Thursday, February 25, 2021

Saint February 26 : St. Porphyrius : Bishop of Gaza in Palestine

St. Porphyrius

Feast Day:
February 26
347, Thessalonica, Greece
February 26, 420, Gaza, Palestine
Bishop of Gaza in Palestine, b. at Thessalonica about 347; d. at Gaza, 26 February, 420. After five years in the Egyptian desert of Scete he lived five years in a cave near the Jordan. In spite of his impaired health, he frequently visited the scene of the Resurrection. Here he met the Asiatic Mark, at a later date a deacon of his church and his biographer. To effect the sale of the property still owned by Porphyrius in his native city, Mark set out for Thessalonica and, upon his return, the proceeds were distributed among the monasteries of Egypt and among the necessitous in and around Jerusalem. In 392 Porphyrius was ordained to the priesthood, and the relic of the Holy Cross was intrusted to his care. In 395 he became Bishop of Gaza, a stronghold of paganism, with an insignificant Christian community. The attitude of the pagan population was hostile so that the bishop appealed to the emperor for protection and pleaded repeatedly for the destruction of pagan temples. He finally obtained an imperial rescript ordering the destruction of pagan sanctuaries at Gaza. A Christian church was erected on the site of the temple of Marnas. In 415 Porphyrius attended the Council of Diospolis. The "Vita S. Porphyrii" of Mark the Deacon, formerly known only in a Latin translation, was published in 1874 by M. Haupt in its original Greek text; a new edition was issued in 1895 by the Bonn Philological Society.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Wow Famous Artist Timothy Schmalz Reveals his New Sculptures of St. Padre Pio - Wrestling the Devil! VIDEO

The famous artist, Timothy Schmalz, known for his sculpture of the Homeless Jesus and Angels Unawares at the Vatican and around the world announces some exciting new works. For over 25 years, Timothy has been sculpting large scale sculptures.  He says of himself: "I am devoted to creating artwork that glorifies Christ. The reason for this devotion, apart from my Christian beliefs, is that an artist needs an epic subject to create epic art. I describe my sculptures as being visual prayers." 
In this exclusive Interview with Catholic News World, from his studio, Timothy Schmalz tells us of his latest sculptures of St. Padre Pio as wrestling with the Devil! These 2 new Padre Pio sculptures bring us closer to this powerful Saint. The second statue features Mother Mary and Padre Pio in the form of a fish, the ancient symbol of Christianity. 
LISTEN to Timothy Schmalz describe his incredible New Artwork and a sneak peak into upcoming statues for the year of St. Joseph! 
(a New Mini-Series on Art and Faith with Timothy Schmalz on CNW's Youtube Channel)

Bishops of the Philippines will Unite to Consecrate the Nation to St. Joseph on May 1st

The Bishops of the Philippines will consecrate nation to St. Joseph on May 1, 2021. CBCP News, a website of the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines announces that the Philippine Catholic bishops will consecrate the nation to the patronage of St. Joseph on May 1, his feast day.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the episcopal conference approved the national consecration and assigned the bishops’ Commission on the Laity, which he chairs, to organize the event.
To make sure the devotion is understood well and practiced properly, the Laiko laid out a 33-day “spiritual preparation” for the consecration that starts on March 30.
They are also facilitating the distribution of the book “Consecration to St. Joseph” by Marian Fr. Donald Calloway to dioceses and for those joining the celebration.
The event is one of the highlights of the Philippine Church’s celebration of the current “Year of St. Joseph”.
Pope Francis has declared the special year in honor of the 150th anniversary of the saint as patron of the Universal Church.
The Laiko on Feb. 13 organized a virtual conference with Calloway on “how to make the Year of St. Joseph more meaningful and life-changing”.

In his talk, the American priest lauded the national consecration as the world continues to face the ongoing effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.
“I know the Philippines is having a difficult right time now… We can go to him for everything, for hope, for peace, for conversion to bring us closer to Jesus and Mary,” Calloway said.
“And when you do it in the Philippines, the fruit is not only going in the Philippines because I know that Filipinos are going to spread this everywhere,” he said.
According to him, St. Joseph will help “increase” one’s virtue and holiness “because that’s what a good father does”.
“We are going to know the comfort of such a good father because that’s what he did for Jesus and Mary, and that is what he wants to do for us,” Calloway added.
“It is important to remember that we have the Virgin Mary as our spiritual mother, and we have St. Joseph as our spiritual father,” he also said.
The national consecration falls on International Workers’ Day, also known as Labor Day in most countries like the Philippines.
St. Joseph is the patron of many things including workers, fathers and families. Source: CBCP News
(Below is a short Consecration prayer to St. Joseph that can be said daily)

EU Bishops of COMECE send Letter in Support of Unborn to European Union Parliament "...the Catholic Church...calls for the protection and care of all unborn life." FULL TEXT

EU Bishops address the President of the Parliament on the recent Resolution on abortion in Poland


The Presidency of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) addresses a letter to David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, with regard to the European Parliament Resolution of 26 November 2020 on abortion in Poland. In their letter, the EU Bishops emphasize once again that the Catholic Church, which seeks to support women in life situations arising from difficult or unwanted pregnancies, calls for the protection and care of all unborn life.


“From a legal perspective – the Bishops underline - neither European Union legislation nor the European Convention on Human Rights provide for a right to abortion. This matter is left up to the legal systems of the Member States”.


A fundamental principle of the European Union is the principle of conferral, under which the Union shall act only within the limits of the competences conferred upon it by the Member States  in the Treaties. “Strict observance of this principle is – reads the letter – a requirement of the rule of law, one of the fundamental values of the Union”.


While endorsing the Parliament’s Resolution emphasis on the respect for the rule of law, COMECE stresses that “the rule of law also requires respect for the competences of the Member States and the choices made by them in the exercise of their exclusive competences”.


In their letter, the Bishops of the EU also express concern on the questioning by the EP Resolution of the fundamental right to conscientious objection, which is an emanation of freedom of conscience. “This is particularly worrying – the letter continues – considering that in the healthcare sector conscientious objectors are in many cases subject to discrimination”.

Press release:


Dear President Sassoli,
We write to you with regard to the European Parliament Resolution of 26
November 2020 on the right to abortion in Poland. The Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) has taken note with concern of some of the arguments and points in this Resolution.
We would like to take this opportunity to emphasize once again that the Catholic Church, which seeks to support women in life situations arising from difficult or unwanted pregnancies, calls for the protection and care of all unborn life. Every human person is called into being by God and needs protection, particularly when he or she is
most vulnerable. Special safeguard and care for the child, before and after birth, is also expressed in international legal standards, for instance in the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child. All necessary support must be provided to
women in difficult life situations of unwanted or difficult pregnancies.
From a legal perspective we wish to underline that neither European Union
legislation nor the European Convention on Human Rights provide for a right to abortion. This matter is left up to the legal systems of the Member States.
A fundamental principle of the European Union is the principle of conferral, under which the Union shall act only within the limits of the competences conferred
upon it by the Member States in the Treaties to attain the objectives set out therein (Article 5.2 of the Treaty of the European Union). Strict observance of this principle is, in turn, a requirement of the rule of law, one of the fundamental values of the Union,
enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union. As the Parliament's Resolution rightly stresses, respect for the rule of law is essential for the functioning of the Union. That being said, the rule of law also requires respect for the competences of
the Member States and the choices made by them in the exercise of their exclusive competences.
COMECE is also alarmed about the fact that the Resolution seems to question the fundamental right to conscientious objection, which is an emanation of freedom of conscience (Article 10.1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union).
This is particularly worrying considering that in the healthcare sector conscientious objectors are in many cases subject to discrimination. In our view, such unjust stigmatization should not be promoted.
It is necessary to consider fundamental rights -like freedom of thought, conscience
and religion- in the light of their universality, inviolability, inalienability, indivisibility and interdependence. In regard to the right to conscientious objection, the European Union Charter entails the need to respect national constitutional traditions and the development of national legislation on the issue.
The Resolution of the European Parliament refers in several passages to the right to equal treatment and non-discrimination. In full respect of these legal provisions, we are concerned that the principle of non-discrimination could be used to stretch or blur
the limits of the competences of the European Union. This would also go against Article
51. 2 of the Charter of the European Union, which clearly states that the Charter does not
extend the field of application of Union law beyond the powers of the Union or establish any new power or task for the Union.
We also noted with sadness that no condemnation or solidarity was expressed in
the text with regard to the unacceptable attacks on Churches and places of worship in the context of protests related to this law in Poland.
Dear President Sassoli, we remain at your disposal for any clarification that might be needed on this issue, which we consider crucial, aware as we are that the Resolution will have a very negative impact on the way the Union is perceived by Member States.
Yours sincerely,
The Standing Committee of COMECE,
H.Em. Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ
Archbishop of Luxembourg President
H.E. Msgr. Mariano Crociata
Bishop of Latina, Italy First Vice-President
H.E. Msgr. Franz Josef Overbeck
Bishop of Essen, Germany, 
H.E. Msgr. Noel Treanor
Bishop of Down and Connor, Ireland 
H.E. Msgr. Jan Vokal
Bishop of Hradec Králové, Czech Rep.

12.4 Million People are in Conditions of “Food insecurity” in Syria - People Fear Starvation more than COVID

According to Asia News IT, people wait for hours to get a piece of bread at a low price. Children skip school and wander the streets in search of money. For WFP, 12.4 million people face “food insecurity”. The COVID-19 pandemic is being “ignored, because people cannot afford the luxury of not working”.

AsiaNews, reports that the situation in Syria is getting increasingly tragic with more and more people at risk of starvation. Fr Amer Kassar, priest at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Damascus, spoke to AsiaNews:
“Then we have the children who do not go to school but wander the streets, looking for a job to support the family.”
The situation is difficult in many areas and urban centres, not only in Damascus, as evinced by data on micro-crime and associated violence.
“Another very serious issue, which has been happening for some time also in the capital, is breaking and entering in homes and shops, stealing cars to resell them,” Fr Kasser explained.
“In our (Christian) neighbourhood, a man was attacked after he took money out of the bank. During the robbery, the criminals also tried to kill him and the incident happened in the morning, in broad daylight. The 'courage' of despair.”
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), about 12.4 million people are in conditions of “food insecurity” in Syria, a nation devastated by a decade-long conflict that has caused almost 400,000 deaths and displaced millions persons.
The level of hardships, experts warn, is now “alarming”. The UN agency notes that a recent  study shows that “about 60 per cent of the population” is “in a situation of food insecurity”, by far “the worst figure on record” since the beginning of the conflict.
In a nation of about 20 million, more and more people are unable to put together enough food for lunch or dinner. The trend is sharply up from the 9.3 million reported last May.
About 83 per cent of the population, according to UN estimates, lives below the poverty level. Ten years of civil war, jihadist violence, refugee emergency, international sanctions and the crisis of Lebanese banks have brought the country to its knees.
The most affected are the most vulnerable, the sick, children and seniors amid an unprecedented crisis, as the Maronite Archbishop of Damascus pointed out.
“The past few months have been very hard for Syrians because the national currency has dropped sharply. Before the novel coronavirus, a dollar was worth 1,500 pounds, now we are at 3,600 pounds,” said the priest.
“An average salary is US/30, while prices have risen sharply due to inflation. The government gives bonuses a couple of times a year, but they are of little use. A family, in many cases, is forced to survive on a dollar a day, or even less.” 
Because of such huge needs, the COVID-19 pandemic “is now ignored, since people cannot afford the luxury of not working, of buying masks or sanitisers.” The Church “is present, but the needs are far greater.”
“Open Hospitals” is one of the most successful projects, involving two facilities in Damascus and one in Aleppo, “but we cannot take the place of the government or international organisations” Fr Kassar admits.
“The Syrian people are in terrible conditions, without hope for the future, without a light at the end of the tunnel. We need cooperation at all levels, we need to relax sanctions and guarantee the possibility of travel, of bringing back to Syria money that is currently blocked by the various crises in Europe and neighbouring Lebanon.”
Edited form Report by Asia News IT
To Donate to the Papal Charity in Syria - Aid to the Church in Need - Click -

Quote to SHARE by St. Basil "True Fasting lies is rejecting evil, holding one's tongue, suppressing one's hatred, and banishing one's lust, evil words..."

"True fasting lies is rejecting evil, holding one's tongue, suppressing one's hatred, and banishing one's lust, evil words, lying, and betrayal of vows." St. Basil

Saint February 25 : St. Walburga a Benedictine Nun who came from a Family of Saints and Patron against Storms

St. Walburga Feb 25 ( Hist. ) Born in Devonshire, about 710; died at Heidenheim, 25 Feb., 777. She is the patroness of Eichstadt, Oudenarde, Furnes, Antwerp, Gronigen, Weilburg, and Zutphen, and is invoked as special patroness against hydrophobia, and in storms, and also by sailors. She was the daughter of St. Richard, one of the under-kings of the West Saxons, and of Winna, sister of St. Boniface, Apostle of Germany, and had two brothers, St. Willibald and St. Winibald. St. Richard, when starting with his two sons on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, entrusted Walburga, then eleven years old, to the abbess of Wimborne. In the claustral school and as a member of the community, she spent twenty-six years preparing for the great work she was to accomplish in Germany. The monastery was famous for holiness and austere discipline. There was a high standard at Wimborne, and the child was trained in solid learning, and in accomplishments suitable to her rank. Thanks to this she was later able to write St. Winibald's Life and an account in Latin of St. Willibald's travels in Palestine. She is thus looked upon by many as the first female author of England and Germany. Scarcely a year after her arrival, Walburga received tidings of her father's death at Lucca. During this period St. Boniface was laying the foundations of the Church in Germany. He saw that for the most part scattered efforts would be futile, or would exert but a passing influence. He, therefore, determined to bring the whole country under an organized system. As he advanced in his spiritual conquests he established monasteries which, like fortresses, should hold the conquered regions, and from whose watch-towers the light of faith and learning should radiate far and near.
Boniface was the first missionary to call women to his aid. In 748, in response to his appeal, Abbess Tetta sent over to Germany St. Lioba and St. Walburga, with many other nuns. They sailed with fair weather, but before long a terrible storm arose. Hereupon Walburga prayed, kneeling on the deck, and at once the sea became calm. On landing, the sailors proclaimed the miracle they had witnessed, so that Walburga was everywhere received with joy and veneration. There is a tradition in the Church of Antwerp that, on her way to Germany, Walburga made some stay there; and in that city's most ancient church, which now bears the title of St. Walburga, there is pointed out a grotto in which she was wont to pray. This same church, before adopting the Roman Office, was accustomed to celebrate the feast of St. Walburga four times a year. At Mainz she was welcomed by her uncle, St. Boniface, and by her brother, St. Willibald. After living some time under the rule of St. Lioba at Bischofsheim, she was appointed abbess of Heidenheim, and was thus placed near her favourite brother, St. Winibald, who governed an abbey there. After his death she ruled over the monks' monastery as well as her own. Her virtue, sweetness, and prudence, added to the gifts of grace and nature with which she was endowed, as well as the many miracles she wrought, endeared her to all. It was of these nuns that Ozanam wrote: "Silence and humility have veiled the labours of the nuns from the eyes of the world, but history has assigned them their place at the very beginning of German civilization: Providence has placed women at ever cradleside." On 23 Sept., 776, she assisted at the translation of her brother St. Winibald's body by St. Willibald, when it was found that time had left no trace upon the sacred remains. Shortly after this she fell ill, and, having been assisted in her last moments by St. Willibald, she expired.
St. Willibald laid her to rest beside St. Winibald, and many wonders were wrought at both tombs. St. Willibald survived till 786, and after his death devotion to St. Walburga gradually declined, and her tomb was neglected. About 870, Otkar, then Bishop of Eichstadt, determined to restore the church and monastery of Heidenheim, which were falling to ruin. The workmen having desecrated St. Walburga's grave, she one night appeared to the bishop, reproaching and threatening him. This led to the solemn translation of the remains to Eichstadt on 21 Sept. of the same year. They were placed in the Church of Holy Cross, now called St. Walburga's. In 893 Bishop Erchanbold, Otkar's successor, opened the shrine to take out a portion of the relics for Liubula, Abbess of Monheim, and it was then that the body was first discovered to be immersed in a precious oil or dew, which from that day to this (save during a period when Eichstadt was laid under interdict, and when blood was shed in the church by robbers who seriously wounded the bell-ringer) has continued to flow from the sacred remains, especially the breast. This fact has caused St. Walburga to be reckoned among the Elaephori, or oil-yielding saints (see OIL OF SAINTS). Portions of St. Walburga's relics have been taken to Cologne, Antwerp, Furnes, and elsewhere, whilst her oil has been carried to all quarters of the globe.
The various translations of St. Walburga's relics have led to a diversity of feasts in her honour. In the Roman Martyrology she is commemorated on 1 May, her name being linked with St. Asaph's, on which day her chief festival is celebrated in Belgium and Bavaria. In the Benedictine Breviary her feast is assigned to 25 (in leap year 26) Feb. She is represented in the Benedictine habit with a little phial or bottle; as an abbess with a crozier, a crown at her feet, denoting her royal birth; sometimes she is represented in a group with St. Philip and St. James the Less, and St. Sigismund, King of Burgundy, because she is said to have been canonized by Pope Adrian II on 1 May, the festival of these saints. If, however, as some maintain, she was canonized during the episcopate of Erchanbold, not in Otkar's, then it could not have been during the pontificate of Adrian II. The Benedictine community of Eichstadt is flourishing, and the nuns have care of the saint's shrine; that of Heidenheim was ruthlessly expelled in 1538, but the church is now in Catholic hands. Source: Catholic Encyclopedia