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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Congress to commemorate the first mass in Italian

A congress to commemorate the first mass in Italian celebrated by Blessed Paul VI
Vatican City, 27 February 2015 (VIS) – On 7 March 1965, Blessed Paul VI, on the 25th anniversary of the death of St. Luigi Orione, celebrated the first mass in Italian in history in the parish of Ognissanti (All Saints), Rome. "Today we inaugurate the new form of Liturgy in all the parishes and churches of the world, for all the Masses followed by the people. It is a great event, that shall be remembered as the beginning of a flourishing spiritual life, as a new effort to participate in the great dialogue between God and man".
Fifty years on, to commemorate this historic date, Pope Francis will preside at a Eucharistic celebration next Saturday, 7 March at 6 p.m. in the same parish (Via Appia Nuova, 244). The occasion will also be celebrated by a Congress on Pastoral Liturgy organised by the Vicariate of Rome, the Opera Don Orione and the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Rome, to open today at the Teatro Orione, adjacent to the All Saints parish.
The theme of the Congress is "United in giving thanks". The works will be presented by Rev. Flavio Peloso, superior general of the Sons of Divine Providence (Don Orione), who comments that the event "will facilitate an understanding of the reasons behind yesterday's liturgical reforms and today's commitment to liturgical fidelity". Following greetings from the auxiliary bishop Giuseppe Marciante, Archbishop Francesco Pio Tamburrano, metropolitan emeritus of Foggia-Bovino, Italy, will speak about "Tradition and renewal in paragraph 23 of the liturgical Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium. Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, will then consider the theme "The spoken language, tool of communion in the dialogue of the liturgical assembly", and finally Rev. Francesco Mazzitelli, parish priest of Ognissanti, will examine "The liturgical formation of the laity".
The work of the Congress will be concluded by the Benedictine Fr. Jordi Pique, president of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute. The moderator, Fr. Giuseppe Midili, director of the diocesan liturgical office, affirmed that "the congress offers various points for reflection on the reasons that led the conciliar bishops to introduce the spoken language into the liturgy. Indeed, one of the main aims of liturgical reform was full, active and conscious participation in the liturgy, so that the faithful moved on from their role as mute, extraneous spectators. In this sense, the change was historical and signified a turnaround. Indeed, when the liturgy was celebrated in a language they did not understand, the faithful sought more accessible forms of private worship and prayer to recite during the Mass. With the introduction of the spoken language, these individualistic forms slowly disappeared from the celebratory context in favour of the centrality of the community celebration".

Pope at Spiritual Exercises - A piece of Elijah's mantle

Pope Francis at the close of the Spiritual Exercises - With a piece of Elijah's mantle
2015-02-27 L'Osservatore Romano
The meditations this morning, Friday 27 February, in Ariccia were the last of the Spiritual Exercises in which the Pontiff and members of the Roman Curia participated. Meditations were led by Carmelite, Fr Bruno Secondin, in the chapel of the House of Divin Maesto belonging to the Pauline Fathers. At the end of his reflection Friday morning, Pope Francis wanted to thank the preacher. "On behalf of everyone, myself included," the Pope said, " I would like to thank the Father, for his work with us in the exercises. It isn't easy to lead priests in exercises! We are all a little complicated, but you managed to do some sowing. May the Lord make these seeds that you gave us grow. And I wish for myself and I wish for us all that we may leave here with a little piece of Elijah's mantle, in our hands and in our hearts. Thank you, Father".
The last stop of the itinerary of reflection and prayer proposed by Fr Secondin was centered on the biblical narrative in the Second Book of Kings (2:1-14) which describes Elijah's final farewell to his disciples and to Elisha, his ascent in the chariot of fire and the start of the mission of Elisha, who disrobes himself and puts on the mantle of his master and, on the River Jordan, he is recognized as the true heir of the prophet. It is an intense story, filled with tenderness, in which the characteristic hardness of Elijah melts a little. The Prophet in some way learns – and we too should learn, Fr Secondin suggested, "to offer embraces of hope and tenderness" - from his disciple who is affectionate and patient.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

10 Years in Consecrated Life :) !!!

Thank you Sisters and Brothers for praying for me as I mark my tenth anniversary in consecrated life as a solitary brother this week.  These years in love with our Lord have been full of His Grace and Mercy - His Tender Love.  Mary, Holy Mother, thank you for your prayers and support.  Dear Lord, Holy Trinity, thank you for saving me.

Merci Mon Dieu, mon Amour eternel:

The 21 New Coptic Martyrs of Libya: ICON


Willy, the homeless man buried in the Vatican

Willy, the homeless man buried in the heart of the Vatican

2015-02-26 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The Holy See press office has confirmed the news of the burial of a homeless man in the Teutonic College cemetery within Vatican City State. Willy was a homeless man of Flemish origin.  His exact age was unknown but he was believed to have been around 80 years of age. He died on  December 12 last year and was buried in the Teutonic Cemetery on January 9 this year. 

Willy was a familiar face to many in the area of the Vatican. He attended daily Mass in  Sant'Anna parish in the Vatican and spent his days and nights on the streets around St. Peter's Square, Borgo Pio and Via di Porta Angelica.
The pastor of Sant'Anna in the Vatican, Father Bruno Silvestrini, had dedicated the Nativity Scene at Christmas to Willy, adding a homeless man among the shepherds. He loved to pray, he had a good heart, attended the morning Mass at St. Anna every day and always sat in the same place.
"For over 25 years he attended the 7:00 Mass", Fr. Silvestrini told Vatican Radio, explaining why he wanted a homeless among the shepherds in the Nativity Scene. "He was very, very open and had made many friends. He spoke a lot with young people, he spoke to them of the Lord, he spoke of the Pope, he would invite them to the celebration of the Eucharist. He was a rich person, of great faith - said the pastor of St. Anne who added - there were prelates who brought him food on certain days. Then, we no longer saw him, and subsequently we heard about his death. I've never seen so many people knocking on my door to ask when the funeral was, how they could help to keep his memory alive ... He never asked for anything, rather he was the one who would strike up a conversation and through his questions of faith, suggest a spiritual path to those with whom he spoke".
Willy died in Holy Spirit hospital, where he had been brought by ambulance on a cold December evening. The cold had caused him to collapse and some passers-called for the emergency services. He died on December 12, but his body remained at the hospital morgue because no one could identify him.
When those used to seeing him on the streets noticed his absence and began to search for him he was finally traced to the hospital in Lungotevere in Sassia on the banks of the Tiber.
The costs of his funeral were covered by a German-speaking family, the funeral was held in the chapel of the Teutonic Cemetery, and Willy was buried in the old Germanic cemetery, in Vatican City State.
(from Vatican Radio)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Armenian Doctor of the Catholic Church

For the record: A new Doctor of the Church

As reported today on the Vatican Bollettino, Pope Francis has decided to elevate Gregory of Narek (c. 950 - c. 1005) perhaps the greatest of Armenian sacred writers, sometimes called "the Armenian Pindar", as Doctor of the Church. A translation of his Book of Lamentations can be found here.

Although not mentioned in the Bollettino, this act also apparently serves as an equipollent canonization of Gregory, who was already venerated as a Saint in both the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian Catholic Church.

It is interesting to note that Gregory lived at a time when the Armenian Church, to which he belonged, was notformally in communion with Rome and Constantinople. However, as those interested in the extremely tangled history of Christianity in the first millennium are well aware, one cannot always speak straightforwardly of "schism" and "heresy" when dealing with the theological and ecclesiastical divisions of Christendom in that era.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pope Francis declares Armenian Christian saint Doctor of the Church

Pope Francis declares Armenian saint Doctor of the Church
2015-02-23 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has declared Armenian poet and monk, Saint Gregory of Narek, a Doctor of the Universal Church.  Meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints on Saturday ahead of his departure for Aricca on Lenten retreat, the Pope confirmed the proposal put forward by the Plenary Session of the Congregation to confer the title of Doctor of the Universal Church on the 10th century saint.
St. Gregory of Narek is widely revered as one of the greatest figures of medieval Armenian religious thought and literature. Born in the city of Narek in about 950 A.D., St. Gregory came from a line of scholars and churchmen.
St. Gregory received his education under the guidance of his father, Bishop Khosrov, author of the earliest commentary on the Divine Liturgy, and from Anania Vartabed, abbess of Narek Monastery. He and his two brothers entered monastic life at an early age, and St. Gregory soon began to excel in music, astronomy, geometry, mathematics, literature, and theology.
He became a priest at the age of 25 and dedicated himself to God. He lived most of his life in the monastery of Narek, where he taught at the monastic school. St. Gregory began his writings with a commentary on the "Song of Songs," which was commissioned by an Armenian prince. Despite his reservations that he was too young for the task, the commentary became famous for its clarity of thought and language and its excellence of theological presentation.
He also wrote a number of famous letters, sharagans, treasures, odes, melodies, and discourses. Many of his prayers are included in the Divine Liturgy celebrated each Sunday in Armenian Churches around the world.
St. Gregory's masterpiece is considered to be his Book of Lamentations. Also known as Narek, it is comprised of 95 prayers, each of which is titled "Conversation with God from the depth of the heart." A central theme is man's separation from God, and his quest to reunite with Him. St. Gregory described the work this way: "Its letters like my body, its message like my soul." He called his book an "encyclopedia of prayer for all nations." It was his hope that it would serve as a guide to prayer for people all over the world. After the advent of movable type, the book was published in Marseille in 1673, and has been translated into at least 30 languages.
St. Gregory of Narek is remembered by the Armenian Church in October of each year.
(from Vatican Radio)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

'ISIS helped strengthen our faith': EGYPT/Church

Listen to the embedded audio recording:

Coptic Church Recognizes Martyrdom of 21 Coptic Christians

2015-02-21 Vatican Radio

The Coptic Orthodox Church has announced that the murder of the 21 Egyptian Christians killed by the so-called Islamic State in Libya will be commemorated in its Church calendar.

Pope Tawadros II announced that the names of the martyrs will be inserted into the Coptic Synaxarium, the Oriental Church's equivalent to the Roman Martyrology. This procedure is also equivalent to canonization in the Latin Church.

Listen to Junno Arocho's report:

According to, the martyrdom of the 21 Christians will be commemorated on the 8th Amshir of the Coptic calendar, or February 15th of the Gregorian calendar. The commemoration falls on the feast day of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.

Militants of the Islamic State released a gruesome video entitled "A Message Signed in Blood to the Nation of the Cross" in which they released a warning saying they were "south of Rome." They then proceeded to behead the Christian men, some of whom were seen mouthing the words "Lord Jesus Christ" moments before their death.

While the killings have stirred fears of the Islamic State's close proximity to Europe, they have also strengthened many in their faith.

In an interview with Christian channel SAT-7 ARABIC on Wednesday, Beshir Kamel, brother of two of the Coptic martyrs, even thanked the Islamic State for including their declaration of faith in the videos before killing them.

"ISIS gave us more than we asked when they didn't edit out the part where they declared their faith and called upon Jesus Christ. ISIS helped us strengthen our faith," he said.

Beshir said that he was proud of his brothers Bishoy and Samuel, saying that their martyrdom was "a badge of honor to Christianity."

Kamel's interview with SAT 7-ARABIC went viral, receiving over 100,000 views within hours of its posting online. When asked what his reaction would be if he saw an Islamic State militant, Kamel recalled his mother's response.

"My mother, an uneducated woman in her sixties, said she would ask [him] to enter her house and ask God to open his eyes because he was the reason her son entered the kingdom of heaven," Beshir said.


(from Vatican Radio)

Friday, February 20, 2015

MISSION/Church: Hope among Iraqi Christians

Dominicans keep hope alive among Iraqi Christian community

2015-02-20 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The continuing presence of courageous men and women religious is Iraq is an important sign of hope amid the suffering of the Christian population there. That was the key theme of a report released by two Dominican leaders who recently visited Baghdad and the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan region.

The mid-January visit was at the invitation of the Dominican brothers and sisters in Iraq who often feel forgotten as they struggle to support Christians threatened by the daily violence of the so-called Islamic State militants. Over a hundred thousand mainly Christian and Yazidi people fled to Erbil and the surrounding region as the militants captured the city of Mosul last June, threatening and killing those who would not convert to Islam.  

Fr Timothy Radcliffe is former Master of the Dominican order – he told Philippa HItchen why the West must take responsibility and do all it can to help end the conflict that is devastating the region…


Fr Timothy says one of the things the visit to Iraq made clear was the way that Western intervention in the country, together with suffernig and increasing inequality" has helped to fuel the conflict in the region….

At the present time he says it's impossible to imagine any dialogue with the so-called Islamic State, but he adds there are many Muslims they met in Baghdad who long for dialogue and constructive engagement with the West. He notes that the Dominicans established the Baghdad Academy of Human Sciences to provide just such a place of dialogue and debate: of the 5.000 students enrolled in the academy, up to 80% are Muslims.

Fr Timothy warns there's a "real danger that one of the oldest Christian communities in the world will disappear". While it's very understandable that people are fleeing, he says he also met "many brave, educated people who say we must stay".

Asked about the toll that the violence is taking on the Dominican brothers and sisters in Iraq, the former head of the Order says Baghdad is such a tough and exhausting place that the religious try and get away periodically for some time of rest and renewal. Their endurance and continued presence there, he insists is "such a symbol of Christian hope"

In the camps around Erbil, Fr Timothy says, the situation is much less dangerous and the order may consider sending groups of young people to the region for a short period to "meet, work, play, learn from and teach other young people in the camps"

(from Vatican Radio)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

War Migrants: EU must tackle unfolding catastrophe

War Migrants: EU must tackle this unfolding catastrophe

2015-02-17 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio)  Amid worsening violence and chaos in Libya, Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) warns that we face "an unfolding catastrophe" as more and more migrants risk their lives to cross the sea to Italy.  JRS and other NGO's are urging European governments to act swiftly to face the growing threat to migrants attempting to make the perilous crossing in unseaworthy boats. The appeal comes amid news that nearly 4,000 migrants have been rescued from the Mediterranean Sea over the past 3 days alone.  James Stapleton is the International Communications Coordinator for Jesuit Refugee Service and he spoke to Susy Hodges.

Listen to the full interview with James Stapleton of Jesuit Refugee Service: 

Asked whether he believes that European Union governments will heed this appeal for more resources to face up to the growing threat to migrants attempting to cross the sea to Italy, Stapleton says that based on past evidence, he's not that "optimistic" that there is the "political will" to tackle this issue. " He says this is a moral issue of needing to put peoples' lives first and European governments should be asking themselves this question:  "Do we put border security first or so we put the lives of people in the Mediterranean first?" 

Stapleton says part of the solution to this problem is to focus on ways to "slow down the flow (of migrants) from the countries of origin" such as Syria, Iraq and other nations wracked by war and persecution.  "People only move when they're in danger … and when people are faced with life and death situations they will take enormous risks." 

As the chaos and violence worsens in Libya together with the unrest in many parts of the Mideast and Africa, Stapleton says it's certain that more and more migrants will be taking those enormous risks to try to flee across the sea and Europe is on the borders of what he calls "this unfolding catastrophe."  After the heavy loss of life among migrants fleeing by sea earlier this month, he fears the likelihood of even more deaths in the near future unless more ships and resources are deployed to help rescue these migrants.  "We are looking at a potential catastrophe that we've never seen before in the Mediterranean Sea."  

(from Vatican Radio)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Libya’s martyrs died with the name of Christ on their lips

EGYPT - Bishop Antonios Aziz Mina: Libya's martyrs died with the name of Christ on their lips

Cairo – The Copts slaughtered in Libya by jihadist of the so-called Islamic State died with the name of Christ on their lips. This was confirmed to Fides by Anba Antonios Aziz Mina, Coptic Catholic Bishop of Giuzeh. "The video of their execution – the Egyptian Bishop told Fides – was like a dreadful mise-en-scene staged to spread terror. Nevertheless, in that diabolic product of bloodthirsty play-acting and horror, some martyrs can clearly be seen to say at the moment of their barbarous execution 'Lord, Jesus Christ!'. The name of Jesus was their last word. Like the passion of the early martyrs, they entrusted themselves to He, who moments later, would welcome them into his embrace. This was how they celebrated their victory, a victory of which no executioner could ever rob them. With that name, whispered at the very last, their martyrdom was sealed".
In the meantime in Egypt the government has announced seven days of national mourning for Libya's martyrs, and in various dioceses amidst fasting and prayers, the bishops and the faithful are thinking of dedicating a new church to them. The Premier, Ibrahim Mahlab, has made it known that the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has asked for a new church, built at the expense of the government, to be dedicated to the martyrs of Libya in the city of Minya, in a region from where most of the Copts decapitated by the jihadists hailed. A presidential decree has been issued granting compensation in money and a monthly pension for life for the families of the victims of Islamist terror.