Monday, April 26, 2021

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church - Eastertide



Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 280
Reading I
Acts 11:19-26
Those who had been scattered by the persecution
that arose because of Stephen
went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch,
preaching the word to no one but Jews.
There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however,
who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well,
proclaiming the Lord Jesus. 
The hand of the Lord was with them
and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 
The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem,
and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God,
he rejoiced and encouraged them all
to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,
for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.
And a large number of people was added to the Lord. 
 
 Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch. 
For a whole year they met with the Church
and taught a large number of people,
and it was in Antioch that the disciples
were first called Christians.
Responsorial Psalm
87:1b-3, 4-5, 6-7
R.    (117:1a)  All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
His foundation upon the holy mountains
    the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
    more than any dwelling of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you,
    O city of God!
R.    All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
I tell of Egypt and Babylon
    among those who know the LORD;
Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia:
    “This man was born there.”
And of Zion they shall say:
    “One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
    is the Most High LORD.”
R.    All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
    “This man was born there.”
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
    “My home is within you.”
R.    All you nations, praise the Lord.
or:
R.    Alleluia.
Alleluia
Jn 10:27
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
Jn 10:22-30
The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem.
It was winter. 
And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. 
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,
“How long are you going to keep us in suspense? 
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 
Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.
But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me. 
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. 
No one can take them out of my hand. 
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. 
The Father and I are one.”
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 27 : St. Zita Who Always Rose Early to Pray and the Patron of Servants, Homemakers , Rape Victims, Waitresses



St. Zita
VIRGIN

Born:
1218 at Monsagrati near Lucca, Italy
Died:
27 April 1272 at Lucca, Italy
Canonized:
5 September 1696 by Pope Leo X and Pope Innocent XII
Major Shrine:
Basilica di San Frediano, Lucca
Patron of:
Domestic servants, homemakers, lost keys, people ridiculed for their piety, rape victims, single laywomen, waiters, waitresses

PRAYER TO SAINT ZITA Dear follower of the Son of God, You desired to become a servant and died the death of a slave. You were not only a faithful maid-servant but a practical lover of the poor. Like Mary You could have said: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord." Prompt domestics to be just and charitable, seeing in their employers children of God and setting an example for them as servants of God. Amen.
Biography:
St. Zita was born into a poor but holy Christian family. Her older sister became a Cistercian nun and her uncle Graziano was a hermit whom the local people regarded as a saint. Zita herself always tried to do God's will obediently whenever it was pointed out to her by her mother. At the age of twelve Zita became a housekeeper in the house of a rich weaver in Lucca, Italy, eight miles from her home at Monte Sagrati. She stayed with that family for the last forty-eight years of her life.
She was born in the beginning of the thirteenth century at Montsegradi, a village near Lucca in Italy. She was brought up with the greatest care, in the fear of God, by her poor virtuous mother, whose early and constant attention to inspire the tender heart of her daughter with religious sentiments seemed to find no obstacles, either from private passions or the general corruption of nature, so easily were they prevented or overcome. Zita had no sooner attained the use of reason, and was capable of knowing and loving God, than her heart was no longer able to relish any other object, and she seemed never to lose sight of him in her actions. Her mother reduced all her instructions to two short heads, and never had occasion to use any further remonstrance to enforce her lessons than to say, "This is most pleasing to God; this is the divine will"; or, "That would displease God."

The sweetness and modesty of the young child charmed everyone who saw her. She spoke little, and was most assiduous at her work; but her business never seemed to interrupt her prayers. At twelve years of age she was put to service in the family of a citizen of Lucca, called Fatinelli, whose house was on the boundary of the church of St. Frigidian. She was thoroughly persuaded that labour is enjoined all men as a punishment of sin, and as a remedy for the spiritual disorders of their souls; and far from ever harbouring in her breast the least uneasiness, or expressing any sort of complaint under contradictions, poverty, and hardships, and still more from ever entertaining the least idle, inordinate, or worldly desire, she blessed God for placing her in a station in which she was supplied with the most effectual means to promote her sanctification, by the necessity of employing herself in penitential labour, and of living in a perpetual conformity and submission of her will to others. She was also very sensible of the advantages of her state, which afforded all necessaries of life, without engaging her in the anxious cares and violent passions by which worldly persons, who enjoy most plentifully the goods of fortune, are often disturbed; whereby their souls resemble a troubled sea, always agitated by impetuous storms, without knowing the sweetness of a true calm. She considered her work as an employment assigned her by God, and as part of her penance; and obeyed her master and mistress in all things as being placed over her by God. She always rose several hours before the rest of the family and employed in prayer a considerable part of the time which others gave to sleep. She took care to hear mass every morning with great devotion before she was called upon by the duties of her station, in which she employed the whole day with such diligence and fidelity that she seemed to be carried to them on wings, and studied when possible to anticipate them.
Notwithstanding her extreme attention to her exterior employments, she acquired a wonderful facility of joining with them almost continual mental prayer and of keeping her soul constantly attentive to the divine presence. 
Nevertheless, by the appointment of divine providence, for her great spiritual advantage, it fell out quite otherwise and for several years she suffered the harshest trials. Her modesty was called by her fellow-servants simplicity, and want of spirit and sense; and her diligence was judged to have no other spring than affectation and secret pride. Her mistress was a long time extremely prepossessed against her, and her passionate master could not bear her in his sight without transports of rage.
It is not to be conceived how much the saint had continually to suffer in this situation. So unjustly despised, overburdened, reviled, and often beaten, she never repined nor lost her patience; but always preserved the same sweetness in her countenance, and the same meekness and charity in her heart and words, and abated nothing of her application to her duties. A virtue so constant and so admirable at length overcame jealousy, antipathy, prepossession, and malice.
Her master and mistress discovered the treasure which their family possessed in the fidelity and example of the humble saint, and the other servants gave due praise to her virtue. Zita feared this prosperity more than adversity, and trembled lest it should be a snare to her soul. But sincere humility preserved her from its dangers; and her behaviour, amidst the caresses and respect shown her, continued the same as when she was ill-treated and held in derision; she was no less affable, meek, and modest; no less devout, nor less diligent or ready to serve everyone. Being made housekeeper, and seeing her master and mistress commit to her with an entire confidence the government of their family and management of all their affairs, she was most scrupulously careful in point of economy, remembering that she was to give to God an account of the least farthing of what was intrusted as a depositum in her hands; and, though head-servant, she never allowed herself the least privilege or exemption in her work on that account.
She used often to say to others that devotion is false if slothful. Hearing a man-servant speak one immodest word, she was filled with horror, and procured him to be immediately discharged from the family. With David, she desired to see it composed only of such whose approved piety might draw down a benediction of God upon the whole house and be a security to the master for their fidelity and good example. She kept fast the whole year, and often on bread and water; and took her rest on the bare floor or on a board. Whenever business allowed her a little leisure, she spent it in holy prayer and contemplation in a little retired room in the garret; and at her work repeated frequently ardent ejaculations of divine love, with which her soul appeared always inflamed. She respected her fellow-servants as her superiors. If she was sent on commissions a mile or two in the greatest storms, she set out without delay, executed them punctually, and returned often almost drowned, without showing any sign of reluctance or murmuring.
By her virtue she gained so great an ascendant over her master that a single word would often suffice to check the greatest transports of his rage; and she would sometimes cast herself at his feet to appease him in favour of others. She never kept anything for herself but the poor garments which she wore: everything else she gave to the poor. Her master, seeing his goods multiply, as it were, in her hands, gave her ample leave to bestow liberal alms on the poor, which she made use of with discretion, but was scrupulous to do nothing without his express authority. If she heard others spoken ill of, she zealously took upon her their defence and excused their faults.
Always when she communicated, and often when she heard mass, and on other occasions, she melted in sweet tears of divine love: she was often favoured with ecstasies during her prayers. In her last sickness she clearly foretold her death, and having prepared herself for her passage by receiving the last sacraments, and by ardent signs of love, she happily expired on the 27th of April, in 1272, being sixty years old: one hundred and fifty miracles wrought in the behalf of such as had recourse to her intercession have been juridically proved. Her body was found entire in 1580 and is kept with great respect in St. Frigidian's church, richly enshrined; her face and hands are exposed naked to view through a crystal glass. Pope Leo X granted an office in her honour. The city of Lucca pays a singular veneration to her memory.
The solemn decree of her beatification was published by Innocent XII in 1696, with the confirmation of her immemorial veneration. See her life, compiled by a contemporary writer, and published by Papebroke, the Bollandist, on the 27th of April, p. 497, and Benedict XIV De Canoniz. lib. ii. c. 24, p. 245.
Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler

Saint April 26 : St. Marcellinus Pope and Martyr during the Persecution


St. Marcellinus
POPE AND MARTYR =

Born:
Rome, Italy
Died:
25 October 304 at Rome, Italy
He succeeded St. Caius in the bishopric of Rome, in 296, about the time that Diocletian set himself up for a deity and impiously claimed divine honours. Theodoret says that in those stormy times of persecution Marcellinus acquired great glory. He sat in St. Peter's chair eight years, three months, and twenty-five days, dying in 304, a year after the cruel persecution broke out, in which he gained much honour. He has been styled a martyr, though his blood was not shed in the cause of religion, as appears from the Liberian Calendar, which places him among those popes that were not put to death for the faith. It is a fundamental maxim of the Christian morality, and a truth which Christ has established in the clearest terms and in innumerable passages of the gospel, that the cross, or sufferings and mortifications, are the road to eternal bliss. They, therefore, who lead not here a crucified and mortified life are unworthy ever to possess the unspeakable joys of his kingdom. Our Lord himself, our model and our head, walked in this path, and his great apostle puts us in mind that he entered into bliss only by his blood and by the cross. Nevertheless, this is a truth which the world can never understand, how clearly soever it be preached by Christ and recommended by his powerful example and that of his martyrs and of all the saints. Christians still pretend, by the joys and pleasures of this world, to attain to the bliss of heaven, and shudder at the very mention of mortification, penance, or sufferings. So prevalent is this fatal error, which self-love and the example and false maxims of the world strongly fortify in the minds of many, that those who have given themselves to God with the greatest fervour are bound always to stand upon their guard against it, and daily to renew their fervour in the love and practice of penance, and to arm themselves with patience against sufferings, lest the weight of the corruption of our nature, the pleasures of sense, and flattering blandishments of the world, draw them aside and make them leave the path of mortification, or lose courage under its labours, and under the afflictions with which God is pleased to purify them and afford them means of sanctifying themselves. SOURCE: History of the Christian Church

Vatican Announces Public Consistory on Causes of Canonization for 7 Blesseds Including Fr. Charles de Foucauld and an Indian Hindu Convert Blessed Lazarus


 

OFFICE OF THE LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS OF
THE HIGH PONTIFF

NOTIFICATION

PUBLIC ORDINARY CONSISTORY
FOR VOTING ON CERTAIN CAUSES OF CANONIZATION

 

On Monday 3 May 2021, at 10 am, in the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis will preside over the celebration of the Third Hour and the Ordinary Public Consistory for the Canonization of the Blessed:

- Blessed Lazarus, called Devasahayam , lay person, martyr;

- Blessed César de Bus , priest, founder of the Congregation of the Fathers of Christian Doctrine;

- Blessed Luigi Maria Palazzolo , priest, founder of the Institute of the Poverelle Sisters - Istituto Palazzolo;

- Blessed Giustino Maria Russolillo , priest, founder of the Society of Divine Vocations and of the Congregation of the Sisters of Divine Vocations;

- Blessed Charles de Foucauld , diocesan priest;

- Blessed Maria Francesca di Gesù (in the world: Anna Maria Rubatto ), founder of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of Loano;

- Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani , co-founder and first Superior General of the Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family.

* * *

The Cardinals residing or present in Rome on the day of the Consistory are requested to be in the Sala del Concistororo of the Apostolic Palace at 9.30 am, wearing the choir habit.

Please confirm participation via the email address: liturgiepontificie@gmail.com or the number: 06.69883253.

Vatican City, April 26, 2021 

By mandate of the Holy Father

Mons. Guido Marini
Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations

 Source: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/2021/documents/ns_lit_doc_20210503_notificazione_it.html


#BreakingNews Bishop-Elect Christian Carlassare Shot at as Group of Gunman Enter his Residence in South Sudan



  Bishop-elect shot and injured, 24 suspects arrested.
The Bishop-elect of Rumbek Catholic Diocese has been shot and wounded in both legs by unknown gunmen.
About 24 suspects have so far been arrested by the police. Radio Tamazuj spoke with the acting minister of Information and Communication, William Kocji Kerjok who condemned the assassination attempt on Father Christian Carlassare, the Bishop-elect. 
He said Fr. Carlassare was wounded in both legs by the gunmen who entered his room last night and is now receiving medication in Rumbek State hospital. "This case is so special and we are treating it as politics within the Catholic Church itself,” Minister Kocji said. “And this one of the Bishop seems to be something within his administration because he is very new to the place and he has no problem with anyone but he was shot on target.”
“Those guys came directly to his room...Almost 13 bullets were shot at him. And later when they managed to get in they told him to sit down and they shot at his legs. So, they did not intend to kill him but I think they were intending to scare him. So we are saying, the leadership of the Catholic Church should be answerable for this. And that is why the government is arresting almost everybody there so that they are held accountable for this,” he added.
The Diocesan Coordinator of Rumbek Catholic Diocese, Father John Mathiang Machol, condemned the attack.
“We were woken up by the cry and sound of gunfire. We went there and we found the Bishop was shot in both legs and the criminals ran away. We took the Bishop to Rumbek Hospital for treatment until now we are in the Hospital with him,” Fr. Mathiang said.
He said that Fr. Carlassare's condition is stable and that he will be transferred to Juba by a Red Cross plane and from there to Nairobi for further treatment.
According to The Association for Catholic Information in Africa (ACI-Africa) the injured cleric is in a stable condition, and plans are underway to airlift him to Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, through the services of the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF). (above excerpt from 
Radio Tamazuj)

AMECEA excerpt: Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Carlassare, a member of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ) on Monday, March 8, for Rumbek diocese that has been vacant for nearly a decade after the death of Bishop Cesare Mazzolari in 2011.  

The Italian-born Bishop-elect was ordained to priesthood 16 years ago and has been in South Sudan since 2005 serving in various capacities including  among others being a parish priest, vocations promoter and provincial councilor of the Comboni Missionaries.


A Franciscan Capuchin Writes in Defense of Pope Francis - "Building Bridges" by Brother Paul Coleman



Pope Francis: Building Bridges by Brother Paul Coleman to Catholic News World

“Mercy is the bridge that connects God and man” (Misericórdiæ vultus, 2)

You will sometimes hear the Pope being referred to as ‘the Pontiff’ (or even ‘the Supreme Pontiff’). This is a rendering in English of the Latin ‘Pontifex’, a title of the more important priests of pagan Rome. This title ended up also being applied to the more important Christian bishops, especially the Bishop of Rome. ‘Pontifex’ is usually thought to mean ‘bridge-maker’ (although even the ancient Romans couldn’t agree on its original meaning!) and I find it helpful to think of the Pope – the Pontiff – as being a bridge-maker.

In 2016, while Trump was still a presidential candidate, Pope Francis responded to a reporter’s question about Trump’s proposed border wall by suggesting that “a person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.” People were so focused on the implied rebuke to Donald Trump that they missed a key positive element of the Pope’s approach to his ministry: building bridges. That’s not the only time that Pope Francis has used the concept.

Also in 2016, at World Youth Day in Krakow, Pope Francis with the young people prayed: “Launch us on the adventure of building bridges and tearing down walls, barriers and barbed wire…” And he invited the young people,You are there, with your hands, make bridges, all of you! Take each other by the hand. I want to see lots of human bridges. … This is the plan for life: make bridges, human bridges." In 2019 the Pope said, “Religions, in a special way, cannot renounce the urgent task of building bridges between peoples and cultures.” Likewise, speaking to Children's Catholic Action of Italy, he said, “Today [the Lord] asks you to be little 'bridges' where you live. You already realize there is always a need to build bridges, right?” Most recently, in 2020, the Pontiff addressed the Catholic Media Conference: “We need media capable of building bridges, defending life and breaking down the walls, visible and invisible, that prevent sincere dialogue and truthful communication between individuals and communities.” (message to 2020’s Catholic Media Conference, organised by the Catholic Press Association)

Let’s explore this metaphor: a bridge implies that there’s a separation, a gap that must be bridged. So in the context of the Pope’s ministry, bridges are for people who are separated in some way from Jesus or from the Catholic Church. This can mean those who are formally separated, such as Protestant Christians, people of other faiths, or atheists. But it can also mean those who are technically inside the Church, but feel separated or excluded from its mainstream. If we want people to come into the Church (and I hope we do) and if we want Catholics to be united in a healthy community (and I hope we do), then we need to provide a way across these separations. In other words, we need bridges.

Now it takes time to cross a bridge: depending on the size of the gap it may be a few steps or many, but it takes time. Likewise, we can’t expect people estranged from the Body of Christ to come in with just one step. So stepping onto the bridge doesn’t involve immediately becoming Catholic. Rather, it allows for a series of steps by which the person approaches and finally enters the Church.

Those who have come across the book ‘Forming Intentional Disciples’ will be familiar with the ‘thresholds of conversion’. This is the idea, based on observation, that people pass through five stages or ‘thresholds’ when converting – it’s certainly not a one-step process! We won’t go into the thresholds in detail now: suffice to say that they are usually labelled as trust, curiosity, openness, seeking, and intentional discipleship. If we apply this to the building-bridges metaphor, that means that constructing the first part of the bridge involves establishing a relationship of trust.

This concept of ‘building bridges’ is crucial to understanding Pope Francis in particular. Most importantly, it’s crucial to understanding those times when many Catholics have strongly objected to him. I have realised that most of the times he has been lambasted by elements within the Church it is when he’s trying to build bridges either with people outside the Church or with people who are in the Church but feel excluded or marginalised. When Catholics got upset about Amoris Laetitia it was because the Pope was building a bridge for divorced-and-remarried people (although that was only one of the subjects in Amoris Laetitia). When it was the joint statement with the Grand Imam, it was about building bridges with Muslims. When it was the Amazon Synod, it was about building bridges for Catholics in the remote regions of the Amazon, one of the more neglected corners of the global Church. Statements about civil arrangements for homosexual people and about their right to be in a family? Obviously building bridges between the Catholic Church and LGBT people who have felt rejected and excluded from it. Likewise, meeting and chatting with atheists has brought the Pope in for criticism.

Much of this criticism of Pope Francis has basically been because he doesn’t expect people to take all the steps at once. He does not, for example, see the need to immediately follow up a statement “God loves you”, with the statement “God doesn’t like what you’re doing” or “You need to repent and accept the Gospel.” In fact, if the first part of the bridge requires a relationship of trust, then immediately bringing in a challenging message could be ruinous. Many people need to see the message of God’s love demonstrated through the way Catholics treat them before they’re going to be ready to listen to anything else we say. Pope Francis gets this. He also recognises that building the bridge requires learning from the other people, learning what gifts they bring with them and (importantly) what hurts we might need to apologise for. But those who keep half an eye on Pope Francis will realise he’s also willing to say challenging things when he thinks it’s appropriate.

Pope Benedict was a bridge-builder as well and was likewise criticised for it; only in his case his bridge-building was interpreted as taking the Church in a more traditionalist direction. This was the case when he lifted the excommunications of the bishops of the SSPX, when he authorised the ‘Extraordinary Form’ of the Mass, or when he established the possibility of Ordinariates for Anglican converts. These actions were interpreted through the narrative of him as a ‘conservative’, whereas it seemed to me that he was being ‘liberal’ – in the sense that he was trying to make the Catholic Church a ‘broader’ Church that could include these people. He was building bridges, and it’s often unnoticed that Pope Francis has continued building those same bridges – for example with the SSPX (https://insidethevatican.com/news/pope-francis-meets-sspx-superior-general/ and https://www.gloria.tv/post/UQSBkni1bnxe32f4NhJHwXocM).

Both Popes have been criticised for this bridge-building by people within the Church, and I can understand why. I think we can be afraid of bridges because we realise that people can cross bridges in both directions. In other words, a bridge that people can cross to come into the Church also might provide a way for people to cross out of the Church. For example, a bridge for divorced Catholics to return to the sacraments might make other Catholics readier to divorce. Or building a friendly relationship between your Catholic parish and local Protestant churches might result in some Catholics joining those churches (who, let’s face it, are often better at evangelisation than we are).

Also, the person building the bridge has to go to meet other people where they are, and this makes it look as if he’s leaving his side of the chasm. But it’s more a case that he’s reaching across it. To switch to another and more Biblical metaphor, think of the shepherd who goes seeking the lost sheep. He has to leave the ninety-nine sheep while he goes off after the one. So when Pope Francis goes seeking the lost sheep, many of the ninety-nine – i.e. ‘normal’ Catholics – feel like he’s abandoning them, and even like he’s leaving the Church. In reality, of course, the Good Shepherd continues to care for the flock wherever He goes, and the same goes for those other good shepherds that follow His example. But to the casual eye it looks like they’re leaving the flock. 

This fear can be exacerbated by the natural hopes of the other party. For example, Nancy Kelley, chief executive of UK gay rights charity Stonewall, having acknowledged that Pope Francis’s words help to “build bridges between the Catholic Church and LGBT people who have felt rejected and excluded from it,” then went on to add her hope that his words would “also move the Church to a place where our love is recognised as being as valid as any other.” This would feed into the fears of those who think that Pope Francis is in fact trying to change Church doctrine; but it’s part of befriending others that one can seem to become ‘one of them’ (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:20-22). That’s why Jesus Himself was criticised as being “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners” (Matthew 11:19).

Then there’s also the risk that the other party will rebuff the bridge-building attempt: “At times, it may happen that you want to make a bridge and you offer your hand, but the other party does not take it; these are the humiliations that we must suffer in life in order to do good. But always make bridges” (Greetings to young Italians in Krakow, Poland, July 28, 2016).

And there can be the danger that the other party will act in bad faith. The most obvious example of this is the agreement with the Chinese government, which was intended to enable millions of Chinese believers to be openly in communion with the Catholic Church, but which seems to have tied the Vatican’s hands when it comes to addressing freedom of religion in China (https://cruxnow.com/cns/2020/12/last-hong-kong-governor-pope-badly-advised-on-china-bishops-pact/).

Finally, however, I think another reason that some people fear bridges is that they’re afraid the bridges will actually work. They’re afraid that Amazonian tribespeople, atheists, Muslims, gays, or even traditionalists will actually come into the Church. And that is dangerous, in a way, because even though they will be transformed in Christ as they enter, they won’t be transformed into copies of ‘normal’ Catholics. They will bring with them their ‘otherness’, which will change the Church and therefore also change us who are already part of it. This will actually make the Church more Catholic; but we all find change a bit scary.

So building bridges is risky. But we have to build them. The alternative is an isolated Church – a besieged fortress rather than the city with open gates that it’s supposed to be. Bridges are necessary for the salvation of souls and they’re necessary for peace on earth. If you don’t understand that, you won’t understand Pope Francis. He’s not going to stop building bridges and he’s willing to take the risks involved. Do his bridges always bring people to Jesus and into the Church? No. Does he always get the right balance between being gentle and being challenging? Probably not. But he, of all people, has to build bridges. You might say it’s in his job description.

Sent to Catholic News World by Brother Paul Coleman:

Biography: Brother Paul Coleman was born in Coventry in 1975. After studying chemistry at Oxford, he joined the Capuchin Franciscans, making his first vows in 2001 and being ordained a priest in 2006. Since then, Brother Paul has lived in Oxford, Toronto, Preston, London, Jerusalem, and now Pantasaph (a small village in North Wales).


Pope Francis' to Poor Clare Nuns whose Monastery was Destroyed "...in the face of tragedies it is necessary to start afresh from God..." FULL TEXT


 

GREETING OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

to the Clare Nuns of the Saint Clare MONASTERY,
of PAGANICA (L'AQUILA)

Monday, April 26, 2021 

Dear Sisters,

I am happy to welcome you and I cordially greet each and every one of you. I thank you for the support you give me with your prayers, and in particular for the gift of the Easter candle for the Chapel of Casa Santa Marta, which you decorated. Through this symbol of Christ the light of the world, you are spiritually present at the celebrations that take place in that chapel.

Your community of Paganica, a fraction of L'Aquila, experienced the tragedy of the earthquake of 2009, in which your monastery was destroyed, Abbess Mother Gemma Antonucci died under the rubble and other sisters were injured. However, from that drama God made you emerge fortified and, like the grain of wheat that must die to bear fruit, so it was also for your monastic community. You have experienced the great pain, but also the loving care of the heavenly Father and the solidarity of many people.

In that night you lost everything except God and fraternity. From these two strong points you have set out again with courage. At first you settled in a temporary structure and, ten years after the earthquake, you returned to the rebuilt and restored monastery. Now your community is flourishing, made up of twelve nuns, all young. This is the message you have given to the people: in the face of tragedies it is necessary to start afresh from God and fraternal solidarity. Thank you so much for this!

Dear Sisters, do not tire of being a prayerful and consoling presence to support the population, severely tested by the terrible experience and still in need of comfort and encouragement. May the example of Blessed Antonia help you to always be poor and joyful women for love of the poor Christ. Faithful to the charism received from St. Clare and St. Francis, respond generously to the desire that God has placed in your heart, living your life as a consecrated person in total adherence to the Gospel.

Thank you for this visit! I invoke the light and strength of the Holy Spirit on your path and accompany you with the Apostolic Blessing, which I impart to you from my heart. And please continue to pray for me and for the whole Church. Thank you!

Source: Vatican.va