Monday, January 20, 2020

Saint January 21 : St. Agnes : Engaged couples; Chastity; Gardeners; Girls; Rape victims; Virgins

Major Shrine::
Church of Sant'Agnese fuori le mura and the Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, both in Rome
Patron of:
Betrothed couples; chastity; Children of Mary; Colegio Capranica of Rome; crops; gardeners; Girl Scouts; girls; rape victims; virgins
Of all the virgin martyrs of Rome none was held in such high honour by the primitive church, since the fourth century, as St. Agnes. In the ancient Roman calendar of the feasts of the martyrs (Depositio Martyrum), incorporated into the collection of Furius Dionysius Philocalus, dating from 354 and often reprinted, e.g. in Ruinart [Acta Sincera Martyrum (ed. Ratisbon, 1859), 63 sqq.], her feast is assigned to 21 January, to which is added a detail as to the name of the road (Via Nomentana) near which her grave was located. The earliest sacramentaries give the same date for her feast, and it is on this day that the Latin Church even now keeps her memory sacred. Since the close of the fourth century the Fathers of the Church and Christian poets have sung her praises and extolled her virginity and heroism under torture. It is clear, however, from the diversity in the earliest accounts that there was extant at the end of the fourth century no accurate and reliable narrative, at least in writing, concerning the details of her martyrdom. On one point only is there mutual agreement, viz., the youth of the Christian heroine. St. Ambrose gives her age as twelve (De Virginibus, I, 2; P.L., XVI, 200-202: Haec duodecim annorum martyrium fecisse traditur), St. Augustine as thirteen (Agnes puella tredecim annorum; Sermo cclxxiii, 6, P.L., XXXVIII, 1251), which harmonizes well with the words of Prudentius: Aiunt jugali vix habilem toro (Peristephanon, Hymn xiv, 10 in Ruinart, Act. Sinc., ed cit. 486). Damasus depicts her as hastening to martyrdom from the lap of her mother or nurse (Nutricis gremium subito liquisse puella; in St. Agneten, 3, ed. Ihm, Damasi epigrammata, Leipzig, 1895, 43, n. 40). We have no reason whatever for doubting this tradition. It indeed explains very well the renown of the youthful martyr. Catholic Encyclopedia 

Pope Francis explains "There is a very beautiful expression of Jesus that explains all this...“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” in Homily

Pope at Mass: Trust in God makes us free
Trusting in the Word of God allows us to overcome idolatry, pride, and excessive self-confidence. In his homily on Monday during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said that being a “good Christian” means listening to what the Lord says about justice, charity, forgiveness, and mercy.
By Vatican News

In his homily at the daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis spoke about “docility” to the Word of God, which “is always new”. Reflecting on the first Reading, the Pope focused on God’s rejection of Saul as king, a “prophecy” that was confided to Samuel.

The stages of corruption
Pope Francis said that the essence of Saul’s sin was his “lack of docility” to the Word of God, imagining that his own “interpretation” of God’s command was “more correct”. The Lord had commanded the Israelites not to take anything from the people they had conquered, but they disobeyed. Pope Francis explained:

When Samuel goes to reject [Saul] on behalf of God, [Saul] tried to explain: “But look, there were cattle, there were so many good, fat animals, and with these I offered a sacrifice to the Lord”. He had not put anything in his own pocket, although others had. On the contrary, with this attitude of interpreting the Word of God as it seemed right to him, he allowed the others to put something of the plunder in their own pockets. The stages of corruption: it begins with a little disobedience, a lack of docility, and it keeps going further, further, further.

The lack of docility
After “exterminating” the Amalekites, Pope Francis said, the people took from the plunder “small and large beasts, the first fruits of what was vowed to extermination, to sacrifice to the Lord”. But Samuel pointed out that the Lord prefers “obedience to the voice” of God to holocausts and sacrifices; and he clarified the “hierarchy of values”: It is more important to have a “docile heart”, and “to obey”, than to “offer sacrifices, to fast, to do penance”. The “sin of lacking docility”, the Pope continued, lies precisely in that preference for “what I think and not what the Lord commands of me which I don’t understand”. When you rebel against “the will of the Lord”, he said, you are not docile; “it’s like a sin of fortune-telling”. It’s as if, although you say you believe in God, “you were to go to a fortune-teller to have your palm read ‘just in case’.” Refusing to obey the Lord, the lack of docility, the Pope repeated, is like “fortune-telling”.

When you insist on doing things your own way in the face the Lord’s will, you are an idolater, because you prefer what you think, that idol, to the will of the Lord. And for Saul, this disobedience cost him the kingdom: “Because you have rejected the Word of the Lord, the Lord has rejected you as king”. This should make us think a little bit about our own docility. We often prefer our own interpretation of the Gospel […] for example, when we fall into casuistry, into moral casuistry… This is not the will of the Lord. The will of the Lord is clear; He makes it known with the commandments in the Bible, and makes it known with the Holy Spirit within your heart. But when I am obstinate, and turn the Word of the Lord into an ideology, I am an idolater, I am not docile.

Mercy, not sacrifice
Turning to the day’s Gospel, from St Mark, Pope Francis recalled that the disciples were criticised “because they did not fast”. Jesus uses an analogy: no one sews new cloth on an old cloak, because it would risk making the tear worse; and no one puts new wine in old wineskins, because the skins would burst, and both the wine and the wineskins would be lost. “Rather”, the Lord said, “new wine is poured into fresh wineskins”.

The newness of the Word of the Lord – because the Word of the Lord is always new, it always carries us onward – always wins, it is better than everything. It overcomes idolatry, it overcomes pride, and it overcomes this attitude of being too sure of ourselves, not through [commitment to] the Word of the Lord, but to the ideologies that I have built around the Word of the Lord. There is a very beautiful expression of Jesus that explains all this and that comes from God, taken from the Old Testament: “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice”.

Trust in God
The Pope said that being a “good Christian” means being “docile” to the Word of the Lord, listening to what the Lord says about justice, charity, forgiveness, and mercy; and not being “inconsistent in life”, using “an ideology to be able to go forward”. It’s true, he added, that the Word of the Lord sometimes “gets us in trouble”, but “the devil does the same thing”, “deceptively”. So to be a Christian, Pope Francis concluded, “is to be free,” through “trust” in God.
Full Text Source:

Quote to SHARE by St. Mother Teresa "No color, no religion, no nationality should come between us, we are all children of God"

"No color, no religion, no nationality should come between us, we are all children of God."
Mother Teresa

#BreakingNews Clashes and Arrests continue in Hong Kong calling for Universal Suffrage

Clashes, arrests, tear gas at a gathering for universal suffrage
by Paul Wang
The meeting was organized by the Hong Kong Civil Assembly Team. Four policemen were injured; eight protesters arrested; the organizer, Ventus Lau, also arrested. The frustration with the request for universal suffrage expressed since 2007: "Has the government ever listened to us?". Clashes also in Mong Kok.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - A rally to demand universal suffrage in the territory ended quickly with clashes between radical demonstrators, the arrest of at least four people and use of tear gas.

The rally was organized by the Hong Kong Civil Assembly Team, whose spokesman is Ventus Lau, 25. The group had asked for a march from Victoria Park to Chater Garden, but police gave permission for a rally from 3pm to 4pm yesterday in Chater Garden.

Among the several thousand participants, four people were arrested before the conclusion because they possessed hammers and sticks and were suspected of wanting to wreak havoc.

At 4 p.m., when the police started chasing people to clear the area, two plainclothes policemen, mixed in the crowd, were beaten and injured. To save their comrades, riot police officers intervened with sticks, throwing tear gas and pepper sprays.

Law enforcement officials confirmed that four policemen were injured and four others were arrested for possession of improper weapons.

Ventus Lau was also arrested for not respecting the terms of the permit, which expired at 4pm. The police also accuse Lau of fomenting the crowd by revealing that there were plainclothes policemen among the people, triggering the manhunt.

Ventus Lau is accused of violating parliament on July 1 and is free on bail. In all likelihood, the new charge and arrest will make his situation worse.

The demonstration called for electoral reforms in view of the parliamentary elections next September, pushing for ever greater universal suffrage. Of the 60 seats in Hong Kong's parliament, only half are subject to elections from the base; the rest are occupied by representatives of the corporations (functional constituencies) or by persons appointed by the executive. For decades, the people of Hong Kong have been calling for all seats to be elected.

Speaking to the crowd, Ventus Lau said: "“The first time when I heard about the calls for universal suffrage, that was in 2007 and 2008. People have then been calling for it in 2012, 2017, and we’re now already in 2020,” Lau, said.

“We have had a lot of peaceful demonstrations ... but has the government ever listened?...“We’re not just here to protest today. We’re here to revolt, to exact revenge [for government inaction]".

There were other incidents in Mong Kok yesterday evening. A group of young people dressed in black tried to block the road. The police in riot gear intervened with Tasers and pepper spray, blocking and also hitting some journalists and volunteers for medical emergencies.
Full Text Source: AsiaNewsIT - Google Image of HK protests

US Bishops Promote 9 Days for Life Prayers : January 21-29, 2020 with Free Resources - #ProLife Prayers

USCCB: 9 Days for Life: January 21-29, 2020

    9 Days for Life 2020 will take place Tuesday,
    January 21 - Wednesday, January 29.
     9 Days for Life is a multi-faceted
     novena for the respect and protection
     of human life. Each day, a different
     intention is accompanied by a short
     reflection, suggested actions, and
     related information.
     Sign up to receive the novena by email, text
Additional resources to observe the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children are available here. . . .
RespectLife Release : On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court legalized abortion throughout the United States in its companion decisions Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. Since that time, millions of children have lost their lives and millions of women and families have been wounded by abortion.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), no. 373, designates January 22 as a particular day of prayer and penance, called the “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.” The Church directs:

In all the Dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion.
As individuals, we are called to observe this day through the penitential practices of prayer, fasting and/or almsgiving. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops provides resources to help parishes, schools, families, ministries, and individual Catholics participate in this important day of prayer and penance.

In addition, the USCCB also sponsors an annual, nationwide novena called “9 Days for Life,” which surrounds the liturgical observance of the Day of Prayer. Each day for nine days, a different intention is featured, accompanied by a short reflection, suggested actions, and related information as we pray for the respect and protection of every human life. In 2020, the novena will take place Tuesday, January 21 – Wednesday, January 29.

A sample timeline and activity, homily helps, announcements, and more are provided to help you get started. You are encouraged to adapt these resources as needed to fit your specific parish, school, or ministry.

Wow Alex Trebek of 'Jeopardy' receives Catholic Award saying "If there's one thing I have is (the) power of prayer"

Fordham University reports that they bestowed the Fordham Founder’s Award on Alex and Jean Trebek at a presidential reception at the Bel-Air Country Club on Jan. 7, 2020. It was the first time that the award, represented by the weighty statuette of Fordham founder Archbishop John Hughes, had ever been given outside of New York City, though the Founder’s Dinner will still be held in New York on March 30.
The iconic game-show host, who is living with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, arrived at the event straight from the studio still in makeup from recording five episodes of Jeopardy!.

“It’s humbling and it’s gratifying; because of the program that I have hosted for 36 years I have managed to touch the lives of so many people,” he said.Over the past decade, Alex and Jean Trebek have shown themselves to be true partners in the mission of Fordham—through their support for the University, but also through their efforts to promote learning and give back to society.

Alex Trebek has hosted the popular quiz show Jeopardy! for more than three decades, receiving numerous accolades, including six Daytime Emmys and a 2011 Peabody Award for “encouraging, celebrating, and rewarding knowledge.”
In 2015, they established a scholarship fund at Fordham that today benefits students from north and east Harlem. Their son, Matthew, is a 2013 graduate of Fordham College at Rose Hill, and Alex Trebek was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University’s commencement in 2011.
"If there's one thing I have discovered in the past year, it is (the) power of prayer," he said in accepting the Fordham award. "I learned it from the Jesuits when I was a kid, I learned it from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate when I was in boarding school."
Jesuit Father Joseph M. McShane, president of Fordham, said Alex Trebek, who was raised a Catholic, is "a brilliant man who is the nation's schoolteacher." If people think the "Jeopardy" host is a good man, "you don't know the half of it," the priest said. "He's better than you think." Father McShane called him a man of "quiet generosity."
The Trebeks have two children, both of whom they sent to Jesuit schools. Daughter Emily is a 2015 graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Son Matthew graduated from Fordham College at Rose Hill in 2013. Fordham College is the oldest of the university's 11 schools. (Edited from FordamUniversity News)

RIP Sister Hope Therese Angeline - Young Beloved Carmelite Nun Dies at age 33

R.I.P Sr. Hope Therese Angeline Maring, O.Carm.
Sister Helena - Sunday, January 19, 2020

 Sister M. Hope Therese Angeline, O.Carm. passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 19th at 1:27 a.m. at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, where she had been admitted for surgical repair of a tear in her aorta on the night of January 4th.  Sr. Michelle Anne and Sr. Barbara Maloy were at her bedside when the Lord took Sr. Hope to Himself in the 8th year of her religious life and six days after her 33rd birthday.

Dianna Hope Maring was born on January 13, 1987 in East Strousburg, PA to John and Jo Ellen(nee Guba) Maring and raised in West Winfield, New York where her parents now reside.  Sr. Hope entered our Congregation on February 14, 2012, and received the habit on October 1, 2012. Her First Profession was on October 4, 2014 and her fifth renewal of vows was on September 8, 2019. Sr. Hope’s first mission was Carmel Manor where she served from October 2014 until her transfer to St. Patrick’s Manor in November 2017. A Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, Sr. Hope was assigned to Activities, where her happy personality brought joy to the residents to whom she ministered. Though tiny in stature, she gave huge hugs to one and all.  A wiz at Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, Sr. Hope also loved to knit. More importantly, her purity of heart and love of the Lord flowed out from her in many ways, perhaps most evident by the depth and beauty of her poetry and other writings. In her beautiful reflection entitled My Thoughts on Joy Sr. Hope wrote: Joy comes from seeing everything as blessing, even suffering. No suffering lasts forever. God’s will and ultimate plan is for all of us to be happy in heaven with him.

Rest in peace, Sr. Mary Hope Therese Angeline. Like your patron, St. Therese, you were only in Carmel a few brief years, but the impact of your love of Christ and your vocation will stay with us forever. You will always be remembered with great love and affection.

MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL:  Friday, January 24, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. -
Holy Family Chapel - St. Patrick’s Manor

BURIAL: Friday, January 24, 20202:00 p.m.
Queen of Carmel Cemetery - St. Teresa’s Motherhouse - Germantown, NY 12526

Pope Francis says "..Jews and Christians, have a rich common spiritual patrimony that we should increasingly discover..." Full Text


Hall of the Consistory
Monday, January 20, 2020

Dear friends,

I welcome you. Your Center, active all over the world, aims to combat all forms of anti-Semitism, racism and hatred of minorities. For decades, contacts have existed with the Holy See: we share the desire to make the world a better place in respect of human dignity, a dignity that belongs to everyone in equal measure regardless of origin, religion and social status. It is so important to educate about tolerance and mutual understanding, freedom of religion and the promotion of social peace.

You contribute in a particular way to keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive. In a week, January 27th, we will remember the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. There, in 2016, I stopped to internalize and to pray in silence. Today, absorbed in the vortex of things, we struggle to stop, to look inside ourselves, to make silence to listen to the cry of suffering humanity. Today's consumerism is also verbal: how many useless words, how much time wasted contesting and accusing, how many offenses screamed, regardless of what is said. Silence, on the other hand, helps to preserve memory. If we lose our memory, we destroy the future. The anniversary of the unspeakable cruelty that humanity discovered seventy-five years ago is a call to stop us, to be silent and remember. We need it, in order not to become indifferent.

Concern about the rise, in many parts of the world, of selfish indifference, for which only what is convenient for oneself is concerned: life is good if it is good for me and when something is wrong, anger and wickedness are unleashed. Thus fertile grounds are prepared for the particularisms and populisms that we see around us. Hatred grows rapidly on these lands. Hatred. Sow hate. Still recently, we have witnessed the barbaric upsurge of anti-Semitism. I am not tired of firmly condemning all forms of anti-Semitism. To tackle the root problem, however, we must also commit ourselves to tilling the ground on which hatred grows, sowing peace. It is in fact through integration, research and understanding of the other that we protect ourselves more. Therefore it is urgent to reintegrate those who are marginalized, to reach out to those who are far away, to support those who are rejected because they have no means and money, to help those who are victims of intolerance and discrimination.

The Declaration Nostra aetate (cf. n. 4) underlines that we, Jews and Christians, have a rich common spiritual patrimony that we should increasingly discover to put it at the service of all. I feel that, in particular today, we are the first to be called to this service: not to distance ourselves and exclude, but to draw close and include us; not to support solutions of strength, but to start proximity paths. If we do not do it, who believe in the One who, from the heights of heaven, remembered us and took our weaknesses to heart, who will do it? I am reminded of those words from the book of Exodus: "God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God looked at the condition of the Israelites, God thought about it "(2,24-25). We too remember the past and take to heart the conditions of those who suffer: in this way we will cultivate the soil of fraternity.

Dear friends, I thank you for your commitment in this and I encourage you to intensify our collaboration in defense of the weakest. May the Most High help us to respect and love each other more and more, and to make the earth a better place, sowing peace. Shalom!

Saint January 20 : Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi a Nigerian Priest who ministered to the poor, the lonely, and the sick

September, 1903, Aguleri, Anambra, Nigeria
January 20, 1964, Leicester, England
March 22, 1998 by Pope John Paul II
Bl. Cyprian Iwene Tansi was born in Nigeria, Africa, in 1903. His parents were not Christians, but they sent Iwene to a school run by Catholic missionaries. There he learned about Jesus and made the decision to become a follower of Christ. He received the name Michael when he was baptized.

Teachers were needed for the Catholic schools founded by the missionaries, so Michael decided to become a teacher. He earned his teaching certificate when he was only 16. He taught for several years and even became a headmaster, or principal. Michael’s work was satisfying, but he wanted to do more to help others to find Christ.

Michael entered St. Paul’s Seminary at Igbarium in 1925. After ordination in 1937, he served as a parish priest in several villages. It was important for him to know all his parishioners, so he traveled on foot or on his bicycle to minister to the poor, the lonely, and the sick. He had a special interest in preparing young women for marriage. With the help of local nuns, the women were taught about Christian marriage and how to care for the children they would have.

Michael longed for the chance to spend more time in quiet prayer. He bishop gave him permission to join an order of Trappist monks in England. In the monastery, Michael took the name “Father Cyprian.” He hoped that one day he would be able to open a Trappist monastery in Nigeria.

After many prayerful years in the monastery, Father Cyprian died in 1964. His body was returned to his homeland for burial in 1986.

Father Cyprian was declared “Blessed” by Pope John Paul II in 1998 in ceremonies in Nigeria.


Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday, January 20, 2020 - #Eucharist

Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 311

  Reading 11 SM 15:16-23
Samuel said to Saul:
“Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
Saul replied, “Speak!”
Samuel then said: “Though little in your own esteem,
are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying,
‘Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction.
Fight against them until you have exterminated them.’
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD?
You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD.”
Saul answered Samuel:  “I did indeed obey the LORD
and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.
I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban.
But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen,
the best of what had been banned,
to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal.”
But Samuel said:
“Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as in obedience to the command of the LORD?
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission than the fat of rams.
For a sin like divination is rebellion,
and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”

Responsorial Psalm50:8-9, 16BC-17, 21 AND 23

R.    (23b)  To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold.”
R.    To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”
R.    To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R.    To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

AlleluiaHB 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 2:18-22

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
 but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”