Thursday, December 17, 2020

Wow Pope Francis Donates Respirators for Children on his Birthday and Receives Wishes from Around the World

Vatican News reported that Birthday wishes poured in for Pope Francis, as he celebrates his 84th year.
Some of those who sent Wishes to Pope Francis on his 84th birthday are Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who wrote the Pope a letter of greetings and goodwill in which he also thanks him for the “participation and solidarity” he has shown the Italian people in this year of uncertainty and fear.

Ecumenical greetings came from Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, the primary leader of the Anglican Communion, tweeting, "Happy birthday to my friend and dear brother in Christ, Pope Francis. Thank you for your joyful and humble leadership that bears witness to the love of Jesus Christ."
The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni,  said the Pope spent a quiet and simple day in prayer, sharing his meals as he always does with other residents at the Casa Santa Marta.
Bruni also said that through the papal almoner, the poor of the city of Rome have sent sunflowers to adorn the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament at Casa Santa Marta, “as a reminder of the need to always turn our gaze towards the Lord who is present in the weakest.”
He added that today the Pope sent a gift of four respirators to Venezuela in a sign of closeness to children with lung diseases.

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Advent Friday, December 18, 2020 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church


Friday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 194
Reading 1
JER 23:5-8
Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
As king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him:
“The LORD our justice.”
Therefore, the days will come, says the LORD,
when they shall no longer say, “As the LORD lives,
who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt”;
but rather, "As the LORD lives,
who brought the descendants of the house of Israel
up from the land of the north”– 
and from all the lands to which I banished them;
they shall again live on their own land.
Responsorial Psalm
PS 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19
R.  (see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
 R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous deeds.
And blessed forever be his glorious name;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
MT 1:18-25
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. 
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. 
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly. 
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. 
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her. 
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.” 
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us.” 
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home. 
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.
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 December 18 : St. Winebald a Benedictine Abbot and Missionary who Died in 761

St. Winebald
Wessex, England
18 December 761 at Heidenheim, Germany

ST. RICHARD, the English-Saxon king, seems to have been a prince of Westsex; for he was related to St. Boniface, and set out on his pilgrimage from Hamble-Haven in that country. It is thought that he was one of those princes who ruled in part of that kingdom, till they were compelled to give way to King Ceadwall. 1 God blessed him with three children, St. Winebald, the eldest, St. Willibald, who died bishop of Eystadt, and St. Walburga. St. Richard leaving his native country, took with him his two sons, and embarking at Hamble-Haven, landed on the coast of Normandy, and visiting all the places of devotion on his way, travelled into Italy, intending to go to Rome: but at Lucca fell sick and died about the year 722. His body was buried in the church of St. Frigidian, 2 and on account of certain famous miracles wrought at his tomb, was taken up by Gregory, bishop of Lucca, by the pope’s authority, and is kept in a rich shrine in that church. His name occurs in the Roman Martyrology on the 7th of February. SS. Winebald and Willibald accomplished their pilgrimage to Rome. After some stay there to perform their devotions, St. Willibald undertook another pilgrimage to the holy places in Palestine; but Winebald, who is by some called Wunibald, who was from his childhood of a weak sickly constitution, remained at Rome, where he pursued his studies seven years, took the tonsure, and devoted himself with his whole heart to the divine service. Then returning to England, he engaged a third brother and several amongst his kindred and acquaintance to accompany him in his journey back to Rome, and there dedicate themselves to God in a religious state. St. Boniface, who was our saint’s cousin, coming to that city in 738, prevailed with him upon motives of charity to undertake a share of his labours in the conversion of the infidels and in founding the infant church of Germany. Winebald accompanied him into Thuringia, and being ordained priest by that holy archbishop, took upon him by his commission, the care of seven churches in that country, especially at Erfurt, as the nun informs us in the life of our saint. These churches the chronicle of Andesches and Bruschius call seven monasteries; but without authority or probability, as Serarius observes. St. Willibald was made bishop of Aychstadt in Franconia in 781, and being desirous to erect a double monastery which might be a pattern and seminary of piety and learning to the numerous churches which he had planted, prevailed with his brother Winebald, and his sister Walburga, whom he invited out of England, to undertake that charge.

Winebald, therefore, translated his monastery from Schwanfield to Heidenheim, where, having purchased a wild spot of ground covered with shrubs and bushes, he cleared it and built first little cells or mean cottages for himself and his monks, and shortly after erected a monastery. A nunnery was founded by him in the neighbourhood, which St. Walburga governed. The idolaters often attempted the life of St. Winebald by poison and by open violence: but by the divine protection he escaped their snares, and continued by his zealous labours to extend on every side the pale of Christ’s fold. He was solicitous in the first place to maintain in his religious community the perfect spirit of their holy state, teaching them above all things to persevere instant in prayer, 3 and to keep inviolably in mind the humility of our Lord, and his meekness and holy conversation, as the standard from which they were never to turn their eyes. They who find a reluctance arising from the corruption of their passions, must nevertheless force themselves cheerfully to all that which is good, especially to divine love, fraternal compassion, patience when they are despised, meekness, and assiduous prayer; for God, beholding their conflicts and the earnestness of their desires and endeavours, will in the end grant them the true grace of prayer, meekness, and the bowels of mercy, and will fill them with the fruits of the Spirit, in which state the Lord seems to perform all things in them; so sweet do humility, love, meekness, and prayer become. Thus our holy abbot encouraged his spiritual children, and strengthened in them the spirit of Christ; but he inculcated to them both by word and example, that Christ never plants his spirit nor establishes the kingdom of his grace in souls which are not prepared by self-denial, mortification, obedience, simplicity, a life of prayer, and profound humility; for self-elevation is the greatest abasement, and self-abasement is the highest exaltation, honour, and dignity. For only he can cleave to the Lord who has freed his heart from earthly lusts, and disengaged his affections from the covetousness of the world. St. Winebald was afflicted many years with sickness, and had a private chapel erected in his own cell, in which he said mass when he was not able to go to church. Once, being looked upon as brought by his distemper to extremity, and almost to the point of death, he made a visit of devotion to the shrine of St. Boniface, once his spiritual father and much honoured friend in Christ; and in three weeks’ time was restored to his health. Some time after, he relapsed into his former ill state of health, and in his last moments earnestly exhorted his disciples to advance with their whole might towards God without stopping or looking behind them; for no one can be found worthy to enter the holy city, who strives not by doing his utmost that his name be written in heaven with the first-born. For this, in the earnestness of our desires, we ought to pour out tears day and night. Our saint had made them, as it were, the very food of the soul, and having been tried and purified by a lingering sickness as the pure gold in the furnace, went to God on the 18th of December, 760. After his death St. Willibald committed the superintendency over the monastery of monks to the holy abbess St. Walburga so long as she lived. The monastery of Heidenhem was finally dissolved upon the change of religion in the province of Brandenburg Anspach, in which it was situated. The nun who wrote the life of St. Winebald assures us, that several miraculous cures were performed at his tomb. St. Ludger also writes in the life of St. Gregory of Utrecht, “Winebald was very dear to my master Gregory, and shows by great miracles since his death what he did whilst living.” Rader testifies, that St. Winebald is honoured among the saints in several churches in Germany, though his name is not inserted in the Roman Martyrology, as Mabillon and Basnage remark. See his life, written, not by St. Walburga, as some have said, but by another contemporary nun of her monastery, who had before wrote the life of St. Willibald. In that of St. Winebald we have an account of the manner of canonizing saints in that age, and of the twofold labour to which monks then applied themselves, in tilling land and making that which was wild arable; and in instructing and preaching. This work was published entire by Canisius in his Leotiones Antiquæ, t. 4, more correctly by Mabillon, Act. Ben. t. 4, and most accurately by Basnage in his edition of Canisius in 1725, t. 2, part 2.

SOURCE Butlers Lives of the Saints

O Antiphons of Advent Explained with Beautiful Video and Secret Meanings of these Ancient Prayers - #OAntiphons

THE "O ANTIPHONS" are known from the Roman Breviary as the Antiphonæ majores, "greater antiphons". They come from Old Testament bible passages of Isaiah.

The seven  verses are sung or recited before the Magnificat prayer in the ferial Office of the seven days preceeding the vigil of Christmas; so called because all begin with the interjection "O". Boethius (c. 480-524) made  reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time.
FREE O Antiphons Sheet Music in English (Modern Notation)
The opening words are:
Dec. 17 - O Sapientia (Wisdom)
Dec. 18 - O Adonai (Lord)
Dec. 19 - O Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse)
Dec. 20 - O Clavis David (Key of David)
Dec. 21 - O Oriens (Dayspring)
Dec. 22 - O Rex Gentium (King of the nations)
Dec. 23 - O Emmanuel (God is with us)
A paraphrase of some of these is found in the hymn. "Veni, veni, Emmanuel" .
If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” These antiphons are prayers that can help us prepare for the coming of Jesus in Advent.

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,

fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: 

veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.
O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
O Root of Jesse, stand as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us,
and delay no longer

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death
O Oriens splendor lucis aeternae,
veni, et illumina sedentes
in tenebris, et umbra mortis

O Dayspring, Splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death
O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver,
the Desire of all nations, and their Salvation:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Compiled from the Catholic Encyclopedia

Pope Francis' World Day of Peace Message " May we work together to advance towards a new horizon of love and peace" FULL Official TEXT



1 JANUARY 2021




1. At the dawn of a new year, I extend cordial greetings to Heads of State and Government, leaders of International Organizations, spiritual leaders and followers of the different religions, and to men and women of good will. To all I offer my best wishes that the coming year will enable humanity to advance on the path of fraternity, justice and peace between individuals, communities, peoples and nations.

The year 2020 was marked by the massive Covid-19 health crisis, which became a global phenomenon cutting across boundaries, aggravating deeply interrelated crises like those of the climate, food, the economy and migration, and causing great suffering and hardship. I think especially of all those who lost family members or loved ones, and all who lost their jobs. I think too of physicians and nurses, pharmacists, researchers, volunteers, chaplains and the personnel of hospitals and healthcare centres.  They have made, and are continuing to make, great sacrifices to be present to the sick, to alleviate their sufferings and to save their lives; indeed, many of them have died in the process. In paying tribute to them, I renew my appeal to political leaders and the private sector to spare no effort to ensure access to Covid-19 vaccines and to the essential technologies needed to care for the sick, the poor and those who are most vulnerable.[1]

Sad to say, alongside all these testimonies of love and solidarity, we have also seen a surge in various forms of nationalism, racism and xenophobia, and wars and conflicts that bring only death and destruction in their wake.

These and other events that marked humanity’s path this past year have taught us how important it is to care for one another and for creation in our efforts to build a more fraternal society. That is why I have chosen as the title of this year’s Message, A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace. A culture of care as a way to combat the culture of indifference, waste and confrontation so prevalent in our time.

2. God the Creator, the source of our human vocation to care

Many religious traditions have accounts of the origin of human beings and their relationship with the Creator, with nature and with their fellow men and women. In the Bible, the Book of Genesis shows from its very first pages the importance of care or protection in God’s plan for humanity. It highlights the relationship between man (’adam) and the earth (’adamah), and among ourselves as brothers and sisters. In the biblical account of creation, God entrusts the garden “planted in Eden” (cf. Gen 2:8) to Adam’s care, to “till it and keep it” (Gen 2:15). This entails making the earth productive, while at the same time protecting it and preserving its capacity to support life.[2] The verbs “till” and “keep” describe Adam’s relationship to his garden home, but also the trust God placed in him by making him master and guardian of all creation.

The birth of Cain and Abel begins a history of brothers and sisters, whose relationship is understood – even by Cain, however mistakenly – in terms of protection or “keeping”. After killing his brother Abel, Cain answers God’s question by saying: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9).[3] Cain, like all of us, was called to be “his brother’s keeper”. “These ancient stories, full of symbolism, bear witness to a conviction which we today share, that everything is interconnected, and that genuine care for our own lives and our relationship with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others”.[4]

3. God the Creator, a model of care

Sacred Scripture presents God not only as Creator, but also as one who cares for his creatures, especially Adam, Eve and their offspring. Albeit cursed for the crime he committed, Cain was given a mark of protection by the Creator, so that his life could be spared (cf. Gen 4:15). While confirming the inviolable dignity of the person created in God’s image and likeness, this was also a sign of God’s plan to preserve the harmony of his creation, since “peace and violence cannot dwell together”.[5]

Care for creation was at the heart of the institution of the Sabbath, which, in addition to ordering divine worship, aimed at the restoration of the social order and concern for the poor (cf. Gen 1:1-3; Lev 25:4). The celebration of the Jubilee every seventh sabbatical year provided a respite for the land, for slaves and for those in debt.  In that year of grace, those in greatest need were cared for and given a new chance in life, so that there would be no poor among the people (cf. Deut 15:4).

In the prophetic tradition, the biblical understanding of justice found its highest expression in the way a community treats its weakest members. Amos (cf. 2:6-8; 8) and Isaiah (cf. 58), in particular, insistently demand justice for the poor, who, in their vulnerability and powerlessness, cry out and are heard by God, who watches over them (cf. Ps 34:7; 113:7-8).

4. Care in the ministry of Jesus

Jesus’ life and ministry represent the supreme revelation of the Father’s love for humanity (cf. Jn 3:16). In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus showed himself to be the one consecrated by the Lord and “sent to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Lk 4:18). These messianic actions, associated with the Jubilee year, bear eloquent witness to the mission he received from the Father. In his compassion, Christ drew near to the sick in body and spirit, and brought them healing; he pardoned sinners and gave them new life. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who cares for his sheep (cf. Jn 10:11-18; Ezek 34:1-31). He is the Good Samaritan who stoops to help the injured man, binds his wounds and cares for him (cf. Lk 10:30-37).

At the culmination of his mission, Jesus gave the ultimate proof of his care for us by offering himself on the cross to set us free from the slavery of sin and death. By the sacrificial gift of his life, he opened for us the path of love. To each of us he says, “Follow me; go and do likewise” (cf. Lk 10:37).

5. A culture of care in the life of Jesus’ followers

The spiritual and corporal works of mercy were at the heart of charity as practised by the early Church. The first generation of Christians shared what they had, so that no one among them would be in need (cf. Acts 4:34-35). They strove to make their community a welcoming home, concerned for every human need and ready to care for those most in need. It became customary to make voluntary offerings in order to feed the poor, bury the dead and care for orphans, the elderly and victims of disasters like shipwrecks. In later times, when the generosity of Christians had lost its initial fervour, some Fathers of the Church insisted that property was meant by God for the common good. For Saint Ambrose, “nature poured out all things for the common use of all…  and thus produced a common right for all, but greed has made it a right for only a few”.[6] After the persecutions of the first centuries, the Church used her newfound freedom to inspire society and its culture. “The needs of the times called forth new efforts in the service of Christian charity. History records innumerable examples of practical works of mercy… The Church’s work among the poor was to a great extent highly organized. There arose many institutions for the relief of every human need: hospitals, poor houses, orphanages, foundling homes, shelters for travelers ...”[7]

6. The principles of the Church’s social doctrine as the basis for a culture of care

The diakonia of the Church’s origins, enriched by the reflection of the Fathers and enlivened over the centuries by the active charity of many luminous witnesses to the faith, became the beating heart of the Church’s social doctrine.  This doctrine is offered to all people of good will as a precious patrimony of principles, criteria and proposals that can serve as a “grammar” of care: commitment to promoting the dignity of each human person, solidarity with the poor and vulnerable, the pursuit of the common good and concern for protection of creation.

Care as promotion of the dignity and rights of each person

“The very concept of the person, which originated and developed in Christianity, fosters the pursuit of a fully human development. Person always signifies relationship, not individualism; it affirms inclusion, not exclusion, unique and inviolable dignity, not exploitation”.[8] Each human person is an end in himself or herself, and never simply a means to be valued only for his or her usefulness. Persons are created to live together in families, communities and societies, where all are equal in dignity. Human rights derive from this dignity, as do human duties, like the responsibility to welcome and assist the poor, the sick, the excluded, every one of our “neighbours, near or far in space and time”.[9]

Care for the common good

Every aspect of social, political and economic life achieves its fullest end when placed at the service of the common good, in other words, “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily”.[10] Consequently, our plans and projects should always take into account their effects on the entire human family, and consider their consequences for the present and for coming generations. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us the truth and timeliness of this fact.  In the face of the pandemic, “we have realized that we are in the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together”,[11] since “no one reaches salvation by themselves”[12] and no state can ensure the common good of its population if it remains isolated.[13]

Care through solidarity

Solidarity concretely expresses our love for others, not as a vague sentiment but as a “firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all”.[14] Solidarity helps us to regard others – whether as individuals or, more broadly, as peoples or nations – as more than mere statistics, or as a means to be used and then discarded once no longer useful, but as our neighbours, companions on our journey, called like ourselves to partake of the banquet of life to which all are equally invited by God.

Care and protection of creation

The Encyclical Laudato Si’ is fully aware that all creation is interconnected. It also highlights our need to listen to the cry of the poor and, at the same time, to the cry of creation. Constant and attentive listening leads in turn to effective care for the earth, our common home, and for our brothers and sisters in need. Here I would once again point out that “a sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be authentic if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings”.[15] “Peace, justice and care for creation are three inherently connected questions, which cannot be separated in such a way as to be treated individually, lest we fall back into reductionism”.[16]

7. A compass pointing to a common path

At a time dominated by a culture of waste, faced with growing inequalities both within and between nations,[17] I urge government leaders and those of international organizations, business leaders, scientists, communicators and educators, to take up these principles as a “compass” capable of pointing out a common direction and ensuring “a more humane future”[18] in the process of globalization. This will enable us to esteem the value and dignity of every person, to act together in solidarity for the common good, and to bring relief to those suffering from poverty, disease, slavery, armed conflicts, and discrimination. I ask everyone to take this compass in hand and to become a prophetic witness of the culture of care, working to overcome the many existing social inequalities. This can only come about through a widespread and meaningful involvement on the part of women, in the family and in every social, political and institutional sphere.

The compass of these social principles, so essential for the growth of a culture of care, also points to the need for relationships between nations to be inspired by fraternity, mutual respect, solidarity and the observance of international law. In this regard, we must recognize the need to defend and promote fundamental human rights, which are inalienable, universal and indivisible.[19]

Likewise urgent is the need to respect humanitarian law, especially at this time when conflicts and wars continue uninterrupted. Tragically, many regions and communities can no longer remember a time when they dwelt in security and peace. Numerous cities have become epicentres of insecurity: citizens struggle to maintain their normal routine in the face of indiscriminate attacks by explosives, artillery and small arms. Children are unable to study. Men and women cannot work to support their families. Famine is spreading in places where it was previously unknown. People are being forced to take flight, leaving behind not only their homes but also their family history and their cultural roots.

While such conflicts have many causes, the result is always the same: destruction and humanitarian crises. We need to stop and ask ourselves what has led our world to see conflict as something normal, and how our hearts can be converted and our ways of thinking changed, in order to work for true peace in solidarity and fraternity.

How many resources are spent on weaponry, especially nuclear weapons,[20] that could be used for more significant priorities such as ensuring the safety of individuals, the promotion of peace and integral human development, the fight against poverty, and the provision of health care. Global problems like the present Covid-19 pandemic and climate change have only made these challenges all the more evident. What a courageous decision it would be to “establish a ‘Global Fund’ with the money spent on weapons and other military expenditures, in order to permanently eliminate hunger and contribute to the development of the poorest countries”![21]

8. Educating for a culture of care

Promoting a culture of care calls for a process of education. The “compass” of social principles can prove useful and reliable in a variety of interrelated contexts. Let me offer a few examples:

- Educating people to care begins in the family, the natural and fundamental nucleus of society, in which we learn how to live and relate to others in a spirit of mutual respect. Yet families need to be empowered to carry out this vital and indispensable task.

- Together with the family, schools and universities – and, in some respects, the communications media – are also responsible for education.[22] They are called to pass on a system of values based on the recognition of the dignity of each person, each linguistic, ethnic and religious community and each people, as well as the fundamental rights arising from that recognition. Education is one of the pillars of a more just and fraternal society.

- Religions in general, and religious leaders in particular, can play an indispensable role in handing on to their followers, and to society at large, the values of solidarity, respect for differences, and concern for our brothers and sisters in need. Here I think of the words spoken in 1969 by Pope Paul VI to the Ugandan Parliament: “Have no fear of the Church; she honours you, she educates honest and loyal citizens for you, she does not foment rivalries and divisions, she seeks to promote healthy liberty, social justice, and peace. If she has any preference at all, it is for the poor, for the education of little ones and of the people, for the care of the suffering and abandoned”.[23]

- Once more I encourage all those engaged in public service and in international organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, and all those others who in various ways are involved in the areas of education and research, to work towards the goal of a “more open and inclusive education, involving patient listening, constructive dialogue and better mutual understanding”.[24] It is my hope that this appeal, made in the context of the Global Compact on Education, will be broadly acknowledged and accepted.

9. There can be no peace without a culture of care

The culture of care thus calls for a common, supportive and inclusive commitment to protecting and promoting the dignity and good of all, a willingness to show care and compassion, to work for reconciliation and healing, and to advance mutual respect and acceptance. As such, it represents a privileged path to peace. “In many parts of the world, there is a need for paths of peace to heal open wounds. There is also a need for peacemakers, men and women prepared to work boldly and creatively to initiate processes of healing and renewed encounter”.[25]

At a time like this, when the barque of humanity, tossed by the storm of the current crisis, struggles to advance towards a calmer and more serene horizon, the “rudder” of human dignity and the “compass” of fundamental social principles can enable us together to steer a sure course. As Christians, we should always look to Our Lady, Star of the Sea and Mother of Hope. May we work together to advance towards a new horizon of love and peace, of fraternity and solidarity, of mutual support and acceptance. May we never yield to the temptation to disregard others, especially those in greatest need, and to look the other way;[26] instead, may we strive daily, in concrete and practical ways, “to form a community composed of brothers and sisters who accept and care for one another”.[27]

From the Vatican, 8 December 2020



[1] Cf. Video Message to the Seventy-fifth Meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations, 25 September 2020.

[2] Cf. Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (24 May 2015), 67.

[3] Cf. “Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace”Message for the 2014 World Day of Peace (8 December 2013), 2.

[4] Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (24 May 2015), 70.

[5] PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 488.

[6] De Officiis, 1, 28, 132: PL 16, 67.

[7] K. BIHLMEYER-H. TÜCHLE, Church History, vol. 1, Westminster, The Newman Press, 1958, pp. 373, 374.

[8] Address to Participants in the Conference organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development to mark the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Encyclical Populorum Progressio (4 April 2017).

[9] Message for the Twenty-second Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22), 10 November 2016. Cf. INTERDICASTERIAL ROUNDTABLE OF THE HOLY SEE ON INTEGRAL ECOLOGY, Journeying Towards Care for Our Common Home: Five Years after Laudato Si’, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 31 May 2020.

[10] SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 26.

[11] Extraordinary Moment of Prayer in Time of Epidemic, 27 March 2020.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Cf. Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti (3 October 2020), 8153.

[14] SAINT JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (30 December 1987), 38.

[15] Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (24 May 2015), 91.

[16] EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, Pastoral Letter Sobre la relación del hombre con la naturaleza (21 January 1987); cf. Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (24 May 2015), 92.

[17] Cf. Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti (3 October 2020), 125.

[18] Ibid., 29.

[19] Cf. Message to Participants in the International Conference “Human Rights in the Contemporary World: Achievements, Omissions, Negations”, Rome, 10-11 December 2018.

[20] Cf. Message to the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination, 23 March 2017.

[21] Video Message for the 2020 World Food Day (16 October 2020).

[22] Cf. BENEDICT XVI, “Educating Young People in Justice and Peace”, Message for the 2012 World Day of Peace, (8 December 2011), 2; “Overcome Indifference and Win Peace”, Message for the 2016 World Day of Peace, (8 December 2015), 6.

[23] Address to the Parliament of UgandaKampala, 1 August 1969.

[24] Message for the Launch of the Global Compact on Education, 12 September 2019.

[25] Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti (3 October 2020), 225.

[26] Cf. ibid., 64.

[27] Ibid., 96; cf. “Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace”Message for the 2014 World Day of Peace (8 December 2013), 1.

Saint December 17 : St. Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the Dead and Brother of St. Martha, St. Mary Magdalene

The Bible depicts two characters named "Lazarus". The most recognized character is that of Lazarus of Bethany, also known as Saint Lazarus or Lazarus of the Four Days, who was a friend of Jesus, the brother of Martha and Mary. The miracle of Jesus in the Gospel of John, whereby Jesus restores Lazarus to life four days after his death (John 11). [2] In the various narratives on this character, he is sometimes vested as an apostle, or a bishop.

The second character, Lazarus found in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 16:19-31) tells of the relationship in life and in death, between an unnamed rich man (the traditional name for a rich man is "Dives") and a poor beggar named Lazarus. Lazarus was venerated as a patron saint of lepers [3] and forms the basis of one of two missions of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem which is dedicated to two ideals: aid to those suffering from the dreadful disease of leprosy and the defense of the Christian faith. Lazarus is often depicted as a starving beggar at the foot of the stairs leading up to a rich man's house, and who was covered in sores that even the dogs came to lick those sores. [4]

The Gospel of John can be divided into four sections: a) Prologue (John 1); b) Jesus' ministry (the "book of signs" - John 2-12): A narrative of Jesus' public ministry consisting of seven miracles or "signs" culminating with the raising of Lazarus form the dead; c) passion and resurrection (the "book of glory" - John 13-20); d) Epilogue (John 21). For convenience and interest, the paragraph describing Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead follows:
John 11:38-44
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.

Edited from:
****************Excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia: Reputed first Bishop of Marseilles, died in the second half of the first century. According to a tradition, or rather a series of traditions combined at different epochs, the members of the family at Bethany, the friends of Christ, together with some holy women and others of His disciples, were put out to sea by the Jews hostile to Christianity in a vessel without sails, oars, or helm, and after a miraculous voyage landed in Provence at a place called today the Saintes-Maries.
 It is related that they separated there to go and preach the Gospel in different parts of the southeast of Gaul. Lazarus, of whom alone we have to treat here, went to Marseilles, and, having converted a number of its inhabitants to Christianity, became their first pastor. During the first persecution under Nero he hid himself in a crypt, over which the celebrated Abbey of St.-Victor was constructed in the fifth century. In this same crypt he was interred, when he shed his blood for the faith. During the new persecution of Domitian he was cast into prison and beheaded in a spot which is believed to be identical with a cave beneath the prison Saint-Lazare.
 His body was later translated to Autun, and buried in the cathedral of that town. But the inhabitants of Marseilles claim to be in possession of his head which they still venerate. Like the other legends concerning the saints of the Palestinian group, this tradition, which was believed for several centuries and which still finds some advocates, has no solid foundation. It is in a writing, contained in an eleventh century manuscript, with some other documents relating to St. Magdalen of Vézelay, that we first read of Lazarus in connection with the voyage that brought Magdalen to Gaul. Before the middle of the eleventh century there does not seem to be the slightest trace of the tradition according to which the Palestinian saints came to Provence. At the beginning of the twelfth century, perhaps through a confusion of names, it was believed at Autun that the tomb of St. Lazarus was to be found in the cathedral dedicated to St. Nazarius.
A search was made and remains were discovered, which were solemnly translated and were considered to be those of him whom Christ raised from the dead, but it was not thought necessary to inquire why they should be found in France. The question, however, deserved to be examined with care, seeing that, according to a tradition of the Greek Church, the body of St. Lazarus had been brought to Constantinople, just as all the other saints of the Palestinian group were said to have died in the Orient, and to have been buried, translated, and honoured there. It is only in the thirteenth century that the belief that Lazarus had come to Gaul with his two sisters and had been Bishop of Marseilles spread in Provence.
 It is true that a letter is cited (its origin is uncertain), written in 1040 by Pope Benedict IX on the occasion of the consecration of the new church of St.-Victor in which Lazarus is mentioned. But in this text the pope speaks only of relics of St. Lazarus, merely calling him the saint who was raised again to life. He does not speak of him as having lived in Provence, or as having been Bishop of Marseilles. The most ancient Provençal text alluding to the episcopacy of St. Lazarus is a passage in the "Otia imperialia" of Gervase of Tillbury (1212). Thus the belief in his Provençal apostolate is of very late date, and its supporters must produce more ancient and reliable documentary evidence. In the crypt of St.-Victor at Marseilles an epitaph of the fifth century has been discovered, which informs us that a bishop named Lazarus was buried there. In the opinion of the most competent archæologists, however, this personage is Lazarus, Bishop of Aix, who was consecrated at Marseilles about 407, and who, having had to abandon his see in 411, passed some time in Palestine, whence he returned to end his days in Marseilles. It is more than likely that it is the name of this bishop and his return from Palestine, that gave rise to the legend of the coming of the Biblical Lazarus to Provence, and his apostolate in the city of Marseilles. Source: New Advent

Official Novena for Christmas : Day 1 : Prayer Novena with Plenary Indulgence to SHARE - #ChristmasNovena

Opening Prayer:
V. O God, come to my assistance.

R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to
the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now
and ever shall be, world without
end. Amen. 

Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.


Day 1 Prayers
The Incarnation.
O most sweet infant Jesus, who descended from the bosom of the eternal Father into the womb of the Virgin Mary, where, conceived by the Holy Ghost, you took upon yourself, O Incarnate Word, the form of a servant for our salvation. Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, O Lord. Have mercy on us.
Hail Mary full of Grace the Lord is with Thee blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
NOVENA PREPARATORY TO CHRISTMAS In order to the devout preparation of ourselves for the glorious Birthday of our most loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, which the holy Church recalls to our memory every year on the 25th of December, and at the same time to render Him thanks for this great benefit, Pope Pius VII., by a Rescript of the Segretaria of the Memorials, dated August 12th, 1815 (which said Rescript is preserved in the Segretaria of the Vicariate), granted to all faithful Christians who, being contrite in heart, should prepare themselves for that great solemnity by a novena, consisting of pious exercises, prayers, acts of virtue, &c. -
i. An indulgence of 300 days each day of the said novena, and -
ii. A plenary indulgence to be gained on Christmas day, or on some day in its octave, by those who, after Confession and Communion, shall have made the said novena every day, and who shall pray according to the intentions of the Sovereigns Pontiff: and note that the Confession and Communion may be made on  any one of the days of the said novena, provided the novena is correctly kept. This was declared by Pope Pius VIII., of holy memory, by means of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, July 9, 1830. These indulgences were extended by the above-named Pius VII. to one other time in the year, besides the the specified, when any one should make the aforesaid novena in honour of the Child Jesus.

Saint December 17 : Blessed Matilde del Sagrado Corazón Téllez Robles the Founder of Congregation of the Daughters of Mary

Matilde Téllez Robles was born on 30 May 1841 in Robledillo de la Vera, Spain, the second of four children to Félix Téllez Gómez and Basilea Robles Ruiz. When she was 10, the family moved to Béjar where Matilde attended a private school while also receiving a solid Christian education at home from her parents.
Desire to live for God alone
When Matilde was still very young, she decided to give her life totally and forever to God, with the desire to win over as many hearts as she could for his Kingdom. She devoted much of her time to prayer and to the practice of virtue, and helped the poor and orphaned.
Matilde's father, on the other hand, wanted his daughter to marry and participate in social activities and functions, so he prevented Matilde from making her longed-for visits to church and dramatically reduced her prayer time. However, the young girl's love for God above all earthly pleasures was evident to everyone around her, and it was not long before her father finally consented to Matilde's desire to live for God alone, abandoning the idea that she get married.
The call to be a Foundress
Matilde was strongly assisted in her desire for prayer by the Association of the Daughters of Mary, of which she was later elected president, and she continued to help the poor and sick and to dedicate herself to prayer.
One day while deep in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Matilde felt called to begin a new religious institute that would be dedicated to Eucharistic Adoration and to helping the needy. Her spiritual director, Fr Manuel de la Oliva, approved this idea and with her father's permission, Matilde began the new foundation together with eight members of the Daughters of Mary.
The first foundation in Béjar
On 19 March 1975, Solemnity of St Joseph, when this group was to "officially" begin their new life together, only one young companion, María Briz, showed up at the house that had been prepared for them in Béjar. Although this was a great trial for Matilde, she placed her trust in God's Providence and did not succumb to discouragement; she instead went ahead with the foundation in Béjar, together with María Briz.
Matilde and María worked with orphaned children, the poor, the sick and shut-ins, and also opened a school for children. At home, their hours were spent in silence and prayer, especially in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.
Little by little, other young women asked to join them. A new foundation was also offered to them in the Province of Badajoz, where Matilde began a novitiate and opened a school for children, leaving the house in Bèjar.
New Congregation is born
On 19 March 1884, Bishop Pedro Casas y Souto of Plasencia raised the Institute to a Religious Congregation of Diocesan Rite, giving it the name:  "Daughters of Mary, Mother of the Church". On 29 June 1884, Mother Matilde made her religious profession together with some of the other Sisters.
With an outbreak of cholera in 1885, Mother Matilde and her daughters put their lives at the service of the sick and their families. Shortly thereafter, Sr María Briz, Mother Matilde's faithful companion, died of contagion. She was 33 years old.
Expansion, new foundations
Notwithstanding the difficulties, initial hardships and misunderstandings, the new Congregation continued to grow.
In 1889 a new foundation was opened in Cáceres, and others were later opened in Trujillo, Almendralejo, Los Santos de Maimona, Villaverde de Burguilios and again in Béjar.
Mother Matilde attentively looked after the new communities and each one of her daughters with great care, teaching the Sisters complete trust in God's Providence and a sense of responsibility and charity towards the poorest of the poor. She was a "reference point" not only for the Congregation, but also for townspeople and even strangers.
On 15 December 1902, after many years of hard work, deprivation and fatigue, Mother Matilde suffered a stroke. She died two days later, on 17 December, at 61 years of age.

Saint December 17 : St. Josep Manyanet y Vives of Spain the Founder and of the Holy Family Congregations (1833-1901)

Josep Manyanet y Vives (1833-1901)

Josep Manyanet was born within a large and Christian family on January 7, 1933 in Northeastern Spain, in the city of Tremp, province of Lleida. He was baptized on the same day at his parish Church of our Lady of Valldeflors, patroness of the city. At a very early age, when he was five years old, he was offered to our Lady by his mother. He had to work to complete his schooling with the Piarist Fathers in Barbastro and at the Seminaries of Lleida and Urgell. He was ordained priest on April 9, 1859.
After twelve years of hard work in the Diocese of Urgell at the service of his bishop as private secretary, librarian of the seminary, administrator of the chancery and secretary for pastoral Visitations, he felt God's call to become a religious priest and to found two religious congregations.

Founder and Apostle of the Holy Family
With the approval of his bishop, he founded, in 1864, the religious congregations of the Sons of the Holy Family Jesus, Mary and Joseph and, in 1874, the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth with the mission to honor, imitate and propagate the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth and the Christian formation of families, especially through the catholic education of children and youth and through priestly ministry.
With constant work and prayer, with and exemplary life full of virtues, with loving dedication and solicitude for the souls, he guided and encouraged for almost forty years, the formation and expansion of his Institutes, opening schools and centers of ministry in several towns in Spain. Today both Institutes are present in several European countries, in North and South America and in Africa as well.
Specially called by God to present to the world the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth, he wrote several books and booklets to spread the devotion of the Holy Family. He founded the magazine La Sagrada Familia and promoted the idea of the construction of a Temple dedicated to the Holy Family. The Temple, as yet unfinished in Barcelona, was built by the architectural genius and Servant of God Antonio Gaudí, destined to perpetuate the virtues and examples of the Family of Nazareth and to be the universal spiritual home of all families.

His Train of Thought
Blessed Josep Manyanet endeavored to spread the Gospel, both through his preaching and his writings. He wrote many letters, books and booklets for the formation of the members of his religious Institutes, for families and children and for the management of schools. One of the highlights is the School of Nazareth and Home of the Holy Family (Barcelona 1895), his spiritual autobiography in which through the dialogues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, with a literary character called Desideria, describes a process of Christian and religious perfection inspired in the spirituality of the home and school of Nazareth.
His book A Priceless Family Gem (Barcelona 1899) is a guide for marriages and families, which reminds them of the dignity of the sacrament of marriage as a vocation and the important task of the Christian education of their children.
 The spirit of the Holy Family is a book of meditations dedicated to the members of his religious Institutes, where he describes their vocation, identity and mission within the society and the church. There is an edition of his Selected Works (Madrid 1991). A forthcoming edition of his Complete Works will enrich those already published. The first volume is already on the way.

Illnesses and Death
His many endeavors were not free of difficulties. He also had to endure physical illnesses along his life, but his constancy and fortitude, nourished by his humble obedience to the will of God, helped him to overcome all of them.
Because of his poor health, due to open sores on his side, which he labelled God's mercies for 16 long years, on the 17th of December of 1901, full of virtues and good deeds, was called by God to his eternal home, in his school “Jesús, María y José” of Barcelona, central place of his work, surrounded by children, with the same simplicity that characterized all his life. His last words were his fervent prayer Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.
His remains are kept in a burial chapel at the same school were he died, accompanied by the prayer and gratitude of his religious sons and daughters as well as the numerous youth, children and families that, because of his example, live their lives close to God and to his teachings.

Witness to Holiness
His saintly life impressed many people who came in contact with him. The Process of Canonization was formally introduced in 1956. Once the practice of all virtues in a heroic grade was officially recognized by the church in 1982 and proof of a healing miracle attributed to his intercession, Pope John Paul II declared him Blessed in 1984. Now with the approval of another miracle through his intercession, his canonization is scheduled to take place in Rome, on May 16, 2004.
Pope John Paul II has stated that the sanctity demonstrated by Josep Manyanet stems from the Holy Family. He was called by God, so that “in his name every family on earth may be blessed”. The Holy spirit guided him to boldly proclaim the “Gospel of the family”. His inspiration was that “all families may imitate and bless the Holy Family of Nazareth”. That is: “to build a Nazareth in every home”, and to make of every family a “Holy Family”.
His canonization brings forth the truth of his sanctity and the unending value of his message from Nazareth. That makes him a Prophet of the family and the protector of our families.