Friday, April 23, 2021

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Saturday, April 24, 2021 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church - Eastertide



 Saturday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 278
Reading I
Acts 9:31-42
The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria
was at peace. 
She was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord,
and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit she grew in numbers.
As Peter was passing through every region,
he went down to the holy ones living in Lydda. 
There he found a man named Aeneas,
who had been confined to bed for eight years, for he was paralyzed. 
 
 Peter said to him,
“Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.” 
He got up at once. 
And all the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon saw him,
and they turned to the Lord.
Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha
(which translated is Dorcas). 
She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving. 
Now during those days she fell sick and died,
so after washing her, they laid her out in a room upstairs. 
Since Lydda was near Joppa,
the disciples, hearing that Peter was there,
sent two men to him with the request,
“Please come to us without delay.” 
So Peter got up and went with them. 
When he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs
where all the widows came to him weeping
and showing him the tunics and cloaks
that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 
Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed. 
Then he turned to her body and said, “Tabitha, rise up.” 
She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. 
He gave her his hand and raised her up,
and when he had called the holy ones and the widows,
he presented her alive. 
This became known all over Joppa,
and many came to believe in the Lord. 
Responsorial Psalm
116:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
R.    (12) How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R.    Alleluia.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
    for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
    and I will call upon the name of the LORD
R.    How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R.    Alleluia.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
    in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
    is the death of his faithful ones.
R.    How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R.    Alleluia.
O LORD, I am your servant;
    I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
    you have loosed my bonds.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
    and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R.    How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Alleluia
See Jn 6:63c, 68c
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
Jn 6:60-69
Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”
As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer walked with him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
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 April 24 : St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen who spent Hours in Prayer before the Eucharist and Patron of Travelers


St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
MARTYR

Feast Day:
April 24
Born:
1577 at Sigmaringen, Hohenzollern, Germany
Died:
24 April 1622 at Grusch, Grisons, Switzerland
Canonized:
29 June 1746 by Pope Benedict XIV
Major Shrine:
Capuchin Convent of Weltkirchen (Feldkirch), Austria
PRAYER: Father, you filled Saint Fidelis with the fire of your love and gave him the privilege of dying that the faith might live. Let his prayers keep us firmly grounded in your love, and help us to come to know the power of Christ’s resurrection. Through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
 
 Biography
He was born in 1577, at Sigmarengen, a town in Germany, in the principality of Hoinvenzollen. The name of his father was John Rey. The saint was christened Mark, performed his studies in the university of Fribourg in Switzerland, and while he taught philosophy, commenced doctor of laws. He at that time never drank wine, and wore a hair-shirt. His modesty, meekness, chastity, and all other virtues, charmed all that had the happiness of his acquaintance. In 1604, he accompanied three young gentlemen of that country on their travels through the principal parts of Europe. During six years, which he continued in this employment, he never ceased to instil into them the most heroic and tender sentiments of piety. He received the holy sacrament very frequently, particularly on all the principal holidays: in every town where he came, he visited the hospitals and churches, passed several hours on his knees in the presence of the blessed sacrament, and gave to the poor sometimes the very clothes off his back. After this he practiced the law in quality of counsellor or advocate, at Colmar, in Alsace, with great reputation, but with greater virtue. Justice and religion directed all his actions. He scrupulously forbore all invectives, detractions, and whatever might affect the reputation of any adversary. His charity procured him the surname of counsellor and advocate for the poor: but the injustices of a colleague in protracting lawsuits for gain, and his finding fault with our saint for producing all his proofs for his clients in the beginning, in order to the quicker dispatch, gave him a disgust of a profession which was to many an occasion of sin, and determined him to enter among the Capuchin friars. He first received holy orders, and having said his first mass in their convent at Fribourg, on the feast of St. Francis, in 1612, he consecrated himself to God by taking the habit. The guardian gave him, in religion, the name of Fidelis, or Faithful, alluding to that text of the Apocalypse which promises a crown of life to him who shall continue faithful to the end. From that moment humiliations, macerations, and implicit obedience were his delight. He overcame temptations by discovering them to his director, and submitting to his advice with regard to his conduct under them. By his last will, he bequeathed his patrimony to the bishop's seminary, for the establishment of a fund for the support of poor students, to whom he also left his library; and gave the remainder of his substance to the poor.
In regard to dress and furniture, he always chose that for his own use which was the least valuable and convenient. He fasted Advent, Lent, and Vigils, on bread and water, with dried fruits, tasting nothing which had been dressed by fire. His life was a continued prayer and recollection, and at his devotions he seemed rather like an angel than a man. His earnest and perpetual petition to God was, that he would always preserve him from sin, and from falling into tepidity or sloth in his service. He sought the most abject and most painful employments even when superior; knowing that God exalts those highest who have here humbled themselves the lowest and the nearest to their own nothingness. He had no sooner finished his course of theology, than he was employed in preaching and in hearing confessions; and being sent superior to the convent of Weltkirchen, that town and many neighboring places were totally reformed by his zealous labors, and several Calvinists converted. The congregation de propaganda fide, sent to father Fidelis a commission to go and  preach among the Grisons; and he was the first missionary that was sent into those parts after that people had embraced Calvinism. Eight other fathers of his order were his assistants, and labored in this mission under his direction. The Calvinists of that territory, being incensed at his attempt, loudly threatened his life, and he prepared himself for martyrdom on entering upon this new harvest. Ralph de Salis, and another Calvinist gentleman, were converted by his first conferences. The missionary penetrated into Pretigout, a small district of the Grisons, in 1622, on the feast of the Epiphany, and gained every day new conquests to Christ; the conversion of which souls ought to be regarded as more the fruit of the ardent prayers in which he passed great part of the nights, than of his sermons and conferences in the day. These wonderful effects of his apostolic zeal, whereof the bishop of Coire sent a large and full account to the congregation de propaganda, so enraged the Calvinists in that province, who had lately rebelled against the emperor. their sovereign, that they were determined to bear with them no longer. 'The holy father having notice of it, thought of nothing but preparing himself for his conflict, passing whole nights in fervent prayer before the blessed sacrament, or before his crucifix, and often prostrate on the ground. On the 24th of April, 1622, he made his confession to his companion with great compunction, said mass, and then preached at Gruch, a considerable borough. At the end of his sermon, which he delivered with more than ordinary fire, he stood silent on a sudden, with his eyes fixed on heaven, in an ecstasy, during some time. He foretold his death to several persons in the clearest terms, and subscribed his last letters in this manner: "Brother Fidelis, who will be shortly the food of worms." From Gruch he went to preach at Sevis, where, with great energy, he exhorted the Catholics to constancy in the faith. A Calvinist having discharged his musket at him in the church, the Catholics entreated him to leave the place. He answered, that death was his gain and his joy, and that he was ready to lay down his life in God's cause. On his road back to Gruch, he met twenty Calvinist soldiers with a minister at their head. They called him false prophet, and urged him to embrace their sect. He answered: "I am sent to you to confute, not to embrace your heresy. The Catholic religion is the faith of all ages, I fear not death." One of them beat him down to the ground by a stroke on the head with his backsword. The martyr rose again on his knees, and stretching out his arms in the form of a cross, said with a feeble voice "Pardon my enemies, O Lord: blinded by passion they know not what they do. Lord Jesus, have pity on me. Mary, mother of Jesus, assist me." Another stroke clove his skull, and he fell to the ground and lay wetering in his blood. The soldiers, not content with this, added many stabs in his body, and hacked his left leg, as they said, to punish him for his many journeys into those parts to preach to them. A Catholic woman lay concealed near the place during this butchery; and after the soldiers were gone, coming out to see the effects of it, found the martyr's eyes open, and fixed on the heavens. He died in 1622, the forty-fifth year of his age, and the tenth of his religious profession. He was buried by the Catholics the next day. The rebels were soon after defeated by the imperialists, an event which the martyr had foretold them. The minister was converted by this circumstance, and made a public abjuration of his heresy. After six months, the martyr's body was found incorrupt, but the head and left arm separate from the trunk. These being put into two cases, were translated from thence to the cathedral of Coire, at the earnest suit of the bishop, and laid under the high altar with great pomp; the remainder of the corpse was deposited in the Capuchin's church at Weltkirchen. Three miracles performed by his relics and intercession, out of three hundred and five produced, are inserted in the decree of his beatification, published by pope Benedict XIII., in 1729. Other miracles were proved, and the decree of his canonization was published by Benedict XIV., in 1746. The 24th of April is appointed the day of his festival, and his name is inserted in the Roman Martyrology. See the acts of his canonization: also his life, written by Dom. Placid, abbot of Weissenau, or Augia Brigantina, published by Dom. Bernard Pez, librarian in the famous abbey of Melch, in Austria, in his Bibliotheca Ascetica, t. 10, p. 403.
To contribute to the conversion of a soul from sin is something far more excellent than to raise a dead body to life. This must soon fall again a prey to death; and only recovers by such a miracle the enjoyment of the frail and empty goods of this world. But the soul which, from the death of sin, is raised to the life of grace, is immortal, and, from a slave of the devil and a firebrand of hell, passes to the inestimable dignity and privileges of a child of' God; by which divine adoption she is rescued out of the abyss of infinite misery, and exalted to the most sublime state of glory and happiness, in which all the treasures of grace and of heaven are her portion forever. Hunger, thirst, watchings, labors, and a thousand martyrdoms, ought to seem nothing to one employed in the sacred ministry, with the hopes of gaining but  one sinner to Christ. Moreover, God himself will be his recompense, who is witness, and keeps a faithful account of all his fatigues and least sufferings.
Biography source: Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler 

NOVENA to St. Joseph Begins! - Powerful Prayer to SAINT JOSEPH the Patron of Fathers, Family, Work, the Church and More to SHARE


A NOVENA is a powerful prayer said over 9 days. This is a special year dedicated to Saint Joseph. St. Joseph's 2 Feast days are May 1 and March 19 but this Novena prayer may be said any time of the year. (it is good to begin before the Feast Day)

Official Novena Prayer:

Saint Joseph, you are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I come to you as an example for holiness, for you are especially close with God. Therefore, I humbly commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.
(Watch and Share our Video to Pray the Novena everyday!)
 
 Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, pray for me to have a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore:
(Mention your request)
Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers on my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God.
St. Joseph Most Just, Pray for us!
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Say 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be each day of the Novena.


This novena can be practiced at any time of year. Say this novena nine days in a row.
*******************************

FOR NOVENA PRAYERS AND MORE LIKE US ON FACEBOOK NOW

Amazing NEW #Book on #Kindle to #SaintJoseph - a #Prayer Book to #StJoseph that will Help you in Life! The Perfect GIFT! amazon.com/dp/B093P63V99
OTHER PRAYERS TO ST. JOSEPH

Prayer to St. Joseph, The Worker

O Glorious, St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, after your example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen. --Pope St. Pius X
  St. Joseph, today we honor you as Patron of Workers. We pray for the unemployed, underemployed, those who are working under stress and all those who labor daily. May you be our example of honorable work for God. St. Joseph and Brother Andre, hear our petitions (name them).


The next prayer (To You, O Blessed Joseph) and the Litany of St. Joseph carries a partial indulgence...


 
 To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of your most holy spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also. Through that charity which bound you to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.
O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness; and, as once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God's Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die holily, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen. 



Litany of St. Joseph

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Illustrious son of David, etc.
Light of Patriarchs,
Spouse of the Mother of God,
Chaste guardian of the Virgin,
Foster Father of the Son of God,
Watchful defender of Christ,
Head of the Holy Family,
Joseph, most just,
Joseph, most chaste,
Joseph, most prudent,
Joseph, most valiant,
Joseph, most obedient,
Joseph, most faithful,
Mirror of patience,
Lover of poverty,
Model of workmen,
Glory of home life,
Guardian of virgins,
Pillar of families,
Solace of the afflicted,
Hope of the sick,
Patron of the dying,
Terror of demons,
Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

He made him the lord of His household, and prince over all His possessions.

Let us pray.

O God, who in thy ineffable Providence did vouchsafe to choose St. Joseph to be the spouse of Your most holy Mother, grant we beseech You, that he whom we venerate as our protector on earth may be our intercessor in Heaven. Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

FOR NOVENA PRAYERS AND MORE LIKE US ON FACEBOOK NOW

Wow Pope Francis Makes Surprise Visit to Poor and Homeless Receiving Vaccine on His Name Day and Gifts Them with Chocolate! VIDEO



Vatican News reports that Pope Francis made a surprise visit to a group of Rome’s poor and homeless people, as they receive their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in the Vatican.
On the feast of St. George (Jorge in Spanish), Pope Francis' Name Day he made a surprise visit.
The Pope supported the Papal Almoner’s project to provide free Covid-19 vaccines for a group of around 600 vulnerable people.
He also showed up in-person at the Paul VI Hall on Friday to visit them as they received their second jab.

According to the Holy See Press Office, the Pope spent around half an hour with those present.
He walked through the audience hall, greeting people as he walked along.
Before he left, Pope Francis stopped to offer a large chocolate Easter egg which was distributed to the volunteers, “while respecting all health norms.”
Those present then sang a song of well-wishes for the Pope’s name-day.
“As he stopped to speak to several volunteers in a joyous and cordial environment, the Holy Father thanked them and encouraged them to ‘continue your hard work!’” read the Press Office statement.
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner, then thanked all the volunteers and health workers for their part in organizing the vaccination campaign.
Pope’s name-day marked with Covid-19 vaccines for Rome’s poor
Those receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were part of a larger group of 1,400 who got the first jab during Holy Week.

The group includes several guests of a home run by the Missionaries of Charity, people receiving aid from the St. Egidio Community, and others helped by a group called “Medicina Solidale.”
Source: Vatican News.va


#BreakingNews 3 More Hostages Released in Haiti but 6 Remain as Kidnapped by Gang


 
12 days after the kidnapping of 10 people by the “400 Mawozo” gang  the kidnappers released 3 of the 9 people held captive. (See: https://www.catholicnewsworld.com/2021/04/breakingnews-5-priests-2-nuns-and-3-lay.html )

These are 3 Haitian religious (out of 5): Sister Anne-Marie Dortellus, Father Hugues Baptiste and Lovely Joseph; said Father Loudger Mazile  the Spokesperson for the Conference of Bishops of Haiti.

The two French religious: Father Michel Briand (67 years old) and Sister Agn├Ęs Bordeau (80 years old) as well as 2 Haitian religious and 2 lay people remain captive.

On April 14, the kidnappers agreed to release for ransom one of their hostages (the mother of father Jean Arnel Joseph), after his family had managed to raise the sum of $ 50,000.

It is not known if a ransom was paid for the release of these 3 hostages. The kidnappers initially demanded $ 1 million in ransom to free all their hostages.

For its part, the Church excludes any ransom payment "a life cannot be bought like a commodity" declared Father Gilbert Peltro, Secretary General of the Haitian Conference of Religious.

Source: Haiti Libre and Vatican News 

Pope Francis' Message to President Biden's Climate Leaders Summit "Take care of nature, so that it takes care of us." FULL TEXT






President Biden invited 40 world leaders to the Leaders Summit on Climate hosted on April 22 and 23.  The virtual Leaders Summit was live streamed for public viewing. Pope Francis offered a short message to the Leaders. Full Text below:

VIDEO MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

 TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE
"LEADERS SUMMIT ON CLIMATE" INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE SUMMIT

 Good morning! I greet you who are gathered in this initiative which seems happy to me. An initiative that sets all of us on the path, all of humanity through its leaders. It sets us on the road, concretely towards the Glasgow Meeting but, even more concretely, to take charge of the care of nature, of this gift that we have received and that we must take care of, preserve and carry forward. And this takes on much greater significance because it is a challenge we have in this post-pandemic. It is not over yet, but we must look ahead, because it is a crisis. We know that a crisis does not come out the same: either we come out better or worse.

And our concern is to see that the environment is cleaner, purer and preserved. Take care of nature, so that it takes care of us. I wish you success in this beautiful decision to meet, to carry on the journey, and I accompany you. Thank you!

Saint April 23 : St. George a Martyr and Patron of Soldiers, Skin Diseases, Shepherds, and Equestrians



Patron of:
agricultural workers; Amersfoort, Netherlands; Aragon; archers; armourers; Beirut, Lebanon; Bulgaria; butchers; Cappadocia; Catalonia; cavalry; chivalry; Constantinople; Corinthians; Crusaders; England; equestrians; Ethiopia; farmers; Ferrara; field workers; Genoa; Georgia; Gozo; Greece; Haldern, Germany; Heide; herpes; horsemen; horses; husbandmen; knights; lepers and leprosy; Lithuania; Lod; Malta; Modica, Sicily; Moscow; Order of the Garter; Palestine; Palestinian Christians; Piran; plague; Portugal; Portuguese Army; Portuguese Navy; Ptuj, Slovenia; Reggio Calabria; riders; saddle makers; Scouts; sheep; shepherds; skin diseases; soldiers; syphilis; Teutonic Knights

Born:
between ca. AD 275 and 281, Nicomedia, Bithynia, modern-day northwestern Turkey
Died:
April 23, 303, Lydda, Palestine
A Prayer to St George, for Intercession
 Almighty and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of Saint George and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy divine Son. Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saving, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.

Biography: Martyr, patron of England, suffered at or near Lydda, also known as Diospolis, in Palestine, probably before the time of Constantine. According to the very careful investigation of the whole question recently instituted by Father Delehaye, the Bollandist, in the light of modern sources of information, the above statement sums up all that can safely be affirmed about St. George, despite his early cultus and pre-eminent renown both in East and West (see Delehaye, "Saints Militaires", 1909, pp. 45-76). Earlier studies of the subject have generally been based upon an attempt to determine which of the various sets of legendary "Acts" was most likely to preserve traces of a primitive and authentic record. Delehaye rightly points out that the earliest narrative known to us, even though fragments of it may be read in a palimpsest of the fifth century, is full beyond belief of extravagances and of quite incredible marvels. Three times is George put to death—chopped into small pieces, buried deep in the earth and consumed by fire—but each time he is resuscitated by the power of God. Besides this we have dead men brought to life to be baptized, wholesale conversions, including that of "the Empress Alexandra", armies and idols destroyed instantaneously, beams of timber suddenly bursting into leaf, and finally milk flowing instead of blood from the martyr's severed head. There is, it is true, a mitigated form of the story, which the older Bollandists have in a measure taken under their protection (see Act. SS., 23 Ap., no. 159). But even this abounds both in marvels and in historical contradictions, while modern critics, like Amelineau and Delehaye, though approaching the question from very different standpoints, are agreed in thinking that this mitigated version has been derived from the more extravagant by a process of elimination and rationalization, not vice versa. Remembering the unscrupulous freedom with which any wild story, even when pagan in origin, was appropriated by the early hagiographers to the honour of a popular saint (see, for example, the case of St. Procopius as detailed in Delehaye, "Legends", ch. v) we are fairly safe in assuming that the Acts of St. George, though ancient in date and preserved to us (with endless variations) in many different languages, afford absolutely no indication at all for arriving at the saint's authentic history. This, however, by no means implies that the martyr St. George never existed. An ancient cultus, going back to a very early epoch and connected with a definite locality, in itself constitutes a strong historical argument. Such we have in the case of St. George. The narratives of the early pilgrims, Theodosius, Antoninus, and Arculphus, from the sixth to the eighth century, all speak of Lydda or Diospolis as the seat of the veneration of St. George, and as the resting-place of his remains (Geyer, "Itinera Hierosol.", 139, 176, 288). The early date of the dedications to the saint is attested by existing inscriptions of ruined churches in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Egypt, and the church of St. George at Thessalonica is also considered by some authorities to belong to the fourth century. Further the famous decree "De Libris recipiendis", attributed to Pope Gelasius in 495, attests that certain apocryphal Acts of St. George were already in existence, but includes him among those saints "whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are only known to God".
There seems, therefore, no ground for doubting the historical existence of St. George, even though he is not commemorated in the Syrian, or in the primitive Hieronymian Martyrologium, but no faith can be placed in the attempts that have been made to fill up any of the details of his history. For example, it is now generally admitted that St. George cannot safely be identified by the nameless martyr spoken of by Eusebius (Church History VIII.5), who tore down Diocletian's edict of persecution at Nicomedia. The version of the legend in which Diocletian appears as persecutor is not primitive. Diocletian is only a rationalized form of the name Dadianus. Moreover, the connection of the saint's name with Nicomedia is inconsistent with the early cultus at Diospolis.
Still less is St. George to be considered, as suggested by Gibbon, Vetter, and others, a legendary double of the disreputable bishop, George of Cappadocia, the Arian opponent of St. Athanasius. "This odious stranger", says Gibbon, in a famous passage, "disguising every circumstance of time and place, assumed the mask of a martyr, a saint, and a Christian hero, and the infamous George of Cappadocia has been transformed into the renowned St. George of England, the patron of arms, of chivalry, and of the Garter." "But this theory, says Professor Bury, Gibbon's latest editor, "has nothing to be said for it." The cultus of St. George is too ancient to allow of such an identification, though it is not improbable that the apocryphal Acts have borrowed some incidents from the story of the Arian bishop. Again, as Bury points out, "the connection of St. George with a dragon-slaying legend does not relegate him to the region of the myth, for over against the fabulous Christian dragon-slayer Theodore of the Bithynian Heraclaea, we can set Agapetus of Synnada and Arsacius, who though celebrated as dragon-slayers, were historical persons". This episode of the dragon is in fact a very late development, which cannot be traced further back than the twelfth or thirteenth century. It is found in the Golden Legend (Historia Lombardic of James de Voragine and to this circumstance it probably owes its wide diffusion. It may have been derived from an allegorization of the tyrant Diocletian or Dadianus, who is sometimes called a dragon (ho bythios drakon) in the older text, but despite the researches of Vetter (Reinbot von Durne, pp.lxxv-cix) the origin of the dragon story remains very obscure. In any case the late occurrence of this development refutes the attempts made to derive it from pagan sources. Hence it is certainly not true, as stated by Hartland, that in George's person "the Church has converted and baptized the pagan hero Perseus" (The Legend of Perseus, iii, 38). In the East, St. George (ho megalomartyr), has from the beginning been classed among the greatest of the martyrs. In the West also his cultus is very early. Apart from the ancient origin of St. George in Velabro at Rome, Clovis (c. 512) built a monastery at Baralle in his honour (Kurth, Clovis, II, 177). Arculphus and Adamnan probably made him well known in Britain early in the eighth century. His Acts were translated into Anglo-Saxon, and English churches were dedicated to him before the Norman Conquest, for example one at Doncaster, in 1061. The crusades no doubt added to his popularity. William of Malmesbury tells us that Saints George and Demetrius, "the martyr knights", were seen assisting the Franks at the battle of Antioch, 1098 (Gesta Regum, II, 420). It is conjectured, but not proved, that the "arms of St. George" (argent, a cross, gules) were introduced about the time of Richard Coeur de Lion. What is certain is that in 1284 in the official seal of Lyme Regis a ship is represented with a plain flag bearing a cross. The large red St. George's cross on a white ground remains still the "white ensign" of the British Navy and it is also one of the elements which go to make up the Union Jack. Anyway, in the fourteenth century, "St. George's arms" became a sort of uniform for English soldiers and sailors. We find, for example, in the wardrobe accounts of 1345-49, at the time of the battle of Crecy, that a charge is made for 86 penoncells of the arms of St. George intended for the king's ship, and for 800 others for the men-at-arms (Archaeologia, XXXI, 119). A little later, in the Ordinances of Richard II to the English army invading Scotland, every man is ordered to wear "a signe of the arms of St. George" both before and behind, while the pain of death is threatened against any of the enemy's soldiers "who do bear the same crosse or token of Saint George, even if they be prisoners". Somewhat earlier than this Edward III had founded (c. 1347) the Order of the Garter, an order of knighthood of which St. George was the principal patron. The chapel dedicated to St. George in Windsor Caste was built to be the official sanctuary of the order, and a badge or jewel of St. George slaying the dragon was adopted as part of the insignia. In this way the cross of St. George has in a manner become identified with the idea of knighthood, and even in Elizabeth's days, Spenser, at the beginning of his Faerie Queene, tells us of his hero, the Red Cross Knight:
But on his breast a bloody Cross he bore,
The dear remembrance of his dying Lord, For whose sweet sake that glorious badge we wore And dead (as living) ever he adored.
We are told also that the hero thought continually of wreaking vengeance:
Upon his foe, a dragon horrible and stern.
Ecclesiastically speaking, St. George's day, 23 April, was ordered to be kept as a lesser holiday as early as 1222, in the national synod of Oxford. In 1415, the Constitution of Archbishop Chichele raised St. George's day to the rank of one of the greatest feasts and ordered it to be observed like Christmas day. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries St. George's day remained a holiday of obligation for English Catholics. Since 1778, it has been kept, like many of these older holidays, as a simple feast of devotion, though it ranks liturgically as a double of the first class with an octave.
Saint George and the dragon
The best known form of the legend of St. George and the Dragon is that made popular by the "Legenda Aurea", and translated into English by Caxton. According to this, a terrible dragon had ravaged all the country round a city of Libya, called Selena, making its lair in a marshy swamp. Its breath caused pestilence whenever it approached the town, so the people gave the monster two sheep every day to satisfy its hunger, but, when the sheep failed, a human victim was necessary and lots were drawn to determine the victim. On one occasion the lot fell to the king's little daughter. The king offered all his wealth to purchase a substitute, but the people had pledged themselves that no substitutes should be allowed, and so the maiden, dressed as a bride, was led to the marsh. There St. George chanced to ride by, and asked the maiden what she did, but she bade him leave her lest he also might perish. The good knight stayed, however, and, when the dragon appeared, St. George, making the sign of the cross, bravely attacked it and transfixed it with his lance. Then asking the maiden for her girdle (an incident in the story which may possibly have something to do with St. George's selection as patron of the Order of the Garter), he bound it round the neck of the monster, and thereupon the princess was able to lead it like a lamb. They then returned to the city, where St. George bade the people have no fear but only be baptized, after which he cut off the dragon's head and the townsfolk were all converted. The king would have given George half his kingdom, but the saint replied that he must ride on, bidding the king meanwhile take good care of God's churches, honour the clergy, and have pity on the poor. The earliest reference to any such episode in art is probably to be found in an old Roman tombstone at Conisborough in Yorkshire, considered to belong to the first half of the twelfth century. Here the princess is depicted as already in the dragon's clutches, while an abbot stands by and blesses the rescuer. (The Catholic Encyclopedia)

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Friday, April 23, 2021 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church - Eastertide



Friday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 277
Reading I
Acts 9:1-20
Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. 
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. 
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
He said, “Who are you, sir?” 
The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” 
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.
There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” 
 
 He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight.”
But Ananias replied,
“Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name.” 
But the Lord said to him,
“Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.” 
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
“Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight. 
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.
He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.
 
Responsorial Psalm
117:1bc, 2
R.    (Mark 16:15)  Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
    glorify him, all you peoples!
R.    Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
    and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R.    Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Alleluia
Jn 6:56
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood,
remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
Jn 6:52-59
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?” 
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
you do not have life within you. 
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my Flesh is true food,
and my Blood is true drink. 
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. 
This is the bread that came down from heaven. 
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.” 
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
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