Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Feast Day of St. Joseph the Worker

Happy Feast of St. Joseph, the Worker

Today is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. It is a time to reflect on the long, profound relationship between Catholicism and workers and specifically organized labor. That relationship remains robust, but not central, to the self-identity of Catholicism in America today. It is time to make that relationship central again.
May 1 was also the day on which communist countries celebrated the worker. The two celebrations, at least in this country, have precisely nothing in common except the date. Why? Because the Catholic Church allied itself with organized labor in the late nineteenth century and both served as bulwarks against any communist encroachments into the labor movement. Those who, like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, think there is a binary choice between being pro-laissez faire and being a Marxist may not know of the historic relationship between the Church and organized labor, but that is just one more thing that they do not know.
This morning, the Holy Father sent out a tweet that read: “I ask everyone with political responsibility to remember two things: human dignity and the common good.” I can think of no two organizations that have done more to advance human dignity and the common good than the Catholic Church and organized labor. Who pushed for workers’ compensation plans and an end to child labor during the Progressive era at the first decades of the twentieth century? Who pushed for what we now know as Social Security and for a forty-hour work week? Who supported a minimum wage? Who backed workplace safety efforts to protect workers’ from unsafe working conditions? The Church and labor.
Look at Washington today. The city is teeming with special interest groups, some of whom hold positions I support, others which hold positions I abhor, but very few of which even think about the common good. But, there is organized labor, standing for the rights of workers who do not belong to their unions, and for the rights of immigrants who do not belong to any union, and for universal health care for all, not just for union members. (On this last point, shame on the Obama administration for bending over backwards not to offend NARAL and Planned Parenthood while failing to protect the Taft-Hartley insurance plans that organized labor has had for more than fifty years.) And, on all these issues – minimum wage, workers’ rights, immigration reform, the Church has stood with labor, advocating for the rights of those who might not be Catholic but whose human dignity would be enhanced by these reforms. The bishops got it wrong in opposing the Affordable Care Act, for reasons I have explained before and need not revisit today. But, let us note that even in the midst of this brouhaha over the contraception mandate, the bishops have never once advocated repealing the ACA.
Monday, the pope sent out a tweet that said, “Inequality is the root of social evil.” Who has more consistently spoken out against the growing income inequality in this country more than the Church and organized labor? The Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have all, in different ways, warned against the social dangers of income inequality, the need to prioritize the needs of the poor, and the moral and political dangers associated with unrestricted wealth accumulation by the very few. Indeed, we could go back to Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius XI who were as harsh in their condemnation of laissez-faire capitalism as they were in their condemnation of socialism. And, organized labor has done more advocacy work than anyone on the need to address income inequality, not just at the theoretical level, but by organizing workers to defend their right to the fruits of their labor.

Ever since Ronald Reagan busted the air traffic controllers’ union, organized labor has been on the decline. It is no coincidence that the drop in the percentage of workers belonging to unions coincides exactly with growing income inequality in this country. Reagan revivified the myths of laissez-faire capitalism as embodying America’s rugged individualism, all the while protecting corporate welfare. But, myths are powerful things and a fair number of Americans believe today that any attempt to question the allocation of wealth in our current economic system is a kind of divisive class warfare. To be clear: The war of the rich upon the rest of us did not stop, ever. The war of the moneyed interest on organized labor did not stop, ever. The war to vindicate a libertarian understanding of the human person and society has actually become more intense in recent years. All these developments fly in the face of repeated, perfectly clear, Church teachings.
In the past twenty years or so, there has been an effort by some prelates of the Catholic Church to focus the Church’s public attention exclusively on the issues of abortion, opposition to same sex marriage, and now, religious liberty. To be clear, I support the Church’s teachings on abortion, traditional marriage and religious liberty. But, by focusing only on these issues – I say “focusing” but someone who wears white said “obsessing” – the Church has come to resemble a wing of the Republican Party. The only way forward is to follow Pope Francis’ lead and return the Church’s social teachings to the front-burner of our public witness.
There are signs of hope. The bishops’ Mass at the border in Nogales was a clear indication that the Church cares about the immigrants and the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Fr. Clete Kiley continues his work training labor priests - a new generation of Karl Maldens! – who will be positioned to help their parishioners become aware of the Church’s teaching on the dignity of workers and the necessity of organizing to achieve their rights and defend their dignity. If the workers do not come together to vindicate their rights, the powerful will always be able to have their way with the weak. Organized labor is a great challenge to the powerful for just that reason, and we need priests who will tell their people that the Church is always, in obedience to Christ, prepared to stand with the weak against the powerful. And, next month, the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at Catholic University, where I am a visiting fellow, will host a conference, “Erroneous Autonomy: The Catholic Case Against Libertarianism,” and organized labor has been both supportive of, and very interested in, this conference, resolved to join hands with Catholics to challenge this insidious heresy of libertarianism.
More must be done and it is in the interests of both the Church and organized labor to find ways to work together. Most obviously, the future of both organizations will be spoken and written in Spanish, a fact that places both organized labor and the Catholic Church ahead of the societal and demographic curve. Indeed, the influx of new immigrants has brought new life to both labor and the Church: You do not have to spend much time in Latin America to realize that solidarity is what characterizes their ethos, not any Randian vision of human autonomy. Many of the union locals began in the basement of a church in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Our churches must again become a safe haven where workers can come together, out of the sight of management, to organize themselves. And, our nations’ bishops need to follow Pope Francis’ lead and place concern for human dignity in all its ramifications, the unborn as well as the undocumented, the unemployed as well as the uninsured, at the forefront of our public witness. I would point out in this regard that organized labor is the only part of the left-liberal political coalition that has never signed on to Roe v. Wade. The Church and organized labor must follow the Pope’s lead and make the phrase “common good” a phrase that no longer sounds quaint, but a phrase that puts the fear of God into the hearts of the plutocrats and their defenders.
A happy Feast of St. Joseph the Worker to you all. I pray that this feast will inspire the workers to organize and inspire the moneyed interest to conversion and the leaders of the Catholic Church to a renewed commitment to strengthening their relationship with organized labor.

May is the Month of Mary

Month of Mary

Hail, holy Mother, thou who didst bring forth the King who rules heaven and earth forever and ever.
Prayer of the Month

An Act of Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Holy Mary, Mother of God and Virgin, I choose thee this day for my queen, patron, and advocate, and firmly resolve and purpose never to abandon thee, never to say or do anything against thee, nor to permit that aught be done by others to dishonor thee. Receive me, then, I conjure thee, as thy perpetual servant; assist me in all my actions, and do not abandon me at the hour of my death. Amen. — St. John Berchmans

Devotions to the Mother of God

The Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary
(Monday / Saturday)
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity
4. The Presentation
5. The Finding of Our Lord in the Temple
(Tuesday / Friday)
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion
(Sunday / Wednesday)
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption
5. The Coronation
1. The Baptism in the Jordan
2. The Wedding at Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Eucharist



Our Life, Our Sweetness and Our Hope

The month of May (Overview - Calendar) is the "month which the piety of the faithful has especially dedicated to Our Blessed Lady," and it is the occasion for a "moving tribute of faith and love which Catholics in every part of the world [pay] to the Queen of Heaven. During this month Christians, both in church and in the privacy of the home, offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration. In this month, too, the benefits of God's mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance" (Paul VI: Encyclical on the Month of May, no. 1).
This Christian custom of dedicating the month of May to the Blessed Virgin arose at the end of the 13th century. In this way, the Church was able to Christianize the secular feasts which were wont to take place at that time. In the 16th century, books appeared and fostered this devotion.
The practice became especially popular among the members of the Jesuit Order — by 1700 it took hold among their students at the Roman College and a bit later it was publicly practiced in the Gesu Church in Rome. From there it spread to the whole Church.
The practice was granted a partial indulgence by Pius VII in 1815 and a plenary indulgence by Pius IX in 1859. With the complete revision of indulgences in 1966 and the decreased emphasis on specific indulgences, it no longer carries an indulgence; however it certainly falls within the category of the First General Grant of Indulgences. (A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in the performance of their duties and in bearing the trials of life, raise their mind with humble confidence to God, adding — even if only mentally — some pious invocation.
Excerpted from Enchiridion of Indulgences.
The Month of Mary and the Popes
The pious practice of honoring Mary during the month of May has been especially recommended by the Popes. Pius XII made frequent reference to it and in his great Encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy (Mediator Dei) characterized it as one of "other exercises of piety which although not strictly belonging to the Sacred Liturgy, are nevertheless of special import and dignity, and may be considered in a certain way to be an addition to the liturgical cult: they have been approved and praised over and over again by the Apostolic See and by the Bishops" (no. 182).
Paul VI wrote a short encyclical in 1965 using the Month of Mary devotion as a means of obtaining prayers for peace. He urged the faithful to make use of this practice which is "gladdening and consoling" and by which the Blessed Virgin Mary is honored and the Christian people are enriched with spiritual gifts" (no. 2).
In May of 2002 Pope John Paul II said, "Today we begin the month dedicated to Our Lady a favourite of popular devotion. In accord with a long-standing tradition of devotion, parishes and families continue to make the month of May a 'Marian' month, celebrating it with many devout liturgical, catechetical and pastoral initiatives!"
Devotion to Mary
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the Church and therefore the example, as well as the guide and inspiration, of everyone who, in and through the Church, seeks to be the servant of God and man and the obedient agent of the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, as Pope Leo XIII reminded us, is the soul of the Church: All the activity and service of the members of the Church, beginning with the supreme participation of the Blessed Mother in the work of the Church, is vivified by the Holy Spirit as the body, in all its activities, is vivified by its soul. The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete, Advocate, and Comforter which Christ Himself sent to be our consolation in the sorrowful mysteries of life, our source of moderation in the joyful mysteries of life, our added principle of exaltation in the glorious mysteries of life.
So He was for the Blessed Mother; so also He is for the least of us; so also He is for the rest of the Church, even for those who are its unconscious but conscientious members.
Wherever there is faith there is the example of Mary, because she lived by faith as the Scriptures remind us....
If, then, piety is the virtue which binds us to the sources of all life, to God, to our parents, to the Church, to Christ, certainly Christian piety binds us, in grateful love, to Mary — or our acceptance of Christ and of the mystery of our kinship with Him is imperfect, partial, and unfulfilled.
Cardinal John Wright
Mary and Our Spiritual Life
In our observance of the Marian month we should take into account the season of the Liturgical Year which largely corresponds with the fifty days of Easter. Our pious exercises could emphasize Our Lady's participation in the Paschal mystery and in Pentecost with which the Church begins. The pious exercises connected with the month of May can easily highlight the earthly role played by the glorified Queen of Heaven, here and now, in the celebration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.
The following practices which are recommended by the Magisterium are offered as suggestions for honoring Our Lady during Her month.
The Regina Coeli
The ecclesial community addresses this antiphon to Mary for the Resurrection of her Son. It adverts to, and depends on, the invitation to joy addressed by Gabriel to the Lord's humble servant who was called to become the Mother of the saving Messiah.
The Rosary
Also called the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Rosary is one of the most excellent prayers to the Mother of God. Thus, "the Roman Pontiffs have repeatedly exhorted the faithful to the frequent recitation of this biblically inspired prayer which is centered on contemplation of the salvific events of Christ's life, and their close association with the Virgin Mother."
Litanies of the Blessed Virgin MaryThese consist of a long series of invocations to Our Lady, which follow in a uniform rhythm, thereby creating a stream of prayer characterized by insistent praise and supplication.
Consecration and Entrustment to MaryThe Roman Pontiffs have frequently expressed appreciation for the pious practice of "consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary" and the formulas publicly used by them are well known.
Louis Grignon de Montfort is one of the great masters of the spirituality underlying the act of "consecration to Mary". He "proposed to the faithful consecration to Jesus through Mary, as an effective way of living out their baptismal commitment."
The Brown Scapular and other ScapularsThe scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.
These are witnesses of faith and a sign of veneration of the Holy Mother of God, as well as of trust in her maternal protection.
The Church blesses such objects of Marian devotion in the belief that "they help to remind the faithful of the love of God, and to increase trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary."
The "Akathistos" HymnIn the Byzantine tradition, one of the oldest and most revered expressions of Marian devotion is the hymn of the "Akathistos" — meaning the hymn sung while standing. It is a literary and theological masterpiece, encapsulating in the form of a prayer, the universally held Marian belief of the primitive Church.
Excepted from the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy
The Litany of Loretto
Ave MariaThe Litany of the Blessed Virgin–also called the Litany of Loreto–is one of the many Marian litanies, or praises of Mary, composed during the Middle Ages. The place of honor it now holds, in the life of the Church, is due its faithful use at the shrine of the Holy House at Loreto, which, according to tradition, was the small cottage-like home where the Holy Family had lived and which was miraculously transported by angels, in 1291, from the Holy Land to its present location in Loreto. It was definitely recommended by Pope Clement VII and approved by Sixtus V in 1587, and all other Marian litanies were suppressed, at least for public use.
Its forty-nine titles (fifty, or fifty-one, or even more, in some versions: with "Mother of the Church" and "Mother of Mercy" and being the 'official' 'newcomers' in recent times and which are included on the Vatican website version) and invocations set before us Mary's exalted privileges, her holiness of life, her amiability and power, her motherly spirit and queenly majesty. Reflection on the titles of the litany, therefore, will unfold before us a magnificent picture of our heavenly Mother, even though we know little about her life.
In form, the Litany of Loreto is composed on a fixed plan common to several Marian litanies already in existence during the second half of the fifteenth century, which in turn are connected with a notable series of Marian litanies that began to appear in the twelfth century and became numerous in the thirteenth and fourteenth. The Loreto text had, however, the good fortune to be adopted in the famous shrine, and in this way to become known, more than any other, to the many pilgrims who flocked there during the sixteenth century. The text was brought home to the various countries of Christendom, and finally it received for all time the supreme ecclesiastical sanction.
Sixtus V, who had entertained a singular devotion for Loreto, by the Bull "Reddituri" of 11 July, 1587, gave formal approval to it, as to the litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, and recommended preachers everywhere to propagate its use among the faithful.
Excerpted from The History of the Litany of Our Lady

Pray with the Pope's monthly intention for May


Christians in Africa.

That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace.

Homily for the 3rd Sunday in Easter

At the end of every MDA Telethon, back in the day, we would hear Jerry Lewis sing these words: walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart and you'll never walk alone; you'll never walk alone.

Throughout our lives, we have had many people walk with us on our journey; parents, friends, teachers and coaches, spouses, co-workers, even strangers placed on our path.

As people of faith, we never walk alone because Jesus is always right there, walking with us, guiding us on the path to eternal life.

On this 3rd Sunday of Easter we visit the Gospel of Luke and recount the story of the road to Emmaus.  It is Easter, late in the afternoon, and two disciples are returning from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a distance of about 8 miles.  Scripture only names one of the disciples, Cleopas, who many believe was at the crucifixion.  The other disciple was perhaps his wife, or another disciple.  Some Scripture scholars say the name unknown is for us, so that we may place ourselves on this journey.  And indeed we can and should travel the road to Emmaus as well.

Notice how almost crestfallen the disciples appear to be, things did not work out as we planned.  We hoped this Jesus would be the one.  But they killed him and now his body is missing.  How does Jesus reply to this summation of the disciples story?  Oh, how foolish you are!  And yes, many times, we can say, how foolish we are too!  Jesus then takes the time to open the Scriptures to them, pointing to Himself in all the Scriptures.  Let's make this point again, Jesus says all the Scriptures point to Him, all the Scriptures lead to Him.  We must be a people of the Holy Scriptures, devouring every word written, open to a life that includes daily devotion to His most Holy Word.  After the Scriptures are open for them, and for us, Jesus stays with them and taking bread, He blessed, broke and gave it to them.  Here we see Holy Communion.  Then, and only then, were the eyes of the disciples opened and they recognized Jesus; in the breaking of the bread.  The same Jesus who comes to us at every Mass, in the Word broken open and the bread blessed broken and given to us; the same Jesus; as St. Thomas said last week: My Lord and My God!

Since the first Mass was given by Jesus at Holy Thursday and his body and blood given for us on Good Friday, we can say that this Scripture, this journey to Emmaus, was Jesus again offering the Mass.  And all of this taking place on the evening of the Resurrection, a Sunday, what we Christians call the Lord's Day.

How is our walk, our road to Emmaus, with Jesus going?  Do we take the time in our daily lives to even let Jesus walk with us?  Do we scurry about never even thinking about Jesus in our lives or do we take the time to thank Him, to praise Him, to pray to Him?  What do we listen to in our cars?  How much busy do we cram into our walking and talking, our coming in and our going out?  Do we take time to let Jesus speak to us, to hear Him in the Scriptures, to recognize Him in the Holy Eucharist and to even recognize Him in our family and friends, our neighbors and strangers?  Can we be aware of these questions this week and make a real effort to have a true road to Emmaus experience now, and always?

Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart and you'll never walk alone; if we walk with Jesus, we will truly never walk alone!

A powerful Pope who led the Church through very difficult times

St. Pius V, Pope


Image of St. Pius V, Pope


Feastday: April 30
Birth: 1504
Death: 1572

Pope from 1566-1572 and one of the foremost leaders of the Catholic Reformation. Born Antonio Ghislieri in Bosco, Italy, to a poor family, he labored as a shepherd until the age of fourteen and then joined the Dominicans, being ordained in 1528. Called Brother Michele, he studied at Bologna and Genoa, and then taught theology and philosophy for sixteen years before holding the posts of master of novices and prior for several Dominican houses. Named inquisitor for Como and Bergamo, he was so capable in the fulfillment of his office that by 1551, and at the urging of the powerful Cardinal Carafa, he was named by Pope Julius III commissary general of the Inquisition. In 1555, Carafa was elected Pope Paul IV and was responsible for Ghislieri's swift rise as a bishop of Nepi and Sutri in 1556, cardinal in 1557, and grand inquisitor in 1558. While out of favor for a time under Pope Pius IV who disliked his reputation for excessive zeal, Ghislieri was unanimously elected a pope in succession to Pius on January 7, 1566. As pope, Pius saw his main objective as the continuation of the massive program of reform for the Church, in particular the full implementation of the decrees of the Council of Trent. He published the Roman Catechism, the revised Roman Breviary, and the Roman Missal; he also declared Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church, commanded a new edition of the works of Thomas Aquinas, and created a commission to revise the Vulgate. The decrees of Trent were published throughout all Catholic lands, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the New World, and the pontiff insisted on their strict adherence. In 1571, Pius created the Congregation of the Index to give strength to the Church's resistance to Protestant and heretical writings, and he used the Inquisition to prevent any Protestant ideas from gaining a foot hold in Italy. In dealing with the threat of the Ottoman Turks who were advancing steadily across the Mediterranean, Pius organized a formidable alliance between Venice and Spain, culminating in the Battle of Lepanto, which was a complete and shattering triumph over the Turks. The day of the victory was declared the Feast Day of Our Lady of Victory in recognition of Our Lady's intercession in answer to the saying of the Rosary all over Catholic Europe. Pius also spurred the reforms of the Church by example. He insisted upon wearing his coarse Dominican robes, even beneath the magnificent vestments worn by the popes, and was wholeheartedly devoted to the religious life. His reign was blemished only by the continuing oppression of the Inquisition; the often brutal treatment of the Jews of Rome; and the ill advised decision to excommunicate Queen Elizabeth I of England  in February 1570, an act which also declared her deposed and which only worsened the plight of English Catholics. These were overshadowed in the view of later generations by his contributions to the Catholic Reformation. Pope Clement beatified him on May 1, 1672, and Pope Clement XI canonized him on May 22, 1712

Sunday morning address from Pope Francis

Regina Coeli Address: Prayers for Venezuela and for all Countries in Difficulty
“I Ask the Lord to Bless All the Egyptian People, the Authorities and the Christian and Muslim Faithful; May He give Peace to that Country”
Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before praying the midday Regina Coeli in St. Peter’s Square. He spoke these words at the end of the audience with the “Azione Cattolica Italiana” on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of its foundation.
* * *
Before the Regina Coeli
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Tragic news does not cease to arrive about the situation in Venezuela and the worsening of the clashes, with numerous dead, wounded and arrested. While I unite myself to the grief of the families of the victims, for whom I assure prayers of suffrage, I address a heartfelt appeal to the Government and to all the components of the Venezuelan society to avoid all further forms of violence; may human rights be respected and may negotiated solutions be sought to the grave humanitarian, social, political and economic crisis that is distressing the population. We entrust to the Most Holy Virgin Mary the intention of peace, of reconciliation and of democracy in that dear country. And we pray for all countries that are going through grave difficulties, I am thinking in particular these days of the Republic of Macedonia.
Proclaimed Blessed yesterday at Verona was Leopoldina Naudet, Founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family. Brought up in the court of the Habsburgs, first in Florence and then in Vienna, from her youth she had a strong vocation to prayer, but also to educational service. She consecrated herself to God and, through various experiences, was able to form a new Religious Community at Verona, under the protection of the Holy Family, which is still alive in the Church. We unite ourselves to their joy and to their thanksgiving.
Observed today in Italy is the Day of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart. I encourage support to this important institution, which continues to invest in the formation of young people for a better world.
Christian formation is based on the Word of God. Therefore, I am pleased to recall also that “Biblical Sunday” is being held today in Poland. Read publicly in parish churches, in schools and in the mass media is a part of Sacred Scripture. I wish every good for this initiative.
And you, dear friends of Catholic Action, I thank you from my heart, at the end of this meeting, for your presence! And, through you, I greet all your parish groups, families, children, youngsters, young people and elderly. Go forward!
And I extend my greeting to the pilgrims that at this hour are united to us for the Marian prayer, especially those who have come from Spain, Croatia, Germany and Puerto Rico. We turn together to Mary, our Mother. We thank her particularly for the Apostolic Journey to Egypt, which I just carried out. I ask the Lord to bless all the Egyptian people, so hospitable, the Authorities and the Christian and Muslim faithful; may He give peace to that country.
Regina Coeli . . .

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pope Francis wraps up 2nd and final day of his missionary trip to Egypt

Pope Francis Wraps Up Short, But Significant Visit to Egypt
A Wrap Up of Pontiff’s 2nd Day in Cairo
Pope Francis has wrapped up the second and final day of his visit to Egypt this weekend, April 28-29. This marked his 18th apostolic journey out of Italy and 27th country visited. It also marked the second time that a Pope goes to the north African nation, after the visit of St. Pope John Paul II in 2000.
The Pope was invited to the country by President Abdel-Fattah al Sisi, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar University, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed al-Tayeb, Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, and by the Catholic bishops.
As opposed to his first intense day which involved three discourses, including to authorities, an international peace conference at Al Azhar and to Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, along with a common declaration and moments of prayer with the Coptic Pope, Francis’ second day was a bit lighter. It started out with a Mass, for the country’s Catholics who don’t even constitute one percent of the population, followed by lunch, and concluded with addressing clergy and religious.
In his homily at the Mass for Egyptian Catholics in the “Air Defense Stadium,” he recalled that today’s Gospel of the third Sunday of Easter speaks of the journey to Emmaus of the two disciples who set out from Jerusalem. The Jesuit Pope explained the account can be summed up in three words: death, resurrection and life.
He also reminded all those present what ‘true faith’ has the power to do and that nothing is impossible to God.
“God,” he also pointed out, “is pleased only by a faith that is proclaimed by our lives, for the only fanaticism believers can have is that of charity! Any other fanaticism does not come from God and is not pleasing to him!”
After Mass, Pope Francis had lunch with Egyptian bishops and the Papal entourage. He was served by a young Italian chef who had a moment to greet him after the lunch.
During his prayer meeting with clergy, religious, and seminarians at 3:15 p.m., Francis warned them of seven temptations:
1. The temptation to let ourselves be led, rather than to lead.
2. The temptation to complain constantly.
3. The temptation to gossip and envy.
4. The temptation to compare ourselves to others.
5. The temptation to become like Pharaoh, that is to harden our hearts and close them off to the Lord and our brothers and sisters.
6 The temptation to individualism.
7. The temptation to keep walking without direction or destination:
Resisting these temptations, Francis insisted, is not easy, but it is possible if we are grafted on to Jesus.
“The more we are rooted in Christ, the more we are alive and fruitful!” he said, noting the quality of one’s consecration depends on the quality of one’s spiritual life. “You too can be salt and light, and thus an occasion of salvation for yourselves and for all others, believers and non-believers alike, and especially for those who are poor, those in need, the abandoned and discarded,” he said.
Preceded by a farewell ceremony, at 5 p.m. the flight of Pope Francis and his entourage departed from Cairo International Airport, and the flight is expected to land in Rome’s Ciampino Airport at about 8:30 p.m. Pope Francis as usual will respond to journalists’ questions on his return flight to Rome, which remain for some time under embargo. Therefore, Zenit will inform our readers of the in-flight press conference’s contents on Monday.
During the two-day journey, the Pope was accompanied by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, Cardinals Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches and Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Unity, and Apostolic Nuncio in Egypt, Bishop Bruno Musaró. The interpreter of the Pope will be his private secretary, official of the secretariat of state, Msgr. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, a Catholic Coptic priest of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
Egypt has some 90 million inhabitants, a majority of whom, at least 85%, are Muslims. About 10% of the population are Orthodox Coptic Christians, and the Catholics, who are broken up between Coptic Catholics and different rites: Coptic, Latin, Armenian , Melkite, Maronite, Syro-Catholic, etc., make up less than 1% of the population.Their bishops are gathered in the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy presided over by the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Pope’s Homily at Mass:
Pope to Clergy, Religious, and Consecrated:
Pope’s Full Program:
Italian Cuisine Is Also Appreciated Along the Nile:
Pope’s In Flight Press Conference: to be made available to our readers by Monday

Almost missed this amazing modern-day pro-life Saint

Image of St. Gianna Beretta Molla St. Gianna Beretta Molla


Feastday: April 28
Patron of mothers, physicians, and unborn children
Birth: October 4, 1922
Death: April 28, 1962
Beatified By: April 24, 1994 by Pope John Paul II
Canonized By: May 16, 2004 by Pope John Paul II

St. Gianna Beretta Molla was an Italian pediatrician born in Magenta in the Kingdom of Italy on October 4, 1922. She was the tenth of thirteen children in her family.
At three-years-old, Gianna and her family moved to Bergamo, and she grew up in the Lombardy region of Italy.
As a young girl, Gianna openly accepted her faith and the Catholic-Christian education provided to her from her loving parents. She grew up viewing life as God's beautiful gift and found the greatest necessity and effectiveness in prayer.
In 1942, Gianna began her study of medicine in Milan. She was a diligent and hardworking student, both at the university and in her faith.
As a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Gianna applied her faith in an apostolic service for the elderly and needy.
She received degrees in both medicine and surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949, and in 1950 she opened a medical office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta.
In 1952, Gianna specialized in pediatrics at the University of Milan and from there on, she was especially drawn toward mothers, babies, the elderly and the poor.
Gianna considered the field of medicine to be her mission, and treated it as such. She increased her generous service to Catholic Action, a movement of lay Catholics dedicated to living and spreading the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church in the broader culture. The Catholic Action movement is still at work today, throughout the world.
Gianna hoped to join her brother, a missionary priest in Brazil, where she intended to offer her medical expertise in gynecology to poor women.
However, her chronic ill health made this impractical, and she continued her practice in Italy.
She chose the vocation of marriage and considered this to be a gift from God. Gianna embraced this gift with all her being and completely dedicated herself to "forming a truly Christian family."
In December 1954, Gianna met Pietro Molla, an engineer who worked in her office. They were officially engaged the following April, and married in September 1955, making Gianna a happy wife.
Gianna wrote to Pietro, "Love is the most beautiful sentiment that the Lord has put into the soul of men and women."
In November 1956, Gianna became a mother to her first child, Pierluigi. Their second child, Maria Zita, in December 1957, and their third, Laura, in July 1959.
Gianna handled motherhood with grace and was able to harmonize all aspects of her demanding life.
In 1961, Gianna became pregnant with her fourth child. Toward the end of her second month of pregnancy, Gianna was struck with an unimaginable pain.
Her doctors discovered she had developed a fibroma in her uterus, meaning she was carrying both a baby and a tumor.
After examination, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, which would save her life and allow her to continue to have children, but take the life of the child she carried; a complete hysterectomy, which would preserve her life, but take the unborn child's life, and prevent further pregnancy; or removal of only the fibroma, with the potential of further complications, which could save the life of her baby.
Catholic teaching affirms what medical science, the Natural Law, the Bible and unbroken Christian tradition affirm, the child in the womb has a fundamental Human Right to Life. Wanting to preserve her child's life, Gianna opted for the removal of only the fibroma.
In fact, she was willing to give her own life to save the life of her child.
Gianna pleaded with the surgeons to save her child's life over her own. She sought comfort in her prayers and her living faith.
The child's life was saved, for which Gianna graciously thanked the Lord.
After the operation, complications continued throughout her pregnancy, but Gianna spent the remainder of her pregnancy with an unparalleled strength and insistent dedication for her tasks as a mother and a doctor.
A few days before the baby was to be born, Gianna prayed the Lord take any pain away from the child. She recognized she may lose her life during delivery, but she was ready.
Gianna was quite clear about her wishes, expressing to her family, "If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child?I insist on it. Save the baby."
On April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela Molla successfully delivered by Caesarean section.
The doctors tried many different treatments and procedures to ensure both lives would be saved. However, on April 28, 1962, a week after the baby was born, Gianna passed away from septic peritonitis. She is buried in Mesero.
Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and officially canonized as a saint on May 16, 2004. Her husband and their children, including Gianna Emanuela, attended her canonization ceremony, making this the first time a husband witnessed his wife's canonization.
In 2003, mother-to-be Elizabeth Comparini experienced a tear in her placenta when she was 16-weeks pregnant. Her womb was drained of all amniotic fluid. She was told the chances of her baby's survival was little to none. Elizabeth is said to have prayed to Gianna Molla and asked for her intercession. Elizabeth was able to give birth to a healthy baby.
During Gianna's canonization ceremony, John Paul II described her as, "a simple, but more than ever, significant messenger of divine love."
St. Gianna is the inspiration behind the first pro-life Catholic healthcare center for women in New York, the Gianna Center.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla is the patron saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children. Her feast day is celebrated on April 28

Powerful advocate for the Church and the Pope

St. Catherine of Siena


Image of St. Catherine of Siena


Feastday: April 29
Patron Fire prevention
Birth: 1347
Death: 1380

St. Catherine of Siena was born during the outbreak of the plague in Siena, Italy on March 25, 1347. She was the 25th child born to her mother, although half of her brothers and sisters did not survive childhood. Catherine herself was a twin, but her sister did not survive infancy. Her mother was 40 when she was born. Her father was a cloth dyer.
At the age of 16, Catherine's sister, Bonaventura, died, leaving her husband as a widower. Catherine's parents proposed that he marry Catherine as a replacement, but Catherine opposed this. She began fasting and cut her hair short to mar her appearance.
Her parents attempted to resist this move, to avoid marriage, but they were unsuccessful. Her fasting and her devotion to her family, convinced them to relent and allow her to live as she pleased. Catherine once explained that she regarded her father as a representation of Jesus and her mother as Our Lady, and her brothers as the apostles, which helped her to serve them with humility.
Despite Catherine's religious nature, she did not choose to enter a convent and instead she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic, which allowed her to associate with a religious society while living at home.
Fellow Dominican sisters taught St. Catherine how to read. Meanwhile, she lived quietly, isolated within her family home.
St. Catherine developed a habit of giving things away and she continually gave away her family's food and clothing to people in need. She never asked permission to give these things away, and she quietly put up with their criticisms.
Something changed her when she was 21. She described an experience she referred to as her "mystical marriage to Christ." There are debates over whether or not St. Catherine was given a ring with some claiming she was given a bejeweled ring, and other claiming the ring was made of Jesus's skin. St. Catherine herself started the rumor of the latter in her writings, but she was known to often claim the ring itself was invisible.
Such mystical experiences change people, and St. Catherine was no exception. In her vision, she was told to reenter public life and to help the poor and sick. She immediately rejoined her family and went into public to help people in need.
She often visited hospitals and homes where the poor and sick were found. Her activities quickly attracted followers who helped her in her mission to serve the poor and sick.
St. Catherine was drawn further into the world as she worked, and eventually she began to travel, calling for reform of the Church and for people to confess and to love God totally. She became involved in politics, and was key in working to keep city states loyal to the Pope. She was also credited with helping to start a crusade to the Holy Land. On one occasion, she visited a condemned political prisoner and was credited with saving his soul, which she saw being taken up to heaven at the moment of his death.
St. Catherine allegedly was given the stigmata, but like her ring, it was visible only to herself. She took Bl. Raymond of Capua has her confessor and spiritual director.
From 1375 onwards, St. Catherine began dictating letters to scribes. She petitioned for peace and was instrumental in persuading the Pope in Avignon to return to Rome.
She became involved in the fractured politics of her time, but was instrumental in restoring the Papacy to Rome and in brokering peace deals during a time of factional conflict and war between the Italian city states.
She also established a monastery for women in 1377 outside of Siena. She is credited with composing over 400 letters, her Dialogue, which is her definitive work, and her prayers. These works are so influential that St. Catherine would later be declared a Doctor of the Church. She is one of the most influential and popular saints in the Church.
By 1380, the 33-year-old mystic had become ill, possibly because of her habit of extreme fasting. Her confessor, Raymond, ordered her to eat, but she replied that she found it difficult to do so, and that possibly she was ill.
In January of 1380, her illness accelerated her inability to eat and drink. Within weeks, she was unable to use her legs. She died on April 29, following a stroke just a week prior.
St. Catherine's feast day is April 29, she is the patroness against fire, illness, the United States, Italy, miscarriages, people ridiculed for their faith, sexual temptation, and nurses.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Pope Francis 1st Day in Egypt

Pope Francis Wraps Up 1st Day in Egypt
Today, Pope Visited Authorities, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II
Logo of the Visit of the Pope to Egypt, 2017 - © Http://Catholic-Eg.Com/

Pope Francis has wrapped up the first day of his visit to Egypt this weekend, April 28-29. This marks his 18th apostolic journey out of Italy and 27th country visited. It also marks the second time that a Pope goes to the north African nation, after the visit of St. Pope John Paul II in 2000.
The Pope was invited to the country by President Abdel-Fattah al Sisi, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar University, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed al-Tayeb, Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, and by the Catholic bishops.
During the press conference before arriving, Francis thanked the journalists for their work and warned them of the intense days ahead.
The Pope gave three speeches during his first day: the first at an international conference on peace in Al-Azhar; the second, before the authorities of the nation; and the third to Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, Pope Tawadros II.
During his journey, the Pope was accompanied by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, Cardinals Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches and Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Unity, and Apostolic Nuncio in Egypt, Bishop Bruno Musaró. The interpreter of the Pope will be his private secretary, official of the secretariat of state, Msgr. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, a Catholic Coptic priest of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
Egypt has some 90 million inhabitants, a majority of whom, at least 85%, are Muslims. About 10% of the population are Orthodox Coptic Christians, and the Catholics, who are broken up between Coptic Catholics and different rites: Coptic, Latin, Armenian , Melkite, Maronite, Syro-Catholic, etc., make up less than 1% of the population.Their bishops are gathered in the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy presided over by the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak.
Pope Francis arrived in Cairo. The welcome ceremony took place at the presidential palace of Heliopolis, where he had a courtesy visit to the President of the Republic. Then he visited the Great Imam of Al-Azhar, and they exchanged gifts.
Within the walls of Al-Azhar University, the Pope participated in an international conference on peace. The speech of the Grand Imam was followed by that of the Pope.
The Pope called on all religious leaders to reject radicalism and said “violence is a negation of every authentic religious experience.” He thanked them for various contributions and reminded them that Muslims and Christians “are under the sun of the same God.”
During his later meeting with authorities, Francis underscored: “Egypt has a unique role to play in the Middle East and among those countries seeking solutions to pressing and complex problems that need to be faced now in order to avoid the spread of worse violence.”
Pope Francis then met with the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II. In his address to Tawadros, he recalled how all Christians are united by the ‘ecumenism of blood.’ After the discourses, they prayed together in the Church of St. Peter for the victims of recent anti-Christian attacks. They also signed a common declaration divided into 12 points.
Pope Francis went to the nunciature for the night, and before dinner, he greeted children and a group of young people from all over the country.
Moving around the city, Pope Francis used a “normal” car, as he wished.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Pope’s Words to Journalists on Flight to Egypt:
Francis to Authorities:
Pope at Peace Conference:
Pope’s Address to Pope Tawadros II:
Common Declaration of Pope Francis & Pope Tawadros II:
Pope’s Full Program:

Well known Saint for devotion to Mary and the Holy Rosary

Image of St. Louis de Montfort St Louis de Montfort


Feastday: April 28
Birth: 1673
Death: 1716

Confessor, Marian devotee, and founder of the Sisters of Divine Wisdom He was born Louis Maie Grignon in Montfort, France, in 1673. Educated at Rennes, he was ordained there in 1700, becoming a chaplain in a hospital in Poitiers. His congregation, also called the Daughters of Divine Wisdom, started there. As his missions and sermons raised complaints, Louis went to Rome, where Pope Clement XI appointed him as a missionary apostolic. Louis is famous for fostering devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary. In 1715, he also founded the Missionaries of the Company of Mary. His True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin remains popular. Louis died at Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre. He was canonized in 1947

Priest,Missionary, Martyr, Saint

Image of St. Peter Chanel


Feastday: April 28
Patron of Oceania
Birth: 1803
Death: 1841

In St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (Feast day - April 28) The protomartyr of the South Seas, St. Peter Chanel was born in 1803 at Clet in the diocese of Belley, France. His intelligence and simple piety brought him to the attention of the local priest, Father Trompier, who saw to his elementary education. Entering the diocesan Seminary, Peter won the affection and the esteem of both students and professors. After his ordination he found himself in a rundown country parish and completely revitalized it in the three year span that he remained there. However, his mind was set on missionary work; so, in 1831, he joined the newly formed Society of Mary (Marists) which concentrated on missionary work at home and abroad. To his dismay, he was appointed to teach at the seminary at Belley and remained there for the next five years, diligently performing his duties.
In 1836, the Society was given the New Hebrides in the Pacific as a field for evangelization, and the jubilant St. Peter was appointed Superior of a little band of missionaries sent to proclaim the Faith to its inhabitants. On reaching their destination after an arduous ten month journey, the band split up and St. Peter went to the Island of Futuna accompanied by a laybrother and an English layman, Thomas Boog. They were at first well received by the pagans and their king Niuliki who had only recently forbidden canabalism. However, the kings jealousy and fear were aroused when the missionaries learned the language and gained the people's confidence; he realized the adoption of the Christian Faith would lead to the abolition of some of the prerogatives he enjoyed as both highpriest and sovereign.
Finally, when his own son expressed a desire to be baptized, the king's hatred erupted and he dispatched a group of his warriors to set upon the saintly head of the missionaries. Thus, on April 28, 1841, three years after his arrival, St. Peter was seized and clubbed to death by those he had come to save. And his death brought his work to completion - within five months the entire island was converted to Christianity

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A servant on behalf of the poor and the prisoner

St. Zita

Image of St. Zita


Feastday: April 27
Patron of servants
Birth: 1212
Death: 1272

Zita (1218-1272) + Servant and miracle worker. Born at Monte Sagrati, Italy, she entered into the service of the Fratinelli family, wool dealers in Lucca, at the age of twelve. Immediately disliked by the other servants for her hard work and obvious goodness, she earned their special enmity because of her habit of giving away food and clothing to the poor including those of her employers. In time, she won over the members of the household. According to one tradition, the other servants were convinced when one day they found an angel taking Zita's place in baking and cleaning. Throughout her life she labored on behalf of the poor and suffering as well as criminals languishing in prisons. She was also credited with a variety of miracles. Canonized in 1696, she is the patroness of servants and is depicted in art with a bag and keys, or loaves of bread and a rosary. Feast day: April 27.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday General Audience with Pope Francis

GENERAL AUDIENCE: Pope: ‘Don’t Lose Heart. Accept Jesus’ Invitation to Follow Him’
Official Synthesis of the Catechesis — April 26, 2017
General Audience
Here is the Vatican-provided English-language summary of the Pope’s address at the General Audience this morning:
Dear Brothers and Sisters: During this Easter season, our catechesis on Christian hope reflects on the resurrection of Jesus the basis of our firm trust in God’s constant protection and love. Saint Matthew’s Gospel begins with the birth of Jesus as Emmanuel – “God with us” – and concludes with the Risen Lord’s promise that he will remain with us always, to the end of the age. At every step of life’s journey, God is at our side, leading us as he did the patriarchs of old, to the goal of our earthly pilgrimage. His care lasts “to the end of the age”; the heavens and the earth will pass away, yet he will continue to watch over us in his loving providence. From ancient times, Christian hope has been symbolized by the anchor, as a sign of its firm basis in God’s promises, which have been fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Because our trust is in God, and not in ourselves or this world, we readily take up Jesus’ invitation to follow him, nor do we lose heart before life’s difficulties, disappointments and defeats. May our hope in victory of the Risen Christ confirm us on every step of our journey towards the fullness of eternal life.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly the groups from England, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Nigeria, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States of America. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!