Saturday, May 9, 2020

Sunday Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Sunday May 10, 2020 - #Eucharist in Eastertide - Your Virtual Church - 5th of #Easter

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Lectionary: 52
Reading 1ACTS 6:1-7
As the number of disciples continued to grow,
the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews
because their widows
were being neglected in the daily distribution.
So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said,
“It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.
Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men,
filled with the Spirit and wisdom,
whom we shall appoint to this task,
whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer
and to the ministry of the word.”
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community,
so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit,
also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas,
and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
They presented these men to the apostles
who prayed and laid hands on them.
The word of God continued to spread,
and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly;
even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

Responsorial PsalmPS 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
R. (22) Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
R. Alleluia.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
R. Alleluia.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
R. Alleluia.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
R. Alleluia.

Reading 21 PT 2:4-9
Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings
but chosen and precious in the sight of God,
and, like living stones,
let yourselves be built into a spiritual house
to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
For it says in Scripture:
Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion,
a cornerstone, chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame.
Therefore, its value is for you who have faith, but for those without faith:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,
A stone that will make people stumble,
and a rock that will make them fall.
They stumble by disobeying the word, as is their destiny.

You are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people of his own,
so that you may announce the praises” of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

AlleluiaJN 14:6
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way, the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father, except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 14:1-12
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.”

Saint May 10 : St. Antonius of Florence who begged nothing of God but his Grace to avoid Sin and Patron against Fevers - Died 1459


1 March 1389 at Florence, Italy
2 May 1459 at Florence, Italy
31 May 1523 by Pope Adrian VI
Patron of:
against fever
St. Antoninus, or Little Antony, was born at Florence in 1389. His parents, named Nicholas Pierozzi and Thomassina, were noble citizens of that place, and he was the only fruit of their marriage. From the cradle he was modest, bashful, docile, and had no inclination but to piety, being even then an enemy both to sloth and to the amusements of children. It was his only pleasure to read the lives of saints and other good books, to converse with pious persons, or employ himself in prayer, to which he was much given from his infancy. Accordingly, if he was not at home or at school, he was always to be found at St. Michael's church before a crucifix, or in our Lady's chapel there. And whether he applied himself to that holy exercise in his closet or the church, he always kneeled or lay prostrate, with a perseverance that astonished everybody. By the means of a happy memory, a solid judgment, and quick penetration, assisted by an assiduous application, he became an able master at an age when others scarce begin to understand the first elements of the sciences. But his passion for learning was not equal to his ardor to perfect himself in the science of salvation. In prayer, he begged nothing of God but his grace to avoid sin, and to do his holy will in all things. F. Dominic, a learned and holy preacher of the order of St. Dominic, afterwards made cardinal, archbishop of Ragusa, and legate of the holy see, was then employed in building a convent at Fiesoli, two miles from Florence. Antoninus was wonderfully delighted with the unction of his sermons, and never went out of Florence but to converse with that apostolic man, to whom he applied at last for the Dominican habit. The father judging him as yet too young, and his constitution too tender for so strict a life of perpetual abstinence, frequent fasts, long watchings, and other rigors, advised him to wait yet some years, and bid him first study the canon law, adding, that when he should have learned Gratian's decree by heart, his request should be granted. So dry and difficult a task would have seemed to another equivalent to an absolute refusal. However, Antoninus set about it, and joining prayer and severe mortifications with his studies, made an essay of the ]life to which he aspired; and in less than a year presented himself again to the prior of Fiesoli; and by answering his examination upon the whole decree of Gratian, gave him a surprising proof of his capacity, memory, and fervor. The prior hesitated no longer, but gave him the habit, he being then sixteen years of age. The young novice was most exact in complying with every point of the rule, and appeared the most humble, the most obedient, most mortified, and most recollected of his brethren. Being advanced to the priesthood, he augmented his exercise of piety; he was never seen at the altar but bathed in tears. Whether sick or well, he day always on the hard boards; and so perfectly had he subjected the flesh to the spirit, that he seemed to feel no reluctance from his senses in the service of God. He was chosen very young to govern the great convent of the Minerva in Rome, and after that, was successively prior at Naples, Cajeta, Cortona, Sienna, Fiesoli, and Florence: in all which places he zealously enforced the practice of the rule of St. Dominic, and more by his actions than words. Besides his domestic employments he preached often, and with great fruit. The works which he published increased his reputation. He was consulted from Rome, and from all quarters, especially in intricate cases of the canon law. The learned cardinal de Lucca reckons him among the most distinguished auditors or judges of the Rota, though we do not find at what time he discharged that office. He was chosen vicar or general superior of a numerous reformed congregation in his order. He would not remit any thing in his austerities or labors when exhausted by a decay, of which however he recovered. Pope Eugenius IV called him to the general council of Florence; and he assisted in quality of divine at all its sessions, and at the disputations with the Greeks. During his stay at Florence he was made prior of the convent of St. Mark in that city, for which Cosmus of Medicis, called the father of his country, was then building a sumptuous church, which pope Eugenius IV. consecrated. After having established in this house the true spirit of his order, he visited his convents in Tuscany and Naples.

While employed in introducing the primitive discipline of his order in the province of Naples, the see of Florence became vacant by the death of its archbishop. The intrigues of several candidates protracted the election of a successor. But pope Eugenius IV. no sooner named F. Antoninus to the Florentines, as possessed of the qualities they had desired in their future bishop, namely, sanctity, learning, and experience, and his being a native of their own city, than they all acquiesced in his choice. Antoninus, who had then been two years absent from Florence, employed in the visitation of his monasteries, was equally surprised and afflicted that he should have been thought of for so eminent a dignity. And that he might escape it, he set out with the design of concealing himself in the isle of Sardinia; but being prevented in the execution, he was obliged to go to Sienna, whence he wrote to the pope, conjuring his holiness not to lay that formidable burden on his weak shoulders, alleging his being in the decline of life, worn out with fatigues and sickness; enlarging also upon his great unworthiness and want of capacity; and begging that he would not now treat him as an enemy whom he had honored with so many marks of friendship. He could not close his letter without watering it with his tears. The pope, however, was inflexible, and sent him an order to repair without delay to his convent at Fiesoli. He wrote at the same time to the city of Florence, to acquaint, them that he had sent them an archbishop to their gates. The principal, persons of the clergy and nobility, with Cosmus of Medicis at their head, went out to compliment him on that occasion; but found him so averse to the dignity, that all their entreaties to take it upon him were to no purpose, till the pope, being again applied to in the affair, sent him an order to obey, backing it with a threat of excommunication if he persisted in opposing the will of God. After many tears, Antoninus at last complied; he was consecrated and took possession of his bishopric in March, 1446. His regulation of his household and conduct was a true imitation of the primitive apostolic bishops. His table, dress, and furniture showed a perfect spirit of poverty, modesty, and simplicity. It was his usual saying, that all the riches. Of a successor of the apostles ought to be his virtue. He practiced all the observances of his rule as far as compatible with his functions. His whole family consisted of six persons, to whom he assigned such salaries as might hinder them from seeking accidental perquisites, which are usually iniquitous or dangerous. He at first appointed two grand vicars, but afterwards, to avoid all occasions of variance, kept only one; and remembering that a bishop is bound to personal service, did almost every thing himself, but always with mature advice. As to his temporalities, he relied entirely on a man of probity and capacity, to reserve himself totally for his spiritual functions. He gave audience every day to all that addressed themselves to him, but particularly declared himself the father and protector of the poor. His purse and his granaries were in a manner totally theirs; when these were exhausted, he gave them often part of his scanty furniture and clothes. He never was possessed of any plate, or any other precious moveables, and never kept either dogs or horses; one only mule served all the necessities of his family, and this he often sold for the relief of some poor person; on which occasion, some wealthy citizen would buy it, to restore it again as a present to the charitable archbishop. He founded the college of St. Martin, to assist persons of reduced circumstances, and ashamed to make known their necessities, which establishment now provides for above six hundred families. His mildness appeared not only in his patience in bearing the insolence and importunities of the poor, but in his sweetness and benevolence towards his enemies. One named Ciardi, whom he had cited before him to answer certain criminal accusations, made an attempt on his life; and the saint narrowly escaped the thrust of his poniard, which pierced the back of his chair. Yet he freely forgave the assassin, and praying for his conversion, had the comfort to see him become a sincere penitent in the order of St. Francis.

The saint wanted not courage whenever the honor of God required it. He suppressed games of hazard; reformed other abuses in all orders preached almost every Sunday and holiday, and visited his whole diocese every year, always on foot. His character for wisdom and integrity was such, that he was consulted from all parts, and by persons of the highest rank, both secular and ecclesiastical: and his decisions gave so general a satisfaction, that they acquired him the name of Antoninus the counsellor. Yet this multiplicity of business was no interruption of his attention to God. He allowed himself very little sleep. Over and above the church office, he recited daily the office of our Lady, and the seven penitential psalms; the office of the dead twice a week, and the whole psalter on every festival. In the midst of his exterior affairs he always preserved the same serenity of countenance, and the same peace of mind, and seemed always recollected in God. Francis Castillo, his secretary, once said to him, bishops were to be pitied if they were to be eternally besieged with hurry as he was. The saint made him this answer, which the author of his life wished to see written in letters of gold: "To enjoy interior peace, we must always reserve in our hearts amidst all affairs, as it were, a secret closet, where we are to keep retired within ourselves, and where no business of the world can ever enter." Pope Eugenius IV. falling sick, sent for Antoninus to Rome, made his confession to him, received the viaticum and extreme-unction from his hands, and expired in his arms on the 23d of February, 1447. Nicholas IV succeeded him. St. Antoninus having received his benediction, hastened to Florence, where a pestilence had begun to show itself, which raged the whole year following. The holy archbishop exposed himself first, and employed his clergy, both secular and regular, especially those of his own order, in assisting the infected; so that almost all the friars of St. Mark, St. Mary Novella, and Fiesoli were swept away by the contagion, and new recruits were sent from the province of Lombardy to inhabit those houses. The famine, as is usual, followed this first scourge. The holy archbishop stripped himself of almost every thing; and by the influence of his words and example, many rich persons were moved to do the like. He obtained from Rome, particularly from the pope, great succors for the relief of the distressed. Indeed, the pope never refused any thing that he requested; and ordered that no appeals should be received at Rome from any sentence passed by him. After the public calamity was over, the saint continued his liberalities to the poor; but being informed that two blind beggars had amassed, the one two hundred, and the other three hundred ducats, he tool; the money from them, and distributed it among the real objects of charity; charging himself, however, with the maintenance of those two for the rest of their lives. Humility made him conceal his heroic practices of penance and piety from others, and even from himself; for he saw nothing but imperfections even in what others admired in him, and never heard any thing tending to his own commendation without confusion and indignation. He formed many perfect imitators of his virtue. An accident discovered to him a hidden servant of God. A poor handicraftsman lived in obscurity, in the continual practice of penance, having no other object of his desires but heaven. He passed the Sundays and holidays in the churches, and distributed all he gained by his work, beyond his mean subsistence, among the poor, with the greatest privacy; and kept a poor leper, serving him and dressing his ulcers with his own hands, bearing the continual reproaches and complaints of the ungrateful beggar, not only with patience, but also with joy. The leper became the more morose and imperious, and carried complaints against his benefactor to the archbishop, who, discovering this hidden treasure of sanctity in the handicraftsman, secretly honored it, while he punished the insolence of the leper.

Florence was shook by frequent earthquakes during three years, from 1453, and a large tract of land was laid desolate by a violent storm. The saint maintained, lodged, and set up again the most distressed, and rebuilt their houses. But he labored most assiduously to render these public calamities instrumental to the reformation of his people's manners. Cosmus of Medicis used to say, that he did not question but the preservation of their republic, under its great dangers, was owing chiefly to the merits and prayers of its holy archbishop. Pope Pius II. has left us, in the second book of his Commentaries, a most edifying history of the eminent virtues of our saint, and the strongest testimonies of his sanctity. The love of his flock made him decline a secular embassy to the emperor Frederic ill. God called him to the reward of his labors on the 2d of May, 1459, in the seventieth year of his age, the thirteenth of his archiepiscopal dignity. He repeated on his death-bed these words, which he had often in his mouth during health, "To serve God is to reign." Pope Pius II. being then at Florence, assisted at his funeral. His hair-shirt and other relics were the instruments of many miracles. He was buried, according to his desire, in the church of St. Mark, among his religious brethren, and was canonized by Adrian VI. in 1523. His body was found entire in 1559, and translated with the greatest pomp and solemnity, into a chapel prepared to receive it in the same church of St. Mark, richly adorned by the two brothers Salviati, whose family looks upon it as their greatest honor that this illustrious saint belonged to it. Nor is it easy to imagine any thing that could surpass the rich embellishments of this chapel, particularly the shrine; nor the pomp and magnificence of the procession and translation, at which a area number of cardinals, bishops, and princes from several parts assisted, who all admired to see the body perfectly free from corruption, one hundred and thirty years after it had been buried.

The venerable Achard, bishop of Avranches, in his excellent treatise On Self-denial, reduces the means and practice of Christian perfection to seven degrees of self-renunciation, by which he is disposed for the reign of love in his soul. These degrees he otherwise calls seven deserts of the soul. The first is the desert of penance. The second of solitude, at least that of the heart. The third of mortification. The fourth of simplicity of faith. The fifth of obedience. The sixth of the pure love of God. The seventh of zeal for his honor in the salvation of our neighbor. For a man, first, is to renounce sin by sincere repentance. Secondly, the world by solitude. Thirdly, the flesh by the mortification of his senses. Fourthly, though reason is man's most noble excellency, yet this being obscured and often blinded by the passions, easily becomes the seat of pride, and leads into the most dangerous precipices and errors. Man is therefore bound to humble his reason by keeping it in due subordination, and in a certain degree to renounce it by simplicity of heart and sincere humility. And this is so far from being against reason, that it is the sovereign use of reason. Fifthly, a man is moreover obliged to renounce his own will by perfect obedience. Sixthly, he must moreover renounce all that he is by the pure love of God, which ought to have no bounds. Seventhly, none but one who has tasted the sweetness of heavenly contemplation, knows how incomparable an advantage he renounces who deprives himself of it. Yet zeal for our neighbor's salvation, and tender compassion for his spiritual miseries, move the saints sometimes to prefer toils and sufferings to its pure delights and charms. By these rules we see by what degrees or means pious pastors attain to the apostolic spirit of their state, and how heroic their sacrifice is. Source Lives of the Saints Butler- Image source: Google

Saint May 10 : St. Damien of Molokai - Patron of AIDS / HIV patients and Lepers - Died 1889

St. Damien of Molokai
Feast: May 10

Feast Day:
May 10
January 3, 1840, Tremelo, Belgium
April 15, 1889 (aged 49),        Kalaupapa, Molokai, Hawaii
June 4, 1995, Rome by Pope John Paul II
October 11, 2009, Rome by Pope Benedict XVI
Major Shrine:
shrine Leuven, Belgium (bodily relics), Maui, Hawaii (relics of his hand)
Patron of:
People with leprosy, people with HIV and AIDS, outcasts, the State of Hawaii

Father Damien of Molokai, was born Josef de Veuster on January 3, 1840 in Tremelo, Belgium. His parents were farmers. His father sent him to a college at Braine-le-Comte. Because of a mission he attended given by the Redemptorists in 1858, Joseph decided to become a religious. He entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, SS.CC. at Louvain, taking the name of Damien in his first vows. Following his brother Auguste, he became a Picpus Brother on October 7, 1860. He took the name Bro. Damianus, after St. Damien, an early Christian saint who performed miracles. On March 19, 1864, Damien arrived in Honolulu in the Kingdom of Hawaii as a missionary still in minor orders. There, Damien was ordained to the priesthood on May 24, 1864 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, a church built by his religious order, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Fr. Damien was serving at several parishes on the island of Oahu when he became aware of  the public health crisis in Hawaii. Many of his parishoners were among the Hawaiians who became afflicted by diseases brought to the islands by Europeans, American and other foreign sailors. Thousands were dying from influenza, syphilis and other ailments that never before affected Hawaiians, esp. leprosy, known today as Hansen's Disease.

Hawaiian King Kamehameha IV was afraid leprosy would spread so he segregated the lepers by creating a colony, moving them to an isolated settlement on the island of Molokai. The Board of Health provided them with supplies and food but did not yet have the manpower nor resources to provide proper healthcare to the lepers.
Fr Damien was concerned about the care of their souls if they were to be sent to this desolate area, named Kalaupapa, which was surrounded by an impregnable mountain ridge. Fr. Damien's brother was orignally assigned to be missionary to the lepers but he became ill. Fr. believed that the lepers should at least have a priest to tend to their spiritual needs so he volunteered knowing it was a definite death sentence, so he asked his bishop to be sent to Molokai.
On May 10, 1873, Fr. Damien arrived at the isolated settlement at Kalaupapa. Bishop Louis Maigret, presented Fr. Damien to the 600 lepers as "one who will be a father to you, and who loves you so much that he does not hesitate to become one of you; to live and die with you." Fr. Damien was sent to a morally deprived, lawless colony of death where people fought each other to survive.

His first project was to build the Parish Church of St. Philomena so the people might learn the Catholic faith and have a place to worship Our Lord in the "Blessed Sacrament, (is) indeed the stimulus for us all for me as it should be for you to forsake all worldly ambitions." He taught that "the Eucharist is the bread that gives strength. It is at once the most eloquent proof of His love and the most powerful means to foster His love in us. He gives Himself every day so that our hearts as burning coals may set afire the hearts of the faithful.”
The King of Hawaii didn't plan the settlement to be in chaos but he neglected to provide desparately needed resources, which contributed to the confusion and disorganization in the colony. Fr. Damien changed an impossible situation into a colony of life by teaching, painting grass shacks into painted houses, organizing farms and constructing buildings, chapels and roads. He restored faith in his battered and neglected flock. He showed them that despite what the outside world told them, they were precious in the eyes of God. He taught them to believe in God and showed them that by his genuine acts of charity that what there was purpose in their lives. He restored personal pride and dignity among so many who had given up hope. He organized a band, horse riding and choir.
Fr. Damien worked providing comfort for the people of Kalaupapa for sixteen years. He was not just their priest, but a builder of homes and their doctor, too. He dressed their ulcers, and tended the sick and dying at their bedsides, bringing them meager portions of taro, fish and water and tried to cheer the despairing with sweets.
He built their coffins and dug their graves. He liked praying at the cemetary, “My greatest pleasure is to go there [the cemetery] to say my beads, and meditate on that unending happiness which so many of them are already enjoying.” Fr. grew to love his parishioners as his own children, caring for lepers of all ages, especially for the children segregated in the colony for whom he created an orphanage.
"Without the constant presence of our Divine Master upon the altar in my poor chapels, I never could have persevered casting my lot with the afflicted of Molokai; the foreseen consequence of which begins now to appear on my skin and is felt throughout the body." In 1885, he announced, "I am one of you;" he was a leper yet he continued to build hospitals, clinics, and churches, and some six hundred coffins.
Fr. Damien had a chance to leave the island if he wanted to. In the spring of 1873 his superiors sent a letter giving him permission to stay, "You may stay as long as your devotion dictates...." He was overjoyed, he had permission to stay where he was and where he longed with all his heart to be with the people he loved.

His most controversial accomplishment was to take the plight of his Hawaiian to the world raising money for the much needed improvements he needed to improve the standard of living in the colony gaining support from around the world e.g. Anglicans in England at the disapproval of his superiors.
Fr. Damien de Veuster was a priest of profound faith, "Holy Communion being the daily bread of a priest, I feel myself happy, well pleased, and resigned in the rather exceptional circumstances in which it has pleased Divine Providence to put me. Were it not for the constant presence of our divine Master in our humble chapel, I would not have found it possible to persevere in sharing the lot of the afflicted in Molokai…the Eucharist is the bread that gives strength. It is at once the most eloquent proof of his love and the most powerful means of foster His love in us. He gives Himself every day so hat our hearts as burning coals may set afire the hearts of the faithful,”
He died April 15, 1889 on his beloved Molokai the age of forty-nine. This is the tomb of St. Damien on Molokai. Father Damien was initially buried in Kalaupapa, but his body was later moved to Tremolo, Belgium. But in 1995, his right hand was returned to Kalaupapa.
Saint Damien is the patron of those with leprosy, outcasts, HIV, AIDS and the State of Hawaii. Do not hesitate to call him to help you in your time of need. Source: St. Damien Molokai UK

Saint May 9 : St. Louise de Marillac : Patron of Disappointing children, Rejected by Religious orders, Social workers

NB. In 2016 this Feast Day was moved from March 15 to May 9 in the Roman Calendar
12 August 1591 at Meux, France
Died: 15 March 1660 at Paris, France
11 March 1934 by Pope Pius XI
Major Shrine:
Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Rue du Bac, Paris, France
Patron of:
disappointing children, loss of parents, people rejected by religious orders, sick people, social workers, Vincentian Service Corps, widows
Foundress of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, born at Paris, 12 August, 1591, daughter of
 Louis de Marillac, Lord of Ferri res, and Marguerite Le Camus; died there, 15 March, 1660. Her 
mother having died soon after the birth of Louise, the education of the latter devolved upon her father, 
a man of blameless life. In her earlier years she was confided to the care of her aunt, a religious at 
Poissy. Afterwards she studied under a preceptress, devoting much time to the cultivation of the arts. 
Her father's serious disposition was reflected in the daughter's taste for philosophy and kindred subjects.
 When about sixteen years old, Louise developed a strong desire to enter the Capuchinesses (Daughter 
of the Passion). Her spiritual director dissuaded her, however, and her father having died, it became 
necessary to decide her vocation. Interpreting her director's advice, she accepted the hand of Antoine* 
Le Gras, a young secretary under Maria de' Medici. A son was born of this marriage on 13 October, 
1613, and to his education Mlle Le Gras devoted herself during the years of his childhood. Of works of 
charity she never wearied. In 1619 she became acquainted with St. Francis de Sales, who was then in 
Paris, and Mgr. Le Campus, Bishop of Belley, became her spiritual adviser. Troubled by the thought 
that she had rejected a call to the religious state, she vowed in 1623 not remarry should her husband die
 before her.

M. Le Gras died on 21 December, 1625, after a long illness. In the meantime his wife had made the 
acquaintance of a priest known as M. Vincent (St. Vincent de Paul), who had been appointed superior 
of the Visitation Monastery by St. Francis of Sales. She placed herself under his direction, probably 
early in 1625. His influence led her to associate herself with his work among the poor of Paris, and 
especially in the extension of the Confrérie de la Charité, an association which he had founded for the 
relief of the sick poor. It was this labour which decided her life's work, the founding of the Sisters of 
Charity. The history of the evolution of this institute, which Mlle Le Gras plays so prominent a part, 
has been given elsewhere (see Charity, Sister of); it suffices here to say that, with formal ecclesiastical 
and state recognition, Mlle Le Gras' life-work received its assurance of success. Her death occurred in 
1660, a few month before the death of St. Vincent, with whose labours she had been so closely united.
(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)

The Value of Livestream Mass during COVID 19 Pandemic - In a Time like this, All Catholics need a Sense of Connection

The Value of Livestream Mass during COVID 19 Pandemic
By: K Vestermark, MA
It's been a struggle, let’s be real about this. Trying to live each day without being able to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, not able to receive the Eucharist – it feels like a time of exile in the Church. And, in a sense, it is; but Mother Church is our guide, who at this time is once again the model of obedience and is asking us to follow her lead. Some of us will comply without question, others of us will call out our bishops and ask them to stand up and demand that worship be deemed essential, and still others will be complacent and possibly fall away because the habit was weakly or not fully formed in them at all.
 In a time like this, all Catholics need a sense of connection with the Church.
With this in mind, I asked the question on social media about whether there was any value in viewing livestream Mass. I also asked about the responsibility of our pastors and priests to keep their parishioners not only informed of the teachings of the Church, but also spiritually nourished in the faith during this quarantine; and, in turn, what is the responsibility of the faithful to our priests/bishops? The response to my question was overwhelming leading me to consider the value of livestream Mass in light of the fourth commandment – assessing its value based on how we are meant to behave toward the Church and the Church’s responsibilities toward her flock.
The fourth commandment states: Honor your Father and your Mother. What does that have to do with our responsibilities toward the Church and hers toward us? The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches that this commandment is much more than that simple directive.
Let’s unpack the first part:
This commandment is expressed in positive terms of duties to be fulfilled. It introduces the subsequent commandments which are concerned with particular respect for life, marriage, earthly goods, and speech. It constitutes one of the foundations of the social doctrine of the Church. (CCC, 2198, emphasis added)
How does this pertain to the faithful and to our relationship with the Church? This passage begins by stressing the importance of the social doctrines of the Church; in other words, the Church provides a system by which we live in harmony within community which extends beyond the walls of the structure of the Church and provides for love of God through love of neighbor. We learn this basic social principle in our homes, our domestic church. During this time of pandemic, all we have available to us for worship in some cases is our domestic church along with virtual worship tools such as: Mass, daily prayers, Rosary, fireside chats, webinars, courses, etc. Based on a sampling I collected, many of the faithful are grateful for these additional offerings allowing for some prayerful interaction as a virtual community. For instance, Bob offered this:
Live streamed Mass and Divine Liturgy, Orthros, and Vespers have been my only way of staying in common prayer with others living in Christ. This is necessary for any of my own prayers in my domestic church of one to work.
And Jennifer echoed his words:
It keeps the community feel and a connection to the parish…I love that I can open [Social Media] and see Father [X] or Father [Y]. It’s just meant a lot and I hope they continue.
Bob and Jennifer are finding community and so are others. Virtual Mass is keeping them grounded in the faith and connected to their spiritual home. They are enlivening their domestic Church with the assistance of a virtual medium.
Laura, however, looked at the other side of this coin:
“I also believe our priests are doing their best to stay as connected to their parishioners as possible. I think our participation gives them encouragement.”
Potentially, this may be the more urgent aspect of the need to be in community; priests are sometimes one or two to a rectory, and in some places, they are even alone. Locked down during a pandemic with no one – solitary confinement. Suddenly parish priests find themselves cloistered. They need the parish community as much as the parish community needs them. Diocesan priests and religious weren’t meant to live in isolation. We need to look at the communal nature of the Mass and see livestream Mass as an antidote to loneliness for the congregation and for our priests.
God is allowing that the Mass be provided in a virtual manner to give us comfort, to bring us hope even if we can’t be there in person. The Mass offered in a “virtual manner” is not unique to our time; God has already provided this grace elsewhere in history.
Jeanne reminded me in answer to my question that this livestreamed Mass is nothing new under the sun:
When St. Clare could not physically attend Mass, God provided her Mass (via live stream) on the wall of her cell. St. Faustina and St. Therese were told by Jesus when they were physically unable to attend Mass that a humble spiritual Communion in a state of grace could be just as efficacious receiving Jesus physically.
The next section of this passage from the CCC on the fourth commandment requires us to consider how our responsibilities extend beyond our mother and father:
 “…likewise concerns the ties of kinship between members of the extended family. It requires honor, affection, and gratitude toward elders and ancestors. Finally, it extends to the duties of pupils to teachers, employees to employers, subordinates to leaders, citizens to their country, and to those who administer or govern it” (CCC 2199).
We need to respect and be subordinate to those who have authority over us. We often don’t like to be told what to do; this shelter in place order, for instance, is beginning to grate on many of us who are typically rule followers. It’s not easy to remain isolated as I mentioned above, but it’s all the more distressing when it is enforced beyond our control. In this particular instance, we look to Mother Church and our spiritual fathers in the Church, her priests. Because the priest stands in persona Christi during the administration of the Sacraments, and because has been consecrated to the Church, we own him our respect and honor as our spiritual father. We must trust that what the priest says and does is for the good of our soul. And, sometimes, like a father who sees the needs of a child who may or may not be obedient, he repeats himself. What I mean is that it has been repeated frequently to the faithful who are watching that livestream Mass does not take the place of the Mass. Of course, it doesn’t; and this reminder can be frustrating to those of us who are just trying to return some order and discipline to our lives. But frustrating as it may be, it cannot be ignored that the duty of the priest is to look for the little lost sheep while the other 99 graze and take care of themselves. What most of us understand, the priest must repeat for the good of others who may not understand. It’s his responsibility toward his flock.
Here it is, the issue and why the point is reiterated: There is no sacramental grace available to the viewer in the livestream Mass, and it does not fulfill our obligation to attend Mass (of which we have all been dispensed – not even to view the livestream Masses being offered). We are not participating in the Mass as if we were there and the priest has the duty to make this clear to his flock so as not to have them misunderstand this livestream Mass as a substitute for attendance at Mass when it is restored. The priest is protecting his sheep from danger, especially those likely to stray and become lost. It is of grave concern, however, that while priests look to ensure their flock understands the purpose of a livestream Mass, that they don’t inadvertently discourage those who are seeking and finding through this medium. Livestream opportunities are a comfort to many, and to others, they can be a means of exploring God and his Church in anonymity. There is a great good taking place by making the Mass available via livestream. Thus, great care must be taken so as not to dissuade the members of the flock and others who are experiencing the nurturing effects of staying connected.
A priest from a local parish put a positive yet cautionary spin on livestream viewing before one of his daily Masses; he led with the fact there is grace in praying along with the livestream Mass and we should avail ourselves of it frequently, but that viewing a livestreamed Mass is by no means a replacement for actually being present and participating in the Mass. He took the opportunity to teach those who may have misunderstood the objective of livestreaming the Mass; at the same time, he also provided a source of comfort and encouragement to the all who were viewing. The priest, in sharing via livestream his daily obligation to say the Mass, extends this Sacred duty by bringing Christ into our domestic churches allowing all who at this time cannot be physically present to hear the Word, witness the Consecration, make a spiritual communion and provide a means of prayer and reflection.
Madeleine expressed it this way:
While we come together as best we can through virtual [livestream] Mass, I believe through the act of bringing our bodies and souls, even in front of the television and even if not live in a church, this act fortifies our relationship with God, even if not as powerfully as the real thing.
A connection is made in witnessing of livestream Mass that can’t be ignored and ought to be encouraged, especially now when the faithful are removed from participation.
Maryan, whose family member is a priest, said this:
Father told us that watching live Masses imparts grace, but also seeing my beloved (from a very great distance) is good for my soul. Homilies are edifying as well.
And Claire added:
I believe this pandemic has pointed out spiritual eyes back to the family and the “Domestic Church” and for us it’s important to maintain that semblance of ritual that we have never been denied before. Since Lent we had added several things and have increased them further during this quarantine.
The longing for God and His sacraments will build a stronger, more faith-filled and connected flock upon our return to true Communion; of this, I have no doubt.
There is a real benefit to having the Mass available livestreamed online every day, everywhere, if for no other reason than it brings hope and creates a holy longing for the Mass. 
The closing paragraph on the fourth commandment tells us:
Respecting this commandment provides, along with spiritual fruits, temporal fruits of peace and prosperity. Conversely, failure to observe it brings great harm to communities and to individuals (CCC, 2200)
While we wait for public worship to be restored, we know that the sacramental graces are being received by our priests, deacons and seminarians who are, in turn, offering those graces for us! We are being recommended to the Father through the grace of the Mass – we are a gift being offered, the faithful who cannot partake. We are, in our obedience and love of the Church and her sacraments receiving spiritual and temporal fruits. These great riches available would be lost to us without the efforts of the priests who provide the Mass to us in some form, and by our own efforts to be witness to them. And, won’t it be the richest reward here on Earth, the day that we can enter back in? 
Maria Elena put it this way:
The live stream Mass makes me long for our Eucharistic Lord more. This virus made me realize how much I took Jesus for granted in the past and made me sorrowful. I never imagined that He would be taken from us. I will never think the live-stream Mass is good enough....I will run to our Lord when the public Mass is re-instated.
Running to Our Lord, what a beautiful image and also a poignant reminder the we are separated from the Eucharist. The ability to view the Sacrifice of the Mass virtually via livestream serves to increase our desire for the One we cannot receive. Maria Elena also found that it added a sense of the normal to very abnormal circumstance, especially for her son with special needs:
Watching my own parish, brings me comfort when we cannot be together. My son with autism loves hearing "our" priests' voices and [it] gives him comfort and a sense of normalcy.
I think this is all summed up beautifully in a prayer written by St. Thomas Aquinas: 
Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.
St. Thomas was speaking to his Father in heaven, entrusting himself to Him and longing deeply to be in His company. It is with great joy that we avail ourselves of this opportunity in our current exile from the Eucharist to at least be near Our Lord and Savior spiritually by means of livestream Masses. Understood through the lens of the fourth commandment, we see in this temporary practice our duty toward the Church and hers toward the faithful. Based on the comments I received, the consensus was clearly that the faithful can serve God through trust, virtual presence, and obedience; and in doing so, receive myriad graces. At the same time, the Church, through her priests and deacons offering the Mass and sharing it livestream over social media, serve as a reminder of the beauty and sacramental grace to be ours again soon. They send us blessings with their prayers. A sincere thank you to our dear priests for making the Mass available via livestream – we are grateful for this and all your efforts to serve us while we must be away.
US Correspondent to Catholic News World - Kathryn Vestermark lives in Northern Virginia and is a wife and mother of six children, one with significant special needs. She worked for 13 yrs. in medical education at USUHS on a project to include families of children with special needs as faculty and advisors to medical education. She received her MA in Theology from Catholic Distance University, where she teaches.

At Mass, Pope Francis says "...the Church goes forward, in peace, with resignation, joyful: between "the consolations of God and the persecutions of the world". Full Text

"The Holy Spirit makes the Church harmony,
the bad spirit destroys"
Saturday, May 9, 2020


Today is the commemoration of Saint Louise de Marillac [a chapel has been brought to the chapel depicting the saint whose liturgical memory is celebrated on March 15 but, falling that day in the time of Lent, she was moved to today]: we pray for the nuns Vincentians who have been running this clinic, this hospital for almost 100 years [this is the Santa Marta pediatric dispensary managed by the sisters of the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity] and work here, in Santa Marta, for this hospital. The Lord bless the nuns.
We recited in the Psalm: "Sing a new song to the Lord, because he has done wonders. His right hand and his holy arm gave him victory. The Lord made his salvation known, in the eyes of the people he revealed his justice "( Ps 97,1-2). This is true. The Lord has done wonders. But how much effort. How hard it is for Christian communities to carry on these wonders of the Lord. In the passage of the Acts of the Apostles (cf Acts 13, 44-52) we felt joy: the whole city of Antioch gathered to listen to the Word of the Lord, because Paul, the apostles preached strongly, and the Spirit helped them.
But "When they saw that multitude, the Jews were filled with jealousy and with insulting words they contrasted Paul's affirmations" ( Ac 13.45). On one side there is the Lord, there is the Holy Spirit who makes the Church grow, and grows more and more: this is true. But on the other side there is the bad spirit that tries to destroy the Church. It is always like this. Always like that. It goes on but then comes the enemy trying to destroy. The balance is always positive in the long run, but how much effort, how much pain, how much martyrdom! This happened here, in Antioch, and happens everywhere in the Book of Acts of the Apostles. Think, for example, of Listra, when they arrived and healed [a paralytic] and everyone believed they were gods and wanted to make sacrifices, and all the people were with them (cf.Acts 14 : 8-18). Then the others came and convinced them that it was not so, and how did Paolo and his partner end up? Stoned (see Acts 14:19). Always this fight. We think of the magician Elimas, of how he did it, so that the Gospel would not reach the consul (cf Acts 13: 6-12); think of the owners of that girl who made the fortune teller: they exploited the girl well, because she "read the hands" and received the money that went into the bosses' pockets. And when Paul and the apostles did see that this was a lie, it was not right, once the revolution against them (cf. Acts16.16 to 24). Think of the artisans of the goddess Artèmide [in Ephesus] who lost their business by not being able to sell "these figurines", because people no longer bought them, because they had converted. And so, one after the other. On the one hand, the Word of God that summons, that grows, on the other hand the persecution, and great persecution because it ends up chasing them away, beating them ...
And what is the devil's tool to destroy the Gospel announcement? Envy . The Book of Wisdom makes it clear: "Through the devil's envy sin entered the world" (cf. Wis 2:24) - envy, jealousy, here. Always this bitter, bitter feeling. These people saw how they preached the Gospel and got angry, they gnawed their liver with anger. And this anger carried them forward: it is the anger of the devil, it is the anger that destroys, the anger of that "crucify, crucify!", Of that torture of Jesus. He wants to destroy. Always. Always.
Seeing this struggle, this very beautiful saying also applies to us: "The Church goes on between the consolations of God and the persecutions of the world" (cf. Sant'Agostino, De Civitate Dei , XVIII, 51,2). A Church that has no difficulties is missing something. The devil is too calm. And if the devil is calm, things are not going well. Always the difficulty, the temptation, the struggle ... the jealousy that destroys. The Holy Spirit does the harmony of the Church, and the bad spirit destroys. Until today. Until today. Always this fight. Temporal powers are an instrument of this jealousy, of this envy. Here he tells us that "the Jews stirred up the pious women of the nobility" ( At13.50), went to these women and said: "These are revolutionaries, kick them out"; the women spoke to the others and chased them away: they were the "pious women" of the nobility and also the notables of the city (cf. v. 50). They range from temporal power; and temporal power can be good: people can be good but power as such is always dangerous. The power of the world against the power of God moves all this and always behind this, at that power, there is money .
This is what happens in this early Church: the work of the Spirit to build the Church, to harmonize the Church, and the work of the bad spirit to destroy it - the use of temporal powers to stop the Church, destroy the Church - is only a development of what happens on the morning of the Resurrection. The soldiers, seeing that triumph, went to the priests and bought the truth ... the priests. And the truth has been "silenced". From the first morning of the Resurrection, the triumph of Christ, there is this betrayal, this "silencing" the word of Christ, "silencing" the triumph of the Resurrection with temporal power: the chief priests and the money.
We are careful, we are careful with the preaching of the Gospel: never to fall, to put trust in temporal powers and money. The trust of Christians is Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that He sent, and the Holy Spirit is the leaven, it is the force that makes the Church grow. Yes, the Church goes forward, in peace, with resignation, joyful: between "the consolations of God and the persecutions of the world".
Prayer to make spiritual communion
People who do not communicate now make spiritual communion:
My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. I love you above all things and I desire you in my soul. Since I cannot receive you sacramentally now, at least spiritually come to my heart. As already came, I embrace you and I join you all. Don't let me ever separate you from you.

FULL TEXT + Image Source: - a Translation from the Italian