Wednesday, May 20, 2020

What is the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven? Biblical Answers on the #Ascension and Novena Prayer

Today is the Feast of the Ascension as it is 40 Days after Easter - however, the celebration is often shifted to the nearest Sunday in many countries. The Ascension of Jesus is told in the Bible in Acts 1:9-11. This teaching explains that the resurrected Jesus was taken up to Heaven 40 days after the resurrection. The Gospels also describe the ascension of Jesus in Luke 24:50-53 and Mark 16:19. The ascension of Jesus is included in the Nicene Creed and in the Apostles' Creed. The Feast of the Ascension, is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter (always a Thursday). In some countries this Feast is transferred to the Sunday following the Thursday. Jesus said unto them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Jesus led the eleven disciples to Bethany, not far from Jerusalem.  Then he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. Acts 1:9 describes the Ascension: "And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." The Ascension took place on Mount Olivet. The Chapel of the Ascension in Jerusalem today is venerated by Christians and Muslims. There is a 12x12 meter octagonal structure (called a martyrium—"memorial"—or "Edicule") that remains to this day. Russian Orthodox have a Convent of the Ascension on the top of the Mount of Olives. Christian theology[edit]  The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:"Christ's Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God's power and authority." CCC 668. In  John 20:17 Jesus told St. Mary Magdalene: "I have not yet ascended to the Father; go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God"
Ascension remembers the day when Jesus went up into heaven 40 days after He rose from the dead.  The Ascension is often transferred to the Sunday so that people can attend Mass.
(Image: Pietro Perugino, Ascension, between 1496 and 1500 Oil on wood Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon. Pérugin, l’Ascension, between 1496 and 1500, huile sur bois, musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon.)
Novena Prayer (Say 9 Times)
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us Pray:
O God, who hast taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise, and ever rejoice in His consolations,
Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Thursday, May 21, 2020 - #Eucharist in Eastertide - Your Virtual Church

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 294
Reading 1ACTS 18:1-8
Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus,
who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla
because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.
He went to visit them and, because he practiced the same trade,
stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
Every sabbath, he entered into discussions in the synagogue,
attempting to convince both Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia,
Paul began to occupy himself totally with preaching the word,
testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.
When they opposed him and reviled him,
he shook out his garments and said to them,
“Your blood be on your heads!
I am clear of responsibility.
From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
So he left there and went to a house
belonging to a man named Titus Justus, a worshiper of God;
his house was next to a synagogue.
Crispus, the synagogue official, came to believe in the Lord
along with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians
who heard believed and were baptized.

Responsorial Psalm98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4
R.    (see 2b)  The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
R.    Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R.    The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
R.    Alleluia.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R.    The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
R.    Alleluia.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R.    The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
R.    Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 14:18
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord;
I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 16:16-20
Jesus said to his disciples:
“A little while and you will no longer see me,
and again a little while later and you will see me.”
So some of his disciples said to one another,
“What does this mean that he is saying to us,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me,’
and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”
So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks?
We do not know what he means.”
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them,
“Are you discussing with one another what I said,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me’?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

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 may 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
Press Play on the Video Below - Mass starts at 4:15- Fastforward

Saint May 21 : St. Eugene de Mazenod the Founder of the Missionary Oblates who died in 1861 - #OMI

 Eugene de Mazenod (1782-1861)

Bishop of Marseille, founder of the Congregation
of the Missionaries, Oblates of Mary Immaculate  

CHARLES JOSEPH EUGENE DE MAZENOD came into a world that was destined to change very quickly. Born in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France on August 1, 1782, he seemed assured of position and wealth from his family, who were of the minor nobility. However, the turmoil of the French Revolution changed all that forever. When Eugene was just eight years old his family fled France, leaving their possessions behind, and started a long and increasingly difficult eleven year exile.
Eugene de Mazenod speaks to us God our Father, we thank you for having called Saint Eugene de Mazenod to follow Christ the Saviour and Evangelizer. Passionately in love with your Son Jesus and sharing in his compassion for humanity Eugene put himself unconditionally at the service of your Church for the evangelization of those most in need. Through his intercession, help us to reach out with the healing touch of Christ who calls us to Holiness and to Mission. May we build communities which are signs of your presence, and share the Good News of salvation with all peoples. For this we dedicate ourselves, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory be
 Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Share with us your love for Christ. Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Help us to stand firm in goodness. Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Be with us in all our efforts. Saint Eugene de Mazenod, pray for us. Amen
********** Biography
The Years in Italy
The Mazenod family, political refugees, trailed through a succession of cities in Italy. His father, who had been President of the Court of Accounts, Aids and Finances in Aix, was forced to try his hand at trade to support his family. He proved to be a poor businessman, and as the years went on the family came close to destitution. Eugene studied briefly at the College of Nobles in Turin, but a move to Venice meant the end to formal schooling. A sympathetic priest, Don Bartolo Zinelli, living nearby, undertook to educate the young French emigre. Don Bartolo gave the adolescent Eugene a fundamental education, but with a lasting sense of God and a regimen of piety which was to stay with him always, despite the ups and downs of his life. A further move to Naples, because of financial problems, led to a time of boredom and helplessness. The family moved again, this time to Palermo where, thanks to the kindness of the Duke and Duchess of Cannizzaro, Eugene had his first taste of noble living and found it very much to his liking. He took to himself the title of "Count" de Mazenod, did all the courtly things, and dreamed of a bright future.
Return to France: the Priesthood
In 1802, at the age of 20, Eugene was able to return to his homeland - and all his dreams and illusions were quickly shattered. He was just plain "Citizen" de Mazenod, France was a changed world, his parents had separated, his mother was fighting to get back the family possessions. She was also intent on marrying off Eugene to the richest possible heiress. He sank into depression, seeing little real future for himself. But his natural qualities of concern for others, together with the faith fostered in Venice began to assert themselves. He was deeply affected by the disastrous situation of the French Church, which had been ridiculed, attacked and decimated by the Revolution. A calling to the priesthood began to manifest itself, and Eugene answered that call. Despite opposition from his mother, he entered the seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris, and on December 21, 1811, he was ordained a priest in Amiens.

Apostolic endeavours: Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Returning to Aix-en-Provence, he did not take up a normal parish appointment, but started to exercise his priesthood in the care of the truly spiritually needy-prisoners, youth, servants, country villagers. Often in the face of opposition from the local clergy, Eugene pursued his course. Soon he sought out other equally zealous priests who were prepared to step outside the old, even outmoded, structures. Eugene and his men preached in Provencal, the language of the common people, not in "educated" French. From village to village they went, instructing at the level of the people, spending amazingly long hours in the confessional. In between these parish missions the group joined in an intense community life of prayer, study and fellowship. They called themselves "Missionaries of Provence". However, so that there would be an assured continuity in the work, Eugene took the bold step of going directly to the Pope and asking that his group be recognized officially as a Religious Congregation of pontifical right. His faith and his persistence paid off-and on February 17d, 1826, Pope Leo XII approved the new Congregation, the "Oblates of Mary Immaculate". Eugene was elected Superior General, and continued to inspire and guide his men for 35 years, until his death. Together with their growing apostolic endeavours-preaching, youth work, care of shrines, prison chaplaincy, confessors, direction of seminaries, parishes - Eugene insisted on deep spiritual formation and a close community life. He was a man who loved Christ with passion and was always ready to take on any apostolate if he saw it answering the needs of the Church. The "glory of God, the good of the Church and the sanctification of souls" were impelling forces for him.
Bishop o f Marseilles
The Diocese of Marseilles had been suppressed after the 1802 Concordat, and when it was re-established, Eugene's aged uncle, Canon Fortune de Mazenod, was named Bishop. He appointed Eugene Vicar General immediately, and most of the difficult work of re-building the Diocese fell to him. Within a few years, in 1832, Eugene himself was named auxiliary bishop. His Episcopal ordination took place in Rome, in defiance of the pretensions of the French Government that it had the right to sanction all such appointments. This caused a bitter diplomatic battle, and Eugene was caught in the middle, with accusations, misunderstandings, threats, and recriminations swirling around him. It was an especially devastating time for him, further complicated by the growing pains of his religious family. Though battered, Eugene steered ahead resolutely, and finally the impasse was broken. Five years later, he was appointed to the See of Marseilles as its Bishop, when Bishop Fortune retired.
A heart as big as the world
Whilst he had founded the Oblates of Mary Immaculate primarily to serve the spiritually needy and deprived of the French countryside, Eugene's zeal for the Kingdom of God and his devotion to the Church moved the Oblates to the advancing edge of the apostolate. His men ventured into Switzerland, England, Ireland. Because of his zeal, Eugene had been dubbed "a second Paul," and bishops from the missions came to him asking for Oblates for their expanding mission fields. Eugene responded willingly despite small initial numbers, and sent his men out to Canada, to the United States, to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), to South Africa, to Basutoland (Lesotho). As missionaries in his mould, they fanned out preaching, baptising, caring. They frequently opened up previously uncharted lands, established and manned many new dioceses, and in a multitude of ways they "left nothing undared that the Kingdom of Christ might be advanced." In the years that followed, the Oblate mission thrust continued, so that today the impulse of Eugene de Mazenod is alive in his men in 68 different countries.
Pastor of his Diocese
During all this ferment of missionary activity, Eugene was an outstanding pastor of the Church of Marseilles-ensuring the best seminary training for his priests, establishing new parishes, building the city's cathedral and the spectacular Shrine of Notre Dame de la Garde above the city, encouraging his priests to lives of holiness, introducing many Religious Congregations to work in the diocese, leading his fellow Bishops in support of the rights of the Pope. He grew into a towering figure in the French Church. In 1856, Napoleon III appointed him a Senator, and at his death he was the senior bishop of France.
Legacy of a Saint
May 21, 1861, saw Eugene de Mazenod returning to his God, at the age of 79, after a life crowded with achievements, many of them born in suffering. For his religious family and for his diocese, he was a founding and life-giving source: for God and for the Church, he was a faithful and generous son. As he lay dying he left his Oblates a final testament, "Among yourselves-charity, charity, charity: in the world-zeal for souls." The Church in declaring him a saint on December 3, 1995, crowns these two pivots of his living-love and zeal. His life and his deeds remain for all a window unto God Himself. And that is the greatest gift that Eugene de Mazenod, Oblate of Mary Immaculate, can offer us.
Text from the Website

Pope Francis explains "I would say that prayer opens the door to hope." Full Text + Video from Vatican

Apostolic Palace Library
Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Catechesis: The mystery of Creation
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Let us continue the catechesis on prayer, meditating on the mystery of Creation . Life, the simple fact that we exist, opens man's heart to prayer.
The first page of the Bible resembles a great thanksgiving hymn. The story of Creation is punctuated by refrains, where the goodness and beauty of everything that exists is continually reaffirmed. God, with his word, calls to life, and everything accesses existence. With the word, it separates light from darkness, alternates day and night, alternates the seasons, opens a palette of colors with the variety of plants and animals. In this overflowing forest that rapidly defeats chaos, man appears last. And this apparition provokes an excess of exultation which amplifies satisfaction and joy: "God saw what he had done, and behold, it was a very good thing" ( Gen 1:31). Good thing, but also beautiful: you can see the beauty of all Creation!
The beauty and mystery of Creation generate in the heart of man the first movement that arouses prayer (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church , 2566). Thus reads the eighth Psalm, which we heard at the beginning: "When I see your skies, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have fixed, what is man ever because you remember him, the son Why do you care about man? " (vv. 4-5). The person praying contemplates the mystery of existence around him, sees the starry sky above it - and that astrophysics shows us today in all its immensity - and wonders which drawing of love must be behind a work so powerful! ... And, in this boundless vastness, what is man? "Almost nothing," says another Psalm (cf. 89,48): a being who is born, a being who dies, a very fragile creature. Yet throughout the universe, the human being is the only creature aware of such a profusion of beauty. A small being who is born, dies, today is there and tomorrow is not there, he is the only one aware of this beauty. We are aware of this beauty!
Man's prayer is closely linked with the feeling of amazement . The greatness of man is infinitesimal when compared to the size of the universe. His greatest achievements seem very little ... But man is nothing. In prayer, a feeling of mercy is asserted. Nothing exists by chance: the secret of the universe lies in a benevolent gaze that someone meets in our eyes. The Psalm states that we are made little less than a God, we are crowned with glory and honor (cf. 8,6). The relationship with God is the greatness of man: his enthronement. By nature we are almost nothing, small but by vocation, by call we are the children of the great King!
It is an experience that many of us have had. If the story of life, with all its bitterness, sometimes risks suffocating in us the gift of prayer, the contemplation of a starry sky, a sunset, a flower ... is enough to rekindle the spark of thanksgiving. This experience is perhaps the basis of the first page of the Bible.
When the great biblical account of Creation is drawn up, the people of Israel are not going through happy days. An enemy power had occupied the earth; many had been deported, and now slaves were found in Mesopotamia. There was no more homeland, no temple, no social and religious life, nothing.
Yet, starting from the great story of Creation, someone begins to find reasons for thanksgiving, to praise God for existence. Prayer is the first force of hope. You pray and hope grows, goes on. I would say that prayer opens the door to hope. Hope is there, but with my prayer I open the door. Because men of prayer guard the basic truths; they are the ones who repeat, first of all to themselves and then to all the others, that this life, despite all its efforts and its trials, despite its difficult days, is full of a grace to marvel at. And as such it must always be defended and protected.
Men and women who pray know that hope is stronger than discouragement. They believe that love is more powerful than death, and that it will certainly triumph someday, even if in times and ways that we don't know. The men and women of prayer wear reflections of light on their faces: because, even on the darkest days, the sun does not stop illuminating them. Prayer illuminates you: illuminates your soul, illuminates your heart and illuminates your face. Even in the darkest times, even in the times of greatest pain.
We are all bearers of joy. Have you thought about this? That you are a bearer of joy? Or do you prefer to bring bad news, things that make you sad? We are all capable of bringing joy. This life is the gift that God has given us: and it is too short to consume it in sadness, in bitterness. We praise God, simply happy to exist. We look at the universe, we look at the beauties and we also look at our crosses and we say: "But, you exist, you made us like this, for you". It is necessary to feel that restlessness of the heart that leads us to thank and praise God. We are the children of the great King, of the Creator, capable of reading his signature in all creation; that creation that we do not keep today, but in that creation there is the signature of God who made it out of love. May the Lord make us understand this more and more deeply and lead us to say "thank you":

Je suis heureux de saluer les personnes de langue française. A la veille de la fête de l'Ascension du Seigneur, demandons-he de nous aider à redécouvrir dans la beauté de la création un reflet de la gloire et de la splendeur de Dieu!
Que Dieu vous bénisse!
I am happy to greet the French-speaking faithful. Near the feast of the Ascension of the Lord, we ask him to help us rediscover in the beauty of creation a reflection of the glory and splendor of God! My blessing to all! ]
I greet the English-speaking faithful joining us through the media. As we prepare to celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, I invoke upon you and your families the peace and joy that come from the Risen Christ. May God bless you!
I greet the English-speaking faithful connected through social media. As we prepare to celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, I invoke upon you and your families the peace and joy that come from the risen Christ. God bless you! ]
Herzlich grüße ich die Gläubigen deutscher Sprache. Wenn wir das Wunder der Schöpfung betrachten, erkennen wir die Größe des Schöpfers und seine unendliche Liebe, mit der er auf alles Geschaffene blickt. Die Freude an der Natur und das Lob Gottes helfen uns, Erfüllung und inneren Frieden zu finden.
I cordially greet the German-speaking faithful. By contemplating the wonder of creation, we recognize the greatness of the Creator and his infinite love with which He looks at all created things. The joy of nature and the praise of God help us to find fullness and inner peace. ]
I cordially greet the los fieles de lengua española que siguen esta catequesis a través de los medios de comunicación social. Que Jesús resucitado, con la fuerza de su Espíritu Santo, nos haga portadores de alegría, afiance en nosotros la esperanza y también la certiza de que el amor es más fuerte que la muerte y que triunfa siempre. Que Dios los bendiga.
Queridos fiéis de língua portuguesa, de coração saúdo a todos, com votos de que brilhe always nos vossos corações a luz de Jesus ressuscitado. Neste «Mês de Maria», procuremos rezar or terço todos os dias, opening de Nossa Senhora a ter um olhar contemplative diante de todos os acontecimentos da nossa vida. Que Deus vos abençoe!
Dear Portuguese-speaking faithful, I cordially greet you all, hoping that the light of the risen Jesus will always shine in your hearts. In this "Month of Mary", we try to pray the rosary every day, learning from the Madonna to have a contemplative look towards all the events of our life. God bless you! ]
أحيي جميع المؤمنين الناطقين باللغة العربية ، المتابعين لهذه المقابلة عَبر وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي. الصلاة هي حوار الإنسان مع الله. فيها نحمده ونشكره على حبه لنا ، وفيها نوكل إليه همومنا ومشاكلنا. نقرأ في سفر يشوع بن سيراخ: "اُنْظُرُوا إِلَى الأَجْيَالِ الْقَدِيمَةِ وَتَأَمَّلُوا. هَلْ تَوَكَّلَ أَحَدٌع ََّخََخَأَ (يشوع بن سيراخ 2 ، 10). ليبارككم الرب جميعًا ويحرسكم دائمًا من كل شر!
I greet the Arabic-speaking faithful who follow this meeting through the social media. Prayer is man's dialogue with God. Through prayer we praise and thank the Lord for his love for us and entrust our concerns and problems to him. Keep in mind what we read in the Book of Sirach: "Consider past generations and reflect: who trusted in the Lord and was disappointed?" (Sir 2:10). The Lord bless you all and always protect you from all evil! ]
Pozdrawiam serdecznie wszystkich Polaków. W tych dniach obchodzimy setną rocznicę urodzin Świętego Jana Pawła II. On, Pasterz wielkiej wiary, lubił w modlitwie powierzać Panu Bogu Kościół i całą ludzkość. Wybierając zawołanie biskupie "Totus Tuus", pokazał również, że w trudnych chwilach powinniśmy zwracać się do Matki Bożej, która może nam pomóc i wstawić się za nami. Niech Jego życie, zbudowane na głębokiej, intensywnej i ufnej modlitwie, będzie przykładem dla dzisiejszych chrześcijan. Z serca Wam błogosławię.
I cordially greet all the Poles. In these days we celebrate the centenary of the birth of Saint John Paul II . Shepherd of great faith, He loved to entrust the Church and all humanity to God in prayer. Choosing the episcopal motto " Totus Tuus ", he also showed that in difficult times we must turn to the Mother of God, who can help us and intercede for us. His life, built on deep, intense and confident prayer, is an example for today's Christians. I bless you from my heart. ]

I greet the Italian-speaking faithful. The near feast of the Ascension of the Lord offers me the opportunity to urge everyone to be generous witnesses of the Risen Christ, knowing full well that he is always with us and supports us along the way.

I address a special thought to the elderly, young people, the sick and newlyweds. Jesus Christ, ascending to heaven, leaves a message and a program for the whole Church: "Go and teach all the nations ... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" ( Mt 28, 19-20). Make known the word of salvation of Christ, and witness it in daily life, both your ideal and your commitment. My blessing to all of you!

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

St. Peter's Basilica and Churches in Italy Now Open to Public along with Restrictions

Vatican News reports that St. Peter's Basilica and other Churches in Italy are now open to the public. Representatives of the Papal Basilicas met to organize reopening their doors and measures needed to guarantee the safety of the faithful. Matteo Bruni, the Director of the Holy See Press Office sent a message to journalists accredited to the Holy See on Thursday afternoon. In that message, he informed them that the "representatives of the Papal Basilicas" attended a meeting on Thursday morning "promoted by the Secretariat of State". The meeting allowed them to discuss the "new aspects of Phase 2" which Italy is now in. As part of Phase 2, churches will be allowed to open their doors to the faithful once again for the celebration of Holy Mass beginning on 18 may. Among the items discussed were the "necessary measures most suitable to guarantee the safety of the faithful". One specifically mentioned by Matteo Bruni in his message to journalists is that of taking the temperature of those who wish to participiate in the liturgical celebrations with the use of a thermoscanner.
Edited from VaticanNews

#BreakingNews Government of France Ordered to Lift Coronavirus Ban on Religious Meetings

French News 24 reports that the government was ordered to lift coronavirus lockdown ban on religious meetings.
According to the latest news, France's highest administrative court ruled Monday that the government must lift a blanket ban on meetings at places of worship imposed as part of measures to combat the coronavirus.

This ruling was due to the complaints from several individuals and associations, to the government. The Council of State said that such a ban on freedom of worship caused "a damage that is serious and manifestly illegal".

It told the government to lift the ban within the next eight days.

The latest government decree on measures to combat the coronavirus -- even after the lockdown in France was eased from May 11 -- bans all gatherings in places of worship except funerals which are limited to 20 people.

But the Council of State ruled this ban was "disproportionate in nature."

It remains to be seen what move the government will take to respect the decision while retaining a safe environment in churches, mosques and other places of worship.

Bruno Retailleau, who leads the right-wing Republicans in the upper house Senate, wrote on Twitter that the ruling was "good news for the freedom of religion which is a fundamental right".
Edited from FranceNews24 - Image Source: Google Images

Government in Pakistan Allows Churches to Re-Open as the Faithful Rejoice

ASIA/PAKISTAN - The government announces the re-opening of Churches in Punjab: joy among the faithful
Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Faisalabad (Agenzia Fides) - "We are very happy for the announcement of the government of Punjab, which will allow the churches to reopen; however, we need some time to prepare everything: we must educate and sensitize the faithful on the procedures to be observed": says to Agenzia Fides Bishop Indrias Rehmat, at the head of the diocese of Faisalabad in the province of Pakistani Punjab. Bishop Rehmat also states: "As soon as we learned about the government's decision through mass media, we announced the news and allowed 30 people to enter and attend mass in the Cathedral. However, there are measures to be respected. Our people have been waiting for almost two months to participate again in the Holy Mass and now they rejoice because they can again receive the Eucharist. But we must continue to be cautious, because we do not want the assembly in church to be the cause of the spread of the virus". By respecting the provisions, the faithful will be able to return to the churches, notes the Bishop, and adds: "We await the written notification from the government. Next Sunday we will be able to celebrate two masses, each with 40 - 50 people in assembly. There is great joy among the people".
Fr. Qaisar Feroz OFM Cap, Executive Secretary of the Commission for Social Communications in the Catholic Bishops' Conference, speaking to Fides, says: "The news of the re-opening has been circulating in the mass media, but we await the written communication from the government of Punjab. The opening of Catholic churches depends on the general spread of the virus. We are happy, but we need everyone's collaboration to respect safety protocols and prevent any infections".
Fr. Asif Saleem, Catholic priest of Karachi, notes: "We appreciate the desire of the faithful to return to church, but protection and health are fundamental. We will celebrate the sacraments by observing the security measures". (AG-PA) (FULL TEXT Release from Agenzia Fides, 19/5/2020)
Image Source: Google Images - Pinterest