Monthly Archives: April 2013

Pope Francis: cannot believe in Jesus without the Church

In the Pauline Chapel in Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis offered Mass with some of the cardinals on the feast of Saint George, the name day of the Pope, Saint George. There are several stellar points made the Pope noted below with my emphasis. In these days when one’s identity as a Christian is questioned, or even rejected for superficial reasons, I think that if you consider what the Church teaches, especially through the eyes of Pope Benedict and now through Pope Francis, you will notice the truth, not ideology, joy, not grumpiness. The Pope uses another previous pope to help him and us to understand the work of the Church –her mission– under the power of the Holy Spirit.

English: Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter ...

The [first] reading today makes me think that the missionary expansion of the Church began precisely at a time of persecution, and these Christians went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, and proclaimed the Word. They had this apostolic fervor within them, and that is how the faith spread! Some, people of Cyprus and Cyrene – not these, but others who had become Christians – went to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks too. It was a further step. And this is how the Church moved forward. Whose was this initiative to speak to the Greeks? This was not clear to anyone but the Jews. But … it was the Holy Spirit, the One who prompted them ever forward … But some in Jerusalem, when they heard this, became ‘nervous and sent Barnabas on an “apostolic visitation”: perhaps, with a little sense of humor we could say that this was the theological beginning of the Doctrine of the Faith: this apostolic visit by Barnabas. He saw, and he saw that things were going well.

And so the Church was a Mother, the Mother of more children, of many children. It became more and more of a Mother. A Mother who gives us the faith, a Mother who gives us an identity. But the Christian identity is not an identity card: Christian identity is belonging to the Church, because all of these belonged to the Church, the Mother Church. Because it is not possible to find Jesus outside the Church. The great Paul VI said: “Wanting to live with Jesus without the Church, following Jesus outside of the Church, loving Jesus without the Church is an absurd dichotomy.” And the Mother Church that gives us Jesus gives us our identity that is not only a seal, it is a belonging. Identity means belonging. This belonging to the Church is beautiful.

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St. George and The Dragon

Let us pray for the Roman Pontiff whose baptismal name is George, and for all those who claim the saint has their heavenly patron before God Almighty.

St. George and The Dragon

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Of Hector’s deeds did Homer sing,

And of the sack of stately Troy, 

What griefs fair Helena did bring,

Which was Sir Paris’ only joy: 

And by my pen I will recite

St. George’s deeds, and English knight.

Against the Sarazens so rude

Fought he full long and many a day,

Where many gyants he subdu’d,

In honour of the Christian way;

And after many adventures past,

To Egypt land he came at last.

Now, as the story plain doth tell, 

Within that countrey there did rest

A dreadful dragon fierce and fell,

Whereby they were full sore opprest:

Who by his poisonous breath each day

Did many of the city slay.

The grief whereof did grow so great

Throughout the limits of the land, 

That they their wise-men did intreat

To shew their cunning out of hand;

What way they might this fiend destroy,

That did the countrey thus annoy. 

The wise-men all before the king,

This answer fram’d incontinent:

The dragon none to death might bring

By any means they could invent;

His skin more hard than brass was found,

That sword nor spear could pierce nor wound.

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John Paul could be canonized in 2013

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Having died in 2005, beatified on 1 May 2011, John Paul II may well be a saint later in 2013. Some are speculating that he may be canonized in October. A group medical professionals have recognized miracle of healing at Blessed John Paul’s intercession as inexplicable.

Now the presumed miracle needs the approval  of the theologians and then  approval of the cardinals and bishops of the Congregation of Saints before the dossier is presented to Pope Francis’ fiat. If all goes well, John Paul would be one of very few fast-tracked saints in the modern era: only eight years after death.

Blessed John Paul’s feast day is October 22.

Blessed John Paul served as the Roman Pontiff from 1978-2005.

Kidnapping of two Syrian bishops

Doing humanitarian work, two bishops have been kidnapped by rebels Monday evening. Archbishop Paul is the brother Greek Orthodox Patriarch John. Here is the Vatican statement:

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The kidnapping of the two Metropolitan bishops of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, and the killing of their driver whilst they were carrying out a humanitarian mission, is a dramatic confirmation of the tragic situation in which the Syrian population and the Christian communities in Syria are living. The Holy Father has been informed of this recent, extremely grave act, which comes on top of the increasing violence of the past days and a humanitarian emergency of enormous proportions. Pope Francis is following the events with deep participation and he is praying for the health and the liberation of the two kidnapped bishops. He is also praying so that, with the support and prayers of all, the Syrian people may finally see tangible responses to the humanitarian drama and real hopes of peace and reconciliation rise on the horizon.

(Source: Vatican Radio)

Here’s an interview with Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni who spoke to Mario Giro, of the Community of St. Egidio about the kidnapping of the Syrian bishops. You may listen to the interview here.

Frédéric Ozanam at 200

Frédéric Ozanam DR.jpgToday is the 200th birthday of Frédéric Ozanam the famed co-founder of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society (may 1833). Born in Milan and lived in various cities in France, Ozanam was a well-educated man earning doctorates in law and letters; we was a literary critic and professor of literature. In June 1841 he married Amélie Soulacroix.

In the years following the Revolution, Ozanam advocated ideas pertaining to Catholic democracy based on his reading of Church history and knowing the contributions to culture by those who lived the Catholic faith. Some place Frédéric within a movement called ‘neo-Catholic.’
Frédéric Ozanam was an early proponent of a spirituality based on Saint Vincent de Paul that demonstrated that you can see the face of Christ in the poor, the teaching readily known in the biblical narrative.
In honor of Ozanam’s 200th birthday, VinFormation produced 2 videos accessed here.
Pope John Paul beatified Frédéric Ozanam.
His feast day is September 9.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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