Friday, October 23, 2020

Saint October 24 : St. Anthony Mary Claret - Founder of the Claretians and Patron of Weavers, Savings, and Publishers

St. Anthony Mary Claret

December 23, 1807, Sallent
October 24, 1870, Fontfroide
May 7, 1950 by Pope Pius XII
Patron of:
Textile Merchants, Weavers, Savings (taught the poor the importance of savings), Catholic press, Claretians Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The founder of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Anthony Mary Claret died in the Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide in France on this date in 1870. He was canonized in 1950 and listed in the Roman Calendar in 1960. Anthony was born at Salent in the Diocese of Vich in Catalonia, Spain, in the year in which Napoleon invaded Spain. He was trained for manual labor, since his father was a weaver, but in 1829 he entered the seminary at Vich. Ordained to the priesthood in 1835, he was assigned as pastor in his home parish. Later he went to Rome to work for the Propagation of the Faith. He also entered the novitiate of the Jesuits but had to leave because of ill health, so he returned to Spain and was assigned as pastor of a parish. His apostolate consisted of rural preaching, conferences for the clergy and publications (he wrote more than 150 books). Because of his successful apostolate he aroused the animosity of some of the clergy and as a result he left Catalonia for the Canary Islands (1848). After a year he returned to Catalonia and resumed his preaching apostolate.
In 1849 Anthony gathered together five priests who formed the basis of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (popularly known as Claretians). At the suggestion of the Queen of Spain, Isabella II, Anthony was named archbishop of Santiago, Cuba (1850). For the next seven years he made pastoral visitations, preached against the slavery of the Negroes, and regularized numerous marriages. As a result of his activity he was frequently threatened with death and on one occasion an attempt was actually made on his life. In 1857 he was recalled to Spain as confessor to the queen. In this way he was able to exert some influence in the naming of bishops, set up a center of ecclesiastical studies at the Escorial, and work towards the recognition of religious orders in Spain. In 1869 he was in Rome, preparing for the First Vatican Council. He followed Isabella II into exile and at the insistence of the Spanish ambassador, was placed under house arrest in the Cistercian monastery at FontFroide, where he died at the age of 63. His remains were ultimately returned to Vich.
SOURCE: The Catholic Encyclopedia
9:52 PM

US Government Joins 31 Other Countries in Geneva Consensus Declaration - Sent to UN Criticizing Abortion Policies - "“We will unequivocally declare that there is no international right to abortion." - FULL Official Text

Life News reports that the Geneva Consensus declaration, signed by the United States and 31 other countries including Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda, criticizes the UN for supporting the killing of unborn babies in abortions across the world, excerpt from The Hill.
“We will unequivocally declare that there is no international right to abortion. We will proudly put women’s health first at every stage of life,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said during the signing ceremony.
FULL TEXT Official US Government Release: 
Trump Administration Marks the Signing of the Geneva Consensus Declaration
(Official Video Starts at 24:10)
On Thursday, October 22, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and HHS Secretary Alex Azar participated in the virtual signing of the Geneva Consensus Declaration, a historic document that further strengthens an ongoing coalition to achieve better health for women, the preservation of human life, support for the family as foundational to a healthy society, and the protection of national sovereignty in global politics.
The document was co-sponsored by the United States, Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda, and co-signed by 32 countries in total, representing more than 1.6 billion people.
Secretary Pompeo said in his remarks, “Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States has defended the dignity of human life everywhere and always. He’s done it like no other President in history. We’ve also mounted an unprecedented defense of the unborn abroad. … Today, we’re taking the next step, as we sign the Geneva Consensus Declaration. At its very core, the Declaration protects women’s health, defends the unborn, and reiterates the vital importance of the family as the foundation of society.” 
Secretary Azar said at the event, “The Declaration is much more than a statement of beliefs—it is a critical and useful tool to defend these principles across all United Nations bodies and at every multilateral setting, using language previously agreed to by member states of those bodies. ... Tragically, women around the world unnecessarily suffer health challenges—all too often, deadly health challenges—while too many wealthy nations and international institutions put a myopic focus on a radical agenda that is offensive to many cultures and derails agreement on women’s health priorities. Today, we put down a clear marker: No longer can U.N. agencies reinterpret and misinterpret agreed-upon language without accountability. Member States set the policy for the U.N. to pursue. Not the other way around.”
More information on the event and the Declaration is available at
The declaration reads as follows:
On Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family:
We, ministers and high representatives of Governments,
Having intended to gather on the margins of the 2020 World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland to review progress made and challenges to uphold the right to the highest attainable standards of health for women; to promote women’s essential contribution to health, and strength of the family and of a successful and flourishing society; and to express the essential priority of protecting the right to life, committing to coordinated efforts in multilateral fora; despite our inability to meet in Geneva due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, in solidarity, we
1. Reaffirm “all are equal before the law,” and “human rights of women are an inalienable, integral, and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms”;
2. Emphasize “the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights,” as well as economic, social, and cultural rights; and the “equal rights, opportunities and access to resources and equal sharing of responsibilities for the family by men and women and a harmonious partnership between them are critical to their well-being and that of their families”; and that “women and girls must enjoy equal access to quality education, economic resources, and political participation as well as equal opportunities with men and boys for employment, leadership and decision-making at all levels;”
3. Reaffirm the inherent “dignity and worth of the human person,” that “every human being has the inherent right to life,” and the commitment “to enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant”;
4. Emphasize that “in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning” and that “any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process”;  Reaffirm that “the child… needs special safeguards and care… before as well as after birth” and “special measures of protection and assistance should be taken on behalf of all children,” based on the principle of the best interest of the child;
5. Reaffirm that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State”; that “motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance,” that “women play a critical role in the family” and women’s “contribution to the welfare of the family and to the development of society”;
6. Recognize that “universal health coverage is fundamental for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals related not only to health and well-being,” with further recognition that “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” that “the predominant focus of health-care systems on treating illness rather than maintaining optimal health also prevents a holistic approach”; and that there are “needs that exist at different stages in an individual’s lifespan” which together support optimal health across the life course, entailing the provision of the necessary information, skills, and care for achieving the best possible health outcomes and reaching full human potential; and
7. “Reaffirm the importance of national ownership and the primary role and responsibility of governments at all levels to determine their own path towards achieving universal health coverage, in accordance with national contexts and priorities,” preserving human dignity and all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Furthermore, we, the representatives of our sovereign nations do hereby declare in mutual friendship and respect, our commitment to work together to:
  • Ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and equal opportunity for women at all levels of political, economic, and public life;
  • Improve and secure access to health and development gains for women, including sexual and reproductive health, which must always promote optimal health, the highest attainable standard of health, without including abortion;
  • Reaffirm that there is no international right to abortion, nor any international obligation on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion, consistent with the long-standing international consensus that each nation has the sovereign right to implement programs and activities consistent with their laws and policies;
  • Build our health system capacity and mobilize resources to implement health and development programs that address the needs of women and children in situations of vulnerability and advance universal health coverage;
  • Advance supportive public health policies for women and girls as well as families, including building our healthcare capacity and mobilizing resources within our own countries, bilaterally, and in multilateral fora;
  • Support the role of the family as foundational to society and as a source of health, support, and care; and
  • Engage across the UN system to realize these universal values, recognizing that individually we are strong, but together we are stronger.
Read Secretary Azar’s remarks here:

Pope Francis says "...cultivate in the hearts of our brothers and sisters a shared responsibility for one another as children of God and a renewed commitment to be good stewards of his gift of creation." FULL TEXT



[Castel Gandolfo, 23-25 October 2020]

Dear brothers and sisters!

I offer cordial greetings to all taking part in this international Meeting being held as part of the year-long observance of the fifth anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’. I express my gratitude to EcoOne, the ecological initiative of the Focolare Movement, and to the representatives of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Global Catholic Climate Movement who have cooperated in making this event possible.

Your Meeting, with its theme “New Ways towards Integral Ecology: Five Years after Laudato Si’”, addresses a relational vision of humanity and care for our world from a variety of perspectives: ethical, scientific, social and theological. In recalling the conviction of Chiara Lubich that the created world bears within itself a charism of unity, I trust that her perspective can guide your work in the recognition that “everything is connected” and that “concern for the environment needs to be joined to sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society” (Laudato Si’, 91).

Among such problems is the urgent need for a new and more inclusive socio-economic paradigm that reflects the truth that we are “a single human family, fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, children of the same earth which is our common home” (Fratelli Tutti, 8). This solidarity with one another and with the world around us demands a firm willingness to develop and implement practical measures that foster the dignity of all persons in their human, family and work relationships, while at the same time combating the structural causes of poverty and working to protect the natural environment.

Achieving an integral ecology calls for a profound interior conversion on both the personal and communal level. As you examine the great challenges facing us at this time, including climate change, the need for sustainable development and the contribution religion can make to the environmental crisis, it is essential to break with the logic of exploitation and selfishness and to promote the practice of a sober, simple and humble lifestyle (cf. Laudato Si’, 222-224). It is my hope that your work will serve to cultivate in the hearts of our brothers and sisters a shared responsibility for one another as children of God and a renewed commitment to be good stewards of his gift of creation (cf. Gen 2:15).

Dear friends, once again I thank you for your research and your cooperative efforts to seek new ways that lead to an integral ecology for the common good of the human family and the created world. In offering my prayerful best wishes for your deliberations during this meeting, I cordially invoke upon you, your families and your associates God’s blessings of wisdom, strength and peace. And I ask you, please, to remember me in your prayers.

Rome, from Saint John Lateran, 23 October 2020



FULL TEXT Source: - official Translation from Italian - Image Source: Screenshot

Vatican Releases Decree on Plenary Indulgences for the Faithfully Departed during the COVID-19 Pandemic - FULL TEXT

This year, in the current contingencies due to the "covid-19" pandemic,
the plenary indulgences for the deceased faithful will be extended for the entire month of November,
with adaptation of the works and conditions to ensure the safety of the faithful.
This Apostolic Penitentiary received not a few pleas from Sacred Shepherds who asked that this year, due to the "covid-19" epidemic, the pious works be commuted to achieve the plenary indulgences applicable to the souls in Purgatory, in accordance with of the Manual of Indulgences (conc. 29, § 1). For this reason, the Apostolic Penitentiary, on a special mandate from His Holiness Pope Francis, willingly establishes and decides that this year, in order to avoid gatherings where they were prohibited:
a.- the plenary indulgence for those who visit a cemetery and pray for the dead even if only mentally, normally established only on the individual days from 1 to 8 November, can be transferred to other days of the same month until its end. These days, freely chosen by the individual faithful, can also be separated from each other;
b- the plenary indulgence of November 2, established on the occasion of the commemoration of all the faithful departed for those who piously visit a church or an oratory and recite the "Our Father" and the "Creed" there, can be transferred not only to Sunday preceding or following or on the day of the solemnity of All Saints, but also on another day of the month of November, at the free choice of the individual faithful.
The elderly, the sick and all those who for serious reasons cannot leave the house, for example due to restrictions imposed by the competent authority for the time of a pandemic, in order to prevent numerous faithful crowding into sacred places, will be able to achieve Plenary indulgence provided that, spiritually uniting with all the other faithful, completely detached from sin and with the intention of complying as soon as possible with the three usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the intentions of the Holy Father), in front of an image of Jesus or of the Blessed Virgin Mary, recite pious prayers for the deceased, for example Lauds and Vespers of the Office of the Dead, the Marian Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, other prayers for the deceased dearest to the faithful, or entertain themselves in the meditated reading of one of the Gospel passages proposed by the liturgy of the dead, or perform a work of mercy by offering pain and discomfort to God of one's life.
For an easier attainment of divine grace through pastoral charity, this penitentiary earnestly prays that all priests endowed with the appropriate faculties, offer themselves with particular generosity to the celebration of the sacrament of Penance and administer Holy Communion to the sick.
However, with regard to the spiritual conditions for fully achieving the Indulgence, we remind you to refer to the indications already issued in the note "About the Sacrament of Penance in the current pandemic situation", issued by this Apostolic Penitentiary on March 19, 2020.
Finally, since the souls in Purgatory are helped by the suffrages of the faithful and especially with the sacrifice of the Altar pleasing to God (cf. Conc. Tr. Sess. XXV, decr. De Purgatorio), all priests are warmly invited to celebrate three times the Holy Mass on the day of the commemoration of all the faithful departed, in accordance with the Apostolic Constitution "Incruentum Altaris", issued by Pope Benedict XV, of venerable memory, on 10 August 1915.
This Decree is valid for the whole month of November. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary.
Given in Rome, from the headquarters of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 22 October 2020, in memory of Saint John Paul II.
Maurus Card. Piacenza
Paenitentiarius Maior
Christophorus Nykiel
[01264-EN.01] [Original text: Latin]

#BreakingNews - RIP Fr. José Manuel de Jesus Ferreira - Catholic Priest Killed while coming to Aid of Woman being Robbed in Venezuela

AMERICA/VENEZUELA - A priest killed during a robbery Thursday, 22 October 2020 Cojedes (Agenzia Fides) - 
The Bishop of the diocese of San Carlos de Venezuela, Mgr. Polito Rodríguez Méndez, as well as the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Dehonians), issued a statement to inform about the violent death of Father José Manuel de Jesus Ferreira, parish priest of the Diocesan Eucharistic Shrine of San Juan Bautista. The murder took place on Tuesday 20 October, after the priest had celebrated Mass in the presence of a few people, due to the pandemic, while he was greeting them outside the church, on the street. The statement concludes by asking to pray for the priest.

 The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, which condemned the fact, reports in a note sent to Fides the words of Mgr. Polito Rodríguez Méndez: "the priest, while he was greeting this small group of people, saw a woman who had just been robbed. The priest immediately went to help her and was gunshot. Until the last moment, Father José Manuel did good". Despite being taken to San Carlos hospital, the priest died soon after. The funeral was celebrated yesterday at the Parish where he responsible. Father José Manuel was born in Caracas (Venezuela) on November 25, 1980, son of Portuguese immigrants. He entered the Congregation of Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 2000. He was ordained a priest on December 19, 2009. He was currently parish priest at "San Juan" Eucharistic shrine, where he had begun the restoration of the shrine which dates back to the colonial era and was promoting various social activities in favor of the most disadvantaged. Among other tasks, he was responsible for the missionary pastoral care of the diocese of San Carlos. Those who knew him remember his charismatic and dynamic spirit, always interested in developing innovative activities. Affable and calm, he was always available to help his brothers. (CE) (Source; Agenzia Fides, 22/10/2020)

Polish Court Rules that Abortion due to Fetal Defect is not Compatible with the Constitution - Bishops' Conference President Appreciates this Decision

On October 22, 2020, the Polish Constitutional Court ruled that the previous allowances of abortion due to a severe fetal defect are not compatible with the Polish constitution.

“Since the attribute of human dignity belongs to man from the moment of the inception of human life, and the protection of the right to life is a direct consequence of the protection of human dignity, the interpretation of Article 38 of the Constitution in the light of Article 30 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland leads to the conclusion that the right to life is a human right in stage of development, at which he is also entitled to the protection of human dignity, and therefore also in the prenatal period “- it read.

The President of the Polish Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, after the decision of the Constitutional Court in full -

I received with great appreciation today's decision by the Constitutional Court, which found that eugenic abortion is incompatible with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland.

With this decision it was established that the concept of 'life not worth living' stands in sharp contradiction to the principle of a legally regulated democratic state. Every person's life is of equal value to God from conception to natural death and should be equally protected by the state.

The attitude towards the weakest is like St. John Paul II says - the measure of democracy and goodness of society. Anyone with a righteous conscience realizes how unprecedentedly barbaric it is to deny everyone the right to life, especially because of their illnesses.

Let us now remember that children - who are directly affected by today's Constitutional Court decision - and their families should be surrounded by the special kindness and care of the state, society and the church as they enjoy this epoch-making change in the law .

+ Stanisław Gądecki
Metropolitan Archbishop of Poznan
Chairman of the Polish Bishops' Conference in
Poznan, October 22, 2020, St. John Paul II


3 Bishops in India go on Hunger Strike to Ensure Constitutional Education Rights

Vatican News reports that in India, three bishops are on hunger strike for educational rights. Report:
Protesting against the infringement on the constitutional rights of Catholic educational institutions, three bishops in India advocate for the payment of teachers’ salaries in state-aided Church-run schools in Kerala.
By Vatican News staff writer
Three bishops in India sat on a day-long hunger strike, accusing the Kerala provincial government of denying Christian educational institutions their constitutional rights.
Bishop Joshua Mar Ignathios of Mavelikkara, chairman of the Kerala Bishops’ Council (KCBC) Education Commission, its vice-chairman, Bishop Paul Anthony Mullassery of Kollam and Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Tharayil of Changanassery, spent Tuesday in front of the Kerala state secretariat without food or water.
Two other Catholic officials joined the bishops in their protests. Simultaneous protests were also organized in all the 14 district headquarters in the state.
Unpaid salaries
Explaining the cause for the protests, Archbishop Maria Calist Soosa Pakiam of Trivandrum pointed out that in five years, the more than 3000 teachers in Church-run state-aided schools have not been paid salaries. Denying salaries, especially during these challenging times of the Covid-19 health crisis was, he said, “an act of cruelty.”
The government “curtails our rights as a religious minority to run education institutions through arbitrary orders and amendments to the existing laws.”
Archbishop Pakiam added that the protest aims to seek “no special favors from the state.” Rather, “it is to ensure our constitutional rights.”
The Church currently runs about 5,000 of Kerala’s 13,000 schools. More than half of the Church-run schools are entitled to government funding to pay salaries for a number of teachers.
Christians make up 2.3 percent of India’s 1.3 billion population. In Kerala State, 18 percent of its 33 million people are Christian.
Continuous protests
Father Charles Leon, KCBC secretary explained that the Tuesday strike was the start of a state-wide protest.
“It is not a one-day affair, it is an indefinite protest,” he said, adding that the state government is also “trying to meddle in the appointment of teachers in the state-aided schools.”
The government categorized about 4,000 teachers in mostly state-run schools as “protected teachers”, aiming to keep them employed even when the state closes down schools. However, the government has tried to use the resettling of these teachers to appoint a sizeable percentage of teaching staff in Church-managed schools.
“We were told then that it was a one-time settlement,” Fr. Leon explained. “But now the government wants to continue to appoint fifty percent of teachers in our state-aided schools in complete breach of constitutional provisions.”
Constitutional rights
Speaking on the constitutional provisions in this regard, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, the head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church said that the constitution gives minority schools the right to appoint teachers.
However, he added, “it is a gross injustice” that the government has stalled the appointments these past five years.

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Friday, October 23, 2020 - In Your Virtual Church

 Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 477
Reading 1
Eph 4:1-6
Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace;  
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.
Responsorial Psalm
24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6
R.    (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R.    Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart  is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R.    Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R.    Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
See Mt 11:25
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
LK 12:54-59
Jesus said to the crowds,
“When you see a cloud rising in the west
you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does;
and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south
you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is.
You hypocrites!
You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky;
why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate,
make an effort to settle the matter on the way;
otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge,
and the judge hand you over to the constable,
and the constable throw you into prison.
I say to you, you will not be released
until you have paid the last penny.”
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