Monday, March 2, 2015

Saint March 3 : St. Katharine Drexel : Patron of Philanthropists, Racial justice

Feast Day:March 3
November 26, 1858, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died:March 3, 1955, Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania
2000 by Pope John Paul II
Major Shrine:Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania
Patron of:philanthropists, racial justice
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. on 26 November 1858, Katharine was the second daughter of Francis Anthony Drexel, a wealthy banker, and his wife, Hannah Jane. The latter died a month after Katharine's birth, and two years later her father married Emma Bouvier, who was a devoted mother, not only to her own daughter Louisa (born 1862), but also to her two step-daughters. Both parents instilled into the children by word and example that their wealth was simply loaned to them and was to be shared with others.
Katharine was educated privately at home; she travelled widely in the United States and in Europe. Early in life she became aware of the plight of the Native Americans and the Blacks; when she inherited a vast fortune from her father and step-mother, she resolved to devote her wealth to helping these disadvantaged people. In 1885 she established a school for Native Americans at Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Later, during an audience with Pope Leo XIII, she asked him to recommend a religious congregation to staff the institutions which she was financing. The Pope suggested that she herself become a missionary, so in 1889 she began her training in religious life with the Sisters of Mercy at Pittsburgh.
In 1891, with a few companions, Mother Katharine founded the  Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. The title of the community summed up the two great driving forces in her life—devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and love for the most deprived people in her country.
Requests for help reached Mother Katharine from various parts of the United States. During her lifetime, approximately 60 schools were opened by her congregation. The most famous foundation was made in 1915; it was Xavier University, New Orleans, the first such institution for Black people in the United States.
In 1935 Mother Katharine suffered a heart attack, and in 1937 she relinquished the office of superior general. Though gradually becoming more infirm, she was able to devote her last years to Eucharistic adoration, and so fulfil her life’s desire. She died at the age of 96 at Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania, on 3 March 1955. Her cause for beatification was introduced in 1966; she was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II on 26 January 1987, by whom she was also beatified on 20 November 1988.


Pope Francis Thanks Church in Libya for Courage and Peaceful presence

Pope Francis with Bishops of CERNA - OSS_ROM
02/03/2015 14:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has thanked the Church in Libya and the ecclesial communities in North Africa for their courage and for being a peaceful presence in an area where freedom of conscience is under threat.
The Pope was addressing members of the Episcopal Conference of North African Bishops, CERNA,   who are in the Vatican for their Ad Limina visit.
CERNA gathers prelates from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.
“You are one of the peripheries” of the world – Pope Francis said to the Prelates from North Africa - and you are the face and the heart with which God reaches out to the people of this periphery.
The courage of Catholics in Libya
Noting  that in the past years North Africa has become a land of conquest for more freedom of conscience and dignity as well as a battleground for those who impose change with weapons, the Pope thanked the Church in Libya for the “courage, loyalty and perseverance” shown by clergy, consecrated persons and laypeople who have stood their ground in the face of danger. They are true witnesses of the Gospel, said Francis, thanking them and encouraging them to continue in their efforts to contribute to peace and reconciliation throughout the region.
The need to accept diversity 
In his discourse the Pope insisted on the necessity of inter religious dialogue “in order to build where many destroy”.
Charity – he says – is able to open up countless paths that take the breath of the Gospel into diverse cultures and social contexts. And he said that the most effective antidote to violence is getting to know differences and accepting them as wealth and fecundity.
Thus, Pope Francis told the bishops, that it is essential that the religious in their dioceses be trained in ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.
Charity reveals God
Pope Francis said that an infallible weapon in the hands of the “Church of encounter” is charity that must be offered to all without distinction. Thanking the North African bishops who, often with humble means, offer the love of Christ and of the Church to the poor, to the sick, to the elderly, to prison inmates and to the many African immigrants who find themselves in North African countries during their journeys of hope. In doing so he said: “you recognize their human dignity and work to raise awareness of such a huge human drama, you show the love that God has for each of them”. 
Look to the Saints
The Pope’s discourse also included many pastoral indications such as the need for attention for “permanent formation” of the clergy and spoke of his joy for the contribution offered by religious men and women in this Year of Consecrated Life. 
Inviting all consecrated people to make the beauty of their vocations “shine out”, the Pope pointed to Saints Cyprian and Augustin and to the Blessed Charles de Foucault as models to look up to. 
And pointing to those contemporary religious who sacrificed their lives in the name of the faith, Pope Francis expressed his happiness that in the past few years many Christian sanctuaries have been restored in Algeria.
The Pope concluded his discourse pointing out that welcoming “all” with “benevolence and without proselytism”, these communities express their will “to be a Church with open doors, always setting out and going forth”.
During the audience the bishops presented the Pope with a document entitled “Servants of Hope” that shines light on the reality of the Church’s presence in North Africa, and motivates its priests to be ministers of hope in an ever-changing situation, where parishes are being rejuvenated by new presences and where the Churches face the great challenge of ministering to migrants.(Linda Bordoni)

Pope Francis “The first step is to judge ourselves." Lent Homily

Pope Francis preaches at Mass Monday morning in Casa Santa Marta chapel - OSS_ROM
02/03/2015 11:

(Vatican Radio) It is easy to judge others, but we can only progress on our Christian journey in life if we are capable of judging ourselves first, said Pope Francis at Monday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta.The readings of the day focused on the subject of mercy. The Pope, recalling that "we are all sinners" - not "in theory" but in reality – said that the ability to judge oneself is "a Christian virtue, indeed more than a virtue", it is the first step for those who want to be Christian:
“We are all masters, professors of self-justification: ‘No it wasn’t me, it’s not my fault, maybe yes, but not so much…that’s not the way it is…’. We all have an alibi to explain away our shortcomings, our sins, and we are often to put on a face that says "I do not know," a face that says ‘I didn’t do it, maybe someone else did’ an innocent face. This is no way to lead a Christian life”.
"It’s easier to blame others" - observed the Pope - but "something strange happens if we try to behave differently: "If we begin to look at the things we are capable of doing, at first we “feel bad, we feel disgust ", yet this in turn "gives us peace and makes us healthy”.
Pope Francis continued, “when I feel envy in my heart and I know that this envy is capable of speaking ill of others and morally assassinating them”, this is “the wisdom of judging oneself”. "If we do not learn this first step in life, we will never, never be able to take other steps on the road of our Christian life, of our spiritual life":
“The first step is to judge ourselves.  Without saying anything out loud. Between you and your conscience. Walking down the street, I pass by a prison and say: "Well, they deserve it" - "Yet do you know that if it weren’t for the grace of God you would be there? Did you ever think that you are capable of doing the things that they have done, even worse?” This is what judging yourself means, not hiding from the roots of sin that are in all of us, the many things we are capable of doing, even if we cannot seen them”.
The Pope stressed another virtue: Shame before God, in a kind of dialogue in which we recognize the shame of our sin and the greatness of God's mercy:

"To You, Lord, our God, mercy and forgiveness. Shame on me and to You mercy and forgiveness". This Lent, it would do us all good to have this dialogue with the Lord: self-accusation. Let us ask for mercy. In the Gospel Jesus is clear: "Be merciful as your Father is merciful". When one learns to accuse oneself first then we are merciful to others: "But, who am I to judge, if I am able to do things that are worse?".
The phrase: "Who am I to judge another?" obeys Jesus’ exhortation: "Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven". Instead, it highlights - "how we like to judge others, to speak ill of them”.

"May the Lord, in this Lent - said the Pontiff - give us the grace to learn to judge ourselves" in the knowledge that we are capable "of the most evil things" and say, "Have mercy on me, Lord, help me to be ashamed and grant me mercy, so I may be merciful to others".

(Emer McCarthy)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Saint March 2 : St. Agnes of Prague : Princess, Abbess and Miracle Worker

Feast Day:March 2
1211, Prague
Died:March 6, 1282, Prague
November 12, 1989 by Pope John Paul II
Born at Prague in the year 1200; died probably in 1281. She was the daughter of Ottocar, King of Bohemia and Constance of Hungary, a relative of St. Elizabeth. At an early age she was sent to the monastery of Treinitz, where at the hands of the Cistercian religious she received the education that became her rank. She was betrothed to Frederick II, Emperor of Germany; but when the time arrived for the solemnization of the marriage, it was impossible to persuade her to abandon the resolution she had made of consecrating herself to the service of God in the sanctuary of the cloister. The Emperor Frederick was incensed at the unsuccessful issue of his matrimonial venture, but, on learning that St. Agnes had left him to become the spouse of Christ, he is said to have remarked: "If she had left me for a mortal man, I would have taken vengeance with the sword, but I cannot take offence because in preference to me she has chosen the King of Heaven." The servant of God entered the Order of St. Clare in the monastery of St. Saviour at Prague, which she herself had erected. She was elected abbess of the monastery, and became in this office a model of Christian virtue and religious observance for all. God favoured her with the gift of miracles, and she predicted the victory of her brother Wenceslaus over the Duke of Austria. The exact year of her death is not certain; 1281 is the most probable date.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Wow Dad Cares for Quadruplets after Wife dies during Birth - says Catholic Faith strengthens - SHARE

Pregnant with four babies conceived through Fertility treatments, Erica, 36, went into labor at seven months on Jan. 15. Doctors delivered the babies by C-section. "We were so excited to start our family," said Carlos, 29, who works in in Phoenix, Arizona. Three girls, and one boy – were safely delivered. But then Erica went into hypovolemic shock,  and died on Jan. 16, before even holding her newborns. Carlos and Erica met in Arizona, in 2006. Erica, was a real estate agent. In 2007 they married in Los Vegas.   "We also really wanted to have a baby," says Carlos. "So we started to try right away." After experiencing a miscarriage, they received fertility treatments. Carlos cooked, cleaned so that Erica could stay off her feet during the pregnancy and Erica's mother moved into their house to help them. Erica, was healthy throughout her pregnancy.  Carlos says, she was surrounded by family and friends during the birth. They chose the names Carlos Jr. for the boy and Tracey and Paisley for the two girls. Erica couldn't decide on the other girl's name. They weighed from two to three lbs. Before she died Erica, squeezed her husband's hand.  "My four babies came into the world and then my wife died." Carlos chose the other girl's name as Erica.  Paisley and Erica are still in the hospital. Carlos goes to visit them every day while his mother-in-law cares for the babies at home. "Everything I do now is for my children," said Carlos. A  friend, Nicole Todman, created a GoFundMe page ,,where people can donate. Carlos explained he draws comfort from his Catholic faith. He said when he held all four babies for the first time after they were born, Erica was looking down on her family from heaven.

Catholic #Quote to SHARE by Pope Pius X - "Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to..."

"Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven. There are others: innocence, but that is for little children; penance, but we are afraid of it; generous endurance of trials of life, but when they come we weep and ask to be. The surest, easiest, shortest way is the Eucharist." Pope Pius X

Free Catholic Movie : The Prince of Egypt : Story of Moses from the Bible

The Prince of Egypt (1998) 99 min - Animation | Adventure | Drama - 18 December 1998 (USA) The story of Moses from the Old Testament Bible. An Egyptian prince learns of his identity as a Hebrew and, later his destiny to become the chosen deliverer of his people. Directors: Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner, Writers: Philip LaZebnik (screenplay), Nicholas Meyer Stars: Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer |

#PopeFrancis Prays for Victims of Violence : "to work to alleviate the suffering of those who are afflicted..."

Pope at his Sunday Angelus above St Peter's Square - REUTERS
01/03/2015 13:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis following the recitation of the Marian Prayer on Sunday remembered the people of Syria and Iraq saying “Unfortunately, there is no cessation in the dramatic news about violence, kidnapping and harassment against Christians reaching us from Syria and Iraq.
The Pope went on to say that those facing these situations were not forgotten and prayed that the intolerable brutality of which they are victims would soon be at an end.The Holy Father reminded the faithful in Saint Peter’s Square that along with members of the Roman Curia, this was the intention he offered at the last Mass of their Spiritual Exercises, which concluded on Friday.
The Pope, at the window of his studio also asked everyone “according to their ability, to work to alleviate the suffering of those who are afflicted, often only because of the faith they profess.
Pope Francis also remembered the people of Venezuela saying that the country was “again living moments of acute tension.” The Holy Father prayed for the victims of violence, in particular, for the boy killed a few days ago in San Cristobal.  
He then urged people in the country to reject violence and respect the dignity of every person and the sanctity of human life, encouraging them to take a journey together for the good of the country.

(Lydia O'Kane)

Sunday Mass Online : Sunday March 1, 2015 - 2nd of Lent - B

Second Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 26

Reading 1GN 22:1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18

God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am!” he replied.
Then God said:
“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a holocaust
on a height that I will point out to you.”

When they came to the place of which God had told him,
Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven,
“Abraham, Abraham!”
“Here I am!” he answered.
“Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger.
“Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God,
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.”
As Abraham looked about,
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram
and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.

Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said:
“I swear by myself, declares the LORD,
that because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore;
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies,
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth
shall find blessing—
all this because you obeyed my command.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19

R. (116:9) I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
I believed, even when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted.”
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.

Reading 2ROM 8:31B-34

Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son
but handed him over for us all,
how will he not also give us everything else along with him?

Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us, who will condemn?
Christ Jesus it is who died—or, rather, was raised—
who also is at the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us.

Verse Before The GospelCF. MT 17:5

From the shining cloud the Father's voice is heard:
This is my beloved Son, listen to him.

GospelMK 9:2-10

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.