Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jesus Proclaims, "Shema, Israel!" [Sunday in Ordinary Time 31B]

Thirty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year "B") - November 4, 2012

[Deuteronomy 6.2-6 [Psalm 18]; Hebrews 7.23-28; Mark 12.28-34]

Fifteen years ago, the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Bishops Conference was the occasion for the release of a document inviting Catholics to grow in appreciation of the Church's relationship with the Jewish people.

Titled Jubilee, the 6-page pamphlet speaks of “renewing our common bonds with the Jewish community”. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Sunday liturgy where the first reading and the psalm are regularly drawn from the Old Testament.

Today's first reading includes the beginning of a text known by the Jewish people as the Shema (“Hear, O Israel”) [Deuteronomy 6.4-9]. This declaration of faith is so important that observant Jews recite it every morning, and it is found imbedded in a small cylinder known as the mezuzah posted at the entry to their homes (“write [these words] on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” ([6.9]).

This formula binds every true Israelite to hear and obey the truth that the Lord is one God, the only deity to be worshipped by God's chosen people. It is not an explicit confession of monotheism (the belief that there is only one God), though for Israel all energy is to be directed to serving the Lord. The text allows for henotheism—belief that there are other gods, among whom the Lord YHWH was to be worshipped by Israel—because when this text was composed people generally held that each nation had its own proper deity.

As Israel's faith deepened over the centuries, mounting evidence from the Old Testament shows that Israel recognized what was implied by the Shema, namely that there was only one God.

This one God, who had been revealed to Moses and intervened in history to save the Hebrews from bondage in Egypt, was gradually understood to be the only God, Creator of heaven and earth and Redeemer of all men and women under heaven, beginning with Israel.

In gratitude for this privileged awareness given to the chosen people, the Lord had to be loved, not conditionally and half-heartedly, but unconditionally and without reserve (“you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might”).

It may seem odd that love is commanded, but what is envisaged here is deep loyalty and affection for God's rescue of His people from slavery and the coming gift of the promised land (the Book of Deuteronomy represents the last testament of Moses to Israel as they prepare to enter a land flowing with milk and honey): “Keep these words I am commanding you this day in your heart”.

As Jubilee points out, “Jesus was born of the Jewish people, and was rooted in the tradition of Moses and the prophets. Although his teaching had a profoundly new character, in many instances Christ took his stand on the teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures and often employed the methods of the rabbis of his time”.

When asked about the first of all the commandments, Jesus made his own the Shema, the confession that the Lord God is one, then summarized the Law as the double commandment to love God totally and, citing Leviticus 19.18, to love one's neighbour as oneself.

The scribe repeated Jesus' answer, drawing the right conclusion that this two-fold love is “more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices”. In biblical thought, sacrifices were efficacious when they were accompanied by a contrite heart, one overflowing into love of God and love of neighbour.

Though in Mark's gospel the scribes are almost universally depicted in a negative light, in this instance the scribe's insight merited Jesus' approval (“You are not far from the Kingdom of God”). If we were to ask what further step, in the evangelist's perspective, the scribe must take to inherit or enter the Kingdom, it seems the Markan Jesus' answer would involve some such reply as “go now and put into practice the conclusion you have correctly drawn”.

The Epistle to the Hebrews concludes that the priesthood of Jesus differed from biblical antecedents in several ways, chiefly in that he offered his life on the Cross “once for all”. Now Jesus' priesthood continues in heaven where “he always lives to make intercession” and “to save those who approach God through him”.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

5th Archbishop's Charity Dinner / 5e Souper-Bénéfice de l’Archevêque avec/with Photos

Here, belatedly, is the text of my address at the Charity Dinner on October 17 with photos by Robert Du Broy:

Allocution de l’Archevêque au/Archbishop’s Remarks at the
5th Archbishop’s Benefit Dinner / 5ième Souper-Bénéfice de l’Archevêque
Archidiocèse d’Ottawa / Archdiocese of Ottawa
Hampton Inn—Ottawa, ON
17 octobre / October 17, 2012

« Honour Your Father and Mother / Honore ton père et ta mère »

Your Excellencies,
Reverend Fathers and Faithful Deacons,
Dear Religious Sisters and Brothers,
Dear Members and Friends of the Archdiocese of Ottawa
and care givers to our seniors,

Révérends Pères et diacres fidèles,
Chères Sœurs et Frères,
Chers membres et amis de l’Archidiocèse d’Ottawa
et ceux qui répondent aux besoins de nos ainés:

Honore ton père et ta mère’’ (Exode 20, 12)

Dans les dix commandements, un seul est lié à une promesse spécifique de Dieu : ‘‘Honore ton père et ta mère afin d'avoir longue vie et bonheur sur la terre que te donne le Seigneur ton Dieu’’ (Deutéronome 5, 16)

Ce soir, nous célébrons l’engagement de deux organismes catholiques de bienfaisance qui assurent le bien-être de nos aînés : mères, pères, oncles et tantes, et grands-parents. C’est une vraie bénédiction pour notre communauté de pouvoir compter sur les bons services du Centre d’accueil Roger-Séguin et du St. Patrick Home of Ottawa.

“Honour your father and your mother” (Exodus 20.12)

The fourth of the Ten Commandments is the only one that has a promise of God associated with it: “…so that you may have long life and it may go well with you in the country which the Lord your God is giving you” (Deuteronomy 5.16).

We celebrate the work of two Catholic charities that honour our fathers and mothers, our uncles and aunts, and our grandparents. We are blessed to have Le Centre d’accueil Roger-Séguin and St. Patrick’s Home of Ottawa serving our community.

How we honour our parents changes with the seasons of life. As our elders need more help from us than they can give to us, we honour them by helping them transition from a ministry of doing to a ministry of being. We honour our seniors with time, attention, and love.

This is a precious period for a family. As age softens hardened hearts, there are opportunities for reconciliation with family members and with God. Older siblings can forgive ancient offences and adult children can heal unresolved father and mother issues. Anyone who has ministered to seniors has seen the tears of joy when this happens.

Grandchildren watch this unfold. They, too, grow from the experience. How we honour our parents is how our children will honour us.

As faculties recede, faith nonetheless remains alive. Frequently, withdrawn elderly people brighten up and even sing along at the sound of a familiar hymn. They often cling to a well-worn rosary. Family prayer, when around a shut-in relative, takes on new meaning.

Jeudi dernier, jour du 50e anniversaire de l’ouverture du concile Vatican II, l’Église a procédé au lancement de l’Année de la foi. Cette année jubilaire est une occasion en or pour passer du temps avec une personne âgée et avec Dieu. On peut accompagner une personne âgée à la messe, prier le chapelet avec elle ou lui lire des extraits des Écritures Saintes ou du catéchisme.

Les personnes de notre génération peuvent s’attendre à vivre plus longtemps. Durant les dix années qui se sont terminées en 2007, les personnes qui ont vécues jusqu’à 65 ans ont vu leur chance de vivre jusqu’à l’âge de 85 ans s’accroître énormément.

Le Canada peut s’attendre à voir le nombre des personnes âgées s’accroître beaucoup dans les années qui viennent – cela autant en pourcentage de sa population qu’en chiffre absolu. D’ici 4 ans, le nombre de personnes de 65 ans et plus sera plus grand que le nombre de personnes de 16 ans et moins. On pourra dire alors qu’on vie vraiment dans une société vieillissante. En 2009, le pourcentage de la population au-dessus de 65 ans était de 5,5%. On prévoit que ce pourcentage atteindra 23% en 2031, l’année au cours de laquelle les derniers ‘baby-boomers’ – nés en 1961 —atteindront 70 ans. Cela comprend à peu près tout le monde dans cette salle! Ces données nous permettent de voir quel défi nous attend pour ce qui est des soins de santé et de l’accompagnement pastoral, sans parler des besoins financiers qui s’accroissent alors que la proportion des personnes au travail ou en mesure de payer des impôts diminue.

L’Église devra trouver de nouvelles façons de faire pour répondre aux besoins pastoraux de ce nombre grandissant de personnes âgées. Elle pourra, par exemple, demander à un plus grand nombre de diacres de retourner à leur rôle traditionnel de prendre soin des personnes dans le besoin. Le nombre grandissant de fidèles d’un certain âge, mais qui sont toujours actifs et en santé, est une ressource à laquelle l’Église peut faire appel pour accomplir une variété de ministères qui peuvent être confiés aux laïcs.

God promises us long life if we follow his precepts when he says, “My son, forget not my teaching, keep in mind my commands; for many days, and years of life, and peace, will they bring you.” (Proverbs 3.1–2) God’s wisdom will lengthen our years: “Long life is in her right hand, in her left are riches and honour…She is a tree of life to those who grasp her, and he is happy who holds her fast.” (Proverbs 3.16, 18)

Children are a blessing and long life is a blessing. A culture of life values each life, nurtures it, and is enriched by it. Sadly, there are forces in our society that cheapen life. Some people would hasten death under the guise of compassion but, in reality, for mere convenience.

Legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide would be a rejection of God’s most precious gift: life itself. These practices lead to an even broader disrespect for life. The definition of “terminally ill” begins to encompass people with non-life threatening chronic pain, who could be treated with better palliative care. Death becomes an acceptable alternative to expensive treatment as health care budgets get strained. Promises that euthanasia would only be voluntary are soon forgotten as patients are coerced to agree to stop weighing down their family. Temporary depression compels patients to choose an irreversible path. Almost all societies have wisely forbidden euthanasia for thousands of years. Let us pray that our governments continue to protect our vulnerable seniors by retaining this prohibition.

Our best defence against the culture of death is love. We must never let our seniors think that they are worthless, a burden, or forgotten. The emotional wellbeing of our seniors is of increasing concern. The highest rate of completed suicide is among men over 80. This is a grievous loss of lives that still had much love to give and receive. Suicide takes a profound emotional and spiritual toll on surviving family members.

7.1% of all seniors 65 years of age and older live in a collective dwelling that focusses on special care. Among seniors aged 85 and over, the proportion is almost 30%. Over the next 50 years, the 85+ age group will be the fastest growing, reaching more than 2.5 million people.

Long-term care facilities and seniors’ residences are home to many lonely people who need compassionate time. These facilities depend on volunteers to supplement the work of paid staff to provide friendly visits in a variety of languages, feed residents, animate crafts and music, organise social events, and drive residents to appointments. Do you feel called to this service?

Fortunately, Catholic charities have reached out to seniors. Among them are the two beneficiaries chosen as the recipients of this evening’s benefit dinner. Tonight, we recognize the work of Le Centre d’accueil Roger-Séguin and St. Patrick’s Home of Ottawa.

Le Centre d’accueil Roger-Séguin tient son nom d’un curé qui avait le souci des personnes âgées et qui s’est engagé concrètement pour répondre à leurs besoins.

Le Centre sert jusqu’à 113 résidents, dont jusqu’à 27 clients souffrant de la démence. Le Centre, situé à Clarence Creek, offre l’hébergement et la surveillance, ainsi qu’une gamme de soins infirmiers et médicaux.

De plus, une équipe de pastorale offre aide et support spirituel aux résidents et à leurs familles. L’équipe est composée de nombreux bénévoles dont certains résidents. Une chapelle est disponible vingt-quatre heures par jour.

Lors de ma visite au Centre, l’infirmière qui m’accompagnait me présenta des patients qui souffraient de la maladie d’Alzheimer. Elle s’adressait à eux avec beaucoup de respect, ce qui m’a beaucoup touché. Malgré toutes leurs limites, ces personnes méritent toujours de se faire traiter avec dignité et attention.

St. Patrick’s Home of Ottawa has served our elderly for 147 years. Inspired by the compassionate spirit of St. Marguerite d’Youville, its staff, the Sisters and volunteers believe in care based on the healing ministry of Jesus. The facility currently has 202 beds, of which 32 are dedicated to dementia patients in a safe, supportive environment. The Home’s leadership is forward-looking. Expansion is currently underway to accommodate another 86 residents one year from now. The Home is committed to gerontological research.

Mass is celebrated daily by Father Peter Cody and is broadcast through closed circuit TV to residents unable to go to the chapel. The Sacraments of the Sick and Penance are available on short notice.

I enjoyed my interaction with the residents during my visit to Saint Patrick’s Home. They spoke proudly of the parishes they came from. As St. Patrick’s Home is renewed, we thank the many Catholics whose generosity made the new wing possible.

How we treat our seniors is how the next generation will treat us. May both experiences be a generous blessing.

La prochaine génération s’occupera de nous de la même façon que nous nous occupons des personnes âgées. Puissions-nous tous en tirer de nombreux bienfaits.

Que Dieu le Père, par l’intercession de Notre-Dame de la Consolation et de saint Antoine de Padoue, le patron des personnes âgées, bénisse nos aînés. Amen.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Photos from the St. Kateri Tekakwitha Ceremonies

Following the Mass of Thanksgiving for St. Kateri Tekakwitha's canonization, I travelled with friends to Sicily for a brief break before the Vox Clara Commission sessions that begin today in Rome. 

The internet resources available to me allowed only limited uploading of photos and texts from a thumb drive (my laptop being disabled in terms of internet access).  So, I will resume blogging today with some photos from the ceremonies around the canonization. 

As I don't take photos myself during Mass and have not yet found access to the Osservatore Romano photo service.  This should be remedied shortly. 

Meantime, here are some joyful photos taken on October 20 (first four) and 22 (last two):

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jesus Heals Bartimaeus (Sunday 30) - Conversion and Holiness in the New Evangelization - 1700th Anniversary of the Milvian Bridge

Almighty ever-living God, increase our faith, hope and charity, and make us love what you command, so that we may merit what you promise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
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The Synod of Bishops on the New Evanglization ends its work today.  Here are two of the 58 propositions from the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization released yesterday in unofficial translations, Nos. 22 and 23 dealing with conversion and holiness:
The drama and intensity of the age old clash between good and evil, between faith and fear should be presented as the essential background, a constituent element of the call to conversion in Christ. This struggle continues at a natural and supernatural level. “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Mt 7: 14).
Many bishops spoke of the need for renewal in holiness in their own lives, if they are to be true and effective agents of the New Evangelization.

The New Evangelization requires personal and communal conversion, new methods of evangelization and renewal of the pastoral structures, to be able to move from a pastoral strategy of maintenance to a pastoral position that is truly missionary.
The New Evangelization guides us to an authentic pastoral conversion which moves us to attitudes and initiatives which leads to evaluations and changes in the dynamics of pastoral structures which no longer respond to the evangelical demands of the current time.

HOLINESS AND THE NEW EVANGELIZERSThe universal call to holiness is constitutive of the New Evangelization that sees the Saints as effective models of the variety and forms in which this vocation can be realized.
What is common in the varied stories of holiness is the following of Christ expressed in a life of faith active in charity which is a privileged proclamation of the Gospel.
We recognize Mary as the model of holiness that is manifest in acts of love including the supreme gift of self.
Holiness is a significant part of every evangelizing commitment for the one who evangelizes and for the good of those evangelized.
* * * * * *


Exactly 1700 years ago today, on October 28, 312, Emperor Constantine met Emperor Maxentius in battle just outside the city of Rome at the Milvian Bridge, spanning the Tiber. This battle—occurring exactly 1,700 years ago—is one of the most important events in the history of Christendom, since it was through Constantine’s victory that Christendom began. It is a battle well worth reflecting upon.

As is well known, the previous day Constantine experienced a vision of a cross of light in the sky, with the words “By this sign you shall conquer” (in Greek, not Latin, by the way). That night, so we are told, Constantine had a dream wherein he was told to paint the cross on the shields of his soldiers.
He did. And so it happened, as the vision said.

The next day, October 28, 312, Constantine defeated Maxentius. Interestingly enough, Maxentius could have stayed within the walls of Rome. He was plentifully stocked to endure a siege.
Inexplicably, he decided to go out and engage Constantine. His troops were defeated, and Maxentius himself drowned in the Tiber trying to escape.

Such was the beginning of Constantine’s embrace of Christianity, and such was the beginning of the transformation of the Roman Empire from paganism to Christianity.

For a fuller treatment of this issue and its consequences for today, please go to the full text from which this is drawn at:

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

500th Anniversary of Michelangelo's Completion of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling

It took Michelangelo a bit over four years, from July of 1508 to October of 1512 to complete his work on the Sistine Chapel. The Italian papers noted that the 500th anniversary of his completion of the word was this week!

Michelangelo got off to a slow start, not having painted frescoes before. He intended to (and did) work in buon fresco, the most difficult method, and one which only true masters undertook. In addition to having to learn everything about the medium itself and making initial blunders in that area, he also had to learn some wickedly hard techniques in perspective. (Consider that his figures look "correct" on curved surfaces, viewed from nearly 60 feet below.)

However, ultimately it wasn't Michelangelo's fault that the ceiling took four years. (Once he got the hang of things, he painted like a man on fire!) The work suffered numerous setbacks, such as mold and miserable, damp weather that disallowed plaster curing.

A primary cause of downtime occurred when Julius was off waging a war, or ill to the point that Last Rites were administered. The ceiling project, and any hope Michelangelo had of being paid, were both frequently in jeopardy while Julius was absent or near death. Small wonder that the artist complained so often and bitterly about the project, really.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Young Evangelist Passes Away

Ricardo Correa was a seminarian in the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Quebec City.  Originally from Honduras, he had been named to the Neo-catechumenal Way missionary that is proclaiming the Gospel message in Ottawa and Gatineau parishes. 

Though afflicted with cancer and with very little time left to live, Ricardo nonetheless very much wanted to come to Ottawa to share his experience of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  But his health would not permit it.

With the authorization of Quebec Archbishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, he was granted admission as a candidate for Holy Orders and called to the ministries of acolyte and lector last weekend. 

On Thursday he was called home to the Father's house by the Lord Jesus who called him into his service.  His funeral will take place next Monday, October 29 at 2PM in the Church of Notre Dame de l'Annonciation in Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec.

Please pray for the repose of his soul, the consolation of his family and fellow seminarians, and beg God's grace that many other young men and women may be called as he was to serve the needs of God's people in our day.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mass for the Grades 5 & 6 of St. Andrew Parish Family of Schools - Jesus Heals Bartimaeus

St. Andrew's Parish in Barrhaven has a large number of students in their five schools.  The students in grades five and six came for Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica last Thursday, the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch.  We celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit as those in grade 5 will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation next year.

They were all well-instructed, kept wonderful silence and sang the hymns chosen for the day.  It was an inspiring occasion for all involved.  At the end of Mass, there were pictures taken of the concelebrating priests (the Pastor Father Jessimar Tapia and Regional Vicar Father Pierre Champoux) and servers as well as a photo of the school principals.

* * * * * *
30th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year “B”) - October 28, 2012

                  [Jeremiah 31.7-9 [Psalm 126]; Hebrews 5.1-6; Mark 10.46-52]

Bartimaeus is the second blind man that Jesus heals in Mark's gospel.  The healing of the blind man of Bethsaida, a town in Galilee and the home of Simon and Andrew took place in stages (cf. Mark 8.22-26), as today's healing does.  Each story also suggests implications for the faith life of a believing disciple.
After Jesus had put saliva on the eyes of the Bethsaida blind man and laid hands on him, He asked him whether he could see anything.  At first the man could see indistinctly (“I can see people, but they look like trees, walking” [8.24]).  Then Jesus told him to look again “and he saw everything clearly” (8.25).
In a way, this act of “looking again” may be understood to characterize all Jesus' teaching about His forthcoming Passion (8.31-10.45).  In this extended instructional unit, Jesus invited His disciples to see anew what it meant to be the followers of a crucified Messiah.  For the cross contains stirring implications for one's outlook on lifetime goals (8.34-9.1), authority in the community (9.33-37), marriage, divorce and family (10.2-16), wealth and possessions (10.17-31) and leadership in the Kingdom (10.35-45).
As Jesus went on teaching His disciples, they gradually moved towards Jerusalem in a weakened state of mind (“Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid” [10.32]).  Now they have come to Jericho, one of the oldest human settlements known and the entry point for the Israelites when they had come into the Promised Land.  The City of Palms stands as a liminal place and Bartimaeus would prove a model disciple.
His acclamation “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me” anticipated the welcome Jesus would receive in Jerusalem as heir to David's throne.  Though his was but one voice in the crowd, people were impatient to get to the Holy City, so they attempted to silence Bartimaeus (“many sternly ordered him to be quiet”).
But above the hubbub, Jesus had heard his plea, stopped and invited him to draw near.  Suddenly the crowd's reaction changed: “Take heart; get up, he is calling you”.  Bartimaeus spontaneously leapt up, abandoning his cloak and naming his deepest desire, “Rabbouni [my teacher], let me see again”.
Once Jesus healed Bartimaeus, he did not “go” away—now healed by his faith—as Jesus had directed.  Rather, after regaining his sight, he began to follow Jesus “on the way” (terminology that suggests more than the road—a call to Jerusalem, Calvary and the fulfilment of the Father's will).
Bartimaeus' response was the reverse of the rich man who would not follow Jesus; his enthusiasm was the opposite of the amazement, hesitation and fear of the Twelve and others on the journey with Jesus.  And Bartimaeus' healing epitomized what Jesus was about in teaching his disciples, namely healing their spiritual blindness, something that would not be complete until after his death and resurrection.
At the centre of the description of the priest in Hebrews we find stress on his humility and solidarity with people (“he is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he is himself subject to weakness”).  This is the same empathetic stance we find in Mark's account of the foibles of the Twelve and Jesus' patience with them.
The prophets linked references to what God had done before with what God was about to do for Israel.  As Jeremiah proclaimed God's coming salvation, he also invited the people, in anticipation, to declare God's praises: “Sing aloud with gladness ... and say ‘Save, O Lord, your people, the remnant of Israel’”.
Hope began to abound that what God had begun to do in a tiny remnant of Israel would get extended to all who needed to hear the report of salvation (“those who are blind and those who are lame, those with child and those in labour... they shall return here”).
The contrast between eyes weeping at the desolation being inflicted, and the consolation of return, finds expression in the psalm (“may those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy”).  Liberation and new sight, once inconceivable, can and do come true (“when the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream; then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with shouts of joy”).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

OM: St. Anthopny Mary Claret

The founder of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Anthony Mary Claret died in the Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide in France on this date in 1870. He was canonized in 1950 and listed in the Roman Calendar in 1960. Anthony was born at Salent in the Diocese of Vich in Catalonia, Spain, in the year in which Napoleon invaded Spain. He was trained for manual labor, since his father was a weaver, but in 1829 he entered the seminary at Vich. Ordained to the priesthood in 1835, he was assigned as pastor in his home parish. Later he went to Rome to work for the Propagation of the Faith. He also entered the novitiate of the Jesuits but had to leave because of ill health, so he returned to Spain and was assigned as pastor of a parish. His apostolate consisted of rural preaching, conferences for the clergy and publications (he wrote more than 150 books). Because of his successful apostolate he aroused the animosity of some of the clergy and as a result he left Catalonia for the Canary Islands (1848). After a year he returned to Catalonia and resumed his preaching apostolate.

In 1849 Anthony gathered together five priests who formed the basis of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (popularly known as Claretians). At the suggestion of the Queen of Spain, Isabella II, Anthony was named archbishop of Santiago, Cuba (1850). For the next seven years he made pastoral visitations, preached against the slavery of the Negroes, and regularized numerous marriages. As a result of his activity he was frequently threatened with death and on one occasion an attempt was actually made on his life. In 1857 he was recalled to Spain as confessor to the queen. In this way he was able to exert some influence in the naming of bishops, set up a center of ecclesiastical studies at the Escorial, and work towards the recognition of religious orders in Spain. In 1869 he was in Rome, preparing for the First Vatican Council. He followed Isabella II into exile and at the insistence of the Spanish ambassador, was placed under house arrest in the Cistercian monastery at FontFroide, where he died at the age of 63. His remains were ultimately returned to Vich.

Message And Relevance: In the new Opening Prayer of the Mass for this nineteenth-century apostle we pray: "Father, you endowed Anthony Claret with the strength of love and patience to preach the gospel to many nations." From his earliest years in the priesthood Anthony had a zealous missionary spirit that took him to Rome, the Canary Islands, and eventually to Cuba. Not only did he serve as rector of the seminary at the Escorial in Madrid, but he promoted Catholic publications and founded an academy of St. Michael for artists and literary persons. In Cuba he worked for the general uplifting of the population but did not succeed in founding a school of agriculture, as he had wished. He did, however, establish the Apostolic Institute of Mary Immaculate.

The patience of St. Anthony Claret was tested in the political upheavals of the nineteenth century, both in his native Spain and in Cuba. His efforts at reform stirred up a great deal of hostility. Therefore, we ask in the Opening Prayer that we may "work generously for God's kingdom and gain our brothers and sisters for Christ." In the Office of Readings, an excerpt from the writings of St. Anthony Mary Claret states: "The zealous man desires and achieves all great things and he labors strenuously so that God may always be better known, loved and served in this world and in the life to come, for this holy love is without end."

This great apostle, whose major work, The Right Way, reached millions of people, promoted fidelity to the gospel among all classes of people, and especially among the laity and religious. In this way he anticipated the teaching of the Second Vatican Council concerning the vocation of all the faithful to the perfection of charity. (Taken from "Saints of the Roman Calendar" by Enzo Lodi. Published by Alba House, Society of St. Paul, 2187 Victory Blvd., Staten Island, NY 10314.)

* * * * * *

O God, who for the evangelization of peoples strengthened the Bishop Saint Anthony Mary Claret with admirable charity and long-suffering, grant, through his intercession, that, seeking the things that are yours, we may earnestly devote ourselves to winning our brothers and sisters for Christ. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

OM: Saint John of Capistrano

Jean, né à Capistrano, dans l’Abruzze, était fils d’un gentilhomme français qui avait suivi à Naples le duc d’Anjou, devenu roi de ce pays. Après ses humanités, il fut envoyé à Pérouse pour y étudier le droit canonique et civil. On le pourvut d’une place de judicature, et un homme riche et noble, charmé de ses qualités éminentes, lui donna sa fille en mariage. Tout lui souriait dans le monde, quand tout à coup s’évanouirent ces flatteuses espérances.

Dans une guerre contre le roi de Naples, la ville de Pérouse le soupçonna de prendre le parti de ce prince ; on le fit arrêter. Malgré son innocence et son éloquence à se défendre, il fut jeté en prison. Sur ces entrefaites sa femme étant morte, il résolut de ne plus servir que Dieu.

Il vendit tous ses biens, paya sa rançon, distribua le reste aux pauvres, et se réfugia chez les Franciscains, au monastère du Mont, près de Pérouse. Le gardien, craignant que cette vocation ne fût l’effet d’un dépit passager plutôt que d’un mouvement de la grâce, voulut l’éprouver. Il lui ordonna de faire le tour de la ville de Pérouse dont il avait été gouverneur, monté à rebours sur un âne, couvert d’un mauvais habit et la tête coiffée d’un bonnet de carton où étaient écrits divers péchés. Après une telle épreuve, les humiliations du noviciat ne lui coûtèrent plus.

On lui donna pour maître un simple frère convers, à la direction duquel Jean se soumit avec la simplicité d’un enfant. Il fut traité par lui avec dureté : "Je rends grâces au Seigneur, disait-il plus tard, de m’avoir donné un tel guide ; s’il n’eût usé envers moi de pareilles rigueurs, jamais je n’aurais pu acquérir l’humilité et la patience."

Jean fut renvoyé par deux fois du noviciat comme incapable de remplir jamais aucun emploi dans la religion. Il resta jour et nuit à la porte du couvent, souffrant avec joie l’indifférence des religieux, les railleries des passants et les mépris des pauvres qui venaient demander l’aumône. Une persévérance si héroïque désarma la sévérité des supérieurs et dissipa leurs craintes. Jean, reçu de nouveau, fut enfin admis à la profession.

Dès lors sa vie fut admirable, il vivait uniquement de Jésus sur la Croix. Embrasé d’amour pour Dieu, il faisait de sa vie une oraison continuelle : le Crucifix, le Tabernacle, l’image de Marie, le jetaient dans l’extase : "Dieu, disait-il, m’a donné le nom de Jean, pour me faire le fils de Marie et l’ami de Jésus."

Ordonné prêtre, Jean fut appliqué au ministère de la parole. Ses paroles produisaient partout des conversions nombreuses. Une secte de prétendus moines, les Fraticelli, dont les erreurs et les moeurs scandalisaient l’Église, fut anéantie par son zèle et sa charité. Le Pape Eugène IV, frappé des prodigieux succès de ses discours, l’envoya comme nonce en Sicile ; puis le chargea de travailler, au concile de Florence, à la réunion des Latins et des Grecs. Enfin il le députa vers le roi de France, Charles VII.

Ami de saint Bernardin de Sienne, il le défendit, devant la cour de Rome, contre les calomnies que lui attirait son ardeur pour la réforme de son Ordre ; il l’aida grandement dans cette entreprise, et il alla lui-même visiter les maisons établies en Orient.

Nicolas V l’envoya, en qualité de commissaire apostolique, dans la Hongrie, l’Allemagne, la Bohème et la Pologne. Toutes sortes de bénédictions accompagnèrent ses pas. Il ramena au bercail de l’Église un grand nombre de personnes, et converit une quantité prodigieuse de Juifs et de Musulmans.

À cette époque, Mahomet II menaçait l’Occident d’une complète invasion, tenait Belgrade assiégée, il se promettait d’arborer le croissant dans l’enceinte même de Rome. Le Pape Calixte III chargea saint Jean de Capistran de prêcher une croisade : à la voix puissante de cet ami de Dieu, une armée de 40,000 hommes se leva ; il lui trouva pour chef Huniade, un héros, et il la conduisit à la victoire.

Étant à trois journées de marche des Turcs, tandis qu’il célébrait la Messe en plein air dans les grandes plaines du Danube, les témoins ont rapporté qu’une flèche partie d’en haut vint, pendant le Saint Sacrifice, se placer sur le corporal. Après la Messe, le Saint lut ces mots écrits en lettres d’or sur le bois de la flèche : "Par le secours de Jésus, Jean de Capistran remportera la victoire." Au fort de la mêlée, il tenait en main l’étendard de la Croix et criait : "Victoire, Jésus, victoire !"

Belgrade fut sauvée. C’était en l’an 1456.

Trois mois après, saint Jean de Capistran, ayant prononcé ces paroles du Nunc dimittis : "C’est maintenant, Seigneur, que Vous laisserez mourir en paix Votre serviteur," expira en disant une dernière fois : Jésus. Il avait soixante-et-onze ans

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St. John was a native of Capistrano, in Italy.

He became a Franciscan and was one of the great organizers of the struggle against the Mohammedans in the 15th century, when they threatened to overrun the whole of Europe.

Mohammed II had taken Constantinope and was already marching against Belgrade, when Pope Callixtus III called St. John to preach the crusade; assisted by the Hungarian John Hunyadi, he gathered a strong Christian army, which defeated the Turks in the great battle of Belgrade (1453).

He died in 1456.
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O God, who raised up Saint John of Capistrano to comfort your faithful people in tribulation, place us, we pray, under your safe protection and keep your Church in everlasting peace. Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

OM: Blessed Pope John Paul II - The Seven New Saints of 2012

Today in the Archdiocese of Ottawa--as in Italy, Poland and the United States generally--an optional memorial of Blessed John Paul II is permitted.

In announcing the decree establishing the Feast the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments stated that following numerous requests regarding the cult of the new blessed, according to the places and forms established by law, this Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments  communicated what had been decided about the liturgical observance.

The date was chosen to memorialize the Inauguration of Pope John Paul II on October 22, 1978 when a young, vibrant Polish Pope stepped out on to the balcony in St. Peters Square and signaled his mission with those memorable words: "Be Not Afraid! Open up, no; swing wide the gates to Christ. Open up to his saving power the confines of the State, open up economic and political systems, the vast empires of culture, civilization and development.. Be not afraid!"

His magisterium (teaching office) set a framework for what is becoming under his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, a new missionary age of the Catholic Church throughout the entire world. His teaching helped to bring about an authentic renewal of the Church. It reasserted the mission of the Church to engage and transform all of human culture, including the arts, politics, the academy, and economic and political realm - because no area of human experience is "off-limits" to the influence of the Gospel and the Church.

Pope John Paul II called all men and women to the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. He reminded us that only in Jesus Christ can we discover the purpose and fulfillment of human life. He proclaimed that human existence itself is an invitation to communion with God and with one another. He told an age bent of "self fulfillment" that true human fulfillment only comes from giving ourselves in love to God and to one another. He called us to live a unity of life, wherein the implications of the Christian faith inform the entirety of life with no contradiction or separation.

He confronted, exposed and opposed the "culture of death", wherein the human person is treated as an instrument to be used rather than an unrepeatable gift to be received. He proposed a different way, building a new "culture of life" where every human person, at every age and stage, is recognized as having an inviolable dignity and right to life, freedom and love.

He charted a path to peace and solidarity, proclaiming to the nations that we are all our brothers' keeper and that we owe an obligation in solidarity to one another and, most especially, to the poor in all of their manifestations. He wrote of authentic freedom as a freedom "for" and not just a freedom "from", a freedom that must be bounded by truth and lived in accordance with the moral understanding of our obligation to do what is right.

He exposed what he called in his Encyclical "The Gospel of Life" the "counterfeit notion of freedom" as a raw power over others. He countered the false notion of the autonomy of the individual as the measure of a "freedom" to do whatever one wants by insisting that the path to human flourishing is communion.

He proclaimed a new and true humanism, reaffirming that we were created in the Image of God, made for communion. He insisted that through applying the treasury of the social teaching of the Catholic Church - in our relationships with one another, in our families, in our societies, our nations and in the global community - authentic justice and freedom can actually be achieved.

Entrusted for twenty six years with the Chair of Peter, Pope John Paul II was a prophetic Pope in both word and deed. From his first encyclical letter entitled "The Redeemer of Man" to his last, the "Church of the Eucharist", he proclaimed that the truth is, as he wrote in his profound Encyclical Letter on the Moral Life, a "splendor".

He called for reconciliation among separated Christians in "May They Be One" and a new model of full communion with the Church which is beginning to be implemented under Pope Benedict XVI with the creation of Anglican Ordinariates as an example. With deep love for the "Light of the East" he called Eastern and Western Christianity to rediscover their dependence upon one another in order that the entire Body of Christ might once again breathe with "two lungs" and present the whole Jesus Christ to a world that needs to be liberated.

On April 2, 2005 at 9:37 p.m. this dearly beloved Pope died in the Lord while the whole world watched, prayed and wept. Almost immediately upon his passing throngs of the faithful gathered in St Peters Square and began a chant which continues in the hearts of millions throughout the world "Santo Subito", Sainthood Now!

Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree recognizing the late Pope John Paul II's life of "heroic virtue" on December 19, 2009 and the late Pope was given the title of "Venerable." In April of 2009 Pope Benedict XVI, told Pilgrims gathered in Rome "With you, I pray for the gift of beatification". That prayer has now been answered.

Friday, January 14, 2011 the Holy See released the "Decree for the Beatification of the Servant of God John Paul II". Sunday, January 16, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI, announced "On 1 May I will have the joy of proclaiming the Venerable Pope John Paul II, my predecessor, as a blessed. The date chosen is very significant because it will, in fact, be the second Sunday of Easter which he himself dedicated to Divine Mercy and on the eve of which his earthly life came to an end.Those who knew him, those who respected and loved him cannot but share in the Church's joy at this event."

In the last ten centuries of Church history no Pope has beatified his predecessor. From the beginning of Pope Benedict's pontificate it has been clear that he has longed for this day. On April 3, 2011 at another Angelus, he told the faithful who gathered of his memories of the late John Paul II, "I remember him in prayer with affection as I think of you all. While we journey through Lent and prepare for the feast of Easter, we come with joy to the day when we will also venerate as a saint this great pope and witness of Christ, and rely even more on his intercession."

The choice of the Feast of Divine Mercy, May 1, 2011 for the beatification was intentional. Pope John Paul II had a deep devotion to his fellow Pole Sr. Faustina Kowalska and to the Divine Mercy devotion identified with her. In August 2002, in Lagiewniki, Poland where Sr. Faustina lived and died, John Paul II entrusted the entire world "to Divine Mercy, to the unlimited trust in God the Merciful."

The Decree of Beatification notes, "Since the beginning of his pontificate, in 1978, John Paul II often spoke in his homilies of the mercy of God. This became the theme of his second encyclical, Dives in Misericordia, in 1980. He was aware that modern culture and its language do not have a place for mercy, treating it as something strange; they try to inscribe everything in the categories of justice and law. But this does not suffice, for it is not what the reality of God is about."

There is no doubt that we had a saint in our midst. A man so filled with Jesus Christ that, like the Apostle Paul, he no longer lived but "Christ lived in him." (Galatians 2) The sentiment of the faithful expressed on the day on which his body was processed through the streets of Rome, "Santo Subito" has echoed as the Church has discerned the cause of his canonization. Now, he will be raised to the Altar on the Feast of Divine Mercy and the faithful will call him "Blessed John Paul II."

The final step to his canonization is an attested second miracle. In an interview with the ZENIT news service, Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the postulator for the cause of the late Pope was asked whether other miracles were revealed during the process. He replied "There were so many graces and also alleged miracles. Some were examined more in-depth, because this is the practice. Before carrying out a study on a miracle, a prior study is done which in some way guarantees the process itself. In some cases we did further studies and the preliminary statements were good, but we did not continue to study them because the study on the miracle that had been chose was already under way."

He was asked a follow up question "Can you tell us in what countries these miracles happened?" Monsignor Oder replied "They were verified in France, in the United States, in Germany and in Italy." The postulator expressed what impressed him most about the inquiry into the life and ministry of the late Pope, "The aspect that amazed me, which also happens to be the most important aspect of his life, was the discovery that the source and origin of his extraordinary activity, of his generosity in acting, of the depth of his thought, was his relationship with Christ.

"What came to light was certainly a mystic. A mystic in the sense that he was a man who lived in the presence of God, who let himself be guided by the Holy Spirit, who was in constant dialogue with the Lord, who built his whole life around the question [asked to Peter]: "Do you love me?" His life was the answer to this essential question posed by the Lord. I think this aspect is the greatest treasure of the process."

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The Son of Man came to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (cf. Mk 10:45)

Dear Brother Bishops, Dear brothers and sisters!

Today the Church listens again to these words of Jesus, spoken by the Lord during his journey to Jerusalem, where he was to accomplish the mystery of his passion, death and resurrection. They are words which enshrine the meaning of Christ’s mission on earth, marked by his sacrifice, by his total self-giving. On this third Sunday of October, on which we celebrate World Mission Sunday, the Church listens to them with special attention and renews her conviction that she should always be fully dedicated to serve mankind and the Gospel, after the example of the One who gave himself up even to the sacrifice of his life.

I extend warm greetings to all of you who fill Saint Peter’s Square, especially the official delegations and the pilgrims who have come to celebrate the seven new saints. I greet with affection the Cardinals and Bishops who, during these days, are taking part in the Synodal Assembly on the New Evangelization. The coincidence between this ecclesiastical meeting and World Mission Sunday is a happy one; and the word of God that we have listened to sheds light on both subjects. It shows how to be evangelizers, called to bear witness and to proclaim the Christian message, configuring ourselves to Christ and following his same way of life. This is true both for the mission ad Gentes and for the new evangelization in places with ancient Christian roots.

The Son of Man came to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (cf. Mk 10:45)

These words were the blueprint for living of the seven Blessed men and women that the Church solemnly enrols this morning in the glorious ranks of the saints. With heroic courage they spent their lives in total consecration to the Lord and in the generous service of their brethren. They are sons and daughters of the Church who chose a life of service following the Lord. Holiness always rises up in the Church from the well-spring of the mystery of redemption, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah in the first reading: the Servant of the Lord is the righteous one who "shall make many to be accounted as righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities" (Is 53:11); this Servant is Jesus Christ, crucified, risen and living in glory. Today’s canonization is an eloquent confirmation of this mysterious saving reality. The tenacious profession of faith of these seven generous disciples of Christ, their configuration to the Son of Man shines out brightly today in the whole Church.

Jacques Berthieu, né en 1838, en France, fut très tôt passionné de Jésus-Christ. Durant son ministère de paroisse, il eut le désir ardent de sauver les âmes. Devenu jésuite, il voulait parcourir le monde pour la gloire de Dieu. Pasteur infatigable dans l’île Sainte Marie puis à Madagascar, il lutta contre l’injustice, tout en soulageant les pauvres et les malades. Les Malgaches le considéraient comme un prêtre venu du ciel, disant : Vous êtes notre « père et mère ! » Il se fit tout à tous, puisant dans la prière et dans l’amour du Cœur de Jésus la force humaine et sacerdotale d’aller jusqu’au martyre en 1896. Il mourut en disant : « Je préfère mourir plutôt que renoncer à ma foi ». Chers amis, que la vie de cet évangélisateur soit un encouragement et un modèle pour les prêtres, afin qu’ils soient des hommes de Dieu comme lui ! Que son exemple aide les nombreux chrétiens persécutés aujourd’hui à cause de leur foi ! Puisse en cette Année de la foi, son intercession porter des fruits pour Madagascar et le continent africain ! Que Dieu bénisse le peuple malgache !

Pedro Calungsod was born around the year sixteen fifty-four, in the Visayas region of the Philippines. His love for Christ inspired him to train as a catechist with the Jesuit missionaries there. In sixteen sixty-eight, along with other young catechists, he accompanied Father Diego Luís de San Vitores to the Marianas Islands in order to evangelize the Chamorro people. Life there was hard and the missionaries also faced persecution arising from envy and slander. Pedro, however, displayed deep faith and charity and continued to catechize his many converts, giving witness to Christ by a life of purity and dedication to the Gospel. Uppermost was his desire to win souls for Christ, and this made him resolute in accepting martyrdom. He died on the second of April, sixteen seventy-two. Witnesses record that Pedro could have fled for safety but chose to stay at Father Diego’s side. The priest was able to give Pedro absolution before he himself was killed. May the example and courageous witness of Pedro Calungsod inspire the dear people of the Philippines to announce the Kingdom bravely and to win souls for God!

Giovanni Battista Piamarta, priest of the Diocese of Brescia, was a great apostle of charity and of young people. He raised awareness of the need for a cultural and social presence of Catholicism in the modern world, and so he dedicated himself to the Christian, moral and professional growth of the younger generations with an enlightened input of humanity and goodness. Animated by unshakable faith in divine providence and by a profound spirit of sacrifice, he faced difficulties and fatigue to breathe life into various apostolic works, including the Artigianelli Institute, Queriniana Publishers, the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth for men, and for women the Congregation of the Humble Sister Servants of the Lord. The secret of his intense and busy life is found in the long hours he gave to prayer. When he was overburdened with work, he increased the length of his encounter, heart to heart, with the Lord. He preferred to pause before the Blessed Sacrament, meditating upon the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, to gain spiritual fortitude and return to gaining people’s hearts, especially the young, to bring them back to the sources of life with fresh pastoral initiatives.

"May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you" (Ps 32:22). With these words, the liturgy invites us to make our own this hymn to God, creator and provider, accepting his plan into our lives. María Carmelo Sallés y Barangueras, a religious born in Vic in Spain in 1848, did just so. Filled with hope in spite of many trials, she, on seeing the progress of the Congregation of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching, which she founded in 1892, was able to sing with the Mother of God, "His mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation" (Lk 1:50). Her educational work, entrusted to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, continues to bear abundant fruit among young people through the generous dedication of her daughters who, like her, entrust themselves to God for whom all is possible.

I now turn to Marianne Cope, born in eighteen thirty-eight in Heppenheim, Germany. Only one year old when taken to the United States, in eighteen sixty-two she entered the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis at Syracuse, New York. Later, as Superior General of her congregation, Mother Marianne willingly embraced a call to care for the lepers of Hawaii after many others had refused. She personally went, with six of her fellow sisters, to manage a hospital on Oahu, later founding Malulani Hospital on Maui and opening a home for girls whose parents were lepers. Five years after that she accepted the invitation to open a home for women and girls on the island of Molokai itself, bravely going there herself and effectively ending her contact with the outside world. There she looked after Father Damien, already famous for his heroic work among the lepers, nursed him as he died and took over his work among male lepers. At a time when little could be done for those suffering from this terrible disease, Marianne Cope showed the highest love, courage and enthusiasm. She is a shining and energetic example of the best of the tradition of Catholic nursing sisters and of the spirit of her beloved Saint Francis.

Kateri Tekakwitha was born in today’s New York state in sixteen fifty-six to a Mohawk father and a Christian Algonquin mother who gave to her a sense of the living God. She was baptized at twenty years of age and, to escape persecution, she took refuge in Saint Francis Xavier Mission near Montreal. There she worked, faithful to the traditions of her people, although renouncing their religious convictions until her death at the age of twenty-four. Leading a simple life, Kateri remained faithful to her love for Jesus, to prayer and to daily Mass. Her greatest wish was to know and to do what pleased God. She lived a life radiant with faith and purity.

Kateri nous impressionne par l’action de la grâce dans sa vie en l’absence de soutiens extérieurs, et par son courage dans sa vocation si particulière dans sa culture. En elle, foi et culture s’enrichissent mutuellement ! Que son exemple nous aide à vivre là où nous sommes, sans renier qui nous sommes, en aimant Jésus ! Sainte Kateri, protectrice du Canada et première sainte amérindienne, nous te confions le renouveau de la foi dans les Premières Nations et dans toute l’Amérique du Nord ! Que Dieu bénisse les Premières Nations !

Anna Schaeffer, from Mindelstetten, as a young woman wished to enter a missionary order. She came from a poor background so, in order to earn the dowry needed for acceptance into the cloister, she worked as a maid. One day she suffered a terrible accident and received incurable burns on her legs which forced her to be bed-ridden for the rest of her life. So her sick-bed became her cloister cell and her suffering a missionary service. She struggled for a time to accept her fate, but then understood her situation as a loving call from the crucified One to follow him. Strengthened by daily communion, she became an untiring intercessor in prayer and a mirror of God’s love for the many who sought her counsel. May her apostolate of prayer and suffering, of sacrifice and expiation, be a shining example for believers in her homeland, and may her intercession strengthen the Christian hospice movement in its beneficial activity.

Dear brothers and sisters, these new saints, different in origin, language, nationality and social condition, are united among themselves and with the whole People of God in the mystery of salvation of Christ the Redeemer. With them, we too, together with the Synod Fathers from all parts of the world, proclaim to the Lord in the words of the psalm that he "is our help and our shield" and we invoke him saying, "may your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you" (Ps 32:20.22). May the witness of these new saints, and their lives generously spent for love of Christ, speak today to the whole Church, and may their intercession strengthen and sustain her in her mission to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world.