Thursday, March 5, 2020

Saint March 6 : Our Lady of Nazareth or Nazaré who was Known for Miraculous Protection

by: Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Biographical selection: 

The chronicles of the old Portugal report this episode that took place in the year 1182, on the day of the exaltation of the Holy Cross. Dom Fuas Roupinho, a knight and vassal of King Afonso Henriques, was out hunting on a foggy day. He was pursuing a deer when it came to an unexpected precipice and fell to its death into the sea below.

The horse, which was in close pursuit, reared on the very edge of the cliff, and it seemed certain that Dom Fuas would follow the deer to his death. Knowing that a little distance to his left was a cave with the statue of the Virgin of Nazareth, Dom Fuas immediately invoked her protection. He was saved, and in thanksgiving he built a small “chapel of memory” (Ermida da Memória) over the cave in her honor.

According to a document found with it, the little statue of the Virgin had been venerated in Nazareth in the times of early Christianity. When the iconoclast heresy started in Constantinople and the heretics were destroying all the statues, a monk called Ciriaco took it to a monastery in Spain in the proximity of Merida.

In 714, when the Saracens invaded the Iberian Peninsula, King Rodrigo fled with Friar Germano to the Atlantic coast, bearing the statue with them. They hid the statue in a small cave off the coast of the site that was later to become Nazaré, where it remained until it was found by a shepherd in 1179.

After Our Lady miraculously saved the life of Dom Fuas, the devotion to Our Lady of Nazareth spread broadly through the country and was the source of countless graces for the people. In 1377 King Fernando ordered a Church to be built near the little chapel, and the statue is venerated there now.

Comments of Prof. Plinio: 

The fact is full of grandiose memories from History. Dom Fuas Roupinho was one of the great heroes in the battles that marked the birth of Portugal and its independence from Spain.

The scene is superb: a noble hunting on a foggy day near the ocean. The deer he is chasing falls to a sudden death from a precipice. His horse rears at the edge of the cliff, and it seems certain he will die. He prays to Our Lady in a nearby cave, and she intervenes. The horse recovers and the noble is saved.

The statue of Our Lady is one that was venerated in Nazareth at the beginning of Christianity. How many crooked lines Divine Providence used to make this statue be there to save a Portuguese noble, right at the very time when Portugal was being founded. The episode is very poetic. It also shows the diverse ways Our Lady uses to foster a devotion.

The statue was venerated in Nazareth. Then, in flight during a persecution, it went to Spain. There it made a profound impression on the King, who took it with him when he was also obliged to flee. He and his companion, a friar, placed the image in a cave. Later it was found by a shepherd, and the devotion continued, although it was barely surviving. It would, however, grow enormously after Our Lady saved Dom Fuas Roupinho.

When devotion began to diminish in the Middle East, Our Lady made her statue go to Spain. When the devotion began to cool in Spain, she inspired a King to bring her to a place that would be part of a new country, Portugal. From there, the devotion would spread throughout that land and to other countries for the good of many people. Two hundreds years ago, the same devotion came from Portugal to Brazil, to the city of Belém do Pará. At the sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazareth, there is a center of pilgrimage year round. On the day of her feast, more than one million people go to venerate her.

The story reveals the way Our Lady often works her wonders. It reminds me of that principle of the theology of History – residuum revertetur [the remnant will return]. When everything seems to be near an end, when only a remnant remains faithful, then everything is reborn from it. A series of failures followed by rebirths - this is often found in the ways of Our Lady.

Our Lady of Nazaré, Brazil
Her ways are the royal ways of a Queen. She permits everything to almost disappear, and then she proves that she can re-establish everything. She restores what was there before and even more from only a remnant.

This is the rhythm History follows: we had the apogee of the Catholic spirit in the Middle Ages. Now we have its complete failure and the apogee of the revolutionary spirit. A remnant remains faithful fighting to destroy the Revolution and make the Reign of Mary, which will be built and reach an apex still higher than the Middle Ages.

The decadence of the Reign of Mary will bring, in its turn, another epoch that will represent the victory of the Antichrist. Then also, a remnant will remain faithful to fight the evil. The fidelity of that remnant will be rewarded with the second coming of Our Lord and His final triumph, along with the triumph of Our Lady.

This grandiose historical law also applies to our individual spiritual lives. When we experience an apparent failure, we should confide and pray to Our Lady because often it will be the re-starting of a new step in our devotion to her.
Source: Tradition in Action

Pope Francis' Prayer Intention for March is for "The unity of Christians in China" - Full Text + Video

Pope Francis'  prayer intention for March, is for: "The unity of Christians in China".
In his prayer intention for the month of March 2020, Pope Francis encourages Chinese Catholics to be “truly Christians” and “good citizens”.

The Pope also invites all people to pray “that the Church in China may persevere in its faithfulness to the Gospel and grow in unity.”

The full text of his intention is below:
Today, the Church in China looks to the future with hope.

The Church wants Chinese Christians to be truly Christians, and to be good citizens.

They should promote the Gospel, but without engaging in proselytism, and they need to achieve the unity of the divided Catholic community.

Let us pray together that the Church in China may persevere in its faithfulness to the Gospel and grow in unity.

Thank you.

Asia Bibi says she has ‘Forgiven’ those who wanted her Killed and says She "...held the hand of Christ" during Imprisonment

Asia Bibi, now in France, is the Christian woman who spent 10 years in prison due to blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Her real name is Aasiya Noreen - Āsiyāh Naurīn in Urdu but she was given the name in the media Asia Bibi.  She has asked for political asylum in France. Since being released she has granted several interviews. She was made an honorary citizen of Paris, France.

She explained to Aid to the Church in Need that "It is thanks to the media that I am still alive."
In another interview with French24:
 "I forgiven all those who have trespassed against me"
Asia knows that she is not alone in her condition, and she wants to use the publicity that is given to her to speak for those who are still accused of blasphemy in her native country. Asia explained, 
"During my detention, I held the hand of Christ, it is thanks to him that I remained standing, do not be afraid!"

She owes her release to the French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet, whom she calls "her sister", and who assisted her in the publication of the book "Finally free! (Editions du Rocher). This autobiography reports on how the Pakistani Catholic peasant woman became a global icon of resistance to Islamic fundamentalism. Asia Bibi, accused of blasphemy by her Muslim neighbors, spent 10 years in prison, under threat of execution after being sentenced to death. The anti-blasphemy law in Pakistan is often invoked to settle simple neighborhood disputes and often results in the death of the accused. Those who are accused are even lynched by angry crowds or "disappear", "committed suicide" in prison. The media coverage of Asia Bibi saved her from this fate. Acquitted on appeal by the Pakistani Supreme Court on October 31, 2018, she was finally able,  to take refuge in Canada on May 8, 2019 thanks to international pressure. Now there is "Asia Bibi jurisprudence" that allows those accused of blasphemy to turn against their accusers. Anti-blasphemy law still exists in Pakistan, but it is now the situation is slightly better for the accused.
On 4 January 2011, in Islamabad, the governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer was assassinated by Malik Mumtaz Hussein Qadri, a 26-year-old member of his security team, because of his defence of Noreen and opposition to the blasphemy law. Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, on 2 March 2011, Bhatti was shot dead by gunmen who ambushed his car near his residence in Islamabad, because of his position on the blasphemy laws and support of Bibi.
He had been the only Christian member of Pakistan's cabinet.[ Of her native country, Pakistan, Asia explains, "We have been Christians for over a thousand years" She recalled her childhood in her native Pakistan: "I was playing with the Muslim neighbors, there was no separation."  However, growing up, she realized that differences separated Christians and Muslims in her country. It also happens that Muslims in search of wives kidnap young Christian women and forcibly convert them to marry them.

She also found out that Muslims regarded Christians as unclean. It is due to this belief that her life was disrupted on June 14, 2009. While she was working with Muslim neighbors, she was asked to fetch water. She obeyed, drawing water, then drinking the contents of a cup before bringing the container. One of the women refuses to drink because Asia has made the liquid “impure”. Asia Bibi defended herself by saying that she did not believe that the Prophet Muhammad would agree. To which she was told that she had committed blasphemy. Following prison, her family escaped while threatened by fundamentalists, who threatened to hang her.

She hopes to return one day to Pakistan: "This is my homeland, I love Pakistan passionately! "She says. In the meantime, she wishes to find refuge in France: "I found a lot of love here, I think I would do well here".
Edited from ACN and France 24

Pope Francis' World Youth Day Message " Jesus says: “Arise” Christians, we constantly fall and have to get up again." Full Text


"Young man, I say to you, arise!" (Lk 7:14)

Dear Young People,
In October 2018, with the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, the Church undertook a process of reflection on your place in today’s world, your search for meaning and purpose in life, and your relationship with God. In January 2019, I met with hundreds of thousands of your contemporaries from throughout the world assembled in Panama for World Youth Day. Events of this type – the Synod and World Youth Day – are an expression of a fundamental dimension of the Church: the fact that we “journey together”.
In this journey, every time we reach an important milestone, we are challenged by God and by life to make a new beginning. As young people, you are experts in this! You like to take trips, to discover new places and people, and to have new experiences. That is why I have chosen the city of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, as the goal of our next intercontinental pilgrimage, to take place in 2022. From Lisbon, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, great numbers of young people, including many missionaries, set out for unknown lands, to share their experience of Jesus with other peoples and nations. The theme of the Lisbon World Youth Day will be: “Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk 1:39). In these two intervening years, I want to reflect with you on two other biblical texts: for 2020, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” (Lk 7:14) and for 2021, “Stand up. I appoint you as a witness of what you have seen” (cf. Acts 26:16).
As you can see, the verb “arise” or “stand up” appears in all three themes. These words also speak of resurrection, of awakening to new life. They are words that constantly appear in the Exhortation Christus Vivit (Christ is Alive!) that I addressed to you following the 2018 Synod and that, together with the Final Document, the Church offers you as a lamp to shed light on your path in life. I sincerely hope that the journey bringing us to Lisbon will coincide with a great effort on the part of the entire Church to implement these two documents and to let them guide the mission of those engaged in the pastoral care of young people.
Let us now turn to this year’s theme: “Young man, I say to you, arise!” (cf. Lk 7:14). I mentioned this verse of the Gospel in Christus Vivit: “If you have lost your vitality, your dreams, your enthusiasm, your optimism and your generosity, Jesus stands before you as once he stood before the dead son of the widow, and with all the power of his resurrection he urges you: ‘Young man, I say to you, arise!’” (No. 20).
That passage from the Bible tells us how Jesus, upon entering the town of Nain in Galilee, came upon the funeral procession of a young person, the only son of a widowed mother. Jesus, struck by the woman’s heartrending grief, miraculously restored her son to life. The miracle took place after a sequence of words and gestures: “When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep’. Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still” (Lk 7:13-14). Let us take a moment to meditate on these words and gestures of the Lord.
The ability to see pain and death
Jesus looks carefully at this funeral procession. In the midst of the crowd, he makes out the face of a woman in great pain. His ability to see generates encounter, the source of new life. Few words are needed.
What about my own ability to see? When I look at things, do I look carefully, or is it more like when I quickly scroll through the thousands of photos or social profiles on my cell phone? How often do we end up being eyewitnesses of events without ever experiencing them in real time! Sometimes our first reaction is to take a picture with our cell phone, without even bothering to look into the eyes of the persons involved.
All around us, but at times also within us, we can see realities of death: physical, spiritual, emotional, social. Do we really notice them, or simply let them happen to us? Is there anything we can do in order to restore life?
I think too of all those negative situations that people of your age are experiencing. Some stake everything on the present moment and risk their own lives in extreme experiences. Others are “dead” because they feel hopeless. One young woman told me: “Among my friends I see less desire to get involved, less courage to get up”. Sadly, depression is spreading among young people too, and in some cases even leads to the temptation to take one’s own life. How many situations are there where apathy reigns, where people plunge into an abyss of anguish and remorse! How many young people cry out with no one to hear their plea! Instead, they meet with looks of distraction and indifference on the part of people who want to enjoy their own “happy hour”, without being bothered about anyone or anything else.
Others waste their lives with superficial things, thinking they are alive while in fact they are dead within (cf. Rev 3:1). At the age of twenty, they can already be dragging their lives down, instead of raising them up to the level of their true dignity. Everything is reduced to “living it up” and seeking a morsel of gratification: a minute of entertainment, a fleeting moment of attention and affection from others… And what about the widespread growing digital narcissism that affects young people and adults alike. All too many people are living this way! Some of them have perhaps bought into the materialism of those all around them who are concerned only with making money and taking it easy, as if these were the sole purpose of life. In the long run, this will inevitably lead to unhappiness, apathy and boredom with life, a growing sense of emptiness and frustration.
Negative situations can also be the result of personal failure, whenever something we care about, something we were committed to, no longer seems to be working or giving the desired results. This can happen with school or with our ambitions in sports and in the arts… The end of the “dream” can make us feel dead. But failures are part of the life of every human being; sometimes they can also end up being a grace! Not infrequently, something that we thought would bring us happiness proves to be an illusion, an idol. Idols demand everything from us; they enslave us yet they give us nothing in return. And in the end they collapse, leaving only a cloud of dust. Failure, if it makes our idols collapse, is a good thing, however much suffering it involves.
There are many other situations of physical or moral death that a young person may encounter. I think of addiction, crime, poverty or grave illness. I leave it to you to think about these things and to realize what has proved “deadly” for yourselves or for someone close to you, now or in the past. At the same time, I ask you to remember that the young man in the Gospel was truly dead, but he was able to come back to life because he was seen by Someone who wanted him to live. The same thing can also happen to us, today and every day.
To have compassion
The Scriptures often speak of the feelings experienced by those who let themselves be touched “viscerally” by the pain of others. Jesus’ own feelings make him share in other people’s lives. He makes their pain his own. That mother’s grief became his own. The death of that young son became his own.
As young people, you have shown over and over again that you are capable of com-passion. I think of all those of you who have generously offered help whenever situations demanded it. No disaster, earthquake or flood takes place without young volunteers stepping up to offer a helping hand. The great mobilization of young people concerned about defending the environment is also a witness to your ability to hear the cry of the earth.
Dear young people, do not let yourselves be robbed of this sensitivity! May you always be attentive to the plea of those who are suffering, and be moved by those who weep and die in today’s world. “Some realities of life are only seen with eyes cleansed by tears” (Christus Vivit, 76). If you can learn to weep with those who are weeping, you will find true happiness. So many of your contemporaries are disadvantaged and victims of violence and persecution. Let their wounds become your own, and you will be bearers of hope in this world. You will be able to say to your brother or sister: “Arise, you are not alone”, and you will help them realize that God the Father loves us, that Jesus is the hand he stretches out to us in order to raise us up.
To come forward and “touch”
Jesus stops the funeral procession. He draws near, he demonstrates his closeness. Closeness thus turns into a courageous act of restoring life to another. A prophetic gesture. The touch of Jesus, the living One, communicates life. It is a touch that pours the Holy Spirit into the dead body of that young man and brings him back to life.
That touch penetrates all hurt and despair. It is the touch of God himself, a touch also felt in authentic human love; it is a touch opening up unimaginable vistas of freedom and fullness of new life. The effectiveness of this gesture of Jesus is incalculable. It reminds us that even one sign of closeness, simple yet concrete, can awaken forces of resurrection.
You too, as young people, are able to draw near to the realities of pain and death that you encounter. You too can touch them and, like Jesus, bring new life, thanks to the Holy Spirit. But only if you are first touched by his love, if your heart is melted by the experience of his goodness towards you. If you can feel God’s immense love for every living creature – especially our brothers and sisters who experience hunger and thirst, or are sick or naked or imprisoned – then you will be able to draw near to them as he does. You will be able to touch them as he does, and to bring his life to those of your friends who are inwardly dead, who suffer or have lost faith and hope.
“Young man, I say to you, arise!”
The Gospel does not tell us the name of the young man whom Jesus restored to life in Nain. This invites each reader to identify with him. To you, to me, to each one of us, Jesus says: “Arise”. We are very aware that, as Christians, we constantly fall and have to get up again. People who are not on a journey never fall; then again, neither do they move forward. That is why we need to accept the help that Jesus gives us and put our faith in God. The first step is to let ourselves get up and to realize that the new life Jesus offers us is good and worth living. It is sustained by one who is ever at our side along our journey to the future. Jesus helps us to live this life in a dignified and meaningful way.
This life is really a new creation, a new birth, not just a form of psychological conditioning. Perhaps, in times of difficulty, many of you have heard people repeat those “magic” formulas so fashionable nowadays, formulas that are supposed to take care of everything: “You have to believe in yourself”, “You have to discover your inner resources”, “You have to become conscious of your positive energy”… But these are mere words; they do not work for someone who is truly “dead inside”. Jesus’ word has a deeper resonance; it goes infinitely deeper. It is a divine and creative word, which alone can bring the dead to life.
Living the new life as “risen ones”
The Gospel tells us that the young man “began to speak” (Lk 7:15). Those touched and restored to life by Jesus immediately speak up and express without hesitation or fear what has happened deep within them: their personality, desires, needs and dreams. Perhaps they were never able to do this before, for they thought no one would be able to understand.
To speak also means to enter into a relationship with others. When we are “dead”, we remain closed in on ourselves. Our relationships break up, or become superficial, false and hypocritical. When Jesus restores us to life, he “gives” us to others (cf. v 15).
Today, we are often “connected” but not communicating. The indiscriminate use of electronic devices can keep us constantly glued to the screen. With this Message, I would like to join you, young people, in calling for a cultural change, based on Jesus’ command to “arise”. In a culture that makes young people isolated and withdrawn into virtual worlds, let us spread Jesus’ invitation: “Arise!” He calls us to embrace a reality that is so much more than virtual. This does not involve rejecting technology, but rather using it as a means and not as an end. “Arise!” is also an invitation to “dream”, to “take a risk”, to be “committed to changing the world”, to rekindle your hopes and aspirations, and to contemplate the heavens, the stars and the world around you. “Arise and become what you are!” If this is our message, many young people will stop looking bored and weary, and let their faces come alive and be more beautiful than any virtual reality.
If you give life, someone will be there to receive it. As a young woman once said: “Get off your couch when you see something beautiful, and try and do something similar”. Beauty awakes passion. And if a young person is passionate about something, or even better, about someone, he or she will arise and start to do great things. Young people will rise from the dead, become witnesses to Jesus and devote their lives to him.
Dear young people, what are your passions and dreams? Give them free rein and, through them, offer the world, the Church and other young people something beautiful, whether in the realm of the spirit, the arts or society. I repeat what I once told you in my mother tongue: Hagan lío! Make your voices heard! I remember another young person who said: “If Jesus was someone who was only concerned about himself, the son of the widow would not have been raised”.
The resurrection of that young man restored him to his mother. In that woman, we can see an image of Mary, our Mother, to whom we entrust all the young people of our world. In her, we can also recognize the Church, who wants to welcome with tender love each young person, without exception. So let us implore Mary’s intercession for the Church, that she may always be a mother for her dead children, weeping for them and asking that they be restored to life. In every one of her children who dies, the Church also dies, and in every one of her children who arises, the Church also arises.
I bless your journey. And I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me.
Rome, from Saint John Lateran, 11 February 2020, Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes


Touching Song to Inspire for Lent by Josh Groban "Don't Give Up" because you are Loved!

This Amazing Viral Song by artist Josh Groban has reached over 5 Million Views - It is perfect for this season of Lent. Keep Praying, Fasting and Giving because you are Loved by God!
SHARE this to uplift your Friends Today!
"You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)" Lyrics:
 Don't give up
It's just the weight of the world
When your heart's heavy
I...I will lift it for you Don't give up Because you want to be heard If silence keeps you I...I will break it for you Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved
 Don't give up It's just the hurt that you hide When you're lost inside I...I will be there to find you
 Don't give up Because you want to burn bright If darkness blinds you I...I will shine to guide you Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved You are loved
Don't give up It's just the weight of the world
Don't give up Every one needs to be heard You are loved Music "You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)" by Josh Groban

Pope Francis Appoints New Archbishop of Atlanta - Franciscan Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer

Pope Francis Names Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer as Archbishop of Atlanta

March 5, 2020
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, O.F.M., Conv. of Savannah, as Archbishop of Atlanta. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on March 5, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Archbishop-designate Hartmayer was ordained to the priesthood on May 5, 1979 as a member of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual (Conventual Franciscans). He was named bishop of Savannah in 2011. His full biography may be accessed here. . . .

The Archdiocese of Atlanta has been a vacant see since April 2019. The archdiocese is comprised of 21,445 square miles in the State of Georgia and has a total population of 7,480,000 of which 1,170,000 are Catholic.
Full Text Source: USCCB
Introductory Press Conference for Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer, OFD, Conv. from Archdiocese of Atlanta on Vimeo.

Vatican Biography of Archbishop-elect Gregory Hartmayer
Gregory John Hartmayer was born in Buffalo, New York, one of four children of John and Sally Hartmayer. He was raised in nearby Tonawanda, where he received his early education at St. Amelia School. He graduated from Cardinal O'Hara High School in 1969.

In 1969, Hartmayer joined the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, commonly known as the Conventual Franciscans, at the St. Joseph Cupertino Friary in Ellicott City, Maryland. He took his simple vows as a Conventual Franciscan friar on 15 August 1970, and made his solemn profession on 15 August 1973. He also studied at St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Granby, Massachusetts, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in philosophy in 1974. From 1974 to 1975, he taught at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore. He then returned to New York to study theology at St. Anthony-on-Hudson Seminary in Rensselaer, receiving a Master of Theology degree in 1979.

Bishop Hartmayer was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Howard J. Hubbard on 5 May 1979, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany, NY. He then returned to Archbishop Curley High School, where he served as a guidance counselor and teacher (1979-1985) and principal (1985-1988). In 1980, he earned a Master of Arts degree in pastoral counseling from Emmanuel College in Boston. He served as principal of his alma mater of Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda from 1988 to 1989, when he became principal of St. Francis High School in Athol Springs. He received a Master of Education degree in Secondary Catholic School Administration from Boston College in 1992.

Following a three-month sabbatical at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California, Bishop Hartmayer briefly served as an instructor at John Carroll Catholic High School in Fort Pierce, Florida, in 1995. In August of that year, he was named pastor of St. Philip Benizi Church in Jonesboro, Georgia. He became pastor of St. John Vianney Church in Lithia Springs, in July 2010.

On 19 July 2011, Bishop J. Kevin Boland of the Diocese of Savannah announced his retirement and Pope Benedict XVI appointed Hartmayer as the Bishop of the Diocese. His consecration took place on 18 October 2011, at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, Georgia.
Source of Biography:

Bishops lead Peaceful Protest March against the brutal Killings of innocent Nigerians by Boko Haram and Terrorists

AFRICA/NIGERIA - The Bishops lead a peaceful protest march in Abuja: "No more massacres of innocent civilians"
Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "We are protesting against the brutal killings of innocent Nigerians by Boko Haram and terrorist herdsmen who are invading peoples farm lands forcefully. We have embarked on a peaceful protest on behalf of over 50 million Catholics and over 100 million Christians in Nigeria", said His Exc. Mgr. Augustine Akubueze, Archbishop of Benin City and President of the Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), who led a protest march by hundreds of people against the kidnappings for ransom and the massacres committed by the terrorists of Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen in different areas of the Country.
The march from the National Christian Centre to the Our Lady Queen of Nigeria in Abuja was promoted by the CBCN accusing the Federal Government of insensitivity to the killings of Nigerians by Boko Haram terrorists, rating its response to insecurity below average.
"The killing of God’s children is evil, the failure to protect innocent people from the relentless attacks is evil, the lack of persecution by terrorists is evil, our government’s response to terrorists’ attack is for lack of better words, far below average", said Mgr. Akubueze who recalled that "there have been too many mass burials, too many kidnappings of school children, of travellers, invasion if people’s homes, invasion of sacred places like church, mosque, and seminary among others".
"The several attacks and the loss of numerous lives are now taken as normal. Our government seems completely insensitive to the plight of Nigerians; a government that totally ignores the cries of those who elected it is set up for a fantastic failure. It doesn’t matter which party is in power".
Finally, Mgr. Akubueze appealed to the international community to assist Nigeria in meting out the same treatment it carried out on other terrorist groups in parts of the world, on Boko Haram terrorists to stop the over 12 years of terrorist attacks on Nigerians. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 4/3/2020)
Vatican News reports that Boko Haram has killed more than 27,000 people making Nigeria the third most dangerous country after Afghanistan and Iraq on the 2019 Global Terrorism Index.

Bishops' of Minnesota Guide on Transgenderism "Catholic educators have a charge to teach that a person’s sexual identity is a gift from God that cannot change..."

The three-page document, “Guiding Principles for Catholic Schools and Religious Education Concerning Human Sexuality and Sexual Identity,” was approved by the bishops of the Minnesota Catholic Conference and presented Feb. 20-21 as part of a four-hour “Emerging Questions in Catholic Education” seminar for pastors and Catholic educators in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The Catholic school is committed to providing a safe environment that allows students to
flourish academically, physically, and spiritually. Catholic schools are obliged to provide an
education and resources consistent with Catholic teaching. The starting point for Catholic
education is a deeply held understanding that affirms the God-given irrevocable dignity of every
human person.
Catholic teaching permeates and shapes the ethos of Catholic schools. Informed by Catholic
teaching, these Guiding Principles shall inform the creation of policies, handbooks, statements,
employee agreements, training for employees, and the approach to accompaniment in the
Catholic schools of this (diocese), thus ensuring that the immeasurable dignity of every child is
protected and respected, particularly as it relates to foundational beliefs of the Catholic Church:
God created each person body and soul “in His own image, in the image
of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27).
The dignity of each person and the source of his or her most important
identity is found in this creation in the image and likeness of God (CCC
• God uses the body to reveal to each person his or her sexual identity as
male or female (Compendium §224). A person’s embrace of his or her
God-given sexual identity is an essential part of living a fulfilled
relationship with God, with oneself, and with each other (Laudato Si’
• The harmonious integration of a person’s sexual identity with his or her
sex is an expression of the inner unity and reality of the human person
made body and soul in the image and likeness of God (CCC §364-65).
• The physical, moral, and spiritual differences between men and women
are equal and complementary. The flourishing of family life and society
depend in part on how this complementarity and equality are lived out
(CCC §2333-34).
• All students and families deserve interactions with Catholic school
communities that are marked by respect, charity, and the truth about
human dignity and God’s love (Deus Caritas Est §20).

The aforementioned Guiding Principles are practically applied in Catholic schools. Catholic
schools in the Diocese of [insert] will relate to each student in a way that is respectful of and
consistent with each student’s God-given sexual identity and biological sex. To this end, below
are some examples of how these Guiding Principles apply to organizations that teach children
and youth in the name of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of [insert]:

1. All school policies, procedures, resources, employee training, and assistance given to
families are consistent with the Church’s teaching on the dignity of the human person,
including human sexuality. Reflective of a commitment to a culture of transparency and
understanding, these policies will be made available in writing to members of the school
community by way of inclusion in relevant handbooks, agreements, and statements.
2. Student’s name and pronouns usage will correspond to his/her sex (see definitions).
3. Student access to facilities and overnight accommodations will align with his/her sexual
4. Eligibility for single-sex curricular and extracurricular activities is based on the sexual
identity of the child.
5. Expressions of a student’s sexual identity are prohibited when they cause disruption or
confusion regarding the Church’s teaching on human sexuality.
6. The consciences of students and employees will be respected with the assurance of their
inviolable right to the acknowledgement that God has created each person as a unity of body
and soul, male or female, and that God-designed sexual expression and behavior must be
exclusively oriented to love and life in marriage between one man and one woman.
7. Schools communicate with parents or guardians about their child’s behavior at school and
inform them of any concerns relating to the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health,
safety, or welfare of their child, except when advised otherwise by law enforcement or a
social service agency.
1. Sex refers to a person’s biological identification as male or female based upon physical
characteristics present at birth.
2. Sexual identity refers to a person’s identity as male or female that is congruent with
one’s sex.
3. Sexual binary refers to the God-given gift of the human family created male or female in
the image and likeness of God.
4. Transgender or gender non-conforming is an adjective describing a person who
perceives his or her sexual identity to be different from his or her sex and publicly
presents himself or herself as the opposite sex or outside the sexual binary. Such public
expressions that are intended to communicate a sexual identity different from one’s sex
include, but are not limited to, utilizing pronouns of the opposite sex, changing one’s
name to reflect the cultural norms of the opposite sex, wearing a uniform designated for
the opposite sex, and undergoing surgery to change the appearance of one’s reproductive
or sexual anatomy. 
Adopted by the Catholic Bishops of Minnesota, June 2019

Legal References
Minn. Stat. ch. 363A (Minnesota Human Rights Act)
Minn. Stat. § 121A.03, subd. 2 (Sexual, Religious and Racial Harassment and Violence Policy)
Minn. Stat. § 121A.031 (Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act)
Minn. Stat. § 121A.04 (Athletic Programs; Sex Discrimination)
20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (Title IX)
20 U.S.C. § 1701 et seq. (Equal Educational Opportunities)
Cross References to Diocesan Policies*
Anti-Bullying Policy (Minnesota Catholic Conference, 2014)
Ministerial Standards/Safe Environment Policies (Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis)
Catholic Teaching Tradition
Catechism of the Catholic Church (§364, 1907, 2297, 2333, 2393, 2521, 2522, 2523)
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (§224)
Pope Francis:
Laudato Si (§155)
Amoris Laetitia (§56, 285, 286)
Audiences (1/16/15; 3/23/15; 4/15/15; 6/8/15; 9/10/15; 7/27/16; 10/1/16; 11/27/16)
Pope Benedict XVI:
Deus Caritas Est (§5, 11)
Address (1/19/12)
Audiences (9/22/11; 12/21/12)
Pope Saint John Paul II:
Letter to Families (§6, 19)
Theology of the Body
Persona Humana
Congregation for Catholic Education:
“Male and Female He Created Them”: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender
Theory in Education (June 2019)
Pontifical Council for the Family:
Family, Marriage and “De Facto” Unions (§8)
*To be completed at the local level.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Thursday, March 5, 2020 - #Eucharist

Thursday of the First Week in Lent
Lectionary: 227

Reading 1EST C:12, 14-16, 23-25

Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish,
had recourse to the LORD.
She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids,
from morning until evening, and said:
“God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you.
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers
that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,
O LORD, my God.
“And now, come to help me, an orphan.
Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion
and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy,
so that he and those who are in league with him may perish.
Save us from the hand of our enemies;
turn our mourning into gladness
and our sorrows into wholeness.”

Responsorial Psalm138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 7C-8

R.    (3a)  Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
R.    Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Because of your kindness and your truth;
for you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R.    Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R.    Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.

Verse Before The GospelPS 51:12A, 14A

A clean heart create for me, O God;
give me back the  joy of your salvation.

GospelMT 7:7-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.
“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the law and the prophets.”