Friday, April 30, 2021

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Saturday, May 1, 2021 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church - Eastertide

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 284
Reading I
Acts 13:44-52
On the following sabbath
almost the whole city
gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said. 
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles. 
For so the Lord has commanded us,
    I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
    that you may be an instrument of salvation
    to the ends of the earth.”
The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord. 
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region. 
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory. 
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them
and went to Iconium. 
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm
98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4
R.    (3cd)  All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
R.    Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
    for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
    his holy arm.
R.    All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
R.    Alleluia.
 The LORD has made his salvation known:
    in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
    toward the house of Israel.
R.    All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
R.    Alleluia.
All the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
    break into song; sing praise.
R.    All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
R.    Alleluia.
Jn 8:31b-32
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jn 14:7-14
Jesus said to his disciples: 
“If you know me, then you will also know my Father. 
From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 
Philip said to Jesus, 
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” 
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip? 
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. 
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? 
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. 
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. 
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves. 
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father. 
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”
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 May 1 : St. Joseph the Worker - Patron of Fathers , Church , Workers and Dying

Feast: MAY 1
1st century
Patron of:
against doubt, against hesitation, Americas, bursars, cabinetmakers, Canada, carpenters, Catholic Church , confectioners, craftsmen, Croatian people , dying people, emigrants, engineers, expectant mothers, families, fathers, holy death, house hunters, immigrants, interior souls, laborers, married people, Oblates of Saint Joseph, people in doubt, people who fight Communism, pioneers, protection of the Church, social justice, travellers, unborn children, Universal Church , Vatican II, wheelwrights, workers, many more...
The glorious St. Joseph was lineally descended from the greatest kings of the tribe of Judah, and from the most illustrious of the ancient patriarchs; but his true glory consisted in his humility and virtue. The history of his life hath not been written by men; but his principal actions are recorded by the Holy Ghost himself God entrusted him with the education of his divine Son, manifested in the flesh. In this view he was espoused to the Virgin Mary. It is an evident mistake of some writers, that by a former wife he was the father of St. James the Less, and of the rest who are styled in the gospels the brothers of our Lord; for these were only cousin-germans to Christ, the sons of Mary, sister to the Blessed Virgin, wife of Alphaeus, who was living at the time of our Redeemer's crucifixion. St. Jerome assures us1 that St. Joseph always preserved his virgin chastity; and it is of faith that nothing contrary thereto ever took place with regard to his chaste spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was given her by heaven to be the protector of her chastity, to secure her from calumnies in the birth of the Son of God, and to assist her in his education, and in her journeys, fatigues, and persecutions. How great was the purity and sanctity of him who was chosen the guardian of the most spotless Virgin! This holy man seems, for a considerable time, to have been unacquainted that the great mystery of the Incarnation had been wrought in her by the Holy Ghost. Conscious, therefore, of his own chaste behaviour towards her, it could, not but raise a great concern in his breast to find that, notwithstanding the sanctity of her deportment, yet he might be well assured that she was with child. But being <a just man>, as the scripture calls him, and consequently possessed of all virtues, especially of charity and mildness towards his neighbour, he was determined to leave her privately, without either condemning or accusing her, committing the whole cause to God. These, his perfect dispositions, were so acceptable to God, the lover of justice, charity, and peace, that before he put his design into execution he sent an angel from heaven, not to reprehend anything in his holy conduct, but to dissipate all his doubts and fears, by revealing to him this adorable mystery.  
 How happy should we be if we were as tender in all that regards the reputation of our neighbor; as free from entertaining any injurious thought or suspicion, whatever certainty our conjectures or our senses may seem to rely on; and as guarded in our tongue! We commit these faults only because in our hearts we are devoid of that true charity and simplicity, whereof St. Joseph sets us so eminent an example on this occasion.
SEE ALSO:  10 Amazing St. Joseph Facts to Share that you might not Know!
Free Easy Recipe St. Joseph's Cream Puffs 
In the next place we may admire in secret contemplation with what devotion, respect, and tenderness he beheld and adored the first of all men, the new-born Saviour of the world, and with what fidelity he acquitted himself of his double charge, the education of Jesus and the guardianship of his blessed mother. "He was truly the faithful and prudent servant," says St. Bernard,2 "whom our Lord appointed the master of his household, the comfort and support of his mother, his foster-father, and most faithful co-operator in the execution of his deepest counsels on earth." "What a happiness," says the same Father, "not only to see Jesus Christ, but also to hear him: to carry him in his arms, to lead him from place to place, to embrace and caress him, to feed him, and to be privy to all the great secrets which were concealed from the princes of this world!"
"O astonishing elevation! O unparalleled dignity!" cries out the pious Gerson,3 in a devout address to St. Joseph, "that the mother of God, queen of heaven, should call you her lord; that God himself, made man, should call you father, and obey your commands. O glorious Triad on earth, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, how dear a family to the glorious Trinity in heaven, Father, Son,, and Holy Ghost! Nothing is on earth so great, so good, so excellent." Amidst these extraordinary graces, what more wonderful than his humility! He conceals his privileges, lives as the most obscure of men, publishes nothing of God's great mysteries, makes no further inquiries into them, leaving it to God to manifest them at his own time, seeks to fulfil the order of providence in his regard without interfering with anything but what concerns himself. Though descended from the royal family which had long been in the possession of the throne of Judea, he is content with his condition, that of a mechanic or handicraftsman, and makes it his business, by labouring in it, to maintain himself, his spouse, and the divine Child.
We should be ungrateful to this great saint if we did not remember that it is to him, as the instrument under God, that we are indebted for the preservation of the infant Jesus from Herod's jealousy and malice, manifested in the slaughter of the Innocents. An angel appearing to him in his sleep bade him arise, take the child Jesus, and fly with him into Egypt, and remain there till he should again have notice from him to return. This sudden and unexpected flight must have exposed Joseph to many inconveniences and sufferings in so long a journey, with a little babe and a tender virgin, the greater part of the way being through deserts and among strangers; yet he  alleges no excuses, nor inquires at what time they were to return. St. Chrysostom observes that God treats thus all his servants, sending them frequent trials to clear their hearts from the rust of self-love, but intermixing seasons of consolation.4 "Joseph," says he, "is anxious on seeing the Virgin with child; an angel removes that fear; he rejoices at the child's birth, but a great fear succeeds; the furious king seeks to destroy the child, and the whole city is in an uproar to take away his life. This is followed by another joy- the adoration of the Magi; a new sorrow then arises; he is ordered to fly into a foreign unknown country, without help or acquaintance." It is the opinion of the Fathers that upon their entering Egypt, at the presence of the child Jesus all the oracles of that superstitious country were struck dumb, and the statues of their gods trembled, and in many places fell to the ground, according to that of Isaiah xix.: <And the statues of the Egyptians shall be shaken in his presence.> The Fathers also attribute to this holy visit the spiritual benediction poured on that country, which made it for many ages most fruitful in saints.
After the death of King Herod, which was notified to St. Joseph by a vision, God ordered him to return with the child and his mother into the land of Israel, which our saint readily obeyed. But when he arrived in Judea, hearing that Archelaus succeeded Herod in that part of the country, apprehensive he might be infected with his father's vices- cruelty and ambition-he feared on that account to settle there, as he would otherwise probably have done, for the more commodious education of the child. And therefore, being directed by God in another vision, he retired into the dominions of his brother Herod Antipas, in Galilee, to his former habitation in Nazareth, where the wonderful occurrences of our Lord's birth were less known. St. Joseph being a strict observer of the Mosaic law, in conformity to its direction annually repaired to Jerusalem to celebrate the passover. Archelaus being banished by Augustus and Judea made a Roman province, he had now nothing more to fear at Jerusalem. Our Saviour being advanced to the twelfth year of his age, accompanied his parents thither; who, having performed the usual ceremonies of the feast, were now returning with many of their neighbours and acquaintances towards Galilee, and, never doubting but that Jesus had joined himself with some of the company, they travelled on for a whole day's journey without further inquiry after him before they discovered that he was not with them. But when night came on, and they could hear no tidings of him among their kindred and acquaintance, they, in the deepest affliction, returned with the utmost speed to Jerusalem; where, after an anxious search of three days, they found him in the temple, sitting among the learned doctors of the law, hearing them discourse, and asking them such questions as raised the admiration of all that heard him, and made them astonished at the ripeness of his understanding: nor were his parents less surprised on this occasion. And when his mother told him with what grief and earnestness they had sought him, and to express her sorrow for that, though short, privation of his presence, said to him, "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I sought thee in great affliction of mind": she received for answer that, being the Messias and Son of God, sent by his Father into the world in order to redeem it, he must be about his Father's business, the same for which he had been sent into the world; and therefore that it was most likely for them to find him in his Father's house: intimating that his appearing in public on this occasion was to advance his Father's honour, and to prepare the princes of the Jews to receive him for the Messias; pointing out to them from the prophets the time of his coming. But though in thus staying in the temple, unknown to his parents, he did something without their leave, in obedience to his heavenly Father, yet in all other things he was obedient to them, returning with them to Nazareth, and there living in all dutiful subjection to them. Aelred, our countryman, Abbot of Rieval, in his sermon on losing the child Jesus in the temple, observes that this his conduct to his parents is a true representation of that which he shows us, whilst he often withdraws himself for a short time from us to make us seek him the more earnestly. He thus describes the sentiments of his holy parents on this occasion."5 Let us consider what was the happiness of that blessed company, in the way to Jerusalem, to whom it was granted to behold his face, to hear his sweet words, to see in him the signs of divine lie wisdom and virtue; and in their mutual discourse to receive the influence of his saving truths and example. The old and young admire him. I believe boys of his age were struck with astonishment at the gravity of his manners and words. I believe such rays of grace darted from his blessed countenance as drew on him the eyes, ears, and hearts of every one. And what tears do they shed when he is not with them." He goes on considering what must be tie grief of his parents when they had lost him; what their sentiments, and how earnest their search: but what their joy when they found him again. "Discover to me," says he, "O my Lady, Mother of my God, what were your sentiments, what your astonishment and your joy when you saw him again, and sitting, not among boys, but amidst the doctors of the law: when you saw every one's eyes fixed on him, every one's ears listening to him, great and small, learned and unlearned, intent only on his words and motions. You now say: I have found him whom I love. I will hold him, and will no more let him part from me. Hold him, sweet Lady, hold him fast; rush on his neck dwell on his embraces, and compensate the three days' absence by multiplied delights in your present enjoyment of him. You tell him that you and his father sought him in grief. For what did you grieve? not for fear of hunger or want in him whom you knew to be God: but I believe you grieved to see yourself deprived of the delights of his presence even for a short time; for the Lord Jesus is so sweet to those who taste him, that his shortest absence is a subject of the greatest  grief to them." This mystery is an emblem of the devout soul, and Jesus sometimes withdrawing himself, and leaving her in dryness, that she may be more earnest in seeking him. But, above all, how eagerly ought the soul which has lost God by sin to seek him again, and how bitterly ought she to deplore her extreme misfortune!
As no further mention is made of St. Joseph, he must have died before the marriage of Cana and the beginning of our divine Saviour's ministry. We cannot doubt but he had the happiness of Jesus and Mary attending at his death, praying by him, assisting and comforting him in his last moments: whence he is particularly invoked for the great grace of a happy death, and the spiritual presence of Jesus in that tremendous hour. The church reads the history of the Patriarch Joseph on his festival, who was styled the saviour of Egypt, which he delivered from perishing by famine; and was appointed the faithful master of the household of Potiphar, and of that of Pharaoh and his kingdom. But our great saint was chosen by God the saviour of the life of him who was the true Saviour of the souls of men, rescuing him from the tyranny of Herod. He is now glorified in heaven, as the guardian and keeper of his Lord on earth. As Pharaoh said to the Egyptians in their distress, "Go to Joseph"; so may we confidently address ourselves to the mediation of him, to whom God, made man, was subject and obedient on earth.
The devout Gerson expressed the warmest devotion to St. Joseph, which he endeavoured by letters and sermons to promote. He composed an office in his honour, and wrote his life in twelve poems, called Josephina. He enlarges on all the circumstances of his life by pious affections and meditations. St. Teresa chose him the chief patron of her order. In the sixth chapter of her life she writes thus: "I chose the glorious St. Joseph for my patron, and I commend myself in all things singularly to his intercession. I do not remember ever to have asked of God anything by him which I did not obtain. I never knew anyone who, by invoking him, did not advance exceedingly in virtue; for he assists in a wonderful manner all who address themselves to him." St. Francis of Sales, throughout his whole nineteenth entertainment, extremely recommends devotion to him, and extols his merits, principally his virginity, humility, constancy, and courage. The Syrians and other eastern churches celebrate his festival on the 20th of July; the western church on the 19th of March. Pope Gregory XV in 1621, and Urban VIII in 1642, commanded it to be kept a holiday of obligation.
The holy family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph presents to us the most perfect model of heavenly conversation on earth. How did those two seraphim, Mary and Joseph, live in their poor cottage! They always enjoyed the presence of Jesus, always burning with the most ardent love for him, inviolably attached to his sacred person, always employed and living only for him. What were their transports in beholding him, their devotion in listening to him, and their joy in possessing him! O heavenly life! O anticipation of the heavenly bliss! O divine conversation! We may imitate them, and share some degree of this advantage, by conversing often with Jesus, and by the contemplation of his most amiable goodness, kindling the fire of his holy love in our breasts. The effects of this love, if it be sincere, will necessarily appear in our putting on his spirit, and imitating his example and virtues; and in our studying to walk continually in the divine presence, finding God everywhere, and esteeming all the time lost which we do not spend with God, or for his honor.
Source:  "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler,  1864.

Prayers Answered as All 10 Hostages Now Freed in Haiti - Including 5 Priests, 2 Nuns and 3 Lay People

"We found our confreres, the nuns and members of the family of Father Jean Anel Joseph in good health," the missionary society said in a statement.

"Our thanks also go to the ambassadors of France and the United States, for their discreet and effective diplomatic contribution, as well as to all the political and moral authorities of the country as well as to the governments for their unwavering support," added the company. missionary. Three of the seven religious abducted had already been released a week ago.

In all, 10 people were kidnapped on April 11, 2021 at Croix-des-Bouquets, near the capital Port-au-Prince, in Haiti. This is while they were on their way to the installation of a new priest. The group included four priests and a nun of Haitian nationality, as well as two French from the west of France: a nun from the department of Mayenne and a priest from Ille-et-Vilaine who lives in Haiti. for over thirty years. Three other people, members of the family of a Haitian priest, Father Jean Anel Joseph, who was not among those kidnapped, had also been kidnapped.

The five priests are part of the Society of Priests of Saint-Jacques, whose mother house is in Guiclan in the diocese of Quimper. This missionary society has about fifteen priests in Haiti, out of a total of 80 priests and about twenty seminarians also present in France, Brazil and Canada.

The kidnapping of the religious had caused a great international stir and a deep political crisis in the country, plagued by an upsurge in kidnappings for ransom in recent months in Port-au-Prince and in the provinces, testifying to the growing influence of gangs armed on Haitian territory.

Edited from Vatican News 

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Pope Francis Tells Catholic Action Council "Humility and meekness are the keys to living the service..." FULL TEXT




Sala Clementina - Friday, 30 April 2021 

Dear brothers and sisters,

I greet you with affection, happy to meet you in the days of your seventeenth National Assembly, and I thank the National President and the General Ecclesiastical Assistant for their introductory words. I would like to offer you some ideas to return to reflect on the task of a reality like the Italian Catholic Action, especially in a time like the one we are experiencing. I will follow the three words action , Catholic and Italian .

1. Action

We can ask ourselves what this word “action” means, and above all whose action is it. The last chapter of the Gospel of Mark, after recounting the apparition of Jesus to the Apostles and the invitation that He addressed to them to go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature, ends with this affirmation: "The Lord he acted together with them and confirmed the Word with the signs that accompanied it "(16:20). Whose action is it then? The Gospel assures us that acting belongs to the Lord: it is He who has the exclusive right, walking "incognito" in the history we live in.

Remembering this does not take our responsibility away, but brings us back to our identity as missionary disciples. In fact, Mark's account adds immediately after the disciples "departed" promptly "and preached everywhere" ( ibid. ). The Lord acted and they left. Remembering that action belongs to the Lord allows us never to lose sight of the fact that the Spirit is the source of the mission: his presence is the cause - and not the effect - of the mission. It allows us to always keep in mind that "our ability comes from God" ( 2 Cor 3: 5); that history is guided by the love of the Lord and we are co-protagonists of it. Your programs, therefore, also aim to rediscover and announce the signs of the Lord's goodness in history.

The pandemic has destroyed many projects, it has asked everyone to deal with the unexpected. Welcoming the unexpected, rather than ignoring it or rejecting it, means remaining docile to the Spirit and, above all, faithful to the life of the men and women of our time.

The evangelist emphasizes that Jesus "confirmed the Word with signs". What does it mean? That what we do has a precise origin: listening to and welcoming the Gospel. But it also means that there must be a strong link between what you hear and what you experience. Live the Word and proclaim the Word [connected] to life. I therefore invite you to ensure that the search for a synthesis between Word and life, which makes faith an incarnate experience, continues to characterize the formative paths of Catholic Action.

And speaking of the Spirit, which is what carries us forward, and speaking of the Lord who acted, who accompanies us, who is with us, we must be very careful not to fall into the illusion of functionalism.The programs, the organization charts serve, but as a starting point, as an inspiration; what brings forth the Kingdom of God is docility to the Spirit, it is the Spirit, our docility and the presence of the Lord. The freedom of the Gospel. It is sad to see how many organizations have fallen into the trap of organization charts: all perfect, all perfect institutions, all the necessary money, all perfect ... But tell me: where is the faith? Where is the Spirit? “No, we are looking for it together, yes, according to the organization chart we are doing”. Beware of functionalisms. Be careful not to fall into the slavery of organigrams, of “perfect” things… The Gospel is disorder because the Spirit, when it arrives, makes a noise to the point that the action of the Apostles seems like the action of drunks; so they said: "They're drunk!" (cf At2.13). Docility to the Spirit is revolutionary, because Jesus Christ is revolutionary, because the Incarnation is revolutionary, because the Resurrection is revolutionary. Your mailing must also be with this revolutionary feature.

What characteristics must the action, the work of Catholic Action have? I would say first of all free of charge . The missionary thrust does not lie in the logic of conquest but in that of the gift. Gratuitousness, the mature fruit of the gift of self, asks you to dedicate yourselves to your local communities, assuming the responsibility of proclamation; it asks you to listen to your territories, feeling their needs, weaving fraternal relationships. The history of your Association is made up of many “saints next door” - many! -, and it is a story that must continue: holiness is an inheritance to be preserved and a vocation to be welcomed.

A second characteristic of your actions that I would like to emphasize is that of humility , meekness . The Church is grateful to the Association to which you belong, because your presence often does not make noise - let the Spirit make the noise, you do not make noise - but it is a faithful, generous, responsible presence. Humility and meekness are the keys to living the service, not to occupy spaces but to start processes. I am happy because in recent years you have taken seriously the path indicated by Evangelii Gaudium . Continue along this road: there is a long way to go! This, as far as the action is concerned.

2. Catholic - second word.

The word "catholic", which qualifies your identity, says that the mission of the Church has no boundaries. Jesus called the disciples to an experience of strong sharing of life with him, but he reached them where they lived and worked. And he called them what they were. You too are asked to become ever more aware that being "with everyone and for all" (cf. Evangelii gaudium , 273) does not mean "diluting" the mission, "watering it down", but keeping it well linked to concrete life, to the people with whom live.

The word "catholic" can therefore be translated with the expression "to become neighbor", because it is universal, "to be neighbor", but of all. The time of the pandemic, which has asked and still asks to accept forms of distancing, has made the value of fraternal closeness even more evident: between people, between generations, between territories. Being an association is precisely a way to express this desire to live and believe together. Through your being an association, today you are witnessing that distance can never become indifference, it can never translate into strangeness. There is the bad distance, that of looking the other way, the indifference, the coldness: I have mine, I don't need to…, I go on.

You can do a lot in this area, precisely because you are a lay association. The danger is the clericalization of Catholic Action, but we will talk about this another time, because it will be too long ... It is an everyday temptation. There is still a widespread temptation to think that the promotion of the laity - in the face of so many ecclesial needs - involves a greater involvement of the laity in the "things of the priests", in clericalization. With the risk that we end up clericalizing the laity. But you, in order to be valued, do not need to become something other than what you are by Baptism. Your secularity is a richness for the catholicity of the Church, which wants to be leaven, "salt of the earth and light of the world".

In particular, you lay people of Catholic Action can help the whole Church and society to rethink together what kind of humanity we want to be, what land we want to inhabit, what world we want to build. You too are called to make an original contribution to the realization of a new "integral ecology": with your skills, your passion, your responsibility.

The great human and social suffering generated by the pandemic risks becoming an educational catastrophe and an economic emergency. We cultivate a wise attitude, as did Jesus, who "learned obedience from the things he suffered" ( Heb 5: 8). We too must ask ourselves: what can we learn from this time and suffering? “He learned obedience”, says the Letter to the Hebrews, that is, he learned a high and demanding form of listening, capable of permeating action. Listening to this time is an exercise in fidelity which we cannot escape from. Above all, I entrust to you those who have been most affected by the pandemic and those who risk paying the highest price: the little ones, the young, the elderly, those who have experienced fragility and loneliness.

And let's not forget that your associative experience is "Catholic" because it involves children, young people, adults, seniors, students, workers: an experience of the people. Catholicity is precisely the experience of the holy faithful people of God: never lose your popular character! In this sense, to be God's people.

3. Third word: Italian

The third term is "Italian". Your Association has always been inserted in Italian history and helps the Church in Italy to be a generator of hope for your whole country. You can help the ecclesial community to be a leaven of dialogue in society, in the style I indicated at the Florence Convention. And the Italian Church will resume, in this Assembly [of Bishops] in May, the Florence Convention, to remove it from the temptation to archive it, and it will do so in the light of the synodal journey that the Italian Church will begin, which we do not know how it will end and we do not know the things that will come out. The synodal journey, which will begin from every Christian community, from below, from below, from below to above. And the light, from top to bottom, will be the Florence Convention.

A Church of dialogue is a synodal Church, which listens to the Spirit and to that voice of God who reaches us through the cry of the poor and of the earth. In fact, the synodal plan is not so much a plan to be programmed and implemented, but above all a style to be embodied. And we must be precise when we speak of synodality, of synodal journey, of synodal experience. It is not a parliament, synodality is not a parliament. Synodality is not the only discussion of problems, of various things that exist in society ... It is beyond. Synodality is not looking for a majority, an agreement on pastoral solutions that we have to make. Only this is not synodality; this is a nice "Catholic parliament", okay, but it is not synodality. Because the Spirit is missing. What does that the discussion, the "parliament", the search for things to become synodality is the presence of the Spirit: prayer, silence, discernment of all that we share. There can be no synodality without the Spirit, and there is no Spirit without prayer. This is very important.

The Church of dialogue is a synodal Church, which listens to the Spirit and to that voice of God who reaches us through the cry of the poor and of the earth. Generally, even sinners are the poor of the earth. In fact, the synodal plan is not so much a plan to be programmed and implemented, a pastoral decision to be taken, but above all a style to be embodied.

In this sense your Association constitutes a "training ground" of synodality, and this attitude of yours has been and will continue to be an important resource for the Italian Church, which is wondering how to develop this style in all its levels. Dialogue, discussion, research, but with the Holy Spirit.

Your most precious contribution can come, once again, from your secularism, which is an antidote to self-referentiality. It is curious: when true secularism is not lived in the Church, one falls into self-referentiality. Making a synod is not looking in the mirror, not even looking at the diocese or the Episcopal Conference, no, that's not it. It is walking together behind the Lord and towards the people, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Secularism is also an antidote to abstractness: a synodal path must lead to making choices. And these choices, to be practicable, must start from reality, not from the three or four ideas that are fashionable or that have come up in the discussion. Not to leave it as it is, reality, no, evidently, but to try to affect it, to make it grow in the line of the Holy Spirit,

Brothers and sisters, I wish your Assembly good work. May it help to develop the awareness that, in the Church, the voice of the laity must not be listened to "by concession", no. Sometimes the voice of the priests, or of the bishops, must be heard, and in some moments "by concession"; it must always be "by right". But also that of the laity "by right", not "by concession". Both. It must be listened to by conviction, by right, because all the people of God are "infallible in credendo ". And I cordially bless you and all your territorial associations. And please don't forget to pray for me, because this job is not easy at all! Thank you.

St. Catherine - The Bride of Christ - Insights into a Great Love of Jesus we can Learn - by Dr. Gary D. Knight

The bride of Christ

Dr. Gary D. Knight

Saint Catherine of Siena can be recognized as a quintessence or ‘icon’ of the bride of Christ, the bride who - because of marriage anticipated – is His own mystical body: the Church. Catherine was presented to Jesus in a vision by His mother, and a ring placed on her finger. In ‘real life’ the ring was painful stigmata that brought her out of this ‘vale of tears’ at 33 years. But she received the gift of the quill miraculously, writing as compellingly as any doctor of the Church. How great that appellation is: ‘doctorus’ in Latin means teacher. Who could teach the mystical body that holds the keys of heaven, but an exemplar entirely docile to the Holy Spirit?

The ‘real life’ and ‘vale of tears’ are parenthesized for reasons that Catherine might assert. When having visions of hell, purgatory and heaven, she was in a death-like trance; yet these illuminations were more real to her than our waking hours, as is fitting for Last Things as compared with a land of exile rather like the den of Lost Boys. The world in its ‘real life’ so far from God, often runs along the line of a nightmare. Most remarkably, the professed virgin who would shun any incubus (archaic for bad dream) was led to embrace the temporal with Christian vigour, even fire.

Have you ever felt inclined to picture these passing things as a diseased reverie, or been more oppressed than by hot temperatures: like a feverish dream from which it seems better (if possible) to awake? Pity indeed those who feel it without relent and who choose to force the nocturnal hand; for as Shakespeare put it what ‘dreams’ may come? As a Christian he did not mean imaginings, but something more like the inverse of the unconscious state, where a decision to end it is part of a great delusion. That was due caution.

Catherine certainly recognized that hard realities are oppressive to distraction, delusional like the pain of an abscessed tooth with no anaesthetic in sight. And instead of remaining in cloister as she had done for a three year preparation, basting in interior light, she went into the darkness of the world: the poor, the suffering, the ignorant, and provided charm, calm and counsel along with her ministrations against distress. In this she was an incarnate daughter of Mary.

On earth the parent of a spouse is an ‘in-law’ parent; but in the heaven the relation of love surpasses ‘law’ and legalities, so that the mother of Christ is equally a mother of those who are united to Him more closely than a bride and groom. More closely because even spouses here cannot entirely share each other’s mind and affections, not even each other’s bodily strengths and afflictions (though some come close). In Christ, all is shared.

So the spouse of Jesus, daughter of Mary, rather than remaining in her hyperdulic trances, went forth just as Mary went out to visit her elder cousin Elizabeth to assist her in late-life childbearing – which couldn’t have been easy as John was a kicker and leaper even three months before birth. Her husband might even play on muteness as maybe including deafness (we don’t hear of him running out to greet Mary at her hailing). No more welcome guest to the toiling could be a daughter of Mary.

Perhaps this is why consolations found in this life are so lasting or meaningful: on the surface you wouldn’t expect that telling a few salutary prayers at a bedside would much help the dying, or arm their beloved behind. But it does. Think of your own nightmares: in panic being chased down by a wolf, the appearance of an open door too narrow for the beast is very heartening. Getting to it is even more so. And life is like that.

It is of value to insinuate ourselves in Catherine’s mind. She knows like few others that in so many ways life is a chimera, and an arduous one at that. She knows that the hints of peril we find in shame or defeat are magnified beyond all proportion on an eternal scale .. and that has a bearing on why we have a conscience at all. Yet she applies the commission received from her Spouse to go out and make disciples among all, by piercing their gloom with the hope from springs eternal. She willingly makes a temporal detour from real reality, to reach into this miasmic world and shed His light.

What does that teach us about what her Spouse did in the first place? In the vision of her Mystical Marriage, as she called it in her memoirs, Jesus showed Catherine, as He did his apostles, the glorified wounds from which had poured the price of human salvation. Salvation from what? From the exile of Eden, dominating fear of death, weakness of will, proclivity to neglect God our life, and this dream-like darkening of mind. From this incarnate ‘reality’ of exile under a darkening sun Jesus the Light had to lead souls who follow to His agony and death beyond all telling, with eclipse and quake, graves open, curtains torn, and all things gone quiet – yes, even the birds. He had to express our whole torment: “why have You turned from me?” and a mind on the edge – “I thirst”. In forty days of preparation he had never even said “I’m hungry”. This was in extremum if ever it was.

The passion of Christ is (among infinitely many other things) a reflection on the woeful power of our ‘passions’, our heavy-laden emotions with power to sway our minds without even our knowing or clear acknowledgement of their vacillating power, just as in a dream. “Weep not for me, but for your children” He said on the via dolorosa, showing the compassion of a God-Man who could see our days coming when the ‘woods would be dry’ rather than green, and when the unimaginable is being done, while then and there Deicide was perpetrated. “What will they do when the wood is dry” He asked, and it was not just cryptic reference to the new-cut limb he was bearing on a shoulder.

Jesus always showed compassion for us, who are living on the outside, past the perception of inner reality. “The (sleeping) spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”.  “How often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chicks” but your (distracted) will was elsewhere. “If you knew Who it was asking you for a drink, you would instead ask Him for a draught of living water”. “Their lips are close but their hearts are far away”. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do”. “You of little faith; why did you doubt?” Even Nicodemus, a ‘teacher in Israel’ could only find answers at night-time, hearing ‘you are only in gestation’: “you must be born from above”.

So this is the reality of those being formed in the mind of Christ. We are only in gestation, like the child yet unborn. That is why so often the confines and bumps of this life seem like a reverie, even a threat. Yet in this state behind the veil, we are fully human and called to the Life that is the Way, the Truth, as Jesus characterized himself saying “the Truth shall set you free”. Like his herald still in his mother’s womb, we can hear that voice and begin to be active, gesturing at the dance which transcends even graces we receive in the now. If we are just as tended-to by Mary as in the prenatal days of John, Catherine came to know it, and went forth in haste.

Prayer: Dear Lord our God
May we be so inspired and enamoured of the life and ministrations of your beloved saint, Catherine of Siena, who armed by the undying hope of seeing You as she does now face to face in Love, went forth doing all the good that she could find to do .. to the poor,
the suffering, the aged, the infirm, the ignorant and the neglected,
without omitting to converse in civil and national political life
or to communicate with bishops including the successor of Peter, that we may, in some measure like her, embrace the oppressions of
this temporal life increasingly full of injustices and insults
against not just You and your saints but humanity as your creation,
and carry forth to our brothers and children and spouses and elders the fullness of expectant hope in that birth from above
that comprises our salvation and Your eternal embrace.

Betrothedly Yours,  a servant and friend of St. Catherine of Siena.

Coalition of Religious Organizations Petition US Supreme Court Against Abortion Funding Mandate “Our faith tells us that every life is precious..." FULL TEXT from Becket Law

Press Release: WASHINGTON – Multiple orders of Catholic and Anglican nuns, alongside several Catholic dioceses, Christian churches, and faith-based social justice ministries asked the Supreme Court late last week to hear their case against New York’s abortion mandate. In Diocese of Albany v. Lacewell, the diverse coalition of religious organizations sued New York after its Department of Financial Services required that all employers cover abortions in their health insurance plans. After losing in the state court, the religious organizations have now petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to protect their right to operate their ministries without being forced to provide abortions.

“Our faith tells us that every life is precious from the moment of conception to the final breath. That’s why we spend our lives praying and serving to lift others’ burdens,” said Mother Miriam, of the Sisterhood of Saint Mary, the oldest religious order founded in America in the Anglican tradition. “New York has told us that if we want to hold our beliefs about the sanctity of life, we have to stop serving non-Anglicans. We cannot compromise on our religious beliefs, or in our service to people of all faiths or no faith at all. That’s why we need relief from the Supreme Court.”

When the New York State Department of Financial Services initially proposed the abortion mandate, it promised to respect the First Amendment by exempting employers with religious objections. But after facing pressure from abortion activists, New York narrowed the exemption to protect only religious entities whose purpose is to inculcate religious values and who primarily serve and hire coreligionists. This narrow exemption thus doesn’t apply to most religious ministries that serve people regardless of their faith. For example, the exemption doesn’t extend to the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm and their Teresian Nursing Home because they serve the elderly and dying regardless of religious affiliation. Nor does it extend to the First Bible Baptist Church, which operates social justice ministries for underserved community members.

“When New York instituted its abortion mandate, the Little Sisters of the Poor were already two Supreme Court victories into their battle against the contraceptive mandate. Now they’ve won for a third time, sending the clear message that the government can’t make nuns do its dirty work,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket. “New York’s failure to learn from the Little Sisters’ saga that you can’t make nuns pay for abortions is beyond reason. The Court needs to step in and teach New York that lesson.”

The story of nuns being ordered to pay for drugs and procedures that violate their religious beliefs has already played out at the federal level. In 2011, the United States Department of Health and Human Services ordered employers to cover controversial contraceptives and abortifacients in their health care plan or face crippling fines. Immediately, a lawsuit was brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor—an order of Catholic nuns who dedicate their lives to serving the elderly poor. Three times the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor, saying that if the government wanted to find a way to provide contraceptives and abortifacients, it couldn’t force the nuns to help.

Press Release and Image Source:

Resignation of Bishop Sheridan of Colorado Springs Diocese Accepted by the Pope - Father James Golka of Grand Island Appointed as Successor Bishop

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Michael Sheridan of the Diocese of Colorado Springs; Appoints Father James Golka of Diocese of Grand Island as Successor
APRIL 30, 2021 
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Sheridan, 76, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Colorado Springs and has appointed Father James R. Golka, a priest of the Diocese of Grand Island as Bishop-elect of Colorado Springs. Bishop-elect Golka currently serves as rector of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Grand Island, Nebraska. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2021 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
(Video from the Diocese starts at the 1:00 Mark) Father Golka was born September 22, 1966 in Grand Island, Nebraska. He attended Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Theology (1985-1989). He served as a Jesuit lay missionary volunteer for the Native American Missions in South Dakota (1989-1990) before entering St. Paul Seminary in Minnesota where he received a Master of Divinity in 1994. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 3, 1994 for the Diocese of Grand Island.
Bishop-elect Golka’s assignments after ordination include: associate pastor at St. James parish in Kearney (1994-2000), associate pastor at Holy Rosary parish in Alliance (2000-2001); pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in Scottsbluff (2001-2006); and pastor of St. Patrick’s parish and president of St. Patrick’s School in North Platte (2006-2016). Since 2016, he has served as rector of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Grand Island and vicar general since 2018.
Bishop-elect Golka’s pastoral ministry also includes service as a member of the diocesan College of Consultors, the Presbyteral Council, and the Personnel Board. He has also served as the director of Higher Ground, a diocesan summer retreat experience for youth, as well as a pilgrimage director for Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Bishop-elect Golka speaks both English and Spanish.
The Diocese of Colorado Springs is comprised of 15,493 square miles in the state of Colorado and has a total population of 1,169,053 of which 187,048 are Catholic.
Source: USCCB

Pro-Life Victory as Tennessee General Assembly passed the Prenatal Life and Liberty Act in both the House and Senate - Protecting Unborn

LifeNews reports that on April 29, 2021, the Tennessee General Assembly passed the Prenatal Life and Liberty Act in both the House and Senate. This Tennessee pro-life bill provides protection and justice for pregnant women and their babies who are killed in violent crimes. It is on its way to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk. 

In short, the first part of this bill levels the criminal and civil elements for fetal homicide across the state law. The second part of this legislation would prohibit “wrongful birth” and “wrongful life” lawsuits.

The legislators voted to require the burial or cremation of unborn children, and expand the definition of wrongful death victim to include all unborn children.

“We continue to move the needle forward on recognizing unborn children as human beings with these types of bills,” said Stacy Dunn, President of Tennessee Right to Life. “Furthermore, discussion of these bills allowed for educational debate and powerful testimony on the dignity and humanity of unborn children,” said Dunn.

The bills’ sponsors: Senator Mike BellSenator Janice BowlingRepresentative Tim Rudd and Representative Jeremy Faison .

“These unborn children, many of them up to almost full term, deserve the same dignity as any other human being,” said state Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, the lead sponsor of the bill.

State House Bill 1181 requires abortion facilities to bury or cremate the remains of aborted babies from surgical abortions and pay the costs. Mothers would be allowed to decide the location for final disposition and choose between burial and cremation. Exceptions would be allowed for criminal investigations and miscarriages.

Last year, state lawmakers passed a heartbeat law to protect unborn babies by banning almost all abortions in Tennessee. However, a federal court blocked the law.

Tennessee is the 12th state to enact such requirements.

Edited from Life News

Pope Francis says "Never forget that Christ is alive and that he calls you to walk courageously after him." FULL TEXT to "Chemin Neuf"




Consistory Hall
Friday, 30 April 2021

Dear friends,

I welcome you, the members of the Chemin Neuf political Fraternity, and through you, I warmly greet the young people from different countries who, like you, benefit from the expertise and accompaniment of the Chemin Neuf community. I thank you for making this journey to Rome, despite the limitations of the pandemic.

With you I give thanks to the Lord for the work of his Spirit, which is manifested in your human and spiritual journey in the service of the common good and of the poor in particular, a journey you make by rejecting poverty and working for a more just and fraternal world. In fact, in the unbridled pursuit of possessions, careers, honours or power, the weak and the least are often ignored and rejected, or considered useless, indeed - and this is not there [in the text] - they are considered as waste material. This is why I hope that your commitment and your enthusiasm in the service of others, shaped by the power of the Gospel of Christ, will restore a taste for life and hope in the future to many people, especially many young people.

"The lay vocation is directed above all to charity within the family and to social and political charity. It is a concrete and faith-based commitment to the building of a new society. It involves living in the midst of society and the world in order to bring the Gospel everywhere, to work for the growth of peace, harmony, justice, human rights and mercy, and thus for the extension of God’s kingdom in this world” (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit, 168). It is precisely with this dynamic that you journey, with an ecumenical openness and a heart willing to welcome different cultures and traditions, in order to transform the face of our society.

Dear friends, I encourage you not to be afraid to walk the paths of fraternity and to build bridges between people, between peoples, in a world where so many walls are still being built out of fear of others. Through your initiatives, your projects and your activities, you make visible a Church that is poor with and for the poor, an outbound Church that is close to people in situations of suffering, vulnerability, marginalisation and exclusion. Indeed, "our faith in Christ, who became poor, and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members" (Evangelii Gaudium, 186).

With the young people of your societies, today more than ever, you face challenges in which the health of our common home is at stake. It is truly an ecological conversion that recognises the eminent dignity of each person, their own worth, their creativity and their capacity to seek and promote the common good. What we are currently experiencing with the pandemic teaches us in a tangible way that we are all in the same boat and that we can only overcome difficulties if we agree to work together. And you are spending a few days here in Rome precisely to reflect on a particular aspect of life in our common home: that of the presence of migrants and their reception in today's Europe. As you well know, "When we talk about migrants and displaced persons, all too often we stop at statistics. But it is not about statistics, it is about real people! If we encounter them, we will get to know more about them. And knowing their stories, we will be able to understand them” (Message for the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 15 May 2020).

Dear friends, I invite you to remain firm in your convictions and in your faith. Never forget that Christ is alive and that he calls you to walk courageously after him. With him, be that flame that revives hope in the hearts of so many young people who are discouraged, sad and without prospects. May you generate bonds of friendship, of fraternal sharing, for a better world. The Lord counts on your boldness, your courage and your enthusiasm.

I entrust each one of you and your families, as well as the members of your fraternity and all the young people you meet to the intercession of the Virgin Mary and to the protection of Saint Ignatius. I bless you from my heart. And please do not forget to pray for me. And may the Lord bless each and every one of you. Amen.

Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office30 April 2021