Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Todays General Audience focused on Confirmation

POPE FRANCIS
GENERAL AUDIENCE

St Peter's Square
Wednesday, 23 May 2018



Speaker:
Dear brothers and sisters: In these days following the Church’s celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, our catechesis turns to the sacrament of Confirmation, which “confirms” the grace of our Baptism and “anoints” us with the Spirit to bear witness to Christ before the world. Jesus himself, filled with the Holy Spirit, carried out his mission as the Lord’s Anointed, and after his death and resurrection, bestowed the Spirit upon his disciples, who went forth from the Upper Room to proclaim God’s mighty works (cf. Acts 2:11). As Christ was anointed by the Spirit at his baptism in the Jordan, so at Pentecost the Church received the Spirit in order to carry out her mission of preaching the Gospel to the ends of the earth. In Confirmation, Jesus fills us with his Spirit and makes us sharers in his own life and mission, in accordance with the Father’s saving plan. May this sacrament strengthen us to be ever docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, as we strive in all our actions and words to live fully the new life received in Baptism and to advance the Church’s mission in the world.
Santo Padre:
Saluto i pellegrini di lingua inglese presenti all’Udienza odierna, specialmente quelli provenienti da Inghilterra, Galles, Irlanda, India, Filippine, Russia, Vietnam, Canada e Stati Uniti d’America. Nella gioia della Pentecoste, appena celebrata, invoco su di voi e sulle vostre famiglie l’effusione dello Spirito Santo. Il Signore vi benedica!
Speaker:
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Wales, Ireland, India, Philippines, Russia, Vietnam, Canada and the United States of America. In the continuing joy of our celebration of Pentecost, I invoke upon you and your families a rich outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord bless you all!

Pope Francis focuses on the Church in China at today's General Audience


Pope with Chinese Pilgrims - Vatican Media

Pope to Chinese Catholics: ‘Universal Church Prays With You & for You’

Wish for Brotherhood & Reconciliation, in Full Communion With Rome

Pope Francis wishes the Catholics of China “fraternity, concord and reconciliation, in full communion with the Successor of Peter.”
The Holy Father expressed this during his weekly General Audience on Wednesday morning, May 23, 2018, on the eve of the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians, venerated at the Sheshan Shrine in Shanghai.
Since 2007, at the initiative of Pope Benedict XVI, May 24 marks the Day of Prayer for the Church in China.
In the appeal toward the end of the Audience, Pope Francis invited the crowd to “be spiritually united to all the Catholic faithful living in China.”
“Let us pray for them the Virgin Mary, so that they may live the faith with generosity and serenity, and so that they know how to accomplish concrete gestures of fraternity, concord and reconciliation, in full communion with the Successor of Peter,” he encouraged.
“Dearest disciples of the Lord in China,” the Holy Father reminded, “the universal Church prays with you and for you, so that in the midst of difficulties you may continue to entrust yourself to the will of God. The help of the Virgin will never fail you and she will protect you from her motherly love.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Saint of the Day for Wednesday

St. John Baptist de Rossi

Image of St. John Baptist de Rossi

Facts

Feastday: May 23
Patron of Voltaggio
Birth: February 22, 1698
Death: May 23, 1764
Beatified By: May 13, 1860 by Pope Pius IX
Canonized By: December 8, 1881 by Pope Leo XIII


St. John Baptist de Rossi, also known as Giovanni Battista de' Rossi, was born on February 22, 1698 in Voltaggio, Italy. He was the fourth child of Charles de Rossi and Frances Anfossi, known to be a holy and faith filled couple.
Though John's family was not financially wealthy, they were rich in faith. Through their guidance and a wonderful education, John learned to excel in his living faith, piety and gentleness.
A pair of priests, Scipio Gaetano and Giuseppe Repetto, saw great potential within John and took his early education and faith formation as a part of their apostolate, taking him under their spiritual care.
When he was 10-years-old, John met with a wealthy, noble couple from Genoa after Mass. They, too, noted his gifts and potential. So, they took him in as a page, after receiving his father's approval. John was taken to Genoa to attend school until 1711.
In 1710, John's father suddenly passed away. His mother pleaded for him to return home, but John was convinced that the Lord wanted him to finish his education in Genoa.
In 1711, John was called to Rome by his cousin, the canon of St. Mary in Cosmedin, Lorenzo de Rossi. Lorenzo suggested John complete his studies there at the Collegium Romanum under the guidance of the Jesuits.
John continued to thrive in his studies. His natural talents, spiritual gifts, Christian virtue and willingness to apply himself to his studies made him the model student.
He studied philosophy and theology under the Dominicans at the Dominican College of Saint Thomas.
During this time, John joined the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin and the Ristretto of the Twelve Apostles. Both groups were comprised of lay Christian faithful especially dedicated to Christian prayer and service. He led the members of the groups in meetings, group prayer and outreach to the poor, including visits to the hospitals.
John's desire to grow in holiness sometimes led him to going overboard in his practices of voluntary mortification and his austerity nearly ruined his health. He also began to have fits of epilepsy. He struggled with these for the rest of his life.
John wanted dearly to become a priest. Under normal circumstances, his epileptic fits would have excluded him from the priesthood. However, he was granted a special dispensation. After ordination as a deacon, he was ordained to the priesthood on March 8, 1721. John believed he had reached his goal and was deeply grateful to the Lord for the vocation of priesthood. So, as an expression of gratitude, he vowed to not accept any ecclesiastical benefits unless commanded to do so out of obedience to his religious superiors.
He devoted himself to serving Rome's sick, homeless and prostitutes. He would visit the sick and poor in the hospitals by day, and by night he ministered to the street people. He reached out to assist homeless women and helped to found a hospice for them near Saint Galla. He also aided prisoners and workers.
John spoke to the dying about Jesus Christ, leading them to salvation. He desperately wanted to relieve them of their suffering. None of the sick repulsed him, no matter how bad their illness or symptoms because he saw Jesus in them.
In one instance, a young man who was ill and dying from syphilis turned away from John's attention, out of shame. However, as John showed his selfless heart and helped him with his bedpan, the man finally took the time to listen to John's words and was able to make a good confession before his death.
Other priests were in awe of John's holiness and manner of life. They saw that with only a few kind words he could turn people's lives around.
During one of his sermons, John stated to his fellow priests:
"Ignorance is the leprosy of the soul. How many such lepers exist in the church here in Rome, where many people don?t even know what?s necessary for their salvation? It must be our business to try to cure this disease. The souls of our neighbors are in our hands, and yet how many are lost through our fault? The sick die without being properly prepared because we have not given time or care enough to each particular case. Yet with a little more patience, a little more perseverance, a little more love, we could have led these poor souls to heaven."
Many of us shrink from going to the hospitals from fear of infection or from the sights and smells that await us there. Courage! We are not in the world to follow our own will and pleasure, but to imitate the Lord.
John Baptist de Rossi, himself worn out by his unselfish service, suffered a stroke in 1763 and died a year later. ?The poor come to church tired and distracted by their daily troubles. If you preach a long sermon they can?t follow you. Give them one idea that they can take home, not half a dozen, or one will drive out the other, and they will remember none.
In 1735, John became titular canon at St. Mary in Cosmedin. Following the death of his cousin in 1737, obedience forced John to accept the canonry. However, John refused the house belonging with the title, and used funds from selling the home toward his cause with the poor.
John's illness continued to impact his life, as he was afraid of entering the confessional because the possibility of having a seizure during the session. He became accustom to sending the sinners he found to other priests.
In 1738, John became dangerously ill and was sent to Civita Castellana to regain his health. While there, the bishop residing in that location pushed him to hear confessions. After reviewing his moral theology, John received the special faculty of hearing confessions in any of Rome?s churches.
From then on, John spent countless hours hearing confessions from the poor and illiterate whom he sought from hospitals and their homes.
John became the "apostle of the abandoned," and became known as a second Philip Neri, a hunter of souls. He preached five to six times a day in all kinds of places, including churches, hospitals and prisons. He was also known for his strong devotion to St. Aloysius Gonzaga.
In August 1762, the state of his health became worse. John became worn out and his strength began to deteriorate. His companions begged him to go to Lake Nemi to recover. While there, he started having worse epileptic fits.
Two months later, he returned to Rome. John rarely left his room, but in September 1763, he celebrated Mass at Santa Maria in Cosmedin, telling those present that he would be dying soon.
In December, he was found in his room unconscious, after suffering a violent seizure. He remained unconscious for a day. He was given Viaticum, the special prayers and reception of the Holy Eucharist given to the gravely ill and dying. He was also given the Anointing of the Sick, also called Last Rites when it is administered before death.
However, John recovered from his illness and went on to celebrate several more Masses. Soon later, his health once again declined and he was confined to his bed.
John Baptist de Rossi passed to the Lord whom he loved with such true devotion on May 23, 1764 in his bedroom in Trinita de Pellegrini.
His body was buried in that church under a marble slab at the altar of the Blessed Virgin. His remains were relocated in 1965 to a new church named in his honor.
Pope Pius VI began the cause of canonization for John Baptist de Rossi in 1781, but both the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars created setbacks. Years later in 1859, Pope Pius IX resumed his cause and attributed two miracles to John's intercession.
St. John Baptist de Rossi was beatified on May 13, 1860 by Pope Pius IX and canonized on December 8, 1881 by Pope Leo XIII.
He is the patron saint of Voltaggio and his feast day is celebrated on May 23.

Loyola of New Orleans names 1st lay president and it's a woman



Loyola names Tania Tetlow as first woman president

The Loyola University New Orleans Board of Trustees has selected its first layperson and first female president with the selection of Tania Tetlow, J.D., as its 17th president since its founding in 1912, succeeding Jesuit Father Kevin Wildes. 
She is the fourth woman president to lead one of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, according to Patricia Murret, associate director of public affairs at Loyola University New Orleans.
“The Jesuits are thrilled that our first lay president has such a strong Catholic faith and Jesuit background,” said Jesuit Father Billy Huete, a board trustee. “Though we were definitely looking for these attributes in all the possible candidates, it would be hard to find a qualified layperson who has a greater understanding and appreciation of what the Society of Jesus tries to be and do in our contemporary world.”

Tania Tetlow, J.D.
Who is she?
Tetlow’s legacy at Loyola runs deep. She is Catholic and a New Orleanian who grew up on campus, attending Holy Name of Jesus School and visiting her parents – mother Elisabeth Tetlow, who was a Loyola Law graduate, and father Mulry Tetlow, who was a Loyola psychology teacher. 
Her grandfather also attended Loyola on a football scholarship in 1928, and her uncle, Jesuit Father Joseph Tetlow, was dean of arts and sciences. In addition, her aunt, Beth Gaudin, is an alumna, and Gaudin’s husband Felix chaired the alumni association.    
“The many Jesuits in my family may have secretly raised me for this role without telling me,” she joked. “Loyola means the world to me, and I believed that my combination of skills and experiences could help the university at this crucial moment. I also bring useful outside perspectives but deeply understand and value Loyola’s core mission.”
“With her deep roots in New Orleans and Jesuit values, she was born for this job,” affirmed Dennis Cuneo, trustee and chair of the Presidential Search Committee.
Tetlow, who graduated from Tulane University and Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, views Loyola as a tight-knit community of people committed to Jesuit values and excellent education.
“The passion and commitment the Loyola community brings to its work has always impressed me,” she said.
Strong background  
Tetlow brings to Loyola a wealth of experience, as well as strong community, donor and industry relationships.
At Tulane, she was most recently senior vice president and chief of staff, a key strategic adviser to the president, overseeing board relations and government and community affairs; and leading special policy efforts on issues including campus safety, race and diversity, and campus sexual misconduct reforms. She also was the Felder-Fayard Professor of Law at Tulane.
During her time at Tulane, enrollment increased, as did retention and fundraising, and the university experienced great cultural, community and financial transformation, Murret said.
Lead candidate
Tetlow emerged in a nationwide search as the top selection for Loyola’s president from a large, diverse pool of accomplished leaders. Her ties to the local Catholic and Jesuit communities and vision of national excellence for the university played a large factor in her being hired by Loyola. She received a majority recommendation from the search committee, composed of members of the Society of Jesus, the Loyola University New Orleans board of trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni, Murret said.
The university is confident that Tetlow will bring a new and vibrant energy to Loyola while preserving its Jesuit mission. 
“I am absolutely thrilled about the selection of Tania Tetlow as our next president,” said Robért LeBlanc ’00, former trustee, said. “She embodies the essence of Loyola University New Orleans in a way that is difficult to articulate but evokes our mission, and she is the perfect 21st-century leader for our university. This is a sensational choice for Loyola.”
Tetlow has served on a variety of nonprofit boards and city commissions. At the mayor’s request, she led a turnaround of the NOPD Sex Crimes Unit. After Hurricane Katrina, she chaired the New Orleans Public Library Board and raised $7 million to rebuild flooded branches. She was selected for the British American Project, a bilateral leadership organization, and later served as its U.S. chair.
 “I have known Tania for a long time,” President Emeritus Jesuit Father James C. Carter, Ph.D., said. “She is a regular attendee at the Ignatius Chapel community Mass on Sunday and sings in the choir. She has an outstanding professional and academic reputation. She has also strong connections to Loyola and the Jesuit order. I have complete confidence that she will promote our Jesuit identity as well as any Jesuit could.” 
Tetlow will begin as president of Loyola University New Orleans in September and immediately tackle the university’s plans to balance its budget and build resources.
“My mission will be to execute that plan well, to continue to contain costs and grow revenues, all while building on Loyola’s greatest strengths,” she said.

Are married priests a real possibility?

Married priests and Synod of the Amazon

May 21, 2018

Although this post was not occasioned by Cdl Sarah’s reported remarks that ordaining ‘viri probati’ would be a definitive breach with apostolic tradition, his (in my view) serious overstatement of that claim underscores how important it is that, in this matter, we all strive to speak precisely, not to mention correctly, about what is and is not at issue in regard to ordaining married men. Now, on to this post as originally prepared.
There is no canonical or doctrinal objection to ordaining married men for priestly ministry.
Whether it makes practical sense, however, to ordain married men is quite another matter, and whether such ordinations would detract from the appreciation of celibacy itself as “a special gift of God” that has finally, Deo gratias, made its way into codified law (Canon 277), is also quite a different matter. Both of these concerns require searching consideration, this, especially in times not given to doing searching consideration of complex issues.
Here, though, I make two different points.
1. Simplex priests.
Unusual under Pio-Benedictine Law and virtually unheard of under the Johanno-Pauline Code so-called “simplex priests” are men ordained to priesthood but, notwithstanding their canonical good-standing, lack “faculties” for hearing sacramental confession (as required by Canon 966) and/or for preaching (generally presumed, but liable to restriction, under Canon 764). Simplex priests can celebrate the Eucharist, solemnly baptize, anoint the sick, catechize the faithful, and hold a variety of ecclesiastical offices including associate pastor (or, for that matter, pastor or chaplain though the practicality of such appointments would be highly questionable).
In brief, simplex priests are ‘fully priests’ and are bound by all clerical obligations, they simply lack some of the canonical authorizations that priests need for certain areas of ministry. But having this kind of restricted ministry, a ministry focused on offering Mass and, say, providing spiritual care to children and the elderly (i.e., those most impacted by the difficulties of life in remote regions) means that bishops could, I think, see their way to reducing the otherwise extensive education program demanded (see Canons 232 and foll.) of men destined for full-time, all-embracing priestly ministry. In short, simplex priests would require less training and less diocesan support. I just published a short article on simplex priests — see Edward Peters, “The ‘simplex priest’: ministry with a past, ministry with a future?”, Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly 41 (2018) 109-114 — and will link to it when it is available on-line.
Now, about those clerical obligations…
2. Clerical celibacy and continence.
Canon 277 demands perfect and perpetual continence, and therefore celibacy, of all Western clergy. While some mitigation of the obligation of celibacy has been introduced in our lifetime (but only some, see, e.g., Canon 1087), no mitigation in the obligation of continence, an ancient, nay apostolic, expectation in the West, has been introduced in modern canon law. The clerical continence issue and its implications have been extensively discussed by me (and others) and I won’t repeat that discussion now.
Suffice to say, though, that nothing I have seen in the wake of these discussions, including a 2011 letter from Cdl. Coccopalmerio (whose interpretation of Amoris laetitia as authorizing holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics I have also disputed) dissuades me from reading the law now as it has always and unanimously been read in the West, i.e., as demanding perfect and perpetual continence of all western clerics, married or single.
But precisely because the claim here is about what the law now is, as opposed to what (in the view of some) the law ought to be, the Synod of the Amazon must, I think, come to grips with the demonstrable obligation of clerical continence (again, an obligation distinguishable from celibacy) that has always marked Western ordained ministry and, as part of its wider consideration of married priests, simplex or otherwise, decide whether that ancient obligation is to be (1) repudiated (as is effectively the situation now); (2) refined (as is possible, though at some cost); or (3) recovered (as has been done at other crucial points in Church history).
That, or the bishops to be assembled could just kick the can down the road.
Again

Sad, tragic and cries for reparations; so sad

Australian prelate convicted of covering up sexual abuse

Australian prelate convicted of covering up sexual abuse
Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide smiles during a Feb. 5, 2014, Mass at the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in Palo, Philippines (Credit: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn.)
Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide in Australia has been found guilty of concealing sexual abuse and faces up to two years in prison.
NEWCASTLE, Australia - An Australian archbishop who was the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the world charged with covering up child sex abuse was convicted Tuesday and faces a potential two years in prison.
Magistrate Robert Stone handed down the verdict against Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson in Newcastle Local Court, north of Sydney, following a magistrate-only trial.
Wilson, 67, had pleaded not guilty to knowing of the crimes of a pedophile priest in the 1970s. He denied under oath in court last month that two former altar boys ever told him that they had been sexually abused by a priest.
Wilson, who has been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, said he had known one of the former altar boys and his family when he was an assistant priest in the Hunter Valley region north of Sydney in the mid-1970s.
But the archbishop said he had no memory of the boy telling him in 1976 he had been sexually abused by priest James Fletcher five years earlier when he was 10.
Wilson told the court the conversation was unlikely to have occurred because the former altar boy, when giving evidence in December, alleged he went into graphic detail about what Fletcher had done to him.
“I don’t think I would have forgotten that,” Wilson told the court.
Asked by his lawyer Stephen Odgers what he would have done if the boy had told him about the abuse, Wilson said his first priority would have been to provide pastoral care to the then-15-year-old boy and his family.
The archbishop said he would also have reported the allegations to his superiors.
Fletcher was found guilty in 2004 of nine counts of child sexual abuse and died in jail of a stroke in 2006, while serving an almost eight-year sentence.
Wilson told the court he had not been aware that Fletcher had abused boys.
Asked by Odgers if he had had any suspicions about Fletcher, Wilson replied: “No, I had none.”
The former altar boy alleged he trusted Wilson would take action against the pedophile priest after revealing the abuse, but Wilson did nothing.
The second former altar boy alleged he was about 11 in 1976 when he went into the confessional box to tell Wilson that Fletcher had abused him.
The witness alleged Wilson told him he was telling lies because Fletcher “was a good bloke.” The witness said Wilson had ordered him out of the confessional and told to recite 10 Hail Mary prayers as an act of contrition.
Wilson said he had no memory of seeing the second altar boy at all in 1976 and he would never accuse anyone in the confessional of telling lies.
Questioned about his health, Wilson said the prescribed medication he was taking to treat his Alzheimer’s had helped improve his memory, “although it’s not perfect.”
The Wilson verdict comes while Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell, is due to stand trial for “historical sexual offenses.” Pell is currently on a leave of absence from his post as the Vatican’s Secretary for the Economy, and he becomes the most senior Church official ever to face criminal charges of sexual abuse in a civil court of law.
The leader of Pell’s defense team, Robert Richter, told an Australian court in March there was no way a jury could convict the cardinal because of the improbability of the allegations and because the complainants who made them had no credibility and could not be believed.
Richter also suggested that Pell had been targeted due to perceived failures to respond adequately to abuse allegations against other clergy, both as a priest and as the archbishop of both Melbourne and Sydney.
Lead prosecutor Mark Gibson argued that while there were conflicts in some of the evidence, the differences were questions for a jury, and that the accusers had never wavered in their allegations against Pell.
Crux staff also contributed to this report.

Three concerns of the Pope and an invite to criticize him if necessary



Pope meets the Italian Conference of Bishops (CEI) on Monday
PHOTO.VA - OSSERVATORE ROMANO

‘It Is Not a Sin to Criticize the Pope Here!’ Pope Francis Tells Italian Bishops

At Opening of General Assembly of CEI, Francis Shares His Three Concerns
‘It is not a sin to criticize the Pope here!’
Pope Francis told Italian prelates this yesterday May 21, 2018, during the Italian Episcopal Conference’s (CEI) 68th General Assembly, which is taking place until May 24 on the theme: “Which ecclesial presence in the current communicative context.”
In the address, the Holy Father expressed his primary concerns, and then the doors closed for private discussion.
After thanking them for their prensence, especially in inaugurating the Feast Day of Mary Mother of the Church, he invited: “Let us all say from our heart, all together: “Monstra te esse matrem”. Always: “Monstra te esse matrem.
Expressing the prayer means ‘Make us feel that you are the mother,’ he noted it is recognition that we are not alone, that Mary accompanies us as a mother,’
“It is the motherhood of the Church, of the Hierarchical Holy Mother Church, which is gathered here … But that she is a mother. “Hierarchical Holy Mother Church”, as Saint Ignatius [of Loyola] so liked to say.”
The Holy Father prayed that Mary, our Mother, “help us so that the Church may be a mother. And – following the inspiration of the fathers – may our soul also be a mother. The three women: Mary, the Church and our soul. All three mothers. May the Church be Mother, may our soul be a Mother.”
Expressing he wishes the meeting be a time of dialogue and reflection, the Pontiff shared the three things that worry him. He urged them to not hesitate to voice their thoughts frankly, noting: “it is not a sin to criticize the Pope here! It is not a sin, it can be done.”
First Concern
The first thing that troubles me is the crisis of vocations, he said, noting, with this, “our paternity at stake.”
“Regarding this concern, rather, this haemorrhage of vocations,” he said, “I have spoken to at the Plenary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, explaining that it is the poisoned fruit of the culture of the temporary, of relativism and the dictatorship of money, which distances the young from consecrated life; alongside, certainly, the tragic reduction in births, this “demographic winter”; as well as the scandals and lukewarm witness.”
“How many seminaries, churches and monasteries will be closed in the coming years due to a lack of vocations? God knows. It is sad to see that this land, which has for long centuries been fertile and generous in producing missionaries, nuns, priest full of apostolic zeal, is entering along with the old continent in a vocational sterility without searching for effective remedies. I believe that it searches for them but we are not managing to find them!”
The Pope went on to propose “a more concrete and generous sharing, fidei donum, among Italian dioceses, which would certainly enrich all the dioceses that give and those that receive, strengthening in the hearts of the clergy and the faithful the sensus ecclesiae and the sensus fidei.”
Second Concern
The Pope’s second concern, he said, is evangelical poverty and transparency.
“For me, always – because I learnt as a Jesuit in the constitution – poverty is the “mother” and the “wall” of apostolic life. It is the mother because it gives birth, and it is the wall because it protects. Without poverty there is no apostolic zeal, there is no life of service to others… It is a concern that relates to money and transparency. In reality, one who believes cannot speak of poverty and live like a pharaoh.”
When at times we see these things, the Pope said, it is a counter-witness to speak of poverty and lead a life of luxury; and it is very scandalous to deal with money without transparency or to manage the assets of the Church as if they were personal assets.
“You know the financial scandals that there have been in some dioceses… Please, it makes me very sad to hear that an ecclesiastic has allowed himself to be manipulated, putting himself in situations in which he is out of his depth or worse still, managing the “widow’s loose change” in a dishonest manner.”
We have the duty, the Pope noted, to manage in an exemplary way, through clear and common rules.
Third Concern
The third concern, the Pontiff said, is the reduction and merging of dioceses.
“It is not easy, because, especially in this time… Last year we were about to merge one with another, but they came to me from there and said: “It is tiny, the diocese… Father, why are you doing this? The university has gone, they have closed a school, now there is no mayor, there is a delegate, now you too…”. And we feel this pain and say, “Let the bishop remain, because they are suffering”. But I think that there are dioceses that can be merged.”
He noted that this is a pastoral need, studied and examined several times, even before the Concordat of 1929. Noting we are talking about an historic and current issue, neglected for too long, and also claimed necessary by predecessors including Paul VI, he said: “I believe the time has come to conclude it as soon as possible.”
“Perhaps there are one or two cases that cannot be done now, for what I said earlier – because it is an abandoned territory – but something can be done.”
After sharing this as starting points for reflection, Pope Francis said he left the floor open to them to speak freely and again giving thanks.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Tuesday Saint of the Day; she overcame much

St. Rita

Image of St. Rita

Facts

Feastday: May 22
Patron of impossible cases, difficult marriages, and parenthood
Birth: 1381
Death: 1472
Beatified By: by Pope Urban VII in 1627
Canonized By: by Pope Leo XIII on May 24, 1900


Saint Rita was born Margherita Lotti in Roccaporena, Italy in 1381. The day after her baptism, Rita was surrounded by a swarm of white bees, which went in and out of her infant mouth without hurting her. Rather than being alarmed, her family believed she was marked to be virtuous and devoted to God.
At an early age, she begged her parents to allow her to enter a convent but was instead arranged to be married to a cruel man named Paolo Mancini. Young Rita became a wife and mother at only twelve years of age and her husband was a man of violent temper. In anger, he often mistreated Rita verbally and physically. He was also known to pursue other women and he had many enemies.
Paolo had many enemies in Cascia, but Rita's influence over him eventually led him to be a better man. He even renounced a family feud between the Mancinis and Chiquis. Unfortunately, the feud between the Mancini and Cascia family grew turbulent and one of Paolo's allies betrayed and killed him.
Following her husband's death, Rita gave his murderers a public pardon, but Paolo's brother, Bernardo, was still angry and encouraged Rita's two sons, Giovanni Antonio and Paulo Maria, to join the feud. Under their uncle's leadership, each boy became more and more like their father had been before Rita married him, and they wanted to avenge their father's murder.
Rita attempted to stop them, but both of her sons were determined to revenge their slain father. Rita prayed to God, asking Him to take her sons before they lost their souls to the mortal sin of murder. One year later, her prayers were answered when both of her sons fell prey to dysentery and died.
Following the deaths of her sons, Rita attempted to enter the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene in Cascia, but she was not allowed to join. Though Rita's character and piety were recognized, her husband's association with the family feud was greatly feared.
When Rita persisted, the convent told her she could join if she could find a way to mend the wound between the Chiquis and Mancinis.
After asking John the Baptist, Augustine of Hippo, and Nicholas of Tolentino to help her in her task, she attempted to end the feud.
The bubonic plague had been spreading through Italy at that time, and when Bernardo Mancini became infected, he finally abolished the feud with the Chiqui family.
Once the conflict was resolved, Rita was allowed to enter the monastery at the age of thirty-six. It is said that she was transported into the monastery of Saint Magdalene through levitation at night by the three patron saints she appealed to.
While at the monastery, Rita performed her duties faithfully and received the sacraments frequently. Rita had a great devotion to the Passion of Christ, and one day, when she was sixty-year-old, she asked, "Please let me suffer like you, Divine Saviour."
After her request, a wound appeared on her forehead, as if a thorn from Christ's crown had pierced her. It left a deep wound, which did not heal, and it caused her to suffer until the day she died.
It is said that as she neared the end of her life, Rita was bedridden from tuberculosis. It was then that she asked a cousin who had come to visit for a rose from the garden in her old home. As it was January, her cousin did not expect to find any roses, but there was a single rose in bloom, which was brought back to Rita at the convent.
She passed away four months later, on May 22, 1457.
Following her death, she was buried at the basilica of Cascia, and was later discovered to be incorrupt. Her body can be found today in the Saint Rita shrine at Cascia.
Rita was beatified by Pope Urban VIII in 1627 and canonized by Pope Leo XII on May 24, 1900.
Saint Rita is often portrayed in a black habit, which is historically inaccurate as the sisters at the Saint
Magdalene monastery wore beige or brown. She is also often shown to hold a thorn, a large Crucifix, or a palm leaf with three thorns to represent her husband and two sons.
In some images, Saint Rita is shown to have a wound on her forehead, holding a rose, or to be surrounded by bees.

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