Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Saint June 3 : St. Clotilde the Queen of France who was Dedicated to Prayer and Patron of Brides , Adopted Children and Widows

475, Lyon, France
545, Tours, France
Patron of:
brides, adopted children, parents, exiles, widows
Was daughter of Chilperic, younger brother to Gondebald, the tyrannical king of Burgundy, who put him, his wife, and the rest of his brothers, except one, to death, in order to usurp their dominions. In this massacre he spared Chilperic's  two fair daughters, then in their infancy. One of them became afterwards a nun; the other, named Clotildis, was brought up in her uncle's court, and by a singular providence, was instructed in the Catholic religion, though she was educated in the midst of Arians. It was her happiness in the true faith, to be inspired from the cradle with a contempt and disgust of a treacherous world, which sentiments she cherished and improved by the most fervent exercises of religion. Though she saw herself surrounded with all the charms of the world, and was from her infancy its idol, yet her heart was proof against its seductions. She was adorned with the assemblage of all virtues; and the reputation of her wit, beauty, meekness, modesty, and piety, made her the adoration of all the neighboring kingdoms, when Clovis I., surnamed the great, the victorious king of the Franks, demanded and obtained her of her uncle in marriage granting her all the conditions she could desire for the free and secure exercise of her religion.1 The marriage was solemnized at Soissons, in 493. Clotildis made herself a little oratory in the royal palace, in which she spent much time in fervent prayer and secret mortifications. Her devotion was tempered with discretion, so that she attended all her business at court, was watchful over her maids, and did every thing with a dignity, order, and piety, which edified and charmed the king and his whole court. Her charity to the poor seemed a sea which could never be drained. She honored her royal husband, studied to sweeten his warlike temper by Christian meekness, conformed herself to his humor in things that were indifferent; and, the better to gain his affections, made those things the subject of her discourse and praises in which  she saw him to take the greatest delight. When she saw herself mistress of his heart, she did not defer the great work of endeavoring to win him to God, and often spoke to him on the vanity of his idols, and on the excellency of the true religion. The king always heard her with pleasure; but the moment of his conversion was not yet come. It was first to cost her many tears, severe trials, and earnest perseverance. After the baptism of their second son, Clodomir, and the infant's recovery from a dangerous indisposition, she pressed the king more boldly to renounce his idols. One day especially, when he had given her great assurances of his affection, and augmented her dowry by a gift of several manors, she said she begged only one favor of his majesty, which was the liberty to discourse with him on the sanctity of her religion, and to put him in mind of his promise of forsaking the worship of idols. But the fear of giving offence to his people made him delay the execution. His miraculous victory over the Alemanni, and his entire conversion in 496, were at length the fruit of our saint's prayers.

Clotildis, having gained to God this great monarch, never ceased to excite him to glorious actions for the divine honor: among other religious foundations he built in Paris, at her request, about the year 511, the great church of SS. Peter and Paul, now called St. Genevieve's. This great prince had a singular devotion to St. Martin, and went sometimes to Tours, to prostrate himself in prayer at his tomb. He sent his royal diadem, which is called, to this day, The Realm, a present to pope Hormisdas, as a token that he dedicated his kingdom to God. His barbarous education and martial temper made it, in certain sallies of his passions, difficult for Clotildis to bridle his inclination to ambition and cruelty, so that he scarce left any princes of his own relations living, except his sons. He died on the 27th of November, in the year 511, of his age the forty-fifth, having reigned thirty years. He was buried in the church of the apostles, SS. Peter and Paul, now called St. Genevieve's, where his tomb still remains. An ancient long epitaph, which was inscribed on it, is preserved by Aimoinus, and copied by Rivet. His eldest son Theodoric, whom he had by a concubine before his marriage, reigned at Rheims over Austrasia, or the eastern parts of France, which comprised the present Champagne, Lorraine, Auvergne, and several provinces of Germany. Metz was afterwards the capital of this country. As to the three sons of Clotildis, Clodomir reigned at Orleans, Childebert at Paris, and Clotaire I., at Soissons. This division produced wars and mutual jealousies, till, in 560, the whole monarchy was reunited under Clotaire, the youngest of these brothers. St. Clotildis lived to see Clodomir defeat and put to death Sigismund, king of Burgundy; but soon after, in 524, himself vanquished and slain by Gondemar, successor to Sigismund; Gondemar overcome and killed by Childebert and Clotaire, and the kingdom of Burgundy united to France. The most sensible affliction of this pious queen was the murder of the two eldest sons of Clodomir, committed in 526, by their uncles Childebert and Clotaire, who seized on the kingdom of Orleans. This tragical disaster contributed more perfectly to wean her heart from the world. She spent the remaining part of her life at Tours, near the tomb of St. Martin, in exercises of prayer, almsdeeds, watching, fasting, and penance, seeming totally to forget that she had been queen, or that her sons sat on the throne. Eternity filled her heart, and employed all her thoughts. She foretold her death thirty days before it happened; having been admonished of it by God at the tomb of St. Martin, the usual place of her tears. In her last illness, she sent for her sons Childebert, king of Paris, and Clotaire, king of Soissons, and exhorted them, in the most pathetic manner, to honor God and keep his commandments; to protect the poor, reign as fathers to their people, live in union together, and love and study always to maintain tranquillity and peace. She scarce ever ceased repeating the psalms with the most tender devotion, and ordered all she had left to be distributed among she poor; though this was very little; for she had always been careful to send her riches before her by their hands. On the thirtieth day of her illness she received the sacraments, made a public confession of her faith, and departed to the Lord on the 3d of June, in 545. She was buried, by her own order, in the church of St. Genevieve, at the feet of that holy shepherdess, and is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on the 3d of June. See St. Gregory of Tours, Hist. Franc., and Fortunatus; and among the moderns, Abbe Du Bos and Gilb. le Gendre, Antiquites de la Nation et Monarchie Francoise, & c. Text : Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler
Prayer to St. Clotilde (Angelfire)
Hail, gentle and loving St. Clotilde, sweet illustrious Queen of the Franks, who by thy faith and perseverance in the Lord didst convert thy husband and made France for many centuries a venerable stalwart of the Catholic faith, I implore thy powerful intercession in this my great need.
Assist me, holy St. Clotilde, from thy height of glory in heaven. Thou, who during thy earthly sojourn, didst drink deeply from the Saviour's chalice of sorrows, have pity on my dire distress, especially . . . (Here make your intention).
Grant also that through my sorrows I may, like thee, purify my faith and never lose hope in the mercy of God. Amen.

US President Trump Prays Silently at St. John Paul II Shrine as Prelude to Order Advancing Religious Freedom - FULL TEXT + Video

In a pre-planned visit; President Donald Trump and his wife First Lady, Melania visited the National Shrine of Saint Pope John Paul II in Washington, DC. The couple prayed silently at the shrine and also in the chapel. This was a prelude to the release of his executive order on "Advancing International Religious Freedom." (FULL TEXT below) According to CNS, the Trumps' visit to the shrine in Northeast Washington came on the 41st anniversary of the start of St. John Paul II's pilgrimage to his native Poland, the first trip by the pope during which he repeatedly addressed religious and political freedom. In  a statement about the visit, after the president and first lady left, the shrine wrote the White House officials originally scheduled the visit "as an event for the president to sign an executive order related to global religious freedom." "This was fitting given St. John Paul II was a tireless advocate of religious liberty throughout his pontificate," the statement said. "International religious freedom receives widespread bipartisan support, including unanimous passage of legislation in defense of persecuted Christians and religious minorities around the world."The shrine welcomes all people to come and pray and learn about the legacy of St. John Paul II," it added. 

Executive Order on Advancing International Religious Freedom


  Issued on: June 2, 2020

 By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1.  Policy.  (a)  Religious freedom, America’s first freedom, is a moral and national security imperative.  Religious freedom for all people worldwide is a foreign policy priority of the United States, and the United States will respect and vigorously promote this freedom.  As stated in the 2017 National Security Strategy, our Founders understood religious freedom not as a creation of the state, but as a gift of God to every person and a right that is fundamental for the flourishing of our society.

(b)  Religious communities and organizations, and other institutions of civil society, are vital partners in United States Government efforts to advance religious freedom around the world.  It is the policy of the United States to engage robustly and continually with civil society organizations — including those in foreign countries — to inform United States Government policies, programs, and activities related to international religious freedom.

Sec. 2.  Prioritization of International Religious Freedom.  Within 180 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of State (Secretary) shall, in consultation with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), develop a plan to prioritize international religious freedom in the planning and implementation of United States foreign policy and in the foreign assistance programs of the Department of State and USAID.

Sec. 3.  Foreign Assistance Funding for International Religious Freedom.  (a)  The Secretary shall, in consultation with the Administrator of USAID, budget at least $50 million per fiscal year for programs that advance international religious freedom, to the extent feasible and permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations.  Such programs shall include those intended to anticipate, prevent, and respond to attacks against individuals and groups on the basis of their religion, including programs designed to help ensure that such groups can persevere as distinct communities; to promote accountability for the perpetrators of such attacks; to ensure equal rights and legal protections for individuals and groups regardless of belief; to improve the safety and security of houses of worship and public spaces for all faiths; and to protect and preserve the cultural heritages of religious communities.

(b)  Executive departments and agencies (agencies) that fund foreign assistance programs shall ensure that faith-based and religious entities, including eligible entities in foreign countries, are not discriminated against on the basis of religious identity or religious belief when competing for Federal funding, to the extent permitted by law.

Sec. 4.  Integrating International Religious Freedom into United States Diplomacy.  (a)  The Secretary shall direct Chiefs of Mission in countries of particular concern, countries on the Special Watch List, countries in which there are entities of particular concern, and any other countries that have engaged in or tolerated violations of religious freedom as noted in the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom required by section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-292), as amended (the “Act”), to develop comprehensive action plans to inform and support the efforts of the United States to advance international religious freedom and to encourage the host governments to make progress in eliminating violations of religious freedom.

(b)  In meetings with their counterparts in foreign governments, the heads of agencies shall, when appropriate and in coordination with the Secretary, raise concerns about international religious freedom and cases that involve individuals imprisoned because of their religion.

(c)  The Secretary shall advocate for United States international religious freedom policy in both bilateral and multilateral fora, when appropriate, and shall direct the Administrator of USAID to do the same.

Sec. 5.  Training for Federal Officials.  (a)  The Secretary shall require all Department of State civil service employees in the Foreign Affairs Series to undertake training modeled on the international religious freedom training described in section 708(a) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (Public Law 96-465), as amended by section 103(a)(1) of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act (Public Law 114-281).

(b)  Within 90 days of the date of this order, the heads of all agencies that assign personnel to positions overseas shall submit plans to the President, through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, detailing how their agencies will incorporate the type of training described in subsection (a) of this section into the training required before the start of overseas assignments for all personnel who are to be stationed abroad, or who will deploy and remain abroad, in one location for 30 days or more.

(c)  All Federal employees subject to these requirements shall be required to complete international religious freedom training not less frequently than once every 3 years.

Sec. 6.  Economic Tools.  (a)  The Secretary and the Secretary of the Treasury shall, in consultation with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, and through the process described in National Security Presidential Memorandum-4 of April 4, 2017 (Organization of the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and Subcommittees), develop recommendations to prioritize the appropriate use of economic tools to advance international religious freedom in countries of particular concern, countries on the Special Watch List, countries in which there are entities of particular concern, and any other countries that have engaged in or tolerated violations of religious freedom as noted in the report required by section 102(b) of the Act.  These economic tools may include, as appropriate and to the extent permitted by law, increasing religious freedom programming, realigning foreign assistance to better reflect country circumstances, or restricting the issuance of visas under section 604(a) of the Act.

(b)  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may consider imposing sanctions under Executive Order 13818 of December 20, 2017 (Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption), which, among other things, implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Public Law 114-328).

Sec. 7.  Definitions.  For purposes of this order:

(a)  “Country of particular concern” is defined as provided in section 402(b)(1)(A) of the Act;

(b)  “Entity of particular concern” is defined as provided in section 301 of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act (Public Law 114-281);

(c)  “Special Watch List” is defined as provided in sections 3(15) and 402(b)(1)(A)(iii) of the Act; and

(d)  “Violations of religious freedom” is defined as provided in section 3(16) of the Act.

Sec. 8.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.



June 2, 2020.

Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-advancing-international-religious-freedom/

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - #Eucharist - Your Virtual Church

Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 354
Reading 12 PT 3:12-15A, 17-18
Wait for and hasten the coming of the day of God,
because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames
and the elements melted by fire.
But according to his promise
we await new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.

Therefore, beloved, since you await these things,
be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.
And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation.

Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned,
be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled
and to fall from your own stability.
But grow in grace
and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
To him be glory now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Responsorial90:2, 3-4, 10, 14 AND 16
R.    (1)  In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Before the mountains were begotten
and the earth and the world were brought forth,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
R.    In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R.    In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Seventy is the sum of our years,
or eighty, if we are strong,
And most of them are fruitless toil,
for they pass quickly and we drift away.
R.    In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
Let your work be seen by your servants
and your glory by their children.
R.    In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

AlleluiaEPHESIANS 1:17-18
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to his call.
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 12:13-17
Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent
to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech.
They came and said to him,
“Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion.
You do not regard a person’s status
but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?
Should we pay or should we not pay?”
Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them,
“Why are you testing me?
Bring me a denarius to look at.”
They brought one to him and he said to them,
“Whose image and inscription is this?”
They replied to him, “Caesar’s.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.”
They were utterly amazed at him.

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 - 

Saint June 3 : Sts. Charles Lwanga, Joseph Mkasa, Martyrs of Uganda : Patrons of African Catholic Youth

Feast Day:
June 3
Buganda, Uganda
June 3, 1886, Namugongo, Uganda
October 18, 1964 by Pope Paul VI
Major Shrine:
Basilica Church of the Uganda Martyrs, Namugongo
Patron of:
African Catholic Youth Action, converts, torture victims
The 22 Martyrs of Uganda
Died 1886-1887

Charles was one of 22 Ugandan martyrs who converted from paganism. Though he was baptized the night before being put to death, he became a moral leader. He was the chief of the royal pages and was considered the strongest athlete of the court. He was also known as "the most handsome man of the Kingdom of the Uganda." He instructed his friends in the Catholic Faith and he personally baptized boy pages. He inspired and encouraged his companions to remain chaste and faithful. He protected his companions, ages 13-30, from the immoral acts and homosexual demands of the Babandan ruler, Mwanga.
Mwanga was a superstitious pagan king who originally was tolerant of Catholicism. However, his chief assistant, Katikiro, slowly convinced him that Christians were a threat to his rule. The premise was if these Christians would not bow to him, nor make sacrifices to their pagan god, nor pillage, massacre, nor make war, what would happen if his whole kingdom converted to Catholicism?
When Charles was sentenced to death, he seemed very peaceful, one might even say, cheerful. He was to be executed by being burnt to death. While the pyre was being prepared, he asked to be untied so that he could arrange the sticks. He then lay down upon them. When the executioner said that Charles would be burned slowly so death, Charles replied by saying that he was very glad to be dying for the True Faith. He made no cry of pain but just twisted and moaned, "Kotanda! (O my God!)." He was burned to death by Mwanga's order on June 3, 1886. Pope Paul VI canonized Charles Lwanga and his companions on June 22,1964. We celebrate his memorial on June 3rd of the Roman Calendar. Charles is the Patron of the African Youth of Catholic Action.
Text source : Savior.org
Novena Prayer: 

#Novena to St. Charles Lwanga and Martyrs of #Uganda in #Africa - SHARE


Pope Francis Donates Vatican Ambulance to Serve the Poorest in Rome with Special Blessing

Vatican News reports that Pope Francis has dedicated a Vatican ambulance to serve the poor who sleep rough on the streets of Rome.
Reportedly, on Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis blessed a Vatican ambulance which will serve the poor of Rome.

 Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner was given the responsibility for the ambulance within the Office of Papal Charities.

The Holy See Press Office statement says the ambulance belongs to the Vatican's fleet and has SCV (Vatican) license plates.

This ambulance will now serve “the poorest, who remain almost invisible to Institutions.”

The statement recalls the “sad ordeal of Modesta Valenti, an elderly homeless woman to whom the city of Rome has dedicated a street.”

On 31 January 1983, after a long, cold night sleeping rough outside Termini train station, she felt ill.

“Several passers-by called an ambulance, which declined to assist her because of her poor hygiene,” reads the statement. “After 4 long hours, several hospitals refused to take responsibility for her. Modesta was left on the ground, suffering. She died before an ambulance finally arrived.”

The Papal Almoner is also responsible for a mobile clinic used to provide care to the poor in Rome’s poorer neighborhoods, as well as the Mother of Mercy Clinic, set up in the Colonnade of St. Peter’s Square which offers first-aid care to homeless people in the area. 

Australia Bishops entrust Australia to Mary Help of Christians with Prayers - Full Text Homily of Archbishop Fisher

The Bishops of Australia released a motion to consecrate the country to Our Lady: “That the Australian Bishops entrust Australia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary under the title Our Lady Help of Christians, seeking her intercession for the safety of all our people especially in this time of COVID-19 pandemic.” Mary Help of Christians has been the official patroness of Australia since 1844. Her feast day is celebrated on May 24, which this year coincides with the Feast of the Ascension. The entrustment of Australia to Mary Help of Christians can therefore take place on the 24th or the 25th, the bishops agreed. In various parishes throughout the country prayers of consecration were recited. (see picture below)
 Here is the Homily from Archbishop Anthony Fisher, OP from St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, Australia on that day of Consecration.
Years ago I saw a very beautiful image of The Virgin Mary at Prayer in the Dominican church of St Clement near the Colosseum in Rome. When I got back home, I discovered the same painting in the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. Was I seeing double? Had I stolen the painting and brought it back with me to Australia? No, both were painted by Sassoferrato (Giovanni-Battista Salvi 1609-1685, a great baroque artist but also a copycat, even a cheat. He’d do almost identical images for different patrons and then tell them all that theirs was the original! It turns out there’s a third version of the same painting in Santa Maria della Salute in Venice. And another in the Auckland Art Gallery. Another ‘original’ is one of the most popular paintings in the National Gallery in London. You can also get it as a coffee mug,  a T-shirt or, oddly, as a beach towel!

A person in a blue cup

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In all these images, Mary is a young Italian beauty with a perfect complexion and hands together in prayer. Over her red tunic is a cloak of striking ultramarine, made from grinding the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli. She is holy yet human, and she’s unique – except that there are lots just like her…

…which captures, I think, something of the heart of Mary, Help of Christians. We know that she never sinned, was full of grace, received Christ into her womb, was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, brought Jesus up. Such holiness might have made her seem aloof and distant. Yet, she’s very much one of us, and so in the Sassoferrato paintings she wears ordinary clothes (for those days), she prays like we do, and she has no halo. Her story is that of a human mother, who in the words of our first reading today “brings up her sons and cares for those who seek her” (Sir 4:11-18). Throughout history, right back to the Wedding Feast of Cana, people in difficulty have asked Mary for help: they’ve sought her intercession. Because she’s one of us, a mother to us, we turn to her in our need; but because she’s the best of us, mother to Our Lord, she gets those prayers answered.

So Mary is holy yet human, and attracts our devotion as ‘Help of Christians’. She is also unique. After Adam and Eve and Jesus, she’s the only human being made without original sin. As our first reading put it, she’s loved and honoured and held close by all who love God. She’s an original, yet there are potentially many just like her: for every one of you boys is called to be a saint too. If one of us, could remain sinless all her life, despite having all the temptations and the difficulties we have, then we too can choose, each time we choose, what is good and true and beautiful, as she did. By God’s grace you can do that! And when you fail, when your painting cracks and has flaky bits, you can return to her Son, the Master Painter, to be restored in Confession, to be made new. You can indeed all be originals – different in your temperament and gifts – but beautiful souls, with high ideals, virtuous character and good choices like her. There can be a whole art gallery of such works, the real St Mary’s College, the communion of saints!

In this morning’s Gospel Jesus is dying (Jn 19:25-27). Joseph is long dead and there are no other children. So Jesus asks John to take His mother in. That Jonno would only have been 15 or so, and so he was likely to outlive her which was helpful. More importantly, when all the other disciples abandoned Jesus, he stayed. No wonder he was Jesus’ favourite, ‘the disciple He loved’ (Jn 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20). But it’s not just about John. ‘The disciple Jesus loved’ is code for us, too. We are Jesus’ favourites. We must take Mary into our hearts also. She will be a mother to us, especially in hard times, as that first reading says, “through winding paths, fear and faintness, through times of plague, sore discipline and ordeal”.

When Fr John Joseph Therry arrived in Australia, two hundred years ago this month, he petitioned the governor for a site for a Catholic chapel. The establishment; the powerful people in Sydney at the time, responded by giving him the garbage dump near the convict barracks and the Hyde Park vegetable patch. No-one then imagined what a prime site St Mary’s would turn out to be!

A group of people standing in front of a building

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When Therry was at school Napoleon and his secularist forces invaded Italy, determined to suppress the Catholic Church. They took Pope Pius VI as prisoner and he died in captivity. The next Pope, Pius VII, was forced to attend Napoleon’s coronation in 1804, when Napoleon decided he wanted to be called “Emperor” now and not just “General”. And when Napoleon famously took the crown from the Pope’s hands and crowned himself and his queen as well. Things only went downhill from that low point. Pius VII was a prisoner for six years; the whole six years that John Joseph Therry was a seminarian. He called on all the Church to pray the Rosary. Soon after Therry was ordained the dictator emperor was defeated and the Church free again. Pope Pius VII gave thanks by adding the Feast of Mary, Help of Christians, to the general calendar.

So when Fr Therry arrived in the colony, he dedicated the first Catholic church just here to her. After all, Catholics had had it hard in Australia: Mass was very rarely permitted in the previous 32 years; many were convicts in chains and hard labour, poor or powerless. They needed help. They needed the best of helpers, Mary Help of Christians.

With the arrival of Bishop Polding in 1835 this little church; the mother church of Australia became the first cathedral. In 1844 at the First Provincial Synod of Bishops, and again in 1885 at the first Plenary Council of Australasia, the nation was dedicated to St Mary, Help of Christians. That was renewed by the Bishops of Australia in 1988, in 2001, and today in this time of pandemic.

Like those early Catholics, we know we need help; we need God’s help. And it can’t hurt to have God’s Mum in our corner! So today we pray together for Mary’s guidance and protection in difficult times. We pray she’ll make us more like her, beautiful and colourful artworks, worldly and other-worldly, different yet like her in our openness to God, our active service of others, our pondering what’s good, our fidelity to the end.

Our Lady of Help of Christians, pray for us!
Source: https://www.sydneycatholic.org/

Wow Virtual Choir of Catholic Artists Produce Viral "Be Not Afraid" which Reaches a Million! - Watch Video

During this time of crisis, English-speaking Catholic artists have come together with this message of hope. Salt + Light Media produced this along with various Catholic artists from the USA and Canada. BE NOT AFRAID is a song writted by Bob Dufford, SJ. This video included Performers: Dan Schutte, John Michael Talbot, Steve Angrisano, Tom Booth, Fr. Rob Galea, Sarah Hart, Sarah Kroger, Tony Melendez, Jesse Manibusan, Susan HooKong-Taylor, Jennifer Martin, Renee Bondi, Curtis Stephan, Mark Mallett, Kitty Cleveland, Chris Bray, Nancy Bodsworth, David Wang, Bob Halligan Jr., Marie Miller, Luke Spehar, Amanda Vernon, Danielle Rose, Ken Canedo, Gretchen Harris, Fr. Cyprian Consiglio, Colleen MacAlister, Mikey Needleman, Danielle Noonan, Cooper Ray, PJ Anderson, Michael James Mette and MJM7, Lee Roessler, Lorraine Hess, Kathleen and Jesse Leblanc, Greg and Mary Walton, Tori Harris, Aly Aleigha, Rita West, Matt Lewis, Corrie-Marie, Ryan and Elizabeth Tremblay, Taylor Tripodi, Miley Azbill, Hannah Schaefer, Francesca LaRosa, John Angotti, Damaris Thillet, Ivan Diaz, Pedro Rubalcava, Anna Betancourt and Santiago Fernandez. BE NOT AFRAID - Lyrics By Bob Dufford, SJ - (Includes the fourth verse that Bob Dufford wrote in 2007.) v1. You shall cross the barren desert but you shall not die of thirst. You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way. You shall speak your words to foreign lands and all will understand. You shall see the face of God and live. R. Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come follow Me and I will give you rest. v2. If you pass through raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown. If you walk amidst the burning flames you shall not be harmed. If you stand before the pow'r of hell and death is at your side, know that I am with you, through it all. /R v.3 Blessed are your poor for the Kingdom shall be theirs. Blest are you that weep and mourn for one day you shall laugh. And if wicked men insult and hate you all because of Me, blessed, blessed are you! /R v.4 And when the earth has turned beneath you and your voice is seldom heard. When the flood of gifts that blessed your life has long since ebbed away. When your mind is thick and hope is thin and dark is all around, I will stand beside you till the dawn. /R Source: Youtube - S+L Channel

#BreakingNews Catholic Nuns' Bookstore Vandalized during Protests in USA on Pentecost Morning

Sister Anne Flanagan of the Daughters of St. Paul posted that her order's Pauline Bookstore in Chicago was vandalized. She explains that on Saturday afternoon, the sisters removed the Blessed Sacrament from the bookstore chapel and locked themselves upstairs. At 3:00 AM on Pentecost (May 31) morning they heard the glass break. Both of the automatic doors were shattered, and the front plate-glass display window.  The vandals broke through the counter and then left. A quick inventory shows that they seem to have left without taking a single Some friends came to help begin the clean-up, and by mid-afternoon the sisters had found a safer place to spend the night.  Sister Anne wrote: "if you are inclined to give toward replacing our doors, window, counter and equipment, please go to donate.daughtersofstpaul.com and indicate "Chicago" in the notes. The Sisters also ask for prayers....
Source: https://romans8v29.blogspot.com/2020/06/pauline-bookstore-chicago-looting.html

Bishops of Northern Ireland Send Pro-Life Open Letter to Government Contesting the New Abortion Laws - Full Text

Letter from Northern Bishops to all MLAs in advance of vote on abortion motion in the NI assembly tomorrow
01. JUN, 2020

“Politicians and all people of good will, who recognise the extreme nature of the Regulations, should not meekly acquiesce to their promulgation”
The Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland have reissued their call on Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly to oppose new abortion regulations introduced by the Westminster Parliament, in advance of an Assembly debate on the issue tomorrow.  Describing the Westminster regulations as ‘an unjust law, which was imposed without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland’, the Bishops urged the politicians ‘to take steps to formulate new Regulations that will reflect more fully the will of a significant majority of the people in this jurisdiction to protect the lives of mothers and their unborn children.’  With the motion in the Assembly specifically calling on MLAs to reject “the imposition of abortion legislation which extends to all non-fatal disabilities, including Down’s syndrome”, Bishops expressed concern about the ‘extreme nature’ of the Westminster regulations and called on them to defend the equal right of children with disabilities to appropriate protection and care both before and after birth, as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In a series of messages on social media earlier today, Archbishop Eamon Martin called on people to contact their MLAs in advance of the vote, asking them to support the motion.  Thanking those politicians who had brought the motion forward, Archbishop Martin described the Westminster regulations imposed on Northern Ireland in a series of tweets as ‘unjust, extreme and inhumane – they go much further than 1967 Abortion Act – imagine taking the life of an unborn child because the child has a cleft lip!  These regulations offer no gestational limits for children with disabilities.  Let’s take a stand for the equal right to life and care for all children, before and after birth, as well as their mothers.’  The Archbishop concluded by calling on people to contact their MLA’s, asking them to ‘defend life and equality for the unborn’.

The following is the letter sent by the Northern Bishops to all MLAs in advance of the debate on the motion in the NI Assembly tomorrow:

Dear Member of the Legislative Assembly,

As the Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland, we have a responsibility to do all we can to promote a culture of care and respect for life in our society.  This includes a responsibility to inform the conscience of all members of the Catholic Church and people of good will regarding the fundamental moral values at stake in the issue of abortion.

Our opposition to the new abortion Regulations brought into effect here by the Westminster Parliament is rooted in the Catholic Church’s teaching concerning the dignity of every human life, regardless of age, ability, gender or background.  This teaching prohibits the direct and deliberate intention to end the life of an unborn baby at any stage of his or her development.  This right to life of the child is inextricably linked to the right to life and well-being of the mother.

At the same time, we recognise that the legislation passed into law by the Westminster Parliament stands now to be implemented.  While we regard this to be an unjust law, which was imposed without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland, we are morally obliged, wherever possible, to do all we can to save the lives of unborn children, which could be lost through abortion, and to protect mothers from the pressures they might experience at the time of an unplanned pregnancy.  We trust that you recognise this to be an obligation we all share as concerned citizens and public representatives.

In our recent press statement (31 March 2020), regarding the new Regulations concerning abortion services, we indicated that we would be contacting MLAs with regard to the issues we have highlighted.  We believe, ‘Politicians and all people of good will, who recognise the extreme nature of the Regulations, should not meekly acquiesce to their promulgation’.

In particular, we take this opportunity to encourage you to debate these Regulations as a matter of urgency.  Insofar as they exceed the requirements of the Northern Ireland Act 2019, we urge you to take steps to formulate new Regulations that will reflect more fully the will of a significant majority of the people in this jurisdiction to protect the lives of  mothers and their unborn children.  Indeed, as the NIO has noted, this commitment to protect life was expressed by 79% of people, who responded to the consultation exercise conducted by the UK Government last December.

As the Catholic Bishops of Northern Ireland we are eager to enter into dialogue with MLAs from across the political parties in an attempt to explore, where possible, how new Regulations can be formulated, which express the will of most people in our society to support and protect the lives of mothers and their unborn children.  As a first step, we have included with this letter our recent submission (see below) to the Westminster Scrutiny Committee dealing with the relevant legislation, for your consideration.

We are very conscious that you and all MLAs are under great pressure at this time, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the many issues you are called upon to address every day.  However, we trust that within the Assembly, time can be made to undertake the initial debate that is so urgently needed regarding these extreme Regulations.

We look forward to hearing from you about these issues in due course.

Wishing you every blessing and strength in your important work,

Yours sincerely,

Most Rev Eamon Martin DD
Archbishop of Armagh
Apostolic Administrator of Dromore

Most Rev Noel Treanor DD
Bishop of Down and Connor

Most Rev Donal McKeown DD
Bishop of Derry

Most Rev Larry Duffy DD
Bishop of Clogher

Most Rev Michael Router DD
Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh

Submission to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments on the Abortion (NI) Regulations 2020 – 3 April 2020


As Catholic Bishops our opposition to the new Regulations is rooted in the Catholic Church’s teaching concerning the dignity of every human life, regardless of age, ability, gender or background. This teaching prohibits the direct and deliberate intention to end the life of an unborn baby at any stage of his or her development.  This right to life of the child is inextricably linked to the right to life and well-being of the mother.

At the same time, we recognise that the legislation passed into law by the Westminster Parliament stands now to be implemented.  While we regard this to be an unjust law, which was imposed without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland, we are morally obliged, wherever possible, to do all we can to save the lives of unborn children, which could be lost through abortion, and to protect mothers from the pressures they might experience at the time of an unplanned pregnancy.

To that end, we seek to highlight the Regulations, so that even when the legislation is being scrutinised by the relevant committees, consideration can be given to the fact that section 9 of the Executive Formation (Northern Ireland) Act 2019 Act was passed by parliament with the unexpected use of statutory powers and that there are special reasons which call for proper scrutiny of the extraordinarily sensitive issues by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The context in which section 9 of the Executive Formation Act was passed into law:

Abortion is a devolved matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly
The Northern Ireland Assembly had clearly voted to retain the existing law.
The law is now set out in section 9 of the Northern Ireland Executive Formation Act 2019 (“the Act”). The Secretary of State for NI is required to implement the recommendations of the CEDAW report at paragraphs 85 and 86.
The Overreach of the Regulations

Despite a context in which significant constitutional questions were raised by the passing of the Act, the Regulations go far beyond the requirements of the CEDAW recommendations.
Regulations must be made which appear to the Secretary of State to be necessary and appropriate. For the reasons outlined below the Regulations go far beyond what is necessary. Further, in the context that pertains, namely that section 9 concerned a devolved matter, the Regulations were inappropriate in exceeding what was strictly required.
Set out below are a number of the discrete areas, where the Regulations overreach and take the law beyond what the recommendations of CEDAW require. It is accepted that the CEDAW report at paragraphs 85 and 86 is not written in the style of a parliamentary draftsman, but nevertheless the appropriate course in transposing the recommendations into Regulations, is to adopt measures, which are proportionate, having regard to the CEDAW recommendations and the context in which the section 9 of the Act was passed.

(i) CEDAW does not require abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks as now permitted.

(ii) The incorporation of the provisions of section 1 of the Abortion Act 1967 into the Regulations provides for abortion in almost all circumstances up to 24 weeks. There is no gestational limit laid down by the CEDAW Report and the current 24 week time limit in England Wales and Scotland is among the most permissive in Europe.

(iii) The inclusion of the word “seriously disabled” in respect of fetal abnormality in Regulation 7 of the Regulations eclipses and goes significantly beyond the wording of the language of CEDAW.  Paragraph 85 of CEDAW refers to “severe fetal impairment which includes FFA ” The language of Regulation 7 of the 2020 Regulations mirrors the amendment to the Abortion Act[1] 1967, which refers to a substantial risk that the child would be “seriously handicapped”. This diminution of the language was clearly unnecessary and inappropriate. The manner in which the English and Welsh provision of “seriously handicapped” has been interpreted by Courts and prosecuting authorities reveals that the widest possible margin is allowed, including in one instance a child aborted because of a cleft palate[2]. It should be recalled that the UK has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2009, which requires appropriate protection before as well as after birth for those born with a disability.[3]

(iv)  Additionally and inter alia the Regulations omit to provide an appropriate inspection framework for abortions, sufficient conscience protection for all medical professionals and proper counselling provision for those considering an abortion.


It is understood that the Committee must act within its own Terms of Reference. There are nevertheless substantial and relevant matters, which we believe should be brought to the attention of parliament in the Committee’s report.
Source: https://www.catholicbishops.ie/2020/06/01/letter-from-northern-bishops-to-all-mlas-in-advance-of-vote-on-abortion-motion-in-the-ni-assembly-tomorrow/

Bishops of Africa Plead with Aid Agencies for Cancellation of Debts of African Countries - Full Text from SECAM

SECAM Bishops call on AU, International agencies, to Step up Support for vulnerable People in Africa and its Islands

The Bishops of Africa have appealed to the African Union to sensitize member countries to contribute to the creation of a Solidarity Fund, which will be used to improve the health of the people.

In a statement issued on 31st May 2020 and signed by the President of SECAM, Philippe Cardinal OUÉDRAOGO, the Bishops urged African leaders to ensure that “the limited available resources be used to assist those who really need help, especially, the poorest of the poor and not end in the pockets of the politically connected people through corrupt practices”.

Acknowledging the initiatives already taken by Bilateral and Multilateral aid agencies in the management of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the African prelates further entreated them to take a closer look at the case of Africa, which currently lacks resources in the fight against the pandemic. They additionally pleaded with the aid agencies for massive cancellation of debts of African countries, to enable them to revive their economies.

The Bishops also called on Multinational Companies and Businesses which rely on raw materials from Africa to make significant contributions to the host countries to enable them to provide basic social services such as hospitals, schools, adequate and affordable housing.

They expressed appreciation to respective governments in their efforts to contain the brutal spread of the virus in the Continent and encouraged them to protect the health of the population. They also thanked all the health professionals and religious nuns who have shown extraordinary dedication to alleviating the suffering of the sick. Church institutions directly involved in the fight were also encouraged to remain steadfast and to work with other non-Church institutions in the promotion of good heath for all people of Africa and Madagascar.

The prelates acknowledged that God had not abandoned His children in these difficult times, especially, those infected and affected by Covid-19 but was daily working through doctors, nurses, health workers, volunteers and caregivers who have been on the frontline of this emergency, risking their lives.

In the statement, there was also a call on all sons and daughters of the African continent “to reactivate the value of solidarity that has shaped our societies to better face the impact of the pandemic and to be able to turn our economies around…. In this time when many are in dire need, let us help them to experience the love of God. In the same vein, let us not stigmatize those who have recovered from the COVID-19 disease but accept them warmly and make them feel happy to be back to their families or communities. Let us further join forces to achieve a harmonious development, concerned to preserve human dignity and sustainability of future generations”.

The Bishops used the Statement to once again express their solidarity with all those infected and affected by COVID-19 and assured them of their daily prayers.

They urged everyone “to turn to the Holy Spirit daily and pray that he continues to fill the hearts of the faithful with hope and courage; to kindle in all peoples of the world the fire of his love; to renew the face of the earth, bring an end to the pandemic and pave the way for the emergence of a new world”.
FULL TEXT Source: https://secam.org/ - Image source: Google Image bethbritton