Showing posts from March, 2014

Joy-filled Religious sisters bring witness of prayer to Bismarck diocese

Sr. Mary Baptist of the Carmel of the Holy Face in North Dakota. Photo courtesty of the Diocese of Bismarck. Two groups of religious sisters new to North Dakota’s Diocese of Bismarck bring the blessings of prayer and their examples of faith and service to the area, an official with the local Church said. “One of the things you see about both of these groups of sisters is that they live lives of joy,” Matthew Kurtz, communications director for the Bismarck diocese, told EWTN News March 28. “They exude joy; that will be one of the most valuable aspects of having their presence in our diocese.” Read more. One of the most important ways of sharing the faith is joy -- what a blessing for the Diocese of Bismark!

How the Vatican is getting ready for the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII

Both Rome and the Vatican are getting ready for the canonization ceremony of John Paul II and John XXIII. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected. FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI Vatican Spokesman "If St. Peter's Square is full and if the crowd extends all the way to the Tiber River, then we estimate about 200 to 250,000 people. It will be tight.” The Mass will be held on Sunday April 27th at 10.00a.m. Pope Francis will preside over it, but  there may be another Pope there as well. FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI Vatican Spokesman "Clearly there is an expectation, especially after Benedict XVI attended the last consistory. In an interview, Pope Francis described him as an  institution, encouraging him to take part in the life of the Church. Without a doubt he has been invited, but it's still a month away. We'll have to see if he decides to go.” Front and center will be the two women who were miraculously cured through the intercession of John Paul II.  From Costa

Blessed Joan of Toulouse

On March 31, we commemorate Blessed Joan of Toulouse, the first lay associate and founder of the Carmelite third order. Joan was born to a noble family in the kingdom of Navarre in the 13th century. A Carmelite monastery had been founded in Toulouse, France, in 1240, which exposed her to the Carmelite lifestyle and spirituality. Due to her devotion to Our Lady, she wished to live as an anchorite near the Carmelite monastery. In 1265, when St. Simon Stock, a thirteenth century reformer of the Carmelites, was passing through Toulouse, Joan met him and asked to be affiliated with the Carmelites. Simon agreed and Blessed Joan became the first Third Order Carmelite. She received the habit of the Carmelite order from St. Simon Stock, making a vow of perpetual chastity. A gentle, pious, prayerful young woman, she attended daily Mass and spent her days caring for the sick, elderly, and infirmed. One of Joan's primary missions was encouraging the boys of the town to help her serve the

What Can The Saints Teach Us About Lent?


New tool from “Catholics Come Home” helps Catholics make a good confession

As Catholic Come Home states on a commercial, people can always "ask God to edit their life story and create the ideal ending.” This online platform launched a new website full of resources to help people discover how Confession can improve their spiritual lives. It's called, and its promotional video compares sin to a "heavy burden” one gets rid of thanks to Confession. GoodConfession offers users a guide to identify what temper they have, as well as different models to examine their conscience, depending on whether they are married, single or teenagers. One of the most interesting parts of the website, though, is called "Struggles with Sin.”  It gives a full explanation of what sin is, what types of sins there are, and what is the best way to fight them. As the Catholic Church invites everyone to go Confession, specially during Lent, wants Catholics "to flood confessionals” during this period. Via Rome Rep

St. Joseph of Arimathea

Patron Saint of: funeral directors, pall bearers, tin miners, undertakers The saint of the day for March 29 is St. Joseph of Arimathea.  We learn about Joseph of Arimathea in Sacred Scripture. Arimathea was his place of birth, which was most likely the same city also known as Ramatha, birthplace of the prophet Samuel. All the authentic information that we have about Joseph is from Sacred Scripture in the New Testament. These are some of the facts about Joseph: He was a member of the Sandhedrin, a council of 71 members that had supreme executive, legislative, and judicial power over the Jewish faith. He apparently was a wealthy man and also a good and just man, according to Luke’s gospel (Luke 23:50). He was a disciple of Jesus, but this was concealed for fear of the Jews or members of the Sandhedrin who were against Jesus. It is unlikely that Joseph attended the meeting of the council that sentenced Jesus to death, as he did not agree with the others in their condemnation of

Fr. Robert Barron: What Is Natural Law?

Pope Francis meets with President Obama

At roughly 10:10 a.m president Barack Obama arrived to the Vatican amid high security measures. He was first welcomed by Georg Gänswein, who serves as the Prefect of the Papal Household. After making his way along the Vatican halls, Obama greeted Pope Francis just before 10:30 a.m. This is the first meeting between Pope Francis and president Obama. The U.S president met with Benedict XVI back in 2009. CNA/EWTN:   Obama meets with Pope at time of 'tense' relations with Church Spirit Daily:   Analysis of Pope-Obama meeting FOX News: Obama holds 52-minute meeting with Pope Francis

New song celebrates Father Oscar Romero, marking 34 anniversary of his murder

34 years ago Msgr. Óscar Arnulfo Romero, then archbishop of San Salvador, was shot to death while celebrating Mass in a hospital. His only "crimes” were to denounce the violence in El Salvador and to share the suffering of the needy. An initiative called 'The Project' celebrates the life and work of this priest who always stayed close to his people. Among other things, with music: it released a song called "Romero” as part of the album "Martyrs Prayers.” Images of the Salvadorian priest can be seen in the video. The composers used texts and reflections from Fr. Romero to write the lyrics of the song, and the chorus repeats one of his most famous statements: "Let my blood be a seed of freedom.” Fr. Romero knew that they were after him long before being murdered. He was a "persona non grata” because he stood for the rights Salvadorian workers and farmers in his homilies, rights that were often attacked by the repressive military and the oppositio

Pope: Confession is an experience of mercy and forgiveness

( Vatican Radio ) Pope Francis on Friday spoke to participants of a “Course on the Internal Forum,” which deals with the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the ministry of Confessors. In his discourse, Pope Francis spoke about how the annual course helps “the Church and Confessors to better carry out the ministry of mercy, which is so important.” He reminded priests that the Holy Spirit is the “protagonist” of the ministry of reconciliation, calling on them to “always be ‘men of the Holy Spirit.’” As such, priests must welcome penitents not with the attitude of a judge, but with “the charity of God, with the love a father who sees the son returning, the shepherd who has found the lost sheep.” For this reason, the Pope said, priests are called to be generous in making themselves available for Confession. “We must never forget,” he said, “that the faithful often have difficulty approaching the Sacrament of Confession.” And so, priests must work hard to encourage people to draw nea


The saint of the day for March 28 is St.Tutilo . When St. Gall, the companion of St. Columbanus, died in Switzerland in 640, a monastery was built over the place of his burial. This became the famous monastery of St. Gall, one of the most influential monasteries of the Middle Ages and the center of music, art, and learning throughout that period. About the middle of the ninth century, returning from a visit to Rome, an Irishman named Moengul stopped off at the abbey and decided to stay, along with a number of Irish companions, among them Tuathal, or Tutilo. Moengul was given charge of the abbey schools and he became the teacher of Tutilo, Notker, and Radpert, who were distinguished for their reaming and their artistic skills. Tutilo, in particular, was a universal genius: musician, poet, painter, sculptor, builder, goldsmith, head of the monastic school, and composer. He was part of the abbey at its greatest, and the influence of Gall spread throughout Europe. The Gregorian chan

Pope Francis: Do you want to be a priest?

St. Rupert

On March 27 the Catholic Church remembers the monk and bishop Saint Rupert , whose missionary labors built up the Church in two of its historic strongholds, Austria and Bavaria. During his lifetime, the “Apostle of Bavaria and Austria” was an energetic founder of churches and monasteries, and a remarkably successful evangelist of the regions – which include the homeland of the Bavarian native Pope Benedict XVI. Little is known about Rupert's early life, which is thought to have begun around 660 in the territory of Gaul in modern-day France. There is some indication that he came from the Merovignian royal line, though he embraced a life of prayer, fasting, asceticism and charity toward the poor. This course of life led to his consecration as the Bishop of Worms in present-day Germany. Although Rupert was known as a wise and devout bishop, he eventually met with rejection from the largely pagan population, who beat him savagely and forced him to leave the city. After this

A Guide in Praying for Religious Liberty

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) provides this helpful guide to help guide and focus our prayers: God wants people to be free to seek him and to serve him (Acts 17:24-28) . Pray for a favorable outcome. The cherished principle of religious freedom should receive the strongest constitutional protection it deserves. God is Lord of the conscience, not government (Acts 5:29 ). Pray that the justices of the Supreme Court will understand the importance of the separation of the state from the church. God can give understanding to make sound decisions (Prov. 2:6-8) . Pray for those who disagree with us, that God would help them understand and respect the consciences of people of faith. God can turn the hearts and minds of the justices to do his will (Prov. 21:1). Pray for the Supreme Court justices, that they would be receptive to the arguments being made passionately before them. God can guide the mind and speech (Exod. 4:11-12). Pray for lead attorney, Paul

US Women rally outside Supreme Court for religious liberty

Is this a women's issue? Of course it is! It is about religious liberty, something all women are entitled to be concerned about. Do we want our religious beliefs to be trampled on by the government? The government needs to stop discriminating against us! Washington D.C., Mar 26, 2014 / 04:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Women supporting employers challenging the government's contraception spoke out in support of a vision of women's equality that supports fertility and women's role as employers, as the case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday. "All issues are women's issues" said Ashley McGuire of The Catholic Association, quoting an earlier statement by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R- N.H.). "Women are just as entitled to religious liberty as any man, and women have as much of a stake in the outcome of this case as any man." McGuire was speaking at a March 25 demonstration in front of the Supreme Court building, as the high court heard o

The HHS Mandate: A Fight for Religious Liberty

I missed this edition of EWTN News Nightly yesterday and it is certainly worth watching, so I am posting it for all of you who didn't get a chance to view it. This involves out religious liberty, which is something we all need to be concerned about. Read more about the latest news on this issue: Will the Owners of Hobby Lobby Have to Check Their Faith at the Door?. . .  March 25, 2014, OnFaith by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

Lenten Reflection: If God Asked You for Your Trust, Could You Give it to Him?

Pope: Pray for your pastors, so that they don't become mediocre

The cold and rain weren't an obstacle for the thousands of pilgrims who filled St. Peter's Square in his weekly General Audience. Pope Francis couldn't help but notice all the umbrellas covering the square. POPE FRANCIS "I can see that you're brave...under all this rain that wants to pull you back home. Thank You." As usual, he rode his Popemobile before the audience, blessing and waving at everybody. A music band welcomed him once he made his way across. As part of his catechesis on the Sacraments, Pope Francis talked about Holy Orders. He reminded that all bishops, priests, and deacons are called to serve, and that they should always stay in touch with Jesus through the Sacraments and the Bible. POPE FRANCIS "A bishop who doesn't pray, a bishop who doesn't listen to the Word of God, who doesn't celebrate Mass everyday, who doesn't go to Confession on a regular basis—and the same thing happens to a priest that doesn't do

Pope Francis to meet with President Obama on Thursday

Now, this is interesting. I would love to be a fly on the wall during this meeting. Vatican Radio) US President Barack Obama’s trip to Rome on March 27 will be his first audience with Pope Francis. It will be the second time that President Barack Obama has been received at the Vatican, after an audience with Pope Benedict XVI on July 10, 2009. Barack Obama is the ninth US President to make ​​an official visit to the Vatican. The first, Woodrow Wilson, received by Pope Benedict XV after the end of the First World War. The next audience for a sitting president came thirty years later, when Blessed Pope John XXIII, received President Dwight Eisenhower 1959. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the first (and so far only) Catholic president met with Pope Paul VI in 1963. Paul VI later received three other Presidents, meeting twice each with both Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, and once with Gerald Ford. The visit of Blessed John Paul II to Washington in 1979, when he met Jimmy Carter,

St. Margaret Clitherow

The saint of the day for March 26th is St. Margaret Clitherow, patron of businesswomen, converts, and martyrs. Margaret was born in Middleton, England, in 1555, of protestant parents. An attractive woman full of wit and cheer, she had a charming personality. In 1571, she married John Clitherow, a well-to-do butcher (to whom she bore two children). She was a good housewife, capable in business, dearly loved by her husband, whose only regret was that she would not attend church. A few years later, she entered the Catholic Church. Her zeal led her to harbor fugitive priests, for which she was arrested and imprisoned by hostile authorities. They tried every means to make her deny her Faith, but the holy woman stood firm. Finally, she was condemned to be pressed to death on March 25, 1586. She was stretched out on the ground with a sharp rock on her back and crushed under a door loaded down with unbearable weights. Her bones were broken and she died within fifteen minutes. The hum

The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord celebrates the coming of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to announce to her the special mission God had chosen for her in being the mother of His only Son. The Annunciation heralds the beginning of our salvation. By Mary's obedient "Fiat" the earth has become heaven. "In Jesus, God has placed in the midst of barren, despairing mankind, a new beginning which is not a product of human history but a gift from above" (Pope Benedict XVI). All that our heart cries out for became flesh in Mary's wound. When we repeat the words of the angel by praying the Hail Mary, the word of God germinates in our soul. Christianity is this never-ending event of encounter with God made present in the maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. "What came about in bodily form in Mary, the fullness of the godhead shining through Christ in the Blessed Virgin, takes place in a similar way in every soul that has been made pure.

The Tree of Knowledge and the Power of Almsgiving

Pope Francis: With his suffering, John Paul II left behind a 'living Magisterium'

Pope Francis met with the members of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers gathered in Rome for their Plenary Assembly. John Paul II established the Council in 1985, and its president, Msgr. Zygmunt Zimowski, brought him up during his remarks. "This assembly is gathered to mark the 30th anniversary of the Apostolic Letter from John Paul II 'Salvifici Doloris.'” Pope Francis also brought up John Paul II in his speech. He said that the Polish Pope knew how to bring out the good from his suffering, and how to help those who suffer. POPE FRANCIS "His Magisterium was a living Magisterium, to which the People of God responded with so much affection and veneration, recognizing that God was at his side.” Pope Francis added that through the protection and promotion of life, the "dignity and value of each human being, from conception to death” are recognized. POPE FRANCIS "It's true that even in suffering no one is ever alone, because God

Christ gives us His Strength and Peace

Passage for Reflection: "He has chosen our impotence in order to give us the power of his love, our weakness to give us his strength, our fear to give us his courage, our ignominy to give us his majesty, our pain to give us his peace, our wounds to give us his power to heal, our dying to give us his life, our interdependence that we may give him to one another..." ~ Caryll Houselander (March Magnificat, 353) Caryll Houselander († 1954) was a British mystic, poet, and spiritual teacher. Related Scripture Passages: "I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world." - John 16:33 "I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me." - Philippians 4:13 "Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard y

St. Catherine of Sweden

St. Catherine of Sweden is the patron saint against abortion and miscarriages. She was born in 1331, the fourth of eight children, to Saint Bridget of Sweden and Ulf Gudmarsson. At the age of seven, Catherine was sent to Risberg Convent to be educated. She desired to remain in the convent to pursue a religious vocation, but she was promised in marriage to the virtuous and pious German noble Eggard Lydersson von Kürnen, a lifelong invalid. At age 13, the two were united in the sacrament of matrimony. Although Catherine was very beautiful, she and Eggard took a mutual vow of perpetual chastity. They devoted themselves to a life of Christian perfection and active charity. In 1348, Catherine's father died. With Eggard’s permission, Catherine joined her mother on various pilgrimages. During these pilgrimages, they visited the tombs of the martyrs the churches, and together practiced works of piety, caring for the poor and the sick. In 1349, Catherine traveled with her mother to

St. Nicholas of Flue

Today, the universal church celebrates the feast of St. Nicholas of Flue . During his lifetime, the Swiss saint had 10 children, became a hermit and later prevented a civil war. Nicholas was born in 1417 near the Lake of Lucerne in Switzerland. He married at the age of 30 and had 10 children. In addition to his duties as a husband and a father, Nicholas donated his talents and time selflessly to the community and always strove to give an excellent moral example to all. The saint was also able to devote much of his private life to developing a strong relationship with the Lord. He had a strict regime of fasting and he spent a great deal of time in contemplative prayer. Around the year 1467, when he was 50 years old, Nicholas felt called to retire from the world and become a hermit. His wife and children gave their approval, and he left home to live in a hermitage a few miles away. While living as a hermit, Nicholas soon gained a wide reputation on account of his personal sancti

Dana - from Eurovision starlet to pro-life activist: 44 years ago today

She was young, beautiful, talented, and confident. The 19-year-old had just won the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest that launched her into immediate fame, an exploding pop career, and the promise of every success. Forty-four years ago to this day, the world was her oyster. But Rosemary Scallon, Ireland’s sweetheart best known as Dana, did not let her 1970 win go to her head. Instead of rejecting her Christian faith as she was eagerly embraced by the world, she found herself longing to deepen her relationship with God. Continue reading.

Fr. Barron comments on Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Seven Quick Takes

1. This past week was a busy one. With my husband at home for the week due to spring break, I decided to transform the spare bedroom into another home office. His office is downstairs and mine in now upstairs. We previously shared an office, but it's nice to have my own little space. Actually, I now share it with my cat, Jazzy, who now has new furniture in her cat room. 2. On the Solemnity of St. Joseph, or St. Joseph's Day, we celebrated the feast with strawberry cheesecake -- Bill's favorite dessert. This is a special day for fathers, and for all who have a special devotion to St. Joseph. He has been such a good protector for our family. He's also Bill's Confirmation saint. We finished the nine day novena to St. Joseph, but continue to pray our daily prayer to him for ongoing intentions. 3. With both St. Patrick's day and St. Joseph's day this week, this week didn't seem to have that Lenten feel. This week I was encouraged to persevere in m

Saint Benedetta Cambiagio Frasinello

The saint of the day for March 21st is Saint Benedetta Cambiagio Frasinello. Benedetta Cambiagio Frasinello was born on October 2, 1791 in Langasco (Genoa) Italy; she died on  March 21,1858 in Ronco Scrivia in Liguria. She was a wife, religious and foundress. She let the Holy Spirit guide her through married life to the work of education and religious consecration. She founded a school for the formation of young women and also a religious congregation, and did both with the generous collaboration of her husband. Benedetta was a pioneer in her determination to give a high quality education to young women, for the formation of families for a "new Christian society" and for promoting the right of women to a complete education. Call to marriage, then to religious life From her parents Benedetta received a Christian formation that rooted in her the life of faith. Her family settled in Pavia when she was a girl. When she was 20 years old, Benedetta had a mystical experie

Pontifical Academy for Life: Child euthanasia is not the answer

"The lack of health, and disability are not good reasons to exclude, or worse, do away with a person.” That is the message the Pope sent members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which gathered in Rome in February for its 20th anniversary. Dozens of experts talked about aging and disabilities. Pope Francis reminded them that "the tyranny of an economic logic” turns many people into victims, "starting with the elderly.” MONICA LOPEZ BARAHONA Academic Director, Centro de Estudios Biosanitarios (Spain) "The new idea in this case is to take back the culture of love, of love towards the elderly. To reclaim the value that old age has when it comes to experience gained, and experience that can be passed on.” In the more developed countries, populations are aging fast. In an effort to tackle the "throw-away culture,” experts said the key is in engaging, not excluding family members who cannot fend for themselves. ENCARNACION PEREZ BRET Hospital Centro d

St. Maria Josefa of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The saint of the day for March 20th is St. Maria Josefa of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. "Do not believe that caring for the sick consists only in giving them medicine and food; there is another kind of care which you should never forget, that of the heart which seeks to adapt to the suffering person, going to meet his needs.” These are the words of one whose mind and heart were fully seized of a mission, Saint Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus. The mission: to be a “neighbor” to the sick and the suffering in the world. Canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1 in the Jubilee Year 2000, St Maria Josefa was the Foundress of the Institute of the Servants of Jesus of Charity. Conceived in the year 1871 in Bilbao, Spain, this Institute, totally dedicated to nursing the sick with a contemplative approach, has a presence of more than 1000 members in some 43 houses spread across the globe. Maria Josefa was the oldest daughter of Bernabe Sancho and Petra de Guerra born on Septem

The First Day of Spring

A Lenten Reflection from Fr. James Kubicki, S.J.:

Pope Francis celebrates the Feast of St Joseph with special greetings for all fathers

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph pointing out that he is a model for all fathers and educators. Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the General Audience, the Pope’s catechesis focused on three aspects pertaining to the life and mission of St Joseph: as the “guardian” of the Holy Family; as the teacher and educator of the young Jesus; and as a guide who helped Jesus respond to the working of the Holy Spirit. And speaking off the cuff, the Pope sent special greetings to all the fathers of the world, thanking them for what they do with their children. "Be close to your children" - the Pope said - "they need you. Just as St. Joseph was close to Jesus in his physical, psychological and spiritual growth, you too must be guardians in age, wisdom and grace". Please find below the synopsis in English of the Pope’s catechesis: Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today, we celebrate the feast of Saint Joseph,

Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On March 19th, the universal Church celebrates the solemnity of St. Joseph , the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The memorial of St. Joseph the Worker is on May 1. This quiet, just, humble man, protector of families and patron of fathers, is also invoked for a happy death. St. Joseph was an ordinary manual laborer although descended from the royal house of David. In the designs of Providence he was destined to become the spouse of the Mother of God. His high privilege is expressed in a single phrase, "Foster-father of Jesus." About him Sacred Scripture has little more to say than that he was a just man-an expression which indicates how faithfully he fulfilled his high trust of protecting and guarding God's greatest treasures upon earth, Jesus and Mary. The darkest hours of his life may well have been those when he first learned of Mary's pregnancy; but precisely in this time of trial Joseph showed himself great. His suffering, which likewise formed a part

Pope Francis: Lent a time to adjust your life

Vatican Radio) Lent is a time to “adjust your life,” “to get closer to the Lord.” That was the message of Pope Francis at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta. The Pope warned against thinking of ourselves as “better than others.” The hypocrites, he warned, “disguise themselves as good people” and do not understand that no one is made just by his own efforts; we all need to undergo justification. Pope Francis began his homily stressing “conversion” as the key word of Lent, a favourable time “to grow closer” to Jesus. Commenting on the First Reading, from the book of Isaiah, he said that the Lord calls two “sinful cities” like Sodom and Gomorrah to conversion. This shows us that we all “need to make a change of life,” to take a “good look into our soul” — where we always find something. The purpose of Lent, then, is precisely “to adjust my life,” to draw closer to the Lord. Jesus, the Pope said, wants to be close to us; He assures us the He is “waiting for us in order to forgive

Fr. Barron: What Helps Protestants Convert to Catholicism?

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

The saint of the day for March 18 is St. Cyril of Jerusalem , a fourth-century Bishop and Doctor of the Church whose writings are still regarded as masterful expressions of Christian faith. St. Cyril is also remembered for his exhaustive Biblical knowledge, and his endurance in the face of misunderstanding and opposition. Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians, who likewise celebrate him as a saint on March 18, also remember him on May 7 – the date of a miraculous apparition said to have occurred soon after his consecration as a bishop. What we know of Cyril's life is gathered from information concerning him from his younger contemporaries, Epiphanius, Jerome, and Rufinus, as well as from the fifth-century historians, Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret. Cyril was most likely born in Jerusalem around the year 315, shortly after the legalization of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. Although that legalization put a stop to many of the persecutions that thre

Pope Francis: The way to peace is through mercy

(Vatican Radio) To find mercy we must first forgive. It is through forgiveness that our hearts, and the world, are filled with peace. This was the overarching theme of Pope Francis’ homily during Monday morning’s Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. “Be merciful as your Father is merciful.” Commenting on these words of Jesus, the Pope added that “it is not easy to understand this attitude of mercy” because we are habitually judgmental. “We are not [the sorts of people] who naturally [allow for understanding and mercy.”] “To be merciful,” he said, “two attitudes are needed. The first is knowledge of oneself”. This self-knowledge means that we acknowledge “we have done many bad things: we are sinners!” And, when faced with the need for repentance, “the justice of God transforms us in mercy and forgiveness.” However, we must have shame for our sins. Read more.

Fr. Robert Barron's "Priest, Prophet, King" Trailer

Here is the video trailer for Fr. Robert Barron's newest teaching series, "Priest, Prophet, King." Filmed in stunning high-definition at Mundelein Seminary by Spirit Juice Studios, this six-part study program unveils the priestly, prophetic, and kingly nature of Jesus Christ, then shows how we, too, are called to embrace those roles. Learn more at 

Global Freedom Network founded by Catholics, Anglicans, Muslims to end human trafficking

(Vatican Radio) Representatives of the Catholic, Anglican and Muslim worlds gathered for the first time ever in the Vatican press office on Monday for the launch of a Global Freedom Network aimed at eradicating human trafficking by the end of the decade. Philippa Hitchen went along to witness this historic event. The groundbreaking agreement to work closely together across the different faith communities was signed by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo on behalf of Pope Francis. The Argentinian bishop is chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences which brought together a broad coalition of anti-trafficking experts for a workshop last November. He was joined by New Zealand Archbishop David Moxon, director of the Anglican Centre here in Rome and representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See. Also on hand to sign the founding declaration was Dr Mahmoud Azab, representing the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, one of the most important centers of Sunni Is

St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland

The saint of the day for March 17th is St. Patrick. St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales about 385 AD. His given name was Maewyn. Until he was 16, he considered himself a pagan. He was kidnapped from the British mainland at that time by a group of Irish raiders who sold him into slavery. He escaped from slavery after six years and returned to his homeland. There he heard the call to return and bring Christianity to Ireland, so he went to Gaul and studied in the monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre for a period of twelve years. He was ordained a priest, consecrated a bishop and returned to Ireland around 435 AD. Patrick was quite successful at winning converts, which led to clashes with the Celtic Druids. He was arrested several times, but escaped each time. He traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion of the Irish country to Christianity. In

St. Louise de Marillac

The saint of the day for March 15 is St. Louise de Marillac. Louise was born near Meaux, Auvergne, France, on August 12, 1591. Born out of wedlock, Louise never knew her mother, but was raised by her father, a member of the aristocracy. When her father married, Louise had a difficult time adjusting and was sent to be a resident student at a Dominican convent where her aunt was a religious. When Louise was about sixteen years old, she believed she had a call to the religious life, but, after consulting her spiritual director, she decided not to pursue it. Instead, she married Antoine Le Gras. The couple had a son and Louise devoted most of her time in her motherly duties. While at prayer, Louise had a vision in which she saw herself serving the poor and living the vows of religion in community. She wrote this experinence down on parchment and carried it on her person as a reminder that despite her difficulties, God was guiding her life. In that vision a priest appeared to her

St. Matilda

Today is the feast of St. Matilda, who was the Queen of Germany and wife of Henry I. She was born in Engern, Westphalia, Germany in 895 to Count Detrich and his wife, Reinhild. Raised by her grandmother, an abbess, she entered into an arranged marriage with King Henry the Fowler of Saxony in 1913. Matilda became the mother of: Otto I, Emperor of Germany; Henry, Duke of Bavaria; St. Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne; Gerberga, who married Louis IV of France; Hedwig, the mother of Hugh Capet. As queen, Matilda was humble, holy, and very generous -- always ready to help the poor and the down-trodden. Following her husband's death, Matilda made an unsuccessful attempt to secure the throne for her favorite son Henry, but his elder brother was elected and crowned in 936. Later, the two brothers joined in persecuting their mother, whom they accused of having impoverished the crown by her lavish almsgiving. To satisfy them, she renounced the possessions the deceased king had left her, and

St. Roderick

The saint of the day for March 13 is St. Roderick . Also known as Ruderic, he was a priest in Cabra, Spain during the persecution of Christians by the Moors. Roderick had two brothers, one was a Muslim and the other, a fallen-away Catholic. One day, he tried to stop an argument between his two brothers. However, his brothers turned on him and as a result he was beaten into unconsciousness. The Muslim brother then paraded Roderick through the streets proclaiming that he wished to become a Muslim. His brother also told the authorities that Roderick had converted to Islam. When Roderick awoke, he renounced his brothers story and told the authorities of his loyalty to the Catholic faith. The authorities accused Roderick of apostasy under Sharia Law and he was imprisoned.While in prison, he met a man named Solomon, also charged with apostasy. After a long imprisonment, they were both beheaded.

First Year as Pope: Top 10 list to understand Pope Francis' pontificate

) It's been a year now since Pope Francis was elected. In these past 12 months, no one has been left indifferent. From the unusual circumstances under which he was elected, to the so called 'Francis' effect that's made its way across the globe. 1- HELP As he introduced himself to the world, the first thing Pope Francis did, up from the balcony of St. Peter's, was bow his head and ask for prayers. The thousands of people gathered out in the Square, began to pray for his pontificate. POPE FRANCIS "I would like to bless you...but before I'd like to ask all of you for a favor. Before the bishop blesses his flock, I ask that you pray to the Lord, so that He blesses me. The prayer of the people, asking for the Bishop's blessing.” It was surprising at first, but soon it became a hallmark of his pontificate. "Pray for me.” "Pray for me.” "Pray for me.” "Don't forget, pray for me.” 2- AUSTERITY His personal style a

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