TODAY'S GOSPEL AND MASS ONLINE: NOV. 16: Luke 19: 11 - 28
VIS REPORT: PRAYING THE PSALMS ENRICHES OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2011 (VIS) - During today's general audience in St Peter's Square, attended by over 11,000 pilgrims, the Holy Father imparted the final catechesis of his cycle dedicated to the Psalms. He focused on Psalm 110, which "Jesus Himself cited, and which the authors of the New Testament referred to widely and interpreted in reference to the Messiah. ... It is a Psalm beloved by the ancient Church and by believers of all times", which celebrates "the victorious and glorified Messiah seated at the right hand of God".
The Psalm begins with a solemn declaration: "The Lord says to my lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool". Benedict XVI explained that "Christ is the Lord enthroned, the Son of man seated at the right hand of God. ... He is the true king who by resurrection entered into glory, ... higher than the angels, seated in the heavens over all other powers, ... and with all His adversaries at His feet until the last enemy, death, is definitively defeated by Him".
God and the king celebrated in the Psalm are inseparably linked. "The two govern together, to the point that the Psalmist confirms that God Himself grants the regal sceptre, giving the king the task of defeating his adversaries. ... The exercise of power is a task the king receives directly from the Lord, a responsibility which involves dependence and obedience, thus becoming a sign to the people of God's powerful and provident presence. Dominion over enemies, glory and victory are gifts the king has received, that make him a mediator of divine triumph over evil".
The priestly dimension, linked to that of regality, appears in verse four. "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind 'You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek'". This priest, the king of Salem, had blessed Abraham and offered bread and wine following the victorious military campaign conducted by the patriarch to save Lot from the hands of his enemies. The king of the Psalm "will be a priest forever, mediator of the divine presence among His people, a catalyst for the blessing of God". Jesus Christ "is the true and definitive priest, Who will complete and perfect the features of Melchizedek's priesthood". In the bread and wine of the Eucharist, Christ "offers Himself and, defeating death, brings life to all believers".
The final verses portray "the triumphant sovereign who, with the support of the Lord, having received power and glory from Him, opposes his enemies, defeating adversaries and judging nations".
The Church traditionally considers this Psalm as one of the most significant messianic texts. "The king as sung by the Psalmist is Christ, the Messiah Who establishes the Kingdom of God and overcomes the powers of the world. He is the Word generated by God before any creature, the Son incarnate, Who died and rose to heaven, the eternal Priest Who, in the mystery of the bread and wine, grants forgiveness for sins and reconciliation with God; the King Who raised his head in triumph over death by His resurrection".
The Psalm invites us to "look to Christ to understand the meaning of true regality which is to be lived as service and the giving of self, following a path of obedience and love 'to the end'. Praying this Psalm, we therefore ask the Lord to enable us to proceed along this same journey, following Christ, the Messiah, willing to ascend with Him on the hill of the cross to accompany Him in glory, and to look to Him seated at the right hand of the Father, the victorious king and merciful priest Who gives forgiveness and salvation to all mankind".
Finally, the Pope explained that, in the course of his catechesis dedicated to the Psalms, he had sought to focus on those "that reflect the different situations in life and the various attitudes we may have towards God. I would like to renew my call to everyone to pray the Psalms, to become accustomed to using the Liturgy of the Hours, Lauds, Vespers, and Compline. Our relationship with God can only be enriched by our journeying towards Him day after day".
Academic honours for the Pope
Following the catechesis and during his address to the faithful in various languages, Benedict XVI, speaking Polish, thanked the College of Rectors of the Universities of Wroclaw, Opole,Czestochowa and Zielona Gora for an academic award they had bestowed upon him. "In this title, I see appreciation for the Church's commitment in the fields of education and culture", the Holy Father concluded.
VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Bishop Ludwig Muller ofRegensburg, Germany.
USCCB REPORT: WASHINGTON—Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington announced November 15 that the new ordinariate for former Anglicans in the United States will be established January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
At the same time he confirmed that Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth, Texas, will succeed Archbishop John Myers of Newark as Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision, through which married Anglican priests become diocesan priests in the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Wuerl, who is the delegate for the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the head of an ad hoc committee of U.S. bishops to lead efforts in the United States to receive Anglican groups into the Catholic Church, made the announcement during the fall plenary meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Baltimore. Bishop Vann is a member of the ad hoc committee.
The ordinariate stems from the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus issued by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2009 that authorized the creation of ‘ordinariates,’ geographic regions similar to dioceses but typically national in scope. Parishes in these ordinariates are to be Catholic yet retain elements of the Anglican heritage and liturgical practices. They are to be led by an ‘ordinary,’ who will have a role similar to a bishop, but who may be either a bishop or a priest. The ordinary for the United States will be named on January 1.
Bishop Vann’s appointment as Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision was made by the Vatican. He succeeds Archbishop Myers in this position. Among the duties of the Ecclesiastical Delegate is to ensure the former Anglican priests in formation receive theological, spiritual and pastoral preparation for ministry in the Catholic Church.
The Pastoral Provision is under the jurisdiction of the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. While Bishop Vann’s work as Ecclesiastical Delegate and the ordinariate are separate, close communication and cooperation will exist between the Pastoral Provision office and the ordinariate.
The Ecclesiastical Delegate administers the process by which married, former Anglican ministers can become priests sponsored by a diocesan bishop. The process includes the gathering of information by the candidate and his sponsoring bishop concerning his suitability for ordination. This information is then submitted to the Holy See through the Ecclesiastical Delegate. To this is added the academic assessment and certification of each candidate by a body of theologians established by the Ecclesiastical Delegate.
The Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision was created by the Holy See in 1980 in response to requests from Episcopal priests and laity who were seeking full Communion with the Catholic Church. Since creating the Pastoral Provision, more than 100 men have been ordained as priests, three personal parishes have been established and use of the Book of Divine Worship, a liturgical text authorized by the Vatican that incorporates Anglican prayers and material, has been authorized.
CNA REPORT: There is a great thirst for spirituality in Albania after 47 years of atheist, communist, absolute dictatorship,” Richard Rouse of the Pontifical Council for Culture, which organized the event, told CNA..- After decades of Communist rule in Albania, Pope Benedict XVI’s initiative to dialogue with non-believers drew hundreds of young people for a two-day event in the capital of Tirana.
“In communist Albania,” Rouse added, religion “was absolutely not allowed. For 47 years they tried to kill God—and failed.”
On Nov. 14 and 15, the Pontifical Council for Culture, along with the local Catholic Church in Albania, organized a series of events that facilitated both dialogue with and discovery of Christianity.
In the piazza in front of Tirana’s St. Paul’s Cathedral on Nov. 14, hundreds of young people took part in discussions in three different tents on the topics of work, spirituality and information and communication.
“For example, in the ‘work’ tent,” Rouse explained, “we discussed 'what does work itself mean? Is it just about getting money or is there some social dignity to it?'”
Each specific discussion session was then followed by a larger conversation in the piazza with members Catholic hierarchy and other participants.
What became clear, Rouse noted, is that Albania is “a great fertile terrain,” for Christianity.
On Nov. 15, dialogue with academics and intellectuals at two events hosted by Tirana’s universities held “more high-brow conversations that began with a more studied and philosophical set of questions,” Rouse said.
The topics discussed included questions of identity—both religious and national—as well as issues related to fundamental human rights and religious liberty.
The concept of the event, known as the Courtyard of the Gentiles, stems from a 2009 address by Pope Benedict, where he called for a Catholic dialogue “with those to whom religion is something foreign, to whom God is unknown and who nevertheless do not want to be left merely Godless, but rather to draw near to him, albeit as the Unknown.”
Members from the Pontifical Council for Culture, under the guidance of Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, have initiated a series of similar gatherings across Europe beginning in Paris in March 2011. The invitation list, so far, has included a host of intellectuals drawn from both the arts and sciences.
The title given to these events is in reference to the “Court of the Gentiles” which, in the time of Jesus, was an area in the Temple of Jerusalem where non-Jews could interact with Jews.
Richard Rouse believes the new format, which will reach the United States in 2013, is already bearing fruit.
“I think that was a weakness in some previous dialogue was that we presumed a bit too much about the atheists,” he said, “so, we’ve gone back a step further to say ‘okay, open floor—tell us what is it you believe in.’ That’s very important.”
He said just by asking that question they have “enticed people” into a deeper reflection upon such things as the meaning of life and into asking “where can those questions lead to a religious perspective and how can that take on a social dimension?”
ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE REPORT: Monday 14 November 2011
By Fiona Basile
Present and former parishioners gathered at St John the Baptist Church in Ferntree Gully yesterday to celebrate the parish’s 100-year anniversary. The special Centenary Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Denis Hart.
St John the Baptist Primary School also joined the festivities as it celebrated it 75th Anniversary this year.
The parish hosted six Jubilee celebrations throughout the year to mark the special year. Parish priest of six years, Fr Alan Fox said the series of events allowed past and present parishioners and the school community to both reminisce and celebrate the past and present.
“Throughout the history of the parish, so many people have been involved in its formation and ongoing success,” said Fr Alan.
“A lot of the foundation families who were originally here at Ferntree Gully went on to establish other parishes in the Knox Deanery.
“The activities we’ve held throughout the year aim to celebrate the collective efforts and achievements of former and current parishioners, priests, Religious, teaching staff and lay people.”
In February there was a Deanery Youth Mass followed by activities and supper, in May there was a multi-cultural food fair following the morning Sunday Mass, while in July there was a Pioneers’ Mass, followed by a Luncheon with a display of parish artefacts and memorabilia.. The artefacts and memorabilia, including many historical photographs remain on display in the parish hall.
In August, all of the parishes within the Knox Deanery gathered for a Thanksgiving Mass and on 10 September, there was a parish dinner which included a digital display of photos and speakers. In October the parish hosted a Family Day Mass and picnic in the grounds of the church.
Fr Alan said: “We wanted to celebrate the key role of the families in the development of the parish.”
In November, the parish held a memorial mass to honour all of the priests, Religious, teachers, lay staff and parishioners who are deceased, and finally the Centenary Mass and celebrations yesterday.
As well as the events, the parish produced a special book to mark the centenary, called ‘Witness to the Light’ which is a collection of parishioners’ writing and photographs. The book is on sale from the parish.
Photographs by Fiona Basile.
Photos above: St John the Baptist Catholic Church in Ferntree Gully (rebuilt in 1982); Fr Alan Fox (middle) with parish staff Lorenza and Rachael; Archbishop Denis Hart with parishioners at a morning tea hosted by members of St John's Friendship Gathering; Archbishop Denis Hart with students from St John the Baptist Primary School; St John the Baptist Primary School choir.
A 53-year-old nun from Kerala who led campaigns to defend tribal rights was shot dead yesterday in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand.
Sister Valsa John, who belonged to the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, was killed during an alleged encounter near her home in the early hours of yesterday morning in Pakur district, near the city of Dumka.
Bishop Julius Marandi of Dumka said today the circumstances surrounding her death are not yet clear.
According to Sister Lilly Mary, the dead nun’s congregation provincial, Sister John was working with people belonging to the Santhal tribe and was living alone.
She had been protesting against mining corporations that were exploiting the tribal people of the region, she said.
The nun, who hailed from Eranakulam in Kerala, was arrested in 2007 for protesting against a coal mine on tribal land that had allegedly been acquired illegally in Jharkhand’s Pakur district.
The provincial, however, said that case had been settled.
The Catholic bishops’ conference spokesman, Father Babu Joseph, said the local church will demand a thorough investigation into the tragedy by the state government.
Sister John’s funeral is scheduled for tomorrow, he added.
BENEDICTINE AND MYSTIC WRITER
Feast: November 16
6 January 1256 at Eisleben, Germany
November 17, 1302, Helfta, Germany
received equipotent canonization, and a universal feast day declared in 1677 by Pope Clement XII
nuns, travellers, West Indies
Benedictine and mystic writer; born in Germany, 6 Jan., 1256; died at Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony, 17 November, 1301 or 1302. Nothing is known of her family, not even the name of her parents. It is clear from her life (Legatus, lib. I, xvi) that she was not born in the neighbourhood of Eisleben. When she was but five years of age she entered the alumnate of Helfta. The monastery was at that time governed by the saintly and enlightened Abbess Gertrude of Hackerborn, under whose rule it prospered exceedingly, both in monastic observance and in that intellectual activity which St. Lioba and her Anglo-Saxon nuns had transmitted to their foundations in Germany. All that could aid to sanctity, or favour contemplation and learning, was to be found in this hallowed spot. Here, too, as to the centre of all activity and impetus of its life, the work of works—the Opus Dei, as St. Benedict terms the Divine Office—was solemnly carried out. Such was Helfta when its portals opened to receive the child destined to be its brightest glory. Gertrude was confided to the care of St. Mechtilde, mistress of the alumnate and sister of the Abbess Gertrude. From the first she had the gift of winning the hearts, and her biographer gives many details of her exceptional charms, which matured with advancing years. Thus early had been formed between Gertrude and Mechtilde the bond of an intimacy which deepened and strengthened with time, and gave the latter saint a prepondering influence over the former.
Partly in the alumnate, partly in the community, Gertrude had devoted herself to study with the greatest ardour. In her twenty-sixth year there was granted her the first of that series of visions of which the wonderful sequence ended only with life. She now gauged in its fullest extent the void of which she had been keenly sensible for some time past, and with this awakening came the realization of the utter emptiness of all transitory things. With characteristic ardour she cultivated the highest spirituality, and, to quote her biographer, "from being a grammarian became a theologian", abandoning profane studies for the Scriptures, patristic writings, and treatises on theology. To these she brought the same earnestness which had characterized her former studies, and with indefatigable zeal copied, translated, and wrote for the spiritual benefit of others. Although Gertrude vehemently condemns herself for past negligence ( Legatus, II, ii), still to understand her words correctly we must remember that they express the indignant self-condemnation of a soul called to the highest sanctity. Doubtless her inordinate love of study had proved a hindrance alike to contemplation and interior recollection, yet it had none the less surely safeguarded her from more serious and grievous failings. Her struggle lay in the conquest of a sensitive and impetuous nature. In St. Gertrude's life there are no abrupt phases, no sudden conversion from sin to holiness. She passed from alumnate to the community. Outwardly her life was that of the simple Benedictine nun, of which she stands forth preeminently as the type. Her boundless charity embraced rich and poor, learned and simple, the monarch on his throne and the peasant in the field; it was manifested in tender sympathy towards the souls in purgatory, in a great yearning for the perfection of souls consecrated to God. Her humility was so profound that she wondered how the earth could support so sinful a creature as herself. Her raptures were frequent and so absorbed her faculties as to render her insensible to what passed around her. She therefore begged, for the sake of others, that there might be no outward manifestations of the spiritual wonders with which her life was filled. She had the gift of miracles as well as that of prophecy.
When the call came for her spirit to leave the worn and pain-stricken body, Gertrude was in her forty-fifth or forty-sixth year, and in turn assisted at the death-bed and mourned for the loss of the holy Sister Mechtilde (1281), her illustrious Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn (1291), and her chosen guide and confidante, St. Mechtilde (1298). When the community was transferred in 1346 to the monastery of New Helfta, the present Trud-Kloster, within the walls of Eisleben, they still retained possession of their old home, where doubtless the bodies of St. Gertrude and St. Mechtilde still buried, though their place of sepulture remains unknown. There is, at least, no record of their translation. Old Helfta is now crown-property, while New Helfta has lately passed into the hands of the local municipality. It was not till 1677 that the name of Gertrude was inscribed in the Roman Martyrology and her feast was extended to the universal church, which now keeps it on 15 November, although it was at first fixed on 17 November, the day of her death, on which it is still celebrated by her own order. In compliance with a petition from the King of Spain she was declared Patroness of the West Indies; in Peru her feast is celebrated with great pomp, and in New Mexico a town was built in her honour and bears her name. Some writers of recent times have considered that St. Gertrude was a Cistercian, but a careful and impartial examination of the evidence at present available does not justify this conclusion. It is well known that the Cistercian Reform left its mark on many houses not affiliated to the order, and the fact that Helfta was founded during the "golden age" of Citeaux (1134-1342) is sufficient to account for this impression.
Many of the writings of St. Gertrude have unfortunately perished. Those now extant are:
—The "Legatus Divinae Pietatis",—The "Exercises of St. Gertrude";—The "Liber Specialis Gratiae" of St. Mechtilde.
The works of St. Gertrude were all written in Latin, which she used with facility and grace. The "Legatus Divinae Pietatis" (Herald of Divine Love) comprises five books containing the life of St. Gertrude, and recording many of the favours granted her by God. Book II alone is the work of the saint, the rest being compiled by members of the Helfta community. They were written for her Sisters in religion, and we feel she has here a free hand unhampered by the deep humility which made it so repugnant for her to disclose favours personal to herself. The "Exercises", which are seven in number, embrace the work of the reception of baptismal grace to the preparation for death. Her glowing language deeply impregnated with the liturgy and scriptures exalts the soul imperceptibly to the heights of contemplation. When the "Legatus Divinae Pietatis" is compared with the "Liber Specialis Gratiae" of St. Mechtilde, it is evident that Gertrude is the chief, if not the only, author of the latter book. Her writings are also coloured by the glowing richness of that Teutonic genius which found its most congenial expression in symbolism and allegory. The spirit of St. Gertrude, which is marked by freedom, breadth, and vigour, is based on the Rule of St. Benedict. Her mysticism is that of all the great contemplative workers of the Benedictine Order from St. Gregory to Blosius. Hers, in a word, is that ancient Benedictine spirituality which Father Faber has so well depicted (All for Jesus, viii).
The characteristic of St. Gertrude's piety is her devotion to the Sacred Heart, the symbol of that immense charity which urged the Word to take flesh, to institute the Holy Eucharist, to take on Himself our sins, and, dying on the Cross, to offer Himself as a victim and a sacrifice to the Eternal Father (Congregation of Rites, 3 April, 1825). Faithful to the mission entrusted to them, the superiors of Helfta appointed renowned theologians, chosen from the Dominican and Franciscan friars, to examine the works of the saint. These approved and commented them throughout. In the sixteenth century Lanspergius and Blosius propagated her writings. The former, who with his confrere Loher spared no pains in editing her works, also wrote a preface to them. The writings were warmly received especially in Spain, and among the long list of holy and learned authorities who used and recommended her works may be mentioned :
—St. Teresa, who chose her as her model and guide,—Yepez,—the illustrious Suarez,—the Discalced Carmelite Friars of France,—St. Francis de Sales,—M. Oliver,—Fr. Faber,—Dom Gueranger.
The Church has inserted the name of Gertrude in the Roman Martyrology with this eulogy: "On the 17th of November, in Germany (the Feast) of St. Gertrude Virgin, of the Order of St. Benedict, who was illustrious for the gift of revelations."
St. Margaret of Scotland
QUEEN OF SCOTLAND
Feast: November 16
1045, Castle Réka, Mecseknádasd, in the region of Southern Transdanubia, Hungary
16 November 1093, St Margaret's Chapel in Edinburgh Castle, Midlothian, Scotland
1251 by Pope Innocent IV
death of children, large families, learning, queens, Scotland, widows
Born about 1045, died 16 Nov., 1092, was a daughter of Edward "Outremere", or "the Exile", by Agatha, kinswoman of Gisela, the wife of St. Stephen of Hungary. She was the granddaughter of Edmund Ironside. A constant tradition asserts that Margaret's father and his brother Edmund were sent to Hungary for safety during the reign of Canute, but no record of the fact has been found in that country. The date of Margaret's birth cannot be ascertained with accuracy, but it must have been between the years 1038, when St. Stephen died, and 1057, when her father returned to England. It appears that Margaret came with him on that occasion and, on his death and the conquest of England by the Normans, her mother Agatha decided to return to the Continent. A storm however drove their ship to Scotland, where Malcolm III received the party under his protection, subsequently taking Margaret to wife. This event had been delayed for a while by Margaret's desire to entirereligion, but it took place some time between 1067 and 1070.
In her position as queen, all Margaret's great influence was thrown into the cause of religion and piety. A synod was held, and among the special reforms instituted the most important were the regulation of the Lenten fast, observance of the Easter communion, and the removal of certain abuses concerning marriage within the prohibited degrees. Her private life was given up to constant prayer and practices of piety. She founded several churches, including the Abbey of Dunfermline, built to enshrine her greatest treasure, a relic of the true Cross. Her book of the Gospels, richly adorned with jewels, which one day dropped into a river and was according to legend miraculously recovered, is now in the Bodleian library at Oxford. She foretold the day of her death, which took place at Edinburgh on 16 Nov., 1093, her body being buried before the high altar at Dunfermline.
In 1250 Margaret was canonized by Innocent IV, and her relics were translated on 19 June, 1259, to a new shrine, the base of which is still visible beyond the modern east wall of the restoredchurch. At the Reformation her head passed into the possession of Mary Queen of Scots, and later was secured by the Jesuits at Douai, where it is believed to have perished during the French Revolution. According to George Conn, "De duplici statu religionis apud Scots" (Rome, 1628), the rest of the relics, together with those of Malcolm, were acquired by Philip II of Spain, and placed in two urns in the Escorial. When, however, Bishop Gillies of Edinburgh applied through Pius IX for their restoration to Scotland, they could not be found.
The chief authority for Margaret's life is the contemporary biography printed in "Acta SS.", II, June, 320. Its authorship has been ascribed to Turgot, the saint's confessor, a monk of Durham and later Archbishop of St. Andrews, and also to Theodoric, a somewhat obscure monk; but in spite of much controversy the point remains quite unsettled. The feast of St. Margaret is now observed by the whole Church on 10 June.
TODAY'S GOSPEL AND MASS ONLINE: NOV. 16: Luke 19: 11 - 28
|Luke 19: 11 - 28|
|11||As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.|
|12||He said therefore, "A nobleman went into a far country to receive a kingdom and then return.|
|13||Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten pounds, and said to them, `Trade with these till I come.'|
|14||But his citizens hated him and sent an embassy after him, saying, `We do not want this man to reign over us.'|
|15||When he returned, having received the kingdom, he commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by trading.|
|16||The first came before him, saying, `Lord, your pound has made ten pounds more.'|
|17||And he said to him, `Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.'|
|18||And the second came, saying, `Lord, your pound has made five pounds.'|
|19||And he said to him, `And you are to be over five cities.'|
|20||Then another came, saying, `Lord, here is your pound, which I kept laid away in a napkin;|
|21||for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.'|
|22||He said to him, `I will condemn you out of your own mouth, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow?|
|23||Why then did you not put my money into the bank, and at my coming I should have collected it with interest?'|
|24||And he said to those who stood by, `Take the pound from him, and give it to him who has the ten pounds.'|
|25||(And they said to him, `Lord, he has ten pounds!')|
|26||`I tell you, that to every one who has will more be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.|
|27||But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me.'"|
|28||And when he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.|