Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Saint September 19 : St. Januarius : Patron of #Blood banks and #Volcanic eruptions

Martyr, Bishop of Beneventum. St. Januarius is believed to have suffered in the persecution of Diocletian, c. 305. With regard to the history of his life and martyrdom, we know next to nothing. The various collections of "Acts", though numerous (cf. Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina, n. 4115-4140), are all extremely late and untrustworthy. Bede (c. 733) in his "Martyrologium" has epitomized the so-called "Acta Bononiensia" (see Quentin, Les Martyrologes historiques", 76). To this source we may trace the following entry in the present Roman Martyrology, though the reference to the miracle of the liquefaction is an addition of much later date. "At Pozzuoli in Campania [the memory] of the holy martyrs Januarius, Bishop of Beneventum, Festus his deacon, and Desiderius lector, together with Socius deacon of the church of Misenas, Proculus deacon of Pozzuoli, Eutyches and Acutius, who after chains and imprisonment were beheaded under the Emperor Diocletian. The body of St. Januarius was brought to Naples, and there honourably interred in the church, where his holy blood is kept unto this day in a phial of glass, which being set near his head becomes liquid and bubbles up as though it were fresh."
In the Breviary a longer account is given. There we are told that "Timotheus, President of Campania," was the official who condemned the martyrs, that Januarius was thrown into a fiery furnace, but that the flames would not touch him, and that the saint and his companions were afterwards exposed in the amphitheatre to wild beasts without any effect. Timotheus declaring that this was due to magic, and ordering the martyrs to be beheaded, the persecutor was smitten with blindness, but Januarius cured him, and five thousand persons were converted to Christ before the martyrs were decapitated. Then, as the Breviary lesson continues, "the cities of these coasts strove to obtain their bodies for honourable burial, so as to make sure of having them advocates with God. By God's will, the relics of Januarius were taken to Naples at last, after having been carried from Pozzuoli to Beneventum and from Beneventum to Monte Vergine. When they were brought thence to Naples they were laid in the chief church there and have been there famous on account of many miracles. Among these is remarkable the stopping of eruptions of Mount Vesuvius, whereby both that neighbourhood and places afar off have been like to be destroyed. It is also well known and is the plain fact, seen even unto this day, that when the blood of St. Januarius, kept dried up in a small glass phial, is put in sight of the head of the same martyr, it is wont to melt and bubble in a very strange way, as though it had but freshly been shed."
.Text shortened from the Catholic Encyclopedia

Monday, September 18, 2017

#PopeFrancis “Christians must pray for their leaders”, even if they do “bad things...Pray, and do penance for leaders" Homily + Video

(Vatican Radio Report) As Christians we must pray for our elected leaders, even if we don’t agree with their politics. That was Pope Francis’ message during Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Monday, as he reflected on the readings for the day.
Pope Francis took as his starting point the First Reading from St Paul’s Letter to Timothy, where he asks that “supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings” be offered “for kings and for all in authority”. In the day’s Gospel, a Roman leader, the centurion, prays that his servant be healed.
Recognize one’s subordinate position
“This man felt the need to pray,” the Pope noted, because “he was aware that he did not have everything under his control”. He knew that above him was another who was really in charge. The centurion had soldiers as subordinates but he was also aware of being a subordinate. This awareness led him to pray.
“If leaders do not pray, they close themselves off in a self-referential circle or in that of their party, a circle from which they cannot escape”, said Pope Francis. It is important to be aware that we are all subordinate to someone more powerful. And those who are more powerful than political leaders, he suggested, are both the people who gave those leaders their power, “and God from whom their power comes through the people”. Political leaders pray, said the Pope, when they are aware of being a subordinate.
Leaders must pray
Pope Francis went on to talk about the importance of prayer for a leader. “It is the prayer for the common good of the people with whom they have been entrusted.”
He then recalled a conversation with a political leader who spent two hours before God every day, despite being tremendously busy. A leader must ask God, said the Pope, for the grace to govern well like Solomon, who asked not for riches and gold but for the wisdom to govern.
The Holy Father said political leaders must ask the Lord for the same wisdom. “It is very important for leaders to pray, asking the Lord not to take away the awareness of being subordinate and not to find strength in a little group or in myself.”
To those who would object on grounds of agnosticism or atheism, Pope Francis said: “If you cannot pray, confront yourself with your conscience, with the wisdom of your people, but do not remain isolated with the small group of your political party.” This is what leads to becoming self-referential.
Prayer for leaders
In the First Reading, St Paul invites us to pray for kings, “so that we can live a calm and peaceful life,” the Pope said. He pointed out that when political leaders do something we don’t approve of, they are either criticized or praised, but often we simply claim we didn’t vote for them and pretend we don’t really care what they do. But Pope Francis said we must not leave abandon our leaders.
“We need to accompany them with our prayer”, he said. “Christians must pray for their leaders”, even if they do “bad things”. In this case, the Pope continued, they need prayer even more: “Pray, and do penance for leaders. Intercessory prayer is such a wonderful thing, as Paul says. It is to be done for all kings, for all persons in positions of power. Why? ‘So that we can live a calm and peaceful life.’ When a leader is free and can govern in peace, the whole population benefits.”
Examination of conscience
Pope Francis concluded by asking those present to make an examination of conscience regarding their prayer for leaders.
“I ask you this favor: every one of you take five minutes, no more. If you are a leader, ask yourself: ‘Do I pray to the One who gave me power through the people?’ If you are not a leader, ‘Do I pray for my leaders? Yes, for this one and that one, yes, because I like them; but for that one, no.’ They need it so much more for this reason! ‘Do I pray for all leaders?’ And if you find in your examination of conscience before Confession that you have not prayed for your leaders, bring it to Confession. Because not to pray for leaders is a sin.”

(Devin Sean Watkins)

#Novena to St. Joseph Cupertino and MIRACLE Prayer for Exams - Patron of #Students, Pilots and Disabled

EXAM PRAYER TO ST. JOSEPH CUPERTINO 
This powerful prayer is very effective in examinations. It has to be said before appearing in the examination. There are two variants to this prayer. Both the prayers are equally effective. 
You can choose any one of these:- First Prayer O Great St. Joseph of Cupertino who while on earth did obtain from God the grace to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew, obtain for me a like favour in the examinations for which I am now preparing. In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked. Through Christ our Lord. St. Joseph of Cupertino, Pray for us. Amen. 
 Second Prayer O St. Joseph of Cupertino who by your prayer obtained from God to be asked at your examination, the only preposition you knew. Grant that I may like you succeed in the (here mention the name of Examination eg. History paper I ) examination. 
 In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked. O St. Joseph of Cupertino pray for me O Holy Ghost enlighten me Our Lady of Good Studies pray for me Sacred Head of Jesus, Seat of divine wisdom, enlighten me. Remember, when you succeed in the exams then you should thank St. Joseph of Cupertino. Image Source: Ordo Fratrum Minorum Conventualium.
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NOVENA TO ST. JOSEPH CUPERTINO 
He is patron of students doing exams, travellers (especially those undertaking journeys by air), pilots, and is invoked by children, adults and the elderly who are unloved, abandoned or neglected.
FIRST DAY:
Dear St Joseph, you were an unwanted child and were thought worthless even by your own mother. Intercede for all unwanted children that they may come to know they were born out of God’s love for them. We pray especially for (mention your request). Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
SECOND DAY:
Dear St Joseph, you were an angry, frustrated child. We pray for all who struggle to express themselves, and that you help us overcome sins of anger. We pray especially for (mention your request). Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
THIRD DAY:
Dear St Joseph, you experienced no love in your family and were considered of little account by all who knew you. We pray for all who have experienced the same. May we learn to treat everyone as having the worth they have in God’s eyes. We pray especially for (mention your request). Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
FOURTH DAY:
Dear St Joseph, you suffered because you found it difficult to learn. We pray for all those who struggle at school. May they take comfort from the fact that although learning wasn’t easy for you, this didn’t stop you from becoming a saint. We pray especially for (mention your request). Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
FIFTH DAY:
Dear St Joseph, you did the best with the intelligence you did have and put the rest in God’s hands. That way you passed all your exams and became a priest. We pray for all those struggling with exams. May we also do our best in everything and trust in God to guide our lives. We pray especially for (mention your request. Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
SIXTH DAY:
Dear St Joseph, even the thought or mention of anything holy made you levitate in ecstasy. Grant us something of the understanding and reverence for God and his saints that you had. We pray especially for (mention your request). Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
SEVENTH DAY:
Dear St Joseph, only when your superior ordered you to, were you able to come back down to earth. May we too have a love for and obedience to the teachings of the Church. We pray especially for (mention your request). Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
EIGHTH DAY:
Dear St Joseph, you were unjustly suspected, confined to your room and neglected by those charged with looking after you. You accepted all this with humility. We pray for all those unjustly imprisoned, and that we too may have the humility to accept injustice for the love of Christ. We pray especially for (mention your request). Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
NINTH DAY:
Dear St Joseph, because you could levitate you are the patron of travellers, especially air travellers. We pray for all those travelling that they may safely reach their destinations. We pray especially for (mention your request). Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

#BreakingNews over 7,000 at March for Life in Germany including 4 Bishops - Pro-Life movement gains Strength!


About 7500 people took part in the 13th March for the life in Berlin. 
7,500 participants, four Catholic bishops during the march for life
Berliner Archbishop Koch sent a greeting: protesters advocate a "truly democratic concern" that the protection of unborn life is wrongly placed in the right-hand corner - the Green circles demonstrated -
The non-partisan and ecumenical event was organized by the Federal Association of Life Law. Under the motto "Protect the most vulnerable, yes to every child, end selection and abortion" the participants marched through Berlin. Left circles from the Greens (Volker Beck), the "Left" and the SPD called for a counter-demonstration. The chairman of the Federal Association of Life Law, Alexandra Linder, reminded us at the kick-off event that, according to World Health Organization, around 40 million children are abducted annually, including at least 100,000 unborn children in Germany. Animal rights activists were rightly insisting that high-quality cattle should not be slaughtered.

The bishop of Regensburg, Rudolf Voderholzer, called for the ecumenical final worship service to give a voice to those who can not yet express their self-determination right. For Voderholzer it was an "important ecumenical hope sign" that Catholics and Protestants used to work together for this. The "obscenity of the protest" of the anti-demonstrators is a testament to the fact that the life-lawyers had something important to say and to protect something sacred. It was "irrational arbitrariness" that after the birth, great efforts were made for the inclusion of disabled people, but before the birth a ruthless "exclusion and selection" took place.

Four Catholic bishops participated in the demonstration: Bishop Voderholzer, the auxiliary bishops Matthias Heinrich (Berlin), Hubert Berenbrinker (Paderborn) and Florian Wörner (Augsburg). The Archbishop of Berlin, Heiner Koch himself, did not participate, but sent a greeting and said that the demonstrators used a "truly democratic concern". According to Koch, the protection of the unborn life was placed wrongly in the right corner. For him, it was necessary to work for unborn life as well as for persecuted and refugees. Almost no support was provided by the Protestant church. Only the bishop in the Sprengel Mecklenburg and Pomerania of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in northern Germany, Hans-Jürgen Abromeit (Greifswald), sent a greeting
.
Translated from KATH.NET

#BreakingNews ISIS releases Priest - Fr. Chito- and Cathedral regained in Marawi, Philippines

Manila (Agenzia Fides) - "We are happy for the release of Fr. Chito. We thank the Lord and all those who in the world prayed for his release. We praise the efforts of the Filipino army who are doing their utmost to protect the lives of the hostages". With these words, released to Agenzia Fides, the Bishop of Marawi, Edwin De La Pena welcomes the news of the liberation of the vicar of the Apostolic Prelature of Marawi, Fr. Teresito Suganob (called "Chito"), released in the night between Saturday 16 and Sunday, September 17, in the company of another hostage, thanks to an action by the military involved in the siege of Marawi, a city occupied on 23 May by militants of the "Maute" group who swore allegiance to the Islamic State.
Great joy was expressed by the Bishops and the Filipino Catholic communities who spread messages: "Welcome back among us, Fr. Chito".
Satisfaction was also expressed by Islamic leaders and communities on the island of Mindanao. The priest was rescued by government forces after the army regained the mosque of Bato, one of the strongholds of the Maute group in the city center. As reported by military sources, terrorists, engaged in clashes with some soldiers, abandoned the hostages who managed to flee. The Philippine army is intensifying soldiers for the last stage of the siege and has often called on the jihadists to surrender. It is estimated that the remaining combatants in the center of Marawi are about 80 (including the two leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omarkhayam Maute) with about 40 hostages. The battle that has been raging for more than three months has resulted in 860 victims: 660 militants and 147 among soldiers. The city appears disfigured by the urban war, also carried out with bombings. According to government estimates, more than $ 50 billion will be needed to rebuild Marawi, a city of about 200,000 people, largely Muslims, currently all displaced in the surrounding areas. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 18/9/2017)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Monday September 18, 0217 - #Eucharist

Monday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 443


Reading 11 TM 2:1-8

Beloved:
First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers,
petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone,
for kings and for all in authority,
that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life
in all devotion and dignity.
This is good and pleasing to God our savior,
who wills everyone to be saved
and to come to knowledge of the truth.

For there is one God.
There is also one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus,
who gave himself as ransom for all.

This was the testimony at the proper time.
For this I was appointed preacher and Apostle
(I am speaking the truth, I am not lying),
teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray,
lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument. 

Responsorial PsalmPS 28:2, 7, 8-9

R. (6) Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard my prayer.
Hear the sound of my pleading, when I cry to you,
lifting up my hands toward your holy shrine.
R. Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard my prayer.
The LORD is my strength and my shield.
In him my heart trusts, and I find help;
then my heart exults, and with my song I give him thanks.
R. Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard my prayer.
The LORD is the strength of his people,
the saving refuge of his anointed.
Save your people, and bless your inheritance;
feed them, and carry them forever!
R. Blessed be the Lord, for he has heard my prayer.

AlleluiaJN 3:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 7:1-10

When Jesus had finished all his words to the people,
he entered Capernaum.
A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die,
and he was valuable to him.
When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him,
asking him to come and save the life of his slave.
They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying,
"He deserves to have you do this for him,
for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us."
And Jesus went with them,
but when he was only a short distance from the house,
the centurion sent friends to tell him,
"Lord, do not trouble yourself,
for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.
Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you;
but say the word and let my servant be healed.
For I too am a person subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, Go, and he goes;
and to another, Come here, and he comes;
and to my slave, Do this, and he does it."
When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him
and, turning, said to the crowd following him,
"I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith."
When the messengers returned to the house,
they found the slave in good health.

Saint September 18 : St. Joseph of Cupertino : Patron of #Students, #Pilots and Mentally #Handicapped

Mystic, born 17 June, 1603; died at Osimo 18 September, 1663; feast, 18 September. Joseph received his surname from Cupertino, a small village in the Diocese of Nardò, lying between Brindisi and Otranto in the Kingdom of Naples. His father Felice Desa, a poor carpenter, died before Joseph was born and left some debts, in consequence of which the creditors drove the mother, Francesca Panara, from her home, and she was obliged to give birth to her child in a stable.
Also See:

#Novena to St. Joseph Cupertino and MIRACLE Prayer for Exams - Patron of #Students, Pilots and Disabled
http://jceworld.blogspot.ca/2016/09/novena-to-st-joseph-cupertino-and.html
In his eighth year Joseph had an ecstatic vision while at school and this was renewed several times; so that the children, seeing him gape and stare on such occasions, lost to all things about him, gave him the sobriquet "Bocca Aperta". At the same time he had a hot and irascible temper which his strict mother strove hard to overcome. He was apprenticed to a shoemaker, but at the age of seventeen he tried to be admitted to the Friars Minor Conventuals and was refused on account of his ignorance. He then applied to the Capuchins at Martino near Tarento, where he was accepted as a lay-brother in 1620, but his continual ecstasies unfitted him for work and he was dismissed. His mother and his uncles abused him as a good-for-nothing, but Joseph did not lose hope. By his continued prayers and tears he succeeded in obtaining permission to work in the stable as lay help or oblate at the Franciscan convent of La Grotella near Cupertino. He now gave evidence of great virtues, humility, obedience, and love of penance to such an extent that he was admitted to the clerical state in 1625, and three years later, on 28 March he was raised to the priesthood. Joseph was but little versed in human knowledge, for his biographers relate that he was able to read but poorly, yet infused by knowledge and supernatural light he not only surpassed all ordinary men in the learning of the schools but could solve the most intricate questions.
His life was now one long succession of visions and other heavenly favours. Everything that in any way had reference to God or holy things would bring on an ecstatic state: the sound of a bell or of church music, the mention of the name of God or of the Blessed Virgin or of a saint, any event in the life of Christ, the sacred Passion, a holy picture, the thought of the glory in heaven, all would put Joseph into contemplation. Neither dragging him about, buffeting, piercing with needles, nor even burning his flesh with candles would have any effect on him — only the voice of his superior would make him obey. These conditions would occur at any time or place, especially at Mass or during Divine Service. Frequently he would be raised from his feet and remain suspended in the air. Besides he would at times hear heavenly music. Since such occurrences in public caused much admiration and also disturbance in a community, Joseph for thirty-five years was not allowed to attend choir, go to the common refectory, walk in procession or say Mass in church, but was ordered to remain in his room, where a private chapel was prepared for him. Evil-minded and envious men even brought him before the Inquisition, and he was sent from one lonely house of the Capuchins or Franciscans to another, but Joseph retained his resigned and joyous spirit, submitting confidently to Divine Providence. He practised mortification and fasting to such a degree, that he kept seven Lents of forty days each year, and during many of them tasted no food except on Thursdays and Sundays. His body is in the church at Osimo. He was beatified by Benedict XIV in 1753, and canonized 16 July 1767 by Clement XIII; Clement XIV extended his office to the entire Church. His life was written by Robert Nuti (Palermo, 1678). Angelo Pastrovicchi wrote another in 1773, and this is used by the Bollandist "Acta SS.", V, Sept., 992.
Shared from the Catholic Encyclopedia 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

#PopeFrancis "Keep your gaze fixed on Jesus Christ and learn from him how to love with a truly human heart, to care for the lost..." FULL TEXT + Video

Pope Francis address to the General Chapter
 delegates of the Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart on Saturday, September 16, 2017, in the Vatican. 
The Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) is an international community of religious priests and brothers. The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart minister in more than 50 countries worldwide, with over 1,700 MSCs carrying on the legacy of their founder, Fr Jules Chevalier.
The full text of Pope Francis’ address to the General Chapter members is here below:
Dear Brothers,
          I offer you a warm welcome on the occasion of your General Chapter, and I thank the Superior General for his kind words.  You have met to reflect on the life of your Congregation, and to pray and to discern together the paths that the Lord is pointing out to you.  In this way you will be able to give renewed fruitfulness and effective expression to the charism that the Holy Spirit bestowed on the Church through your founder, Father Jean Jules Chevalier.
          The motto you chose to guide the entire Institute in preparing for this Chapter is particularly significant: “You have kept the good wine until now” (Jn2:10).  You have looked back with gratitude on the cherished legacy of projects and apostolic works that your charism has brought forth in the Institute’s life in these past one hundred and fifty years, thanks to the fidelity of your confreres who preceded you.  At the same time, you are fully aware of its continuing potential to benefit the Church and the world.  By listening to what the Spirit says to the Church today, and by your openness to the questions and concerns of our fellow men and women, you will be able to discover in your authentic charism the wellspring of renewed strength, courageous decisions and creative expressions of the mission you have received.  The changed situation of our world with respect to the past, and the new challenges it presents to the Church’s mission of evangelization, demand and give rise to new ways of offering the “good wine” of the Gospel to many people as a source of joy and hope.
          The original inspiration of your founder was that of spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Today you strive to foster this devotion and to make it bear fruit through a variety of works and activities that witness to the tender and merciful love of Jesus for all, especially those in greatest need.  For this reason, I encourage you, as I do so often with consecrated persons – “to return to your first and only love”.  Keep your gaze fixed on Jesus Christ and learn from him how to love with a truly human heart, to care for the lost and hurting members of his flock, to work for justice and show solidarity with the weak and the poor.  Learn from him to give hope and dignity to the destitute, and to go forth to all those places where people are in need of acceptance and assistance.  This is the first Gospel that the Church entrusts to you by sending you out as missionaries to the world: to show by your lives and by your works the passionate and tender love of God for the little ones, the underprivileged, the vulnerable and those whom our world has discarded. 
          Although your Institute, like many others, has seen a decrease in numbers in these past decades, the growth of vocations in South America, Oceania and Asia has proved comforting and offers hope for the present and the future.  So too the Christian formation of young people, yet another expression of your charism, will be ensured and increased by the works of the Institute.  How urgent it is today to educate and assist new generations to appropriate authentic human values and to cultivate an evangelical vision of life and history!  Many people consider this a true “educational emergency”; surely, it is one of the frontiers of the Church’s mission of evangelization, towards which the entire Christian community is invited to set out.  In continuity with the achievements and undertakings of those who have gone before you, I encourage you to undertake new initiatives also in this specific area of your apostolate.
          The Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart continues to count among its many members a good number of religious brothers.  In a Congregation religious brothers are a grace from the Lord.  I ask you not to yield to the temptation of clericalism that, as I have often remarked, alienates people, especially the young, from the Church.  May your common life be marked by true fraternity, which welcomes diversity and values the gifts of all.  Do not hesitate to continue and expand your communion with the laypersons who participate in your apostolate.  Let them share in your ideals and projects, and in the rich spirituality arising from your Institute’s charism.  With them, and with the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, you will form an ever greater and stronger “charismatic family”, one that will better demonstrate the vitality and relevance of your founder’s charism.
          May the Virgin Mary, whom you invoke under the title of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, keep you ever close to her Son, ready to do whatever he tells you, and may she protect you with her maternal intercession.  I accompany you, and all your communities with my blessing, and I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me.  Thank you.

#BreakingNews ISIS Suicide attacks outskirts of City and Kills 74 with many wounded - Please Pray

Nassiriya, an ISIS double attack: at least 74 victims, including Iranian pilgrims

ASIANEWS Release:
The jihadists hit a security checkpoint and a restaurant on the outskirts of the city. Over 90 injured, six militants killed in the clash with security agents. The area is an important means of communication used by Shiite pilgrims to reach the holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala.

Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 74 people, including several Iranian citizens, were victims of the twin bombing claimed by militants from the Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis) in Iraq. Jihadist militants hit near the southern city of Nassirya, causing over 90 wounded some of them seriously. They targeted a security checkpoint and a restaurant.
The agents stopped another attack on a second restaurant, triggering a shootout with the attackers; six extremist militias were killed.
Abdel Hussein al-Jabri, deputy head of the Department of Health of the Shiite majority in Dhiqar province, speaks of dozens of victims including seven Iranian citizens. It is the worst attack on Iraqi territory perpetrated by the men of the "Caliphate" since the liberation of Mosul in recent weeks, a longtime stronghold of jihadists in the country.
Local sources report that the attackers were disguised as members of the security forces of Hashed al-Shaabi, a Shiite paramilitary alliance that fights - alongside the army and the police - Daesh [Arabic acronym for IS] in northern Iraq. Nassiriya is about 345 km south of the capital Baghdad and is largely inhabited by Shiite Muslims.
Abu Ali, one of the dozens of people present at the time of the attack, reports that he was heading to the Fadek al-Zahra restaurant together with his wife when, a short distance away, he saw a group of paramilitary groups trying to force their way inside. "We continued to walk in the direction of the venue," he continued, thinking that they were Iraqi troops. A few seconds later we heard gunshots and people screaming. " "My wife - he concludes - shouted 'terrorists' and fled." The assailants then fled after killing most of the customers present at the time in the restaurant.
The carcasses of burnt-out vehicles still lie at  the scene of the twin attack, including dozens of cars, trucks and public transport vehicles. The affected area is crossed by an important communication channel used by Shiite pilgrims and foreign visitors, especially Iranians, to reach the holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala, to the north.
The Islamic State has claimed the attack in a statement on Amaq webite, often used by jihadists to relaunch propaganda and calls to holy war. The text exults for the death of "dozens of Shiites".
The Iraqi Parliament has condemned the "cowardly" gesture that has targeted "innocent people". MPs have not spared criticism of security members inside and around the city, for failing to prevent the massacre.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi army's offensive against Jihadist militias continues, which last week took control of the city of Tal Afar. Now the next goal is the Al-Qaim jihadist bastion, on the border with Syria. Along with the town of Hawija, in the province of Kirkuk, 300km north of Baghdad, it is one of the last IS strongholds in Iraq.

#PopeFrancis "our Father is full of love and wants to offer it to us, but He can’t do so if we close our heart to love for others." FULL TEXT + Video

Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
This Sunday’s evangelical passage (Cf. Matthew 18:21-35) gives us a teaching on forgiveness, which doesn’t deny the wrong suffered but recognizes that the human being, created in the image of God, is always greater than the evil he commits. Saint Peter asked Jesus: “how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” (v. 21). To Peter it already seems the maximum to forgive the same person seven times; and perhaps for us it seems a lot to do so twice. But Jesus answers: “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven” (v. 22), that is, always: you must forgive always. And He confirms it recounting the parable of the merciful king and of the merciless servant, in which He shows the incoherence of him who was first forgiven and then refuses to forgive.
The king of the parable is a generous man that, gripped by compassion, condones an enormous debt — “ten thousand talents”: enormous — to a servant that entreats him. However, that same servant, no sooner he meets another fellow servant who owes him one hundred denarii — that is, much less –, behaves mercilessly, having him thrown into prison. The incoherent attitude of this servant is also ours, when we refuse to forgive our brothers. While the king of the parable is the image of God, who loves us with a love so rich in mercy as to receive us, love us and forgive us continually.
Since our Baptism God has forgiven us, condoning an insolvent debt: original sin. However, that is the first time. Then, with unbounded mercy, He forgives us all our faults no sooner we show even a small sign of repentance. God is thus: merciful. When we are tempted to close our heart to one who has offended us and apologizes, let us remember the words of the celestial Father to the merciless servant: “I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (vv. 32-33). Whoever has experienced the joy, the peace and the interior freedom that comes from being forgiven, can open himself in turn to the possibility of forgiving.
In the prayer of the Our Father, Jesus wished to insert the same teaching of this parable. He put in direct relation the forgiveness that we ask of God, with the forgiveness that we must grant our brothers: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).  God’s forgiveness is the sign of His overflowing love for each one of us; it’s a love that leaves us free to go away, as the prodigal son, but waits every day for our return. It’s the enterprising love of the shepherd for the lost sheep; it’s the tenderness that receives every sinner that knocks at its door. The celestial Father  — our Father — is full of love and wants to offer it to us, but He can’t do so if we close our heart to love for others.
May the Virgin Mary help us to be ever more aware of the gratuitousness and grandeur of the forgiveness received from God, to become merciful like Him, good Father, slow to anger and great in love.
[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
*
After the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you all affectionately, Romans and pilgrims from different countries: families, parish groups, Associations. I greet the faithful of La Plata (Argentina), the officers of the Military School of Colombia, and the catechists of Rho. I greet the participants in the Via Pacis footrace, which has touched places of worship of the different religious Confessions present in Rome. I hope that this cultural and sports initiative can foster dialogue, coexistence and peace.
I greet the numerous young people from Loreto, accompanied by Capuchin Friars, who began today a day of reflection and meditation: you bring us the “perfume” of the Shrine of the Holy House, thank you!  I also greet the Pro Loco volunteers and the walkers who today begin the relay for Assisi. <Have a> good walk!
I wish you all a good Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT Shared Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

Sunday Mass Online : Readings + Video : Sun. September 17, 2017


Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 130


Reading 1SIR 27:30—28:7

Wrath and anger are hateful things,
yet the sinner hugs them tight.
The vengeful will suffer the LORD's vengeance,
for he remembers their sins in detail.
Forgive your neighbor's injustice;
then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.
Could anyone nourish anger against another
and expect healing from the LORD?
Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself,
can he seek pardon for his own sins?
If one who is but flesh cherishes wrath,
who will forgive his sins?
Remember your last days, set enmity aside;
remember death and decay, and cease from sin!
Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor;
remember the Most High's covenant, and overlook faults.

Responsorial PsalmPS 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12

R. (8) The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.
He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.

Reading 2ROM 14:7-9

Brothers and sisters:
None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord,
and if we die, we die for the Lord;
so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.
For this is why Christ died and came to life,
that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

AlleluiaJN 13:34

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment, says the Lord;
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 18:21-35

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
"Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive?
As many as seven times?"
Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.'
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
'Pay back what you owe.'
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
But he refused.
Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?'
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart."

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saint September 17 : St. Robert Bellarmine : Patron of #Catechists, #Canon #Lawyers and #Catechumens : Doctor


(Also, "Bellarmino"). A distinguished Jesuit theologian, writer, and cardinal, born at Montepulciano, 4 October, 1542; died 17 September, 1621. His father was Vincenzo Bellarmino, his mother Cinthia Cervini, sister of Cardinal Marcello Cervini, afterwards Pope Marcellus II. He was brought up at the newly founded Jesuit college in his native town, and entered the Society of Jesus on 20 September, 1560, being admitted to his first vows on the following day. The next three years he spent in studying philosophy at the Roman College, after which he taught the humanities first at Florence, then at Mondovì. In 1567 he began his theology at Padua, but in 1569 was sent to finish it at Louvain, where he could obtain a fuller acquaintance with the prevailing heresies. Having been ordained there, he quickly obtained a reputation both as a professor and a preacher, in the latter capacity drawing to his pulpit both Catholics and Protestants, even from distant parts. In 1576 he was recalled to Italy, and entrusted with the chair of Controversies recently founded at the Roman College. He proved himself equal to the arduous task, and the lectures thus delivered grew into the work "De Controversiis" which, amidst so much else of excellence, forms the chief title to his greatness. This monumental work was the earliest attempt to systematize the various controversies of the time, and made an immense impression throughout Europe, the blow it dealt to Protestantism being so acutely felt in Germany and England that special chairs were founded in order to provide replies to it. Nor has it even yet been superseded as the classical book on its subject-matter, though, as was to be expected, the progress of criticism has impaired the value of some of its historical arguments.
In 1588 Bellarmine was made Spiritual Father to the Roman College, but in 1590 he went with Cardinal Gaetano as theologian to the embassy Sixtus V was then sending into France to protect the interests of the Church amidst the troubles of the civil wars. Whilst he was there news reached him that Sixtus, who had warmly accepted the dedication of his "De Controversiis", was now proposing to put its first volume on the Index. This was because he had discovered that it assigned to the Holy See not a direct but only an indirect power over temporals. Bellarmine, whose loyalty to the Holy See was intense, took this greatly to heart; it was, however, averted by the death of Sixtus, and the new pope, Gregory XIV, even granted to Bellarmine's work the distinction of a special approbation. Gaetano's mission now terminating, Bellarmine resumed his work as Spiritual Father, and had the consolation of guiding the last years of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, who died in the Roman College in 1591. Many years later he had the further consolation of successfully promoting the beatification of the saintly youth. Likewise at this time he sat on the final commission for the revision of the Vulgate text. This revision had been desired by the Council of Trent, and subsequent popes had laboured over the task and had almost brought it to completion. But Sixtus V, though unskilled in this branch of criticism, had introduced alterations of his own, all for the worse. He had even gone so far as to have an impression of this vitiated edition printed and partially distributed, together with the proposed Bull enforcing its use. He died, however, before the actual promulgation, and his immediate successors at once proceeded to remove the blunders and call in the defective impression. The difficulty was how to substitute a more correct edition without affixing a stigma to the name of Sixtus, and Bellarmine proposed that the new edition should continue in the name of Sixtus, with a prefatory explanation that, on account of aliqua vitia vel typographorum vel aliorum which had crept in, Sixtus had himself resolved that a new impression should be undertaken. The suggestion was accepted, and Bellarmine himself wrote the preface, still prefixed to the Clementine edition ever since in use. On the other hand, he has been accused of untruthfulness in stating that Sixtus had resolved on a new impression. But his testimony, as there is no evidence to the contrary, should be accepted as decisive, seeing how conscientious a man he was in the estimation of his contemporaries; and the more so since it cannot be impugned without casting a slur on the character of his fellow-commissioners who accepted his suggestion, and of Clement VIII who with full knowledge of the facts gave his sanction to Bellarmine's preface being prefixed to the new edition. Besides, Angelo Rocca, the Secretary of the revisory commissions of Sixtus V and the succeeding pontiffs, himself wrote a draft preface for the new edition in which he makes the same statement: (Sixtus) "dum errores ex typographiâ ortos, et mutationes omnes, atque varias hominum opiniones recognoscere cœpit, ut postea de toto negotio deliberare atque Vulgatam editionem, prout debebat, publicare posset, morte præventus quod cœperat perficere non potuit". This draft preface, to which Bellarmine's was preferred, is still extant, attached to the copy of the Sixtine edition in which the Clementine corrections are marked, and may be seen in the Biblioteca Angelica at Rome. In 1592 Bellarmine was made Rector of the Roman College, and in 1595 Provincial of Naples. In 1597 Clement VIII recalled him to Rome and made him his own theologian and likewise Examiner of Bishops and Consultor of the Holy Office. Further, in 1599 he made him Cardinal-Priest of the title of Santa Maria in viâ, alleging as his reason for this promotion that "the Church of God had not his equal in learning". He was now appointed, along with the Dominican Cardinal d'Ascoli, an assessor to Cardinal Madruzzi, the President of the Congregation de Auxiliis, which had been instituted shortly before to settle the controversy which had recently arisen between the Thomists and the Molinists concerning the nature of the concord between efficacious grace and human liberty. Bellarmine's advice was from the first that the doctrinal question should not be decided authoritatively, but left over for further discussion in the schools, the disputants on either side being strictly forbidden to indulge in censures or condemnations of their adversaries. Clement VIII at first inclined to this view, but afterwards changed completely and determined on a doctrinal definition. Bellarmine's presence then became embarrassing, and he appointed him to the Archbishopric of Capua just then vacant. This is sometimes spoken of as the cardinal's disgrace, but Clement consecrated him with his own hands--an honour which the popes usually accord as a mark of special regard. The new archbishop departed at once for his see, and during the next three years set a bright example of pastoral zeal in its administration.
In 1605 Clement VIII died, and was succeeded by Leo XI who reigned only twenty-six days, and then by Paul V. In both conclaves, especially that latter, the name of Bellarmine was much before the electors, greatly to his own distress, but his quality as a Jesuit stood against him in the judgment of many of the cardinals. The new pope insisted on keeping him at Rome, and the cardinal, obediently complying, demanded that at least he should be released from an episcopal charge the duties of which he could no longer fulfil. He was now made a member of the Holy Office and of other congregations, and thenceforth was the chief advisor of the Holy See in the theological department of its administration. Of the particular transactions with which his name is most generally associated the following were the most important: The inquiry de Auxiliis, which after all Clement had not seen his way to decide, was now terminated with a settlement on the lines of Bellarmine's original suggestion. 1606 marked the beginning of the quarrel between the Holy See and the Republic of Venice which, without even consulting the pope, had presumed to abrogate the law of clerical exemption from civil jurisdiction and to withdraw the Church's right to hold real property. The quarrel led to a war of pamphlets in which the part of the Republic was sustained by John Marsiglio and an apostate monk named Paolo Sarpi, and that of the Holy See by Bellarmine and Baronius. Contemporaneous with the Venetian episode was that of the English Oath of Alliance. In 1606, in addition to the grave disabilities which already weighed them down, the English Catholics were required under pain of prœmunire to take an oath of allegiance craftily worded in such wise that a Catholic in refusing to take it might appear to be disavowing an undoubted civil obligation, whilst if he should take it he would be not merely rejecting but even condemning as "impious and heretical" the doctrine of the deposing power, that is to say, of a power, which, whether rightly or wrongly, the Holy See had claimed and exercised for centuries with the full approval of Christendom, and which even in that age the mass of the theologians of Europe defended. The Holy See having forbidden Catholics to take this oath, King James himself came forward as its defender, in a book entitled "Tripoli nodo triplex cuneus", to which Bellarmine replied in his "Responsio Matthfi Torti". Other treatises followed on either side, and the result of one, written in denial of the deposing power by William Barclay, an English jurist resident in France, was that Bellarmine's reply to it was branded by the Regalist Parlement of Paris. Thus it came to pass that, for following the via media of the indirect power, he was condemned in 1590 as too much of a Regalist and in 1605 as too much of a Papalist. Bellarmine did not live to deal with the later and more serious stage of the Galileo case, but in 1615 he took part in its earlier stage. He had always shown great interest in the discoveries of that investigator, and was on terms of friendly correspondence with him. He took up too--as is witnessed by his letter to Galileo's friend Foscarini--exactly the right attitude towards scientific theories in seeming contradiction with Scripture. If, as was undoubtedly the case then with Galileo's heliocentric theory, a scientific theory is insufficiently proved, it should be advanced only as an hypothesis; but if, as is the case with this theory now, it is solidly demonstrated, care must be taken to interpret Scripture only in accordance with it. When the Holy Office condemned the heliocentric theory, by an excess in the opposite direction, it became Bellarmine's official duty to signify the condemnation to Galileo, and receive his submission. Bellarmine lived to see one more conclave, that which elected Gregory XV (February, 1621). His health was now failing, and in the summer of the same year he was permitted to retire to Sant' Andrea and prepare for the end. His death was most edifying and was a fitting termination to a life which had been no less remarkable for its virtues than for its achievements. His spirit of prayer, his singular delicacy of conscience and freedom from sin, his spirit of humility and poverty, together with the disinterestedness which he displayed as much under the cardinal's robes as under the Jesuit's gown, his lavish charity to the poor, and his devotedness to work, had combined to impress those who knew him intimately with the feeling that he was of the number of the saints. Accordingly, when he died there was a general expectation that his cause would be promptly introduced. And so it was, under Urban VIII in 1627, when he became entitled to the appellation of Venerable. But a technical obstacle, arising out of Urban VIII's own general legislation in regard to beatifications, required its prorogation at that time. Though it was reintroduced on several occasions (1675, 1714, 1752, and 1832), and though on each occasion the great preponderance of votes was in favour of the beatification, a successful issue came only after many years. This was partly because of the influential character of some of those who recorded adverse votes, Barbarigo, Casante, and Azzolino in 1675, and Passionei in 1752, but still more for reasons of political expediency, Bellarmine's name being closely associated with a doctrine of papal authority most obnoxious to the Regalist politicians of the French Court. "We have said", wrote Benedict XIV to Cardinal de Tencin, "in confidence to the General of the Jesuits that the delay of the Cause has come not from the petty matters laid to his charge by Cardinal Passionei, but from the sad circumstances of the times" (Études Religieuses, 15 April, 1896). [Note: St. Robert Bellarmine was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930, and declared a Doctor of the Universal Church in 1931. He is the patron saint of catechists.] Text from The Catholic Encyclopedia