Sunday, February 26, 2017

#PopeFrancis "Where we are united in the name of Jesus, he is there....he calls us to devote ourselves fully in the cause of unity and love." at Anglican Church FULL TEXT + Video

Pope Francis on Sunday February 26, visited the Anglican Parish of All Saints in Rome.
Find below the English translation of the Pope's words.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
            I wish to thank you for your gracious invitation to celebrate this parish anniversary with you.  More than two hundred years have passed since the first public Anglican liturgy was held in Rome for a group of English residents in this part of the city.  A great deal has changed in Rome and in the world since then.  In the course of these two centuries, much has also changed between Anglicans and Catholics, who in the past viewed each other with suspicion and hostility.  Today, with gratitude to God, we recognize one another as we truly are: brothers and sisters in Christ, through our common baptism.  As friends and pilgrims we wish to walk the path together, to follow our Lord Jesus Christ together. 
            You have invited me to bless the new icon of Christ the Saviour.  Christ looks at us, and his gaze upon us is one of salvation, of love and compassion.  It is the same merciful gaze which pierced the hearts of the Apostles, who left the past behind and began a journey of new life, in order to follow and proclaim the Lord.  In this sacred image, as Jesus looks upon us, he seems also to call out to us, to make an appeal to us: “Are you ready to leave everything from your past for me?  Do you want to make my love known, my mercy?”
            His gaze of divine mercy is the source of the whole Christian ministry.  The Apostle Paul says this to us, through his words to the Corinthians which we have just heard.  He writes: “Having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart” (2 Cor 4:1).  Our ministry flows forth from the mercy of God, which sustains our ministry and prevents it losing its vigour.
            Saint Paul did not always have an easy relationship with the community at Corinth, as his letters show.  There was also a painful visit to this community, with heated words exchanged in writing.  But this passage shows Paul overcoming past differences.  By living his ministry in the light of mercy received, he does not give up in the face of divisions, but devotes himself to reconciliation.  When we, the community of baptized Christians, find ourselves confronted with disagreements and turn towards the merciful face of Christ to overcome it, it is reassuring to know that we are doing as Saint Paul did in one of the very first Christian communities.
            How does Saint Paul grapple with this task, where does he begin?  With humility, which is not only a beautiful virtue, but a question of identity.  Paul sees himself as a servant, proclaiming not himself but Christ Jesus the Lord (v. 5).  And he carries out this service, this ministry according to the mercy shown him (v. 1): not on the basis of his ability, nor by relying on his own strength, but by trusting that God is watching over him and sustaining his weakness with mercy.  Becoming humble means drawing attention away from oneself, recognizing one’s dependence on God as a beggar of mercy: this is the starting point so that God may work in us.  A past president of the World Council of Churches described Christian evangelization as “a beggar telling another beggar where he can find bread”.  I believe Saint Paul would approve.  He grasped the fact that he was “fed by mercy” and that his priority was to share his bread with others: the joy of being loved by the Lord, and of loving him. 
            This is our most precious good, our treasure, and it is in this context that Paul introduces one of his most famous images, one we can all apply to ourselves:  “we have this treasure in earthen vessels” (v. 7).  We are but earthen vessels, yet we keep within us the greatest treasure in the world.  The Corinthians knew well that it was foolish to preserve something precious in earthen vessels, which were inexpensive but cracked easily.  Keeping something valuable in them meant running the risk of losing it.  Paul, a graced sinner, humbly recognized that he was fragile, just like an earthen vessel.  But he experienced and knew that it was precisely there that human misery opens itself to God’s merciful action; the Lord performs wonders.  That is how the “extraordinary power” of God works (v. 7).
          Trusting in this humble power, Paul serves the Gospel.  Speaking of some of his adversaries in Corinth, he calls them “super apostles” (2 Cor 12:11), perhaps, and with a certain irony, because they had criticized him for his weaknesses even as they considered themselves observant, even perfect.  Paul, on the other hand, teaches that only in realizing we are weak earthen vessels, sinners always in need of mercy, can the treasure of God be poured into us and through us upon others.  Otherwise, we will merely be full of our treasures, which are corrupted and spoiled in seemingly beautiful vessels.  If we recognize our weakness and ask for forgiveness, then the healing mercy of God will shine in us and will be visible to those outside; others will notice in some way, through us, the gentle beauty of Christ’s face.
            At a certain point, perhaps in the most difficult moment with the community in Corinth, the Apostle Paul cancelled a visit he had planned to make there, also foregoing the offerings he would have received from them (2 Cor 1:15-24).  Though tensions existed in their fellowship, these did not have the final word.  The relationship was restored and Paul received the offering for the care of the Church in Jerusalem.  The Christians in Corinth once again took up their work, together with the other communities which Paul visited, to sustain those in need.  This is a powerful sign of renewed communion.  The work that your community is carrying out together with other English-speaking communities here in Rome can be viewed in this light.  True, solid communion grows and is built up when people work together for those in need.  Through a united witness to charity, the merciful face of Jesus is made visible in our city.
            As Catholics and Anglicans, we are humbly grateful that, after centuries of mutual mistrust, we are now able to recognize that the fruitful grace of Christ is at work also in others.  We thank the Lord that among Christians the desire has grown for greater closeness, which is manifested in our praying together and in our common witness to the Gospel, above all in our various forms of service.  At times, progress on our journey towards full communion may seem slow and uncertain, but today we can be encouraged by our gathering.  For the first time, a Bishop of Rome is visiting your community.  It is a grace and also a responsibility: the responsibility of strengthening our ties, to the praise of Christ, in service of the Gospel and of this city.
            Let us encourage one another to become ever more faithful disciples of Jesus, always more liberated from our respective prejudices from the past and ever more desirous to pray for and with others.  A good sign of this desire is the “twinning” taking place today between your parish of All Saints and All Saints Catholic parish.  May the saints of every Christian confession, fully united in the Jerusalem above, open for us here below the way to all the possible paths of a fraternal and shared Christian journey.  Where we are united in the name of Jesus, he is there (cf. Mt 18:20), and turning his merciful gaze towards us, he calls us to devote ourselves fully in the cause of unity and love.  May the face of God shine upon you, your families and this entire community! (Shared from Vatican Radio)

#PopeFrancis "God is for us our great friend, ally, Father, but we are not always aware of it" at #Angelus - FULL TEXT + Video


Before the Angelus   
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning! 
Today’s Gospel page (cf. Matthew 6:24-34) is a strong call to trust in God, don’t forget: to trust in God, who takes care of the living beings in Creation. He provides food for all the animals, is concerned about the lilies and the grass of the field (cf. vv. 26-28); His beneficent and solicitous gaze watches daily over our life. It flows under the goad of so many worries, which risk taking away our serenity and balance; however, this anguish is often useless because it does not succeed in changing the course of events. Jesus exhorts us insistently not to be worried about tomorrow (cf. vv. 25.28.31), reminding us that beyond all there is a loving Father who never forgets His children: to entrust ourselves to Him does not resolve problems magically, but enables us to face them with the right spirit, courageously; I am courageous because I entrust myself to my Father, who takes care of everything and loves me so much. God is not a distant and anonymous being: He is our refuge, the source of our serenity and our peace. He is the rock of our salvation, whom we can cling to in the certainty of not falling; one who clings to God never falls! He is our defense from evil always lurking. God is for us our great friend, ally, Father, but we are not always aware of it. We are not aware that we have a friend, an ally, a Father who loves us, and we prefer to lean on immediate goods that we can touch, on contingent goods, forgetting and at times rejecting the supreme good, namely, God’s paternal love. It is so important to feel Him a Father in this time of orphanhood! To feel Him a Father in this orphan world. We distance ourselves from God’s love when we go in obsessive search of earthly goods and riches, thus manifesting an exaggerated love of these realities. Jesus tells us that this strenuous and illusory search is the reason of our unhappiness. And He gives His disciples a fundamental rule of life: “Seek first, instead, the Kingdom of God” (v. 33). It is about realizing the plan that Jesus proclaimed in the Sermon on the Mount,trusting in God who does not disappoint — so many friends or so many that we believed were friends, have disappointed us; God never disappoints! –;  making us faithful administrators of the goods that He has given us, also the earthly, but without “overacting” as if everything, including our salvation, depended only on us. This evangelical attitude requires a clear choice, which today’s passage indicates with precision: “You cannot serve God and mammon” (v. 24) — either the Lord, or fascinating but illusory idols. This choice, which we are called to make, then has repercussions on all our acts, programs and commitments. It is a choice to be made clearly and to renew continually, because the temptations to reduce everything to money, pleasure and power are pressing. There are so many temptations because of this. Whereas honoring these idols leads to tangible though fleeting results, choosing God and His Kingdom does not always show its fruits immediately. It is a decision that is taken in hope and that leaves to God its full realization. Christian hope is outstretched to the future fulfilment of God’s promise and does not halt in face of a difficulty, because it is founded on God’s fidelity, which never fails. He is faithful, He is a faithful Father; He is a faithful friend, He is a faithful ally.
May the Virgin Mary help us to entrust ourselves to the love and goodness of our heavenly Father, to live in Him and with Him. This is the presupposition to overcome the torments and adversities of life, and also the persecutions, as the testimony of so many of our brothers and sisters shows us.
[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I extend my warm greeting to all of you, pilgrims of Rome, of Italy and of different countries. I greet the Polish faithful of Warsaw and of other localities, who have carried out a Marian pilgrimage; and, from Spain, those of Ciudad Real and the young people of Formentera. I greet the youngsters of Cuneo, Zelarino, Mattarello and Malcesine, Fino Mornasco and Monteolimpino; the Confirmation candidates of Cavenago d’Adda, Almenno San Salvatore and Serravalle Scrivia; the faithful of Ferrara, Latina, Sora, Roseto degli Abruzzi, Creazzo and Rivalta sul Mincio.
I greet the group that came on the occasion of the “Day of Rare Diseases” — thank you, thank you for all that you do — and I hope that the patients and their families are adequately supported in the not easy course, be it at the medical as well as the legislative level.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you soon!
Blogger SHARE from ][Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT - Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

#PopeFrancis "Each day a thousand children die from water-related illnesses and millions of persons consume polluted water" FULL TEXT at Conference on Water

Pope Francis met on Friday with participants in a conference on the human right to water, organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences
Please find below the official English translation of the Pope's address:
Address of His Holiness Pope Francis to Conference on the Human Right to Water
Pontifical Academy of Sciences
23 February 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Good afternoon!  I greet all of you and I thank you for taking part in this meeting concerned with the human right to water and the need for suitable public policies in this regard.  It is significant that you have gathered to pool your knowledge and resources in order to respond to this urgent need of today’s men and women.
The Book of Genesis tells us that water was there in the beginning (cf. Gen 1:2); in the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, it is “useful, chaste and humble” (cf. Canticle of the Creatures).  The questions that you are discussing are not marginal, but basic and pressing.  Basic, because where there is water there is life, making it possible for societies to arise and advance.  Pressing, because our common home needs to be protected.  Yet it must also be realized that not all water is life-giving, but only water that is safe and of good quality.
All people have a right to safe drinking water.  This is a basic human right and a central issue in today’s world (cf. Laudato Si’, 30; Caritas in Veritate, 27).  This is a problem that affects everyone and is a source of great suffering in our common home.  It also cries out for practical solutions capable of surmounting the selfish concerns that prevent everyone from exercising this fundamental right.  Water needs to be given the central place it deserves in the framework of public policy.  Our right to water is also a duty to water.  Our right to water gives rise to an inseparable duty.  We are obliged to proclaim this essential human right and to defend it – as we have done – but we also need to work concretely to bring about political and juridical commitments in this regard.  Every state is called to implement, also through juridical instruments, the Resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly since 2010 concerning the human right to a secure supply of drinking water.  Similarly, non-state actors are required to assume their own responsibilities with respect to this right.
The right to water is essential for the survival of persons (cf. Laudato Si’, 30) and decisive for the future of humanity.  High priority needs to be given to educating future generations about the gravity of the situation.  Forming consciences is a demanding task, one requiring conviction and dedication.
The statistics provided by the United Nations are troubling, nor can they leave us indifferent.  Each day a thousand children die from water-related illnesses and millions of persons consume polluted water.  These facts are serious; we have to halt and reverse this situation.  It is not too late, but it is urgent to realize the need and essential value of water for the good of mankind.
Respect for water is a condition for the exercise of the other human rights (cf. ibid., 30).  If we consider this right fundamental, we will be laying the foundations for the protection of other rights.  But if we neglect this basic right, how will we be able to protect and defend other rights?  Our commitment to give water its proper place calls for developing a culture of care (cf. ibid., 231) and encounter, joining in common cause all the necessary efforts made by scientists and business people, government leaders and politicians.  We need to unite our voices in a single cause; then it will no longer be a case of hearing individual or isolated voices, but rather the plea of our brothers and sisters echoed in our own, and the cry of the earth for respect and responsible sharing in a treasure belonging to all.  In this culture of encounter, it is essential that each state act as a guarantor of universal access to safe and clean water. 
God the Creator does not abandon us in our efforts to provide access to clean drinking water to each and to all.  It is my hope that this Conference will help strengthen your convictions and that you will leave in the certainty that your work is necessary and of paramount importance so that others can live.  With the “little” we have, we will be helping to make our common home a more liveable and fraternal place, where none are rejected or excluded, but all enjoy the goods needed to live and to grow in dignity. 
Thank you.

Sunday Mass Online : Sun. February 26, 2017 - 8th Ord. Time - A - #Eucharist - Readings and Video


Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 82


Reading 1IS 49:14-15

Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me;
my LORD has forgotten me."
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

Responsorial PsalmPS 62:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

R. (6a) Rest in God alone, my soul.
Only in God is my soul at rest;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all.
R. Rest in God alone, my soul.
Only in God be at rest, my soul,
for from him comes my hope.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.
R. Rest in God alone, my soul.
With God is my safety and my glory,
he is the rock of my strength; my refuge is in God.
Trust in him at all times, O my people!
Pour out your hearts before him.
R. Rest in God alone, my soul.

Reading 21 COR 4:1-5

Brothers and sisters:
Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ
and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Now it is of course required of stewards
that they be found trustworthy.
It does not concern me in the least
that I be judged by you or any human tribunal;
I do not even pass judgment on myself;
I am not conscious of anything against me,
but I do not thereby stand acquitted;
the one who judges me is the Lord.
Therefore do not make any judgment before the appointed time,
until the Lord comes,
for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness
and will manifest the motives of our hearts,
and then everyone will receive praise from God.

AlleluiaHB 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective;
discerning reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples:
"No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?'
or 'What are we to drink?'or 'What are we to wear?'
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil."

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



St. Porphyrius
BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

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

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

#PopeFrancis “Even the person with disabilities and frailties – physical, mental or moral - must be able to participate in the life of society and be helped...,” Text + Video


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday encouraged the Comunit√† di Capodarco in its work to help the disabled and marginalized people of society.
The community was founded in 1966 in the Capodarco neighborhood of the eastern Italian city of Fermo.Its main activity is organizing services for the rehabilitation of disabled people, with a particular aim of social and occupational integration. Over the years, its sphere of action expanded to helping young people, children, drug addicts, immigrants, the mentally ill, and other populations on the peripheries of society.
“The Comunit√† di Capodarco, existing in numerous local chapters, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year,” – Pope Francis told them – “With you, I thank the Lord for the good accomplished during these years … You have chosen to be on the side of people who are less protected; to offer them hospitality, support and hope, in a dynamic of sharing. In this way, you have contributed and contribute to making a better society.”
The Holy Father said the quality of life within a society is measured from the ability to include its weakest members, “effectively respecting their dignity as men and women,” adding this inclusion should be seen “not as something extraordinary, but normal.”
“Even the person with disabilities and frailties – physical, mental or moral - must be able to participate in the life of society and be helped to implement his or her potential in different ways,” – the Pope continued – “A society that would give space only to people who are fully functional - completely autonomous and independent - would not be a society worthy of man. Discrimination based upon efficiency is no less deplorable than that based upon by race, religion, or ability to pay.”
Pope Francis praised the Comunit√† di Capodarco for not approaching those who are weaker with a “pietistic attitude” or as if they were welfare cases, but by promoting the “protagonism of the person.”
“In the face of economic problems and the negative consequences of globalization, your community is trying to help those who find themselves being tested not to feel excluded or marginalized; but, on the contrary, to walk at the forefront, carrying the witness of personal experience,” – the Pope said – “This promotes the dignity and respect of each individual, making the ‘losers of life’ feel the tenderness of God, loving Father of all of his creatures.”
The Holy Father also said those marked by physical or mental impediments have a special place in the Church, and their participation in the ecclesial community “opens the way to simple and fraternal relations, and their filial and spontaneous prayer invites all of us to pray to our Heavenly Father.”

#BreakingNews Coptic Christians brutally Killed by ISIS cells in Egypt - Please PRAY

Sinai, Coptic Christian killed with a bullet to the neck, third victim in two days



The Coptic minority is being targeted by local cells of the Islamic state. The murder took place yesterday in Al-Arich. The man's house was set on fire. Previously a 60 year old Christian and son were killed; the young man was burnt alive. Daesh announces new attacks on social networks.
Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An Egyptian Coptic Christian was killed yesterday and his house was set on fire in the north of the Sinai Peninsula. A jihadist cell linked to the Islamic State (SI) claimed the murder the same cell implicated in past attacks against Christians. This is the third victim in two days for the local Coptic community.

On February 19, in a video posted on the Telegram messaging site, the Islamic State had promised to strike the Christian community. And the attacks have not been long in coming.

On February 22, the authorities found the bullet-riddled body of a Christian about 60; his son died with him also, burned alive by jihadists. The authorities h found the body of the young man at dawn, in the backyard of a school of Al-Arich.

Yesterday the third victim in just two days: a Christian of 40, was found lifeless, killed by a gunshot to the head, on the roof of his home. After killing him, the terrorists set fire his house on fire.

Yesterday’s murder also happened  in Al-Arich, the capital of North Sinai Governorate. Investigators have now focused their attention on the jihadist track, and it was later confirmed by Daesh militiamen [Arabic acronym for the Islamic state] in the region.

Earlier, on February 12  in Al-Arich, some masked men on a motorcycle gunned down a Christian veterinarian, while he was at the wheel of his own car. In late January, a Christian officer was killed by a group of armed men; the identity of the attackers is still unknown, in this case.

Since the military coup of 2013, which put an end to the presidency of Mohamed Morsi and overthrew the government of the Muslim Brotherhood, the northern Sinai has been the scene of bloody attacks perpetrated by militiamen jihadists. Most often the attacks are concentrated against army units, police, security officials. However, the attacks have not spared the Christian Coptic minority. Among these, the most serious was the suicide bombing on 11 December against a Coptic Orthodox church in Cairo, which caused 29 victims.

In the past, al Qaeda had set its sights on the Coptic Christians. In particular, in 2010 the local cell of the terror network led by Osama bin Laden had promised the "cleansing" of Christians from the Sinai region. Threats that came to fruition on the night of New Year's Day 2011, when a car bomb exploded in front of a Coptic church, killing 29 people. SHARED from AsiaNews IT

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Saturday February 25, 2017 - #Eucharist


Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 346


Reading 1SIR 17:1-15

God from the earth created man,
and in his own image he made him.
He makes man return to earth again,
and endows him with a strength of his own.
Limited days of life he gives him,
with power over all things else on earth.
He puts the fear of him in all flesh,
and gives him rule over beasts and birds.
He created for them counsel, and a tongue and eyes and ears,
and an inventive heart,
and filled them with the discipline of understanding.
He created in them knowledge of the spirit;
With wisdom he fills their heart;
good and evil he shows them.
He put the fear of himself upon their hearts,
and showed them his mighty works,
That they might glory in the wonder of his deeds
and praise his holy name.
He has set before them knowledge,
a law of life as their inheritance;
An everlasting covenant he has made with them,
his justice and his judgments he has revealed to them.
His majestic glory their eyes beheld,
his glorious voice their ears heard.
He says to them, "Avoid all evil";
each of them he gives precepts about his fellow men.
Their ways are ever known to him,
they cannot be hidden from his eyes.
Over every nation he places a ruler,
but God's own portion is Israel.
All their actions are clear as the sun to him,
his eyes are ever upon their ways.

Responsorial PsalmPS 103:13-14, 15-16, 17-18

R. (see 17) The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him,
For he knows how we are formed;
he remembers that we are dust.
R. The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
Man's days are like those of grass;
like a flower of the field he blooms;
The wind sweeps over him and he is gone,
and his place knows him no more.
R. The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
But the kindness of the LORD is from eternity
to eternity toward those who fear him,
And his justice toward children's children
among those who keep his covenant.
R. The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.

AlleluiaSEE MT 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 10:13-16

People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
"Let the children come to me; do not prevent them,
for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it."
Then he embraced the children and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.

Saint February 25 : St. Tarasius : #Pariarch of #Constantinople

Patriarch of Constantinople, date of birth unknown; died 25 February, 806.
He was the son of the Patrician and Prefect of Constantinople, George, and his wife Eukratia, and entered the service of the State. In 784 when Paul IV Patriarch of Constantinople died Tarasius was an imperial secretary, and a champion of the veneration of images. It may be that before his death the patriarch had recommended Tarasius as his successor in the patriarchate to the Empress Irene who was regent for her son Constantine VI (780-797). After the burial of Paul IV a great popular assembly was held before the Magnaura Palace to discuss the filling of the vacant see. The empress delivered an oration on the new appointment to the patriarchate and the people proclaimed Tarasius as the most worthy candidate. The empress agreed but said that Tarasius refused to accept the position. Tarasius now made a speech himself in which he declared he felt himself unworthy of the office, further that the elevation of a layman was very hazardous, and that the position of the Church of Constantinople had become a very difficult one, as it was separated from the Catholics of Western Europe and isolated from the other Oriental patriarchates; consequently he would only be willing to accept the position of patriarch on condition that Church unity be restored and that, in connection with the pope, an oecumenical council be called. The majority of the populace approved of these views and the imperial Court agreed to it. So on 25 December, 784, Tarasius was consecrated patriarch. In 785 he sent the priest George as his legate to Hadrian I with a letter in which he announced his appointment. In his reply the pope expressed his disapproval of the elevation of Tarasius directly from the laity to the dignity of a bishop contrary to canonical regulation, but allowed clemency to rule in view of the orthodoxy of the new patriarch's views, and recognized him as patriarch. After this by joint action with the pope and the imperial Court Tarasius called the Second Council of Nicaea, the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which rejected Iconoclasm. Union with the Roman Church was restored.
After the synod the patriarch had a number of struggles not only with the Iconoclastic party of the capital but also with a party of Orthodox monks. First, the latter upbraided him for restoring to office the bishops who had formerly maintained Iconoclasm, but who had submitted to the decrees of the Council of 787. As, however, this was in accordance with the decrees of the council the accusation was allowed to drop. Another accusation was much more serious, namely, that Tarasius tolerated and encouraged simony, because those bishops who had given money to obtain their positions were only commanded by him to do a year's penance and were permitted to retain their offices. The patriarch defended himself in writing against this accusation which he denied in toto; moreover, he issued a severe synodal letter against Simonists. The monks, however, were not satisfied; they maintained their accusations and also attacked the Council of 787. At a later date Theodore of Studium, who took part in these disputes, changed his opinion of Tarasius, and also of the Second Council of Nicaea, the oecumenical character of which he acknowledged. Many serious difficulties still existed in regard to Western Europe. There were also fresh disputes in Constantinople when the Emperor Constantine VI put aside his lawful wife and wished to marry Theodata, a relative of Abbot Theodore of Studium. Tarasius positively refused to perform the second marriage and expressed his displeasure at the conduct of the priest Joseph who had married the emperor. The zealous monks, whose leaders were the Abbots Plato of Saccudium and Theodore of Studium, accused the patriarch of weakness, because he took no further steps against the emperor. They refused to have Church fellowship any longer with Tarasius, and were, consequently, violently persecuted by the emperor who, however, also treated the patriarch harshly. After Irene had dethroned Constantine in 797, Tarasius deposed the priest Joseph and peace was once more restored between the patriarch and the monks. (See THEODORE OF STUDIUM). In 802 Tarasius crowned as emperor Nicephorus, who had overthrown Irene, an act that greatly dissatisfied the populace. The patriarch had nothing to do with the intrigues of the court. His life was ascetic and simple, he checked the luxury of the clergy, preached with great zeal, and was very benevolent to the poor. After his death he was venerated as a saint. His name is also placed in the Roman Martyrology under the date of 25 February. Catholic Enclopedia