Monday, June 29, 2015

SHARE - Official #Prayer for #Solemnity of #StPeter and #StPaul - Plenary Indulgence

Official Raccolta Prayer for Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul with Plenary Indulgence.Pope Pius VI., by a Rescript of July 28, 1778, issued through the Segretaria of the memorials, granted -
i. An indulgence of 100 days to all the faithful who, being contrite, shall say at least once a day the following prayer, with one Pater, Ave, and Gloria, in honour of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
ii. A plenary indulgence, on all Feasts of SS. Peter and Paul, provided that, after Confession and Communion, they shall on such feast-day itself, or one of the nine days preceding it, or eight days following it, visit a church or altar dedicated to those Saints, saying there the following prayer, and remembering the Holy Church and its Sovereign Pontiff.
THE PRAYER
O blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, I, NN., elect you this day for my special protectors and advocates with God.  In all humility I rejoice with thee, blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, because thou art the rock whereon God hath built his Church; and I rejoice with thee too, blessed Paul, because thou wast chosen of God for a Vessel of election, and a preacher of the truth throughout the world.  Obtain for me, I beseech you both, a lively faith, firm hope, and perfect charity, entire detachment from myself, contempt of the world, patience in adversity, humility in prosperity, attention in prayer, purity of heart, right intention in my works, diligence in the fulfilment of all the duties of my state of life, constancy in my good resolutions, resignation to the holy will of God, perseverance in Divine grace unto death; that, having overcome by your joint intercession and your glorious merits, the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, I may be made worthy to appear before the face of the chief and eternal Bishop of Souls, Jesus Christ our Lord, to enjoy Him and to love Him for all eternity, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever world without end. Amen.
Pater, Ave, and Gloria
or 1 Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be


#PopeFrancis "Everything passes, only God remains." Homily/Video of Mass - Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul


Pope Francis at Mass, Sts Peter and Paul, 2015 - REUTERS
29/06/2015 10:


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica on Monday, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Patrons of Rome. The Mass also saw the ceremonial gift of the Pallium - the peculiar sign of the office of a Metropolitan Archbishop. Below, please find the full text of the Holy Father's prepared remarks, in English.
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The reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, speaks to us of the first Christian community besieged by persecution. A community harshly persecuted by Herod who “laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the Church… proceeded to arrest Peter also… and when he had seized him he put him in prison” (12:1-4).
            However, I do not wish to dwell on these atrocious, inhuman and incomprehensible persecutions, sadly still present in many parts of the world today, often under the silent gaze of all.  I would like instead to pay homage today to the courage of the Apostles and that of the first Christian community.  This courage carried forward the work of evangelisation, free of fear of death and martyrdom, within the social context of a pagan empire; their Christian life is for us, the Christians of today, a powerful call to prayer, to faith and to witness.
            A call to prayerthe first community was a Church at prayer: “Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the Church” (Acts 12:5). And if we think of Rome, the catacombs were not places to escape to from persecution but rather, they were places of prayer, for sanctifying the Lord’s day and for raising up, from the heart of the earth, adoration to God who never forgets his sons and daughters.
            The community of Peter and Paul teaches us that the Church at prayer is a Church on her feet, strong, moving forward! Indeed, a Christian who prays is a Christian who is protected, guarded and sustained, and above all, who is never alone.
            The first reading continues: “Sentries before the door were guarding the prison; and behold, an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter on the side… And the chains fell off his hands” (12:6-7).
            Let us think about how many times the Lord has heard our prayer and sent us an angel?  An angel who unexpectedly comes to pull us out of a difficult situation?  Who comes to snatch us from the hands of death and from the evil one; who points out the wrong path; who rekindles in us the flame of hope; who gives us tender comfort; who consoles our broken hearts; who awakens us from our slumber to the world; or who simply tells us, “You are not alone”.
            How many angels he places on our path, and yet when we are overwhelmed by fear, unbelief or even euphoria, we leave them outside the door, just as happened to Peter when he knocked on the door of the house and the “maid named Rhoda came to answer.  Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the door” (12:13-14). 
            No Christian community can go forward without being supported by persistent prayer! Prayer is the encounter with God, with God who never lets us down; with God who is faithful to his word; with God who does not abandon his children. Jesus asked himself: “And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night?” (Lk 18:7).  In prayer, believers express their faith and their trust, and God reveals his closeness, also by giving us the angels, his messengers.
            A call to faithin the second reading Saint Paul writes to Timothy: “But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the word fully… So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.  The Lord will rescue me from every evil and save me for his heavenly Kingdom” (2 Tim 4:17-18).  God does not take his children out of the world or away from evil but he does grant them strength to prevail.  Only the one who believes can truly say: “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want” (Ps 23:1).
            How many forces in the course of history have tried, and still do, to destroy the Church, from without as well as within, but they themselves are destroyed and the Church remains alive and fruitful! She remains inexplicably solid, so that, as Saint Paul says, she may acclaim: “To him be glory for ever and ever” (2 Tim 4:18). 
            Everything passes, only God remains.  Indeed, kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations, ideologies, powers have passed, but the Church, founded on Christ, notwithstanding the many storms and our many sins, remains ever faithful to the deposit of faith shown in service; for the Church does not belong to Popes, bishops, priests, nor the lay faithful; the Church in every moment belongs solely to Christ.  Only the one who lives in Christ promotes and defends the Church by holiness of life, after the example of Peter and Paul. 
            In the name of Christ, believers have raised the dead; they have healed the sick; they have loved their persecutors; they have shown how there is no power capable of defeating the one who has the power of faith!
            A call to witnessPeter and Paul, like all the Apostles of Christ who in their earthly life sowed the seeds of the Church by their blood, drank the Lord’s cup, and became friends of God.
            Paul writes in a moving way to Timothy: “My son, I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  From now on there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim 4: 6-8).
            A Church or a Christian who does not give witness is sterile; like a dead person who thinks they are alive; like a dried up tree that produces no fruit; an empty well that offers no water!  The Church has overcome evil thanks to the courageous, concrete and humble witness of her children.  She has conquered evil thanks to proclaiming with conviction: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”  (cf. Mt 16:13-18).
            Dear Archbishops who today receive the Pallium, it is a sign which represents the sheep that the shepherd carries on his shoulders as Christ the Good Shepherd does, and it is therefore a symbol of your pastoral mission.  The Pallium is “a liturgical sign of communion that unites the See of Peter and his Successor to the Metropolitans, and through them to the other Bishops of the world” (Benedict XVI, Angelus of 29 June 2005).
            Today, by these Palliums, I wish to entrust you with this call to prayer, to faith and to witness.
            The Church wants you to be men of prayer, masters of prayer; that you may teach the people entrusted to your care that liberation from all forms of imprisonment is uniquely God’s work and the fruit of prayer; that God sends his angel at the opportune time in order to save us from the many forms of slavery and countless chains of worldliness.  For those most in need, may you also be angels and messengers of charity!
            The Church desires you to be men of faith, masters of faith, who can teach the faithful to not be frightened of the many Herods who inflict on them persecution with every kind of cross.  No Herod is able to banish the light of hope, of faith, or of charity in the one who believes in Christ!
            The Church wants you to be men of witness. Saint Francis used to tell his brothers: “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words!” (cf.Franciscan sources, 43).  There is no witness without a coherent lifestyle!  Today there is no great need for masters, but for courageous witnesses, who are convinced and convincing; witnesses who are not ashamed of the Name of Christ and of His Cross; not before the roaring lions, nor before the powers of this world.  And this follows the example of Peter and Paul and so many other witnesses along the course of the Church’s history, witnesses who, yet belonging to different Christian confessions, have contributed to demonstrating and bringing growth to the one Body of Christ. I am pleased to emphasize this, and am always pleased to do so, in the presence of the Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, sent by my beloved brother Bartholomew I.    
            This is not so straightforward: because the most effective and authentic witness is one that does not contradict, by behaviour and lifestyle, what is preached with the word and taught to others!
            Teach prayer by praying, announce the faith by believing; offer witness by living!

Free Movie : The Third Way : SHARE Amazing Documentary on Homosexuality and the Church

 40-minute documentary focusing on the Catholic Church’s teachings on Homosexuality.
"The Third Way" is an allusion to the Catholic position on homosexuality, which rejects both anti-gay bigotry on the one hand and the unqualified endorsement of homosexual activity on the other.
Magnificent and moving, the film features first-hand testimony from several faithful Catholics who struggle with homosexual attraction. Most of them were heavily involved in the gay scene before committing to chastity. Their experiences shed new light and reveal how Catholics can help those experiencing same-sex attraction. Their stories ultimately affirm the great joy and freedom found in the Church’s teaching, centered on authentic love.
Director - John-Andrew O’Rourke, Cinematography - Thomas Shannon and Branden Stanley, Art Director - Matt LaMar, Motion Graphic Design - Michael Oliveros, Editor - John-Andrew O’Rourke, Executive Producer - Rev. John Hollowell Featuring:Chris Stefanick, Jason Evert, Fr. Michael Schmitz, Sr. Helena Burns, Chris West - Credits song by Matt Hylom (https://www.facebook.com/MattHylom Purchase the film at http://www.blackstonefilms.org/store/...

"Don't Mess With Marriage" a message from #Bishops plus Free #Marriage Booklet

Encouraging Reactions to the Pastoral Letter: Don't Mess With Marriage

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
26 Jun 2015

Across all cultures and all centuries traditional marriage has been bedrock of society
Don't Mess with Marriage the 16-page pastoral booklet issued by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and distributed in the Archdiocese of Sydney to parishes, staff and parents of children at Catholic schools has received significant attention within the media.
"Unfortunately much of this attention has given the impression that the Pastoral Letter has been highly-criticised by parents and students, a point contested by Anthony Cleary, Director of Religious Education and Evangelisation at the Archdiocese of Sydney's Catholic Education Office (CEO). 
Of the 100,000 booklets distributed across the Archdiocese of Sydney in June Mr Cleary has received fewer than a dozen direct complaints, and a number of them were not related to the issue of marriage itself he reported.
"Some of the complaints were about side issues, rather than the Church's teachings on marriage or the same sex marriage debate," he says.
Don't Mess with Marriage explains the Church's formal teachings on the Sacrament of Marriage, and it reaffirms and supports the definitions contained within the Marriage Act 1961 and the Marriage Act Amendment of 2004 which defines marriage as "a union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others". It also details the implications of changing this law to permit same sex couples to marry.

Anthony Cleary, Director of Religious Education and Evangelisation
Australia's bishops decided to issue the booklet as the debate on same sex "marriage" gained momentum earlier this year. At the end of April, Acting Labor Leader, Tanya Plibersek led a push to secure a binding vote in favour of same sex marriage at the Party's conference in July.
This was followed less than three weeks later by Ireland becoming the first nation worldwide to hold a referendum on the issue. This resulted in favour of legalising marriage between same sex couples, and is expected to become law across Ireland from April 2016.
Then in early June, Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten who had refused to back his Deputy's call to make a binding vote on same sex marriage part of the Labor Party's platform, introduced a Bill to change Australia's Marriage Act so that the words "a union between a man and a woman" be replaced by "a union between two people."
The Government led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott refused to debate the Bill but conceded that a conscience vote on marriage between same sex couples could be argued in the Party Room by Liberal MPs later in the year.
The Bishops' booklet, Don't Mess with Marriage, had been carefully planned, written and designed over a period of weeks and months, but its release coincided with Bill Shorten's tabling of the "Marriage Equality Act", which gave significant attention to the Pastoral Letter.
"It was in this climate of robust debate that the Pastoral Letter received significant scrutiny," Anthony Cleary says, adding that many people seem to prefer the Catholic Church remain silent on the issue and be sidelined.

ACT laws grant same sex civil unions to begin life together with legally binding ceremony similar to those celebrated by married couples
"The Church's contribution to informing the public debate is crucial, however, because at the moment this side of the argument is not being adequately covered either by social or the mainstream media," he says.
Critics of Don't Mess with Marriage have simply taken a paragraph or line from the booklet out of context to make a provocative headline or chosen to run interviews with advocates of same sex marriage who accused the booklet of being "discriminatory" and full of "anti gay propaganda."
"Although only small, the negative response by the media to "Don't Mess with Marriage'nevertheless needs to be addressed. They have exaggerated negative responses to the Pastoral Letter and failed to report the positive responses," Anthony Cleary says. "Some critics have even questioned the right of the Catholic Church to distribute the Letter in Catholic schools. Such reactions are astonishing. While we are respectful of the opinion and views of others, the Catholic context of our schools means that all social, moral and ethical issues are presented from a Catholic perspective, and in accord with Catholic teachings."
He points out that this should come as no surprise to anyone as most organisations, institutions and businesses across a variety of sectors and corporations are underpinned by a particular ethos or set of values and the material disseminated and promoted would reflect this.
As for charges of discrimination, particularly those from the well-funded and media savvy organisation, Marriage Equality which is led by Rodney Croome, controversial Tasmanian academic and gay rights activist, Anthony Cleary makes it clear that there can be no "discrimination" when what is being supported is the current Australian law on marriage.
"To claim Don't Mess with Marriage is discriminatory is incorrect," he says firmly. "To disagree with another person's view does not mean that you are discriminating against them. In this instance, particular lobby groups label people as prejudiced simply because they agree with the current definition of marriage in Australia's Marriage Act, and oppose the proposition of legalising marriage between same sex couples. The Pastoral Letter reflects the Church's teachings, which are in accord with Australia's Marriage Act."

The campaign in Ireland to legalise same sex marriage
Anthony Cleary also makes the point that the Pastoral Letter speaks out strongly against people who discriminate against others.
"We all know and love people with same-sex attraction. They are our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and neighbours. They need love and support like anyone else," Australia's Catholic Bishops write in Don't Mess With Marriage.
Anthony Cleary says that for people of faith, marriage is not simply a label that can be attached and transferred to different types of relationships as the fashion of the day dictates.
He points out that marriage for Catholics is not only an emotional union, but a total commitment of body and spirit. The Church also believes that God is the author of marriage and that the matrimonial covenant between baptised persons is holy and has the status of a sacrament.
Taking issue with advocates of same sex marriage such as Rodney Croome who accuse the Church of only telling one side of the story, Anthony Cleary argues that if these advocates were serious about presenting both sides of this issue, they would be disseminating the Bishops' Pastoral Letter.

Marriage is a vocation and needs prayer and God's help when making this important decision
Although the most well-known group advocating same sex marriage, the Marriage Equality organisation does not represent all same sex attraction, bi sexual or transgender men and women across Australia.
"I am concerned that some organizations who are active proponents of the same sex marriage debate may be creating the impression that they speak for all of those attracted to the same sex, and that Australia's entire gay and lesbian community are championing the cause of same sex marriage," Anthony Cleary says. "Such an impression is inaccurate as well as surprising, especially when some of the gay and lesbian community have spoken out against same sex marriage."
Above all, he is concerned that despite the plethora of private members Bills over the past 15 years in state, territory and Federal Parliaments, all of which have been voted down, that the general public have become so worn down by the constant headlines and debates over the issue that some are now beginning to regard changes to the Australian Marriage Act as "inevitable."
"Among all the world's nations, only 19 of these have legalised same sex marriage. Many have in fact rejected these moves in recent months, including most recently - Austria. We now await the imminent decision of the US Supreme Court," he says.
But even if the US Supreme Court hands down a judgment next week to legalise same sex marriage in every one of America's 50 states, this does not mean Australia will inevitably follow suit.
"While we share great historical ties and the US is a close ally, we have very different laws and different Constitutions. This is borne out in our different approaches to gun control and the death penalty," he says.

Don't Mess With Marriage the Catholic Bishops 16 page pastoral letter on marriage can be downloaded free in a PDF format
The best advice, however, is for people wanting to engage in the debate over changes to the Marriage Act, and to better engage in discussions in and outside the Church, he urges us all to read: Don't Mess with Marriage.
"The Pastoral Letter not only explores and explains Catholic teaching on the meaning of marriage, but also details the implications of redefining marriage. Furthermore, this well-crafted letter will help people in their critical thinking and moral reasoning, especially on this issue."
"Freedom of religion is a fundamental right but in many cases this freedom is increasingly at risk from states and nations where it is lawful for same sex couples to marry," he warns and commends the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference for exercising their "freedom of speech" and contributing to and presenting the other side of this ongoing debate.
The Don't Mess with Marriage document is available at:https://www.catholic.org.au/search?searchword=don%27t+mess+with+marriage

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Mon June 29, 2015 - Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles - Mass during the Day

Lectionary: 591

Reading 1ACTS 12:1-11
In those days, King Herod laid hands upon some members of the Church to harm them.
He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword,
and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews
he proceeded to arrest Peter also.
–It was the feast of Unleavened Bread.–
He had him taken into custody and put in prison
under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each.
He intended to bring him before the people after Passover.
Peter thus was being kept in prison,
but prayer by the Church was fervently being made
to God on his behalf.

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial,
Peter, secured by double chains,
was sleeping between two soldiers,
while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him
and a light shone in the cell.
He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying,
“Get up quickly.”
The chains fell from his wrists.
The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.”
He did so.
Then he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.”
So he followed him out,
not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real;
he thought he was seeing a vision.
They passed the first guard, then the second,
and came to the iron gate leading out to the city,
which opened for them by itself.
They emerged and made their way down an alley,
and suddenly the angel left him.
Then Peter recovered his senses and said,
“Now I know for certain
that the Lord sent his angel
and rescued me from the hand of Herod
and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (5) The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

Reading 22 TM 4:6-8, 17-18

I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

The Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.
And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat
and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.
To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

AlleluiaMT 16:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Saint June 29 : St. Peter : Apostle and 1st Pope : Patron of #Fishermen #Bakers, #Church


St. Peter
FIRST POPE AND PRINCE OF THE APOSTLES
Feast: June 29


Information:
Feast Day:June 29
Died:64, Rome, Italy
Major Shrine:St. Peter's Basilica
Patron of:against frenzy, bakers, bridge builders, butchers, clock makers, cobblers, feet problems, fever, fishermen, foot problems, harvesters, locksmiths, longevity, masons, net makers, papacy, ship builders, shoemakers, Universal Church, many more...
St. Peter is mentioned so often in the New Testament—in the Gospels, in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the Epistles of St. Paul—that we feel we know him better than any other person who figured prominently in the life of the Saviour. In all, his name appears 182 times. We have no knowledge of him prior to his conversion, save that he was a Galilean fisherman, from the village of Bethsaida or Capernaum. There is some evidence for supposing that Peter's brother Andrew and possibly Peter himself were followers of John the Baptist, and were therefore prepared for the appearance of the Messiah in their midst. We picture Peter as a shrewd and simple man, of great power for good, but now and again afflicted by sudden weakness and doubt, at least at the outset of his discipleship. After the death of the Saviour he manifested his primacy among the Apostles by his courage and strength. He was "the Rock" on which the Church was founded. It is perhaps Peter's capacity for growth that makes his story so inspiring to other erring humans. He reached the lowest depths on the night when he denied the Lord, then began the climb upward, to become bishop of Rome, martyr, and, finally, "keeper of the keys of Heaven."

Our first glimpse of Peter comes at the very beginning of Jesus' ministry. While He was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, casting a net into the water. When He called to them, "Come, and I will make you fishers of men," they at once dropped their net to follow Him. A little later we learn that they visited the house where Peter's mother-in-law was suffering from a fever, and Jesus cured her. This was the first cure witnessed by Peter, but he was to see many miracles, for he stayed close to Jesus during the two years of His ministry. All the while he was listening, watching, questioning, learning, sometimes failing in perfect faith,  but in the end full of strength and thoroughly prepared for his own years of missionary preaching.

Let us recall a few of the Biblical episodes in which Peter appears. We are told that after the miracle of the loaves and fishes, Jesus withdrew to the mountain to pray, and his disciples started to sail home across the Lake of Galilee. Suddenly they saw Him walking on the water, and, according to the account in Matthew, Jesus told them not to be afraid. It was Peter who said, "Lord, if it is Thou, bid me come to Thee over the water." Peter set out confidently, but suddenly grew afraid and began to sink, and Jesus stretched forth His hand to save him, saying, "O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?"

Then we have Peter's dramatic confession of faith, which occurred when Jesus and his followers had reached the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Jesus having asked the question, "Who do men say that I am?" there were various responses. Then Jesus turned to Peter and said, "But who do you say that I am?" and Peter answered firmly, "Thou art the Christ, son of the living God." (Matthew xvi, 13-18; Mark viii, 27-29; Luke ix, 18-20.) Then Jesus told him that his name would henceforth be Peter. In the Aramaic tongue which Jesus and his disciples spoke, the word was kepha, meaning rock. Jesus concluded with the prophetic words, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock shall be built My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

There seems to be no doubt that Peter was favored among the disciples. He was selected, with James and John, to accompany Jesus to the mountain, the scene of the Transfiguration, to be given a glimpse of His glory, and there heard God pronounce the words, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
After this, the group had gone down to Jerusalem, where Jesus began to prepare his disciples for the approaching end of his ministry on earth. Peter chided Him and could not bring himself to believe that the end was near. When all were gathered for the Last Supper, Peter declared his loyalty and devotion in these words, "Lord, with Thee I am ready to go both to prison and to death." It must have been in deep sorrow that Jesus answered that before cockcrow Peter would deny Him thrice. And as the tragic night unrolled, this prophecy came true. When Jesus was betrayed by Judas as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, and was taken by soldiers to the Jewish high priest, Peter followed far behind, and sat half hidden in the courtyard of the temple during the proceedings. Pointed out as one of the disciples, Peter three times denied the accusation. But we know that he was forgiven, and when, after the Resurrection, Jesus manifested himself to his disciples, He signaled Peter out, and made him declare three times that he loved Him, paralleling the three times that Peter had denied Him. Finally, Jesus charged Peter, with dramatic brevity, "Feed my sheep." From that time on Peter became the acknowledged and responsible leader of the sect.

It was Peter who took the initiative in selecting a new Apostle in place of Judas, and he who performed the first miracle of healing. A lame beggar asked for money; Peter told him he had none, but in the name of Jesus the Nazarene bade him arise and walk. The beggar did as he was bidden, cured of his lameness. When, about two years after the Ascension, the spread of the new religion brought on the persecutions that culminated in the martyrdom of St. Stephen, many of the converts scattered or went into hiding. The Apostles stood their ground firmly in Jerusalem, where the Jewish temple had become the spearhead of opposition to them. Peter chose to preach in the outlying villages, farther and farther afield. In Samaria, where he preached and performed miracles, he was offered money by Simon Magus, a magician, if he would teach the secret of his occult powers. Peter rebuked the magician sternly, saying, "Keep thy money to thyself, to perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased by money."
With his vigorous outspokenness, Peter inevitably came into conflict with the Jewish authorities, and twice the high priests had him arrested. We are told that he was miraculously freed of his prison chains, and astonished the other Apostles by suddenly appearing back among them. Peter now preached in the seaports of Joppa and Lydda, where he met men of many races, and in Caesarea, where he converted the first Gentile, a man named Cornelius. Realizing that the sect must win its greatest support from Gentiles, Peter helped to shape the early policy towards them. Its growing eminence led to his election as bishop of the see of Antioch. How long he remained there, or how or when he came to Rome, we do not know. The evidence seems to establish the fact that his last years were spent in Rome as bishop. The belief that he suffered martyrdom there during the reign of Nero in the same year as St. Paul is soundly based on the writings of three early Fathers, St. Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian.[1] The only writings by St. Peter which have come down to us are his New Testament Epistles I and II, both of which are thought to have been written from Rome to the Christian converts of Asia Minor. The First Epistle is filled with admonitions to mutual helpfulness, charity, and humility, and in general outlines the duties of Christians in all aspects of life. At its conclusion (I Peter v, 13) Peter sends greetings from "the church which is at Babylon." This is accepted as further evidence that the letter was written from Rome, which in the Jewish usage of the time was called "Babylon." The second Epistle warns against false teachings, speaks of the Second Coming of the Lord, and ends with the beautiful doxology, "But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, both now and the day of eternity."
The latest archeological findings indicate that St. Peter's Church in Rome rises over the site of his tomb, as Pius XII announced at the close of the Holy Year of 1950. In the catacombs many wall writings have been found which link the names of St. Peter and St. Paul, showing that popular devotion to the two great Apostles began in very early times. Paintings of later date commonly depict Peter as a short, energetic man with curly hair and beard; in art his traditional emblems are a boat, keys, and a cock.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/stpeter.asp#ixzz1zDisNLZa

Saint June 29 : St. Paul : Apostle : Patron of #Journalists #Evangelists


St. Paul
APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES, MARTYR, MISSIONARY, MYSTIC, GREAT THEOLOGIAN
Feast: June 29


Information:
Feast Day:June 29
Died:65 at Rome, Italy
Major Shrine:Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls
Patron of:against snakes, authors, Catholic Action, Cursillo movement, evangelists, hailstorms, hospital public relations, journalists, lay people, missionary bishops, musicians, newspaper editorial staff, public relations work, publishers, reporters, rope makers, saddlemakers, tent makers, many more...
The historic records bearing on St. Paul are fuller than those for any Scriptural saint. We have Paul's own wonderful writings, the fourteen letters included in the New Testament, which outline his missionary journeys, exhort and admonish the various Christian congregations, discuss ethics and doctrinal matters; and in the midst of all this we get a revelation of the man himself, his inner character, his problems and fears. St. Luke's Acts of the Apostles and certain apocryphal books are other sources of our knowledge of St. Paul. Of all the founders of the Church, Paul was perhaps the most brilliant and many-sided, the broadest in outlook, and therefore the best endowed to carry Christianity to  alien lands and peoples.
Born into a well-to-do Jewish family of Tarsus, the son of a Roman citizen, Saul (as we shall call him until after his conversion) was sent to Jerusalem to be trained in the famous rabbinical school headed by Gamaliel. Here, in addition to studying the Law and the Prophets, he learned a trade, as was the custom. Young Saul chose the trade of tent-making. Although his upbringing was orthodox, while still at home in Tarsus he had come under the liberalizing Hellenic influences which at this time had permeated all levels of urban society in Asia Minor. Thus the Judaic, Roman, and Greek traditions and cultures all had a part in shaping this great Apostle, who was so different in status and temperament from the humble fishermen of Jesus' initial band of disciples. His missionary journeys were to give him the flexibility and the deep sympathy that made him the ideal human instrument for preaching Christ's Gospel of world brotherhood.

In the year 35 Saul appears as a self-righteous young Pharisee, almost fanatically anti-Christian. He believed that the trouble-making new sect should be stamped out, its adherents punished. We are told in Acts vii that he was present, although not a participator in the stoning, when Stephen, the first martyr, met his death. It was very soon afterwards that Paul experienced the  revelation which was to transform his life. On the road to the Syrian city of Damascus, where he was going to continue his persecutions against the Christians, he was struck blind. On arriving in Damascus, there followed in dramatic sequence his sudden conversion, the cure of his blindness by the disciple Ananias, and his baptism. Paul accepted eagerly the commission to preach the Gospel of Christ, but like many another called to a great task he felt his unworthiness and withdrew from the world to spend three years in "Arabia" in meditation and prayer before beginning his apostolate. From the moment of his return, Paul—for he had now assumed this Roman name—never paused in his labors. It proved to be the most extraordinary career of preaching, writing, and church-founding of which we have record. The extensive travels by land and sea, so replete with adventure, are to be traced by anyone who reads carefully the New Testament letters. We cannot be sure, however, that the letters and records now extant reveal the full and complete chronicle of Paul's activities. He himself tells us he was stoned, thrice scourged, thrice shipwrecked, endured hunger and thirst, sleepless nights, perils and hardships; besides these physical trials, he suffered many disappointments and almost constant anxieties over the weak and widely-scattered communities of Christians.

Paul began his preaching in Damascus. Here the anger of the orthodox Jews against this renegade was so great that he had to make his escape by having himself let down from the city wall in a basket. Going down to Jerusalem, he was there looked on with suspicion by the Jewish Christians, for they could not at first believe that he who had so lately been their persecutor had turned advocate. Back in his native city of Tarsus once more, he was joined by Barnabas, and together they journeyed to Syrian Antioch,[1] where they were so successful in finding followers that a church, later to become famous in the annals of early Christianity, was founded. It was here that the disciples of Jesus were first given the name of Christians (from the Greek <christos>, anointed). After again returning to Jerusalem to bring aid to members of the sect who were suffering from famine, these two missionaries went back to Antioch, then sailed to the island of Cyprus; while there they converted the Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus. Once more on the mainland of Asia Minor, they crossed the Taurus Mountains and visited many towns of the interior, particularly those having Jewish settlements. It was Paul's general practice in such places first to visit the synagogues and preach to the Jews; if rejected by them, he would then preach to the Gentiles. At Antioch in Pisidia Paul delivered a memorable discourse to the Jews, concluding with these words (Acts xiii, 46-47): "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we now turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord commanded us, I have set thee for a light to the Gentiles, to be a means of salvation to the very ends of the earth." After this, the Jews drove Paul and Barnabas out from their midst, and a little later the missionaries were back in Jerusalem, where the elders were debating the attitude of the Christian Church, still predominantly Jewish in membership, towards Gentile converts. The question of circumcision proved troublesome, for most Jews thought it important that Gentiles should submit to this requirement of Jewish law; Paul's side, the more liberal, standing against circumcision, won out eventually.

The second missionary journey, which lasted from 49 to 52, took Paul and Silas, his new assistant, to Phrygia and Galatia, to Troas, and across to the mainland of Europe, to Philippi in Macedonia. The physician Luke was now a member of the party, and in the book of Acts he gives us the record. They made their way to Thessalonica, then down to Athens and Corinth. At Athens Paul preached in the Areopagus, and we know that some of the Stoics and Epicureans heard him and debated with him informally, attracted by his vigorous intellect, his magnetic personality, and the ethical teachings which, in many respects, were not unlike their own. Passing over to Corinth, he found himself in the very heart of the Graeco-Roman world, and his letters of this period show that he is aware of the great odds against him, of the ceaseless struggle to be waged in overcoming pagan skepticism and indifference. He nevertheless stayed at Corinth for eighteen months, and met with considerable success. Two valuable workers there, Aquila and Priscilla, husband and wife, returned with him to Asia. It was during his first winter at Corinth that Paul wrote the earliest extant missionary letters. They show his supreme concern for conduct and his belief in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which gives men power for good.

The third missionary journey covered the period of 52 to 56. At Ephesus, an important city of Lydia, where the cult of the Greek-Ionic goddess Diana was very popular, Paul raised a disturbance against the cult and the trade in silver images of the goddess which flourished there. Later, in Jerusalem, he caused a  commotion by visiting the temple; he was arrested, roughly handled, and bound with chains; but when he was brought before the tribune, he defended himself in a way that impressed his captors. He was taken to Caesarea, for it was rumored that some Jews at Jerusalem, who falsely accused him of having admitted Gentiles to the temple, were plotting to kill him. He was kept in prison at Caesarea awaiting trial for about two years, under the proconsuls Felix and Festus. The Roman governors apparently wished to avoid trouble with both Jews and Christians and so postponed judgment from month to month. Paul at last appealed to the Emperor, demanding the legal right of a Roman citizen to have his case heard by Nero himself. He was placed in the custody of a centurion, who took him to Rome. The Acts of the Apostles leave him in the imperial city, awaiting his hearing.

It would appear that Paul's appeal was successful, for there is some evidence of another missionary journey, probably to Macedonia. On this last visit to the various Christian communities, it is believed that he appointed Titus bishop in Crete and Timothy at Ephesus. Returning to Rome, he was once more arrested, and after two years in chains suffered martyrdom, presumably at about the same time as the Apostle Peter, bishop of the Roman Church. Inscriptions of the second and third century in the catacombs give evidence of a cult of SS. Peter and Paul. This devotion has never diminished in popularity. In Christian art St. Paul is usually depicted as a bald man with a black beard, rather stocky, but vigorous and intense. His relics are venerated in the basilica of St. Paul and in the Lateran Church at Rome.

Because of the pressure of his work, Paul usually dictated his letters, writing the salutation in his own hand. The most quoted of New Testament writers, Paul has given us a wealth of counsel, aphorisms, and ethical teachings; he had the power of expressing spiritual truths in the simplest of words, and this, rather than the building up of a systematic theology, was his contribution to the early Church. A man of action, Paul reveals the dynamic of his whole career when he writes, "I press on towards the goal, to the prize of God's heavenly calling in Christ Jesus." Although he himself was forever pressing onwards, his letters often invoked a spirit of quiet meditation, as when he ends his epistle to the Philippians with the beautiful lines: "Whatever things are true, whatever honorable, whatever just, whatever holy, whatever lovable, whatever of good repute, if there be any virtue, if anything worthy of praise, think upon these things." EWTN

#PopeFrancis approves #Canonization of Parents of #StTherese in October

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis approved on Saturday the decrees allowing for the canonization of Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus (of Lisieux). The Holy Father approved the decrees allowing Louis and Zelie Martin to be canonized during the Ordinary Consistory in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican. The couple will be the first to be canonized together as husband and wife, giving testimony to their ‘extraordinary witness of conjugal and familial spirituality’, said Cardinal Angelo Amato, the Prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. As Cardinal Amato presented the soon-to-be canonized couple to the Holy Father, he said that their lives ‘positively impacted their historical context through witness to the Gospel for the renewal of the face of the earth’, The Prefect also emphasized their ‘exemplary life of faith, dedication to ideal values united to a constant realism, and persistent attention to the poor’. Louis Martin (1823–1894) and Zelie Guerin (1831–1877) were blessed with nine children, four of whom died in infancy. The remaining five girls all entered religious life, one of whom is St. Therese of Lisieux. The decree also approves the canonization of Italian diocesan priest Blessed Vincenzo Grossi and Spanish nun Blessed Mary of the Immaculate Conception.

#PopeFrancis “they always promote life in every situation” #Angelus at #Vatican


Pope Francis greets the faithful during Sunday's Angelus. - AFP
28/06/2015 13:37




(Vatican Radio) “Do we believe that Jesus can heal us and can wake us from death?” That, said Pope Francis, is the message of Sunday’s Gospel, which tells how Jesus healed a woman suffering from haemorrhages, and raised a young girl from the dead. In his address to the faithful at the Sunday Angelus, the Pope said these two episodes “have a single centre: the faith.” In fact, he continued, “the whole of the Gospel is written in the light of this faith: Jesus is risen, He has conquered death, and through His victory, we too shall rise.”
But this faith, which for the early Christians was absolutely sure, can sometimes become “tarnished” and uncertain. Sunday’s Gospel, the Pope said, “invites us to live in the certainty of the Resurrection: Jesus is the Lord, he has power over evil and death, and He wants to bring us to the house of the Father, where life reigns.”
Pope Francis said Jesus’ Resurrection is “the principle of renewal and hope” in history. Anyone who feels hopeless or “tired to the point of death, if they entrust themselves to Jesus and His love, can begin again to live.” Those who believe in Christ, he said, should be able to be recognized as believers precisely because “they always promote life in every situation” so that everyone, and especially the weakest among us, can experience the love of God “which frees and saves.”