Monday, February 17, 2020

Saint February 18 : St. Fra Angelico the "Angelic friar" a Dominican and Patron of Artists with Prayer

Feast Day: February 18 Beatified: October 3, 1982
Fra Angelico (born Guido di Pietro; c. 1395 – February 18, 1455) was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects as having "a rare and perfect talent". He was known to contemporaries as Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Brother John of Fiesole) and Fra Giovanni Angelico (Angelic Brother John). In modern Italian he is called il Beato Angelico (Blessed Angelic One); the common English name Fra Angelico means the "Angelic friar".  He is listed in the Roman Martyrology as Beatus Ioannes Faesulanus, cognomento Angelicus—
Growing up in a small town in Italy, Guido di Pietro was interested in two things. He wanted to follow Christ’s example in all things and he wanted to develop his talent for painting. God showed him how these two things were his vocation. Our vocation is God’s call to share in Jesus’ life and work. Guido was born in 1387, and when he was 18, he joined the Dominican order as a religious brother. Brothers are not priests. Religious brothers serve their community through prayer and work. It Italy, religious brothers are called “Fra.” Religious brothers are often given a new name. Guido’s religious name was “Fra Giovanni” or Brother John. His work in his community was painting beautiful religious art, initially for manuscripts, which at the time were each copied by hand. The moment the members of his religious community saw his beautiful paintings, they said that he “painted like an angel.” That is how he became known as “Fra Angelico.” Every day before he began to paint, Fra Angelico prayed that God would guide his hand and help him to create a painting that would inspire people to grow closer to God. Fra Angelico became very famous. He painted holy figures and angels and was even called to Rome to paint portraits of the saints on the walls of the chapel of Pope Eugenius IV and then Pope Nicholas V. His work can be found in museums and churches and holy buildings throughout the world. He died in Rome in 1455 and was beatified in 1982 by Pope John Paul II. The pope declared him the patron saint of Catholic artists in 1984. We call Fra Angelico “Blessed.” His life helps us to understand that we are called to use the gifts we have been given to serve others and to give glory and praise to God.
Prayer to Blessed Fra AngelicoBlessed Fra Angelico,
you created works of beauty
which have inspired countless souls
into a closer union with God.
By your intercession, may God
raise up artists and craftsmen
to beautify His holy dwellings
and all churches to elevate
human hearts and minds to a
more profound relationship
with the Almighty. Amen.

Fra Angelico (Italian, ca. 1390/95-1455)

#BreakingNews 24 People Killed including Pastor at Christian Church in Burkina Faso - 18 wounded - Please Pray

Vatican News and Aljazeera report that a local pastor is among 24 people killed as armed men targeted a Protestant church in Yagha province, Burkina Faso, as religious attacks continue.

At least 24 people were killed after unidentified gunmen attacked a church in northern Burkina Faso, officials said on Monday, in the latest assault against places of worship in the West African nation.

The attack took place on Sunday during a weekly service at a Protestant church in the village of Pansi in Yagha, a volatile province near the border with Niger.

"The provisional toll is 24 killed, including the pastor... 18 wounded and individuals who were kidnapped," he added.

A resident of the nearby town of Sebba said Pansi villagers fled there for safety.

"It hurt me when I saw the people," Sihanri Osangola Brigadie, the mayor of Boundore commune, told The Associated Press news agency after visiting victims in the hospital in Dori town, 180km (110 miles) from the attack.

The attackers looted oil and rice from shops and forced three youth they kidnapped to help transport it on their motorbikes, he said.

Analysts note that 'attacks on Christians have risen at an alarming rate.
Christians and churches have become frequent targets in the north of the country.

Last week, also in Yagha province, a retired pastor was killed and another pastor abducted by gunmen, according to an internal security report for aid workers.

"Perpetrators use victims' links to government or their faith to justify the killings, while others appear to be reprisal killings for killings by the government security forces," Corinne Dufka, West Africa director for Human Rights Watch, said.

More than 1,300 civilians were killed in targeted attacks last year in Burkina Faso, more than seven times the previous year, according to Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, which collects and analyses conflict information.

Edited from Aljazeera

Pope Francis explains that Future Diplomats of the Vatican must spend 1 year in Mission in another Country - Full Text


To His Most Reverend Excellency
Msgr. Joseph MARINO
President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy

Dear brother,

at the conclusion of the work of the recent Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region, I expressed the desire that the priests preparing for the diplomatic service of the Holy See dedicate one year of their formation to missionary work in a diocese.

I am convinced that such an experience will be useful to all young people who prepare or begin priestly service, but in particular to those who in the future will be called to collaborate with the Pontifical Representatives and, subsequently, may in turn become Envoys. of the Holy See to the particular nations and churches.

In fact, as I have already had occasion to remind the community of this Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy: “The mission that one day you will be called to carry out will take you to all parts of the world. In Europe need to wake up; in Africa, thirsty for reconciliation; in Latin America, hungry for nourishment and interiority; in North America, intent on rediscovering the roots of an identity that cannot be defined starting from exclusion; in Asia and Oceania, challenged by the ability to ferment in diaspora and dialogue with the vastness of ancestral cultures "(June 25, 2015).

In order to face these growing challenges for the Church and for the world positively, future diplomats of the Holy See must acquire, in addition to the solid priestly and pastoral formation, and the specific one offered by this Academy, also a personal mission experience outside the own Diocese of origin, sharing with the missionary Churches a period of journey together with their community, participating in their daily evangelizing activity.

I therefore turn to you, dear Brother, who recently assumed the position of President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, asking you to implement my desire to enrich the curriculum of academic formation with a year dedicated entirely to missionary service in the particular Churches scattered throughout the world. This new experience will take effect starting with the new pupils who will begin their training in the next academic year 2020/2021.

In order to elaborate this project in greater detail and start well, we will first need to work closely with the Secretariat of State and, more precisely, with the Section for the Diplomatic Personnel of the Holy See, as well as with the Pontifical Representatives, who certainly will not fail to provide valuable help in identifying the particular Churches ready to welcome students and in following their experience closely.

I am sure that, having overcome the initial concerns that could arise in the face of this new style of formation for future diplomats of the Holy See, the missionary experience that is to be promoted will be useful not only to young academics, but also to individual Churches with in which they will collaborate and, I hope, will inspire in other priests of the universal Church the desire to make themselves available to carry out a period of missionary service outside their own Diocese.

In conclusion, entrusting to the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, this new modality of the formation of future collaborators in the diplomatic service of the Holy See, I send with affection to you, dear Brother and to the entire community of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, a cordial greeting and my Apostolic Blessing, asking you please to remember me in your prayers.

From the Vatican, 11 February 2020


Historic Meeting with Holy See Representative Archbishop Gallagher and China's Minister of Foreign Affairs - Hopes for Dialogue

The Holy See and PRC: pursuing the path of dialogue
Within the context of the Munich Security Conference, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States meets with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.
Vatican News

About 35 heads of States and government are expected to attend the annual Munich Security Conference which began on Friday. Many countries are represented by high level diplomats. Within the context of this Conference, a meeting took place today, February 14 between His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, and His Excellency Mr. Wang Yi, State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. A meeting of this kind had not taken place in 70 years.

The meeting was made public through a communiqué of the Holy See's Secretariat of State, issued by the Holy See Press Office on Friday evening. It related that the two parties held a discussion that “took place in a cordial atmosphere”. They discussed the contacts that have taken place between the two countries “which have developed positively over time”, the communiqué said.

The importance of the Provisional Agreement on the appointment of Bishops, signed last 22 September was highlighted, and the “willingness to continue the institutional dialogue at the bilateral level to promote the life of the Catholic Church and the good of the Chinese people” was renewed.  “Appreciation was expressed for the efforts being made to eradicate the coronavirus epidemic as well as solidarity with the affected population", the communiqué reported.

Lastly, the parties expressed, “a desire for greater international cooperation” to foster peace in the world and “considerations on intercultural dialogue and human rights were exchanged”.

Regarding the coronavirus epidemic, Pope Francis prayed for all those affected by it in his General Audience on Wednesday. He also expressed his closeness to the Chinese people, and invited the faithful “to pray for our Chinese brothers and sisters” who are affected by the “cruel” coronavirus epidemic. The Pope then expressed the hope that all affected by the illness might "find a path to recovery as soon as possible".

Full Text + Image Source:

Pope Francis receives Golden Vision award from Dr. Moshe Kantor - President of the the European Jewish Congress

President bestows Golden Vision award on Pope Francis

In meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Dr. Moshe Kantor discussed next World Holocaust Forums to focus on ethical and moral issues.

Pope Francis held a private meeting with in the Vatican today, Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation and the European Jewish Congress.
“We believe strongly in the need to also focus future World Holocaust Forums on addressing the most pressing moral and ethical challenges of our time and to develop best practices which can help shape a better future for all of humanity”, Dr. Kantor said. “These are all complex issues which require deep discussion by world leaders, opinion shapers and representatives from the world of religion, morality and ethics.”

Dr. Kantor thanked the Pope for his strong commitment to preserving the memory of the Holocaust, and combatting the contemporary resurgence of anti-Semitism, and for sending a delegation led by Cardinal Koch to represent the Holy See at the Fifth World Holocaust at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

The Golden Vision award is the highest award of the European Jewish Congress that is bestowed annually to two personalities - one Jewish, and one non-Jewish - for their outstanding intellectual contribution to a more inclusive world where anti-Semitism is not tolerated.
Edited from Source:

Bishop in Nicaragua suggests an "ethical decalogue" for politicians; Hopes for Release of all Political prisoners

The Bishop of Matagalpa presents an "ethical decalogue" for politicians; the release of all prisoners is still awaited

Matagalpa (Agenzia Fides) - The passage of the Gospel proclaimed during Masses last Sunday, the "discourse of the mountain" (Mt 5.17-37) which deals with the subject of the fulfillment of the law, gave the cue to Msgr. Rolando José Alvarez Lagos, Bishop of Matagalpa, to present an ethical decalogue to politicians in the country to follow.
During the homily of the Mass celebrated in the Cathedral, Mgr. Alvarez, with the clear and direct style that characterizes him, said: "First: do not disqualify the other; second: do not criticize him in a destructive way; third: do not judge him in an incorrect way; fourth: respect his dignity; fifth: respect his privacy, his integrity and his family life; sixth: respect the opinions of the other; seventh: recognize that we all need each other; eighth: always look for points of consensus; ninth: consider Nicaragua as the greatest and main common good; tenth: overcome evil with good".
Nicaragua still lives in a situation of strong tension due to the lack of freedom in all senses. Not even the news of the upcoming elections has brought serenity to families who have a family member in prison without a real accusation. Nobody knows the exact number of political prisoners, but it is well known that there are many. As the note sent by a local Fides source informs, the news of the release, on February 13, of eight political prisoners by the Orteguista regime, certainly provoked satisfaction among the groups that ask for the release of prisoners of conscience, but the family members of prisoners continue to demand the unconditional release of all citizens who are detained in the country's various penitentiaries.
Brenda Gutiérrez, president of the Committee for the Liberation of Political Prisoners, told the local press that although no one should be thanked because freedom is a right, the intervention of the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Waldemar Sommertag, must be acknowledged who was the only one able to make himself heard by the couple who governs Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo, his wife. Brenda Gutiérrez added: "It is a terrible situation. There is no freedom, it seems that we are kidnapped in our own country".
According to Alianza Civica there are still 61 political prisoners. Brenda Gutiérrez stressed that "although the Grand Coalition of the opposition is concerned about defining the electoral reform in view of the upcoming elections, we cannot forget those who suffer unjustly in prison". (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 17/2/2020)

Pope Francis met with former president of Brazil Lula and they spoke on the Environment - Video

Pope Francis met with the former president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, at the Vatican. Lula said he congratulated the pope for having convoked “The Economy of Francesco,” which will take place in Assisi in March. The Former president of Brazil “He has called millions of young people to discuss the world's new economy. I find the pope's decision reassuring, as he touched on a topic that is crucial for the future of workers around the world.” He said he and Pope Francis discussed the importance of having the youth reflect on the challenges of a globalized economy. The Former president of Brazil said, “At 83 years old, he has the potential to make a lasting impact on society. He can motivate the youth to discuss issues related to the global economy. I think that's necessary. I think that should be used as an example.” Da Silva said, “I read the pope's letter on the Amazon synod, but I didn't come here to talk about the Amazon in particular. I came to talk about environmental issues as a whole.” Lula, who spent 580 days in prison for corruption, is currently under provisional freedom. Edited from RomeReports

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday February 17, 2020 - #Eucharist

Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 335
Reading 1JAS 1:1-11
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
to the twelve tribes in the dispersion, greetings.
Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters,
when you encounter various trials,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
And let perseverance be perfect,
so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
But if any of you lacks wisdom,
he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly,
and he will be given it.
But he should ask in faith, not doubting,
for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea
that is driven and tossed about by the wind.
For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord,
since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways.
The brother in lowly circumstances
should take pride in high standing,
and the rich one in his lowliness,
for he will pass away “like the flower of the field.”
For the sun comes up with its scorching heat and dries up the grass,
its flower droops, and the beauty of its appearance vanishes.
So will the rich person fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

Responsorial Psalm119:67, 68, 71, 72, 75, 76

R.    (77a)  Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I hold to your promise.
R.    Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
You are good and bountiful;
teach me your statutes.
R.    Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
that I may learn your statutes.
R.    Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R.    Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
I know, O LORD, that your ordinances are just,
and in your faithfulness you have afflicted me.
R.    Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
Let your kindness comfort me
according to your promise to your servants.
R.    Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.

AlleluiaJN 14:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 8:11-13

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus,
seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said,
“Why does this generation seek a sign?
Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
Then he left them, got into the boat again,
and went off to the other shore.

Saint February 17 : Founders of the Orders of Servites - 7 Youths to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared

(SERVANTS OF MARY). The Order of Servites is the fifth mendicant order, the objects of which are the sanctification of its members, preaching the Gospel, and the propagation of devotion to the Mother of God, with special reference to her sorrows. In this article we shall consider: (1) the foundation and history of the order; (2) devotions and manner of life; (3) affiliated associations; (4) Servites of distinction. Foundation and history

To the city of Florence belongs the glory of giving to the Church the seven youths who formed the nucleus of the order: Buonfiglio dei Monaldi (Bonfilius), Giovanni di Buonagiunta (Bonajuncta), Bartolomeo degli Amidei (Amideus), Ricovero dei Lippi-Ugguccioni (Hugh), Benedetto dell' Antella (Manettus), Gherardino di Sostegno (Sosteneus), and Alessio de' Falconieri (Alexius); they belonged to seven patrician families of that city, and had early formed a confraternity of laymen, known as the Laudesi, or Praisers of Mary.
While engaged in the exercises of the confraternity on the feast of the Assumption, 1233, the Blessed Virgin appeared to them, advised them to withdraw from the world and devote themselves entirely to eternal things. They obeyed, and established themselves close to the convent of the Friars Minor at La Camarzia, a suburb of Florence. Desiring stricter seclusion than that offered at La Camarzia, they withdrew to Monte Senario, eleven miles north of Florence. Here the Blessed Virgin again appeared to them, conferred on them a black habit, instructed them to follow the Rule of St. Augustine and to found the order of her servants (15 April, 1240). The brethren elected a superior, took the vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty, and admitted associates. In 1243, Peter of Verona (St. Peter Martyr), Inquisitor-General of Italy, recommended the new foundation to the pope, but it was not until 13 March, 1249, that the first official approval of the order was obtained from Cardinal Raniero Capocci, papal legate in Tuscany. About this time St. Bonfilius obtained permission to found the first branch of the order at Cafaggio outside the walls of Florence. Two years later (2 Oct., 1251) Innocent IV appointed Cardinal Guglielmo Fieschi first protector of the order. The next pope, Alexander IV, favoured a plan for the amalgamation of all institutes following the Rule of St. Augustine. This was accomplished in March, 1256, and about the same time a Rescript was issued confirming the Order of the Servites as a separate body with power to elect a general. Four years later a general chapter was convened at which the order was divided into two provinces, Tuscany and Umbria, the former of which St. Manettus directed, while the latter was given into the care of St. Sostene. Within five years two new provinces were added, namely, Romagna and Lombardy. After St. Philip Benizi was elected general (5 June, 1267) the order, which had long been the object of unjust attack from jealous enemies, entered into the crisis of its existence. The Second Council of Lyons in 1274 put into execution the ordinance of the Fourth Lateran Council, forbidding the foundation of new religious orders, and absolutely suppressed all mendicant institutions not yet approved by the Holy See. The aggressors renewed their assaults, and in the year 1276 Innocent V in a letter to St. Philip declared the order suppressed. St. Philip proceeded to Rome, but before his arrival there Innocent V had died. His successor lived but five weeks. Finally John XXI, on the favourable opinion of three consistorial advocates, decided that the order should continue as before. The former dangers reappeared under Martin V (1281), and though other popes continued to favour the order, it was not definitively approved until Benedict IX issued the Bull, "Dum levamus" (11 Feb., 1304). Of the seven founders, St. Alexis alone lived to see their foundation raised to the dignity of an order. He died in 1310.
We must here make mention of St. Peregrine Laziosi (Latiosi), whose sanctity of life did much towards increasing the repute of the Servite Order in Italy. Born at Forli in 1265, the son of a Ghibelline leader, Peregrine, in his youth, bitterly hated the Church. He insulted and struck St. Philip Benizi, who, at the request of Martin V, had gone to preach peace to the Forlivese. Peregrine's generous nature was immediately aroused by the mildness with which St. Philip received the attack and he begged the saint's forgiveness. In 1283 he was received into the order, and so great was his humility it was only after much persuasion he consented to be ordained a priest. He founded a monastery in his native city, where he devoted all his energies to the restoration of peace. His humility and patience were so great that he was called by his people a second Job. He died in 1345. His body remains incorrupt to the present day. He was canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726, and his feast is celebrated on 30 April. One of the most remarkable features of the new foundation was its wonderful growth. Even in the thirteenth century there were houses of the order in Germany, France, and Spain. Early in the fourteenth century the order had more than one hundred convents including branch houses in Hungary, Bohemia, Austria, Poland, and Belgium; there were also missions in Crete and India. The disturbances during the Reformation caused the loss of many Servite convents in Germany, but in the South of France the order met with much success. The Convent of Santa Maria in Via (1563) was the second house of the order established in Rome; San Marcello had been founded in 1369. Early in the eighteenth century the order sustained losses and confiscations from which it has scarcely yet recovered. The flourishing Province of Narbonne was almost totally destroyed by the plague which swept Marseilles in 1720. In 1783 the Servites were expelled from Prague and in 1785 Joseph II desecrated the shrine of Maria Waldrast. Ten monasteries were suppressed in Spain in 1835. A new foundation was made at Brussels in 1891, and at Rome the College of St. Alexis was opened in 1895. At this period the order was introduced into England and America chiefly through the efforts of Fathers Bosio and Morini. The latter, having gone to London (1864) as director of the affiliated Sisters of Compassion, obtained charge of a parish from Archbishop Manning in 1867. His work prospered: besides St. Mary's Priory at London, convents were opened at Bognor (1882) and Begbroke (1886). In 1870 Fathers Morini, Ventura, Giribaldi, and Brother Joseph Camera, at the request of Rt. Rev. Bishop Melcher of Green Bay, took up a mission in America, at Neenah, Wisconsin. Father Morini founded at Chicago (1874) the monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows. A novitiate was opened at Granville, Wisconsin, in 1892. The American province, formally established in 1908, embraces convents in the dioceses of Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Superior, and Denver. In 1910 the order numbered 700 members in 62 monasteries, of which 36 were in Italy, 17 in Austria-Hungary, 4 in England, 4 in North America, 1 in Brussels. Devotions: manner of life
In common with all religious orders strictly so called, the Servites make solemn profession of the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The particular object of the order is to sanctify first its own members, and then all men through devotion to the Mother of God, especially in her desolation during the Passion of her Divine Son. The Servites give missions, have the care of souls, or teach in higher institutions of learning. The Rosary of the Seven Dolours is one of their devotions, as is also the Via Matris. The fasts of the order are Advent, Lent, and the vigils of certain feasts. All offices in the order are elective and continue for three years, except that of general and assistant- generals which are for six years. The canonized Servite saints are: St. Philip Benizi (feast 23 Aug.), St. Peregrine Latiosi (30 April), St. Juliana Falconieri (19 June), and the Seven Holy Founders (12 Feb.).  Affiliated associations
Connected with the first order of men are the cloistered nuns of the second order, which originated with converts of St. Philip Benizi. These sisters have convents in Spain, Italy, England, The Tyrol, and Germany. The Mantellate, a third order of women founded by St. Juliana (see SERVANTS OF MARY), have houses in Italy, France, Spain, England, and Canada. In the United States they are to be found in the dioceses of Sioux City and Belville. There is also a third order for seculars, as well as a confraternity of the Seven Dolours, branches of which may be erected in any church.
The Catholic Encyclopedia