Pope Francis will share a Holy Hour with the whole Church this Sunday at 5 pm, Rome time. Has your parish set aside a time for this, and do you plan to join in?
Pope Francis will share a Holy Hour with the whole Church this Sunday at 5 pm, Rome time. Has your parish set aside a time for this, and do you plan to join in?
Pope Emeritus Benedict will return to the Vatican today.
According to a CNA article, he will live in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, “where he will live a life of prayer and meditation. The monastery contains a chapel, a choir room, a library, a semi-basement, a terrace and a visiting room.
CNA/EWTN News).- Benedict XVI will return to the Vatican on May 2 by helicopter, coming back the same way he left just two months ago when he resigned as Pope.
The return of a former Pope is something that has no historical precedent, making everything a new one for the Vatican’s staff.
Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican’s press office, told CNA April 30 that “there will be someone there to welcome Benedict XVI” but he is not yet sure who that will be.
The former Pope will arrive by helicopter around 4:30 or 5:00 in the afternoon, and after a brief greeting will head to the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, where he will live a life of prayer and meditation. (Read the rest here.)
The month of May is the month of Our Mother. I’m going to write more about this as times goes forward.
This is a video of the Litany of Mary. It’s a responsive prayer in which one person calls out one of the many names by which Mary is known and others respond by saying “Pray for Us.”
I chose this version because it’s easy for someone who is unfamiliar with the prayer to follow. All you need to do is follow along and pray the responses that are in blue.
The Litany Blessed Virgin Mary is a study in the theology of Mary’s role in the salvation of humanity as well as a prayer. She truly is the Mother of God and all that this means.
Should pastors who preach against gay marriage be allowed to speak at the National Day of Prayer?
I have never attended the National Day of Prayer services here in Oklahoma. I can’t pray in public. When I have to stand for public prayer — as I often do — I don’t feel God. All I hear is the echo chamber of my own thoughts. A lot of times, if the matter is grave, I pray my own private prayer while the public prayer runs as background noise. The National Day of Prayer just isn’t my cup of tea.
I never gave the National Day of Prayer much thought until atheist cranks started trying to make it illegal. Then I realized that while I don’t attend because it’s not my personal religious flavor, I do think that it’s up to Congress, and not a smattering of nobody-can-do-anything-I-don’t-agree-with zealots whether such an event should happen.
So, if the topic is the National Day of Prayer, my reaction is going to be along the direction that those who want to have this day can have it rather than anything based on my personal plans to participate. I don’t intend to change my plans for this year’s National Day of Prayer. I won’t attend the event. However, if the cranks keep on cranking, I may change my mind and show up next year, not for prayer so much as for solidarity with my Christian brothers and sisters.
Once again, the war is being forced upon us.
This year’s National Day of Prayer is receiving flak from a new quarter. Rather than just the usual atheist crankery aimed at driving Christianity from the public square, we now have the LGBTQ crowd. They don’t want to end the event. They want to chose who leads it.
The Human Rights Campaign is seeking to stop participation by a pastor who has preached against gay marriage, or, as they call it, “equality.” They are asking that Pastor Greg Laurie not be allowed to lead the event.
So, the question arises: Should pastors who preach against gay marriage be allowed to speak at the National Day of Prayer?
As nutty as it sounds, the Human Rights Campaign, seems to say no.
Their reason is that he says things like this:
“Sin is sin,” he said during the Thursday night Bible study at Harvest Orange County in Southern California.
Laurie addressed the “hot-button” issues of homosexuality and marriage while preaching on the fifth commandment of honoring one’s father and mother.
“It doesn’t say honor your mother and mother as in two women married, or honor your father and your father, or honor your mother and her live-in lover,” he said.
“God established the family … He and He alone defines the family. Maybe that’s why Satan hates the family so much and has effectively declared war on it because God loves the family.
“Tamper with God’s formula, if you will, at our own peril.”
Like many pastors who have spoken on the issue of marriage, Laurie said the issue is not political, but rather moral and biblical. (Read the rest here.)
I do not understand why gay people seem to be so blind to the fact that the same rights which allow them to promote their cause belong to everyone.
Some leaders in gay rights organizations seem committed to a program of harassment and hazing of anyone who disagrees with them. At the same time, they appear to be equally committed to creating a world where those who refuse to participate in gay marriages will lose their jobs and have their businesses closed down.
Now it appears they want to make sure that those who speak against gay marriage are locked out of public events.
The question remains: Should pastors who preach against gay marriage be allowed to speak at the National Day of Prayer?
From C.P. US:
Homosexual activists are labeling evangelist Greg Laurie as the “anti-gay California pastor” and are asking government officials to rescind Laurie’s invitation to lead National Day of Prayer-related events in Washington, D.C. as the event’s honorary chairman.
The Human Rights Campaign, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) advocacy group in America, contends that Laurie has a history of speaking out against LGBT Americans. And OutServe-SLDN, an association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, is calling on the Pentagon to remove the pastor from the agenda, citing “his blatantly anti-LGBT message.”
“Pastor Laurie’s message is out of step with what the majority of people of faith across this country believe,” said Dr. Sharon Groves, director of HRC’s Religion & Faith Program.
“In greater numbers than ever before, people of faith are feeling compelled to speak up and organize for equality – because of their faith.” (Read the rest here.)
Pope Francis called for the release of two Syrian bishops who were kidnapped earlier this week.
Greek Orthodox Bishop Boulos Yaziji and Syriac Orthodox Bishop Yohanna Ibrahim were on a humanitarian mission to negotiate the release of people who had been kidnapped earlier. They were attacked and kidnapped. Their driver was killed.
Reports circulated later that the bishops had been released, but they proved to be untrue. The fate of the archbishops appears to be unknown.
From Daily News:
Pope calls for release of Syria bishops
Bishop Yaziji of the Greek Orthodox Church (L) and Ibrahim of the Syrian Orthodox Church were kidnapped in the northern province of Aleppo. AP photo
Pope Francis called yesterday for the release of two Syrian bishops kidnapped by gunmen near Aleppo after a Christian group appeared to retract its claim that the clerics had been freed.Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox Bishop Boulos Yaziji and Syriac OrthodoxBishop Yohanna Ibrahim were kidnapped on April 22 by armed men en route from the Turkish border. Speaking to an audience of around 100,000 at the Vatican, Francis said there were “contradictory reports” about the fate of the bishops and asked that “they be returned quickly to their communities.” On April 23, the “Oeuvre d’Orient” Christian association announced that the bishops had been released, but it backed away from the claim yesterday. “Yesterday evening we received information from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate questioning the release of the two bishops,” said Catherine Baumont, a spokeswoman for the group, which works to help Middle Eastern Christians. (Read more here.)
I have no words.
It’s really as simple as that. These tragedies that keep pounding our nation’s heart, one after the dreadful next, leave me speechless. It happens that way every time. I learn of it, and, confronted by such senseless evil, I have no words.
Fortunately, the Holy Father was able to find words for all of us. Pope Francis sent a telegram to Cardinal O’Malley of Boston in which he gave the only advice Christians need at these times — “resolve not to be overcome by evil.”
How do we “not be overcome by evil.” What good does a “resolve” of this kind do us?
The truth is we can’t fail to be overcome by evil if all we do is try to handle it under our on strength. Evil is stronger than we are. It can and will shatter us like crystal if we try to resist its destructive force by our own power, through our own understanding and our own will. Evil will break you every time if you fight it alone. It will leave you bitter, angry, hate-filled and self-righteous. Evil, of itself, has no redeeming qualities.
It is only when evil is filtered through the prism of the cross that it becomes light instead of darkness. Evil, suffering, senseless cruelty and death take on a new dimension when we view them through the light of eternity. In truth, there is no death. There is nothing so senseless that the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ does not give it meaning.
“Resolve not to be overcome by evil,” the Holy Father tells us and I would guess by “resolve” he means to give our fear, anger, hate, rage, and in many cases, our blinded numbness to the One Who has defeated evil once and for all. We are not chained to our grief. All we have to do is realize that and walk forward from it.
Pray for the people of Boston, and for this country. Pray and trust God. Know that the dead did not die and that Jesus is Lord always, and everywhere.
From Vatican Radio:
The full text of the telegram is below
His Eminence Cardinal Sean O’Malley
Archbishop of Boston
Deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of violence perpetrated last evening in Boston, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes me to assure you of his sympathy and closeness in prayer. In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response. At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State
Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday.
Divine Mercy Sunday is based on the visions of St Faustina and was instituted by Pope John Paul II.
There is a Divine Mercy Novena which you can pray in the week and a half before the feast. Lent, Holy Week, Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday all come during the busy time of the year for me, which is what I blame for the fact that I have forgotten to start this Novena in time every. single. year. It might be due to the fact that I am, as one commenter accused me of being, “a lukewarm Catholic.” But I kinda doubt it. I think I forget it because I’m an absent-minded Catholic with a lot on her plate.
My excuses don’t change the fact that Divine Mercy is an opportunity for a spiritual deep-cleaning that no one should miss. I’m not going to try to explain Divine Mercy Sunday because I couldn’t find anything I could link to that was simple, clear-cut and authoritative. I’ve read the Apostolic Decree establishing the feast, as well as clarifications from the Vatican to the United States Conference of Bishops, but I don’t feel comfortable laying down a 1-2-3 list for other people to follow.
Here is what I do feel I can say. The fount of Jesus’ mercy is opened to us in a more thorough way if we will got to confession (I’ve read that going to confession during Lent suffices) and then take communion on Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus promised through his saints that we would receive a total remission of our sins on this day, something akin to what we received at our baptism. The important things (to me at least) are a willingness to face our own sinfulness and seek forgiveness in confession and then to unite ourselves with the risen Christ in the eucharist.
I am not speaking for anyone else but myself here. I am certainly not quoting Church authorities, but I don’t think Christ gave us this great gift of Divine Mercy just to save ourselves. I think it is also a way of equipping us spiritually to go forth and proclaim the Good News by how we live, what we say and to whomever we meet.
We are, all of us, as God told Abraham, “blessed to be a blessing.”
So what does this have to do with post birth abortion, morning after pills for little girls, gay marriage, polyamory, sequesters, unending undeclared wars and us? For that matter, what do we have to do with anything on that list?
William Butler Yeats wrote in The Second Coming:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
The falcon cannot hear the falconer.
We are the falcon and Christ is the falconer. We live in a world whose center cannot hold. Our job — our seemingly impossible job — is to be light in a world that loves the darkness, craves death and hates the truth. We cannot be the light if we are ourselves part of the darkness. No matter how talented, sincere or dedicated we are, we can not be the light of Christ in a blackened world if we are still in love with our own sins. We delude ourselves if we think that.
Divine Mercy Sunday is a day when the sacrifice of Calvary and the reality of the Resurrection unite in one great gift of complete forgiveness for those who are willing to seek and accept it. It is a gift to us. It is also a way of blessing us, so that we can become a blessing.
In suffering, I accept.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio
We’ll get the chance to learn more about our new Holy Father next week, when Vatican Television Center releases a documentary about him, Francis: The Election of a Pope from the Ends of the Earth.
Probably because of the slanderous gossip that has been promoted in some circles, they’ve given us a spoiler. Cardinal Begoglio’s words on his election were: I am a great sinner confident in the patience and mercy of God. In suffering, I accept.
CNA/EWTN News has details:
Vatican City, Mar 27, 2013 / 10:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican Television Center will release the documentary “Francesco” next week, providing an intimate look at the historic events that led to the election of Pope Francis, including his first words after his election.
“I am a great sinner confident in the patience and mercy of God. In suffering, I accept,” said Monsignor Dario Edoardo Vigano, director of Vatican Television, as he recounted the moment when the Pope was asked if he accepted the results of the voting.
The film, titled “Francis: The Election of a Pope from the Ends of the Earth,” will be distributed throughout Italy as a supplement to the April 2 edition of the national newspaper Il Corriere della Sera.
It follows the historic events that have occurred at the Vatican, beginning with Benedict XVI renouncing the papacy on Feb. 11 and concluding with the March 23 meeting between Pope Francis and his predecessor at Castel Gandolfo.
The documentary reconstructs the pivotal moments of the period using interviews with four cardinals – Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica; Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals. (Read more here.)
Pope Francis will use prayers written by two Lebanese young people when he leads the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.
To highlight the suffering of Christians in the Middle East. The Stations will be held in the Coliseum, where early Christian martyrs suffered and died.
He will also wash the feet of youthful offenders who are incarcerated in a detention center on Holy Thursday.
I wonder how many prisoners the world over will see this and realize that Jesus is their only hope? How many Christians in the MIddle East will hear of these prayers and see that God has not abandoned them?
“Preach the Gospel,” St Francis said. “If necessary, use words.” His namesake, our Pope Francis, seems to understand what he meant and is willing to put it into action.
I love these things our Holy Father is doing. I think they impart the true message and meaning of this Holy Week, which is that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of all people, everywhere. Disenfranchised people all over this lost and bleeding world are hungry to hear the message of salvation. I think Pope Francis knows that.
I do not care about the things a small number of our Catholic community seem to think are so important. Let me say that again: I do not care. All I want, all I ask, of any pope, priest or deacon is that they preach Christ and Him crucified.
I think we have that in Pope Francis, and that we are blessed that the merciful Lord has given us this wonderful man at this critical time in the life of the Church.
A CNA/EWTN article outlining Pope Francis’ schedule this week says in part:
Vatican City, Mar 25, 2013 / 10:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis will celebrate a full schedule this Holy Week, including washing the feet of youth detainees and leading the Stations of the Cross at the Coliseum.
His six main events are: Chrism Mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica on Holy Thursday morning, followed by Mass at a youth detention center that evening, a Communion service and Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday evening and Easter Mass on Sunday morning.
Pope Francis will start the week by celebrating Chrism Mass on March 28 with cardinals and other clergy from Rome at Saint Peter’s Basilica. During the Mass, the Pope will consecrate the oils that will be used throughout the year for Baptism, Confirmation and Anointing of the Sick.
In keeping with his practice in Buenos Aires, he will celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at Casal del Marmo youth detention center, instead of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran.
When he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Bergoglio celebrated the Mass in a prison, a hospital or a hospice for the poor and marginalized people. This time around he will be with youth offenders and will wash their feet.
On Good Friday, March 29, he will preside over a Communion service and the Veneration of the Cross in St. Peter’s Basilica at 5:00 p.m. local time.
The pontiff will then go to the Coliseum to lead the Stations of the Cross at 9:15 p.m. The prayers for the 14 stations were written by two Lebanese youths with the help of Cardinal Bechara Rai.
The Vatican chose the young Arabs to highlight the suffering of Christians in the Middle East and the growing urgency of their situation.
After the procession around the Coliseum, Pope Francis will give a speech to people gathered there and impart his apostolic blessing.
On Holy Saturday, the Pope will celebrate the first of two Easter Masses when he holds the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica.
He will bless a fire in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica and enter in a procession with the Paschal candle singing the Easter Proclamation.
The Pope will then concelebrate Mass at 8:30 p.m. local time with the cardinals and impart the sacrament of Baptism, which is traditionally done in churches worldwide at this time of year.
On Sunday at 10:15 a.m. Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at St. Peter’s Square, which will finish with his “Urbi et Orbi” greeting and blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. (Read the rest here.)
I am going to be busier than anyone who has not been an elected official can imagine this next week.
I’m talking about long days that run into night of hearing bills counter-balanced with arguments, fights, anger, jostling, jangling over-stimulation that does not stop.
What that means to the readers of this blog is that I won’t be able to respond to you as quickly as some of you would like. I may very well get snappy in some of my infrequent replies, and more than likely I will make some really dunderheaded mistake.
So I apologize in advance.
And ask your forebearance.
In the meantime, let’s pray for the next pope. We need a great man to lead us through these contentious times.