Monday, May 20, 2013
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Saint of the Day
Pope tells Catholics to shout 'Jesus' instead of 'Francis'
5/20/2013 5:02:00 PM
Vatican City, May 20, 2013 / 04:02 pm (
).- Pope Francis asked those gathered for the Pentecost Vigil Mass at the Vatican to chant Christ's name instead of his own, highlighting his role as Christ's vicar on earth.
“From now on no more 'Francis,' only 'Jesus,' alright?” he asked rhetorically during the Pentecost Vigil Mass said May 18 at Saint Peter's Square.
“All of you in the square shouted out 'Francis, Francis, Pope Francis,' but where was Jesus?” he admonished them. “I want to hear you shout out 'Jesus, Jesus is Lord, and he is in our midst.'”
During his homily, he spoke to the more than 200,000 people gathered from ecclesial movements from around the world.
The Pope told how his grandmother was the first to pass on the faith to him, and insisted that a person's faith begins through their family.
“I received my first Christian proclamation right from this woman, from my grandmother. That is something beautiful,” he exclaimed.
“The first proclamation is in the home, within the family. This makes me think of the love of many mothers and so many grandmothers in the transmission of the faith,” he said.
He told mothers to conscientiously transmit faith to their children, because “God puts people alongside us who help our journey of faith.”
He also told how, at the age of 16, he felt a sudden urge to go to confession one day. It was there that he heard the call to priesthood.
“After the confession I felt that something had changed, I was not the same. I felt a voice call me, and I was convinced that I had to become a priest.”
“This experience of faith is important,” he added. “We say that we must seek God, go to him to ask for forgiveness but when we go, he is waiting for us, he is the first one there.”
Attendants had posed four questions to the pontiff, which he answered during his homily. The first question inquired about how he has achieved “certainty of faith” and how he would guide each of them to “overcome our fragility of faith.”
“Fragility’s biggest enemy, curiously enough, is fear. But do not be afraid,” he advised. “We are weak, we know it. But Jesus is stronger and if you are with him, then there is no problem.”
The second question given him was on the challenge of evangelization for ecclesial movements and how to effectively communicate the faith in today’s world.
“If we push ahead with planning and organization – beautiful things indeed – but without Jesus, then we are on the wrong road. Jesus is the most important thing,” emphasized Pope Francis.
The pontiff underscored the importance of prayer and “letting God gaze at you.”
He said that he prays the rosary daily, but often “nods off” in front of the tabernacle. “But he understands me. I feel so much comfort when I think that he is looking at me.”
The Bishop of Rome underscored the need for letting one’s self be guided by God. He reflected on St. Peter's vision of “the sheet with all the animals,” when Christ told him to eat non-kosher foods, Christ having made them clean.
Though St. Peter was at first reluctant and did not understand, “some non-Jews came to call him to go into a house, and he saw how the Holy Spirit was there.”
“Peter was guided by Jesus to reach that first evangelization to the Gentiles,” Pope Francis said. “Be guided by Jesus' own leadership,” he urged.
The third question was concerning suffering, and how the movements may address it for the good of the Church and of society.
“When the Church becomes closed in on itself, it gets sick,” Pope Francis said, appealing to people to “not close in on themselves, on their own friends and movements.”
“Think of a closed room, a room locked for a year, when you go in, has a smell of damp,” he said. “A Church that is closed in on itself is just the same – it is a sick Church.”
When Christians are “starched,” speaking “of theology calmly over tea,” rather than being courageous and encountering non-Christians and the poor, the Church is sick, he said.
The pontiff believes people cannot rest in peace knowing that a starving child is not news worthy.
“We cannot become starched Christians, too polite, who speak of theology calmly over tea, we have to become courageous Christians,” he said.
Catholics must themselves reach out to the poor and assist them on a personal level, he stressed.
“A poor Church for the poor begins with going to the flesh of Christ,” which he called the poor.
Personally helping the poor, for Pope Francis, is a theological response to Christ's own poverty. It is a loving response to God's own solidarity with us, since he “humbled himself” and “became poor, walking with us on the road.”
He also emphasized the danger of letting worldliness creep into the Church. “There is a problem that is not good for Christians: the spirit of the world, the worldly spirit, the spiritual worldliness.”
The final question asked of the pontiff regarded how Catholics can help and support those who are persecuted for their faith.
“We must try to make them feel, these brothers and sisters, that we are deeply united to their situation,” he said, highlighting the importance of praying in solidarity with them.
“In the prayer of every day we must say to Jesus, 'Lord, look upon this brother, look at this sister who suffers so much,'” he concluded.
Venezuelan Church to start year-long campaign against abortion
5/20/2013 1:09:00 PM
Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2013 / 12:09 pm (
).- A Venezuelan bishop said his country's 13th annual pro-life campaign will extend for the whole year, aiming to defend life and reject abortion “as the killing of a weak and defenseless human being.”
In a statement sent to CNA, Bishop Rafael Conde Alfonzo recalled that for several years the Week for Life has begun on March 25.
However, this year it was postponed because the date fell on Monday of Holy Week and because of political controversy following former president Hugo Chavez's recent death.
Bishop Conde Alfonzo, who serves as president of the Venezuelan bishops' committee on Family and Childhood, said an international campaign exists to impose abortion locally under the pretext that it is a woman’s right.
These organizations do not like the Church’s position in support of the unborn and would prefer the Church adapt herself “to the different trends they are seeking to impose and thus contravene basic principles that are not only religious, but in many cases simply humane,” he said.
However, the “Church’s defense of life is based on the teachings of the Lord, who said that he had come that we might have life and have it in abundance,” Bishop Conde Alfonzo emphasized.
“This statement of Jesus shows us that life is a gift from God...For this reason, it is a contradiction to consider the extinguishing of a life that has just begun as a right. God is the only author of life and He alone has power over it.”
In his statement, Bishop Conde Alonzo called on Christians to fulfill their duty to “be defenders and promoters of the gift of life.”
“Let us ask God that all human beings, especially believers, will learn to be thankful for the gift of life that God has given us and that those who govern the destinies of the nations will establish laws that respect and defend that gift.”
“Jesus, who died and rose, is the Lord of life and wants us to have it in abundance,” the bishop said.
Bernardine of Siena
5/20/2013 12:00:00 AM
The Catholic Church honors St. Bernardine of Siena on May 20. A Franciscan friar and preacher, St. Bernardine is known as â€œthe Apostle of Italyâ€� for his efforts to revive the country's Catholic faith during the 15th century. Bernardine Albizeschi was born to upper-class parents in the Italian republic of Siena during 1380. Misfortune soon entered the boy's life when he lost his mother at age three and his father four years later. His aunt Diana cared for him afterward, and taught him to seek consolation and security by trusting in God. Even at a young age, Bernardine demonstrated a remarkable concern for the poor as an outgrowth of his love for God. Having become accustomed to fasting, he preferred at times to go without any food in order to help someone in greater need. From the ages of 11 to 17 he focused on his studies, developing the eloquence and dedication that would serve his future work as an evangelist. Before becoming a preacher, however, Bernardine spent several years ministering to the sick and dying. He enrolled in a religious association that served at a hospital in the town of Scala, and applied himself to this work from 1397 to 1400. During that time, a severe plague broke out in Siena, causing a crisis that would eventually lead to the young man taking charge of the entire hospital. Inside its walls, up to 20 people were dying each day from an illness that also killed many of the hospital workers. The staff was decimated and new victims were coming in constantly. Bernardine persuaded 12 young men to help him continue the work of the hospital, which he took over for a period of four months. Although the plague did not infect him, the exhausting work left him weak and he contracted a different sickness that kept him in bed for four months. After recovering, he spent over a year caring for his aunt Bartholomaea before her death. Then the 22-year-old Bernardine moved to a small house outside the city, where he began to discern God's will for his future through prayer and fasting. He eventually chose to join the Franciscans of the Strict Observance in 1403, embracing an austere life focused on poverty and humility. During this time, while praying before a crucifix, Bernardine heard Christ say to him: â€œMy son, behold me hanging upon a cross. If you love me, or desire to imitate me, be also fastened naked to your cross and follow me. Thus you will assuredly find me.â€� After Bernardine was ordained a priest, his superiors commissioned him to preach as a missionary to the Italians who were falling away from their Catholic faith. The Dominican evangelist St. Vincent Ferrer, just before leaving Italy, preached a sermon in which he predicted that one of his listeners would continue his work among the Italians â€“ a prophecy Bernardine heard in person, and went on to fulfill. Bernardine's personal devotion to God, which amazed even the strict Franciscans, made his preaching extremely effective. He moved his hearers to abandon their vices, turn back to God, and make peace with one another. He promoted devotion to the name of Jesus as a simple and effective means of recalling God's love at all times. When other priests consulted him for advice, Bernardine gave them a simple rule: â€œIn all your actions, seek in the first place the kingdom of God and his glory. Direct all you do purely to his honor. Persevere in brotherly charity, and practice first all that you desire to teach others.â€� â€œBy this means,â€� he said, â€œthe Holy Spirit will be your master, and will give you such wisdom and such a tongue that no adversary will be able to stand against you.â€� Bernardine's own life attested to this source of strength in the face of trials. He patiently suffered an accusation of heresy â€“ which Pope Martin V judged to be false â€“ and refused to abandon his bold preaching when a nobleman threatened him with death. But Bernardine was also widely admired throughout Italy, and he was offered the office of a bishop on three occasions. Each time, however, he turned down the position, choosing to fulfill the prediction of St. Vincent Ferrer through his missionary work. Bernardine preached throughout most of Italy several times over, and even managed to reconcile members of its warring political factions. Later in his life, Bernardine served for five years as the Vicar General for his Franciscan order, and revived the practice of its strict rule of life. Then in 1444, forty years after he first entered religious life, Bernardine became sick while traveling. He continued to preach, but soon lost his strength and his voice. St. Bernardine of Siena died on May 20, 1444. Only six years later, in 1450, Pope Nicholas V canonized him as a saint.
First Reading - Sir 1:1-10
5/20/2013 12:00:00 AM
1 All wisdom is from the Lord God, and hath been always with him, and is before all time. 2 Who hath numbered the sand of the sea, and the drops of rain, and the days of the world? Who hath measured the height of heaven, and the breadth of the earth, and the depth of the abyss? 3 Who hath searched out the wisdom of God that goeth before all things? 4 Wisdom hath been created before all things, and the understanding of prudence from everlasting. 5 The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom, and her ways are everlasting commandments.6 To whom hath the root of wisdom been revealed, and who hath known her wise counsels? 7 To whom hath the discipline of wisdom been revealed and made manifest? and who hath understood the multiplicity of her steps? 8 There is one most high Creator Almighty, and a powerful king, and greatly to be feared, who sitteth upon his throne, and is the God of dominion.9 He created her in the Holy Ghost, and saw her, and numbered her, and measured her. 10 And he poured her out upon all his works, and upon all flesh according to his gift, and hath given her to them that love him.
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