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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

13 May - Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament

This title penetrates the mystery itself of the Eucharist, and when well understood, manifests to us the most important part granted to Mary in the economy of the Holy Eucharist.

If we have thoroughly seized Pierre Eymard's thought we understand that she is, first, the Mother of Jesus, giving to the Word her most pure blood, which was changed on the day of the Incarnation into His own Body, into His own Blood, in order to consecrate it later, on the night of the Last Supper, into His Sacrament of Love.

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament is Mary receiving in quality of universal dispensatrix of grace, the full and absolute disposition of the Eucharist and the graces that It contains, because this Sacrament is the most efficacious means of salvation, the fruit par excellence of the Redemption of Jesus Christ. To her, consequently, it belongs to make Jesus in the Sacrament known and loved; to her it belongs to spread the Eucharist throughout the world, to multiply churches, to raise them in infidel lands, and to defend faith in the Eucharist against heretics and the impious; to her it belongs to prepare souls for Communion, to rouse them to make frequent visits to Jesus, and to assist zealously at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. She is the treasure-house of all the graces comprised in the Eucharist, both those that prepare the soul for It and those that flow from It.

— Month of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament by St. Peter Julian Eymard


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Pope speaks of Christian woman killed for faith

Pope Francis speaks of Christian woman killed for her faith

Pope Francis leaves after celebrating a Mass 
in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, 
April 17, 2016. Pope Francis ordained eleven 
new priests Sunday. (AP / Alessandra Tarantino)
The Associated Press, Published Sunday, 
April 17, 2016 8:52AM EDT

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis says one of the refugees he met on the Greek island of Lesbos was the Muslim widower of a Syrian Christian woman killed by extremists for refusing to renounce her faith.

Francis told the faithful in St. Peter's Square on Sunday that "she is a martyr."

Departing from his prepared remarks, Francis shared his experiences of the day earlier with thousands of people gathered for his blessing. He says among the 300 refugees he greeted Saturday on Lesbos was a Syrian widower with two children.

The pope said: "He is Muslim, and he told me that he married a Christian girl. They loved each other and respected each other. But unfortunately the young woman's throat was slashed by terrorists because she didn't want to deny Christ and abandon her faith."

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Best way for Catholics to mark the Reformation; Celebrate the papacy!

The best way for Catholics to mark the Reformation is to celebrate the papacy
by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith
posted Friday, 1 Apr 2016

The Pope Emeritus prepares to greet Pope Francis during the 
opening of the Holy Door of St Peter's Basilica 
(CNS photo/Stefano Spaziani, pool)

The splintering of Protestantism is the best advert for a pope ever devised

The reminder from the ever excellent Cardinal Müller that the Reformation is nothing to celebrate, while a statement of the obvious – after all, how can one celebrate disunity? – still leaves us with a question: just how are we to mark the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s revolt against Church doctrine?

Just ignoring it would not be right. The Reformation was a huge event and we are still living with its consequences, no one can deny. Much better that we should mark the anniversary in a way that deepens our understanding of it. Why did it happen? What can we learn from it? And what can we do, five centuries on, to heal the breaches created then?

The usual answer to the first question is that the Reformation came about as a movement of reform, as a specific reaction to the corruption of the Catholic Church. I doubt, though, that any serious historian could assert this today, or find any compelling evidence to back up this myth. If we look at the German lands, there is plenty of evidence that the Catholic Church was in many ways still a vital body. Indeed, the proof of this is that half of Germany did not follow Luther: the Catholic Church still retained much credibility. Again, in England, the advanced decay of the pre-Reformation Church, and in particular its monasteries, is a myth. The Tudor Church boasted men like John Fisher and Thomas More, and its monasteries were seized as part of the biggest landgrab in history, rather than for moral reasons. Many of the monks died for the faith, which is hardly a sign that the monasteries had failed as religious institutions.

So why did the Reformation come about? It was partly a political movement: the German princes and Henry VIII arrogating powers to themselves; a nationalist movement, anti-Roman and anti-Spanish, both in Germany and England; and of course a religious movement too. It has to be admitted that Luther asked questions to which the Catholic answer was judged by many to be no longer adequate. And the chief of these questions was: “How can I be saved?”

All this leads to a huge contemporary problem. How are we to mark the anniversary of the Reformation when the question about salvation is no longer at the forefront of the modern consciousness? As far as I can see, even in the traditional lands of the Reformation, no one is exactly agonising over the question of salvation. Indeed, in hugely advanced societies like Sweden, which the Pope will be visiting to mark the anniversary, the general feeling seems to be that one does not need salvation through Christ or anyone else for that matter. Religious statistics are notoriously unreliable, but it seems pretty obvious that Sweden is one of the least religious countries on earth. Luther would be horrified!

Given that the “How can I be saved?” question is not the one on everyone’s lips, there is a danger that the Reformation anniversary will turn out to be a celebration of its political aspects. Luther is, let us not forget, a German national hero. As for England, the other day I met an MP (let him be nameless) who told me that in supporting Brexit, he was simply aiming to do what Henry VIII and Cranmer did, taking back sovereignty from a foreign power. Actually, he is right: the Act in Restraint of Appeals, which separated England from Rome, contains the famous line “This England is an Empire”, meaning that England was sovereign and not subject to any other powers such as the papal one. Just as Luther is a hero in Germany, Henry VIII is to many here, still.

What then is to be done? I think the best way to mark the Reformation is to emphasise that the Church can only be universal, that is Catholic, in that Christ only brought one revelation, and only founded one Church. The idea of a national church is completely absurd. Coupled with this there needs to be a strong presupposition in favour of internationalism (which, as my Brexiteer MP and I agreed, was quite in keeping with leaving the EU, as that institution is not to be confused with Europe itself).

Finally, I think we need to make the Reformation anniversary into a celebration of the role and nature of the papacy as the focus of unity and guarantor of doctrinal truth, for the splintering of Protestantism (of which Luther would not have approved, I feel) is the best advert for the papacy ever devised. Instead of asking the question “How can I be saved?” we need to turn our attention to the question “What is the Church?”

Relics found in ruined Syrian monastery confirmed as St Elian’s

Relics found in ruined Syrian monastery confirmed as St Elian’s
by Catholic News Service
posted Wednesday, 6 Apr 2016

A Syrian soldier surveys damages at 
Mar Elian monastery in Qaryatain, (AP Photo)

The relics were discovered amid the rubble of the desecrated Mar Elian Church in Qaryatain

It has been confirmed that the relics of Syrian St Elian, which originally were thought to have been destroyed by members of the Islamic State militia, have been found amid the rubble of the desecrated Mar Elian Church in Qaryatain, Syria.

The sanctuary was bulldozed in August 2015, according to Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

Fr Jacques Mourad, the prior of the Syriac Catholic monastic community, was kidnapped three months earlier when the terrorists initially raided the church.

Fr Mourad, who was freed on October 11, reported the discovery of the relics to Fides on April 5.

“The fact that the relics of Mar Elian are not lost is for me a great sign: It means that he did not want to leave the monastery and the Holy Land,” the priest said.

The relics of St Elian, a third-century martyr, were discovered after Syrian military forces had retaken control of Qaryatain.

Even while the Islamic State forces controlled the area, however, local Christians preserved their veneration of St. Elian, Fides said.

Fr Mourad had told his flock: “It is not important that the monastery is destroyed, it is not even important that the tomb was destroyed. The important thing is that you bear Mar Elian in your heart, wherever you go, even in Canada, or Europe, because he wants to stay in the hearts of his followers.”

A priest of the Syriac Catholic Archdiocese of Homs and monks from the Mar Musa monastery were set to go to Mar Elian to survey its condition, Fides reported.

Fr Mourad asked that they collect and guard the remains.

“We know that the old sanctuary was destroyed, the archaeological site was devastated, while the new church and monastery were burned and partly bombed,” he said. “The life of grace will bloom again around the memory of the saints. It will be a great blessing for our entire church.”