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Archive of November 17, 2013

Evangelize with honey, not vinegar, Cardinal Dolan says

Baltimore, Md., Nov 17, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Christians should be warm, and so invite people into relationship with Christ and the “yes” of the Gospel, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, says.

“Evangelization means attracting people to the person and message of Jesus Christ,” Cardinal Dolan explained to CNA Nov. 12 during the  U.S. bishops' general assembly in Baltimore, Md.

“If they fall in love with Jesus and the Church, then we can begin to do a lot of the conversion and the tough moral teaching,” he continued, adding that  “we can never turn our back on those.”

Cardinal Dolan was outgoing president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the assembly; his successor in the post is Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville.

The cardinal pointed to the teachings of  St. Francis de Sales , saying that “you attract a lot more people with a teaspoon of honey than with a teaspoon of vinegar,” adding that “anything that we can do to be human, warm, compassionate, joyful,” will help evangelization efforts.

“The old philosophers will tell you ‘good always attracts',” Cardinal Dolan continued, adding that “anything that we can use to attract” others to the good of the Gospel will serve to evangelize the world.

“If we come across as negative and crabby and mean and judgemental, we’ll turn people away. If we come across as embracing, engaging, warm and inviting, we’re going to get them in.”

The Church’s teaching is itself an invitation to goodness, Cardinal Dolan continued.

“We have to remember what Pope Benedict told us: the Church is in the business of a big ‘yes.’”

“A yes to everything that is noble and liberating and decent and uplifting in the human project. The only time the Church says no is to something that negates human dignity, and two ‘no’s make a ‘yes.’”

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Vatican removes La Repubblica interview from its website

Vatican City, Nov 17, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Holy See's press officer announced Nov. 15 that the Vatican had chosen to take down the text of Pope Francis' interview in La Repubblica, which had been featured among his speeches, from it's website.

“The information in the interview is reliable on a general level but not on the level of each individual point analyzed: this is why it was decided the text should not be available for consultation on the Holy See website,” Fr. Federico Lombardi told journalists Nov. 15.

“Its removal is a final update on the nature of this text. Some mistakes were made regarding its value, which was questioned.”

The interview was conducted by Eugenio Scalfari, editor of the Italian publication La Repubblica  and an atheist. In addition to its publication in Scalfari's newspaper Oct. 1, the text appeared in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano and on the Vatican's website. 

The accuracy of the text was quickly met with skepticism; several sources suggested that the printed text, while overall faithful to the Pope's thought, may not have captured his exact words.

On Oct. 3, staff at La Repubblica told Jean-Marie Guén ois, deputy editor of the French daily Le Figaro, that “the interview was not recorded, nor were notes taken. What is reflected in the interview is fruit of the memory of that which the Pope and Scalfari said during their encounter.”

It later emerged that Pope Francis was aware that his reported words in the interview could be misunderstood, and took measures concerning this.

Antonio Socci, a Catholic columnist for the Italian newspaper Libero, wrote Oct. 27 that after the publication of the interview, Pope Francis was fully aware of the risk of misunderstanding of some of his words, particularly those on conscience.

The Pope's knowledge that he could be misunderstood is why, according to Socci, Fr. Lombardi, was “told to maintain that the text of the interview had not been revised by Pope Francis and that it was penned by Scalfari after an informal chat.”

Fr. Lombardi had also underlined that “the interview is not part of Pope Francis' Magisterium.”

According to Socci, Pope Francis “regretted” the publication of the interview in L’Osservatore Romano and “complained of it to the director, Gian Maria Vian, in Assisi on Oct. 4.”

On Friday, Fr. Lombardi indicated that “the Secretariat of State took the decision” to remove the text from the Vatican's website, and not the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as was rumored.

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Pope Francis recommends 'spiritual medicine'

Vatican City, Nov 17, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - At the close of his Angelus address today, Pope Francis encouraged those in St. Peter’s Square to pick up a little box of spiritual medicine on their way out.

“I would like now to all of you to consider a medicine. But some may think, ‘the Pope is being a pharmacist now?’ It is a special medicine to make the fruit of the Year of Faith that is coming to a close more concrete,” said Pope Francis Nov. 17, as he raised a little box for the crowds to see.

“This little box contains the medicine, and some volunteers will distribute it to you as you leave the square. Take it! It’s a rosary with which one can pray also the chaplet of Divine Mercy, spiritual help for our souls and for spreading love, forgiveness, and brotherhood everywhere.”

“Don’t forget to take it,” he repeated as the crowds cheered. “Because it does good, eh?  It does good for the heart, for the soul, for all of life.”

Pope Francis had earlier emphasized the need for faith and trust in God in the face of life’s difficulties.

Like the apostles in Sunday’s Gospel, many people find themselves worried about losing faith in the last days.

But Jesus reminds his followers, “First: don’t let yourselves be deceived by false messiahs and don’t let yourselves be paralyzed by fear. Second: live the time of waiting as a time of witness and of perseverance,” recounted Pope Francis.

“This discourse of Jesus is always current, even for those of us who live in the 21st century,” the Roman Pontiff reflected.  “We are in a time of waiting, of waiting for the coming of the Lord.”

“We remember that we are totally in the hands of the Lord!”

“The adversities that we meet for our faith and our adherence to the Gospel are occasions for witness; they must not distance us from the Lord, but push us to abandon ourselves again and more to Him, to the power of his Spirit and his grace,” he encouraged.

The Pope then spoke of the “many Christian brothers and sisters who are suffering persecution because of their faith.”

“There are many – maybe many more than the first centuries. Jesus is with them and we too are united to them with our prayer and our affection, and we admire them for their courage and their testimony.”

Christians are ultimately hopeful, however, because “at the end, Jesus makes a promise that is the guarantee of victory,” assured Pope Francis.

This promise is “a call to hope and patience, to know to await the sure fruits of salvation, confident in the profound meaning of life and of history: the trials and the difficulties make up part of a grand design.”

“Notwithstanding the confusion and disasters that trouble the world, the design of goodness and of the mercy of God will be accomplished!”

“And this is our hope – go forward like this – this way of the design of God that succeeds is our hope."

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Conference highlights Mary as example of evangelization

Mexico City, Mexico, Nov 17, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Church leaders at a conference in Mexico City emphasized unity and Christ-centered witness, as they discussed Our Lady of Guadalupe's ongoing call to evangelize the Americas.

"Our Lady of Guadalupe is the mother of the Mexicans, but she is also the mother of everyone who draws near to her," Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to Mexico, said Nov. 16.

When Our Lady appeared, she changed the future of the people, "giving them new hope" and planting the seed of a new race, he explained.

And since that time, "she has not stopped calling." Rather, she continues to reach out as a mother to comfort those who have suffered, bringing a "new heart" to Mexico and the New World.

Our Mother shows us that the Resurrection is the path of freedom and asks us to share this message with others, Archbishop Pierre continued. Mary is "the perfect missionary" because she was a true disciple, and she should be our example in evangelizing.

The archbishop spoke to hundreds of Church and lay leaders from across the Americas in the opening session at a conference entitled "Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star of the New Evangelization on the American Continent."

Building upon a similar event in Rome last year and drawing from Bl. John Paul II's apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in America, the conference seeks to examine the Church's mission and role throughout the Americas.

Taking place at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City Nov. 16-19, the gathering is sponsored by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, the Knights of Columbus, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Higher Institute of Guadalupan Studies.

The event began with a procession bringing an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe into the gathering, preceded by flags representing the nations of those in attendance.
       
Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico City welcomed participants, reminding them that as they gathered in "the immense joy of being the family of God," they were given the task of working to build a civilization of God.

Msgr. Enrique Glennie, rector of the basilica, entrusted the event to Our Lady of Guadalupe and offered prayers for the people of the Philippines whose lives have been devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, noting that Our Lady is their mother as well.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, offered reflections on the gathering in light of Pope Francis, the first Pope from the New World.

Pope Francis continuously calls us to look at our vocation as Christians, which involves a life of witness, the cardinal said. We must go out to those who have abandoned the Church, "those who have been persuaded by other proposals."

"Maybe the Church appears too fragile to them, maybe too far from their needs," he reflected, adding that perhaps the Church seemed too cold, irrelevant or self-referential, and so they left.

But the Second Vatican Council makes it clear that we are called to witness, Cardinal Ouellet continued. If we are to be successful in reaching out to fallen-away Catholics through a New Evangelization, he said, such efforts must arise from "the marvel of the encounter with Christ."

He noted how frequently Pope Francis uses the verb "to go out," calling the faithful to go out to the poor, lonely, isolated and indifferent: "to where people's life and family are at stake."

The cardinal encouraged the Church in the Americas to be united as one in seeking to evangelize. Despite different challenges faced and different customs, languages and traditions, he said, "we must recognize ourselves here and now as Ecclesia in America."

Through open dialogue and exchange, he said, Church leaders in various American countries can enrich each other in the struggle to address common problems.

These problems are numerous, he observed, pointing to aggressions against life and the family, challenges to peace and justice, demands for integral human development, poverty and violence, natural disasters, drug trafficking, education deficits and rising immigration.

But although these challenges are immense, Cardinal Ouellet said, we can draw strength from Our Lady of Guadalupe, "the foundation of the New World."

"Let us keep a fixed eye on our mother," he encouraged, so that we may be disciples for her sake.

"She waits for us and she is with us."

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December 21, 2014

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

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Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

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Gospel:: Lk 1: 26-38

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St. Romuald »

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Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

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