Pope Benedict XVI's Weekly General Audience on Wednesday, October 31, 2012

“In a world where individualism seems to regulate relationships between people, rendering them increasingly fragile, faith calls us to be people of God, to be Church, and bearers of God’s love and communion for all mankind", said Pope Benedict XVI Wednesday as he continued his general audience catechesis on the ‘Act of Faith’, more familiarly known as the ‘Creed’. 

Despite foreboding skies and sharp temperatures, the audience was held in St Peter’s square. In off the cuff comments to the thousands who withstood the drizzle huddled under umbrellas to hear the Pope’s words, Benedict XVI noted ‘it could be worse’. 

Last week the Pope had spoken of how we have seen that faith is something intensely personal: a gift of God which transforms and enriches our life. But, he asked this Wednesday: “If faith is of a purely personal, individual character? Does it only affect me personally? Do I live my faith alone?” 

In comments in Italian Benedict XVI said : “The answer is found in Baptism, when the priest asks the person to be baptized if he believes in God the Father, Jesus His only Son and the Holy Spirit. The "I do" with which we answer "is not the result of my solitary reflection, it is not the product of my own thoughts, but it is the result of a relationship, a dialogue in which there is a listening, and receiving and response; it is communicating with Jesus that takes me out of the "I" that is enclosed in on myself to open up to the love of God the Father. It is like a rebirth in which I find myself united not only Jesus, but also all those who have walked and walk on the same path; and this new birth, which begins with Baptism, continues throughout the course of my existence. I can not build my personal faith in a private dialogue with Jesus, because faith is given to me by God through a community of believers, the Church, and I a become part of the multitude of believers in a community that is not only sociological, but rooted in the eternal love of God. " 

When we recite the Creed during the Mass "we express ourselves in the first person, but as a community we confess the one faith of the Church. That "I" individually pronounced is united to that of an immense choir in time and space, in which everyone contributes, so to speak, for a harmonious polyphony of faith". In fact since Pentecost, "when the journey of the Church began," the Church has been a "community" that brings the announcement of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ “to the ends of the world". The Church “is the People of God based on new covenant thanks to the blood of Christ, whose members do not belong to a particular social or ethnic group, but are men and women from every nation and culture. It is a ' Catholic' people, that is, one which speaks new languages, universally open to welcome all, beyond all boundaries, breaking down all barriers". 

Thus there is "an unbroken chain of life of the Church, of the proclamation of the Word of God, of the celebration of the sacraments – he underscored - that comes to us and which we call Tradition. It guarantees that what we believe is the original message of Christ, preached by the apostles. " 

Pope Benedict concluded: "The widespread contemporary tendency to relegate faith to the private sphere contradicts its very nature. We need the Church to confirm our faith and to experience together the gifts of God: His Word , the Sacraments, the sustenance of grace and witness of love. So our "I" in the "we" of the Church will be able to perceive that it is, simultaneously recipient and protagonist of an event that surpasses it: the experience of communion with God who establishes communion between people. The new life I live in Christ through the gift of his Spirit is received and nourished within the Church’s communion. In this sense, the Church is our Mother. As Saint Cyprian says, “No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother”. Dwelling in the Church’s living Tradition, may we mature in the faith we have received and, by putting it into practice, become beacons of Christ’s light and peace in our world”. 

Following this weekly catechesis, in his greetings to English speaking pilgrims at the Wednesday General Audience, he said: “Conscious of the devastation caused by the hurricane which recently struck the East Coast of the United States of America, I offer my prayers for the victims and express my solidarity with all those engaged in the work of rebuilding”.

Pope Benedict XVI's Sunday Angelus Message on October 28, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI launched an appeal on Sunday for the victims and all those affected by Hurricane Sandy, which has already killed more than twenty people across the Caribbean last week, striking the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica with particular force. The Holy Father assured all those affected by the storm of his spiritual closeness, and promised to remember the victims in prayer. Pope Benedict asked all the faithful to pray for those affected as well, and issued a general call for concrete acts of solidarity. 

The Pope’s appeal came following the Angelus prayer with the faithful who were gathered after Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the conclusion of the XIII Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the New Evangelization.

In his homily, the Holy Father described the New Evangelization as something that applies to the whole of the Church’s life: in the first, to the ordinary pastoral ministry that, he said, “Must be more animated by the fire of the Spirit, so as to inflame the hearts of the faithful who regularly take part in community worship and gather on the Lord’s day to be nourished by His word and by the Bread of Eternal Life.” In this connection, Pope Benedict stressed the need for appropriate catechesis to accompany preparation for Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. “The importance of Confession, the sacrament of God’s mercy,” said Pope Benedict, was another theme that emerged emphatically during the course of the Synod Fathers’ three weeks’ labours. 

The Pope also spoke of the “essential link” between the New Evangelization and the missio ad gentes – the Church’s efforts to bring the Good News of Christ to all those who have yet to receive it. “All people have a right to know Jesus Christ and His Gospel,” said Pope Benedict, “and Christians, all Christians – priests, religious and lay faithful – have a corresponding duty to proclaim the Good News.”

The Holy Father then discussed the special solicitude of the Church for those who, though baptized, do not reflect what he called, “the demands of Baptism,” in their lives, explaining that, during the Synod, it was emphasized that such people are found in all continents, especially in the most secularized countries.

The Pope said, “[T]he Church is particularly concerned that they should encounter Jesus Christ anew, rediscover the joy of faith and return to religious practice in the community of the faithful.”

In this regard, Pope Benedict said that the Church is seeking do develop new pastoral methods alongside the perennially valid ones: to develop new language attuned to different world cultures, proposing the truth of Christ with an attitude of dialogue and friendship rooted in God who is Love. 

This was a theme to which the Holy Father returned in his remarks at the Angelus prayer that followed the Mass. Speaking before the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Pope said, “The need has emerged for a renewed proclamation of the Gospel in secularized societies, in the twofold certainty that, on the one hand, He, Jesus Christ, is the only true innovation that meets the expectations of people of all ages, and on the other, that His message asks to be shared in a manner that is appropriate to changing social and cultural contexts.”

After the Angelus, Pope Benedict greeted pilgrims in many languages, including English:

I greet all the English-speaking visitors present for this Angelus prayer. In today’s Gospel, Jesus grants sight to the blind man with the words: “Your faith has saved you”. As we mark the end of the Synod on the new evangelization, let us renew both our faith in Christ and our commitment to the spread of his Gospel of healing and joy. God bless you and your families! 

Daily Gospel: Seventh Sunday of the Cross, Judgment of the Nations. October 28, 2012

Letter to the Romans 12:9-21. 
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 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; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Matthew 25:31-46. 
‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me." Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?" And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." Then he will say to those at his left hand, "You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me." Then they also will answer, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?" Then he will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me." And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’ 

Message of the Virgin Mary to the World on October 25, 2012 From Medjugorje

“Dear children! Today I call you to pray for my intentions. Renew fasting and prayer because satan is cunning and attracts many hearts to sin and perdition. I call you, little children, to holiness and to live in grace. Adore my Son so that He may fill you with His peace and love for which you yearn. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Interview With Cardinal Mar Beshara Boutros Al Rahi, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and all the East

Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al Rahi of Lebanon is one of six Church leaders to be made Cardinal in the upcoming November 24th Consistory. Radio Vatican caught up with the Cardinal-elect at the end of Wednesday’s session of the Synod for the New Evangelization. In a wide-ranging interview, the Patriarch speaks of the announcement that a papal delegation will be sent to neighboring Syria in coming days and the tension in Lebanon following last week’s assassination of a high ranking security official in a Beirut bombing that killed 3 people and wounded more than 80 others.

Recalling Pope Benedict’s September visit to Lebanon where he challenged regional leaders to allow freedom of religion and conscience, the Patriarch points out that while Christians are encouraged to convert to Islam, Muslims in the Middle East are not free to change their religion. 

“Because freedom of conscience is not recognized, there are many secret conversions to Christianity in Lebanon and in Arab countries…we continue to insist, on every occasion, on the need for freedom of conscience and the separation of religion and state.”

When asked how he received the news of his nomination to the College of Cardinals, Patriarch Al Rahi said, “Really, I received the news with great emotion and at the same time I wanted to conform to the intentions of the Holy Father: that is, for a greater love for Christ and for the Church and for a more effective apostolate in Lebanon and the Middle East. I would like to thank the Holy Father and offer my heartfelt sentiments to him and I hope I can carry out my mission in the best way possible within the College of Cardinals.”

Below is the full interview with Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al Rahi: 

Q: It was announced that the Synod fathers and the Pope will be sending a delegation to Syria in the coming days. Given the failure of past efforts at diplomacy, what do you hope they can realistically achieve?

A: As the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and Fr. Lombardi, the Director of the Holy See’s Press Office announced, the Pontifical delegation that will be sent to Syria is an initiative to express solidarity with the people of Syria and to appeal for peace and mostly for reconciliation.

The gesture in itself will bring hope to all those suffering from the tragic situation there, especially Christians. It is a concrete way of showing the Church cares and desires to see peace in Syria achieved through dialogue and internal agreement, condemning any recourse to violence and war. Finally, the Church is working to promote national reconciliation.

For its part, the Holy See will continue to follow diplomatic efforts with interested states to reach a just, balanced and enduring peace and national reconciliation.

Q: You hosted Pope Benedict in Lebanon in September for his pastoral visit bringing to the Middle East’s bishops the conclusions of their 2010 Synod. What lasting impact, if any, has that visit made on the people of Lebanon – at a political level and in Christian/Muslim relations ?

A. The Pope’s visit brought Lebanon onto the world stage as a country of peace and coexistence among cultures and religions. It gave great hope to Christians and Muslims. The Pope’s discourses highlighted the significance of Lebanon, its role and its mission in the Middle East as an example of peace, tranquility and encounter.

The discourses of the President of the Republic also demonstrated the political efforts of the Lebanese to fulfill this role and mission. I, as Patriarch, will follow these efforts to see they are carried out. Unfortunately, last Friday’s bombing and its tragic consequences in Achrafieh-Beirut created great tension in the country, particularly among Muslims. But political tension already exists between Sunnis and Shiites on a national level as well as in Syria and regionally – the same as between Sunnis and Alawites in Lebanon in relation to the events in Syria.

Q. In Lebanon, the Pope delivered the Apostolic Exhortation concluding the 2010 synod for the Middle East. How do you expect to implement this document as a tool in the new evangelization?

A. The Apostolic Exhortation will be put into practice on the level of every Church and on the level of the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops both in Lebanon and across the countries of the Middle East. One week-long session will be held in Lebanon with this focus at the beginning of next December. We will examine ways to implement the Exhortation at the same time consulting the Recommendations and the Message of the Synod for the New Evangelization.

Q. The theme of this synod is “the new evangelization.” Synod fathers are discussing ways to revitalize Catholics in their faith but also how to evangelize non-believers. How can Church leaders and the faithful go about this in the Middle East where not everyone is free to change his or her religion?

A. The New Evangelization in the Middle East will be carried out with new fervour and a profound examination of conscience through Catholic Schools and Universities, and through hospitals and social institutions – all of which are open to Muslims and Christians. So, the Evangelization will be carried out based on Christian culture, life witness, and with the spreading of Christian values as well as through the dialogue of daily life and dialogue with intellectuals, politicians and with the world of culture in Academic circles and institutes. It is important for us to inculturate Christian values in Middle Eastern societies. Because freedom of conscience is not recognized, there are many secret conversions to Christianity in Lebanon and in Arab countries.

Q. During his visit to Lebanon, the Pope made repeated appeals for the recognition of the equal rights of Christians in region and the right to freedom of conscience for all. These exist in Lebanon already. What reaction have you heard from other Christian and Muslim leaders in the region to the Pope’s message ? 

A. The message of the Pope finds great resonance among Christians. As far as Muslims are concerned, they did not react to the question of freedom of conscience as far as I know. However, freedom of conscience is denied to Muslims whereas they encourage and facilitate the conversion of Christians to Islam. We continue to insist, on every occasion, on the need for freedom of conscience and the separation of Religion and State.

Mar Bechara Boutros Al Rahi Becomes Cardinal

Cardinal Mar Beshara Boutros Al Rahi

Pope Benedict XVI has announced a consistory for the creation of six new Cardinals. To the joy of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the weekly audience with the Holy Father, he made his announcement at the end of his catechesis. 

"The Cardinals - said the Pope - have the task of helping the Successor of Peter in the performance of his ministry of confirming the brethren in the faith, and that of being the principle and foundation of unity and communion of the Church." The new cardinals - he added - "fulfil their ministry in the service of the Holy See or as fathers and pastors of particular Churches in various parts of the world."

The new cardinals are Archbishop James Michael Harvey, Prefect of the Pontifical House, who will be appointed Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Raï, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites (Lebanon), His Beatitude Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro- Malankara (India), Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja (Nigeria), Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez, Archbishop of Bogota (Colombia), Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila (Philippines).

The consistory will take place November 24th next. With six new members the College of Cardinals will count 122 Cardinals eligible to vote in conclave. More to follow...

Pope Benedict XVI Canonizes Seven New Saints on World Mission Sunday

Following in the footsteps of Paul VI and John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated World Mission Sunday by canonizing seven new Saints. Tens of thousands of pilgrims from around the world gathered in Saint Peter’s Square as Jacques Berthieu, Pedro Calungsod, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Marìa Carmen Sallés y Barangueras, Marianne Cope, Kateri Tekakwitha, Anna Schäffer were raised to the honours of the altar.

In his homily during the Mass, Pope Benedict noted that the canonization is taking place as Bishops from around the world are gathered in Rome to take part in the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops: “The coincidence between this ecclesiastical meeting and World Mission Sunday is a happy one; and the word of God that we have listened to sheds light on both subjects. It shows how to be evangelisers, called to bear witness and to proclaim the Christian message, configuring ourselves to Christ and following his very path. This is true both for the mission ad Gentes and for the new evangelisation.”

The Pope gave a brief reflection on the life and works of each of the new saints. Among them is Pedro Calungsod from the Philippines. Pedro “displayed deep faith and charity and continued to catechise his many converts, giving witness to Christ by a life of purity and dedication to faith.” Saint Pedro was martyred in 1672.

Marianne Cope, also canonised today, was born in Germany but moved to the United States at a very young age. She joined the Franciscan order and became Superior General of her congregation. She eventually answered the call to serve the lepers in the Hawaiian island of Molokai. “At a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage, and enthusiasm.”

Today also saw the canonisation of the first Native American saint from North America. “Leading a simple life, Kateri remained faithful to her love for Jesus, to prayer, and to daily Mass. Her greatest wish was to know and to do what pleased God. She lived a life radiant with faith and purity.” Speaking in French, Pope Benedict prayed, “Saint Kateri, Protrectress of Canada and first Native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of faith in the First Nations and in all of North America! May God bless the First Nations!”

At the end of the Solemn Mass, the Holy Father addressed the faithful before the recitation of the Angelus. In his remarks, he called upon Mary, the Queen of all the Saints, and turned his thoughts especially to the Marian shrine of Lourdes, which is experiencing heavy flooding. “In particular,” he continued, “we wish today to entrust to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary all missionaries – priests, religious, and lay – that in every part of the world sow the good seed of the Gospel.” He prayed, too, for the Synod of Bishops, as they continue to face “the challenge of the new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith.”
The Holy Father concluded his remarks with greetings in several languages to all the pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s Square: “On the happy occasion of the canonizations today, I greet the official delegations and all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from the Philippines, Canada and the United States of America. May the holiness and witness of these saints inspire us to draw closer to the Son of God who, for such great love, came to serve and offer his life for our salvation. God bless you all!” 
Below is the full text in English of Pope Benedict XVI's homily at the Canonization ceremony in St Peter's Square:

The Son of Man came to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (cf. Mk 10:45)

Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear brothers and sisters!

Today the Church listens again to these words of Jesus, spoken by the Lord during his journey to Jerusalem, where he was to accomplish the mystery of his passion, death and resurrection. They are words which enshrine the meaning of Christ’s mission on earth, marked by his sacrifice, by his total self-giving. On this third Sunday of October, on which we celebrate World Mission Sunday, the Church listens to them with special attention and renews her conviction that she should always be fully dedicated to serve mankind and the Gospel, after the example of the One who gave himself up even to the sacrifice of his life.

I extend warm greetings to all of you who fill Saint Peter’s Square, especially the official delegations and the pilgrims who have come to celebrate the seven new saints. I greet with affection the Cardinals and Bishops who, during these days, are taking part in the Synodal Assembly on the New Evangelization. The coincidence between this ecclesiastical meeting and World Mission Sunday is a happy one; and the word of God that we have listened to sheds light on both subjects. It shows how to be evangelizers, called to bear witness and to proclaim the Christian message, configuring ourselves to Christ and following his very path. This is true both for the mission ad Gentes and for the new evangelization in places with ancient Christian roots.

The Son of Man came to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (cf. Mk 10:45) These words were the blueprint for living of the seven Blessed men and women that the Church solemnly enrols this morning in the glorious ranks of the saints. With heroic courage they spent their lives in total consecration to the Lord and in the generous service of their brethren. They are sons and daughters of the Church who chose the path of service following the Lord. Holiness always rises up in the Church from the well-spring of the mystery of redemption, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah in the first reading: the Servant of the Lord is the righteous one who “shall make many to be accounted as righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities” (Is 53:11); he is Jesus Christ, crucified, risen and living in glory. Today’s canonization is an eloquent confirmation of this mysterious saving reality. The tenacious profession of faith of these seven generous disciples of Christ, their configuration to the Son of Man shines out brightly today in the whole Church.

Jacques Berthieu, born in 1838 in France, was passionate about Jesus Christ at an early age. During his parish ministry, he had the burning desire to save souls. Becoming a Jesuit, he wished to journey through the world for the glory of God. A tireless pastor on the island of Sainte Marie, then in Madagascar, he struggled against injustice while bringing succour to the poor and sick. The Malagasies thought of him as a priest come down from heaven, saying, You are our “father and mother!” He made himself all things to all men, drawing from prayer and his love of the sacred heart of Jesus the human and priestly force to face martyrdom in 1896. He died, saying “I prefer to die rather than renounce my faith”. Dear friends, may the life of this evangelizer be an encouragement and a model for priests that, like him, they will be men of God! May his example aid the many Christians of today persecuted for their faith! In this Year of Faith, may his intercession bring forth many fruits for Madagascar and the African Continent! May God bless the Malagasy people!

Pedro Calungsod was born around the year sixteen fifty-four, in the Visayas region of the Philippines. His love for Christ inspired him to train as a catechist with the Jesuit missionaries there. In sixteen sixty-eight, along with other young catechists, he accompanied Father Diego Luís de San Vitores to the Marianas Islands in order to evangelize the Chamorro people. Life there was hard and the missionaries also faced persecution arising from envy and slander. Pedro, however, displayed deep faith and charity and continued to catechize his many converts, giving witness to Christ by a life of purity and dedication to the Gospel. Uppermost was his desire to win souls for Christ, and this made him resolute in accepting martyrdom. He died on the second of April, sixteen seventy-two. Witnesses record that Pedro could have fled for safety but chose to stay at Father Diego’s side. The priest was able to give Pedro absolution before he himself was killed. May the example and courageous witness of Pedro Calungsod inspire the dear people of the Philippines to announce the Kingdom bravely and to win souls for God!

Giovanni Battista Piamarta, priest of the Diocese of Brescia, was a great apostle of charity and of young people. He raised awareness of the need for a cultural and social presence of Catholicism in the modern world, and so he dedicated himself to the Christian, moral and professional growth of the younger generations with an enlightened input of humanity and goodness. Animated by unshakable faith in divine providence and by a profound spirit of sacrifice, he faced difficulties and fatigue to breathe life into various apostolic works, including the Artigianelli Institute, Queriniana Publishers, the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth for men, and for women the Congregation of the Humble Sister Servants of the Lord. The secret of his intense and busy life is found in the long hours he gave to prayer. When he was overburdened with work, he increased the length of his encounter, heart to heart, with the Lord. He preferred to pause before the Blessed Sacrament, meditating upon the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, to gain spiritual fortitude and return to gaining people’s hearts, especially the young, to bring them back to the sources of life with fresh pastoral initiatives.

“May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you” (Ps 32:22). With these words, the liturgy invites us to make our own this hymn to God, creator and provider, accepting his plan into our lives. María Carmelo Sallés y Barangueras, a religious born in Vic in Spain in 1848, did just so. Filled with hope in spite of many trials, she, on seeing the progress of the Congregation of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching, which she founded in 1892, was able to sing with the Mother of God, “His mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation” (Lk 1:50). Her educational work, entrusted to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, continues to bear abundant fruit among young people through the generous dedication of her daughters who, like her, entrust themselves to God for whom all is possible.

I now turn to Marianne Cope, born in eighteen thirty-eight in Heppenheim, Germany. Only one year old when taken to the United States, in eighteen sixty-two she entered the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis at Syracuse, New York. Later, as Superior General of her congregation, Mother Marianne willingly embraced a call to care for the lepers of Hawaii after many others had refused. She personally went, with six of her fellow sisters, to manage a hospital on Oahu, later founding Malulani Hospital on Maui and opening a home for girls whose parents were lepers. Five years after that she accepted the invitation to open a home for women and girls on the island of Molokai itself, bravely going there herself and effectively ending her contact with the outside world. There she looked after Father Damien, already famous for his heroic work among the lepers, nursed him as he died and took over his work among male lepers. At a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage and enthusiasm. She is a shining and energetic example of the best of the tradition of Catholic nursing sisters and of the spirit of her beloved Saint Francis.

Kateri Tekakwitha was born in today’s New York state in sixteen fifty-six to a Mohawk father and a Christian Algonquin mother who gave to her a sense of the living God. She was baptized at twenty years of age and, to escape persecution, she took refuge in Saint Francis Xavier Mission near Montreal. There she worked, faithful to the traditions of her people, although renouncing their religious convictions until her death at the age of twenty-four. Leading a simple life, Kateri remained faithful to her love for Jesus, to prayer and to daily Mass. Her greatest wish was to know and to do what pleased God. She lived a life radiant with faith and purity.
Kateri impresses us by the action of grace in her life in spite of the absence of external help and by the courage of her vocation, so unusual in her culture. In her, faith and culture enrich each other! May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are. Saint Kateri, Protectress of Canada and the first native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of the faith in the first nations and in all of North America! May God bless the first nations!

Anna Schaeffer, from Mindelstetten, as a young woman wished to enter a missionary order. She came from a poor background so, in order to earn the dowry needed for acceptance into the cloister, she worked as a maid. One day she suffered a terrible accident and received incurable burns on her legs which forced her to be bed-ridden for the rest of her life. So her sick-bed became her cloister cell and her suffering a missionary service. She struggled for a time to accept her fate, but then understood her situation as a loving call from the crucified One to follow him. Strengthened by daily communion, she became an untiring intercessor in prayer and a mirror of God’s love for the many who sought her counsel. May her apostolate of prayer and suffering, of sacrifice and expiation, be a shining example for believers in her homeland, and may her intercession strengthen the Christian hospice movement in its beneficial activity.

Dear brothers and sisters, these new saints, different in origin, language, nationality and social condition, are united among themselves and with the whole People of God in the mystery of salvation of Christ the Redeemer. With them, we too, together with the Synod Fathers from all parts of the world, proclaim to the Lord in the words of the psalm that he “is our help and our shield” and we invoke him saying, “may your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you” (Ps 32:20.22). May the witness of these new saints, and their lives generously spent for love of Christ, speak today to the whole Church, and may their intercession strengthen and sustain her in her mission to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world.


Daily Gospel: Sixth Sunday of the Cross, Parable of the Talents. October 21, 2012


Letter to the Galatians 6:1-10.
My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbour’s work, will become a cause for pride. For all must carry their own loads. Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher. Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Matthew 25:14-30.
‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, "Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents." His master said to him, "Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master." And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, "Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents." His master said to him, "Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master." Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, "Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours." But his master replied, "You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Daily Gospel: Saturday of the Fifth Week of the Cross, October 20, 2012

Saint of the Day: St Shallita (Artimeus), Martyr.

First Letter to the Corinthians 4:14-21.
I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you might have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. I appeal to you, then, be imitators of me. For this reason I sent you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ Jesus, as I teach them everywhere in every church. But some of you, thinking that I am not coming to you, have become arrogant. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power. What would you prefer? Am I to come to you with a stick, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Matthew 22:1-14.
Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying:  ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, "Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet." But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, "The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet." Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.  ‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, "Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?" And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, "Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." For many are called, but few are chosen.’

Daily Gospel: Fifth Sunday of the Cross, The Ten Bridesmaids. October 14, 2012


Letter to the Philippians 2:12-18.
Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labour in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to
Saint Matthew 25:1-13.
‘Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, "Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him." Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out." But the wise replied, "No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves." And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, "Lord, lord, open to us." But he replied, "Truly I tell you, I do not know you." Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Message of the Virgin Mary to Nonbelievers on October 02, 2012 From Medjugorje

"Dear children; I am calling you and am coming among you because I need you. I need apostles with a pure heart. I am praying, and you should also pray, that the Holy Spirit may enable and lead you, that He may illuminate you and fill you with love and humility. Pray that He may fill you with grace and mercy. Only then will you understand me, my children. Only then will you understand my pain because of those who have not come to know the love of God. Then you will be able to help me. You will be my light-bearers of God’s love. You will illuminate the way for those who have been given eyes but do not want to see. I desire for all of my children to see my Son. I desire for all of my children to experience His Kingdom. Again I call you and implore you to pray for those whom my Son has called. Thank you."