Thursday, June 10, 2021

Saint June 11 : Saint Barnabas the Apostle who is the Patron of Hailstorms and a Peacemaker

 

St. Barnabas APOSTLE Feast: June 11 
Prayer In Honor of St. Barnabas O God, who decreed that Saint Barnabas, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit,
should be set apart to convert the nations, grant that the Gospel of Christ, which he strenuously preached, may be faithfully proclaimed by word and by deed. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
 
Born in Cyprus
Died:
61 AD, Salamis, Cyprus
Major Shrine:
Monastery of St Barnabas in Famagusta, Cyprus
Patron of:
Cyprus, Antioch, against hailstorms, invoked as peacemaker


Barnabas (originally Joseph), styled an Apostle in Holy Scripture, and, like St. Paul, ranked by the Church with the Twelve, though not one of them; b. of Jewish parents in the Island of Cyprus about the beginning of the Christian Era.  

A Levite, he naturally spent much time in Jerusalem, probably even before the Crucifixion of Our Lord, and appears also to have settled there (where his relatives, the family of Mark the Evangelist, likewise had their homes — Acts 12:12) and to have owned land in its vicinity (4:36-37). A rather late tradition recorded by Clement of Alexandria (Strom., II, 20, P.G., VIII, col. 1060) and Eusebius (H. E., II, i, P. G., XX, col. 117) says that he was one of the seventy Disciples; but Acts (4:36-37) favours the opinion that he was converted to Christianity shortly after Pentecost (about A.D. 29 or 30) and immediately sold his property and devoted the proceeds to the Church. The Apostles, probably because of his success as a preacher, for he is later placed first among the prophets and doctors of Antioch (xiii, 1), surnamed him Barnabas, a name then interpreted as meaning "son of exhortation" or "consolation". (The real etymology, however, is disputed. See Encyl. Bibli., I, col. 484.) Though nothing is recorded of Barnabas for some years, he evidently acquired during this period a high position in the Church.

When Saul the persecutor, later Paul the Apostle, made his first visit (dated variously from A.D. 33 to 38) to Jerusalem after his conversion, the Church there, remembering his former fierce spirit, was slow to believe in the reality of his conversion. Barnabas stood sponsor for him and had him received by the Apostles, as the Acts relate (9:27), though he saw only Peter and James, the brother of the Lord, according to Paul himself (Galatians 1:18-19). Saul went to his house at Tarsus to live in obscurity for some years, while Barnabas appears to have remained at Jerusalem. The event that brought them together again and opened to both the door to their lifework was an indirect result of Saul's own persecution. In the dispersion that followed Stephen's death, some Disciples from Cyprus and Cyrene, obscure men, inaugurated the real mission of the Christian Church by preaching to the Gentiles. They met with great success among the Greeks at Antioch in Syria, reports of which coming o the ears of the Apostles, Barnabas was sent thither by them to investigate the work of his countrymen. He saw in the conversions effected the fruit of God's grace and, though a Jew, heartily welcomed these first Gentile converts. His mind was opened at once to the possibility of this immense field. It is a proof how deeply impressed Barnabas had been by Paul that he thought of him immediately for this work, set out without delay for distant Tarsus, and persuaded Paul to go to Antioch and begin the work of preaching. This incident, shedding light on the character of each, shows it was no mere accident that led them to the Gentile field. Together they laboured at Antioch for a whole year and "taught a great multitude". Then, on the coming of famine, by which Jerusalem was much afflicted, the offerings of the Disciples at Antioch were carried (about A.D. 45) to the mother-church by Barnabas and Saul (Acts 11). Their mission ended, they returned to Antioch, bringing with them the cousin, or nephew of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), John Mark, the future Evangelist (Acts 12:25).

The time was now ripe, it was believed, for more systematic labours, and the Church of Antioch felt inspired by the Holy Ghost to send out missionaries to the Gentile world and to designate for the work Barnabas and Paul. They accordingly departed, after the imposition of hands, with John Mark as helper. Cyprus, the native land of Barnabas, was first evangelized, and then they crossed over to Asia Minor. Here, at Perge in Pamphylia, the first stopping place, John Mark left them, for what reason his friend St. Luke does not state, though Paul looked on the act as desertion. The two Apostles, however, pushing into the interior of a rather wild country, preached at Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, at Derbe, and other cities. At every step they met with opposition and even violent persecution from the Jews, who also incited the Gentiles against them. The most striking incident of the journey was at Lystra, where the superstitious populace took Paul, who had just cured a lame man, for Hermes (Mercury) "because he was the chief speaker", and Barnabas for Jupiter, and were about to sacrifice a bull to them when prevented by the Apostles. Mob-like, they were soon persuaded by the Jews to turn and attack the Apostles and wounded St. Paul almost fatally. Despite opposition and persecution, Paul and Barnabas made many converts on this journey and returned by the same route to Perge, organizing churches, ordaining presbyters and placing them over the faithful, so that they felt, on again reaching Antioch in Syria, that God had "opened a door of faith to the Gentiles" (Acts 13:13-14:27).

Barnabas and Paul had been "for no small time" at Antioch, when they were threatened with the undoing of their work and the stopping of its further progress. Preachers came from Jerusalem with the gospel that circumcision was necessary for salvation, even for the Gentiles. The Apostles of the Gentiles, perceiving at once that this doctrine would be fatal to their work, went up to Jerusalem to combat it; the older Apostles received them kindly and at what is called the Council of Jerusalem (dated variously from A.D. 47 to 51) granted a decision in their favour as well as a hearty commendation of their work (Acts 14:27-15:30). On their return to Antioch, they resumed their preaching for a short time. St. Peter came down and associated freely there with the Gentiles, eating with them. This displeased some disciples of James; in their opinion, Peter's act was unlawful, as against the Mosaic law. Upon their remonstrances, Peter yielded apparently through fear of displeasing them, and refused to eat any longer with the Gentiles. Barnabas followed his example. Paul considered that they "walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel" and upbraided them before the whole church (Galatians 2:11-15). Paul seems to have carried his point. Shortly afterwards, he and Barnabas decided to revisit their missions. Barnabas wished to take John Mark along once more, but on account of the previous defection Paul objected. A sharp contention ensuing, the Apostles agreed to separate. Paul was probably somewhat influenced by the attitude recently taken by Barnabas, which might prove a prejudice to their work. Barnabas sailed with John Mark to Cyprus, while Paul took Silas an revisited the churches of Asia Minor. It is believed by some that the church of Antioch, by its God-speed to Paul, showed its approval of his attitude; this inference, however, is not certain (Acts 15:35-41).

Little is known of the subsequent career of Barnabas. He was still living and labouring as an Apostle in 56 or 57, when Paul wrote I Cor. (ix, 5, 6). from which we learn that he, too, like Paul, earned his own living, though on an equality with other Apostles. The reference indicates also that the friendship between the two was unimpaired. When Paul was a prisoner in Rome (61-63), John Mark was attached to him as a disciple, which is regarded as an indication that Barnabas was no longer living (Colossians 4:10). This seems probable.
Various traditions represent him as the first Bishop of Milan, as preaching at Alexandria and at Rome, whose fourth (?) bishop, St. Clement, he is said to have converted, and as having suffered martyrdom in Cyprus. The traditions are all late and untrustworthy.

With the exception of St. Paul and certain of the Twelve, Barnabas appears to have been the most esteemed man of the first Christian generation. St. Luke, breaking his habit of reserve, speaks of him with affection, "for he was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of Faith". His title to glory comes not only from his kindliness of heart, his personal sanctity, and his missionary labours, but also from his readiness to lay aside his Jewish prejudices, in this anticipating certain of the Twelve; from his large-hearted welcome of the Gentiles, and from his early perception of Paul's worth, to which the Christian Church is indebted, in large part at least, for its great Apostle. His tenderness towards John Mark seems to have had its reward in the valuable services later rendered by him to the Church.

The feast of St. Barnabas is celebrated on 11 June. He is credited by Tertullian (probably falsely) with the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the so-called Epistle of Barnabas is ascribed to him by many Fathers.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia) 

#BreakingNews 6 Catholic Priests and Missionaries Abducted, Some Tortured and Church attacked in Cameroon

 

Priests Abducted in Cameroon

“Within the past two weeks, six Roman Catholic priests and missionaries were abducted, and a church attacked, leaving at least two dead and 11 wounded.” – Moki Edwin Kindzeka, Voice of America

06/09/2021 Cameroon (International Christian Concern Report) – Clergy in Cameroon are appealing to both sides of the country’s separatist conflict to stop the targeting and abduction of priests, reports Voice of America (VOM).

According to VOM reporter Moki Edwin Kindzeka, the Roman Catholic Church in Cameroon stated in a press release on Tuesday that priests are being attacked, abducted, tortured, and killed due to the conflict between the Anglophone Separatists and the Francophone Government.

Reverend Father Humphrey Tatah Mbui, the director of communications at the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon’s Catholic Bishops, stated that at least six priests were tortured by the military or rebels within the past two weeks.

“The church preaches peace. The church teaches that you cannot have peace without justice and without the truth,” Mbui said. “The church must keep on insisting on that justice and truth in and out of season.  And when the church will speak the truth, often it does not sit well with one or the other side. Many parishes have been closed or they are not operating as they should.”

According to the press release, Cameroon’s military abducted Reverend Father Sylvester Ngarbah Nsah (See pic. above) from the northwestern village of Vekovi on June 4, after accusing him of cooperating with separatists.

Reverend Father Christopher Eboka was lso reportedly abducted, however by rebels, on May 22nd from a town in Cameroon’s anglophone southwest. He says that rebels freed him after 10 days in captivity.

“The church has been caught up in between the separatist fighters on the one hand, and the Cameroon military on the other hand,” Eboka said. “The threats on the lives of priests, the attack on priests should be stopped.  On Sunday, the 6th of June, priests gathered at the pastoral center, celebrating the anniversary of one of them, were attacked by unknown gunmen, who came in search of a priest.”

The church reported that two people died because of the attack and 11 others were injured.

For the full VOM article, please click here.

FULL TEXT Release: Persecution.org

Pope Francis says "All violence inflicted on women is a desecration of God, born of a woman." at Central American Integration Event


 

MESSAGE FROM HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

ON THE OCCASION OF THE SOLIDARITY EVENT
ON THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CENTRAL AMERICAN INTEGRATION SYSTEM

[Costa Rica, June 10, 2021]

Excellencies,
ladies and gentlemen,

I cordially greet the participants in the Solidarity Event, promoted on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Central American Integration System, in which the Holy See has participated as an extra-regional Observer since 2012. This initiative aims to mobilize support to improve the situation of the forcibly displaced and the communities that host them in the region of Central America and Mexico.

The word solidarity, which is at the center of this event, takes on an even greater meaning in this time of pandemic crisis, a crisis that has put the entire world to the test, both rich and poor countries.

The health, economic and social crisis caused by Covid-19 has reminded everyone that human beings are like dust. But valuable dust in the eyes of God, [1] who constituted us as a single human family.And just as the natural family educates fidelity, sincerity, cooperation and respect, promoting the planning of a livable world and believing in relationships of trust, even in difficult conditions, the family of nations is also called to lead. their common attention to all, especially to the smallest and most vulnerable members, without yielding to the logic of competition and particular interests.

In these last long months of the pandemic, the Central American region has seen the deterioration of social conditions that were already precarious and complex due to an unjust economic system. This system wears out the family, [4] the basic cell of society. And thus, people, "without a home, without a family, without a community, without belonging", they are uprooted and orphaned, at the mercy of "highly conflictive situations that cannot be quickly resolved: domestic violence, femicides— [...] - armed gangs, criminals, drug trafficking, sexual exploitation of minors and not so minors" . These factors, mixed with the pandemic and with a climate crisis characterized by an increasingly intense drought and increasingly frequent hurricanes, have given human mobility the connotation of a forced mass phenomenon, so that it takes on the appearance of a regional exodus.

Despite the innate sense of hospitality inherent in the peoples of Central America, sanitary restrictions have influenced the closure of many borders. Many were left halfway, unable to advance or retreat.

The pandemic has also highlighted the fragility of internally displaced persons, who still "do not enter the international system of protection provided by international refugee law" [7] and are often left without adequate protection.

Furthermore, in the different phases of displacement, both internal and external, there is an increasing number of cases of human trafficking, dealing with "a wound on the body of contemporary humanity, a wound on the flesh of Christ, it is a crime against humanity ”. [8]

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

What I have presented here are some of the most relevant challenges that affect human mobility, a phenomenon that has characterized the history of the human being and that "brings with it great promises" [9]  for the future of humanity.

In this context, the Holy See, while reaffirming the exclusive right of States to manage their own borders, expects a common, solid and coordinated regional commitment, destined to place the person and their dignity at the center of all political exercise. . Indeed, “the principle of the centrality of the human person [...] obliges us to always put personal security before national security. [...] The conditions of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees require that they be guaranteed personal safety and access to basic services. [10]

In addition to these protections, it is necessary to adopt specific international mechanisms that provide concrete protection and recognize the "often invisible drama" of internally displaced persons, relegated "to the background of national political agendas." [eleven]

Similar measures must be taken with regard to our many brothers and sisters who are forced to flee due to the onset of the severe climate crisis. [12]  These measures must be accompanied by regional policies for the protection of our “common home” aimed at mitigating the impact of both climatic phenomena and environmental catastrophes caused by man in his work of land grabbing, deforestation and appropriation of land. Water. These violations seriously undermine the three fundamental areas of integral human development: land, housing and work.

Regarding human trafficking, this scourge must be prevented by supporting families and education, and victims being protected with programs that guarantee their safety, "the protection of privacy, safe accommodation and adequate social assistance and psychological ». [14]  Younger children and women deserve special attention: “Women are the source of life. However, they are continually offended, beaten, raped, induced to prostitute themselves and to eliminate the life they lead in their womb. All violence inflicted on women is a desecration of God, born of a woman. As Saint John Paul II said, "the woman cannot become an" object "of male" domination "and" possession ".We are all called to support an education that promotes the fundamental equality, respect and honor that women deserve.

The pandemic has triggered an "unprecedented educational crisis", [17]  exacerbated by restrictions and forced isolation that have exposed existing inequalities and increased the risk of the most vulnerable falling into treacherous smuggling networks within and outside national borders. Faced with new challenges, international collaboration must be intensified to prevent trafficking, protect victims and prosecute criminals. This synergistic action will greatly benefit from the participation of religious organizations and local Churches, which offer not only humanitarian assistance but also spiritual accompaniment to the victims.

In times of immeasurable suffering caused by pandemic, violence and environmental disasters, the spiritual dimension cannot and should not be relegated to a secondary position with respect to the protection of physical health. Comprehensive understanding of the human person, who feels truly welcomed when all the dimensions that make up their identity are recognized and accepted, including the religious one. [18]

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Faced with so many pressing challenges, the sincere call to build a "humane and fraternal society [...] capable of caring to ensure in an efficient and stable way that everyone is accompanied on the journey of their lives" is also applied to this region. [19]  It is a joint effort that goes beyond national borders to allow regional exchange: «Cultural, economic and political integration with nearby towns should be accompanied by an educational process that promotes the value of love for one's neighbor , the first essential exercise to achieve a healthy universal integration ».

Multilateral cooperation is a valuable tool to promote the common good, paying special attention to the deep and new causes of forced displacement, so that "borders are not zones of tension, but open arms of reconciliation". [21]  Today "we are faced [...] with the choice between one of two possible paths: one leads to the strengthening of multilateralism [...]; the other gives preference to the attitudes of self-sufficiency, nationalism, protectionism, individualism and isolation, leaving out the poorest, the most vulnerable, the inhabitants of the existential peripheries ”.

The Church walks alongside the peoples of Central America, who have known how to face crises with courage and be welcoming communities, [23]  and exhorts them to persevere in solidarity with mutual trust and bold hope.

I thank you from my heart and invoke on all of you and on the nations that represent the blessing of the Lord.

From the Vatican, June 5, 2021

FRANCISCO

 


[1]  Cf. Benedict XVI,  General Audience  (February 17, 2010).

[2]  Cf. Conc. Ecu. Vatican II, Const. dogm. Lumen gentium , 13.

[3]  Cf.  General Audience  (October 7, 2015).

[4]  Cf.  Meeting with the Central American Bishops (SEDAC)  (January 24, 2019).

[5]  Ibid .

[6]  Ibid.

[7]  Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development - Migrants and Refugees Section,  Pastoral Orientations on internally displaced persons  (2020).

[8] Speech to the participants in the International Conference on Human Trafficking  (10 April 2014). 

[9] Message on the occasion of the Mexico - Holy See colloquium on human mobility and development  (July 14, 2014). 

[10]  Message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees  (14 January 2018).

[11] Message for the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees  (13 May 2020). 

[12]  Cf. Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development - Migrants and Refugees Section,  Pastoral Orientations on climate displaced persons  (2021).

[13]  Cf.  Speech to the participants in the World Meeting of Popular Movements  (October 28, 2014).

[14]  Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development - Migrants and Refugees Section,  Pastoral Orientations on Trafficking in Persons  (2019).

[15] Homily  (January 1, 2020). 

[16]  Letter ap. Mulieris dignitatem  (August 15, 1988).

[17]  Video message for the launch of Mission 4.7 and the Educational Pact  (December 16, 2020).

[18] Address to the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See  (January 8, 2018). 

[19]  Letter enc. Fratelli tutti  (October 3, 2020),  110 .

[20]  Ibid . ,  151 .

[21]  St. John Paul II,  Homily  (March 6, 1983).

[22]  Video message on the occasion of the 75th General Assembly of the United Nations  (25 September 2020).

[23]  Cf.  Message for the 107 to  World Day of the Migrant and Refugee  (3 May 2021).




U.S. and European Bishops Issue a Joint Declaration for Renewed Transatlantic Partnership



U.S. and European Bishops Issue a Joint Declaration for Renewed Transatlantic Partnership as EU-US Summit in Brussels Approaches JUNE 8, 2021 

WASHINGTON – As the EU-U.S. Summit in Brussels approaches this month, the heads of the episcopal conferences for the European Union and the United States have issued a joint declaration affirming their shared commitment to the promotion of global peace, justice, and human development.

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, archbishop of Luxembourg, and president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU (COMECE), and Archbishop Jos√© H. Gomez of Los Angeles, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) articulated the shared values and principles that have been the foundation of the relations between the European Union and the United States and offered prayers for the participants be “guided by wisdom and mutual trust to lay the basis for a renewed transatlantic partnership for greater peace, justice and sustainable human development across our continents and in the world.”

The full declaration may be read here.

FULL TEXT Source: USCCB

Pope Francis Does Not Accept Cardinal Marx' Resignation and Asks Him to 'Continue as Archbishop of Munich'



 LETTER FROM HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

TO CARDINAL REINHARD MARX,
ARCHBISHOP OF MUNCHEN UND FREISING

Santa Marta, June 10, 2021

Dear brother,

First of all thank you for your courage. It is a Christian courage that does not fear the cross, it does not fear annihilating itself before the tremendous reality of sin. This is what the Lord did (Phil 2. 5-8). It is a grace that the Lord has given you and I see that you want to assume and guard it so that it bears fruit. Thanks.

You tell me that you are going through a moment of crisis, and not only you but also the Church in Germany is living it. The whole Church is in crisis because of the abuse issue; Furthermore, the Church today cannot take a step forward without assuming this crisis. The ostrich policy does not lead to anything, and the crisis has to be assumed from our Easter faith. Sociologisms, psychologisms, are useless. Assuming the crisis, personally and communally, is the only fruitful path because a crisis does not come out alone but in the community and we must also bear in mind that a crisis comes out better or worse, but never the same [1] .

You tell me that since last year you have been reflecting: you set out, seeking God's will with the decision to accept it, whatever it was.

I agree with you in calling the sad history of sexual abuse and the way the Church dealt with it a catastrophe until recently. Realizing this hypocrisy in the way of living faith is a grace, it is a first step that we must take. We have to take ownership of history, both personally and as a community. You cannot remain indifferent in the face of this crime. Assuming it means putting yourself in crisis.

Not everyone wants to accept this reality, but it is the only way, because making life-changing “resolutions” without “putting the meat on the grill” leads nowhere. Personal, social and historical realities are concrete and should not be assumed with ideas; because ideas are discussed (and it is good that they be) but reality must always be assumed and discerned. It is true that historical situations have to be interpreted with the hermeneutics of the time in which they happened, but this does not exempt us from taking charge and assuming them as the history of the "sin that besets us." Therefore, in my opinion, each Bishop of the Church must assume it and ask himself what should I do in the face of this catastrophe?

We have done the "mea culpa" in the face of so many historical errors in the past more than once in many situations, although we have not personally participated in that historical situation. And this same attitude is what is being asked of us today. reform is being asked of us  , which - in this case - does not consist of words but of attitudes that have the courage to put themselves in crisis, to assume reality whatever the consequence. And all reform begins by itself. The reform in the Church has been done by men and women who were not afraid of going into crisis and allowing themselves to be reformed by the Lord. It is the only way, otherwise we will not be more than "reform ideologues" who do not put their own flesh at stake.

The Lord never agreed to do “the reform” (allow me the expression) neither with the Pharisee project or the Sadducee or the Zealot or the Essene. Rather, he made it with his life, with his history, with his flesh on the cross. And this is the path, the one that you yourself, dear brother, assume when you present your resignation.

You say well in your letter that there is nothing to bury the past. Silences, omissions, giving too much weight to the prestige of the Institutions only lead to personal and historical failure, and lead us to live with the weight of "having skeletons in the closet", as the saying goes.

It is urgent to “air out” this reality of the abuses and how the Church proceeded, and let the Spirit lead us to the desert of desolation, to the cross and to the resurrection. It is the way of the Spirit that we have to follow, and the starting point is humble confession: we have been wrong, we have sinned. Polls and the power of institutions will not save us. The prestige of our Church that tends to hide its sins will not save us; Neither the power of money nor the opinion of the media will save us (so often we are too dependent on them). It will save us to open the door to the Only One who can do it and confess our nakedness: "I have sinned", "we have sinned" ... and cry, and stammer as we can that "get away from me that I am a sinner", an inheritance that the first Pope left to the Popes and the Bishops of the Church. And then we will feel that healing shame that opens the doors to the compassion and tenderness of the Lord who is always close to us. As a Church we must ask for the grace of shame, and that the Lord save us from being the shameless prostitute of Ezekiel 16.

I like the way you finish the letter: “I will continue with pleasure to be a priest and bishop of this Church and I will continue to commit myself at a pastoral level as long as I keep it sensible and timely. I would like to dedicate the future years of my service more intensely to pastoral care and to strive for a spiritual renewal of the Church, as you tirelessly ask ”

And this is my answer, dear brother. Continue as you propose but as Archbishop of Munchen und Freising. And if you are tempted to think that, by confirming your mission and by not accepting your resignation, this Bishop of Rome (your brother who loves you) does not understand you, think about what Peter felt before the Lord when, in his own way , He presented the resignation: "get away from me, I'm a sinner", and listen to the answer: "shepherd my sheep."

With brotherly affection.

FRANCIS

[1] There is a danger of not accepting the crisis and taking refuge in conflicts, an attitude that ends up suffocating and preventing any possible transformation. Because the crisis has a seed of hope, the conflict - on the contrary - of despair; the crisis involves ... the conflict - instead - entangles us and provokes the aseptic attitude of Pilate: «I am innocent of this blood. It is your business "(Mt. 27, 24) ... how much harm he has done to us and does to us.

 

Bulletin of the Press Office of the Holy See , June 10, 2021

Wow 300 Christian Churches Join in Touching Song of Blessing from Ireland - Watch the Video!

Youtube release:
The Irish Blessing (Beannacht uile-√Čireann) is a project inspired by the many international recordings of "The Blessing” (by Cody Carnes, Kari Jobe and Elevation Worship) which have been made during this time of pandemic. We wanted to honour that inspiration, whilst at the same time, honouring the unique history and culture of our island. So we chose a song that would resonate across the island, with every denomination and cultural grouping, one that could be used as a platform to sing a Blessing over our land, all our key-workers and those they are caring for. “Be Thou My Vision” is just such a hymn written over 1000 years ago. It reminds us of the One to whom we should look in this time of pandemic, whose presence is our light, the source of our wisdom, in whom we find our treasure and where we find victory.
 Individuals from 300 Christian churches and organisations located in every county on the island submitted self-recordings of vocals and instruments which have been compiled by our creative team to produce this music video - we hope you receive a blessing as you watch it.
Source: The Irish Blessing 2020

Pope Francis Tells Seminarians "Draw the humanity of Jesus from the Gospel and the Tabernacle, search for it in the lives of the saints ..." FULL TEXT


ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

TO THE COMMUNITY OF THE PONTIFICAL SEMINARY
REGIONAL MARCHIGIANO PIUS XI OF ANCONA

Sala Clementina
Thursday, 10 June 2021

Dear Brothers ,

I am pleased to welcome your community of the Pontifical Regional Seminary of the Marche "Pius XI".  

I thank the Rector for his words of greeting: enthusiastic, this Rector! Our meeting takes place in the year dedicated to St. Joseph and this leads me to share some thoughts on vocation inspired by "this extraordinary figure, so close to the human condition of each of us" (Apostolic Letter Patris Corde , 8 December 2020) and also close to the call that God wanted to address to us.

I like to imagine the Seminary as the family of Nazareth, in which Jesus was welcomed, guarded and formed in view of the mission entrusted to him by the Father. The Son of God accepted to let himself be loved and guided by human parents, Mary and Joseph, teaching each of us that without docility no one can grow and mature. I would like to emphasize this, because there is not much talk of docility . Being docile is a gift we must ask for; docility is a virtue not only to be acquired, but to be received. It is important that each of you always ask yourself: “Am I docile? Am I rebellious, or I don't care, do I do what I care? ". No: docile is a constructive attitude of one's vocation and also of one's personality. Without docility, no one can grow and mature. In fact, theRatio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis affirms that the priest is a disciple continually walking in the footsteps of the Master and, therefore, his formation is an evolving process, started in the family, continued in the parish, consolidated in the seminary and which lasts for a lifetime. The figure of Saint Joseph is the most beautiful model by which your formators are called to be inspired in guarding and caring for your vocation. To them, therefore, I intend first of all to address.

Dear brothers of the Marches Episcopal Conference, primarily responsible for the formation of these young people; dear rector, spiritual director and all formators, be for your seminarians what Joseph was for Jesus! May they learn more from your life than from your words, as happened in the house of Nazareth, where Jesus was formed at the school of Joseph's "creative courage". May they learn docility from your obedience; the industriousness from your dedication; generosity towards the poor from the testimony of your sobriety and availability; fatherhood thanks to your lively and chaste affection. «Alongside the appellation of father, tradition has also placed that of“ very chaste ”to Joseph. It is not a merely affective indication, but the synthesis of an attitude that expresses the opposite of possession. Chastity is freedom from possession in all areas of life. Only when a love is chaste is it truly love. The love that he wants to possess in the end always becomes dangerous, imprisons, suffocates, makes us unhappy "(Lett. Ap.Patris corde ).

And now, dear seminarians, I wish to turn to you, to whom the Church asks to follow the example of Jesus who allows himself to be docilely educated by Joseph. Since he was a boy, he had to experience the fatigue that every path of growth entails, asking himself the big questions of life, starting to take on his responsibilities and make his own decisions. But He was God, He didn't need, no: He learned, but he really learned, he didn't pretend to learn: no, he learned. He was God, yes, but he was real man: he went through all the stages of a man's growth. Perhaps we have not reflected enough on the young Jesus, committed to discerning his own vocation, to listen and confide in Mary and Joseph, to dialogue with the Father in order to understand his mission.

For you too, may the Seminary be like the house in Nazareth, in which the Son of God learned humanity and closeness from his parents. Don't be satisfied with being skilled in the use of social media and mediato communicate. Only transformed by the Word of God will you be able to communicate words of life. The world is thirsty for priests who are able to communicate the goodness of the Lord to those who have experienced sin and failure, for priests who are experts in humanity, for pastors willing to share the joys and labors of their brothers, for men who allow themselves to be marked by cry of those who suffer. Draw the humanity of Jesus from the Gospel and the Tabernacle, search for it in the lives of the saints and so many heroes of charity, think of the genuine example of those who passed on the faith to you, to your grandparents, to your parents. Paul already said it to his beloved disciple Timothy: “Remember your mother and your grandmother, your roots”. And also read those writers who have been able to look inside the human soul; I think for example of Dostoevsky, who in the miserable events of earthly pain has been able to reveal the beauty of love that saves. But some of you may say: what does Dostoevsky have to do here? These are for the literati! No, no: it is to grow in humanity. Read the great humanists. A priest can be very disciplined, he can be able to explain theology well, even philosophy and many things. But if it's not human, it's useless. Go outside and be a professor. But if he is not human he cannot be a priest: he is missing something. Does he miss the language? No, he can speak. He misses his heart; experts in humanity! he may be able to explain theology well, even philosophy and many things. But if it's not human, it's useless. Go outside and be a professor. But if he is not human he cannot be a priest: he is missing something. Does he miss the language? No, he can speak. He misses his heart; experts in humanity! he may be able to explain theology well, even philosophy and many things. But if it's not human, it's useless. Go outside and be a professor. But if he is not human he cannot be a priest: he is missing something. Does he miss the language? No, he can speak. He misses his heart; experts in humanity!

The seminary, therefore, must not distance you from reality, from dangers and much less from others but, on the contrary, make you become closer to God and to your brothers. Within the walls of the Seminary dilate the boundaries of the heart - the dilated heart -, extend them to the whole world, be passionate about what "approaches", be passionate about what approaches, which "opens", which "brings together". Be wary of experiences that lead to sterile intimisms, of “fulfilling spiritualisms”, which seem to give consolation and instead lead to closures and rigidity. And here I stop for a while. Rigidity is a bit of fashion today; and rigidity is one of the manifestations of clericalism. Clericalism is a perversion of the priesthood: it is a perversion. And stiffness is one of the manifestations. When I find a seminarian or a stiff young priest, I say “something bad happens to this inside”. Behind all rigidity there is a serious problem, because rigidity lacks humanity.

Finally, I would like to suggest some ideas relating to the four dimensions of formation: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral. And these four dimensions go together, and one act on the other: human dimension, spiritual dimension, intellectual and pastoral dimension. First of all, do not distance yourself from your humanity, do not leave the complexity of your inner world, your feelings and affectivity outside the door of the Seminary: do not leave them outside; do not close in on yourselves when you live a moment of crisis or weakness: it is humanity's own to speak about it. Open yourselves in all sincerity to your formators, fighting against all forms of interior falsehood. Those who have the face of Blessed Imelda and inside are a disaster: no, this is inner falsehood. Don't be an angel, no. Cultivate relationships that are clean, joyful, human liberating, full, capable of friendship, capable of feelings, capable of fruitfulness.

Spiritual dimension, Spirituality: prayer is not ritualism - the rigid end up in ritualism, always; May prayer be an occasion for personal encounter with God. And if you get angry with God, do it: because getting angry with your father is a way of communicating love. Do not be afraid: he understands that language, he is a father - personal encounter with God, of dialogue and trust with him. Watch out that the liturgy and community prayer do not become a celebration of ourselves. Once I went to buy shirts - when I still could not go out now - in an ecclesiastical clothing store. There was a young man, seminarian or priest, who was looking for clothes. I looked at him: he looked at himself in the mirror. And this sentence came to me: this is celebrating itself, and it will do the same before the altar. Please, that every liturgical celebration is not a celebration of ourselves. Enrich the prayer with faces, already feel yourselves intercessors for the world.

Study - the third dimension - helps you to enter the complexity of contemporary culture and thought with awareness and competence, not to be afraid of it, not to be hostile to it. Do not be afraid. "But, father, we are living in a time marked by an atheistic thought" - But, you must understand it, you must dialogue and you must proclaim your faith and proclaim Jesus Christ to this world, to this thought. It is there that the wisdom of the Gospel is incarnated. And the challenge of the mission that awaits you requires, today more than ever, competence and preparation. Today more than ever: it takes study, competence, preparation to speak with this world.

And pastoral formation , the fourth dimension, spurs you to go enthusiastically to meet the people. One is a priest to serve the People of God, to take care of the wounds of all, especially the poor. Availability to others: this is the sure proof of the yes to God. And no clericalism, I have already said it. Being disciples of Jesus means getting rid of oneself and conforming to his own sentiments, to him who came "not to be served but to serve" (cf. Mk 10:45).

The true shepherd does not detach himself from the people of God: he is in the people of God, or in front - to show the way - or in the middle, to understand him better, or behind, to help those who are a little too far behind, and also to let the people, the flock, with their nose, show us where the new pastures are. The true shepherd must continuously move in these three places: front, middle and back. Sometimes, I see books or conferences on the priesthood that touch on this, this aspect, that other, that other, that other, that other. It is true, all this must be studied, but if all these aspects do not have their roots in your belonging to the holy faithful people of God, they are only academic reflections that are useless. You are a priest of the holy faithful people of God,

Finally, I would like to thank your Pastors - you and your colleagues: thank you - and your diocesan communities for the witness of ecclesial communion, given by the choice to enhance the interdiocesan and regional institution of the Seminary: I like this very much. And also out of necessity, because a diocese that has four seminarians cannot have a seminary with four or five or six seminarians: it takes the community. In a historical era in which we are witnessing - outside as well as within the Church - closures of a "parochial" style, the experience of communion you are living is a good example also for other dioceses which, through sharing of a common formative project, they will be helped to find formators and teachers suitable for the great challenge of vocational accompaniment.

And one last thing. In these four dimensions - intellectual, pastoral, community and spiritual - you will have professors, formators, spiritual directors and you must speak with them. But look for - in your dioceses - the old priests, those who have the wisdom of good wine, those who with their testimony will teach you how to solve pastoral problems, those who, as parish priests, knew the names of all, of each of their faithful. , even the names of the dogs: one of them told me this. But how did she - I said - get to know having four parishes? “No, yes, you can,” he said humbly. But had she managed to get to know everyone? "Yes, I knew everyone's name, even the names of the dogs." Is good. A priest so close, and also so close to the tabernacle: he looked at everyone with faith and patience in Jesus. Old priests who have carried many people's problems on their shoulders and have helped to live more or less well, and have helped everyone to die well. Talk to these priests, who are the treasure of the Church. Many of them are sometimes forgotten or in a retirement home: go and visit them. I am a treasure.

St. Joseph accompany you and the Madonna guard you. I bless you and you, please, pray for me, because this work is not easy at all! Thank you.