Monday, January 22, 2018

Dont forget today is National Sanctity of Human Life Day

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims January 22, 2018, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day

Issued on:

Today, we focus our attention on the love and protection each person, born and unborn, deserves regardless of disability, gender, appearance, or ethnicity. Much of the greatest suffering in our Nation’s history — and, indeed, our planet’s history — has been the result of disgracefully misguided attempts to dehumanize whole classes of people based on these immutable characteristics. We cannot let this shameful history repeat itself in new forms, and we must be particularly vigilant to safeguard the most vulnerable lives among us. This is why we observe National Sanctity of Human Life Day: to affirm the truth that all life is sacred, that every person has inherent dignity and worth, and that no class of people should ever be discarded as “non-human.”
Reverence for every human life, one of the values for which our Founding Fathers fought, defines the character of our Nation. Today, it moves us to promote the health of pregnant mothers and their unborn children. It animates our concern for single moms; the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled; and orphan and foster children. It compels us to address the opioid epidemic and to bring aid to those who struggle with mental illness. It gives us the courage to stand up for the weak and the powerless. And it dispels the notion that our worth depends on the extent to which we are planned for or wanted.
Science continues to support and build the case for life. Medical technologies allow us to see images of the unborn children moving their newly formed fingers and toes, yawning, and even smiling. Those images present us with irrefutable evidence that babies are growing within their mothers’ wombs — precious, unique lives, each deserving a future filled with promise and hope. We can also now operate on babies in utero to stave off life-threatening diseases. These important medical advances give us an even greater appreciation for the humanity of the unborn.
Today, citizens throughout our great country are working for the cause of life and fighting for the unborn, driven by love and supported by both science and philosophy. These compassionate Americans are volunteers who assist women through difficult pregnancies, facilitate adoptions, and offer hope to those considering or recovering from abortions. They are medical providers who, often at the risk of their livelihood, conscientiously refuse to participate in abortions. And they are legislators who support health and safety standards, informed consent, parental notification, and bans on late-term abortions, when babies can feel pain. These undeterred warriors, many of whom travel to Washington, D.C., every year for the March for Life, are changing hearts and saving lives through their passionate defense of and loving care for all human lives. Thankfully, the number of abortions, which has been in steady decline since 1980, is now at a historic low. Though the fight to protect life is not yet over, we commit to advocating each day for all who cannot speak for themselves.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 22, 2018, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call on all Americans to reflect on the value of our lives; to respond to others in keeping with their inherent dignity; to act compassionately to those with disabilities, infirmities, or frailties; to look beyond external factors that might separate us; and to embrace the common humanity that unites us.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

Pope Francis to land back in Rome within the hour(2:15 Rome time is 7:15 am CST)

Pope Francis ‘s Plane Expected to Land in Rome Around 2:15 pm
The Pope Expresses His Gratitude for Peru’s ‘Generous Hospitality’

Flight -Peru and Chile - Copyright: Vatican Media
Having left Rome for Santiago de Chile on Monday, January 15, 2018 on Alitalia’s flight  B777, Pope Francis boarded a Latam company  plane, flight B767 from Lima, Peru, for his return trip to Rome  on Sunday, January 21, at 7:10 pm (1:10 am Rome time).
At the end of this 22nd international trip, which took him to Latin America for the fifth time, the Holy Father is expected to land in Rome’s Ciampino airport at 2:15 pm today, Monday, January 22.
The Pontiff left the capital after presiding over Sunday Mass in Lima’s Las Palmas airbase, which was attended by more than 1.3 million people, including the President of the Republic, Pedro Pablo Kaczynski, and his wife, Nancy Lange, who preceded the Holy Father to the airport, where they had a brief conversation.
At the end of the Mass, the Pope Francis also greeted seven representatives of several non-Catholic, Christian Confessions.
On orchestra and children’s choir were on hand at the airport to bid the Pope farewell. The Latam airlines plane was adorned with the Pope’s coat-of-arms and the hashtag ElVueloDeFrancisco [Pope Francis’ Flight].
Once on board, the Pontiff addressed a message to President Kaczynzki, expressing his “profound gratitude” to the President, to the Government and to the “beloved people of Peru” for their “warm reception” and “generous hospitality.” Pope Francis assured them of his prayers and invoked upon the country “the blessings of Almighty God.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

I love the Sacrament of Baptism!

Today I baptized little Abram Thomas Smith; a new creation today in Christ Jesus the Lord!

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people standing

Deacon and proto-Martyr of Spain

St. Vincent Saragossa

Image of St. Vincent Saragossa


Feastday: January 22
Patron of Sao Vicente, Lisbon; Vicenza, Italy, vinegar-makers, wine-makers.
Death: 304

St. Vincent, the protomartyr of Spain, was a deacon of the 3rd century. Together with his Bishop, Valerius of Saragossa, he was apprehended during a persecution of Dacian the governor of Spain. Valerius was banished but Vincent was subjected to fierce tortures before ultimately dying from his wounds. According to details of his death (which seem to have been considerably developed later on), his flesh was pierced with iron hooks, he was bound upon a red-hot gridiron and roasted, and he was cast into a prison and laid on a floor strewn with broken pottery. But through it all his constancy remained unmoved (leading to his jailer's conversion) and he survived until his friends were allowed to see him and prepare a bed for on which he died.  The saint's fame spread rapidly throughout Gaul and Africa - we have several sermons of St. Augustine given on his feast day. His feast day is January 22

This is the Homily I delivered this weekend

Our celebration of the Liturgy this weekend comes on the eve of the 45th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the incredibly wrongly decided Supreme Court decision that declared open season on the children of this nation not yet born but very much alive in the womb of their mother.  Best estimates tell us that we have now hit the tragic number of 60 million killed due to the evil of abortion.  To this very day, aborting children is the law of the land in a once great nation such as ours.  The Saint who was our Pope, John Paul the Great, told us that a nation that kills it's own children is a nation without a future; a nation without hope.  Saint Mother Teresa said that a nation that accepts abortion is not teaching it's people to love but to use any violence to get whatever we want.

In today's Gospel of Mark we hear the first words proclaimed by Jesus as the start of his public ministry: "Repent and believe in the Gospel."  As people of faith we indeed must repent, especially repent of the sin of abortion.  Jesus went on to tell the first apostles that He would make them "fishers of men."  Brothers and sisters, you and I are in this day and in this place fishers of men.  So too are all those many witnesses aginst abortion and for Life we saw at the March for Life Friday in Washington DC and Saturday in Baton Rouge. 

Among those witnesses for Life at both of these prayerful marches were members of our own parish family.  Tuesday last, when many of us were preoccupied with the dangerous wintry weather, Matthew Bourgeois and Father Charles led our youth group on a long bus trip so they could be present for the March for Life.  We were represented because of our youth.  We owe them our profound thanks because they were our arms, legs and voice from St. Jane de Chantal that spoke clearly, no to abortion, no to the killing of innocent children, yes to life, choose life!  I am inspired by their witness and I hope all of us are too.  On Saturday morning many parishioners, including our Knights of Columbus, many in full regalia, boarded another bus to be in Baton Rouge for the Louisiana March for Life.  Again, thank you for representing the Pro-Life witness of this parish by being the arms, legs and voice of us all on the streets of Baton Rouge.  Again, I am inspired by your witness and I hope all of us are too!

Last year the VP of this nation said Life is winning.  May his words be true.  Friday the President of this nation made it clear that he will support Pro-Life, anti-abortion causes.  Yes, we have seen many Pro-Life victories in the past year but we should not be naive to think much work is still needed.  As people of faith we should do what we can, where we can.  We have a Pro-Life ministry here, active and effective, in large part thanks to the leadership of Loretta and Neal Naquin and many others as well. Perhaps there is a place for you in this ministry.  When given the opportunity to articulate the Pro-Life message of Holy Mother Church, can we point to the teachings from Scripture, Tradition and the Catechism?  We can take the time now, inspired by the witness of our fellow parishioners, to brush up on what we teach and what we say and what we hope for!  And all of us, of proper age, can and should be very informed citizens that know how to vote a Pro-Life position when election time rolls around.  We must stand firm against clinics and institutions, like Planned Parenthood, that exist primarily to preserve the evil of abortion.  And still there is more.  We must pray feverently for a change of heart.  We must pray that we, in this very country, can be like the people of Nineveh from our 1st reading, and realize our wrongs, repent of our wrongs, declare a fast and let God see that we have turned from our evil ways. 

For those who know someone who was involved in abortion also share with them the promise of God's mercy, if indeed they are suffering and want to repent.  The Church offers a path to those who wish to "repent and believe in the Gospel".  And for those who always want to remind us that Pro-Life means so much more than just being against abortion, the Church says absolutely!  The Church is never a church that says either/or, we say yes and!!  And there is always ample time to preach and teach about social justice, death penalty, elderly issues, immigration, marriage as one man one woman, prison ministry, just and living wages and more.  Holy Mother Church is always out front in promoting all things Life, the inherent dignity afforded to all people.  But today we declare that being Pro-Life must be foundationally against abortion and for all efforts to reverse Roe v. Wade.  As the Priest says every Mass at the end of the penetential rite, May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and lead us to eternal life.  And may we, His people, be warriors for Life!

Roe v Wade 45 years later

Tomorrow, Monday the 22nd of January, 2018, is the 45th anniversary of this horrifically and wrongly decided Supreme Court decision to legally sanction the murder of human beings, babies in the womb.

The USCCB has declared this day as Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.  This is a copy of the Roman Missal for the Votive Mass for this important cause:

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We are Pro-Life, we choose Life!

We promote the Gospel of Life and the Culture of Life!

Pope delivers final homily while in Peru

Holy Father’s Homily at Mass at Las Palmas Air Base (Full Text)
‘Today the Lord calls each of you to walk with him in the city, in your city.’

Vatican Media Screenshot
The following is the Vatican-provided text of the Holy Father’s homily on January 21, 2018, at Holy Mass at Las Palmas Air Base.
“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you” (Jon 3:2). With these words, the Lord spoke to Jonah and directed him to set out towards that great city, which was about to be destroyed for its many evils. In the Gospel, we also see Jesus setting out towards Galilee to preach the Good News (cf. Mk 1:14). Both readings reveal a God who turns his gaze towards cities past and present. The Lord sets out on a journey: to Nineveh, to Galilee, to  Lima, to Trujillo and Puerto Maldonado… the Lord comes here. He sets out to enter into our individual, concrete histories. We celebrated this not long ago: he is Emmanuel, the God who wants to be with us always. Yes, here in Lima, or wherever you are living, in the routine of your daily life and work, in the education to hope that you impart to your children, amid your aspirations and anxieties; within the privacy of the home and the deafening noise of our streets. It is there, along the dusty paths of history, that the Lord comes to meet each of you.
Sometimes what happened to Jonah can happen to us. Our cities, with their daily situations of pain and injustice, can leave us tempted to flee, to hide, to run away. Jonah, and we have plenty of excuses to do so. Looking at the city, we can start by saying that there are “citizens who find adequate means to develop their personal and family life – and that pleases us – yet the problem is the many “non-citizens”, “the half-citizens” or “urban remnants”[1]. They are found along our roadsides, living on the fringes of our cities, and lacking the conditions needed for a dignified existence.  It is painful to realize that among these “urban remnants” all too often we see the faces of children and adolescents. We look at the face of the future.
Seeing these things in our cities and our neighborhoods – which should be places of encounter, solidarity, and joy – we end up with what we might call the Jonah syndrome: we lose heart and want to flee (cf. Jon 1:3). We become indifferent, and as a result, anonymous and deaf to others, cold and hard of heart. When this happens, we wound the soul of our people. As Benedict XVI pointed out, “the true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer… A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through ‘com-passion’ is a cruel and inhuman society”.[2]
After they arrested John, Jesus set out to Galilee to proclaim the Gospel of God. Unlike Jonah, Jesus reacted to the distressing and unjust news of John’s arrest by entering the city; he entered Galilee and from its small towns he began to sow the seeds of a great hope: that the Kingdom of God is at hand, that God is among us. The Gospel itself shows us the joy and the rippling effect that this brought about: it started with Simon and Andrew, then James and John (cf. Mk 1:14-20). It then passed through Saint Rose de Lima, Saint Turibius, Saint Martin de Porres, Saint Juan Macías, Saint Francisco Solano, down to us, proclaimed by that cloud of witnesses that have believed in him. It has come to us in order to act once more as a timely antidote to the globalization of indifference. In the face of that Love, one cannot remain indifferent.
Jesus invites his disciples to experience in the present a taste of eternity: the love of God and neighbor. He does this the only way he can, God’s way, by awakening tenderness and love of mercy, by awakening compassion and opening their eyes to see reality as God does. He invites them to generate new bonds, new covenants rich in eternal life.
Jesus walks through the city with his disciples and begins to see, to hear, to notice those who have given up in the face of indifference, laid low by the grave sin of corruption. He begins to bring to light many situations that had killed the hope of his people and to awaken a new hope. He calls his disciples and invites them to set out with him. He calls them to walk through to the city, but at a different pace; he teaches them to notice what they had previously overlooked, and he points out new and pressing needs. Repent, he tells them. The Kingdom of Heaven means finding in Jesus a God who gets involved with the lives of his people. He gets involved and involves others not to be afraid to make of our history a history of salvation (cf. Mk 1:15, 21).
Jesus continues to walk on our streets. He knocks today, as he did yesterday, on our doors and hearts, in order to rekindle the flame of hope and the aspiration that breakdown can be overcome by fraternity, injustice defeated by solidarity, violence silenced by the weapons of peace. Jesus continues to call us; he wants to anoint us with his Spirit so that we too can go out to anoint others with the oil capable of healing wounded hopes and renewing our way of seeing things.
Jesus continues to walk and to awaken hope, a hope that frees us from empty associations and impersonal analyses. He encourages us to enter like leaven into where we are, where we live, into every corner of our daily life. The kingdom of heaven is among you, he tells us. It is there wherever we strive to show a little tenderness and compassion, wherever we are unafraid to create spaces for the blind to see, the paralyzed to walk, lepers to be cleansed and the deaf to hear (cf. Lk 7:22), so that all those we had given up for lost can enjoy the resurrection. God will never tire of setting out to meet his children. How will we enkindle hope if prophets are lacking? How will we face the future if unity is lacking? How will Jesus reach all those corners if daring and courageous witnesses are lacking?
Today the Lord calls each of you to walk with him in the city, in your city. He invites you to become his missionary disciple so that you can become part of that great whisper that wants to keep echoing in the different corners of our lives: Rejoice, the Lord is with you!
[1] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 74.

Pope delivers Angelus Address in Lima Peru

Pope Remarks Before the Angelus in Lima (Full Text)
‘Jesus does not want you to have a cosmetic heart. ‘

Vatican Media Screenshot
Following are the Vatican-provided remarks the Holy Father made January 21, 2018, before praying the Angelus with the crowds in “Plaza de Armas” square, Lima.
Dear young people, I am pleased to be here with you. These meetings are very important for me, especially in this year of preparation for the Synod on young people. Your faces, your questions and your lives are important for the Church and we need to give them the importance they deserve. We must also have the courage of the many young people of this land who were not afraid to love and risk everything for Jesus.
Dear friends, how many examples you have! I think of Saint Martin de Porres. Nothing prevented that young man from achieving his dreams, nothing prevented him from spending his life for others, nothing prevented him from loving, and he did so because he had realized that the Lord loved him first. Just as he was: a mulato. He had to face many hardships.  In the eyes of others,  even his friends, it seemed that he had everything to lose, but he knew how to do one thing that would be the secret of his life: he knew how to trust.  He trusted in the Lord who loved him.  Do you know why? Because the Lord had trusted him first; just as he trusts each of you and will never tire of trusting you.
You may say that sometimes this is very difficult. I understand that. In those moments, we can think negative thoughts, we can feel overwhelmed by different situations, and it can seem that we are left on the sidelines, while they have the upper hand.  But it’s not like that, is it?
There are moments when you can feel powerless to achieve your desires and dreams. We have all experienced situations like that. Dear friends, in those moments when our faith seems to fade, remember that Jesus is by your side. Do not give up! Do not lose hope! Remember the saints who accompany us from heaven. Go to them, pray and never tire of asking for their intercession. Not only the saints of the past but also those of the present: this land has many of them because it is a land of saints. Ask for help and advice from people you know can give good advice because their faces radiate joy and peace.  Let them accompany you as you journey along the path of life.
Jesus wants to see you on the move. He wants to see you achieve your ideals and to be enthusiastic in following his instructions. He will take you along the path of the beatitudes, a path that is not easy but exciting, a path that cannot be traveled alone, but only as a team, where each member offers the best of his or her self. Jesus is counting on you as he counted long ago on Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Turibius, Saint Juan Macías, Saint Francisco Solano and so many others.  Today he asks if, like them, you are ready to follow him. Are you willing to follow him? To be guided by his Spirit in making present his Kingdom of justice and love?
Dear friends,  the Lord looks on you with hope.  He never grows discouraged with us.
Perhaps we are the ones who grow discouraged, about ourselves or about others.
I know that we all like to see digitally enhanced photographs, but that only works for pictures; we cannot “photoshop” others, the world, or ourselves. Colour filtering and high definition only function well in video; we can never apply them to our friends. There are pictures that are very nice, but completely fake. Let me assure you that the heart can’t be “photoshopped” because that’s where authentic love and genuine happiness have to be found.
Jesus does not want you to have a “cosmetic” heart. He loves you as you are, and he has a dream for every one of you. Do not forget, he does not get discouraged with us. But if you get discouraged, I invite you to take a look at the Bible and remember the kind of friends God chose.
Moses, he was not articulate; Abraham, an old man; Jeremiah, very young; Zacchaeus, small of stature; the disciples, who fell asleep when Jesus told them they should pray; Paul, a persecutor of Christians; Peter, who denied him… and we could go on with this list. So what excuse can we offer?
When Jesus looks at us, he does not think about how perfect we are, but about all the love we have in our hearts to give in serving others. That is the important thing for him, and he will always be concerned about that. He does not worry about your height, or whether you speak well or badly, whether you fall asleep when you pray, or whether you are very young or very old. His only question is this: Do you want to follow me and be my disciple? Don’t waste time disguising your heart, but instead fill your life with the Spirit!
Jesus is constantly waiting to give us his Spirit, who is the Love that God wants to pour into our hearts, to make us his missionary disciples.
In following Jesus, we never, ever, remain shut out. Even if we make mistakes, the Lord always gives us a new opportunity to keep walking with him.
Dear young people, in my prayers, I entrust you to the care of the Virgin Mary. Be assured that she will accompany you at every moment of your life, at all the crossroads of your journey, especially at those times when you have to make important decisions. She will always be there, like a good Mother, encouraging and supporting you, lest you grow discouraged. And if you get discouraged by anything, do not worry, for she will tell Jesus. Just don’t stop praying, don’t stop asking, don’t stop trusting in her maternal protection.

In an almost 600 year old cathedral Pope Francis prays before the relics of Saints from Peru

Pope Francis prays before the relics of Peru's Saints in Lima's CathedralPope Francis prays before the relics of Peru's Saints in Lima's Cathedral  (AFP or licensors)

Pope Francis prays before relics of Peruvian Saints

On the last day of his apostolic journey to Peru, Pope Francis prayed before the relics the nation's most beloved saints.
Pope Francis on Sunday joined some two and a half thousand priests, religious, seminarians, consecrated lay people and members of ecclesial movements to pray before the relics of the Peruvian Saints in Lima’s Cathedral of Saint John the Apostle.
The relics of Saint Martin de Porres, Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo, and Saint John Macias were brought from Santo Domingo Convent. Those of Saint Francis Solanus - enshrined at the Archbishop's Museum – were also put on display and placed besides the presbytery.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, located in the historic center of Lima  was built in 1535 after Francisco Pizarro laid the first stone.
The building has suffered the devastating consequences of the earthquakes which have rocked Lima.
Above one of its oldest altars is the image of Our Lady of Evangelization, a gift from Emperor Carlos V. In Her hand, She holds a golden rose placed by Saint Pope John Paul II in 1988 during his second trip to the country.
This is the prayer offered by Pope Francis before the Relics:
God our Father,
through Jesus Christ
you founded your Church
on the rock of the Apostles,
that, guided by the Holy Spirit,
she may be a sign and instrument
of your love and mercy in the world:
we thank you for the gifts you have
bestowed upon our Church in Lima.

We thank you in a special way
for the holiness that has flourished in our land.
Our Archdiocesan Church has been made fruitful
by the apostolic labours of Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo,
enlarged by the prayer, penance and charity
of Saint Rose of Lima and Saint Martin de Porres,
adorned by the missionary zeal of Saint Francisco Solano
and the humble service of Saint Juan Macías.
It has been blessed by the witness of Christian life and fidelity to the Gospel
of many others of our brothers and sisters.
We give you thanks for all that you have accomplished in our history
and we ask you to keep us faithful to the heritage we have received.

Help us to be a Church that goes forth,
drawing near to all, especially the less fortunate.
Teach us to be missionary disciples
of Jesus Christ, the Lord of Miracles,
living in love, seeking unity
and practising mercy,
so that, protected by the intercession
of Our Lady of Evangelization,
we may live the joy of the Gospel
and proclaim it before the world.