Thursday, October 29, 2020

Saint October 30 : St. Alphonsus Rodriguez a Jesuit Confessor and Lay-Brother who Died in 1617

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

July 25, 1532, Segovia
October 31, 1617
6 September, 1887
Major Shrine:

Born at Segovia in Spain, 25 July, 1532; died at Majorca, 31 October, 1617. On account of the similarity of names he is often confounded with Father Rodriguez the author of "Christian Perfection", who though eminent in his holiness was never canonized. The Saint was a Jesuit lay-brother who entered the Society at the age of forty. He was the son of a wool merchant who had been reduced to poverty when Alfonso was still young. At the age of twenty-six he married Mary Francisco Suárez, a woman of his own station, and at thirty-one found himself a widower with one surviving child, the other two having died previously. From that time he began a life of prayer and mortification, although separated from the world around him. On the death of his third child his thoughts turned to a life in some religious order. Previous associations had brought him into contact with the first Jesuits who had come to Spain, Bl. Peter Faber among others, but it was apparently impossible to carry out his purpose of entering the Society, as he was without education, having only had an incomplete year at a new college begun at Alcalá by Francis Villanueva. At the age of thirty-nine he attempted to make up this deficiency by following the course at the College of Barcelona, but without success. His austerities had also undermined his health. After considerable delay he was finally admitted into the Society of Jesus as a lay-brother, 31 January, 1571. Distinct novitiates had not as yet been established in Spain, and Alfonso began his term of probation at Valencia or Gandia -- this point is a subject of dispute -- and after six months was sent to the recently-founded college at Majorca, where he remained in the humble position of porter for forty-six years, exercising a marvelous influence on the sanctification not only of the members of the household, but upon a great number of people who came to the porter's lodge for advice and direction. Among the distinguished Jesuits who came under his influence was St. Peter Clavier, who lived with him for some time at Majorca, and who followed his advice in asking for the missions of South America. The bodily mortifications which he imposed on himself were extreme, the scruples and mental agitation to which he was subject were of frequent occurrence, his obedience absolute, and his absorption in spiritual things even when engaged on most distracting employments, continual. It has often been said that he was the author of the well known "Little Office of the Immaculate Conception", and the claim is made by Alegambe, Southwell, and even by the Fathers de Backer in their Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus. Apart from the fact that the brother did not have the requisite education for such a task, Father Costurer says positively that the office he used was taken from an old copy printed out of Spain, and Father Colin asserts that it existed before the Saint's time. It may be admitted, however, that through him it was popularized. He left a considerable number of manuscripts after him, some of which have been published as "Obras Espirituales del B. Alonso Rodriguez" (Barcelona, 1885, 3 vols., octavo, complete edition, 8 vols. in quarto). They have no pretense to style; they are sometimes only reminiscences of domestic exhortations; the texts are often repeated; the illustrations are from every-daylife; the treatment of one virtue occasionally trenches on another; but they are remarkable for the correctness and soundness of their doctrine and the profound spiritual knowledge which they reveal. They were not written with a view to publication, but put down by the Saint himself, or dictated to others, in obedience to a positive command of his superiors. He was declared Venerable in 1626. In 1633 he was chosen by the Council General of Majorca as one of the special patrons of the city and island. In 1760 Clement XIII decreed that "the virtues of the Venerable Alonso were proved to be of a heroic degree"; but the expulsion of the Society from Spain in 1773, and its suppression, delayed his beatification until 1825. His canonization took place 6 September, 1887. His remains are enshrined at Majorca.
SOURCE: The Catholic Encyclopedia

#BreakingNews 3 People Killed while Praying in Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, France by Terrorist - Pope Prays for Victims - FULL TEXT

Three people, two women and a man, were killed and several more wounded in a knife attack carried out by a man, apparently a radical Islamist. The attack took place at Nice’s Notre Dame de L'Assomption Basilica around 9 am. First, a woman had her throat cut inside the basilica, and a man was fatally wounded. A third victim was killed in a bar in front of the basilica where she was hiding after fleeing the Church. The police arrested the attacker who was wounded. He is in hospital in very serious condition and he repeatedly shouted "Allahu Akhbar!" (God is greatest!). 
 Nice’s mayor, Christian Estrosi, said that this points to " to a "terrorist attack at the heart of the Notre-Dame basilica" by a supporter of “Islamofascism”. This is after a teacher was recently beheaded after showing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in class.
Vatican News reported the Pope was informed of the situation and is close to the mourning Catholic community. He prays for the victims and their loved ones, so that the violence may cease, so that we may return to look upon ourselves as brothers and sisters and not as enemies, so that the beloved people of France, united, may respond to evil with good".
PRESS Release from Diocese of Nice:
It is with the greatest emotion that I have just learned of the tragedy which strikes this morning in the Christian community of the Alpes-Maritimes. And once again the city of Nice.
As I write these lines, it appears that three people have been the victims of a heinous terrorist act within and around the walls of Notre Dame Basilica, days after the savage murder of Professor Samuel Paty.
Only a few weeks after the devastating passage of the storm Alex, my emotion can only be strong after this new tragedy which mourns our diocese.
My sadness is infinite as a human being in front of what other beings, called humans, can do.
At this time, all the churches in Nice are closed until further notice, and placed under police protection.
All my prayers go out to the victims, their loved ones, the law enforcement agencies on the front lines of this tragedy, priests and faithful wounded in their faith and hope.
May Christ's spirit of forgiveness prevail in the face of these barbaric acts. 
Press Release from the Bishops of France: 
The murders perpetrated this morning in Nice in the Basilica of Notre-Dame plunge the Conference of Bishops of France into immense sadness. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, the injured, their families and loved ones. It was because they were in the Basilica that these people were attacked, murdered. They represented a symbol to be destroyed.
These assassinations remind us of the martyrdom of Father Jacques Hamel. Through these horrific acts, our entire country is affected. This terrorism aims to instill anxiety throughout our society. It is urgent that this gangrene be stopped as it is urgent that we find the indispensable brotherhood that will hold us all upright in the face of these threats.
Despite the pain that grips them, Catholics refuse to give in to fear and, with the whole nation, want to face this treacherous and blind threat.
Wherever possible, the death knell for the churches of France will sound today at 3 p.m. Catholics will be invited to a prayer for the victims.

Bishops of Poland make Appeal for Fasting and Prayer for Peace - Reminding Everyone of St. Pope John Paul II's Defense of Unborn




  1. Today, as a wave of street protests sweeps through our country, pope Francis addressed important and meaningful words to Poles during the General Audience. In them, he recalled St. John Paul II, who “always called for special love for the weak and defenseless and for the protection of every human life from its conception to its natural death.” These words are part of the Church’s constant call for protection, including legal protection, of the life of every human being, including the unborn, in accordance with the commandment “Thou shalt not kill”.
  2. Pope Francis asked God “to awaken in everyone’s hearts respect for the lives of our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest and defenseless, and to give strength to those who accept and care for them, even when it requires heroic love.” The commandment of love imposes on us an important duty of caring, helping, and giving mothers and families who receive and raise sick children the protection they need. We thank all communities and institutions that have been doing this for years, and we appeal to parishes, Catholic movements, and other church organizations to undertake specific initiatives to meet those who need and will need both individual and institutional help. The Church will always stand for life and support initiatives that protect it.
  3. We observe with great pain the escalation of social tension and aggression. The vulgar language used by some of the protesters, the destruction of social property, the devastation of churches, the profanation of sacred places, or prevention of the liturgy there are also disturbing. We call on everyone to engage in meaningful social dialogue, to express their views without resorting to violence, and to respect the dignity of every human being. We ask politicians and all participants of the social debate, at this dramatic time, to thoroughly analyze the causes of the situation and look for ways out, in the spirit of truth and for the common good, without instrumentalizing matters regarding the faith and the Church.

We thank the pastors and all the lay faithful who are courageously defending their churches. Nobody can defend the Church and sacred objects better than the community of believers. We also thank the security services. The Church wants to remain open to all people, regardless of their social and political affiliation.

  1. We are also going through an exceedingly difficult time because of the restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. This is an enormous challenge for all of us. In the name of care for safety and health, we constantly appeal for solidarity and compliance with the sanitary safety regulations. We express our gratitude to all medical agents for their work and heroic dedication.
  2. We also ask all believers to fast, to give alms, and to pray for social peace, with the intention of protecting life, putting an end to the ongoing crisis, and ending the developing pandemic. We will present the text of the prayer prepared for this time.

We bless all our compatriots.

The Members of the Permanent Council of the Polish Bishops’ Conference

28th October 2020

FULL TEXT Release:

RIP Cardinal Anthony Fernandez - Death of the 1st Cardinal of Malaysia at Age 88 - Biography

His Eminence Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez
22nd April 1932 – 28th October 2020
Archbishop Emeritus of Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese
It is with profound sorrow that the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur announces the demise of Malaysia’s first cardinal, His Eminence Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez, who has peacefully passed on Wed, 28th October at 12.35pm at St Francis Xavier Home for the Elderly in Cheras.
His Eminence, who was the second archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, was diagnosed with tongue cancer in November 2019 and had been receiving palliative care at the St Francis Xavier Home, where he had been residing since 2013.

Due to restrictions under the CMCO, the Funeral Mass will not be opened to the public
but will be live streamed from ArchKL YouTube Channel -

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Revd Fr Michael Chua
Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur

BIOGRAPHY of His Eminence Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez
Archbishop Emeritus of Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese
Date of Birth: 22nd April 1932
Ordained as Priest: 10th Dec 1966
Appointed Bishop of Penang: 29th Sept 1977
Ordained Bishop: 17th Feb 1978
Appointed Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur: 30th
July 1983
Installed as Archbishop: 10th Nov 1983
Retired as Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur: 24th May
Designation to the College of Cardinals: 9th Oct 2016
Elevated as Cardinal: 19th Nov 2016
Departed: 28th Oct 2020
Early Life
Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez was born in Sungei Petani, Kedah, and had his early education in Klian Pauh Convent, Taiping from 1940 to 1941. His studies were disrupted by World War II. At the end of the war, he continued his education at St Theresa School and
Ibrahim School in Sungei Petani.
Following the demise of his father in 1946, he had to put aside his studies and assume the role of bread winner for the family. His main priority was to care for his mother and ensure that his younger brother would get a proper and uninterrupted education. He worked as a
Hospital Assistant from 1947 to 1954.
At the encouragement of the late Monsignor I.J. Aloysius and the late Archbishop Dominic Vendargon, he was led to discern the priesthood. He joined the minor seminary in Singapore in 1958 at the age of 26. He completed his priestly formation at College General in 1966 and
was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Dominic Vendargon at the Cathedral of the Assumption, Penang on Dec 10 of the same year.
Life as a Priest
His first assignment after ordination was as assistant priest and later parish priest at the Church of St Louis in Taiping where he served for three years. He was subsequently sent for further studies at the International Training Institute for World Churchmen and the East Asian
Pastoral Institute in Manila, Philippines. In 1972, he attended the Intensive Training Institute at the National Biblical Catechetical-Liturgical Centre in Bangalore, India. 

Upon his return, he visited parishes and schools in the diocese to share his knowledge and to form catechetical groups in various areas. In 1973, he was appointed as a professor in College General to initiate students into the priestly life. When the post of rector became vacant in 1975, he was appointed rector.
Following the elevation of Bishop Gregory Yong of Penang as the Archbishop of Singapore,
Pope St Paul VI appointed Fr Soter as Bishop-elect of Penang on Sept 29, 1977 and he was consecrated as Bishop of Penang on Feb 17, 1978.
On Nov 10, 1983, Bishop Soter was given the honour of stepping into the shoes of his mentor, Archbishop Vendargon, as the second archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur. He tendered his resignation on May 24, 2003 due to ill health at the age of 71.
Upon his retirement, His Eminence served as spiritual director at College General Seminary in Penang from 2005 to 2012 and then returned to Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese to take up residence and serve as chaplain at the St. Francis Xavier Home for the Elderly (Little Sisters of the Poor) in Cheras.
Anthony Soter Fernandez was raised to the rank of a Cardinal by Pope Francis on 19th
November 2016.
His concern for the direction of the Catholic Church in Peninsular Malaysia was evident in the
early years of his priesthood. He was one of the architects of the 1976 Aggiornamento
(pastoral renewal of the local church). That one-month gathering involving clergy from the
three dioceses of Peninsular Malaysia produced a new pastoral thrust for the local church
which identified the need for Christ-centred communities along with four related needs: unity
among the faithful, formation, dialogue between Christians and those of other faiths and
integral human development of the poor.
His Eminence was an advocate and pioneer in promoting the use of the National Language in
the local church. He exhorted Malaysian Christians to use Bahasa Malaysia as widely as
possible, “not merely because our children are more proficient in that language, but as a sign
of our commitment to and love for our country.” He also pointed out that the Church must
pay more attention to the local language and culture if it is to remain faithful to the postVatican Council II idea of inculturation. For this reason, he was the first bishop to use Bahasa
Malaysia in his episcopal motto, ‘Keadilan dan Keamanan’ (Justice and Peace) when he was
ordained Bishop of Penang. 

His episcopal motto is powerfully reflected in his pastoral priorities and projects. He took up
justice and peace issues both within the church as well as in the larger society. This led him to set up of the Justice and Peace Commission in the Penang diocese. Recognising his contribution in this area, he was elected Chairman of the Office for Human Development of
the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference in 1984.
Known to be a champion of human rights and an advocate for the poor and the marginalised, he promoted social justice programmes under National Office for Human Development
(NOHD). This work eventually led to detention of several church workers and volunteers
during Operation Lallang in 1987. His Eminence was a courageous and outspoken critic of
preventive detentions without trial under draconian laws.
His Eminence put great emphasis on the creation of BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities), on
Family Life and inter-religious dialogue and ecumenism. He took concrete steps to make BECs
foundational to parish life.
Other notable initiatives undertaken by His Eminence during his tenure as Archbishop include:
• Establishment of Archdiocesan Single Adults & Youth Office (ASAYO).
• Establishment of Sri Seronok Retirement Village.
• Inaugurating the HERALD, the Catholic Weekly Newspaper.
• Establishment of the first private Catholic school, Sekolah Menengah Stella Maris.
• Establishment of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Institute.
Many lay movements and associations found their proper place in the Archdiocese. He had a special interest for the marginalised. He reached out to the Orang Asli communities and made frequent visits to be with his people in the rural areas. The Deaf, the Blind and those with
disabilities always had a special place in his heart. He was especially close to the residents of Asrama Cahaya, Bukit Nanas.
When he was elected as the President of the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism,
Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism in 2001, His Eminence expressed his hope for unity and understanding among the religions. He said, “The fabric of our nation is composed of rich
cultures and of various religions. Any religion that imposes its teachings with less respect for
other religions destroys the very fabric itself. Thus it is the sacred duty of all members of the MCCBCHS to collaborate with all religions to uphold truth and justice to all.” Therefore, it is no surprise that His Eminence’s life-long friends include people of other faiths and Christians from other denominations.

Saint October 29 : Blessed Chiara Badano of the Focolare report: There was nothing extraordinary or unusual about the life of Chiara Badano (known as Chiara Luce). And yet for this girl who loved swimming, skiing, listening to music and being with friends, God was always present, beginning with her birth for which Ruggero and Maria Teresa Badano had been praying for eleven years. Then, to their surprise, it happened and Chiara was born on 29 October 1971 in Sassello, in the inlands of Savona, Italy.
Clare was a tenacious girl, someone “outside the box” and always attentive to the “least” among people. In 1981, when she was nine years old, she attended the “FamilyFest” which is a large gathering of the Focolare Movement. It was a revelation for her. She wrote to Chiara Lubich: “I’ve rediscovered the Gospel in a new light. Now I want this book to be the sole purpose of my life!”
Soon, however, Chiara Luce also experienced suffering, especially when despite her effort she had to repeat the first year of high school because of a misunderstanding with a teacher. It was the first time she felt that she could offer God not only her joys, but also the sufferings. She wrote to a friend: “I wasn’t able to give this suffering to Jesus right away. It took a little time to recover.”
When she was seventeen years old, while playing tennis, she felt a stabbing pain in the shoulder. Soon afterwards she made the tragic discovery: osteosarcoma, one of the most ruthless forms of tumour.
It was a hard verdict. When she returned home after the first cancer treatment, Maria Teresa was waiting: “Chiara, how did it go?” But she didn’t even look at her mother and throwing herself on her bed, she remained for a long time gripped by an interior struggle. Only after twenty-five minutes did she return with her usual smile: “Mum, you can talk to me now.” Chiara had said her yes to God and would never turn away from it: “For you, Jesus . . . if you want it, I want it too!” As the treatments became more painful her offering remained firm. Chiara never lost an opportunity to love. “At first we felt like we were going to visit her in order to support her,” a friend recounts, “but quite soon we noticed that whenever we went into her room, the feeling came over us that we were being projected into the splendid adventure of God’s love. And yet, Chiara didn’t say any extraordinary words, she didn’t write pages and pages of diary. She simply loved.”
The more the illness progressed, the more the experience intensified for Chiara. At one point she refused morphine because “It takes away my lucidity” and “I can only offer my pain to Jesus. It’s all I have left.”
Finally, on 7 October 1990, her “departure”. One last smile for Ruggero and then a goodbye for Maria Teresa: “Mamma, be happy, because I’m happy!” There was a huge crowd at the funeral and, as she had requested, Chiara Luce was buried in a white dress, “like a bride going to Jesus”.
Shortly before dying, Chiara Luce exclaimed: “The youth are the future. I can no longer run, but I’d like to pass the Olympic torch on to them. The young people have only one life and it’s worth it to spend it well!” The 25,000 young people who attended her beatification ceremony in Rome on 25 September 2010, demonstrate that Chiara Luce Badano has given witness to a model of holiness that can be lived by everyone!