Thursday, April 30, 2020

The feast of St. Joseph the Worker

Feast of St Joseph the Worker: Affirming the Dignity of All Work

During an apostolic visit to Africa in 2009 Pope Benedict XVI reflected on St. Joseph and what he teaches us. He often uses the Patron of the Universal Church - his namesake (Joseph Ratzinger) - as an example. He told the faithful gathered in the Basilica of Mary Queen of Apostles in Cameroon:
"I ... encourage you to look to Saint Joseph. When Mary received the visit of the angel at the Annunciation, she was already betrothed to Joseph. In addressing Mary personally, the Lord already closely associates Joseph to the mystery of the Incarnation. Joseph agreed to be part of the great events which God was beginning to bring about in the womb of his spouse."

"He took Mary into his home. He welcomed the mystery that was in Mary and the mystery that was Mary herself. He loved her with great respect, which is the mark of all authentic love. Joseph teaches us that it is possible to love without possessing. In contemplating Joseph, all men and women can, by God's grace, come to experience healing from their emotional wounds, if only they embrace the plan that God has begun to bring about in those close to him, just as Joseph entered into the work of redemption through Mary and as a result of what God had already done in her."

"Joseph was caught up at every moment by the mystery of the Incarnation. Not only physically, but in his heart as well, Joseph reveals to us the secret of a humanity which dwells in the presence of mystery and is open to that mystery at every moment of everyday life. In Joseph, faith is not separated from action. His faith had a decisive effect on his actions. Paradoxically, it was by acting, by carrying out his responsibilities, that he stepped aside and left God free to act, placing no obstacles in his way. Joseph is a "just man" (Mt 1:19) because his existence is "ad-justed" to the word of God."

On May 1 the Universal Church honors this Patron for his witness to the dignity of human work. During the last years of his service, Blessed John Paul II addressed leaders of the "Catholic Action" movement in Italy on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. He used a poignant expression, the "Gospel of Work". In explaining what he meant he developed a theme deeply rooted in the Sacred Scriptures, expounded upon in the Christian Tradition and desperately needed in this age. In 1981 he had authored an Encyclical letter entitled "On Human Work" which presented the Christian vision of the dignity and meaning of human work.

In the industrial age men and women were often reduced to instruments in a society that emphasized "productivity" over the dignity of the worker. The technological age promised something different but failed to deliver. Human beings are still reduced to human doings rather than human beings. To come to a new understanding of the dignity of human labor requires what St Paul rightly called a "renewal of the mind" (See, Romans 12:2).

John Paul told those assembled that because work "has been profaned by sin and contaminated by egoism" it is an activity that "needs to be redeemed." He reminded them that "Jesus was a man of work and that work enabled him to develop his humanity". He emphasized that "the work of Nazareth constituted for Jesus a way to dedicate himself to the 'affairs of the Father,' witnessing that "the work of the Creator is prolonged" through work and that therefore ".according to God's providential plan, man, by working, realizes his own humanity and that of others: In fact, work 'forms man and, in a certain sense, creates him.."

He called them to be rescued "from the logic of profit, from the lack of solidarity, from the fever of earning ever more, from the desire to accumulate and consume." When the focus of work becomes subjected to what he called "inhuman wealth" it becomes a "seductive and merciless idol." That rescue occurs when we "return to the austere words of the Divine Master: 'For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?'"
Finally, he proclaimed that the "divine Worker of Nazareth" also "reminds us that 'life is more than food' and that work is for man, not man for work. What makes a life great is not the entity of gain, nor the type of profession, or the level of the career. Man is worth infinitely more than the goods he produces or possesses."

This "Gospel of Work" needs to be proclaimed anew in an age reeling from the near collapse of a banking system corrupted by greed and the rejection of the dignity of every human person. On Friday, April 30, 2010, Pope Benedict, mindful of the pending Feast of Joseph the Worker, addressed a Vatican conference on the theme "Crisis in a Global Economy. Re-planning the Journey."
He explained  the Social teaching of the Catholic Church that the dignity of human work derives from its relationship to the human person. He affirmed that economies should be at the service of the person, the family and the common good. His treatment of these themes in "Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in Truth) must be seriously examined by Catholics who hope to inform their thinking on economic issues, first, with the teaching of the Church.

The Catholic Catechism reminds us: "Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another. Hence work is a duty: "If any one will not work, let him not eat." Work honors the Creator's gifts and the talents received from him. It can also be redemptive. By enduring the hardship of work in union with Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth and the one crucified on Calvary, man collaborates in a certain fashion with the Son of God in his redemptive work. He shows himself to be a disciple of Christ by carrying the cross, daily, in the work he is called to accomplish."

"Work can be a means of sanctification and a way of animating earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ. In work, the person exercises and fulfills in part the potential inscribed in his nature. The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author and its beneficiary. Work is for man, not man for work. Everyone should be able to draw from work the means of providing for his life and that of his family, and of serving the human community. The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author and beneficiary. By means of his labor man participates in the work of creation. Work united to Christ can be redemptive."

A Catholic vision views work through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. God Incarnate became a worker! The dignity of this God become Man elevates the basic goodness of all human work. The early Church Father and Bishop Irenaeus expressed the profundity of this all when he said: "Whatever was not assumed was not healed!"

Because the entire human experience was assumed by Jesus, work was transformed by Christ the worker! As a child, Jesus learned from Joseph the Worker how to work with wood. He would later climb upon a wooden cross to re-create all humanity in the great work of redemption. All of the work undertaken by Jesus was joined to His Heavenly Father's work. That is the same relationship we have with the Father now through Him.

Though there is biblical support that the toil and drudgery or "sweat" of work is connected to the fracture in the order of the universe which was occasioned by sin (see Gen 3:19) work itself is not the punishment for sin. Rather, for the Christian, work can become a participation in the continuing redemptive work of Jesus. He was always doing the "work" of the One who sent Him (John 9:3-4) and we are invited by grace to now do the same.

The early Christians' worship became known as "liturgy" which meant the "work" of the Church. For them the world was not a place to be avoided but their workshop! They were there to bring all to Baptism and inclusion in Christ and to prepare the world for His return. The "Paschal mystery" began a process of transformation not only in the followers of Jesus but also in the very cosmos created through Him and for Him. It is now being recreated in Him. The work of Jesus continues now through His Body, the Church, placed in that creation as a seed of its transfiguration.

All things were created in Christ (see Col 1:15-20) and are being re-created as His work continues through His Body, the Church of which we are members. The unfolding of all of this is a what St. Paul calls a "plan" and a "mystery", to bring all things together under heaven and on earth in Him (e.g. Eph 1: 9-10).For the Christian work is an invitation to participate in that plan. No matter what we are doing as work we are to "do it as unto the Lord" (see Col 3). That choice enables it to change the world both within us and around us.

This plan includes all work - not just what is often called the "spiritual stuff." God Incarnate, Jesus, did not just do what is too often called the "spiritual stuff." All human work sanctifies us and changes the world. St. Paul captures the hope of all creation when, in the eighth chapter of his letter to the Romans he reminds us that all of creation "groans" for the full revelation of the sons and daughters of God.
We can have a new relationship to the entire created order beginning now because we live in the Son, through whom and for whom, it was all created and is being re-created. That is why these insights from John Paul II and Benedict are so important. There truly is a "Gospel of Work" we experience when we embrace our work with a mind renewed by the Holy Spirit.

I am old enough to remember the days when on May 1st Communist Nations paraded their weapons of destruction through the streets of major cities promising a workers' paradise through their counterfeit ideology. It was during this time that the Church first set aside this Feast of Joseph to make a prophetic cultural statement.

She proclaimed a different way, the Gospel of Jesus Christ with its "Gospel of Work". On this Feast of St. Joseph the Worker we must once again take up this task. Let us rediscover the creative and redemptive value of all human work when it is joined to the continuing work of the Gospel. Let us proclaim again in our time the "Gospel of Work."

We need to turn to the teaching of the Church on the dignity of work - and the worker- as we consider all of the implications of this important policy concern as a Nation. On this Feast of Joseph the Worker, let us seek the intercession of Patron of the Universal Church and follow his example, recognizing that all human work participates in the workshop of Nazareth. Let us reflect on Pope Benedict's words "In Joseph, faith is not separated from action. His faith had a decisive effect on his actions." Let the same be said of each of us.

The patron Saint of those suffering with cancer

St. Peregrine Laziosi

Image of St. Peregrine Laziosi

Peregrine Laziosi was born of a wealthy family at Forli, Italy, in 1260. As a youth he was active in politics as a member of the anti-papal party. During one uprising, which the Pope sent St. Philip Benizi to mediate, Philip was struck in the face by Peregrine. When Philip offered the other cheek, Peregrine was so overcome that he repented and converted to Catholicism. Following the instructions of the Virgin Mary received in a vision, Peregrine went to Siena and joined the Servites. It is believed that he never allowed himself to sit down for thirty years, while as far as possible, observing silence and solitude. Sometime later, Peregrine was sent to Forli to found a new house of the Servite Order. An ideal priest, he had a reputation for fervent preaching and being a good confessor. When he was afflicted with cancer of the foot and amputation had been decided upon, he spent the night before the operation, in prayer. The following morning he was completely cured. This miracle caused his reputation to become widespread. He died in 1345 at the age of eighty-five, and he was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726. St. Peregrine, like St. Paul, was in open defiance of the Church as a youth. Once given the grace of conversion he became one of the great saints of his time. His great fervor and qualities as a confessor brought many back to the true Faith. Afflicted with cancer, Peregrine turned to God and was richly rewarded for his Faith, enabling him over many years to lead others to the truth. He is the patron of cancer patients.

I had hoped this would not happen but it has been the "perfect storm"

Archdiocese of New Orleans to file bankruptcy; Aymond meets with area priests

Filing could be as soon as Friday, May 1

Read it all:

For May, Pope Francis asks for prayers for Deacons; we sure need tham!

The Pope's Monthly Intentions for 2020


For Deacons

We pray that deacons, faithful in their service to the Word and the poor, may be an invigorating symbol for the entire Church.

Guidelines for the Archdiocese of New Orleans as we slowly return to Mass

Here's the deal and please read this carefully.  Below are the guidelines the Archbishop has shared with all the parishes throughout the Archdiocese.  Before I decided to list these on my own blog site, I did a quick search and have now found these guidelines published, quite publicly on at least 24 parish websites; all very public websites.  Many local Catholics are hearing so much bunk, rumors mostly, that we have no idea what everyone believes.  As member parishes of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, our chief shepherd is Archbishop Aymond.  Before you start packing up to run to Mass, please review all of this carefully:

1. The people of the Archdiocese are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.

2. If someone is vulnerable and not feeling well, they should not celebrate Mass in church with other people.

3. Attendance at Mass: The number of people who can gather in the church is not to exceed 10 people. This applies also to Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals. This number will increase gradually.

4. For those who feel obliged to fulfill the Sunday obligation, a weekday Mass could accomplish this.

5. Additional Vigil Masses, Sunday and weekday Masses may be added to accommodate more people.

6. Either by computer, or by phone, people could make reservations to attend a specific Mass. More information on this soon.

7. An usher must make certain the 10-person rule is observed.

8. A specific Mass could be designated for the elderly who are in good health.

9. The church should be sanitized after each service.

10. Family members may sit in the same pew.

11. Social distancing must be observed – 6 feet apart. (This may necessitate roping off pews or putting markers for people to sit.) Six feet apart applies to the communion line as well.

12. Make sure all ministers observe proper hygiene of their hands.

13. Regarding the celebration of Mass: 
a. Ministers and parishioners should wear a mask.
b.  The priest/deacons should wear a mask at communion.
c.   Give communion with no bodily contact.    
d.   Communion on the tongue is not encouraged.
e.  The chalice with the precious blood is not to be offered
 f.   The sign of peace can be given by bowing to the other person.
 g.  As people depart from Mass, social distancing must be observed.

So let's summarize.  For now we can have 10 people in church wearing masks and spread out.  After May 15th, provided we achieve Phase 1 approval, we can have 25% of capacity in church.  For St. Jane, that's about 75 people, all wearing masks.  In other words, mass as we know it; full church, singing, the whole deal, not in the immediate future. Communion will have to be very deliberate.  As you can see from the list above there should not be bodily contact with distribution of Holy Communion.  Placing the consecrated host in the hand usually results in bodily contact about 75% of the time, placed in the mouth, only about 25% of the time, but, it is incredibly wet.  These are my experiences only; I'm not speaking for any other person.

In my business life I teach my staff to set expectations for the customer.  That's all I'm trying to do right now, set some expectations.  Sure, it will be hard and frustrating but oh so worth it.  Because gradually then eventually, we will all be together again, worshiping God, hearing the Word, receiving Jesus in Holy Communion.  For now, pray more, moan and groan less, much less, and ask yourself, am I still growing in holiness or am I giving in to sin.  Remember, the Bishops and our Priests are doing the best they can in a difficult situation.

A sign of the times; the Pope wisely cancels his worldwide special collection

Peter's Pence Website Screenshot

Pope Postpones Peter’s Pence Collection

October 4, 2020, Rather Than June 29

Pope Francis has delayed the annual Peter’s Pence Collection from June 29, 2020, to October 4. The action is in response to the disruptions of services caused by the coronavirus shutdown.
The purpose of the Peter’s Pence Collection is to provide the Holy Father with the financial means to respond to those who are suffering as a result of war, oppression, natural disaster, and disease.
The announcement was made in the following statement by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni:
“In view of the current health crisis, the Holy Father has decided that, for this year 2020, the Peter’s Pence Collection, which traditionally takes place around the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, on 29 June, will be transferred throughout the world to the XXVII Sunday of Ordinary Time, October 4, the day dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi.”

On last day of April, Pope Francis offers Mass and Homily

© Vatican Media

To Remember the Anonymous Victims of Coronavirus — Pope’s Appeal at Santa Marta (FULL TEXT)

As Italy Prepares for Phase Two, Reminds Prayer Is the Way to the Father’s Heart

Let us pray for the anonymous victims of coronavirus…. Let us also remember that prayer opens the Father’s heart…
According to Vatican News, Pope Francis stressed today, April 30th, during his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta.
At the start of the Mass, while remembering all victims of Coronavirus, Francis prayed for its ‘anonymous’ victims, as quarantine restrictions start to ease during the so-called ‘Phase two’ in Italy set to begin gradually on May 4th.
In his homily, the Holy Father commented on a passage from today’s Gospel passage, “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him.”
The Pope then asks what we can do “so that the Father will make it His business to draw people” to Jesus.
The answer he gives is simple: Prayer.
“Witness and prayer go together”, the Pope said.
“Without witness and prayer,” he said, “you cannot do the work of apostolic preaching. One’s preaching might be very beautiful, but without the Father’s action, people will not be attracted to Christ.”
Pope Francis concluded, praying:  “Let us ask the Lord for the grace to live our work with witness and prayer, so that He, the Father, might draw people to Jesus.”
The Pope ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, inviting the faithful to make a Spiritual Communion.
The Masses in Francis’ chapel normally welcome a small group of faithful, but due to recent measures’ taken by the Vatican, are now being kept private, without their participation. The Holy Week and Easter celebrations in the Vatican were also done without the presence of faithful, but were able to be watched via streaming.
Likewise, the Pope had a private Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday, with very limited participation by others, at the Roman Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia. One could watch via streaming.
It was announced at the start of the lockdowns in Italy that the Pope would have these Masses, in this period, be available to all the world’s faithful, via streaming on Vatican Media, on weekdays, at 7 am Rome time, along with his weekly Angelus and General Audiences.
In Italy where more than 25,000 people have died from coronavirus, public Masses are still prohibited. To date, in the Vatican, there have been ten cases of coronavirus in the Vatican.
The Vatican Museums are closed, along with the Vatican’s other similar museums. There have also been various guidelines implemented throughout the Vatican, to prevent the spread of the virus.

FULL HOMILY  [translated by ZENIT’s Virginia Forrester] 
“No one can come to Me unless the Father draws him”: Jesus reminds that the Prophets also pre-announced this. “And they shall all be taught by God.” It is God who draws to knowledge of the Son. Without this, cannot know Jesus. Yes, yes, one can study, also study the Bible, also know how He was born, what He did: this yes. However, to know Him from within, to know the mystery of Christ is only for those that are drawn by God to this.
This is what happened to the Minister of the economy of the Queen of Ethiopia. One sees that he was a pious man, and that he took the time, amid his many affairs, to go and adore God.  He was a believer. And he was returning to his homeland, reading the Prophet Isaiah. The Lord takes Philip, he sends him to that place and then says to him: “Go next to him, approach that carriage,” and he hears the Minister who is reading Isaiah. He gets close to him and asks him a question: “Do you understand?” – “But how can I understand if no one guides me!”, and he asks the question: “of whom does the Prophet say this?” “Please, get into the carriage,” and during the journey — I don’t know how much time, I think at least a couple of hours — Philip explained, he explained Jesus to him.
That anxiety that this gentleman had in the reading of the Prophet Isaiah was in fact from the Father, who was attracting him to Jesus: He had prepared him, He had taken him from Ethiopia to Jerusalem to adore God and then, with this reading, He had prepared his heart to reveal Jesus , to the point that as soon as he saw the water, he said: “Can I be baptized?” And he believed.
And this fact, that no one can know Jesus without the Father drawing him — is valid for our apostolate, for our apostolic mission as Christians. I think also of the missions. “What are you going to do in the missions?” – “I’m to convert the people –. “But stop, you won’t convert anyone! It is the Father who draws hearts to recognize Jesus.” To go on mission is to witness one’s own faith; without witness, you’ll do nothing. To go on mission — and the missionaries are good! — doesn’t mean to erect great structures, things and stop like that. No, the structures must be testimonies. You can erect a hospital structure, an educational one of great perfection, of great development; however, if a structure is without Christian witness your work there won’t be the work of a witness, a work of true preaching of Jesus. It will be a very good, very good charity society, but no more!
If I want to go on mission, and I say this, if I want to engage in the apostolate, I must go with the willingness that the Father draw the people to Jesus, and witness does this. Jesus Himself says it to Peter, when he confesses that He is the Messiah: “Happy are you, Simon Peter, because the Father has revealed this to you.” It’s the Father that draws, and He draws also with our witness. “I’ll do many works, here and there and beyond, of education, of this and that . . .” however, without witness they are good things but they aren’t the proclamation of the Gospel; they aren’t posts that give the possibility that the Father will draw to knowledge of Jesus. Work and witness .
“But what can I do so that the Father is able to draw those people?” Prayer. And this is the prayer for missions: to pray that the Father will draw people to Jesus. Witness and prayer go together. Without witness and prayer apostolic preaching can’t be done, proclamation can’t be done. You do a good moral homily, do many good things — all good; however, the Father won’t have the possibility to draw the people to Jesus. And this is the center; this is the center of our apostolate, that the Father be able to draw people to Jesus. Our witness opens the doors to the people and our prayer opens the doors to the heart of the Father to draw the people — witness and prayer. And this not only for the missions, it’s also for our work as Christians. Do I truly give witness of the Christian life with my lifestyle? Do I pray that the Father may draw the people to Jesus?
This is the great rule for our apostolate everywhere, and, in a special way, for the missions; to go on mission not to engage in proselytism. Once a lady, a good lady one could see she had good will — approached me with two youngsters, a boy and a girl, and she said to me: This [boy], Father, was Protestant and he converted, I convinced him. And this [girl] was . . . “I don’t know, animist, I don’t know what she said to me, “and I converted her.” And the lady was good, good. But she was mistaken. I lost my patience somewhat and said: “But listen, you haven’t converted anyone. It’s God who touches people’s heart. And, don’t forget: witness, yes, proselytism, no.”
Let us ask the Lord for the grace to live our work with witness and prayer, so that He, the Father, can draw people to Jesus.
The Pope ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, inviting the faithful to make a Spiritual Communion.
Here Is the Prayer Recited by the Pope:
My Jesus, I believe You are really present in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar. I love You above all things and I desire You in my soul. As I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As if You have already come, I embrace You and unite myself wholly to You. Do not permit me to be ever separated from You.
Before leaving the Chapel, dedicated to the Holy Spirit, the Marian antiphon “Regina Caeli” was intoned, sung in Eastertide.
Regina caeli laetare, alleluia.
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
(Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
Christ, whom You bore in your womb, alleluia,
Is Risen, as He promised, alleluia.
Pray for us to the Lord, alleluia).

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

As Pope he led the Catholic Reformation in response to the Protestant Revolution and Disobedience

St. Pius V, Pope

Image of St. Pius V, Pope

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.