Friday, October 30, 2020

Happy Halloween! Dress Like a Saint and SHARE - 5 Things about this Christian Feast of All Saints.... #Halloween

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Saturday, October 31, 2020 - In Your Virtual Church

Saturday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 484
Reading 1
PHIL 1:18B-26
Brothers and sisters:
As long as in every way, whether in pretense or in truth,
Christ is being proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.
Indeed I shall continue to rejoice,
for I know that this will result in deliverance for me
through your prayers and support from the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
My eager expectation and hope
is that I shall not be put to shame in any way,
but that with all boldness, now as always,
Christ will be magnified in my body,
whether by life or by death.
For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.
If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.
And I do not know which I shall choose.
I am caught between the two.
I long to depart this life and be with Christ,
for that is far better.
Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit.
And this I know with confidence,
that I shall remain and continue in the service of all of you
for your progress and joy in the faith,
so that your boasting in Christ Jesus may abound on account of me
when I come to you again.
Responsorial Psalm
PS 42:2, 3, 5CDEF
R. My soul is thirsting for the living God.
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
R. My soul is thirsting for the living God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. My soul is thirsting for the living God.
I went with the throng
and led them in procession to the house of God.
Amid loud cries of joy and thanksgiving,
with the multitude keeping festival.
R. My soul is thirsting for the living God.
MT 11:29AB
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart. 
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
LK 14:1, 7-11
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor.
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
‘Give your place to this man,’
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place.
Rather, when you are invited, 
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
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 October 31 : St. Wolfgang a Bishop and Patron of Apoplexy, Carpenters, and Strokes

924 in Swabia
31 October 994 at Pupping, Linz (modern Austria)
1052 by Pope Leo IX
Patron of:
apoplexy; carpenters and wood carvers; paralysis; stomach diseases; strokes
Prayer to St. Wolfgang:
 Lord, help us to follow in Your footsteps just as Your Apostles did, that we may be a good example to others. Grant us the graces we need to be good disciples and always lead our friends on the path to holiness. Saint Wolfgang Pray For Us. AMEN
Bishop of Ratisbon (972-994), born about 934; died at the village of Pupping in upper Austria, 31 October, 994. The name Wolfgang is of early German origin. St. Wolfgang was one of the three brilliant stars of the tenth century, St. Ulrich, St. Conrad, and St. Wolfgang, which illuminated the early medieval period of Germany with the undying splendour of their acts and services. St. Wolfgang sprang from a family of Swabian counts of Pfullingen (Mon. Germ. His.: Script., X, 53). When seven years old he had an ecclesiastic as tutor at home; later he attended the celebrated monastic school on the Reichenau. Here he formed a strong friendship with Henry, brother of Bishop Poppo of Würzburg, whom he followed to Würzburg in order to attend at the cathedral school there the lectures of the noted Italian grammarian, Stephen of Novara. After Henry was made Archbishop of Trier in 956, he called his friend to Trier, where Wolfgang became a teacher in the cathedral school, and also laboured for the reform of the archdiocese, notwithstanding the enmity with which his efforts were met. Wolfgang's residence at Trier greatly influenced his monastic and ascetic tendencies, as here he came into connection with the great reformatory monastery of the tenth century, St. Maximin of Trier, where he made the acquaintance of Ramwold, the teacher of St. Adalbert of Prague. After the death (964) of Archbishop Henry of Trier, Wolfgang entered the Order of St. Benedict in the Abbey of Maria Einsiedeln, Switzerland, and was ordained priest by St. Ulrich in 968. After their defeat in the battle of the Lechfeld (955), a victory gained with the aid of St. Ulrich, the heathen Magyars settled in ancient Pannonia. As long as they were not converted to Christianity they remained a constant menace to the empire. At the request of St. Ulrich, who clearly saw the danger, and at the desire of the Emperor Otto the Great, St. Wolfgang, according to the abbey annals, was "sent to Magyars" as the most suitable man to evangelize them. He was followed by other missionaries sent by Bishop Piligrim of Nassau, under whose jurisdiction the new missionary region came. After the death of Bishop Michael of Ratisbon (23 September, 972) Bishop Piligrim obtained from the emperor the appointment of Wolfgang as Bishop of Ratisbon (Christmas, 972). Wolfgang's services in this new position were of the highest importance, not only for the diocese, but also for the cause of civilization. As Bishop of Ratisbon, Wolfgang became the tutor of Emperor St. Henry II, who learned from him the principles which governed his saintly and energetic life. Poppe, son of Margrave Luitpold, Archbishop of Trier (1016), and Tagino, Archbishop of Magdeburg (1004-1012), also had him as their teacher. St. Wolfgang deserves credit for his disciplinary labours in his diocese. His main work in this respect was connected with the ancient and celebrated Abbey of St. Emmeram which he reformed by granting it once more abbots of its own, thus withdrawing it from the control of the bishops of Ratisbon, who for many years had been abbots in commendam, a condition of affairs that had been far from beneficial to the abbey and monastic life. In the Benedictine monk Ramwold, whom St. Wolfgang called from St. Maximin at Trier, St. Emmeram received a capable abbot (975). The saint also reformed the convents of Obermunster and Niedermunster at Ratisbon, chiefly by giving them as an example the convent of St. Paul, Mittelmunster, at Ratisbon, which he had founded in 983. He also co-operated in the reform of the ancient and celebrated Benedictine Abbey of Altach (Nieder-altach), which had been founded by the Agilolf dynasty, and which from that time took on new life. He showed genuine episcopal generosity in the liberal manner with which he met the views of the Emperor Otto II regarding the intended reduction in size of his diocese for the benefit of the new Diocese of Prague (975), to which St. Adalbert was appointed first bishop. As prince of the empire he performed his duties towards the emperor and the empire with the utmost scrupulousness and, like St. Ulrich, was one of the mainstays of the Ottonian policies. He took part in the various imperial Diets, and, in the autumn of 978, accompanied the Emperor Otto II on his campaign to Paris, and took part in the great Diet of Verona in June, 983.
St. Wolfgang withdrew as a hermit to a solitary spot, now the Lake of St. Wolfgang, apparently on account of a political dispute, but probably in the course of a journey of inspection to the monastery of Mendsee which was under the direction of the bishops of Ratisbon. He was discovered by a hunter and brought back to Ratisbon. While travelling on the Danube to Pöchlarn in Lower Austria, he fell ill at the village of Pupping, which is between Efferding and the market town of Aschach near Linz, and at his request was carried into the chapel of St. Othmar at Pupping, where he died. His body was taken up the Danube by his friends Count Aribo of Andechs and Archbishop Hartwich of Salzburg to Ratisbon, and was solemnly buried in the crypt of St. Emmeram. Many miracles were performed at his grave; in 1052 he was canonized. Soon after his death many churches chose him as their patron saint, and various towns were named after him. In Christian art he has been especially honoured by the great medieval Tyrolese painter, Michael Pacher (1430-1498), who created an imperishable memorial of him, the high altar of St. Wolfgang. In the panel pictures which are now exhibited in the Old Pinakothek at Munich are depicted in an artistic manner the chief events in the saint's life. The oldest portrait of St. Wolfgang is a miniature, painted about the year 1100 in the celebrated Evangeliary of St. Emmeram, now in the library of the castle cathedral at Cracow. A fine modern picture by Schwind is in the Schak Gallery at Munich. This painting represents the legend of Wolfgang forcing the devil to help him to build a church. In other paintings he is generally depicted in episcopal dress, an axe in the right hand and the crozier in the left, or as a hermit in the wilderness being discovered by a hunter. The axe refers to an event in the life of the saint. After having selected a solitary spot in the wilderness, he prayed and then threw his axe into the thicket; the spot on which the axe fell he regarded as the place where God intended he should build his cell. This axe is still shown in the little market town of St. Wolfgang which sprang up on the spot of the old cell. At the request of the Abbey of St. Emmeram, the life of St. Wolfgang was written by Othlo, a Benedictine monk of St. Emmeram about 1050. This life is especially important for the early medieval history both of the Church and of civilization in Bavaria and Austria, and it forms the basis of all later accounts of the saint. The oldest and best manuscript of this "Life" is in the library of the Abbey of Maria Einsiedeln in Switzerland (manuscript No. 322), and has been printed with critical notes in "Mon. Germ. His.: Script.", IV, 524-542. It has also been printed in, "Acta SS.", II November, (Brussels, 1894), 529-537; "Acta SS. O. S. Ben.", V, 812-833; and in P.L., CXLVI, 395-422.
Catholic Encyclopedia

Victims of Attack at Basilica in France, Mother of 3 Says "Tell my children I love them" before Dying - EU Issues Statement

'"Tell my children I love them." Those were the last words of Simone (see photo above), as she was dying after running from the the Islamist attack inside "Notre-Dame" Basilica in Nice, France. At 8.30 am, on October 29, 2020, the sacristan Vincent opened the church basilica. The first two believers to come to prayer were two women from the neighborhood. After 30 minutes all three were dead. The 44-year-old mother of 3 from Brazil, Simone Silva, was seriously injured but, was able to drag herself out of the church into the exterior cafe and told the emergency doctor that she loved her children. 

#BreakingNews 3 People Killed while Praying in Notre Dame
The sacristan Vincent Loques, age 55, also leaves behind three children. "My sadness is infinite," explained the Archbishop of Nice, André Marceau. Yesterday all churches in the city were closed and placed under police protection. At 3 p.m., the church bells rang across France. The Brazilian Government noted, with great regret, that one of the fatal victims was a 44-year-old Brazilian woman, mother of three, residing in France for many years. 
Three people were killed and several others injured in the attack that French President Emmanuel Macron said was an "Islamist terrorist attack".

The attacker, named Brahim Aioussaoi, from Tunisia, was armed with a knife attacked church-goers in the French city of Nice.

President Macron doubled the number of soldiers deployed to protect schools and religious, to 7,000. The French government has also raised its security alert level to its maximum level.

The attack took place inside Notre-Dame basilica and the attacker was shot and wounded. He was taken to hospital.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor, Jean-Francois Ricard, said a man and woman were killed inside the church. The third victim, a 44-year-old woman, Simone, who managed to flee, died at a nearby restaurant.

A 60-year-old woman whose body was found at the entry of the church, suffered “a very deep throat-slitting, like a decapitation,” Ricard added. The 55-year-old man, Vincent, also died after deep cuts to his throat.

The attacker shouted "Allah Akbar" as he carried out the attack.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor Ricard, said the attacker, was born in 1999. He was carrying a copy of the Qur'an - the Muslim holy book.

In Nice, Daniel Conilh, a 32-year-old bar worker serving in a nearby café, described the scene as it unfolded.
"Everyone ran away, there was shooting. A woman came straight out of the church saying to us: 'run, run, someone has gone down, there's going to be shooting, people are dead'," he recounted, adding that he called for calm as panicked customers fled the café.

Church bells tolled across France at 3pm to show respect for the victims.
The Vatican released a statement saying the Pope was "praying for the victims".
Edited from and EuroNews
Joint statement by the members of the European Council
We, European leaders, are shocked and saddened by the terrorist attacks in France.

We condemn in the strongest terms these attacks which represent so many attacks on our common values.

We stand united and firm in our solidarity with France, the French people and their government - in our common and continued fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

We call on world leaders to work for dialogue and understanding between communities and religions rather than division.

Protests in Pakistan as Court Approves Kidnapping of 13-year-old Girl, Arzoo Raja, and Forced Marriage to 44-year-old Man

ASIA/PAKISTAN - A court approves the kidnapping of the Catholic minor: vibrant protests by the Church and civil society

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Karachi (Agenzia Fides) - "We call on the authorities of the Sindh government, police officers and the judiciary for justice and a fair trial, as well as severe measures to be taken to stop the growing wave of kidnappings and forced conversions and marriages of young girls belonging to religious minorities in Pakistan.

At the moment, minority citizens do not feel safe and do not feel they have equal rights". This is what Cardinal Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi said in a message sent to Agenzia Fides, speaking about the case of the young Catholic girl Arzoo Raja, kidnapped, converted to Islam and forced to marry a Muslim man, in Karachi (see Fides 21, 22 and 24/10/2020)

Father Saleh Diego, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Karachi and also at the head of the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission, led a demonstration of more than 300 people including Christians, Hindus and Muslims at the entrance of Saint Patrick's Cathedral, yesterday 28 October. Fr. Diego said: "We ask for justice for the minor Arzoo Raja, who is only 13 years old. The court order that in fact legitimizes the kidnapping has saddened the Christian community in Pakistan. According to the order, the girl will have to live with her kidnapper and the police will guarantee their protection". Fr Diego informs: "The kidnapped girl has already been with her kidnapper for two weeks and the court ruled in favor of the kidnapper, which is terrible. To do it justice we will make all possible effort".

Arzoo Raja was kidnapped on 13 October 2020 by a Muslim man named Ali Azhar, who lived in the vicinity of the young Christian's home. On the day of the kidnapping, the young girl converted to Islam and married him.

The court order, issued on October 27, mentioned that Arzoo Fatima was initially a Catholic however, over time, she understood that Islam is a universal religion and asked her parents and other family members to embrace Islam, but they categorically refused. Arzoo subsequently accepted Islam out of her own free will and contracted a marriage with a Muslim man, Ali Azhar, her kidnapper.

The same order invites the police not to make any arrests in connection with the First Information Report registered under Article 364-A of the Pakistani Penal Code (i.e. kidnapping of a person under the age of 14). Indeed, the police are required to provide protection to the newly married girl.

Shema Kirmani, a Muslim and human rights activist, told Fides: "We strongly condemn such acts that are carried out in the name of religion. No religion allows anyone to be forced to convert and marry their kidnapper. This is kidnapping and rape". She adds: "According to the Child Marriage Act of the Sindh province, no one can be allowed to marry under the age of 18, the authorities must arrest and punish the culprits".

Ghazala Shafiq, Christian activist for human and women's rights, speaking to Fides remarks: "This court order accepts the forced conversion of Arzoo Raja, a 13-year-old girl. The judge did not even ask for her birth certificate to prove her age, and they did not allow her to meet her parents. This is an unfair order, in which priority is not given to the documents presented by the parents that prove the correct age of the girl". (AG-PA) (FULL TEXT - Agenzia Fides, 29/10/2020)

(Video of Arzoo's Mother's desperation)

US Bishops' Chairman Commends Trump Administration for Geneva Consensus "“We are grateful to the administration for its leadership on this historic declaration..." FULL Official TEXT

U.S. Bishop Chairmen Commend Administration for Geneva Consensus Declaration WASHINGTON–Three bishop chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) commended the Trump Administration for its leadership in coalescing 33 United Nations member states to sign on to the Geneva Consensus Declaration last week. The Declaration further strengthens an ongoing coalition to achieve better health for women, preserve human life, strengthen family as the foundational unit of society, and protect every nation’s sovereignty in global politics. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Bishop David A. Konderla of Tulsa, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage issued the following statement:

“We are grateful to the administration for its leadership on this historic declaration that proclaims many critical truths about the sanctity of human life and the family, including that every human being has the inherent right to life, and that the family is foundational to a healthy society.  Equally important, the Declaration makes clear that every country has a sovereign right to determine its own laws with regard to abortion, free of coercion. It is our hope that this Declaration will serve as a catalyst for these 33 nations, and many more, to persistently stand united against powerful international forces that promote abortion and undermine the family throughout the world.”


As New Zealand Votes to Allow Euthanasia - Bishops Warn "This law puts us on a very dangerous path..." FULL TEXT

"Yes” vote for euthanasia puts vulnerable on a dangerous path 

The approval of the End of Life Choice Act Referendum puts vulnerable people and those who care for them on an unwelcome and dangerous path, says the ethics expert for the Catholic bishops, Dr John Kleinsman.

“For very many people the End of Life Choice Act will bring a new and unwelcome dynamic into their lives. The very presence of the option of euthanasia will present as a burden and a pressure for many people and families,” says Dr Kleinsman, who is Director of the bishops’ Nathaniel Centre for Bioethics.

“The introduction of assisted death will have a huge impact on all those who work with the dying – doctors, nurses and other health carers, as well as chaplains, priests and lay ministers. We will be reflecting in the coming months with these groups as to how the law will impact the people they care for, as well as the carers themselves. Among the questions raised will be ones about the provision of the sacraments at the end of life, and the impact on funeral celebrations.”

The End of Life Choice Act Referendum was held alongside the 2020 general election.  Provisional results released today indicate 65.2 per cent of voters supported the referendum and 33.8 per cent opposed it. The act – which legalises euthanasia in New Zealand – will take effect in 12 months if the final count confirms the result.

Dr Kleinsman said approval for the referendum meant the country had crossed a line with no return.

The law – which was opposed by most major healthcare groups -- is broader in scope than other laws overseas and, relative to places such as Victoria, Australia, much weaker in terms of its safeguards, said Dr Kleinsman.

“This is not a law for the few hard cases,” he said. “This law makes it easy for anyone diagnosed with a terminal illness to choose an assisted death – anywhere between 20,000 to 25,000 people will be eligible in any one year. It has no requirement for palliative care, no mandatory cooling off period, no requirement for independent witnesses, and lacks effective processes for detecting whether people might be opting for a premature death because of pressure, whether as a result of their own internal feelings of being a burden, or because of external pressures.

 “This result goes against the tide of opinion worldwide with 33 jurisdictions around the world having rejected similar laws in the last five years, including the UK and Scotland, because of the risks posed for vulnerable people. It will only be a matter of time before our MPs come under pressure to broaden the law even more – that is what has happened with these laws overseas, and why would it be any different here? This law puts us on a very dangerous path, and today is just the start.”

Go to this link for a fuller version of Dr Kleinsman's comments. 

FULL TEXT Release from the Bishops of NZ -

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Friday, October 30, 2020 - In Your Virtual Church

Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
 Lectionary: 483
 Reading 1 PHIL 1:1-11
 Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the holy ones in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the Gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right that I should think this way about all of you, because I hold you in my heart, you who are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. 

Responsorial Psalm
 PS 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
R. (2) How great are the works of the Lord! or:
 R. Alleluia. I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart in the company and assembly of the just. Great are the works of the LORD, exquisite in all their delights. R. How great are the works of the Lord!
 or: R. Alleluia. Majesty and glory are his work, and his justice endures forever. He has won renown for his wondrous deeds; gracious and merciful is the LORD.
 R. How great are the works of the Lord! or: R. Alleluia. He has given food to those who fear him; he will forever be mindful of his covenant. He has made known to his people the power of his works, giving them the inheritance of the nations.
 R. How great are the works of the Lord! or: R. Alleluia.
 JN 10:27
R. Alleluia, alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
LK 14:1-6
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” But they kept silent; so he took the man and, after he had healed him, dismissed him. Then he said to them “Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern, would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?” But they were unable to answer his question.
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