jesus, all-powerful
have mercy on us
Jesus, pattern of patience
have mercy on us
Jesus, model of obedience
have mercy on us
Jesus, gentle and humble of heart
have mercy on us
Jesus, lover of chastity
have mercy on us
Jesus, lover of us all
have mercy on us
Jesus, God of peace
have mercy on us
Jesus, author of life
have mercy on us
Jesus, model of goodness
have mercy on us
Jesus, seeker of souls
have mercy on us
Jesus, our God
have mercy on us
Jesus, our refuge
have mercy on us
Jesus, father of the poor
have mercy on us
Jesus, treasure of the faithful
have mercy on us
Jesus, Good Shepherd
have mercy on us
Jesus, the true light
have mercy on us
Jesus, eternal wisdom
have mercy on us
Jesus, infinite goodness
have mercy on us
Jesus, our way and our life
have mercy on us
Jesus, joy of angels
have mercy on us
Jesus, king of patriarchs
have mercy on us
Jesus, teacher of apostles
have mercy on us
Jesus, master of evangelists
have mercy on us
Jesus, courage of martyrs
have mercy on us
Jesus, light of confessors
have mercy on us
Jesus, purity of virgins
have mercy on us
Jesus, crown of all saints
have mercy on us

Lord, be merciful
Jesus, save your people
From all evil
Jesus, save your people
From every sin
Jesus, save your people
From the snares of the devil
Jesus, save your people
From your anger
Jesus, save your people
From the spirit of infidelity
Jesus, save your people
From everlasting death
Jesus, save your people
From neglect of your Holy Spirit
Jesus, save your people
By the mystery of your incarnation
Jesus, save your people
By your birth
Jesus, save your people
By your childhood
Jesus, save your people
By your hidden life
Jesus, save your people
By your public ministry
Jesus, save your people
By your agony and crucifixion
Jesus, save your people
By your abandonment
Jesus, save your people
By your grief and sorrow
Jesus, save your people
By your death and burial
Jesus, save your people
By your rising to new life
Jesus, save your people
By your return in glory to the Father
Jesus, save your people
By your gift of the holy Eucharist
Jesus, save your people
By your joy and glory
Jesus, save your-people

Christ, hear us
Christ, hear us
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer
Lamb of God, you take away

the sins of the world
have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away

the sins of the world
have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away

the sins of the world
have mercy on us

Let us pray.
Lord, may we who honor the holy name of Jesus enjoy his friendship in this life and be filled with eternal joy in the kingdom where he lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.