March 31, 2015

Positivity: 500 years after birth, witness of St. Teresa of Avila remains strong, says Pope

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Mar 28, 2015 / 01:56 pm

On the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila’s birth, Pope Francis praised the Spanish mystic and reformer for her witness of self-gift to God, as well as her particular relevance during this Year of Consecrated Life.

“How much goodness does the testimony of her consecration – born directly from the encounter with Christ, her experience of prayer as continuous dialogue with God, and her community life, rooted in the motherhood of the Church – do for us!” the Pope said, according to Vatican Radio’s translation.

In a Mar. 28 letter addressed to Fr Xavier Cannistrà, superior general of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, the pontiff wrote that it is providential that the anniversary of the saint’s birth should coincide with the Year of Consecrated Life, which began late last year.

St. Teresa of Avila, the Holy Father said, “shines as a sure and attractive model of total self-giving to God.”

Born March 28, 1515 in Avila, Spain, St. Teresa is known as a mystic and reformer. Entering the Carmelite order in 1535, she became disillusioned by the laxity of monastic life within the cloister, and committed herself to reforming the order. She is considered one of the founders of the Discalced Carmelites.

During her lifetime, St. Teresa wrote several important works on the spiritual life, such as Interior Castle and The Way of Perfection. Canonized 40 years after her death in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV, she was declared as one of the first ever female doctors of the Church in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

St. Teresa of Avila remains relevant for consecrated men and women, Pope Francis wrote, as demonstrated by her prayer life, her proclamation of the Gospel, and her understanding of the importance of community life. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 30, 2015

Positivity: Holy Week is about humility – there is no other way, Pope says

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:37 am

From Rome:

Mar 29, 2015 / 05:32 am

Pope Francis on Palm Sunday said that imitating the humility of Jesus is what makes Holy Week “holy,” and encouraged attendees to mimic his attitude of humiliation as the week unfolds.

Referring to the day’s second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which recounts how Jesus “humbled himself” by taking on human form, the Pope said that “these words show us God’s way and the way of Christians: it is humility.”

Humility, he said, is “a way which constantly amazes and disturbs us: we will never get used to a humble God!”

As the Church sets out on the path of Holy Week that leads us to Easter, “we will take this path of Jesus’ own humiliation. Only in this way will this week be holy for us too!” Francis explained.

March 29, 2015

Positivity: Two young religious orders look to expand to Denver this summer

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:01 am

From Denver:

Mar 27, 2015 / 02:04 am

Two rather new orders of religious sisters looking to expand their missions have set their sights on the Archdiocese of Denver.

The New York-based Sisters of Life and the Rome-based Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo will establish houses and begin their missions in the archdiocese by August of this year.

In their first expansion to the western United States, the Sisters of Life will send four sisters to begin their mission in Denver. Besides the traditional religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, Sisters of Life take a fourth vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of every human life.

The order is a contemplative and active community of women whose apostolate includes ministering to pregnant women in need, providing healing for post-abortive women, and fostering the “Culture of Life”.

Founded just over 20 years ago in 1991 by Cardinal John O’Connor, the community currently has 88 members, 23 of whom are in some initial stage of formation.

When considering where to expand the mission, Mother Agnes Mary, Superior General of the Sisters of Life, said the sisters asked themselves: “Where will the charism of life flourish to [the] greatest benefit of a local Church?”

“While there is great vibrancy within the Church in Denver, we believe that we are prepared to offer the unique gift of being a visible witness to the Church’s proclamation of the dignity and mystery of every human life,” she told the Archdiocese. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 28, 2015

Positivity: ‘This is your house’ – Pope Francis meets homeless in Sistine Chapel

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Mar 27, 2015 / 11:24 am

Pope Francis stopped by to visit with 150 of Rome’s homeless in the Sistine Chapel after they were invited for dinner and a private tour by the Vatican.

“Welcome. This is everyone’s house, and your house. The doors are always open for all,” the Pope told his homeless guests during their March 26 visit to the Vatican Museums. He said that their visit was like a tender caress from God.

The group was invited by Papal Almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who oversees the office of papal charities.

In the course of the visit, the homeless guests received a tour of the Vatican City State, passing by the Santa Martha guesthouse where the Pope lives, as well as several galleries in the Vatican Museums, culminating with the Sistine Chapel.

Although cameras and photographers were prohibited, the Vatican’s press office said that the Pope was with the group for at least 20 minutes, and greeted each person individually with a handshake.

Francis thanked Archbishop Krajewski for putting the initiative together. He told the group, “Pray for me. I’m in need of prayers by people like you,” and asked that the Lord would “protect and help you in the path of life and make you feel His tender love of a Father.”

After their meeting with the Pope, the homeless were invited to dinner in the restaurant of the Vatican Museums. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 27, 2015

Positivity: Peruvian march for life draws half a million

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Lima, Peru:

Lima, Peru, Mar 26, 2015 / 11:16 am

More than half a million Peruvians participated in the historic March for Life 2015, held March 21 in Lima, rejecting abortion and speaking out in defense of life from conception to natural death.

In Peru, the right to life from conception is protected by the Constitution of Peru, the Civil Code, the Code of Children and Adolescents, and the American Convention on Human Rights. March 25 is celebrated in the country’s Day of the Unborn, according to law.

Young people played a leading role in the march, as both volunteers and participants.

The massive demonstration doubled last year’s figures, when 250,000 people marched for life. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 26, 2015

Positivity: Archbishop Romero hailed for life producing ‘great harvest’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Los Angeles:

Mar 25, 2015 / 10:26 am

Los Angeles Catholics gave thanks for Archbishop Oscar Romero’s upcoming beatification and prayed that his “shining example” of sacrificial love and solidarity with the poor and oppressed will continue to be fruitful.

“Archbishop Romero preached nonviolence and reconciliation in a time of hate and vengeance. He spoke out against every form of violence, every violation of the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person,” Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles said in a March 22 homily, noting that this included “the violence of abortion.”

“Like the grain of wheat that dies, his life has produced a great harvest — fruits of love,” the Los Angeles archbishop continued. “As he did, let us live for the love of Jesus and give ourselves to the service of others. May our lives produce much fruit — in this world and for eternal life.”

On Sunday, over 3,000 people gathered at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels for a Spanish-language Mass in honor of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who will be beatified in San Salvador May 23.

The Mass marked the 35th anniversary of Archbishop Romero’s March 24, 1980 assassination during his celebration of Mass at a hospital chapel.

Archbishop Gomez concelebrated the Los Angeles Mass with Salvadoran priests who had worked closely with the martyred archbishop. Attendees at the Mass included California Gov. Jerry Brown and diplomatic leaders from Central and South America. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 25, 2015

Positivity: New bishop in England looks forward to proclaiming Christ ‘with God’s help’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 2:21 pm

From Brighton, UK:

Mar 25, 2015 / 02:03 am

On Saturday, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Richard Moth of the British military diocese as Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, where he looks forward to serving the Church and sharing the Gospel.

“It is a great privilege to have been appointed by Pope Francis as the new Bishop of Arundel & Brighton and I am very conscious of the trust that has been placed in me,” Bishop Moth said March 21.

“In these last fifty years since the foundation of the Diocese, so much has been done to build up the Church and in the proclamation of the Gospel and, with God’s help, I look to guide and serve the Diocese to that same end.”

The Arundel and Brighton diocese had been vacant since September, when its previous shepherd, Bishop Kieran Conry, resigned after revealing he had been unfaithful to his promises as a priest. According to The Daily Mail, he had had an affair six years ago and had more recently been involved with a married woman.

Since Bishop Conry’s resignation, Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark has served as Arundel and Brighton’s apostolic administrator.

“I am especially grateful to Archbishop Peter Smith for all he has done in recent months to support and guide the Diocese,” Bishop Moth noted.

For his part, Archbishop Smith stated his great joy at the appointment.

“I was so pleased when I heard the news that he had accepted the appointment from the Holy Father,” he said. “I have known Bishop Richard for many years, firstly when I taught him as a student at St John’s Seminary, then as a fellow priest of the Archdiocese and most recently as a brother bishop. I know that he will work tirelessly to serve all the people of the diocese, and I have no doubt that he will prove to be a true pastor to the clergy, Religious and people of the Diocese.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 24, 2015

Positivity: Rome’s poor receive 1,000 pounds of food from Pope Francis

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Mar 23, 2015 / 12:17 pm

Pope Francis is sending half a ton of food to families suffering hardships in Rome’s Tor Bella Monaca neighborhood.

The food is being distributed through the Institute of Medicine Solidarity Onlus, which works to help the socially disadvantaged, reported AICA, a Catholic news publication in Argentina.

Lucia Ercoli, the association’s director, said it was “truly a surprise” when they received the phone call about the food delivery for the poorest families in the neighborhood.

The Pope was in the neighborhood on March 8 for his visit to the parish of Santa Maria Madre del Redentore. The Papal Almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, was scheduled to deliver the food March 21.

“Ten days after his visit to Tor Bella Monaca he wanted to send a sign of his closeness to those who are going through hard times,” Ercoli said, adding “the Pope has not forgotten about us.”

Ercoli said she is confident that Pope Francis, by making “these gestures of mercy,” has “given a foretaste of the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 23, 2015

Positivity: Pope invites Rome’s homeless to distribute Gospels at Sunday angelus

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:37 am

From Vatican City:

Mar 22, 2015 / 10:39 am

Pope Francis on Sunday invited members of Rome’s homeless community to join volunteers in handing out copies of the Gospel to pilgrims in Saint Peter’s Square, a reminder of how God’s Word is found among the poorest of society.

“Even in this we see a very beautiful gesture, which pleases Jesus,” the Pope said, moments after leading the crowds in the recitation of the Angelus on March 22: “those most in need are those who give us the word of God.”

The volunteers, who included homeless persons living on the streets of Rome, handed out small copies of the Gospel in Italian to those who had braved the chilly and wet morning to come and pray with the Holy Father. Meanwhile the Roman Pontiff reiterated the importance of always carrying a copy of the Scriptures to read throughout the day.

“The word of God is light for our journey!” he said.

Opening his Angelus address to mark the fifth Sunday of Lent, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel passage, in which a group of Greeks come to Jerusalem for passover and approach the apostles wishing to see Christ.

“We wish to see Jesus.” These words, the Pope said, “reveal a desire which crosses epochs and cultures, a desire present in the heart of many persons who have heard Christ speak, but have not yet encountered him.”

Christ responds to this request “indirectly” by prophesying his own death and resurrection. “The hour of the Cross, the darkest in history, is also the source of salvation for those believe in him,” Pope Francis said.

The prophesy continues with Christ saying that unless the “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

This image, the Pope said, recalls “another aspect of the Cross of Christ: that of fertility.”

“The death of Jesus, in fact, is an inexhaustible source of new life, because it carries in itself the regenerative power of God’s love.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 22, 2015

Positivity: Stunning A Cappella ‘Amazing Grace’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

Watch and listen (HT Godvine):

March 21, 2015

Positivity: An 11,000-mile pilgrimage to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Rome:

Mar 20, 2015 / 04:11 am

How far would you travel to see the Pope? For one family in Argentina, seven months and 11,000 miles is a small price to pay for the chance to celebrate the World Meeting of Families with Pope Francis in September.

“The family is everything and we want to say it,” Noelle Zemborain, a mother of four, told CNA.

She acknowledged that families face many “difficult situations,” including meeting monthly expenses. However, she said, with the right perspective, family is not fundamentally a “limitation,” but an invitation for adventure.

Zemborain and her husband will take their four children on a seven-month trip of 11,184 miles in a Volkswagen camper that they have christened “Francisca.” They intend to arrive in Philadelphia in time for the World Meeting of Families Sept. 22-27.

Zemborain said her trip has a “spiritual meaning.” The family hopes to strengthen personal encounters while moving away from a mindset of individualism that can make many families indifferent.

She sees the trip as an opportunity to let go of material possessions, because living in a camper means you have to save space. She also highlighted the opportunity to participate in the World Meeting of Families.

Zemborain was born in France, but has lived in Argentina most of her life. She is a communications and marketing professional who works at the University of San Andres in Buenos Aires, as well as on projects for social organizations.

Her husband, Alfredo “Catire” Walker, is an Argentine. He is an operations manager for a cuisine company that advises for restaurants, various businesses and institutions.

“Catire is super sincere and out ahead of everybody, as we say here, always going forward, he’s a father who’s always there for our children. I’m the envy of a lot of my friends,” Zemborain said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 20, 2015

Positivity: Pope Francis has called for a Holy Year of Mercy – so what does that mean?

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:05 am

From Matt Hadro in Washington:

Mar 18, 2015 / 05:02 pm

The Pope’s surprise announcement of a holy year for mercy has Catholics weighing in on the significance of the move, which some say can be boiled down to this: Francis wants us to know how much God loves us.

The Fathers of Mercy, a priestly order based in Kentucky, said they were thrilled when news of the jubilee broke last week. A self-described “itinerant missionary preaching order of priests,” they conduct parish missions focused on conversion through the sacraments of Mass and Confession.

“We see first-hand the reality and beauty of conversion – God’s mercy at work,” member Father Wade told CNA.

During a penitential service at St. Peter’s Basilica March 12, Pope Francis announced the extraordinary jubilee Year of Mercy, which will begin later this year on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8. It will end on the Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov. 20, 2016.

The scriptural focus for the jubilee year will be Christ’s command from Luke 6:36, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

“It’s a journey that starts with a spiritual conversion,” Pope Francis said at the announcement.

But what is mercy, and how is it concretely practiced?

“Mercy is who God is. It is love’s second name,” Fr. Menezes said. And conversion is its “most concrete expression,” he added, quoting St. John Paul II’s 1980 papal encyclical “Dives in Misericordia,” or “Rich in Mercy.”

“God is more interested in our future than in our past,” he explained. God takes past sin “seriously” but never “as the last word,” because He “wants each one of us to become the ‘best version’ of our self that He wills for each one of us, personally, in His divine and eternal mind, and this requires conversion.”

This is exactly what Pope Francis has in mind in announcing the Year of Mercy, said Kathryn Jean Lopez, founding director of Catholic Voices USA.

“In our busy, buzzing, often bifurcated lives, we often don’t find the time for the silence of examination of conscience. This Holy Father is a Jesuit spiritual director to the world, urging us to see just how much God loves us, reorienting our hearts to His,” she told CNA/EWTN News. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 19, 2015

Positivity: A society that doesn’t want children is ‘sad and gray,’ Pope says

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Rome:

Mar 18, 2015 / 05:36 am

Pope Francis said Wednesday that children are a joy-filled gift for the Church and the world, and cautioned against an overcast society that lacks life because it has rejected and run out of children.

“Children give life, joy and hope. They also give worries and sometimes problems, but this is better than a society that is sad and gray because it has run out of children. Or doesn’t want children,” the Pope told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his March 18 general audience.

It is the second time Francis has spoken about children in his general audiences this year. On Feb. 11, he told pilgrims that a society which is “not surrounded by children, that considers them a problem, a burden, has no future.”

On that occasion he also spoke of how children are a gift, calling them “the joy of family and society.”

Children, he said, “are not a problem of reproductive biology, or one of many ways to realize oneself in life. Let alone their parent’s possession. Children are a gift. Do you understand? Children are a gift!” and went on to talk about the free aspect of love they bring to the world.

In today’s audience, Francis reiterated what a “great gift” children are, and said that their weakness and fragility is a reminder for everyone that we are always dependent on others.

“A society can be judged by the way it treats its children,” he said, explaining that they make us realize that “all of us are always children, in need of help, love and forgiveness, which are the conditions in order to enter the Kingdom of God.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 18, 2015

Positivity: Here’s what the Church in Pompeii is doing about the mafia

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Pompeii, Italy:

Mar 15, 2015 / 03:51 pm

Archbishop Tommaso Caputo of Pompeii said that his diocese has welcomed the Pope’s recent condemnation of organized crime and has several initiatives in place to help affected families.

“The Italian church has always taken into great consideration the problems relating to the South of Italy,” where mafia activity in its various forms is deeply seated, Archbishop Tommaso Caputo told CNA Feb. 28.

Archbishop Caputo oversees the diocese of Pompeii, where Pope Francis will stop to visit the city’s sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Holy Rosary for roughly 30 minutes before heading on to Naples Saturday, March 21.

The archbishop alluded to problems the area faces due to mafia activities and violence, and said that the action of those involved in organized crime “offends man, society, every sense of ethics, religion, the very meaning of ‘honor,’ and backfires, then, against themselves.”

He then recalled Pope Francis’ recent words to members of the diocese of Cassano allo Jonio, who had an audience with the Pope Feb. 21, exactly eight months after the Pope visited the diocese, where he had harsh words for those involved in organized crime.

In his audience, Francis reiterated to attendees that those who love Christ “cannot call themselves Christians and violate the dignity of the person; those who belong to the Christian community cannot program or carry out acts of violence against others and against the environment.”

Pompeii is ready to listen to the Pope, Archbishop Caputo said, adding that Francis’ condemnation of the mafia and his call for their public conversion “have fallen on fertile ground.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 17, 2015

Positivity: The Story of St. Patrick

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

The saint who is supposed to be the reason for all the merrymaking coming up tomorrow (this is posted today for those who will be getting a head start) was the man who converted an entire island country to Catholicism:

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world’s most popular saints.

Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461.

Along with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, the secular world shares our love of these saints. This is also a day when everyone’s Irish.

There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his story.

Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.

As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.

During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote

“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same.” “I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”

Patrick’s captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.

He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him “We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.”

He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.

Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in IrelandMarch 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.

Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick’s message.

Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.

Why a shamrock?

Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time.

In His Footsteps:

Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission.