400 South Adams Ave. Rayne, La 70578
337-334-2193
stjoseph1872@diolaf.org

Day: December 31, 2014

Solemn year-end Vespers in St Peter’s

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday celebrated First Vespers for the Octave of Christmas and the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. The liturgy at the close of the year included the singing of the Te Deum and Solemn Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.  In his homily during the liturgy, the Holy…
Read more

Solemn year-end Vespers in St Peter’s

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday celebrated First Vespers for the Octave of Christmas and the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. The liturgy at the close of the year included the singing of the Te Deum and Solemn Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. 
In his homily during the liturgy, the Holy Father spoke about the meaning of time, noting that time is not something alien from God, Who has chosen to reveal Himself and to save us in history, in time. “The meaning of time, of temporality,” he said, “is the manifestation of the mystery God and of His concrete love for us.”
Pope Francis recalled that we are now in “the definitive time of salvation and of grace,” and that this leads us to think about the end of our own journey. We are all born, and we will all someday die. With this truth, the Church teaches us to end the year, and in fact each day, with an examination of conscience. This devout practice leads us to thank God for the blessings and graces we have received, and to ask forgiveness for our weaknesses and sins.
The fundamental reason for our thanksgiving, the Pope explained, is that God has made us His children. It is true, he said, that we are all created by God – but sin has separated us from the Father, and has wounded our filial relationship with Him. And so “God sent His Son to redeem us at the price of His Blood.” We were children, the Pope continued, but we became slaves. It is precisely the coming of Jesus in history that redeems us and rescues us from slavery, and makes us free.
As Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis took a special look at the experience of those in his own diocese. Living in Rome, he said, is a great gift, because it means living in the Eternal City, being a part of the Church founded on the testimony and martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul. This is a great gift, but it is at the same time a great responsibility.
The Holy Father noted the recently revealed cases of corruption in Rome, which he said require a serious and conscious conversion of hearts. True Christian freedom is necessary to have the courage to proclaim that “we must defend the poor, and not defend ourselves from the poor; that we must serve the weak, and not use the weak.” A society “that ignores the poor, persecutes them, makes them criminals, forces them into the mafia – such a society impoverishes itself to the point of misery, loses its freedom, and prefers the ‘garlic and onions’ of slavery, of slavery to its own selfishness, of slavery to its pusillanimity, and that society ceases to be Christian.”
Pope Francis concluded his homily by reminding everyone that this is the “final hour” and that we are living in “the fullness of time.” At the end of the year, he said, “in thanksgiving and in asking for forgiveness, we would do well to ask for the grace to be able to walk in liberty, to be able to repair the great damage done, and to be able to defend ourselves from nostalgia for slavery, to defend ourselves lest we pine after slavery.
The Vespers liturgy concluded with Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and the solemn chanting of the Te Deum, the Church’s great hymn of Thanksgiving, in gratitude for the blessings of the past year.
Following the liturgy, the Holy Father left Saint Peter’s Basilica in order to pray at the Vatican Nativity Scene in Saint Peter’s Square. Then, with the Swiss Guard marking the event with religious and secular Christmas music, Pope Francis greeted the faithful gathered in the Square, amid shouts of “Happy New Year!” and “Long live the Pope.”
(from Vatican Radio)…

Number of Catholics growing throughout the world

(Vatican Radio)  The number of Catholics in the world has increased with growth registered across all five continents. The figures are taken by the Fides news agency from the latest edition of the Church’s Book of Statistics updated to 31 December 2012. These show that on that date the number of Catholics in the world stood at 1,228,621,000 with an overall increase of more than 15,000,000 compared to the previous year. The Americas and Africa registered the biggest increases followed by Asia, Europe and Oceania. The world percentage of Catholics stood at 17.49 %, a decrease of 0.01% compared to the end of 2011.
The total number of priests in the world increased by 895 to 414,313.  Europe once again registered the largest decrease (-1,375) followed by the Americas (-90) and Oceania (-80). In Africa the number of priests grew by 1,076 and in Asia by 1,364.
There was an overall decrease in the number of women religious worldwide, whose numbers dropped by 10,677 to 702,529. Once again Africa and Asia showed increases whilst Europe and the Americas showed the biggest decrease in the number of women religious. 
The number of lay missionaries in the world is 362,488 with an overall decrease of 19,234.
In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 71,188 kindergartens, 95,246 primary schools and 43,783 secondary schools. Charity and healthcare centres in the world run by the Church are 115,352.  
(from Vatican Radio)…

Number of Catholics growing throughout the world

(Vatican Radio)  The number of Catholics in the world has increased with growth registered across all five continents. The figures are taken by the Fides news agency from the latest edition of the Church’s Book of Statistics updated to 31 December 2012. These show that on that date the number of Catholics in the world…
Read more

Church recalls violent deaths of pastoral workers in 2014

(Vatican Radio)  2014 was a grim year for the number of Church workers around the world killed by violence or the deadly Ebola virus.  In its annual report, Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, states that 26 pastoral workers were killed – 3 more than in the previous year.
Tracey McClure reports..

The Fides report for years has centered on religious killed around the world but recently, it has focused on all church workers “who died violently.”
According to Fides, 17 priests, one religious brother, six religious women, a seminarian and a lay person were killed in 2014 – many during robberies characterized by particular “brutality and ferociousness” indicating they stemmed from intolerance and “economic and cultural poverty.”
For the sixth year running, the majority – 14 – were killed in the Americas , followed by Africa, Asia, Oceania and Europe. Over the last ten years (2004-2013) 230 pastoral workers were killed, three of them bishops.
Of those murdered in the Americas, four priests and a seminarian were killed in Mexico; two other priests were murdered in the U.S., one in Canada, and five others and one seminarian in South America.
Many of those killed in Africa succumbed to Ebola, which has infected more than 20,000 people so far this year. As the Prior General of the Hospitallers of St. John of God, Fr. Jesus Etayo wrote, 18 of the order’s religious and lay workers at Catholic hospitals in Liberia and Sierra Leone “gave their lives for others like Christ.”
The report also recalls the unknown fate of three Assumptionist priests from Congo who were kidnapped in October 2012 and of Italian Jesuit Father Paolo Dall’Oglio who was abducted in Syria in 2013.  Nothing is known either about the fate of Indian Jesuit Father Alexis Prem Kumar, kidnapped in June 2014 in Herat.  He was the director of Jesuit Refugee Service in Afghanistan.
(from Vatican Radio)…