Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Remembering Saint Pope John Paul II who Died April 2, 2005 at Age 84 - #JPII

Pope John Paul II, who was born in Poland on May 18, 1920, reigned as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from October 16, 1978 until his death on April 2, 2005.   Saint Pope John Paul II was canonized on April 27, 2013, at a celebration in Saint Peter's Square, presided by Pope Francis. His Feast day is October 22.

JPII as he was known touched the hearts of the world with his great compassion and joyful presence. He helped with the end of the separation of East and West Germany. Pope John Paul II traveled to over 100 countries with a message of peace. In 1981, someone tried to kill him and shot him twice but he miraculously survived and when better went to visit the shooter in prison and forgave him.
He wrote: Apostolic Letters‎: ‎45 Encyclicals‎: ‎14 Apostolic Exhortations‎: ‎14. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian Pope in 400 years. Pope John Paul II was famous for his influence in bringing down the wall in Germany and fighting Communism. 
 Today is Pope John Paul II day in Ontario, Canada. Pope John Paul II visited Ontario twice during his pontificate of more than 25 years.   (the picture below shows Pope Francis kneeling before the tome of Pope John Paul II)
Watch this Touching Video Tribute to St. Pope John Paul II with his most Famous moments and Share with a Friend!


Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Thursday, April 2, 2020 - #Eucharist in Lent - Your Virtual Church

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 254
Reading 1GN 17:3-9
When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him:
“My covenant with you is this:
you are to become the father of a host of nations.
No longer shall you be called Abram;
your name shall be Abraham,
for I am making you the father of a host of nations.
I will render you exceedingly fertile;
I will make nations of you;
kings shall stem from you.
I will maintain my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
throughout the ages as an everlasting pact,
to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
I will give to you
and to your descendants after you
the land in which you are now staying,
the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession;
and I will be their God.”
God also said to Abraham:
“On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”

Responsorial Psalm105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R.    (8a)  The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations –
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.
R.    The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Verse Before The GospelPS 95:8

If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

GospelJN 8:51-59

Jesus said to the Jews:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death.”
So the Jews said to him,
“Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?”
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.”
So the Jews said to him,
“You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
Prayer to make spiritual communion:

People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion.

At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint April 2 : St. Mary of Egypt a Former Prostitute who Repented and lived as a Hermitess in the Desert

Born probably about 344; died about 421. At the early age of twelve Mary left her home and came to Alexandria, where for upwards of seventeen years she led a life of public prostitution. At the end of that time, on the occasion of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, she embarked for Palestine, not however with the intention of making the pilgrimage, but in the hope that life on board ship would afford her new and abundant opportunities of gratifying an insatiable lust. Arrived in Jerusalem she persisted in her shameless life, and on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross joined the crowds towards the church where the sacred relic was venerated, hoping to meet in the gathering some new victims whom she might allure into sin. And now came the turning-point in her career. When she reached the church door, she suddenly felt herself repelled by some secret force, and having vainly attempted three or four times to enter, she retired to a corner of the churchyard, and was struck with remorse for her wicked life, which she recognized as the cause of her exclusion from the church. Bursting into bitter tears and beating her breast, she began to bewail her sins. Just then her eyes fell upon a statue of the Blessed Virgin above the spot where she was standing, and in deep faith and humility of heart she besought Our Lady for help, and permission to enter the church and venerate the sacred wood on which Jesus had suffered, promising that if her request were granted, she would then renounce forever the world and its ways, and forthwith depart whithersoever Our Lady might lead her. Encouraged by prayer and counting on the mercy of the Mother of God, she once more approached the door of the church, and this time succeeded in entering without the slightest difficulty. Having adored the Holy Cross and kissed the pavement of the church, she returned to Our Lady's statue, and while praying there for guidance as to her future course, she seemed to hear a voice from afar telling her that if she crossed the Jordan, she would find rest. That same evening Mary reached the Jordan and received Holy Communion in a church dedicated to the Baptist, and the day following crossed the river and wandered eastward into the desert that stretches towards Arabia.
Here she had lived absolutely alone for forty-seven years, subsisting apparently on herbs, when a priest and monk, named Zosimus, who after the custom of his brethren had come out from his monastery to spend Lent in the desert, met her and learned from her own lips the strange and romantic story of her life. As soon as they met, she called Zosimus by his name and recognized him as a priest. After they had conversed and prayed together, she begged Zosimus to promise to meet her at the Jordan on Holy Thursday evening of the following year and bring with him the Blessed Sacrament. When the appointed evening arrived, Zosimus, we are told, put into a small chalice a portion of the undefiled Body and the precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (P.L. LXXIII, 686; "Mittens in modico calice intemerati corporis portionem et pretiosi sanguinis D.N.J.C." But the reference to both species is less clear in Acta SS., IX, 82: "Accipiens parvum poculum intemerati corporis ac venerandi sanguinis Christi Dei nostri"), and came to the spot that had been indicated. After some time Mary appeared on the eastern bank of the river, and having made the sign of the cross, walked upon the waters to the western side. Having received Holy Communion, she raised her hands towards heaven, and cried aloud in the words of Simeon: "Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace, because my eyes have seen thy salvation". She then charged Zosimus to come in the course of a year to the spot where he had first met her in the desert, adding that he would find her then in what condition God might ordain. He came, but only to find the poor saint's corpse, and written beside it on the ground a request that he should bury her, and a statement that she had died a year before, on the very night on which he had given her Holy Communion, far away by the Jordan's banks. Aided, we are told, by a lion, he prepared her grave and buried her, and having commended himself and the Church to her prayers, he returned to his monastery, where now for the first time he recounted the wondrous story of her life.
The saint's life was written not very long after her death by one who states that he learned the details from the monks of the monastery to which Zosimus had belonged. Many authorities mention St. Sophronius, who became Patriarch of Jerusalem in 635, as the author; but as the Bollandists give good reasons for believing that the Life was written before 500, we may conclude that it is from some other hand. The date of the saint is somewhat uncertain. The Bollandists place her death on 1 April, 421, while many other authorities put it a century later. The Greek Church celebrates her feast on 1 April, while the Roman Martyrology assigns it to 2 April, and the Roman Calendar to 3 April. The Greek date is more likely to be correct; the others may be due to the fact that on those days portions of her relics reached the West. Relics of the saint are venerated at Rome, Naples, Cremona, Antwerp, and some other places. Catholic Encyclopedia

344, Egypt
421, Trans-Jordan desert, Palestine
Patron of:
Chastity; Demons (deliverance from); Fever; Skin diseases

Saint April 2 : St. Francis of Paola who had the Gift of Prophecy and Founder of the Order of Minims


1416 at Paola, Calabria, Italy
2 April 1507 at Plessis, France
1512 by Pope Julius II
Founder of the Order of Minims; b. in 1416, at Paula, in Calabria, Italy; d. 2 April, 1507, at Plessis, France. His parents were remarkable for the holiness of their lives. Remaining childless for some years after their marriage they had recourse to prayer, especially commending themselves to the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi. Three children were eventually born to them, eldest of whom was Francis. When still in the cradle he suffered from a swelling which endangered the sight of one of his eyes. His parents again had recourse to Francis of Assisi, and made a vow that their son should pass an entire year in the "little habit" of St Francis in one of the convents of his order, a not uncommon practice in the Middle Ages. The child was immediately cured. From his early years Francis showed signs of extraordinary sanctity, and at the age of thirteen, being admonished by a vision of a Franciscan friar, he entered a convent of the Franciscan Order in order to fulfil the vow made by his parents. Here he gave great edification by his love of prayer and mortification, his profound humility, and his prompt obedience. At the completion of the year he went with his parents on a pilgrimage to Assisi, Rome, and other places of devotion. Returning to Paula he selected a retired spot on his father's estate, and there lived in solitude; but later on he found a more retired dwelling in a cave on the sea coast. Here he remained alone for about six years giving himself to prayer and mortification. In 1435 two companions joined him in his retreat, and to accommodate them Francis caused three cells and a chapel to be built: in this way the new order was begun. The number of his disciples gradually increased, and about 1454, with the permission of Pyrrhus, Archbishop of Cosenza, Francis built a large monastery and church. The building of this monastery was the occasion of a great outburst of enthusiasm and devotion on the part of the people towards Francis: even the nobles carried stones and joined in the work. Their devotion was increased by the many miracles which the saint wrought in answer to their prayers. The rule of life adopted by Francis and his religious was one of extraordinary severity. They observed perpetual abstinence and lived in great poverty, but the distinguishing mark of the order was humility. They were to seek to live unknown and hidden from the world. To express this character which he would have his disciples cultivate, Francis eventually obtained from the Holy See that they should be styled Minims, the least of all religious. In 1474 Sixtus IV gave him permission to write a rule for his community, and to assume the title of Hermits of St. Francis: this rule was formally approved by Alexander VI, who, however, changed their title into that of Minims. After the approbation of the order, Francis founded several new monasteries in Calabria and Sicily. He also established convents of nuns, and a third order for people living in the world, after the example of St. Francis of Assisi. He had an extraordinary gift of prophecy: thus he foretold the capture of Otranto by the Turks in 1480, and its subsequent recovery by the King of Naples. Also he was gifted with discernment of consciences. He was no respecter of persons of whatever rank or position. He rebuked the King of Naples for his ill-doing and in consequence suffered much persecution. When Louis XI was in his last illness he sent an embassy to Calabria to beg the saint to visit him. Francis refused to come nor could he be prevailed upon until the pope ordered him to go. He then went to the king at Plessis-les-Tours and was with him at his death. Charles VIII, Louis's successor, much admired the saint and during his reign kept him near the court and frequently consulted him. This king built a monastery for Minims at Plessis and another at Rome on the Pincian Hill. The regard in which Charles VIII held the saint was shared by Louis XII, who succeeded to the throne in 1498. Francis was now anxious to return to Italy, but the king would not permit him, not wishing to lose his counsels and direction. The last three months of his life he spent in entire solitude, preparing for death. On Maundy Thursday he gathered his community around him and exhorted them especially to have mutual charity amongst themselves and to maintain the rigour of their life and in particular perpetual abstinence. The next day, Good Friday, he again called them together and gave them his last instructions and appointed a vicar-general. He then received the last sacraments and asked to have the Passion according to St. John read out to him, and whilst this was being read, his soul passed away. Leo X canonized him in 1519. In 1562 the Huguenots broke open his tomb and found his body incorrupt. They dragged it forth and burnt it, but some of the bones were preserved by the Catholics and enshrined in various churches of his order. The Order of Minims does not seem at any time to have been very extensive, but they had houses in many countries. The definitive rule was approved in 1506 by Julius II, who also approved a rule for the nuns of the order. The feast of St. Francis of Paula is kept by the universal Church on 2 April, the day on which he died. The Catholic Encyclopedia 

Pope Francis explains the "...purified heart...the result of a process.." "..when we realize that our worst enemy is often hidden in our hearts....Because sins change the inner vision.." Full Video/Text

GENERAL AUDIENCE with Pope Francis in the Library of the Apostolic Palace
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today we read together the sixth beatitude, which promises the vision of God and has purity of heart as a condition.

A Psalm says: "My heart repeats your invitation:" Seek my face! ". Your face, Lord, I seek. Do not hide your face from me "(27,8-9).

This language manifests the thirst for a personal relationship with God, not mechanical, not a little nebulous, no: personal, which also the book of Job expresses as a sign of a sincere relationship. Thus says the book of Job: "I knew you only by hearsay, but now my eyes have seen you" (Job 42.5). And many times I think this is the path of life, in our relationships with God. We know God by hearsay, but with our experience we go on, on, on and on and we know him directly, if we are faithful ... And this is the maturity of the Spirit.

How can we get to this intimacy, to know God with our eyes? One can think of the disciples of Emmaus, for example, who have the Lord Jesus beside them, "but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him" (Lk 24,16). The Lord will open their eyes at the end of a journey that culminates in the breaking of the bread and began with a rebuke: "Foolish and slow-hearted to believe in all that the prophets said!" (Lk 24.25). That is the rebuke of the beginning. Here is the origin of their blindness: their foolish and slow heart. And when the heart is foolish and slow, things are not seen. Things are seen as clouded. Here lies the wisdom of this bliss: to be able to contemplate it is necessary to enter within us and make room for God, because, as St. Augustine says, "God is more intimate to me than myself" ("interior intimo meo": Confessions , III, 6.11). To see God there is no need to change glasses or observation point, or to change theological authors who teach the way: you must free your heart from its deceptions! This road is the only one.

This is a decisive maturation: when we realize that our worst enemy is often hidden in our hearts. The most noble battle is that against the internal deceptions that generate our sins. Because sins change the inner vision, they change the evaluation of things, they show things that are not true, or at least that are not so true.

It is therefore important to understand what "purity of the heart" is. To do this, it must be remembered that for the Bible the heart does not consist only of feelings, but is the most intimate place of the human being, the inner space where a person is himself. This, according to the biblical mentality.

The same Gospel of Matthew says: "If the light that is in you is darkness, how great the darkness will be!" (6.23). This "light" is the gaze of the heart, the perspective, the synthesis, the point from which reality can be read (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 143).

But what does "pure" heart mean? The pure in heart lives in the presence of the Lord, keeping in his heart what is worthy of the relationship with him; only in this way does it have a "unified", linear, non-tortuous but simple life.

The purified heart is therefore the result of a process that involves liberation and renunciation. The pure of heart is not born as such, has experienced an interior simplification, learning to deny evil in itself, which in the Bible is called circumcision of the heart (cf. Dt 10.16; 30.6; Ez 44.9; Jer 4, 4).

This inner purification implies the recognition of that part of the heart that is under the influence of evil - "You know, Father, I feel like this, I think so, I see like this, and this is bad": to recognize the bad part, the part that is clouded by evil - to learn the art of always being taught and led by the Holy Spirit. The journey from the sick heart, from the sinful heart, from the heart that cannot see things well, because it is in sin, in the fullness of the light of the heart it is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is he who guides us on this journey. Here, through this journey of the heart, we come to "see God".

In this beatific vision there is a future eschatological dimension, as in all the Beatitudes: it is the joy of the Kingdom of Heaven to which we are going. But there is also the other dimension: seeing God means understanding the designs of Providence in what happens to us, recognizing his presence in the Sacraments, his presence in the brothers, especially the poor and suffering, and recognizing him where He manifests himself ( cf Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2519).

This happiness is a bit the fruit of the previous ones: if we have listened to the thirst for good that lives in us and we are aware of living in mercy, a journey of liberation begins that lasts a lifetime and leads to Heaven. It is a serious job, a job that the Holy Spirit does if we give him space to do it, if we are open to the action of the Holy Spirit. For this reason we can say that a work of God in us - in the trials and purifications of life - and this work of God and the Holy Spirit leads to great joy, to true peace. We are not afraid, we open the doors of our heart to the Holy Spirit to purify us and carry us forward on this path towards full joy.
I cordially greet the Italian-speaking faithful. My thoughts go, in particular, to the groups that had long booked to be present today. Among these, the young people of the profession of faith of the Diocese of Milan, connected to this meeting through the means of social communication. Dear children, even if your pilgrimage to Rome is only virtual, I almost seem to perceive your joyful and noisy presence, made concrete also by the many written messages you sent me: you have sent many, and they are beautiful! Messages are beautiful, beautiful. Thank you very much. Thanks for this union with us. Pray for me, don't forget. I thank you and encourage you to always live the faith with enthusiasm and not to lose hope in Jesus, the faithful friend who fills our life with happiness, even in difficult times.

Lastly, I greet the young, the sick, the elderly and the newlyweds. The last glimpse of the Lenten season we are experiencing may favor an adequate preparation for the celebration of Easter, each leading to an even more felt closeness to Christ. My blessing to all.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: - Unofficial Translation

Wow Catholic Bishop travels across State to Bless Medical workers on the Front Lines with the Eucharist - Watch Video

Wmur9 reports that in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA a bishop of the Diocese of Manchester is traveling across the state this week to bless those working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bishop Peter Libasci was outside Catholic Medical Center Saturday afternoon and blessed health care workers and patients. Libasci also visited Manchester firefighters and then drove to Concord and Laconia. He'll be in the North Country on Sunday. 
 “No matter what, the lord always traveled around the cities and towns. He healed the sick. He cured the sick. I'm not going be able to do that, but I can bring the graces, the blessings to encourage and to ask God to intercede,” 
Libasci said. The bishop is asking people to help, encourage and support one another.
Edited from Wmur9
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Quote to SHARE by St. John Chrysostom “Let the mouth also fast from Foul Words and Unjust Criticism. For what does it profit if we abstain from fish and meat and yet bite...”

“Let the mouth also fast from fast from foul words and unjust Criticism. For what does it profit if we abstain from fish and meat and yet bite and devour our brothers and sisters? The evil speaker eats the flesh of his brother and bites the body of his neighbor. ” ― Saint John Chrysostom

At Mass, Pope Francis says "Let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit." and Prays for those working in Media - Full Video



"Stay in the Lord"

Wednesday, April 1, 2020


Today I would like us to pray for all those who work in the media, who work to communicate today, because people are not so isolated; for the education of children, for information, to help endure this closing time.


In these days, the Church makes us listen to John's eighth chapter: there is such a strong discussion between Jesus and the doctors of the Law. And above all, we try to show our identity: John tries to get closer to that struggle to clarify his identity, both of Jesus, as the identity that the doctors have. Jesus puts them on the corner by showing them their contradictions. And they, in the end, find no other way out than the insult: it is one of the saddest pages, it is a blasphemy. They insult the Madonna.

But speaking of identity, Jesus said to the Jews who had believed, advised them: "If you remain in my word, you really are my disciples" (Jn 8:31). Return that word so dear to the Lord that he will repeat it many times, and then in the dinner: stay. "Stay in me." Stay in the Lord. It does not say: "Study well, learn the arguments well": this takes it for granted. But it goes to the most important thing, the one that is most dangerous for life, if you don't do it: stay. "Stay in my word" (Jn 8:31). And those who remain in the word of Jesus have their own Christian identity. And which? "You are truly my disciples" (Jn 8:31). Christian identity is not a card that says "I am a Christian", an identity card: no. It is discipleship. You, if you stay in the Lord, in the Word of the Lord, in the life of the Lord, you will be a disciple. If you do not stay, you will be one who sympathizes with the doctrine, who follows Jesus as a man who does so much charity, is so good, who has the right values, but discipleship is precisely the true identity of the Christian.

And it will be discipleship that will give us freedom: the disciple is a free man because he remains in the Lord. And "stay in the Lord", what does it mean? Let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit. The disciple lets himself be guided by the Spirit, for this reason the disciple is always a man of tradition and novelty, he is a free man. Free. Never subject to ideologies, to doctrines within Christian life, doctrines that can be discussed ... remains in the Lord, it is the Spirit that inspires. When we sing to the Spirit, we tell him that he is a guest of the soul, (Cf. Inno Veni, Sancte Spiritus), who lives in us. But this, only if we remain in the Lord.

I ask the Lord to make us know this wisdom to remain in Him and to let us know that familiarity with the Spirit: the Holy Spirit gives us freedom. And this is the anointing. Whoever remains in the Lord is a disciple, and the disciple is an anointed, anointed by the Spirit, who has received the anointing of the Spirit and carries it forward. This is the way that Jesus shows us for freedom and also for life. And discipleship is the anointing received by those who remain in the Lord.

May the Lord make us understand, this is not easy: because the doctors had not understood it, it is not understood only with the head; you understand with your head and heart, this wisdom of the anointing of the Holy Spirit that makes us disciples.

Prayer to make spiritual communion:

People who cannot communicate sacramentally now make spiritual communion.

At Your feet, O my Jesus, I bow down and offer You the repentance of my heart that abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the sacrament of your love, the Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor dwellings that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: - Unofficial Translation