The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation released a press statement ahead of the 3rd World Day of the Poor, announcing the temporary walk-in-clinic in St Peter’s Square, just as there was last year. The clinic aims to offer medical attention to those most in need and will be open from 8am-10pm every day, offering free medical examinations to the poor.
Last year over 3,500 people were tended to by doctors and nurses. The clinic will open on Sunday the 10th of November and will remain so until Sunday the 17th.
In addition, Pope Francis will preside over Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on that same Sunday. Afterwards, he will have lunch in the Paul VI hall with over 1,500 poor people from Rome and throughout the Lazio region.
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS (Excerpt)
The hope of the poor shall not perish forever
9. At times, very little is needed to restore hope. It is enough to stop for a moment, smile and listen. For once, let us set statistics aside – the poor are not statistics to cite when boasting of our works and projects. The poor are persons to be encountered, they are lonely, young and old, to be invited to our homes to share a meal, men women and children who look for a friendly word. The poor save us because they enable us to encounter the face of Jesus Christ.
In the eyes of the world, it seems illogical to think that poverty and need can possess saving power. Yet that is the teaching of the Apostle, who tells us: “Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no-one might boast in the presence of God” (1 Cor 1:26-29). Looking at things from a human standpoint, we fail to see this saving power but with the eyes of faith, we see it at work and experience it personally. In the heart of the pilgrim People of God, there beats that saving power which excludes no-one and involves everyone, in a real journey pilgrimage of conversion, to recognise the poor and to love them.
10. The Lord does not abandon those who seek Him and call upon His name: “He does not forget the cry of the poor” (Ps 9:12), for His ears are attentive to their voice. The hope of the poor defies deadly situations, for the poor know that they are especially loved by God and this is stronger than any suffering or exclusion. Poverty does not deprive them of their God-given dignity; they live in the certainty that it will be fully restored to them by God Himself, who is not indifferent to the lot of His lowliest sons and daughters. On the contrary, He sees their struggles and sorrows, He takes them by the hand and He gives them strength and courage (cf. Ps 10:14). The hope of the poor is confirmed in the certainty that their voice is heard by the Lord, that in Him they will find true justice, that their hearts will be strengthened and continue to love (cf. Ps 10:17).
If the disciples of the Lord Jesus wish to be genuine evangelisers, they must sow tangible seeds of hope. I ask all Christian communities and all those who feel impelled to offer hope and consolation to the poor, to help ensure that this World Day of the Poor will encourage more and more people to cooperate effectively so that no one will feel deprived of closeness and solidarity. May you always treasure the words of the prophet who proclaims a different future: “For you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings” (Mal 3:20 [4:2]).
Sunday Reflection – 17 November – The Third World Day of the Poor and the Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
“Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and blessed,,
and broke and gave the loaves” … Matthew 14:19
“Jesus loves us so much and wants to be close to us and looks after those who follow Him. The Lord meets the needs of mankind but wants to render each one of us, a concrete participant in His compassion.
Now let us pause on this, Jesus’ gesture of blessing: “taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and blessed and broke and gave the loaves” (v. 19).
As you see, they are the same signs that Jesus performed at the Last Supper and they are also the same gestures, that each priest performs when he celebrates the Holy Eucharist.
The Christian community is born and reborn continually from this Eucharistic communion.
Living communion with Christ is, therefore, anything but being passive and detached from daily life, on the contrary, it includes us more and more in the relationship with the men and women of our time, in order to offer them the concrete sign of mercy and of the attention of Christ. Jesus wants to reach everyone, in order to bring God’s love to all.”
Thought for the Day – 17 November – The Third World Day for the Poor and The Memorial of St Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231)
“The poor acquire genuine hope, not from seeing us gratified by giving them a few moments of our time but from recognising in our sacrifice, an act of gratuitous love, that seeks no reward.
I encourage you to seek, in every poor person whom you encounter, his or her true needs, not to stop at their most obvious material needs but to discover their inner goodness, paying heed to their background and their way of expressing themselves and in this way to initiate a true fraternal dialogue.
For once, let us set statistics aside – the poor are not statistics to cite when boasting of our works and projects. The poor are persons to be encountered, they are lonely, young and old, to be invited to our homes to share a meal; men women and children who look for a friendly word. The poor save us because they enable us to encounter the face of Jesus Christ.” … Pope Francis Third World Day of Poor Message (Excerpt)
“Elizabeth was a lifelong friend of the poor and gave herself entirely to relieving the hungry. She ordered that one of her castles should be converted into a hospital in which she gathered many of the weak and feeble. She generously gave alms to all who were in need, not only in that place but in all the territories of her husband’s empire. She spent all her own revenue from her husband’s four principalities and finally she sold her luxurious possessions and rich clothes for the sake of the poor.”
From a letter by Fr Conrad of Marburg, spiritual director of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
St Elizabeth of Hungary,
please Pray for the poor and homeless,
Pray for us all!
Quote/s of the Day – 17 November – The Third World Day of Prayer for the Poor and the Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Luke 21:5–19
So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also lone one another …”
Blest are the Pure in Heart” – From the Breviary (A perfect hymn/prayer for the Feast of St Elizabeth of Hungary)
Blest are the pure in heart,
for they shall see our God,
the secret of the Lord is theirs,
their soul is Christ’s abode.
The Lord, who left the heavens,
our life and peace to bring,
to dwell in lowliness with men,
their pattern and their King.
Still to the lowly soul,
He does Himself impart
and for His dwelling and His throne,
chooses the pure in heart.
Lord, we Thy presence seek,
May ours this blessing be:
give us a pure and lowly heart,
a temple fit for Thee
Hope means to keep living amid desperation and to keep humming in the darkness. Hoping is knowing that there is love, it is trust in tomorrow it is falling asleep and waking again when the sun rises. In the midst of a gale at sea, it is to discover land. In the eyes of another it is to see that you are understood…. As long as there is still hope There will also be prayer…. And you will be held in God’s hands.
One Minute Reflection – 17 November – The Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Luke 21:5–19, The Third World Day of Prayer for the Poor and the Memorial of St Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231)
“By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” … Luke 21:19
REFLECTION – “That person has not yet attained perfect love and profound knowledge of Divine Providence who, in time of trial, when affliction befalls, does not have magnanimity but cuts himself off from love for the spiritual brethren.
The aim of Divine Providence is to re-unite by means of right faith and spiritual love, those who were cut asunder and scattered by evil. It was in order to “gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” (Jn 11:52) that the Saviour suffered. So, someone who refuses to bear the burden of arduous circumstances and endure sorrows or suffer pain, walks outside the love of God and the aim of Providence. If “charity is patient and kind” (1Cor 13:4), does not the person who is fainthearted in sorrows, who bears malice against those giving offence, or who severs the love due to them, fall short of the aim of Divine Providence?… They are long-suffering who await the end of the trial and receive praise for what they have endured. “Whoever is slow to wrath abounds in wisdom” (Prv 14:29), for such a one, relates all that happens, to the ultimate end and, in its expectation, bears all afflictions. And the end, says the Apostle, is everlasting life (cf. Rm 6:22). “And this is eternal life, that they might know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (Jn 17:3).” … St Maximus the Confessor (c 580-662) Monk, Theologian, Father – Fourth Century on Love, nos 16-18, 23-24
PRAYER – Holy God and Father, grant us a strong Faith! Poor Your graces into our hearts that we may believe with all our hearts, minds and souls and that in believing, we may constantly raise our entire being to You in prayer and supplication, in prayer and adoration, in prayer and love. May the intercession of St Elizabeth of Hungary, a woman of deep prayer from her youth, strengthen our perseverance and trust. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 17 November – The Third World Day of Prayer for the Poor and the Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
At Your Table, Lord Cafod Prayer for the World Day of the Poor
When we eat this Bread,
and drink this Cup,
remind us that it is at Your table
that we do it,
a table weighed down with good things,
a table full to overflowing.
Remind us that we have neither earned,
what You freely give.
For it is to the starving
that You bring satisfaction,
whereas the full, You send away empty.
Help us to respond to Your invitation
by sharing what we have received,
by breaking the body and blood of creation
with love and reverence
and by adjusting our own wants,
so that no-one is turned away.
Ged Johnson/CAFOD Catholic Agncy for Overseas Development
Saint of the Day – 17 November – Saint Hilda of Whitby (c 614–680) Abbess, Apostle of Charity, teacher, administrator and advisor, spiritual director, reformer – born in c 614 at Northumbria, England and died in 680 of natural causes – also known as St Hild. St Hilda was the founding abbess of the monastery at Whitby, which was chosen as the venue for the Synod of Whitby. An important figure in the Christianisation of Anglo-Saxon England, she was abbess at several monasteries and recognised for the wisdom that drew kings to her for advice. Patronages – learning and culture, poetry.
The source of information about Hilda is the Ecclesiastical History of the English People by St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Doctor of the Church, in 731, who was born approximately eight years before her death. He documented much of the Christian conversion of the Anglo-Saxons.
According to Bede, Hilda was born in 614 into the Deiran royal household. She was the second daughter of Hereric, nephew of Edwin, King of Deira and his wife, Breguswīþ. When Hilda was still an infant, her father was poisoned while in exile at the court of the Brittonic king of Elmet in what is now West Yorkshire. In 616, Edwin killed Aethefrith, the son of Æthelric of Bernicia, in battle. He created the Kingdom of Northumbria and took its throne. Hilda was brought up at King Edwin’s court.
In 625, the widowed Edwin married the Christian princess Æthelburh of Kent, daughter of King Æthelberht of Kent and the Merovingian princess Bertha of Kent. As part of the marriage contract, Aethelburh was allowed to continue her Roman Christian worship and was accompanied to Northumbria with her chaplain, St Paulinus of York, a Roman monk sent to England in 601 to assist Augustine of Canterbury. Augustine’s mission in England was based in Kent and is referred to as the Gregorian mission after the pope who sent him. As queen, Æthelburh continued to practice her Christianity and no doubt influenced her husband’s thinking as her mother Bertha had influenced her father.
In 627 King Edwin was Baptised on Easter Day, 12 April, along with his entire court, which included the 13-year-old Hilda, in a small wooden church hastily constructed for the occasion near the site of the present York Minster.
In 633 Northumbria was overrun by the neighbouring pagan King of Mercia, at which time King Edwin fell in battle. St Paulinus accompanied Hilda and Queen Æthelburh and her companions to the Queen’s home in Kent. Queen Æthelburh founded a convent at Lyminge and it is assumed that Hilda remained with the Queen-Abbess.
Hilda’s elder sister, Hereswith, married Ethelric, brother of King Anna of East Anglia, who with all of his daughters became renowned for their Christian virtues. Later, Hereswith became a nun at Chelles Abbey in Gaul (modern France). Bede resumes Hilda’s story at a point when she was about to join her widowed sister at Chelles Abbey. At the age of 33, Hilda decided instead to answer the call of Bishop St Aidan of Lindisfarne and returned to Northumbria to live as a nun.
Hilda’s original convent is not known except that it was on the north bank of the River Wear. Here, with a few companions, she learned the traditions of Celtic monasticism, which Bishop Aidan brought from Iona. After a year Aidan appointed Hilda as the second Abbess of Hartlepool Abbey. No trace remains of this abbey but its monastic cemetery has been found near the present St Hilda’s Church, Hartlepool.
In 657 Hilda became the founding abbess of Whitby Abbey, then known as Streoneshalh, she remained there until her death. Archaeological evidence shows that her monastery was in the Celtic style, with its members living in small houses, each for two or three people. The tradition in double monasteries, such as Hartlepool and Whitby, was that men and women lived separately but worshipped together in church. The exact location and size of the church associated with this monastery is unknown.
Bede states that the original ideals of monasticism were maintained strictly in Hilda’s abbey. All property and goods were held in common, Christian virtues were exercised, especially peace and charity. Everyone had to study the Bible and do good works.
Five men from this monastery later became bishops. Two, John of Beverley, Bishop of Hexham and Wilfrid, Bishop of York, were Canonised for their service to the Church at a critical period in its fight against paganism.
Bede describes Hilda as a woman of great energy, who was a skilled administrator and teacher. As a landowner she had many in her employ to care for sheep and cattle, farmin, and woodcutting. She gained such a reputation for wisdom that kings and princes sought her advice. However, she also had a concern for ordinary folk such as St Cædmon (memorial 11 February). He was a herder at the monastery, who was inspired in a dream to sing verses in praise of God. Hilda recognised his gift and encouraged him to develop it. Bede writes, “All who knew her called her mother because of her outstanding devotion and grace”. Read St Caedmon’s beautiful story and Hymn here: https://anastpaul.com/2019/02/11/saint-of-the-day-11-february-st-caedmon-died-c-680/
The prestige of Whitby is reflected in the fact that King Oswiu of Northumberland chose Hilda’s monastery as the venue for the Synod of Whitby, the first synod of the Church in his kingdom. He invited churchmen from as far away as Wessex to attend the synod. Most of those present, including Hilda, accepted the King’s decision to adopt the method of calculating Easter currently used in Rome, establishing Roman practice as the norm in Northumbria. The monks from Lindisfarne, who would not accept this, withdrew to Iona and later to Ireland.
Hilda suffered from a fever for the last seven years of her life but she continued to work until her death on 17 November 680, at what was then the advanced age of sixty-six. In her last year she set up another monastery, fourteen miles from Whitby, at Hackness. She died after receiving viaticum and her legend holds that at the moment of her death the bells of the monastery of Hackness tolled. A nun there named Begu claimed to have witnessed Hilda’s soul being borne to heaven by angels.
A local legend says that when sea birds fly over the abbey they dip their wings in honour of Saint Hilda. Another legend tells of a plague of snakes which Hilda turned to stone, supposedly explaining the presence of ammonite fossils on the shore; heads were carved onto these ‘petrified snakes’ to honour this legend. In fact, the ammonite genus Hildoceras takes its scientific name from St Hilda. It was not unknown for local “artisans” to carve snakes’ heads onto ammonites and sell these “relics” as proof of her miracle. The coat of arms of nearby Whitby includes three such ‘snakestones’ and depictions of ammonites appear in the shield of the University of Durham’s College of St Hild and St Bede. A carved ammonite stone is set into the wall by the entrance to the former chapel of St Hild’s College, Durham, which later became part of the College of St Hild and St Bede.
St Hilda was never formally Canonised as her life is pre-congregation but the veneration of St Hilda from an early period is attested by the inclusion of her name in the calendar of St Willibrord, written at the beginning of the 8th century. According to one tradition, her relics were translated to Glastonbury by King Edmund, another tradition holds that St Edmund brought her relics to Gloucester.