Friday, April 11, 2014

Pope Francis on Sin, Devil, Abortion, Marriage, Education

From the moment of its conception, life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.” ( Gaudium et Spes, 51).

Today the Pope spoke during his non-Magisterial, off-the-cuff fervorino at morning Mass in strong terms not just about generic, impersonal “evil”, but about the Enemy of your soul, the Devil.
From VR:
“We too are tempted, we too are the target of attacks by the devil because the spirit of Evil does not want our holiness, he does not want our Christian witness, he does not want us to be disciples of Christ. And what does the Spirit of Evil do, through his temptations, to distance us from the path of Jesus? The temptation of the devil has three characteristics and we need to learn about them in order not to fall into the trap. What does Satan do to distance us from the path of Jesus? Firstly, his temptation begins gradually but grows and is always growing. Secondly, it grows and infects another person, it spreads to another and seeks to be part of the community. And in the end, in order to calm the soul, it justifies itself. It grows, it spreads and it justifies itself.”
“We are all tempted because the law of our spiritual life, our Christian life is a struggle: a struggle. That’s because the Prince of this world, Satan, doesn’t want our holiness, he doesn’t want us to follow Christ. Maybe some of you might say: ‘But Father, how old fashioned you are to speak about the devil in the 21st century!’ ["But Father! But Father!..."] But look out because the devil is present! The devil is here… even in the 21st century! And we mustn’t be naïve, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan.”
Pope Francis also spoke about the need to reaffirm the rights of parents [NOT the state!] to decide “the moral and religious education of their children” and reject all forms of “educational experimentation with children and young people”.
He said that it is every child’s right to grow up in a family “with a father and a mother” [Get that?  With a FATHER and a MOTHER] capable of creating “a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity”. [Some other environments are less suitable, and some are just unsuitable.] The Pope also called for an end to what he termed as “educational experiments” with children and young people, pushing a “dictatorship of one form of thinking” on them in the name of a pretended “modernity”.
The Pope noted that the “horrors of the manipulation of education that we experienced in the great genocidal dictatorships of the twentieth century have not disappeared[Like Marxism and Nazism.] they have retained a current relevance under various guises and proposals”.

Pope Francis: Human life sacred and inviolable

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday reiterated human life is sacred and inviolable during a meeting with Italy’s Pro-Life Movement (Movimento per la Vita), adding every civil right is based on the “first and most fundamental right,” the right to life: which is not subordinate to any condition, neither qualitative, nor economic, much less ideological.

The Holy Father said one of the most serious risks of the present age is the divorce between economics and morality, so that as the market gives us every technical innovation, it neglects more and more elementary ethical standards.

“It is must be therefore reiterated the strongest opposition to any direct attack on life, especially innocent and defenseless life, and the unborn child in the womb is the most concrete example of innocence,” said Pope Francis. “Let us remember the words of the Second Vatican Council: From the moment of its conception, life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.” ( Gaudium et Spes, 51).

Pope Francis said for a Christian, it is a part of the witness of the Gospel to protect life with courage and love in all its stages.

“I encourage you to always act with a style of nearness, of closeness: that every woman feels regarded as a person who is heard, accepted, and accompanied,” he said.

Pope Francis also showed gratitude for two specific activities of the Pro-Life Movement: The “Gemma Project”, which works with woman facing crisis pregnancies; and the “One of Us” Campaign, which is a European Union Citizens’ Initiative requesting the prohibition of EU financing of activities which involve the destruction of human embryos, especially in the areas of research, development cooperation and public health.

Pope Francis' Lessons For American Christians"

"Those of us who would describe ourselves as 'conservative' would do well to follow Pope Francis’ model: only by taking action in the form of charity will our intentions as Christians ever be trusted, particularly in an age when those who disagree with us politically and culturally have successfully portrayed us as hate-mongers."

It’s an understatement to say that Pope Francis possesses a zeal that has galvanized observers worldwide, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. To understand the Holy Father’s points of emphasis, we must first cut through the mainstream media’s obsession with twisting his words to fit their own questionable aims. Once we do so, then we can see what a historically important figure Francis has already been. Moreover, for Roman Catholics in the United States, Pope Francis offers some particularly profound examples of how we ought to be engaged with our neighbors, our community, and our society at large. In short, one might say that in Pope Francis’ papacy, we see a fitting, four-point blueprint for how we might redeem the American Republic.

First, even though all our modern popes have embodied love and charity, Francis has made them the pillars of his public ministry. Those of us who would describe ourselves as “conservative” would do well to follow Pope Francis’ model: only by taking action in the form of charity will our intentions as Christians ever be trusted, particularly in an age when those who disagree with us politically and culturally have successfully portrayed us as hate-mongers. In short, not only do we have a moral obligation to perform acts of charity, but so doing enhances the appeal of the other aspects of our Christian, conservative message in the public square.

Second, Francis is an excellent model of how exuding supernatural joy attracts others to a conversation—and not just about those topics with which they already agree. Exuding joy is an act of opening a door, which, frankly, we as Christian conservatives in America have not always done. For too long, we have hunkered down in the trenches, awaiting the bombardment from the secular Left to cease; instead, what’s happened is that the battle line has inched closer to our trenches, causing attrition in our ranks. As Pope Francis appreciates, we must lose our defensive posture, step out of our trenches, and win over the other side with a love for Jesus Christ that no enemy can defeat. Our candidates for elected office, for example, must find ways to discuss the hard, divisive issues in a way that not only upholds our principles but also attracts new supporters. Otherwise, we will lose the war of attrition that the “culture war” has become.

Third, Francis has reminded all of us that we live in an era of triage — that is, a time when those of us given the gift of faith are “nurses” and “doctors” in a field hospital:

I can clearly see that what the Church needs today is the ability to heal wounds and warm the hearts of faithful, it needs to be by their side. I see the Church as a field hospital after a battle. It’s pointless to ask a seriously injured patient whether his cholesterol or blood sugar levels are high! It’s his wounds that need to be healed. The rest we can talk about later. Now we must think about treating those wounds. And we need to start from the bottom.

For example, even for those of us who love a high, beautiful Holy Mass, we can appreciate from the Holy Father’s comment that the tendency to obsess over debates about the liturgy, for example, is akin to telling a terminally-ill patient that the most important aspect of their medical care is eating a balanced diet. We first have an obligation to attract people to a conversation so that, in time, we have many more believers who can appreciate the full beauty of what the Church offers.

Fourth, though it is impossible (and no doubt, imprudent) to reduce the Holy Father’s papacy to a single theme, when we consider all of these points, I believe his work thus far is calling us to what St. Josemaría Escrivá called the “apostolate of friendship.” Consider St. Josemaría’s words: “Those well-timed words, whispered into the ear of your wavering friend; the helpful conversation that you managed to start at the right moment; the ready professional advice that improves his university work; the discreet indiscretion by which you open up unexpected horizons for his zeal. This all forms part of the ‘apostolate of friendship’” (The Way, #973). What an easy but profound resolution for us to make at the end of Lent!

Considering that Pope Francis is a man of action, he personifies what each of us needs to do: find time in our contemplation to identify that one apostolate, that one ministry, where we can do the Church’s work in its field hospital. That may be volunteering in our parish, or in a local home or kitchen for the poor. Perhaps it’s serving underprivileged youth, in particular by assisting them with that one thing that will elevate them—education. Or perhaps we’re called to be involved in something even bigger, as on a national scale.

Regardless of the specific apostolate, each of us is called. And we need to stop waiting to do good, as if the matter were not urgent.

God bless you and yours,

Dr. Kevin Roberts
President of Wyoming Catholic College 

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The “Seamless Garment” Revisited

By Joseph Sobran

The late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, former archbishop of Chicago, endeared himself to liberals, especially liberal Catholic politicians, by adopting the metaphor of life as a “seamless garment.” 

It isn’t enough to oppose abortion, he insisted; to be consistent, you have to defend life on every front, as for instance by relieving poverty and illness.

This came as welcome news to the liberals, since it turned “life” into a checklist, in which abortion was only one of many items, and not necessarily the most urgent. You could be “pro-life,” according to the Bernardin standard, merely by supporting the welfare state.

Well, of course life is, in some sense, a seamless garment. We should oppose abortion on the same principle that we should oppose the bombing of cities. But according to Bernardin’s way of thinking, you mustn’t oppose bombing Hiroshima unless you also favor setting up an anti-poverty program there.

Conservative Catholics smelled a rat. They sensed that this “seamless garment” was really just a way of minimizing the special problem of abortion, at a time when more than a million abortions were being performed in America every year.

Liberal Catholics, on the other hand, loved the idea. But somehow the imperative of consistency worked only one way. We never heard any of them say, “Well, it’s not enough for me to support the welfare state. If I’m really going to be pro-life, I must also fight to end legal abortion.” Politicians like New York’s Mario Cuomo felt they had been vindicated in their empty “personal” opposition to abortion.

You know that familiar line: “I am personally opposed to abortion, but ...” But you weren’t going to do anything about it. If you opposed it “personally,” you were in favor of it practically. And everyone knew it.

Abortion remains legal today thanks in large part to all those nominal Catholic politicians who oppose it — “personally.” That telltale adverb must lift the hearts of abortionists everywhere.

Cuomo is still at it. He recently told NBC’s Tim Russert that “we” — we Catholics — are “hypocrites” because we say we oppose contraception even though most of “us” use contraceptives like other people. Of course, it goes without saying, people who call themselves Catholics while constantly subverting Catholic morality aren’t guilty of hypocrisy. To hear Cuomo tell it, he’s one of the few honest Catholics in politics. So why do so many other Catholic pols talk like him?

But has anyone ever refrained from getting or procuring an abortion because people like Cuomo “personally” disapprove of it? Extremely doubtful. Their message is clear: “I can’t give my blessing to any abortion, but please don’t let me discourage you from getting one. I wouldn’t want to impose my beliefs on anyone.”

I sometimes wonder how such Catholics would behave if their alleged “beliefs” were sincere. It’s probably a purely hypothetical question, but if they really thought, felt, and acted as if abortion were evil, without wishing to ban it by law, surely there are ways to give this view real force.

Public opinion can be powerful even when it isn’t backed up by force of law. If you advertise allegiance to the Ku Klux Klan, you’ll soon find yourself ostracized by people who don’t question your legal right to join the Klan.

In the same way, the country would change dramatically if every Catholic who professes “personal” opposition to feticide would peacefully picket abortion clinics. But can anyone even imagine a Cuomo, let alone a Ted Kennedy, doing even that much?

Even so, the country is changing. Abortion rates over the past decade have reportedly plunged dramatically. The Democratic Party is now uncomfortable about its unreserved public identification with the cause of “choice.” Even Hillary Clinton has voiced reservations about the practice — and has probably made more impact thereby than all the liberal Catholics in America put together.

So the “seamless garment” has turned out to be nothing but a loophole for hypocritical Catholic politicians. If anything, it has actually made it easier for them than for non-Catholics to give their effective support to legal abortion — that is, it has allowed them to be inconsistent and unprincipled about the very issues that Cardinal Bernardin said demand consistency and principle.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

More to Know About John Paul II

More to Know About John Paul II
Postulator of His Cause, Slawomir Oder, on His Friendship With Padre Pio, His Nights Spent in Prayer, His Desire to Go to Medjugorje

By Salvatore Cernuzio

ROME, April 02, 2014 ( - On April 27, the desire of the faithful who at the death of John Paul II cried out “saint immediately!” will be heard. The Polish Pontiff will be canonized together with his predecessor, John XXIII.

Where did John Paul II get his strength, his faith, his holiness? From an intimidate relationship with God, which was brought about in incessant prayer, such that he sometimes did not go to bed because he preferred to spend the night on the ground, in prayer.

This is confirmed by the postulator of his cause of his canonization, Monsignor Slawomir Oder, who spoke with ZENIT.

ZENIT: Everything has been said, everything has been written about John Paul II. But has the last word really been said about this “giant of the faith”?

Monsignor Oder: John Paul II himself suggested the key of his knowledge. “So many seek to know me, looking at me from outside, but I can only be known from within, that is, from the heart.” Surely the process of beatification first, and of canonization after, have made it possible to get closer to this person’s heart. Every experience and testimony was a piece that made up the mosaic of the extraordinary figure of this Pontiff. No doubt, however, to come to the heart of a person like Wojtyla remains a mystery. We can say that in the heart of this Pope there was certainly the love of God and of brothers, a love that was always becoming, which was never an event accomplished in life.

ZENIT: What new, or at least little known thing, did you discover about Wojtyla in your research?

Monsignor Oder: There are several historical aspects and aspects of his life that emerged in the process, which are little known. One of these is, without a doubt, his relation with Padre Pio, whom he met often and with whom he maintained a long epistolary relationship. Beyond some letters already known, such as the one in which he asked for prayers for Professor Poltawska, his friend and collaborator, another emerged in which the Blessed asked the Saint of Pietrelcina for intercessory prayers for the healing of faithful. Or he would ask for prayers for himself who, at the same time, was carrying out the task of Capitular Vicar of the Diocese of Krakow, while awaiting the appointment of the new archbishop, which would then be himself.

ZENIT: Anything else?

Monsignor Oder: We discovered much on the spirituality of John Paul II. More than anything it was a confirmation of what was already perceptible, visible, of his relationship with God. He had a profound relationship with the living Christ, especially in the Eucharist, from which flowed all that we faithful saw in him as fruit of extraordinary charity, apostolic zeal, passion for the Church, love of the Mystical Body. This is the secret of John Paul II’s sanctity.

ZENIT: So, beyond the great trips and addresses, is the spiritual aspect the heart of John Paul II’s pontificate?

Monsignor Oder: Absolutely. And there is a very touching episode that identifies it very well. At the end of one of his last apostolic journeys, the sick Pope was led to his bedroom by his collaborators. The next morning, they themselves found his bed intact, because John Paul II had spent the whole night in prayer, kneeling on the ground. For him, to be recollected in prayer was fundamental. So much so that, in the last months of his life, he asked to have a space in his bedroom for the Most Blessed Sacrament. His relationship with the Lord was truly extraordinary.

ZENIT: The Pope was also very devoted to Mary …

Monsignor Oder: Yes, and the process of canonization has helped us to get closer also to this. We investigated Wojtyla’s extremely profound relationship with Our Lady. A relationship that people outside sometimes did not understand and which seemed surprising. Sometimes during the Marian prayer the Pope seemed rapt in ecstasy, alienated from the surrounding context, be it while strolling or during a meeting. He lived a most personal relationship with the Virgin.

ZENIT: Therefore, there is also a mystical aspect in John Paul II?

Monsignor Oder: Decidedly yes. I cannot confirm visions, elevations or allocutions, as those with which the mystical life is often identified, but with John Paul II the aspect of a profound and authentic mysticism was present and was manifested in his being in the presence of God. A true mystic is, in fact, one who has the awareness of being in the presence of God, and lives everything from his profound encounter with the Lord.

ZENIT: You have lived for years with the figure of this man already considered a saint in life. How do you feel now that he is being elevated to the glory of the altar?

Monsignor Oder: The process of canonization was an extraordinary adventure. It has certainly marked my priestly life. I am extremely grateful to God who put me in front of this teacher of life and of faith. For me, these nine years of the process were a human adventure and an extraordinary course of Spiritual Exercises preached “indirectly” with his life, his writings, with all that was revealed in our research.

ZENIT: Do you have personal memories?

Monsignor Oder: I was never one of Wojtyla’s closest collaborators, but I keep in my heart several occasions in which I was able to perceive the Pontiff’s holiness. One of these goes back to the beginning of my priesthood, on Holy Thursday of 1993, the year in which the Pope wished to wash the feet of priests involved in the formation of seminarians. I was among those priests. Beyond the symbolic value of the ritual, what stays with me is my first contact with a person who in that genuinely humble gesture, communicated to me his love of Christ and of the priesthood itself. Another occasion presented itself towards the last months of the Pope’s life: he was sick and, unexpectedly, I found myself dining with him, together with the secretaries, the collaborators and a few other priests. There also I remember his simplicity, his great sense of hospitality, of humanity, which was revealed in the simplicity of his gestures.

ZENIT: Benedict XVI said in an interview recently that he always knew he was living near a saint. Famous also is his “do it quickly, but do it well,” when he authorized the opening of the process of beatification.

Monsignor Oder: I was very pleased to read the testimony of the Pope Emeritus. It was the confirmation of what he always revealed in the course of his pontificate: every time it was possible he would speak of his beloved Predecessor, in private or in public, during homilies and addresses. He always gave great testimony of his affection for John Paul II. And, on my part, I can express intense gratitude to Benedict for the attitude he has shown in these years. I have always felt him very close and I can affirm that he was determinant in the opening of the process of beatification shortly after the death. Looking, then, at the last historical events, I must say that Divine Providence has “directed” magnificently the whole process.

ZENIT: Do you see continuity also with Pope Francis?

Monsignor Oder: The Magisterium continues, Peter’s charism continues. Each of the popes gives consistency and historical form with his personal living and his personality. One cannot but see continuity. More in detail, there are different aspects by which Francis recalls John Paul II: his profound desire to be close to people, his courage to go beyond certain schemes, his passion for Christ present in his Mystical Body, his dialogue with the world and with the other religions.

ZENIT: One of Wojtyla’s unrealized desires was to visit China and Russia. It seems that Francis is opening a path in this connection …

Monsignor Oder: It is extraordinary that John Paul II’s efforts for an opening to the Orient have proliferated with his successors. The path opened by Wojtyla found fertile ground in Benedict’s thought and now, thanks to the historical events that accompany Francis’ pontificate, they are being realized concretely. It is always the dialectic of continuity of which we spoke before, which is then the logic of the Church: no one begins as head, Christ is the rock that acted in Peter and in his Successors. Today we are living the preparation of what will happen in the Churchtomorrow.

ZENIT: It is also said that John Paul II desired to visit Medjugorje. Can you confirm this?

Monsignor Oder: Speaking privately with his friends, the Pope said more than once: “if it were possible, I would like to go.” They are words that must not be interpreted, however, with a character of recognition or of being official in regard to the events in the Bosnian country. The Pope was always very careful in what he did, knowing the importance of his post. There is no doubt, however, that things are happening at Medjugorje that are transforming people’s heart, especially in the confessional. So the desire expressed by the Pope should be interpreted from the point of view of his priestly passion, that is, his wish to be in a place where a soul seeks Christ and finds him, thanks to a priest, through the sacrament of reconciliation or of the Eucharist.

ZENIT: And why didn’t he go?

Monsignor Oder: Because not eve
rything is possible in life …
[Translation by ZENIT]

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

O Glorious Saint Joseph....

Of all the saints on the Liturgical Calendar, aside from Jesus and Mary, by far the greatest saint is “Glorious Saint Joseph”. He indeed is in a category by himself!  The theologians classify the greatness of those in glory with the following titles: “Latria”, which means adoration that we give to the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  “Hyperdulia” given to the Blessed Virgin Mary means the highest veneration.  “Dulia”, given to the saints, implies veneration.  Finally, Glorious Saint Joseph is rightly given “Protodulia”, meaning that among the saints he is given first place; “Proto” means first!

Saint Bernadine of Siena expounds upon the reason for this theological hierarchy. In simple terms, this Franciscan Doctor of the Church asserts that God gives special graces commensurate or corresponding to the specific office or mission given to the individual.

Husband and wife married sacramentally have the sacramental grace of Matrimony to grow in mutual love for each other as well as to procreate children for the Kingdom of God. Priests, through Holy Orders, can grow daily in sanctity by preaching the Word of God and administering with joy the Sacraments to the People of God. God gives graces corresponding to the state of life!

Therefore, in the case of Glorious Saint Joseph, God entrusted this greatest of all saints with two sublime missions; one mission even greater than the other. First, St. Joseph God called to be the spouse (husband) of the Queen of the angels and saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary. How sublime!   However, God the Father entrusted Glorious Saint Joseph with an even more exalted and sublime mission—namely, the Office of being the “Foster Father” of the Son of the living God, Jesus, and the Son of the eternal Father!!!! This is even more sublime, ineffable, beyond the ability of human words to express!

Therefore, with this double mission and vocation, God obviously poured a super-abundance of graces into the heart, mind and soul of Glorious Saint Joseph!

The titles given to Glorious Saint Joseph express a literary and poetic beauty that is exalted:  “Renowned offspring of David, Light of Patriarchs, Spouse of the Mother of God, Foster Father of the Son of God, Diligent Protector of Christ, Head of the Holy Family, Guardian of virgins, Pillar of families, Solace of the wretched, Hope of the sick, terror of demons, Protector of Holy Church….

St. Teresa of Avila praying to St. Joseph
Saint Teresa of Avila who extolled the power of Saint Joseph and thanked him for saving her life, said that she never knew of any time in which Saint Joseph did not help her and immediately! One of the most pertinent titles for Saint Joseph, so important with so many crises in the modern world is Saint Joseph, patron of fathers. Let us briefly highlight the sublime virtues that Saint Joseph expressed and lived out in a concrete and daily basis as father.

Jesus, Mary, and St. Joseph
1.    REPRESENTATION OF GOD THE FATHER.   Glorious Saint Joseph was called to mirror and reflect God the Father to Jesus His Son.  Although indeed a very tall order to say the least, all fathers must strive with all of the energy in their wills to pattern their lives after Saint Joseph and strive to reflect and image to their children the Father---“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be they name…”

2.    PRESENCE!  Today we suffer from the complex and confusion of the “Drop out Dad”. We might even call it the “Drop out Dad syndrome”! Divorce, adultery, alcoholism, and  being a workaholic--- all too many Dads suffer from these serious manifestations that result in the neglect of their family and children!  This results in the Dad not being present to his children, either physically, morally, spiritually or emotionally! This then is tantamount to wounding children who most likely will perpetuate this vicious cycle with their own children. Not so with good Saint Joseph! He was constantly present to God his Father and this overflowed in an abundant river of warm, loving, tender, strong presence to his spouse and to His Child! In imitation of St. Joseph, the  Father, may fathers be totally present to their children! It can be done and it must be done so as to transform the world!

The Holy Family and work
3.     TENDERNESS.   Many fathers today are cold, mean, calculating, abrupt, sharp and cutting in word and gesture thereby resulting in provoking and planting a dreadful fear in their children!  Pope Francis reminds us the importance of tenderness in dealing with others in his words and actions—especially to the poorest of the poor.   From the heart and life of Saint Joseph emanated and exuded an infinite river of tenderness, kindness, meekness, gentleness, mercy and compassion. What a joy just to be in his loving presence! Being tender is not lacking manliness but a true manifestation of a dimension of manliness present in the very heart of God the Father, reflected in the Parable of the Prodigal Son and the person of God the Father.

St. Joseph strong and protecting the Holy Family
4.    FIRMNESS AND STRENGTH.  It might seem paradoxical that Saint Joseph represented the epitome of gentleness, but at the same time he radiated manliness, firmness, courage and strength worthy of the highest admiration! Read the Gospels! The long trek to Bethlehem with all the trials and inclement weather challenges; rejection upon arrival and acceptance;  the long, tiring and dangerous flight into Egypt to save his wife and child and providing for them until the death of Herod.  A weak-minded, soft and sensual, much less effeminate man would have collapsed like a house of cards when confronted with any of these hard and challenging situations! Not so with saint Joseph the strong and manly saint! Children desperately need both tenderness and firmness in their fathers—a harmonious balance of these opposite virtues! May Saint Joseph intercede for our fathers right now!

The Flight into Egypt
5.    FAITHFUL TILL THE END.  More than ever today we need individuals that are faithful to their word, their commitment, their vocation and mission! Despite the many obstacles presented in the Gospels, and many other incidents not recorded, Saint Joseph was faithful from start to finish. All too many men today when confronted with painful trials bail out or simply jump ship! Drinking, porn. drugs, gambling, and a plethora of vices fathers succumb to instead of biting the bullet, placing their nose to the grindstone, and plowing through the heavy snow storms of life. Fathers must meditate upon the life, actions, examples and the person of great Saint Joseph. Fathers should consecrate themselves to Glorious Saint Joseph. Fathers should pray to Saint Joseph, imitate Saint Joseph and love Saint Joseph. If all the fathers in the world would take Glorious Saint Joseph as model and guide, the world, the families and the society as a whole would be rapidly transformed. Glorious Saint Joseph, Spouse of Mary and Foster Father of Jesus, the Son of God, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen!


Pope Francis celebrates the Feast of St Joseph with special greetings for all fathers

2014-03-19 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph pointing out that he is a model for all fathers and educators.
Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the General Audience, the Pope’s catechesis focused on three aspects pertaining to the life and mission of St Joseph: as the “guardian” of the Holy Family; as the teacher and educator of the young Jesus; and as a guide who helped Jesus respond to the working of the Holy Spirit.
And speaking off the cuff, the Pope sent special greetings to all the fathers of the world, thanking them for what they do with their children. "Be close to your children" - the Pope said - "they need you. Just as St. Joseph was close to Jesus in his physical, psychological and spiritual growth, you too must be guardians in age, wisdom and grace".
listen to the report by Linda Bordoni...

Please find below the synopsis in English of the Pope’s catechesis:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today, we celebrate the feast of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Virgin Mary and Patron of the universal Church. Saint Joseph is venerated as the “guardian” of the Holy Family, and in this role he serves as a model for all fathers and educators. Joseph watched over Jesus’ human development – his growth, as Saint Luke tells us, “in wisdom, age and grace” (2:52). We think of how Joseph, as the carpenter of Nazareth, taught the young Jesus his trade and the value of work. Joseph also quietly imparted to Jesus that wisdom which consists above all in reverence for the Lord, prayer and fidelity to his word, and obedience to his will. Joseph’s paternal example helped Jesus to grow, on a human level, in his understanding and appreciation of his unique relationship to his heavenly Father. With Our Lady, Joseph guided the young Jesus as he responded to the working of the Holy Spirit in his heart and in his life. By his example and prayers, may Saint Joseph be a sure guide to all parents, priests and teachers charged with the education of our young.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pope Francis: 1st Anniversary as Pope

(Vatican Radio) St. Peter’s Square was a sea of humanity – citizens, out-of-towners & foreigners, everyone suddenly alike a pilgrim - and late afternoon had given way to twilight, and now, night had fallen over the city of Rome. Then, suddenly, at 7:05 PM Rome Time, smoke appeared from the top of the stove-pipe chimney erected above the Sistine Chapel. Gray at first, and emerging by starts, the smoke in short order began to pour forth in great billows – unmistakably white, now – the traditional signal that the cardinals in conclave had elected a new bishop of Rome, and that their choice had accepted his election – but the bells that all had been told to expect in confirmation of the signal had yet to be heard. When they did come, Vatican Radio’s Susy Hodges made the call, live on air. Listen:

Fr. Michael Rogers, SJ, who was a deacon just a few months shy of priestly ordination on that day, had been in the Vatican Radio studios earlier in the day, for the black smoke at the end of the inconclusive morning session. Now, he was in the Square. “None of us expected it would actually happen that night,” he recently recalled in a conversation with Vatican Radio looking back on the heady days of the papal transition period that culminated in the first-ever election of one of his confreres to the See of Peter.

A year on, and the Church and the world are still feeling the “Francis Effect” – a phenomenon as palpably real as it is difficult to quantify or qualify. “I think it’s a matter of excitement,” Fr. Rogers SJ offered, adding, “I think it’s a matter of recapturing imaginations.” Asked about the attempt among some in communications media to construct a narrative of opposition between the papacy of Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, Fr. Rogers SJ said that the facts tell a quite different story: of deep continuity rooted in mutual affection and esteem. “You look at these two men, and it is clear that these two men are friends,” he said.