An article on CNN revealed that a Young Teen in jail was saved by Pope Francis. Carlos Adrian Vázquez Jr., age 16, wrote to Pope Francis from juvenile jail. Here he's serving 11-year sentence. To the teen's surprise Pope Francis wrote back!
"Dear Carlos," wrote the Pope, "I was pleased to receive your recent letter...." Carlos has changed his ways since being a gang member in Los Angeles. However, Carlos Adrian Vazquez Jr. had lost the will to live when he began serving the 11-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter. This is why he wrote to the Pope. "I asked for forgiveness for what I did," said Vazquez. The Pope wrote, "May the peace of Jesus Christ be with you! I was pleased to receive your recent letter. ..."
Vazquez now 18 said, "I couldn't believe it. I didn't think the Pope would write to someone who's behind bars." The Pontiff spoke of "a Holy Door to Mercy" to be opened at the juvenile jail, in a ceremony by the Los Angeles archbishop. He explained further, "I pray that as you and your fellow residents celebrate the opening of the Holy Door, you may receive these gifts and be filled with peace and hope." "Know that the Holy Father is thinking of you and praying for you. And please remember to pray for me, because I greatly need your prayers."
Pope Francis has been trying to reach inmates as part of the Jubilee of Mercy. Vazquez now no longer wants to end his life. Carlos said,"It gave me a lot of hope knowing that there are people like the Pope who still have not given up on us. I know I've made mistakes and have hurt people, but what I learned in my two years and five months I've been imprisoned, I didn't know I was hurting people and that I was hurting myself, too," Vazquez said.
Carlos is sorry for his crime; "Yes, because of the people I hurt, but I have to fall to learn how to get up," he said. Vazquez wrote to victim's family too.
"I ask them to forgive me and told them no words would ever give them back the life I destroyed, but I hope one day they can forgive me for my actions and now I just ask for forgiveness and I want to live the life that my victim didn't have a chance to live and be good," he said.
Carlos is now being transferred to the men's Ironwood State Prison in Blythe, California. "If society does not forgive me, I know God forgives me for my sins," he said. He's learned many lessons. "The way I thought was to fight every month. Now I use my words instead of my hands," he said. Carlos dropped out of school at age 15 and then he joined a gang. "I wouldn't go home for days, a week, and I lost all connection with my family," he said. Carlos explains, "It was a gang fight and someone died. I wasn't the one who did it, but because I was there I was charged with the same crime." The parents of Carlos have visited their son every Sunday since his incarceration. Rev. Michael Kennedy, a Jesuit priest helps youths in prison at the Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative. Kennedy's encouraged the youths to write letters to the Pope.
Carlos Adrian Vzquez Jr., 18, reads the letter he wrote to Pope Francis. "If only the world were filled with more love, compassion, forgiveness and mercy. Being an outcast of society, I want the world to see us for who we truly are; human beings, who make mistakes like everybody else. But we are able to rise again like a Phoenix," "I will become a leader some day, like Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai. Thank you for your loving and your merciful example to all of us."
The Vatican also published other letters on its website that were written by incarcerated juveniles in 2013,
Carlso explained "It gives me a lot of pride because it's a message from God, that we are all humans, and he gives us hope that God wants all of us to be equal and we all commit mistakes, and we can get up and continue,"
St John Ogilvie was a Jesuit priest, martyred for his faith at Glasgow on 10th March 1615. He is the only canonized martyr of the Scottish Reformation.
The year 2015 is the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie.
The Life of St John Ogilvie
|John Ogilvie is born on 4th July at Drum-na-Keith, on the north east coast of Scotland . His father, Sir Walter Ogilvie, conformed to the state religion of Calvinism (established by act of parliament in 1560) and later known as Presbyterianism. His mother, Agnes Elphinstone, was a Catholic with two brothers in the Society of Jesus.|
|John's mother dies when he is three. Walter Ogilvie is remarried, to Mary Douglas.|
|Travels to Helmstedt (an illustrious Lutheran school founded in 1570) to begin his formal education, age 13.|
|Enrols at the Scots College (which had moved from Douai to Louvain), undergoes instruction from Cornelius a Lapide SJ and shortly becomes a Roman Catholic. Then continued his studies at the Jesuit university at Olmütz (Olomouc, founded 1570) in Bohemia because of the poverty of the Scots College.|
|Continues studies with the Benedictines at the Schottenkloster (Irish Monastery) Sankt Jakob, Ratisbon (Regensburg).|
|Returns to Olmütz. Enters the novitiate of the Society of Jesus on 5 th November at Brno in Moravia.|
|Takes his first vows as a Jesuit on 26 th December at Graz in Austria and then teaches grammar in the Jesuit school (founded 1573) while studying philosophy at the Jesuit university (founded 1585/6).|
|Teaches grammar and humanities at Vienna (Jesuit college and university founded 1551).|
|Returns to study at Olmütz to study theology. Appointed Prefect of the Sodality of Our Lady.|
|Ordained priest at Paris and appointed confessor to the students of the Jesuit college at Rouen (founded 1593).|
|Returns to Scotland, landing at Leith, under the alias John Watson, horse dealer. He is accompanied by James Moffat SJ and the Capuchin Franciscan, John Campbell.|
|Ogilvie travels to London and on to France on a secret mission, seemingly under the protection of the King. He returns to Scotland in June. On 14th October, he is betrayed by Adam Boyd and arrested in Glasgow. Imprisoned and tortured for five months in Glasgow and Edinburgh.|
|John Ogilvie is executed at the Mercat Cross, Glasgow, on 10th March and is buried outside the city walls.|
|Ogilvie's Relatio (his own account of his arrest, imprisonment and torture, written in prison) is printed in various cities in Europe and circulated secretly in England and Scotland.|
|The process to have John Ogilvie declared 'Blessed' is begun but not completed for another 400 years.|
|22nd December - Declared 'Blessed' by Pope Pius XI.|
|17th October - Declared a 'Saint' by Pope Paul VI.|
|400th Anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie SJ.|
The feast day of St John Ogilvie SJ is celebrated on 10th March (the day of his martyrdom in 1615) in the Jesuit calendar of the British Province and in the dioceses of Scotland, and on14th October (the date of his arrest in 1614 and the beginning of his martyrdom) in the rest of the universal Church.
Shared from Jesuitinstitute
MARTYRSA party of soldiers who suffered a cruel death for their faith, near Sebaste, in Lesser Armenia, victims of the persecutions of Licinius, who, after the year 316, persecuted the Christians of the East. The earliest account of their martyrdom is given by St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea (370-379), in a homily delivered on the feast of the Forty Martyrs (Hom. xix in P.G., XXXI, 507 sqq.). The feast is consequently more ancient than the episcopate of Basil, whose eulogy on them was pronounced only fifty or sixty years after martyrdom, which is thus historic beyond a doubt. According to St. Basil, forty soldiers who had openly confessed themselves Christians were condemned by the prefect to be exposed naked upon a frozen pond near Sebaste on a bitterly cold night, that they might freeze to death. Among the confessors, one yielded and, leaving his companions, sought the warm baths near the lake which had been prepared for any who might prove inconstant. One of the guards set to keep watch over the martyrs beheld at this moment a supernatural brilliancy overshadowing them and at once proclaimed himself a Christian, threw off his garments, and placed himself beside the thirty-nine soldiers of Christ. Thus the number of forty remained complete. At daybreak, the stiffened bodies of the confessors, which still showed signs of life, were burned and the ashes cast into a river. The Christians, however, collected the precious remains, and the relics were distributed throughout many cities; in this way the veneration paid to the Forty Martyrs became widespread, and numerous churches were erected in their honour.
One of them was built at Caesarea, in Cappadocia, and it was in this church that St. Basil publicly delivered his homily. St. Gregory of Nyssa was a special client of these holy martyrs. Two discourses in praise of them, preached by him in the church dedicated to them, are still preserved (P. G., XLVI, 749 sqq., 773 sqq.) and upon the death of his parents, he laid them to rest beside the relics of the confessors. St. Ephraem, the Syrian, has also eulogized the forty Martyrs (Hymni in SS. 40 martyres). Sozomen, who was an eye-witness, has left us (Hist. Eccl., IX, 2) an interesting account of the finding of the relics in Constantinople through the instrumentality of the Empress Pulcheria. Special devotion to the forty martyrs of Sebaste was introduced at an early date into the West. St. Gaudentius, Bishop of Brescia in the beginning of the fifth century (d. about 410 or 427), received particles of the ashes of martyrs during a voyage in the East, and placed them with other relics in the altar of the basilica which he had erected, at the consecration of which he delivered a discourse, still extant (P. L., XX, 959 sqq.) Near the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua, in the Roman Forum, built in the fifth century, a chapel was found, built, like the church itself, on an ancient site, and consecrated to the Forty Martyrs. A picture, still preserved there, dating from the sixth or seventh century, depicts the scene of the martyrdom. The names of the confessors, as we find them also in later sources, were formerly inscribed on this fresco. Acts of these martyrs, written subsequently, in Greek, Syriac and Latin, are yet extant, also a "Testament" of the Forty Martyrs. Their feast is celebrated in the Greek, as well as in the Latin Church, on 9 March.
(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)