Friday, June 29, 2007

Feast of Ss Peter and Paul


From Papa Ratzi Forum
Please pray for the Holy Father's intentions and his good health and long life.

Here is a translation of the Holy Father's homily at Mass today, during which he also imposed the Pallium on 46 Metropolitan Archbishops who were named in the past year.

Yesterday afternoon I went to the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls, where I celebrated the First Vespers of today's Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Next to the sepulcher of the Apostle of the Gentiles, I paid homage to his memory and announced the Pauline Year, which will take place from June 28, 2008, to June 29, 2009, to mark the bimillenial anniversary of his birth.

Today, by tradition, we are here at St. Peter's sepulcher. Here to receive the Pallium are the Metropolitan Archbishops named in the past year, whom I greet specially.

Also present is an eminent delegation sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I. I welcome them with heartfelt acknowledgment, thinking back to last November 30, when I was in Istanbul-Constantinople for the Feast of St. Andrew.

I greet the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of France, Emmanuel; the Metropolitan of Sassima, Gennadios; and Deacon Andreas. Welcome, dear brothers!

Every year, the visits we exchange reciprocally is a sign that our quest for full communion is an ever present goal of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Bishop of Rome.

Today's feast gives us the opportunity to meditate once more on the confession of Peter, a decisive moment in the journey of the disciples with Jesus. The synoptic Gospels say it took place near Caesarea Philippi (cfr Mt 16,13-20; Mk 8,27-30; Lk 9,18-22). John has preserved for us another significant confession of Peter, after the miracle of the loaves and Jesus's discourse at the synagogue in Capharnaum (cfr Jn 6,66-70).

Matthew, in the text which was read a short while ago, recalls that Jesus attributes to Peter the name Kephas, which means 'rock'. Jesus affirms he wishes to build his church 'on this rock', and in this context, confers on Peter the power of the keys (cfr Mt 16,17-19).

From these accounts it emerges clearly that Peter's confession is inseparable from the pastoral mission for Jesus's flock that was entrusted.

According to all the evangelists, Simon's confession comes at a decisive moment in the life of Jesus, when, after preaching in Galilee, he heads resolutely towards Jerusalem to bring his saving mission to fulfillment, through his death on the Cross and the Resurrection.

The disciples are involved in this decision: Jesus invites them to make a choice which will distinguish them from the crowd, to become the community of believers in him, his 'family,' the start of the Church.

In fact, there are two ways of 'seeing' and 'knowing' Christ: one, that of the crowd's, is more superficial; the other - that of the disciples - is more penetrating and authentic.

With the double question, "Who do people say I am? - Who do you think I am?", Jesus invites the disciples to be aware of this
difference in perspective.

The people thought Jesus was a prophet. That is not false, but it is not enough. One has to go in depth, to recognize the singularity of the person of Jesus of Nazareth, his 'newness.' Even today, it is so: many approach Jesus, so to speak, from the outside.

Great scholars acknowledge his spiritual and moral stature and his influence on the history of mankind, comparing him to Buddha, Confucius, Socrates and other wise and great historic personalities. But they do not arrive at acknowledging his uniqueness.

One recalls what Jesus told Phillip at the Last Supper: "I have been with you so long and still you do not know me, Phillip?" (Jn 14,9).

Jesus is often considered as one of the great religious founders, from whom one can take something in order to make up one's own belief. Just as then, even today, 'people' have different opinions about Jesus. And just as then, Jesus also asks us, his disciples today: "And you, who do you think that I am?"

We want Peter's answer to be ours. According to the Gospel of Mark, he said, "You are the Christ" (8,29); in Luke, the statement is "The Christ of God" (9,20); in Matthew, "You are the Christ, Son of the living God" (16,16); finally, in John, "You are the Holy One from God" (6.69). They are all valid responses, even for us.

Let us dwell in particular on Matthew's text from today's liturgy. According to some scholars, the formulation presumes a post-Easter context, and is linked directly to an apparition of the resurrected Jesus to Peter - an apparition analogous to what Paul saw on the road to Damascus.

Actually, the mission conferred by the Lord on Peter is rooted in the personal relationship that the historic Jesus had with the fisherman Simon, from his very first meeting with him, when he tells him, "You are will be called Kephas (which means Peter)" (Jn 1,42). This is emphasized by the evangelist John, a fisherman himself, who, with his brother James, was an associate of the brothers Simon and Andrew.

The Jesus who, after the Resurrection, summoned Saul of Tarsus is the same who - still immersed in history - after his Baptism on the Jordan, approached the four fisherman brothers, at that time disciples of the Baptist (cfr Jn 1,35-42). He sought them out on the banks of the Lake of Galilee, and called them to follow him in order to be 'fishers of men' (cfr Mk 1, 16-20).

Later, he entrusted a particular mission to Peter, recognizing in him a special gift of faith from the heavenly Father. All this obviously was later illumined by the Easter experience, but remains always firmly anchored in the historical events that preceded Easter.

The parallelism between Peter and Paul is suggestive, but it cannot diminish the significance of Simon's historic journey with his Lord and Master, who from the beginning attributed to him the characteristic of the 'rock' on which he would build his new community, the Church.

In the synoptic gospels, Peter's confession is always followed by Jesus's announcement of his coming Passion. An announcement which Peter protests, because he has not yet understood. And yet it was a fundamental element which, therefore, Jesus insistently affirmed.

In fact, the titles attributed to him by Peter - you are 'the Christ', 'the Christ of God', 'the son of the living God'- can be understood authentically only in the light of the mystery of his death and resurrection.

The inverse is also true: the event of the Cross reveals its full sense only if 'this man' who suffered and who died on the Cross, was 'truly the son of God', to use the words of the centurion in front of the Cross (cfr Mk 15.39).

These texts say clearly that the entirety of Christian faith is in Peter's confession, illuminated by the teaching of Jesus about his 'way' to glory, that is, on his absolutely singular being as the Messiah and Son of God.

A narrow 'way', 'scandalous' for the disciples of every age, who inevitably think as human beings do, not as God does (cfr Mt 16,23). Even today, as in Jesus's time, it is not enough to have the right confession of faith. It is always necessary to learn anew from the Lord how he is the Savior and the way along which we should follow him.

In fact, we should acknowledge that even for the believer, the Cross is always difficult to accept. Instinct makes us avoid it, and the tempter leads us to believe that it would be wiser to concern ourselves with saving our own selves rather than lose one's own life because of faithfulness in love.

What was difficult to accept for the men Jesus was addressing? What is still difficult to accept even for many men today? It is difficult to accept that he claimed to be not just a prophet but the Son of God and claimed for himself the authority of God.

Listening to him preach, watching him cure the sick, evangelize the humble and the poor, forgive sinners, the disciples slowly came to understand that he was the Messiah in the highest sense of the term - which means to say, not just a man sent by God, but God himself who had become man.

Clearly, all this was greatly beyond them, surpassing their capacity to understand. They could express their faith with the titles from the Jewish tradition - 'Christ', 'Son of God', 'Lord'. But in order to keep to the truth, those titles needed to be somehow rediscovered in their most profound truth.

Jesus himself with his life revealed their full sense, always surprising, and outrightly paradoxical with regard to then current ideas. So the faith of the disciples had to adapt progressively. It presents itself to us like a pilgrimage which originates in the experience of the historical Jesus, finds its basis in the Paschal mystery, but must still advance with the action of the Holy Spirit.

And that has also been how it is with the faith of the Church in the course of history, as it is also with the faith we have, we Christians today. Resting firmly on the 'rock' of Peter, it is a pilgrimage towards that truth which the Fisherman from Galilee professed with passionate conviction: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16,16).

In Peter's profession of faith, dear brothers and sisters, we can feel ourselves - and be - all together just one, despite the divisions which have lacerated the unity of the Church in the course of centuries and whose consequences last to this day.

In the name of Saints Peter and Paul, let us renew today, together with our brothers from Constantinople - whom I thank again for their presence at this celebration - the commitment to pursue to the very end Christ's desire that we should be fully united.

With the concelebrating Archbishops, let us welcome the gift and the responsibility of communion between the See of Peter and the Metropolitan Churches entrusted to their pastoral care.

May the Holy Mother of God guide and accompany us with her intercession. May her inexhaustible faith, which sustained the faith of Peter and the other Apostles, continue to sustain that of all Christian generations. Queen of the Apostles, pray for us!
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On The Motu Propio


The Motu Propio is to be published on July 7. Please pray for the successful reception of this promulgation.

Father Zuhlsdorf writes about the Motu Propio...

We won’t know the details of the Motu Proprio until it is promulgated, but we must consider several points. When a major document comes from the pen of a Pope, I always look at what he is saying both to the Church (ad intra) and to the world (ad extra). By this Motu Proprio Pope Benedict will establish the older form of Mass as an extraordinary rite of the Latin Church, the Novus Ordo being the ordinary rite. It will clarify that any priest can celebrate Holy Mass with the 1962 Missale Romanum in private.

Some traditionalists claimed that no priest needs permission, but this remained a disputed question. It will also more than likely lay down that when a certain number of the faithful make a request, a priest, probably a pastor of a parish, will be able to celebrate the older Mass publicly without specific permission of the local bishop. It is rumored that perhaps thirty people will be necessary for this. The Motu Proprio will certainly protect the authority of diocesan bishops and religious superiors to oversee their priests and liturgies.

I heard once that if a bishop wanted to block public celebrations in some place or by some priest the Motu Proprio might require him to present reasons to the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”. That is speculation. Soon we will know for sure.

The Motu Proprio will more than likely spell out the role of the Pontifical Commission and what will happen if there are disputes between priests and bishops. What will the results of this be for the Church herself (the ad intra dimension)?

First, Pope Benedict is working to re-root celebrations of Holy Mass in the tradition whence it emerged. He has written that it was unreasonable that a rite of Mass so important to the Catholic Church for so long should suddenly be virtually forbidden. He wrote in the past about how liturgy grows slowly and organically, from rites and cultures enriching each other.

The Novus Ordo, stitched together by experts on table tops, constituted a break in this process. Derestriction of the older form of Mass will help to heal people hurt by the loss of the older rite. Widespread celebrations will have an impact on the way the Novus Ordo is celebrated… and vice versa! It cannot be otherwise. This has already been happening. The derestriction might help to heal the rift between the See of Peter and the SSPX, though there are also theological issues to work through (e.g., Vatican II’s document on religious liberty).

Gerald Augustinus translates a German commentary on the MP:

Pope Benedict does not want to undo the liturgical reforms after the Second Vatican Council. He also does not want to kick out so-called people's altars and re-install communion rails. With the Motu proprio he simply wants to free a Rite which should not have been abolished with the stroke of a pen.

As a cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger continually advocated the return of the Latin language to the Mass, that Gregorian Chant be sung and that the congregation does not stand around the altar fixated on the priest but rather face, together with the priest, towards East, looking towards God. Above all he wants that this liturgy, that was celebrated for centuries, expressing the holiest that the Church possesses, the Eucharistic sacrifice, lives again and continues to develop, accompanying the life of the faithful through time.

The greates point of criticism of the change of the Missals almost forty years ago for Pope Benedict: That an organically grown Rite was struck like some paragraphs in a law and that it was replaced by a new one that, although it included elements of the old one, was a construct, a fabrication that came in force by an act of ecclesial legislation.

The old Rite was frozen. Now it is supposed to thaw. The return of the Tridentine Mass into the life of the Church is to him an enrichment, not a curtailment. It is a
liberalization in the best meaning of the word, also with the goal to let new things grow.

The Pope explicitly states the unity of the Roman Rite. But, this rite can from now
on be celebrated in ordinary and in extraordinary form, whereas both are supposed to inspire one another.

Fr. Z is asking us to vote for the wider use of Latin Mass. Go vote now!

Pope's Letter To Chinese Due Saturday


Please pray for the success of the Holy Father's letter to the Chinese which is to be released on Saturday.

HT to Gerald.

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI's eagerly awaited letter to Roman Catholics in China will be released on Saturday, the Vatican said, the pontiff's latest effort to reach out to Beijing and bring all of China's faithful into the Vatican's fold.

A Vatican statement issued Friday said the pope's letter — addressed to bishops, priests and lay faithful in China — would be released at noon Saturday (1000 GMT).

China forced its Roman Catholics to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, shortly after the officially atheist Communist Party took power. Worship is allowed only in the government-controlled churches, which recognize the pope as a spiritual leader but appoint their own priests and bishops.

Millions of Chinese, however, belong to unofficial congregations loyal to Rome.

Benedict has been reaching out to Beijing in an effort to restore diplomatic ties and unite China's estimated 12 million faithful. The government and the Vatican have been at loggerheads over the Vatican's insistence on naming bishops.

Read more here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Images of Assisi Visit


Images from here.

Pope Benedict celebrating mass during his apostolic trip to Assisi on June 17, 2007.
The Holy Father lighting the Lamp of Peace
Praying in front of the tomb of St. Francis
Blessing the nuns
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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nature of Fatherhood


HT to Causa Nostrae Laetitiae

The following 10 distinctions shed light on the critical yet subtle, nature of fatherhood. Whereas motherhood is unmistakable because of the power of nature, fatherhood requires no small degree of sophisticated understanding.

Fatherhood means being:

1. A leader without being a frontrunner.

Our prevailing notion of leader comes from the worlds of sports and from politics. In this sense, in accordance with the “leader board” in golf, the leader is the one who is ahead of the rest of the field. Or he is the one who is leading in the political polls by outpacing his rivals.
But a father is not a leader in this way. He does not try to remove himself from his family. Nor does he regard the members of his family as rivals. On the contrary, he leads in a manner that fulfills each member. His leadership is inseparable from those he leads. What he leads and “fathers” into being is the good of those whom he loves.
In other words, fatherhood requires that a father leads by being there, rather than being “ahead of the pack.”

2. A visionary without being arrogant.

Every home must have a hearth and a horizon. The father is a visionary in the sense that he has an eye on the future. He has a keen sense of the importance of time. But he has this without presumption or arrogance. He is providential in his fathering. He knows instinctively that his children will grow up and lead independent lives. He provides for them a future vision of themselves.

3. A servant without being servile.

The expression servus servorum Dei (servant of the servants of God) adopted by John Paul II, comes from Pope Gregory the Great. Paradoxically, this servant of the servants of God earned the appellation “Great.” He who humbles himself shall be exalted. The father serves all the members of his family without being in any sense inferior. One might say, in this respect, that a father is like a tennis player: When they serve, they both enjoy an advantage.

4. An authority without being authoritarian.

The father, like God, shares in the authorship of life. He is an authority and therefore someone to learn from and be guided by. But his authority does not restrict the liberty of others. In fact, fatherly authority is to cultivate and enhance liberty.
St. Thomas Aquinas wisely pointed out that “the respect that one has for the rule flows naturally from the respect one has for the person who gave it” (Ex reverentia praecipientis procedere debet reverentia praecepti). A person best understands fatherhood by knowing someone who is a good father. One must begin with the real experience and not the inadequate abstraction.

5. A lover without being sentimental.

The love of a father is strong and unwavering. Love is not bound by a feeling, and hence prone to sentimentality. It is strengthened by principles that always focus on the good of others. Love means doing what is in the best interest of others. Sentimentality means always being nice because one is fearful of opposition.

6. A supporter without being subordinate.

A father is supportive. He holds people up, keeps them going when they are inclined to be discouraged. His encouraging role does not imply subordination, but reliability and trustworthiness from someone who is strong. He is not supportive in the Hollywood sense of being a “supporting actor.” His supportive role is played out as the leading man.

7. A disciplinarian without being punitive.

A good father knows the value of rules and the consequences of disregarding them. He wants his children to be strong in virtue. Therefore, he knows the importance of discipline, restraint and self-possession. He is not punitive, nor is he overbearing. He makes it clear to his children that there is no true freedom without discipline, that discipleship re--quires training. He is wary of punishment as such, since it can strike fear in the heart of a child.

8. Merciful without being spineless.

Mercy must be grounded in justice. Otherwise it is dissipation and weakness. In fact, it is unjust. A father, because he recognizes the uncompromisable importance of justice is anything but spineless. He is merciful, but his mercy perfects his justice. Mercy without justice, is mere capitulation to the desires of others. Justice without mercy is cold legalism.

9. Humble without being self-deprecating.

Humility is based on the honest recognition of who one is. It takes into account one’s limitations and weaknesses. The humble father, when he encounters difficulties, has enough humility to ask for help, even at times from his own children. Yet, he never gets down on himself. He knows that remaining self-deprecating at a time of crisis is utterly futile.

10. Courageous without being foolhardy.

Courage is not fearlessness, but the ability to rise above fear so that one can do what needs to be done in a time of danger or difficulty. A father does not fall apart when he begins to feel the pressure. Foolhardiness is not courage but an unfocused and unhelpful recklessness. Moreover, courage, as its etymology suggests, requires heart. The father, above all, is a man of heart.
When we consider the meaning of fatherhood, we should do so with humility, gratitude, and love. But we should also do it with refined accuracy. Fatherhood may be a paradox. But the poles of the paradox can be brought into balance with a little bit of wisdom and effort. Or, as some wise person said, “A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.”

“Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us by letting us be called God’s children and that is what we are” (1 John 3:1). “We are children of God by adoption. By the gift of the Holy Spirit we are able to cry ‘Abba, Father’” (Galations 4:6).

Donald DeMarco is adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut

From here

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary


In honor of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 15 and Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 16:

ACT OF CONSECRATION of the family to the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary

Eternal Father, your Divine Son became man to save us. We now ask you to send your Holy Spirit to consecrate this family to His Sacred Heart.

Jesus, Lord and King, as your Heart was the centre of the Holy Family, make it also the centre of this family to bless it and make it holy, that we may live united to you and to one another in truth and love.

From each member of this family, may your love radiate outwards to every human being on earth.

Mary, ever Virgin, Mother of Jesus, gifted to us by your Son in obedience to God the Father, we invite you into our hearts and home as our Queen and Mother. We consecrate ourselves to your Immaculate Heart, this most pure heart which gave human life to Divinity.

St. Joseph, humble head of the Holy Family, instill in us your love for Jesus and Mary; guide us gently to our eternal home to be united forever with the Holy Trinity.


Devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary Its Origin and History


In Sacred Scripture

The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are mentioned explicitly only briefly
in the text of the New Testament. Nevertheless the many
references to the love and compassion of Jesus and Mary, as well
as implied references to their Hearts, provide a vivid revelation
of the Two Hearts. It is remarkable that the few explicit
references all bear upon the work of redemption. Some of the more
important references are:

Matthew 11:25

"Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart."

This passage refers to Our Lord's invitation to imitate
the dispositions and virtues of His own human Heart,
reflecting upon His ineffable humility in becoming man
and being born in a stable; His remarkable patience in
living a hidden, obscure life for 30 years; His
unsurpassed charity in preaching, teaching, working
miracles, healing the bodies and souls of believers and
unbelievers; His perfect obedience to the Father in
enduring without complaint the bitter agony and infamy
of death on the Cross.

Luke 2:19

"Mary kept in mind all these things, pondering them in
Her Heart."

This passage refers to the visit of the shepherds to
the Child Jesus in His crib at Bethlehem. It refers
directly to what they reported regarding the heavenly
host of angels that came to announce the birth of the
Messiah, and how all marveled at what the shepherds had

Luke 2:51b:

"His Mother kept all these things carefully in Her

This passage refers to the events surrounding the loss
of Jesus for three days during a visit to Jerusalem,
and how Mary and Joseph found Him teaching the doctors
of the Mosaic Law in the Temple, to the amazement of
all who heard Him.

Luke 2:35:

"Your own soul a sword shall pierce, that the thoughts
of many hearts may be revealed."

This passage is spoken by the old man Simeon on the
occasion of Mary bringing Jesus to the Temple in
Jerusalem to offer Him to God according to the custom
of the Mosaic Law. In it Simeon prophesies that Mary
will share in the salvific sufferings of Her Son.

John 7:38b:

"From His Heart will flow rivers of living water."

This reading is based on the most reliable texts of the
Gospel of St. John. It refers directly to the Heart of
the Messiah, and recalls the prophesies of Isaiah
(Isaiah 12:3) And St. John goes on to explain in verse
39, that Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit, which
He Himself will give, from His Heart, to those who
believe in Him. The reading which is found in most
translations-referring to the hearts of believers-is a
variant believed to have its source in a textual
mistake by Origen, a famous theologian who complied a
multi-lingual edition of the Bible in the Third
Century, A. D..

John 19:34:

"One of the soldiers opened His side with a lance, and
immediately there came out blood and water."

This passage refers to the piercing of Christ's Heart
as He hung in death upon the Cross. The blood and water
have always been seen by Roman Catholics to mystically
symbolize and effect the origin and the Sacraments of
the Catholic Church. It was at the piercing of Christ's
Heart in death that Mary's Heart was pierced in spirit,
thus fulfilling Luke 2:35 (cf. above), and exemplifying
the profound mystical union of the Heart of Jesus with
the Heart of Mary in the work of our redemption. This
union began when by the power of the Holy Spirit Mary
conceived the Heart of Jesus beneath Her own Heart. It
is consummated when at one and the same time these Two
Hearts are immolated for our salvation. And now in
heaven it continues forever as the sole source of
mankind's salvation and sanctification.

Each of these passages are very significant, for they clearly
indicate that Admirable Alliance of Hearts, which worked the
salvation of the whole world: the Heart of Jesus, which suffered
to the point of being pierced so as to pour forth upon all who
believe in Him, the grace of the Holy Spirit, which makes them
partakers of the Holy Eucharist in the communion of fellowship in
the Catholic Church; and the Heart of Mary, always focused on Her
Divine Son, which was predestined by God to suffer with Him for
the salvation of mankind.

In the Fathers of the Church

"The holy Fathers, true witnesses of the divinely revealed
doctrine, wonderfully understood what St. Paul the Apostle had
quite clearly declared; namely; that the mystery of love was, as
it were, both the foundation and the culmination of the
Incarnation and Redemption. For frequently and clearly we can
read in their writings that Jesus Christ took a perfect human
nature and our weak and perishable human body with the object of
providing for our eternal salvation, and of revealing to us in
the clearest possible manner that His infinite love for us could
express itself in human terms. (from Hauretis Aquas by Venerable
Pope Pius XII, n. 44)

Likewise these same Fathers of the Church often meditated and
praised the singular love and faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
who so generously offered Herself to God to fulfill His plans for
our redemption, and who so steadfastly persevered with Her Son
Jesus Christ in His ignominious crucifixion and death.

In both these approaches the Fathers of the Church laid the
foundation for true devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and
Mary by clearly indicating the union of charity which bound Them
both in the work of redemption.

In the Writings of the Saints

Chief among the saints of the Catholic Church who fostered
devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary are St.
Bonaventure and St. John Eudes.

St. Bonaventure, a Cardinal and Doctor of the Roman Catholic
Church, was a learned theologian and bishop of the Franciscan
Order in the 13th Century. He wrote extensive theological works and
is considered by the Papal Magisterium to be one of the two
primary Doctors of the Catholic Church since the patristic era.
St. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican priest and contemporary of St.
Bonaventure, is the other.

St. Bonaventure's writings on the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the
Immaculate Heart of Mary are scatter throughout all his works,
but a passage on the Sacred Heart that is particularly poignant
is found in his devotional work The Mystical Vine, a description
of the Passion of Jesus Christ. This passage is found in the
Liturgy of the Hours for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart in

St. John Eudes (1601-1680), however, is the founder of the modern
public devotion to the Two Hearts. It was his mission to organize
the scriptural, theological, patristic, and liturgical sources
relating to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and to popularize
them with the approbation of the Church. His chief writings on
this topic were: The Admirable Childhood of the Most Holy Mother
of God, The Admirable Heart of the Mother of God, the Life and
Kingdom of Jesus, The Sacred Heart of Jesus, The Admirable Heart
of Mary. Included among his works was a mass and office for the
Sacred Heart of Jesus, and one for the Admirable Heart of Mary.
He was the first to dedicate churches in the world to the Sacred
Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

St. Albert the Great, St. Gertrude, St. Catherine of Siena, Bl.
Henry of Suso, St. Peter Canisius, and St. Francis of Sales also
did much to propagate and promote devotion to the Sacred Heart of
Jesus; and Eckbert of Schonau, who wrote the first extant prayer
to the Heart of Mary, St. Mechtild of Hackeborn, St. Gertrude the
Great, St. Bernard, St. Herman Joseph, St. Bridget of Sweden, St.
Bernadine of Siena and St. Francis de Sales also did much to
promote devotion to the Heart of Mary.

In the Nineteenth Century the Abbe Desgenettes consecrated his
parish church, the Notre Dame des Victoires, in Paris, to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary and founded the Archconfraternity in Her
honor. Later Father William Chaminade, founder of the Society of
Mary, as well as St. Anthony Mary Claret, the founder of the
Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, did much to promote
devotion to Mary's Heart.

In the Liturgy

Even before the beginning of private revelations of the Sacred
Hearts of Jesus and Mary in modern times, St. John Eudes had
obtained permission from the ecclesiastical authorities to
celebrate the Feast of the Heart of Mary liturgically. This was
done for the first time at Autun, France, on May 8, 1648 A. D..
In 1799 Pope Pius VI permitted religious societies in the
archdiocese of Palermo, Sicily, to celebrate a similar feast. In
1805 Pope Pius VII extended this permission to all religious
societies and dioceses throughout the world. On July 21, 1855,
the Sacred Congregation of Rites approved for the universal Roman
Catholic Church an Office and Mass in honor of the Most Pure
Heart of Mary. It was Venerable Pope Pius XII who had the joy to
institute the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the
universal Church in 1945 A.D..

St. John Eudes also obtained permission to honor the Sacred
Heart of Jesus in the liturgy. This was done for the first time
at the Grand Seminary of Rennes, France, on August 31, 1670 A.
D.. This liturgical commemoration of the love of the Redeemer
began just two years or so before Our Lord appeared to St.
Margaret Mary Alaqoque, asking her to reveal His Heart to the
world. These celebrations thus served Divine Providence, for they
drew down upon the world a new era of Mercy and Grace. Spurred on
the Revelations to St. Margaret the liturgical celebration of the
Sacred Heart gradually grew in popularity throughout Europe. At
the request of innumerable petitions, in particular that of the
entire Polish hierarchy, Pope Clement XIII requested the Sacred
Congregation of Rites to examine the devotion. On January 25,
1765 A. D., devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was formally
approved. Venerable Pope Pius IX extended the Feast of the Sacred
Heart of Jesus to the entire Catholic Church in 1858 A. D.. And
Pope Leo XIII approved the litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Consecration to the Two Hearts in Papal Teaching

In 1864 A. D. Cardinal Gousset of Rhiems, supported by Archbishop
de la Tour-d'Auvergen of Bourges, Bishop Mermillod and other
bishops of France and Spain petitioned Venerable Pope Pius IX to
consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The
Archbishop of Bourges renewed this petition at Vatican I. During
the council Father Pere Henri Ramiere, S.J., the great promoter
of the Apostleship of Prayer, presented a request to consecrate
the whole Church to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This petition was
supported by 272 Bishops, but was not acted upon due to the
outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war. In 1874 A. D. Cardinal
Desprez, the archbishop of Toulouse, France, wrote to all the
bishops of the world to promote once again the petition of Father
Ramiere. By April of 1875 A. D., Father Ramiere was able to
present this petition to Venerable Pope Pius IX along with the
names of 534 Bishops and 23 superiors general of Religious
institutes. In response to this petition, the pope had the Sacred
Congregation of Rites compose and publish an "Act of Consecration
to the Sacred Heart of Jesus" and he himself invited all the
faithful to consecrate themselves on the 200th anniversary of Our
Lord's apparition to St. Margaret, June 16, 1875 A. D..

In 1891 A. D. the archbishops of Milan and Turin led a movement
to consecrate the dioceses of Italy to the Most Holy Heart of
Mary. In September, 1898 A. D., the Marian Congress of Turin, at
the promptings of Pope Leo XIII, unanimously approved to petition
Pope Leo XIII to this effect. On December 12, 1989 the Sacred
Congregation of Rites approved a formula for diocesan
consecration to the Heart of Mary.

After the letters of Mother Mary of the Divine Heart (1863-1899)
requesting, in the name of Christ Himself, that Pope Leo XIII to
consecrate the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Holy
Father commissions a group of theologians to examine the petition
on the basis of revelation and sacred tradition. This
investigation was positive. And so in the encyclical letter Annum
Sacrum (May 25, 1899 A. D.) this same pope decreed that the
consecration of the entire human race to the Sacred Heart of
Jesus should take place on June 11, 1899 A. D.. In this
encyclical letter the Pope attached Later Pope Leo XIII
encouraged the entire Roman Catholic episcopate to promote the
devotion of the Nine First Fridays and he established June as the
Month of the Sacred Heart. Pope St. Pius X decreed that the
consecration of the human race, performed by Pope Leo XIII be
renewed each year. Pope Pius XI in his encyclical letter
Miserentissimus (May 8, 1928 A. D.) reaffirmed the importance of
consecration and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Finally
Venerable Pope Pius XII, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary
of Pope Pius IX's institution of the Feast, instructed the entire
Catholic Church at length on the devotion to the Sacred Heart in
his encyclical letter Haurietis aquas (May 15, 1956 A. D.)

It was Venerable Pope Pius XII who first consecrated the Church
and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 31 and
again, solemnly on December 8, 1942 A. D.. In recent times, moved
by millions of petitions and by the occasion of the attempted
assassination of his own person on the Feast of Our Lady of
Fatima, May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II consecrated the world and
every nation to the Immaculate Heart in 1982, and repeated this
act in union with all the Catholic Bishops again in 1983 A.D.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Feast of St. Anthony of Padua


Happy Feast of St. Anthony of Padua!

Among the many miracles St. Anthony wrought in the conversion of heretics; the three most noted recorded by his biographers are the following:

The first is that of a horse, which, kept fasting for three days, refused the oats placed before him, till he had knelt down and adored the Blessed Sacrament, which St. Anthony held in his hands. Legendary narratives of the fourteenth century say this miracle took place at Toulouse, at Wadding, at Bruges; the real place, however, was Rimini.

The second most important miracle is that of the poisoned food offered him by some Italian heretic, which he rendered innoxious by the sign of the cross.

The third miracle worthy of mention is that of the famous sermon to the fishes on the bank of the river Brenta in the neighbourhood of Padua; not at Padua, as is generally supposed.

(From New Advent)


Dear St. Anthony, glorious servant and blessed friend of God!
I salute thee in the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Whom, in the form of a sweet little child,
thou hadst the privilege of holding in thy arms.
I rejoice in thy joy; I glory in thy honour;
I offer thee my heartfelt congratulations upon the
unspeakable bliss of heaven which is now thy reward,
and I thank God with all my heart for the graces
and privileges with which He has distinguished thee above so many other saints.
O St. Anthony, I consecrate myself to thee.
I choose thee to be my patron, my advocate,
my powerful intercessor at the court of Heaven,
and I am resolved to honour thee always.
I beseech thee, therefore, receive me as thy client, protect me,
defend me, help me in all the necessities of life,
and assist me in the hour of my death, that my soul may be saved,
and that with thee I may glorify God forever. Amen.

The Lord bless thee and keep thee.
The Lord show His face to thee and have mercy on thee.
The Lord turn His countenance to thee and give thee peace.The Lord bless thee.
(Blessing of St. Anthony.)

From here

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ninth Day: Novena to St. Anthony of Padua


O wonderful St. Anthony, glorious on account of the fame of your miracles, and through the condescension of Jesus in coming in the form of a little child to rest in your arms, obtain for me of His bounty the grace which I ardently desire from the depths of my heart . (State your intention)
You who were so compassionate toward miserable sinners, regard not the unworthiness of those who pray to you, but the glory of God that it may once again be magnified by the granting of the particular request (State your intention) which I now ask for with persevering earnestness. Amen
Pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father, in honor of Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony, pray for us!

Saint Anthony, servant of Mary, glory of the Church, pray for our Holy Father, our bishops, our priests, our Religious Orders, that, through their pious zeal and apostolic labors, all may be united in faith and give greater glory to God. St. Anthony, helper of all who invoke you, pray for me and intercede for me before the throne of Almighty God that I be granted the favor I so earnestly see in this novena (State your intention).

One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father, in honor of Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony, pray for us!


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Angelus Message on Feast of Corpus Christi


Dear brothers and sisters!

Today's Solemnity of Corpus Domini, which in the Vatican and some other nations was already celebrated last Thursday, invites us to contemplate the supreme Mystery of our faith: the Most Blessed Sacrament, real presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the altar.

Every time that the priest renews the Eucharistic sacrifice, he repeats at Consecration: "This is my body...this is my Blood." He says it by lending his voice, his hands and his heart to Christ, who has wanted to stay with us and be the beating heart of the Church. But even after the celebration of the divine mysteries, the Lord Jesus remains living in the tabernacle - that is why we worship him specially in Eucharistic adoration, as I wished to recall in the recent post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis(cfr nn. 66-69). There is an intrinsic link between celebration and adoration. The Holy Mass is in itself the greatest act of adoration in the Church: "No one eats of this flesh," St. Augustine wrote, "unless he has adored it first"(Enarr. in Ps. 98,9: CCL XXXIX, 1385).

Adoration outside the Holy Mass prolongs and intensifies what has happened in the liturgical celebration and makes possible a true and profound welcome to Christ. Today therefore, in all the Christian communities, there will be a Eucharistic procession, a singular form of public adoration of the Eucharist, which is enriched by beautiful traditional manifestations of popular devotion. I wish to take the occasion of today's solemnity to recommend sincerely to the pastors and to all the faithful the practice of Eucharistic adoration.

I express my appreciation to the Institutes of Consecrated Life, as well as to the associations and confraternities which are specially dedicated to the practice: they offer to all a reminder of the centrality of Christ in our personal and ecclesial life. I am very glad to see that many young people are discovering the beauty of adoration, be it personal or communal.

I invite the priests to encourage youth groups in this respect, but also to see that the forms of community adoration are always appropriate and dignified, with adequate spaces of silence and of listening to the Word of God. In today's life, which is often noisy and disorganized, it is more than ever important to recover the capacity for interior silence and meditation: Eucharistic adoration allows doing this not only around one's "I" but in company with that "You" full of love who is Jesus Christ, "the God close to us."

May the Virgin Mary, lady of the Eucharist, introduce us to the secret of true adoration. Her heart, humble and simple, was always absorbed in the mystery of Jesus, in which she worshipped the presence of God and His redeeming love. Through her intercession, may faith in the Eucharistic mystery, the joy of participating in the Holy Mass, especially on Sundays, and the impulse to bear witness to Christ's immense charity grow in all the Church.

After the Angelus, he said some special words in behalf of people who have been kidnapped: I frequently receive, unfortunately, requests in behalf of persons, among them Catholic priests, who are held in captivity for different reasons in various parts of the world. I have them all in my heart and in my prayers, and I think today, among other cases, of those held hostage in Colombia. I address my heartfelt appeal to the authors of these execrable acts so that they may become aware of the harm that they do and that they may return those they now hold captive to their loved ones as soon as possible. I entrust the victims to the maternal protection of the Most Blessed Mary, mother of all men.

In English, he said: I greet the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims who have gathered here for the Angelus. On this day, many are celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi, the feast of the Most Holy Eucharist. We give thanks to God for the great gift of the Eucharist, the sacred banquet in which we receive Christ. We remember his sufferings, our minds are filled with his grace and we receive a pledge of the glory that is to be ours. I pray that all of you may grow in love for the Lord through the great sacrament of his Body and Blood. May God bless you all.

Papa Ratzi Forum

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sollemnitas Sanctissimi Corporis et Sanguinis Christi


Here is a beautiful prayer said by the priest in preparation to receive Holy Communion. Father Stephanos recommends everyone to pray it.

Lord Jesus Christ,Son of the Living God, by the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirity our death brought life to the world. By your holy Body and Blood free me from all my sins and from every evil, keep me faithful to your teaching, and never let me be parted from you.

Father S. also gives us the teaching of the Eucharist in the Catechism here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Man Jumps Over To Popemobile

Please pray for Our Holy Father for continued protection against evil attacks. As you can see this is the first ever visible attack on His Holiness. Please pray daily for his protection and those who care for him.

VATICAN CITY - A German man tried to jump into Pope Benedict XVI's uncovered popemobile as the pontiff began his general audience Wednesday and held onto it for a few seconds before being wrestled to the ground by security officers.

The pope was not hurt and didn't even appear to notice that the man — who was between 20 or 30 years old — had jumped over the protective barrier in the square and had grabbed onto the white popemobile as it drove by. The pontiff kept waving to the crowd and didn't even look back.

At least eight security officers who were trailing the vehicle as it moved slowly through the square grabbed the man and wrestled him to the ground.

More here
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Friday, June 01, 2007

The Holy Father's Intentions For June 2007


General: That the Lord may protect sailors and all those involved in maritime activities.

Mission:That the Church in North Africa may bear witness, with its presence and its action, to God's love for every individual and all people.
+ Consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary + Click to play "REGINA CAELI"

Apostolic Blessing by Pope Benedict XVI

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