Sunday, January 26, 2020

#BreakingNews RIP Kobe Bryant - Catholic Basketball Star and Daughter Gianna, age 13, Killed in Helicopter Crash

Kobe Bryant, 41, the basketball star, who spent 20 years with the Lakers, was killed on Sunday, January 26, 2020 when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed amid foggy conditions and burst into flames. His daughter Gianna, 13, was also on board,  nine people were on the copter — a pilot and eight passengers. Kobe and his family were practicing Catholics in an article he said:
I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic. It was noted that he was seen at Mass on Sunday before going on the helicopter. (see biography below)
Kobe is survived by his wife Vanessa. Together, they have four daughters -- Gianna, Natalia and Bianca and their newborn Capri. Kobe and Vanessa got married in 2001 after meeting in 1999.

 LA Times reports that Christina Mauser, Kobe’s top assistant coach on the travel basketball team, was also killed in the crash.“My kids and I are devastated,” her husband, Matt Mauser, wrote on Facebook. “We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash.” Also, baseball coach John Altobelli was among the others who died in the crash. Altobelli’s wife, Keri Altobelli, and their 13-year-old daughter, Alyssa, who played on the club team with Bryant’s daughter, were also among the victims, according to his family.

Short Biography of Kobe: 
Kobe Bean Bryant (born August 23, 1978) is an American professional basketball player who has retired from the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He entered the NBA from high school, and has played for the Lakers his entire career. He is the son of former NBA player Joe Bryant.  He has won the All-Star MVP Award four times (2002, 2007, 2009, and 2011). In 2003, Bryant was accused of sexual assault in Colorado, but the charges were eventually dropped, and a civil suit was settled out of court. Bryant admitted that he had an adulterous encounter, but denied the rape allegations. He did apologize publicly: Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. 
At the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, he won gold medals as a member of the U.S. national team. Bryant was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the youngest of three children and the only son of Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant. Bryant was raised Roman Catholic. When Bryant was six, his father left the NBA and moved his family to Rieti in Italy to play professional basketball. Bryant learned to speak fluent Italian. Bryant started playing basketball when he was 3 years old. When Joe Bryant retired from playing basketball in 1991, the Bryant family moved back to the United States. Kobe married Vanessa Laine in 2001. The Bryants' first child, a daughter named Natalia Diamante Bryant, was born in 2003.  Their second daughter, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, was born in 2006. In early December 2016, Vanessa gave birth to their third daughter, Bianca. The Bryants fourth daughter, Capri was born in June 2019. Kobe Bryant is Catholic, and turned to a priest when caught due to his sinful relationship.

 In a article from GQ Kobe states:

 “I started to consider the mortality of what I was doing,” he says. At the time, he was 24. “What’s important? What’s not important? What does it mean when everybody loves you, and then everybody hates your guts for something they think you did? So that’s when I decided that—if people were going to like me or not like me—it was going to be for who I actually was. To hell with all that plain vanilla shit, just to get endorsement deals. Those are superficial, anyway. I don’t enjoy doing them, anyway. I’ll just show people who I actually am…. The [loss of the] endorsements were really the least of my concerns. Was I afraid of going to jail? Yes. It was twenty-five to life, man. I was terrified. The one thing that really helped me during that process—I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic—was talking to a priest. It was actually kind of funny: He looks at me and says, ‘Did you do it?’ And I say, ‘Of course not.’ Then he asks, ‘Do you have a good lawyer?’ And I’m like, ‘Uh, yeah, he’s phenomenal.’ So then he just said, ‘Let it go. Move on. God’s not going to give you anything you can’t handle, and it’s in his hands now. This is something you can’t control. So let it go.’ And that was the turning point.” (All Images Shared from Google Images) (Information from GQ and Wikipedia)

Saint January 27 : St. Angela Merici the Patron of Sickness, Handicapped, Loss of parents

21 March 1474, Desenzano del Garda, Province of Brescia, Lombardy, Italy
27 January 1540, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy
May 24, 1807, Rome by Pope Pius VII
Major Shrine:
The Merician Centre (including the now subterranean Church of St Afra, Brescia, Lombardy, Italy)
Patron of:
sickness, handicapped people, loss of parents
Saint Mary of the Angels (1474 - 1540) Also known as: Angela of Merici, Angela de Marici Angela Merici was born on March 21, 1474 at Desenzano, Lake Garda, Italy. She made a vow of virginity before she was ten years old and persuaded her older sister to do the same. Her parents died when she was only ten years old. Together, with her older sister, she moved to the nearby town of Salo, to live with her uncle. She and her only sister, who was three years older, loved each other very much. But soon the sister of Angela followed her parents by a sudden death. Her sister's tragic death left Angela disconsolate because it occurred before her sister could receive the last sacraments of the Catholic Church. Angela lost herself in prayer and good works. Although she had great faith, she could not help but wonder if her sister was safe in heaven. One day during harvest Angela was alone in the fields when she experienced a life-changing vision: the heaven’s opened and angels and young women came toward her singing a melody, surrounded by light. One of the young girl's was Angela’s sister and she spoke, telling her that God wanted her to establish a company of consecrated virgins. Since then she has been known as a Saint, thanks to her spiritual life and her capacity to understand and help people. In 1516, on invitation, Angela moved to Brescia, for a consolatory mission in the house of Caterina Patengola, who had lost her husband and two children. Here she met Giovan Antonio Romano. Soon a group of people formed around her, united by the same desire for good. In 1524 Angela embarked on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and a year later she went to Rome to the Pope for the Jubilee. On November 25, 1535, on Saint Catherine’s day, Angela and 28 young women formed the Order of Ursulines in honor of St. Ursula in a small house near the Church of St. Afra in Bresci. In 1536, Merici laid down the rules of the Ursuline Order, clarifying her plan to restore the family and the supremacy of Christianity through the education of girls. In 1537 she was elected superior of the company by unanimous vote. Before her death she dictated her Testament and Souvenirs, which contain her counsels to her nuns; they insist on interest in the individual, gentleness, and the efficacy of persuasion over force. In 1580, Charles Borromeo, Bishop of Milan, inspired by the work of the Ursulines in Brescia, encouraged the foundation of Ursuline houses in all the dioceses of Northern Italy. Charles also encouraged the Ursulines to live together in community rather than in their own homes. Angela died on the 27th January 1540 at Brescia and was buried in the ancient church of Saint Afra (now Saint Angela’s sanctuary), where she still rests. She left 150 spiritual daughters. On June 9, 1544, Pope Paul III approved the new institute with the Bull: “Regimini Universalis Ecclesiae”. She is beatified on April 30, 1768 by Pope Clement XIII and canonized on May 24, 1807 by Pope Pius VII. In 1962 St. Angela Merici was proclaimed the principal patron of Desenzano by a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. In 1861, Pius IX extended her veneration to the universal Church. Saint Angela's body is incorrupt. After Angela's death the Company of Saint Ursula spread rapidly. Ursuline communities were established quickly in France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Canada and the United States. Today, thousands of Ursuline Sisters work to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ on six continents. Text shared from MaryPages - Image Google

At Mass, Pope Francis says "Each day, let us read a verse or two of the Bible...We will discover that God is close..." and hands out Free Bibles - Full Text

Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass on ‘Sunday of the Word of God’ on Sunday, 26 January. This is a new observance established by the Pope in his Motu Proprio “Aperuit illis”, to be celebrated annually on the third Sunday in Ordinary Time, and to be dedicated to the celebration, study and spreading of the Word of God. At the end of the Mass Pope Francis handed out free Bible to those present.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Sunday, 26 January 2020

“Jesus began to preach” (Mt 4:17). With these words, the evangelist Matthew introduces the ministry of Jesus. The One who is the Word of God has come to speak with us, in his own words and by his own life. On this first Sunday of the Word of God, let us go to the roots of his preaching, to the very source of the word of life. Today’s Gospel (Mt 4:12-23) helps us to know howwhere and to whom Jesus began to preach.
1. How did he begin? With a very simple phrase: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (v. 17). This is the main message of all Jesus’ sermons: to tell us that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. What does this mean? The kingdom of heaven means the reign of God, that is, the way in which God reigns through his relationship with us. Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, that God is near. Here is the novelty, the first message: God is not far from us. The One who dwells in heaven has come down to earth; he became man. He has torn down walls and shortened distances. We ourselves did not deserve this: he came down to meet us. Now this nearness of God to his people is one of the ways he has done things since the beginning, even of the Old Testament. He said to his people: “Imagine: what nation has its gods so near to it as I am near to you?” (cf. Dt 4:7). And this nearness became flesh in Jesus.
This is a joyful message: God came to visit us in person, by becoming man. He did not embrace our human condition out of duty, no, but out of love. For love, he took on our human nature, for one embraces what one loves. God took our human nature because he loves us and desires freely to give us the salvation that, alone and unaided, we cannot hope to attain. He wants to stay with us and give us the beauty of life, peace of heart, the joy of being forgiven and feeling loved.
We can now understand the direct demand that Jesus makes: “Repent”, in other words, “Change your life”. Change your life, for a new way of living has begun. The time when you lived for yourself is over; now is the time for living with and for God, with and for others, with and for love. Today Jesus speaks those same words to you: “Take heart, I am here with you, allow me to enter and your life will change”. Jesus knocks at the door. That is why the Lord gives you his word, so that you can receive it like a love letter he has written to you, to help you realize that he is at your side. His word consoles and encourages us. At the same time it challenges us, frees us from the bondage of our selfishness and summons us to conversion. Because his word has the power to change our lives and to lead us out of darkness into the light. This is the power of his word.
2. If we consider where Jesus started his preaching, we see that he began from the very places that were then thought to be “in darkness”. Both the first reading and the Gospel speak to us of people who “sat in the region and shadow of death”. They are the inhabitants of “the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, on the road by the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations” (Mt 4:15-16; cf. Is 8:23-9:1). Galilee of the nations, this region where Jesus began his preaching ministry, had been given this name because it was made up of people of different races and was home to a variety of peoples, languages and cultures. It was truly “on the road by the sea”, a crossroads. Fishermen, businessmen and foreigners all dwelt there. It was definitely not the place to find the religious purity of the chosen people. Yet Jesus started from there: not from the forecourt of the temple of Jerusalem, but from the opposite side of the country, from Galilee of the nations, from the border region. He started from a periphery.
Here there is a message for us: the word of salvation does not go looking for untouched, clean and safe places. Instead, it enters the complex and obscure places in our lives. Now, as then, God wants to visit the very places we think he will never go. Yet how often we are the ones who close the door, preferring to keep our confusion, our dark side and our duplicity hidden. We keep it locked up within, approaching the Lord with some rote prayers, wary lest his truth stir our hearts. And this is concealed hypocrisy. But as today’s Gospel tells us: “Jesus went about all Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity” (v. 23). He passed through all of that varied and complex region. In the same way, he is not afraid to explore the terrain of our hearts and to enter the roughest and most difficult corners of our lives. He knows that his mercy alone can heal us, his presence alone can transform us and his word alone can renew us. So let us open the winding paths of our hearts – those paths we have inside us that we do not wish to see or that we hide – to him, who walked “the road by the sea”; let us welcome into our hearts his word, which is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword… and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12).
3. Finally, to whom did Jesus begin to speak? The Gospel says that, “as he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (Mt 4:18-19). The first people to be called were fishermen: not people carefully chosen for their abilities or devout people at prayer in the temple, but ordinary working people.
Let us think about what Jesus said to them: I will make you fishers of men. He was speaking to fishermen, using the language they understood. Their lives changed on the spot. He called them where they were and as they were, in order to make them sharers in his mission. “Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (v. 20). Why immediately? Simply because they felt drawn. They did not hurry off because they had received an order, but because they were drawn by love. To follow Jesus, mere good works are not enough; we have to listen daily to his call. He, who alone knows us and who loves us fully, leads us to put out into the deep of life. Just as he did with the disciples who heard him.
That is why we need his word: so that we can hear, amid the thousands of other words in our daily lives, that one word that speaks to us not about things, but about life.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us make room inside ourselves for the word of God! Each day, let us read a verse or two of the Bible. Let us begin with the Gospel: let us keep it open on our table, carry it in our pocket or bag, read it on our cell phones, and allow it to inspire us daily. We will discover that God is close to us, that he dispels our darkness and, with great love, leads our lives into deep waters.
Full Text + Image Source: - Official Translation

Wow 3 Million People at Catholic Prayer Procession of the Child Jesus in the Philippines

Authorities say an estimated three million people filled the streets of Cebu City during the Feast of Santo Niño (Holy Child Jesus) on Jan. 19, 2020.
By CBCP News

January 21, 2020

Manila, Philippines

A true Christian devotee cares about the well being of everyone, including the environment, a church leader said.

Celebrating Mass for the Feast of Santo Niño in Cebu City on Sunday, Archbishop Jose Palma stressed that protecting “our common home” is a Christian duty.

“A true devotee of our Señor Santo Niño loves and cares for the environment,” Palma said in his homily at the Pilgrim Center of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu.

According to him, protecting the environment must recognize the interests of both current and future generations.

“The blessings that we have received are not for us but for our children’s children,” the archbishop said.

“Taking all the fish and cutting down trees is stealing from the future generations,” he added.

The church official made the appeal as he called the faithful to be charitable at all times and not just during calamities.

“We should also be charitable to our environment,” Palma said.

This year’s theme of the 455th celebration of the Fiesta Señor was “Santo Niño: Cause of our Unity and Charity”.
Full Text + Image Source: CBCP News 
The Video Below explains the rich history of this procession....

Pope Francis says Open your Heart to "...the Good News of Jesus, the Gospel - that changes the world and hearts!" Full Text

ANGELUS (Full Video at bottom of this post)

St. Peter's Square
Sunday, January 26, 2020

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today's Gospel (cf Mt 4: 12-23) shows us the beginning of Jesus' public mission. This happened in Galilee, a land on the outskirts of Jerusalem, and looked upon with suspicion for mixing with the pagans. Nothing good and new was expected from that region; instead, right there Jesus, who had grown up in Nazareth of Galilee, begins his preaching.

He proclaims the central core of his teaching summarized in the appeal: "Get converted, because the kingdom of heaven is near" (v. 17). This announcement is like a powerful beam of light that crosses the darkness and cuts through the fog, and evokes the prophecy of Isaiah that is read on Christmas night: «The people who walked in darkness saw a great light; on those who walked in the dark earth a light shone "(9,1). With the coming of Jesus, light of the world, God the Father showed humanity his closeness and friendship. They are given to us freely beyond our merits. The closeness of God and the friendship of God are not our merit: they are a free gift of God. We must guard this gift.

The appeal to conversion, which Jesus addresses to all men of good will, is fully understood precisely in the light of the event of the manifestation of the Son of God, on which we meditated on past Sundays. Many times it is impossible to change your life, abandon the path of selfishness, of evil, abandon the path of sin because the commitment to conversion focuses only on yourself and on your own strength, and not on Christ and his Spirit. But our adherence to the Lord cannot be reduced to a personal effort, no. To believe this would also be a sin of pride. Our adhesion to the Lord cannot be reduced to a personal effort, instead it must be expressed in a confident opening of the heart and mind to welcome the Good News of Jesus. It is this - the Word of Jesus, the Good News of Jesus, the Gospel - that changes the world and hearts! We are therefore called to trust the word of Christ, to open ourselves to the Father's mercy and allow ourselves to be transformed by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

It is from here that the true path of conversion begins. Just as it happened to the first disciples: the encounter with the divine Master, with his gaze, with his word gave them the impulse to follow him, to change his life by putting himself concretely at the service of the Kingdom of God.

The surprising and decisive encounter with Jesus began the journey of the disciples, transforming them into announcers and witnesses of God's love for his people. In imitation of these first heralds and messengers of the Word of God, each of us can take steps in the footsteps of the Savior, to offer hope to those who are thirsty for it.

May the Virgin Mary, to whom we turn in this Angelus prayer, support these purposes and support them with her maternal intercession.


Dear brothers and sisters!

Today for the first time we are celebrating the Sunday of the Word of God, instituted to celebrate and welcome ever better the gift that God has made and daily makes of his Word to his People. I thank the Dioceses, I thank the communities that have proposed initiatives to recall the centrality of Sacred Scripture in the life of the Church.

Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. In the face of this huge tragedy, this atrocity, indifference is not admissible and memory is a must. Tomorrow we are all invited to make a moment of prayer and recollection, saying each one in his own heart: never again, never again!

World Hansen's Day of Illness is celebrated today. We are close to all the people who are affected and to those who take care of them in different ways.

I also want to be close and pray for people who are sick because of the virus that has spread to China. May the Lord welcome the deceased in his peace, comfort families and support the great commitment of the Chinese community, already put in place to fight the epidemic.

I greet all of you who have come from Italy and from various countries, especially the pilgrims from Valencia, Salamanca, Burgos, Santander and Valladolid; students and educators from Murcia, Cuenca, Badajoz, and those from Panama.

I greet the faithful from Tursi and the UNITALSI group from Lazio, which facilitates the participation of disabled people in general audiences and at the Angelus, and which today distributes the Messaline with the Word of God every day.

Now the comrades [two boys from the ACR next to the Pope] have arrived. I warmly greet the boys and girls of Catholic Action, of the Catholic parishes and schools of the Diocese of Rome! Also this year, accompanied by the Auxiliary Bishop Mons. Selvadagi, by your parents and educators and by the assistant priests, you came in large numbers at the end of the "Caravan of Peace". I thank you for this initiative. And now let's listen to the message that your friends, here next to me, will read to us.

[Reading the message and at the end throwing balloons]

I wish everyone a good Sunday. And please, don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!
Full Text Source: - Unofficial Translation