Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Catholic News World : Wednesday April 13, 2016 - SHARE


Anthem Lights sings Breathtaking Hymns in #VIRALVideo with over 2 Millions views - SHARE

Anthem Lights sings a Breathtaking mix of “How Great Thou Art,” “It Is Well,” and “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”— It has been viewed over 2 Million times...SHARE this Beautiful Hymn to God!

#BreakingNews Elderly Woman Whipped publicly for selling Alcohol in #Indonesia

Aceh, elderly Christian woman publically whipped for selling alcohol

The woman, 60, was caught breaking Islamic law in Aceh also now also regulates the life of non-Muslims. She is the first Christian to be punished under sharia, with 30 lashes. Two others accused of adultery given 100 lashes.

Banda Aceh (AsiaNews) – A Christian woman of 60 years of age has been publically flogged in Aceh for selling alcohol despite a ban under Sharia law.  The woman received 30 lashes  in front of about 1,000 people in Takengon, Aceh, the province with special status in the north of Sumatra and only place Indonesia where Islamic law is enforced. A couple caught in adultery was punished alongside the woman, with 100 lashes.

Aceh Central Government official, Lili Suparli, says that this "is the first time that a citizen outside the Muslim community has been punished for breaking the rules contained in the Koran". Sharia, in fact, was only applicable to Muslims, however a law which came into force last year under which in certain situations it can also regulate the work of non-Muslims.
Aceh province began to apply a stricter version of Islamic law (shari'a) in 2005, following a peace agreement between Jakarta and the Islamic separatist group Free Aceh Movement (GAM). Among the toughest laws are public clubbing for those who have sex with men, gamblers, the alcohol drinkers and those who meet with women outside of wedlock. Many  in Aceh oppose greater restrictions, especially with regards to women wearing jeans and tight skirts , travelling astride motorcycles, ordancing in public because they "stir desire" and a ban on St. Valentines Day.
SHARED from AsiaNewsIT

#PopeFrancis "...the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces" #Audience FULL TEXT/Video

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
We heard the Gospel of the calling of Matthew. Matthew was a “publican,” namely a tax collector for the Roman Empire and, therefore, considered a public sinner. However, Jesus called him to follow Him and to become His disciple. Matthew accepted, and invited Him to dine in his home together with the disciples. Then a discussion arose between the Pharisees and Jesus’ disciples because the latter shared the table with publicans and sinners. “But you can’t go to these people’s house,” they said Jesus, in fact, does not move away from them, rather He frequents their homes and sits by them. This means that they also can become His disciples. Likewise, it is true that to be Christians does not make us sinless. Like the publican Matthew, each one of us entrusts himself to the Lord’s grace despite our sins. We are all sinners; we have all sinned. By calling Matthew, Jesus shows sinners that He does not look at their past, at their social condition, at external conventions, but rather opens a new future to them. Once I heard a good saying: “There is no saint without a past and there is no sinner without a future.” This is what Jesus does. There is no saint without a past or sinner without a future. Suffice it to respond to the invitation with a humble and sincere heart. The Church is not a community of the perfect, but of disciples on the way, who follow the Lord because they recognize themselves sinners and in need of His forgiveness. Therefore, the Christian life is a school of humility that is open to grace.
Such behavior is not understood by one with the presumption of believing himself “just” and better than others. Arrogance and pride do not enable one to recognize oneself in need of salvation; instead, they impede seeing the merciful face of God and of acting with mercy. They are a wall. Arrogance and pride are a wall, which impedes a relationship with God. Yet, Jesus’ mission is precisely this: to come in search of each one of us, to heal our wounds and call us to follow Him with love. He said it clearly: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (v. 12). Jesus presents Himself as a good doctor! He proclaims the Kingdom of God, and the signs of His coming are evident: He heals sicknesses, frees from fear, from death and from the devil. Before Jesus, no sinner is excluded — no sinner is excluded! — because God’s healing power knows not infirmities that cannot be cured; and this must give us confidence and open our heart to the Lord so that He will come and heal us. Calling sinners to His table, He heals them, re-establishing them in the vocation they thought was lost and that the Pharisees had forgotten: that of guests at the banquet of God. According to Isaiah’s prophecy: “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined. And he will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken’ (25:6-9).
If the Pharisees see only sinners in the guests and refuse to sit with them, Jesus on the contrary reminds them that they are also God’s table companions. So, to sit at table with Jesus means to be transformed and saved by Him. Jesus’ table is twofold in the Christian community: there is the table of the Word and there is the table of the Eucharist (cf. Dei Verbum, 21). These are the medicines with which the Divine Doctor heals and nourishes us. With the first – the Word – He reveals Himself and invites us to a dialogue between friends. Jesus was not afraid to dialogue with sinners, publicans, prostitutes. No, he was not afraid; He loved all! His Word penetrates us and, as a scalpel, operates in depth to free us from the evil that nests in our life. Sometimes this Word is painful, because it cuts into hypocrisies, unmasks false excuses, exposes the hidden truth but, at the same time, it illumines and purifies, gives strength and hope, is a precious re-constituent of our journey of faith. For its part, the Eucharist nourishes us with the very life of Jesus and, as a very powerful medicine continually renews the grace of our Baptism in a mysterious way. By approaching the Eucharist, we nourish ourselves with the Body and Blood of Jesus, though, coming into us, it is Jesus that unites us to His Body!
Concluding the dialogue with the Pharisees, Jesus reminds them of a word of the prophet Hosea (6:6): “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matthew9:13). Addressing the people of Israel, the prophet reproves them because the prayers they raised were empty and incoherent words. Despite God’s covenant and mercy, the people often lived with a “facade” religiosity, without living profoundly the Lord’s command. See why the prophet insisted: “I desire mercy,” that is, the loyalty of a heart that recognizes its sins, that repents and turns to be faithful to the covenant with God. “And not sacrifice”: every religious action is ineffectual without a repentant heart! Jesus applies this prophetic phrase also to human relations: the Pharisees were very religious in the form, but they were not willing to share the table with publicans and sinners; they did not acknowledge the possibility of repentance and hence of healing; they did not put mercy in the first place: though being faithful custodians of the Law, they showed they did not know God’s heart! It is as if you were given a parcel with a gift inside and you, instead of looking for the gift, look only at the paper in which it is wrapped: only the appearances, the form, and not the kernel of grace, the gift that is being given!
Dear brothers and sisters, we are all invited to the table of the Lord. Let us make our own the invitation to sit by Him together with His disciples. Let us learn to look with mercy and to recognize in every one of them a table companion of ours. We are all disciples in need of experiencing and living the consoling word of Jesus. We are all in need of nourishing ourselves of God’s mercy, because it is from this source that our salvation flows. Thank you!
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
In Italian
I give a cordial welcome to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I am happy to receive the faithful of the diocese of Mileto-Nicotera-Tropea and of Teggino-Policastro, accompanied by the Pastors, Monsignor Renzo and Monsignor De Luca; the Deacons of the Archdiocese of Milan and the Sacramentine Sisters of Bergamo. I greet the Arch-Confraternities of Mercy of Italy with the Bishop of Prato, Monsignor Agostinelli; the faithful of Mazara del Vallo, with Monsignor Mogavero; Trieste, Padula and Borgo Tossignano. I exhort you to live the Jubilee of Mercy with faith, to obtain the Jubilee Indulgence for yourselves, for your dear ones and for your deceased.
A special greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. May the paschal proclamation continue to make you live the astonishment of the disciples of Emmaus: dear young people, only the Lord Jesus is able to respond completely to the aspirations of happiness and goodness in your life; dear sick, there is no more beautiful consolation to your suffering than the certainty of Christ’s Resurrection; and you, dear newlyweds, live your marriage in concrete adherence to Christ and to the teachings of the Gospel.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
The Holy Father’s Appeal
Saturday, I will go to the Island of Lesbos, where many refugees have passed. I will go, together with my brothers the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, and the Archbishop of Athens and of All Greece, Hieronymos, to express our closeness and solidarity to the refugees and citizens of Lesbos and to all the Greek people so generous in their hospitality. I ask, please, that you accompany me with prayer, invoking the light and the strength of the Holy Spirit and the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wed. April 13, 2016

Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 275

Reading 1ACTS 8:1B-8

There broke out a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem,
and all were scattered
throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria,
except the Apostles.
Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him.
Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the Church;
entering house after house and dragging out men and women,
he handed them over for imprisonment.

Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.
Thus Philip went down to the city of Samaria
and proclaimed the Christ to them.
With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip
when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.
For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
came out of many possessed people,
and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured.
There was great joy in that city.

Responsorial PsalmPS 66:1-3A, 4-5, 6-7A

R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!”
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.
“Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
sing praise to your name!”
Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.
He has changed the sea into dry land;
through the river they passed on foot;
therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaSEE JN 6:40

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Everyone who believes in the Son has eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 6:35-40

Jesus said to the crowds,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.
But I told you that although you have seen me,
you do not believe.
Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”

Saint April 13 : Pope St. Martin I : #Martyr

Feast Day:April 11
Born:Todi, Tuscany, Italy
Died:655 at Cherson, Crimea
Martyr, born at Todi on the Tiber, son of Fabricius; elected Pope at Rome, 21 July, 649, to succeed Theodore I; died at Cherson in the present peninsulas of Krym, 16 Sept., 655, after a reign of 6 years, one month and twenty six days, having ordained eleven priests, five deacons and thirty-three bishops. 5 July is the date commonly given for his election, but 21 July (given by Lobkowitz, "Statistik der Papste" Freiburg, 1905) seems to correspond better with the date of his death and reign (Duchesne "Lib. Pont.", I, 336); his feast is on 12 November.The Greeks honor him on 13 April and 15 September, the Muscovites on 14 April. In the hymns of the Office the Greeks style him infallibilis fidei magister because he was the successor of St. Peter in the See of Rome (Nilles, "Calendarium Manuale", Innsbruck, 1896, I, 336).
Martin, one of the noblest figures in a long line of Roman pontiffs (Hodgkin, "Italy", VI, 268) was, according to his biographer Theodore (Mai, "Spicil. Rom.", IV 293) of noble birth, a great student, of commanding intelligence, of profound learning, and of great charity to the poor. Piazza, II  45 7 states that he belonged to the order of St. Basil. He governed the Church at a time when the leaders of the Monothelite heresy, supported by the emperor, were making most strenuous efforts to spread their tenets in the East and West. Pope Theodore had sent Martin as apocrysiary to Constantinople to make arrangements for canonical deposition of the heretical patriarch, Pyrrhus. After his election, Martin had himself consecrated without waiting for the imperial confirmation, and soon called a council in the Lateran at which one hundred and five bishops met. Five sessions were held on 5, 8, 17, 119 and 31 Oct., 649 (Hefele, "Conciliengeschichte", III, 190). The "Ecthesis" of Heraclius and the "Typus" of Constans II were rejected; nominal excommunication was passed against Sergius, Pyrrus, and Paul of Constantinople, Cyrus of Alexandria and Theodore of Phran in Arabia; twenty canons were enacted defining the Catholic doctrine on the two wills of Christ. The decrees signed by the pope and the assembled bishops were sent to the other bishops and the faithful of the world together with an encyclical of Martin. The Acts with a Greek translation were also sent to the Emperor Constans II.
The pope appointed John, Bishop of Philadelphia, as his vicar in the East with necessary instructions and full authority . Bishop Paul of Thessalonica refused to recall his heretical letters previously sent to Rome and added others,—he was, therefore, formally excommunicated and deposed. The Patriarch of Constantinople, Paul, had urged the emperor to use drastic means to force the pope and the Western Bishops at least to subscribe to the "Typus". The emperor sent Olympius as exarch to Italy, where he arrived while the council was still in session. Olympius tried to create a faction among the fathers to favor the views of the emperor, but without success. Then upon pretense of reconciliation he wished to receive Holy Communion from the hands of the pontiff with the intention of slaying him. But Divine Providence protected the pope, and Olympius left Rome to fight against the Saracens in Sicily and died there. Constans II thwarted in his plans, sent as exarch Theodore Calliopas with orders to bring Martin to Constantinople. Calliopas arrived in Rome, 15 June, 653, and, entering the Lateran Basilica two days later, informed the clergy that Martin had been deposed as an unworthy intruder, that he must be brought to Constantinople and that another was to be chosen in his place. The pope, wishing to avoid the shedding of human blood, forbade resistance and declared himself willing to be brought before the emperor. The saintly prisoner, accompanied by only a few attendants, and suffering much from bodily ailments and privations, arrived at Constantinople on 17 Sept., 653 or 654, having landed nowhere except the island of Naxos. The letters of the pope seem to indicate he was kept at Naxos for a year. Jaffe, n. 1608, and Ewald, n 2079, consider the annum fecimus an interpolation and would allow only a very short stop at Naxos, which granted the pope an opportunity to enjoy a bath. Duchesne, "Lib. Pont.", I, 336 can see no reason for abandoning the original account; Hefele,"Conciliengeschichte" III, 212, held the same view (see "Zeitschr. für Kath. Theol.", 1892, XVI, 375).
From Abydos messengers were sent to the imperial city to announce the arrival of the prisoner who was branded as a heretic and rebel, an enemy of God and of the State. Upon his arrival in Constantinople Martin was left for several hours on deck exposed to the jests and insults of a curious crowd of spectators. Towards evening he was brought to a prison called Prandearia and kept in close and cruel confinement for ninety-three days, suffering from hunger, cold and thirst. All this did not break his energy and on 19 December he was brought before the assembled senate where the imperial treasurer acted as judge. Various political charges were made, but the true and only charge was the pope's refusal to sign the "Typus". He was then carried to an open space in full view of the emperor and of a large crowd of people. These were asked to pass anathema upon the pope to which but few responded. Numberless indignities were heaped upon him, he was stripped of nearly all his clothing, loaded with chains, dragged through the streets of the city and then again thrown into the prison of Diomede, where he remained for eighty five days. Perhaps influenced by the death of Paul, Patriarch of Constantinople, Constans did not sentence the pope to death, but to exile. He was put on board a ship, 26 March, 654 (655) and arrived at his destination on 15 May. Cherson was at the time suffering from a great famine. The venerable pontiff here passed the remaining days of his life. He was buried in the church of Our Lady, called Blachernæ, near Cherson, and many miracles are related as wrought by St Martin in life and after death. The greater part of his relics are said to have been transferred to Rome, where they repose in the church of San Martino ai Monti. Of his letters seventeen are extant in P.L., LXXXVII, 119.

(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)

#Quote to SHARE by Mother Teresa "Don’t expect your friend to be a perfect person. But, help your to be a..."

"Don’t expect your friend to be a perfect person. But, help your friend to become a perfect person. That’s true friendship." Mother Teresa

Catholic News World : Tuesday April 12, 2016 - SHARE


#Quote to SHARE by Mother Teresa "Don’t expect your friend to be a perfect person. But, help your to be a..."

"Don’t expect your friend to be a perfect person. But, help your friend to become a perfect person. That’s true friendship." Mother Teresa

#PopeFrancis “God made us free" #Homily

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Casa Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Casa Santa Marta - OSS_ROM
12/04/2016 14:47

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said on Tuesday that "persecution is the Church’s daily bread”.
Speaking during morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, the Pope recalled the first Christian martyr – Stephen – and said that “still today so many Christians are killed or persecuted for their faith in Christ”.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:
Pope Francis said “there are bloody persecutions, like being torn to pieces by wild beasts to the delight of the audience in the stands or being blown up by a bomb at the end of Mass” and there are “velvet-gloved” persecutions that are “cloaked in politeness": the ones that marginalize you, take your job away if you fail to adapt to laws that "go against God the Creator."
The story of the martyrdom of Stephen, described in the Acts of the Apostles in the liturgy of the day, led the Pope to remark on how persecution is a reality that has been part of the history of Christian faith for 2000 years.

"Persecution, I would say, is the daily bread of the Church. Jesus said so himself” he said.
He pointed out that there are tourist sites in Rome like the Colosseum which remind us of the martyrs who were killed there by lions. But – he said – they are not the only ones. There are ordinary men and women of today: 
“Today, on Easter Sunday, just three weeks ago… Those Christians who were celebrating Easter in Pakistan were martyred because they were celebrating the Risen Christ. Thus, the history of the Church goes ahead with its martyrs” he said.
Pope Francis pointed out that the martyrdom of Stephen sparked a cruel anti-Christian persecution in Jerusalem similar to the persecution suffered by those who are not free to profess their faith in Jesus today.
“But – he noted - there is another persecution which is not much spoken about," a persecution "camouflaged by culture, by  modernity, by progress in disguise":
"It is a persecution I would 'ironically describe as polite” he said.
It’s when someone is persecuted – he explained - for wanting to manifest the values of the Gospel: “It’s persecution against God the Creator in the person of his children!”
And the Pope said that every day the powers that be promulgate laws that oblige one to take certain routes and that nations that do not follow these indications or do not want them to be part of their legislation, are accused and politely persecuted. It’s the kind of the persecution that deprives one of freedom, and of the possibility of conscientious objection.
“This – Pope Francis said - is the persecution of the world" that "takes away freedom" whilst “God made us free" to bear witness to "the Father who created us and to Christ who saved us.” 
This persecution he said is perpetrated by the prince of this world.
Referring to the “great apostasy” the Pope said that the life of Christians goes ahead notwithstanding these two persecutions.
Urging the faithful to "be careful,” to not fall into the spirit of the world, Pope Francis assured us of his closeness: “I will be with you” he said.
(Linda Bordoni) 

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tues. April 12, 2016

Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 274

Reading 1ACTS 7:51—8:1A

Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes:
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears,
you always oppose the Holy Spirit;
you are just like your ancestors.
Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute?
They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one,
whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.
You received the law as transmitted by angels,
but you did not observe it.”

When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened
and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out in a loud voice,
covered their ears, and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice,
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them”;
and when he said this, he fell asleep.

Now Saul was consenting to his execution.

Responsorial PsalmPS 31:3CD-4, 6 AND 7B AND 8A, 17 AND 21AB

R. (6a) Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
R. Alleluia.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
R. Alleluia.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
My trust is in the LORD;
I will rejoice and be glad of your mercy.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
R. Alleluia.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence
from the plottings of men.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 6:35AB

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the bread of life, says the Lord;
whoever comes to me will never hunger.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 6:30-35

The crowd said to Jesus:
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:

He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”

So Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”

So they said to Jesus,
“Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

#BreakingNews 21 Christians Killed by ISIS while others held Captives - Please PRAY

Al-Qaryatayn: 21 Christians killed by Islamic State, others still in the hands of the jihadists

The news first denounced by the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II. The killings date back to the time of the siege of the town and in the following weeks. Fr. Michel: "Ongoing negotiations to free the hostages, but the situation is confusing." Uncertainty over their fate. The militia reported to have tried to sell the Christian women as slaves.


Homs (AsiaNews) - The Christian victims in the hands of the Islamic state were killed at the time of the "siege" of Al-Qaryatayn and "weeks after" the seizure of power of the jihadists. This is what is denounced to AsiaNews by Fr. Michel Noman, a priest in Homs. His diocese is home to the town that was recently freed by the Syrian army with the help of Russian air raids.
Yesterday in an interview with the BBC, the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II said that at least 21 Christians were killed by Islamic State (IS) in al-Qaryatayn (central Syria); some of them were killed in an escape attempt; others killed for refusing to convert to Islam. The victims include three women.

Fr. Michel adds that there is still "a group of Christians in the hands of the Islamic State. There are ongoing behind the scenes negotiations – he continues - to try to free them, but the situation is complicated. We do not even know for sure if they are still alive, or dead. " The priest also stresses that "it is difficult" to understand why the jihadists have killed the Christians, perhaps "because they put up opposition, or for other reasons. Things are getting confused with the IS".
Al-Qaryatayn ( "The two villages" in Arabic) is located in the governorate of Homs, in central Syria, a country battered by five years of civil war that has caused 260 thousand deaths and millions of refugees. In August, the militias of the Islamic State conquered the area, causing serious damage to the monastery of Mar Elian, an ancient building of the Christian tradition, which houses the relics of this saint who was martyred by the Romans for not having renounced his faith.

The monastery, demolished with bulldozers by jihadists who posted images of the destruction online, had long been under the guidance of Fr. Jacques Mourad, a priest of the Syrian Catholic Church, who was kidnapped and held for months by the IS militias. In recent days, a Christian delegation visited the area, telling AsiaNews of a "total devastation" with damage everywhere, "in the church, the monastery, the center" for visitors and pilgrims.
In the words of the Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, the 300 Christians left in the city after the capture of Daesh [Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, ed] were immediately subjected to abuse and violence by the jihadists. Those who tried to escape, or would not convert to Islam or submit to the rules of the "Caliphate" were killed.
The militiamen also reportedly attempted to sell the Christian girls as "slaves"; according to some sources, there are Christians missing, but hopes of finding them alive are almost nil.

Al-Qaryatayn, which once had 30 thousand inhabitants, of which a thousand Christians, has long been a symbol of religious coexistence although today it is a ghost town, the shops destroyed, buildings damaged or collapsed under the intense fighting. According to legend with the arrival of the Arabs in the region in the sixth century A.D. one of the two most important families of the city converted to Islam, while the other remained Christian, with the aim to protect each other from external attacks. Today the area is considered a strategic hub of Homs province and is rich in subsoil deposits.
Shared From AsiaNewsIT

Saint April 12 : St. Zeno : Patron of #Fishermen , Newborn #Babies

St. Zeno
Feast: April 12

Feast Day:April 12
Born:300, Mauretania
Died:April 12, 371, Verona
Major Shrine:Basilica di San Zeno, Verona
Patron of:Fishermen, anglers, newborn babies, Verona
Entered in the Roman Martyrology on 12 April as a Bishop of Verona martyred under Gallienus. Probably, however, he was a confessor who governed the Church of Verona from 362-380. At Verona a basilica, San Zenone, is dedicated to his honour, and some thirty churches and chapels bear his name. In the basilica his statue, bearing the episcopal insignia, is prominent in the choir; coins with his likeness and an inscription were in use. On 21 May and 6 Dec. the translation of his body and his consecration were formerly commemorated. In "De viris illust." Of St. Jerome and Gennadius, Zeno is not mentioned, but St. Ambrose (Ep. v) speaks of him as an episcopus sanctae memoriae, and St. Gregory (Dial., III, 19) relates a miracle wrought at the Church of St. Zeno at Verona. Mabillon ("Vetera analecta", Paris, 1675) published an anonymous poem, "De landibus Veronae", taken from the writing of Ratherius, Bishop of Verona (d. 974), found in the abbey at Lobbes in Belgium (P.L., XI, 154, 225), which gives a list of the bishops of Verona and makes Zeno eighth. In the Monastery di Classe at Ravenna was found an eighth-century chasuble (casula diptycha) with the names and pictures of thirty-five bishops of Verona on its front and back; among them was that of Zeno. This list was accepted by Gams in his "Series episcoporum" (Bigelmair, p. 27). Zeno had not been known as a writer before 1508, when two Dominicans, Albertus Castellanus and Jacobus de Leuco, edited at Venice 105 tractatus or sermons found in the episcopal library of Verona fifty years earlier. In 1739 the brothers Ballerini published "S. Zenonis episcopi Veronae sermones", with an elaborate prolegomena. From these it appears that Zeno was a native of Africa, eighth Bishop of Verona (362-80), an able speaker, and an untiring champion of Christianity against the heathens and of orthodoxy against the Arians. Much controversy arose as to the time at which St. Zeno lives, whether two bishops of Verona of this name were to be admitted or but one, and on the authorship of the sermons. Various opinions were held by Sixtus of Siena, Baronius, Ughelli, Dupin, Tillemont, Fabricius, and others. Of the 105 sermons 12 have been rejected as belonging to other authors. Of the rest 16 are larger sermons, the others merely sketches or perhaps fragments. They contain valuable material on Catholic doctrine, practice, and liturgy; they treat of God, creation, the Blessed Virgin, Holy Scriptures, the Church, the sacraments, etc., and warn against the vices of the day.

Saint April 12 : St. Julius I : Pope

Pope St. Julius I
Feast: April 12

Feast Day:April 11
Born:Rome, Italy
Died:12 April 352
The immediate successor of Pope Silvester, Arcus, ruled the Roman Church for only a very short period — from 18 January to 7 October, 336 — and after his death the papal chair remained vacant for four months. What occasioned this comparatively long vacancy is unknown. On 6 Feb., 337, Julius, son of Rustics and a native of Rome, was elected pope. His pontificate is chiefly celebrated for his judicious and firm intervention in the Arian controversies, about which we have abundant sources of information. After the death of Constantine the Great (22 May, 337), his son Constantine II, Governor of Gaul, permitted the exiled Athanasius to return to his See of Alexandria (see ATHANASIUS). The Arians in Egypt, however, set up a rival bishop in the person of Pistus, and sent an embassy to Julius asking him to admit Pistus into communion with Rome, and delivering to the pope the decisions of the Council of Tyre (335) to prove that Athanasius had been validly deposed. On his side Athanasius likewise sent envoys to Rome to deliver to Julius a synodal letter of the Egyptian bishops, containing a complete justification of their patriarch. On the arrival of the Athanasian envoys in Rome, Macarius, the head of the Arian representatives, left the city; the two remaining Arian envoys, with the Athanasian deputies, were summoned by Pope Julius. The Arian envoys now begged the pope to assemble a great synod before which both parties should present their case for decision.
Julius convened the synod at Rome, having dispatched two envoys to bear a letter of invitation to the Eastern bishops. Under the leadership of Eusebius, who had been raised from Nicomedia to the See of Constantinople, the Arian bishops had meanwhile held a council at Antioch, and elected George of Cappadocia Bishop of Alexandria in the place of Pistus. George was intruded forcibly into his see, and Athanasius, being again exiled, made his way to Rome. Many other Eastern bishops removed by the Arian party, among them Marcellus of Ancyra, also came to Rome. In a letter couched in haughty terms, however, the Arian bishops of the party of Eusebius refused to attend the synod summoned by Julius. The synod was held in the autumn of 340 or 341, under the presidency of the pope, in the titular church of the presbyter Vitus. After a detailed examination of the documents, Athanasius and Marcellus of Ancyra, who had made a satisfactory profession of faith, were exonerated and re-established in their episcopal rights. Pope Julius communicated this decision in a very notable and able letter to the bishops of the Eusebian party. In this letter he justifies his proceedings in the case, defends in detail his action in reinstating Athanasius, and animadverts strongly on the non-appearance of the Eastern bishops at the council, the convening of which they themselves had suggested. Even if Athanasius and his companions were somewhat to blame, the letter runs, the Alexandrian Church should first have written to the pope. "Can you be ignorant," writes the pope, "that this is the custom, that we should be written to first, so that from here what is just may be defined" (Julii ep. ad Antiochenos, c. xxii). After his victory over his brother Constantine II, Emperor Constans was ruler over the greater part of the Empire. He was entirely orthodox in his views, and, at the request of the pope and other Western bishops, interceded with his brother Constantius, Emperor of the East, in favour of the bishops who had been deposed and persecuted by the Arian party. Both rulers agreed that there should be convened a general council of the Western and Eastern bishops at Sardica, the principal city of the Province of Dacia Mediterranea (the modern Sofia). It took place in the autumn of 342 or 343, Julius sending as his representatives the priests Archidamus and Philoxenus and the deacon Leo. Although the Eastern bishops of the Arian party did not join in the council, but held their assembly separate and then departed, the synod nevertheless accomplished its task. Through the important canons iii, iv, and v (vii in the Latin text) of this council, the procedure against accused bishops was more exactly regulated, and the manner of the papal intervention in the condemnation of bishops was definitely established.
At the close of its transactions the synod communicated its decisions to the pope in a dutiful letter. Notwithstanding the reaffirmation of his innocence by the Synod of Sardica, St. Athanasius was not restored to his see by Emperor Constantius until after the death of George, the rival Bishop of Alexandria, in 346. Pope Julius took this occasion to write a letter, which is still extant, to the priests, deacons, and the faithful of Alexandria, to congratulate them on the return of their great pastor. The two bishops Ursacius of Singidunum and Valens of Mursia, who, on account of their Arianism, had been deposed by the Council of Sardica, now made a formal recantation of their error to Julius, who, having summoned them to an audience and received a signed confession of faith, restored to them their episcopal sees. Concerning the inner life of the Roman Church during the pontificate of Julius we have no exact information; all agree, however, that there was a rapid increase in the number of the faithful in Rome, where Julius had two new basilicas erected: the titular church of Julius (now S. Maria in Trastevere) and the Basilica Julia (now the Church of the Twelve Apostles). Beside these he built three churches over cemeteries outside the walls of Rome: one on the road to Porto, a second on the Via Aurelia, and a third on the Via Flaminia at the tomb of the martyr St. Valentine. The ruins of the last-mentioned have been discovered. The veneration of the faithful for the tombs of the martyrs continued to spread rapidly. Under the pontificate of Julius, if not earlier, catalogues of feast-days of saints came into use — the Roman feast-calendar of Philocalus dates from the year 336.
Through St. Athanasius, who remained in Rome several years subsequent to 339, the Egyptian monastic life became well-known in the capital, and the example of the hermits of the Egyptian deserts found many imitators in the Roman Church. Julius died on 12 April, 352, and was buried in the catacombs of Calepodius on the Aurelian Way, and, very soon after his death, was honoured as a saint. His body was later transported to S. Maria in Trastevere, the church which he had built. His feast is celebrated on 12 April.

(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)