Saturday, April 30, 2022

May 1st: St. Joseph the Worker


Feast of St. Joseph the WorkerFeast day: May 01

St. Joseph has two feast days on the liturgical calendar. The first is March 19—Joseph, the Husband of Mary. The second is May 1—Joseph, the Worker.

“Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God,” Pope John Paul II had once said.

There is very little about the life of Joseph in Scripture but still, we know that he was the chaste husband of Mary, the foster father of Jesus, a carpenter and  a man who was not wealthy. We also know that he came from the royal lineage of King David.

We can see from his actions in scripture that Joseph was a compassionate man, and obedient to the will of God. He also loved Mary and Jesus and wanted to protect and provide for them.

Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph had probably died before Jesus entered public ministry.

Joseph is the patron of many things, including the universal Church, fathers, the dying and social justice.

He is the patron Saint for those with cancer


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.M

Getting ready to pray with the Pope for the month of May


The Pope's Monthly Intentions for 2022


Faith-Filled Young People
We pray for all young people, called to live life to the fullest; may they see in Mary’s life the way to listen, the depth of discernment, the courage that faith generates, and the dedication to service.

Peace thru Solidarity


Pope meeting pilgrims from SlovakiaPope meeting pilgrims from Slovakia  (Vatican Media)

Pope encourages Slovakian pilgrims to promote peace through solidarity

Pope Francis encourages pilgrims from Slovakia to cultivate the richness of diversity of Slovakian society and Church and its culture of hospitality, commending Slovakia’s solidarity with Ukrainian refugees

By Lisa Zengarini

Pope Francis on Saturday  received in audience some 2,500 pilgrims from Slovakia visiting Rome to thank him for his Apostolic journey to the country 12-15 September  2021.

They were accompanied by  Archbishop  Stanislav Zvolenský of Bratislava, President of the Slovakian Bishops’ Conference. Attending the audience were also Cardinal Jozef Tomko, Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and  some representatives of Slovakian authorities, including the President of Parliament and the President of the Constitutional Court. 

The richness of diversity

Greeting the pilgrims in the Paul VI Audience Hall,  the Holy Father spurred them to continue to cultivate the richness of diversity of Slovakian society which can also be found in the local Church, with its different rites and traditions bringing together the  Christian West and East.

Walking the path of encounter

“When I  came to see you, I wanted to encourage you to walk the path of encounter, all together: young people, families, the elderly, the different communities that have historically been part of your society”, the Pope recalled,  reminding that the  culture of encounter is built on “the search of harmony between diversity,  that requires welcome, openness and creativity”, he said.

He also recommended “not to tire of invoking the Holy Spirit”, to heal past wounds in Slovakian society and Church The Holy spirit is the Creator of harmony and the balm of wounds!

Working for peace through charity

Pope Francis went on to commend Slovakian culture of hospitality and solidarity symbolized by the Slavic custom of offering bread and salt to visitors as a sign of welcome, which has proved itself again in the tragic context of the ongoig war in Ukraine.

Indeed, as pointed out in his introductory remarks by Archbishop Zvolenský, many Slovakian families,  parishes and institutions have offered shelter to Ukranian mothers and children forced to flee Ukraine after the Russian invasion.

“Looking at their eyes uou are the witnesses  of how war breaks family ties, deprives children of the presence of their fathers, of school, and leaves grandparents stranded”, Pope Francis noted.

He therefore urged them  “to continue to pray and work for peace, which, he said, “is built in our everyday life, even with these gestures of welcoming charity”.

“Whoever welcomes a needy person performs not only an act of charity, but also of faith, because he recognizes Jesus in his brother and sister.”

The legacy of Saints Cyril and Methodius

Pope Francis further invited Slovakian Catholics to preserve and cultivate the legacy of Saints Cyril and Methodius, so as to build bridges of fraternity together with all the European peoples who have been nourished by the same roots, with both the Christian lungs of Europe – Western and Eastern – mentioned by Pope St. John Paul II

Concluding , the Holy Father thanked Slovakian Catholics for their fidelity to Christ, expressed through their witness of a living faith, their good ecumenical relations, their charitable deeds, respect for human life and  responsible care for the environment.

Overview of recent Council of Cardinals meeting


St Peter's BasilicaSt Peter's Basilica 

War in Ukraine, climate change top agenda for Council of Cardinals

The Council of Cardinals meets with Pope Francis for the first time since the publication of the Apostolic Constitution “Praedicate evangelium: On the Roman Curia and its service to the Church in the World.”

By Christopher Wells

The war in Ukraine, climate change, and the role of women in the Church were among the pressing topics of discussion at this week’s meeting of the Council of Cardinals, which took place in the Vatican with the participation of Pope Francis.

It was the first meeting of the Council since the publication, in March, of the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate evangelium, which reforms the Curia in light of its service to the Church in the modern world.

The 41st meeting of the Council was opened by the coordinator, Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, who offered a reflection on the situation in Ukraine and the resulting socio-political, ecclesial, and ecumenical situation.

Pope Francis, for his part, informed the Council of the initiatives, variously undertaken by himself, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Secretariat of State, to promote peace. The Members of the Council offered their support and encouragement for the Holy Father in his "tireless" efforts to resolve the conflict.

The Cardinals also discussed the issue of climate change and the upcoming COP27 meeting, set to take place in Egypt in November. Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, the Archbishop of Kinshasa, addressed the question, “Can we, as Church, together with other Confessions and Religions, give voice to these concerns?” He then analyzed the world situation and the needs and expectations for COP26 Glasgow, looking especially at the concerns of poorer nations in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Oceania.

Continuing a discussion begun in its February session, the Council took up the theme of women in the Church. Franciscan Sister Laura Vicuña, an indigenous woman from Amazonia, presented a report on the topic from a pastoral perspective, which was followed by a discussion with the Cardinals.

The Council also discussed the Holy’s Sees diplomatic service and the role and activities of Apostolic Nuncios; as well as the implementation of Praedicate evangelium, including an evaluation of steps already taken and of challenges to be faced.

Each of the Cardinals also reported on the socio-political and ecclesial situation in their respective continents, addressing issues of peace, health, poverty, as well as political concerns and pastoral challenges.

The Council of Cardinals concluded its 41st session on Wednesday, with its next session scheduled for June 2022.

Friday, April 29, 2022

The last Saint of the Day for April


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.

In light of the attack on Ukraine, Cardinal calls for a new Helsinki Conference


Cardinal Pietro Parolin and former Italian PM Romano Prodi at the presentation Pope Francis' book: "Against War: The Courage to Build Peace” Cardinal Pietro Parolin and former Italian PM Romano Prodi at the presentation Pope Francis' book: "Against War: The Courage to Build Peace”  

Cardinal Parolin: War is a sacrilege, we need a new Helsinki Conference

The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, presents "Against War: The Courage to Build Peace" – a collection of writings and appeals by Pope Francis, and calls for better participation in international organizations and expanded European initiatives.

By Salvatore Cernuzio

"There is a need, today, for a new Helsinki Conference," said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, recalling the 1975 event that marked a fundamental step to curb the Cold War. It would be a way, he explained, to end the horror of the current conflict in Ukraine, a true "sacrilege" that continues to be perpetrated.

The Vatican Secretary of State’s words came as he presented the volume "Against War: The Courage to Build Peace", a collection of Pope Francis’ discourses and appeals against war and in favour of disarmament and dialogue. Former Italian Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, was also a speaker at the book presentation at Rome’s Lumsa University on Friday morning.

Tragedy in Ukraine

Cardinal Parolin took his cue from the volume, which emphasizes the Pope’s radical "no to war" position, expressed since the beginning of his pontificate and even more so since 24 February.

He highlighted the need for a "mindset of peace" [schema di pace] to be opposed to the "pattern of war."

“Faced with the tragedy we see happening in Ukraine, faced with the thousands of deaths, civilians killed, cities gutted, and millions of refugees - women, old people and children - forced to leave their homes, we cannot react according to what the Pope calls the pattern of war.”

The "spirit" of Aldo Moro

In his speech, filled with quotations from the Catechism and the Italian Constitution, and from the legacy of Italian Catholic personalities such as Giorgio La Pira and Don Milani, the Cardinal called for a "spirit" to be recovered: that of Aldo Moro, the then Italian Prime Minister who led 35 states, forty-seven years ago, to sign the Helsinki Accords in the Finnish capital in order to go "beyond the logic of opposing blocs."

"During that Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe, East and West joined on the path of détente," he said, recalling the "role played then by the Holy See and the delegation led by the future Cardinal Agostino Casaroli."

Upholding the memory of that historical event, the Cardinal continued, "Peace is in the interest of peoples' international security is in the interest of all."

Greater capacity for European initiatives

Cardinal Parolin went on to call for "strengthening participation in international bodies and also finding a greater capacity for European initiative".

It is Europe, "our Christian Europe," he said, that is affected by the "terrible war" underway in Ukraine.

“I will not enter into the merits of the decisions that various countries have taken to send arms to Ukraine, which as a nation has the right to defend itself from the invasion it has suffered.”

Weapons: a weak response

"Limiting ourselves to weapons represents a weak response. Yes, weapons are a weak response, not a strong response!" said the Cardinal Secretary of State. "A strong response is a response that undertakes - trying to involve everyone - initiatives according to the pattern of peace, that is, initiatives to make the fighting stop, to reach a negotiated solution, to think about what will be the possible future of coexistence in our Old Continent."

More must be done for peace

Cardinal Parolin also turned to the international community, saying it "has the obligation not to continue the war but to implement every possible political and diplomatic initiative to achieve a ceasefire and a just peace."

He said peace must be both just and, above all, "lasting," and "cannot be entrusted only to the deliberations of the aggressor and the aggressed."

“We have a duty to do more for peace.”

New Helsinki Declaration

The Cardinal Secretary of State appealed for dialogue to create a new balance of peace and security.

"Today we need a new Helsinki Conference." This is a proposal made three days ago by the Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, before the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly. It is a proposal that is in line with the Pope's yearning to overcome that "Cainist" spirit that prevents us from working together, as brothers.

Pope Francis’ appeals

Dwelling on the Pope's reiterated appeals, the Cardinal warned against the risk of considering them "as something due", of taking them for granted.

This, he said, would be "a disenchanted way of viewing the magisterium of the Pope," and would dig "an ever-widening gulf, between his words and the reality of facts," and it would mean losing sight of the fact that the Pope's message of peace and non-violence resides in the Gospel, where the crucified Christ "faced unjust death without reacting."

Right to self-defense

"Does this mean that the right to self-defense no longer exists?" the Cardinal asked.

"Of course not. One cannot expect someone, unjustly attacked, not to defend his loved ones, his home, his homeland."

And he quoted from the Catechism, in particular paragraph 2309, which states, "The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.”

We can no longer discuss 'just wars', he said, without giving due consideration to the fact that “today much more than in the past, the first victims of war are innocent civilians, by reason of destructive weapons that are only apparently intelligent."

Do not forget ongoing wars in the world

Cardinal Parolin also referred to the encyclical Fratelli tutti, to Pope St. John XXIII's Pacem in Terris, and to Pope Benedict XV's "unheeded" Peace Note.

A wealth of magisterium to which to add the farsightedness of Pontiffs, such as St. John Paul II who "implored the forces of the West not to wage war against Iraq". The Cardinal said that conflict's consequences, after twenty years, are still visibile for all to see.

The invitation is therefore not to forget the past. "Crushed by everyday life and by contemporaneity, full of information of all kinds, not exempt from fake news and propaganda," Cardinal Parolin said, there is the risk of setting aside historical memory, even recent memory, plummeting wars in progress in other parts of the world into oblivion, wars that are fuelled by the arms trade and have "devastating" consequences on civilian populations, especially on children "the first victims".

He also offered the examples of Syria, Yemen, and Ethiopia's Tigray region, saying they are all pieces of a larger puzzle defined by Pope Francis as a "World War III being fought piecemeal."

The Pope, he added, has never ceased to awaken the consciences of authorities, asking them to "desist from continuing this hell of destruction and seek negotiated solutions, even at the price of sacrifice."

“End” of the era of peace

In concrete terms, Cardinal Parolin continued, what should we do?

Certainly not cry over spilled milk, or search for responsibilities and omissions, but rather, we must "understand how it got to this point, writing the word 'end' to the period of peace inaugurated after the end of World War II, and to the many hopes born from the demise of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall."

"Not inevitable war, but inevitable peace"

"We have continued to build a world based on military alliances and economic colonization," the Secretary of State further noted.

“Looking at what has happened in recent decades should convince us of the need to trust more in international bodies and their development, and try to make them more of a 'common home', where everyone feels represented.”

A priority, at the same time, would be "to build a new system of international relations, no longer based on deterrence and military force". It is a "priority" to avoid "running towards the abyss of total war". The logic he offered is that of Giorgio La Pira: "Not inevitable war, but inevitable peace."

Negotiations without "pre-conditions"

Responding to a question regarding possible conditions for a return to the negotiating table, Cardinal Parolin said he was "pessimistic", because in recent months "attempts have been initiated or proposed, that have not been followed up."

At the same time, he said, "there are no other alternatives: it is necessary to continue to propose that first all the fighting and war actions be stopped, and that we return to negotiations."

It is important, however, to "negotiate without 'pre-conditions'", so that "when conditions are put on the table we try to find shared solutions. We must insist on this. There is no other way, otherwise, the war will continue to devour the children of Ukraine and the peace that will be built will not be a just and lasting peace, but only an imposition of certain conditions, the premise of other conflicts, other tensions, other wars."

The hope is therefore for a "just, durable, solid peace", but also that we are able to show "flexibility", and overcome "rigid positions."

"Negotiation," said the Secretary of State, "always involves compromise. Rigid positions do not lead to solutions. I hope there is still a willingness to reach a conclusion together."

Erosion of multilateralism

Returning to the concept and proposal of a "new Helsinki", Cardinal Parolin stressed that "the important thing is to return to the spirit" of that Conference, which was "lost too soon".

Back then, in a time of contrasts and rising tensions, "there was the wisdom of someone who said 'we must stop this drift.' And that drift was stopped by bringing together the various protagonists and conceiving a remarkable result that produced so many changes in Europe."

"This war," added Cardinal Parolin, "perhaps no one thought that it would break out, that some ploy would be found. But I have the impression that this war was the obvious consequence of a process of the last decades. The Holy See spoke of the erosion of multilateralism: you could see that the nations and those in charge no longer believed in a common solution to the problems that each sought to solve in their own way, based on the interests of nations and groups. It was logical that the process would lead towards this conclusion and it will continue to lead to similar conclusions if this trend is not put to an end."

Rediscover the value of family life: Pope Francis


Pope Francis meeting with a family in St Peter's SquarePope Francis meeting with a family in St Peter's Square 

Pope Francis: Rediscover the value of family life

Pope Francis addresses participants in the Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, and stresses the importance of rediscovering the value and beauty of family life, despite changes and prolonged crises affecting families.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Over the last three days, the Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences has been taking place in the Vatican under the theme, “The family as relational good: The challenge of love."

Greeting participants on Friday, Pope Francis went to the heart of this theme, focusing his attention on marriage and the challenges facing families today.

Challenges to family life

He noted that “social changes are altering the living conditions of marriage and families all over the world,” and that “prolonged and multiple crises” are putting a strain on family life.

His antidote to this was to “rediscover the value of the family as the source and origin of the social order, as the vital cell of a fraternal society capable of caring for the common home.”

Pope Francis underlined that despite many changes marriage and the family have undergone through the centuries, there are “common and permanent traits” that reveal the greatness and value of both. But, he warned, “if this value is lived out in an individualistic and private way, as is partly the case in the West, the family can become isolated and fragmented in the context of society.”

The Pope went on to say that it was important to understand that “the family is good for society, not insofar as it is a mere aggregation of individuals, but insofar as it is a relationship founded in a 'bond of mutual perfection.’”

The good of the family, Pope Francis said, “consists in sharing relationships of faithful love, trust, cooperation, reciprocity,” which brings about their happiness.

“The family humanises people through the relationship of 'we' and at the same time promotes each person's legitimate differences.”

Church and the family

The Pope highlighted that “the Church's social thinking helps to understand this relational love appropriate to the family, as the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia has sought to do, following in the wake of the great tradition, but with that tradition, take a step forward.”

He also emphasized that the family “is a place of welcome,” adding that its qualities are “particularly evident in families where there are frail or disabled members. These families, he said,  “develop special virtues, which enhance the capacity for love and patient endurance in the face of life's difficulties.”

He also pointed to families “that generate benefits for society as a whole, including adoptive and foster families and noted that the family “is the main antidote to poverty,”

In his address, Pope Francis stressed that family-friendly social, economic and cultural policies need to be promoted in all countries that make it possible to harmonise family life.

Rediscovering the beauty of family life

Turning his attention again to the theme of “rediscovering” the beauty of family life, the Pope said there were certain conditions.

The first, he continued, “is to remove from the mind's eye the "cataracts" of ideologies that prevent us from seeing reality.”

 “The second condition is the rediscovery of the correspondence between natural marriage and sacramental marriage.”

Finally, spelling out the third condition, he drew from his Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia which recalls the awareness that the grace of the sacrament of Matrimony - which is the ‘social’ sacrament par excellence - heals and elevates the whole of human society and is a leaven of fraternity.”