Sunday, March 15, 2020

Saint March 16 : St. Heribert Archbishop of Cologne and Patron of Rain


970 at Worms, Germany

16 March 1021 at Cologne, Germany
1075 by Pope Saint Gregory VII
Major Shrine:
Patron of:

Archbishop of Cologne; born at Worms, c. 970; died at Cologne, 16 March, 1021. His father was Duke Hugo of Worms. After receiving his education at the cathedral school of Worms, he spent some time as guest at the monastery of Gorze, after which he became provost at the cathedral of Worms. In 994 he was ordained priest; in the same year King Otto III appointed him chancellor for Italy and four years later also for Germany, a position which he held until the death of Otto III on 23 January, 1002. As chancellor he was the most influential adviser of Otto III, whom he accompanied to Rome in 906 and again in 997. He was still in Italy when, in 999, he was elected Archbishop of Cologne. At Benevento he received ecclesiastical investiture and the pallium from Pope Sylvester II on 9 July, 999, and on the following Christmas Day he was consecrated at Cologne. In 1002 he was present at the death-bed of the youthful emperor at Paterno. While returning to Germany with the emperor's remains and the imperial insignia, he was held captive for some time by the future King Henry II, whose candidacy he first opposed. As soon as Henry II was elected king, on 7 June, 1002, Heribert acknowledged him as such, accompanied him to Rome in 1004, mediated between him and the House of Luxemburg, and served him faithfully in many other ways; but he never won his entire confidence until the year 1021, when the king saw his mistake and humbly begged pardon on the archbishop. Heribert founded and richly endowed the Benedictine monastery and church of Deutz, where he lies buried. He was already honoured as a saint during his lifetime. Between 1073 and 1075 he was canonized by Pope Gregory VII. His feast is celebrated on 16 March. source: The Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis Walks in Pilgrimage to 2 Churches to Pray for an “End to the Pandemic” of the Covid-19 Coronavirus - Video

Pope Francis prays before the miraculous crucifix at the church of San Marcello on the CorsoPope Francis prays before the miraculous crucifix at the church of San Marcello on the Corso  (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis’ twin prayers for an “end to the pandemic”
Pope Francis left the Vatican on Sunday to visit two important pilgrimage sites in Rome to pray for the city and the world, in the midst of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.
By Vatican News

Two intense moments of prayer: one before the ancient icon of Maria Salus Populi Romani at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, and the other at the foot of a wooden crucifix that protected Rome from a great plague.

Pope Francis spent his afternoon on the Third Sunday of Lent seeking to underline his closeness to those who suffer by imploring the special protection of Our Lady.

Mary before the Cross
The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, announced the Pope’s visits in a communique on Sunday.

“This afternoon, just after 4 PM, Pope Francis left the Vatican and made a private visit to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, to offer a prayer to the Virgin Mary, Salus Populi Romani, where her icon is kept and venerated. Then, after taking a walk along the Via del Corso – as if making a pilgrimage – he visited the church of San Marcello on the Corso, where a miraculous crucifix is housed. In 1522 it was carried in procession throughout the neighborhoods of the city so that the “Great Plague” might cease in Rome. With his prayer, the Holy Father pleaded for an end to the pandemic that has struck Italy and the world. He also implored the healing of the many sick people, remembered the numerous victims of these past days, and asked that their families and friends might find consolation and comfort. His prayer intention was also extended to healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, and all those working in these days to guarantee the smooth functioning of society. The Holy Father returned to the Vatican around 5:30 PM.”

Devotion to the Marian icon
Pope Francis’ special devotion to Our Lady Salus Populi Romani is well-known. He visits her icon on major Marian feast days, and makes a point to stop in for a prayer both before and after his international Apostolic Journeys.

In 593 Pope St. Gregory the Great carried the icon in procession to stop a plague. And in 1837 Pope Gregory XVI invoked her to put an end to a cholera epidemic.

Miraculous crucifix
The Pope’s second stop on Sunday was also significant, considering the critical moment the world is going through.

The church of San Marcello on the Corso houses a venerated wooden crucifix from the 15th century, which scholars hold is the most realistic in Rome. It even survived a fire, and saved the city from a plague. Pope St. John Paul II embraced that same crucifix to mark the culmination of the Day of Forgiveness during the Jubilee Year of 2000.

From the ashes
The numerous traditions of miracles attributed to the “Most Holy Crucifix” began on 23 May 1519.

On that night a large fire completely destroyed the church that bears Pope Marcel’s name. The entire building was found in ruins the next morning. But from the ashes emerged the crucifix of the main altar, untouched. A small oil lamp still burned at the Crucified’s feet.

The scene greatly touched the faithful of Rome, and several began to meet every Friday evening to pray. Pope Leo X ordered the rebuilding of the church in 1519.

To stop Rome’s great plague
Three years after the fire, Rome was hit by the “Great Plague”.

The faithful carried the crucifix in procession – despite the bans understandably put in place by the authorities to halt the spread of the contagion. The crucifix was carried through the streets of Rome toward St. Peter’s Basilica. The procession lasted 16 days: from 4 to 20 August 1522. As it progressed, the plague showed signs of retreating, and every neighborhood sought to keep the crucifix as long as possible.

Finally, as the crucifix reentered the church, the plague ceased altogether.

Since 1600, the procession from the church of San Marcello to St. Peter’s Basilica became a tradition repeated during Holy Years. The names of the Popes who called each Jubilee are inscribed on the back of the crucifix, along with the year.
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican News

US President Trump's Proclamation of National Day of Prayer for all Americans Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic - FULL TEXT

Proclamation on the National Day of Prayer for all Americans Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic and for our National Response Efforts

  Issued on: March 14, 2020

In our times of greatest need, Americans have always turned to prayer to help guide us through trials and periods of uncertainty.  As we continue to face the unique challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans are unable to gather in their churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship.  But in this time we must not cease asking God for added wisdom, comfort, and strength, and we must especially pray for those who have suffered harm or who have lost loved ones.  I ask you to join me in a day of prayer for all people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and to pray for God’s healing hand to be placed on the people of our Nation.

As your President, I ask you to pray for the health and well-being of your fellow Americans and to remember that no problem is too big for God to handle.  We should all take to heart the holy words found in 1 Peter 5:7:  “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.”  Let us pray that all those affected by the virus will feel the presence of our Lord’s protection and love during this time.  With God’s help, we will overcome this threat.

On Friday, I declared a national emergency and took other bold actions to help deploy the full power of the Federal Government to assist with efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.  I now encourage all Americans to pray for those on the front lines of the response, especially our Nation’s outstanding medical professionals and public health officials who are working tirelessly to protect all of us from the coronavirus and treat patients who are infected; all of our courageous first responders, National Guard, and dedicated individuals who are working to ensure the health and safety of our communities; and our Federal, State, and local leaders.  We are confident that He will provide them with the wisdom they need to make difficult decisions and take decisive actions to protect Americans all across the country.  As we come to our Father in prayer, we remember the words found in Psalm 91:  “He is my refuge and my fortress:  my God; in him will I trust.”

As we unite in prayer, we are reminded that there is no burden too heavy for God to lift or for this country to bear with His help.  Luke 1:37 promises that “For with God nothing shall be impossible,” and those words are just as true today as they have ever been.  As one Nation under God, we are greater than the hardships we face, and through prayer and acts of compassion and love, we will rise to this challenge and emerge stronger and more united than ever before.  May God bless each of you, and may God bless the United States of America.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 15, 2020, as a National Day of Prayer for All Americans Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic and for our National Response Efforts.  I urge Americans of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers for all those affected, including people who have suffered harm or lost loved ones.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.


How to Make a Spiritual Communion Explained with Special Prayers to Say when you Cannot Attend Holy Mass

How Do I Make a Spiritual Communion?

Below are recommendations for how to make a ‘spiritual communion’ when unable to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The recommendations can be adapted based upon personal and family needs.

  • Gather with others in your household and begin a time of prayer with the sign of the cross.
  • Take time to read and reflect upon the readings from Sunday Mass. You can find the readings at . 
  • Share prayer intentions quietly or aloud.
  • Pray the Lord’s Prayer. 'Our Father 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.'" Amen
  • Pray one of the following prayers of spiritual communion (see below).
  • My Jesus,
    I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
    I love you above all things, and I desire to receive you into my soul.
    Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally,
    come at least spiritually into my heart.
    I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you.
    Never permit me to be separated from you.
  • Close with the sign of the cross.
  • Invocation of Our Lady
    Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

    Coronavirus dispensation and prayers
    Many people feel powerless in the face of this pandemic. We see in a devastating way how widely a virus spreads person to person. We have confidence that God allows the good that we do, our prayer and our actions, to make a positive impact on brothers and sisters. As Pope Francis encourages us, “Let us call upon him today, firmly rooted in prayer, for without prayer all our activity risks being fruitless and our message empty.” (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 259)
    What is a Dispensation from Mass?
    A dispensation from the diocesan Bishop releases Catholics from fulfilling their Sunday obligation (Mass). Since public Masses are cancelled in the Archdiocese of Washington until further notice, this means that if you live in the Archdiocese of Washington, the right thing to do is to stay home for your safety and the safety of others. Though there is a sadness for not being able to participate at Mass, one should not feel guilty for not going to Mass. You have a free conscience to stay home. Catholics are encouraged to offer up their sickness or pastoral care for the sake of those who are seriously ill and for those who have died.

    What Should I do if I Can’t go to Mass?

    Catholics are encouraged to make a ‘spiritual communion’. St. John Paul II writes that “it is good to cultivate in our hearts a constant desire for the sacrament of the Eucharist. This was the origin of the practice of ‘spiritual communion’, which has happily been established in the Church for centuries and recommended by saints who were masters of the spiritual life. 
    Saint Teresa of Jesus wrote: ‘When you do not receive communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you.’” (Ecclesia Eucharistia, no. 34)

    Prayer to the Most Holy Redeemer (Anima Christi)

    Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
    Body of Christ, save me.
    Blood of Christ, embolden me.
    Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
    Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
    O good Jesus, hear me.
    Within thy wounds hide me.
    Never permit me to be parted from you.
    From the evil Enemy defend me.
    In the hour of my death call me.
    and bid me come to thee,
    that with your saints I may praise thee
    for age upon age.

    Prayer to our Lord Jesus Christ Crucified
    Behold, O good and loving Jesus, that I cast myself on my knees before you and, with the greatest fervor of spirit, I pray and beseech you to instill into my heart ardent sentiments of faith, hope and charity, with true repentance for my sins and a most firm purpose of amendment. With deep affection and sorrow I ponder intimately and contemplate in my mind your five wounds, having before my eyes what the prophet David had already put in your mouth about yourself, O good Jesus: They have pierced my hands and my feet; they have numbered all my bones (Ps. 21: 17-18). The above prayers can be found in the Manual of Indulgences for those who make “an act of spiritual communion” and are prayers of thanksgiving in the Roman Missal. The Manual of Indulgences indicates that a partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite one of these prayers.

    Pope Francis says " the One who loved us and always loves us: Jesus our Savior..." at Angelus - Full Text/Video


    Library of the Apostolic Palace
    Sunday, March 15, 2020

    Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

    The Mass that the Archbishop is celebrating in the Polyclinic for the sick, doctors, nurses and volunteers is ending at the moment in Milan. The Archbishop is close to his people and also close to God in prayer. I am reminded of the photograph from last week: he alone on the roof of the Duomo praying to the Madonna. I would also like to thank all the priests, the creativity of the priests. A lot of news comes from Lombardy on this creativity. True, Lombardy has been very affected. Priests who think a thousand ways of being close to the people, so that the people do not feel abandoned; priests with apostolic zeal, who have understood well that in times of pandemic "Don Abbondio" should not be done. Thank you very much to you priests.

    The Gospel passage of this Sunday, the third of Lent, presents the encounter of Jesus with a Samaritan woman (cf. Jn 4,5-42). He is on the way with his disciples and they stop at a well in Samaria. The Samaritans were considered heretics by the Jews, and highly despised, as second-class citizens. Jesus is tired, he is thirsty. A woman comes to get water and he asks her: "Give me a drink" (v. 7). Thus, breaking every barrier, a dialogue begins in which he reveals to that woman the mystery of the living water, that is, of the Holy Spirit, a gift of God. In fact, to the woman's surprise reaction, Jesus replies: «If you knew the gift of God and who is he who says to you: "Give me a drink!", You would have asked him and he would have given you living water "(v. 10).

    At the heart of this dialogue is water. On the one hand, water as an essential element for living, which satisfies the thirst of the body and supports life. On the other, water as a symbol of divine grace, which gives eternal life. In the biblical tradition, God is the source of living water - as it is said in the psalms, in the prophets -: moving away from God, the source of living water, and from his Law involves the worst drought. It is the experience of the people of Israel in the desert. On the long road to freedom, it, burned with thirst, protests against Moses and against God because there is no water. Then, at the behest of God, Moses makes water flow from a rock, as a sign of God's providence which accompanies his people and gives them life (cf. Ex 17: 17-7).

    And the apostle Paul interprets that rock as a symbol of Christ. He will say thus: "And the rock is Christ" (cf. 1 Cor 10: 4). It is the mysterious figure of his presence among the walking people of God. Indeed, Christ is the Temple from which, according to the vision of the prophets, the Holy Spirit gushes forth, that is, the living water that purifies and gives life. Those who thirst for salvation can draw freely from Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will become in him or her a source of full and eternal life. The promise of the living water that Jesus made to the Samaritan woman became reality on his Easter: "blood and water" came out of his pierced side (Jn 19:34). Christ, the immolated and risen Lamb, is the source from which the Holy Spirit springs, who forgives sins and regenerates to new life.

    This gift is also the source of testimony. Like the Samaritan woman, anyone who meets Jesus alive feels the need to tell others about it, so that everyone comes to confess that Jesus "is truly the savior of the world" (Jn 4:42), as the woman's countrymen then said. We too, born of new life through Baptism, are called to witness the life and hope that are in us. If our search and our thirst find full fulfillment in Christ, we will show that salvation does not lie in the "things" of this world, which ultimately produce drought, but in the One who loved us and always loves us: Jesus our Savior, in the living water that He offers us.

    May Mary Most Holy help us to cultivate the desire of Christ, the source of living water, the only one who can satisfy the thirst for life and love that we carry in our hearts.

    After the Angelus

    Dear brothers and sisters,

    these days Piazza San Pietro is closed, so my greeting goes directly to you who are connected through the media.

    In this pandemic situation, in which we find ourselves living more or less isolated, we are invited to rediscover and deepen the value of the communion that unites all members of the Church. United with Christ we are never alone, but we form a single Body, of which He is the Head. It is a union that is nourished with prayer, and also with spiritual communion in the Eucharist, a highly recommended practice when it is not possible to receive the sacrament. I say this for everyone, especially for people who live alone.
    I renew my closeness to all the sick and those who care for them. As well as to the many operators and volunteers who help people who cannot leave the house, and to those who meet the needs of the poorest and homeless.

    Thank you so much for all the effort each of you make to help in this very hard time. May the Lord bless you, Our Lady guard you; and please don't forget to pray for me. Happy Sunday and good lunch! Thank you.

    Breathtaking Hymn Stabat Mater for Lent sung by Amazing Youth Choir - Will Touch your Heart!

     Stabat Mater is a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary. It imagines her suffering as Jesus Christ's mother during his crucifixion. Although not certain it is that Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi or Pope Innocent III composed the text. This musical rendition is by Pergolesi who lived in 1736.

    Stabat mater dolorosa
    juxta Crucem lacrimosa,
    dum pendebat Filius.

    Cuius animam gementem,
    contristatam et dolentem
    pertransivit gladius.

    O quam tristis et afflicta
    fuit illa benedicta,
    mater Unigeniti!

    Quae mœrebat et dolebat,
    pia Mater, dum videbat
    nati pœnas inclyti.

    Quis est homo qui non fleret,
    matrem Christi si videret
    in tanto supplicio?

    Quis non posset contristari
    Christi Matrem contemplari
    dolentem cum Filio?

    Pro peccatis suæ gentis
    vidit Iesum in tormentis,
    et flagellis subditum.

    Vidit suum dulcem Natum
    moriendo desolatum,
    dum emisit spiritum.

    Eia, Mater, fons amoris
    me sentire vim doloris
    fac, ut tecum lugeam.

    Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
    in amando Christum Deum
    ut sibi complaceam.

    Sancta Mater, istud agas,
    crucifixi fige plagas
    cordi meo valide.

    Tui Nati vulnerati,
    tam dignati pro me pati,
    pœnas mecum divide.

    Fac me tecum pie flere,
    crucifixo condolere,
    donec ego vixero.

    Juxta Crucem tecum stare,
    et me tibi sociare
    in planctu desidero.

    Virgo virginum præclara,
    mihi iam non sis amara,
    fac me tecum plangere.

    Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
    passionis fac consortem,
    et plagas recolere.

    Fac me plagis vulnerari,
    fac me Cruce inebriari,
    et cruore Filii.

    Flammis ne urar succensus,
    per te, Virgo, sim defensus
    in die iudicii.

    Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
    da per Matrem me venire
    ad palmam victoriæ.

    Quando corpus morietur,
    fac, ut animæ donetur
    paradisi gloria. Amen.
    At the Cross her station keeping,
    stood the mournful Mother weeping,
    close to her Son to the last.

    Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
    all His bitter anguish bearing,
    now at length the sword has passed.

    O how sad and sore distressed
    was that Mother, highly blest,
    of the sole-begotten One.

    Christ above in torment hangs,
    she beneath beholds the pangs
    of her dying glorious Son.

    Is there one who would not weep,
    whelmed in miseries so deep,
    Christ's dear Mother to behold?

    Can the human heart refrain
    from partaking in her pain,
    in that Mother's pain untold?

    For the sins of His own nation,
    She saw Jesus wracked with torment,
    All with scourges rent:

    She beheld her tender Child,
    Saw Him hang in desolation,
    Till His spirit forth He sent.

    O thou Mother! fount of love!
    Touch my spirit from above,
    make my heart with thine accord:

    Make me feel as thou hast felt;
    make my soul to glow and melt
    with the love of Christ my Lord.

    Holy Mother! pierce me through,
    in my heart each wound renew
    of my Savior crucified:

    Let me share with thee His pain,
    who for all my sins was slain,
    who for me in torments died.

    Let me mingle tears with thee,
    mourning Him who mourned for me,
    all the days that I may live:

    By the Cross with thee to stay,
    there with thee to weep and pray,
    is all I ask of thee to give.

    Virgin of all virgins blest!,
    Listen to my fond request:
    let me share thy grief divine;

    Let me, to my latest breath,
    in my body bear the death
    of that dying Son of thine.

    Wounded with His every wound,
    steep my soul till it hath swooned,
    in His very Blood away;

    Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
    lest in flames I burn and die,
    in His awful Judgment Day.

    Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
    be Thy Mother my defense,
    be Thy Cross my victory;

    While my body here decays,
    may my soul Thy goodness praise,
    Safe in Paradise with Thee.
    — Translation by Edward Caswall, Lyra Catholica (1849)
    This Lent Donate to Catholic News World which brings the Gospel to over 200 Countries World Wide! Every little bit helps - as a Donor you and your Family will be added to our Mass Prayers - You can add your prayer intention on the Donation site "Donor Wall":

    Pope Francis at Sunday Mass says “May the Lord grant us the grace of praying always in truth..." and Prays for those guaranteeing Public services

    Pope’s Mass on Sunday for those guaranteeing public services
    Those “working to guarantee public services” were on the Pope’s heart as he celebrates Mass on Sunday at the Casa Santa Marta.
    By Vatican News

    Pope Francis began his Sunday morning liturgy at the Casa Santa Marta by recalling those who are sick and suffering. Then he asked us all to pray with him especially “for all those who are working to guarantee public services: those working in pharmacies, supermarkets, transportation, police officers…so that social and civil life can go ahead”.

    His homily focused on the passage of the Samaritan Woman proposed for the Gospel reading for the Third Sunday of Lent.

    Courage to own one’s truth
    Pope Francis characterized Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman as a “dialogue, an historical dialogue. It’s not a parable. It happened”, he said. Jesus meets a woman, a sinner and “for the first time in the Gospel, Jesus manifests His identity. He manifests it to a sinner who has the courage to tell Him the truth”. And based on that truth, “she went to proclaim Jesus. ‘Come. Perhaps He’s the Messiah, because He told me everything that I have done’ “.

    Salvation based on truth
    The Pope went on to explain that it was not through the theoretical debate about whether God should be worshipped on this or that mountain that the woman discovers Jesus’s true identity. Rather, the woman discovers that He is the Messiah because “of her truth” which sanctifies and justifies her.

    “That's what the Lord uses – her truth – to proclaim the Gospel. One cannot be a disciple of Jesus without one's own truth.  …This woman had the courage to dialogue with Jesus.  Because these two peoples did not dialogue with each other. She had the courage to interest herself in Jesus’s proposal, in that water, because she knew she was thirsty. She had the courage of confessing her weakness and her sins.

    Truth leads to faith
    Furthermore, the Pope continued, the Samaritan woman’s courage led her to “use her own story as the guarantee that that that man was a prophet".

    “The Lord always wants transparent dialogue without hiding things, without duplicitous intentions. Just as it is. I can speak with the Lord this way, just as I am with my own truth. Thus, from my own truth with the strength of the Holy Spirit, I will find the truth – that the Lord is the saviour, the One who came to save me and to save us.”

    Faith leads to proclamation
    Because the dialogue between the Samaritan woman and Jesus was so transparent, the Pope said  she was then able to proclaim “Jesus’ Messianic reality” which brought “the conversion of that people…. It’s the time of the harvest”, Pope Francis said.

    The Pope’s prayer
    As is his custom, Pope Francis then concluded his homily with a prayer:

    “May the Lord grant us the grace of praying always in truth, to turn to the Lord with my own truth and not with the others’ truth, not with truth that's been distilled in debates…. ‘It’s true, I’ve had five husbands. This is my truth.’ ”