Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Saint January 16 : St. Berard of Carbio a Franciscan Friar Minor and of the 1st Martyrs of the Friars in Morocco


St. Berard of Carbio

Carbio, Umbria, Italy
16 January 1220, Morocco
1481, Rome by Pope Sixtus IV
Of the noble family of Leopardi, and a native of Carbio in Umbria, Berard was received into the Franciscan Order by the Seraphic Patriarch  himself, in 1213. He was well versed in Arabic, an eloquent preacher, and was chosen by St. Francis, together with two other priests, Peter and Otho, and two lay-brothers, Accursius and Adjutus, to evangelize the infidels of the East. On the conclusion of the Second General Chapter in 1219, St. Francis believed that the time had then come for the religious of his order to extend their apostolic labours beyond the Italian peninsula and Northern Europe; and, choosing for himself and twelve other religious the greater part of Syria and Egypt, he allotted to Berard and his companions the missions of Morocco. The five missionaries set sail from Italy, and after sojourning some time in Spain and Portugal finally arrived in the Kingdom of Morocco. Their open preaching of the Gospel there and their bold denunciation of the religion of Mahomet soon caused them to be apprehended and cast into prison. Having vainly endeavoured to persuade them to abandon the true religion, the Moorish king in a fit of rage opened their heads with his scimitar, and thus were offered to God the first fruits of the blood of the Friars Minor. Berard and his companions were canonized by Sixtus V, in 1481. The feast of the martyrs of Morocco is kept in the order on the 16th of January.
SOURCE: Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis explains "...the Spirit revives in each of us the call to be courageous and joyful evangelizers." Full Text at Audience


Paul VI Hall
Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles: 20. "Paul welcomed all those who came to him, announcing the kingdom of God ... with all frankness and without impediment" (Acts 28,30-31). Paul's imprisonment in Rome and the fruitfulness of the announcement.

Dear brothers and sisters!

Today we conclude the catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, with the last missionary stage of Saint Paul: that is, Rome (cf Acts 28.14).
Paul's journey, which was one with that of the Gospel, is the proof that the routes of men, if lived in faith, can become a transit space for the salvation of God, through the Word of faith which is ferment active in history, capable of transforming situations and opening ever new paths.

With Paul's arrival in the heart of the Empire, the story of the Acts of the Apostles ends, which does not end with Paul's martyrdom, but with the abundant sowing of the Word. The end of Luke's story, centered on the journey of the Gospel in the world, contains and summarizes all the dynamism of the Word of God, an unstoppable Word that wants to run to communicate salvation to all.

In Rome, Paul first of all meets his brothers in Christ, who welcome him and instill courage in him (cf. Ac 28:15) and whose warm hospitality suggests how much his arrival was expected and desired. Then he was allowed to live on his own under military custody, that is, with a soldier who was guarding him, he was under house arrest. In spite of his prisoner condition, Paul can meet the Jewish notables to explain why he was forced to appeal to Caesar and to talk to them about the kingdom of God. He tries to convince them about Jesus, starting from the Scriptures and showing the continuity between the newness of Christ and the "hope of Israel" (Acts 28.20). Paul recognizes himself deeply Jewish and sees in the Gospel that he preaches, that is, in the proclamation of the dead and risen Christ, the fulfillment of the promises made to the chosen people.

After this first informal meeting which finds the Jews well disposed, a more official one follows during which, for a whole day, Paul announces the kingdom of God and tries to open his interlocutors to faith in Jesus, starting from "the law of Moses and the Prophets "(Ac 28,23). Since not everyone is convinced, he denounces the hardening of the heart of the people of God, the cause of his condemnation (cf. Is 6,9-10), and celebrates with passion the salvation of the nations that show themselves sensitive to God and capable of listen to the Word of the Gospel of life (cf Acts 28,28).

At this point in the narrative, Luke concludes his work by showing us not the death of Paul but the dynamism of his sermon, of a Word that "is not chained" (2Tm 2,9) - Paul does not have the freedom to move but is free to speak because the Word is not chained - it is a Word ready to be sown with full hands by the Apostle. Paul does it "with all frankness and without impediment" (Ac 28,31), in a house where he welcomes those who want to receive the announcement of the kingdom of God and know Christ. This house open to all hearts in search is an image of the Church which, although persecuted, misunderstood and chained, never tires of welcoming every man and woman with a motherly heart to announce to them the love of the Father who made himself visible in Jesus .

Dear brothers and sisters, at the end of this journey, lived together following the race of the Gospel in the world, the Spirit revives in each of us the call to be courageous and joyful evangelizers. Make us, like Paul, capable of impregnating our houses with the Gospel and making them cenacles of fraternity, where we can welcome the living Christ, who "comes to meet us in every man and at all times" (cf. II Preface of Advent).
Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les jeunes venus de Lyon. Avec Paul, nous sommes invités à imprégner nos maisons de l’Evangile et à les transformer en cénacles de fraternité. Que l’esprit Saint ravive en chacun de nous l’appel à être des évangélisateurs courageux et joyeux. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from Finland and the United States of America. Upon you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!
Herzlich grüße ich die Pilger deutscher Sprache. Die Reise des Wortes Gottes geht weiter – auch in unseren Tagen. Der Herr beruft uns als Zeugen trotz unserer Begrenztheit. Der Heilige Geist begleite euch.
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española venidos de España y Latinoamérica —a los paraguayos, uruguayos, nicaragüenses, argentinos, españoles—. Pidamos al Espíritu Santo que estimule en todos nosotros la llamada a ser evangelizadores valientes y decididos para que, como san Pablo, vivamos la alegría del Evangelio y convirtamos nuestros hogares en cenáculos de fraternidad abiertos a todos los hermanos. Que Dios los bendiga.
De coração, saúdo os peregrinos brasileiros da paróquia de Nossa Senhora da Salete, os grupos de salesianos de São Paulo e de focolares e todos os presentes de língua portuguesa. Sede bem-vindos! Que nada vos impeça de viver e crescer na amizade do Senhor Jesus, e testemunhar a todos a sua grande bondade e misericórdia! Desça generosamente a sua Bênção sobre vós e vossas famílias.
[From the bottom of my heart, I greet the Brazilian pilgrims from the parish of Our Lady of La Salette, the groups of the Salesians of San Paolo and the Focolare, and all those present in Portuguese. Welcome! Nothing prevents you from living and growing in the friendship of the Lord Jesus, and to testify to all of his great goodness and mercy! Let his blessing descend generously on you and your families.]
أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ منالشرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، إنَّ فرح الإنجيل ينبعث من اللقاء بيسوع، لأننا عندما نلتقي بالرب يغمرنا ذلك الحب الذي وحده الله قادر على منحنا إياه، وهنا يكمن مصدر كل عمل البشارة. فلا يوقفنَّن إذًا الخوف بأن نخطئ أو أن نسير على دروب جديدة لأنّ ضعفنا ليس حاجزًا بل أداة ثمينة لأن نعمة الله تحب أن تظهر في ضعفنا. ليبارككُم الرب!
[I cordially welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from the Middle East! Dear brothers and sisters, the joy of the Gospel comes from the encounter with Jesus. It is when we meet the Lord that we are flooded with that love of which he alone is capable, and therein lies the source of evangelizing action. So let us not be afraid of making mistakes and fear of taking new paths, because our poverty is not an obstacle, but a precious tool, because the grace of God loves to manifest himself in weakness. The Lord bless you!]
Serdecznie pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, niech Duch ożywi w każdym z was powołanie do bycia odważnymi i radosnymi ewangelizatorami. Niech was uzdolni do nasycenia naszych domów Ewangelią i uczynienia ich wieczernikami braterstwa, abyście mogli przyjąć Chrystusa żywego, który przychodzi do nas w każdym człowieku i w każdym czasie. Z serca wam błogosławię!
[I cordially greet the Polish pilgrims. Dear brothers and sisters, the Spirit revives in each of you the call to be courageous and joyful evangelizers. Make you capable of impregnating your homes with the Gospel and making them cenacles of fraternity, where you can welcome the living Christ, who comes to meet us in every man and in every age. I bless you from my heart!]

* * *
I cordially welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims. In particular, I greet the Franciscan Alcantarine Sisters - these nuns make noise! -, who celebrate their General Chapter, and I encourage them to put their charism ever more at the service of the Church. I also greet the Prayer Group Padre Pio of Pariana, San Carlo Terme and Antona; the participants in the meeting promoted by BMW Italy; the Italian Ophthalmological Society; and the Kim Association.

Lastly, I greet the young, the elderly, the sick and the newlyweds. Open your heart to the needs of the Church, and, following the example of Jesus, stay close to the brothers, building a more just world.
Full Text + Image Source: - UnOfficial Translation

BREAKING Diocese of Brooklyn releases Video of Man Desecrating Altar During Mass after Priest says “I pray for this person..."

Diocese of Brooklyn Release: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn is releasing the video of a heinous act of religious intolerance which occurred this past weekend, on Sunday, January 12, 2020, during the 9:30 a.m. Mass at St. Anthony of Padua, located at 862 Manhattan Avenue in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.
 The attached video shows a man walking onto the church altar as Father Jossy Vattothu is celebrating the Mass. The perpetrator poured juice on the altar, desecrating the altar and interrupting the Mass. He also tossed some juice at the priest, staining his garments. The NYPD’s 94th Precinct responded quickly and the suspect, who was detained by church attendees, was arrested.
“During my years as a priest, nothing like this has ever happened. At first, as he approached the altar, I thought he had something to tell me. It is a miracle that the bread and wine were not damaged, and I was able to continue the Mass, consecrating the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ,” said Father Jossy Vattothu.
“It’s really egregious that somebody would do that at the most sacred part of the Catholic Mass, which is the consecration. I think right now, people are scared given the current environment of anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic incidents. People are afraid to go to their house of worship,” said Monsignor Anthony Hernandez, Chancellor of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
 “I pray for this person and do not know what was going through his mind. I am grateful for the parishioners who were so caring and consoled me after Mass.  I would urge Catholics who attend mass to sit closer to the altar so that we as a faith community can be more together and make the priest feel more comfortable,” continued Father Vattothu.
 Father Jossy Vattothu recently celebrated his 10th year as a priest. He is a priest of the religious order of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate assigned to the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Protests in Iran Continue after Airplane Crash revealed to be Caused by Missile

AsiaNews report: Tehran, fifth day of protests (and first arrests) for the shooting down of the Ukrainian plane
Citizens anger at authorities admission of responsibility, after days of denials. A video would show two, not one, missiles launched by the Iranians against the aircraft. Rouhani: the culprits of the "tragic event" will be punished, the government is "responsible" for the victims.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In Iran, appeals and messages are multiplying online and on the main social media networks, inviting citizens to take to the streets - for the fifth consecutive day - to protest against the shooting down of the Ukrainian airliner. The first admissions of responsibility by the authorities also contributed to unleashing the anger of the citizens, confirming that they had "accidentally" shot down the plane after days of categorical denials.

"We are coming to the streets" reads an online post, which invites citizens of the whole nation to demonstrate against "a corrupt government and thieves". Another message summons the population of Hamedan to take to the streets. University students are on the front line, while the authorities continue to deny videos and images on the internet that would show a violent repression of the demonstrations, including the use of bullets and firearms.

The aircraft crashed on the night of maximum tension (January 8) between the Islamic Republic and the United States, when Tehran launched a missile attack against US targets in Iraq in response to the killing of General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Qods Force. And according to images verified and published by the New York Times, there were two, and not one, rockets fired - 30 seconds apart - by the Iranian military against the scheduled flight.

The rockets, report the US newspaper, were fired from a base of the Islamic Republic about 12 km away from the aircraft. This new video would also explain why the vehicle's transponder stopped working before being hit by the second missile, thus causing the death of all 170 people on board, mostly Iranian and Canadian citizens.

Meanwhile, the Iranian government has admitted the first responsibilities and promised that those responsible for the affair will be brought to justice. The first arrests took place yesterday morning, as confirmed by the spokesperson for the judiciary in Tehran Gholamhossein Esmaili. "There have been thorough investigations - he stressed - and some people have been arrested". According to the BBC, among the arrested there is also the person who released the first video circulated in recent days that proved the plane was hit by a rocket.

Lastly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also intervened yesterday and in a speech on TV he promised to punish the guilty, adding that the "tragic event" will be investigated. "It is - he said - an unforgivable mistake and there cannot be a single person responsible" for what happened, adding that the government "is responsible towards the Iranian nation and the other nations that mourn the victims of the accident".
Full Text Source: AsiaNewsIT

Pope Francis appoints 1st Woman Under-Secretary in Vatican Secretariat of State

Vatican News Report:

(Image: the under-secretary of the Section for Relations with States, Dr Francesca Di Giovanni, at the United Nations)
Pope Francis appoints Dr Francesca Di Giovanni as under-secretary in the Section for Relations with States. She will be coordinating the multilateral sector.

Pope Francis has appointed Dr Francesca Di Giovanni, currently an official of the Secretariat of State, as under-secretary for the Section for Relations with States. She will be responsible for the multilateral sector. Born in Palermo in 1953, Dr Di Giovanni has worked in the Secretariat for 27 years and holds a law degree. After completing practicum as a notary, she worked in the juridical-administrative area at the International Centre of the Work of Mary (Focolare Movement). On 15 September 1993 she began work as an official in the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State. Di Giovanni has served in the multilateral sector, especially in the areas of migrants and refugees, international humanitarian law, communications, private international law, the status of women, intellectual property, and tourism.

With the appointment of Dr Di Giovanni, the Section for Relations with States has two under-secretaries: Di Giovanni will work alongside Monsignor Mirosław Wachowski, who will continue to work primarily in the area of bilateral diplomacy.
Source: Vatican

Investigation Reveals that 2 Kidnapped Archbishops who Disappeared were Martyred - RIP Archb. Yazigi and Archb. Ibrahim

ASIA/SYRIA - Journalistic investigation: "the 2 Bishops of Aleppo who disappeared in 2013 martyred". But the incident is still shrouded in mystery
Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Journalistic investigation: "the 2 Bishops of Aleppo who disappeared in 2013 martyred". But the incident is still shrouded in mystery

Aleppo (Agenzia Fides) - They died as martyrs, killed in December 2016 by a gang of militiamen who had held them hostage for years. This is apparently the fate of the two Archbishops of Aleppo, the Greek Orthodox Boulos Yazigi and the Orthodox Syrian Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, who disappeared on April 22 without leaving a trace, in the area between the Syrian metropolis and the border with Turkey. An investigation supports this theory carried out by an investigation team led by Mansur Salib, a Syrian researcher residing in the United States, and disseminated through the digital platform, a new social media connected to Twitter. According to the authors of the investigation, the militants of Nour al-Din al-Zenki, an independent group involved in the Syrian conflict, financed and armed during the conflict by both Saudi Arabia and the USA, killed the two.
The investigation traces the story, focusing on details considered useful to reconstruct its dynamics. According to the authors, on April 22, 2013 the two Archbishops had left Aleppo aboard a Toyota pick-up truck, driven by Fatha 'Allah Kabboud, with the intention of going to deal with the release of two priests, Armenian Catholic Michael Kayyal and Greek Orthodox Maher Mahfouz, previously kidnapped by anti-Assad jihadist groups who then controlled the territories east of the Syrian metropolis. Mar Gregorios and Boulos Yazigi, dressed in civilian clothes, fell into what the reconstruction presents as a real trap. The car in which the two metropolitans of Aleppo were traveling was blocked by the group of kidnappers, and the driver Fatha' Allah Kabboud, a Latin-rite Catholic, father of three children, was shot dead in the head. The kidnapping was not claimed by any group.
In the following months and years, rumors and announcements about their upcoming release were filtered around the case on several occasions, which then turned out to be unfounded.
The investigation now published on hints at the involvement in the kidnapping of characters linked to MIT (Turkish intelligence service), claiming that the kidnapping and detention occurred in areas that at that time became a "receptacle for foreign secret services", where they could hardly have operated without the support of "ordinary terrorists".
The issue of the disappearance of the two metropolitans was marked by misdirections and false and misleading information, such as that which a few days after their kidnapping had said they were released and were heading towards the Syrian Orthodox cathedral of Aleppo, where a multitude of Aleppo Christians gathered in vain to await them.
The reconstruction reports information already known, along with allegations exposed without objective findings, including the hint that George Sabra, a Christian leader who has always been close to opposition groups to the government of Damascus, is also involved in the kidnapping of the two Metropolitans. The hypothesis that the perpetrators of the kidnapping aimed to force the two metropolitans to convert to Islam, to fuel fears and despair among the local Christian communities, is also highlighted.
The most relevant witness among those mentioned in the report seems to be Yassir Muhdi, presented as one of the jailers of the two bishops, who was later captured by Syrian forces. "The official investigation" acknowledges the dossier "is not yet complete, because it was not possible to find the mortal remains of the two ecclesiastics". Among other things, the reconstruction claims - by presenting blurred clues or by aggregating information without objective evidence - that the two Archbishops were tortured, and that one of them, in 2015, was in a health facility in Antioch, the Antakya Devlet Hastanesi, in the Turkish province of Hatay. In the final section, the investigation claims that the two bishops were allegedly killed and buried in an unspecified place in December 2016, while areas east of Aleppo were about to be recaptured by the Syrian army.
In conclusion, the investigation published on may be useful to clarify details of the dynamics of the kidnapping and the early stages of the segregation of the two metropolitans, but in many passages it does not seem to provide certain elements useful to definitively clarify what was the fate of Boulos Yazigi and Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, Archbishops of the martyred city of Aleppo. (GV) (Full Text Source Agenzia Fides, 15/1/2020)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - #Eucharist

Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 307
  Reading 11 SM 3:1-10, 19-20
During the time young Samuel was minister to the LORD under Eli,
a revelation of the LORD was uncommon and vision infrequent.
One day Eli was asleep in his usual place.
His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see.
The lamp of God was not yet extinguished,
and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”
Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am.  You called me.”
“I did not call you,” Eli said.  “Go back to sleep.”
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
“Here I am,” he said. “You called me.”
But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am.
You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So Eli said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’”
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.
Thus all Israel from Dan to Beersheba
came to know that Samuel was an accredited prophet of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm40:2 AND 5, 7-8A, 8B-9, 10

R.    (8a and 9a)  Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
Blessed the man who makes the LORD his trust;
who turns not to idolatry
or to those who stray after falsehood.
R.    Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R.    Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me.
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R.    Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R.    Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

AlleluiaJN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord.
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.
When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
Rising very early before dawn,
he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.

For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons
throughout the whole of Galilee.