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Day: November 21, 2014

The Virgin Mary, protagonist of the 19th Public Session of the Pontifical Academies

Vatican City, 21 November 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a message to Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Council for Coordination between the Pontifical Academies, on the occasion of the 19th Public Session of the Pontifical Academies, devoted to the theme “Mary, icon of the infinite beauty of Dios Marialis cultus and the Marian teaching of Blessed Paul VI”, organised by the Pontifical International Marian Academy. In his message, the Pope spoke about Blessed Paul VI’s great love for the Virgin Mary, which he expressed on many occasions during his papacy, as well as in several documents, including his two encyclicals, Mense Maio and Christi Matri, dedicated to the Mother of God and the worship of her as Mater Ecclesiae. He also devoted three apostolic exhortations to Mary: Signum Magnum, Recurrens Mensis October and, finally, Marialis Cultus, published forty years ago this year. “On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of the closure of Vatican Council II, established by Paul VI – not by chance – on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December 1965, it is beautiful that you wish to make his voice through the recording of the homily in which he entrusts the fate of the Church, radically renewed through the Council assize, to Mary. On that solemn and historical occasion, Paul VI wished to commend the entire Church to Mary as the Mother of God and our spiritual Mother”. Similarly, Francis recalled that in crucial and difficult moments for the Church and for humanity, Paul VI always turned to Mary, exhorting the people of God to pray for her intercession and protection, and invoking the gift of peace. “In the wake of the Synod of Bishops on new evangelisation, in the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I too entrusted the way of the Church to Mary’s maternal and caring intercession, reminding all believers that there is a Marian style to the evangelising activity of the Church, as every time we look to Mary we believe again in the revolutionary power of tenderness and affection. In her we see that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but rather of the strong, who do not need to mistreat others to feel important”. The Holy Father continued, “Let us not tire of learning from Mary, of admiring and contemplating her beauty, of letting ourselves be guided by her, she who leads us always to the original source and fullness of authenticity: infinite beauty, that of God, revealed to us in Christ, Son of the Father and Son of Mary”. The Pontiff concluded by awarding the Pontifical Academies Prize to the Italian Interdisciplinary Mariological Association, above all for more than twenty years of publishing the journal Theotokos, and the Pontifical Medal to the “Centro mariano de difusion cultural” of the Order of the Servants of Mary, in Mexico….

Pope Francis: Migration an aspiration to hope

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday addressed participants at the Seventh World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants. In his remarks, the Holy Father said, “Today, notwithstanding new developments and the emergence of situations which are at times painful and even tragic, migration is still an aspiration to hope.” Listen to Christopher Wells’ report: …
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Pope Francis: Migration an aspiration to hope

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday addressed participants at the Seventh World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants. In his remarks, the Holy Father said, “Today, notwithstanding new developments and the emergence of situations which are at times painful and even tragic, migration is still an aspiration to hope.” Listen to Christopher Wells’ report: …
Read more

Pope Francis: Migration an aspiration to hope

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday addressed participants at the Seventh World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants. In his remarks, the Holy Father said, “Today, notwithstanding new developments and the emergence of situations which are at times painful and even tragic, migration is still an aspiration to hope.”
Listen to Christopher Wells’ report: 

After remarking on the causes of migration – including inequality, poverty, disasters caused by climate change, and wars and persecution – the Pope noted that migration offers benefits both to the receiving nations and to the nations from which migrants come. But, he said, “we know that some problems also accompany these benefits.” Some of those problems include “brain drain” in developing countries and the breakup of families in countries of origin; and difficulties of integration in receiving countries.
“In this regard,” he said, “pastoral workers play an important role through initiating dialogue, welcoming and assisting with legal issues, mediating with the local population.  In the countries of origin, on the other hand, the closeness of pastoral workers to the families and children of migrant parents can lessen the negative repercussions of the parents’ absence.”
However, he continued, the Congress for the Pastoral Care of workers attempts to go further, “to grasp the implications of the Church’s pastoral concern in the overall context of cooperation, development, and migration.” He went on to say that the Christian community “is continuously engaged in welcoming migrants and sharing with them God’s gifts, in particular the gift of faith.”
More than this, the Church is a “source of hope” for migrants, who often experience “disappointment, distress, and loneliness.” The question of migration must always be approached from “an integrated perspective capable of valuing their potential rather than seeing them only as a problem to be confronted and resolved.” This is especially true of “the Christian community, where no one is a stranger, and therefore, everyone is worthy of being welcomed and supported.”
Below the video, please find the full text of Pope Francis’ address:

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis
to Participants of the Seventh World Congress
for the Pastoral Care of Migrants
(21 November 2014)
 
Your Eminences,
Brother Bishops and Priests,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. I am pleased to be with you at the conclusion of the Seventh World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants. I greet the President of the Pontifical Council, Cardinal Vegliò, thanking him for his kind words of introduction, and I also extend a fraternal welcome to the delegates from other Churches and Communities. To all of you I express my sincere appreciation for your commitment to and solicitude for the men and women who even today are undertaking the “journey of hope” on the path of migration. I thank you for all that you are doing. I assure you, and all those whom you seek to help, of my spiritual closeness.
2. The final Document from your last meeting five years ago affirmed that “migration is… an invitation to imagine a different future, which seeks the development of the whole human race; this includes then every human being with his or her spiritual and cultural potential and contribution to a more equitable world marked by global solidarity and by full respect for human dignity and life” (n. 3). Today, notwithstanding new developments and the emergence of situations which are at times painful and even tragic, migration is still an aspiration to hope. Above all in areas of the world in difficulty, where the lack of work prevents individuals and their families from achieving a dignified life, there is a strong drive to seek a better future wherever that may be, even at the risk of disappointment and failure. This is caused in great part by the economic crisis which, to different degrees, is affecting every country in the world.
3. Your meeting has highlighted the dynamics of cooperation and development in the pastoral care of migrants. First and foremost you have analyzed the factors which cause migration, in particular: inequality, poverty, overpopulation, the growing need for employment in some sectors of the global job market, disasters caused by climate change, wars and persecution, and the desire of younger people to relocate as they seek new opportunities. Moreover, the link between cooperation and development shows, on the one hand, the difference of interests between states and migrants, and, on the other hand, the opportunities which derive for both. In effect, receiving nations draw advantages from employing immigrants for production needs and national prosperity, not infrequently filling gaps created by the demographic crisis. In turn, the nations which migrants leave show a certain reduction in unemployment and, above all, benefit from earnings which are then sent back to meet the needs of families which remain in the country. Emigrants, in the end, are able to fulfil the desire for a better future for themselves and their families. Yet we know that some problems also accompany these benefits. We find in the countries of origin, among other things, an impoverishment due to the so-called “brain drain”, the effects on infants and young people who grow up without one or both parents, and the risk of marriages failing due to prolonged absences. In the receiving nations, we also see difficulties associated with migrants settling in urban neighbourhoods which are already problematic, as well as their difficulties in integrating and learning to respect the social and cultural conventions which they find. In this regard, pastoral workers play an important role through initiating dialogue, welcoming and assisting with legal issues, mediating with the local population. In the countries of origin, on the other hand, the closeness of pastoral workers to the families and children of migrant parents can lessen the negative repercussions of the parents’ absence.  
4. Your reflections, however, have wanted to go even further, to grasp the implications of the Church’s pastoral concern in the overall context of cooperation, development and migration. It is here that the Church has much to say. The Christian community, in fact, is continuously engaged in welcoming migrants and sharing with them God’s gifts, in particular the gift of faith. The Church promotes pastoral plans for the evangelization and support of migrants throughout their journey from their country of origin, through countries of transit, to the receiving countries. She gives particular attention to meeting the spiritual needs of migrants through catechesis, liturgy and the celebration of the Sacraments.
5. Sadly, migrants often experience disappointment, distress and loneliness. In effect, the migrant worker has to deal with the problem both of being uprooted and needing to integrate. Here the Church also seeks to be a source of hope: she develops programs of education and orientation; she raises her voice in defence of migrants’ rights; she offers assistance, including material assistance to everyone, without exception, so that all may be treated as children of God. When encountering migrants, it is important to adopt an integrated perspective, capable of valuing their potential rather than seeing them only as a problem to be confronted and resolved. The authentic right to development regards every person and all people, viewed integrally. This demands that all people be guaranteed a minimal level of participation in the life of the human community. How much more necessary must this be in the case of the Christian community, where no one is a stranger and, therefore, everyone is worthy of being welcomed and supported.
6. The Church, beyond being a community of the faithful that sees the face of Jesus Christ in its neighbour, is a Mother without limits and without frontiers. She is the Mother of all and so she strives to foster the culture of welcome and solidarity, where no one is considered useless, out of place or disposable. I wrote of this in my Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees this year: “It is less the criteria of efficiency, productivity, social class, or ethnic or religious belonging which ground that personal dignity, so much as the fact of being created in God’s own image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26-27) and, even more so, being children of God. Every human being is a child of God! He or she bears the image of Christ!” Migrants, therefore, by virtue of their very humanity, even prior to their cultural values, widen the sense of human fraternity. At the same time, their presence is a reminder of the need to eradicate inequality, injustice and abuses. In that way, migrants will be able to become partners in constructing a richer identity for the communities which provide them hospitality, as well as the people who welcome them, prompting the development of a society which is inclusive, creative and respectful of the dignity of all.
Dear brothers and sisters, I wish to renew my gratitude for the service which you give to the Church and to the communities and societies to which you belong. I invoke upon you the protection of Mary, the Mother of God, and Saint Joseph, who themselves experienced the difficulty of exile in Egypt. I assure you of my prayers and I ask you to pray for me. To all of you I willingly impart my blessing.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Pope at Santa Marta: Keeping God’s Temple clean

(Vatican Radio) People will forgive a weak priest or pastoral minister, but they will not forgive a greedy one or one who mistreats people, said Pope Francis at Mass Friday morning as he marked the feast of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a prayer that she help us keep the Lord’s Temple clean. Basing his homily on the Gospel of the Day in which Jesus drives the merchants from the Temple because they had turned the house of prayer into a den of thieves, Pope Francis said in doing so Jesus was purifying the Temple of God because it had been profaned and with it the People of God.  The Temple had been defiled with the gravest of sins: scandal. “People are good – continued Pope Francis- people went to the Temple and did not look at these things, they sought God and prayed … but they had to change their money into coins to make offers”. The people of God did not go to the Temple for these people, for those who were selling things, they went because it was the Temple of God” and “there was corruption that scandalized the people”.  Pope Francis recalled the biblical story of Anna, a humble woman, mother of Samuel, who goes to the temple to ask for the grace of a child: “she whispered her prayers silently” while the priest and his two sons were corrupt, they exploited the pilgrims, they scandalized the people. “I think of how our attitude can scandalize people – said Pope Francis – with unpriestly habits in the Temple: the scandal of doing business, the scandal of worldliness … How often when we enter a church do we see  – even today – do we see a price list hanging there “for baptism, blessings, Mass intentions”. And people are scandalized”. “Once , as a newly ordained priest, I was with a group of college students and one couple wanted to get married. They went to a parish, but they wanted a wedding ceremony with the Mass. And, the parish secretary there said: ‘No, no, you cannot’ – ‘Why can’t we have a Mass? If the Council always recommends people to have a ceremony with the Mass … ‘-‘ No, you cannot, because it can’t last more than 20 minutes’-‘ But why? ‘-‘Because there are other slots [in the timetable for ceremonies]’-‘But, we want the Mass! ‘-‘ So you will have to pay for two slots! ‘. So in order to have a wedding ceremony with the Mass had to pay two slots. This is the sin of scandal”. The Pope added: “We know what Jesus says to those who are the cause of scandal: ‘Better to be thrown into the sea'”. ” When those who are in the Temple – be they priests, lay people, secretaries, but who manage the Temple, who ministry of the Temple – become businessmen, people are scandalized. And we are responsible for this. The laity too! Everyone. Because if I see this in my parish, I have to have the courage to say these things to the parish priest. And the people are scandalized. It is interesting: the people of God can forgive their priests, when they are weak; when they slip on a sin … the people know how to forgive them. But there are two things that the people of God cannot forgive: a priest attached to money and a priest who mistreats people. This they cannot forgive! It is scandalous when the Temple, the House of God, becomes a place of business, as in the case of that wedding: the church was being rented out”.
Jesus “is not angry” – said the Pope – “it is the Wrath of God, zeal for the House of God” because you cannot serve two masters, “either you worship the living God, or your worship money”. ” Why does Jesus have an issue with money? Because redemption is free; it is God’s free gift, He comes to brings us the all-encompassing gratuity of God’s love. So when the Church or churches start doing business, then it is said that ….salvation is not so free…This is why Jesus takes the whip to hand to carry out this act of the purification of the Temple. Today the Liturgy celebrates the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin in the Temple: as a young girl … A simple woman, like Anna,   and in that moment the Blessed Virgin Mary enters. May she teach all of us, pastors and those who have pastoral responsibility, to keep the Temple clean, to receive with love those who come, as if each one were the Blessed Virgin”. (from Vatican Radio)…