Saturday, September 23, 2017

#BreakingNews Wow the Largest Statue of St. Charbel is now in Lebanon and weighs 40 Tons!

Imposing statue of Saint Charbel erected in Faraya, ready for inauguration on the feast day of the Cross

Fady Noun

The reputation for holiness of the hermit monk has transcended religious boundaries, in his life time and after his death. A relic, a small fragment of one of his bones, will be placed inside the statue. The ceremony will be led by Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rahi. The controversy over the size and costs of the statue are now in the past.
Beirut (AsiaNews) – The monumental statue of Saint Charbel (1828-1898), which arrived last week in Faraya, was installed yesterday, and now proudly stands on the high hill overlooking the village, next to a large iron cross erected in 1951.
Made by Lebanese sculptor Nayef Alwan, the statue will serve also as reliquary. A fragment of one of the hermit's bone from the convent of St Maron in Annaya will be placed inside during the monument’s inauguration, planned for the feast day of the Cross (14 September) during a ceremony led by the Maronite Patriarch, Card Bechara al-Rahi.
The area around the statue can accommodate up to 6,000 people and thus lends itself to large celebrations or open-air masses.
The monument corresponds to a wish and a vow. The idea of ​​a monument was initially part of the tourist development plans promoted by the head of the Town of Faraya, Mayor Michel Salamé.
However, last year, fate struck his 13-year-old nephew, who bears his name, in the form of meningitis. The boy’s parents believe that a combination of miraculous circumstances – medicines and the intercession of Saint Charbel – played a part in the boy’s fate.
After falling into a coma, he eventually recovered. He underwent two operations on 17 and 20 July 2016, respectively feast day of Saint Charbel and Saint Elias. A pledge by Faraya mayor and the vow of little Michel’s parents led to the joint project.
The statue stands on land that belongs to the Wakf, Islamic charitable endowment, in Mar Challita (Faraya), and was approved by the local bishop and Maronite patriarchate. Most local residents praised the installation.
Financial dispute
Alas, the project has been marred by a dispute between the firm that made the statue in expensive fiberglass, and the Town of Faraya and sculptor Nayef Alwan. The Compagnie international de l’industrie maritime, owned Abdallah Daoud, with Lebanese and Saudi capital, and the patrons of the statue, apparently did not like its cost. Thus, the firm that made the statue wants far more than the US$ 275,000 paid out by the Town of Faraya municipality to Nayef Alwan, who acted as go-between, and ultimately to Mr Abdallah.
For his part, Mr Salamé said that he had fulfilled his part of the contract, noting that he had allocated the necessary funds to build the 3-kilometre road that leads to the site, set up the latter for the installation, and restored the great iron cross next to it, which dates from 1951.
The huge statue was all the talk on social media. Some see it as identity marker; others view is as a form of idolatry. "Everyone can express their opinion," said Faraya’s mayor, who deplores the attacks. “We are not ashamed to display our faith. If someone is shocked, they can always look elsewhere!"
Ultimately Saint Charbel’s reputation as a wonder worker has proven itself, and a statue, however big, is no match for the holiness that earned him the glory of the altars and huge popular devotion. Such devotion, which was already evident during his lifetime, had transcended community boundaries and will certainly continue to do so. Text from AsiaNewsIT

Novena to St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina - Miracle #Prayers and #Litany to SHARE

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the World,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Virgin 
Immaculate, pray for us.

St. Pio of Pietrelcina, pray for us.

Beloved of God, pray for us.
Imitator of Jesus Christ, pray for us.
Good shepherd of the people, pray for us.
Model for priests, pray for us.
Light of the Church, pray for us.
Adorer of the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us.
Faithful son of St. Francis, pray for us.
Marked with the stigmata of Jesus, pray for us.
Patient in suffering, pray for us.
Helper of the dying, pray for us.
Director of souls, pray for us.
Heart of gold, pray for us.
Apostle of mercy, pray for us.
Worker of miracles, pray for us.
Consoler of the afflicted, pray for us.
Lover of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.
Helper of souls in doubt and darkness, pray for us.
Comforter of the sick, pray for us.
Example of humility, pray for us.
Source of wisdom, pray for us.
Mirror of the divine life, pray for us.
Lover of Jesus Crucified,
Resigned to the will of God, pray for us.
Doing good upon earth, pray for us.
Filled with the spirit of self-sacrifice, pray for us.
Our help and hope in all our needs, pray for us.
Vessel of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.
Leading us to Christ, pray for us.
Our spiritual father and advocate, pray for us.
Crowned with glory in Heaven, pray for us.
God our Father,  You helped St. Pio of Pietrelcina to reflect
the image of Christ through a life of charity and self-sacrifice.
May we follow your Son by walking in the footsteps of
St. Pio and by imitating his selfless love.


Stay with me, Lord

Prayer of St. Pio of Pietrelcina after Holy Communion
Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have
You present so that I do not forget You.
You know how easily I abandon You.
Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak
and I need Your strength,
that I may not fall so often.
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life,
and without You, I am without fervor.
Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light,
and without You, I am in darkness.
Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.
Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice
and follow You.
Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You
very much, and always be in Your company.
Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.
Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is,
I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of love.
Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes;
death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength,
so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You.
It is getting late and death approaches,
I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows.
O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!
Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers. I need You.
Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread,
so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness,
the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.
Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You,
if not by communion, at least by grace and love.
Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it,
but the gift of Your Presence, oh yes, I ask this of You!
Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart,
Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.
With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth
and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity. Amen.

Prayer for the Intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Dear God, You generously blessed Your servant,
St. Pio of Pietrelcina,
with the gifts of the Spirit.
You marked his body with the five wounds
of Christ Crucified, as a powerful witness
to the saving Passion and Death of Your Son.
Endowed with the gift of discernment,
St. Pio labored endlessly in the confessional
for the salvation of souls.
With reverence and intense devotion
in the celebration of Mass,
he invited countless men and women
to a greater union with Jesus Christ
in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
Through the intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina,
I confidently beseech You to grant me
the grace of (here state your petition).
Glory be to the Father… (three times). Amen.
Prayer of Pope John Paul II to St. Pio of Pietrelcina

St Padre Pio Novena -A Novena to Saint Padre Pio seeking his intercession for a special grace.

Day 1
Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Oh holy Saint Padre Pio, throughout your entire life you sought always to love Jesus and Mary with your whole heart. Help us that we too may always seek to know, love and serve God with all of our hearts, and help us to seek His holy will in all things. And for the love of God we ask the following grace (mention your request). Beloved St Padre Pio, we give this request to you, seeking your heavenly intercession, and we ask you to make this request in our name before the throne of God.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!

Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Oh beloved Saint of God, Padre Pio, you were especially chosen by God to bear the holy stigmata in union with Jesus for 50 years, sacrificing and suffering all for the conversion of souls. What intense suffering these holy wounds caused you! But your bore this constant pain for the love of God and for the love of souls. We ask you to place this request (mention request) into your stigmatised hands, and present it to Jesus in our name.

-Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!


Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Oh most loving Saint Padre Pio, you offered your life to become a holy priest of God, giving yourself completely to Jesus through the intercession of His Mother, the most Blessed Virgin Mary. We ask you to join with our holy Mother in heaven, and to present this request to Her holy Son, (here mention request), and we ask our beloved Mother in heaven to join you and obtain this grace for us.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!


Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Oh blessed Saint Padre Pio, you were a priest after the Heart of Jesus, seeking always to love and please Him in all things. We ask you to place this request before the Sacred Heart of Jesus (mention request). And through the love that you bore the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, may God hear and answer our poor prayers.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!

Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

O God, Who fashioned thy servant Saint Padre Pio into a likeness of Thy Crucified Son, grant us through his intercession the favor that we humbly request (mention request), and through the Passion Death and Resurrection of Thy Son, may we be united with You for all eternity. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!


Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Most devout priest of God, Padre Pio, you spent countless hours in the confessional seeking always to reconcile sinners to God. We present ourselves to you, sinful and in sorrow for our sins. Help us to recognise and repent of our sins, and to be always faithful to the teachings of Jesus. Pray for us that God may not look upon our sins, but upon the desire in our hearts to please Him. Plead for mercy for us before God, and especially pray for the intention that we are presenting to you (mention request).

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!


Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Beloved St Padre Pio, you had a most tender devotion to the Mother of God and were known to recite many rosaries and prayers in Her honor each day. Plead for us then before the Holy Mother of God, that She may join us in prayer before Her most Holy Son Jesus, that we might obtain the request we are asking (mention request).

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!

Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Oh most pure and chaste Saint Padre Pio, during your life on earth you gave a most beautiful example of purity and love of God, and was found worthy to bear in thy flesh the marks of our Lord's Passion. Have pity on us who are so much in need of God's Mercy, and obtain for us through thy merits and intercession, the special favor which we now fervently implore (mention request).

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!


Preface: Oh most Holy God, we humbly prostrate ourselves before Thy Infinite Majesty, and we adore Thee and dedicate to Thy glory the devout prayers which we now present to Thee, as an act of devotion to your servant, St Padre Pio, whose intercession we are now imploring.

Oh most loving Saint Padre Pio, you were very devout in the service of God, always encouraging others to obey God's laws and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Obtain for us, we beg you, not only the grace that we are asking, if it would be God’s will (mention request) but most importantly obtain for us the conversion and salvation of our souls, so that someday we may be united with Jesus, Mary and you for all eternity. Finally, help us to accept God's will in all things, even if it runs contrary to our own likes or desires.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be...

May God hear and answer our prayer according to His holy will and for His greater glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN. +

-St Padre Pio, pray for us!
- See more at:
Pope John Paul II recited this prayer
on the occasion of the canonization of Padre Pio, June 16, 2002.
Teach us, we pray, humility of heart,
so that we may be counted among the little ones of the Gospel
to whom the Father promised to reveal
the mysteries of His Kingdom.
Help us to pray without ceasing,
certain that God knows what we need
even before we ask Him. Obtain for us the eyes of faith that will help us recognize
in the poor and suffering, the very face of Jesus. Sustain us in the hour of trouble and trial and, if we fall,
let us experience the joy of the sacrament of forgiveness.
Grant us your tender devotion to Mary,
mother of Jesus and our Mother.
Accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage
toward the blessed Homeland,
where we too, hope to arrive to contemplate forever
the Glory of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

#BreakingNews 1st American Born Priest Martyr to be Canonized a Saint - Fr. Stanely Rother is Beatified - Biography and FULL Video

The Story of Father Rother
Venerable Servant of God Stanley Francis Rother
Oklahoma Priest and Missionary
An Oklahoma farm boy, Father Stanley Francis Rother (ROW-THER) was born March 27, 1935, in Okarche, Oklahoma. Ordained a priest for what was then the Diocese of Oklahoma City and Tulsa, he served in the diocese’s mission in Guatemala for 13 years. Seeking justice in the midst of a protracted civil war, Father Rother fought courageously for the well-being of his people in combating a culture that was excessively hostile to the Catholic Church.
The oldest of four children born to Franz and Gertrude Rother, Father Rother grew up in Okarche and attended Holy Trinity Catholic Church and School.
Being a normal child raised on a farm, he worked hard doing the required chores, attended school, played sports, was an altar server and enjoyed the activities associated with growing up in a small town.
While in high school, he began to discern the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood. He was accepted as a seminarian and was sent to Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, Texas.
The journey to ordination was not without its challenges. More practical than academic by nature, young Stanley struggled with Latin, which at the time was a critical requirement since the entire curriculum was being taught in Latin. Due to his difficulties, he was asked to leave the seminary as his grades were inadequate.
He sought the counsel of Bishop Victor Reed. It was decided that Stanley would be allowed a second chance, enrolling at Mount Saint Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He graduated from the Mount and was ordained a priest on May 25, 1963. Father Rother served as an associate pastor for five years in Oklahoma. Heeding the call of Pope John XXIII, he sought and received permission to join the staff at the diocese’s mission in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala.
Father Rother’s connection with the people of Santiago Atitlan was immediate. He served the native tribe of the Tz’utujil, who are decedents of the Mayans. In order to serve his people, Father Rother had to speak Spanish and the Tz’utujil language. He not only learned both languages, but his working knowledge of Tz’utujil enabled him to celebrate Mass in their language and help translate the New Testament. Tz’utujil was not a written language until the Oklahoma mission team arrived and so, despite his past issues with Latin, what he accomplished was remarkable.
As the years passed, Father Rother tried to live a simpler life to be in communion with his people. He was surrounded by extreme poverty with the Tz’utujil living in one-room huts growing what they could on their small plots of land.
Father Rother ministered to his parishioners in their homes; eating with them, visiting the sick and aiding them with medical problems. He even put his farming skills to use by helping them in the fields, bringing in different crops, and building an irrigation system.
While he served in Guatemala, a civil war raged between the militarist government forces and the guerrillas. The Catholic Church was caught in the middle due to its insistence on catechizing and educating the people. During this conflict, thousands of Catholics were killed.
For a time, the violence was contained in the cities, but it soon came to the highlands and Santiago Atitlan. Catechists began to disappear, people slept in the church for protection and death lists began to circulate in the towns.
Eventually, Father Rother’s name appeared on the death list after a parishioner from an Oklahoma parish sent a complaint about Father Rother to the Guatemalan embassy, saying he was advocating for the overthrow of the government in his preaching by supporting his local residents. For his safety and that of his associate, Father Rother returned home to Oklahoma. He didn’t stay long. He was determined to give his life completely to his people, stating that “the shepherd cannot run.” Returning to Santiago Atitlan, he continued the work of the mission.
Within a few months of his return, three men entered the rectory around 1 a.m. on July 28, 1981, fought with Father Rother and then executed him. His death shocked the Catholic world. No one was ever held responsible.
The people of Santiago Atitlan mourned the loss of their leader and friend. His memory continues to stir the passion of the people he served with dignity and vigor. Because of the affection and veneration that the people of Santiago Atitlan displayed for the priest, they requested that Father Rother’s heart be kept in Guatemala where it remains enshrined today.
From the onset of his death, the people of Santiago Atitlan, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa have believed that Father Rother died for the faith. In 2007, his Cause for Canonization was opened.
In June 2015, the Theological Commission at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome voted to formally recognize Oklahoma’s Servant of God Father Stanley Rother a martyr. The determination of martyrdom was a critical step in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City’s Cause to have Father Rother beatified, the final stage before canonization as a saint.
On Dec. 2, 2016, Pope Francis officially recognized Father Rother as a martyr for the faith. He is the first American-born martyr and the first U.S. priest to be beatified. Cardinal Angelo Amato will celebrate the Rite of Beatification on Sept. 23, 2017, at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City. The event is free and open to the public.
Father Rother, pray for us. Text Shared from

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Saturday September 23, 2017 - #Eucharist

Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest
Lectionary: 448

Reading 11 TM 6:13-16

I charge you before God, who gives life to all things,
and before Christ Jesus,
who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate
for the noble confession,
to keep the commandment without stain or reproach
until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ
that the blessed and only ruler
will make manifest at the proper time,
the King of kings and Lord of lords,
who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light,
and whom no human being has seen or can see.
To him be honor and eternal power. Amen.

Responsorial PsalmPS 100:1B-2, 3, 4, 5

R. (2) Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Sing joyfully to the LORD all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
For he is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.

AlleluiaSEE LK 8:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generious heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 8:4-15

When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another
journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable.
"A sower went out to sow his seed.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled,
and the birds of the sky ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew,
it withered for lack of moisture.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew with it and choked it.
And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew,
it produced fruit a hundredfold."
After saying this, he called out,
"Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."

Then his disciples asked him
what the meaning of this parable might be.
He answered,
"Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God
has been granted to you;
but to the rest, they are made known through parables
so that they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.

"This is the meaning of the parable.
The seed is the word of God.
Those on the path are the ones who have heard,
but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts
that they may not believe and be saved.
Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear,
receive the word with joy, but they have no root;
they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation.
As for the seed that fell among thorns,
they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along,
they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life,
and they fail to produce mature fruit.
But as for the seed that fell on rich soil,
they are the ones who, when they have heard the word,
embrace it with a generous and good heart,
and bear fruit through perseverance."

Friday, September 22, 2017

Saint September 23 : St. Pio of Pietrelcina - #PadrePio

Padre Pio (Francesco Forgione) was born to Giuseppa and Grazio Forgione, in the small farming town of Pietrelcina, Italy on May 25, 1887. Although the Forgiones were poor in material goods, they were certainly rich in their faith life and in the love of God.
Even as a young boy, Francesco had already shown signs of extraordinary gifts of grace. At the age of five, he dedicated his life to God. From his early childhood, he showed a remarkable recollection of spirit and a love for the religious life. His mother described him as a quiet child who, from his earliest years, loved to go to church and to pray. As a young boy, he was able to see and communicate with, not only his guardian angel but also with Jesus and the Virgin Mary. In his simplicity, Francesco assumed everyone had the same experiences. Once a woman who noticed his spiritual demeanor asked him, “When did you consecrate your life to God? Was it at your first Holy Communion?” and he answered, “Always, daughter, always.”
When Francesco was fifteen years old, he was admitted to the novitiate of the Capuchin Order of the Friars Minor in Morcone, Italy. He was admired by his fellow-students as well as by his Superiors for his exemplary behavior and his deep piety. One of the novices stated, “There was something which distinguished him from the other students. Whenever I saw him, he was always humble, recollected, and silent. What struck me most about Brother Pio was his love of prayer.”
On August 10, 1910, at the age of twenty-three, Padre Pio was ordained to the priesthood. The celebration of the Holy Mass was for Padre Pio, the center of his spirituality.  Due to the long pauses of contemplative silence into which he entered at various parts of the Holy Sacrifice, his Mass could sometimes last several hours.  Everything about him spoke of how intensely he was living the Passion of Christ. The parish priest in Pietrelcina called Padre Pio’s Mass, “an incomprehensible mystery.” When asked to shorten his Mass, Padre Pio replied, “God knows that I want to say Mass just like any other priest, but I cannot do it.”
His parishioners were deeply impressed by his piety and one by one they began to come to him, seeking his counsel. For many, even a few moments in his presence, proved to be a life changing experience. As the years passed, pilgrims began to come to him by the thousands, from every corner of the world, drawn by the spiritual riches which flowed so freely from his extraordinary ministry. To his spiritual children he would say, “It seems to me as if Jesus has no other concern but the sanctification of your soul.”
Padre Pio is understood above all else as a man of prayer. Before he was thirty years old he had already reached the summit of the spiritual life known as the “unitive way” of transforming union with God. He prayed almost continuously. His prayers were usually very simple. He loved to pray the Rosary and recommended it to others. To someone who asked him what legacy he wished to leave to his spiritual children, his brief reply was, “My child, the Rosary.” He had a special mission to the souls in Purgatory and encouraged everyone to pray for them. He used to say, “We must empty Purgatory with our prayers.” Father Agostino Daniele, his confessor, director, and beloved friend said, “One admires in Padre Pio, his habitual union with God. When he speaks or is spoken to, we are aware that his heart and mind are not distracted from the thought and sentiment of God.”
Padre Pio suffered from poor health his entire life, once saying that his health had been declining from the time he was nine years old. After his ordination to the priesthood, he remained in his hometown of Pietrelcina and was separated from his religious community for more than five years due to his precarious health.  Although the cause of his prolonged and debilitating illnesses remained a mystery to his doctors, Padre Pio did not become discouraged. He offered all of his bodily sufferings to God as a sacrifice, for the conversion of souls. He experienced many spiritual sufferings as well. “I am fully convinced that my illness is due to a special permission of God,” he said.
Shortly after his ordination, he wrote a letter to his spiritual director, Father Benedetto Nardella, in which he asked permission to offer his life as a victim for sinners. He wrote, “For a long time I have felt in myself a need to offer myself to the Lord as a victim for poor sinners and for the souls in Purgatory. This desire has been growing continually in my heart so that it has now become what I would call a strong passion. . .It seems to me that Jesus wants this.” The marks of the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, appeared on Padre Pio’s body, on Friday, September 20, 1918, while he was praying before a crucifix and making his thanksgiving after Mass. He was thirty-one years old and became the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Church. With resignation and serenity, he bore the painful wounds in his hands, feet, and side for fifty years.
In addition, God endowed Padre Pio with many extraordinary spiritual gifts and charisms including the gift of healing, bilocation, prophecy, miracles, discernment of spirits, the ability to abstain beyond man’s natural powers from both sleep and nourishment, the ability to read hearts, the gift of tongues (the ability to speak and understand languages that he had never studied), the gift of conversions, the grace to see angelic beings in form, and the fragrance which emanated from his wounds and which frequently announced his invisible presence. When a friend once questioned him about these charisms, Padre Pio said, “You know, they are a mystery to me, too.” Although he received more than his share of spiritual gifts, he never sought them, never felt worthy of them. He never put the gifts before the Giver. He always remained humble, constantly at the disposal of Almighty God.
His day began at 2:30 a.m. when he would rise to begin his prayers and to make his preparation for Mass. He was able to carry on a busy apostolate with only a few hours of sleep each night and an amount of food that was so small (300-400 calories a day) that his fellow priests stated that it was not enough food even to keep a small child alive. Between Mass and confessions, his workday lasted 19 hours. He very rarely left the monastery and never took even a day’s vacation from his grueling schedule in 51 years. He never read a newspaper or listened to the radio. He cautioned his spiritual children against watching television.
In his monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo, he lived the Franciscan spirit of poverty with detachment from self, from possessions, and from comforts. He always had a great love for the virtue of chastity, and his behavior was modest in all situations and with all people. In his lifetime, Padre Pio reconciled thousands of men and women back to their faith.
The prayer groups that Padre Pio established have now spread throughout the world. He gave a new spirit to hospitals by founding one which he called “The Home for the Relief of Suffering.” He saw the image of Christ in the poor, the suffering, and the sick and gave himself particularly to them. He once said, “Bring God to all those who are sick. This will help them more than any other remedy.”
Serene and well prepared, he surrendered to Sister Death on September 23, 1968 at the age of eighty-one. He died as he had lived, with his Rosary in his hands. His last words were Gesú, Maria – Jesus, Mary – which he repeated over and over until he breathed his last. He had often declared, “After my death I will do more. My real mission will begin after my death.”
In 1971, Pope Paul VI, speaking to the superiors of the Capuchin order, said of Padre Pio, “What fame he had. How many followers from around the world. Why? Was it because he was a philosopher, a scholar, or because he had means at his disposal? No, it was because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from morning until night and was a marked representative of the stigmata of Our Lord. He was truly a man of prayer and suffering.”
In one of the largest liturgies in the Vatican’s history, Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio on June 16, 2002. During his homily, Pope John Paul recalled how, in 1947, as a young priest he journeyed from Poland to make his confession to Padre Pio. “Prayer and charity–this is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio’s teaching,” the Pope said.
Drawing approximately eight million pilgrims each year, San Giovanni Rotondo, where St. Pio lived and is now buried, is second only to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico in its number of annual visitors.
St. Pio’s whole life might be summed up in the words of St. Paul to the Colossians, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church.”
St. Pio of Pietrelcina, pray for us.
Biography shared from

#PopeFrancis "loving Jesus Christ, adoring him and love him, especially in the poorest and abandoned" FULL TEXT + Video

Pope Francis on Friday addressed a meeting with national migration directors under the Council of European Bishops Conferences or CCEE.
 FULL TEXT Google Translation - will be replaced with Official Translation: 
Dear brothers and sisters, I greet you with joy at your meeting and thank the Cardinal President for the words to turn me on behalf of everyone. I want to thank you very much for your commitment in recent years to many migrant and refugee sisters and refugees who are knocking at Europe's doors in search of a safer place and a more worthy life. Faced with the massive, complex and varied migratory flows that have put in crisis the migration policies adopted so far and the instruments of protection enshrined in international conventions, the Church intends to remain faithful to its mission: that of "loving Jesus Christ, adoring it and love him, especially in the poorest and abandoned; Of course, migrants and refugees are certainly among them "(Message for the World Migrant and Refugee Day 2015: Lessons II, 2 [2014], 200).
 The motherly love of the Church towards these brothers and sisters demands to manifest itself concretely at all stages of migratory experience, from departure to journey, from arrival to return, so that all ecclesial local realities along the route are the protagonists of ' only mission, each according to their own possibilities. Recognizing and serving the Lord in these members of his "people on the go" is a responsibility that unites all particular Churches in profiting from a constant, coordinated and effective commitment. Dear brothers and sisters, I do not hide my concern in the face of signs of intolerance, discrimination and xenophobia in different regions of Europe. They are often motivated by distrust and fear of each other, the other, the stranger. I am worried more and more the sad fact that our Catholic communities in Europe are not free from these defense and rejection reactions, justified by a not specified "moral duty" to preserve the original cultural and religious identity.
The Church has spread to all continents through the "migration" of missionaries who were convinced of the universality of the message of salvation of Jesus Christ, intended for men and women of all cultures. In the history of the Church there are no temptations of exclusivity and cultural encirclement, but the Holy Spirit has always helped us to overcome them, guaranteeing a constant openness to the other, considered as a concrete possibility of growth and enrichment.
The Spirit, I am sure, also helps us today to maintain a confident opening attitude, which allows us to overcome every barrier, to overcome each wall.
In my constant listening to the particular Churches in Europe, I felt a deep discomfort in the face of the massive arrival of migrants and refugees. Such discomfort must be acknowledged and understood in the light of a historic moment marked by the economic crisis, which left deep wounds. This discomfort has also been exacerbated by the scope and composition of migratory flows, the substantial inadequacy of host societies and often inadequate national and Community policies. But the discomfort is also indicative of the limits of the processes of European unification, of the obstacles with which to confront the concrete application of the universality of human rights, of the walls against which the integral humanism which is one of the most beautiful fruits of civilization European. And for Christians all this is to be interpreted, beyond laicist immanentism, in the logic of the centrality of the human person created by God, unique and unrepeatable.
From an exquisite ecclesiological perspective, the arrival of so many brothers and sisters in faith offers Churches in Europe a greater opportunity to fully realize their catholicity, a constituent element of the Church we confess every Sunday in the Creed. Moreover, in recent years, many particular Churches in Europe have been enriched by the presence of Catholic migrants who have brought their devotions and their liturgical and apostolic enthusiasm.
From a mischiological point of view, contemporary migratory flows constitute a new missionary "frontier", a privileged opportunity to announce Jesus Christ and his Gospel without moving from his own environment, to concretely testify the Christian faith in charity and in deep respect for other expressions religious. The meeting with migrants and refugees from other confessions and religions is a fertile ground for the development of a genuine and enriching ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.
In my Message for the World Migrant and Refugee Day next year I highlighted how the pastoral response to contemporary migration challenges should be articulated around four verbs: welcome, protect, promote, integrate. The verb welcomes then translates into other verbs such as widening the legal and safe entry routes, offering a first adequate and decent accommodation and securing for everyone personal security and access to basic services. The verb to protect is specified in providing reliable and certified information before leaving, defending the fundamental rights of migrants and refugees irrespective of their migratory status and watch over the most vulnerable, which are children and girls. Promoting means essentially ensuring conditions for the integral human development of all, migrants and indigenous people. The integrating verb translates into opening intercultural encounters, encouraging mutual enrichment, and promoting active citizenship paths.
In the same Message I mentioned the importance of the Global Pact, which States have pledged to draft and approve by the end of 2018. The Migration and Refugee Section of the Office for Integrated Human Development has prepared 20 action points that Local churches are invited to use, supplement and deepen in their pastoral care. These points are based on "good practices" that characterize the Church's tangible response to the needs of migrants and refugees. The same points are useful for the dialogue that various ecclesiastical institutions may have with their governments in view of Global Pacts. I invite you, dear directors, to know these points and to promote them at your Bishops' Conferences.
The same points of action also conform to an articulated paradigm of the four verbs mentioned above, a paradigm that could serve as a measure of study or of verifying pastoral practices in local churches, in view of an up-to-date and enriching update. Communion in reflection and action is your strength, because when you are alone, obstacles seem much larger. Your voice is always timely and prophetic, and above all it is preceded by a coherent work and inspired by the principles of Christian doctrine..
Renewing my thanks for your great commitment in a complex and timely pastoral pastoral work, I assure you of my prayer. And you too, please do not forget to pray for me. Thank you. Google Translate for Business:Translator ToolkitWebsite Translator

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday September 22, 2017 - #Eucharist

Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 447

Reading 11 TM 6:2C-12

Teach and urge these things.
Whoever teaches something different
and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the religious teaching
is conceited, understanding nothing,
and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes.
From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions,
and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds,
who are deprived of the truth,
supposing religion to be a means of gain.
Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world,
just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.
If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that.
Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap
and into many foolish and harmful desires,
which plunge them into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is the root of all evils,
and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith
and have pierced themselves with many pains.

But you, man of God, avoid all this.
Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion,
faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life,
to which you were called when you made the noble confession
in the presence of many witnesses.

Responsorial PsalmPS 49:6-7, 8-10, 17-18, 19-20

R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Why should I fear in evil days
when my wicked ensnarers ring me round?
They trust in their wealth;
the abundance of their riches is their boast.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Yet in no way can a man redeem himself,
or pay his own ransom to God;
Too high is the price to redeem one's life; he would never have enough
to remain alive always and not see destruction.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Fear not when a man grows rich,
when the wealth of his house becomes great,
For when he dies, he shall take none of it;
his wealth shall not follow him down.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Though in his lifetime he counted himself blessed,
"They will praise you for doing well for yourself,"
He shall join the circle of his forebears
who shall never more see light.
R. Blessed the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!

AlleluiaSEE MT 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 8:1-3

Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another,
preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Accompanying him were the Twelve
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza,
Susanna, and many others
who provided for them out of their resources.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Saint September 22 : St. Thomas of Villanova of #Valencia #Spain

St. Thomas of Villanova

Feast: September 22
Feast Day:
September 22
1488, Spain
1555, in Valencia, Spain
November 1, 1658 by Pope Alexander VII

Educator, philanthropist, born at Fuentellana, Spain, 1488; died at Valencia, 8 September, 1555. Son of Aloazo Tomas Garcia and Lucia Martinez Castellanos, the saint was brought up in the practices of religion and charity. Every Friday his father was wont to give in alms all the meal he earned at the mill, besides his usual daily dole of bread. On great feast-days he added wood, wine, and money; while to poor farmers he loaned money and seed. On the death of her husband, Lucia continued the usual alms, and supplied indigent maidens in the neighbourhood with clothing and money. When sixteen tears old, Thomas entered the University of Alcala, where, after proceeding master of arts and licentiate in theology, he filled the chair (1514) of arts, logic, and philosophy. Among his auditors were the famed scholars Ferdinand de Encina and Dominic Soto. With Alcala, however, ended his university associations, he having declined the chair of natural philosophy at Salamanca, where he joined the Augustinians in 1516, his vows following a year later, and his ordination to priesthood the year after; his first Mass was celebrated at Christmas, 1518. At Salamanca Convent Thomas was given the class of scholastic theology because of his attachment for books, chiefly the Lombard and St. Thomas, and his exemplary life. Preaching in the pulpits of Spain was soon added to his duties, among other places at Valencia, the field of his later trials, and Valladolid, seat of the imperial Court and residence of the Emperor Charles V when on his visits to the Low Countries. In this last-named city St. Thomas was named by the emperor his court preacher, and one of his councillors of state. Rarely, however, did the saint pay visits of ceremony to the then master of Europe, though his written correspondence with Charles, who held his opinions in high esteem, was voluminous. Towards the close of his life, while at Valencia, he had all the emperor's letters destroyed; his own letters to the emperor, however, are now stored at Simancas.
Apart from these burdens Thomas held many offices of trust in his order, e.g. as convent prior in various cities, among others at Valladolid in 1544, the very year he was called to the See of Valencia. Moreover, he was twice provincial-prior, first of Andalusia and Castile in 1527, then six years later of Castile alone, whence the first mission band of his brethren was sent across the Atlantic in 1533 to establish houses of their order in Mexico. On 5 Aug., 1544, he received his nomination to the Archbishopric of Valencia, a post that for well-nigh a hundred years had witnessed no bishop in residence, an appointment that was confirmed by Paul III. Previously St. Thomas had declined the See of Granada, offered him by the emperor, while that of Valencia he accepted only through obedience to his superiors. He was consecrated in the church of his order at Valladolid by Juan, Cardinal Tavera de Pardo, Archbishop of Toledo. On his entrance to his see on 1 Jan., 1545, of which he was thirty-second bishop and eighth archbishop, St. Thomas opened his career as legislator and philanthropist, which won for him the titles of "Almsgiver", "Father of the Poor", and "Model of Bishops", given him at his beatification in 1618 by Paul V. During his eleven years of episcopal rule his most noteworthy deeds were as follows: a visitation of his diocese, opened a few weeks after entrance into his see. Among other amendments he inhibited his visitators from accepting any gifts whatever. He then held a synod, the first at Valencia for many years, whereby he sought to do away with a number of abuses, as bloodshed, divorce, concubinage, and many excessive privileges or unreasonable exemptions; he abolished the underground prisons; rebuilt the general hospital at Valencia which had just been destroyed by fire; founded two colleges, one for young ecclesiastics, the other for poor students; laboured for the conversion of the , whose profession of Christianity was largely mere outward show; established a creche near his palace for foundlings and the offspring of indigent parents; had Mass said at early hours for the working-classes; and in brief, by statutes, by preaching, and by example, strove to reform the morals of churchman and layman.
Towards the poor especially his heart was ever alive with pity; to them his palace gate was always open; daily he had a repast for every poor person that applied for help, as many even as four to five hundred thus getting their meals at his hands. In every district of the city he had almoners appointed with orders especially to search out the respectable persons who shrank from asking alms; these he had supplied with money, food, clothing, while as to indigent workmen, poor farmers, and mechanics, he replenished their stock and brought them tools, thus putting them in the way of making a living. His whole life as replete with acts of practical kindness. He spent his spare time chiefly in prayer and study; his table was one of simple fare, with no luxuries. His dress was inexpensive; he mended with his own hands whatever needed repairs. Numberless are the instances of St. Thomas' supernatural gifts, of his power of healing the sick, of multiplication of food, of redressing grievances, of his ecstasies, of his conversions of sinners. He was taken ill in August, 1555, of angina pectoris, of which he died at the age of 67, at the termination of Mass in his bedroom. His last words were the versicles: "In manus tuas, Domine", etc.; his remains were entombed at the convent Church of Our Lady of Help of his order outside the city walls, whence later they were brought to the cathedral. The saint was of well-knit frame, of medium height, with dark complexion, brilliant eyes, ruddy cheeks, and Roman nose. He was beatified by Paul V (7 Oct., 1618), who set his feast-day for 18 Sept., and canonized by Alexander VII on 1 Nov., 1658.
Various reasons are given to account for St. Thomas' non-appearance at the Council of Trent, among them that he was ill, unable to stand the fatigue of travel; that his people would not brook his absence; and that the emperor was unable to do without his aid at home. The writings of St. Thomas, mainly sermons, are replete with practical norms of mystic theology. Some twenty editions have been published, the best and most complete being probably that of Manila, 1882-1884, in 5 tomes.SHARED FROM the Catholic Encyclopedia