Monday, June 30, 2014

New King and Queen of Spain meet with Pope Francis at Vatican

(Vatican Radio) Today, Monday 30 June 2014, in the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis received in audience Their Majesties King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Mgsr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States.
During the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for today’s visit, their first trip abroad as reigning monarchs, which follows the recent visit by King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia on 28 April. It is hoped that this may mark the strengthening of the existing good relations between the Holy See and Spain.

The conversation focused on themes of common interest and the importance of promoting dialogue and collaboration between the Church and the State for the good of all Spanish society. Finally, mention was made of various problems of an international and regional nature, paying particular attention to areas of conflict. Shared from Radio Vaticana

Pope Francis "There are many martyrs today, in the Church, many persecuted Christians."


Pope Francis
30/06/2014


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said on Monday that there are more persecuted Christians in the world today than there were in the first centuries of Christianity. The Pope’s words came as he celebrated Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on the day in which the Church remembers the first Roman martyrs who were martyred during Nero's persecution in 64.
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The prayer at the beginning of the Mass recalls that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”. We speak of the growth of a plant – the Pope said in his homily – and this makes us think of what Jesus used to say: "The kingdom of heaven is like a seed. Someone took the seed and planted it in the ground and then went home – and whether he slept or was awake – the seed grew and blossomed”. This seed is the Word of God that grows and becomes the Kingdom of Heaven; it becomes Church thanks to the strength of the Holy Spirit and to the witness of Christians.
“We know that there is no growth without the Spirit: it is He who is Church, it is He who makes the Church grow, it is He who convokes the Church’s community. But the witness of Christians is necessary too. And when historical situations require a strong witness, there are martyrs, the greatest witnesses. And the Church grows thanks to the blood of the martyrs. This is the beauty of martyrdom. It begins with witness, day after day, and it can end like Jesus, the first martyr, the first witness, the faithful witness: with blood”.
But there is one condition that is necessary for a true witness  – Pope Francis pointed out – and that is “there must be no conditions”.
“In the Gospel reading of the day one of Jesus’s disciples said that he would follow Him, but only after having buried his father… and the Lord replied: ‘No! Follow me without conditions’. Your witness must be firm; you must use the same strong language that Jesus used: ‘Your words must be yes, yes, or no, no’. This is the language of testimony”.
“Today – Pope Francis said – we look upon the Church of Rome that grows, fed by the blood of martyrs. So it is right – he continued – that our thoughts turn to the many martyrs of today, the many martyrs who give their lives for faith. It is true that during the times of Nero many Christians were persecuted, and today – he said – there are just as many”.
"There are many martyrs today, in the Church, many persecuted Christians. Think of the Middle East where Christians must flee persecution, where Christians are killed. Even those Christians who are forced away in an ‘elegant’ way, with ‘white gloves’: that too is persecution. There are more witnesses, more martyrs in the Church today than there were in the first centuries. So during this Mass, remembering our glorious ancestors, let us think also to our brothers who are persecuted, who suffer and who, with their blood are nurturing the seed of so many little Churches that are born. Let us pray for them and for us”.

Today's Mass Readings Online : Monday June 30, 2014

Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 377

Reading 1AM 2:6-10, 13-16

Thus says the LORD:
For three crimes of Israel, and for four,
I will not revoke my word;
Because they sell the just man for silver,
and the poor man for a pair of sandals.
They trample the heads of the weak
into the dust of the earth,
and force the lowly out of the way.
Son and father go to the same prostitute,
profaning my holy name.
Upon garments taken in pledge
they recline beside any altar;
And the wine of those who have been fined
they drink in the house of their god.

Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorites before them,
who were as tall as the cedars,
and as strong as the oak trees.
I destroyed their fruit above,
and their roots beneath.
It was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt,
and who led you through the desert for forty years,
to occupy the land of the Amorites.

Beware, I will crush you into the ground
as a wagon crushes when laden with sheaves.
Flight shall perish from the swift,
and the strong man shall not retain his strength;
The warrior shall not save his life,
nor the bowman stand his ground;
The swift of foot shall not escape,
nor the horseman save his life.
And the most stouthearted of warriors
shall flee naked on that day, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm PS 50:16BC-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-23

R. (22a) Remember this, you who never think of God.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
“When you see a thief, you keep pace with him,
and with adulterers you throw in your lot.
To your mouth you give free rein for evil,
you harness your tongue to deceit.”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
“You sit speaking against your brother;
against your mother’s son you spread rumors.
When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
“Consider this, you who forget God,
lest I rend you and there be no one to rescue you.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.

Gospel MT 8:18-22

When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
Another of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But Jesus answered him, “Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead.

Saint June 30 : Protomartyrs of Rome

Protomartyrs of Rome
Feast: June 30


Information:
Feast Day:June 30
Many martyrs who suffered death under Emperor Nero (r. 54-68). Owing to their executions durin the reign of Nero, they are called the Neronian Martyrs, and they are also termed "the Protomartys of Rome," being honored by the site in the Vatican City called the Piazza of the Protomartyrs. These early Christians were disciples of the Apostles, and they endured hideous tortures and ghastly deaths following the burning of Rome in the infamous fire of 62. Their dignity in suffering, and their fervor to the end, did not provide Nero or the Romans with the public diversion desired. Instead, the faith was firmly planted in the Eternal City.

(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints)
SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/protomartyrsofrome.asp#ixzz1zH56vP9h

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pope Francis at Angelus “God is always able to transform us, as He transformed Peter and Paul, to transform our hearts and forgive us everything..." Video/Text


Pope Francis calls for peace and dialogue in Iraq
29/06/2014


(Vatican Radio) Peter and Paul were “transformed” by the God’s mercy, Pope Francis said at his weekly Angelus address on Sunday.
The Church in Rome, the Pope noted, has always celebrated a single feast for the two great Apostles of Rome. “Faith in Christ made them brothers, and martyrdom made them one,” he said.
Both Saint Peter and Saint Paul were personally chosen by Christ, “and they responded to the call by offering their whole lives.” Although Peter had denied Christ, and Paul had persecuted the Church, “the grace of Christ accomplished great things in them, it transformed them!” the Pope said. “Both welcomed the love of God and allowed themselves to be transformed by His mercy; they became friends and apostles of Christ.” And so, Pope Francis said, “they continue to speak to the Church, and still today they show the path of salvation.”
The Holy Father pointed out that God can transform us, too. Even “if we should happen to fall into the gravest sins, and into the darkest night,” he said, “God is always able to transform us, as He transformed Peter and Paul, to transform our hearts and forgive us everything, thus transforming the darkness of sin into a dawn of light.”
God is able to change our lives, as He changed the lives of Peter and Paul. The grace of God, Pope Francis said, “pushes us to overcome the selfishness that we have in our heart in order to follow decisively the Master who has given His life for His friends.” The Lord can transform us, and is always ready to forgive us for anything, as long as “we open our hearts and ask for forgiveness.”
The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul “evokes in us a great joy,” the Pope said, “because it confronts us with the work of mercy in the hearts of these two men… who were great sinners.” God, he said, “wants to fill us with this grace, as He filled Peter and Paul. The Holy Father prayed that Mary might help us to welcome the grace of God as Peter and Paul did, and “to support us in the hour of trial, in order to bear witness to Jesus and His Gospel” – and asked his hearers to pray especially for the Archbishops who a little earlier had concelebrated Mass with him in Saint Peter’s.  Shared from Radio Vaticana and Youtube - Vatican
APPEAL FOR IRAQ AFTER ANGELUS
(Vatican Radio) Following the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis again appealed for peace and dialogue in Iraq. “The news coming from Iraq is unfortunately very painful,” he said. “I join the bishops of the country in appealing to governments that, through dialogue, it might be possible to preserve national unity and avoid war.”
The Holy Father also expressed his concern for refugees in Iraq: “I am close to the thousands of families, especially Christian, who have had to leave their homes and who are in grave danger.”
“Violence begets violence,” Pope Francis declared. “Dialogue is the only way to peace.”
The Pope concluded his appeal with a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary: “Let us pray to the Virgin Mary, that she might safeguard the people of Iraq.” Shared From Radio Vaticana

List of Archbishops who Received Pallium from Pope Francis - Video/Text


Pope Francis at Mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
29/06/2014



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul on Sunday, in the Basilica of Saint Peter. During the Mass, he conferred the pallium on Archbishops from around the world who had been appointed within the past year.
The pallium is a woolen vestment that hangs over the shoulders of Archbishops, a symbol of their jurisdiction and their union with the Pope.
In his homily for the Mass, Pope Francis spoke about the confidence we must have in the Lord. Recalling the story of Saint Peter’s deliverance from prison in the first reading, the Pope said “Peter realized that the Lord had ‘rescued him from the hand of Herod’; he realized that the Lord had freed him from fear and from chains.” We too are freed by the Lord, “from every fear and from all that enslaves us, so that we can be truly free.”
Speaking to the Archbishops, Pope Francis said, “the problem for us, then, is fear, and looking for refuge in our pastoral responsibilities.”
“I wonder, dear brother bishops,” he said, “are we afraid? What are we afraid of?”
Pope Francis said, “The witness of Saint Peter reminds us that our true refuge is trust in God. Trust in God banishes all fear and sets us free from every form of slavery and all worldly temptation.”
Peter, he said, “does not trust himself and his own strength, but instead entrusts himself to Jesus and His mercy… Precisely at this moment fear, insecurity and cowardice dissipate.”
God is always faithful, the Pope continued, and this fidelity is “the source of our confidence and peace.” The Lord’s fidelity “keeps kindled within us the desire to serve Him and to serve our sisters and brothers in charity.”
Pope Francis said the example of Peter resonates today, especially for Bishops, but also for all Pastors: “This experience of Peter is a message for us too, dear brother archbishops.  Today the Lord repeats to me, to you, and to all pastors: Follow me!  Waste no time in questioning or in useless chattering; do not dwell on secondary things, but look to what is essential and follow me.  Follow me without regard for the difficulties.  Follow me in preaching the Gospel.  Follow me by the witness of a life shaped by the grace you received in baptism and holy orders.  Follow me by speaking of me to those with whom you live, day after day, in your work, your conversations and among your friends.  Follow me by proclaiming the Gospel to all, especially to the least among us, so that no one will fail to hear the word of life which sets us free from every fear and enables us to trust in the faithfulness of God. Follow me!”
Shared from Radio Vaticana - Video and List Shared from RomeReports
LIST OF ARCHBISHOPS WHO WILL RECEIVE THE PALLIUM: 
 1. Msgr. Victor Henry THAKUR, Archbishop of Raipur (India) 
 2. Msgr. José Rafael QUIRÓS QUIRÓS, Archbishop of San José de Costa Rica (Costa Rica) 
 3. Msgr. Giuseppe FIORINI MOROSINI, O.M., Archbishop of the region of Calabria-Bova (Italy) 
 4. Msgr. Leo W. CUSHLEY, Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh (Scotland) 
 5. Msgr. Jaime SPENGLER, O.F.M., Archbishop of Porto Alegre (Brazil) 
 6. Msgr. Jean-Luc BOUILLERET, Archbishop of Besançon (France) 
 7. Msgr. Leonard Paul BLAIR, Archbishop of Hartford (U.S.A.) 
 8. Msgr. Gabriel ‘Leke ABEGUNRIN, Archbishop of Ibadan (Nigeria) 
 9. Msgr. Sebastian Francis SHAW, O.F.M., Archbishop of Lahore (Pakistan) 
 10. Msgr. Franz LACKNER, O.F.M., Archbishop of Salzburg (Austria) 
 11. Msgr. Thomas Luke MSUSA, S.M.M., Archbishop of Blantyre (Malawi) 
 12. Msgr. Benjamin Marc Balthason RAMAROSON, C.M., Archbishop of Antsiranana (Madagascar) 13. Msgr. René Osvaldo REBOLLEDO SALINAS, Archbishop of La Serena (Chile) 
 14. Msgr. Marlo M. PERALTA, Archbishop of Nueva Segovia (The Philippines) 
 15. Msgr. Emmanuel OBBO, Archbishop of Tororo (Uganda) 
 16. Msgr. Daniel Fernando STURLA BERHOUET, S.D.B., Archbishop of Montevideo (Uruguay) 
 17. Msgr. Marco ARNOLFO, Archbishop of Vercelli (Italy) 
 18. Msgr. Damian Denis DALLU, Archbishop of Songea (Tanzania) 
 19. Msgr. Romulo T. DE LA CRUZ, Archbishop of Zamboanga (The Philippines) 
 20. Msgr. Malcolm Patrick McMAHON, O.P., Archbishop of Liverpool (England) 
 21. Msgr. Paul BÙI VN OC, Archbishop of Thành-Phô Hô Chí Minh, Hôchiminh Ville (Vietnam) 
 22. Msgr. Wojciech POLAK, Archbishop of Gniezno (Poland) 
 23. Msgr. José Luiz Majella DELGADO, C.SS.R., Archbishop of Pouso Alegre (Brazil) 
 24.Msgr. Agustinus AGUS, Archbishop of Pontianak (Indonesia) 
 Archbishops who won't be present at the ceremony: 
 25. Msgr. Tarcisius Gervazio ZIYAYE, Archbishop of Lilongwe (Malawi) 
 26. Msgr. Nicholas MANG THANG, Archbishop of Mandalay (Burma) 
 27. Msgr. Stephan BURGER, Archbishop of Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany)

SHARE - Official Prayer for Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul - 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

Pope Francis "Trust in God banishes all fear and sets us free from every form of slavery..." Solemnity Homily/Mass


Pope Francis blesses the congregation with the Book of the Gospels, at Mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
29/06/2014




(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul on Sunday, in the Basilica of Saint Peter. During the Mass, he conferred the pallium on Archbishops from around the world who had been appointed within the past year.
Among those present for the celebration was an Ecumenical Delegation from the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Pope Francis’ homily focused on the importance for pastors of placing their entire confidence in the Lord.
Below, please find the complete text of Pope Francis’ homily for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.
On this Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the principal patrons of Rome, we welcome with joy and gratitude the Delegation sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch, our venerable and beloved brother Bartholomaios, and led by Metropolitan Ioannis.  Let us ask the Lord that this visit too may strengthen our fraternal bonds as we journey toward that full communion between the two sister Churches which we so greatly desire.
“Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod” (Acts 12:11).  When Peter began his ministry to the Christian community of Jerusalem, great fear was still in the air because of Herod’s persecution of members of the Church.  There had been the killing of James, and then the imprisonment of Peter himself, in order to placate the people.  While Peter was imprisoned and in chains, he heard the voice of the angel telling him, “Get up quickly… dress yourself and put on your sandals… Put on your mantle and follow me!” (Acts 12:7-8).  The chains fell from him and the door of the prison opened before him.  Peter realized that the Lord had “rescued him from the hand of Herod”; he realized that the Lord had freed him from fear and from chains.  Yes, the Lord liberates us from every fear and from all that enslaves us, so that we can be truly free.  Today’s liturgical celebration expresses this truth well in the refrain of the Responsorial Psalm: “The Lord has freed me from all my fears”.
The problem for us, then, is fear and looking for refuge in our pastoral responsibilities.
I wonder, dear brother bishops, are we afraid?  What are we afraid of?  And if we are afraid, what forms of refuge do we seek, in our pastoral life, to find security?  Do we look for support from those who wield worldly power?  Or do we let ourselves be deceived by the pride which seeks gratification and recognition, thinking that these will offer us security?  Dear brother Bishops, where do we find our security?
The witness of the Apostle Peter reminds us that our true refuge is trust in God.  Trust in God banishes all fear and sets us free from every form of slavery and all worldly temptation.  Today the Bishop of Rome and other bishops, particularly the metropolitans who have received the pallium, feel challenged by the example of Saint Peter to assess to what extent each of us puts his trust in the Lord.
Peter recovered this trust when Jesus said to him three times: “Feed my sheep” (Jn 21: 15,16,17).  Peter thrice confessed his love for Jesus, thus making up for his threefold denial of Christ during the passion.  Peter still regrets the disappointment which he caused the Lord on the night of his betrayal.  Now that the Lord asks him: “Do you love me?”, Peter does not trust himself and his own strength, but instead entrusts himself to Jesus and his mercy: “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (Jn 21:17).  Precisely at this moment fear, insecurity and cowardice dissipate.
Peter experienced how God’s fidelity is always greater than our acts of infidelity, stronger than our denials.  He realizes that the God’s fidelity dispels our fears and exceeds every human reckoning.  Today Jesus also asks us: “Do you love me?”.  He does so because he knows our fears and our struggles.  Peter shows us the way: we need to trust in the Lord, who “knows everything” that is in us, not counting on our capacity to be faithful, but on his unshakable fidelity.  Jesus never abandons us, for he cannot deny himself (cf. 2 Tim 2:13).  He is faithful. The fidelity which God constantly shows to us pastors, far in excess of our merits, is the source of our confidence and our peace.  The Lord’s fidelity to us keeps kindled within us the desire to serve him and to serve our sisters and brothers in charity.
The love of Jesus must suffice for Peter.  He must no longer yield to the temptation to curiosity, jealousy, as when, seeing John nearby, he asks Jesus: “Lord, what about this man?” (Jn 21:21).  But Jesus, in the face of these temptations, says to him in reply: “What is it to you? Follow me” (Jn 21:22).  This experience of Peter is a message for us too, dear brother archbishops.  Today the Lord repeats to me, to you, and to all pastors: Follow me!  Waste no time in questioning or in useless chattering; do not dwell on secondary things, but look to what is essential and follow me.  Follow me without regard for the difficulties.  Follow me in preaching the Gospel.  Follow me by the witness of a life shaped by the grace you received in baptism and holy orders.  Follow me by speaking of me to those with whom you live, day after day, in your work, your conversations and among your friends.  Follow me by proclaiming the Gospel to all, especially to the least among us, so that no one will fail to hear the word of life which sets us free from every fear and enables us to trust in the faithfulness of God. Follow me!

Sunday Mass Online : June 28, 2014 - Solemnity of St. Peter and St. 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 Psalm PS 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.

Gospel MT 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.”

Saturday, June 28, 2014

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...

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."


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/stpaul.asp#ixzz1zDj3pZoo

Breaking : Meriam Ibrahim at US Embassy in Sudan Charged with False Documents - Pray

According to Reports Meriam and her family are taking refuge at the US Embassy in Sudan while on bail. CSW RELEASE : Christian Solidarity Worldwide has been informed that Meriam Ibrahim and her family are to be released from police custody on bail today. Mrs Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani have been held together with their children, Martin and Maya, at a police station in Khartoum since 24 June.
For Background on this Story See
Earlier today the prosecuting attorney extended the time of detention by 72 hours, after the initial 24-hour investigation window ended without the police concluding their investigation. Mrs Ibrahim’s lawyers successfully appealed the extension, as it violated Sudan’s criminal procedure rules, and the prosecutor accepted that grounds for bail had been established.

The police have charged Mrs Ibrahim with forgery and provision of false information under article 123 and 97 of the 1991 Criminal Code, due to alleged irregularities with her travel documents. Her husband, Daniel Wani, has been charged as an accessory to the alleged offences. The initial accusations were levelled by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), which prompted the police investigation.
The full bail conditions are not yet known, but it is anticipated that they will include the surrender of all travel documentation and will prohibit Mrs Ibrahim and her husband from leaving Sudan.
As part of their investigation, the police have spoken to and received written statements from representatives of the South Sudanese Embassy, who have verified that Mrs Ibrahim’s travel documents were issued by their embassy and that they are legitimate. Furthermore, the family’s lawyers have highlighted the fact that the Sudanese authorities cannot investigate a crime under article 97 which relates to providing false information to a Sudanese official, as opposed to a South Sudanese official.
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “We welcome the decision to release Mrs Ibrahim and her family on bail but continue to be deeply concerned about their treatment. Mrs Ibrahim and Mr Wani’s extended detention, despite the provision of credible evidence by relevant officials from the South Sudanese embassy that negates every allegation levelled against them, violates Sudan’s criminal procedures as well as article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Sudan is a signatory. We call for the charges against Mrs Ibrahim and Mr Wani to be dropped and urge the Sudanese government to allow the family to leave the country unhindered.” SOURCE CSW 
VIDEO BBC

Pope Francis meets Ecumenical Patriarchate "We know very well that this unity is a gift of God...."

28/06/2014

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis addressed the Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Vatican on Saturday to mark the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, celebrated on 29 June.
In his message, the Pope recalled the pilgrimage he shared with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to the Holy Land last month and their common prayer at the Vatican with the presidents of Israel and Palestine.
“The Lord granted us these occasions of fraternal encounter, in which we were able to express the love uniting us in Christ, and to renew our mutual desire to walk together along the path to full unity,” the Pope said.
“We know very well that this unity is a gift of God, a gift that even now the Most High grants us the grace to attain whenever, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we choose to look at one another with the eyes of faith and to see ourselves as we truly are in God’s plan, according to the designs of his eternal will, and not what we have become as a result of the historical consequences of our sins,” he said.
“If all of us can learn, prompted by the Spirit, to look at one another in God,” he continued, “our path will be even straighter and our cooperation all the more easy in the many areas of daily life which already happily unite us.”
In his remarks to the Pope, Eastern Orthodox Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamo, who headed the Delegation, expressed “full commitment… to promote the theological dialogue between our two churches, which continues in a spirit of love, mutual trust and respect.”
He pointed out that the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church is set to meet in September to continue discussions on primacy in the Church.
“It is a difficult subject but with the grace of God we hope to make progress,” Metropolitan Zizioulas said. “The way that Your Holiness understands and applies ecclesial primacy offers inspiration and hope in our efforts to reach agreement on this thorny issue.” 
Read Pope Francis’ complete address below:
The Solemnity of the Holy Patrons of the Church of Rome, the Apostles Peter and Paul, once again gives me the joy of greeting a delegation from the sister Church of Constantinople. In extending to you a warm welcome, I express my gratitude to the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness Bartholomaios I, and to the Holy Synod for having sent you to share with us in the joy of this feast.
I have vivid and moving memories of my recent meetings with my beloved brother Bartholomaios. During our common pilgrimage to the Land of Jesus, we were able to relive the gift of that embrace between our venerable predecessors, Athenagoras I and Paul VI, which took place fifty years ago in the holy city of Jerusalem. That prophetic gesture gave decisive impulse to a journey which, thank God, has never ceased. I consider it a special gift from the Lord that we were able to venerate the holy places together and to pray at each other’s side at the place of Christ’s burial, where we can actually touch the foundation of our hope. The joy of that meeting was then renewed when, in a certain sense, we concluded our pilgrimage here at the tomb of the Apostle Peter as we joined in fervent prayer, together with the Presidents of Israel and Palestine, for the gift of peace in the Holy Land. The Lord granted us these occasions of fraternal encounter, in which we were able to express the love uniting us in Christ, and to renew our mutual desire to walk together along the path to full unity.
We know very well that this unity is a gift of God, a gift that even now the Most High grants us the grace to attain whenever, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we choose to look at one another with the eyes of faith and to see ourselves as we truly are in God’s plan, according to the designs of his eternal will, and not what we have become as a result of the historical consequences of our sins. If all of us can learn, prompted by the Spirit, to look at one another in God, our path will be even straighter and our cooperation all the more easy in the many areas of daily life which already happily unite us.
This way of “looking at one another in God” is nourished by faith, hope and love; it gives rise to an authentic theological reflection which is truly scientia Dei, a participation in that vision which God has of himself and of us. It is a reflection which can only bring us closer to one another on the path of unity, despite our differing starting points. I hope and I pray, then, that the work of the Joint International Commission can be a sign of this profound understanding, this theology “on its knees”. In this way, the Commission’s reflections on the concepts of primacy and synodality, communion in the universal Church and the ministry of the Bishop of Rome will not be an academic exercise or a mere debate about irreconcilable positions. All of us need, with courage and confidence, to be open to the working of the Holy Spirit. We need to let ourselves be caught up in Christ’s loving gaze upon the Church, his Bride, in our journey of spiritual ecumenism. It is a journey upheld by the martyrdom of so many of our brothers and sisters who, by their witness to Jesus Christ the Lord, have brought about an ecumenism of blood.
Dear members of the Delegation, with sentiments of sincere respect, friendship and love in Christ, I renew my heartfelt gratitude for your presence among us. I ask you to convey my greeting to my venerable brother Bartholomaios and to continue to pray for me and for the ministry with which I have been entrusted. Through the intercession of Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God, and of Saints Peter and Paul, the princes of the Apostles, and Saint Andrew the first-called, may Almighty God bless us and fill us with every grace. Amen.
Shared from Radio Vaticana