Called to be Joyful – Part I

What a joy and privilege it was for me to lead this retreat on how we are called to live JOYFULLY in a world that is hungry for happiness. If you like the conference, or insights on the topic, please leave a comment. Or, consider visiting our Lay Canossian blog. It’s going to be a great year with a challenge to live in the heart of the world with the joy of the Gospel to guide us.

Have a blessed day!

Lay Canossians

Our Lay Canossians in Albuquerque held their annual retreat, choosing for their theme, “Called to be Joyful in a Joyless World.” This year’s retreat was recorded so that it could be shared with our brother and sister Lay Canossians in other areas of our Province.

Here is a brief introduction. You will find the audio link below. Enjoy!

The purpose of choosing the theme, on joy, came about due to several things:

  • At the last General Chapter of the Canossian Sisters set their plan for the next six years to journey with the theme, “Joyful and Prophetic Witnesses, so that the World may Believe.”
  • At the time the Chapter Sisters were finishing their sessions, Pope Francis’ encyclical Evangelii Gaudium was released. These themes truly appeared to be the work of the Holy Spirit in their timing, that the Sisters were able to tie into their post-chapter work some of the encyclical’s encouragement…

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Christmas Mass with Pope Francis

“25 December. The twenty-second day of the lunar month. Innumerable ages having passed since the creation of the world…The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.”

PapaFrancis

So are the beginning and ending words of the proclamation of the birth of the Savior at Midnight Mass. The words speak of the long waiting for the Savior from the beginning of time, culminating with the birth of Jesus. Christmas is here! What better way to celebrate with the Universal Church than to watch Midnight Mass unfold with Pope Francis at Saint Peter’s Basilica.

Here is this year’s schedule of how to participate:r’s Basilica in Rome.

Step 1:  Download the Booklet for the Holy Mass of the Night here.

Step 2:  Choose where to watch (if you can’t be in Rome).

EWTN will be broadcasting with English translation at the following times:
12/24 at 3:30 PM ET; and 12/25 at 8:00 AM ET, and 7:00 PM ET

If you prefer to watch it without translation, and just follow with your Booklet, you can watch live from Rome, 3:30 PM ET (9:30 PM Rome Time), right here below:

Let us unite with one another in prayer for Pope Francis, and for all those he challenges us to reach out to, especially the most poor.

Blessed Christmas Everyone! Buon Natale a Tutti!
May the Child Jesus fill your hearts with His Love and Joy!

Urbi et Orbi

The Pope’s annual “Urbi et Orbi” message to the world will be given from Saint Peter’s Square on Christmas Day at 12pm Rome time (6.00 am ET / 3.00 am PT), and will be live-streamed above in the video window, via Centro Televisivo Vaticano.

Or, if you wish to watch with English translation, EWTN will broadcast on Christmas Day at 6:00 AM ET, 10:00 PM ET; and again
12/27 at 2:00 PM ET;
12/28 at 6:00 PM ET;
12/31 at 9:30 PM ET.

 

We Cannot Look the Other Way

“We cannot look the other way,” Pope Francis said in a video message supporting One Human Family, Food for All, a global campaign led by Caritas Internationalis:

We are in front of a global scandal of around one billion – one billion people who still suffer from hunger today. We cannot look the other way and pretend this does not exist. The food available in the world is enough to feed everyone.” – Pope Francis

We are challenged today to take part in a ‘wave of prayer’ to end the scandal of hunger in our modern world. What can we do?

  • Tweet the Video with the hashtag #Food4All;
  • Be aware of your own food choices, and before throwing food away, consider that the poor do not have even the bare necessities;
  • Take a few moments today at noon to pray, and ask the Lord what you can do to help this global problem at the local level;
  • Make a donation to Catholic Charities (Caritas).

Prayer for today:

O God, you entrusted to us the fruits of all creation so that we might care for the earth and be nourished with its bounty.

You sent us your Son to share our very flesh and blood and to teach us your Law of Love. Through His death and resurrection, we have been formed into one human family.

HAITIANS PREPARE FISH TO BE SOLD ON STREET

Jesus showed great concern for those who had no food – even transforming five loaves and two fish into a banquet that served five thousand and many more.

We come before you, O God, conscious of our faults and failures, but full of hope, to share food with all members in this global family.

Through your wisdom, inspire leaders of government and of business, as well as all the world’s citizens, to find just, and charitable solutions to end hunger by assuring that all people enjoy the right to food.

Thus we pray, O God, that when we present ourselves for Divine Judgment, we can proclaim ourselves as “One Human Family” with “Food for All”.

AMEN

Love Without Fear

A friend on facebook posted: Loving without fear of consequences is the path of holiness we are all called to. Fear is really a stumbling block to our holiness. Another friend has an acronym for fear: F alse E vidence A ppearing R eal This is so true! Our fears (what will others think? what […]

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Pray & Fast for Peace

On Sunday, Pope Francis encouraged all of us to deepen our prayer for peace, both for Syria and for the world:

There are several ways by which to be in union with the Holy Father this Saturday:

1.  Go to Mass. It is the First Saturday as well, so you are more likely to find a Church that will celebrate Mass Saturday morning.

2.  Pray with the Holy Father via livestream, Saturday, 1PM ET

3.  Pray the Rosary together as a family.

4.  Offer your day for Pope Francis intentions.

5.  Invite others to pray too. The Pope has reached out to to “…every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe…” so to unite all under the banner of peace.

If you are willing, please share this post with others, that more may join us in this world day of fasting and prayer for what is needed in our world: Peace.

God bless you!

Pope Francis’ Angelus address in full:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Hello!

Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.

There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.

I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.

With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.

May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.

What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love (cf. John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, [11 April 1963]: AAS 55, [1963], 301-302).

All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!

I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.

May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and be let themselves be led by the desire for peace.

QueenofPeaceTo this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.

Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

 

Tu Es Petrus

TuEsPetrus2“You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it.”

These words from Matthew 16:18 are inscribed on the inside of the cupola of Saint Peters, directly over the high altar. Which, in turn, is directly over the tomb of Saint Peter’s remains below.

These are also the words the choir will sing as Pope Francis processes before the tomb of Saint Peter for a moment of prayer before receiving the signs of his Petrine Office, the Pallium and the Fisherman’s Ring.

Before the signs of office are bestowed, there is a prayerful dialogue, sung in Latin by the choir:

Christus Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat!
Christ Conquers! Christ Reigns! Christ Commands!

These words are intertwined with a litany, calling on the Saints of Heaven to help the new Pontiff:

For Francis Supreme Pontiff, who gathereth into one all peoples through doctrine, in charity: let there be grace for the Shepherd and obedience for the flock.

Saviour of the world, come to his aid.

Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Andrew… the list goes on through all the Apostles.

For Francis, Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter, who today begins his ministry: grant strength, the understanding of the Holy Spirit and sollicitude towards the Universal Church.

Saint Linus, come to their aid.

Saint Cletus, Saint Clement I, Saint Sixtus I … The list goes on through the early Popes, up to Saint Pius X (1903-1914).

There is also a prayer for those who govern and all citizens united in prayer:

To our governors and all our fellow citizens praying with us: be true peace in their hearts, and fulfillment of their vows.

Help of Christians, come to their aid.

Saint Mary Magdalene, Saint Stephen, Saint Ignatius of Antioch … the list goes on naming the great Saints throughout the ages.

You can download the Prayer Booklet (In PDF) and follow along during the Mass. You can watch live, and in video playback at the Vatican Player.Take these prayers to heart, and pray for our Pope daily. The prayers are listed here, because they are beautiful and with the hope you will take a moment and consider them.
 

At the Reception of the Pallium:

O God, who do not disappoint those who call upon you with upright and devout hearts, hear the fervent prayer of your Church and pour forth your blessing upon your servant Francis, our Pope, to whom, through our humble service, you have granted primacy in the apostolic office. May he be strengthened by the gift of your Holy Spirit and worthily exercise his high ministry in accordance with the eminent charism he has received. Through Christ our Lord. 

At the Reception of the Fisherman’s Ring:

PetrusMost Holy Father, may Christ, the Son of the living God, the shepherd and guardian of our souls, who built his Church upon rock, grant you the ring, the seal of Peter the Fisherman, who put his hope in him on the sea of Galilee, and to whom the Lord Jesus entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of heaven.

Today you succeed the Blessed Apostle Peter as the Bishop of this Church which presides over the unity of charity, as the Blessed Apostle Paul has taught. May the Spirit of charity, poured into our hearts, grant you the gentleness and strength to preserve, through your ministry, all those who believe in Christ in unity and fellowship.

And may almighty God, by his grace, watch over him in his ministry as the Successor of the Apostle Peter and Pastor of the Universal Church.

Lord, hear our prayer.

First Angelus of Pope Francis

On Sunday, Pope Francis took to the window of the Papal library to give a brief talk on the Sunday’s Scripture readings, and lead the faithful in the praying of the Angelus (he first appears in the video at the 5min mark):

His address was given in Italian and the below text was translated by the Vatican Information Service:

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! After our first meeting last Wednesday, today I again give my greetings to you all! And I am happy to do it on Sunday, the Lord’s Day! This is beautiful and important for us Christians: to meet on Sunday, to greet one another, to talk as we are doing now, in the square. This square that, thanks to the media, takes on worldly dimensions.
 
In this Fifth Sunday of Lent, the Gospel presents us with the story of the adulterous woman whom Jesus saves from being condemned to death. It captures Jesus’ attitude: we do not hear words of contempt, we do not hear words of condemnation, but only words of love, of mercy, that invite us to conversion. ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more!’ Well, brothers and sisters! God’s face is that of a merciful father who is always patient. Have you thought about God’s patience, the patience that He has with each of us? That is His mercy. He always has patience, is always patient with us, understanding us, awaiting us, never tiring of forgiving us if we know how to return to him with a contrite heart. ‘Great is the Lord’s mercy’, says the Psalm.
 
In these days, I have been able to read a book by a cardinal—Cardinal Kasper, a talented theologian, a good theologian—on mercy. And it did me such good, that book, but don’t think that I’m publicizing the books of my cardinals. That is not the case! But it did me such good, so much good… Cardinal Kasper said that hearing the word mercy changes everything. It is the best thing that we can hear: it changes the world. A bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just. We need to understand God’s mercy well, this merciful Father who has such patience… Think of the prophet Isaiah who asserts that even if our sins were scarlet red, God’s love would make them white as snow. That is beautiful, [this aspect of mercy]. I remember when, just after I was made bishop, in 1992, the Madonna of Fatima came to Buenos Aires and a large Mass for the sick was celebrated. I went to hear confessions at that Mass. Near the end of the Mass I got up because I had to administer a confirmation. An over 80-year-old woman came up to me, humbly, very humbly. I asked her: “Nonna,” [grandmother]—because that’s how we address our elderly—“Nonna, you want to confess?” “Yes,” she told me. “But if you haven’t sinned…” And she said to me: “We have all sinned…” “But perhaps the Lord will not forgive you…” “The Lord forgives everyone,” she told me, with certainly. “But how do you know that, ma’am?” “If the Lord didn’t forgive everyone, the world would not exist.” I wanted to ask her: “Tell me, have you studied at the Gregorian [Pontifical University]?”, because that is the wisdom that the Holy Spirit gives: the inner wisdom of God’s mercy. Let us not forget this word: God never tires of forgiving us, never! ‘So, Father, what is the problem?’ Well, the problem is that we get tired, we don’t want to, we get tired of asking forgiveness. Let us never get tired. Let us never get tired. He is the loving Father who always forgives, who has that heart of mercy for all of us. And let us also learn to be merciful with everyone. Let us call upon the intercession of the Madonna who has held in her arms the Mercy of God made human.
 

Pope Francis then led the faithful in the Angelus prayer in Latin, and thanked the pilgrims for their show of support and asked again for our prayers.

Let us continue to offer our prayers for Pope Francis as he settles into his new responsibilities. And let us also not forget to keep Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in our prayers, that his new service as a man of prayer will be a great service for the whole Church.

Habemus Papam!

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran stood at the Loggia looking out over the very large crowd at Saint Peter’s and declared to the world, “Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum! HABEMUS PAPAM!”

Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum Giorgium Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem Bergoglium, Qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum!

3-13-13-Pope-Francis_full_380With the whole world, I offer the Lord praise and thanksgiving for the gift of  our new Roman Pontiff, to guide us through the rough seas of our times.

Thank you, Holy Father Francis for accepting this cross, for the love of God, and for the salvation of the whole world. May our dear Lord be your strength as you pick up the Cross and follow after Him, with Saint Peter to help you.

Let us pray:

O Lord, we are the millions of believers, humbly kneeling at Thy feet and begging Thee to preserve, defend and save the Sovereign Pontiff for many years. He is the Father of the great fellowship of souls and our Father as well. On this day, as on every other day, he is praying for us also, and is offering unto Thee with holy fervor the sacred Victim of love and peace.

Wherefore, O Lord, turn Thyself toward us with eyes of pity; for we are now, as it were, forgetful of ourselves, and are praying above all for him. Do Thou unite our prayers with his and receive them into the bosom of Thine infinite mercy, as a sweet savor of active and fruitful charity, whereby the children are united in the Church to their Father. All that he asks of Thee this day, we too ask it of Thee in unison with him.

Whether he weeps or rejoices, whether he hopes or offers himself as a victim of charity for his people, we desire to be united with him; nay more, we desire that the cry of our hearts should be made one with his. Of Thy great mercy grant, O Lord, that not one of us may befar from his mind and his heart in the hour that he prays and offers unto Thee the Sacrifice of Thy blessed Son. At the moment when our venerable High Priest, holding in His hands the very Body of Jesus Christ, shall say to the people over the Chalice of benediction yhese words: “The peace of the Lord be with you always,” grant, O Lord, that Thy sweet peace may come down upon our hearts and upon all the nations with new and manifest power. Amen.

– Pope Leo XIII