Monday, March 16, 2020

Saint March 17 : St. Patrick the Patron of: Ireland, Nigeria, New York, Engineers, Against snakes

Feast Day:
March 17
between 387 and 390 
between 461 and 464 at Saul, County Down, Ireland
Patron of:
Ireland, Nigeria, Montserrat, New York, Boston, Engineers, against snakes
March 17 is one of the most widely recognized feast days throughout the Church, the feast of Saint Patrick (387-493), patron saint of Ireland. 

Saint Patrick was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland, where he lived the first 14 years of his life with his family, Christians, although not overly devout. In late adolescence, Patrick was captured from his family’s home by Irish raiders, and taken back to Ireland as a slave. There, he would spend the next six years in captivity, learning Celtic customs and language, and spending significant periods of time alone, tending sheep in the fields. It was here that Patrick’s’ love of God deepened and his faith took root and bloomed. He prayed incessantly, writing, “the love of God, and His fear increased in me more and more, and the faith grew in me, and the spirit was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same, so that whilst in the woods and on the mountain, even before the dawn, I was roused to prayer and felt no hurt from it, whether there was snow or ice or rain; nor was there any slothfulness in me, such as I see now, because the spirit was then fervent within me.”
After six years of contemplation, Patrick was visited by an angel who encouraged him to return home to Scotland by escaping his slavery and walking 200 miles to the coast where he would find a ship awaiting him. Patrick did as instructed, finding the crew of s ship willing to take him to Scotland, and returned home to his grateful family. After a few years, Patrick experienced a second call from God, this time in the form of a visitor from Ireland. In his Confessions, he wrote:
I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: "The Voice of the Irish". As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: "We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us!
Patrick felt called to return to Ireland, but wished to be ordained prior to his departure. He undertook rigorous religious study, lasting approximately 14 years, during which time he was first ordained a priest, and later a bishop. Only upon becoming bishop did Patrick feel prepared to return to Ireland. While some legend suggests that Saint Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland, it is far more likely that some small Christian communities existed before his second arrival. His dual mission was that of ministering to the existing Christian communities and converting others to the faith.
Saint Patrick had great success on both accounts, drawing from his familiarity of Celtic and Druid religious beliefs and language. He introduced natural elements into his teaching, including placing the sun on the Celtic Cross as symbolization of the Godhead, illustrating the Resurrection of Christ through the use of bonfires (symbols familiar to the Druids), and most famously, explaining the Holy Trinity through comparison to the shamrock.
Many were converted by his works, and monasteries and convents established (although their formal structure and organization would not be complete until centuries after his death). During his ministry in Ireland, Saint Patrick lived a poor and austere life, accepting only what he needed to live. He was repeatedly arrested and imprisoned, threatened and attacked by chieftains of warring tribes, and suffered great peril. Throughout all struggles, he remained fearless, looking to the Lord for guidance and comfort, and demonstrating great love, humility, and charity towards all he encountered. Numerous miracles and intercessions are reported in his name.
Saint Patrick’s ministry in Ireland spanned over 40 years, during which he laid the foundation for the seat of the Church during the Dark Ages, when Christianity survived in Irish monasteries. He died in Saul, Ireland, where he is believed to be buried. He is reported to have composed the following prayer, referred to as “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate:”
I bind to myself today The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity: I believe the Trinity in the Unity The Creator of the Universe.
I bind to myself today The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism, The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial, The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension, The virtue of His coming on the Judgment Day.
I bind to myself today The virtue of the love of seraphim, In the obedience of angels, In the hope of resurrection unto reward, In prayers of Patriarchs, In predictions of Prophets, In preaching of Apostles, In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins, In deeds of righteous men. I bind to myself today The power of Heaven, The light of the sun, The brightness of the moon, The splendor of fire, The flashing of lightning, The swiftness of wind, The depth of sea, The stability of earth, The compactness of rocks.
I bind to myself today God's Power to guide me, God's Might to uphold me, God's Wisdom to teach me, God's Eye to watch over me, God's Ear to hear me, God's Word to give me speech, God's Hand to guide me, God's Way to lie before me, God's Shield to shelter me, God's Host to secure me, Against the snares of demons, Against the seductions of vices, Against the lusts of nature, Against everyone who meditates injury to me, Whether far or near, Whether few or with many.
I invoke today all these virtues Against every hostile merciless power Which may assail my body and my soul, Against the incantations of false prophets, Against the black laws of heathenism, Against the false laws of heresy, Against the deceits of idolatry, Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids, Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.
Christ, protect me today Against every poison, against burning, Against drowning, against death-wound, That I may receive abundant reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort, Christ in the chariot seat, Christ in the deck of ships, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
I bind to myself today The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity: I believe the Trinity in the Unity The Creator of the Universe.
Text shared from 365 Rosaries Blog 

#BreakingNews RIP 7 Priests and Religious Sister Die from COVID-19 in Italy with a Bishop Infected

A famous Italian priest, Don Vincenzo Rini (pic), president of the (News) National Catholic Weekly Federation (Fisc) from 1999 to 2004, and later of the Sir Agency, has died from the Coronavirus. 

The bishop from Cremona the diocese of Don Rini, 62-year-old Bishop Antonio Napolioni, was infected by Covid-19 and recovering in the city's public hospital on March 16.

In another diocese named Bergamo, the bishop Francesco Beschi says, "No one is exempt from this extremely painful trial". This was stated after twenty priests of the Bergamo diocese were hospitalized affected by the coronavirus infection and 6 priests died in one week who were victims of Covid-19. “Our priests are many and numerous are those who have exposed themselves to be close to their community. So their illness is an evident sign of closeness, a painful sign of closeness and sharing of pain" explained the bishop who could not hide his great sadness.
A Sister of the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity died March 15 at the age of 88 after she and 23 members of her community in Tortona, were evacuated by helicopter March 13 and hospitalized. Another unidentified nun was said to be in critical condition, ANSA, the Italian news agency, reported March 15. Sources:

Pope Francis at Mass Prays for Families who are "cooped up” “May the Lord help them discover new expressions of love”. FULL Video

Pope Francis at Mass: May families find new ways of showing love
Once again, Pope Francis demonstrates his concern for families who are cooped up at home with their children, praying, “May the Lord help them discover new expressions of love”.
By Vatican News

“I am thinking of families who are cooped up”, Pope Francis began the morning liturgy at the Casa Santa Marta on Monday morning. “May the Lord help them to discover new ways, new expressions of love, of living together in this new situation. It's a beautiful opportunity to creatively rediscover affection…. Let's pray for families so that the relationships within the family at this moment might flourish always for the good.”

Pope Francis reflected on the behavior of Naaman and the people in the synagogue of Nazareth during his homily inspired by the readings of Monday of the Third Week of Lent (2 Kings 5:1-15; Luke 4:24-30).

Pope Francis unpacked the indignation demonstrated in both of Monday’s readings. At first, the people in the synagogue like what Jesus says. But when they ask themselves “what university did he study at? This is Mary and Joseph’s son… He was a carpenter… What can He possibly have to say to us?” they become indignant to the point that they resort to physical violence. Naaman, too, becomes indignant when Elisha suggests that he bathe seven times in the Jordan River. His reaction leads him to resort to verbal violence. “Indignation always leads to violence”, Pope Francis said, “either physical or verbal”.

What’s the problem?
Both Naaman and the people of Nazareth were “good people”, Pope Francis said. “What's behind these good people that leads them to react indignantly?” he asked.

He responded saying their idea of God was such that they thought He “manifested Himself only through the extraordinary, through things that are out of the ordinary, that God couldn’t act through the commonalities of life, in simplicity”.

Reaction against simplicity
The indignation manifested in both readings is a reaction against simplicity, Pope Francis continued.

“They despised the simple things. And our God makes us understand that He always acts through the simple things: the simplicity of the house of Nazareth…the simplicity of everyday work…the simplicity of prayer…simple things. Instead, the worldly spirit moves us toward vanity, toward appearances. Both end in violence. Naaman, who was very educated, slams the door in the prophet’s face and takes off – violence, a violent action. The people in the synagogue begin to get angrier and angrier. They make the decision to kill Jesus, however unconsciously. They drive him out to push him over the cliff.”

Indignant people
Proud people get indignant, but they are also poor in spirit, Pope Francis noted. “The proud live only with illusions of being more than they really are…. Many times these people need to become indignant to feel that they are someone”, the Pope explained.

Pope Francis concluded inviting us to think about “the indignation of the people in the synagogue of Nazareth and Namaan’s indignation” as a result of the fact that they “did not understand the simplicity of our God”.


Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Joint Letter urge communities to adhere by Coronavirus Precautions - FULL TEXT

Patriarchs and Heads of Churches urge communities to adhere by Coronavirus precautions
By: Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem - Published: March 16 Mon, 2020

Patriarchs and Heads of Churches urge communities to adhere by Coronavirus precautions Available in the following languages:

  • Arabic,  
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  • Italiano

  • A Statement of the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem concerning the COVID-19 Pandemic

    March 14, 2020

    Our planet earth, at this difficult and challenging time, suffers from the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected so many people and reaped thousands of lives. To face this health and life-threatening pandemic, it is essential for our people and communities to adhere by the provisions and instructions of the civil authorities within the counties we live.

    At the same time, we, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, call upon Almighty God to look on our situation and be gracious to our suffering world. We are all called to live this time continuing to trust in our heavenly Father who takes care of all His creatures. It is therefore good that we intensify personal prayer, fasting and alms-giving and to walk in the light of God’s love.

    The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem

    + Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
    + Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate
    + Apostolic Administrator, Latin Patriarchate
    + Custody of the Holy Land
    + Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem
    + Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate
    + Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
    + Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate
    + Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate
    + Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
    + Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land + Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
    + Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
    FULL TEXT + Image Source:

    Bishops of the Philippines call for Prayer and Fasting to End the Coronavirus and Daily Ringing of Church Bells

    CBCP Release: By Roy Lagarde

    March 14, 2020

    Manila, Philippines

    The Catholic hierarchy has called for a day of prayer and fasting to end of the coronavirus epidemic.

    In a statement issued on March 13, the bishops’ collegial body exhorted the faithful to keep their faith firm during this “time of crisis”.

    Archbishop Romulo Valles, the president of the bishops’ conference, particularly called for prayers for those who are infected with the COVID-19 and those who have died.

    “This is a time of difficulty but also a time for growing in true discipleship as we strive to follow the Lord in selfless love and service of others,” Valles said.

    “May He open our hearts to help those in need and move us to genuine compassion for our brothers and sisters who suffer,” he said.

    The CBCP also recommended the cancellation or postponement of recollection, pilgrimages, conferences, processions and other mass gatherings.

    Valles said that church authorities are morally obliged to cooperate and support all the precautionary measures recommended by the government for the people’s safety.

    While several dioceses have suspended public Masses, he said that churches should be “kept open” for people who need to pray.

    “We also encourage the bishops, religious and the clergy to spend time in silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for the safety of our flock and the healing of the sick,” Valles said.

    “We continue to minister to the sick by offering them the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick but following the necessary precautions proposed by the DOH,” he added.

    The CBCP head also asked the country’s parishes for the daily ringing of church bells at 12 noon and 8:00 p.m. and pray the Oratio Imperata.

    The archbishop also called on the faithful to face the crisis in the spirit of charity, especially for those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

    “Let us encourage our faithful to be open to the vulnerable, especially the poor, and share our resources with them,” he said.
    FULL TEXT Source: Bishops' Conference of the Philippines - CBCP News

    Archbishop Hinder, Vicar of Arabia calls for Fasting and Prayer for those affected by Coronavirus

    Vicar of Arabia: In Lent, fasting and prayer for people affected by coronavirus
    Archbishop Hinder close to front line workers fighting the disease and invites the faithful to help people in these difficult times. The virus affects not only health, but also societies and economies. But the nation has "excellent" structures and there is "constant vigilance". Covid-19 also frightens ISIS jihadists.

    Abu Dhabi (AsiaNews) - Worldwide many dioceses are "observing days of prayer and fasting" for the end of the new coronavirus epidemic and, for this reason, "I urge you to pray, fast and carry out goodwill gestures for those affected by the pandemic," urges Msgr. Paul Hinder, apostolic vicar of southern Arabia (United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen).

    In  a new pastoral letter sent to AsiaNews, he adds that Wednesdays of Lent "will have this intention" to pray "for the wisdom" of those who "fight disease, healing for those affected and protection and safety for all".

    The prelate invites the faithful to help those in difficulty, socially and economically, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been spreading sensitively in the Middle East in recent days. The hope, he continues, is to "resume regular celebrations and activities" because "we are all, in one way or another" all over the world "involved" by the coronavirus.

    Simple and everyday gestures such as going to mass or praying in community "are questioned" and the functions are "drastically reduced or suspended". The disease not only affects public health, but also implies a "heavy toll" on societies and economies affecting "our lives".

    Archbishop Hinder recalls the good fortune of living in a nation "with excellent medical facilities" at the service of the sick, with "constant vigilance" by the authorities in all sectors, a factor that "has favored a limited spread of the epidemic". However, he continues, it is necessary to "maintain a high level of caution" and take "all precautions" to counteract the circulation of the virus.

    Citizens have the task of taking all measures of "prudence and precaution", while not forgetting "the dimension of faith" in this moment of "crisis", when "human frailty" emerges and "asks us to be prepared on a spiritual level ". Bishop Hinder shares the pain of those who cannot attend the services because they are suspended or sick, but adds that "they will resume as soon as possible". Meanwhile, for Lent, Holy Week and Easter, the masses "will be available on electronic media" and takes the opportunity to invite the faithful to follow those celebrated by Pope Francis.

    Finally, Msgr. Hinder outlines some indications - old and new - to better face the coronavirus epidemic: stay at home and not come to church if you have been in contact with people who have tested positive for Covid-19 or if subjected to quarantine; if you are returning from countries considered at risk; for the elderly and the sick, subjects considered particularly at risk.

    Meanwhile, the emergency knows no borders and the jihadist group of the Islamic State (IS, ex Isis) is also starting to worry, which have outlined guidelines for their own militiamen in Syria and Iraq. Through the al-Naba information channel, linked to fundamentalists, and with graphics that reflect the indications traced in many Western countries, the leaders list styles of behavior outlined by God and the prophet Muhammad. Among these, people are invited to respect the distance, not to enter or leave the land of infection, to cover their mouth and wash their hands.

    As regards the infections, Saudi Arabia registered 24 new cases yesterday, including 14 Egyptians, for a total of 86. Turkey three, for a total of five. Another 58 in Qatar, for a total number of infections equal to 320. In Syria there are still no official cases, but the Damascus authorities have ordered the closure of schools and a ban on smoking hookah in cafes. Finally Iran, which remains the most affected nation in the area with 11363 infections and 514 deaths.
    FULL TEXT Source: AsiaNews.IT

    Head of Dominican Order Writes Letter "When public worship is suspended...we become keenly aware of the importance of spiritual communion." amid Coronavirus

    Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Dominican Family,

    As you know, after China, Italy is suffering gravely due to covid-19. Some members of the Dominican family in the north of the country have contracted the virus. Let us continue to pray for all the sick, those who care for them, those who are trying their best to find ways in overcoming the pandemic and its adverse effects.

    Together with the brothers and sisters here at Santa Sabina, I wish to offer words of solidarity as a gesture of our nearness to one another at this time when common good requires “social distancing”. Our mission is to build communion and yet in this time of crisis, we seem to surrender ourselves to isolation. Paradoxical as it may seem, keeping distance from one another means we truly care for each other, because we want to stop the transmission of the novel corona virus that has claimed the lives of many and has imperiled the lives and livelihood of countless people all over the world. We keep our distance not because we see our brother or sister as a potential virus-carrier, or we are afraid of getting sick; but because we want to help break the chain of viral transmission. When the healthcare system becomes overloaded, as it happened in the north of Italy, our health care providers will be forced to make difficult ethical decisions — would a patient who is younger and therefore with longer life-expectancy be prioritized over one who is elderly? We hope and pray that we would prevent that from happening anywhere by doing whatever we can to prevent further toxic transmission. Here in Italy, as in other countries, it is painful for us not to publicly celebrate the Eucharist, the sacrament of communion, at a time when the people need it most because of isolation. And yet we have to endure this suffering in the spirit of human solidarity and communion, for “if one part of the body suffers, all the parts suffer with it” (I Cor. 12:26).

    In this time of quarantena en quaresima, we are invited to pause and ponder the nearness of God to us. When public worship is suspended for the well-being of worshippers, we become keenly aware of the importance of spiritual communion. In these places, it is as though the people experience a prolonged “Holy Saturday” when the Church “abstains from the celebration of the Eucharist” meditating on the passion of the Lord and awaiting his resurrection (Paschale Solemnitatis, 73-75). In an experiential way, we are reminded of the hunger for the Eucharist of our brothers and sisters in remote areas who could participate in the Mass only once or twice a year. Now, more than ever, we need to find ways on how to break isolation, to preach the Gospel of love and communion, even in the “digital continent” (ACG Biên Hòa 2019, 135-138). We need to remind our people that Jesus remains near to us even as we hunger for the Bread of Life.

    Let me recall what we know deep within our hearts. If we want to spread the Gospel, we must be with the people, be near to them! We must cross linguistic, cultural, even ideological boundaries to spread the Word of God. Conversely, if we want to arrest the spread of something bad like the corona virus, we must keep distance, we must refrain from personal encounter because any proximate encounter has the potential to spread the contagion.

    The current pandemic clearly shows that for something to circulate, personal closeness and encounter is necessary. When this crisis is over, let us not forget the lesson: if we want the Gospel to circulate in our secularized world, the same personal closeness and encounter is necessary. I hope and pray that our centers of studies, parishes, and other apostolic centers would continue to become like an “airport”, i.e., a hub where people deepen their knowledge and faith so that they too may positively “infect” everyone with the contaminating joy of the Gospel.

    We continue to pray for the sick and those who care for them. Even in our solitude, God is close to us, and we are never alone for we all belong to the Body of Christ.

    Your brother,

    fr. Gerard Francisco P. Timoner III, OP

    Master of the Order
    FULL TEXT Source:

    Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday, March 16, 2020 - #Eucharist in Lent

    Monday of the Third Week of Lent
    Lectionary: 237
    Reading 12 KGS 5:1-15AB
    Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram,
    was highly esteemed and respected by his master,
    for through him the LORD had brought victory to Aram.
    But valiant as he was, the man was a leper.
    Now the Arameans had captured in a raid on the land of Israel
    a little girl, who became the servant of Naaman’s wife.
    “If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria,”
    she said to her mistress, “he would cure him of his leprosy.”
    Naaman went and told his lord
    just what the slave girl from the land of Israel had said.
    “Go,” said the king of Aram.
    “I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.”
    So Naaman set out, taking along ten silver talents,
    six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments.
    To the king of Israel he brought the letter, which read:
    “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you,
    that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

    When he read the letter,
    the king of Israel tore his garments and exclaimed:
    “Am I a god with power over life and death,
    that this man should send someone to me to be cured of leprosy?
    Take note! You can see he is only looking for a quarrel with me!”
    When Elisha, the man of God,
    heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments,
    he sent word to the king:
    “Why have you torn your garments?
    Let him come to me and find out
    that there is a prophet in Israel.”

    Naaman came with his horses and chariots
    and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house.
    The prophet sent him the message:
    “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan,
    and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.”
    But Naaman went away angry, saying,
    “I thought that he would surely come out and stand there
    to invoke the LORD his God,
    and would move his hand over the spot,
    and thus cure the leprosy.
    Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar,
    better than all the waters of Israel?
    Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?”
    With this, he turned about in anger and left.

    But his servants came up and reasoned with him.
    “My father,” they said,
    “if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary,
    would you not have done it?
    All the more now, since he said to you,
    ‘Wash and be clean,’ should you do as he said.”
    So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
    at the word of the man of God.
    His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

    He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God.
    On his arrival he stood before him and said,
    “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth,
    except in Israel.”

    Responsorial Psalm42:2, 3; 43:3, 4
    R.    (see 42:3) Athirst is my soul for the living God.
    When shall I go and behold the face of God?
    As the hind longs for the running waters,
    so my soul longs for you, O God.
    R.    Athirst is my soul for the living God.
    When shall I go and behold the face of God?
    Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
    When shall I go and behold the face of God?
    R.    Athirst is my soul for the living God.
    When shall I go and behold the face of God?
    Send forth your light and your fidelity;
    they shall lead me on
    And bring me to your holy mountain,
    to your dwelling-place.
    R.    Athirst is my soul for the living God.
    When shall I go and behold the face of God?
    Then will I go in to the altar of God,
    the God of my gladness and joy;
    Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
    O God, my God!
    R.    Athirst is my soul for the living God.
    When shall I go and behold the face of God?

    Verse Before The GospelPS 130:5, 7
    I hope in the LORD, I trust in his word;
    with him there is kindness and plenteous redemption.

    GospelLK 4:24-30
    Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth:
    “Amen, I say to you,
    no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
    Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel
    in the days of Elijah
    when the sky was closed for three and a half years
    and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
    It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
    but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
    Again, there were many lepers in Israel
    during the time of Elisha the prophet;
    yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
    When the people in the synagogue heard this,
    they were all filled with fury.
    They rose up, drove him out of the town,
    and led him to the brow of the hill
    on which their town had been built,
    to hurl him down headlong.
    But he passed through the midst of them and went away.