Friday, March 6, 2015

Worldlines is sinful says Pope Francis

Pope's Morning Homily: Worldliness Numbs the Soul

Reflects on the Parable of Lazarus During Mass at Casa Santa Marta

Vatican City, ( Junno Arocho Esteves   

"Worldliness is a sinful state of soul." These were the words of Pope Francis during his homily at Casa Santa Marta this morning.

According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father reflected on today's Gospel from St. Luke, which recalled the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, a poor man who would eat the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. The Pope noted that while the man is noted for his wealth and indifference towards Lazarus, there is no mention in the Gospel that he was a bad person.
“He was, perhaps, a religious man, in its own way: he prayed, perhaps, a few prayers and two or three times a year definitely went to the temple to make the sacrifices and gave large offerings to the priests, and they – with their clerical pusillanimity – gave him to sit in the place of honor," the Pope said.
“When he went about town, we might imagine his car with tinted windows so as not [to be] seen from without – who knows – but definitely, yes, his soul, the eyes of his soul were darkened so that he could not see out. He saw only into his life, and did not realize what had happened to [himself]. He was not bad: he was sick, sick with worldliness – and worldliness transforms souls."
The Pope went on to say that those caught up in worldliness live in an "artificial world" that numbs the soul, thus allowing people to be blind to the sufferings of others.
"With a worldly heart you can go to church, you can pray, you can do so many things. But Jesus, at the Last Supper, in the prayer to the Father, what did He pray? ‘But please, Father, keep these disciples from falling into the world, from falling into worldliness.’"
Worldliness – he said – "is a subtle sin. It is more than a sin: it is a sinful state of the soul.”
The Jesuit Pope added that the emptiness of the rich man's soul becomes a curse while the poor man's trust in the Lord turned into a blessing. He also noted that while the poor man was given a name in the Gospel, the rich man did not.
“[The rich man] had no name, because the worldly lose their name. They are just one of the crowd affluent, who do not need anything. The worldly lose their name.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis said that Abraham serves as a figure of God the Father. Despite the sins of the worldly, he added, they still have a father.
"We are not orphans, however: until the end, until the last moment there is the confidence that we have a Father who awaits us," he said. "Let us entrust ourselves to Him. ‘Son,’ he says: ‘son’, in the midst of that worldliness; ‘son.’ We are not orphans.”

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Reformer of the Poor Clares

St. Colette

Image of St. Colette


Feastday: March 6
Birth: 1380
Death: 1447

Colette was the daughter of a carpenter named DeBoilet at Corby Abbey in Picardy, France. She was born on January 13, christened Nicolette, and called Colette. Orphaned at seventeen, she distributed her inheritance to the poor. She became a Franciscan tertiary, and lived at Corby as a solitary. She soon became well known for her holiness and spiritual wisdom, but left her cell in 1406 in response to a dream directing her to reform the Poor Clares. She received the Poor Clares habit from Peter de Luna, whom the French recognized as Pope under the name of Benedict XIII, with orders to reform the Order and appointing her Superior of all convents she reformed. Despite great opposition, she persisted in her efforts. She founded seventeen convents with the reformed rule and reformed several older convents. She was reknowned for her sanctity, ecstacies, and visions of the Passion, and prophesied her own death in her convent at Ghent, Belgium. A branch of the Poor Clares is still known as the Collettines. She was canonized in 1807. Her feast day is March 6th.

Another Catholic plea to end the death penalty

National Catholic Journals Unite: ‘Capital Punishment Must End’

Mar 5 2015 - 6:00am | The Editors
Man holds sign at vigil outside St. Louis University College Church ahead of execution of death-row inmate.
Next month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Glossip v. Gross, a case out of Oklahoma that challenges the most widely used lethal injection protocol as being cruel and unusual punishment.
The court took up the case in January after a year of three high-profile, problematic executions in three states. The court will likely issue a ruling by June. Our hope is that it will hasten the end of the death penalty in the United States.
Archbishop Thomas Wenski, of Miami, and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, praised the decision, saying, “...the use of the death penalty devalues human life and diminishes respect for human dignity. We bishops continue to say, we cannot teach killing is wrong by killing.” The chair of the Pro-Life Activities committee, Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley, also praised the court’s decision to hear the case. “Society can protect itself in ways other than the use of the death penalty,” Cardinal O’Malley said. “We pray that the Court’s review of these protocols will lead to the recognition that institutionalized practices of violence against any person erode reverence for the sanctity of every human life. Capital punishment must end.”
We, the editors of four Catholic journals—America, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter and Our Sunday Visitor—urge the readers of our diverse publications and the whole U.S. Catholic community and all people of faith to stand with us and say, “Capital punishment must end.”
The Catholic Church in this country has fought against the death penalty for decades. Pope St. John Paul II amended the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church to include a de facto prohibition against capital punishment. Last year, Pope Francis called on all Catholics “to fight...for the abolition of the death penalty.” The practice is abhorrent and unnecessary. It is also insanely expensive as court battles soak up resources better deployed in preventing crime in the first place and working toward restorative justice for those who commit less heinous crimes.
Admirably, Florida has halted executions until the Supreme Court rules, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich has postponed all seven executions in the state scheduled for 2015 pending further study. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf declared a moratorium on the death penalty until he has received and reviewed a task force’s report on capital punishment, which he called “a flawed system...ineffective, unjust, and expensive.” Both governors also cited the growing number of death row inmates who have been exonerated nationwide in recent years.
In a statement thanking Wolf, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said: “Turning away from capital punishment does not diminish our support for the families of murder victims.... But killing the guilty does not honor the dead nor does it ennoble the living. When we take a guilty person’s life we only add to the violence in an already violent culture and we demean our own dignity in the process.”
Archbishop Chaput reminds us that when considering the death penalty, we cannot forget that it is we, acting through our government, who are the moral agents in an execution. The prisoner has committed his crime and has answered for it in this life just as he shall answer for it before God. But, it is the government, acting in our name, that orders and perpetrates lethal injection. It is we who add to, instead of heal, the violence.
Advocates of the death penalty often claim that it brings closure to a victim’s family. But advocates who walk with the families of victims, like Mercy Sister Camille D’Arienzo, tell a different story.
“I think of mothers who attend our annual service for Families and Friends of Murder Victims,” a program the Mercy sisters have sponsored for 18 years. “Asked what they want for their children’s killers, no one asks for the death penalty,” she said. “Their reason: ‘I wouldn’t want another mother to suffer what I have suffered.’ Their hearts, though broken, are undivided in their humanity.”
The facts of the case in Oklahoma—which echo reports from Ohio and Arizona—were especially egregious. Last April, the drug protocol failed in the execution of Clayton Lockett. Lockett moaned in pain before authorities suspended the execution; he would die of a heart attack later that night. Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City said at the time, “The execution of Clayton Lockett really highlights the brutality of the death penalty, and I hope it leads us to consider whether we should adopt a moratorium on the death penalty or even abolish it altogether.”
The Supreme Court has agreed with Archbishop Coakley and will consider the issue. We join our bishops in hoping the Court will reach the conclusion that it is time for our nation to embody its commitment to the right-to-life by abolishing the death penalty once and for all.

Rest in Peace Cardinal Egan, Cardinal Archbishop of New York 2000-2009

Cardinal Egan commended to Christ's mercy
Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop Emeritus of New York, who died March 5, 2015.
Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop Emeritus of New York, who died March 5, 2015.
.- Cardinal Edward Egan, a former Archbishop of New York who shepherded the city in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, died Thursday at the age of 82.

“Join me, please, in thanking God for his life, especially his generous and faithful priesthood,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said March 5. “Pray as well that the powerful mercy of Jesus, in which our cardinal had such trust, has ushered him into heaven.”

Cardinal Dolan said his predecessor passed away after lunch in residence at the Chapel of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. His secretary, Father Douglas Crawford, gave him the sacraments. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead due to cardiac arrest.

Cardinal Egan served as Archbishop of New York from 2000 to 2009. His time as New York archbishop included the horrors of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the intense emotion of the rescue efforts.

“It was a time of great tragedy, but also of great heroes,” he told the National Catholic Register in a September 2011 interview.

“New York and the world saw examples of self-sacrifice that I don't think have ever been matched in our time,” he said. “People worked around the clock, with dust and sand from above or below. No one was thinking about themselves. Police officers, firefighters, emergency workers poured themselves out for others. You couldn't help but be inspired by that. We saw heroism and self-sacrifice — expressions of great holiness.”

Cardinal Egan went to a hospital soon after the attacks and then visited Ground Zero at the site of the World Trade Center, trying to comfort victims and encourage relief workers.

The cardinal’s time in New York also witnessed celebrations of the archdiocese’s bicentennial in 2008, a year which also included the pastoral visit of Benedict XVI to the city.

St. John Paul II named him a cardinal in 2001, giving him as his titular church the Basilica of Saints John and Paul on the Caelian Hill.

As archbishop, Cardinal Egan worked to ensure financial reform in one of the largest archdioceses of the United States.

He also established the Catholic Channel on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.

Cardinal Egam was born April 2, 1932 in Oak Park, Ill. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill. He finished his seminary studies at the Pontifical North American College in Vatican City and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1957. He earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University and then served in the Chicago archdiocese before returning to Rome to serve as assistant vice-rector and an instructor at the Pontifical North American College.

After earning a doctoral degree in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University, he served as a secretary to Cardinal John Cody of Chicago and later served as chancellor of the Chicago archdiocese. He served on several ecumenical boards and other organizations that addressed social concerns, including racial issues.

From 1971-1985 he served as a judge on the tribunal of the Roman Rota. During this time he also worked for the Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship and the Congregation for the Clergy. He was a professor at several Catholic universities in Rome and was among the six canon law experts who reviewed the 1983 Code of Canon Law before its promulgation.

Cardinal Egan was consecrated a bishop in 1985, and appointed an Auxiliary Bishop of New York. He served there until 1988, when he was made Bishop of Bridgeport.

His time in Connecticut included work in organizing Catholic school system and the diocesan health care system, as well as service in the US bishops conference.

Cardinal Egan remained in the Diocese of Bridgeport until his 2000 transfer to the Archdiocese of New York.

He served on the boards of many universities, charities and hospitals. He had leadership roles in many Catholic organizations, including the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, the Knights of Malta, the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, the Society of Catholic Social Scientists and the Black and Indian Mission Office.

Cardinal Dolan expressed his sympathies to Cardinal Egan’s family and to his “spiritual family” in the Archdiocese of New York

Cardinal Egan has died

Retired New York Cardinal Edward Egan died today shortly after lunch.  He was 82.  More details later this evening.  May he rest in peace.

Pope's upcoming trip to Pompeii proves anything possible with God

Satanism, Pompeii and the Rosary – a bizarre tale surrounds Francis' next trip
Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square during the Wednesday general audience on Nov. 26, 2014. Credit: Bohumil Petrik/CNA.
Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square during the Wednesday general audience on Nov. 26, 2014. Credit: Bohumil Petrik/CNA.
.- Later this month Pope Francis will head to Pompeii: a city which lays claim to the curious story of a former Satanist priest – now on the way to sainthood – and his miracle-working Marian devotion.

Blessed Bartolo Longo is considered the founder of modern Pompeii, which was established in 1891 after he commissioned the building of the city’s sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Holy Rosary.

The sanctuary is home to a miraculous image of Our Lady of the Rosary, which was given to Longo by his confessor, Father Alberto Radente, in 1875.

Originally born into a devout Roman Catholic family, Longo fell away from his faith while studying law in Naples in the 1860s – a time when the Catholic Church faced opposition from a nationalist movement fighting for Italian unification, and which viewed the Pope as an antagonist to their cause.

In addition to political problems, the Church was also fighting against the growing popularity of involvement in the Occult, which at that time had a strong presence in Naples.

Longo himself became involved in a Satanist cult, and eventually claimed to have been ordained as a Satanist priest.

However, after struggling with anxiety and depression, at times even suicidal thoughts, over the next few years, a university professor from his hometown urged Longo to abandon Satanism and introduced him to his future confessor, Fr. Radente.

Under Fr. Radente’s guidance Longo began praying the rosary and converted back to Christianity.

He developed a great devotion to the rosary, and became a third order Dominican in 1871, working to restore the faith of the people in Pompeii by promoting Marian devotion, particularly to the rosary.

The image of Our Lady of the Rosary that hangs in the sanctuary at Pompeii is a work from the school of Luca Giordano in the 17th century. It portrays Mary seated on a throne holding the child Jesus and handing a rosary to St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena, who are standing at her feet.

Originally an old, worn-out painting belonging to the Rosariello Convent in Naples, the image was delivered to Longo by way of a cart, which in those days were used to transport manure.

A few months after he received the image of Our Lady of the Rosary given to him by Fr. Radente, miracles started to happen.

The first miracle took place the same day Longo exposed the image to the public after scrounging funds for its restoration when 12-year-old Clorinda Lucarelli was completely healed of epileptic seizures, after being deemed incurable by distinguished doctors at the time.

Pope Paul VI later crowned the image in St. Peter’s Basilica, and it was restored again by the Vatican Museums in 2012.

Pompeii’s Archbishop, Tommaso Caputo, told CNA Feb. 28 that Longo “made an immense work of promoting devotion to the Virgin, inviting the faithful to pray to her so that she would spread her mercy.”

“And so it was. This is a testimony to the numerous offerings by faithful donors from the entire world in a sign of gratitude for received mercy.”

Longo died in Pompeii in 1926, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980. He is known as the “Apostle of the Rosary.” His last words were: “My only desire is to see Mary who saved me and who will save me from the clutches of Satan.”

Pope Francis visit to the sanctuary will mark the third time a Pope has stopped to pray there, the first being St. John Paul II in 1979, followed by Benedict XVI in 2008.

Francis’ decision to stop at Pompeii’s renowned Marian shrine ahead of his March visit to Naples is a move the archbishop said shows the Pope’s devotion to Mary, and will root the trip in prayer.

“This seems to be a unique pilgrimage, from which this city of Mary will lead through the gateway of prayer.”

“The road that leads to Mary is a fertile land for every pontificate,” he said, noting that this is all the more true for Francis, “the Pope who does not take a step of his travels in the world without first relying on Mary.”

It has become a habit for the Pope to entrust all of his apostolic and pastoral visits to Mary. Each time he goes on a trip, Francis stops and prays at his favorite Roman parish – the Basilica of St. Mary Major – when he returns, before heading to the Vatican.

Before heading to Naples March 21, where he is scheduled to meet with the sick, youth, prisoners, priests and religious of the diocese, Francis will spend an estimated 30 minutes in Pompeii in order to pray at the Marian shrine.

Archbishop Caputo said that it is “a great joy” to welcome Pope Francis to his city, particularly because the pontiff hails from Argentina, where devotion to the Virgin of Pompeii is “very vivid.”

“We all know (Francis’) personal devotion to Mary, which has been manifested from the first moments of his election,” the archbishop noted.

One of the Pope’s greatest strengths is his love of praying the rosary, he said, noting how Francis has often referred to it as “the prayer that always accompanies my life, also the prayer of simplicity and of the saints and the prayer of my heart.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Franciscan Priest, founder of monastery, reformer, Saint

St. John Joseph of the Cross

Image of St. John Joseph of the Cross


Feastday: March 5
Patron of Ischia
Birth: 1654
Death: 1739

St. John Joseph of the Cross was born about the middle of the seventeenth century in the beautiful island of Ischia, near Naples. From his childhood he was the model of virtue, and in his sixteenth year he entered the Franciscan Order of the Strictest Observance, or Reform of St. Peter of Alcantara. Such was the edification he gave in his Order, that within three years after his profession he was sent to found a monastery in Piedmont. He became a priest out of obedience, and obtained, as it seems, an inspired knowledge of moral theology. With his superiors' permission he built another convent and drew up rules for that community, which were confirmed by the Holy See. He afterward became Master of Novices. Sometimes later he was made provincial of the province of Naples, erected in the beginning of the eightheenth century by Clement XI. He labored hard to establish in Italy that branch of his Order which the sovereign Pontiff had separated from the one in Spain. In his work he suffered much, and became the victim of numerous calumnies. However, the saint succeeded in his labors, endeavoring to instill in the hearts of his subjects, the double spirit of contemplation and penance bequeathed to his Reform by St. Peter of Alcantara. St. John Joseph exemplified the most sublime virtues, especially humility and religious discipline. He also possessed numerous gifts in the supernatural order, such as those of prophesy and miracles. Finally,consumed by labors for the glory of God, he was called to his reward. Stricken with apoplexy, he died an octogenarian in his convent at Naples on March 5, 1734. His feast day is March 5th.

Do we give thanks to God for our birthdays

A good question today as I celebrate the 58th anniversary of my birth.  From the moment I was conceived to my birth, through all the stages of infancy, toddler, child, teen, young adult, mature citizen, God is with us.  And He always is and will be.  Thank you Heavenly Father for the wonder of my creation.  Thank you for the gift of life.  Thank you for the lives of everyone I love and everyone else you place in my path, especially those you have asked me to minister to in a particular way.

Birthday's are not the big deal to me anymore as they once one, although my wife indeed threw a pretty big party 8 years back.  Who knows, maybe we could do it again for the big sixty.  Today was filled with nice moments of people reaching out to share wishes with me, including my #1 grandson Calvin who via Skype sang Happy Birthday to Pops!!

Through Facebook and Blogger I have heard from more than 200 of my nearest and dearest friends.  It does indeed brighten my day. 

And as I retire to begin the first day of my 59th year I do so with two Bible verses on my mind:

Psalm 71:6 From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you. (NIV)

Isaiah 46:4 Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (NIV)

God Bless you all

What are they thinking at Xavier University of New Orleans, Archbishop Aymond disappointed, Saint Mother Drexel must be too

Archbishop 'disappointed' by Xavier's commencement speakers

Archbishop Aymond
Archbishop Gregory Aymond at the St. Louis Cathedral in October 2014. (Josh Brasted, | The Times-Picayune)
Jed Lipinski, | The Times-Picayune By Jed Lipinski, | The Times-Picayune The Times-Picayune
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on March 04, 2015


Roman Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans has told Xavier University he does not support its decision to award honorary degrees to "some" of the four speakers who are scheduled to appear during its graduation ceremonies in May. The four are former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, basketball legend and entrepreneur Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corp. of New Orleans.
Aymond did not identify which speakers concerned him. But on matters of abortion and contraception, Landrieu, Holder and Johnson all have taken positions that could be seen to be at odds with the church.
"I am saddened to inform you that some of those to be honored do not represent the values and teachings of the Catholic Church," the New Orleans archbishop wrote to the Catholic university on Feb. 20, the day the speakers were announced. "I was not consulted on the proposed candidates and remain disappointed in this decision by the university administration."
He cited a 2004 document titled "Catholics in Political Life," which states, in part, that the Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who hold values contrary to the teachings of Christ and the church. "They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions or moral positions," the document says.
Xavier responded Wednesday with a statement saying it stands by its selections. It called the speakers "leaders who have made extraordinary contributions to humanity." While Xavier remains committed to its Catholic identity, it said it based its selection on the honorees' "individual accomplishments and steadfast commitments, especially in the area of civil rights and social justice."
In an interview, Xavier President Norman Francis said he did not know which speakers concerned Aymond. But he offered a guess: Landrieu.
In 2005, then-Archbishop Alfred Hughes refused to attend a Loyola University ceremony honoring Landrieu and her family, on the grounds that Landrieu was not sufficiently anti-abortion. "If I were a betting man, she would be one of them," Francis said.

Read it all: