Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pray with Pope Francis in June; here is his June special intention


National Leaders.

That national leaders may firmly commit themselves to ending the arms trade, which victimizes so many innocent people.

Wednesday General Audience to wrap up the month of May

GENERAL AUDIENCE: On the Holy Spirit and Hope
‘Not only does the Holy Spirit make us capable of hoping, but also to be sowers of hope’
General Audience
This morning’s General Audience was held at 9:20 in St. Peter’s Square, where the Holy Father Francis met with groups of pilgrims and faithful from Italy and from all over the world.
In his address in Italian, the Pope reflected on the theme: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Cf. Romans 15:13-14).
After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father expressed special greetings to groups of faithful present.
The General Audience ended with the singing of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.
* * *
The Holy Father’s Catechesis
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
In the imminence of the Solemnity of Pentecost, we cannot but speak of the relation there is between Christian hope and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the wind that drives us on, that keeps us on the way, makes us feel ourselves pilgrims and strangers, and does not permit us to ensconce ourselves and to become a “sedentary” people.
The Letter to the Hebrews compares hope to an anchor (Cf. 6:18-19); and to this image we can add that of the sail. If the anchor is what gives the boat security and keeps it “anchored” between the waves of the sea, the sail, instead, is what makes it go and advance on the waters. Hope is truly like a sail; it receives the wind of the Spirit and transforms it into the driving force that pushes the boat, depending on the circumstances, to the open sea or to the shore.
The Apostle Paul ends his Letter to the Romans with this wish: hear well, listen well to this beautiful wish: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (15:13). Let us reflect a bit on the content of this very beautiful word.
The expression “God of hope” does not only mean that God is the object of our hope, namely Him that we hope to reach one day in eternal life. It also means that God is He that already now makes us hope, rather, He makes us “rejoice in hope” (Romans 12:12): rejoicing now in hope, and not only hoping to rejoice. It is the joy of hoping, now today, and not hoping to have joy. “While there is life, there is hope,” states a popular saying. And the contrary is also true: while there is hope, there is life. Men have need of hope to live and they have need of the Holy Spirit to hope.
We heard Saint Paul, who attributes to the Holy Spirit the capacity to make us even “abound in hope.”  To abound in hope means never to be discouraged; it means to hope “against all hope” (Romans 4:18), namely, to hope also when every human motive for hope fails, as it was for Abraham, when God asked him to sacrifice to Him his only son, Isaac, and as it was, even more so, for the Virgin Mary under Jesus’ cross.
The Holy Spirit makes this invincible hope possible, giving us the interior testimony that we are children of God and His heirs (Cf. Romans 8:16). How could He who gave us His only Son not give us everything else together with Him? (Cf. Romans 8:32). “Hope — brothers and sisters — does not disappoint: hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). Therefore, it does not disappoint, because the Holy Spirit is within us who pushes us to go on, always! And because of this, hope does not disappoint.
There is more: not only does the Holy Spirit make us capable of hoping, but also to be sowers of hope, to be also — like Him and thanks to Him – “paracletes,” namely consolers and defenders of brothers, sowers of hope. A Christian can sow bitterness, he can sow perplexity, and this is not Christian, and one who does this is not a good Christian. He sows hope: he sows the oil of hope; he sows the perfume of hope and not the vinegar of bitterness and despair. In one of his addresses, Blessed Cardinal Newman said to the faithful: “Instructed by our own suffering, by our own pain, even by our own sins, we will have the mind and the heart exercised in every work of love towards those who have need of it. In the measure of our capacity, we will be consolers in the image of the Paraclete, and in all the senses that this word entails: advocates, assistants, comfort bearers. Our words and our advice, our way of being, our voice, our look, will be gentle and tranquilizing” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. V, London, 1870, pp. 300f.). And it is above all the poor, the excluded, the unloved that are in need of someone who will be a “paraclete” to them, namely, a consoler and defender, as the Holy Spirit is with every one of us, who are here in the Square – consoler and defender. We must do the same with the neediest, with the most rejected, with those who have greatest need, those who suffer most – defenders and consolers!
The Holy Spirit nourishes hope not only in men’s heart, but also in the whole of Creation. The Apostle Paul says – this seems a bit strange, but it is true: that Creation also “waits with eager longing” to be set free and “groaning in travail” as the pangs of birth (Cf. Romans 8:20-22). “The energy capable of moving the world is not an anonymous and blind force, but the action of the Spirit of God ‘moving over the face of the waters’ (Genesis 1:2) at the beginning of Creation” (Benedict XVI, Homily, May 31, 2009). This also drives us to respect Creation: a painting cannot be besmirched without offending the artist who created it.
Brothers and sisters, may the forthcoming feast of Pentecost, which is the birthday of the Church, find us in accord in prayer with Mary, Jesus’ Mother and ours. And may the gift of the Holy Spirit make us abound in hope.  I will say more to you: may it make us fritter away hope with all those who are most in need, most rejected and all those that have need. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian]  [Working Translation by Virginia M. Forrester] In Italian
A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I greet the parish groups and Associations, in particular the Volunteer Donors of the State Police of Campania and the AICCOS of Molfetta, as well as the members of General Motors. May the visit to the Eternal City prepare each one to live intensely the Solemnity of Pentecost and may the gift of the Comforting Spirit sustain and nourish the virtue of hope.
A special thought goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Dear young people, put above all the search for God and His love; dear sick, may the Paraclete be of help and comfort to you in the moments of greatest need; and you, dear newlyweds, with the grace of the Holy Spirit render your union every day more steadfast and profound

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth

Easter: May 31st

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

May 31, 2017   


Almighty ever-living God, who, while the Blessed Virgin Mary was carrying your Son in her womb, inspired her to visit Elizabeth, grant us, we pray, that, faithful to the promptings of the Spirit, we may magnify your greatness with the Virgin Mary at all times. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

The feast of the Visitation recalls to us the following great truths and events: The visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth shortly after the Annunciation; the cleansing of John the Baptist from original sin in the womb of his mother at the words of Our Lady's greeting; Elizabeth's proclaiming of Mary—under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost—as Mother of God and "blessed among women"; Mary's singing of the sublime hymn, Magnificat ("My soul doth magnify the Lord") which has become a part of the daily official prayer of the Church. The Visitation is frequently depicted in art, and was the central mystery of St. Francis de Sales' devotions.
The Mass of today salutes her who in her womb bore the King of heaven and earth, the Creator of the world, the Son of the Eternal Father, the Sun of Justice. It narrates the cleansing of John from original sin in his mother's womb. Hearing herself addressed by the most lofty title of "Mother of the Lord" and realizing what grace her visit had conferred on John, Mary broke out in that sublime canticle of praise proclaiming prophetically that henceforth she would be venerated down through the centuries:
"My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me, and holy is His name" (Lk. 1:46).

—Excerpted from the Cathedral Daily Missal

This feast is of medieval origin, it was kept by the Franciscan Order before 1263, and soon its observance spread throughout the entire Church. Previously it was celebrated on July 2. Now it is celebrated between the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord and the birth of St. John the Baptist, in conformity with the Gospel accounts. Some places appropriately observe a celebration of the reality and sanctity of human life in the womb. The liturgical color is white.
According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Petronilla. The feast of the Queenship of Mary is now celebrated in the Ordinary Rite on August 22.
Aurelia Petronilla was guided in the Faith by St. Peter, the first pope. She died three days after refusing to marry a pagan nobleman, Flaccus. There is no historic proof that she was martyred, but an early fresco clearly represents her as a martyr. Her feast is no longer on the calendar.

The Visitation
And Mary rising up in those days went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda. [Lk. 1:39]
How lyrical that is, the opening sentence of St. Luke's description of the Visitation. We can feel the rush of warmth and kindness, the sudden urgency of love that sent that girl hurrying over the hills. "Those days" in which she rose on that impulse were the days in which Christ was being formed in her, the impulse was his impulse.
Many women, if they were expecting a child, would refuse to hurry over the hills on a visit of pure kindness. They would say they had a duty to themselves and to their unborn child which came before anything or anyone else.
The Mother of God considered no such thing. Elizabeth was going to have a child, too, and although Mary's own child was God, she could not forget Elizabeth's need—almost incredible to us, but characteristic of her.
She greeted her cousin Elizabeth, and at the sound of her voice, John quickened in his mother's womb and leapt for joy.
I am come, said Christ, that they may have life and may have it more abundantly. [Jn. 10, 10] Even before He was born His presence gave life.
With what piercing shoots of joy does this story of Christ unfold! First the conception of a child in a child's heart, and then this first salutation, an infant leaping for joy in his mother's womb, knowing the hidden Christ and leaping into life.
How did Elizabeth herself know what had happened to Our Lady? What made her realize that this little cousin who was so familiar to her was the mother of her God?
She knew it by the child within herself, by the quickening into life which was a leap of joy.
If we practice this contemplation taught and shown to us by Our Lady, we will find that our experience is like hers.
If Christ is growing in us, if we are at peace, recollected, because we know that however insignificant our life seems to be, from it He is forming Himself; if we go with eager wills, "in haste," to wherever our circumstances compel us, because we believe that He desires to be in that place, we shall find that we are driven more and more to act on the impulse of His love.
And the answer we shall get from others to those impulses will be an awakening into life, or the leap into joy of the already wakened life within them.
Excerpted from The Reed of God, Caryll Houselander
Patronage: St. Elizabeth: Expectant

What I did on this rainy Tuesday night

About 10-15 miles south and east of where I live is the beautiful community of Lacombe and home to St. John of the Cross Catholic Church.  And this year, they are the home of the 2017 Holy Spirit Novena!

Tonight is night 5 and I was asked to participate by assisting at Mass and proclaiming the Gospel.

It was another high point, a milestone, in my nearly 9-year journey as a Permanent Deacon.

Let me say that for a rainy night in the middle of the week, the church was packed, the Holy Spirit was powerfully present, the music and the preaching specially anointed.

It was an awesome evening!

Come Holy Spirit, come!

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Maid of Orleans, Patron Saint of France and favoured Saint in New Orleans

St. Joan of Arc

Image of St. Joan of Arc


Feastday: May 30
Patron of soldiers and France
Birth: 1412
Death: 1431
Canonized By: Pope Benedict XV

St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and of France.
On January 6, 1412, Joan of Arc was born to pious parents of the French peasant class in the obscure village of Domremy, near the province of Lorraine. At a very early age, she was said to have heard the voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret.
At first the messages were personal and general, but when she was 13-years-old, she was in her father's garden and had visions of Saint Michael, Saint Catherine, and Saint Margaret, each of whom told her to drive the English from French territory. They also asked that she bring the Dauphin to Reims for his coronation.
After their messages were delivered and the saints departed, Joan cried, as "they were so beautiful."
When she was sixteen-years-old, she asked her relative, Durand Lassois, to take her to Vaucouleurs, where she petitioned Robert de Baudricourt, the garrison commander, for permission to visit the French Royal Court in Chinon.
Despite Baudricourt's sarcastic response to her request, Joan returned the following January and left with the support of two of Baudricourt's soldiers: Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengy.
Jean de Metz admitted Joan had confided in him, saying, "I must be at the King's side ... there will be no help if not from me. Although I would rather have remained spinning [wool] at my mother's side ... yet must I go and must I do this thing, for my Lord wills that I do so."
With Metz and Poulengy at her side, Joan met Baudricourt and predicted a military reversal at the Battle of Rouvray near Orléans, which were confirmed several days later by a messenger's report. When Baudricourt realized the distance of the battle's location and the time it would have taken Joan to make the journey, he concluded she had seen the reversal by Divine revelation, which caused him to believe her words.
Once she had Baudricourt's belief, Joan was granted an escort to Chinon through hostile Burgundian territory. For her safety, she was escorted while dressed as a male soldier, which later led to charges of cross-dressing, but her escorts viewed as a sound precaution.
Two members of her escort confirmed they and the people of Vaucouleurs gave her the clothing and had been the ones to suggest she don the outfit.
When she arrived in the Royal Court, she met in a private conference with Charles VII and won his trust. Yolande of Aragon, Charles' mother-in-law, planned a finance relief expedition to Orléans and Joan asked to travel with the army while wearing armor, which the Royal government agreed to. They also provided Joan's armor and she depended on donations for everything she took with her.
With a donated horse, sword, banner, armor, and more, Joan arrived to Orléans and quickly turned the Anglo-French conflict into a religious war.
Charles' advisors worried Joan's claims of doing God's work could be twisted by his enemies, who could easily claim she was a sorceress, which would link his crown to works of the devil. To prevent accusations, the Dauphin ordered background inquiries and a theological exam at Poitiers to verify Joan's claims.
In April 1429, the commission of inquiry "declared her to be of irreproachable life, a good Christian, possessed of the virtues of humility, honesty and simplicity." Rather than deciding on whether or not Joan was acting on the basis of divine inspiration, theologians at Poitiers told the Dauphin there was a "favorable presumption" on the divine nature of her mission.
Charles was satisfied with the report but theologians reminded him Joan must be tested. They claimed, "[t]o doubt or abandon her without suspicion of evil would be to repudiate the Holy Spirit and to become unworthy of God's aid."
They suggested her test should be a test of her claim to lift the siege of Orléans, as she originally predicted would happen.
In response to the test, Joan arrived at Orléans on April 29, 1429, where Jean d'Orléans, the acting head of the ducal family of Orléans, ensured she was excluded from war councils and kept ignorant of battles.
During the five months prior to Joan's arrival to Orléans, the French had only attempted one offensive assault, which resulted in their defeat, but after her arrival, things began to change.
Though Joan claimed the army was always commanded by a nobleman and that she never killed anyone in battle since she preferred only to carry her banner, which she preferred "forty times" better than a sword, several noblemen claimed she greatly effected their decisions since they accepted she gave Divinely inspired advice.
On May 4, the Armagnacs captured the fortress of Saint Loup and the next day led to fortress Saint-Jean-le-Blanc, which was deserted. With Joan at the army's side, English troops approached the army to stop their advance but a cavalry charge was all it took to turn the English away without a fight.
The Armagnacs captured an English fortress build around the Les Augustins monastery and attacked the English stronghold Les Tourelles on May 7. Joan was shot with an arrow between her neck and shoulder as she held her banner outside Les Tourelles, but returned to encourage the final assault to take the fortress. The next day, the English retreated from Orléans and the siege was over.
When Joan was in Chinon and Poitiers, she had declared she would show a sign at Orléans, which many believe was the end of the siege. Following the departure of the Englihs, prominent clergymen began to support her, including the Archbishop of Embrun and the theologian Jean Gerson, each of which wrote supportive treatises.
After the Orléans victory, Joan was able to persuade Charles VII to allow her to march into other battles to reclaim citis, each of which ended in victory. When the military supplies began to dwindle, they reached Troyes, where Brother Richard, a wandering friar, had warned the city about the end of the world and was able to convince them to plant beans, which yields an early harvest. Just as the beans ripened, Joan and the army arrived and was able to restore their supplies.
Following their march to Troyes, Joan and the French military made its way to Paris, where politicians failed to secure Duke Philip of Burgundy's agreement to a truce. Joan was present at the following battles and suffered a leg wound from a crossbow bolt. Despite one failed mission - taking La-Charité-sur-Loire" - Joan and her family were ennobled by Charles VII in reward of her actions on the battlefield.
A truce with England came following Joan's ennoblement but was quickly broken. When Joan traveled to Compičgne to help defend against an English and Burgundian siege, she was captured by Burgundian troops and held for a ransom of 10,000 livres tournois. There were several attempts to free her and Joan made many excape attempts, including jumping from her 70-foot (21m) tower, landing on the soft earth of a dry moat, but to no avail. She was eventually sold to the English for 10,000 gold coins and was then tried as a heretic and witch in a trial that violated the legal process of the time.
Clerical notary Nicolas Bailly, who was responsible to collect testimony against Joan, was unable to find any evidence against her. Without evidence, the courts lacked grounds to initiate trial but one was opened anyway. They denied Joan the right to a legal advisor and filled the tribunal with pro-English clergy rather than meeting the medieval Church's requirement to balance the group with impartial clerics.
When the first public examination opened, Joan pointed out that the partisans were against her and she asked for "ecclesiastics of the French side" to provide balance, but her request was denied.
Jean Lemaitre, the Vice-Inquisitor of Northern France, objected to the trial from the beginning and many eyewitnesses later reported he was forced to cooperate after the English threatened to kill him. Other members of the clergy were threatened when they refused as well, so the trial continued.
The trial record includes statements from Joan that eyewitnesses later claimed astonished the court since she was an illiterate peasant who was able to escape theological traps. The most well-known exchange was when Joan was "[a]sked if she knew she was in God's grace, she answered: 'If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.'"
The question is a trap because the church doctrine was that no one could be certain of being in God's grace. If she answered yes, she would have been charged with heresy, but if she answered no, she would have been confessing her own guilt. Notary Boisguillaume later testified that "[t]hose who were interrogating her were stupefied."
Many members of the tribunal later testified important parts of the transcript were altered.
Joan was held in a secular prison guarded by English soldiers, instead of being in an ecclesiastical prison with nuns as her guards per Inquisitorial guidelines. When Joan appealed to the Council of Basel and the Pope to be placed in a proper prison, Bishop Cauchon denied her request, which would have stopped his proceeding.
While imprisoned, Joan wore military clothing so she could tie her clothing together, making it harder to be raped. There was no protection in a dress, and a few days after she started wearing one she told a tribunal member that "a great English lord had entered her prison and tried to take her by force." Following the attempted rape, Joan returned to wearing male clothing as a precaution and to raise her defenses against molestation.
Jean Massieu testified her dress had been taken by the guards and she had nothing else to wear.
When she returned to male clothing, she was given another count of hersy for cross-dressing, though it was later disputed by the inquisitor presiding over court appeals after the war. He found that cross-dressing should be evaluated based on context, including the use of clothing as protection against rape if it offered protection.
In accordance to the inquisitor's doctrine, Joan would have been justified in wearing armor on a battlefield, men's clothing in prison and dressing as a pageboy when traveling through enemy territory.
The Chronique de la Pucelle states it deterred molestation when Joan was camped in the field but she donned a dress when men's garments were unnecessary.
Clergy who testified at the posthumous appellate trial confirmed that she wore male clothing in prison to deter molestation.
Though the Poitiers record did not survive the test of time, Joan had referred the court to the Poitiers inquiry when questioned about her clothing and circumstances indicate the Poitiers clerics approved the practive. She had also kept her hair short through the military campaigns and during her imprisonment, which Inquisitor Brehal, theologian Jean Gerson and all of Joan's supporters understood was for practical reasons.
Despite the lack of incriminating evidence, Joan was condemned and sentenced to die in 1431.
Eyewitness accounts of Joan's execution by burning on May 30, 1431 describe how she was tied to a tall pillar at the Vieux-Marché in Rouen. She asked Fr. Martin Ladvenu and Fr. Isambart de la Pierre to hold a crucifix before her and an English soldier made a small cross she put in the front of her dress. After she died, the English raked the coals to expose her body so no one could spread rumors of her escaping alive, then they burned her body two more times to reduce it to ashes so no one could collect relics. After burning her body to ash, the English threw her remains into the Seine River and the executioner, Geoffroy Thérage, later said he "... greatly feared to be damned."
In 1452, during an investigation into Joan's execution, the Church declared a religious play in her honor at Orléans would let attendees gain an indulgence by making a pilgrimage to the event.
A posthumous retrial opened following the end of the war. Pope Callixtus III authorized the proceeding, which has also been called the "nullification trial," after Inquisitor-General Jean Bréhal and Joan's mother Isabelle Romée requested it.
The trial was meant to determine if Joan's condemnation was justly handled, and of course at the end of the investication Joan received a formal appeal in November 1455 and the appellate court declared Joan innocent on July 7 1456.
Joan of Arc was a symbol of the Catholic League during the 16th century and when Félix Dupanloup was made bishop of Orléans in 1849, he pronounced a panegyric on Joan of Arc and led efforts leading to Joan of Arc's beatification in 1909. On May 16, 1920, Pope Benedict XV canonized

A new Bishop for Pensacola-Tallahassee Diocese

From A Soup Kitchen to The Panhandle – For Summer Kickoff, Pope Plays Wack-The-Noles

Over recent weeks, the growing community at St Ignatius Martyr parish in Austin has been planning a “bash” for their pastor’s 50th birthday.

However, the Pope now sends word that their late June event for Father Bill will now double as a farewell... to Bishop-elect Wack.

In an unheard-of act on a US civil holiday, this Memorial Day indeed brings an appointment – at Roman Noon, Francis named the South Bend-born priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross (a onetime vocation director at Notre Dame) as sixth bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, tapped to lead a minority fold of 70,000 across the broad swath of the heavily-Evangelical Florida Panhandle: a charge spanning two time zones and some 14,000 square miles. (In a shot circulated this past March, the bishop-elect is seen test-piloting the new parking lot on his parish plant.)

Even as Papa Bergoglio has long taken any notion of holiday weekends for the Stateside press to the shredder, today's move is simply on a different plane, and in more ways than one at that.

His ordination reportedly set for late August, Wack succeeds Bishop Gregory Parkes, the Florida State alum sent on a fittingly giant leap across the Sunshine State late last year with his transfer to St Petersburg, the province’s second-largest post. Yet where Parkes was already quite familiar with and devoted to Noles Country from his college days, his successor arrives sight unseen... so in this instance, any expectation that a lifelong son of the Fighting Irish will lead The Chop on Day One might be a bit much to ask.

Described by Whispers ops as “a simply joyful priest” and “the kind of guy you’d want for everything [in ministry],” the bishop-elect’s road since his 1994 ordination has been unusually varied, and features an especially potent example of the identikit Francis has repeatedly demanded for those to whom he entrusts the mitre and crozier.

Before his stint until today at the Austin parish, Wack served for seven years as director of Andre House, a homeless shelter and soup kitchen in a Phoenix drug corridor where, according to a recent interview, he and his team would serve more than 500 plates every night on top of caring for the daily laundry and lodging of anyone who came.

Already a veteran of social media – a trait which will serve him well given the spread he inherits – Wack posts audio of his homilies online... his reasons for being “really keyed up” about yesterday’s preach now in the open:

Said by an associate to “not be given to administration” – a common (but not universal) lack among Francis' recent Stateside appointees – that hasn’t stopped the Panhandle pick from making his goal in pledges for a $2.5 million capital campaign for his Texas parish. Still, Wack nonetheless has the good fortune of inheriting a charge where the locals report no major pressing issues. Meantime, with the diocese’s Hispanic population steadily ticking up due to an influx for its service industries, the elect brings ample proficiency in Spanish, a first for the bishop there.

As local media were quietly alerted on Friday – and, Florida being Florida, was then brazenly announced in Pensacola Cathedral at yesterday’s Masses – a 10am Central presser has already been called at the western hub’s Chancery. One of the US church’s few twin-seat dioceses, the joint see cities are some 200 miles apart, a roughly three-hour drive.

Among other aspects, it is of note that Wack’s appointment marks but the latest instance of Francis choosing an American bishop from a remarkably large family. The seventh of ten kids born to a doctor and a nurse, Bill was eventually followed into the CSCs by his brother, Neil, who was ordained a decade later and now holds his brother’s onetime vocations post at Notre Dame. Yet as the brothers' social feeds are each unusually sparse, it's even more salient how both follow the son of another Midwestern "tribe" who ostensibly shepherded this appointment across the finish line from his seat on the Congregation for Bishops – namely, Blase.

All that said, just a few weeks ago, an Austin pastor was but a face in the crowd among the 5,000-odd faithful who converged from across Texas for the church’s annual Advocacy Day at the Lone Star Capitol (above) – an event highlighted by the bishops' breakfast with the turf's first governor from the fold since Mexican rule.

And with today’s move, Bill Wack suddenly becomes Catholicism’s principal voice in the capital of what's now the third-largest state

Monday morning homily by Pope Francis

Pope’s Morning Homily: Have an Important Decision to Make? Entrust the Holy Spirit
At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Warns Against Being Closed to the Master of Discernment
Pope Francis delivers his homily in Santa Marta
When you have an important decision to make, and not only then, open your heart to the Holy Spirit.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis gave this recommendation during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, saying we should constantly be engaged with Him, Who can move our hearts and inspire us.
With Pentecost Sunday approaching, the Holy Father reminded faithful of the Church’s prayer that the Holy Spirit enters into our hearts, parishes and communities.
Today’s first reading, the Jesuit Pope pointed out, could be called “the Pentecost of Ephesus” because the community in Ephesus, even though having received the faith, wasn’t aware of the Holy Spirit’s existence.
“They were good people, people of faith” the Pope said, “but they were not aware of this gift of the Father.”
Francis then reminded those gathered of the instances in the Gospels when the Holy Spirit moves hearts, such as many people who are moved to approach Jesus, including Nicodemus, the woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, the Samaritan, and the sinners.
Can You Hear?
“What place does the Holy Spirit have in my life?,” the Pope called on all faithful to consider.
“Am I able to hear it? Am I able to ask for inspiration before making a decision or doing something? Or is my heart quiet, lacking in emotion and turmoil? … [If] an ECG [were] performed on some hearts, the result would be a flat line – totally lacking in emotion.”
Even in the Gospels, he lamented, there are “still” hearts. “We think of the doctors of the law, they believed in God, they knew all the commandments, but their hearts were closed, they were ‘still,’ they were not ‘disturbed.’”
“Let yourselves be “disturbed,”the Pope urged, “that is to ask the Holy Spirit to help them discern and not to have an ‘ideological faith.’”
Let Yourself Be ‘Disturbed’
“Let yourself be disturbed by the Holy Spirit.”
“‘Eh, I felt this…  But Father, isn’t that being sentimental?’ – ‘No, it may be, but no.’ If you’re on the right track,” Francis explained, “you’re not being sentimental. You must be able to feel the urge to go and to visit that sick person or change your life.”
The master of discernment, the Pope reminded, is the Holy Spirit.
“A person who does not have this kind of turmoil in his or her heart does not discern what is happening; he or she “is a person who has a cold faith, an ideological faith.”
The “drama” of the doctors of the law who were angry with Jesus, he noted, derived from the fact that their hearts were closed to the Holy Spirit.
Ask for Guidance
“Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you on the path of life and of everyday life. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace to distinguish good from less good, because it is easy to distinguish good from evil,” he encouraged.
Urging the faithful to look into their hearts and open them to the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis concluded, saying: “Let us too ask for the grace of being able to hear what the Spirit says to our Church, to our community, to our parish, to our family, and for the grace to learn the language with which to understand.”

She spread Catholicism to Russia

Julia Maria Ledochowska

Image of St. Julia Maria Ledóchowska


Feastday: May 29
Birth: 1865
Death: 1939

Julia Maria Ledóchowska was born in Austria in 1865, the daughter of a Polish count and a Swiss noblewoman. Her large family was a school of saints. Her uncle, Cardinal Mieczyslaw Ledóchowski, the Primate of Poland, was persecuted and imprisoned for his opposition to the policies of the Prussian Kulturkampf ["culture war"]. Her older sister, Blessed Maria Teresa Ledóchowska, founded the Missionary Sisters of S. Peter Claver and is affectionately known as the "Mother of Black Africa".
Julia Maria moved with her family to Poland when her father became ill in 1883. He died soon after, having given his blessing to her plans to enter the Convent of the Ursuline Sisters in Krakow. Julia took the religious name of "Maria Ursula of Jesus" and devoted herself to the care and education of youth. She organized the first residence in Poland for female university students.
As prioress of the convent after the turn of the century, she received a request to found a boarding school for Polish girls in St. Petersburg, Russia, then a cosmopolitan, industrial city. The pastor of St. Catherine's Church, Msgr. Constantine Budkiewicz (a Polish nobleman), extended the invitation, and Pope St. Pius X gave his approval. So in 1907 Mother Ursula went with another sister to Russia to found a new convent and work among the Catholic immigrants. Although the nuns wore lay clothing, they were under constant surveillance by the secret police.
At the beginning of World War I, Mother Ursula was expelled from Russia as an Austrian national. The Monsignor would be martyred by the Bolsheviks, and St. Petersburg would eventually be renamed "Leningrad".
Mother Ursula fled to neutral Sweden. She organized relief efforts for war victims and charitable programs for Polish people living in exile, founded a monthly Catholic newspaper, and made extensive ecumenical contacts with Lutherans in Scandinavia.
In 1920 M. Ursula, her sisters, and dozens of orphans (the children of immigrants) made their way back to Poland. During the tumultuous years that they had spent abroad, the growing Ursuline community had developed a distinctive charism and apostolate. Therefore Mother Ursula founded her own Congregation, the Ursuline Sisters of the Heart of Jesus in Agony. Her brother Vladimir, who had become Superior General of the Jesuits, helped to obtain Vatican approval of the new institute, which was to be devoted to "the education and training of children and youth, and service to the poorest and the oppressed among our brethren" (from the Constitutions).
Between the two world wars, M. Ursula and her nuns taught catechism in the enormous factory town of Lodz. She organized a "Eucharistic Crusade" among the working-class children, encouraging those little "Knights of the Crusade" to write to Pope Pius XI in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of his priestly ordination. Some children wrote that they loved the Holy Father as much as their own parents. Others spoke of receiving Our Lord in their First Holy Communion, of wanting to be His apostles and missionaries. One child wrote: "How beautiful it would be if the Holy Father were to come to Poland." Mother Ursula Ledóchowska died on May 29, 1939 at the general house of her community in Rome.
Pope John Paul II beatified her during his second pastoral visit to Poland, in 1983, the Holy Year of Redemption and the sixth centenary of Our Lady of Jasna Gora, in the city of Poznan, with schoolchildren from Lodz in attendance.
While visiting his homeland in June 1983, the Holy Father spoke the following words: "It is the Saints and the Blessed who show us the path to the victory that God achieves in human history. Every individual is called to a similar victory. Every son and daughter of Poland who follows the example of her saints and beati. Their elevation to the altars in their homeland is the sign of that strength which is more powerful than any human weakness and more powerful than any situation, even the most difficult, not excluding the arrogant use of power."
Less than a decade later, in 1991, when Pope John Paul II returned to Poland to beatify Bishop Pelczar, Solidarity had prevailed, the Berlin Wall had fallen, and the Catholic hierarchy had been restored in most Eastern European nations

Sunday, May 28, 2017

and another prayer for Memorial Day

God of power and mercy,
you destroy war and put down earthly pride.
Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears,
that we may all deserve to be called your sons
      and daughters.
Keep in your mercy those men and women
who have died in the cause of freedom
and bring them safely
into your kingdom of justice and peace.

We ask this though Jesus Christ our Lord.

R/. Amen

As we prepare for Memorial Day, a prayer for deceased veterans

For Deceased Veterans

O God,
by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest,
look kindly on your departed veterans who gave their
lives in the service of their country.
Grant that through the passion, death, and resurrection of your Son
they may share in the joy of your heavenly kingdom
and rejoice in you with your saints forever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Pope Francis Sunday Address remembers the Ascension and victims of terrorism

Regina Coeli Address: On the Ascension
Also Condemns Manchester and Egypt Attacks, Remembers Genoa Visit and Social Communications’ Day
Pope Francis during the Angelus of 23 august 2015
Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Regina Coeli with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
* * *
Before the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today, in Italy and in other countries, the Ascension of Jesus into heaven, 40 days after Easter, is celebrated. With how today’s Gospel of Matthew (cf. Mt 28: 16-20) concludes, we are presented with the moment of the definitive departure of the Risen Lord from His disciples. The scene is set in Galilee, the place where Jesus had called them to follow Him and form the first nucleus of His new community. Now those disciples have gone through the “fire” of Passion and Resurrection; At the sight of the Risen Lord, they bow to Him, some are still doubtful. To this frightened community, Jesus leaves the immense task of evangelizing the world; And concretizes this assignment, ordering them to teach and baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit] (cf. v. 19).
The Ascension of Jesus into heaven, thus, constitutes the end of the mission the Son has received from the Father and the beginning of the continuation of this mission of the Church. From this moment, in fact, the presence of Christ in the world is mediated by His disciples, by those who believe in Him and announce Him. This mission will last until the end of history and will enjoy the assistance of the Risen Lord daily, Who assures: “I am with you every day, until the end of the world” (v. 20).
His presence brings strength in persecutions, comfort in tribulations, support in the difficult situations which meet the mission and proclamation of the Gospel. The Ascension reminds us of this assistance of Jesus and of His Spirit that gives confidence and security to our Christian witness in the world. He reveals to us why the Church exists: She exists to proclaim the Gospel, only for that! And also, the joy of the Church is to announce the Gospel. We are all baptized by the Church. Today, we are invited to understand better that God has given us great dignity and responsibility to announce it to the world, to make it accessible to humanity. That is our dignity, this is the greatest honor of each of us, of all baptized!
On this Day of the Ascension, as we turn our gaze to heaven, where Christ ascended and sits at the right hand of the Father, we strengthen our footsteps on earth to continue with enthusiasm and courage on our journey, our mission of witnessing and living the Gospel in every environment. However, we are well aware that this does not depend primarily on our strengths, organizational skills and human resources. Only with the light and strength of the Holy Spirit, can we effectively fulfill our mission of making Jesus’ love and tenderness more and more to the knowledge and experience of others.
We ask the Virgin Mary to help us contemplate the goods of heaven, which the Lord promises us, and become more and more credible witnesses of His Resurrection, of True Life.
[Original text: English] [Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]
After Regina Coeli:
Dear brothers and sisters,
I want to express my closeness to my dear brother [Coptic Orthodox] Pope Tawadros II and the Orthodox Coptic community in Egypt, which two days ago suffered another act of fierce violence. Victims, faithful, including children, were going to a sanctuary to pray, and were killed when they refused to deny their Christian faith. The Lord welcomes these brave witnesses in His peace, and may He convert the hearts of the violent.
We also pray for the victims of the terrible attack on Manchester last Monday, where so many young lives have been cruelly taken. We are close to the families and  those who weep for those lost.
Today, one celebrates World Social Communications Day, on the theme “Do not be afraid because I am with you” (Is 43.5). Social media offer the opportunity to share and disseminate news instantly; Such news can be beautiful or bad, true or false; Pray for communication, in all its forms, to be truly constructive, in the service of truth by refusing prejudices and by spreading hope and trust in our time.
I greet you all, dear Romans and pilgrims: families, parish groups, associations, schools.
In particular, I greet the faithful from Colorado; The Bavarian folk groups who came for the great parade in the centenary of the patron saint of Bavaria; And the Polish faithful, with a blessing also for those attending the pilgrimage to the Piekary Shrine.
I greet the Comboni Missionaries, who celebrate 150 years since their foundation; The pilgrimage of the Sisters of Ascoli Piceno; The groups of Naples, Scandicci, Thiesi, Nonantola, and the pupils of the school “Sacred Heart of the Incarnate Word” of Palermo.
A special thought and encouragement goes to the representatives of voluntary associations that promote the donation of organs, “noble and meritorious act” (Catechism, No. 2296). I would also like to welcome the employees of Mediaset Roma, with the hope that their work situation may be resolved, with the aim of realizing the company’s goodwill, not only its profits, but respecting the rights of all people involved.
I want to conclude with great greetings to all the people of Genoa and a great thank you for their warm welcome that I received yesterday. May the Lord bless them abundantly, and may Our Lady of the Guard keep them.
I wish everyone a good Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!

From the beautiful Alps he is the patron Saint of skiers

St. Bernard of Montjoux

Image of St. Bernard of Montjoux


Feastday: May 28
Patron of mountaineers, skiers, the Alps
Birth: 923
Death: 1008

Bernard of Montjoux was probably born in Italy. He became a priest, was made Vicar General of Aosta, and spent more than four decades doing missionary work in the Alps. He built schools and churches in the diocese but is especially remembered for two Alpine hospices he built to aid lost travelers in the mountain passes named Great and Little Bernard, after him. The men who ran them in time became Augustinian canons regular and built a monastery. The Order continued into the twentieth century. He was proclaimed the patron saint of Alpinists and mountain climbers by Pope Pius XI in 1923. He is sometimes fallaciously referred to as Bernard of Menthon and the son of Count Richard of Menthon, which he was not. His feast day is May 28th.
Bernard became patron and protector of skiers because of his four decades spent in missionary work throughout the Alps

Saturday, May 27, 2017

In the Archdiocese of New Orleans today: a consecrated virgin

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Clarion Herald
The bride was fashionably early.
On her 36th birthday, Elizabeth Rizzo was in position early in the back of Our Lady of the Rosary Church today for the 10:30 a....m. Mass in which she would become consecrated as a "bride of Christ."
Rizzo made promises to Archbishop Gregory Aymond to live her life as "a consecrated virgin living in the world" – one of about 235 women in the United States and 4,000 throughout the world.
Rizzo, who will continue to work as a real estate clerk in the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office, wore a white wedding dress and was accompanied in the opening procession by Sister of Mount Carmel Beth Fitzpatrick, vicar for religious for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, and her younger sister, Miriam Rizzo.
Rizzo sat in the front pew with her parents, Deacon Pete Rizzo and his wife Gayle. After the Gospel (John 15:9-17) – "This, I command you, love one another" – Rizzo lit a small oil lamp, symbolic of the women in the parable of the 10 virgins who awaited Christ's coming, and walked into the sanctuary after being called forth by Archbishop Aymond.
In his homily, Archbishop Aymond called the liturgy of consecration "historic" for the archdiocese. He reminded the congregation that Rizzo would continue in her job, showing others in her daily life the light of Christ.
Rizzo counsels people who are in danger of losing their homes through defaulting on their mortgages.
The archbishop said Rizzo would promise to pray the Liturgy of the Hours daily for the church, to pray for the bishop and to pray for the special intentions of priests and for women who have been raped or sexually abused.
"To swim with the tide can be fun; however, whenever one is courageous enough to swim against the tide, it can be very, very challenging," Archbishop Aymond said. "Pope Francis says we must swim against the tide in order to be disciples of the Lord Jesus. That is also true to live in the world as a consecrated virgin – swimming against the tide."
The archbishop said some of the baptized are called to live a life of consecrated virginity. "It is a call from God,” he said. “It is a vocation to a unique way of life."
He said Jesus makes it clear that vocations are a "call from God."
"Jesus reminds us, 'It was not you who chose me; it was I who chose you,'" the archbishop said.
Archbishop Aymond said Rizzo had spent nine years in prayer and spiritual direction before coming to the altar. "This was not something she rushed into," he said.
"The call to the consecrated life dates back to the time of the apostles,” he added. "Today through her promise and through the words of consecration, Elizabeth becomes the bride of Christ. She promises that she will be single-hearted and radically committed to him alone. Her human life, in a very special way, will point to Christ. And she will remind us that the true life that we seek is not here but rather in our home in heaven."
The archbishop said when Rizzo shows compassion to those with whom she works and to those whom she serves – the ones who may be losing their homes through foreclosure – she is doing Christ's work.
"Through the opportunity to enter into the darkness of people's lives, she sees Christ in the faces of those who are hopeless," he said. "She will assure them through her prayers that she will do whatever possible to help them when she extends the heart and compassion of Christ."
After the homily, Rizzo prostrated herself in front of the altar as the Litany of the Saints was intoned. She then knelt in front of the archbishop and placed her hands in his, a sign that she was placing her life in God's care. She stated her intent "to live in chastity as one espoused to Christ."
Archbishop Aymond then offered the prayer of consecration, presented her with a white veil, an ancient sign of spousal commitment as the virgin to Christ. She then received a ring – her late grandmother Marie's – as a sign that she is "the bride of Christ."
"You will wear that ring always as a sign of your commitment, and also it is a sign of God's commitment to you," Archbishop Aymond said. "As you make your promise today to God and to the church, at that very moment, God is speaking to your heart his promise to be faithful to you that you may continue to hear and to live the call

As Father Z says, no to deaconettes(his word, not mine)

This interview with Cardinal Muller appears to put the kabash on all this silly talk about women deacons(ordained to Holy Orders).  As the Cardinal says, not possible.

Go the 14 minute mark of the attached video.

The Apostle of England

St. Augustine of Canterbury

Image of St. Augustine of Canterbury


Feastday: May 27
Death: 605

At the end of the sixth century anyone would have said that Augustine had found his niche in life. Looking at this respected prior of a monastery, almost anyone would have predicted he would spend his last days there, instructing, governing, and settling even further into this sedentary life.
But Pope St. Gregory the Great had lived under Augustine's rule in that same monastery. When he decided it was time to send missionaries to Anglo-Saxon England, he didn't choose those with restless natures or the young looking for new worlds to conquer. He chose Augustine and thirty monks to make the unexpected, and dangerous, trip to England.
Missionaries had gone to Britain years before but the Saxon conquest of England had forced these Christians into hiding. Augustine and his monks were to bring these Christians back into the fold and convince the warlike conquerors to become Christians themselves.
Every step of the way they heard the horrid stories of the cruelty and barbarity of their future hosts. By the time they had reached France the stories became so frightening that the monks turned back to Rome. Gregory had heard encouraging news that England was far more ready for Christianity than the stories would indicate, including the marriage of King Ethelbert of Kent to a Christian princess, Bertha. He sent Augustine and the monks on their way again fortified with his belief that now was the time for evangelization.
King Ethelbert himself wasn't as sure, but he was a just king and curious. So he went to hear what the missionaries had to say after they landed in England. But he was just as afraid of them as they were of him! Fearful that they would use magic on them, he held the meeting in the open air. There he listened to what they had to say about Christianity. He did not convert then but was impressed enough to let them continue to preach -- as long as they didn't force anyone to convert.
They didn't have to -- the king was baptized in 597. Unlike other kings who forced all subjects to be baptized as soon as they were converted, Ethelbert left religious a free choice. Nonetheless the following year many of his subjects were baptized.
Augustine was consecrated bishop of the English and more missionaries arrived from Rome to help with the new task. Augustine had to be very careful because, although the English had embraced the new religion they still respected the old. Under the wise orders of Gregory the Great, Augustine aided the growth from the ancient traditions to the new life by consecrating pagan temples for Christian worship and turning pagan festivals into feast days of martyrs. Canterbury was built on the site of an ancient church.
Augustine was more successful with the pagans than with the Christians. He found the ancient British Church, which had been driven into Cornwall and Wales, had strayed a little in its practices from Rome. He met with them several times to try to bring them back to the Roman Church but the old Church could not forgive their conquerors and chose isolation and bitterness over community and reconciliation.
Augustine was only in England for eight years before he died in 605. His feast day is celebrated on May 26 in England and May 28 elsewhere. He is also known as Austin,a name that many locations have adopted

Pope Francis spends some time with nuns

Pope to Nuns: ‘Like the Virgin Mary, Go on Your Way’
Pope Meets With 12th General Chapter of the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity (Don Orione)
Sisters of Don Orione, Facebook
‘Like the Virgin Mary, go on your way.’
Pope Francis gave this encouragement to participants in the 12th General Chapter of the Little Missionary Sisters of Charity (Don Orione) at 12:30 p.m. today, in the Consistory Hall of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.
The sisters’ general chapter took place May 1-20, 2017, in Rome on the theme: “To give oneself completely to God, to be completely given to the neighbour! PSMC: missionary disciples, joyful witnesses to charity in the suburbs of the world.”
In his remarks, Francis also reminded the sisters to be bold and courageous, to be prophets of mercy, and to be led by the Spirit and free from all ties.
The following is the Vatican Press Office-provided translation of the Pope’s address to those present:
Dear sisters,
Thank you for this visit during your General Chapter. I would particularly like to thank the Superior General and the advisors. And through you I also greet all the sisters of the Institute, especially those who are weaker and sick. I also greet the Contemplatives of Crucified Jesus and the sight-impaired Sacramentine sisters.
Founded by Don Orione, your institute is called upon to exercise charity towards your neighbour, especially towards the poorest, the abandoned and the excluded, as is well expressed by the theme you chose for this General Chapter: “To give oneself completely to God, to be completely given to the neighbour! PSMC: missionary disciples, joyful witnesses to charity in the suburbs of the world”. On behalf of the Church and many poor people, especially women and children, and so many people who suffer physically and psychologically, whom you assist, I thank you for your apostolic work in the various activities of youth ministry, in schools, in homes for the elderly, in the little “Cottolengo” institutes, in catechesis and oratories, with new forms of poverty, and in all places where Divine Providence has placed you.
You are called, and are by vocation, “missionaries”; that is, evangelizers, and at the same time you are at the service of the poor. Sisters, be missionaries without borders. To all, but especially to the poor, in whom you are called to recognize the flesh of Christ, bring the joy of the Gospel that is Jesus Himself. To all, show the beauty of God’s love manifested in the merciful face of Christ. With this beauty fill the hearts of those you encounter. Closeness, encounter, dialogue, and accompaniment are your missionary approach. And do not let yourselves be robbed of the joy of evangelization.
Mission and service to the poor mean you are “outbound”, and help you overcome the risks of self-referentiality, of limiting yourselves to survival and self-defensive rigidity (cf. Evangelii gaudium , 27, 45). Mission and service make you take on the dynamics of exodus and giving, of coming out of yourselves, of walking and sowing; as well as pastoral conversion, so that all structures are evangelizing and at the service of your charism (cf. ibid ., 21, 25.131). For all these purposes, it is vital to nurture communion with the Lord, knowing that your intimacy with Him “is part of a common journey; communion and mission are profoundly interconnected” ( ibid ., 23); it is never still. In prayer, in communion.
In the Church, mission is born of the encounter with Christ (cf. Phil 3: 12-16). The Father’s envoy now sends us. It is He Who calls us and sends us. The centre of the Church’s mission is Jesus. As His disciples, you are called to be women who work assiduously to transcend, projecting towards the encounter with the Master and the culture in which you live.
The missionary is required to be a bold and creative person. The convenient criterion of “it has always been the case” is not valid. It is not valid. Think of the aims, the structures, the style and the methods of your mission (cf. EG , 33). We are living in a time when we need to rethink everything in the light of what the Spirit asks us. This demands a special look at the recipients of the mission and reality itself: the look of Jesus, which is the look of the Good Shepherd; a gaze that does not judge, but which grasps the presence of the Lord in history; a gaze of closeness, to contemplate, to be moved, and to stay with the other as often as necessary; a deep look of faith; a respectful gaze, full of compassion, that heals, frees, and comforts. This special look will make you courageous and creative and will help you always to be in search of new ways to bring the Good News that is Christ to all.
The missionary is also required to be a free person, who lives without anything of his or her own. I never tire of repeating that comfort, lethargy and worldliness are forces that prevent the missionary from “going out”, “starting out” and moving on, and ultimately sharing the gift of the Gospel. The missionary can not walk with the heart full of things (comfort), an empty heart (lethargy) or in search of things extraneous to the glory of God (worldliness). The missionary is a person who is free of all these ballasts and chains; a person who lives without anything of his own, only for the Lord and His Gospel; a person who lives on a constant path of personal conversion and works without rest towards pastoral conversion.
The missionary is required to be a person inhabited by the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit Who reminds the disciples of all that Jesus said to them (cf. Jn 14:16), Who teaches them (cf. Jn 16: 14-15), Who bear witness to Jesus and leads the disciples, in turn, to bear witness to Him (Cf. Jn 15: 26-27). The missionary is asked to be a person obedient to the Spirit, to follow His movement, the “wind” that pushes towards the most unimagined places to announce the Gospel there. In such obedience, he or she is called to grow continually, to become capable of perceiving the presence of Jesus in so many people discarded by society. You too, dear sisters, be in this sense spiritual people, let yourselves be led, driven and guided by the Spirit.
A missionary is required to have a spirituality based on Christ, the Word of God, and on the liturgy. A “holistic” spirituality, involving the whole person in its various dimensions, based on complementarity, integrating and incorporating. It allows you to be daughters of heaven and daughters of the earth, mystical and prophetic, disciples and witnesses at the same time.
Finally, the missionary is required to be a prophet of mercy. The Year of Consecrated Life came to an end as the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy began. This path called upon us to clean our eyes and our hearts of indifference so as to welcome and offer to the world, with humility, as servants, the prophecy of mercy, in the likeness of God the Father. Your charism of service to the poor demands that you exercise the prophecy of mercy, that is, to be people centred on God and on the crucified of this world. Let yourselves be provoked by the cry of help from so many situations of pain and suffering. As prophets of mercy, announce the Father’s forgiveness and embrace, a source of joy, serenity and peace (cf. Misericordiae Vultus , 2).
Along with the other institutes and movements founded by Don Orione, you form a family. I encourage you to walk the paths of collaboration with all the members of this rich charismatic family. No one in the Church walks “in solitude”. Cultivate between you the spirit of encounter, the spirit of family and cooperation.
I conclude by offering to you as an example for your mission and for your service to the poor the icon of the Visitation. Like the Virgin Mary, go on your way, in haste – not the rush of the world, but that of God – and, full of the joy that dwells in your heart, sing your Magnificat . Sing the love of God for every creature. Announce to today’s men and women that God is love and can fill the heart of those who seek Him and who let themselves be encountered by Him.
[Vatican Press Office-provided text]