Monday, August 17, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - Virtual Church


A reading from the book of the Prophet Ezekiel             28:1 -10
Though you are a man and not a god, you consider yourself the equal of God.

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows,’Son of man, tell the ruler of Tyre, “The Lord the say this:

Being swollen with pride,
you have said: I am a god;
I am sitting on the throne of God,
surrounded by the seas.
Though you are a man and not a god,
you consider yourself the equal of God.
You are wiser now than Danel;
there is no sage as wise as you.
By your wisdom and your intelligence
you have amassed great wealth;
you have piles of gold and silver
inside your treasure-houses.
Such is your skill in trading,
your wealth has continued to increase,
and with this your heart has grown more arrogant.
And so, the Lord says this:
Since you consider yourself the equal of God,first-last
very well, I am going to bring foreigners against you,
the most barbarous of the nations.
They will draw sword against your fine wisdom,
they will defile your glory;
they will throw you down into the pit
and you will die a violent death
surrounded by the seas.
Are you still going to say: I am a god,
when your murderers confront you?
No, you are a man and not a god
in the clutches of your murderers!
You will die like the uncircumcised –
at the hand of foreigners.
For I have spoken – it is the Lord who speaks.”‘

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm          Deut 32
Response                              It is the Lord who deals death and life.

1. I should crush them to dust, said the Lord.
I should wipe out their memory among men,
did I not fear the boasting of the enemy.
But let not their foes be mistaken!           Response

2. Let them not say: Our own power wins the victory,
the Lord plays no part in this.
What a nation of short sight it is;
in them there is no understanding.         Response

3 How else could one man rout a thousand,
how could two put ten thousand to flight,
were it not that their Rock has sold them,
that the Lord has delivered them up?      Response

4. For it is close, the day of their ruin;
their doom comes at speed.
For the Lord will see his people righted,
he will take pity on his servants.               Response

Gospel  Acclamation          Ps 24: 4. 5
Alleluia, alleluia!
Teach me your paths, my God, make me walk in your truth.
Alleluia !

or                                                 Mt 5: 3
Alleluia, alleluia!
Jesus Christ was rich, but he became poor for your sakes, to make you rich out of his poverty.
Alleluia !


A reading from the holy Gospel according to  Matthew       19:23-30
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Camel and needleJesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you solemnly, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, I tell you again, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’ When the disciples heard this they were astonished. ‘Who can be saved, then?’ they said. Jesus gazed at them. ‘For men’ he told them ‘this is impossible; for God everything is possible.

Then Peter spoke. ‘What about us?’ he said to him ‘We have left everything and followed you. What are we to have, then?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I tell you solemnly, when all is made new and the Son of Man sits on his throne of glory, you will yourselves sit on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of my name will be repaid a hundred times over, and also inherit eternal life.

‘Many who are first will be last, and the last, first.
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

Saint August 18 : St. Helena, Mother of Constantine, who Discovered the Cross of Jesus and Patron of Converts, Divorced

Born: 248, Drepanum, Bithynia, Asia Minor 
Died: 328, Constantinople, Roman 
Major Shrine: The shrine to Saint Helena in St. Peter's Basilica Patron of: archeologists, converts, difficult marriages, divorced people, empresses, Helena, the capital of Montana.
The mother of Constantine the Great, born about the middle of the third century, possibly in Drepanum (later known as Helenopolis) on the Nicomedian Gulf; died about 330. She was of humble parentage; St. Ambrose, in his "Oratio de obitu Theodosii", referred to her as a stabularia, or inn-keeper. Nevertheless, she became the lawful wife of Constantius Chlorus. Her first and only son, Constantine, was born in Naissus in Upper Moesia, in the year 274. The statement made by English chroniclers of the Middle Ages, according to which Helena was supposed to have been the daughter of a British prince, is entirely without historical foundation. It may arise from the misinterpretation of a term used in the fourth chapter of the panegyric on Constantine's marriage with Fausta, that Constantine, oriendo (i.e., "by his beginnings," "from the outset") had honoured Britain, which was taken as an allusion to his birth, whereas the reference was really to the beginning of his reign.
In the year 292 Constantius, having become co-Regent of the West, gave himself up to considerations of a political nature and forsook Helena in order to marry Theodora, the step-daughter of Emperor Maximinianus Herculius, his patron, and well-wisher. But her son remained faithful and loyal to her. On the death of Constantius Chlorus, in 308, Constantine, who succeeded him, summoned his mother to the imperial court, conferred on her the title of Augusta, ordered that all honour should be paid her as the mother of the sovereign, and had coins struck bearing her effigy. Her son's influence caused her to embrace Christianity after his victory over Maxentius. This is directly attested by Eusebius (Vita Constantini, III, xlvii): "She (his mother) became under his (Constantine's) influence such a devout servant of God, that one might believe her to have been from her very childhood a disciple of the Redeemer of mankind". It is also clear from the declaration of the contemporary historian of the Church that Helena, from the time of her conversion had an earnestly Christian life and by her influence and liberality favoured the wider spread of Christianity. Tradition links her name with the building of Christian churches in the cities of the West, where the imperial court resided, notably at Rome and Trier, and there is no reason for rejecting this tradition, for we know positively through Eusebius that Helena erected churches on the hallowed spots of Palestine. Despite her advanced age she undertook a journey to Palestine when Constantine, through his victory over Licinius, had become sole master of the Roman Empire, subsequently, therefore, to the year 324. It was in Palestine, as we learn from Eusebius (loc. cit., xlii), that she had resolved to bring to God, the King of kings, the homage and tribute of her devotion. She lavished on that land her bounties and good deeds, she "explored it with remarkable discernment", and "visited it with the care and solicitude of the emperor himself". Then, when she "had shown due veneration to the footsteps of the Saviour", she had two churches erected for the worship of God: one was raised in Bethlehem near the Grotto of the Nativity, the other on the Mount of the Ascension, near Jerusalem. She also embellished the sacred grotto with rich ornaments. This sojourn in Jerusalem proved the starting-point of the legend first recorded by Rufinus as to the discovery of the Cross of Christ.
Her princely munificence was such that, according to Eusebius, she assisted not only individuals but entire communities. The poor and destitute were the special objects of her charity. She visited the churches everywhere with pious zeal and made them rich donations. It was thus that, in fulfilment of the Saviour's precept, she brought forth abundant fruit in word and deed. If Helena conducted herself in this manner while in the Holy Land, which is indeed testified to by Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, we should not doubt that she manifested the same piety and benevolence in those other cities of the empire in which she resided after her conversion. Her memory in Rome is chiefly identified with the church of S. Croce in Gerusalemme. On the present location of this church formerly stood the Palatium Sessorianum, and near by were the Thermae Helenianae, which baths derived their name from the empress. Here two inscriptions were found composed in honour of Helena. The Sessorium, which was near the site of the Lateran, probably served as Helena's residence when she stayed in Rome; so that it is quite possible for a Christian basilica to have been erected on this spot by Constantine, at her suggestion and in honour of the true Cross. Helena was still living in the year 326, when Constantine ordered the execution of his son Crispus. When, according to Socrates' account (Church History I.17), the emperor in 327 improved Drepanum, his mother's native town, and decreed that it should be called Helenopolis, it is probable that the latter returned from Palestine to her son who was then residing in the Orient. Constantine was with her when she died, at the advanced age of eighty years or thereabouts (Eusebius, Life of Constantine III.46). This must have been about the year 330, for the last coins which are known to have been stamped with her name bore this date. Her body was brought to Constantinople and laid to rest in the imperial vault of the church of the Apostles. It is presumed that her remains were transferred in 849 to the Abbey of Hautvillers, in the French Archdiocese of Reims, as recorded by the monk Altmann in his "Translatio". She was revered as a saint, and the veneration spread, early in the ninth century, even to Western countries. Her feast falls on 18 August.
Text from the Catholic Encyclopedia

Prayer to St. Helen

Holy and blessed Saint Helen,
With the anguish and devotion with which
You sought the Cross of Christ,
I plead that You give me God’s grace
To suffer in patience and labours of this life,
So that through them and
through Your intercession and protection,
I will be able to seek and carry the Cross,
Which God has placed upon me,
So that I can serve Him in this life
and enjoy His Glory ever after.


Quote to SHARE by St. Josemaria Escriva "Love our Lady, and she will obtain abundant grace to help you conquer in your daily struggle.”

"Love our Lady, and she will obtain abundant grace to help you conquer in your daily struggle.” 
St. Josemaria Escriva

Brutal Attack in Cameroon with 18 People Killed at Displaced Persons Camp - Condemned by UN organization

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, strongly condemns an unprovoked and brutal attack on a site hosting 800 internally displaced people (IDPs) near the village of Nguetchewe, in Cameroon’s Far North region.

At least 18 people were killed and 11 injured in the incident during the early hours of Sunday 2 August when assailants threw an explosive device, thought to be a grenade, into the makeshift camp while people were sleeping.

Some of the wounded were evacuated to Mokolo district hospital, an hour’s drive from Nguetchewe.

Some 1,500 people, including terrified residents of the hosting village, have fled to the nearby town of Mozogo for safety.

UNHCR is deploying an emergency mission to assess the situation and evaluate the protection and health needs of those affected.

Local communities in this impoverished area are often the first responders to those fleeing growing insecurity and violence in the area which covers Lake Chad and north-east Nigeria. They are sometimes related and they share with them the few resources they have.

Against the background of growing insecurity, UNHCR anticipates enhanced community protection, shelter, water and sanitation will be needed as the country responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNHCR calls on all actors to respect the civilian and humanitarian character of IDP camps, and to respond promptly to the urgent needs of people who have fled violence and suffered multiple displacements.

This attack follows a significant rise in violent incidents in Cameroon’s Far-North Region in July, including looting and kidnapping by Boko Haram and other armed groups active in the region. The Far North region, tucked between Nigeria’s Borno and Adamawa states and Lake Chad, currently hosts 321,886 IDPs and 115,000 Nigerian refugees.

The incident is also a sad reminder of the intensity and brutality of the violence in the wider  the Lake Chad Basin region that has forced more than three million people to flee: 2,7m are internally displaced in Northeast Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, while 292,682 Nigerian refugees fled into neighbouring countries.

Cameroon reports that since January this year, it has recorded 87 Boko Haram attacks on its northern border with Nigeria. Twenty-two of them were in the northern district of Mozogo alone.

Violent attacks have cost the lives of 30,000 people and displaced more than 3 million in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Pope Francis Sends Blessing to Meeting for Friendship Between Peoples in Rimini - FULL TEXT

[RIMINI, 18-23 AUGUST 2020]

From the Vatican, 5 August 2020
To His Excellency Most Reverend
Mons. Francesco LAMBIASI
Bishop of Rimini

Most Reverend Excellency,
the Holy Father wishes to convey through you his wishes for the success of the XLI edition of the Meeting for Friendship among Peoples , which will take place mainly in digital mode. Pope Francis assures the organizers and those who will participate in his closeness and his prayers.
Who has not found himself united with others by the dramatic experience of the pandemic? “We realized we were in the same boat, all frail and disoriented. The storm unmasks our vulnerability and leaves uncovered those false and superfluous certainties with which we have built our agendas, our projects, our habits and priorities. It shows us how we have left asleep and abandoned what nourishes, sustains and gives strength to our life "(Francis, Extraordinary moment of prayer , Churchyard of St. Peter's Basilica, 27 March 2020).
This year's title: "Without wonder we remain deaf to the sublime" (AJ Heschel, God in search of man , Turin 1969, 274), offers a precious and original contribution in a dizzying moment in history. In the search for goods rather than good, many had focused exclusively on their own strength, on the ability to produce and earn, giving up that attitude which in the child constitutes the fabric of the gaze on reality: amazement . In this regard, GK Chesterton wrote: «The most hermetic schools and sages have never had the gravity that resides in the eyes of a three month old baby. His is the gravity of the astonishment in front of the universe, and this astonishment is not mysticism, but transcendent common sense "( The accused, Turin 2011, 113).
Jesus' invitation to become like children comes to mind (cf. Mt 18 : 3), but also the wonder at being, which constituted the principle of philosophy in ancient Greece. It is this amazement that sets life back in motion, allowing it to restart in any circumstance: "It is the attitude to have, because life is a gift that gives us the possibility of always starting over", said Pope Francis, then insisting on the need to regain amazement in order to live: «life, without astonishment, becomes gray, habitual; so does faith. And the Church too needs to renew the amazement of being the abode of the living God, the Lord's Spouse, the Mother who begets children "( Homily , January 1, 2019 ).
In recent months we have experienced that dimension of amazement that takes the form of compassion in the presence of suffering, fragility, the precariousness of existence. This noble human sentiment has prompted doctors and nurses to face the serious challenge of the Coronavirus with strenuous dedication and admirable commitment. The same feeling full of affection for their students has allowed many teachers to accept the fatigue of distance teaching, ensuring the end of the school year. It has also allowed many to find in the faces and in the presence of family members the strength to face hardships and hardships.
In this sense, the theme of the next Meeting constitutes a powerful call to descend into the depths of the human heart through the rope of amazement. How not to experience an original feeling of wonder in front of the spectacle of a mountain landscape, or listening to music that makes the soul vibrate, or simply in front of the existence of those who love us and the gift of creation? Amazement is truly the way to grasp the signs of the sublime, that is, of that Mystery which constitutes the root and foundation of all things. Indeed, “not only the heart of man is presented as a sign, but also the whole of reality. To question oneself in the face of signs requires an extremely human capacity, the first we have as men and women: amazement, the ability to be amazed, as Giussani calls it. Only amazement knows ”(JM Bergoglio, in A. Savorana, Life of Fr Giussani , Milan 2014, 1034). Therefore JL Borges was able to say: "All emotions pass, only amazement remains" ( The desert and the labyrinth ).
If such a gaze is not cultivated, one becomes blind to existence: closed in on oneself, one remains attracted to the ephemeral and stops questioning reality. Even in the desert of the pandemic, often dormant questions have re-emerged: what is the meaning of life, pain, death? «Man cannot be satisfied with reduced or partial answers, forcing himself to censor or forget some aspect of reality. Within himself he possesses a longing for the infinite, an infinite sadness, a nostalgia that is satisfied only with an equally infinite response. Life would be an absurd desire if this answer did not exist ”(JM Bergoglio, in Vita di Fr Giussani , cit., 1034).
Several people have gone in search of answers or even just questions about the meaning of life, to which everyone aspires, even without being aware of it. Thus something apparently paradoxical happened: instead of quenching their deepest thirst, confinement has awakened in some the capacity to marvel in front of people and facts previously taken for granted. Such a dramatic circumstance has returned, at least for a while, a more genuine way of appreciating existence, without that complex of distractions and preconceptions that pollute the gaze, blur things, empty the amazement and distract us from asking who we are.
In the midst of the health emergency, the Pope received a letter signed by several artists, who thanked him for having prayed for them during a Mass in Santa Marta. On that occasion he said: "Artists make us understand what beauty is , and without beauty the Gospel cannot be understood" ( Morning Meditation , 7 May 2020). The theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, among others, has shown how decisive the experience of beauty is to reach truth: "In a world without beauty, even good has lost its force of attraction, the evidence of its duty be fulfilled; and man is perplexed in front of it and wonders why he shouldn't rather prefer evil. This too constitutes a possibility, even a much more exciting one. In a world that no longer believes itself capable of affirming beauty, the arguments in favor of truth have exhausted their force of logical conclusion: the process that leads to the conclusion is a mechanism that no longer nails anyone, and the conclusion itself does not conclude. more "( Gloria I , Milan 2005, 11).
For this reason, the theme that characterizes the Meeting launches a decisive challenge to Christians, called to bear witness to the profound attraction that faith exercises by virtue of its beauty: "the attraction of Jesus", according to an expression dear to the Servant of God Luigi Giussani. Speaking of education to the faith, the Holy Father wrote about it in what is usually considered the programmatic document of his pontificate: "All expressions of authentic beauty can be recognized as a path that helps one to encounter the Lord Jesus If, as Saint Augustine affirms, we love only what is beautiful, the Son made man, revelation of infinite beauty, is supremely lovable, and attracts us to himself with bonds of love. Therefore it becomes necessary that the formation in the via pulchritudinisbe inserted in the transmission of the faith "(Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium , 167 ).
The Pope therefore invites you to continue to collaborate with him in bearing witness to the experience of the beauty of God, who became flesh so that our eyes are amazed to see his face and our gazes find in him the wonder of living. This is what Saint John Paul II said one day, whose centenary of his birth we recently recalled: "It is worthwhile to be a man, because You, Jesus, were a man" ( Homily , April 15, 1984). Isn't this amazing discovery the greatest contribution that Christians can make to sustain the hope of men? It is a task that we cannot escape from, especially in this narrow bend in history. It is the call to be transparencies of the beauty that has changed our lives, concrete witnesses of the love that saves, especially towards those who now suffer most.
With these sentiments, the Holy Father heartily sends his Apostolic Blessing to your Excellency and to the entire community of the Meeting , asking them to continue to remember him in prayer. I join my cordial greeting, as I confirm, with a sense of distinguished respect,
of your most
devoted Excellency

Pietro Card. Parolin
Secretary of State
FULL TEXT + Image Source: - 

Letter from a Priest in Belarus - Details of Atrocities and Detention of over 7,000 People due to Election

Dear brothers and sisters! Please read this letter to the end.
I ask you to pray for my Belarus.
On August 9, we held presidential elections. For 26 years, our country has been ruled by dictator Lukashenko. For two months before the election, he jailed his main opponents, and the election itself was blatantly rigged, and there is a huge amount of evidence for this.
On the evening of August 9, residents of our capital Minsk and other cities came out express peacefully their disagreement with deception: we must understand that Belarusians are a very peaceful and disciplined nation. The days of August 9-12 are the worst in our history in recent decades. During these days, the Internet was disabled all over the country. More than 7,000 people were detained, both participants in peaceful demonstrations and those who had nothing to do with them.
When the authorities turned on the Internet on the 12th, we learned about terrible things: that detainees were beaten, their limbs and spine were broken, men were raped with police batons, men and women, girls and boys were beaten to death; there are even beaten children aged 14-16. Female police officers beat men, beat their genitals. There are two people killed by the police, but it is possible that many more were killed and the police are just hiding the terrible numbers. 
Many people still don't know where their loved ones are. I would not like to describe all the villainies, it is too scary. I have been crying for several days now because this is happening in my home, on my streets, with my people. I will only say that I only read about such atrocities in Solzhenitsyn's books about Soviet camps and Gestapo camps. Now my generation knows what it is... This Is Europe...
Now tens of thousands of people take to the streets every day, workers of factories, factories and many others are on strike. But the authorities are increasingly intimidating us. We are afraid. But everyone understands that we can't live like this anymore. You need to understand that in general the Belarusians are peaceful and quite apolitical. But the atrocities and lies caused an explosion of anger. We don't know how it will end. Lukashenko has nothing to lose, he wants to go to the end and is ready to kill further. If he wins people, if none will stop him, there will be a terrible police state established in Belarus, which will lead to many deaths and emigration of a huge number of Belarusians (but we they can close the country as well). Every day I drive through the streets of Minsk and I don't know if I will return home today. I write on Facebook about the truth and I am afraid that the security services may follow me and come after me or my brother priests (two Catholic priests have been detained and they have not yet been released).
I ask you, dear brothers and sisters: 1) pray for Belarus; 2) inform as many people as possible about what is happening; 3) if possible, tell your bishops and authorities; 4) maybe you can make a video with words of support. It is so important for us to know that you are with us!!! There is no political opposition in Belarus, there is a desire to defend the right to vote and stop violence.