The Pope's Monthly Intentions for 2021
People Who Suffer from Depression
We pray that people who suffer from depression or burn-out will find support and a light that opens them up to life.
reflections, updates and homilies from Deacon Mike Talbot inspired by the following words from my ordination: Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach...
People Who Suffer from Depression
We pray that people who suffer from depression or burn-out will find support and a light that opens them up to life.
November 01, 2021 (Readings on USCCB website)
Almighty ever-living God, by whose gift we venerate in one celebration the merits of all the Saints, bestow on us, we pray, through the prayers of so many intercessors, an abundance of the reconciliation with you for which we earnestly long. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
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Previous Calendar: Feast of All Saints ; Other Titles: All Saints Day
Today the Church celebrates all the saints: canonized or beatified, and the multitude of those who are in heaven enjoying the beatific vision that are only known to God. During the early centuries the Saints venerated by the Church were all martyrs. Later on the Popes set November 1 as the day for commemorating all the Saints. We all have this "universal call to holiness." What must we to do in order to join the company of the saints in heaven? We "must follow in His footsteps and conform [our]selves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. [We] must devote [our]selves with all [our] being to the glory of God and the service of [our] neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history" (Lumen Gentium, 40).
Don't forget to pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory from November 1 to the 8th.
All Saints Day
During the year the Church celebrates one by one the feasts of the saints. Today she joins them all in one festival. In addition to those whose names she knows, she recalls in a magnificent vision all the others "of all nations and tribes standing before the throne and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, proclaiming Him who redeemed them in His Blood."
The feast of All Saints should inspire us with tremendous hope. Among the saints in heaven are some whom we have known. All lived on earth lives like our own. They were baptized, marked with the sign of faith, they were faithful to Christ's teaching and they have gone before us to the heavenly home whence they call on us to follow them. The Gospel of the Beatitudes, read today, while it shows their happiness, shows, too, the road that they followed; there is no other that will lead us whither they have gone.
"The Commemoration of All Saints" was first celebrated in the East. The feast is found in the West on different dates in the eighth century. The Roman Martyrology mentions that this date is a claim of fame for Gregory IV (827-844) and that he extended this observance to the whole of Christendom; it seems certain, however, that Gregory III (731-741) preceded him in this. At Rome, on the other hand, on May 13, there was the annual commemoration of the consecration of the basilica of St. Maria ad Martyres (or St. Mary and All Martyrs). This was the former Pantheon, the temple of Agrippa, dedicated to all the gods of paganism, to which Boniface IV had translated many relics from the catacombs. Gregory VII transferred the anniversary of this dedication to November 1.
By Devin Watkins
As he does most Sundays, Pope Francis turned his thoughts to current events following the Angelus prayer with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
His first appeal was for flood-hit populations in Vietnam, where at least one person has died and over 7,000 people have been evacuated.
“My prayers and thoughts go out to the many families who are suffering, as well as my encouragement for the civil and local Church authorities who are working to respond to this emergency,” said the Pope.
The flooding in central Vietnam was set off by Tropical Depression “Invest” which moved across the Southeast Asian nation.
Pope Francis also expressed his closeness to people on the southern Italian island of Sicily, which has seen bad weather over the past week.
A “medicane” – or Mediterranean hurricane – tore through the eastern part of Sicily, and left at least three people dead.
The Pope then turned his attention to the Haitian people, who are “living in borderline conditions.”
“I ask the authorities of various nations to help this country, and to not leave them alone,” he urged, asking everyone to pray for the people of Haiti.
“Let us not abandon them,” the Pope repeated.
Violence and gang-related activity has spiraled out of control in recent months, following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
In one instance, 17 Christian missionaries have been kidnapped by a powerful gang in the capital of Port-au-Prince, which is demanding a ransom of US$17 million. Negotiations for their release are ongoing.
Pope Francis also recalled the opening on Sunday evening of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
Over 30,000 activists, political leaders, journalists, and others are gathering in the Scottish city to kick start efforts to combat climate change and limit global warming.
“Let us pray that the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor might be heard,” said the Pope. “May this encounter give effective responses, offering concrete hope to future generations.”
By Vatican News staff writer
Greeting pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square before leading the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis focused his Sunday catechesis on the day's Gospel reading, which recounts when a scribe approached Jesus asking Him which commandment is first.
Jesus answers by quoting Scripture saying the first commandment is to love God and the second to love one's neighbour as oneself. The scribe recognises and repeats Jesus's words.
The Pope said this repetition serves to reinforce a key teaching and to understand that the Word of God must be received in a special way, noting "it must be repeated, made one’s own, safeguarded."
Pope Francis observed that in monastic tradition there is the concept that the Word of God must be “ruminated”, as it is "so nutritious" that it must nourish and be contemplated in every aspect of life, as Jesus says, "the entire heart, the entire soul, the entire mind, all of our strength."
The Pope underscored that "it must resound, echo within us", reflecting that "the Lord dwells in the heart," as the scribe understood and Jesus told him: “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
Summarizing his thoughts, the Pope called on us to see that the Lord is looking for "docile hearts", more than "skilled Scripture commentators", who welcome His Word and allow interior conversion. He encouraged everyone to always have the Gospel in hand, "to read and reread it, to be passionate about it."
Doing so, the Word of God enters our heart intimately and "we bear fruit in Him".
Today's Gospel episode, the Pope added, shows us that more than just reading and understanding our need to love God and neighbour, we must allow this "great commandment" to "resound in us" and become "the voice of our conscience", as the Holy Spirit makes the seed of the Word germinate in us.
Each of us can reflect a unique expression of "the one Word of love that God gives us," he noted.
In conclusion, Pope Francis called on us to repeat Jesus' words and let them come alive in us: “To love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength and my neighbour as myself.”
Each day we should ask how much this commandment is present and resonating within us in order to be ever aware of our love for the Lord and doing good to those we meet on our journey.
Before leading the recitation of the Angelus, he prayed that the Virgin Mary may "teach us to welcome the living word of the Gospel in our hearts."
Wolfgang (d. 994) + Bishop and reformer. Born in Swabia, Germany, he studied at Reichenau under the Benedictines and at Wurzburg before serving as a teacher in the cathedral school of Trier. He soon entered the Benedictines at Einsiedeln (964) and was appointed head of the monastery school, receiving ordination in 971. He then set out with a group of monks to preach among the Magyars of Hungary, but the following year (972) was named bishop of Regensburg by Emperor Otto II (r. 973-983). As bishop, he distinguished himself brilliantly for his reforming zeal and his skills as a statesman. He brought the clergy of the diocese into his reforms, restored monasteries, promoted education, preached enthusiastically, and was renowned for his charity and aid to the poor, receiving the title Eleemosynarius Major (Grand Almoner). He also served as tutor to Emperor Henry II (r. 1014-1024) while he was still king. Wolfgang died at Puppingen near Linz, Austria. He was canonized in 1052 by Pope St. Leo IX (r. 1049-1054). Feast day: October 31.
St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
Confessor and Jay brother, also called Alonso. He was born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1532, the son of a wealthy merchant, and was prepared for First Communion by Blessed Peter Favre, a friend of Alphonsus' father. While studying with the Jesuits at Alcala, Alphonsus had to return home when his father died. In Segovia he took over the family business, was married, and had a son. That son died, as did two other children and then his wife. Alphonsus sold his business and applied to the Jesuits. His lack of education and his poor health, undermined by his austerities, made him less than desirable as a candidate for the religious life, but he was accepted as a lay brother by the Jesuits on January 31, 1571. He underwent novitiate training and was sent to Montesion College on the island of Majorca. There he labored as a hall porter for twenty-four years. Overlooked by some of the Jesuits in the house, Alphonsus exerted a wondrous influence on many. Not only the young students, such as St. Peter Claver, but local civic tad and social leaders came to his porter's lodge for advice tad and direction. Obedience and penance were the hallmarks of his life, as well as his devotion to the Immaculate Conception. He experienced many spiritual consolations, and he wrote religious treatises, very simple in style but sound in doctrine. Alphonsus died after a long illness on October 31, 1617, and his funeral was attended by Church and government leaders. He was declared Venerable in 1626, and was named a patron of Majorca in 1633. Alphonsus was beatified in 1825 and canonized in September 1888 with St. Peter Claver.
U.S. President Joe Biden greets Pope Francis during a meeting at the Vatican Oct. 29, 2021. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
By: Carol Glatz
Date: October 29, 2021
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis and U.S. President Joe Biden had an unusually long meeting at the Vatican Oct. 29, talking about the climate crisis and poverty, but not about abortion, the president said.
Some U.S. bishops have argued that Biden, who regularly attends Mass, should not receive Communion because of his support for legalized abortion, while Catholic Church teaching emphasizes the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death.
Asked if abortion was one of the topics of his meeting with the pope, Biden responded, “We just talked about the fact he was happy that I was a good Catholic, and I should keep receiving Communion.”
Biden spoke to reporters at Rome’s Palazzo Chigi where he was meeting Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi after meeting Pope Francis.
The Vatican described the president’s meetings with both the pope and with top Vatican diplomats as consisting of “cordial discussions,” with both sides “focused on the joint commitment to the protection and care of the planet, the health care situation and the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
They also discussed “refugees and assistance to migrants,” the Vatican said, and “reference was also made to the protection of human rights, including freedom of religion and conscience.”
The pope and the president also exchanged “views on some matters regarding the current international situation, also in the context of the imminent G20 summit in Rome, and on the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation,” it said.
According to a statement released by the White House, “President Biden thanked His Holiness for his advocacy for the world’s poor and those suffering from hunger, conflict and persecution.
“He lauded Pope Francis’ leadership in fighting the climate crisis, as well as his advocacy to ensure the pandemic ends for everyone through vaccine sharing and an equitable global economic recovery,” the statement said.
During a nearly 90-minute meeting in the library of the Apostolic Palace, which included 75 minutes of closed-door discussions between the two leaders, Pope Francis gave Biden a large painted ceramic tile of a pilgrim walking along Rome’s Tiber River and pointing to St. Peter’s Basilica in the distance. It and its border of shell designs symbolize “protection from adversity” during one’s spiritual growth and the hope of reaching a deeper and more fulfilling purpose at the end of this spiritual journey, according to an explanation of the artistic piece.
Pope Francis also gave the president a signed copy of his message for World Day of Peace 2021, a collection of his major documents, including his document on human fraternity, and the book, “Why Are You Afraid? Have You No Faith? The World Facing the Pandemic.” The book contains photographs and homilies, messages and prayers the pope delivered during the pandemic, emphasizing the importance of love, hope, solidarity and the common good.
Biden presented Pope Francis with a framed, handwoven “fiddleback” chasuble that had been made by Gamarellis, the famous Rome tailor shop, in 1930, for Jesuits in the United States. The White House was also making a donation of winter clothing to charities in the name of Pope Francis to commemorate the World Day of the Poor Nov. 14.
Biden also gave the pope a copy of his memoir, “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose,” about losing his firstborn son, Beau Biden, to brain cancer at the age of 46 and a presidential command coin inscribed with the unit of his late son, who had been deployed to Iraq in 2008.
Biden explained the reason for the coin to the pope, “I’m not sure this is appropriate, but there’s a tradition in America that the president has what is called a command coin that he gives to warriors and leaders and you are the most significant warrior for peace I’ve ever met.”
“And with your permission, I’d like to give you this coin,” he said, saying, “I know my son would want me to give this to you.”
“The tradition — I’m only kidding about this — next time I see you, if you don’t have it, you have to buy the drinks,” Biden said, adding, however, “I’m the only Irishman you’ve ever met who’s never had a drink.”
Later, as the pope walked Biden to the door, he thanked him for the visit and “for this,” he said, clutching the coin.
After meeting the pope, Biden went downstairs to meet Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican foreign minister. In addition to his wife, Jill Biden, the president traveled with a 10-person entourage of senior White House staff, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, his national security adviser.
The White House said in a statement that those discussions included “efforts to rally global support for vaccinating the developing world against COVID-19” and Biden thanking the Vatican for its “leadership in fighting the climate crisis” and for “speaking out on behalf of the wrongfully detained, including in Venezuela and Cuba.”
“The leaders committed to continue using their voices to advocate for personal and religious freedoms worldwide,” the White House said.
The Vatican had unexpectedly canceled — about 24 hours before Biden’s arrival — a scheduled livestream of the visit to the objections of reporters. Accredited journalists covering the Vatican have not been present for the beginning and concluding portions of any meetings with heads of state in the papal library since late February 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A group of reporters was given permission to be present for Biden’s arrival by car in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace and a livestream was aired only of the presidential vehicle convoy arriving at the Vatican and stopping in the courtyard.
The only explanation the Vatican provided was that no livestreams of the pope’s meetings with heads of state have been provided since the pandemic began. However, as is customary, Vatican Media provided photographs and edited footage of some parts of the meeting.
Reaching the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, where the U.S. flag had been raised and a formation of Swiss Guards stood watch, Biden and his wife were welcomed by Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza, regent of the papal household. Shaking his hand, Biden said, “It’s a pleasure to see you,” introduced his wife, and added that he was “glad to be here.”
“It’s good to be back,” he said, smiling, greeting and thanking each of the awaiting papal gentlemen who would accompany him upstairs.
“I’m Jill’s husband,” he told one member of the papal household, and, “If I had had your hair, I would have been elected much earlier,” he joked to another gentleman, blessed with a full head of salt-and-pepper-colored curls.
The monsignor then led them upstairs to the papal library before the live footage was cut off.
The private papal audience was Biden’s first presidential visit to the Vatican. Pope Francis had previously met Biden three times when Biden was vice president; the previous time was in 2016, after they both spoke at a conference on adult stem-cell research at the Vatican.
Biden is now the 14th U.S. president to have met a pope at the Vatican and the second Catholic president after President John F. Kennedy met Pope Paul VI almost 60 years ago.
The White House had said in mid-October that Biden planned on discussing working together on efforts promoting the respect of basic human dignity, ending the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the climate crisis, income inequality and migration, and caring for the poor.