Monday, September 20, 2010
Benedict XVI Returns to Rome - Memorial of the Korean Martyrs - Commissioning Lectors
End of Pope Benedict XVI's Visit to the United Kingdom...
The Holy Father's pastoral visit to Scotland and England seems to have surpassed expectations and been seen as successful. The focus on Saturday evening and Sunday was on Cardinal Newman's beatification; the application of Newman's writings and spirituality to our day struck me including the following:
One of Cardinal Newman’s best-loved meditations includes the words, “God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another” (Meditations on Christian Doctrine).
Here we see Newman’s fine Christian realism, the point at which faith and life inevitably intersect. Faith is meant to bear fruit in the transformation of our world through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the lives and activity of believers.
No one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual, ignoring the profound crisis of faith which has overtaken our society, or simply trusting that the patrimony of values handed down by the Christian centuries will continue to inspire and shape the future of our society.
We know that in times of crisis and upheaval God has raised up great saints and prophets for the renewal of the Church and Christian society; we trust in his providence and we pray for his continued guidance. But each of us, in accordance with his or her state of life, is called to work for the advancement of God’s Kingdom by imbuing temporal life with the values of the Gospel.
Each of us has a mission, each of us is called to change the world, to work for a culture of life, a culture forged by love and respect for the dignity of each human person.
As our Lord tells us in the Gospel we have just heard, our light must shine in the sight of all, so that, seeing our good works, they may give praise to our heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:16)….
...some applications to youth
"Here I wish to say a special word to the many young people present. Dear young friends: only Jesus knows what “definite service” he has in mind for you. Be open to his voice resounding in the depths of your heart: even now his heart is speaking to your heart.
Christ has need of families to remind the world of the dignity of human love and the beauty of family life. He needs men and women who devote their lives to the noble task of education, tending the young and forming them in the ways of the Gospel.
He needs those who will consecrate their lives to the pursuit of perfect charity, following him in chastity, poverty and obedience, and serving him in the least of our brothers and sisters.
He needs the powerful love of contemplative religious, who sustain the Church’s witness and activity through their constant prayer.
And he needs priests, good and holy priests, men who are willing to lay down their lives for their sheep. Ask our Lord what he has in mind for you! Ask him for the generosity to say “yes!”
Do not be afraid to give yourself totally to Jesus. He will give you the grace you need to fulfil your vocation.
Let me finish these few words by warmly inviting you to join me next year in Madrid for World Youth Day. It is always a wonderful occasion to grow in love for Christ and to be encouraged in a joyful life of faith along with thousands of other young people. I hope to see many of you there!
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WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WELSH?
Pope Benedict was not able to visit Wales in his four days in the U.K., but he did take part in two gestures indicating his regard for the Welsh, lighting a candle before the statue of Our Lady of Cardigan which went on pilgrimage to Westminster Cathedral. As well, he blessed a new Mosaic of St. David the Patron Saint of Wales:
A popular teacher and preacher, this 6th century Bishop founded monasteries in Britain at a time when paganism was widespread.
Calling St. David a “founder of the Christian culture which lies at the root of modern Europe,” The Holy Father encouraged the faithful of Wales to look to his life for inspiration — particularly to a popular phrase from him.
… his dying words to his monks were, “Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things”. It is the little things that reveal our love for the one who loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19) and that bind people into a community of faith, love and service.
Bishop Edwin Regan, the Bishop of Wrexham in Wales, brought greetings to the Pontiff. He presented him a special gift: a replica of the first book printed on Welsh soil — an essay from the 1580s on the love of God. It had been secretly printed in a cave
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The Holy Father lit a candle at the statue of Our Lady of Cardigan, or Our Lady of the Taper, which was at St. Paul’s side chapel in Westminster Cathedral. Our Lady is honoured under that name in Wales.
The statue depicts Mary holding the child Jesus in one arm, and with her other hand she is holding a candle. Local tradition holds that the candle burned for nine years without being consumed. In his greeting to the people of Wales he prayed: “May the light of Christ continue to guide their steps and shape the life and culture of the nation.”
Expressing his sadness that he was unable to visit the people of Wales, Pope Benedict added: I trust that this beautiful statue, which now returns to the National Shrine of Our Lady in Cardigan, will be a lasting reminder of the Pope’s deep love for the Welsh people, and of his constant closeness, both in prayer and in the communion of the Church.
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KOREAN CATHOLIC HEROIC WITNESS
Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Priest, and Paul Chong Ha-sang, Seminarian
O God, who have been pleased to increase your adopted children in the world, and who made the blood of the Martyrs Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon and his companions a most fruitful seed of Christians, grant that we may be defended by their help and profit always from their example. Through our Lord.
During the persecutions of 1839, 1846, 1866, and 1867, one hundred and three Christians in Korea gave their lives as martyrs. The martyrs included clergy, but were, for the most part, members of the laity.
They consecrated the rich beginnings of the Church in Korea with their blood. Among them were Fr. Andrew Kim of Taegon, the first Korean priest and pastor, and Paul Chong of Hasang, a lay apostle.
St. Andrew Kim Taegon was born into a noble Korean family. He traveled to China to become a Catholic priest and he was ordained in Macao. When he returned to Korea, as the first native priest, he was arrested, tortured, and eventually beheaded.
Paul Chong Hasang was a seminarian, aged 45. As a layman, he was one of the great founders of the Catholic Church in Korea. He was persecuted before he could be ordained.
"We have received baptism, entrance into the Church, and the honor of being called Christians. Yet what good will this do us if we are Christians in name only and not in fact?" (St. Andrew Kim Taegon)
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It is interesting to note that during the Korean War of 1950-53 many priests, nuns, and lay people were killed or expelled.
In today's still divided Korea, the Church flourishes in the South, both in terms of numbers and intellectually, but it remains underground in the North.
"The Korean Church is unique because it was founded entirely by laypeople. This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus, in less than a century, it could boast of 10,000 martyrs.
"The death of these many martyrs became the leaven of the Church and led to today's splendid flowering of the Church in Korea. Even today their undying spirit sustains the Christians of the Church of Silence in the north of this tragically divided land." (Pope John Paul II at the canonization of the Korean Martyrs, May 6, 1984)
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A STEP TOWARD DIACONAL ORDINATION
The diaconal formation resumed this month at the Diocesan Centre. On the opening day of sessions, I presided at Mass during which I conferred the Ministry of Lector on those who will be ordained deacons next June. After Mass, the candidates and their wives posed for a photo under the watchful eyes of the St. Thomas Aquinas mosaic.
Left to right: Lise and Gary Bourgeois, Simonne and Michel Lambert, Blessilda and Stephen Donoghue, John George (Jane missing), Lesley and Ricardo Santiago
Following a period of reflection, the English Sector diaconal community will resume consideration of candidates for diaconate training through a discernment and spiritual preliminary formation program.
For further information, contact Deacon Michael Seath, Director of the Deacon Training Program at (613) 738-5025, ext. 228 (firstname.lastname@example.org).