Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Saint March 4 : St. Casimir a Prince who was Devoted to the Blessed Virgin and Patron of Poland and Lithuania

October 3, 1458(1458-10-03), Wawel, Kraków
March 4, 1484, Hrodna, Belarus
1522, Rome by Pope Adrian VI
Major Shrine:
Vilnius Cathedral
Patron of:
patron saint of Poland and Lithuania
St Casimir was the third among the thirteen children of Casimir III, King of Poland, and of Elizabeth of Austria, daughter to the Emperor Albert II, a most virtuous woman, who died in 1505. He was born in 1458, on the 3rd of October. From his childhood he was remarkably pious and devout. His preceptor was John Dugloss, called Longinus, canon of Cracow, a man of extraordinary learning and piety, who constantly refused all bishoprics and other dignities of the church and state which were pressed upon him. Uladislas, the eldest son, was elected King of Bohemia in 1471, and became King of Hungary in 1490. Our saint was the second son; John Albert the third son, succeeded the father in the kingdom of Poland in 1492; and Alexander, the fourth son, was called to the same in 1501. Casimir and the other princes were so affectionately attached to the holy man, who was their preceptor, that they could not bear to be separated from him. But Casimir profited most by his pious maxims and example. He consecrated the flower of his age to the exercises of devotion and penance, and had a horror of that softness and magnificence which reign in courts His clothes were very plain, and under them he wore a hair shirt. His bed was frequently the ground, and he spent a considerable part of the night in prayer and meditation, chiefly on the passion of our Saviour. He often went out in the night to pray before the church-doors; and in the morning waited before them till they were opened to assist at matins. By living always under a sense of the divine presence he remained perpetually united to, and absorbed in, his Creator, maintained an uninterrupted cheerfulness of temper, and was mild and affable to all. He respected the least ceremonies of the church: everything that tended to promote piety was dear to him. He was particularly devout to the passion of our blessed Saviour, the very thought of which excited him to tears, and threw him into transports of love. He was no less piously affected towards the sacrifice of the altar, at which he always assisted with such reverence and attention that he seemed in raptures. And as a mark of his singular devotion to the Blessed Virgin, he composed, or at least frequently recited, the long hymn that bears his name, a copy of which was, by his desire, buried with him. His love for Jesus Christ showed itself in his regard for the poor, who are his members, to whose relief he applied whatever he had, and employed his credit with his father, and his brother Uladislas, King of Bohemia, to procure them succour. His compassion made him feel in himself the afflictions of every one.
Prince of Poland, born in the royal palace at Cracow, 3 October, 1458; died at the court of Grodno, 4 March, 1484. He was the grandson of Wladislaus II Jagiello, King of Poland, who introduced Christianity into Lithuania, and the second son of King Casimir IV and Queen Elizabeth, an Austrian princess, the daughter of Albert II, Emperor of Germany and King of Bohemia and Hungary. Casimir's uncle, Wladislaus III, King of Poland and Hungary, perished at Varna in 1444, defending Christianity against the Turks. Casimir's elder brother, Wladislaus, became King of Bohemia in 1471, and King of Hungary in 1490. Of his four younger brothers, John I, Albert, Alexander, and Sigismund in turn occupied the Polish throne, while Frederick, the youngest, became Archbishop of Gnesen, Bishop of Cracow, and finally cardinal, in 1493. The early training of the young princes was entrusted to Father Dlugosz, the Polish historian, a canon at Cracow, and later Archbishop of Lwów (Lemberg), and to Filippo Buonaccorsi, called Callimachus. Father Dlugosz was a deeply religious man, a loyal patriot, and like Callimachus, well versed in statecraft. Casimir was placed in the care of this scholar at the age nine, and even then he was remarkable for his ardent piety. When Casimir was thirteen he was offered the throne of Hungary by a Hungarian faction who were discontented under King Matthias Corvinus. Eager to defend the Cross against the Turks, he accepted the call and went to Hungary to receive the crown. He was unsuccessful, however, and returned a fugitive to Poland. The young prince again became a pupil of Father Dlugosz, under whom he remained until 1475. He was later associated with his father who initiated him so well into public affairs that after his elder brother, Wladislaus, ascended to the Bohemian throne, Casimir became heir-apparent to the throne of Poland. When in 1479 the king went to Lithuania to spend five years arranging affairs there, Casimir was placed in charge of Poland, and from 1481 to 1483 administered the State with great prudence and justice. About this time his father tried to arrange for him a marriage with the daughter of Frederick III, Emperor of Germany, but Casimir preferred to remain single. Shortly afterwards he fell victim to a severe attack of lung trouble, which, weak as he was from fastings and mortifications, he could not withstand. While on a journey to Lithuania, he died at the court of Grodno, 4 March 1484. His remains were interred in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin in the cathedral of Vilna. St. Casimir was possessed of great charms of person and character, and was noted particularly for his justice and chastity. Often at night he would kneel for hours before the locked doors of churches, regardless of the hour or the inclemency of the weather. He had a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and the hymn of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, "Omni die dic Maria mea laudes anima", was long attributed to him. After his death he was venerated as a saint, because of the miracles wrought by him. Sigismund I, King of Poland, petitioned the pope for Casimir's canonization, and Pope Leo X appointed the papal legate Zaccaria Ferreri, Bishop of Guardalfiera, the Archbishop of Gnesen, and the Bishop of Przemysl to investigate the life and miracles of Casimir. This inquiry was completed at Turn in 1520, and in 1522 Casimir was canonized by Adrian VI. Pope Clement VIII named 4 March as his feast. St. Casimir is the patron of Poland Lithuania, though he is honoured as far as Belgium and Naples. In Poland and Lithuania churches and chapels are dedicated to him, as at Rozana and on the River Dzwina near Potocka, where he is said to have contributed miraculously to a victory of the Polish army over the Russians. In the beginning of the seventeenth century King Sigismund III began at Vilna the erection of a chapel in honour of St. Casimir, which was finished under King Wladislaus IV. The building was designed by Peter Danckerts, of the Netherlands, who also adorned the walls with paintings illustrating the life of the saint. In this chapel is found an old painting renovated in 1594, representing the saint with a lily in his hand. Two other pictures of the saint are preserved, one in his life by Ferreri, and the other in the church at Krosno in Galicia. SOURCE: The Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis tests Negative for the Coronavirus but has a Cold, so he will not Travel to Lenten Spiritual Exercises

According to RomeReports, Pope Francis, who has been suffering from a cold for nearly a week now has tested negative for the coronavirus. The Vatican  said the pope was feeling “slightly unwell.” Even with his cold, Pope Francis offered Holy Mass greeted people during the few meetings he had last week. At age 83 , for the first time, the pope did not attend his Lenten spiritual exercises out of Rome. He is, rather, participating from his home at Casa Santa Marta, at the Vatican. Hopefully, to make a full recovery and resume  his normal schedule next week. In Italy, there are over 2,000 infected, 52 have died from the disease, and 149 have been cured.

Quote to SHARE by St. Basil "True Fasting lies is rejecting evil, holding one's tongue, suppressing one's hatred, and banishing one's lust, evil words..."

"True fasting lies is rejecting evil, holding one's tongue, suppressing one's hatred, and banishing one's lust, evil words, lying, and betrayal of vows." St. Basil

In New Video Message Pope Francis invites the Church to celebrate Laudato Si’ Week - with Free Resources

Pope Francis invites the Church to celebrate Laudato Si’ Week - in a video message to Catholic around the world. Laudato Si’ Week will be celebrated from 16 to 24 May 2020. 
 In view of the 5th anniversary of the publication of the Encyclical Laudato si', Pope Francis recorded a video message. See also; Free Resources links below.
Full Text - 

What kind of world do we want to leave to those who succeed us, to the children who are growing up? (cf. Laudato si ’, 160).

Motivated by that question, I would like to invite you to participate in Laudato si Week ’, from May 16 to 24, 2020. It is a global campaign on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Laudato si’ on the care of the common house.

I renew my urgent call to respond to the ecological crisis. "The cry of the earth and the cry of the poor" do not give for more.

Let's take care of the creation, gift of our good Creator God. Let's celebrate Laudato Week together if ’.

God bless you. And don't forget to pray for me. Thank you. 
Free Resources:
To take the next step in your Laudato si’ journey, you can find suggestions available on the Laudato si’ Week websitehttps://laudatosiweek.org/promotional-resources/
There is also a useful toolkit to plan and implement and a template of promotional materials to share the word about activities.

Cardinal Zen writes Open Letter to Cardinal Re on Vatican agreement with China ".. the guideline leaves room for objection of conscience..."

The emeritus bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen writes open letter to Cardinal Re of the Vatican. He asks to see evidence of Benedict XVI's having signed the provisional agreement with China. Card. Zen questions the Secretariat of State  Card. Pietro Parolin's, Secretary of State, understanding of the concept of "independent church" preached by China
In the open letter, published on March 1, 2020, the first Sunday of Lent, Card. Joseph Zen responds to the criticisms addressed to him by Card. Giovanni Battista Re. The dean of the College of Cardinals who had issued a letter criticizing the judgment of Cardinal Zen regarding the provisional agreement between the Vatican and China.
 In a document on the "Pastoral Guidelines of the Holy See on the civil registration of the Clergy in China", it is admitted that priests and bishops can sign up for membership.
Full text of the letter by Cardinal Zen published on his blog in Italian, English and Chinese.

To His Eminence Cardinal John Baptist Re

Dean of the Collegium of Cardinals
Your Eminence,
Please allow me to address myself to you with an open letter for the sake of more speedy communication.
Yesterday (29 Feb), from the media, I came to know your letter of 26th February, its Protocol No. 1/2020 makes it look like the inaugural address of your high office as the Dean of the Collegium of Cardinals.
I admire your courage in venturing into problems you yourself acknowledge to be complex, thus, risking the prestige of your newly inaugurated high office. But then, we have nowadays this our “vice pope” capable to infuse such courage in many workers in the Holy See.
Now let’s come to your letter to which I try to answer briefly.
1. To clarify the position of John Paul II and Benedict XVI regarding Communism, it is enough for me to refer you to the booklet Last Conversations (p.161-162) (by the way, Pope Benedict sent a copy of the book to me with the dedication “in communion of prayer and thought”).
The reporter Peter Seewald asked: “Have you shared and supported actively the Ostpolitik of John Paul II?”
Benedict answered, “We used to talk about that. It was clear to us that this strategy pursued by Casaroli with very good intentions was a failure.
The new line pursued by John Paul II was fruit of his own personal experience, living under that regime.
Obviously, nobody could expect the Communism (in Europe) to collapse so soon. But anyway, instead of being conciliatory and accepting compromises, it was necessary to resist it forcefully.
This was the fundamental vision of John Paul II which I shared.”
2. If you want to prove to me that the recently signed agreement was already approved by Benedict XVI, you just have to show me the text of the agreement, which I am barred from seeing till now, and the archival evidence which you say you could verify. Then there remains to be explained why it was not signed at that time.
3. The so-called epochal change of the meaning of the word “independence” I am afraid might exist only in the head of the Most Eminent Secretary of State, maybe caused by an erroneous translation from Chinese by the young minutante of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, now probably the only Chinese in the office. (Actually, he bears part of the responsibility of the not less than 10 mistakes in the translation of Pope Benedict XVI’s Letter of 2007.)
But given the intelligence of His Eminence, I hesitated to believe that he could have been misled. It looks more probable that he willingly allowed himself to be cheated.
4. The last part of your letter seems rather confused to me.
What I have to say is: the facts are there for everybody to see.
I have strong evidence to believe that Parolin is manipulating the Holy Father, who always shows so much affection to me when we meet, but never answers my questions.
Now, there are guidelines coming from the Holy See which I could not understand. When many of my brothers in despair come to me for advice, I tell them: don’t criticize those who follow the guideline from Rome. But since the guideline leaves room for objection of conscience, you can quietly retire into the state of catacombs and don’t resist by force to any injustice, you could only suffer more losses. Am I wrong in all these?
5. I 100 percent agree with you when you invite to prayer. I was aware that even the Holy See recommended that traditional invocation to Our Lady: “Sub tuum praesidium” and the other to Archangel St. Michael.
Obviously, there is the “Oremus pro Pontifice,” which concludes with “et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum ejus.”
Wishing you more happy moments in your long service as Dean of the Collegium of Cardinals.
Cardinal Zen

The First Sunday of Lent
Gospel according to Matthew (4:8-10)
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’”
Full Text Source: https://oldyosef.hkdavc.com/?p=1356 ( Official Website of Cardinal Zen)

#BreakingNews Young Christian Tortured and Killed for using water from a Well - RIP Saleem Masih in Pakistan

ASIA/PAKISTAN - Christian killed for using water from a well: the Church calls for urgent measures to protect minorities
Monday, 2 March 2020

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - "We strongly condemn the brutal killing of Saleem Masih: this act of discrimination and prejudice reveals the ignorance and the maximum level of intolerance of the people involved in the killing of young Christians": this is how Fr. Qaisar Feroz OFM Cap, Executive Secretary of the Bishops’ Commission for Social Communications, comments to Agenzia Fides the episode of the murder of 22-year-old Saleem Masih, tortured and killed because he was guilty of "contaminating" the well from which he had drawn water to wash himself after work. The young man, called with the derogatory term "choora" (dirty, untouchable), was beaten and tortured with a red-hot iron bar. Transported to the hospital of Lahore, capital of Punjab, died on February 28, three days after the attack in the village of Baguyana, in the district of Kasur, in Punjab. Fr. Qaisar continues: "It is sad to know that a person is killed for having washed himself at a well, on charges of having polluted the water in the well. Saleem was washing himself after working in the agricultural fields. It is urgent to change this mentality: we must treat everyone as human beings, but many people are full of hatred towards non-Muslims. Now another human being has been killed".
Sabir Michael, renowned human rights and minority rights activists, speaking with Fides declares: "I express my serious concern about this incident because such incidents occur sequentially against religious minorities in Pakistan who are socially, economically and politically disadvantaged. This murder shows that the government and state authorities are unable to control such discrimination and persecution because of faith. "Michael also states: "We, as a Christian community, are asking for justice for Saleem Masih and are calling for the immediate arrest of the perpetrators. The case must be brought to an anti-terrorism court: this is an act of terror, people cannot be killed for such matters".
Nasir Saeed, director of the NGO "CLAAS" (Center for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement) notes to Fides: "We want Saleem's family to obtain justice and for the killers to be behind bars. But, since the perpetrators of the crime are influential people it will not be easy because the Pakistani police are often biased when it comes to cases between Muslims and non-Muslims". "In this same district - he recalls - the Christian couple Shama and Shahzad Masih were burned lives after false accusations of blasphemy in 2014. The well-known case of Asia Bibi was similar: the dispute started for a water source. The young student Javed Anjum was tortured for five days for drinking water from the tap of a madrasa (Islamic school), but he was unable to survive and died after 11 days in the hospital".
Nasir Saeed notes that "this is not an isolated case, but such cases occur every day throughout Pakistan and have often not been reported in the media". It is necessary to take measures and restore justice, stop torture and discriminatory treatment on religious base", he concludes. (AG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 2/3/2020)
Image Share of Saleem from GulfNews

Government of Togo places Archbishop under House Arrest since he disagreed with Election Results - Bishops Release Letter

Full Text Letter from the Bishops' Conference of Togo, Africa -
CET March 2, 2020
“Master, we are perishing; do you mind? "(Mark 4.38)

Dear sons and daughters of Togo,
And all of you, men and women of good will.
In the middle of the storm, while the boat in which He was with his disciples, was violently tossed by the raging waves, Jesus seemed to be sleeping on pillows in the back, says Saint Mark the Evangelist. Astonished by this attitude of the Lord, his disciples awaken him by crying, ““ Master, we are perishing; do you mind? ".
We're perishing, don't you mind?

It is the cry of distress that thousands of our fellow citizens utter in front of the apparent silence of the Bishops who seem to be indifferent to the dramatic and stormy situation that our country is going through and to the arrests that spring from the bruised hearts of its children.

Indeed, since the proclamation, by the CENI, of the provisional results of the presidential election of February 22, 2020, great tension has arisen among the population. In this climate of unease and confusion, caused in particular by the lack of confidence of the populations in the organization of the poll and the provisional results proclaimed, a standoff was engaged between the two camps which claim the victory. This was to be expected.

Before the election, the Bishops' Conference of Togo recommended "to the citizens who will make the decision to go to vote, to use this right in peace and respect ..." It also urged “all the institutions involved in this process to assume their role in transparency, justice, truth and respect for the mission assigned to them so that it is not interspersed with fraud or fraud. no violence ”. Likewise, it had expressed it's surprise and indignation at the refusal opposed by the Ministry of Territorial Administration to the request for accreditation presented by the Episcopal Justice and Peace Council; refusal which, in the eyes of the Bishops, was motivated by entirely questionable reasons.

The Bishops recall that the presence of observers from civil society, alongside the institutional organizers, was likely to create voters' confidence in the credibility and sincerity of the results of their vote.

Considering what has happened on the ground, we can say that the presidential election of February 22, 2020, as a whole, took place in a relatively calm climate. But as far as the transparency and fairness of the ballot are concerned, the same cannot be said, hands on conscience. It is in this very regrettable context that the Conference of Bishops of Togo addresses this message to the faithful and to all people of good will.

In order to resolve the crisis that has taken hold in the country and restore confidence, the Conference of Bishops urges the various protagonists and the bodies of the electoral process to work peacefully to restore the truth at the polls.

Since the proclamation of the provisional results, the Conference of Bishops of Togo has not remained inactive in the face of the situation of Monsignor Philippe Fanoko KPODZRO. It has not abandoned the bishop, their older brother, to his "sad fate", as some faithful mistakenly think. In discretion, the Conference was rather in concert, in particular with the Apostolic Nunciature, to find the most appropriate solution.

Contrary to what certain messages published on social networks claim, the Bishops have received neither cars, nor any other present, from anyone, in order to truncate their freedom of appreciation and their freedom of expression .

 Furthermore, the Conference of Bishops, as an institution of the Church, could not call for the march on Friday, February 28. It did not want to expose the demonstrators to the possible risk of repression. However, this position of principle does not in any way constitute a disavowal of the courageous step of Mgr KPODZRO, in favor of a cause that his heart of Pastor considers just.

The Conference of Bishops denounces the blockage imposed on the residence of Monsignor KPODZRO, especially since this measure is not only a serious violation of his freedom of movement, but also prevents the functioning of the health center adjoining this place.

The Bishops deplore the fact that priests were prevented from celebrating the Eucharist in the chapel of the health center for nuns, service personnel and the sick.
The Bishops saw with dismay the violence that was perpetrated inside Saint Joseph's College on Friday, February 28, the place where those dispersed by the Security Forces took refuge. It again condemns, with a feeling of deep indignation, these abusive intrusions into the private and sacred spaces of the Church, and calls for the release of all those who have been arrested under these conditions.

Finally, the Conference of Bishops invites each son and daughter of our Country, especially the Catholic faithful, to pray and to work for peace in truth and justice. It exhorts them to avoid all provocation and all violence, by keeping the faith in God which will certainly help us to get out of this storm which shakes our country.

Done in Lomé, this March 1, 2020,

1st Sunday of Lent, Year A.


  S.E. Mgr Benoît ALOWONOU          S.E. Mgr Nicodème BARRIGAH-BENISSAN             
       Evêque de Kpalimé,                           Archevêque Métropolitain de Lomé et
      Président de la C.E.T.                       Administrateur Apostolique d’Atakpamé.

S.E. Mgr Isaac Jogues GAGLO                                 S.E. Mgr Jacques LONGA
        Evêque d’Aného.                                                          Evêque de Kara.
S.E Mgr Célestin-Marie GAOUA                          S.E. Mgr Dominique GUIGBILE                                                                                                                                                                                                  
            Evêque de Sokodé.                                                      Evêque de Dapaong.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - #Eucharist

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 225

Reading 1IS 55:10-11

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19

R.    (18b)  From all their distress God rescues the just.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R.    From all their distress God rescues the just.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R.    From all their distress God rescues the just.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R.    From all their distress God rescues the just.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R.    From all their distress God rescues the just.

Verse Before The GospelMT 4:4B

One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

GospelMT 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This is how you are to pray:
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
“If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”