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Saint of the day
32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD.
33 But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, `Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee.
8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered;
9 and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,
21 So these came to Philip, who was from Beth-sa'ida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus.
23 And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
26 If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him.
27 "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? `Father, save me from this hour'? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.
28 Father, glorify thy name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."
29 The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him."
30 Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.
31 Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out;
32 and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."
33 He said this to show by what death he was to die.
19 But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. I did not know it was against me they devised schemes, saying, "Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more."
20 But, O LORD of hosts, who judgest righteously, who triest the heart and the mind, let me see thy vengeance upon them, for to thee have I committed my cause.
Vatican City, Mar 18, 2018 / 04:24 pm (CNA).- Margaret, the fictional stray cat adopted by a fictional Pope in a new children’s book series, gets an up-close and personal look at the Vatican and the Papal office that most Catholics could only imagine.
In “The Pope’s Cat,” a new children’s book series by Jon M. Sweeney, Margaret is just another stray cat on the streets of Rome until the Holy Father finds her on his early morning stroll, scoops her up into his arms and decides to adopt her as his own.
The ensuing shenanigans are what one might expect from a feline who suddenly finds herself in the Pope’s life - she sleeps on his furniture (a lot), gets a glimpse at the general audience from the papal apartment window, and even interrupts an important dinner with the Queen of England.
The Pope in the series reacts to his new friend with bemusement and good humor, all while going about his busy schedule as the leader of the Vatican and the Catholic Church.
“I find that we as adults are often thinking about the Pope and talking about the Pope and listening to what he has to say, but that young children don’t really understand and often just think of the Pope as an image on the refrigerator,” Sweeney told CNA, “and I wanted to see if I could do one little thing to change that.”
His new series about Margaret the cat aims to teach children about the pope and his duties, to make him seem more relatable and human, and to also give them a taste of the Roman culture that permeates many aspects of life in the Vatican.
“It’s a fictional Pope who introduces kids to what Popes do, to the fact that the Pope is the head of state, to the fact that a Pope is a very human person who experiences anxiety and nervousness...and is someone who is invested with enormous responsibilities as the leader of the Catholic Church, with more than one billion people,” he said.
The Pope in the story also frequently speaks to Margaret in Italian phrases (such as ‘dai’, meaning ‘come!’), because “how else would you speak with a Roman stray other than to speak to her in her native tongue?”
“Rome is a meaningful place to me,” said Sweeney, who is “a little bit Italian” and whose visits to Rome helped inspire his journey into the Catholic Church a decade ago. “I wanted to give kids that feeling of Rome as well, I love the Roman side of Catholicism,” he said.
Margaret was not inspired, as one might think, by the beloved cats of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, of which Sweeney knew nothing until the series was already under way.
“Somehow I missed all of that completely,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney said he chose to tell the story of the Pope and Rome through a cat because of his own personal love for felines, even though he doesn’t own one at the moment.
“I don’t get to have a cat because our dog Max would chase it and probably eat it,” he said.
“I think that if you know cats and you read ‘The Pope’s Cat,’ you will see or get the feeling that I understand cats, that I’ve lived with cats a lot,” he said. “That the cat would sort of turn away from the Pope at first and not come when he calls - that’s part of what I love about cats instead of dogs actually.”
The illustrations for ‘The Pope’s Cat’ were done by Roy DeLeon, a Benedictine oblate and retired graphic designer from Seattle.
“He’s done a beautiful job,” Sweeney said. “He’s putting a lot of himself into it, and a lot of research into what it might look like in the Pope’s apartment, or what the Swiss guards look like.”
‘The Pope’s Cat’ is the first book in a series of four books so far. The next book, ‘Margaret’s Night in St. Peter’s Square,’ is a Christmas story with fully colored illustrations. Books three and four will see Margaret venture into the Vatican’s Holy Week festivities and to Assisi with the Pope.
The series’ intended audience if for 1st-4th graders, and is published by Paraclete Press.
Vatican City, Mar 18, 2018 / 06:58 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Sunday Pope Francis said that the crucifix is not just something decorative to hang on the wall or wear, it is an important sign of our beliefs – and should be truly looked at and prayed before as the source of our salvation.
“Today’s Gospel invites us to turn our gaze to the crucifix, which is not an ornamental object or clothing accessory – sometimes abused! – but a religious sign to be contemplated and understood,” the Pope said March 18.
“The image of Jesus crucified reveals the mystery of the death of the Son of God as the supreme act of love, the source of life and salvation for humanity of all times. In his wounds we have been healed.”
Pope Francis addressed around 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus. Adding a few comments off-the-cuff, he asked people how they look at a crucifix: as something to hang on a wall or really to contemplate the wounds of Christ?
Think to yourself, he said: “How do I look at the crucifix? Like a work of art, to see if it is beautiful or not beautiful? Or do I look inside, within the wounds of Jesus, to his heart? Do I look at the mystery of God destroyed unto death, like a slave, like a criminal?”
The Pope suggested a beautiful practical devotion for people to make: To look at a crucifix and pray one Our Father for each of the five wounds of Christ.
“When we pray that Our Father, we try to enter through the wounds of Jesus [all the way to the] inside… right to his heart. And there we will learn the great wisdom of the mystery of Christ, the great wisdom of the cross,” he said.
Francis also reflected on the words of Jesus in the day’s Gospel passage from John, where he says: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”
Here, Jesus compares himself the grain of wheat which “rotting in the earth generates new life,” he said. “With the Incarnation, Jesus came to earth; but this is not enough: He must also die, to redeem men from the slavery of sin and give them a new life reconciled in love.”
This new life is accomplished in Christ, but “must also be realized in us his disciples,” he noted. We must lose our life in this world in order to gain eternal life in the next.
What does it mean to lose your life, to be the grain of wheat? he asked. “It means thinking less about oneself, about personal interests, and knowing how to ‘see’ and meet the needs of our neighbor, especially the least ones.”
He said that our communities must be based on this foundation, growing in mutual acceptance, joy, and works of love, especially for those who suffer in body and in spirit.
We must think: “I want to see Jesus, but to see him from within,” he said. “Enter his wounds and contemplate that love of his heart for you… for me, for everyone.”
Montevideo, Uruguay, Mar 18, 2018 / 03:41 am (CNA/EWTN News).- An Uruguayan non-profit organization called “Godmothers for Life” has been serving mothers in crisis pregnancies for more than 17 years, working out of a facility at Saint Jerome Chapel in Montevideo.
Offering talks, one-on-one conversations, and job training, these “godmothers” help vulnerable moms face their pregnancies with dignity and hope, and not to see abortion as the only way out of their situation.
Being chosen as a godparent is a significant honor in Latin America, where godparents are typically highly involved in the lives of their godchildren, which gives the group’s name a special meaning.
The organization has its origins in 2000 at Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. Marta Grego and her husband traveled from Uruguay to visit the shrine where they experienced in prayer what they described as “Our Lady of Guadalupe's call” to dedicate themselves to the cause of life.
Marta felt in her heart that God was asking her to fight abortion and save babies when she got back to Uruguay. However, she did not see a clear path forward at the time, because she was working and supporting her family. Nevertheless, she felt God telling her, “You take care of my things and I'll take care of yours.”
When the couple returned to Uruguay, a pregnant woman rang their doorbell asking for food. She had made up her mind to get an abortion. That encounter was how Godmothers for Life got its start, with Marta Grego as its founder and director.
Although the original purpose of the organization was to help women decide to keep their babies, Teresa Rodriguez, the group’s current president, explained that they eventually saw “that besides the girls who wanted to abort, there were pregnant girls who were not thinking of aborting but were in a very vulnerable situation.”
In response, the group expanded its work by providing free job training courses and workshops on Christian and human formation, “always focusing on the mom and her baby, helping her to value motherhood, but also helping the family,” so they can find their way out of poverty. Currently, Godmothers for Life is serving about 60 at-risk women in Montevideo, relying solely on donations for their work.
“A bond is created between us and the mothers which is not based on dependency but on affection. We are one big family,” Rodriguez said.
In addition to their main location in Montevideo, Godmothers for Life has a place at Saint Eugene Chapel in the administrative district, where they care for an additional 60 women. They hope to extend the project to other areas of Uruguay. They have already begun plans in several other districts.
Washington D.C., Mar 17, 2018 / 04:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- What has been Pope Francis’ most notable action so far in his papacy?
A group of some 300 U.S. Catholics was recently asked this question in a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, drawing a multitude of responses.
Participants were asked to explain in their own words the most noteworthy thing Pope Francis has accomplished during his past five years as pope, despite their personal opinions of him.
Nine percent said that Pope Francis has set a solid example of humility and overall Christian behavior. Another 9 percent believes he has made the Church more accepting and welcoming.
“He seems to get the idea across that all people are important and worthy of attention and rights,” said one participant, according the Pew Research.
Eight percent noted the pontiff’s particular focus on the poor, while 7 percent said he is noteworthy for his attention towards the LGBT community. Six percent applauded the extent of his global travel, through which he has made himself available to people all around the world. Another 5 percent believes he has united the Catholic community through dialogue.
Other categories receiving 1-4 percent each said that the Holy Father’s most significant action has been environmental care, peacemaking, addressing sex abuse, welcoming the divorced and remarried, spreading the faith, reforming the Vatican, or addressing immigration.
Similarly, 4 percent said the pope’s most notable action was a negative or neutral action, 3 percent said the answer is unclear, and 4 percent said that he has not yet done anything noteworthy.
One participant said that Pope Francis “gets too involved in things that don’t concern the Church,” while another said he is “more liberal than the popes before him.”
The largest group of respondents, 29 percent, declined to answer or did not come up with a response.
Pope Francis marked the fifth year of his pontificate this week, and he continues to receive an overall favorable opinion from U.S. Catholics, at around 84 percent.
The majority of U.S. Catholics, approximately 58 percent, also believe the pope is making major changes to benefit the Church, while around 94 percent view him as compassionate.
Vatican City, Mar 17, 2018 / 12:36 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Amid accusations of concealment, the Vatican's communications department has released the entirety of a letter written by Benedict XVI, revealing a previously unpublished paragraph which contains Benedict’s comments about a theologian known for his “anti-papal initiatives.”
The Secretariat for Communications published the full letter March 17, after questions were raised following the letter’s presentation during a press event March 12 for the release of a newly-published series of booklets on the theological formation of Pope Francis.
The series is published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana, the Vatican publishing house overseen by the secretariat.
#Vatican has now released the full contents of Benedict XVI's letter to +Vigano, saying there was no intention to censor but parts were left out as it was confidential. Earlier today it emerged that more had been omitted from the letter (see end here: https://t.co/aXlyXH71Sg) pic.twitter.com/P6fld8eA21
— Edward Pentin (@EdwardPentin) March 17, 2018
The secretariat’s press release on the letter quoted portions of the letter praising the booklets, but included neither Benedict’s admission that he has not read them in full, nor the final paragraph published today.
In the paragraph, Benedict notes his “surprise” that an author of one of the new booklets is the German theologian Peter Hünermann, who, Benedict notes, “was highlighted for leading anti-papal initiatives” during the two preceding papacies.
In the letter, dated Feb. 7 and addressed to the prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, Msgr. Dario Vigano, Benedict also notes Hünermann's involvement in the release of the 1989 Cologne Declaration, which “virulently attacked the magisterial authority of the Pope, especially on matters of moral theology.”
The previously undisclosed paragraph reads, as translated by Ed Pentin of the National Catholic Register, in full: “Only as an aside, I would like to note my surprise at the fact that among the authors is also Professor Hünermann, who during my pontificate had been shown to have led anti-papal initiatives. He played a major part in the release of the ‘Kölner Erklärung’, which, in relation to the encyclical ‘Veritatis splendor’, virulently attacked the magisterial authority of the Pope, especially on questions of moral theology. Also the ‘Europaische Theologengesellschaft’, which he founded, initially came to be thought of as an organization in opposition to the papal magisterium. Later, the ecclesial sentiment of many theologians prevented this orientation, making that organization a normal instrument of encounter among theologians.”
“I am sure that you will understand me for my denial and I greet you cordially,” the letter concludes. Earlier in the letter, Benedict acknowledged that he could not write a requested reflection on the booklets because he had not read them and had other, more pressing, commitments.
A March 17 press release from the Secretariat for Communications said there had been “much polemics” around its “alleged censorial manipulation of photography.”
“What was read out from the letter, which was confidential, was considered appropriate and related to the sole initiative, and in particular to what the Pope Emeritus says about the philosophical and theological formation of the present Pontiff and the inner union between the two pontificates, leaving out some notes regarding contributors to the series.”
“The choice was motivated by confidentiality and not by any intent of censorship,” the secretariat added.
The Vatican office wrote that it had now chosen to publish the letter in its entirety “in order to dispel any doubts.”
The National Catholic Register requested March 14 a copy of the letter Vigano sent to Benedict, but the request has not been answered.
Controversy about the letter heightened March 14 when the Associated Press reported that the Vatican had acknowledged obscuring two lines of the letter in a photo released to the press.
The AP's Nicole Winfield wrote that the Vatican has admitted “that it altered a photo sent to the media of a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis. The manipulation changed the meaning of the image in a way that violated photojournalist industry standards.”
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Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament occurs every Wednesday evening from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. with confession and benediction.
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