Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Wednesday General Audience with Pope Francis

Pope Francis Catechesis for Oct. 18, 2017
‘Blessed Are the Dead that Die in the Lord’

© L'Osservatore Romano
© L'Osservatore Romano
“Blessed Are the Dead that Die in the Lord,” was the theme of Pope Francis address at his October 18, 2017 General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, where the Holy Father Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and from all over the world.
After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father expressed special greetings to groups of faithful present. Then he made an appeal for the people of Somalia, stricken in past days by a terrorist attack that left 300 dead.
* * *
The Holy Father’s Catechesis
Dearest Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Today I would like to compare Christian hope with the reality of death, a reality that our modern civilization tends increasingly to efface. Thus, when death comes, for one who is close to us or for ourselves, we find ourselves unprepared, deprived even of an appropriate “alphabet” to articulate meaningful words about its mystery, which in any case remains. Yet the first signs of human civilization transited in fact through this enigma. We can say that man is born with the cult of the dead.
Other civilizations, before ours, had the courage to look at it in the face. It was an event recounted by the elderly to the new generations, as an inescapable reality that obliged man to live for something absolute. Psalm 90 states: “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (v. 12).  To number our days so that our heart becomes wise! — words that lead us to a healthy realism, dispelling the delusion of omnipotence. What are we? We are “almost nothing,” says another Psalm (Cf. 88:48); our days run off fast: even if we lived a hundred years, at the end it will all seem as if it was a flash. Many times I’ve heard elderly people say: “Life passed for me as a flash . . .”
Thus death strips our life. It makes us discover that our acts of pride, of wrath, of hatred were vanity, pure vanity. We realize with regret that we didn’t love enough and that we didn’t seek what was essential. And, on the contrary, we see what we sowed that was truly good: the affections for which we sacrificed ourselves, and that now hold our hand.
Jesus illumined the mystery of our death. With His conduct, He permits us to feel sorrowful when a dear person goes. He was “profoundly” upset before the tomb of His friend Lazarus, and He “wept” (John 11:35). In this attitude of His, we feel Jesus very close — our brother. He wept for His friend Lazarus.
And then Jesus prays to the Father, source of life, and orders Lazarus to come out of the sepulcher. And so it happens. Christian hope draws from this attitude, which Jesus assumes against human death: if it is present in Creation, it is, however, a scar that spoils God’s design of love, and the Savior wants to heal it.
Elsewhere the Gospels talk about a father whose daughter is very sick, and he turns to Jesus with faith so that He will save her (Cf. Mark 5:21-24.35-543). There is no more moving figure than that of a father or a mother with a sick child. And Jesus goes immediately with that man, who was called Jairus. At a certain point someone arrives from Jairus’ house to say that the girl is dead, and there’s no longer need to trouble the Teacher. However, Jesus says to Jairus: “Do not fear, only believe!” (Mark 5:36). Jesus knows that that man is tempted to react with anger and despair, because the little girl is dead, and he recommends to him to cherish the small flame burning in his heart: faith. “Do not fear, only have faith.” “Do not fear, continue to have that flame burning!” And then, arriving at the house, He awakes the little girl from death and restores her alive to her dear ones.
Jesus puts us on this “ridge” of faith. To Martha weeping for the death of her brother Lazarus He opposes the light of a dogma: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11: 25-26). It’s what Jesus repeats to each one of us every time that death comes to tear the fabric of life and of affections.  Our whole existence is played out here, between the slope of faith and the precipice of fear. Jesus says: I am not death, I am the resurrection and the life; do you believe this? Do you believe this?” Do we, who are in the Square today, believe this?
We are all small and vulnerable before the mystery of death. However, what a grace if in that moment we cherish in our heart the little flame of faith! Jesus will take us by the hand, as He took the hand of Jairus’ daughter, and repeat once again: “Talita kum,” “Little girl, arise!” (Mark 5:41). He will say it to us, to each one of us: “Get up, arise!” I now invite you to close your eyes and to think of that moment of our death. Each one of us think of his death and imagine that moment that will come, when Jesus will take us by the hand and say to us: Come, come with me, arise.” Hope will end there and it will be the reality, the reality of life. Think about it: Jesus Himself will come to each one of us and will take us by the hand, with His tenderness, His meekness, His love. And each one repeat in his heart Jesus’ word: “Get up, come. Get up, come. Get up, arise!”
This is our hope in face of death. For one who believes, it’s a door that opens completely; for one who doubts it’s a chink of light that filters from a doorway that was not altogether closed. However, for all of us it will be a grace, when this light, of the encounter with Jesus, will illuminate us.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Evangelist, wrote a Gospel and Acts of Apostles, Physician

St. Luke

Image of St. Luke

Facts

Feastday: October 18
Patron Physicians and Surgeons


Luke, the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, has been identified with St. Paul's "Luke, the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). We know few other facts about Luke's life from Scripture and from early Church historians.
It is believed that Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile. In Colossians 10-14 speaks of those friends who are with him. He first mentions all those "of the circumcision" -- in other words, Jews -- and he does not include Luke in this group. Luke's gospel shows special sensitivity to evangelizing Gentiles. It is only in his gospel that we hear the parable of the Good Samaritan, that we hear Jesus praising the faith of Gentiles such as the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian (Lk.4:25-27), and that we hear the story of the one grateful leper who is a Samaritan (Lk.17:11-19). According to the early Church historian Eusebius Luke was born at Antioch in Syria.
In our day, it would be easy to assume that someone who was a doctor was rich, but scholars have argued that Luke might have been born a slave. It was not uncommon for families to educate slaves in medicine so that they would have a resident family physician. Not only do we have Paul's word, but Eusebius, Saint Jerome, Saint Irenaeus and Caius, a second-century writer, all refer to Luke as a physician.
We have to go to Acts to follow the trail of Luke's Christian ministry. We know nothing about his conversion but looking at the language of Acts we can see where he joined Saint Paul. The story of the Acts is written in the third person, as an historian recording facts, up until the sixteenth chapter. In Acts 16:8-9 we hear of Paul's company "So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' " Then suddenly in 16:10 "they" becomes "we": "When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them."
So Luke first joined Paul's company at Troas at about the year 51 and accompanied him into Macedonia where they traveled first to Samothrace, Neapolis, and finally Philippi. Luke then switches back to the third person which seems to indicate he was not thrown into prison with Paul and that when Paul left Philippi Luke stayed behind to encourage the Church there. Seven years passed before Paul returned to the area on his third missionary journey. In Acts 20:5, the switch to "we" tells us that Luke has left Philippi to rejoin Paul in Troas in 58 where they first met up. They traveled together through Miletus, Tyre, Caesarea, to Jerusalem.
Luke is the loyal comrade who stays with Paul when he is imprisoned in Rome about the year 61: "Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers" (Philemon 24). And after everyone else deserts Paul in his final imprisonment and sufferings, it is Luke who remains with Paul to the end: "Only Luke is with me" (2 Timothy 4:11).
Luke's inspiration and information for his Gospel and Acts came from his close association with Paul and his companions as he explains in his introduction to the Gospel: "Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus" (Luke 1:1-3).
Luke's unique perspective on Jesus can be seen in the six miracles and eighteen parables not found in the other gospels. Luke's is the gospel of the poor and of social justice. He is the one who tells the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man who ignored him. Luke is the one who uses "Blessed are the poor" instead of "Blessed are the poor in spirit" in the beatitudes. Only in Luke's gospel do we hear Mary 's Magnificat where she proclaims that God "has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty" (Luke 1:52-53).
Luke also has a special connection with the women in Jesus' life, especially Mary. It is only in Luke's gospel that we hear the story of the Annunciation, Mary's visit to Elizabeth including the Magnificat, the Presentation, and the story of Jesus' disappearance in Jerusalem. It is Luke that we have to thank for the Scriptural parts of the Hail Mary: "Hail Mary full of grace" spoken at the Annunciation and "Blessed are you and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus" spoken by her cousin Elizabeth.
Forgiveness and God's mercy to sinners is also of first importance to Luke. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the Prodigal Son welcomed back by the overjoyed father. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the forgiven woman disrupting the feast by washing Jesus' feet with her tears. Throughout Luke's gospel, Jesus takes the side of the sinner who wants to return to God's mercy.
Reading Luke's gospel gives a good idea of his character as one who loved the poor, who wanted the door to God's kingdom opened to all, who respected women, and who saw hope in God's mercy for everyone.
The reports of Luke's life after Paul's death are conflicting. Some early writers claim he was martyred, others say he lived a long life. Some say he preached in Greece, others in Gaul. The earliest tradition we have says that he died at 84 Boeotia after settling in Greece to write his Gospel.
A tradition that Luke was a painter seems to have no basis in fact. Several images of Mary appeared in later centuries claiming him as a painter but these claims were proved false. Because of this tradition, however, he is considered a patron of painters of pictures and is often portrayed as painting pictures of Mary.
He is often shown with an ox or a calf because these are the symbols of sacrifice -- the sacrifice Jesus made for all the world.
Luke is the patron of physicians and surgeons.

It's official; Gingrich is Vatican Ambassador

US Vatican Ambassador-Designate Approved
Callista L. Gingrich Confirmed by US Senate

Callista_Gingrich_by_Gage_Skidmore Wikimedia Commons
Callista_Gingrich_by_Gage_Skidmore Wikimedia Commons
The United States Senate on October 16, 2017, confirmed Callista L. Gingrich of McLean, Virginia as the new United States Ambassador-Designate to the Holy See, reported the US Embassy to the Holy See.
Ambassador-Designate Gingrich is the former President and CEO of Gingrich Productions, a multimedia production and consulting company in Arlington, Virginia.  She is the author of the “Ellis the Elephant” children’s American history series and co-author of “Rediscovering God in America.”
Ms. Gingrich is also the producer of several historical documentary films.  She has sung for two decades with the Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.  Previously, Ms. Gingrich served as a congressional aide in the U.S. House of Representatives and as the President of The Gingrich Foundation, which supports charitable causes.

Tuesday Papal Preaching

Santa Marta: “Let the Word of God enter your heart”
Homily of Pope Francis, October 17, 2017

Santa Marta © L'Osservatore Romano
Santa Marta © L'Osservatore Romano
If “the Word of God does not enter” in the heart, “there is no place for love and, in the end, there is no place for freedom,” said Pope Francis in his homily delivered at mass on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, in the chapel of Santa Marta in the Vatican, reported Radio Vatican in Italian.
He warned against the “fools” who transform the Word into “idolatry” and “ideology” and confess that there are “foolish Christians and even foolish pastors.”
The pope warned those who are unable to “listen” to the Word of God: “Stupidity is not to listen,” he said. “The inability to listen to the Word” is “when the Word does not enter, I do not let it in because I do not listen,” the Pope explained, “The fool does not listen. He thinks he is listening, but he does not listen. He always does. And for this reason, the Word of God cannot enter the heart, and there is no place for love. And if it enters, it enters distilled, transformed by my conception of reality. ”
The word “foolish” appears twice in the liturgy of today. Christ says it to the Pharisees (Luke 11: 37-41), while St. Paul refers to the Gentiles (Rom 1: 16-25), but also to the Galatians: therefore to Christians who were deceived by “new ideas “. This word, said the pope, is “more than a condemnation, it is a signal.”
“The fools do not know how to listen,” said the Pope. And this deafness leads them to this corruption “,” these three groups of fools are corrupt “.
The Pharisees have become corrupt because they only care about “outside things,” but not from within where corruption exists. They are, therefore, “corrupted by vanity, by appearance, by external beauty, by external justice,” said the pope.
The Gentiles are corrupt because they have exchanged the glory of God for the idols. And there are also idolatries today, like consumerism, noted the pope.
Finally, Christians have allowed themselves to be corrupted by ideologies: they have ceased to be Christians to “become ideologues of Christianity.”
All these three groups “end up in corruption,” said the pope, and become slaves because they exchange “the truth of God with lies.”
“They are not free and do not listen,” he emphasized, “this deafness leaves no room for love and freedom: it always leads us to slavery.”
The pope proposed an examination of conscience on these points: “Do I listen to the Word of God?” This Word is “living, effective, grateful to the feelings and thoughts of the heart.”
“Do I let this Word enter,” continued the Pope, “or do I remain deaf?” Or I transform it into appearance, transform it into idolatry, idolatrous habits, transform it into ideology? And it does not enter … That is the stupidity of Christians. ”
In conclusion, the Pope affirms that “there are foolish Christians and even senseless pastors”. “Saint Augustine,” he said, “beat them very well, because the stupidity of the pastors hurts the flock.”
The pope referred to the “stupidity of the corrupt pastor”, “the stupidity of the self-satisfied pastor, pagan” and the “stupidity of the ideological pastor.” “We look at the icon of foolish Christians,” said the Pope, “and beside this stupidity we look at the Lord who is always at the door” and who is nostalgic “of the first love he had with us”.
“And if we fall into this stupidity, we move away from him and he feels this nostalgia,” said the pope. Nostalgia for us. And Jesus, with this nostalgia, wept, “as he had wept over Jerusalem: it was the nostalgia of a people whom he had chosen, whom he loved, but who had gone by stupidity, who preferred appearances, idols or ideologies.”

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bishop, Patriarch, Martyr, first to use the term "catholic" in describing the Church

St. Ignatius of Antioch

Image of St. Ignatius of Antioch

Facts

Feastday: October 17


"I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire."


In 107, during the reign of the brutal Emperor Trajan, this holy Bishop was wrongfully sentenced to death because he refused to renounce the Christian faith. He was taken under guard to Rome where he was to be brutally devoured by wild beasts in a public spectacle.
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - The second Bishop of Antioch, Syria, this disciple of the beloved Disciple John was consecrated Bishop around the year 69 by the Apostle Peter, the first Pope. A holy man who was deeply loved by the Christian faithful, he always made it his special care to defend "orthodoxy" (right teaching) and "orthopraxy" (right practice) among the early Christians.

In 107, during the reign of the brutal Emperor Trajan, this holy Bishop was wrongfully sentenced to death because he refused to renounce the Christian faith. He was taken under guard to Rome where he was to be brutally devoured by wild beasts in a public spectacle. During his journey, his travels took him through Asia Minor and Greece. He made good use of the time by writing seven letters of encouragement, instruction and inspiration to the Christians in those communities. We still have these letters as a great treasure of the Church today.

The content of the letters addressed the hierarchy and structure of the Church as well as the content of the orthodox Christian faith. It was Bishop Ignatius who first used the term "catholic" to describe the whole Church. These letters connect us to the early Church and the unbroken, clear teaching of the Apostles which was given to them directly by Jesus Christ. They also reveal the holiness of a man of God who became himself a living letter of Christ. The shedding his blood in the witness of holy martyrdom was the culmination of a life lived conformed to Jesus Christ. Ignatius sought to offer himself, in Christ, for the sake of the Church which he loved. His holy martyrdom occurred in the year 107.

In his pastoral letters he regularly thanked his brother and sister Christians for their concern for his well being but insisted on following through in his final witness of fidelity: "I know what is to my advantage. At last I am becomŹing his disciple. May nothing entice me till I happily make my way to Jesus Christ! Fire, cross, struggles with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs-let them come to me, provided only I make my way to Jesus Christ. I would rather die and come to Jesus Christ than be king over the entire earth. Him I seek who died for us; him I love who rose again because of us."

Bishop Ignatius was not afraid of death. He knew that it had been defeated by the Master. He followed the Lord Jesus into his Passion, knowing that he would rise with Him in his Resurrection. He wrote to the disciples in Rome: "Permit me to imitate my suffering God ... I am God's wheat and I shall be ground by the teeth of beasts, that I may become the pure bread of Christ." The beauty of this Eucharistic symbolism in these words reflects the deep theology of a mystic. He was dedicated to defending the true teaching handed down by the Apostles so that the brothers and sisters in the early Christian communities, and we who stand on their shoulders, would never be led astray by false teaching. He urged them to always listen to their Bishops because they were the successors of the Apostles. He died a Martyrs death in Rome, devoured by two lions in one of the cruel demonstrations of Roman excess and animosity toward the true faith. Anticipating this event he wrote these inspired words:

A letter to the Romans by St Ignatius of Antioch

"I am God's wheat and shall be ground by the teeth of wild animals. I am writing to all the churches to let it be known that I will gladly die for God if only you do not stand in my way. I plead with you: show me no untimely kindness. Let me be food for the wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am God's wheat and shall be ground by their teeth so that I may become Christ's pure bread. Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God. No earthly pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire.

The time for my birth is close at hand. Forgive me, my brothers. Do not stand in the way of my birth to real life; do not wish me stillborn. My desire is to belong to God. Do not, then, hand me back to the world. Do not try to tempt me with material things. Let me attain pure light. Only on my arrival there can I be fully a human being. Give me the privilege of imitating the passion of my God. If you have him in your heart, you will understand what I wish. You will sympathize with me because you will know what urges me on.

The prince of this world is determined to lay hold of me and to undermine my will which is intent on God. Let none of you here help him; instead show yourselves on my side, which is also God's side. Do not talk about Jesus Christ as long as you love this world. Do not harbor envious thoughts. And supposing I should see you, if then I should beg you to intervene on my behalf, do not believe what I say. Believe instead what I am now writing to you. For though I am alive as I write to you - still - my real desire is to die. My love of this life has been crucified, and there is no yearning in me for any earthly thing. Rather within me is the living water which says deep inside me: "Come to the Father." I no longer take pleasure in perishable food or in the delights of this world. I want only God's bread, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, formed of the seed of David, and for drink I crave his blood, which is love that cannot perish.

I am no longer willing to live a merely human life, and you can bring about my wish if you will. Please, then, do me this favour, so that you in turn may meet with equal kindness. Put briefly, this is my request: believe what I am saying to you. Jesus Christ himself will make it clear to you that I am saying the truth. Only truth can come from that mouth by which the Father has truly spoken. Pray for me that I may obtain my desire. I have not written to you as a mere man would, but as one who knows the mind of God. If I am condemned to suffer, I will take it that you wish me well. If my case is postponed, I can only think that you wish me harm."

Do not be afraid! Our Pope, our Saint!

October 16:  Anniversary of St John Paul II
Do not be afraid. Open Wide the Doors to Christ!

Pope John Paul II greets young pilgrims during WYD 2000
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS - Archeologo
St. John Paul II was elected Pope on October 16, 1978.  During the mass on October 22, 1978, at the beginning of his pontificate, John Paul II pronounced the famous phrase: “Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors to Christ! Open to His saving power the confines of States, the economic and political systems, the immense fields of culture, of civilization and of development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows what is in man. Only He knows it!”

This Visitation sister, in the line of St. Jane de Chantal is one of the Saints of the Sacred Heart

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Image of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Facts

Feastday: October 16
Birth: 1647
Death: 1690


Daughter of Claude Alacoque and Philiberte Lamyn, Margaret was born on July 22, at L'Hautecour, Burgundy, France, was sent to the Poor Clares school at Charolles on the death of her father, a notary, when she was eight years old. She was bedridden for five years with rheumatic fever until she was fifteen and early developed a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. She refused marriage, and in 1671 she entered the Visitation convent at Paray-le-Monial and was professed the next year. From the time she was twenty, she experienced visions of Christ, and on December 27, 1673, she began a series of revelations that were to continue over the next year and a half. In them Christ informed her that she was His chosen instrument to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart, instructed her in a devotion that was to become known as the Nine Fridays and the Holy Hour, and asked that the feast of the Sacred Heart be established. Rebuffed by her superior, Mother de Saumaise, in her efforts to follow the instruction she had received in the visions, she eventually won her over but was unable to convince a group of theologians of the validity of her apparitions, nor was she any more successful with many of the members of her community. She received the support of Blessed Claude La Colombiere, the community's confessor for a time, who declared that the visions were genuine. In 1683, opposition in the community ended when Mother Melin was elected Superior and named Margaret Mary her assistant. She later became Novice Mistress, saw the convent observe the feast of the Sacred Heart privately beginning in 1686, and two years later, a chapel was built at the Paray-le-Monial to honor the Sacred Heart; soon observation of the feast of the Sacred Heart spread to other Visitation convents. Margaret Mary died at the Paray-le-Monial on October 17, and was canonized in 1920. She, St. John Eudes, and Blessed Claude La Colombiere are called the "Saints of the Sacred Heart"; the devotion was officially recognized and approved by Pope Clement XIII in 1765, seventy-five years after her death. Her feast day is observed on October 16.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Patron Saint of all expectant moms

St. Gerard Majella

Image of St. Gerard Majella

Facts

Feastday: October 16
Patron of expectant mothers
Death: 1755
Beatified By: January 29, 1893, by Pope Leo XIII
Canonized By: December 11, 1904, by Pope Saint Pius X


St. Gerard Majella is the patron of expectant mothers. He was born in 1726 in Muro, Italy to a family of seven. Majella grew up in a poverty with a great respect for the poor. As he was just 12 when his father passed away, he was forced to grow up fast. Shortly after his father's death, his mother sent him away to live with his uncle and learn to become a tailor, like his father. After a few years of working as a sewing apprentice, Majella took on a job with the local Bishop of Lacedonia as a servant.
Once Majella began earning money as a journeyman at the age of 21, he split his earnings with his mother, the poor of Muro and the rest in offerings for the poor souls. As the days passed, Majella began to grow pale and thin, often fasting and in prayer at a nearby Cathedral.
He applied to the Capuchin monastery at Muro twice, but was turned down both times. Majella was told his health was not well enough for such a strenuous life. However, Majella did not give up. In 1749, at the age of 23, he joined the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and just three years later became a professed lay brother.
Majella lived with the three vows of Poverty, Chasity and Obedience. He stayed close with the poor and worked very many different jobs. He served as sacristan, gardener, porter, infirmarian, and tailor. However, because of his great piety, extraordinary wisdom, and his gift of reading consciences, he was permitted to counsel communities of religious women. Majella was often called on by the poor and the sick. Wherever his presence was demanded he graciously presented himself. He was there to "do the Will of God."
This humble servant of God also had faculties associated with certain mystics including, levitation, bi-location and the ability to read souls. His charity, obedience, and selfless service as well as his ceaseless mortificationfor Christ, made him the perfect model of lay brothers.
Throughout his years of life, several reported miracles are tied to Majella including, restoring a boy's life after he fell from a high cliff; blessing a poor farmer's crops, ridding it of mice; blessing a poor family's supply of wheat, causing it to last until the next harvest; and he multiplied bread for the poor on several occasions.
Along with his miracles effected through prayers for woman in labor, Majella's last recorded miracle is one that many credit toward his becoming the patron of expectant mothers. Shortly before his death, Majella encountered a young girl. He had dropped his handkerchief and she set out to return it, only to be told to keep it. Majella told her she "may need it someday." Years after Majella's passing, the young girl became married and with child. She unexpectedly went into labor and was on the verge of losing her baby. She called for Majella's handkerchief to be applied to her. Almost immediately, her pain abated and she proceeded to give birth to a healthy child, something very rare during that time.
His prayers are sought for the children, unborn children, women in childbirth, mothers, expectant mothers, motherhood, falsely accused people, good confessions, lay brothers and Muro Lucano, Italy.
Even as Majella became ill with tuberculosis, he only desired to live in God's will. His one last request was that a small placard be placed on his door stating, "Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills." Majella was told the Will of God wanted him to get better, and almost at once he became well. However, this only lasted for a month and quickly he became very ill once again. St. Gerard Majella died of disease on October 16, 1755 at the age of 29, living in the religious life for six years.
Due to the numerous miracles performed through Majella's prayers, proceedings for his canonization began shortly after his death. In 1893, Majella was beatified by Pope Leo XIII and on December 11, 1904, Pope Pius X canonized the man of God.
Prayer: O Great Saint Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, perfect imitator of your meek and humble Savior, and devoted Child of the Mother of God: enkindle within my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity which glowed in your heart and made you an angel of love. O glorious Saint Gerard, because when falsely accused of crime, you did bear, like your Divine master, without murmur or complaint, the calumnies of wicked men, you have been raised up by God as the Patron and Protector of expectant mothers. Preserve me from danger and from the excessive pains accompanying childbirth, and shield the child which I now carry, that it may see the light of day and receive the lustral waters of baptism through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday Angelus after Sunday's Canonization

Angelus Address Following Canonization
Convocation of Special Assembly of Synod of Bishops for Pan-Amazonian

© L'Osservatore Romano
At the end of the Holy Mass with the Rite of Canonization of Blesseds Andrew de Soveral and Ambrose Francis Ferro, Matthew Moreira and 27 Martyr Companions; Christopher, Anthony and John; Faustino Miguez and Angelo da Acri, celebrated in the church square of the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father Francis led the recitation of the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square.
Here is a translation of the Pope’s words before praying the Marian prayer.
* * *
The Holy Father’s Words
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
At the end of this celebration, I greet you all warmly, who have come from various countries to pay homage to the new Saints. A deferent thought goes particularly to the official delegations of Brazil, France, Italy, Mexico, the Order of Malta and Spain. May the example and intercession of these luminous witnesses of the Gospel accompany us on our journey and help us to promote always fraternal and solidary relations for the good of the Church and of society.
Taking up the desire of some Episcopal Conferences of Latin America, as well as the voice of several Pastors and faithful from other parts of the world, I have decided to convoke a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region, which will take place at Rome in the month of October 2019. The main objective of this convocation is to identify new ways for the evangelization of that portion of the People of God, especially of the natives, often forgotten and without the prospect of a serene future, also because of the crisis of the Amazon rainforest, lung of capital importance for our planet. May the new Saints intercede for this ecclesial event, so that, in respect of the beauty of Creation, all peoples of the earth may praise God, Lord of the universe, and illumined by Him, pursue paths of justice and peace.
I also remind that day after tomorrow the Day for the Eradication of Poverty will be observed. Poverty isn’t a fatality: it has causes that are recognized and removed, to honor the dignity of so many brothers and sisters, on the example of the saints.
And now we turn in prayer to the Virgin Mary.
Angelus Domini . . .