Thursday, September 10, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Friday, September 11, 2020 - Your Virtual Church


A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians         9:16-19, 22-27

I do not boast of preaching the gospel, since it is a duty which has been laid on me; I should be punished if I did not preach it! If I had chosen this work myself, I might have been paid for it, but as I have not, it is a responsibility which has been put into my hands. Do you know what my reward is? It is this in my preaching, to be able to offer the Good News free, and not insist on the rights which the gospel gives me.
So though I am not a slave of any man I have made myself the slave of everyone so as to win as many as I could. For the weak I made myself weak. I made myself all things to all men in order to save some at any cost; and I still do this, for the sake of the gospel, to have a share in its blessings.

All the runners at the stadium are trying to win, but only one of them gets the prize. You must run in the same way, meaning to win. All the fighters at the games go into strict training; they do this just to win a wreath that will wither away, but we do it for a wreath that will never wither. That is how I run, intent on winning; that is how I fight, not beating the air. I treat my body hard and make it obey me, for, having been an announcer myself, I should not want to be disqualified

The Word of the Lord

Responsorial Psalm          Ps 83
Response                               How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts.

1. My soul is longing and yearning,
is yearning for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my soul ring out their joy
to God, the living God.                                     Response

2. The sparrow herself finds a home
and the swallow a nest for her brood;
she lays her young by your altars,
Lord of hosts, my king and my God.            Response

3. They are happy, who dwell in your house,
for ever singing your praise.
They are happy, whose strength is in you,
in whose hearts are the roads to Zion.         Response

4.  For the Lord God is a rampart, a shield;
he will give us his favour and glory.
The Lord will not refuse any good
to those who walk without blame.               Response

Gospel  Acclamation        Ps 147: 12. 15
Alleluia, alleluia!
O praise the Lord, Jerusalem! He sends out his word to the earth.
Alleluia !

Or                                             Jn 17: 17
Alleluia, alleluia!
Your word is truth, O Lord, consecrate us in the truth .
Alleluia !


A reading from the Gospel according to Luke         6:39-42

Jesus told a parable to the disciples, ‘Can one blind man guide another? Surely both will fall into a pit?
The disciple is not superior to his teacher; the fully trained disciple will always be like his teacher.
Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own?
How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take out the splinter that is in your eye”,
when you cannot see the plank in your own?
Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take out the splinter that is in your brother’s eye
Prayer to Make a 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 September 11 : St. John Gabriel Perboyre a Priest and Martyr of China of the Congregation of the Mission


St. John Gabriel Perboyre (1802-1840)
priest, martyr of the Congregation of the Mission  

The formation years
Nothing happens by chance. Neither life, nor death, nor vocation. JOHN GABRIEL PERBOYRE was born in Montgesty, near Cahors, in southern France, on 6 January 1802 into a family which gave three missionaries of St. Vincent and two Daughters of Charity to the Church. Such an environment exuded faith, simple and healthy values, and the sense of life as gift.
The one who "calls by name" seemed to ignore him as a teenager. The call came to his younger brother Louis for entrance into the seminary. John Gabriel was asked to accompany his younger brother for a time, while waiting for him to get adjusted to the surroundings. John Gabriel's presence at the seminary, then, happened by chance and he should have left quickly. But chance revealed to the astonished eyes of the young man unexpected horizons: that in the seminary he had found his path.
The Church of France had at that time just emerged from the throes of the French Revolution with the red-colored garments of martyrdom for some, and with the pain of the apostasy of many. The panorama at the beginning of the 1800's was desolate: buildings destroyed, convents sacked, people without pastors. Thus, it was no accident that the ideal of the priesthood appeared to the young man not as a feeble arrangement for life, but as the destiny of heroes.
His parents, surprised, accepted the choice of their son and accompanied him with their encouragement. Not by chance, his paternal uncle Jacques was a missionary of St. Vincent. This explains why in 1818 the missionary ideal matured in the young John Gabriel. At that time, the missions meant principally China. But China was a faraway mirage. To leave meant never to find again the home milieu, taste its flavors, enjoy its affections. It was natural for him to choose the Congregation of the Mission founded by St. Vincent de Paul in 1625 for the evangelization of the poor, the formation of the clergy, but above all to push those very missionaries toward holiness. The mission is not propaganda. The Church has always demanded that the proclaimers of the Word be spiritual persons, mortified, full of God and charity. In order to illuminate the darkness in people, a lamp is not sufficient if there is no oil.
John Gabriel did not think in half-measures. If he was a martyr it is because he was a saint.
From 1818 to 1835 he was a missionary in his own country. First, in his formation period, he was a model novice and student. After his priestly ordination (1826), he was charged with the formation of seminarians.
The missionary attraction
A new factor, certainly not haphazard, modified John Gabriel's life. The protagonist was once again his brother Louis. He also had entered the Congregation of the Mission and had asked to be sent to China where the sons of St. Vincent had had a new martyr in the person of Blessed Francis Regis Clet (18 February 1820). During the voyage, however, the young Louis, only 24 years of age, was called to the mission in heaven.
All that the young man had hoped for and done would have been useless if John Gabriel had not made the request to replace his brother in the breach.
John Gabriel reached China in August of 1835. At that time the Occident knew almost nothing about the Celestial Empire, and the ignorance was reciprocal. The two worlds felt a mutual attraction, but dialogue was difficult. In the countries of Europe one did not speak of a Chinese civilization, but only of superstitions, of "ridiculous" ceremonies and customs. The judgments were thus prejudices. China's appreciation of Europe and Christianity was not any better.
There was a dark gap between the two civilizations. Someone had to cross it in order to take on himself the evil of many, and to consume it with the fires of charity.
After getting acclimated in Macau, John Gabriel began the long trip in a Chinese junk, on foot, and on horseback, which brought him after eight months to Nanyang in Henan, where the obligation to learn the language imposed itself.
After five months, he was able to express himself, though with some trouble, in good Chinese, and at once threw himself into the ministry, visiting the small Christian communities. Then he was transferred to Hubei, which is part of the region of lakes formed by the Yangtze kiang (blue river). Even though he maintained an intense apostolate, he suffered much in body and spirit. In a letter he wrote: "No, I am no more of a wonder man here in China than I was in France ... ask of him first of all for my conversion and my sanctification and then the grace that I do not spoil his work too much..." (Letter 94). For one who looks at things from the outside, it was inconceivable that such a missionary should find himself in a dark night of the soul. But the Holy Spirit was preparing him in the emptiness of humility and the silence of God for the supreme testimony.
In chains for Christ
Unexpectedly in 1839 two events, apparently unrelated, clouded the horizon. The first was the renewed outbreak of persecution which flowed from the decree of the Manchurian emperor, Quinlong (1736-1795), which had proscribed the Christian religion in 1794.
The second was the outbreak of the Chinese-British War, better known as the "Opium War" (1839-1842). The closure of the Chinese frontier and the pretence of the Chinese government to require an act of dependence from the foreign ambassadors had created an explosive situation. The spark came from the confiscation of loads of opium stowed in the port of Canton; this action harmed the merchants, most of whom were English. The British flotilla intervened, and the war began.
The missionaries, obviously interested only in the first event dealing with the persecution of Christians, were always on their guard. As often happens, too many alarms diminished the vigilance. And that is what happened on 15 September 1839 at Cha-yuen-ken, where Perboyre lived. On that day he was with two other European missionaries, his confrere, Baldus, and a Franciscan, Rizzolati, and a Chinese missionary, Fr. Wang. They were informed of the approach of a column of about one hundred soldiers. The missionaries underestimated the information. Perhaps the soldiers were going elsewhere. Instead of being wary, the missionaries continued enjoying a fraternal conversation. When there was no longer any doubt about the direction of the soldiers, it was late. Baldus and Rizzolati decided to flee far away. Perboyre hid himself in the surroundings because the nearby mountains were rich with bamboo forests and hidden caves. As Fr. Baldus has attested for us, however, the soldiers used threats to force a catechumen to reveal the place where the missionary was hiding. The catechumen was a weak person, but not a Judas.
Thus began the sad Calvary of John Gabriel. The prisoner had no rights, he was not protected by laws, but was at the mercy of the jailers and judges. Given that he was arrested it was presumed that he was guilty, and if guilty, he would be punished.
A series of trials began. The first was held at Kou-Ching-Hien. The replies of the martyr were heroic:
- Are you a Christian priest?
- Yes, I am a priest and I preach this religion.
- Do you wish to renounce your faith?
- No, I will never renounce the faith of Christ.
They asked him to reveal his companions in the faith and the reasons for which he had transgressed the laws of China. They wanted, in short, to make the victim the culprit. But a witness to Christ is not an informer. Therefore, he remained silent.
The prisoner was then transferred to Siang-Yang. The cross examinations were made close together. He was held for a number of hours kneeling on rusty iron chains, was hung by his thumbs and hair from a rafter (the hangtze torture), was beaten several times with bamboo canes. Greater than the physical violence, however, remained the wound of the fact that the values in which he believed were put to ridicule: the hope in eternal life, the sacraments, the faith.
The third trial was held in Wuchang. He was brought before four different tribunals and subjected to 20 interrogations. To the questioning were united tortures and the most cruel mockery. They prosecuted the missionary and abused the man. They obliged Christians to abjure, and one of them even to spit on and strike the missionary who had brought him to the faith. For not trampling on the crucifix, John Gabriel received 110 strokes of pantse.
Among the various accusations, the most terrible was the accusation that he had had immoral relations with a Chinese girl, Anna Kao, who had made a vow of virginity. The martyr defended himself. She was neither his lover nor his servant. The woman is respected not scorned in Christianity, was the sense of John Gabriel's reply. But he remained upset because they made innocents suffer for him.
During one interrogation he was obliged to put on Mass vestments. They wanted to accuse him of using the privilege of the priesthood for private interests. But the missionary, clothed in the priestly garments, impressed the bystanders, and two Christians drew near to him to ask for absolution.
The cruelest judge was the Viceroy. The missionary was by this time a shadow. The rage of this unscrupulous magistrate was vented on a ghost of a man. Blinded by his omnipotence the Viceroy wanted confessions, admissions, and accusations against others. But if the body was weak, the soul was reinforced. His hope by now rested in his meeting God, which he felt nearer each day.
When John Gabriel told him for the last time: "I would sooner die than deny my faith!," the judge pronounced his sentence. John Gabriel Perboyre was to die by strangulation.
With Christ priest and victim
Then began a period of waiting for the imperial confirmation. Perhaps John Gabriel could hope in the clemency of the sovereign. But the war with the English erased any possible gesture of good-will. Thus, on 11 September 1840, an imperial envoy arrived at full speed, bearing the decree confirming the condemnation.
With seven criminals the missionary was led up a height called the "Red Mountain." As the criminals were killed first, Perboyre reflected in prayer, to the wonderment of the bystanders.
When his turn came, the executioners stripped him of the purple tunic and tied him to a post in the form of a cross. They passed a rope around his neck and strangled him. It was the sixth hour. Like Jesus, John Gabriel became like a grain of wheat. He died, or better was born into heaven, in order to make fall on the earth the dew of God's blessing.
Many circumstances surrounding his last year of life (the betrayal, the arrest, the death on a cross, its day and hour), are similar to the Passion of Christ. In reality, all his life was that of a witness and a faithful disciple of Christ. St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote: "I look for him who died for us; I yearn for him who rose for us. Behold, the moment is near in which I will be brought forth! Have compassion on me, brothers! Do not prevent me from being born to life!"
John Gabriel "was born to life" on 11 September 1840, because he always had sought "him who died for us." His body was brought back to France, but his heart remained in his adopted homeland, the land of China. There he gave his witness to the sons and daughters of St. Vincent who also wait to be born to heaven after a life spent for the gospel and for the poor.
Shared from

Quote to SHARE by St. Augustine "“Order your soul; reduce your wants; live in charity; associate in Christian community; obey the laws; trust in Providence.”

“Order your soul; reduce your wants; live in charity; associate in Christian community; obey the laws; trust in Providence.”
Saint Augustine
Image Source: Google Images - QuoteFancy

Pope Francis says "No one can remain indifferent to the human tragedies that continue to unfold in different regions of the world." Full Text


Sala Clementina
Thursday, 10 September 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I welcome you who have joined the “ Snapshots from the borders ” project. I thank Mr. Salvatore Martello, Mayor of Lampedusa and Linosa, for the words he addressed to me on behalf of all. And I also thank you for this beautiful cross, so significant, that you have carried. Thank you.

Yours is a forward-looking project. It aims to promote a deeper understanding of migration, which allows European societies to give a more humane and coordinated response to the challenges of contemporary migration. The network of local authorities and civil society organizations, which was born from this project, aims to contribute positively to the development of migration policies that respond to this goal.

The current migration scenario is complex and often has dramatic implications. The global interdependencies that determine migratory flows need to be studied and understood better. The challenges are manifold and challenge everyone. No one can remain indifferent to the human tragedies that continue to unfold in different regions of the world. Among these we are often challenged by those whose theater is the Mediterranean, a border sea, but also a meeting place of cultures.

Last February, during the meeting - very positive - with the Bishops of the Mediterranean, in Bari, I recalled how “among those who struggle most in the Mediterranean area, there are those who flee from war or leave their land in search of a life worthy of man. [...] We are aware that in various social contexts a sense of indifference and even rejection is widespread [...]. The international community has stopped at military interventions, while it should build institutions that guarantee equal opportunities and places where citizens have the possibility to take charge of the common good […]. At the same time, we never accept that those seeking hope by sea will die without receiving help […]. Of course, welcome and a dignified integration are stages in a not easy process; however, it is unthinkable to be able to face it by building walls "( Speech , February 23, 2020).

Faced with these challenges, it is clear that concrete solidarity and shared responsibility are indispensable, both nationally and internationally. "The current pandemic has highlighted our interdependence: we are all linked, to each other, both for bad and for good" ( General Audience , 2 September 2020). We must act together, not alone.

It is also essential to change the way we see and tell about migration: it is about putting people, faces and stories at the center. Hence the importance of projects, such as the one you have promoted, which seek to propose different approaches, inspired by the culture of encounter, which constitutes the path towards a new humanism. And when I say “new humanism” I don't mean it only as a philosophy of life, but also as a spirituality, as a style of behavior.

The inhabitants of the cities and of the frontier territories - the societies, the communities, the Churches - are called to be the first actors of this turning point, thanks to the continuous opportunities for encounter that history offers them. Frontiers, which have always been considered as dividing barriers, can instead become “windows”, spaces of mutual knowledge, of mutual enrichment, of communion in diversity; they can become places where models are experimented to overcome the difficulties that new arrivals entail for indigenous communities.

I encourage you to continue working together for the culture of encounter and solidarity. May the Lord bless your efforts in this regard, and may Our Lady protect you and the people you work for. I pray for you, and you, please, don't forget to pray for me. May the Lord bless all of you, your work and your efforts to move forward in this direction. Thank you.
FULL TEXT Source: - Unofficial Translation

Statement from Bishop on Fr James Altman saying he is "lacking any charity" Full Text

Diocese of La Crosse Office for communications / public relations 
September 9, 2020 Statement From Bishop Callahan Regarding Father James Altman Fr. James Altman has become a social media phenomenon and is now a main stream media story. The amount of calls and emails we are receiving at the Diocesan offices show how divisive he is. I am being pressured by both sides for a comment; one side holds him up as a hero or a prophet, the other side condemns him and vilifies him and demands I silence him. As I review Fr. Altman’s latest video statement of 30 August 2020, I understand the undeniable truth that motivates his message. When we approach issues that are contradictory to the Faith and teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church, particularly on abortion and other life issues, we should invite dialogue and heart-felt conversion to the truth. Our approach must never seek to divide, isolate and condemn. That being said it is not only the underlying truth that needs to be evaluated but also the manner of delivery and the tone of his message. Unfortunately, the tone Fr. Altman offers comes off as angry and judgmental, lacking any charity and in a way that causes scandal both in the Church and in society. His generalization and condemnation of entire groups of people is completely inappropriate and not in keeping with our values or the life of virtue. I am applying Gospel principles to the correction of Fr. Altman. “If your brother does something wrong to you, go to him. Talk alone to him and tell him what he has done. If he listens to you, you have kept your brother as a friend. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two others with you to talk to him.” (Mt 18:15-16).
 I have begun this process, not in the bright light of the public arena, but as the Gospel dictates, in private. Canon law indicates that before penalties are imposed, we need to ensure that fraternal correction, rebuke or other means of pastoral solicitude will not be sufficient to repair the scandal (can. 1341). Most people expect a decisive move from me, one way or another.
Many suggest immediate penalties that will utterly silence him; others call for complete and unwavering support of his views. Canonical penalties are not far away if my attempts at fraternal correction do not work. I pray that Fr. Altman’s heart and eyes might be open to the error of his ways and that he might take steps to correct his behavior and heal the wound he has inflicted on the Body of Christ. Pray for me as I address this issue, and pray for Fr. Altman that he might hear and respond to my fraternal correction. Finally, please pray for the Church that we might seek the truth in charity and apply it in our daily actions. -------------- Contact: Jack Felsheim Director of Communications and Public Relations 608-791-2657

Fire at Largest Refugee Camp in Europe which held over 12000 People

EUROPE/GREECE - "Europe should not be blind and deaf": appeals after the fire at Moria refugee camp
Thursday, 10 September

Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "The fire at Moria refugee camp, in Lesbos, confirms once again that the States of all of Europe cannot be blind to a crisis dictated by wanting to turn their backs on those who ask for help. We cannot be deaf to people who are living far beyond survival threshold. That of the migrants of Moria is a 'non-life' because they are in inhuman conditions, as if they were 'detained' for the crime of hope". This was stated in a note sent to Fides, by Sister Neusa de Fatima Mariano, superior general of the Scalabrinian Missionaries, a congregation that since its foundation has dealt with assistance to migrants. "We join once again to the many appeals of Pope Francis to find a Christian solution, capable of giving the many refugees, faces of Christ, the possibility to truly live in a just, equitable world that can allow them to feel safe", concludes Sister Neusa.
The fire broke out on the evening of 8 September in several points of the structure, which at the time was hosting over 12,000 asylum seekers (four times its capacity) and is the largest in Europe. After 24 hours, a new fire devastated the part of the refugee camp that had been spared, further panicking the families, forced to flee to safety as their tents burned. The Scalabrinian Sisters are committed to the mission in Lesbos (see Fides, 29/7/2020; 27/8/2020), where in collaboration with the Community of Sant'Egidio, since the end of July have been providing assistance to refugees arriving on the Greek island.
After the fire, the Community of Sant’Egidio also launched an appeal to all the countries of the European Union to urgently welcome refugees who have lost everything. "These are asylum seekers who for months, some for years, have been living in conditions of extreme precariousness, after having made long and very risky journeys to escape from wars or unsustainable situations, mostly from Afghanistan - underlines the note sent to Fides -. They are mostly families, for an overall figure of about 13,000, with a percentage of minors of 40 percent. If Europe still lives up to its tradition of civilization and humanity, it must take it upon itself with an act of collective responsibility". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 10/9/2020)