Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Saint January 15 : St. Ita a Religious who said God detested 'A scowling face' and Patron of Limerick, Ireland

475, County of Waterford, Ireland
15 January 570
Patron of:
Diocese of Limerick, Ireland

St. Ita was born of Christian parents towards the end of the fifth century. She belonged to the noble tribe of the Decii in County Waterford. All her early biographers favor the pleasant metaphor describing her as the 'Brigid of Munster'. Actually the differences were more striking than the resemblances between those two foremost women saints of the Celtic church (see St. Brigid). Brigid's effective life as a nun was spent in continual movement. When she had made a success of one convent settlement, she moved off to found another. Organization was her bent. Ita did just the opposite. Instead of entering one of Brigid's convents, she founded another in a district where there was none, at Killeedy, County Limerick. There she remained all her life, courting retirement. Again, there is an emphasis on austerity in Ita's life not found in Brigid's. Ita's mortifications were on a par with those of the greatest contemporary missionaries.

A strongly individualistic character is glimpsed in the legends of Ita. When she decided to settle in Killeedy, a chieftain offered her a large grant of land to support the convent. But Ita would accept only four acres, which she cultivated intensively. The convent became known as a training school for little boys, many of whom later became famous churchmen. One of these was St. Brendan, whom Ita accepted in fosterage when he was a year old and kept until he was six. The great Navigator revisited her between his voyages and always deferred to her counsel. He once asked her what were the three clings which God most detested, and she replied: 'A scowling face, obstinacy in wrong-doing, and too great a confidence in the power of money'. St. Mochoemoc, whom because of his beauty she called 'Pulcherius', was another great personage of the Celtic church she fostered in infancy.
Ita died on January 15th, which is now kept as her feast, about the year 570. There is a strong local cult of her in Munster, particularly in Waterford and Limerick, and her name is a popular one for Irish girls. In the middle of the nineteenth century a new move was made in Ireland for the development of her cult, when Bishop Butler of Limerick obtained from Pope Pius IX a special office and mass for her feast

At Mass, Pope Francis warns of "... inconsistent pastors like the scribes and even Christians who go to Mass every Sunday and then live like pagans.” Homily

Pope Francis speaks about the harm done by “inconsistent" Christians and “schizophrenic” pastors who do not bear witness and thus distance themselves from the Lord's way of doing things, from His authentic “authority”. He made the point in his homily at Mass, Friday morning, at the Casa Santa Marta.
 By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis based his homily on the day’s Gospel where St. Mark notes that “Jesus taught as one having authority”. As Jesus preaches in the synagogue, the evangelist focuses on the reaction among the people to His way of acting with “authority”, unlike that of the scribes. The Pope thus explains the difference that exists between “having authority” or the “inner authority” of Jesus and the authority of the scribes who exercise it but “without having it”. Despite being experts in teaching the law and listened to by the people, they were not credible.
Jesus’ authority
The Pope said that the authority of the Lord is one of “lordship” with which He moved about, taught, healed and heard the people. This lordship that came from within, demonstrates the consistency between His teaching and His actions. The Pope said it is this consistency, this testimony that gives authority to a person. Hence, authority is seen in constancy and testimony.
Hypocritical and schizophrenic pastors On the contrary, the Pope pointed out, the scribes were not consistent, which is why Jesus admonished the people to “do what they say but not what they do”. Jesus also did not miss an opportunity to reproach the scribes because “with this attitude”, the Pope said, they had fallen into a “pastoral schizophrenia”, saying one thing and doing something else. At times, in the Gospels, Jesus sometimes puts them in a corner, does not give them any answers or just describes them.
The Pope said that the word that Jesus uses to describe this inconsistency and schizophrenia is “hypocrisy”. Several times, in Chapter 23 of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus calls the scribes and Pharisees “hypocrites”. The Pope said that “hypocrisy is the way of acting of those who have responsibility over the people, hence pastoral responsibility, but are not consistent.” They are not lords and do not have authority, but the people of God are meek and tolerate many hypocritical and schizophrenic pastors who are not consistent, who say one thing and don't do it themselves.
Being inconstant Christians is a scandal
The Pope explained that the people of God who are very tolerant can recognize the power of grace. This, he said, is shown in the First Reading from the Book of Samuel where the elderly priest, Eli “had lost all authority, with only the grace of anointing remaining. With that grace, he blessed and performed the miracle for Anna who, distraught by grief, was praying to be a mother. Reflecting on this episode, the Pope said that the people of God can distinguish well between a person's authority and the grace of anointing. They can make out a confessor after the heart of Christ. “This,” the Holy Father said, “is the wisdom of our people, who many times tolerate many inconsistent pastors like the scribes and even Christians who go to Mass every Sunday and then live like pagans.” People can easily recognize a scandal and inconsistant behaviour. Inconstant Christians who don’t give witness and inconsistent and schizophrenic pastors who don't give witness, do much harm, the Pope said.
He thus prayed that all baptized may have the “authority” that “does not consist in commanding and making oneself heard, but in being consistent, being a witness and for this reason, being companions on the way of the Lord”. Full Text Source: VaticanNews.va

Prayers asked for the Release of 4 Seminarians Kidnapped in Nigeria - with their Names Released by ACN

Four seminarians were kidnapped in Kaduna, Nigeria, on Monday, 13 January 2020. However, there is still no news of the four seminarians in the "Good Shepherd d Kakau" Major Seminary along the Kaduna-Abuja highway. The village is located near Kaduna, capital of the State of Kaduna, in central Nigeria. On January 8, between 10:30 pm and 11:00 pm some bandits attacked the Seminary, firing indiscriminately.  There were no injuries or victims from the fire. According to a police spokesman, the attack lasted about thirty minutes and the bandits "had access to the school dormitory, which houses 268 students". The kidnapping of priests and ecclesiastical personnel for ransom has taken place many times in Nigeria. The local Episcopal Conference has prohibited the payment of ransoms for the release of kidnapped priests, religious and seminarians for some years.
The Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need. has named Pius Kanwai, 19, Peter Umenukor, 23, Stephen Amos, 23, and Michael Nnadi, 18, as the men abducted on the 8th of January from the Good Shepherd Major Seminary.
The Archdiocese in Nigeria has asked for prayers for their release....
Edited from Fides and ACN

#BreakingNews Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI asks for his Name to be removed as Co-Author from Celibacy book and Card. Sarah clarifies

The book on priestly celibacy: a clarification by Archbishop Gänswein
The Prefect of the Papal Household and Personal Secretary of the Pope Emeritus says that Benedict XVI had not authorized the joint signature as co-author of Cardinal Sarah’s essay on priestly celibacy.
By Vatican News

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household and Personal Secretary of the Pope Emeritus has issued a statement to the KNA and Ansa news agencies, regarding the book on priestly celibacy, carrying the signatures of Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah, to be published tomorrow in France,

 "I can confirm that this morning, at the indication of the Pope emeritus, I asked Cardinal Robert Sarah to contact the publishers of the book requesting them to remove the name of Benedict XVI as co-author of the book itself, and also to remove his name from the introduction and conclusions".

"The Pope emeritus in fact knew the Cardinal was preparing a book”, Archbishop Gänswein added, “and had sent a short text of his on the priesthood”, authorizing the Cardinal to use it as he wished. But the Pope emeritus “had not approved any project for a co- signed book, nor had he seen and authorized the cover. It was a misunderstanding, without questioning the good faith of Cardinal Sarah".
Above Full Text Release from Vatican News.va
Catholic News Service explained that Cardinal Sarah Tweeted today, in clarification, that the book would now have Benedict XVI as a contributor to the book:
"Considering the polemics provoked by the publication of the book, 'From the Depths of Our Hearts,' it has been decided that the author of the book for future editions will be Cardinal Sarah, with the contribution of Benedict XVI," Cardinal Sarah tweeted Jan. 14.
"However," he said, "the full text remains absolutely unchanged."

Supreme Court in the Philippines Rejects Homosexual Marriage and Bishops Approve

The Supreme Court rejects homosexual marriage: the Philippine Church approves
Tuesday, 14 January 2020
Manila (Agenzia Fides) - The leaders of the Filipino Church have welcomed the ruling by the Supreme Court which confirmed its previous decision to reject the petition that aimed to legalize same-sex marriage in the country. The petition, according to the Court, lacks "substantive arguments" to justify reversing the sentence already issued.
As Fides learns, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, auxiliary of Manila, praised the ruling, urging politics and legislators "to deal with urgent issues such as poverty, unemployment and climate change". Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, at the head of the diocese of Cubao, recalled that "the Church will always support Jesus' teachings regarding marriage, regardless of what the state can decide with its laws". According to Father Melvin Castro, secretary of the Episcopal Commission for the family, "the ruling of the Court remains incomplete because it does not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage, and leaves the possibility for Congress to enact this law". For this reason "Christians will have to be vigilant and always on guard", he said.
In response to the ruling of the Court, Maria Sofia Robles, member of the "Couples for Christ" ecclesial group, expressing the sentiments of all the faithful engaged in the defense of the family, life and the sacrament of marriage, told Fides: "Marriage is only that between a man and a woman. We are delighted that the Supreme Court has recognized this truth which we will continue to promote as a sign of love in society". (SD) (Full Text Release: Agenzia Fides, 14/1/2020)

Saint January 14 : St. Sava a Monk who became Metropolitan and Patron of Serbia

January 14, 1235, Tarnovgrad, Bulgariaa
Major Shrine:
Temple of Saint Sava (Belgrade)
Patron of:
Born, Rastko, he was the third son of Stephen I Nemanja (r. 1167-1196), ruler of Serbia. In 1191, he went to Mount Athos, where he took the name Sava and became a monk. He was joined there five years later by his father, who had abdicated in favor of his eldest son, Stephen. With his father, Sava established on Mount Athos the monastery of Khilander (Hilandar), which emerged as one of the leading monastic centers for the Serbians. Sava returned to Serbia in 1208 and became archimandrite of Studenica, using the post to wield considerable political and religious influence throughout the kingdom.

He opposed his brother's religious policy of treating with the Holy See and in 1219 was consecrated the metropolitan of an independent Serbian Church by the patriarch of Nicaea with the approval of the Byzantine emperor, who was much in favor of keeping Serbia within the sphere of Greek Orthodox influence. Sava worked to establish dioceses throughout Serbia, promoted native clergy, built churches, and translated numerous religious texts into Serbian. In 1229, he made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, returning there in 1233 to win recognition of the Bulgarian patriarch from the patriarchs of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch. he died while on his way home, at Tirnovo, Bulgaria.

(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - #Eucharist

Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 306 
  Reading 11 SM 1:9-20 
Hannah rose after a meal at Shiloh,
and presented herself before the LORD;
at the time, Eli the priest was sitting on a chair
near the doorpost of the LORD’s temple.
In her bitterness she prayed to the LORD, weeping copiously,
and she made a vow, promising: “O LORD of hosts,
if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid,
if you remember me and do not forget me,
if you give your handmaid a male child,
I will give him to the LORD for as long as he lives;
neither wine nor liquor shall he drink,
and no razor shall ever touch his head.”
As she remained long at prayer before the LORD,
Eli watched her mouth, for Hannah was praying silently;
though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard.
Eli, thinking her drunk, said to her,
“How long will you make a drunken show of yourself?
Sober up from your wine!”
“It isn’t that, my lord,” Hannah answered.
“I am an unhappy woman.
I have had neither wine nor liquor;
I was only pouring out my troubles to the LORD.
Do not think your handmaid a ne’er-do-well;
my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery.”
Eli said, “Go in peace,
and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
She replied, “Think kindly of your maidservant,” and left.
She went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband,
and no longer appeared downcast.
Early the next morning they worshiped before the LORD,
and then returned to their home in Ramah.

When Elkanah had relations with his wife Hannah,
the LORD remembered her.
She conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son
whom she called Samuel, since she had asked the LORD for him.

Responsorial Psalm1 SAMUEL 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8ABCD

R.    (see 1) My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“My heart exults in the LORD,
my horn is exalted in my God.
I have swallowed up my enemies;
I rejoice in my victory.”
R.    My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“The bows of the mighty are broken,
while the tottering gird on strength.
The well-fed hire themselves out for bread,
while the hungry batten on spoil.
The barren wife bears seven sons,
while the mother of many languishes.”
R.    My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“The LORD puts to death and gives life;
he casts down to the nether world;
he raises up again.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
he humbles, he also exalts.”
R.    My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“He raises the needy from the dust;
from the dung heap he lifts up the poor,
To seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage.”
R.    My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.

Alleluia1 THES 2:13

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Receive the word of God, not as the word of men,
but as it truly is, the word of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 1:21-28

Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers,
and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet!  Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.

All were amazed and asked one another,
 “What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.