Thursday, February 4, 2021

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : 1st Friday, February 5, 2021 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church

Memorial of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr
Lectionary: 327
Reading I
Heb 13:1-8
Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.
Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment,
and of the ill-treated as of yourselves,
for you also are in the body.
Let marriage be honored among all
and the marriage bed be kept undefiled,
for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.
Let your life be free from love of money
but be content with what you have,
for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you.
Thus we may say with confidence:
    The Lord is my helper,
    and I will not be afraid.
    What can anyone do to me?
Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.
 Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Responsorial Psalm
27:1, 3, 5, 8b-9abc
R.    (1a)  The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
    whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
    of whom should I be afraid? 
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Though an army encamp against me,
    my heart will not fear;
Though war be waged upon me,
    even then will I trust.
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.
For he will hide me in his abode
    in the day of trouble;
He will conceal me in the shelter of his tent,
    he will set me high upon a rock.
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
    do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off.
R.    The Lord is my light and my salvation.
See Lk 8:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart,
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Mk 6:14-29
King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
“John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
That is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
Others were saying, “He is Elijah”;
still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.”
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
“It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”
Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias, 
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers,
and the leading men of Galilee.
His own daughter came in and performed a dance
that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” 
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
Her mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once on a platter
the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner
with orders to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
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 February 5 : St. Agatha : Patron of Breast Cancer; Bakers; Nurses; Rape victims; Single Laywomen; Sterility

Born: Catania or Palermo
Died: 251, Catania
Patron of:
bellfounders; breast cancer; bakers; against fire; earthquakes; eruptions of Mount Etna; fire; jewelers; martyrs; natural disasters; nurses; rape victims; single laywomen; sterility; torture victims; volcanic eruptions; wetnurses
One of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of Christian antiquity, put to death for her steadfast profession of faith in Catania, Sicily. Although it is uncertain in which persecution this took place, we may accept, as probably based on ancient tradition, the evidence of her legendary life, composed at a later date, to the effect that her martyrdom occurred during the persecution of Decius (250-253). Historic certitude attaches merely to the fact of her martyrdom and the public veneration paid her in the Church since primitive times. In the so-called Martyrologium Hieronymianum (ed. De Rossi and Duchesne, in Acta SS., Nov. II, 17) and in the ancient Martyrologium Carthaginiense dating from the fifth or sixth century (Ruinart, Acta Sincera, Ratisbon, 1859, 634), the name of St. Agatha is recorded on 5 February. In the sixth century Venantius Fortunatus mentions her in his poem on virginity as one of the celebrated Christian virgins and martyrs (Carm., VIII, 4, De Virginitate: Illic Euphemia pariter quoque plaudit Agathe Et Justina simul consociante Thecla. etc.). Among the poems of Pope Damasus published by Merenda and others is a hymn to St. Agatha (P.L., XIII, 403 sqq.; Ihm, Damasi Epigrammata, 75, Leipzig, 1895). However, this poem is not the work of Damasus but the product of an unknown author at a later period, and was evidently meant for the liturgical celebration of the Saint's feast.

Novena Prayer to Saint Agatha - Patron of Breast Cancer, Virgins, Assault Victims - Share! -

 Its content is drawn from the legend of St. Agatha, and the poem is marked by end-rhyme. From a letter of Pope Gelasius (492-496) to a certain Bishop Victor (Thiel. Epist. Roman. Pont., 495) we learn of a Basilica of St. Agatha in fundo Caclano, e.g., on the estate of that name. The letters of Gregory I make mention of St. Agatha at Rome, in the Subura, with which a diaconia or deaconry was connected (Epp., IV, 19; P.L., LXXVII, 688). It was in existence as early as the fifth century, for in the latter half of that century Rieimer enriched it with a mosaic. This same church was given the Arian Goths by Rieimer and was restored to Catholic worship by Pope Gregory I (590-604).
Although the martyrdom of St. Agatha is thus authenticated, and her veneration as a saint had even in antiquity spread beyond her native place, we still possess no reliable information concerning the details of her glorious death. It is true that we have the Acts of her martyrdom in two versions, Latin and Greek, the latter deviating from the former (Acta SS., I, Feb., 595 sqq.). Neither of these recensions, however, can lay any claim to historical credibility, and neither gives the necessary internal evidence that the information it contains rests, even in the more important details, upon genuine tradition. If there is a kernel of historical truth in the narrative, it has not as yet been possible to sift it out from the later embellishments. In their present form the Latin Acts are not older than the sixth century. According to them Agatha, daughter of a distinguished family and remarkable for her beauty of person, was persecuted by the Senator Quintianus with avowals of love. As his proposals were resolutely spurned by the pious Christian virgin, he committed her to the charge of an evil woman, whose seductive arts, however, were baffled by Agatha's unswerving firmness in the Christian faith. Quintianus then had her subjected to various cruel tortures. Especially inhuman seemed his order to have her breasts cut off, a detail which furnished to the Christian medieval iconography the peculiar characteristic of Agatha. But the holy virgin was consoled by a vision of St. Peter, who miraculously healed her. Eventually she succumbed to the repeated cruelties practised on her. As already stated, these details, in so far as they are based on the Acts, have no claim to historical credibility. Allard also characterizes the Acts as the work of a later author who was more concerned with writing an edifying narrative, abounding in miracles, than in transmitting historical traditions.
Both Catania and Palermo claim the honour of being Agatha's birthplace. Her feast is kept on 5 February; her office in the Roman Breviary is drawn in part from the Latin Acts. Catania honours St. Agatha as her patron saint, and throughout the region around Mt. Etna she is invoked against the eruptions of the volcano, as elsewhere against fire and lightning. In some places bread and water are blessed during Mass on her feast after the Consecration, and called Agatha bread. (Text- The Catholic Encyclopedia)

Pope Francis says "Music too can help biblical texts to "speak" that the divine Word can effectively reach minds and hearts." FULL TEXT to Musicians


[4-5 February 2021]

 Dear brothers and sisters!

I am pleased to address my greetings to you who are taking part in the 4th International Conference on Music, organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture in collaboration with the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music and the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of the Sant'Anselmo University. I thank Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, promoter of this initiative.

I hope that your reflections, which have as their theme "Texts and contexts", can enrich the ecclesial communities and those who work in the musical field, an area that is very important for the liturgy and evangelization.

In the book of the prophet Isaiah we find this exhortation:

"Sing a new song to the Lord,
praise him from the extremity of the earth" (42,10).

As is well known, the Bible has inspired countless musical expressions, including fundamental pages in the history of music: let's think of Gregorian chant, Palestrina, Bach…; it has inspired a great variety of compositions on the five continents; and several contemporary authors have also dealt with sacred texts.   

 Many ecclesial communities, in recent decades, have been able to interpret these texts both by following the new musical forms and by enhancing the ancient heritage. The musical heritage of the Church, in fact, is very varied and can support, in addition to the liturgy, also the performance in concert, in school and in catechesis, and also in the theater.

We know, however, that since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, the activity in the music field has been greatly downsized. My thoughts go to all those who have been affected: to the musicians, who have seen their lives and their profession upset by the demands of distancing; to those who have lost their jobs and social contact; to those who have had to face the necessary moments of formation, education and community life in difficult contexts. Many have put significant effort into continuing to offer a new creative music service. It is a valid commitment not only for the Church, but also for the public horizon, for the "network" itself, for those who work in concert halls and in other places where music is at the service of the community.

I hope that this aspect of social life can also be reborn, that we return to singing and playing and to enjoy music and singing together. Miguel Cervantes in Don Quixote stated: " Donde hay música, no puede haber cosa mala " (Part II, c. 34): "Where there is music, there can be nothing bad". Many texts and compositions, through the power of music, stimulate the personal conscience of each one and also create a universal brotherhood.

The Prophet Isaiah, in that same passage, continued:

"For a long time I kept silent, I kept
silent, I contained myself" (42,14).

A good musician knows the value of silence, the value of pause. The alternation between sound and silence is fruitful and allows listening, which plays a fundamental role in any dialogue. Dear musicians, the common challenge is to listen to each other. In the liturgy we are invited to listen to the Word of God. The Word is our "text", the main text; the community our "context". The Word is a source of meaning, it illuminates and guides the journey of the community. We know how necessary it is to tell the story of salvation in idioms and languages ​​that can be well understood. Music too can help biblical texts to "speak" in new and different cultural contexts, so that the divine Word can effectively reach minds and hearts.

In your meeting you have chosen to pay attention to the most diverse musical forms: they express the variety of cultures and local communities, each with its own ethos . I am thinking particularly of indigenous civilizations, in which the approach to music is integrated with the other ritual elements of dance and celebration. In this context, engaging narratives in the service of evangelization can emerge. In fact, the integral experience of musical art also includes the dimension of corporeality. In popular tradition we often find a parallelism: “Feeling good is for singing well and singing well is for feeling good!”.

And I would like to conclude with a question, which comes spontaneously in the situation in which we find ourselves, caused by the pandemic: is the silence we live in empty or are we in the listening phase? Is it empty or are we listening? Will we later allow the emergence of a new song? The text and the context, now present in a new form, stimulate us to resume our journey together, because "the unity of hearts is deepened by the unity of voices" (Instruction Musicam sacram , 5). Voices, musical instruments and compositions continue to express, in the current context, the harmony of the voice of God, leading towards the "symphony", that is, universal brotherhood.

I entrust your commitment to God to sustain it and to make it fruitful. And I ask you all to pray for me. Good job. Thank you!

Quote to SHARE St. John Bosco "There are 2 things the Devil is deadly Afraid of: fervent Communions and frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament. "

"There are two things the devil is deadly afraid of: fervent Communions and frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament." 
Saint John Bosco

Catholic Priest Saved from Stray Bullet During Mass - Bullet Pierces Church Ceiling and Stops at the Feet of the Priest

A Catholic Priest named Father Robinson was surprised during the homily when a stray bullet pierced the church ceiling .

On Sunday, January 31, 2021 the Parish of São José, in Maruípe, Brazil, was hit by a stray bullet that pierced the roof of the church, during the Holy Mass presided by Father Robinson de Castro Cunha.

The event happened at the end of the priest's homily, who, upon hearing the noise, looked at the ceiling and then at the floor, collecting the bullet that had fallen at his feet. Soon after, the community coordinator is called by the priest, who hands him the bullet.

The Mass, which was being broadcast live on the parish's social media, was never interrupted by the priest, who showed calmness even in the face of what had happened.

In a note published on its Facebook page, the parish informed that there was an investigation of the situation.

Note of the Parish of São José:

Yesterday, 31/1, during the celebration of Holy Mass, when the homily was concluded, around 7:37 pm, after a rocket fire in the region a stray bullet hit the ceiling that pierced the plaster of the Church of St. Joseph.

The bullet fell near the feet of the priest, who picked it up and handed it to the community coordinator. And it continued with the celebration normally. The community coordinator recorded the incident in a BO with the police.

PASCOM - Pastoral of Communication

Parish of São José - Maruípe

Source: Pascom - Portal Catolico - Image Screen Shot Pascom

Pope Francis' Message on 1st International Day of Human Fraternity "Fraternity means listening with an open heart." FULL TEXT + Video



Thursday, February 4, 2021  

Sisters and brothers. This is the word: sisters and brothers.  Affirm fraternity.

In a special way to you, my brother, my friend, my companion in challenges and risks in the struggle for fraternity, Great Imam Ahmed Al-Tayyeb, whom I thank for the company on the journey for reflection and the drafting of the document that was presented two years ago. His testimony helped me a lot because it was a courageous testimony. I know it was not an easy task. But with her we were able to do it together, and help each other. The most beautiful thing is that that first desire for fraternity has consolidated into true fraternity. Thank you, brother, thank you!

I also wish to thank His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed for all the efforts he has made to make this progress possible. He believed in the project. He believed it.

And I think it is also right to thank - allow me, Mr. Judge, the word - " the enfant terrible " of this whole project, Judge Abdel Salam, friend, worker, full of ideas, who helped us to move forward.

Thank you all for having bet on fraternity, because today fraternity is the new frontier of humanity. Either we are brothers or we destroy each other.

Today there is no time for indifference. We cannot wash our hands of it, with distance, with carelessness, with disinterest. Either we are brothers - allow me -, or everything collapses. It is the frontier. The frontier on which we must build; it is the challenge of our century, it is the challenge of our times.

Fraternity means an outstretched hand; fraternity means respect. Fraternity means listening with an open heart. Fraternity means firmness in one's convictions. Because there is no true fraternity if you negotiate your beliefs.

We are brothers, born of the same Father. With different cultures, traditions, but all brothers. And in respect of our different cultures and traditions, of our different citizenships, this fraternity must be built. By not negotiating it.

It's time for listening. It is time for sincere acceptance. It is the moment of certainty that a world without brothers is a world of enemies. I want to emphasize this. We cannot say: either brothers or not brothers. Let's face it: either brothers or enemies. Because carelessness is a very subtle form of enmity. There is no need for a war to make enemies. The neglect is enough. Enough with this technique - it has become a technique -, enough with this attitude of looking the other way, not caring about the other, as if it did not exist.

Dear brother Great Imam, thank you for your help. Thanks for your testimony. Thank you for this journey that we have made together.

Congratulations from the Holy Father to the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, winner of the Zayed Prize ]

I wish to congratulate the Secretary General of the United Nations on this award and thank him for all the efforts he is making for peace. A peace that can only be achieved with a fraternal heart. Thanks for what he does.

Congratulations from the Holy Father to Latifa Ibn Ziaten, winner of the Zayed Prize ]

Dear sister, your last words are not spoken by hearsay or convention: "we are all brothers". I am the belief. And a belief shaped in pain, in your wounds. You have spent your life for smiles, you have spent your life for non-resentment and, through the pain of losing a child - only a mother knows what it means to lose a child -, through this pain you have the courage to say "we are all brothers ”and to sow words of love. Thanks for your testimony. And thank you for being the mother of your son, of many boys and girls; to be the mother today of this humanity that is listening to you and learning from you: either the path of fraternity, brothers, or we lose everything.

Thank you thank you!

Cardinal Bo of Myanmar Releases Appeal for Release of Arrested Leaders Saying "Peace is possible. Peace is the only way. Democracy is the only light..." FULL TEXT

Message of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo to the People of Myanmar
And our International communities
Date: 3rd February 2021
 My dear Friends,
 I write these lines as a spiritual leader, empathizing with the sentiments of millions of people at this moment. I write to my dear people, the civilian leaders, the Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) and the international community. I have watched with sadness the moments of darkness in our history and watched with hope the resilience of our people in their struggle for dignity. We are journeying through most challenging times of our history. I write with love towards all, seeking a durable solution, praying for an end forever to the periodic darkness that envelops our dear nation.
 1. To My Dearest People of Myanmar
I share deep fellowship with all of you in this moment as you grapple with the unexpected, shocking events that are unfolding in our country. I appeal to each one of you, stay calm, never fall victim to violence. We have shed enough blood. Let not any more blood be shed in this land. Even at this most challenging moment, I believe that peace is the only way, peace is possible. There are always nonviolent ways for expressing our protests. The unfolding events are the result of a sad lack of dialogue and communication and disputing of diverse views. Let us not continue hatred at this moment when we struggle for dignity and truth. Let all community leaders and religious leaders pray and animate communities for a peaceful response to these events. Pray for all, pray for everything, avoiding occasions of provocation.
We are living through a time of pandemic. Our courageous health workers have saved many lives. We understand your pain. Some have resigned as protest, but I plead with you, do not abandon your people in need at this time.
2. To our Tatmadaw General and the Tatmadaw Family :
The world has reacted with shock and agony to what has happened. When, in 2015, a peaceful transition to the elected government was effected by the Army, that won the admiration of the world. Today the world tries to understand what went wrong in the following years. Was there a lack of dialogue between the elected civilian authorities and the Tatmadaw?
 We have seen so much pain in conflicts. Seven decades of shedding blood and the use of violence brought no results. You all promised peace and genuine democracy. Democracy was the streak of hope for solving the problems of this once rich country. This time millions voted for democracy. Our people believe in peaceful transfer of power.
Now the Tatmadaw has unilaterally taken over. This has shocked the world and the people of Myanmar. Allegations of voting irregularities could have been solved by dialogue, in presence of neutral observers. A great opportunity was lost. Many leaders of the world have condemned and will condemn this shocking move.
Now you promise greater democracy - after investigation and another election. Myanmar people are tired of empty promises. They will never accept any fake protestation. You also promise to hold multiparty elections after one year. How will you gain the trust of our people? They will trust only when words are matched by sincere actions.
 Their anguish and disappointment must be understood. Your actions need to prove that you love them, care for them. Once again I plead with you, treat them with great dignity and peace. Let there be no violence against our dear people of Myanmar.
Sadly, the elected representatives of our people belonging to NLD are under arrest. So are many writers, activists and youth. I urge you, respect their rights and release them at the earliest. They are not prisoners of war; they are prisoners of a democratic process. You promise democracy; start with releasing them. World will understand you.
3. To Daw ASSK and President U Win Myint and all our beloved leaders.
 Dear NLD leaders : You are in this plight in your unending struggle to bring democracy to this nation. The unexpected turn of events has made you prisoners. We pray for you and urge all concerned to release you at the earliest.
Dear Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, you have lived for our people, sacrificed your life for our people. You will be always the voice of our people. These are painful days. You have known darkness, you have known light in this nation. You are not only the favorite daughter of the father of the nation, General Aung San. You are Amay Suu to the nation. Truth will prevail. God is the ultimate arbiter of truth. But God waits. At this moment I offer my personal sympathies with your plight and pray that you may once again walk amidst your people, raising their spirits.
At the same time I wish to confirm that this incident takes place due to lack of DIALOGUE and communication and lack of acceptance of one another. Please listen to others.
4. To the International Community:
We are grateful for your concern and appreciate your sense of shock. We are grateful for your compassionate accompaniment at this moment. It matters a lot.
 But history has painfully shown that abrupt conclusions and judgements ultimately do not benefit our people. Sanctions and condemnations brought few results, rather they closed doors and shut out dialogue. These hard measures have proved a great blessing to those super powers that eye our resources. We beg you do not force concerned people into bartering our sovereignty. The international community needs to deal with the reality, understanding well Myanmar’s history and political economy. Sanctions risk collapsing the economy, throwing millions into poverty. Engaging the actors in reconciliation is the only path.
What has happened is painful. It has shattered our people. I write this with a desire to console them. I write not as a politician. I believe all the stakeholders in this country wish the best for our people. I write with prayers and hope that his great nation, this golden land of a graceful people will enter into global stage as a reconciled community of hope and peace. Let us solve all disputes through dialogue.
 Peace is possible. Peace is the only way. Democracy is the only light to that path.
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo
Archbishop of Yangon Myanmar
President of the Catholic Bishops, Conference of Myanmar
President of Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences
Patron of Religions for Peace Myanmar and Pro-President for RfP International
2021-02-03 10:02:46

US Bishops' Chairman Welcomes Actions to Rebuild Immigration System, Restore Due Process, and Recognize Human Dignity of Immigrants

USCCB Migration Chairman Welcomes Administration’s Actions to Rebuild Immigration System, Restore Due Process, and Recognize Human Dignity of Immigrants and Refugees

FEBRUARY 3, 2021 

WASHINGTON—Yesterday, President Joe Biden issued three migration-related Executive Orders related to removing barriers and restoring due process in the legal immigration system. The actions include orders to: (1) address root causes of migration from Central America and expand opportunities for legal migration; (2) create a task force to reunify families separated during the prior administration; and (3) ​strengthen integration and inclusion efforts for new Americans. Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“We welcome these Executive Orders on migration, which will help to ensure that immigrants and refugees are treated humanely and in accordance with their God-given dignity. Actions implemented by the prior administration on these issues have directly impacted and harmed immigrants’ and refugees’ lives, in many cases needlessly instilling fear and creating or perpetuating family separation. The Catholic Church teaches that each person is created in the image and likeness of God and that we must uphold the inherent dignity of each person. As a society, we must remain consistent in our openness and treatment of all persons, regardless of whether they were born in the United States or immigrated here. We know that changes will take time but applaud President Biden’s commitment to prioritize assisting our immigrant and refugee brothers and sisters. We also offer our assistance and cooperation on these urgent matters of human life and dignity.”