Baptism of the Lord

+Luke 3:15-16,21-22

‘Someone is coming who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire’

A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Now when all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’


Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it

‘Console my people, console them’

says your God.

‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem

and call to her

that her time of service is ended,

that her sin is atoned for,

that she has received from the hand of the Lord

double punishment for all her crimes.’

A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness

a way for the Lord.

Make a straight highway for our God

across the desert.

Let every valley be filled in,

every mountain and hill be laid low.

Let every cliff become a plain,

and the ridges a valley;

then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed

and all mankind shall see it;

for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

Go up on a high mountain,

joyful messenger to Zion.

Shout with a loud voice,

joyful messenger to Jerusalem.

Shout without fear,

say to the towns of Judah,

‘Here is your God.’

Here is the Lord coming with power,

his arm subduing all things to him.

The prize of his victory is with him,

his trophies all go before him.

He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,

gathering lambs in his arms,

holding them against his breast

and leading to their rest the mother ewes.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

“The Lamb who takes away the sin of the world”

608 After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel’s redemption at the first Passover. Christ’s whole life expresses his mission: “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


Psalm 103

Of David. 1 Bless the LORD, my soul; all my being, bless his holy name!

Bless the LORD, my soul; do not forget all the gifts of God,

Who pardons all your sins, heals all your ills,

Delivers your life from the pit, surrounds you with love and compassion,

Fills your days with good things; your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The LORD does righteous deeds, brings justice to all the oppressed.

His ways were revealed to Moses, mighty deeds to the people of Israel.

Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger, abounding in kindness.

God does not always rebuke, nurses no lasting anger,

Has not dealt with us as our sins merit, nor requited us as our deeds deserve.

As the heavens tower over the earth, so God’s love towers over the faithful.

As far as the east is from the west, so far have our sins been removed from us.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on the faithful.

For he knows how we are formed, remembers that we are dust.

Our days are like the grass; like flowers of the field we blossom.

The wind sweeps over us and we are gone; our place knows us no more.

But the LORD’S kindness is forever, toward the faithful from age to age. He favors the children’s children

of those who keep his covenant, who take care to fulfill its precepts.

The LORD’S throne is established in heaven; God’s royal power rules over all.

Bless the LORD, all you angels, mighty in strength and attentive, obedient to every command.

Bless the LORD, all you hosts, ministers who do God’s will.

Bless the LORD, all creatures, everywhere in God’s domain. Bless the LORD, my soul!

Source: The New American Bible

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Saturday after Epiphany

+John 3:22-30

‘He must grow greater and I must grow smaller: my joy is complete’

Jesus went with his disciples into the Judaean countryside and stayed with them there and baptised. At the same time John was baptising at Aenon near Salim, where there was plenty of water, and people were going there to be baptised. This was before John had been put in prison.

Now some of John’s disciples had opened a discussion with a Jew about purification, so they went to John and said, ‘Rabbi, the man who was with you on the far side of the Jordan, the man to whom you bore witness, is baptising now; and everyone is going to him.’

John replied:

‘A man can lay claim

only to what is given him from heaven.

‘You yourselves can bear me out: I said: I myself am not the Christ; I am the one who has been sent in front of him.

‘The bride is only for the bridegroom;

and yet the bridegroom’s friend,

who stands there and listens,

is glad when he hears the bridegroom’s voice.

This same joy I feel, and now it is complete.

He must grow greater, I must grow smaller.’



1 John 5:14-21

If we ask for anything, he will hear us

We are quite confident that if we ask the Son of God for anything,

and it is in accordance with his will,

he will hear us;

and, knowing that whatever we may ask, he hears us,

we know that we have already been granted what we asked of him.

If anybody sees his brother commit a sin

that is not a deadly sin,

he has only to pray, and God will give life to the sinner

– not those who commit a deadly sin;

for there is a sin that is death,

and I will not say that you must pray about that.

Every kind of wrong-doing is sin,

but not all sin is deadly.

We know that anyone who has been begotten by God

does not sin,

because the begotten Son of God protects him,

and the Evil One does not touch him.

We know that we belong to God,

but the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One.

We know, too, that the Son of God has come,

and has given us the power

to know the true God.

We are in the true God,

as we are in his Son, Jesus Christ.

This is the true God,

this is eternal life.

Children, be on your guard against false gods.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The preparations

522 The coming of God’s Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries. He makes everything converge on Christ: all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the “First Covenant”. He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming.

523 St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. “Prophet of the Most High”, John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah”, John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.

524 When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”


Psalm 149:1-6,9

Hallelujah! Sing to the LORD a new song, a hymn in the assembly of the faithful.

Let Israel be glad in their maker, the people of Zion rejoice in their king.

Let them praise his name in festive dance, make music with tambourine and lyre.

For the LORD takes delight in his people, honors the poor with victory.

Let the faithful rejoice in their glory, cry out for joy at their banquet,

With the praise of God in their mouths, and a two-edged sword in their hands,

To execute the judgments decreed for them –  such is the glory of all God’s faithful. Hallelujah!

Source: The New American Bible

Friday after Epiphany

+Luke 5:12-16

‘If you want to, you can cure me’

Jesus was in one of the towns when a man appeared, covered with leprosy. Seeing Jesus he fell on his face and implored him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘if you want to, you can cure me.’ Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him and said, ‘Of course I want to! Be cured!’ And the leprosy left him at once. He ordered him to tell no one, ‘But go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering for your healing as Moses prescribed it, as evidence for them.’

His reputation continued to grow, and large crowds would gather to hear him and to have their sickness cured, but he would always go off to some place where he could be alone and pray.


1 John 5:5-13

There are three witnesses: the Spirit and the water and the blood

Who can overcome the world?

Only the man who believes that Jesus is the Son of God:

Jesus Christ who came by water and blood,

not with water only,

but with water and blood;

with the Spirit as another witness –

since the Spirit is the truth –

so that there are three witnesses,

the Spirit, the water and the blood,

and all three of them agree.

We accept the testimony of human witnesses,

but God’s testimony is much greater,

and this is God’s testimony,

given as evidence for his Son.

Everybody who believes in the Son of God

has this testimony inside him;

and anyone who will not believe God

is making God out to be a liar,

because he has not trusted

the testimony God has given about his Son.

This is the testimony:

God has given us eternal life

and this life is in his Son;

anyone who has the Son has life,

anyone who does not have the Son does not have life.

I have written all this to you

so that you who believe in the name of the Son of God

may be sure that you have eternal life.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Prayer Of Thanksgiving

2637 Thanksgiving characterizes the prayer of the Church which, in celebrating the Eucharist, reveals and becomes more fully what she is. Indeed, in the work of salvation, Christ sets creation free from sin and death to consecrate it anew and make it return to the Father, for his glory. The thanksgiving of the members of the Body participates in that of their Head.

2638 As in the prayer of petition, every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving. The letters of St. Paul often begin and end with thanksgiving, and the Lord Jesus is always present in it: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”; “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”

Prayer Of Praise

2639 Praise is the form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It lauds God for his own sake and gives him glory, quite beyond what he does, but simply because HE IS. It shares in the blessed happiness of the pure of heart who love God in faith before seeing him in glory. By praise, the Spirit is joined to our spirits to bear witness that we are children of God, testifying to the only Son in whom we are adopted and by whom we glorify the Father. Praise embraces the other forms of prayer and carries them toward him who is its source and goal: the “one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist.”

2640 St. Luke in his gospel often expresses wonder and praise at the marvels of Christ and in his Acts of the Apostles stresses them as actions of the Holy Spirit: the community of Jerusalem, the invalid healed by Peter and John, the crowd that gives glory to God for that, and the pagans of Pisidia who “were glad and glorified the word of God.”

2641 “[Address] one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.” Like the inspired writers of the New Testament, the first Christian communities read the Book of Psalms in a new way, singing in it the mystery of Christ. In the newness of the Spirit, they also composed hymns and canticles in the light of the unheard-of event that God accomplished in his Son: his Incarnation, his death which conquered death, his Resurrection, and Ascension to the right hand of the Father. Doxology, the praise of God, arises from this “marvelous work” of the whole economy of salvation.

2642 The Revelation of “what must soon take place,” the Apocalypse, is borne along by the songs of the heavenly liturgy but also by the intercession of the “witnesses” (martyrs).128 The prophets and the saints, all those who were slain on earth for their witness to Jesus, the vast throng of those who, having come through the great tribulation, have gone before us into the Kingdom, all sing the praise and glory of him who sits on the throne, and of the Lamb. In communion with them, the Church on earth also sings these songs with faith in the midst of trial. By means of petition and intercession, faith hopes against all hope and gives thanks to the “Father of lights,” from whom “every perfect gift” comes down.130 Thus faith is pure praise.

2643 The Eucharist contains and expresses all forms of prayer: it is “the pure offering” of the whole Body of Christ to the glory of God’s name and, according to the traditions of East and West, it is the “sacrifice of praise.”


Psalm 147:12-15,19-20

O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!

Zion, praise your God!

He has strengthened the bars of your gates

he has blessed the children within you.

O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!

He established peace on your borders,

he feeds you with finest wheat.

He sends out his word to the earth

and swiftly runs his command.

O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!

He makes his word known to Jacob,

to Israel his laws and decrees.

He has not dealt thus with other nations;

he has not taught them his decrees.

O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Thursday after Epiphany

+Luke 4:14-22

‘This text is being fulfilled today, even as you listen’

Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee; and his reputation spread throughout the countryside. He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him.

He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day as he usually did. He stood up to read and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written:

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,

for he has anointed me.

He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,

to proclaim liberty to captives

and to the blind new sight,

to set the downtrodden free,

to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.

He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’ And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips.





1 John 4:19-5:4

Anyone who loves God must also love his brother

We are to love,

because God loved us first.

Anyone who says, ‘I love God’,

and hates his brother,

is a liar,

since a man who does not love the brother that he can see

cannot love God, whom he has never seen.

So this is the commandment that he has given us,

that anyone who loves God must also love his brother.

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ

has been begotten by God;

and whoever loves the Father that begot him

loves the child whom he begets.

We can be sure that we love God’s children

if we love God himself and do what he has commanded us;

this is what loving God is –

keeping his commandments;

and his commandments are not difficult,

because anyone who has been begotten by God

has already overcome the world;

this is the victory over the world –

our faith.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Confirmation In The Economy Of Salvation

1286 In the Old Testament the prophets announced that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the hoped-for Messiah for his saving mission. The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism by John was the sign that this was he who was to come, the Messiah, the Son of God. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit; his whole life and his whole mission are carried out in total communion with the Holy Spirit whom the Father gives him “without measure.”

1287 This fullness of the Spirit was not to remain uniquely the Messiah’s, but was to be communicated to the whole messianic people. On several occasions Christ promised this outpouring of the Spirit, a promise which he fulfilled first on Easter Sunday and then more strikingly at Pentecost.Filled with the Holy Spirit the apostles began to proclaim “the mighty works of God,” and Peter declared this outpouring of the Spirit to be the sign of the messianic age. Those who believed in the apostolic preaching and were baptized received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their turn.

1288 “From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ’s will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter to the Hebrews the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church.”

1289 Very early, the better to signify the gift of the Holy Spirit, an anointing with perfumed oil (chrism) was added to the laying on of hands. This anointing highlights the name “Christian,” which means “anointed” and derives from that of Christ himself whom God “anointed with the Holy Spirit.” This rite of anointing has continued ever since, in both East and West. For this reason the Eastern Churches call this sacrament Chrismation, anointing with chrism, or myron which means “chrism.” In the West, the term Confirmation suggests that this sacrament both confirms and strengthens baptismal grace.



Psalm 71(72):1-2,14-15,17

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

O God, give your judgement to the king,

to a king’s son your justice,

that he may judge your people in justice

and your poor in right judgement.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

From oppression he will rescue their lives,

to him their blood is dear.

(Long may he live,

may the gold of Sheba be given him.)

They shall pray for him without ceasing

and bless him all the day.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

May his name be blessed for ever

and endure like the sun.

Every tribe shall be blessed in him,

all nations bless his name.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Wednesday after Epiphany

+Mark 6:45-52

His disciples saw him walking on the lake

After the five thousand had eaten and were filled, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to Bethsaida, while he himself sent the crowd away. After saying goodbye to them he went off into the hills to pray. When evening came, the boat was far out on the lake, and he was alone on the land. He could see they were worn out with rowing, for the wind was against them; and about the fourth watch of the night he came towards them, walking on the lake. He was going to pass them by, but when they saw him walking on the lake they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they had all seen him and were terrified. But he at once spoke to them, and said, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind dropped. They were utterly and completely dumbfounded, because they had not seen what the miracle of the loaves meant; their minds were closed.


1 John 4:11-18

As long as we love one another God’s love will be complete in us

My dear people,

since God has loved us so much,

we too should love one another.

No one has ever seen God;

but as long as we love one another

God will live in us

and his love will be complete in us.

We can know that we are living in him

and he is living in us

because he lets us share his Spirit.

We ourselves saw and we testify

that the Father sent his Son

as saviour of the world.

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,

God lives in him, and he in God.

We ourselves have known and put our faith in

God’s love towards ourselves.

God is love

and anyone who lives in love lives in God,

and God lives in him.

Love will come to its perfection in us

when we can face the day of Judgement without fear;

because even in this world

we have become as he is.

In love there can be no fear,

but fear is driven out by perfect love:

because to fear is to expect punishment,

and anyone who is afraid is still imperfect in love.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Jesus prays

2599 The Son of God who became Son of the Virgin also learned to pray according to his human heart. He learns the formulas of prayer from his mother, who kept in her heart and meditated upon all the “great things” done by the Almighty. He learns to pray in the words and rhythms of the prayer of his people, in the synagogue at Nazareth and the Temple at Jerusalem. But his prayer springs from an otherwise secret source, as he intimates at the age of twelve: “I must be in my Father’s house. “Here the newness of prayer in the fullness of time begins to be revealed: his filial prayer, which the Father awaits from his children, is finally going to be lived out by the only Son in his humanity, with and for men.

2600 The Gospel according to St. Luke emphasizes the action of the Holy Spirit and the meaning of prayer in Christ’s ministry. Jesus prays before the decisive moments of his mission: before his Father’s witness to him during his baptism and Transfiguration, and before his own fulfillment of the Father’s plan of love by his Passion. He also prays before the decisive moments involving the mission of his apostles: at his election and call of the Twelve, before Peter’s confession of him as “the Christ of God,” and again that the faith of the chief of the Apostles may not fail when tempted. Jesus’ prayer before the events of salvation that the Father has asked him to fulfill is a humble and trusting commitment of his human will to the loving will of the Father.

2601 “He was praying in a certain place and when he had ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.”‘ In seeing the Master at prayer the disciple of Christ also wants to pray. By contemplating and hearing the Son, the master of prayer, the children learn to pray to the Father.

2602 Jesus often draws apart to pray in solitude, on a mountain, preferably at night. He includes all men in his prayer, for he has taken on humanity in his incarnation, and he offers them to the Father when he offers himself. Jesus, the Word who has become flesh, shares by his human prayer in all that “his brethren” experience; he sympathizes with their weaknesses in order to free them. It was for this that the Father sent him. His words and works are the visible manifestation of his prayer in secret.

2603 The evangelists have preserved two more explicit prayers offered by Christ during his public ministry. Each begins with thanksgiving. In the first, Jesus confesses the Father, acknowledges, and blesses him because he has hidden the mysteries of the Kingdom from those who think themselves learned and has revealed them to infants, the poor of the Beatitudes. His exclamation, “Yes, Father!” expresses the depth of his heart, his adherence to the Father’s “good pleasure,” echoing his mother’s Fiat at the time of his conception and prefiguring what he will say to the Father in his agony. The whole prayer of Jesus is contained in this loving adherence of his human heart to the mystery of the will of the Father.

2604 The second prayer, before the raising of Lazarus, is recorded by St. John. Thanksgiving precedes the event: “Father, I thank you for having heard me,” which implies that the Father always hears his petitions. Jesus immediately adds: “I know that you always hear me,” which implies that Jesus, on his part, constantly made such petitions. Jesus’ prayer, characterized by thanksgiving, reveals to us how to ask: before the gift is given, Jesus commits himself to the One who in giving gives himself. The Giver is more precious than the gift; he is the “treasure”; in him abides his Son’s heart; the gift is given “as well.”

The priestly prayer of Jesus holds a unique place in the economy of salvation. A meditation on it will conclude Section One. It reveals the ever present prayer of our High Priest and, at the same time, contains what he teaches us about our prayer to our Father, which will be developed in Section Two.

2605 When the hour had come for him to fulfill the Father’s plan of love, Jesus allows a glimpse of the boundless depth of his filial prayer, not only before he freely delivered himself up (“Abba . . . not my will, but yours.”), but even in his last words on the Cross, where prayer and the gift of self are but one: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”; “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”, “Woman, behold your son” – “Behold your mother”; “I thirst.”; “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”; “It is finished”; “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”until the “loud cry” as he expires, giving up his spirit.

2606 All the troubles, for all time, of humanity enslaved by sin and death, all the petitions and intercessions of salvation history are summed up in this cry of the incarnate Word. Here the Father accepts them and, beyond all hope, answers them by raising his Son. Thus is fulfilled and brought to completion the drama of prayer in the economy of creation and salvation. The Psalter gives us the key to prayer in Christ. In the “today” of the Resurrection the Father says: “You are my Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.”

The Letter to the Hebrews expresses in dramatic terms how the prayer of Jesus accomplished the victory of salvation: “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered, and being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.”


Psalm 71(72):1-2,10-13

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

O God, give your judgement to the king,

to a king’s son your justice,

that he may judge your people in justice

and your poor in right judgement.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

The kings of Tarshish and the sea coasts

shall pay him tribute.

The kings of Sheba and Seba

shall bring him gifts.

Before him all kings shall fall prostrate,

all nations shall serve him.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

For he shall save the poor when they cry

and the needy who are helpless.

He will have pity on the weak

and save the lives of the poor.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Tuesday after Epiphany

+Mark 6:34-44

The feeding of the five thousand

As Jesus stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length. By now it was getting very late, and his disciples came up to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place and it is getting very late. So send them away, and they can go to the farms and villages round about, to buy themselves something to eat.’ He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’ They answered, ‘Are we to go and spend two hundred denarii on bread for them to eat?’ ‘How many loaves have you?’ he asked. ‘Go and see.’ And when they had found out they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ Then he ordered them to get all the people together in groups on the green grass, and they sat down on the ground in squares of hundreds and fifties. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing; then he broke the loaves and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the people. He also shared out the two fish among them all. They all ate as much as they wanted. They collected twelve basketfuls of scraps of bread and pieces of fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.


1 John 4:7-10

Let us love one another, since love comes from God

My dear people,

let us love one another

since love comes from God

and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.

Anyone who fails to love can never have known God,

because God is love.

God’s love for us was revealed

when God sent into the world his only Son

so that we could have life through him;

this is the love I mean:

not our love for God,

but God’s love for us when he sent his Son

to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Prayer Of Intercession

2634 Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners. He is “able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” The Holy Spirit “himself intercedes for us . . . and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

2635 Since Abraham, intercession – asking on behalf of another has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God’s mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates in Christ’s, as an expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks “not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” even to the point of praying for those who do him harm.

2636 The first Christian communities lived this form of fellowship intensely. Thus the Apostle Paul gives them a share in his ministry of preaching the Gospel but also intercedes for them. The intercession of Christians recognizes no boundaries: “for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions,” for persecutors, for the salvation of those who reject the Gospel.


Psalm 71(72):1-4,7-8

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

O God, give your judgement to the king,

to a king’s son your justice,

that he may judge your people in justice

and your poor in right judgement.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

May the mountains bring forth peace for the people

and the hills, justice.

May he defend the poor of the people

and save the children of the needy.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

In his days justice shall flourish

and peace till the moon fails.

He shall rule from sea to sea,

from the Great River to earth’s bounds.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

 

 

Raymond of Penyafort, P

+Matthew 4:12-17,23-25

The people that lived in darkness have seen a great light

Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:

‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!

Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan,

Galilee of the nations!

The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light;

on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death

a light has dawned.’

From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people. His fame spread throughout Syria, and those who were suffering from diseases and painful complaints of one kind or another, the possessed, epileptics, the paralysed, were all brought to him, and he cured them. Large crowds followed him, coming from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judaea and Transjordania.


1 John 3:22-4:6

The Son of God has come and given us the power to know the true God

Whatever we ask God,

we shall receive,

because we keep his commandments

and live the kind of life that he wants.

His commandments are these:

that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ

and that we love one another

as he told us to.

Whoever keeps his commandments

lives in God and God lives in him.

We know that he lives in us

by the Spirit that he has given us.

It is not every spirit, my dear people, that you can trust;

test them, to see if they come from God,

there are many false prophets, now, in the world.

You can tell the spirits that come from God by this:

every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh

is from God;

but any spirit which will not say this of Jesus

is not from God,

but is the spirit of Antichrist,

whose coming you were warned about.

Well, now he is here, in the world.

Children,

you have already overcome these false prophets,

because you are from God and you have in you

one who is greater than anyone in this world;

as for them, they are of the world,

and so they speak the language of the world

and the world listens to them.

But we are children of God,

and those who know God listen to us;

those who are not of God refuse to listen to us.

This is how we can tell

the spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Prayer Of Petition

2629 The vocabulary of supplication in the New Testament is rich in shades of meaning: ask, beseech, plead, invoke, entreat, cry out, even “struggle in prayer.” Its most usual form, because the most spontaneous, is petition: by prayer of petition we express awareness of our relationship with God. We are creatures who are not our own beginning, not the masters of adversity, not our own last end. We are sinners who as Christians know that we have turned away from our Father. Our petition is already a turning back to him.

2630 The New Testament contains scarcely any prayers of lamentation, so frequent in the Old Testament. In the risen Christ the Church’s petition is buoyed by hope, even if we still wait in a state of expectation and must be converted anew every day. Christian petition, what St. Paul calls {“groaning,” arises from another depth, that of creation “in labor pains” and that of ourselves “as we wait for the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.”103 In the end, however, “with sighs too deep for words” the Holy Spirit “helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.”

2631 The first movement of the prayer of petition is asking forgiveness, like the tax collector in the parable: “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” It is a prerequisite for righteous and pure prayer. A trusting humility brings us back into the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another, so that “we receive from him whatever we ask.” Asking forgiveness is the prerequisite for both the Eucharistic liturgy and personal prayer.

2632 Christian petition is centered on the desire and search for the Kingdom to come, in keeping with the teaching of Christ.There is a hierarchy in these petitions: we pray first for the Kingdom, then for what is necessary to welcome it and cooperate with its coming. This collaboration with the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit, which is now that of the Church, is the object of the prayer of the apostolic community. It is the prayer of Paul, the apostle par excellence, which reveals to us how the divine solicitude for all the churches ought to inspire Christian prayer. By prayer every baptized person works for the coming of the Kingdom.


Psalm 2:7-8,10-11

I will give you the nations for your heritage.

The Lord said to me: ‘You are my Son.

It is I who have begotten you this day.

Ask and I shall bequeath you the nations,

put the ends of the earth in your possession.’

I will give you the nations for your heritage.

Now, O kings, understand,

take warning, rulers of the earth;

serve the Lord with awe

and trembling, pay him your homage.

I will give you the nations for your heritage.


Raymond of Penyafort, O.P., (ca. 1175 – 6 January 1275) (Catalan: Sant Ramon de Penyafort, IPA: [ˈsan rəˈmon də ˌpɛɲəˈfɔr]; Spanish: San Raimundo de Peñafort) was a Spanish Dominican friar in the 13th century, who compiled the Decretals of Gregory IX, a collection of canon laws that remained a major part of Church law until the 20th century. He is honored as a saint in the Catholic Church and is the patron saint of lawyers, especially canon lawyers.

Life

Raymond of Penyafort was born in Vilafranca del Penedès, a small town near Barcelona, Catalonia, around 1175. Descended from a noble family with ties to the royal house of Aragon, he was educated in Barcelona and at the University of Bologna, where he received doctorates in both civil and canon law. From 1195 to 1210, he taught canon law. In 1210, he moved to Bologna, where he remained until 1222, including three years occupying the Chair of canon law at the university. He came to know the newly founded Dominican Order there. Raymond was attracted to the Dominican Order by the preaching of Blessed Reginald, prior of the Dominicans of Bologna, and received the habit at the age of 47, in the Dominican Convent of Barcelona, to which he had returned from Italy in 1222.

Mercedarians

Raymond was instrumental in the founding of the Mercedarian friars. When approached by Peter Nolasco, Raymond encouraged and assisted him in obtaining the consent of King James I of Aragon for the foundation of the Order.

The need to study oriental languages was affirmed by the General Chapter of the Dominican Order in Paris in 1236. Raymond established the first school of the Studia Linguarum in Tunis, where it was known as the Studium arabicum. The objective of the schools was to help the Dominicans liberate Christian captives in Islamic lands.

Summa de casibus poenitentiae

Raymond had written for confessors a book of cases, the Summa de casibus poenitentiae. More than simply a list of sins and suggested penances, it discussed pertinent doctrines and laws of the Church that pertained to the problem or case brought to the confessor, and is widely considered an authoritative work on the subject.

In 1229 Raymond was appointed theologian and penitentiary to the Cardinal Archbishop of Sabina, John of Abbeville, and was summoned to Rome in 1230 by Pope Gregory IX, who appointed him chaplain and grand penitentiary.

Gregorian Decretals

Knowing Raymond’s reputation in the juridical sciences, Gregory IX asked him to help in the rearranging and codifying of canon law. Canon laws, which were previously found scattered in many publications, were to be organized into one set of documents. In particular papal decretal letters had been changing the law over the course of the previous 100 years since the publication of the Decretum of Gratian. Being pleased with Raymond’s efforts, the pope announced the new publication in a Bull directed to the doctors and students of Paris and Bologna in September 1234, commanding that the work of Raymond alone should be considered authoritative, and should alone be used in the schools. His collection of canon law, known as the Decretals of Gregory IX, became a standard for almost 700 years. Canon law was finally fully codified by 1917.

Most Famous Miracle

Raymond of Penyafort served as the confessor for King James I of Aragon, who was a loyal son of the Church but allowed his lustful desires to shackle him. While on the island of Majorca to initiate a campaign to help convert the Moors living there, the king brought his mistress with him. Raymond reproved the king and asked him repeatedly to dismiss his concubine. This the king refused to do. Finally, the saint told the king that he could remain with him no longer and made plans to leave for Barcelona. But the king forbade Raymond to leave the island, and threatened punishment to any ship captain who dared to take him. Saint Raymond then said to his Dominican companion, “Soon you will see how the King of heaven will confound the wicked deeds of this early king and provide me with a ship!” They then went down to the seashore where Raymond took off his cappa (the long black cloak the Dominicans wear over the white tunic and scapular), and spread one end of it on the water while rigging the other end to his walking staff. Having thus formed a miniature mast, Raymond bid the other Dominican to hop on, but his companion, lacking the saint’s faith, refused to do so. Then Raymond bid him farewell, and with the sign of the cross he pushed away from the shore and miraculously sailed away on his cloak. Skirting around the very boats that had forbidden him passage, the saint was seen by scores of sailors who shouted in astonishment and urged him on. Raymond sailed the ~160 miles to Barcelona in the space of 6 hours, where his landing was witnessed by a crowd of amazed spectators. Touched by this miracle, King James I renounced his evil ways and thereafter led a good life.

Later life

Having reached his 60th year, Raymond retired to a reclusive life in Barcelona. Within the year, however, Raymond was appointed to the position of Archbishop of Tarragona, the capital of the Kingdom of Aragon, but declined.

Raymond returned to Barcelona in 1236. Not long able to remain in seclusion, however, he was elected the Master of the Order of Preachers by the General Chapter of 1238. He immediately set out on foot to visit all the houses of friars and nuns of the Order. Even in the midst of this, he was able to draft a new set of Constitutions of the Order, in which he included a resignation clause for the Master. When it was adopted by the next General Chapter of 1240, he immediately took advantage of that option and resigned within two years.

Although not an inquisitor, as an advisor to James I of Aragon he was often consulted regarding questions of law regarding the practices of the Inquisition in the king’s domains. “…[T]he lawyer’s deep sense of justice and equity, combined with the worthy Dominican’s sense of compassion, allowed him to steer clear of the excesses that were found elsewhere in the formative years of the inquisitions into heresy.” Raymond approved of conjugal visits for those imprisoned so that the spouse should not be exposed to the risk of possible adultery.

Conversion of Jews and Muslims

Rejoicing to see himself again free of office, he applied himself with fresh vigor to the Christian ministry, especially working for the conversion of the Moors. To this end he encouraged Thomas Aquinas to write his work Against the Gentiles. He instituted the teaching of Arabic and Hebrew in several houses of the friars. He also founded priories in Murcia (then still ruled by Arabs) and in Tunis. Additionally he went to help establish the Church in the recently conquered island of Mallorca.

Disputation of Barcelona

He exercised great influence over King James of Aragon and succeeded in persuading him to order a public debate, concerning Judaism and Christianity, between Moshe ben Nahman, a rabbi in Girona, and Paulus Christiani, a baptized Jew of Montpellier who belonged to the Dominicans. In this debate, which took place in the royal palace and other venues at Barcelona from 20–31 July 1263, in the presence of the king and of many of the higher clergy, Raymond took an important part. He was at the head of the theologians present, and in agreement with the king gave the rabbi perfect freedom of speech. Raymond simply observed to Moses ben Nachman that he must not allow himself to blaspheme Christianity, to which Moses replied that he knew what the laws of propriety demanded. On the Jewish Sabbath following the close of the debate, the king, together with many preaching friars and other clergy, visited the synagogue

Raymond died at the age of 100 in Barcelona in 1275 and was canonized by Pope Clement VIII in 1601. He was buried in the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia in Barcelona.

Source: Wikipedia

Epiphany of the Lord

+Matthew 4:12-17,23-25

The people that lived in darkness have seen a great light

Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:

‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!

Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan,

Galilee of the nations!

The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light;

on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death

a light has dawned.’

From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people. His fame spread throughout Syria, and those who were suffering from diseases and painful complaints of one kind or another, the possessed, epileptics, the paralysed, were all brought to him, and he cured them. Large crowds followed him, coming from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judaea and Transjordania.


1 John 3:22-4:6

The Son of God has come and given us the power to know the true God

Whatever we ask God,

we shall receive,

because we keep his commandments

and live the kind of life that he wants.

His commandments are these:

that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ

and that we love one another

as he told us to.

Whoever keeps his commandments

lives in God and God lives in him.

We know that he lives in us

by the Spirit that he has given us.

It is not every spirit, my dear people, that you can trust;

test them, to see if they come from God,

there are many false prophets, now, in the world.

You can tell the spirits that come from God by this:

every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh

is from God;

but any spirit which will not say this of Jesus

is not from God,

but is the spirit of Antichrist,

whose coming you were warned about.

Well, now he is here, in the world.

Children,

you have already overcome these false prophets,

because you are from God and you have in you

one who is greater than anyone in this world;

as for them, they are of the world,

and so they speak the language of the world

and the world listens to them.

But we are children of God,

and those who know God listen to us;

those who are not of God refuse to listen to us.

This is how we can tell

the spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The mysteries of Jesus’ infancy

527 Jesus’ circumcision, on the eighth day after his birth, is the sign of his incorporation into Abraham’s descendants, into the people of the covenant. It is the sign of his submission to the Law and his deputation to Israel’s worship, in which he will participate throughout his life. This sign prefigures that “circumcision of Christ” which is Baptism.

528 The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Savior of the world. The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. In the magi, representatives of the neighboring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. The magi’s coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Savior of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament. The Epiphany shows that “the full number of the nations” now takes its “place in the family of the patriarchs”, and acquires Israelitica dignitas (is made “worthy of the heritage of Israel”).

529 The presentation of Jesus in the temple shows him to be the firstborn Son who belongs to the Lord. With Simeon and Anna, all Israel awaits its encounter with the Savior-the name given to this event in the Byzantine tradition. Jesus is recognized as the long-expected Messiah, the “light to the nations” and the “glory of Israel”, but also “a sign that is spoken against”. The sword of sorrow predicted for Mary announces Christ’s perfect and unique oblation on the cross that will impart the salvation God had “prepared in the presence of all peoples”.

530 The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: “He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.” Christ’s whole life was lived under the sign of persecution. His own share it with him. Jesus’ departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and presents him as the definitive liberator of God’s people.


Psalm 2

Why do the nations protest and the peoples grumble in vain?

Kings on earth rise up and princes plot together against the LORD and his anointed:

“Let us break their shackles and cast off their chains!”

The one enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord derides them,

Then speaks to them in anger, terrifies them in wrath:

“I myself have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”

I will proclaim the decree of the LORD, who said to me, “You are my son; today I am your father.

Only ask it of me, and I will make your inheritance the nations, your possession the ends of the earth.

With an iron rod you shall shepherd them, like a clay pot you will shatter them.”

And now, kings, give heed; take warning, rulers on earth.

Serve the LORD with fear; with trembling bow down in homage, Lest God be angry and you perish from the way in a sudden blaze of anger. Happy are all who take refuge in God!

Source: The New American Bible

John Neumann, B

+John 1:43-51

You will see heaven laid open, and the Son of Man

After Jesus had decided to leave for Galilee, he met Philip and said, ‘Follow me.’ Philip came from the same town, Bethsaida, as Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, the one about whom the prophets wrote: he is Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.’ ‘From Nazareth?’ said Nathanael ‘Can anything good come from that place?’ ‘Come and see’ replied Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, ‘There is an Israelite who deserves the name, incapable of deceit.’ ‘How do you know me?’ said Nathanael. ‘Before Philip came to call you,’ said Jesus ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.’ Jesus replied, ‘You believe that just because I said: I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.’ And then he added ‘I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending.’


1 John 3:11-21

Our love is to be something real and active

This is the message

as you heard it from the beginning:

that we are to love one another;

not to be like Cain, who belonged to the Evil One

and cut his brother’s throat;

cut his brother’s throat simply for this reason,

that his own life was evil and his brother lived a good life.

You must not be surprised, brothers, when the world hates you;

we have passed out of death and into life,

and of this we can be sure

because we love our brothers.

If you refuse to love, you must remain dead;

to hate your brother is to be a murderer,

and murderers, as you know, do not have eternal life in them.

This has taught us love –

that he gave up his life for us;

and we, too, ought to give up our lives for our brothers.

If a man who was rich enough in this world’s goods

saw that one of his brothers was in need,

but closed his heart to him,

how could the love of God be living in him?

My children,

our love is not to be just words or mere talk,

but something real and active;

only by this can we be certain

that we are children of the truth

and be able to quieten our conscience in his presence,

whatever accusations it may raise against us,

because God is greater than our conscience and he knows everything.

My dear people,

if we cannot be condemned by our own conscience,

we need not be afraid in God’s presence.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The living God

205 God calls Moses from the midst of a bush that burns without being consumed: “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” God is the God of the fathers, the One who had called and guided the patriarchs in their wanderings. He is the faithful and compassionate God who remembers them and his promises; he comes to free their descendants from slavery. He is the God who, from beyond space and time, can do this and wills to do it, the God who will put his almighty power to work for this plan.

“I Am who I Am”

Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you’, and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’. . . this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”

206 In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH (“I AM HE WHO IS”, “I AM WHO AM” or “I AM WHO I AM”), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is – infinitely above everything that we can understand or say: he is the “hidden God”, his name is ineffable, and he is the God who makes himself close to men.

207 By revealing his name God at the same time reveals his faithfulness which is from everlasting to everlasting, valid for the past (“I am the God of your father”), as for the future (“I will be with you”). God, who reveals his name as “I AM”, reveals himself as the God who is always there, present to his people in order to save them.

208 Faced with God’s fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance. Before the burning bush, Moses takes off his sandals and veils his face in the presence of God’s holiness. Before the glory of the thrice-holy God, Isaiah cries out: “Woe is me! I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips.” Before the divine signs wrought by Jesus, Peter exclaims: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” But because God is holy, he can forgive the man who realizes that he is a sinner before him: “I will not execute my fierce anger. . . for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst.” The apostle John says likewise: “We shall. . . reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

209 Out of respect for the holiness of God, the people of Israel do not pronounce his name. In the reading of Sacred Scripture, the revealed name (YHWH) is replaced by the divine title “LORD” (in Hebrew Adonai, in Greek Kyrios). It is under this title that the divinity of Jesus will be acclaimed: “Jesus is LORD.”


Psalm 99(100)

The LORD is king, the peoples tremble; God is enthroned on the cherubim, the earth quakes.

The LORD is great on Zion, exalted above all the peoples.

Let them praise your great and awesome name: Holy is God!

O mighty king, lover of justice, you alone have established fairness; you have created just rule in Jacob.

Exalt the LORD, our God; bow down before his footstool; holy is God!

Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel among those who called on God’s name; they called on the LORD, who answered them.

From the pillar of cloud God spoke to them; they kept the decrees, the law they received.

O LORD, our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God, though you punished their offenses.

Exalt the LORD, our God; bow down before his holy mountain; holy is the LORD, our God.

Source: The New American Bible


John Nepomucene Neumann, C.Ss.R. (Czech: Jan Nepomucký Neumann, German: Johann Nepomuk Neumann; March 28, 1811 – January 5, 1860), was a Catholic priest from Bohemia. He immigrated to the United States in 1836, where he joined the Redemptorist order and became the fourth Bishop of Philadelphia (1852–60). He is the first United States bishop (and to date the only male citizen) to be canonized. While Bishop of Philadelphia, Neumann founded the first Catholic diocesan school system in the United States. He is a Roman Catholic saint, canonized in 1977.

Early life

John was born on March 28, 1811, in Prachatice, in the Kingdom of Bohemia (then part of the Austrian Empire, now in the Czech Republic) to Johann Philipp Neumann, a stocking knitter from Obernburg am Main, and Agnes Lebisch from Prachatice.

Neumann attended a school in České Budějovice which was operated by the Piarist Fathers before entering the seminary there in 1831. Two years later he transferred to the Charles University in Prague, where he studied theology, though he was also interested in astronomy and botany. By the time he was twenty-four, he had learned six languages. His goal was to be ordained to the priesthood, and he applied for this after completing his studies in 1835. His bishop, however, had decided that there would be no more ordinations at that time, as Bohemia had numerous priests and difficulty finding positions for them all. In 1836 Neumann traveled to the United States in the hope of being ordained.

Priesthood

Neumann arrived in New York with one suit of clothes and one dollar in his pocket. Three weeks later, Bishop John Dubois, Society of Saint-Sulpice, ordained him in June 1836 at what is now the Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

The Diocese of New York at that time encompassed all of the State of New York and half of New Jersey. After his ordination, Bishop Dubois assigned Neumann to work with recent German immigrants in the Niagara Falls area, where there were no established parish churches. His first assignment was the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Williamsville, New York. His parish in western New York stretched from Lake Ontario to Pennsylvania.

People laughed at the clumsy way Father Neumann rode a horse; because he was short, his feet did not reach the stirrups. He traveled the countryside—visited the sick, taught catechism, and trained teachers to take over when he left. Neumann took up full-time residence in North Bush (now part of Tonawanda) as the first pastor of St. John the Baptist Church (1836–1840). He made this the base for his missionary work.

Because of the work and the isolation of his parish, Father John longed for community. In 1840, with Dubois’ permission, Neumann applied to join the Redemptorist Fathers, was accepted, and entered their novitiate at St. Philomena’s Church in Pittsburgh. He was their first candidate in the New World and took his religious vows as a member of the congregation in Baltimore, in January 1842. While a novitiate for the Redemptorists, he served at St. Alphonsus Church in Peru Township, Huron County, Ohio for five months before returning to New York. He served as the pastor of St. Augustine Church in Elkridge, Maryland, from 1849 to 1851. After six years of difficult but fruitful work in Maryland, Neumann became the Provincial Superior for the United States. He was naturalized as a United States citizen in Baltimore on February 10, 1848. He also served as parish priest at St. Alphonsus Church in Baltimore.

Bishop of Philadelphia

On February 5, 1852, the Holy See appointed Neumann Bishop of Philadelphia. His predecessor in that office, Francis Kenrick (who had become Archbishop of Baltimore), presided over the consecration on March 28, and Bishop Bernard O’Reilly assisted. Philadelphia had a large and expanding Catholic immigrant population; Germans who fled the Napoleonic and other Continental wars had been followed by Irish fleeing the Great Famine caused by the potato blight and wars. Soon Italians and other southern and eastern European Catholics would arrive. Some settled in the rural parts of the diocese, similar to the rural areas of New York state where Neumann had begun his ministry.

But many stayed in the city, one of the largest in the new country, as it was an industrializing mercantile hub, with many jobs for people with little command of the English language. The waves of immigration resulted in tensions in the city with native-born residents, who had to compete for work in difficult economic times. Anti-Catholic riots took place in the 1830s and 1844, in the Philadelphia Nativist Riots, occurring as Irish Catholics began to arrive in great number in the city. Soon more riots occurred, particularly since the city was a stronghold of the Know-Nothing political party, known for its anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic prejudices.

During Neumann’s administration, new parish churches were completed at the rate of nearly one per month. As many immigrants settled in close communities from their hometowns and with speakers of the same language, churches became associated with immigrants from particular regions, and were known as national parishes. Their parishioners often did not speak English or know how to obtain needed social services.

Neumann became the first bishop in the country to organize a diocesan school system, as the Catholic parents wanted their children taught in the Catholic tradition. They feared Protestant influence and discrimination in the public schools. Under his administration, the number of parochial schools in his diocese increased from one to 200. Neumann’s fluency in several languages endeared him to the many new immigrant communities in Philadelphia. As well as ministering to newcomers in his native German, Neumann also spoke Italian fluently. A growing congregation of Italian-speakers received pastoral care in his private chapel, and Neumann eventually established in Philadelphia the first Italian national parishes in the country.

Neumann actively invited religious institutes to establish new houses within the diocese to provide necessary social services. In 1855, Neumann supported the foundation of a congregation of religious sisters in the city, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. He brought the School Sisters of Notre Dame from Germany to assist in religious instruction and staff an orphanage. He also intervened to save the Oblate Sisters of Providence from dissolution; this congregation of African-American women was founded by Haitian refugees in Baltimore.

The large diocese was not wealthy, and Neumann became known for his personal frugality. He kept and wore only one pair of boots throughout his residence in the United States. When given a new set of vestments as a gift, he would often use them to outfit the newest ordained priest in the diocese. Discouraged by constant conflict with religiously and racially prejudiced people, as well as the anti-Catholic riots and arson of religious buildings, Neumann wrote to Rome asking to be replaced as bishop, but Pope Pius IX insisted that he continue. In 1854, Neumann traveled to Rome and was present at St. Peter’s Basilica on December 8, along with 53 cardinals, 139 other bishops, and thousands of priests and laity, when Pius solemnly defined, ex cathedra, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

While doing errands on January 5, 1860, Neumann collapsed and died on a Philadelphia street. He was 48 years old. Bishop James Frederick Wood, a Philadelphia native who converted to Catholicism in Cincinnati in 1836 and who had been appointed Neumann’s coadjutor with right of succession in 1857, succeeded Neumann as Bishop of Philadelphia.

Veneration

Bishop John Neumann was declared venerable by Pope Benedict XV in 1921. He was beatified by Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council on October 13, 1963, and was canonized by that same pope on June 19, 1977. His feast days are January 5, the date of his death, on the Roman calendar for the Church in the United States of America, and March 5 in the Czech Republic.

After his canonization, the National Shrine of Saint John Neumann was constructed at the Parish of St. Peter the Apostle, at 5th Street and Girard Avenue in Philadelphia. The remains of St. John Neumann rest under the altar of the shrine within a glass-walled reliquary.

In 1980, Our Lady of the Angels College, founded by the congregation of Franciscan Sisters he had founded and located within the archdiocese, was renamed Neumann College. It was granted university status by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2009.

Source: Wikipedia

Elizabeth Ann Seton, Rel

+John 1:35-42

‘We have found the Messiah’

As John stood with two of his disciples, Jesus passed, and John stared hard at him and said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God.’ Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi,’ – which means Teacher – ‘where do you live?’ ‘Come and see’ he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour.

One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Early next morning, Andrew met his brother and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ – which means the Christ – and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked hard at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas’ – meaning Rock.


+1 John 3:7-10

No-one sins who has been begotten by God

My children, do not let anyone lead you astray:

to live a holy life

is to be holy just as he is holy;

to lead a sinful life is to belong to the devil,

since the devil was a sinner from the beginning.

It was to undo all that the devil has done

that the Son of God appeared.

No one who has been begotten by God sins;

because God’s seed remains inside him,

he cannot sin when he has been begotten by God.

In this way we distinguish the children of God

from the children of the devil:

anybody not living a holy life

and not loving his brother

is no child of God’s.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

“The Lamb who takes away the sin of the world”

608 After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel’s redemption at the first Passover. Christ’s whole life expresses his mission: “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


Psalm 97(98):1,7-9

The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many islands be glad.

Cloud and darkness surround the Lord; justice and right are the foundation of his throne.

Fire goes before him; everywhere it consumes the foes.

Lightning illumines the world; the earth sees and trembles.

The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.

The heavens proclaim God’s justice; all peoples see his glory.

All who serve idols are put to shame, who glory in worthless things; all gods bow down before you.

Zion hears and is glad, and the cities of Judah rejoice because of your judgments, O LORD.

You, LORD, are the Most High over all the earth, exalted far above all gods.

The LORD loves those who hate evil, protects the lives of the faithful, rescues them from the hand of the wicked.

Light dawns for the just; gladness, for the honest of heart.

Rejoice in the LORD, you just, and praise his holy name.

Source: The New American Bible


Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, SC, (August 28, 1774 – January 4, 1821) was the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church (September 14, 1975). She established the first Catholic girls’ school in the nation in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where she also founded the first American congregation of religious sisters, the Sisters of Charity.

Biography

Early life

Elizabeth Ann Bayley was born on August 28, 1774, the second child of a socially prominent couple, a surgeon, Dr. Richard Bayley and Catherine Charlton of New York City. The Bayley and Charlton families were among the earliest European settlers in the New York area. Her father’s parents were French Huguenots and lived in New Rochelle, New York. As Chief Health Officer for the Port of New York, Dr. Bayley attended to immigrants disembarking from ships onto Staten Island, and cared for New Yorkers when yellow fever swept through the city (for example, killing 700 in four months).Dr. Bayley later served as the first professor of anatomy at Columbia College. Elizabeth’s mother was the daughter of a Church of England priest who was rector of St. Andrew’s Church on Staten Island for 30 years. Elizabeth was raised in what would eventually become (in the years after the American Revolution) the Episcopal Church.

Her mother, Catherine, died in 1777 when Elizabeth was three years old, possibly due to complications from the birth of her namesake Catherine, who died early the following year. Elizabeth’s father then married Charlotte Amelia Barclay, a member of the Jacobus James Roosevelt family, to provide a mother for his two surviving daughters. The new Mrs. Bayley participated in her church’s social ministry, and often took young Elizabeth with her on charitable rounds, as she visited the poor in their homes to distribute food and needed items.

The couple had five children, but the marriage ended in separation. During the breakup, their stepmother rejected Elizabeth and her older sister. Their father then traveled to London for further medical studies, so the sisters lived temporarily in New Rochelle with their paternal uncle, William Bayley, and his wife, Sarah Pell Bayley. Elizabeth endured a time of darkness, grieving the absence of a second mother, as she later reflected in her journals. In these journals, Elizabeth showed her love for nature, poetry, and music, especially the piano. Other entries expressed her religious aspirations, and favorite passages from her reading showing her introspection and natural bent toward contemplation. Elizabeth was fluent in French, a fine musician, and an accomplished horsewoman.

Marriage and motherhood

On January 25, 1794, at age 19, Elizabeth married William Magee Seton, aged 25, a wealthy businessman in the import trade. Samuel Provoost, the first Episcopal bishop of New York, presided at their wedding. Her husband’s father, William Seton (1746–1798), belonged to an impoverished noble Scottish family, and had emigrated to New York in 1758, and became superintendent and part owner of the iron-works of Ringwood, New Jersey. A loyalist, the senior William Seton was the last royal public notary for the city and province of New York. He brought his sons William (Elizabeth’s husband) and James into the import-export mercantile firm, the William Seton Company, which became Seton, Maitland and Company in 1793. The younger William had visited important counting houses in Europe in 1788, was a friend of Filippo Filicchi (a renowned merchant in Leghorn, Italy, with whom his firm traded), and brought the first Stradivarius violin to America.

Shortly after they married, Elizabeth and William moved into a fashionable residence on Wall Street. Socially prominent in New York society, the Setons belonged to Trinity Episcopal Church, near Broadway and Wall Streets. A devout communicant, Elizabeth took the Rev. John Henry Hobart (later bishop) as her spiritual director. Along with her sister-in-law Rebecca Mary Seton (1780–1804) (her soul-friend and dearest confidante), Elizabeth continued her former stepmother’s social ministry—nursing the sick and dying among family, friends, and needy neighbors. Influenced by her father she became a charter member of The Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children (1797) and also served as the organization’s treasurer.

When the elder William Seton died, the Seton family fortunes waned during the volatile economic climate preceding the War of 1812. The couple took in William’s six younger siblings, ages seven to seventeen, in addition to their own five children: Anna Maria (Annina) (1795–1812), William II (1796–1868), Richard Seton (1798–1823), Catherine (1800–1891) (who was to become the first American to join the Sisters of Mercy) and Rebecca Mary (1802–1816). This necessitated a move to the larger Seton family residence.

Widowhood and conversion to Catholicism

The Seton home in New York City was located at the site on which a church now stands in her honor, with the adjacent James Watson House serving as the rectory.

A dispute between the United States of America and the French Republic from 1798 to 1800 led to a series of attacks on American shipping. The United Kingdom’s blockade of France and the loss of several of his ships at sea led William Seton into bankruptcy, and the Setons lost their home at 61 Stone Street in lower Manhattan. The following summer she and the children stayed with her father, who was still health officer for the Port of New York on Staten Island. From 1801 to 1803 they lived in a house at 8 State Street, on the site of the present Church of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (built in 1964). Through most of their married life, William Seton suffered from tuberculosis. The stress worsened his illness; his doctors sent him to Italy for the warmer climate, with Elizabeth and their eldest daughter as his companions. Upon landing at the port of Leghorn, they were held in quarantine for a month, for authorities feared they might have brought yellow fever from New York. William died on December 27, 1803, and was buried in Italy’s Old English Cemetery. Elizabeth and Anna Maria were received by the families of her late husband’s Italian business partners, who introduced her to Roman Catholicism.

Returning to New York, the widow Seton was received into the Catholic Church on March 14, 1805, by the Reverend Matthew O’Brien, pastor of St. Peter’s Church, then the city’s only Catholic church. (Anti-Catholic laws had been lifted just a few years before.) A year later, she received the sacrament of Confirmation from the Bishop of Baltimore, the Right Reverend John Carroll, the only Catholic bishop in the nation.

In order to support herself and her children, Seton had started an academy for young ladies, as was common for widows of social standing in that period. After news of her conversion to Catholicism spread, however, most parents withdrew their daughters from her tutelage. In 1807, students attending a local Protestant Academy were boarded at her house on Stuyvesant Lane in the Bowery, near St. Mark’s Church.

Seton was about to move to Canada when she met a visiting priest, the Abbé Louis William Valentine Dubourg, SS, who was a member of the French émigré community of Sulpician Fathers and then president of St. Mary’s College, Baltimore. The Sulpicians had taken refuge in the United States from the religious persecution of the Reign of Terror in France and were in the process of establishing the first Catholic seminary for the United States, in keeping with the goals of their society. For several years, Dubourg had envisioned a religious school to meet the educational needs of the new nation’s small Catholic community.

Founder

After living through many difficulties in life, in 1809 Seton accepted the invitation of the Sulpicians and moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland. A year later she established the Saint Joseph’s Academy and Free School, a school dedicated to the education of Catholic girls. This was possible due to the financial support of Samuel Sutherland Cooper, a wealthy convert and seminarian at the newly established Mount Saint Mary’s University, begun by John Dubois, S.S., and the Sulpicians.

On July 31, Seton established a religious community in Emmitsburg dedicated to the care of the children of the poor. This was the first congregation of religious sisters to be founded in the United States, and its school was the first free Catholic school in America. This modest beginning marked the start of the Catholic parochial school system in the United States. The congregation was initially called the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s. From that point on, she became known as “Mother Seton”. In 1811, the sisters adopted the rules written by St. Vincent de Paul for the Daughters of Charity in France.

Later life and death

The remainder of Seton’s life was spent in leading and developing the new congregation. Seton was described as a charming and cultured lady. Her connections to New York society and the accompanying social pressures to leave the new life she had created for herself did not deter her from embracing her religious vocation and charitable mission. The greatest difficulties she faced were actually internal, stemming from misunderstandings, interpersonal conflicts and the deaths of two daughters, other loved ones, and young sisters in the community.

Seton died on January 4, 1821, at the age of 46. Today, her remains are entombed in the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

By 1830, the Sisters were running orphanages and schools as far west as Cincinnati and New Orleans, and had established the first hospital west of the Mississippi in St. Louis.

Source: Wikipedia.