Tuesday, August 4, 2015

#PopeFrancis meets with Altar Servers "...you experience the intimate closeness of Jesus, the sweetness and power of his presence. "


Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Square for an audience with Altar boys and girls from across Europe - AP
04/08/2015 17:31



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met Tuesday with thousands of altar servers from around Europe. The encounter in Saint Peter’s Square was part of the ninth International Pilgrimage of Acolytes and Altar Servers.
In his prepared remarks, Pope Francis reflected on the theme of this year’s pilgrimage, “Here I am: Send me!” The Holy Father told the young people, “It is important to realize that being close to Jesus and knowing him in the Eucharist through your service at the altar, enables you to open yourselves to others, to journey together, to set demanding goals and to find the strength to achieve them.”
The International Pilgrimage of Altar Servers, which takes place every five years, is organized by the group Coetus Internationalis Ministrantium, a group that includes representatives from countries throughout Europe, including Germany, Italy, and France, as well as smaller countries such as Croatia, Luxembourg, Serbia, and Slovakia. The international pilgrimage allows altar servers to take part in a unique experience for their service, and helps them to discover the diversity of the universal Church.
Address of Pope Francis
to the International Pilgrimage of Altar Servers
Saint Peter’s Square, 4 August 2015
Dear Altar Servers,
I thank you all for coming in such great numbers; you have withstood the heat of the sun in Rome in August. I thank Bishop Német, your President, for his words of introduction and greeting. You have come from a variety of countries on pilgrimage to Rome, the city where the Apostles Peter and Paul were martyred.
It is important to realize that being close to Jesus and knowing him in the Eucharist through your service at the altar, enables you to open yourselves to others, to journey together, to set demanding goals and to find the strength to achieve them. It is a source of real joy to recognize that we are small and weak, all the while knowing that, with Jesus’ help, we can be strengthened and take up the challenge of life’s great journey in his company.
The prophet Isaiah also discovered this truth, which is to say that God purified his intentions, forgave his sins, healed his heart and made him ready to take up the important task of bringing God’s word to his people. In so doing, he became an instrument of the presence of divine mercy. Isaiah realized that, by entrusting himself into the hands of the Lord, his whole existence would be transformed.
The biblical verse that we have just heard speaks to us precisely of this. Isaiah had a vision of the glory of the Lord. At the same time, the vision showed to him that, although the Lord revealed himself, he still remained far off.
Isaiah was astonished to discover that it was God who made the first move; do not forget this! It is always God who makes the first move in our life. God is the one drawing close. He noticed that God’s actions were not impeded by his imperfections; it was God’s goodness alone that enabled him to take up the mission, transforming him into a totally new person and therefore one able to respond to the call of the Lord, saying, “Here I am! Send me” (Is 6:8).
You are more fortunate today than the prophet Isaiah. In the Eucharist and in the other sacraments, you experience the intimate closeness of Jesus, the sweetness and power of his presence. You do not encounter Jesus placed on an inaccessibly high throne, but in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. His word does not shake the doorposts, but rather caresses the strings of the heart. Like Isaiah, each of you sees that God, although making himself close to us in Jesus and bending down towards you with love, remains always immeasurably greater, beyond our ability to understand him in his deepest being. Like Isaiah, you too have experienced that it is always God who takes the lead, because it is he who created you and willed you into being. It is he who, in your baptism, has made you into a new creation; he is always patiently waiting for your response to his initiative, offering forgiveness to whoever asks him in humility.
If we do not resist him, Jesus will touch our lips with the flame of his merciful love, as he did to the prophet Isaiah. This will make us worthy to receive him and to bring him to our brothers and sisters. Like Isaiah, we too are invited to not remain closed in on ourselves, protecting our faith in an underground bunker to which we flee in difficult moments. Rather, we are called to share the joy of knowing we are chosen and saved by God’s mercy, the joy of being witnesses to the fact that faith gives new direction to our steps, that it makes us free and strong so as to be ready and able for mission.
How beautiful it is to realize that faith brings us out of ourselves, out of our isolation. Precisely because we are filled with the joy of being friends with Jesus Christ, faith draws us towards others, making us natural missionaries! 
Dear altar boys and altar girls, the closer you are to the altar, the more you will remember to speak with Jesus in daily prayer; the more you will be nourished by the Word and the Body of the Lord, the better able you will be to go out to others, bringing them the gift that you have received, giving in turn with enthusiasm the joy you have received.              
Thank you for serving at the Lord’s altar and for making of this service a real school of learning the faith, and charity toward your neighbour. Thank you also for having begun to respond to the Lord, like the prophet Isaiah, “Here I am. Send me” (Is 6:8).

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tues. August 4,2015


Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest
Lectionary: 408


Reading 1NM 12:1-13

Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses on the pretext
of the marriage he had contracted with a Cushite woman.
They complained, “Is it through Moses alone that the LORD speaks?
Does he not speak through us also?”
And the LORD heard this.
Now, Moses himself was by far the meekest man on the face of the earth.
So at once the LORD said to Moses and Aaron and Miriam,
“Come out, you three, to the meeting tent.”
And the three of them went.
Then the LORD came down in the column of cloud,
and standing at the entrance of the tent,
called Aaron and Miriam.
When both came forward, he said,
“Now listen to the words of the LORD:

Should there be a prophet among you,
in visions will I reveal myself to him,
in dreams will I speak to him;
not so with my servant Moses!
Throughout my house he bears my trust:
face to face I speak to him;
plainly and not in riddles.
The presence of the LORD he beholds.

Why, then, did you not fear to speak against my servant Moses?”

So angry was the LORD against them that when he departed,
and the cloud withdrew from the tent,
there was Miriam, a snow-white leper!
When Aaron turned and saw her a leper, he said to Moses,
“Ah, my lord! Please do not charge us with the sin
that we have foolishly committed!
Let her not thus be like the stillborn babe
that comes forth from its mother’s womb
with its flesh half consumed.”
Then Moses cried to the LORD, “Please, not this! Pray, heal her!”

Responsorial PsalmPS 51:3-4, 5-6AB, 6CD-7, 12-13

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense;
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned;
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
That you may be justified in your sentence,
vindicated when you condemn.
Indeed, in guilt was I born,
and in sin my mother conceived me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not off from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

AlleluiaJN 1:49B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rabbi, you are the Son of God;
you are the King of Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 14:22-36

Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side of the sea,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.

OrMT 15:1-2, 10-14

Some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?
They do not wash their hands when they eat a meal.”
He summoned the crowd and said to them, “Hear and understand.
It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles the man;
but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.”
Then his disciples approached and said to him,
“Do you know that the Pharisees took offense
when they heard what you said?”
He said in reply, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted
will be uprooted.
Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind.
If a blind man leads a blind man,
both will fall into a pit.”

Monday, August 3, 2015

Saint August 4 : St. John Vianney : Patron of #Confessors and #Parish #Priests

St. John Vianney
CURE OF ARS, PATRON SAINT OF PARISH PRIESTS
Feast Day:

August 4
Born:
May 8, 1786, Dardilly, France
Died:
August 4, 1859, Ars-sur-Formans, France
Canonized:
1925, Rome by Pope Pius XI
Major Shrine:
Shrine of St. John Vianney; Ars-sur-Formans, France
Patron of:
parish priests; confessors Curé of Ars, born at Dardilly, near Lyons, France, on 8 May, 1786; died at Ars, 4 August, 1859; son of Matthieu Vianney and Marie Beluze."


In 1806, the curé at Ecully, M. Balley, opened a school for ecclesiastical students, and Jean-Marie was sent to him. Though he was of average intelligence and his masters never seem to have doubted his vocation, his knowledge was extremely limited, being confined to a little arithmetic, history, and geography, and he found learning, especially the study of Latin, excessively difficult. One of his fellow-students, Matthias Loras, afterwards first Bishop of Dubuque, assisted him with his Latin lessons.
But now another obstacle presented itself. Young Vianney was drawn in the conscription, the war with Spain and the urgent need of recruits having caused Napoleon to withdraw the exemption enjoyed by the ecclesiastical students in the diocese of his uncle, Cardinal Fesch. Matthieu Vianney tried unsuccessfully to procure a substitute, so his son was obliged to go. His regiment soon received marching orders. The morning of departure, Jean-Baptiste went to church to pray, and on his return to the barracks found that his comrades had already left. He was threatened with arrest, but the recruiting captain believed his story and sent him after the troops. At nightfall he met a young man who volunteered to guide him to his fellow-soldiers, but led him to Noes, where some deserters had gathered. The mayor persuaded him to remain there, under an assumed name, as schoolmaster. After fourteen months, he was able to communicate with his family. His father was vexed to know that he was a deserter and ordered him to surrender but the matter was settled by his younger brother offering to serve in his stead and being accepted.
Jean-Baptiste now resumed his studies at Ecully. In 1812, he was sent to the seminary at Verrieres; he was so deficient in Latin as to be obliged to follow the philosophy course in French. He failed to pass the examinations for entrance to the seminary proper, but on re-examination three months later succeeded. On 13 August, 1815, he was ordained priest by Mgr. Simon, Bishop of Grenoble. His difficulties in making the preparatory studies seem to have been due to a lack of mental suppleness in dealing with theory as distinct from practice -- a lack accounted for by the meagreness of his early schooling, the advanced age at which he began to study, the fact that he was not of more than average intelligence, and that he was far advanced in spiritual science and in the practice of virtue long before he came to study it in the abstract. He was sent to Ecully as assistant to M. Balley, who had first recognized and encouraged his vocation, who urged him to persevere when the obstacles in his way seemed insurmountable, who interceded with the examiners when he failed to pass for the higher seminary, and who was his model as well as his preceptor and patron. In 1818, after the death of M. Balley, M. Vianney was made parish priest of Ars, a village not very far from Lyons. It was in the exercise of the functions of the parish priest in this remote French hamlet that as the "curé d'Ars" he became known throughout France and the Christian world. A few years after he went to Ars, he founded a sort of orphanage for destitute girls. It was called "The Providence" and was the model of similar institutions established later all over France. M. Vianney himself instructed the children of "The Providence" in the catechism, and these catechetical instructions came to be so popular that at last they were given every day in the church to large crowds. "The Providence" was the favourite work of the "curé d'Ars", but, although it was successful, it was closed in 1847, because the holy curé thought that he was not justified in maintaining it in the face of the opposition of many good people. Its closing was a very heavy trial to him.
But the chief labour of the Curé d'Ars was the direction of souls. He had not been long at Ars when people began coming to him from other parishes, then from distant places, then from all parts of France, and finally from other countries. As early as 1835, his bishop forbade him to attend the annual retreats of the diocesan clergy because of "the souls awaiting him yonder". During the last ten years of his life, he spent from sixteen to eighteen hours a day in the confessional. His advice was sought by bishops, priests, religious, young men and women in doubt as to their vocation, sinners, persons in all sorts of difficulties and the sick. In 1855, the number of pilgrims had reached twenty thousand a year. The most distinguished persons visited Ars for the purpose of seeing the holy curé and hearing his daily instruction. The Venerable Father Colin was ordained deacon at the same time, and was his life-long friend, while Mother Marie de la Providence founded the Helpers of the Holy Souls on his advice and with his constant encouragement. His direction was characterized by common sense, remarkable insight, and supernatural knowledge. He would sometimes divine sins withheld in an imperfect confession. His instructions were simple in language, full of imagery drawn from daily life and country scenes, but breathing faith and that love of God which was his life principle and which he infused into his audience as much by his manner and appearance as by his words, for, at the last, his voice was almostinaudible.
The miracles recorded by his biographers are of three classes:
* first, the obtaining of money for his charities and food for his orphans;
* secondly, supernatural knowledge of the past and future;
* thirdly, healing the sick, especially children.
The greatest miracle of all was his life. He practised mortification from his early youth. and for forty years his food and sleep were insufficient, humanly speaking, to sustain life. And yet he laboured incessantly, with unfailing humility, gentleness, patience, and cheerfulness, until he was more than seventy-three years old.
On 3 October, 1874 Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney was proclaimed Venerable by Pius IX and on 8 January, 1905, he was enrolled among the Blessed. Pope Pius X proposed him as a model to the parochial clergy.
[Note: In 1925, Pope Pius XI canonized him. His feast is kept on 4 August.]Shared from EWTN

Quote to SHARE by St. Teresa of Avila "Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes...

Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.
 -- St. Teresa of Avila

#PopeFrancis sends Letter for Congress on #StTheresaofAvila a “master of prayer”

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a letter of greeting and encouragement to participants of an Interuniversity Congress on Saint Theresa of Avila.
The letter, signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on behalf of the Holy Father, expresses gratitude to the Academic world for highlighting the relevance of Saint Theresa’s teachings.
Organized by the Catholic University of “Santa Teresa de Jesus de Avila” in collaboration with other Catholic Universities, the 3-day Congress entitled “St. Teresa of Avila, Maestra de Vida” is taking place in Avila, the city where Theresa was born 500 years ago. The main purpose of the congress is to bring the figure of St. Teresa of Avila closer to those in academia and university circles by examining the figure of the great mystic from different perspectives, including, the impact St. Teresa and her writings have had and will continue to have on the New Evangelization, on our interior and daily lives and on modern society today. Organizers say that while examining the validity and scope of her teachings during this congress, “we hope to foster a deeper understanding of her spirituality and to discover her as an example for future generations”.
In his letter, Pope Francis also urges participants at the Congress to find in the contemplation and meditation pursued by Theresa - whom he describes as a “master of prayer” – the source of true science and authentic values that are at the basis of life. Over 3.000 representatives of Universities all over the world have been invited to this congress where experts in the figure of St. Teresa as well as intellectuals from the five continents, philosophers and theologians will be lecturers.
(Linda Bordoni)

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Mon. August 3, 2015


Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 407


Reading 1NM 11:4B-15

The children of Israel lamented,
“Would that we had meat for food!
We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt,
and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks,
the onions, and the garlic.
But now we are famished;
we see nothing before us but this manna.”

Manna was like coriander seed and had the color of resin.
When they had gone about and gathered it up,
the people would grind it between millstones or pound it in a mortar,
then cook it in a pot and make it into loaves,
which tasted like cakes made with oil.
At night, when the dew fell upon the camp, the manna also fell.

When Moses heard the people, family after family,
crying at the entrance of their tents,
so that the LORD became very angry, he was grieved.
“Why do you treat your servant so badly?” Moses asked the LORD.
“Why are you so displeased with me
that you burden me with all this people?
Was it I who conceived all this people?
Or was it I who gave them birth,
that you tell me to carry them at my bosom,
like a foster father carrying an infant,
to the land you have promised under oath to their fathers?
Where can I get meat to give to all this people?
For they are crying to me,
‘Give us meat for our food.’
I cannot carry all this people by myself,
for they are too heavy for me.
If this is the way you will deal with me,
then please do me the favor of killing me at once,
so that I need no longer face this distress.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17

R. (2a) Sing with joy to God our help.
“My people heard not my voice,
and Israel obeyed me not;
So I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts;
they walked according to their own counsels.”
R. Sing with joy to God our help.
“If only my people would hear me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
Quickly would I humble their enemies;
against their foes I would turn my hand.”
R. Sing with joy to God our help.
“Those who hated the LORD would seek to flatter me,
but their fate would endure forever,
While Israel I would feed with the best of wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would fill them.”
R. Sing with joy to God our help.

AlleluiaMT 4:4

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone, but by every
word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 14:13-21

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist,
he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.
The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.
When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already late;
dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages
and buy food for themselves.”
He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away;
give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
Then he said, “Bring them here to me,”
and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples,
who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied,
and they picked up the fragments left over–
twelve wicker baskets full.
Those who ate were about five thousand men,
not counting women and children.

#BreakingNews over 200000 displaced due to Floods in Myanmar - Please Pray

46 dead and 200 thousand displaced in Myanmar floods
The government declares a state of emergency in four regions, some unreachable by rescue teams. Because of the lack of communications and infrastructure, the scale of the disaster could be worse. Pakistan, Vietnam and Nepal also affected.


Yangon (AsiaNews) - "46 people are dead and more than 200 thousand displaced people by floods caused by heavy rains that have hit Myanmar in these days." This was stated by a member of the South-East Asian State’s Relief and Resettlement Department. The lack of communications and infrastructure could hide the true extent of the emergency caused by the monsoons.

The authorities have declared a state of emergency for the four central regions of the country, which are the most affected. "There were warnings ... we thought it was a normal [flood season]," a source tells Agence France-Presse.

In the capital of Chin, Haka, landslides have destroyed 700 homes; 5 thousand people have had to find temporary shelter. President Thein Sein said that the government will do "everything possible" to bring relief, even if part of the Chin "is isolated from the surrounding regions."

In the state of Rakhine, home to the Rohingya Muslim minority, there are at least 140 thousand displaced people living in makeshift shelters along the coast, and those who are allowed, in Buddhist temples.

The rains began last July 16 with an unusual fury. Farmland, roads, railways, bridges and houses were destroyed in the storms, which are also causing landslides.

There has been flooding in other Asian countries. In Pakistan, the rains have caused 109 deaths and 700 thousand people have been affected by the floods; 36 people died in Nepal from landslides. In Vietnam, there have been 17 victims, including two families engulfed by a torrent of toxic sludge. Shared from AsiaNewsIT

Christians in Iraq are in constant fear "it's like living in a cage" - Please Pray



Iraq nuns - we are living, but it’s like living in a cage

Wednesday 29 July 2015
Aid to the Church in Need

6 AUGUST will mark the one-year anniversary of the most tragic day in the lives of a number of Dominican sisters currently serving in Iraq, who suffered and faced on one day challenges that many will not face in a lifetime. These sisters remained resolute in their faith and mission despite the bloodshed, heartbreak and tragedy that they witnessed on that fateful day and in the months following.

Hearing bombs in the distance was not an uncommon occurrence for these sisters and their communities, given the conflict that was happening nearby between Iraqi-Kurdish forces and IS.

‘In the morning we heard the bombs,’ Sister Lyca explained. ‘We thought it was normal because there was a clash between the two parties.’ What was not normal, however, was what happened next.

‘At ten o’clock in the morning there were bombs that fell in village,’ Sister Lyca said. ‘Three people died: two children and a young girl. It was terrible news.’ Diana, another Dominican sister, explained that the young girl who had been killed was recently engaged.

Many began to flee the village after the bombing, but the sisters stayed, feeling they had to provide support to the people and hoping that this instance would be like previous ones, where the threat only lasted a few short days. They also felt safe due to the protection of Peshmerga, the Kurdish forces, who had sworn to protect them. ‘We put all of our trust in Peshmerga because they promised to protect us. Up until the last minute we were so certain that they would defend us,’ Sister Diana said. ‘But when we saw them taking their uniforms off, we knew that the time of danger had finally arrived.’

Abandoned by their protectors and completely defenseless, the sisters decided to leave their convent in Qaraqosh and march with the other thousands of refugees with only half an hour to pack their things. ‘We were panicked when they told us ISIS had gotten into the roads, so many people left with even their nightgowns on.’

‘The distance between Erbil and Qaraqosh is one hour. We made it in 10 hours because there was a huge traffic jam,’ Sister Lyca said. The sisters marched alongside tens of thousands of other refugees fleeing the impending attack from IS. ‘From 11:30 at night to the next morning we marched without any food or water,’ Sister Diana said. ‘We’re talking about August when the heat is unbearable: 100 degrees (Farenheit) with no water.’ Alongside the heat exhaustion and dehydration the sisters and others dealt with were a number of horrible sights that left powerful impressions on the sisters. ‘When we got into the streets we saw thousands and thousands of people marching, cars and people walking,’ Sister Diana said. ‘Cars meant for five people held eight to ten. We heard children shouting and crying, very afraid.’

One sight in particular burned itself into the memories of the sisters. ‘When we passed a checkpoint, there was an ambulance behind us,’ Sister Lyca said. ‘We heard that there were five Islamists in the car, and the army began to fire on the car and on other cars. We saw people walking, running, and taking their children. Mothers took their children and threw them into our car to save their lives. It was a time that I cannot forget. It was terrible.’

The refugee camps in Erbil were a tragic sight to the sisters as well. ‘When we got here, it was even more horrible to see people scattered everywhere like sheep without a shepherd,’ Sister Diana said. ‘Some of these people left mansions. They had so much. So much, and in just a few hours they became homeless. We began to realize that our displacement might not take days, but it could take years and years.’

Unwilling to leave the people in this state, the Church stepped forward to provide aid. Churches were opened on the second day for refugees to stay in. Sisters began teaching the children and providing what education they could, some even taking on classes of hundreds of students like Sister Ban did.

Yet despite these selfless efforts, the Church and the refugees struggle on a spiritual level. ‘We lost our dignity here. We have been humiliated in so many ways,’ Sister Diana said. ‘We are living day-by-day, but the fact is that deep down, this is not the way that human beings should live. We’re living, but it’s like living in a cage. We don’t have the power or strength to stretch our wings where we want.’

Though they have worked hard to provide education for children, they fear it is not enough. ‘Our kids come to school for two or three hours a day. It’s nothing. Our college students are deprived from school. As Christians, we love education. What ISIS is doing to us is killing a new generation, because if this generation does not get educated, neither will the next one.’ On top of this, hospitals lack the facilities to deal with all their patients, and there are concerns that the aid coming in may not be enough to last. ‘To the government and even the United Nations, we’re just numbers. We’re not considered as human beings,’ Sister Diana said.

The sisters remain hopeful, however, and keep their faith in God. ‘We have brought all these things into our prayers,’ Sister Huda said. ‘This is my faith. God is with us. God saved us when we came here. We want to thank all the people who think of us and who are helping us.’

Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) have been assisting the persecuted Christians of Iraq and Syria. During 2014 ACN increased its aid to the Middle East – notably Iraq and Syria – where the charity has been helping thousands who have escaped violence, persecution and poverty. ACN paid out nearly $US2.86 million to Syria and $US6.9 million to Iraq – providing for projects such as food, shelter and medicine for communities fleeing bombardment and oppression.

CAN also provided eight schools – pre-fab structures – in Dohuk and Erbil, in Kurdish northern Iraq, to where 120,000 Christians fled last summer after attacks by Islamic State.

Photos courtesy Aid to the Church in Need.
• Dominican sisters with displaced children from northern Iraq form a heart to say thank you to the benefactors of ACN who helped fund this pre-fabricated school in Erbil in Kurdish northern Iraq
• Sisters Lyca, Ban & Huda in their original community
Shared from Aid to the Church in Need

Saint August 3 : St. Gamaliel : #Teacher of St. Paul


UCATHOLIC REPORT: The name designates in the New Testament a Pharisee and celebrated doctor of the Law. Gamaliel is represented in Acts 5:34 as advising his fellow-members of the Sanhedrin not to put to death St. Peter and the Apostles, who, notwithstanding the prohibition of the Jewish authorities, had continued to preach to the people. His advice, however unwelcome, was acted upon, so great was his authority with his contemporaries.
We learn from Acts 22:3, that he was the teacher of St. Paul; but we are not told either the nature or the extent of the influence which he exercised upon the future apostle of the Gentiles. Gamaliel is rightly identified with an illustrious Jewish doctor of the Law, who bore the same name and died eighteen years before the destruction of Jerusalem. In the Talmud, this Gamaliel bears, like his grandfather Hillel, the surname of “the Elder”, and is the first to whom the title “Rabban”, “our master”, was given.
He appears therein, as in the book of the Acts, as a prominent member of the highest tribunal of the Jews. He is also treated as the originator of many legal ordinances; as the father of a son, whom he called Simeon, after his father’s name, and of a daughter who married the priest Simon ben Nathanael. The Jewish accounts make him die a Pharisee, and state that: “When he died, the honour of the Torah (the law) ceased, and purity and piety became extinct.”
At an early date, ecclesiastical tradition has supposed that Gamaliel embraced the Christian Faith, and remained a member of the Sanhedrin for the purpose of helping secretly his fellow-Christians (cf. Recognitions of Clement, I, lxv, lxvi). According to Photius, he was baptized by St. Peter and St. John, together with his son and with Nicodemus. His body, miraculously discovered in the fifth century, is said to be preserved at Pisa, in Italy.
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