Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL MESSAGES, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on PEACE, SAINT Pope PAUL VI, The WORD, Uncategorized, VATICAN Resources, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

The 52nd World Day of Prayer for Peace – 1 January 2019

The 52nd World Day of Prayer for Peace – 1 January 2019

Excerpt from St Pope Paul VI’s First Message to the World on 1 January 1968 for the First World Day of Prayer for Peace1st world day of prayer of peace - st popepaul VI 1 jan 1968 1 jan2019

“We address Ourself to all men of good will to exhort them to celebrate “The Day of Peace”, throughout the world, on the first day of the year, 1 January 1968.   It is Our desire that then, every year, this commemoration be repeated as a hope and as a promise, at the beginning of the calendar which measures and outlines the path of human life in time, that Peace with its just and beneficent equilibrium may dominate the development of events to come.

We think that this proposal interprets the aspirations of peoples, of their governments, of international organisms which strive to preserve Peace in the world, of those religious institutions so interested in the promotion of Peace, of cultural, political and social movements which make Peace their ideal;  of youth, whose perspicacity regarding the new paths of civilisation, dutifully oriented toward its peaceful developments is more lively;  of wise men who see how much, today, Peace is both necessary and threatened. The proposal to dedicate to Peace the first day of the new year is not intended, therefore, as exclusively ours, religious, that is, Catholic.   It would hope to have the adherence of all the true friends of Peace, as if it were their own initiative, to be expressed in a free manner, congenial to the particular character of those who are aware of how beautiful and how important is the harmony of all voices in the world for the exaltation of this primary good, which is Peace, in the varied concert of modern humanity.

The Catholic Church, with the intention of service and of example, simply wishes to “launch the idea”, in the hope that it may not only receive the widest consent of the civilised world but that such an idea may find everywhere numerous promoters, able and capable of impressing on the “Day of Peace”, to be celebrated on the first day of every new year, that sincere and strong character of conscious humanity, redeemed from its sad and fatal bellicose conflicts, which will give to the history of the world a more happy, ordered and civilised development.”the 52nd world day of prayer for peace - pope francis 1 jan 2019

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE
FRANCIS
FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE
52nd WORLD DAY OF PEACE

1 JANUARY 2019

Good politics is at the service of peace

1. “Peace be to this house!”

In sending his disciples forth on mission, Jesus told them: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him but if not, it shall return to you” (Lk 10:5-6).

Bringing peace is central to the mission of Christ’s disciples. That peace is offered to all those men and women who long for peace amid the tragedies and violence that mark human history.  The “house” of which Jesus speaks is every family, community, country and continent, in all their diversity and history. It is first and foremost each individual person, without distinction or discrimination. But it is also our “common home”: the world in which God has placed us and which we are called to care for and cultivate.

So let this be my greeting at the beginning of the New Year: “Peace be to this house!”

2. The challenge of good politics

Peace is like the hope which the poet Charles Péguy celebrated. It is like a delicate flower struggling to blossom on the stony ground of violence. We know that the thirst for power at any price leads to abuses and injustice. Politics is an essential means of building human community and institutions, but when political life is not seen as a form of service to society as a whole, it can become a means of oppression, marginalisation and even destruction.

Jesus tells us that, “if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mk 9:35). In the words of Pope Paul VI, “to take politics seriously at its different levels – local, regional, national and worldwide – is to affirm the duty of each individual to acknowledge the reality and value of the freedom offered him to work at one and the same time for the good of the city, the nation and all mankind”.

Political office and political responsibility thus constantly challenge those called to the service of their country to make every effort to protect those who live there and to create the conditions for a worthy and just future. If exercised with basic respect for the life, freedom and dignity of persons, political life can indeed become an outstanding form of charity.

3. Charity and human virtues:  the basis of politics at the service of human rights and peace

Pope Benedict XVI noted that “every Christian is called to practise charity in a manner corresponding to his vocation and according to the degree of influence he wields in the pólis… When animated by charity, commitment to the common good has greater worth than a merely secular and political stand would have… Man’s earthly activity, when inspired and sustained by charity, contributes to the building of the universal city of God, which is the goal of the history of the human family”. This is a programme on which all politicians, whatever their culture or religion, can agree, if they wish to work together for the good of the human family and to practise those human virtues that sustain all sound political activity: justice, equality, mutual respect, sincerity, honesty, fidelity.

In this regard, it may be helpful to recall the “Beatitudes of the Politician”, proposed by Vietnamese Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyễn Vãn Thuận, a faithful witness to the Gospel who died in 2002:

Blessed be the politician with a lofty sense and deep understanding of his role.

Blessed be the politician who personally exemplifies credibility.

Blessed be the politician who works for the common good and not his or her own interest.

Blessed be the politician who remains consistent.

Blessed be the politician who works for unity.

Blessed be the politician who works to accomplish radical change.

Blessed be the politician who is capable of listening.

Blessed be the politician who is without fear.

Every election and re-election, and every stage of public life, is an opportunity to return to the original points of reference that inspire justice and law. One thing is certain: good politics is at the service of peace. It respects and promotes fundamental human rights, which are at the same time mutual obligations, enabling a bond of trust and gratitude to be forged between present and future generations.

4. Political vices

Sadly, together with its virtues, politics also has its share of vices, whether due to personal incompetence or to flaws in the system and its institutions. Clearly, these vices detract from the credibility of political life overall, as well as the authority, decisions and actions of those engaged in it. These vices, which undermine the ideal of an authentic democracy, bring disgrace to public life and threaten social harmony. We think of corruption in its varied forms: the misappropriation of public resources, the exploitation of individuals, the denial of rights, the flouting of community rules, dishonest gain, the justification of power by force or the arbitrary appeal to raison d’état and the refusal to relinquish power. To which we can add xenophobia, racism, lack of concern for the natural environment, the plundering of natural resources for the sake of quick profit and contempt for those forced into exile.

5. Good politics promotes the participation of the young and trust in others

When the exercise of political power aims only at protecting the interests of a few privileged individuals, the future is compromised and young people can be tempted to lose confidence, since they are relegated to the margins of society without the possibility of helping to build the future. But when politics concretely fosters the talents of young people and their aspirations, peace grows in their outlook and on their faces. It becomes a confident assurance that says, “I trust you and with you I believe” that we can all work together for the common good. Politics is at the service of peace if it finds expression in the recognition of the gifts and abilities of each individual. “What could be more beautiful than an outstretched hand? It was meant by God to offer and to receive. God did not want it to kill (cf. Gen 4:1ff) or to inflict suffering, but to offer care and help in life. Together with our heart and our intelligence, our hands too can become a means of dialogue”.

Everyone can contribute his or her stone to help build the common home. Authentic political life, grounded in law and in frank and fair relations between individuals, experiences renewal whenever we are convinced that every woman, man and generation brings the promise of new relational, intellectual, cultural and spiritual energies. That kind of trust is never easy to achieve, because human relations are complex, especially in our own times, marked by a climate of mistrust rooted in the fear of others or of strangers, or anxiety about one’s personal security. Sadly, it is also seen at the political level, in attitudes of rejection or forms of nationalism that call into question the fraternity of which our globalised world has such great need. Today more than ever, our societies need “artisans of peace” who can be messengers and authentic witnesses of God the Father, who wills the good and the happiness of the human family.

6. No to war and to the strategy of fear

A hundred years after the end of the First World War, as we remember the young people killed in those battles and the civilian populations torn apart, we are more conscious than ever of the terrible lesson taught by fratricidal wars: peace can never be reduced solely to a balance between power and fear. To threaten others is to lower them to the status of objects and to deny their dignity. This is why we state once more that an escalation of intimidation, and the uncontrolled proliferation of arms, is contrary to morality and the search for true peace. Terror exerted over those who are most vulnerable contributes to the exile of entire populations who seek a place of peace. Political addresses that tend to blame every evil on migrants and to deprive the poor of hope are unacceptable. Rather, there is a need to reaffirm that peace is based on respect for each person, whatever his or her background, on respect for the law and the common good, on respect for the environment entrusted to our care and for the richness of the moral tradition inherited from past generations.

Our thoughts turn in a particular way to all those children currently living in areas of conflict, and to all those who work to protect their lives and defend their rights. One out of every six children in our world is affected by the violence of war or its effects, even when they are not enrolled as child soldiers or held hostage by armed groups. The witness given by those who work to defend them and their dignity is most precious for the future of humanity.

7. A great project of peace

In these days, we celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in the wake of the Second World War. In this context, let us also remember the observation of Pope John XXIII: “Man’s awareness of his rights must inevitably lead him to the recognition of his duties. The possession of rights involves the duty of implementing those rights, for they are the expression of a man’s personal dignity. And the possession of rights also involves their recognition and respect by others”.

Peace, in effect, is the fruit of a great political project grounded in the mutual responsibility and interdependence of human beings. But it is also a challenge that demands to be taken up ever anew. It entails a conversion of heart and soul; it is both interior and communal; and it has three inseparable aspects:

– peace with oneself, rejecting inflexibility, anger and impatience; in the words of Saint Francis de Sales, showing “a bit of sweetness towards oneself” in order to offer “a bit of sweetness to others”;

– peace with others:  family members, friends, strangers, the poor and the suffering, being unafraid to encounter them and listen to what they have to say;

– peace with all creation, rediscovering the grandeur of God’s gift and our individual and shared responsibility as inhabitants of this world, citizens and builders of the future.

The politics of peace, conscious of and deeply concerned for every situation of human vulnerability, can always draw inspiration from the Magnificat, the hymn that Mary, the Mother of Christ the Saviour and Queen of Peace, sang in the name of all mankind: “He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm; he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly; …for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever” (Lk 1:50-55).

From the Vatican, 8 December 2018

Francis

 

Posted in CATHOLIC Quotes, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL MESSAGES, QUOTES on CHARITY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

SECOND WORLD DAY OF THE POOR – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 18 November 2018

SECOND WORLD DAY OF THE POOR – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 18 November 2018

Excerpt From Pope Francis Message for the Second Annual World Day of the Poor

This poor man cried and the Lord heard himsecond annual world day of the poor - 18 nov 2018

6. The poor are the first to recognise God’s presence and to testify to His closeness in their lives. God remains faithful to His promise and even in the darkness of the night, He does not withhold the warmth of His love and consolation.   However, for the poor to overcome their oppressive situation, they need to sense the presence of brothers and sisters who are concerned for them and, by opening the doors of their hearts and lives, make them feel like friends and family. Only in this way can the poor discover “the saving power at work in their lives” and “put them at the centre of the Church’s pilgrim way” (Evangelii Gaudium, 198).
On this World Day, we are asked to fulfil the words of the Psalm:  “The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied” (Ps 22:26).   We know that in the Temple of Jerusalem, after the rites of sacrifice, a banquet was held.   It was this experience that, in many dioceses last year, enriched the celebration of the first World Day of the Poor.   Many people encountered the warmth of a home, the joy of a festive meal and the solidarity of those who wished to sit together at table in simplicity and fraternity.

I would like this year’s and all future World Days, to be celebrated in a spirit of joy at the rediscovery of our capacity for togetherness. Praying together as a community and sharing a meal on Sunday is an experience that brings us back to the earliest Christian community, described by the evangelist Luke in all its primitive simplicity:  “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers… And all who believed were together and had all things in common and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:42.44-45).

7. Countless initiatives are undertaken every day by the Christian community in order to offer closeness and a helping hand in the face of the many forms of poverty all around us.   Often too, our co-operation with other initiatives inspired not by faith but by human solidarity, make it possible for us to provide help that otherwise we would have been unable to offer.   The realisation that in the face of so much poverty, our capacity for action is limited, weak and insufficient, leads us to reach out to others so that, through mutual co-operation, we can attain our goals all the more effectively.   We Christians, are inspired by faith and by the imperative of charity but we can also acknowledge other forms of assistance and solidarity, that aim, in part, for the same goals, provided that we do not downplay our specific role, which is to lead everyone to God and to holiness. Dialogue between different experiences and humility in offering our co-operation, without seeking the limelight, is a fitting and completely evangelical response that we can give.
In the service of the poor, there is no room for competition.   Rather, we should humbly recognise that the Spirit is the source of our actions that reveal God’s closeness and His answer to our prayers.   When we find ways of drawing near to the poor, we know that the primacy belongs to God, who opens our eyes and hearts to conversion.   The poor do not need self-promoters but a love that knows how to remain hidden and not think about all the good it has been able to do.   At the centre must always be the Lord and the poor.   Anyone desirous of serving is an instrument in God’s hands, a means of manifesting His saving presence.   Saint Paul recalled this when he wrote to the Christians in Corinth who competed for the more prestigious charisms:  “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’” (1 Cor 12:21).   Paul makes an important point when he notes that the apparently weaker parts of the body are in fact the most necessary (cf. v. 22) and that those “we think less honourable we invest with the greater honour and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require” (vv. 23-24). Paul offers the community a basic teaching about charisms but also about the attitude it should have, in the light of the Gospel, towards its weaker and needier members.   Far be it from Christ’s disciples to nurture feelings of disdain or pity towards the poor.   Instead, we are called to honour the poor and to give them precedence, out of the conviction that they are a true presence of Jesus in our midst.   “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).

8. Here we can see how far our way of life must be from that of the world, which praises, pursues and imitates the rich and powerful, while neglecting the poor and deeming them useless and shameful.   The words of the Apostle Paul invite us to a fully evangelical solidarity with the weaker and less gifted members of the body of Christ:  “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together” (1 Cor 12:26).   In his Letter to the Romans, Paul also tells us:  “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.   Live in harmony with one another, do not be haughty but associate with the lowly” (12:15-16).   This is the vocation of each of Christ’s followers, the ideal for which we must constantly strive is ever greater conformity to the “mind of Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:5).

9. Faith naturally inspires a message of hope.   Often it is precisely the poor who can break through our indifference, born of a worldly and narrow view of life.   The cry of the poor, is also a cry of hope, that reveals the certainty of future liberation.   This hope is grounded in the love of God, who does not abandon those who put their trust in Him (cf. Rom 8:31-39).   As Saint Teresa of Avila writes in The Way of Perfection: “Poverty comprises many virtues.   It is a vast domain.   I tell you, whoever despises all earthly goods is master of them all” (2:5).   It is in the measure in which we are able to discern authentic good, that we become rich before God and wise in our own eyes and in those of others.   It is truly so.   To the extent that we come to understand the true meaning of riches, we grow in humanity and become capable of sharing.

10. I invite my brother bishops, priests and especially deacons, who have received the laying on of hands for the service of the poor (cf. Acts 6:1-7), as well as religious and all those lay faithful – men and women – who in parishes, associations and ecclesial movements, make tangible the Church’s response to the cry of the poor, to experience this World Day as a privileged moment of new evangelisation.   The poor evangelise us and help us each day, to discover the beauty of the Gospel.   Let us not squander this grace-filled opportunity.   On this day, may all of us feel that we are in debt to the poor, because, in hands outstretched to one another, a salvific encounter can take place, to strengthen our faith, inspire our charity and enable our hope, to advance securely on our path, towards the Lord who is to come.

From the Vatican, 13 June 2018
Francis

Posted in MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL ENCYLICALS, PAPAL MESSAGES, PAPAL PRAYERS, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation – 1 September

World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation – 1 September

Pope Francis has designated 1 September as the annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.   He hopes this day will be a time for individuals and communities to “reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which He has entrusted to our care and to implore His help for the protection of creation as well as His pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”

For this the 4th Annual World Day of Prayer, Pope Francis said:
“In this year’s message,I wish to draw attention to the issue of water, the primary good to be protected and made available to all.”
His full message will be published later today.

The Ecology Encyclical:   Care for Our Common Home:

A prayer for our earth
(from Laudato si’)

All-powerful God, You are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of Your creatures.
You embrace with Your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of Your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in Your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
That we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognise that we are profoundly united
with every creature as we journey towards Your infinite light.
We thank You for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
Amenworld-day-of-prayer-for-the-care-of-creation-1-sept-20171

Posted in ENCYCLICALS, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL MESSAGES, PAPAL PRAYERS, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Thought for the Day – 1 September – The 4th World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Thought for the Day – 1 September – The 4th World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Excerpt – Message of His Holiness, Pope Francis, 1 SEPTEMBER 2016

Show Mercy to our Common Home

Examining our consciences, repentance and confession to our Father who is rich in mercy lead to a firm purpose of amendment.   This in turn must translate into concrete ways of thinking and acting that are more respectful of creation.   For example: “avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, or any number of other practices” (Laudato Si’, 211).   We must not think that these efforts are too small to improve our world.   They “call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread” and encourage “a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption” (ibid., 212, 222).

In the same way, the resolve to live differently should affect our various contributions to shaping the culture and society in which we live.   Indeed, “care for nature is part of a lifestyle which includes the capacity for living together and communion” (Laudato Si’, 228).   Economics and politics, society and culture cannot be dominated by thinking only of the short-term and immediate financial or electoral gains.   Instead, they urgently need to be redirected to the common good, which includes sustainability and care for creation.

Despite our sins and the daunting challenges before us, we never lose heart.   “The Creator does not abandon us; He never forsakes His loving plan or repents of having created us… for He has united himself definitively to our earth and His love constantly impels us to find new ways forward” (Laudato Si’, 13; 245).   In a particular way, let us pray on 1 September and indeed throughout the year:

“O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth,
who are so precious in your eyes…

God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of Your love
for all the creatures of this earth
God of mercy, may we receive Your forgiveness
and convey Your mercy throughout our common home.

Praise be to you!
Amen.”

(Pope Francis 2016)1 sept join pope francis - daily prayer for the care of creation - 1 sept 2018

Posted in CCC, MORNING Prayers, The WORD, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

One Minute Reflection – 1 September – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 25:14–30 and The 4th World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

One Minute Reflection – 1 September – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 25:14–30 – Saturday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary Time, Year B and The 4th World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

“For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property….”…Matthew 25:14

REFLECTION – “The universal destination and the private ownership of goods – In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labour and enjoy their fruits (Gn 1:26-29). The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race.   However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. the appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge.   It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men.   The right to private property… does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind, the universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise.
In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimately owns not merely as exclusive to himself but common to others also, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as himself” (Vatican II, GS 69).   The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others, first of all his family.   Goods of production… oblige their possessors to employ them in ways that will benefit the greatest number.   Those who hold goods for use and consumption should use them with moderation, reserving the better part for guests, for the sick and the poor.”…Catechism of the Catholic Church § 2402-2405matthew 24 14 - for it will be as when a man going on a journey-the ownership of property ccc2402-2405 1 sept 2018

PRAYER – Holy God and Father, help us by Your grace, to remain “good and faithful servants” so that we may use all You have bestowed upon us and left to our care, in the loving care of our neighbour and of Your gifts.   May Mary, the Mother of Your divine Son and our Mother, walk at our side and teach us to be true children and users of our talents and Your creation.   May we guard Your world with great wisdom.   Holy Mother of Montevergine, pray for us, that we may one day enter “into the joy of our Lord”.   We make our prayer, through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.our lady of montevergine pray for us - 1 sept 2018

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS for our HOLY FATHER and all PRIESTS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SACRED and IMMACULATE HEARTS, St Pope JOHN PAUL, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Thought for the Day — 8 June – The Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and The World Day for the Sanctification of Priests

Thought for the Day — 8 June – The Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and The World Day for the Sanctification of Priests

The World Day for the Sanctification of Priests 2002 takes its inspiration from the theme of John Paul II’s Letters to Priests for Holy Thursday 2000, 2001, and 2002.   Below is an excerpt from the Congregation of the Clergy to all our Priests all over the world.

From St John Chrysostom (347-407)  Father & Doctor

“These are really the ones who are in charge of spiritual travail and responsible for the birth which comes through baptism.   Through them we put on Christ and are buried in union with the Son of God and become members, obedient to our blessed Head (cf. Rom 6,1; Gal 3,27).   For that reason they should not only be more justly feared than rulers and kings but also, be more honoured, than our parents.   For our parents generated us of blood and the will of the flesh (cf. Jn 1,13) but the priests are the authors of our birth from God, even that blessed regeneration which is true freedom and adopted sonship according to grace” (cf. St John Chrysostom, De sacerdotio, III, 6, PG 48, 643-644).

From St Anthony of Padua  (1195-1231) Evangelical Doctor

“Our altar of gold is the Heart of Christ.   We must enter into the Holy of Holies, which is this same Heart of Jesus and gather up the riches of His love” (St Anthony of Padua).

From St John of Avila (1500-1569) Doctor of the Church

“If the Jewish High priest carried the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on his shoulders and on his breast, how much more Christ, our High Priest, carries our names written on His Heart” (St John of Avila).

From the holy Curé of Ars (1786-1859) Patron of Priests

“The Priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus” (CCC, n. 1589—St John Vianney, quoted in B. Nodet, Jean-Marie Vianney, Curé d’Ars, 100).

“The priest is not a priest for himself.   He does not give absolution to himself.   He does not administer the sacraments to himself.   He does not exist for himself, he exists for you” (Curé of Ars: Monnin II 453).

From St Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)

“Today everything which concerns the Sacred Heart of Jesus has become familiar and doubly dear to me.   My life seems destined to be spent in the light shining from the tabernacle and it is to the Heart of Jesus that I must look for a solution to all my troubles. I feel I would be ready to shed my blood for the cause of the Sacred Heart.   My fondest wish is to be able to do something for that precious object of my love.

“At times the thought of my arrogance, of my unbelievable self-love and of my great unworthiness alarms and dismays me and robs me of my courage but I soon find reason for comfort, in the words spoken by Jesus to Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque:  ‘I have chosen you to reveal the marvels of my heart, because you are such an abyss of ignorance and insufficiency’.

“Ah! I wish to serve the Sacred Heart of Jesus, today and always.   I want my devotion to His Heart to be the measure of all my spiritual progress.   I desire to do everything in intimate union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

“My greatest joy will be to seek and find comfort only in that Heart which is the source of all consolation.   I am determined to give myself no peace until I can truly say, I am absorbed into the Heart of Jesus”   (Bl. John XXIII, Journal of a Soul, [“During the retreat in preparation for the ordination to the diaconate, 9-18 December 1903”], pp. 208-209, New English Library: London, 1966).

Prayer for Priests

O Jesus, eternal High Priest, who, in an incomparable love for men,
allowed Catholic priesthood to issue from Your Sacred Heart,
deign to continue to pour out on Your priest,
the life-giving streams of Infinite Love.
Live in them, transform them into Yourself;
Render them by Your grace instruments of Your Mercy;
Act in them and through them
and grant that they may perform in Your Name
and by the strength of Your Spirit,
the works which You Yourself
accomplished for the salvation of this world.
Divine Redeemer of souls,
see how great is the multitude of those,
who still sleep in the darkness of error;
count the number of those unfaithful sheep,
who are walking on the edge of an abyss;
consider the crowds of the poor, the hungry,
the ignorant and the weak,
who are groaning in their state of abandonment.
Return to us again, dear Sacred Heart of Jesus,
live again in very truth in them;
act through them and pass again through this world
teaching, pardoning, consoling, offering sacrifice,
renewing the Bonds of Love
between the Heart of God and the hearts of men.
We pray through the intercession
of Mary, Mother of all hearts.
Amenprayer for priests - 8 june 2018 - sacred heart.jpg

 

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, DOCTORS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL ENCYLICALS, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SACRED and IMMACULATE HEARTS, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

One Minute Reflection – 8 June – The Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

One Minute Reflection – 8 June – The Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

...But one soldier thrust his lance into his side and immediately blood and water flowed out...John 19:34

REFLECTION – “When the Church, in the days immediately succeeding her institution, was oppressed beneath the yoke of the Caesars, a young Emperor saw in the heavens across, which became at once the happy omen and cause of the glorious victory that soon followed.   And now, to-day, behold another blessed and heavenly token is offered to our sight-the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, with a cross rising from it and shining forth with dazzling splendour amidst flames of love.   …. there is in the Sacred Heart a symbol and a sensible image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love one another…”…Pope Leo XII – Annum Sacrum (Holy Year) 1899there is in the Sacred Heart - pope leo XIII - and john 19 34 but one soldier - 9 june 2018 sacred heart

PRAYER – “May Your heart dwell always in our hearts! May Your blood ever flow in the veins of our souls! O sun of our hearts, You give life to all things by the rays of Your goodness!   I will not go, until Your heart has strengthened me, O Lord Jesus!   May the heart of Jesus be the king of my heart! Blessed be God. Amen.”…St Francis De Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of Charitymay your heart dwell always in our hearts - prayer to the sac heart - st francis de sales - 8 june 2018 sacred heart

Posted in CATHOLIC DEVOTIONS of the Month, MARIAN DEVOTIONS, MARIAN QUOTES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HUMILITY, St JOSEMARIA Escriva and Opus Dei, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The CHRIST CHILD, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

One Minute Marian Reflection – 9 May “Mary’s Month!” – Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Eastertide

One Minute Marian Reflection – 9 May “Mary’s Month!” – Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Eastertide

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.   For today in the city of David, a saviour has been born to you, who is Messiah and Lord...Luke 2:10-11

REFLECTIONMARY:  WELCOMING THE SHEPHERDS:   “You must look at the Child in the manger.   He is our Love.   Look at Him, realising that the whole thing is a mystery. We need to accept this mystery on faith and use our faith to explore it very deeply.   To do this, we must have the humble attitude of a Christian soul.” …St Josemaría Escrivá (1902-1975) “Christ Triumphs through Humility,” Christ is Passing by 13.
Let us offer to our Mother today:   

Small hidden sacrifices,
especially those that go against the grain.you must look at the child in the manger - st josemaria - 9 may 2018

PRAYER – Almighty God, Your incarnate Word fills us with the new light He brought to men.   Let the light of faith in our hearts shine through all that we do and say.   Grant that through Mary, mother of Christ and our mother and protector, by her prayers and solace, we may learn humility and true faith.   We make our prayer through Jesus, our Lord, with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.holy mary mother of god - pray for us - 9 may 2018

Posted in MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN QUOTES, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, PAPAL MESSAGES, QUOTES on MERCY, QUOTES on the CHURCH, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The HOLY CROSS, The WORD, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Message of the Holy Father for the 26th World Day of the Sick – 11 February 2018

Message of the Holy Father

Mater Ecclesiae: “Behold, your son… Behold, your mother.
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”
(John 19:26-27)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Church’s service to the sick and those who care for them must continue with renewed vigour, in fidelity to the Lord’s command (cf. Lk 9:2-6; Mt 10:1-8; Mk 6:7-13) and following the eloquent example of her Founder and Master.

The theme for this year’s Day of the Sick is provided by the words that Jesus spoke from the Cross to Mary, His Mother, and to John: “Woman, behold your son … Behold your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home” (Jn 19:26-27).

1. The Lord’s words brilliantly illuminate the mystery of the Cross, which does not represent a hopeless tragedy, but rather the place where Jesus manifests his glory and shows his love to the end.   That love in turn was to become the basis and rule for the Christian community and the life of each disciple.

Before all else, Jesus’ words are the source of Mary’s maternal vocation for all humanity. Mary was to be, in particular, the Mother of her Son’s disciples, caring for them and their journey through life.   As we know, a mother’s care for her son or daughter includes both the material and spiritual dimensions of their upbringing.

The unspeakable pain of the Cross pierces Mary’s soul (cf. Lk 2:35) but does not paralyse her.   Quite the opposite.   As the Lord’s Mother, a new path of self-giving opens up before her.   On the Cross, Jesus showed His concern for the Church and all humanity and Mary is called to share in that same concern.   In describing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Acts of the Apostles show that Mary began to carry out this role in the earliest community of the Church.   A role that never ceases.

2. John, the beloved disciple, is a figure of the Church, the messianic people.   He must acknowledge Mary as his Mother.   In doing so, he is called to take her into his home, to see in her the model of all discipleship and to contemplate the maternal vocation that Jesus entrusted to her, with all that it entails:  a loving Mother who gives birth to children capable of loving as Jesus commands.   That is why Mary’s maternal vocation to care for her children is entrusted to John and to the Church as a whole.   The entire community of disciples is included in Mary’s maternal vocation.

3. John, as a disciple who shared everything with Jesus, knows that the Master wants to lead all people to an encounter with the Father. He can testify to the fact that Jesus met many people suffering from spiritual sickness due to pride (cf. Jn 8:31-39) and from physical ailments (cf. Jn 5:6). He bestowed mercy and forgiveness upon all, and healed the sick as a sign of the abundant life of the Kingdom, where every tear will be wiped away. Like Mary, the disciples are called to care for one another, but not only that. They know that Jesus’ heart is open to all and excludes no one. The Gospel of the Kingdom must be proclaimed to all, and the charity of Christians must be directed to all, simply because they are persons, children of God.

4. The Church’s maternal vocation to the needy and to the sick has found concrete expression throughout the two thousand years of her history in an impressive series of initiatives on behalf of the sick.   This history of dedication must not be forgotten.   It continues to the present day throughout the world.   In countries where adequate public health care systems exist, the work of Catholic religious congregations and dioceses and their hospitals is aimed not only at providing quality medical care but also at putting the human person at the centre of the healing process, while carrying out scientific research with full respect for life and for Christian moral values.   In countries where health care systems are inadequate or non-existent, the Church seeks to do what she can to improve health, eliminate infant mortality and combat widespread disease.   Everywhere she tries to provide care, even when she is not in a position to offer a cure.   The image of the Church as a “field hospital” that welcomes all those wounded by life is a very concrete reality, for in some parts of the world, missionary and diocesan hospitals are the only institutions providing necessary care to the population.

5. The memory of this long history of service to the sick is cause for rejoicing on the part of the Christian community and especially those presently engaged in this ministry.   Yet we must look to the past above all to let it enrich us.   We should learn the lesson it teaches us about the self-sacrificing generosity of many founders of institutes in the service of the infirm, the creativity, prompted by charity, of many initiatives undertaken over the centuries, and the commitment to scientific research as a means of offering innovative and reliable treatments to the sick.   This legacy of the past helps us to build a better future, for example, by shielding Catholic hospitals from the business mentality that is seeking worldwide to turn health care into a profit-making enterprise, which ends up discarding the poor.   Wise organisation and charity demand that the sick person be respected in his or her dignity and constantly kept at the centre of the therapeutic process.   This should likewise be the approach of Christians who work in public structures;  through their service, they too are called to bear convincing witness to the Gospel.

6. Jesus bestowed upon the Church his healing power:  “These signs will accompany those who believe… they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mk 16:17-18). In the Acts of the Apostles, we read accounts of the healings worked by Peter (cf. Acts 3:4-8) and Paul (cf. Acts 14:8-11).   The Church’s mission is a response to Jesus’ gift, for she knows that she must bring to the sick the Lord’s own gaze, full of tenderness and compassion. Health care ministry will always be a necessary and fundamental task, to be carried out with renewed enthusiasm by all, from parish communities to the most largest healthcare institutions.   We cannot forget the tender love and perseverance of many families in caring for their chronically sick or severely disabled children, parents and relatives.   The care given within families is an extraordinary witness of love for the human person, it needs to be fittingly acknowledged and supported by suitable policies.   Doctors and nurses, priests, consecrated men and women, volunteers, families and all those who care for the sick, take part in this ecclesial mission.   It is a shared responsibility that enriches the value of the daily service given by each.

7. To Mary, Mother of tender love, we wish to entrust all those who are ill in body and soul, that she may sustain them in hope.   We ask her also to help us to be welcoming to our sick brothers and sisters.   The Church knows that she requires a special grace to live up to her evangelical task of serving the sick.   May our prayers to the Mother of God see us united in an incessant plea that every member of the Church may live with love the vocation to serve life and health.   May the Virgin Mary intercede for this Twenty-sixth World Day of the Sick; may she help the sick to experience their suffering in communion with the Lord Jesus and may she support all those who care for them.   To all, the sick, to healthcare workers and to volunteers, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 26 November 2017
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

FRANCIS26th world day of the sick - 11 feb 2018 = pope francis message and theme

Posted in MARIAN TITLES, SAINT of the DAY, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, the 26th World Day of Prayer for the Sick and Memorials of the Saints – 11 February

Our Lady of Lourdes (11 February and 16 July of 1858)  – (Optional Memorial)

World Day of the Sick

St Ampelius of Africa
St Ardanus of Tournus
Bl Bartholomew of Olmedo
St Caedmon
St Calocerus of Ravenna
St Castrensis of Capua
St Dativus the Senator
Bl Elizabeth Salviati
St Etchen of Clonfad
St Eutropius of Adrianopolis
St Felix the Senator
St Gobnata
St Pope Gregory II
Bl Gaudencia Benavides Herrero
St Helwisa
St Jonas of Muchon
St Lucius of Adrianople
St Pope Paschal I
St Pedro de Jesús Maldonado-Lucero
St Saturninus of Africa
St Secundus of Puglia
St Severinus of Agaunum
St Soter of Rome
St Theodora the Empress
Bl Tobias Francisco Borrás Román

Guardians of the Holy Scriptures: Also known as –
• Anonymous Martyrs in Africa
• Martyrs of Africa
• Martyrs of Numidia
• Martyrs of the Holy Books
A large number of Christians tortured and murdered in Numidia (part of modern Algeria) during the persecutions of Diocletian, but whose names and individual stories have not survived. They were ordered to surrender their sacred books to be burned. They refused. Martyrs. c 303 in Numidia.

Martyrs of Africa – 5 saints: A group of five Christians who were martyred together; we know nothing else but the names of four of them – Cyriacus, Oecominius, Peleonicus and Zoticus.

.

 

Posted in MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, NOVENAS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, Uncategorized, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes – DAY SEVEN– 8 February

Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes – DAY SEVEN– 8 February (we Pray the Novena for our own intentions and for the sick, the infirm within our own communities but also for all those throughout the world who suffer, especially those who have no-one to pray for them in preparation for the Wold Day of the Sick on 11 February.)

DAY SEVEN
O Almighty God,
who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son,
we humbly beseech You,
that as we contemplate the apparition of Our Lady in the Grotto of Lourdes,
we may be blessed with health of mind and body.
O most gracious Mother Mary, beloved Mother of Our Lord and Redeemer,
look with favour upon us as you did that day on Bernadette
and intercede with Him for us
that the favour we now so earnestly seek may be granted to us.
………………………………(make your request)
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes,
glorious in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation,
show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother,
be our comfort, hope, strength and consolation. Amen

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.day seven - our lady of lourdes - 8 feb 2018

Posted in MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY, St Pope JOHN PAUL, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Quote/s of the Day – 8 February – The Memorial of St Jerome Emiliani (1486-1537) & St Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947) and the Fourth World Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking in Persons

Quote/s of the Day – 8 February – The Memorial of St Jerome Emiliani (1486-1537) & St Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947) and the Fourth World Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking in Persons

” God wishes to test you, like gold in the furnace.
The dross is consumed by the fire but the pure gold remains
and its value increases.
It is in this manner, that God acts with His good servant,
who puts his hope in Him and remains unshaken in times of distress.
God raises him up and, in return for the things,
he has left out of love for God, He repays him a hundredfold in this life
and with eternal life hereafter.
If then you remain constant in faith, in the face of trial,
the Lord will give you peace and rest for a time in this world
and forever in the next.”

St Jerome Emiliani (1486-1537)god wishes to test you - st jerome emiliani - 8 feb 2018

“When a person loves another dearly,
he desires strongly to be close to the other:
therefore, why be afraid to die?”

“The Lord has loved me so much:
we must love everyone…
we must be compassionate!”when a person loves another - st josephione bakhita - 8 feb 2018

“If I were to meet the slave-traders
who kidnapped me and even those who tortured me,
I would kneel and kiss their hands,
for if that did not happen,
I would not be a Christian and Religious today.”

St Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947)if-i-were-to-meet-st-bakhita. - 2017

“Rejoice, all of Africa!
Bakhita has come back to you:
the daughter of the Sudan,
sold into slavery as a living piece of merchandise
and yet still free:
free with the freedom of the saints.”

St Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)st-josephine-bakhita-quote-st-john-paul-2017

Posted in MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Our Morning Offering on The FOURTH International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking in Persons – 8 February 2018

PRAYER to END HUMAN TRAFFICKING

O God, when we hear of children and adults
deceived and taken to unknown places
for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour
and organ ‘harvesting’,
our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry
that their dignity and rights are ignored
through threats, lies and force.
We cry out against the evil practice
of this modern slavery,
and pray with Saint Bakhita for it to end.
Give us wisdom and courage to reach out
and stand with those whose bodies, hearts and spirits
have been so wounded, so that together we may
make real Your promises to fill these sisters and brothers
with a love that is tender and good.
Send the exploiters away empty-handed
to be converted from this wickedness,
and help us all to claim the freedom
that is Your gift to Your children, amen.thrid-int-day-of-prayer-humantrafficking-st-bakhita-8-feb 2018

Posted in MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

The FOURTH International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking in Persons under the Patronage of St Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947) – 8 February 2018

The FOURTH International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking in Persons under the Patronage of St Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947) – 8 February 2018

2018 theme of the Day of Prayer and Awareness:

“Migration without trafficking. Say yes to Freedom and No to slavery”world day against trafficking theme - 8 feb 2018

Speaking on the eve of the Day of Prayer and Awareness Raising against Human Trafficking, 7 February 2018, Pope Francis urged civil society and institutions to take concrete action to protect the victims and eliminate this terrible scourge that affects so many forced migrants and refugees.

Pope Francis noted that many migrants are forced to choose illegal channels of migration where they are submitted to  “abuse of every kind, exploitation and slavery.”

He noted that criminal organizations that engage in the trafficking of persons make use of migratory routes to hide their victims among the migrants and refugees.

Pope Francis also asked for prayers so that “the Lord may convert the hearts of traffickers and give hope to those who suffer because of this shameful scourge so they may regain their freedom”. 

 “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know” said William Wilberforce, an English politician, philanthropist, theologian and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade who lived in the XVIII/XIX century.  

Daily Prayer to End Human Trafficking

God of goodness and mercy,
Rewarder of the humble,
You blessed St Josephine Bakhita of Sudan
with charity and patience.
May her prayers help us and her example
inspire us to carry our cross
and to love You always.
Pour upon us the spirit of wisdom
and love with which you filled St Josephine Bakhita,
by serving You as she did.
May her prayers on behalf of those enslaved
bring awareness and an end to this evil practice.
May we too please You by our faith and actions,
through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son, in union
with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, amen.second-prayer-to-end-human-trafficking-2018

 

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Saint of the Day – 8 February – St Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947)

Saint of the Day – 8 February – St Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947) and the FOURTH World Day of PRAYER AND AWARENESS AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF ST BAKHITA

St Josephine Bakhita F.D.C.C. (1869-1947) RELIGIOUS – Patron of Sudan and World Day against Trafficking in Persons.  She was born in Sudan, was kidnapped and sold as a slave and became a Canossian Religious Sister in Italy, living and working there for 45 years.    In 2000 she was declared a Saint by St Pope John Paul II.

bakhita - infoHEADER - St.-Josephine-Bakhita

Mother Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan in 1869 and died in Schio (Vicenza) in 1947.

This African flower, who knew the anguish of kidnapping and slavery, bloomed marvelously in Italy, in response to God’s grace, with the Daughters of Charity.

Mother “Moretta”

In Schio (Vicenza), where she spent many years of her life, everyone still calls her “our Black Mother”.   The process for the cause of Canonisation began 12 years after her death and on December 1st, 1978 the Church proclaimed the Decree of the heroic practice of all virtues.

Divine Providence which “cares for the flowers of the fields and the birds of the air”, guided the Sudanese slave through innumerable and unspeakable sufferings to human freedom and to the freedom of faith and finally to the consecration of her whole life to God for the coming of his Kingdom.

In Slavery

Bakhita was not the name she received from her parents at birth.   The fright and the terrible experiences she went through made her forget the name she was given by her parents.   Bakhita, which means “fortunate”, was the name given to her by her kidnappers.

Sold and resold in the markets of El Obeid and of Khartoum, she experienced the humiliations and sufferings of slavery, both physical and moral.bakhita - film

Towards freedom

In the Capital of Sudan, Bakhita was bought by an Italian Consul, Callisto Legnani.   For the first time since the day she was kidnapped, she realised with pleasant surprise, that no one used the lash when giving her orders;  instead, she was treated in a loving and cordial way.   In the Consul’s residence, Bakhita experienced peace, warmth and moments of joy, even though veiled by nostalgia for her own family, whom, perhaps, she had lost forever.   Political situations forced the Consul to leave for Italy.   Bakhita asked and obtained permission to go with him and with a friend of his, a certain Mr Augusto Michieli.

In Italy

On arrival in Genoa, Mr Legnani, pressured by the request of Mr Michieli’s wife, consented to leave Bakhita with them.   She followed the new “family”, which settled in Zianigo (near Mirano Veneto).   When their daughter Mimmina was born, Bakhita became her babysitter and friend.

The acquisition and management of a big hotel in Suakin, on the Red Sea, forced Mrs. Michieli to move to Suakin to help her husband.   Meanwhile, on the advice of their administrator, Illuminato Checchini, Mimmina and Bakhita were entrusted to the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of the Catechumens in Venice.   It was there that Bakhita came to know about God whom “she had experienced in her heart without knowing who He was” ever since she was a child.   “Seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, I said to myself: Who could be the Master of these beautiful things? And I felt a great desire to see him, to know Him and to pay Him homage…”

Daughter of God

After several months in the catechumenate, Bakhita received the sacraments of Christian initiation and was given the new name, Josephine.   It was 9 January 1890.   She did not know how to express her joy that day.   Her big and expressive eyes sparkled, revealing deep emotions.   From then on, she was often seen kissing the baptismal font and saying: “Here, I became a daughter of God!”   With each new day, she became more aware of who this God was, whom she now knew and loved, who had led her to Him through mysterious ways, holding her by the hand.

When Mrs. Michieli returned from Africa to take back her daughter and Bakhita, the latter, with unusual firmness and courage, expressed her desire to remain with the Canossian Sisters and to serve that God who had shown her so many proofs of His love.  The young African, who by then had come of age, enjoyed the freedom of choice which the Italian law ensured.st josephine bakhita

Daughter of St Magdalene

Bakhita remained in the catechumenate where she experienced the call to be a religious, and to give herself to the Lord in the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa.   On 8 December 1896, Josephine Bakhita was consecrated forever to God whom she called with the sweet expression “the Master!”

For another 50 years, this humble Daughter of Charity, a true witness of the love of God, lived in the community in Schio, engaged in various services:  cooking, sewing, embroidery and attending to the door.   When she was on duty at the door, she would gently lay her hands on the heads of the children who daily attended the Canossian schools and caress them.   Her amiable voice, which had the inflection and rhythm of the music of her country, was pleasing to the little ones, comforting to the poor and suffering and encouraging for those who knocked at the door of the Institute.

Witness of love

Her humility, her simplicity and her constant smile won the hearts of all the citizens.  Her sisters in the community esteemed her for her unalterable sweet nature, her exquisite goodness and her deep desire to make the Lord known.   “Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him.   What a great grace it is to know God!”

As she grew older she experienced long, painful years of sickness.   Mother Bakhita continued to witness to faith, goodness and Christian hope.   To those who visited her and asked how she was, she would respond with a smile:  “As the Master desires.”

Final test

During her agony, she re-lived the terrible days of her slavery and more then once she begged the nurse who assisted her:  “Please, loosen the chains… they are heavy!”

It was Mary Most Holy who freed her from all pain.  Her last words were: “Our Lady! Our Lady!” and her final smile testified to her encounter with the Mother of the Lord.

Mother Bakhita breathed her last on 8 February 1947 at the Canossian Convent, Schio, surrounded by the Sisters.   A crowd quickly gathered at the Convent to have a last look at their «Mother Moretta» and to ask for her protection from heaven.   The fame of her sanctity has spread to all the continents and many are those who receive graces through her intercession. (vatican.va)st josephine bakhita - max

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

FOURTH WORLD DAY OF PRAYER AND AWARENESS AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF ST BAKHITA and Memorials of the Saints – 8 February

St Jerome Emiliani (Optional Memorial)
St Josephine Bakhita (Optional Memorial) today is the FOURTH WORLD DAY OF PRAYER AND AWARENESS AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF ST BAKHITA

St Cointha of Alexandria
St St Cuthman
St Cyriacus of Rome
St Dionysus of Armenia
St Elfleda of Whitby
St Emilian of Armenia
Bl Esperanza de Jesus
St Giacuto
St Gisela
St Honoratus of Milan
St Invenzio of Pavia
St Isaias Boner
St Jacoba
Bl Josephina Gabriella Bonino
St Kigwe
St Lucius of Rome
St Meingold
St Mlada of Prague
St Nicetius of Besançon
St Oncho of Clonmore
St Paul of Rome
St Paul of Verdun
Bl Peter Igneus
St Sebastian of Armenia
St Stephen of Muret

Four Mercedarians

Martyrs of Constantinople: Community of 5th century monks at the monastery of Saint Dius at Constantinople. Imprisoned and martyred for loyalty to the Vatican during the Acacian Schism. 485 in Constantinople.

Martyrs of Persia: An unknown number of Christians murdered in early 6th-century Persia. Legend says that so many miracles occurred through the intercession of these martyrs that the king decreed an end to the persecution of Christians.

Posted in MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, NOVENAS, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes – DAY TWO – 3 February

Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes – DAY TWO – 3 February (we Pray the Novena for our own intentions and for the sick, the infirm within our own communities but also for all those throughout the world who suffer, especially those who have no-one to pray for them in preparation for the Wold Day of the Sick on 11 February.)

DAY TWO
Be blessed, O most pure Virgin,
for having vouchsafed to manifest yourself shining with light, sweetness and beauty,
in the Grotto of Lourdes, saying to the child Saint Bernadette:
“I am the Immaculate Conception!”
O Mary Immaculate, inflame our hearts with just one ray of the burning love of your pure heart
Let them be consumed with love for Jesus and for you,
in order that we may merit one day to enjoy your glorious eternity.
O dispenser of His graces here below,
take into your keeping and present to your Divine Son
the petition for which we are making this novena.
……………………………….(make your request)
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes,
glorious in your assumption,
triumphant in your coronation,
show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God.
Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother,
be our comfort, hope, strength and consolation. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.day two - our lady of lourdes - 3 feb 2018

Posted in MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN TITLES, MORNING Prayers, NOVENAS, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, Uncategorized, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

NOVENA to OUR LADY of LOURDES – DAY ONE – 2 FEBRUARY

NOVENA to OUR LADY of LOURDES – DAY ONE – 2 FEBRUARY (we Pray the Novena for our own intentions and for the sick, the infirm within our own communities but also for all those throughout the world who suffer, especially those who have no-one to pray for them in preparation for the Wold Day of the Sick on 11 February.)

O Mary Immaculate,
Our Lady of Lourdes,
virgin and mother, queen of heaven,
chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of the Eternal Word
and in virtue of this title preserved from original sin,
we kneel before you as did little Bernadette at Lourdes
and pray with childlike trust in you
that as we contemplate your glorious appearance at Lourdes,
you will look with mercy on our present petition
and secure for us a favorable answer to the request
for which we are making this novena.
……………………………………(make your request)
O Brilliant star of purity,
Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes,
glorious in your assumption,
triumphant in your coronation,
show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God,
Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother,
be our comfort, hope, strength and consolation. Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us.day one - our lady of lourdes - 2 feb 2018

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, CONSECRATION Prayers, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The CHRIST CHILD, VOCATIONS, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Thought for the Day – 2 February – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

Thought for the Day – 2 February – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

On this holy feast-day we each have an opportunity to consecrate our lives anew to the Lord.    How do we do this?    We can simply make a prayer of re-dedication to God which can take many forms.    It can be a simple heartfelt prayer reaffirming our baptismal promises or a re-visiting of our religious or marriage vows.    Or it can be a prayer which asks the Holy Spirit to renew our sense of vocation as a priest or religious or as a lay person in our chosen job, trade or profession.
We gave our life to the Lord when we were baptised but the call to conversion continues to resound throughout our lives and ‘this second conversion is an uninterrupted task for the whole church’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1428).    A re-dedication or renewal of vows or promises is a movement of conversion within our heart and is always a work of the Holy Spirit.
Today, step out in faith, whatever your vocation, whatever your calling and give your life to the Lord, in the assurance of God’s grace, blessing and renewal in the power of the Holy Spirit.

LET US PRAY FOR ALL CONSECRATED MEN & WOMEN AND FOR VOCATIONS:

Loving God, You call all who believe in You
to grow perfect in love
by following in the footsteps
of Christ Your Son.
Call from among us more men and women
who will serve You as religious.
Open the hearts of many, raise up
faithful servants of the Gospel, dedicated,
holy priests, sisters, brothers and deacons,
who will spend themselves for Your people
and their needs.
Bless those who are serving now
with courage and perseverance.
Grant that many will be inspired by their
example and faith.
By their way of life, may they provide a convincing sign
of Your Kingdom for the Church and the whole world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.prayer for the consecrated and vocations - 2018

Posted in MARIAN PRAYERS, MARIAN TITLES, NOVENAS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Announcing the NOVENA to our Lady of Lourdes – Begins 2 February

Announcing the NOVENA to our Lady of Lourdes – begins 2 February

On 11 February we celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Sick and it is also the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes! Join me in praying a novena through Our Lady’s intercession for the sick and suffering. The novena begins tomorrow 2 February.

Please lift up in prayer all of your family members, friends and those unknown throughout the world who have no-one to pray for them. God is with us and Mary our Mother stands at His side to intervene for all our needs!

Our Lady of Lourdes, Pray for us all.
St Bernadette, Pray for us.novena to our lady of lourdes - 1 feb 2018 - announcement

Posted in MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS FOR THE EIGHT DAYS
Your right hand, O Lord,
glorious in power
(Ex 15:6)

Day 8:  He will gather the dispersed… from the four corners of the earth

Isaiah 11:12-13 Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, and Judah shall not be hostile
towards Ephraim

Psalm 106:1-14, 43-48 Gather us to give thanks to your holy name

Ephesians 2:13-19 He has broken down the dividing wall

John 17:1-12 I have been glorified in them

The Caribbean churches work together to heal the wounds in the Body of Christ in the region, which are a legacy left by colonization. Reconciliation often demands repentance, reparation and the healing of memories. One example is the acts of apology and reparation between Baptists in Britain and the Caribbean. Like Israel, the Church in its unity is called to be both a sign and an active agent of reconciliation.

Reflection

Throughout the biblical narrative of salvation history, an unmistakable motif is the unrelenting determination of the Lord to form a people whom he could call his own. The formation of such a people – united in a sacred covenant with God – is integral to the Lord’s plan of salvation and to the glorification and hallowing of God’s Name.

The prophets repeatedly remind Israel that the covenant demanded that relationships among its various social groups should be characterized by justice, compassion and mercy. As Jesus prepared to seal the new covenant in his own blood, his earnest prayer to the Father was that those given to him by the Father would be one, just as he and the Father were one. When Christians discover their unity in Jesus they participate in Christ’s glorification in the presence of the Father, with the same glory that he had in the Father’s presence before the world existed. And so, God’s covenanted people must always strive to be a reconciled community – one which itself is an effective sign to all the peoples of the earth of how to live in justice and in peace.

Prayer

Lord,
we humbly ask that, by your grace,
the churches throughout the world
may become instruments of your peace.

Through their joint action as ambassadors
and agents of your healing, reconciling love
among divided peoples,
may your Name be hallowed and glorified.

Amen.

The right hand of God
is planting in our land,
planting seeds of freedom, hope and love;
in these many-peopled lands,
let his children all join hands,
and be one with the right hand of God.DAY EIGHT - OCTAVE DAY - OCTAVE FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY - 25 JAN 2018

Posted in MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS FOR THE EIGHT DAYS
Your right hand, O Lord,
glorious in power
(Ex 15:6)

Day 7: Building family in household and church

Exodus 2:1-10 The birth of Moses

Psalm 127 Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain

Hebrews 11:23-24 Moses was hidden by his parents … because they saw
that the child was beautiful

Matthew 2:13-15 Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt

In the Caribbean the family continues to be adversely affected by the legacy of enslavement and by new factors such as the migration of parents, financial problems and domestic violence. Facing this reality, the churches of the Caribbean are working to give support to both nuclear and extended families.

Reflection

Families are of central importance for the protection and nurture of children. The Bible accounts of the infancies of both Moses and Jesus, who were in mortal danger from the moment they were born because of the murderous orders of angry rulers, illustrate how vulnerable children can be to external forces. These stories also show how action can be taken to protect such little ones. Matthew presents us with a model of fatherhood that is in loving fidelity to the Lord’s command, especially in turbulent times.

The Scriptures view children as a blessing and as hope for the future. For the Psalmist, they are ‘like arrows in the hand of a warrior’. As Christians, we share a common calling to live as supportive family networks, relying on the strength of the Lord for the task of building strong communities in which children are protected and can flourish.

Prayer

Gracious God,

You sent Your son to be born in an ordinary family
with ancestors who were both faithful and sinful.

We ask Your blessing upon all families
within households and communities.
We pray especially for the unity of the Christian family
so that the world may believe.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God, we pray,

Amen.

The right hand of God
is writing in our land,
writing with power and with love;
our conflicts and our fears,
our triumphs and our tears,
are recorded by the right hand of God.DAY SEVEN - OCTAVE FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY - 24 JAN 2018

Posted in MORNING Prayers, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS FOR THE EIGHT DAYS
Your right hand, O Lord,
glorious in power
(Ex 15:6)

Day 6: Let us look to the interests of others

Isaiah 25:1-9 Let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation

Psalm 82 Maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute

Philippians 2:1-4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others

Luke 12:13-21 Be on your guard against all kinds of greed

Changing international banking regulations continue to have a negative impact on the trade and commerce of the Caribbean and threaten the economic survival of many families.   It has become increasingly difficult for Caribbean people working abroad to send money back to their families.   The Churches in the Caribbean introduced the Credit Union movement in order for the poor to have access to finance for economic activity.

Reflection

The witness of the Scriptures is consistent that God always makes a preferential option for the poor: the right hand of God acts for the powerless against the powerful. Similarly, Jesus consistently warns against the dangers of greed. Despite these warnings, however, the sin of greed often infects our Christian communities and introduces a logic of competition: one community competing against the next. We need to remember that insofar as we fail to differentiate ourselves from the world, but conform to its divisive competing spirit, we fail to offer ‘a refuge for the needy in distress, a shelter from the storm’.

For our different churches and confessions, to be rich in the sight of God is not a case of having many members belonging – or donating – to one’s own community. Rather, it is to recognise that as Christians we have countless brothers and sisters right across the world, united across the economic divisions of ‘North’ and ‘South’. Conscious of this fraternity in Christ, Christians can join hands in promoting economic justice for all.

Prayer

Almighty God,

give courage and strength to your church
to continually proclaim justice and righteousness
in situations of domination and oppression.

As we celebrate our unity in Christ,
may your Holy Spirit help us
to look to the needs of others.

Amen.

The right hand of God
is striking in our land,
striking out at envy, hate and greed;
our selfishness and lust,
our pride and deeds unjust,
are destroyed by the right hand of God.DAY SIX - OCTAVE FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY - 23 JAN 2018

Posted in MORNING Prayers, VATICAN Resources, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS FOR THE EIGHT DAYS
Your right hand, O Lord,
glorious in power
(Ex 15:6)

Day 5:  Hark, the cry of my poor people from far and wide in the land!

Deuteronomy 1:19-35 The Lord God goes before you and carried you

Psalm 145:9-20 The Lord upholds all who are falling

James 1:9-11 The rich will disappear like a flower in the field

Luke 18:35-43 Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!

The Caribbean economies have traditionally been based on the production of raw materials for the European market and so have never been self-sustaining.   As a consequence, borrowing on the international market became important for development.   The requirements of such borrowing impose a reduction of spending on transport, education, health and other public services, which impacts most severely on the poor.   The Caribbean Conference of Churches has launched an initiative to address the current debt crisis in the region and through their international networks to come to the aid of the poor.

Reflection

We can imagine the noise of the crowd as Jesus enters Jericho.   Many voices shout down the cry of the blind beggar.   He is a distraction and an embarrassment.   But through all this tumult Jesus hears the blind man’s voice, just as God always hears the cries of the poor in the Hebrew Scriptures.  The Lord who upholds the falling not only hears, he responds.   Thereby, the beggar’s life is radically transformed.

The disunity of Christians can become part of the world’s tumult and chaos.   Like the arguing voices outside Jericho, our divisions can drown out the cry of the poor.  However, when we are united we become more fully Christ’s presence in the world, better able to hear, listen and respond.   Rather than increasing the volume of discord, we are able to truly listen and so discern the voices that most need to be heard.

Prayer

Loving God,
You lift up the poor and distressed
and restore their dignity.
Hear now our cries for the poor of our world,
restore their hope and lift them up,
that all Your people may be one.
This we pray in Jesus name.

Amen.

The right hand of God
is lifting in our land,
lifting the fallen one by one;
each one is known by name,
and rescued now from shame,
by the lifting of the right hand of God.DAY 5 - 22 January 2018 - OCTAVE OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY 2018 - 18-25 JAN

Posted in MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS FOR THE EIGHT DAYS
Your right hand, O Lord,
glorious in power
(Ex 15:6)

Day 4: Hope and Healing

Isaiah 9:2-7a His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace

Psalm 34:1-14 Seek peace, and pursue it

Revelation 7:13-17 God will wipe away every tear from their eyes

John 14:25-27 Peace I leave with you

Within the Caribbean, violence is a problem to which the churches are called to respond. There is an alarmingly high rate of murder, much of which stems from domestic abuse, gang warfare and other forms of criminality. There is also a rising rate of self-harm and suicide in some parts of the region.

Reflection

The kingdom which God promised, the kingdom which Jesus proclaimed and made manifest in his ministry, is a kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. What does this Good News mean for those trapped in the darkness of violence? In the prophet’s vision, light shone on those who lived in a land of deep darkness. But how can Christians bring the light of Jesus to those living in the darkness of domestic and gang violence? What sense of hope can Christians offer? It is a sad reality that division among Christians is a counter-sign, which hampers the communication of hope.

However, the quest for peace and reconciliation between the different churches and confessions is the opposite of that. When Christians strive for unity in a world of conflict, they offer the world a sign of reconciliation. Christians who refuse to enter a logic of privilege and status, who refuse to demean others and their communities, give witness to the peace of God’s kingdom, where the Lamb guides the saints to springs of the water of life. This is a peace the world needs, and one which brings healing and comfort to those afflicted by violence.

Prayer

God of all comfort and hope,
your resurrection defeated the violence of the cross.
As Your people,
may we be a visible sign
that the violence of the world will be overcome.
This we pray in the name of our risen Lord.

Amen.

The right hand of God
is pointing in our land,
pointing the way we must go;
so clouded is the way,
so easily we stray,
but we’re guided by the right hand of God.DAY 4 - 21 January 2018 - OCTAVE OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY 2018 - 18-25 JAN

Posted in MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018: Day Three – 20 January

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018
Day Three – 20 January

BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS FOR THE EIGHT DAYS
Your right hand, O Lord,
glorious in power
(Ex 15:6)

Day 3:  Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit

Exodus 3:4-10  God frees those who are in human bondage

Psalm 24:1-6  Lord, we are the people who seek your face

1 Corinthians 6:9-20  Therefore glorify God in your body

Matthew 18:1-7  Woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!

Many Christian churches in the Caribbean share a concern about the issue of pornography, especially via the internet.   Pornography has destructive consequences for human dignity, particularly for children and young people.   Like slavery, it commodifies human beings, ensnares those addicted to it and damages wholesome loving relationships.

Reflection

The book of Exodus demonstrates God’s concern for people in human bondage.   God’s revelation to Moses at the burning bush was a powerful declaration of his will to free his people.   God observed their misery, heard their cry and so came to deliver them. God still hears the cry of those who are subject to enslavement today and wills to deliver them.   While sexuality is a gift of God for human relationships and the expression of intimacy, the misuse of this gift through pornography enslaves and devalues both those caught up in producing it and those who consume it.   God is not impervious to their plight and Christians are called to be similarly concerned.

St Paul writes that we are called to give glory to God in our own bodies, which means that every part of our lives, including our relationships, can and should be an offering pleasing to God.   Christians must work together for the kind of society that upholds human dignity and does not put a stumbling block before any of God’s little ones but, rather, enables them to live in the freedom which is God’s will for them.

Prayer

By Your heavenly grace, O God,
restore us in mind and body,
create in us a clean heart and a pure mind
that we may give glory to Your Name.

May the churches attain unity of purpose
for the sanctification of Your people,
through Jesus Christ
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
for ever and ever.

Amen.

The right hand of God
is healing in our land,
healing broken bodies, minds and souls;
so wondrous is its touch,
with love that means so much,
when we’re healed
by the right hand of God.DAY 3 - 20 JAN - OCTAVE FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY - 20 JAN 2018

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, VATICAN Resources, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS DAY 2 – 19 JANUARY

Your right hand, O Lord,
glorious in power
(Ex 15:6)

Day 2: No longer as a slave but a beloved brother

Genesis 1:26-28 God created humankind in God’s own image

Psalm 10:1-10 Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?

Philemon No longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother

Luke 10:25-37 The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which victims are forced or tricked into sex work, child labour and the harvesting of organs for the profit of the exploiters. It is a global, multimillion-dollar industry. It is also a growing problem across the Caribbean. Reformed Churches in the Caribbean have joined with the Council for World Mission and the Caribbean and North American Council for Mission to educate Christian communities to end the scourge of human trafficking.

Reflection

One of the first things we learn about God in the Hebrew and Christian Bible is that God created humankind in his own image. However, this profound and beautiful truth has often been obscured or denied throughout human history. For instance, in the Roman Empire, the dignity of those enslaved was denied. The Gospel message is entirely different to this. Jesus challenged the social norms that devalued the human dignity of Samaritans, describing the Samaritan as the ‘neighbour’ of the man who had been attacked on the road to Jericho – a neighbour to be loved, according to the Law. And Paul, made bold in Christ, describes the once-enslaved Onesimus as ‘a beloved brother’, transgressing the norms of his society and affirming Onesimus’s humanity.

Christian love must always be a courageous love that dares to cross borders, recognising in others a dignity equal to our own. Like St Paul, Christians must be ‘bold enough in Christ’ to raise a united voice in clearly recognising trafficked persons as their neighbours and their beloved brothers and sisters, and so work together to end modern-day slavery.

Prayer

Gracious God,
draw near to those who are victims of human trafficking,
assuring them that you see their plight and hear their cry.

May your Church be united in compassion and courage to work for that day
when no one will be exploited
and all will be free to live lives of dignity and peace.
This we pray in the name of the Triune God
who can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.
Amen.

The right hand of God
is lifting in our land,
lifting the fallen one by one;
each one is known by name,
and rescued now from shame,
by the lifting of the right hand of God.

For DAY ONE go here:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/the-octave-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-18-25-january-2018/

DAY 2 - 19 JAN - OCTAVE FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY - 19 JAN 2018

For DAY ONE go here:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/the-octave-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-18-25-january-2018/

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, VATICAN Resources, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity 18-25 January 2018

BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS DAY 1 – 18 JANUARY
Your right hand, O Lord,
glorious in power
(Ex 15:6)

Day 1: You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt

Leviticus 19:33-34 You shall love the alien as yourself

Psalm 146 The Lord watches over the strangers

Hebrews 13:1-3 Some have entertained angels without knowing it

Matthew 25:31-46 I was a stranger and you welcomed me

After becoming the first independent black republic, Haiti extended hospitality to other enslaved peoples in search of freedom. Recent times have brought severe economic hardship to Haitians, many of whom have left home, making perilous journeys in hope of a better life. In many instances they have been met with inhospitality and legal barriers. The Caribbean Council of Churches has been involved in advocacy to challenge those nations that are restricting or stripping Haitians of citizenship rights.

Reflection

The Israelites’ memory of being strangers in the land of Egypt lay behind the Law’s instruction that God’s people were to welcome the stranger in their midst. The memory of their own exile was expected to prompt empathy and solidarity with contemporary exiles and strangers. Like Israel, our common Christian experience of God’s saving action goes together with remembering both alienation and estrangement – in the sense of estrangement from God and from his kingdom. This kind of Christian remembering has ethical implications. God has restored our dignity in Christ, and made us citizens of his kingdom, not because of anything we did to deserve it but by his own free gift in love. We are called to do likewise, freely and motivated by love. Christian love is to love like the Father, that is to recognize dignity and to give dignity, and thereby to help bring healing to the broken human family.

Prayer

Eternal God,
You belong to no culture and land but are Lord of all,
you call us to welcome the stranger in our midst.
Help us by your Spirit,
to live as brothers and sisters,
welcoming all in your name,
and living in the justice of your kingdom.
This we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

The right hand of God
is planting in our land,
planting seeds of freedom, hope and love;
in these many-peopled lands,
let his children all join hands,
and be one with the right hand of God.
AmenDAY 1 - 18 JAN - OCTAVE FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY - 18 JAN 2018

Posted in MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, PAPAL MESSAGES, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

The 104th WORLD DAY of PRAYER for MIGRANTS and REFUGEES – 14 January 2018

The 104th WORLD DAY of PRAYER for MIGRANTS and REFUGEES – 14 January 2018

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

“Welcoming, protecting, promoting and
integrating migrants and refugees”

Dear brothers and sisters!

“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt:  I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34).the 104th world day of prayer for migrants and refugees - 14 jan 2018

Throughout the first years of my pontificate, I have repeatedly expressed my particular concern for the lamentable situation of many migrants and refugees fleeing from war, persecution, natural disasters and poverty.   This situation is undoubtedly a “sign of the times” which I have tried to interpret, with the help of the Holy Spirit, ever since my visit to Lampedusa on 8 July 2013.  When I instituted the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, I wanted a particular section – under my personal direction for the time being – to express the Church’s concern for migrants, displaced people, refugees and victims of human trafficking.

Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age (Matthew 25:35-43).   The Lord entrusts to the Church’s motherly love every person forced to leave their homeland in search of a better future.   This solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience – from departure through journey to arrival and return.   This is a great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities.

In this regard, I wish to reaffirm that “our shared response may be articulated by four verbs:   to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate”.

Considering the current situation, welcoming means, above all, offering broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally.   This calls for a concrete commitment to increase and simplify the process for granting humanitarian visas and for reunifying families.   At the same time, I hope that a greater number of countries will adopt private and community sponsorship programmes, and open humanitarian corridors for particularly vulnerable refugees.   Furthermore, special temporary visas should be granted to people fleeing conflicts in neighbouring countries. Collective and arbitrary expulsions of migrants and refugees are not suitable solutions, particularly where people are returned to countries which cannot guarantee respect for human dignity and fundamental rights.   Once again, I want to emphasise the importance of offering migrants and refugees adequate and dignified initial accommodation.   “More widespread programmes of welcome, already initiated in different places, seem to favour a personal encounter and allow for greater quality of service and increased guarantees of success”.   The principle of the centrality of the human person, firmly stated by my beloved Predecessor, Benedict XVI, obliges us to always prioritise personal safety over national security.   It is necessary, therefore, to ensure that agents in charge of border control are properly trained.   The situation of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees requires that they be guaranteed personal safety and access to basic services.   For the sake of the fundamental dignity of every human person, we must strive to find alternative solutions to detention for those who enter a country without authorisation.

The second verb – protecting – may be understood as a series of steps intended to defend the rights and dignity of migrants and refugees, independent of their legal status.  Such protection begins in the country of origin and consists in offering reliable and verified information before departure, and in providing safety from illegal recruitment practices.   This must be ongoing, as far as possible, in the country of migration, guaranteeing them adequate consular assistance, the right to personally retain their identity documents at all times, fair access to justice, the possibility of opening a personal bank account, and a minimum sufficient to live on.   When duly recognised and valued, the potential and skills of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees are a true resource for the communities that welcome them.   This is why I hope that, in countries of arrival, migrants may be offered freedom of movement, work opportunities and access to means of communication, out of respect for their dignity.   For those who decide to return to their homeland, I want to emphasise the need to develop social and professional reintegration programmes.   The International Convention on the Rights of the Child provides a universal legal basis for the protection of underage migrants.   They must be spared any form of detention related to migratory status, and must be guaranteed regular access to primary and secondary education.   Equally, when they come of age they must be guaranteed the right to remain and to enjoy the possibility of continuing their studies.   Temporary custody or foster programmes should be provided for unaccompanied minors and minors separated from their families.   The universal right to a nationality should be recognised and duly certified for all children at birth.   The statelessness which migrants and refugees sometimes fall into can easily be avoided with the adoption of “nationality legislation that is in conformity with the fundamental principles of international law”.    Migratory status should not limit access to national healthcare and pension plans, nor affect the transfer of their contributions if repatriated.

Promoting essentially means a determined effort to ensure that all migrants and refugees – as well as the communities which welcome them – are empowered to achieve their potential as human beings, in all the dimensions which constitute the humanity intended by the Creator.    Among these, we must recognise the true value of the religious dimension, ensuring to all foreigners in any country the freedom of religious belief and practice.   Many migrants and refugees have abilities which must be appropriately recognised and valued.  Since “work, by its nature, is meant to unite peoples”, I encourage a determined effort to promote the social and professional inclusion of migrants and refugees, guaranteeing for all – including those seeking asylum – the possibility of employment, language instruction and active citizenship, together with sufficient information provided in their mother tongue.   In the case of underage migrants, their involvement in labour must be regulated to prevent exploitation and risks to their normal growth and development.   In 2006, Benedict XVI highlighted how, in the context of migration, the family is “a place and resource of the culture of life and a factor for the integration of values”.   The family’s integrity must always be promoted, supporting family reunifications – including grandparents, grandchildren and siblings – independent of financial requirements.   Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees with disabilities must be granted greater assistance and support.   While I recognise the praiseworthy efforts, thus far, of many countries, in terms of international cooperation and humanitarian aid, I hope that the offering of this assistance will take into account the needs (such as medical and social assistance, as well as education) of developing countries which receive a significant influx of migrants and refugees.  I also hope that local communities which are vulnerable and facing material hardship, will be included among aid beneficiaries.

The final verb – integrating – concerns the opportunities for intercultural enrichment brought about by the presence of migrants and refugees.   Integration is not “an assimilation that leads migrants to suppress or to forget their own cultural identity. Rather, contact with others leads to discovering their ‘secret’, to being open to them in order to welcome their valid aspects and thus contribute to knowing each one better. This is a lengthy process that aims to shape societies and cultures, making them more and more a reflection of the multi-faceted gifts of God to human beings”.    This process can be accelerated by granting citizenship free of financial or linguistic requirements, and by offering the possibility of special legalisation to migrants who can claim a long period of residence in the country of arrival.   I reiterate the need to foster a culture of encounter in every way possible – by increasing opportunities for intercultural exchange, documenting and disseminating best practices of integration, and developing programmes to prepare local communities for integration processes.   I wish to stress the special case of people forced to abandon their country of arrival due to a humanitarian crisis.   These people must be ensured adequate assistance for repatriation and effective reintegration programmes in their home countries.

In line with her pastoral tradition, the Church is ready to commit herself to realising all the initiatives proposed above.   Yet in order to achieve the desired outcome, the contribution of political communities and civil societies is indispensable, each according to their own responsibilities.

At the United Nations Summit held in New York on 19 September 2016, world leaders clearly expressed their desire to take decisive action in support of migrants and refugees to save their lives and protect their rights, sharing this responsibility on a global level.  To this end, the states committed themselves to drafting and approving, before the end of 2018, two Global Compacts, one for refugees and the other for migrants.

Dear brothers and sisters, in light of these processes currently underway, the coming months offer a unique opportunity to advocate and support the concrete actions which I have described with four verbs.   I invite you, therefore, to use every occasion to share this message with all political and social actors involved (or who seek to be involved) in the process which will lead to the approval of the two Global Compacts.

Today, 15 August, we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.   The Holy Mother of God herself experienced the hardship of exile (Matthew 2:13-15), lovingly accompanied her Son’s journey to Calvary and now shares eternally His glory.   To her maternal intercession we entrust the hopes of all the world’s migrants and refugees and the aspirations of the communities which welcome them, so that, responding to the Lord’s supreme commandment, we may all learn to love the other, the stranger, as ourselves.

Vatican City, 15 August 2017 – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Francisto the holy mother of god's - pope francis - world day of prayer for migrants and refugees - 14 jan 2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL HOMILIES, PAPAL MESSAGES, SAINT of the DAY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

1 January 2018 – The 51st World Day of Prayer for Peace

1 January 2018 – The 51st World Day of Prayer for Peace

The World Day of Prayer for Peace was first observed on 1 January 1968, proclaimed by Pope Paul VI. It was inspired by the encyclical Pacem in Terris by Pope John XXIII and with reference to Paul’s encyclical Populorum Progressio.

Our Holy Fathers, have used this day to make magisterial declarations relevant to the social doctrine of the Church on such topics as the United Nations, human rights, women’s rights, labour unions, economic development, the right to life, international diplomacy, peace in the Holy Land, globalisation, migrants, refugees and terrorism.the 51st world day of peace - 1 jan 2018

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE
FRANCIS
FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE 
51st WORLD DAY OF PEACE

1 JANUARY 2018

Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace

1. Heartfelt good wishes for peace

Peace to all people and to all nations on earth! Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night,[1]  is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence.   Among these whom I constantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention the over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees. Pope Benedict XVI, my beloved predecessor, spoke of them as “men and women, children, young and elderly people, who are searching for somewhere to live in peace.”  [2]  In order to find that peace, they are willing to risk their lives on a journey that is often long and perilous, to endure hardships and suffering, and to encounter fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal.

In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.

We know that it is not enough to open our hearts to the suffering of others.   Much more remains to be done before our brothers and sisters can once again live peacefully in a safe home.   Welcoming others requires concrete commitment, a network of assistance and goodwill, vigilant and sympathetic attention, the responsible management of new and complex situations that at times compound numerous existing problems, to say nothing of resources, which are always limited.   By practising the virtue of prudence, government leaders should take practical measures to welcome, promote, protect, integrate and, “within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good, to permit [them] to become part of a new society.”[3]   Leaders have a clear responsibility towards their own communities, whose legitimate rights and harmonious development they must ensure, lest they become like the rash builder who miscalculated and failed to complete the tower he had begun to construct.[4]

2. Why so many refugees and migrants?

As he looked to the Great Jubilee marking the passage of two thousand years since the proclamation of peace by the angels in Bethlehem, Saint John Paul II pointed to the increased numbers of displaced persons as one of the consequences of the “endless and horrifying sequence of wars, conflicts, genocides and ethnic cleansings”[5] that had characterised the twentieth century.   To this date, the new century has registered no real breakthrough: armed conflicts and other forms of organised violence continue to trigger the movement of peoples within national borders and beyond.

Yet people migrate for other reasons as well, principally because they “desire a better life, and not infrequently try to leave behind the ‘hopelessness’ of an unpromising future.”[6]   They set out to join their families or to seek professional or educational opportunities, for those who cannot enjoy these rights do not live in peace.   Furthermore, as I noted in the Encyclical Laudato Si’, there has been “a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation”.[7]

Most people migrate through regular channels.   Some, however, take different routes, mainly out of desperation, when their own countries offer neither safety nor opportunity and every legal pathway appears impractical, blocked or too slow.

Many destination countries have seen the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals, and thus demeaning the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God.   Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being.[8]

All indicators available to the international community suggest that global migration will continue for the future. Some consider this a threat. For my part, I ask you to view it with confidence as an opportunity to build peace.

3. With a contemplative gaze

The wisdom of faith fosters a contemplative gaze that recognizes that all of us “belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth, whose destination is universal, as the social doctrine of the Church teaches. It is here that solidarity and sharing are founded.”[9]   These words evoke the biblical image of the new Jerusalem.   The book of the prophet Isaiah (chapter 60) and that of Revelation (chapter 21) describe the city with its gates always open to people of every nation, who marvel at it and fill it with riches. Peace is the sovereign that guides it and justice the principle that governs coexistence within it.

We must also turn this contemplative gaze to the cities where we live, “a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their houses, in their streets and squares, […] fostering solidarity, fraternity, and the desire for goodness, truth and justice”[10] – in other words, fulfilling the promise of peace.

When we turn that gaze to migrants and refugees, we discover that they do not arrive empty-handed.   They bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them.   We also come to see the creativity, tenacity and spirit of sacrifice of the countless individuals, families and communities around the world who open their doors and hearts to migrants and refugees, even where resources are scarce.

A contemplative gaze should also guide the discernment of those responsible for the public good, and encourage them to pursue policies of welcome, “within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good”[11] – bearing in mind, that is, the needs of all members of the human family and the welfare of each.

Those who see things in this way will be able to recognize the seeds of peace that are already sprouting and nurture their growth.   Our cities, often divided and polarized by conflicts regarding the presence of migrants and refugees, will thus turn into workshops of peace.

4. Four mileposts for action

Offering asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and victims of human trafficking an opportunity to find the peace they seek requires a strategy combining four actions: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.[12]

“Welcoming” calls for expanding legal pathways for entry and no longer pushing migrants and displaced people towards countries where they face persecution and violence.   It also demands balancing our concerns about national security with concern for fundamental human rights. Scripture reminds us: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”[13]

“Protecting” has to do with our duty to recognize and defend the inviolable dignity of those who flee real dangers in search of asylum and security, and to prevent their being exploited.   I think in particular of women and children who find themselves in situations that expose them to risks and abuses that can even amount to enslavement. God does not discriminate:  “The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the orphan and the widow.”[14]

“Promoting” entails supporting the integral human development of migrants and refugees. Among many possible means of doing so, I would stress the importance of ensuring access to all levels of education for children and young people.   This will enable them not only to cultivate and realise their potential but also better equip them to encounter others and to foster a spirit of dialogue rather than rejection or confrontation.   The Bible teaches that God “loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.   And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”[15]

“Integrating”, lastly, means allowing refugees and migrants to participate fully in the life of the society that welcomes them, as part of a process of mutual enrichment and fruitful cooperation in service of the integral human development of the local community.   Saint Paul expresses it in these words:  “You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people.”[16]

5. A proposal for two international compacts

It is my heartfelt hope this spirit will guide the process that in the course of 2018 will lead the United Nations to draft and approve two Global Compacts, one for safe, orderly and regular migration and the other for refugees.   As shared agreements at a global level, these compacts will provide a framework for policy proposals and practical measures.   For this reason, they need to be inspired by compassion, foresight and courage, so as to take advantage of every opportunity to advance the peace-building process.   Only in this way can the realism required of international politics avoid surrendering to cynicism and to the globalisation of indifference.

Dialogue and coordination are a necessity and a specific duty for the international community.   Beyond national borders, higher numbers of refugees may be welcomed – or better welcomed – also by less wealthy countries, if international cooperation guarantees them the necessary funding.

The Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has published a set of twenty action points that provide concrete leads for implementing these four verbs in public policy and in the attitudes and activities of Christian communities.[17]   The aim of this and other contributions is to express the interest of the Catholic Church in the process leading to the adoption of the two U.N. Global Compacts.    This interest is the sign of a more general pastoral concern that goes back to the very origins of the Church and has continued in her many works up to the present time.

6. For our common home

Let us draw inspiration from the words of Saint John Paul II:  “If the ‘dream’ of a peaceful world is shared by all, if the refugees’ and migrants’ contribution is properly evaluated, then humanity can become more and more a universal family and our earth a true ‘common home’.”[18]   Throughout history, many have believed in this “dream”, and their achievements are a testament to the fact that it is no mere utopia.

Among these, we remember Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini in this year that marks the hundredth anniversary of her death. On this thirteenth day of November, many ecclesial communities celebrate her memory.   This remarkable woman, who devoted her life to the service of migrants and became their patron saint, taught us to welcome, protect, promote and integrate our brothers and sisters.   Through her intercession, may the Lord enable all of us to experience that “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”[19]

From the Vatican, 13 November 2017