Birds Of A Feather… Why Do Astrophotographers Tend To Develop A Love For Bird Photography?


By Fr. James Kurzynski, Robert Trembley  |  6 Jun 2022






This is the message the Argentine pope, Francis, sent by beatifying Oscar Romero, reversing decades of conservative opposition in the church hierarchy and setting the El Salvadoran archbishop on the road to sainthood. Romero was gunned down at the altar in 1980 by a right-wing death squad that regarded him as a dangerous Marxist because of his activism on behalf of the poor.




As Paul Vallely writes, Romero is an exemplar for Francis. Both are “orthodox and yet utterly radical.” Romero is “a priest whose life stands in testament to the kind of Catholicism preferred by a pope who declared within days of his election that he wanted ‘a poor Church for the poor.’”




History West Cork




Further Report Conveyed to His Grace Lord Primate of the Church of Ireland in Dublin 17th December 1731 on the State of Popery including, Aughadown, Ballinadee, Caheragh, a small shed and cabin, Drimoleague, an altar moved from place to place, Fanlobbus (Dunmanway), three small huts open at one end, Drinagh one small hut open at one end, Kilbrittain, Kinsale, Desertserges, Innishannon, Ross, in a field under a hedge, Rathclarin, Schull and Kilmoe three Mass houses three thatched cabins Priests mostly Friars daily moving to and from France and other Popish Countries from Crookhaven, in the Parish of Kilmoe








Richard Hayward (1892-1964), rambles in West Cork 1964, with illustrations by Raymond Piper (1923-2007), Kinsale, Courtmacsherry, Timoleague Friary, Rathclarin Church, Donn Byrne, Bandon where the Pigs are Protestants, Rosscarbery where they buried the Elephant, Skibbereen where they ate the Donkey, Coppinger’s Court, Edward Fahy Drombeg Stone Circle, Irish Splurge Glandore, Purple Sea Urchin at Loch Ine, Sherkin Island, Gougán Barra grave of Tadhg Ó Buachalla and Ansty, Pass of Keimaneaigh, Kilruane Pillar Stone Bantry, Glengariff and the Cahas, Saxifraga Geum, Dursey Island birthplace of Don Philip O’Sullivan author of ‘The Catholic History of Ireland in the Elizabethan Period’ in Latin










1765, Accounts of Franciscan Community, Broad Lane, Cork, Diet, Rents, Taxes.


May 2, 2022




1765, Accounts of Franciscan Community, Broad Lane, Cork, Diet, Rents, Taxes.






The Presbytery, Abbeydorney, (066 7135146; 087 6807197)




8th May, 2022, 4th Sunday of Easter.


Dear Parishioner,


I am fairly sure that you did not know that a new woman


saint was canonised by Pope Francis, in Milan Cathedral (Italy) on 30th April


last. The Pope described her as ‘a model of a woman’, who contributed


decisively to the promotion of young Christian women in the first half of


the 20th century. Pope Francis wrote a book preface, commending the


example of Venerable Armida Barelli (1882 – 1952), a lay leader, who


encouraged generations of Catholic women, including the pope’s


grandmother, to be civically engaged in the early 20th century. A


biography written by the vice-postulator for her sainthood cause was


published in Italian on 29th March last. ‘The wanderer of the good God’, by


Ernesto Preziosi, tells the story of how Barelli “changed an epoch.”


Born to an upper-class family in 1882, Barelli came of age at a time when


Italy’s first secular feminists emerged from the women’s suffrage


movement. She served as president of the National Girls Youth of Catholic


Action, for more than three decades, helping young women to be formed


in a ‘Eucharistic spirituality’ and to recognise their ‘equal baptismal


dignity’, with men, according to Preziosi. Barelli went on to found the


Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, collected a fund to open an


orphanage in northern China and founded the secular Institute of the


Missionaries of the Kingship of Christ, with Father Gemelli. Pope Francis’


grandmother, Rosa Margharita Vasallo, met Armida in 1924 at a


conference of the ‘Womens Union.’ In his preface to the book, Pope


Francis said Barelli “fostered the conscious participation of women in social


and political life, making a sizeable contribution to the establishment of


democracy in Italy. The Church now points to her as a model of a woman,


who in her own humanity, with the intelligence that God gave her, was


able to bear witness to God’s love. Barellis’s cause for sainthood was


opened in the archdiocese of Milan in 1960. Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed


her venerable in 2007, in recognition of a life of ac virtue. In February


2021, Pope Francis approved a miracle, attributed a to Barelli’s


intercession, paving the way for her beatification. Go maire sí go sona


sásta, ar neamh. (Reality Magazine, May 2022)


(Fr. Denis O’Mahony





Journalism has had its share of villains like Walter Duranty, but the media can also provide an invaluable service toward truth.




Soldiers systematically forced their way into Ukrainian homes and confiscated every scrap of food. The soldiers even took the Ukrainian’s house pets so they could not be eaten for survival purposes. As the starvation wore on, Ukrainians ate grass, tree bark, rats, frogs. They tried to consume anything they could find, until there was nothing to find at all, at which point some resorted to cannibalism.




How did something like this happen without incurring international outrage?




Part of the reason was that influential American reporters refused to detail the genocide. Applebaum draws upon extensive research to illustrate how and why the American press, led by The New York Times journalist Walter Duranty, covered up the famine.




Not only did Soviet leaders deny the planned Holodomor occurred, Putin’s propaganda machine in Russia still denies it.  In fact, Vladimir Putin commented in 2005, “the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” That’s a chilling statement, considering the misery the Soviet Union inflicted on Ukraine and elsewhere.








Pope Francis


Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pope Francis led the people
of the world in this Act of Consecration on Friday 25 March 2022 (The Annunciation
of the Lord). The following is the final two paragraphs of this Act of Consecration:
Therefore, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly
entrust and consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and
Ukraine. Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love. Grant that war
may end and peace spread throughout the world. The “Fiat” that arose from your
heart opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace. We trust that, through
your heart, peace will dawn once more. To you we consecrate the future of the
whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and
hopes of the world.
Through your intercession, may God’s mercy be poured out on the earth and the
gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days. Our Lady of the “Fiat”, on whom
the Holy Spirit descended, restore among us the harmony that comes from God.
May you, our “living fountain of hope”, water the dryness of our hearts. In your
womb Jesus took flesh; help us to foster the growth of communion. You once trod
the streets of our world; lead us now on the paths of peace. Amen







Bishop Ray’s Message for Lent


A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit with in me.


Give me again the joy of your help; with a spirit of fervour sustain me.         (Responsorial Ps 50, Ash Wednesday)


A meaningful Lent


I think of two images to describe Lent: just as the harsh winter weather kills off old vegetation and cleans up the soil for seeds to be planted and green shoots to spring up; and just as between now and Easter nature will come alive again, so too, in Lent we work on ourselves that we may be at our Christian best as family members, neighbours, colleagues and citizens in the years ahead.


The 2022 season of sport lies ahead. These first months for athletes and team members involve the discipline of training, in order to sharpen skills, to attain fitness and to develop teamwork. The discipline is needed if there is to be the joy of participation. We have the discipline of Lent that we might be at our best, in gratitude to God and in appreciation of the blessings of family, community and country.


As parish communities this Lent we put a focus on inviting all to return to participation in the fullness of parish life. Gradually, carefully all activities can resume. It will do us good to be together again.


A wish I have is that in our churches choirs will come back strong. They give life and joy to our worship. Also, may the Sign of Peace return, not yet as a handshake but as a smile, a bow, or a hand gesture of recognition and fellowship.


I suggest some simple things for this Lent: Check that you are happy with the time you give:  to daily prayer and Sunday Eucharist-     to keeping your faith fresh and strong  to participation in parish activities,  to being involved in some voluntary service to others.  God Our Father asks us to have a special care for those who are poor or in some other need. Also, remember the Trócaire Lenten campaign.


A Christian Sunday


Sunday is special for every Christian community:  1) the first day of creation Gen1:1-5, 2) the Day of Christ’s Resurrection, and 3) the Day of the Coming of the Holy Spirit. This Lent can we reflect on how we live Sunday as Christian communities? For you and your loved ones is there in your Sunday:


  a place for quiet prayerful reflection to count our blessings and renew your trust in God


    a place for gathering to celebrate Mass in response to his invitation “do this in memory of me”


    a place for a day of rest away from the busyness and pressures of the everyday.


Sunday is also a day for people, for family, neighbours and friends. Have you a pattern of regular good contact with others? Has Covid taught us that people are the true treasure in our lives? It is all too easy in today’s world to not have time for the people around us every day.


The Sunday Gospels of Lent


This year our Lenten Sunday Gospels are from St Luke. The second Sunday of Lent, the Gospel is that of the Transfiguration and focuses on the incredible mystery that in Jesus, God has come among us, “This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.”.


The fourth Sunday of Lent, the Gospel is that of the Prodigal Son, – God’s mercy is there for everyone, ”this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found”. To return to God is to be forgiven and to realise that God the Father never stopped loving you, your place in God’s family is assured.


The Synodal Pathway


Since last Autumn throughout Ireland there has been much talk of a “Synodal Pathway for Ireland” and of a “Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2023”. Because of Covid very little has been possible until now. Activities will be happening in our parishes and pastoral areas during Lent.


The Church is a family. Vital to every family is that the voices of all family members are heard. How can the Church be open to hearing many more voices, not just ‘once off’ but in an ongoing way as a pilgrim people journeying together to God? Journeying together, all voices encouraged, all voices matter. Together listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures and in our celebration of the Eucharist. Pope Francis asks that this be the way of the Church worldwide. To know more about the “Synodal Pathway” see our diocesan website (google, ‘diocese of Kerry synodal pathway’), and the National Website of the Synod (www.synod.ie).


A Prayer for Peace


“My heart aches greatly at the worsening situation in Ukraine


I would like to appeal to those with political responsibility to examine their consciences seriously before God, who is the God of peace and not of war; who is the Father of all, not just of some, who wants us to be sisters and brothers, and not enemies. …..


May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.”                 Pope Francis Feb 23rd


These words were spoken by Pope Francis at his customary Wednesday audience on the first day of the war. He invited us to pray and fast for peace during Lent. All of us hoped that Russia would not start a war with Ukraine. I invite you to include this vital prayer intention in all your Lenten prayers and practices in the weeks ahead.


Glory to God in the highest, and peace to all people on earth.


Lord make us an instrument of your peace.


+ Ray Browne- Diocese of Kerry






BE INFORMED: Catholic TV series called  “Divine Mercy” – Episode 7 – The Secret of the Divine Mercy.  Please use Zoom Link – https://us02web.zoom.us/J/2960157272  to join on Friday, 1st April – 8.30pm




POPE Francis presided over the Celebration of Penance in St. Peter's Basilica before performing the Act of Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.




The act, performed in different forms by previous popes, ties back to the Marian apparitions at Fatima, Portugal in 1917, during which many Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared before three children to ask that the Pope consecrate Russia to her heart.




The Enduring Legacy of John Paul II’s 1982 Visit to Britain




“For the first time in history,” said Pope St. John Paul II after he stepped off the airplane, “a Bishop of Rome sets foot on English soil.”






Vatican City, Feb 4, 2022 /


Pope Francis appointed a new Catholic archbishop of Glasgow on Friday.


The Vatican announced on Feb. 4 that Bishop William Nolan will lead the prominent Scottish archdiocese, based in the country’s biggest city by population.


Nolan, 68, has served as the bishop of Galloway, in southwest Scotland, since 2015 and chairs the Scottish bishops’ conference commission for justice and peace.


“As I overcome my initial shock at being appointed archbishop my thoughts now turn to the challenges that lies ahead,” Nolan said in a statement published by the archdiocese.







Vatican City, Jan 9, 2022 / 05:15 am




Pope Francis appealed on Sunday for an end to violence that has claimed dozens of lives in Kazakhstan.


Speaking after reciting the Angelus on Jan. 9, he prayed for peace in the Central Asian country following unprecedented unrest.“I have learned with sorrow that there have been victims during the protests which broke out in recent days in Kazakhstan,” he said.


“I pray for them and for their families, and I hope that social harmony will be restored as soon as possible through the search for dialogue, justice, and the common good.”


“I entrust the Kazakh people to the protection of      .”


Oziornoje, a village in northern Kazakhstan, is home to Kazakhstan’s National Shrine of the Queen of Peace.








“Most of Wednesday’s talk is a beautiful meditation on the communion of the saints in which Pope Francis emphasizes so enthusiastically the baptismal bond’s strength that some of his statements can easily be misunderstood,” Father Kereszty said Feb. 3. “Aware of his many attestations that he is a son of the Church and teaches only what the Church teaches, I exclude an intention to contradict the Church’s faith.”




“Baptism imprints an indelible mark on the soul, called baptismal character, and if there is no opposition by the soul, it also results in sanctifying grace in virtue of which Christ lives in the soul and joins us to himself and to all Christians both on earth and heaven,” he continued. “By grave, mortal sin we lose sanctifying grace and thus the indwelling of Christ in the soul and, of course, the right to heaven. But no sinner, no matter how obstinate, can lose the indelible mark of the baptismal character.”







Paul Kengor Commentaries


January 26, 2022




On Dec. 23, 1945, Pope Pius XII issued the encyclical Orientales Omnes Ecclesias, a statement addressed to the Church of the Ruthenians (the Slavic people of Central and Eastern Europe) and Ukrainian Catholics, whom the atheistic Soviet communists reviled. The Ukrainians were persecuted by Stalin and the Kremlin. It was a long torment that hit rock bottom in the 1930s with what became known as Holodomor, the Soviet-orchestrated famine that sentenced 7-10 million Ukrainian men, women and children to death by starvation.




Pope Pius XII stated, “the clergy of the Ruthenian rite have complained in a letter to the civil government that in the Western Ukraine, as it is called today, their Church has been placed in an extremely difficult position; all its bishops and many of its priests have been arrested” (56).




Coming two days before Christmas, the Kremlin was furious with the Vatican, even as the encyclical was restrained in its language, never once uttering the word “communism.” Not one for restraint himself, Stalin responded by immediately arresting six Ukrainian bishops who were promptly framed as “Nazi collaborators” and murdered.




To Stalin’s great frustration, he and his goons could not storm the Vatican and arrest the Pope. They would have hanged him from the ceiling of St. Peter’s Basilica if they could. Instead, they would lynch the Pontiff in absentia with whatever defamatory means they had at their disposal. They launched a smear campaign to discredit the Pope on the global stage, referring to Pius XII as “Hitler’s Pope,” accusing him of having collaborated with the Nazis. Pushed and pushed until it was picked up by the liberal left in the 1960s and 1970s, the smear eventually stuck and has forever tainted the good name of a good pope.










Pope Francis calls for a day of prayer for peace over Ukraine situation


Pope Francis has called for Wednesday 26 January to be a day of prayer for peace over the increasing tensions that threaten peace in Ukraine.




At the conclusion of Sunday’s midday Angelus, Pope Francis expressed his concerns over the increasing tensions that threaten to overturn chances for peace in Ukraine and security on the European continent in general, given the wider repercussions of any conflict.


Pope Francis said, “I make a heartfelt appeal to all people of good will to raise prayers to Almighty God that all political actions and initiatives may be at the service of human brotherhood rather than partisan interests.”


The Pope added those who pursue their own objectives to the detriment of others, show despise for their own vocation as human beings, as we have all been created brothers and sisters.


The Pope has expressed his concern regarding the tensions over Ukraine frequent times in the past, encouraging everyone to pray for peace and that dialogue and negotiation may prevail in resolving the situation.






On the eve of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the pope told the Lutheran, Catholic and Orthodox pilgrims that “we need to press forward with humility and patience, and always together, in order to encourage and support one another, for this is what Christ desires.”




The second anniversary is “in 2030 — whether we will be around or not, I don’t know,” the 85-year-old pope told the group. The year will mark the 500th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, a document that is now seen as a key summary of Lutheran faith.


But, the pope said, when it was presented in Augsburg, Germany, on June 25, 1530, “at a time when Christians were about to set out on different paths, that confession attempted to preserve unity.”






Homily starter anecdotes: 1: Grandparents are a treasure: Pope Francis said that as a child, he heard a story of a family with a mother, father, many children, and a grandfather. The grandfather, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, would drop food on the dining table, drop and break bowls, and smear food all over his face when he ate. His son considered it disgusting. Hence, one day he bought a small table, a wooden bowl and spoon and set it off to the side of the dining room so the grandfather could eat, make a mess and not disturb the rest of the family. One day, the Pope said, the grandfather’s son came home and found one of his sons playing with a piece of wood. “What are you making?” he asked his son. “A table,” the son replies. “Why?” the father asks. “It’s for you, Dad. When you get old like Grandpa, I am going to give you this table.” (In the American version of the story, the boy was making a wooden bowl). After that day, the grandfather was given a prominent seat at the dining table and all the help he needed in eating by his son and daughter-in-law. “This story has done me such good throughout my life,” said the Pope, who celebrated his 85rd birthday on December 17, 2021. “Grandparents are a treasure,” he said. “Often old age isn’t pretty, right? There is sickness and all that, but the wisdom our grandparents have is something we must welcome as an inheritance.” A society or community that does not value, respect and care for its elderly members “doesn’t have a future because it has no memory, it has lost its memory,” Pope Francis added. (http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2013/11/19/grandparents-are-a-treasure-says-pope-francis/) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21


# 2: Cancer, heart disease and family relationship: A few years ago, a study was undertaken to find the U.S. city with the lowest incidence of cancer and heart disease. The winner was Rosetto, Pennsylvania. Soon experts descended upon the city expecting to see a town populated by non-smokers, people who ate the correct food, took regular exercise, and kept close track of their cholesterol. To their great surprise, however, the researchers discovered that none of the above was true. They found instead that the city’s good health was tied to the close family bonds that prevailed within the community. This suggests that there is much to be said for a close and loving family relationship. (Robert Duggan & Richard Jajac). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21


# 3: Dying of loneliness: In an audience, Pope Paul VI told how one day, when he was Archbishop of Milan, he went out on parish visitation. During the course of the visitation he found an old woman living alone. ‘How are you?’ he asked her. ‘Not bad,’ she answered. ‘I have enough food, and I’m not suffering from the cold.’ ‘You must be reasonably happy then?’ he said. ‘No, I’m not’, she said as she started to cry. ‘You see, my son and daughter-in-law never come to see me. I’m dying of loneliness.’ Afterwards he was haunted by the phrase ‘I’m dying of loneliness’. And the Pope concluded: ‘Food and warmth are not enough in themselves. People need something more. They need our presence, our time, our love. They need to be touched, to be reassured that they are not forgotten’ (Flor McCarthy in New Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies).(http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21




Pope on Greek Economic Crisis: Human Dignity Must Be at the Center of Political Debate


The country’s unemployment rate is above 25%, and individuals are unable to remove more than $70 a day from ATMs.





Pope Francis to youth in Greece: Don’t be ‘prisoners of the cell phone’










By Cindy Wooden




ATHENS, Greece (CNS) — God the Almighty almost always chooses the least mighty people and the most desolate places to reveal the power of his love, Pope Francis said.




Celebrating Mass Dec. 5 in Athens’ Megaron concert hall, the pontiff touched on a theme he had explored in depth with Catholic leaders the day before: the blessing and spiritual advantage of being a small community without power and without pretenses.




Catholics make up less than 2% of the population of Greece; more than 90% of the country’s residents belong to the Orthodox Church.




Noting how the day’s Gospel says the word of God came to John the Baptist “in the desert,” Pope Francis said, “There is no place that God will not visit.”




“Today we rejoice to see him choose the desert, to see him reach out with love to our littleness and to refresh our arid spirits,” he said. “Dear friends, do not fear littleness, since it is not about being small and few in number, but about being open to God and to others.”






DEATH of Monsignor Liam Boyle aged 91, a native of Rathkeale, and later Knockaderry, on December 2 2021. He travelled as chaplain with the Irish soccer team to Rome in 1990 and arranged an audience with the Pope and team was Blessed by the Holy Father in front of an 8,000 audience




CHRISTMAS: By Hannah Brockhaus. Vatican City, 10 December, 2021 / 8:00 pm (ACI Africa).


Pope Francis on Friday encouraged Catholics to celebrate Christmas with a focus on Jesus Christ’s closeness, not on the consumerist, commercial aspects of the holiday.












Pope Francis Invites Catholics in Cyprus to be Agents of Fraternity




Pope Francis landed Thursday afternoon in Cyprus for the start of a five-day trip that will also take him to Athens, Greece, and the island of Lesbos.






Rome, Italy, Nov 26, 2021 / 04:00 am




Pope Francis left the Vatican on Thursday to attend a theatrical performance in Rome by students on how the pandemic has affected young people.




The pope met with the Italian Minister of Education Patrizio Bianchi and a group of young people from 41 countries at the International Pontifical College Maria Mater Ecclesiae in Rome on Nov. 25.








By CNA Staff




Vatican City, 12 November, 2021 / 8:30 pm (ACI Africa).




Pope Francis said on Friday that “the Gospel is the most humanizing message known to history.”




He made the remark in a video message marking the 75th anniversary of UNESCO, the United Nations’ educational, scientific and cultural organization.




“From my heart, I express my congratulations on the 75th anniversary of this United Nations agency. The Church has a privileged relationship with it,” the pope said in the message released on Nov. 12.




“Indeed, the Church is at the service of the Gospel, and the Gospel is the most humanizing message known to history. A message of life, freedom, and hope, which has inspired countless educational initiatives in every age and in every place, and has inspired the scientific and cultural growth of the human family.”




“This is why [UNESCO] is a privileged partner of the Holy See in the common service to peace and solidarity among peoples, to the integral development of the human person and to the protection of the cultural heritage of humanity.”




The video message was played during a live-streamed 75th anniversary celebration attended by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo and artists including the actor and director Forest Whitaker and singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo.




UNESCO, based in Paris, France, was founded on Nov. 16, 1945, in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. Today, it has 193 member states and 11 associate members.




The Holy See has permanent observer status. The first permanent observer of the Holy See to UNESCO was Angelo Roncalli, the then apostolic nuncio to France, who was elected Pope John XXIII in 1958 and canonized in 2013.




The Italian priest Msgr. Francesco Follo has served as the permanent observer since 2002.




Pope Francis sat alongside Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, at an event at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome last month.












Pope Francis in Assisi: ‘It is time that the poor be given back their voice’


Pope Francis at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi, Italy, Nov. 12, 2021. Pope Francis at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi, Italy, Nov. 12, 2021. | Vatican Media.


Courtney Mares




By Courtney Mares




Rome Newsroom, Nov 12, 2021 / 08:15 am




In an emotional encounter in Assisi with people living in poverty, Pope Francis listened to the testimonies of a former homeless ex-convict who experienced a dramatic conversion after encountering a priest on the street, a Romanian woman in a wheelchair who has suffered from a chronic debilitating illness, and a refugee from Afghanistan.




The pope met with a group of more than 500 poor people from across Europe in the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, a large church in the valley below the medieval hill town of Assisi that encompasses a small chapel, the Portiuncula, where St. Francis lived when he began the Franciscan Order.






In a brief speech, the pope underlined the importance of encountering the poor face to face and learning from their witness to hope at a time when those on the margins largely face indifference.




“It is time that the poor be given back their voice because for too long their requests have remained unheard,” Pope Francis said, standing in front of the Portiuncula during the live-streamed encounter on Nov. 12.




Pope Francis said that “meeting each other” was of the utmost importance, to “go toward each other with an open heart and outstretched hand.”




“For example, many people and many young people find a bit of time to help the poor and bring them food and hot beverages. This is very good and I thank God for their generosity. But I especially rejoice when I hear that these volunteers stop a bit and speak with the people, and sometimes pray together with them,” he said.




As the pope met with the poor in the basilica, he gave hugs, blessings, exchanged words, and even wrote a handwritten note to one of the men.




Each of the participants was given a gift of several items of winter clothing, a rosary, and face masks.




The pope heard testimonies from six people living in poverty, from Poland, France, Spain, and Italy.




A speaker from Majorca, Spain, held back tears as he shared with the pope his story of how he fell into a life of crime and drug trafficking as a young teen and was later sent to prison. After his release, he ended up homeless.


Vatican Media.


Vatican Media.




“I remained alone, jobless. I lived on the streets. I asked for help from a priest. He welcomed me with a smile. He gazed on me, and he said, ‘I will help you,’” Sebastián del Valle said.




“He brought me to the Caritas [shelter] for homeless people in Toledo, and I felt welcomed there,” he said.
















Karol Wojtyla ; In her book, “Emilia and Karol Wojtyla. Parents of St. John Paul II,” Kindziuk cites the testimony of a midwife, Tatarowa, and the reports of her two friends, Helena Szczepańska and Maria Kaczorowa, as well as the memories of other Wadowice residents. She said that these showed that Emilia Wojtyla was depressed by the insistence of her first doctor, Dr. Jan Moskała, that she have an abortion.


She said that Emilia and Karol Wojtyla “made a bold decision that, regardless of everything, their conceived baby was to be born. And so they started looking for another doctor.”


They ultimately chose Dr. Samuel Taub, a Jewish doctor from Krakow, who had moved to Wadowice after the First World War.


“Emilia's friends have kept memories of that visit. The doctor confirmed that there was a risk of complications during childbirth, including Emilia's death. However, he did not suggest an abortion,” Kindziuk said.






The humanitarian agency helps to rescue those who are abandoned in international waters trying to flee wars, persecution and poverty. But it says thousands of them are dying trying to reach a safe shore.




That’s why Pope Francis visited Lampedusa in 2013 shortly after his election. The island off the coast of Sicily is a primary destination for migrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia seeking entry into Europe.




The Holy Father’s concern for migrants has been at the center of his pontificate ever since. Every year, he celebrates a Mass to commemorate the visit and talk about the conditions refugees face once they make it to shore.




“You can’t imagine the hell they live there in those detention camps,” Pope Francis said. “These people came with only one hope of crossing the sea.”




Seven years after the pontiff’s visit to Lampedusa, a global coalition of non-profits has designated July 8 as “International Day of the Mediterranean Sea” in an effort to raise awareness about the plight of migrants and refugees.








Joseph Show's the Way


St. Joseph’s humble, decisive witness speaks volumes to our culture today


By Soren Johnson 3/1/2018


CNS photo/Dana Smillie St. Joseph is depicted leading Mary and Jesus into Egypt in this mosaic at the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in the Cairo suburb of Maadi. Tradition holds that the Holy Family rested at this site. (CNS photo/Dana Smillie)




As Catholic fathers, one of our main responsibilities is to pass on the faith to our children. We do this best by living the faith in an engaging way and by attending Mass with our family. But we also need to teach our kids the basics of the faith at a young age and make sure their Catholic knowledge grows as they do.




In teaching about Jesus and Mary, a summary of Gospel stories and a review of the mysteries of the rosary provide an excellent primer. What can we say about St. Joseph, the husband of Mary and adoptive father of Jesus, who has no words recorded in the Bible? In our online age in which every stray thought can be texted or tweeted, we can present Joseph as a model for our times — a man of action who goes against the tides and trends of the world.




As we approach St. Joseph’s feast day March 19, consider these five “countercultural” qualities of Joseph that can be instructive to our children, as well as to us.




Attentive. Our kids are bombarded by distracting media, yet they long for peace of heart and mind. As Pope Francis has observed, Joseph was “constantly attentive to God” and responded with courage to heavenly messengers who told him to put aside the opinion of others. St. John Paul II also said that because of his attentiveness, Joseph had the “power of making great decisions.” Our children, too, can do great things with St. Joseph at their side.




Humble. Social media, as forums for idealized personas and perfect images, are not noted for fostering humility. With a little guidance, our children can see through the online posturing and appreciate the value of honesty, the foundation of humility. Setting aside his own plans in order to follow God’s will, Joseph “lowers himself and takes this great responsibility upon his shoulders,” explains Pope Francis. St. Joseph teaches us that humility does not mean passivity. Rather, his hidden life was defined by integrity and strength.




Protective. Our kids can feel vulnerable amid what Pope Francis calls a “throwaway culture,” which does not respect the dignity of the human person — especially the unborn, the poor, the elderly, the sick and others on the periphery. In the face of harmful influences such as cyberbullying and online pornography, we should appeal to our children’s desire for protection. St. Joseph was the guardian, or custos, of Jesus, and he is now the patron of the universal Church. As a father, show your children that you stand strong with Joseph.




Hardworking. Although life today is vastly different than in the time of St. Joseph, the demands of hard work are still essentially the same. “Work was the daily expression of love in the life of the family of Nazareth,” wrote St. John Paul II. While our virtual age seeks pleasure first and is quick to demean or outsource menial labor, Joseph the carpenter rolls up his sleeves and reveals the dignity of human work. He is an example of someone who knows that hard work can be its own reward.




Loving. Our world is filled with distorted images of love that can cause our children great harm and heartache. Joseph is an antidote. Love for him was not red hearts and arrows but self-giving for the good of others. He also expressed a “tenderness,” notes Pope Francis, a “strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love.” Through St. Joseph, your kids can learn the true nature of love that is rooted in his care for Mary and Jesus.




Presenting St. Joseph with these countercultural virtues, we fathers should seek to imitate him in our own lives. That will be a win for our children, our families and ourselves.




SOREN JOHNSON is associate director of the Saint Thomas More Institute of the Diocese of Arlington and a member of Holy Family Council 6831 in Leesburg, Va.














Saint John XXIII’s Story


Saint of the Day for October 11- (November 25, 1881 – June 3, 1963)


Although few people had as great an impact on the 20th century as Pope John XXIII, he avoided the limelight as much as possible. Indeed, one writer has noted that his “ordinariness” seems one of his most remarkable qualities.


The firstborn son of a farming family in Sotto il Monte, near Bergamo in northern Italy, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was always proud of his down-to-earth roots. In Bergamo’s diocesan seminary, he joined the Secular Franciscan Order.


After his ordination in 1904, Fr. Roncalli returned to Rome for canon law studies. He soon worked as his bishop’s secretary, Church history teacher in the seminary, and as publisher of the diocesan paper.


His service as a stretcher-bearer for the Italian army during World War I gave him a firsthand knowledge of war. In 1921, Fr. Roncalli was made national director in Italy of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. He also found time to teach patristics at a seminary in the Eternal City.









Pope Francis on COP26: Sharing, love, respect should shape efforts for better future


By Brenda Drumm|05/10/2021




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Pope Francis met alongside other religious leaders and scientists from around the world in the Vatican on Monday 4 October, to take a common stand for the protection of the environment, ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference scheduled for 1 – 12 November in Glasgow, Scotland.




The day-long meeting themed: “Faith and Science: Towards COP26” is a Vatican initiative born of a proposal of the embassies of Great Britain and Italy to the Holy See. It developed through monthly virtual meetings that began earlier this year, in which religious leaders and scientists were able to share their concerns and wishes for greater responsibility for the planet and for necessary change.




The Pope and the participants also presented a joint declaration to Alok Sharma, the president-designate of the COP26 climate summit, and to Luigi di Maio, Italian minister for foreign affairs.




In his address to the participants at the meeting, Pope Francis expressed gratitude for their presence which shows a “desire for a deepened dialogue among ourselves and with scientific experts” and proposed three concepts to guide their reflection: openness to interdependence and sharing, the dynamism of love, and the call to respect.


Openness to interdependence, sharing




Pope Francis affirmed that “everything is connected in our world”, adding that science, as well as our religious beliefs and spiritual traditions, highlight the connectedness between ourselves and the rest of creation.




Indeed, “we recognize the signs of divine harmony present in the natural world, for no creatures are self-sufficient; they exist only in dependence on each other, complementing one another and in the service of one another,” the Pope said.




Recognizing this interconnectedness, therefore, means not only realizing the harmful effects of our actions “but also identifying behaviors and solutions to be adopted, in an attitude of openness to interdependence and sharing.” More so, this should lead to “an urgently needed change of direction” nurtured also by respective religious beliefs and spirituality, because for Christians, “openness to interdependence springs from the very mystery of the Triune God.”




In this light, the meeting, “which brings together many cultures and spiritualities in a spirit of fraternity,” strengthens our realization that we are members of one human family.




So, “to illumine and direct this openness, let us commit ourselves to a future shaped by interdependence and co-responsibility,” the Pope urged.


Dynamism of love




Pope Francis went on to emphasize that our common commitment must constantly be driven by the dynamism of love for “in the depths of every heart, love creates bonds and expands existence, for it draws people out of themselves and towards others.”




Love’s driving force is not set in motion once for all, but rather needs to be renewed daily, the Holy Father added. “Love is the mirror of an intense spiritual life: a love that extends to all, transcending cultural, political and social boundaries; a love that is inclusive, concerned especially for the poor, who so often teach us how to overcome the barriers of selfishness and to break down the walls of our ego.”




The Pope then highlighted the need to counter the “throwaway culture,” and the “seeds of conflict” which cause serious wounds to the environment and lead to the breaking of “that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from whom we come and towards whom we are journeying.”


A challenge that inspires hope




The Holy Father said that the challenge to work for a culture of care for our common home and for ourselves is one that inspires hope because “humanity has never possessed as many means for achieving this goal as it possesses today.”




He recommended that the challenge can be faced on various levels, including two in particular: “example and action” and “education.” He also pointed out that many opportunities present themselves, as the Joint Appeal notes, that point to various educational and training programs that can be developed to promote care for our common home.


Call to respect




Explaining his third idea – the call to respect –  the Pope said it is a respect for creation, for our neighbour, for ourselves and for the Creator, but also mutual respect between faith and science, “in order to enter into a mutual dialogue for the sake of protecting nature, defending the poor, and building networks of respect and fraternity.”




In this sense, he continued, respect is more than an abstract and passive recognition of others but is also “an empathetic and active experience of desiring to know others and to enter into dialogue with them, in order to walk together on a common journey.”




Concluding, the Holy Father reiterated the importance of Openness to interdependence and sharing, the dynamism of love and a call to respect as interpretative keys that can shed light on common efforts to care for our common home.




He also noted that COP26 “represents an urgent summons to provide effective responses to the unprecedented ecological crisis and the crisis of values that we are presently experiencing, and in this way to offer concrete hope to future generations.”








Source: Vatican News article by Benedict Mayaki, SJ