Tag Archives: Pope Francis

802 new saints reflect the the glory of Love

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Today the Church has 802 new saints, 800 of them are the martyrs of Otranto. This group of canonized were martyrs while you may say that Laura Montoya (aka, Lupita) and Maria Guadalupe García Zavala were “ordinary saints.” These are the first canonizations done by Pope Francis.

What catches our eyes that in one swoop 800 are recognized as martyr saints. Their history tells us that Ottoman soldiers invaded a Christian village town in 1480; the villagers were killed for refusing to convert to Islam, in fact, beheaded because they refused to renounce their Catholic faith.

The wall of skulls of the martyrs of Oltranto (note the picture) displayed prominently in Otranto Cathedral (Apulia region of Italy). These are the human remains, the relics of holy men and women; our new intercessors before the throne of Grace.

The year was 1480 and the fateful day when a fleet of 70 to 200 Ottoman Turks ships reached the city of Otranto, then part of the Kingdom of Naples. The Turkish forces were led by Gedik Ahmed Pasha.


July 28 marks the beginning of the Ottoman wars (1453-1683) in Europe; Mohammed II had invader and conquered Constantinople just 28 years earlier. On August 12, 800 people of Otranto,  Antonio Primaldo and his companions were taken to the hill of Minerva, now called the Hill of the Martyrs, and slaughtered for being faithful to Jesus Christ and His Church.


The Church’s precess of investigating the circumstances and holiness of these people began in 1539 and end on 14 December 1771 with the beatification of the people of Oranto by Pope Clement XIV. Benedict XVI issued a decree on 6 July 2007, stating that out of hatred for the faith these Catholics were killed. Therefore, certifying that martyrdom happened and therefore saints.

The Pope homily is here:

In this seventh Sunday of Easter we are gathered to celebrate with joy a feast of holiness. Thanks be to God who has made His glory – the glory of Love – to shine on the Martyrs of Otranto, on Mother Laura Montoya and María Guadalupe García Zavala. I greet all of you who have come to this celebration – from Italy, Colombia, Mexico, from other countries – and I thank you! Let us look on the new saints in the light of the Word of God proclaimed: a Word that invited us to be faithful to Christ, even unto martyrdom; a word that recalled to us the urgency and the beauty of bringing Christ and his Gospel to everyone; a word that spoke to us about the witness of charity, without which even martyrdom and mission lose their Christian savor.

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Mary, as Mother, helps us to grow, to face life and to be free

Our Lady Health of the Roman Peoples.jpgMay is devoted to Mary, the Mother of God. 

Our Marian devotion is manifested through praying the Rosary and the Litany of Loreto, May Crowning, celebrating some aspect of Mary’s place in salvation history. All that is said of Mary is really speaking of Jesus Christ.  
Today, Pope Francis went to the papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major to pray the rosary. This is his second visit to the Marian shrine. The Marian icon of Mary Health of the Roman Peoples normally is in the Pauline Chapel at Saint Mary Major. For Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola celebrated his first Mass on Christmas eve morning in 1538, following his priestly ordination because of the presence of the relic of the Lord’s manger because he could not go to Bethlehem. It took Ignatius 18 months to celebrate his first Mass.
As a personal note, I make it a point to visit each of the four papal basilicas, each for a particular reason. Besides the obvious, I also make a good confession at the Liberian Basilica because of this devotion of Loyola’s to the Incarnation.
The Pope, in his reflection, said that Mary maternally guide us as her children to be more and more in union with her Son, Jesus. Mary always points to Jesus. We ask Mary bring us the gift of good health because of her tenderness for us as a mother. Tenderness for ourselves is terrific grace given to us through Mary’s intercession and therefore she is our saving grace. Always remember that Mary doesn’t act in her own name but only in relation to her Son and Our Lord.
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Francis and Ignatius – saints who rebuilt the Church

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I read this narrative in one of the newsletters I receive. Very curious on these things work out, no?

When the parish priest of a beautiful village of Provence, South of France, asked in January for a new work of art for his parish, he couldn’t imagine that his command would meet the joyful events of the whole church, and of the Society. As this diocesan priest was very close to the Franciscans, and to the Jesuits, he asked a parishioner to create a drawing of St Ignatius and St Francis, and another to transform it in a wood bas relief for his parish. The project was going on, when the new pope, a Jesuit, decided to call himself Francis. This drawing had suddenly a more universal signification, and the artist transformed it also into an icon. Every Jesuit will be able to read it and to appreciate its symbols.

2 Popes at the Vatican, a first in history

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Pope Francis receives his predecessor, His Holiness Benedict XVI, pope emeritus today at the Monastery of Mother of the Church (Monastero Mater Ecclesiae). Pope emeritus Benedict abdicated the Throne of St Peter on 28 February 2013.

Photo: L’Osservatore Romano

The Spirit changes us

At the Sacrifice of the Mass in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis also celebrated the Rite of Confirmation with 44 people from around the world. As we approach Pentecost, this excerpt from his short homily is very instructive. Pay attention. Don’t forget to daily ask, no beg, for the Holy Spirit to have a special grace to embrace the day. May the Spirit be with these 44 newly confirmed in the Faith, indeed, all those around the world who are receiving the sacrament of Confirmation these days.


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This is the work of the Holy Spirit: he brings us the new things of God. He comes to us and makes all things new; he changes us. The Spirit changes us! And Saint John’s vision reminds us that all of us are journeying towards the heavenly Jerusalem, the ultimate newness which awaits us and all reality, the happy day when we will see the Lord’s face – that marvelous face, the most beautiful face of the Lord Jesus – and be with him for ever, in his love.

You see, the new things of God are not like the novelties of this world, all of which are temporary; they come and go, and we keep looking for more. The new things which God gives to our lives are lasting, not only in the future, when we will be with him, but today as well. God is even now making all things new; the Holy Spirit is truly transforming us, and through us he also wants to transform the world in which we live. Let us open the doors to the Spirit, let ourselves be guided by him, and allow God’s constant help to make us new men and women, inspired by the love of God which the Holy Spirit bestows on us! How beautiful it would be if each of you, every evening, could say: Today at school, at home, at work, guided by God, I showed a sign of love towards one of my friends, my parents, an older person!

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]yahoo.com.
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