Posted in ON the SAINTS, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, The WORD

Pope Francis celebrates Canonisation Mass of 5 New Saints and says “Let us ask to be like that, “kindly lights”

Pope Francis celebrates Canonisation Mass of 5 New Saints and says “Let us ask to be like that, “kindly lights.”

HOLY MASS AND CANONISATION OF THE BLESSEDS:
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN, GIUSEPPINA VANNINI,
MARIAM THRESIA CHIRAMEL MANKIDIYAN, DULCE LOPES PONTES, MARGUERITE BAYS
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
St Peter’s Square
XXVIII Sunday of Ordinary Time
13 October 2019CANONISAITION MASS JOHN HENRY NEWMAN 13 oct 2019

“Your faith has saved you” (Lk 17:19).   This is the climax of today’s Gospel, which reflects the journey of faith.   There are three steps in this journey of faith.   We see them in the actions of the lepers whom Jesus heals.   They cry out, they walk and they give thanks.

First, they cry out.   The lepers were in a dreadful situation, not only because of a disease that, widespread even today, needs to be battled with unremitting effort but also because of their exclusion from society.   At the time of Jesus, lepers were considered unclean and, as such, had to be isolated and kept apart (cf. Lev 13:46).   We see that when they approach Jesus, they “kept their distance” (Lk 17:12).  Even though their condition kept them apart, the Gospel tells us that they “called out” (v. 13) and pleaded with Jesus.  They did not let themselves be paralysed because they were shunned by society, they cried out to God, who excludes no-one.   We see how distances are shortened, how loneliness is overcome – by not closing in on ourselves and our own problems, by not thinking about how others judge us but rather by crying out to the Lord, for the Lord hears the cry of those who find themselves alone.

Like those lepers, we too need healing, each one of us.   We need to be healed of our lack of confidence in ourselves, in life, in the future we need to be healed of our fears and the vices that enslave us, of our introversion, our addictions and our attachment to games, money, television, mobile phones, to what other people think.   The Lord sets our hearts free and heals them if only we ask Him, only if we say to Him : “Lord, I believe you can heal me.   Dear Jesus, heal me from being caught up in myself.   Free me from evil and fear”.   The lepers are the first people, in this Gospel, who called to the name of Jesus. Later, a blind man and a crucified thief would do so, all of them needy people calling on the name of Jesus, which means:  “God saves”.   They call God by name, directly and spontaneously.   To call someone by name is a sign of confidence and it pleases the Lord. That is how faith grows, through confident, trusting prayer.   Prayer in which we bring to Jesus, who we really are, with open hearts, without attempting to mask our sufferings. Each day, let us invoke with confidence the name of Jesus, “God saves”.   Let us repeat it: that is prayer, to say “Jesus“ is to pray.   And prayer is essential!   Indeed, prayer is the door of faith, prayer is medicine for the heart.

The second word, is to walk.   It is the second stage.   In today’s brief Gospel, there are several verbs of motion.   It is quite striking is that the lepers are not healed as they stand before Jesus, it is only afterwards, as they were walking.   The Gospel tells us that:  “As they went, they were made clean” (v. 14).   They were healed by going up to Jerusalem, that is, while walking uphill.   On the journey of life, purification takes place along the way, a way that is often uphill since it leads to the heights.   Faith calls for journey, a “going out” from ourselves, and it can work wonders if we abandon our comforting certainties, if we leave our safe harbours and our cosy nests.   Faith increases by giving, and grows by taking risks.  Faith advances when we make our way equipped with trust in God.   Faith advances with humble and practical steps, like the steps of the lepers or those of Naaman who went down to bathe in the river Jordan (cf. 2 Kings 5:14-17).   The same is true for us.   We advance in faith by showing humble and practical love, exercising patience each day and praying constantly to Jesus as we keep pressing forward on our way.

There is a further interesting aspect to the journey of the lepers: they move together.   The Gospel tells us that, “as they went, they were made clean” (v. 14).   The verbs are in the plural.   Faith means also walking together, never alone.   Once healed, however, nine of them go off on their own way and only one turns back to offer thanks.   Jesus then expresses His astonishment:  “The others, where are they?” (v. 17).   It is as if He asks the only one who returned, to account for the other nine.   It is the task of us, who celebrate the Eucharist as an act of thanksgiving, to take care of those who have stopped walking, those who have lost their way.   We are called to be guardians of our distant brothers and sisters, all of us!   We are to intercede for them, we are responsible for them, to account for them, to keep them close to heart.   Do you want to grow in faith?   You, who are here today, do you want to grow in faith?   Then take care of a distant brother, a faraway sister.

To cry out.   To walk.   And to give thanks.   This is the final step.   Only to the one who thanked Him did Jesus say:  “Your faith has saved you” (v. 19).   It made you both safe and sound.   We see from this, that the ultimate goal is not health or wellness but the encounter with Jesus.   Salvation is not drinking a glass of water to keep fit, it is going to the source, which is Jesus.   He alone frees us from evil and heals our hearts.   Only an encounter with Him can save, can make life full and beautiful.   Whenever we meet Jesus, the word “thanks” comes immediately to our lips, because we have discovered the most important thing in life, which is not to receive a grace or resolve a problem but to embrace the Lord of life.   And this is the most important thing in life – to embrace the Lord of life.

It is impressive to see how the man who was healed, a Samaritan, expresses his joy with his entire being – he praises God in a loud voice, he prostrates himself and he gives thanks (cf. vv. 15-16).   The culmination of the journey of faith is to live a life of continual thanksgiving.   Let us ask ourselves – do we, as people of faith, live each day as a burden, or as an act of praise?   Are we closed in on ourselves, waiting to ask another blessing, or do we find our joy in giving thanks?   When we express our gratitude, the Father’s heart is moved and He pours out the Holy Spirit upon us.   To give thanks is not a question of good manners or etiquette, it is a question of faith.   A grateful heart is one that remains young.   To say “Thank you, Lord” when we wake up, throughout the day and before going to bed – that is the best way to keep our hearts young, because hearts can grow old and be spoilt.   This also holds true for families and between spouses.   Remember to say thank you.   Those words are the simplest and most effective of all.

To cry out.   To walk.   To give thanks. Today we give thanks to the Lord for our new Saints.   They walked by faith and now we invoke their intercession.   Three of them were religious women, they show us that the consecrated life is a journey of love at the existential peripheries of the world.   Saint Marguerite Bays, on the other hand, was a seamstress, she speaks to us of the power of simple prayer, enduring patience and silent self-giving.   That is how the Lord made the splendour of Easter radiate in her life, in her humbleness.   Such is the holiness of daily life, which Saint John Henry Newman described in these words – “The Christian has a deep, silent, hidden peace, which the world sees not… The Christian is cheerful, easy, kind, gentle, courteous, candid, unassuming, has no pretence… with so little that is unusual or striking in his bearing, that he may easily be taken at first sight for an ordinary man” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, V, 5).
Let us ask to be like that, “kindly lights amid the encircling gloom.”   Jesus, “stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as Thou shinest, so to shine as to be a light to others”  (Meditations on Christian Doctrine, VII, 3).   Amen … Vatican.va

Saint John Henry Newman, Pray for Us!st john henry newman pray for us 13 oct 2019.jpg

 

Posted in PAPAL HOMILIES, Pope BENEDICT XVI, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, VATICAN Resources

Thought for the Day – 13 October – Praise to the Holiest in the Height! for our Beloved Saint John Henry

Thought for the Day – 13 October – Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C and today, John Henry Newman will be Canonised

Today, at 10.30 Roman time, John Henry Newman and 4 others will be Canonised by Pope Francis.   They are:

– English Cardinal John Henry Newman, Founder of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri in England

– Italian Sister Giuseppina Vannini (born Giuditta Adelaide Agata), Founder of the Daughters of Saint Camillus

– Indian Sister Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan, Founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family

– Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes Pontes (born Maria Rita) of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God

– Marguerite Bays of Switzerland, Virgin of the Third Order of Saint Francis of Assisi.

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13 oct 2019 - today we call you st john henry newman praise to the holiest.jpg

Excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI’s Beatification Homily
Birmingham, Sunday, 19 September 2010

newman and benedict

Cardinal Newman’s motto, Cor ad cor loquitur, or “Heart speaks unto heart”, gives us an insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness, experienced as the profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God.   He reminds us that faithfulness to prayer gradually transforms us into the divine likeness.   As he wrote in one of his many fine sermons, “a habit of prayer, the practice of turning to God and the unseen world in every season, in every place, in every emergency – prayer, I say, has what may be called a natural effect in spiritualising and elevating the soul.   A man is no longer what he was before, gradually … he has imbibed a new set of ideas and become imbued with fresh principles   (Parochial and Plain Sermons, iv, 230-231).   Today’s Gospel tells us that no-one can be the servant of two masters (cf. Lk 16:13) and Blessed John Henry’s teaching on prayer explains how the faithful Christian is definitively taken into the service of the one true Master, who alone has a claim to our unconditional devotion (cf. Mt 23:10).   Newman helps us to understand what this means for our daily lives – he tells us that our divine Master has assigned a specific task to each one of us, a “definite service”, committed uniquely to every single person:   “I have my mission”, he wrote, “I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.   He has not created me for naught.   I shall do good, I shall do his work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place … if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling” (Meditations and Devotions, 301-2).

The definite service to which Blessed John Henry was called involved applying his keen intellect and his prolific pen to many of the most pressing “subjects of the day”.   His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilised societ, and into the need for a broadly-based and wide-ranging approach to education were not only of profound importance for Victorian England but continue today to inspire and enlighten many all over the world.   I would like to pay particular tribute to his vision for education, which has done so much to shape the ethos that is the driving force behind Catholic schools and colleges today.   Firmly opposed to any reductive or utilitarian approach, he sought to achieve an educational environment in which intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment would come together.   The project to found a Catholic University in Ireland provided him with an opportunity to develop his ideas on the subject and the collection of discourses that he published as The Idea of a University, holds up an ideal from which all those engaged in academic formation can continue to learn. And indeed, what better goal could teachers of religion set themselves than Blessed John Henry’s famous appeal for an intelligent, well-instructed laity – “I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it”  (The Present Position of Catholics in England, ix, 390).   On this day when the author of those words is raised to the altars, I pray that, through his intercession and example, all who are engaged in the task of teaching and catechesis will be inspired to greater effort by the vision he so clearly sets before us.

While it is John Henry Newman’s intellectual legacy that has understandably received most attention in the vast literature devoted to his life and work, I prefer on this occasion to conclude with a brief reflection on his life as a priest, a pastor of souls.   The warmth and humanity underlying his appreciation of the pastoral ministry is beautifully expressed in another of his famous sermons:  “Had Angels been your priests, my brethren, they could not have condoled with you, sympathised with you, have had compassion on you, felt tenderly for you, and made allowances for you, as we can; they could not have been your patterns and guides, and have led you on from your old selves into a new life, as they can who come from the midst of you” (“Men, not Angels – the Priests of the Gospel”, Discourses to Mixed Congregations, 3).   He lived out that profoundly human vision of priestly ministry in his devoted care for the people of Birmingham during the years that he spent at the Oratory he founded, visiting the sick and the poor, comforting the bereaved, caring for those in prison.   No wonder that on his death so many thousands of people lined the local streets as his body was taken to its place of burial not half a mile from here.   One hundred and twenty years later, great crowds have assembled once again to rejoice in the Church’s solemn recognition of the outstanding holiness of this much-loved father of souls.   What better way to express the joy of this moment than by turning to our heavenly Father in heartfelt thanksgiving, praying in the words that Blessed John Henry Newman placed on the lips of the choirs of angels in heaven:

Praise to the Holiest in the height
And in the depth be praise.
In all his words most wonderful,
Most sure in all his ways!
(The Dream of Gerontius)Praise to the Holiest in the Height - bl john henry newman - 9 oct 2018.jpgJOHN HENRY CANONISATION TAPESTRY NEWMAN 13 OCT 2019

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, HYMNS, POETRY, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!

Quote of the Day – 13 October – LEAD, Kindly Light

Quote of the Day – 13 October – Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C and today, John Henry Newman will be Canonised

The Pillar of the Cloud
By St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

LEAD, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark and I am far from home—
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet, I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will – remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone
And with the morn, those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since and lost awhile.

At Sea
16 June 1833

St John Henry Newmanlead kindly light 13 oct 2019 st john henry newman

Posted in EUCHARISTIC Adoration, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, SUNDAY REFLECTIONS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS

Sunday Reflection – 13 October – He is born every day in the Sacrament of the Altar – St John Henry Newman

Sunday Reflection – 13 October – Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C and today, John Henry Newman will be Canonised

The Birth of Jesus
Saint John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

“Consider that the birth of Jesus Christ, caused universal joy in the whole world.   Jesus was the Redeemer who had been desired and awaited for so many years.   He was called ‘the desire of the nations’ and ‘the desire of the eternal hills.’   Today, we behold Him, born in a little   cave! Let us consider, that this day, the angel also announces to us the same great joy announced to the shepherds.   “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, for a saviour has been born.”

What great rejoicing there is in a country when the firstborn son of a king is born.   But surely, there should be even greater rejoicing when we see the Son of God born!   We were lost and He came to save us.   He is the shepherd who has come to save His sheep from death.   He is the lamb of God, who has come to sacrifice Himself, to become our deliverer, our life, or light and even our food in the Most Holy Sacrament.

Saint Maximus says that for this reason, among many others, Jesus chose to be laid in the manger, where the animals are fed, to make us understand that He has become human and also our food.   “In the manger, where the food of animals is placed,   He allowed Himself to be laid, demonstrating that His own body would be the eternal food of humankind.

Besides this, He is born every day in the Sacrament of the Altar, the Altar is the crib and we go to the Altar to be fed and nourished.   Some might desire to hold the Infant Jesus in their arms as the prophet Simeon did but faith teaches us, that when we receive Holy Communion, we too, hold the same Jesus, who was in the manger in Bethlehem, not in our arms alone but in our hearts.

My beloved Jesus, if I do not love You, who are my Lord and God, whom shall I love?”he is born every day - sun reflec - 13 oct 2019 st john henry newman

Posted in ONE Minute REFLECTION, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on GRATITUDE, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 13 October – ‘I offer You these humble prayers…’

One Minute Reflection – 13 October – Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 17:11–19 and the Memorial of Blessed Alexandrina of Balazar

And he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. …Luke 17:16

REFLECTION – “O Heart of Jesus all love, I offer You these humble prayers for myself and for all those, who unite themselves with me, in spirit to adore You.
O holiest Heart of Jesus most lovely, I intend to renew and to offer to You, these acts of adoration and these prayers, for myself, a wretched sinner and for all those, who are associated with me in Your adoration, through all moments which I breath, even to the end of my life.   I recommend to You, O my Jesus, Holy Church, Your dear spouse and our true Mother, all just souls and all poor sinners, the afflicted, the dying and all mankind. Let not Your Blood be shed for them in vain.   Finally, deign to apply it in relief of the souls in Purgatory and of these in particular….” … St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)luke 17 16 and he fell on his face and thanked him - o holiest heart of jesus - st john henry newman 13 oct 2019

PRAYER – Lord God, open our hearts to Your Grace, that we may be filled with Your light and overflow with gratitude for Your merciful love.   May we love and adore and worship You in return.   Although we are sinners, our hearts long to thank You in total trust and humble thankfulness.   Grant that by the prayers of Blessed Alexandrina of Balazar, we may grow in holiness.   Through Your only Son, our Saviour and Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit, God, forever, amen._bl alesancdrina of balazar pray for us 13 oct 2019

Posted in Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, St JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN!, The HOLY EUCHARIST

Our Morning Offering – 13 October – O Good Jesu By St John Henry Newman

Our Morning Offering – 13 October – Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C and today, John Henry Newman will be Canonised

O Good Jesu
By St John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Soul of Christ, be my sanctification.
Body of Christ, be my salvation.
Blood of Christ, fill all my veins.
Water of Christ’s side, wash out my stains.
Passion of Christ, my comfort be.
O good Jesu, listen to me.
In Thy wounds, I fain would hide.
Ne’er to be parted, from Thy side.
Guard me, when my life shall fail me,
Bid me come to Thee above,
With Thy saints to sing Thy love,
World without end,
Ameno good jesus - soul of christ - st john henry newman 13 oct 2019.jpg

Posted in MYSTICS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 13 October – Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa (1904-1955)

Saint of the Day – 13 October – Blessed Alexandrina/of Balazar Maria da Costa (1904-1955) Laywoman, Victim Soul, Mystic, Salesian Co-operator – best known as Blessed Alexandrina of Balazar was a Portuguese mystic and victim soul, member of the Association of Salesian Cooperators, who was born and died in Balazar (a rural parish of Póvoa de Varzim).   Alexandrina left many written works, which have been studied mainly in Italy by Father Umberto Pasquale.   On 25 April 2004 she was declared Blessed by St Pope John Paul II who stated that “her secret to holiness was love for Christ”.alexandrina-maria-da-costa-19273133-f238-406c-9714-ec619dee618-resize-750

Alexandrina Maria da Costa was born on 30 March 1904 in Balasar, Portugal.   She received a solid Christian education from her mother and her sister, Deolinda and her lively, well-mannered nature made her likeable to everyone.

Her unusual physical strength and stamina also enabled her to do long hours of heavy farm work in the fields, thus helping the family income.

When she was 12, Alexandrina became sick with an infection and nearly died, the consequences of this infection would remain with her as she grew up and would become the “first sign” of what God was asking of her – to suffer as a “victim soul”.

The consequences of sin:
When Alexandrina was 14, something happened that left a permanent imprint on her, both physically and spiritually – it gave her a face-to-face look at the horror and consequences of sin.

On Holy Saturday of 1918, while Alexandrina, Deolinda and a young apprentice were busily sewing, three men violently entered their home and attempted to sexually violate them.   To preserve her purity, Alexandrina jumped from a window, falling four metres to the ground.

Her injuries were many and the doctors diagnosed her condition as “irreversible” – it was predicted the paralysis she suffered would only get worse.

Until age 19, Alexandrina was still able to “drag herself” to church where, hunched over, she would remain in prayer, to the great amazement of the parishioners.   With her paralysis and pain worsening, however, she was forced to remain immobile and from 14 April 1925 until her death – approximately 30 years – she would remain bedridden, completely paralysed.Alexandrina_Maria_da_Costa_4

Alexandrina continued to ask the Blessed Mother for the grace of a miraculous healing, promising to become a missionary if she were healed.

Little by little, however, God helped her to see that suffering was her vocation and that she had a special call to be the Lord’s “victim”.   The more Alexandrina “understood” that this was her mission, the more willingly she embraced it.

She said: “Our Lady has given me an even greater grace, first, abandonment, then, complete conformity to God’s will, finally, the thirst for suffering”.

Mission to suffer with Christ:
The desire to suffer continued to grow in her the more her vocation became clear, she understood that she was called to open the eyes of others to the effects of sin, inviting them to conversion and to offer a living witness of Christ’s passion, contributing to the redemption of humanity.

And so it was that from 3 October 1938 until 24 March 1942, Alexandrina lived the three-hour “passion” of Jesus every Friday, having received the mystical grace to live in body and soul Christ’s suffering in his final hours.   During these three hours, her paralysis was “overcome” and she would relive the Stations of the Cross, her movements and gestures accompanied by excruciating physical and spiritual pain.   She was also diabolically assaulted and tormented with temptations against the faith and with injuries inflicted on her body.

Human misunderstanding and incredulity were also a great cross for her, especially when those she most expected would “assist” her – members and leaders of the Church – were adding to her crucifixion.

An investigation conducted by the Curia of Braga resulted in a circular letter written by the Archbishop which contained a series of “prohibitions” regarding Alexandrina’s case. It was the result of a negative verdict made by a commission of priests.

In addition and by way of spiritual comfort, after her spiritual director, a Jesuit priest who had helped her from 1934 to 1941, stopped assisting her, a Salesian priest, Fr Umberto Pasquale, came to her aid in 1944.

Nourished only by the Eucharist:
On 27 March 1942, a new phase began for Alexandrina which would continue for 13 years and seven months until her death.   She received no nourishment of any kind except the Holy Eucharist, at one point weighing as few as 33 kilos (approximately 73 pounds).bl alexandrina eucharist.jpg

Medical doctors remained baffled by this phenomenon and began to conduct various tests on Alexandrina, acting in a very cold and hostile way towards her.   This increased her suffering and humiliation but she remembered the words that Jesus himself spoke to her one day: “You will very rarely receive consolation…  I want that while your heart is filled with suffering, on your lips there is a smile”.

As a result, those who visited or came into contact with Alexandrina always found a woman who, although in apparent physical discomfort, was always outwardly joyful and smiling, transmitting to all a profound peace.   Few understood what she was deeply suffering and how real was her interior desolation.

Fr Pasquale, who stayed close to Alexandrina throughout these years, ordered Alexandrina’s sister to keep a diary of her words and her mystical experiences.alex and fr pascuale art_004.jpg

In 1944, Alexandrina became a member of the “Union of Salesian Cooperators” and offered her suffering for the salvation of souls and for the sanctification of youth.   She kept a lively interest in the poor as well as in the spiritual health of those who sought out her counsel.

“Do not offend Jesus anymore!’:
As a “testimony” to the mission to which God had called her, Alexandrina desired the following words written on her tombstone:   “Sinners, if the dust of my body can be of help to save you, come close, walk over it, kick it around until it disappears.   But never sin again, do not offend Jesus anymore!   Sinners, how much I want to tell you…. Do not risk losing Jesus for all eternity, for He is so good.   Enough with sin.   Love Jesus, love Him!”.   Below is her Tomb, the Church where it resides in Balaza and her room for 30 years.

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Alexandrina died on 13 October 1955.   Her last words:  “I am happy, because I am going to Heaven”. … Vatican.va

beatification bl alezandrina
In Ireland there is an Alexandrina Society that spreads knowledge of her life and teachings.  The aims of the Society are 1) To spread devotion to Alexandrina and make her known, 2) To pray for the conversion of sinners, 3) To pray for Priests and acknowledge any favours received, 4) To pray for members’ intentions. Amen.