Sunday, January 19, 2020

Saint January 20 : St. Sebastian a Martyr and the Patron of Soldiers and Athletes with Prayer

Patron of:
Soldiers, plagues, arrows,  athletes
Roman martyr; little more than the fact of his martyrdom can be proved about St. Sebastian. In the "Depositio martyrum" of the chronologer of 354 it is mentioned that Sebastian was buried on the Via Appia. St. Ambrose ("In Psalmum cxviii"; "Sermo", XX, no. xliv in PL, XV, 1497) states that Sebastian came from Milan and even in the time of St. Ambrose was venerated there. The Acts, probably written at the beginning of the fifth century and formerly ascribed erroneously to Ambrose, relate that he was an officer in the imperial bodyguard and had secretly done many acts of love and charity for his brethren in the Faith. When he was finally discovered to be a Christian, in 286, he was handed over to the Mauretanian archers, who pierced him with arrows; he was healed, however, by the widowed St. Irene. He was finally killed by the blows of a club. These stories are unhistorical. The earliest mosaic picture of St. Sebastian, which probably belongs to the year 682, shows a grown, bearded man in court dress but contains no trace of an arrow. It was the art of the Renaissance that first portrayed him as a youth pierced by arrows. In 367 a basilica which was one of the seven chief churches of Rome was built over his grave. The present church was completed in 1611 by Scipio Cardinal Borghese. His relics in part were taken in the year 826 to St. Medard at Soissons. Sebastian is considered a protector against the plague. Celebrated answers to prayer for his protection against the plague are related of Rome in 680, Milan in 1575, and Lisbon in 1599. His feast day is 20 January.
Prayer to Saint Sebastian

Dear Commander of the Roman Emperor’s court, You chose to also be a soldier of Christ
And dared to spread faith in the King of Kings, For which you were condemned to die.
Your body, however, proved athletically strong And the executing arrows extremely weak. So another means to kill you was chosen And you gave your life to the Lord.
May athletes always be as strong as their faith As their Patron Saint so clearly has been.

Saint January 20 : St. Fabian a Pope and Martyr during the persecution of Decius, in 250 AD

January 20, 250 Rome, Italy

He succeeded St. Anterus in the pontificate in the year 236. Eusebius relates that in an assembly of the people and clergy, held for the election of a pastor in his room, a dove, unexpectedly appearing, settled, to the great surprise of all present, on the head of St. Fabian, and that this miraculous sign united the votes of the clergy and people in promoting him, though not thought of before, as being a layman and a stranger. He governed the church sixteen years, sent St. Dionysius and other preachers into Gaul, and condemned Privatus, a broacher of a new heresy in Africa, as appears from St. Cyprian. St. Fabian died a glorious martyr in the persecution of Decius, in 250, as St. Cyprian and St. Jerome witness. The former, writing to his successor, St. Cornelius, calls him an incomparable man, and says that the glory of his death had answered the purity and holiness of his life.
The saints made God, and the accomplishment of his holy will, the great object of all their petitions in their prayers, and their only aim in all their actions. "God," says St. Austin,[3] "in his promises to hear our prayers, is desirous to bestow himself upon us; if you find any thing better than him, ask it, but if you ask any thing beneath him, you put an affront upon him, and hurt   yourself by preferring to him a creature which he framed: pray in the spirit and sentiment of love, in which the royal prophet said to him, 'Thou, O Lord, art my portion.'[4] Let others choose to themselves portions among creatures; for my part, Thou are my portion, Thee alone I have chosen for my whole inheritance."

(Taken from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler)

Pope Francis says "Yes, we are still poor sinners, but not slaves...Children, children of God!" at Angelus - Full Text


St. Peter's Square
Sunday, January 19, 2020

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

This second Sunday of Ordinary Time is in continuity with the Epiphany and with the feast of the Baptism of Jesus. The Gospel passage (cf. Jn 1: 29-34) still speaks to us of the manifestation of Jesus. In fact, after being baptized in the Jordan River, He was consecrated by the Holy Spirit who rested on Him and was proclaimed Son of God by the voice of the heavenly Father (cf Mt 3: 16-17 and par.). The Evangelist John, unlike the other three, does not describe the event, but offers us the testimony of John the Baptist. He was the first witness of Christ. God had called him and prepared him for it.

The Baptist cannot hold back the urgent desire to testify to Jesus and declares: "I have seen and testified" (v. 34). John saw something shocking, that is, the beloved Son of God in solidarity with sinners; and the Holy Spirit made him understand the unheard of novelty, a true reversal. In fact, while in all religions it is the man who offers and sacrifices something to God, in the event Jesus is God who offers his Son for the salvation of humanity. John manifests his amazement and his consent to this novelty brought by Jesus, through a pregnant expression that we repeat every time in the Mass: "Here is the lamb of God, the one who takes away the sin of the world!" (V. 29 ).

John the Baptist's testimony invites us to start afresh on our journey of faith: to start afresh from Jesus Christ, the Lamb full of mercy that the Father has given for us. Let us be surprised again by God's choice to be on our side, to be in solidarity with us sinners, and to save the world from evil by taking charge of it totally.

Let us learn from John the Baptist not to presume that we already know Jesus, that we already know everything about him (cf. v. 31). It is not so. Let's stop on the Gospel, perhaps even contemplating an icon of Christ, a "holy face". We contemplate with the eyes and even more with the heart; and let ourselves be instructed by the Holy Spirit, who tells us inside: It is He! He is the Son of God made lamb, immolated for love. He, He alone brought, He alone suffered, atoned for the sin of each of us, the sin of the world, and also my sins. All. He carried them all on himself and took them away from us, so that we could finally be free, no longer slaves to evil. Yes, we are still poor sinners, but not slaves, no, not slaves: children, children of God!

May the Virgin Mary obtain the strength to testify to her Son Jesus; to announce it with joy with a life freed from evil and a word full of amazed and grateful faith.

After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today a conference is held in Berlin to discuss the crisis in Libya. I sincerely hope that this summit, so important, will be the start of a path towards the cessation of violence and a negotiated solution that will lead to peace and the much desired stability of the country.

I greet all of you, dear pilgrims and Roman faithful. In particular, the members of some Confraternities of Sevilla, Spain; the faithful of Bielsko-Biała and Poznań, Poland; the students of the "Loras College" of Dubuque, United States, and those of Vila Pouca de Aguiar, in Portugal.

I greet the parish groups of Scandicci and Quarto d’Altino, those of San Giuseppe al Trionfale and San Melchiade in Rome, as well as the ministers of Corva, diocese of Concordia-Pordenone, with their family members.

I am pleased to remember that 2020 has been designated internationally as the "Year of the Nurse and Midwife". Nurses are the most numerous health workers and closest to the sick, and midwives are perhaps the noblest of the professions. Let us pray for all of them, so that they can do their precious work at best.

I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!

#BreakingNews Fire Destroys Historic Santa Isabel Cathedral in Equatorial Guinea

Century-old Historic Cathedral in Equatorial Guinea
Cathedral Santa Isabel in Equatorial Guinea catches fire on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.

Built in a neo-gothic style between 1897 and 1916, the cathedral is one of the country's main tourist attractions.
 Dozens of people gathered in silence near the cathedral in the early evening as the fire service sprayed water jets onto the century-old structure.

"We have just extinguished the fire, it's finished. The roof is gone, it is a catastrophe," firefighter Alfredo Abeso told AFP. Another firefighter at the scene said: "The whole roof is gone, the interior is burned." The cause of the fire is not known but the cathedral has been closed to the public since January 7 for restoration work.

The French Embassy in Malabo said the fire was a "cruel reminder" of the fire at Notre Dame. "We share the emotion of our friends in Malabo and Equatorial Guinea and hope that the fire can be brought under control quickly," it said on Twitter.

Paris engineers are still working to stabilise the 13th century cathedral in the French capital after fire tore through its roof and dramatically toppled its spire last year.
Source: AFP - - Image Source: Google Images reports the remodeling work was due to end next July, according to the forecast of the archbishop of Malabo, Juan Nsue Edang. The president of the African country, Teodoro Obiang, gave last year to the Archdiocese of Malabo about three million euros for the rehabilitation of the Cathedral.

RIP Sister Theresia Maria, CSJ, - Death of Beloved Religious Sister and Vocations Director at Age 49

Sister Theresia Maria, CSJ,  entered into eternal life this past Wednesday at Rosary Hill Home in Hawthorne, NY.  She was 49.  Sr. Theresia served the Archdiocese of Newark in many roles including in the Vocations Office as Associate Director and as both Director of Religious Vocations and Delegate for Religious.

Born Olga Hendrika Berendina Holtschlag on December 29, 1970 in Enschede, Netherlands to Mr. and Mrs. Wim Holtschlag. She entered Postulancy with the Congregation of the Apostolic Sisters of St. John on April 21, 1998 in Semur-en-Brionnais, France.

On August 30, 1999 she was received into the community as a novice. During her time in the novitiate, on January 3, 1999, she received the habit along with her religious name: Sister Theresia Maria of the Merciful Love.

After professing her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, on September 3, 2000 she was sent on mission for two years to Villecroze, France. Then, from 2002-2003 she was in formation at the priory of Rimont, France.

Following this, she served in Autun, France from 2003-2004. Sister professed final vows on September 12, 2004, and was assigned to the priory in Brignoles, France for the years of 2004-2007.

In the fall of 2007 she was sent as one of the founding sisters of the priory in East Orange, NJ where she served from 2007-2018. While in East Orange she served St. Joseph's Parish as DRE and catechist of the RCIA program.
She also served the Archdiocese of Newark working in the Office of Vocations and then as Delegate for Religious. In 2018 she was appointed Superior of the House of Formation in Princeville, IL where she served for one year.

In August 2019 she returned to East Orange, NJ.  

In thanksgiving for her "Yes" to Jesus and her service to His Church, join us as we pray for her, her family, and the Community of St. John.

Arrangements are as follows:
Viewing on Sunday, January 19, 2020, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial: Monday, January 20, 2020 – 10:00 a.m.

Both services will be held at St. Joseph Church, 110 Telford St., East Orange, NJ

Burial will take place at St. Patrick's Cemetery in Edwards, Illinois.
20 Funeral Mass Monday, January 20 2020 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM St. Joseph Church East Orange, NJ 07018 

Sunday Mass Online : Sunday, January 19, 2020 - #Eucharist - Readings + Video - 2nd in Ord. Time - A

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 64 
 Reading 1IS 49:3, 5-6
The LORD said to me: You are my servant,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.
Now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial PsalmPS 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 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.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R/ Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or offering you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts 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.

Reading 21 COR 1:1-3

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
and Sosthenes our brother,
to the church of God that is in Corinth,
to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy,
with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

AlleluiaJN 1:14A, 12A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him,
he gave power to become children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”