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February 28, 2013

Sede vacante

Sede vacante is an expression, used in the Canon Law of the Catholic Church, that refers to the vacancy of the Episcopal sea of a particular church. It is Latin  for "the seat being vacant", the seat in question being the Cathedra of the particular church. In most cases it is used in reference to the absence of a pope during the time of a Pope's death and the election of a new Supreme Pontiff. 

For the Election of a Pope
O God, eternal Shepherd,
who govern your flock with unfailing care,
grant in your boundless fatherly love
a pastor for your Church
who will please you by his holiness
and to us show watchful care.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Pro Pontifice

Prayers for Benedict XVI
Pro Pontifice
V. Let us pray for our Sovereign Pontiff, Benedict XVI.
R. The Lord preserve him and give him life, and make
him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will
of his enemies.

Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon thy servant Benedict XVI,
our Supreme Pontiff, and direct him, according to thy loving-kindness, in
the way of eternal salvation; that, of thy gift, he may ever desire that which
is pleasing unto thee and may accomplish it with all his might. Through Christ
our Lord. Amen. (Collection of Indulgences)

In Thanksgiving
O God, who in your wondrous providence chose your servant Pope Benedict XVI
to preside over your Church, we give you most hearty thanks for the years of his
faithful service, praying that, after having served as the Vicar of your Son on earth, he may
enjoy your abundant blessing in this life and, at life’s end, be received by your Son into eternal glory. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pope Benedict XVI's final general audience

27-February-2013 -- Catholic News Agency

Pope Confident God Will Guide Church In Days Ahead

VATICAN CITY, February 27 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Pope Benedict XVI told the 150,000 people who came to his final general audience that he is filled with trust and peace as he prepares to resign, because the Church is not his but God's and he will "not let it sink."

"In this moment," the Pope said, "there is in me a great trust because I know, we all know, that the Word of truth of the Gospel is the strength of the Church, it is her life. ... This is my trust, this is my joy."

The Pope made his way through St. Peter's Square in his popemobile and was welcomed by cheering throngs of pilgrims from all over Europe and abroad.

"The heart of a Pope," he told the assembly, "reaches out to the entire world."

"I would like my greeting and my thanks to reach all people."

Benedict XVI will abdicate the chair of St. Peter on Feb. 28 and at that time the Church will be without a Pope.

His impending departure led the Pope to reflect on his last eight years as the successor of St. Peter, whom Jesus called to be a fisher of men.

"When, on April 19 of nearly eight years ago, I accepted to assume the Petrine Ministry, I had the firm certainty that has always accompanied me. In that moment, as I have already express many times, the words that resounded in my heart were 'Lord, what are you asking of me? This is a great burden that you place on my shoulders, but if You ask it of me, on your word I will throw out the nets, sure that you will guide me.'

"And the Lord has truly guided me, he has been close to me. I have been able to perceive his presence daily. It has been a piece of the path of the Church that has had moments of joy and light, but also moments that were not easy," the Pope told the crowd.

He also said he "felt like St. Peter and the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of Galilee.

"The Lord has given us so many days of sun and light wind, days in which the catch was abundant; there have also been moments in which the water were agitated and the wind blew contrary, as in all of the history of the Church, and the Lord appeared to be sleeping.

"But I have always known that in that boat, there was the Lord and I have always known that the barque of the Church is not mine, it is not ours, but it is his and he does not let it sink. It is Him who steers it, certainly also through the men he has chosen, because he has wanted it this way," the Pope stated.

Because God guides and protects the Church, Pope Benedict said that "today my heart is full of thanks to God because he has never made his consolation, his light, his love be absent from the entire Church or from me."

He also told the crowd that he carries "all of you in my prayer, in a present that is that of God, where I gather up every encounter, every trip, every pastoral visit.

"Everything and everyone, I gather up in prayer to entrust them to the Lord so that we might have full awareness of his will, with every wisdom and spiritual intelligence, and so that we may act in a way that is deserving of Him, of his love, bringing fruit in every good work."

Pope Benedict also demonstrated the depth of his pastoral heart by telling the sea of pilgrims that he "would like every person to feel loved by that God that gave his son for us and who has showed his boundless love for us. I would like everyone to feel the joy of being Christian."

He finished the main part of his remarks by saying, "in these last few months, I have felt my strength has diminished and I asked God insistently in prayer to illuminate me with his light to help me to make the most just decision not for my good but for the good of the Church."

"I took this step in full knowledge of its gravity and also novelty," he said, adding that it was also "with a profound serenity of soul."

"Loving the Church means also having the courage to make difficult and painful choices, keeping always the good of the Church at the fore and not our own," Pope Benedict stressed.

His final public audience as Pope will take place on Thursday evening, Feb. 28, at Castel Gandolfo.

The local mayor, parish priest, bishop and the faithful, will welcome Benedict XVI to his residence. After that, he will give one last speech from the window that overlooks the courtyard of the residence.

Pope Benedict XVI's final audience

27-February-2013 -- EWTNews Feature

Pope's final audience was bittersweet for cardinals

The cardinals and bishops who attended Pope Benedict XVI's last big public appearance made sure to show him their love and respect, but it was a hard moment as well.
"There was a touch of sadness as when one sees a person for the very last time," said Archbishop Rino Fisichella after the Pope's last general audience.
"Bishops and cardinals have shown a lot of respect, love and affection towards him here today," he told EWTN News Feb. 27.
Around 200,000 people from all over the world came to St. Peter's Square to see Pope Benedict for the last time before he steps down as Pope tomorrow evening.
Archbishop Fisichella, who is president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelization, said that the audience was important in two ways.
"The first is the great humanity of the Holy Father because he has spoken about his suffering in taking this decision, but it has also been a big experience of faith," the archbishop observed.
"The living Church embraces the Holy Father and manifests its love, but it's an experience of faith.
"We have the certainty that the Holy Spirit is with us, and so is the Holy Father with his resignation, but he is present among us with his prayer and his presence.
Archbishop Fisichella sees Pope Benedict's has given "a testimony of faith and big hope to the whole Church" during his papacy.
"With his testimony and his teaching, which has a very rich deepness, and with his live presence, prayer, and silence - which talks about true prayer that we need to give to God - he will continue to help the Year of Faith," he affirmed.

February 23, 2013

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter

Today the Universal Church celebrates the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter. In one week, with the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, this Chair will be empty and the Church will enter into a time known known as Sedi Vacanti--the time of the Empty Throne.

Let us pray for Pope Benedict and his continued health. 
Let us pray for our Holy Church in this time of transition. 
Let us pray for the College of Cardinals that they, inspired by the Holy Spirit, may elect a worthy Successor. 
And let us entrust our Church to Christ, the Good Shepherd, who entrusted the Keys of the Kingdom to Saint Peter, the Rock on whom He built His Holy Church.

February 14, 2013

Sts. Cyril & Methodius

These brothers, the Apostles of the Slavs, were born in Thessalonica, in 827 and 826 respectively. Though belonging to a senatorial family they renounced secular honours and became priests. They were living in a monastery on the Bosphorous, when the Khazars sent to Constantinople for a Christian teacher. Cyril was selected and was accompanied by his brother. They learned the Khazar language and converted many of the people. Soon after the Khazar mission there was a request from the Moravians for a preacher of the Gospel. German missionaries had already laboured among them, but without success. The Moravians wished a teacher who could instruct them and conduct Divine service in the Slavonic tongue. On account of their acquaintance with the language, Cyril and Methodius were chosen for their work. In preparation for it Cyril invented an alphabet and, with the help of Methodius, translated the Gospels and the necessary liturgical books into Slavonic. They went to Moravia in 863, and laboured for four and a half years. Despite their success, they were regarded by the Germans with distrust, first because they had come from Constantinople where schism was rife, and again because they held the Church services in the Slavonic language. On this account the brothers were summoned to Rome by Nicholas I, who died, however, before their arrival. His successor, Adrian II, received them kindly. Convinced of their orthodoxy, he commended their missionary activity, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, and ordained Cyril and Methodius bishops. Cyril, however, was not to return to Moravia. He died in Rome, 4 Feb., 869.

At the request of the Moravian princes, Rastislav and Svatopluk, and the Slav Prince Kocel of Pannonia, Adrian II formed an Archdiocese of Moravia and Pannonia, made it independent of the German Church, and appointed Methodius archbishop. In 870 King Louis and the German bishops summoned Methodius to a synod at Ratisbon. Here he was deposed and condemned to prison. After three years he was liberated at the command of Pope John VIII and reinstated as Archbishop of Moravia. He zealously endeavoured to spread the Faith among the Bohemians, and also among the Poles in Northern Moravia. Soon, however, he was summoned to Rome again in consequence of the allegations of the German priest Wiching, who impugned his orthodoxy, and objected to the use of Slavonic in the liturgy. But John VIII, after an inquiry, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, decreeing, however, that in the Mass the Gospel should be read first in Latin and then in Slavonic. Wiching, in the meantime, had been nominated one of the suffragan bishops of Methodius. He continued to oppose his metropolitan, going so far as to produce spurious papal letters. The pope, however, assured Methodius that they were false. Methodius went to Constantinople about this time, and with the assistance of several priests, he completed the translation of the Holy Scriptures, with the exception of the Books of Machabees. He translated also the "Nomocanon", i.e. the Greek ecclesiastico-civil law. The enemies of Methodius did not cease to antagonize him. His health was worn out from the long struggle, and he died 6 April, 885, recommending as his successor Gorazd, a Moravian Slav who had been his disciple.
Formerly the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius was celebrated in Bohemia and Moravia on 9 March; but Pius IX changed the date to 5 July. Leo XIII, by his Encyclical "Grande Munus" of 30 September, 1880, extended the feast to the universal Church.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Saint Valentine

At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and these two seem both to have suffered in the second half of the third century and to have been buried on the Flaminian Way, but at different distances from the city. In William of Malmesbury's time what was known to the ancients as the Flaminian Gate of Rome and is now the Porta del Popolo, was called the Gate of St. Valentine. The name seems to have been taken from a small church dedicated to the saint which was in the immediate neighborhood. Of both these St. Valentines some sort of Acta are preserved but they are of relatively late date and of no historical value. Of the third Saint Valentine, who suffered in Africa with a number of companions, nothing further is known. 

February 13, 2013


For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations...(Jeremiah 29:11-14) ASH WEDNESDAY 2013

February 2, 2013

Presentation of Child Jesus in the Temple Feast: February 2

The law of God, given by Moses to the Jews, to insinuate both to us and to them, that by the sin of Adam man is conceived and born in sin, and obnoxious to his wrath, ordained that a woman, after childbirth, should continue for a certain time in a state which that law calls unclean; during which she was not to appear in public, nor presume to touch any thing consecrated to God. This term was of forty days upon the birth of a son, and the time was double for a daughter: on the expiration of which, the mother was to bring to the door of the tabernacle, or temple, a lamb of a year old. and a young pigeon or turtle-dove. The lamb was for a holocaust, or burnt-offering, in acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God, and in thanksgiving for her own happy delivery; the pigeon or turtle-dove was for a sin-offering. These being sacrificed to Almighty God by the priest, the woman was cleansed of the legal impurity, and reinstated in her former privileges.

A young pigeon, or turtle-dove, by way of a sin-offering, was required of all, whether rich or poor: but whereas the charge of a lamb might be too burdensome on persons of narrow circumstances, in that case, nothing more was required, then two pigeons, or two turtle-doves, one for a burnt, the other for a sin-offering.
Our Saviour having been conceived by the Holy Ghost, and his blessed Mother remaining always a spotless virgin, it is most evident from the terms of the law, that she was, in reality, under no obligation to it, nor within the intent of it. She was, however, within the letter of the law, in the eye of the world, who were as yet strangers to her miraculous conception. And her humility making her perfectly resigned, and even desirous to conceal her privilege and dignity, she submitted with great punctuality and exactness to every humbling circumstance which the law required. Pride indeed proclaims its own advantages, and seeks honors not its due; but the humble find their delight in obscurity and abasement, they shun all distinction and esteem which they clearly see their own nothingness and baseness to be most unworthy of: they give all glory to God alone, to whom it is due. Devotion also and zeal to honor God by every observance prescribed by his law, prompted Mary to perform this act of religion, though evidently exempt from the precept. Being poor herself; she made the offering appointed for the poor: accordingly is this part of the law mentioned by St. Luke, as best agreeing with the meanness of her worldly condition. But her offering, however mean in itself, was made with a perfect heart, which is what God chiefly regards in all that is offered to him. The King of Glory would appear everywhere in the robes of poverty, to point out to us the advantages of a suffering and lowly state, and to repress our pride, by which, though really poor and mean in the eyes of God, we covet to appear rich, and, though sinners, would be deemed innocents and saints.
A second great mystery is honored this day, regarding more immediately the person of our Redeemer, viz. his presentation in the temple. Besides the law which obliged the mother to purify herself, there was another which ordered that the first-born son should be offered to God: and in these two laws were included several others, as, that the child, after its presentation, should be ransomed with a certain sum of money, and peculiar sacrifices offered on the occasion.
Mary complies exactly with all these ordinances. She obeys not only in the essential points of the law, as in presenting herself to be purified, and in her offering her first-born, but has strict regard to all the circumstances. She remains forty days at home, she denies herself all this time the liberty of. entering the temple, she partakes not of things sacred, though the living temple of the God of Israel; and on the day of her purification, she walks several miles to Jerusalem, with the world's Redeemer in her arms. She waits for the priest at the gate of the temple, makes her offerings of thanksgiving and expiation, presents her divine Son by the hands of the priest to his eternal Father, with the most profound humility, adoration, and thanksgiving. She then redeems him with five shekels, as the law appoints, and receives him back again as a depositum in her special care, till the Father shall again demand him for the full accomplishment of man's redemption. It is clear that Christ was not comprehended in the law; "The king's son, to whom the inheritance of the crown belongs, is exempt from servitude:- much more Christ, who was the Redeemer both of our souls and bodies, was not subject to any law by which he was to be himself redeemed," as St. Hilary observes. But he would set an example of humility, obedience, and devotion: and would renew, in a solemn and public manner, and in the temple, the oblation of himself to his Father for the accomplishment of his will, and the redemption of man, which he had made privately in the first moment of his Incarnation. With what sentiments did the divine Infant offer himself to his Father at the same time! the greatest homage of his honour and glory the Father could receive, and a sacrifice of satisfaction adequate to the injuries done to the Godhead by our sins, and sufficient to ransom our souls from everlasting death! With what cheerfulness and charity did he offer himself to all his torments! to be whipped, crowned with thorns, and ignominiously put to death for us!
Let every Christian learn hence to offer himself to God with this divine victim, through which he may be accepted by the Father; let him devote himself with all his senses and faculties to his service. If sloth, or any other vice, has made us neglectful of this essential duty, we must bewail past omissions, and make a solemn and serious consecration of ourselves this day to the divine majesty with the greater fervor, crying out with St. Austin, in compunction of heart: "Too late have I known thee, too late have I begun to love thee, O beauty more ancient than the world!" But our sacrifice, if we desire it may be accepted, must not be lame and imperfect. It would be an insult to offer to God, in union with his Christ, a divided heart, or a heart infected with wilful sin. It must therefore first be cleansed by tears of sincere compunction: its affections must be crucified to the world by perfect mortification. Our offering must be sincere and fervent, without reserve, allowing no quarter to any of our vicious passions and inclinations, and no division in any of our affections. It must also be universal; to suffer and to do all for the divine honor. If we give our hearts to Christ in this manner, we shall receive him with his graces and benedictions. He would be presented in the temple by the hands of his mother: let us accordingly make the offering of our souls through Mary and beg his graces through the same channel.
The ceremony of this day was closed by a third mystery, the. meeting in the temple of the holy persons, Simeon and Anne, with Jesus and his parents, from which this festival was anciently called by the Greeks Hypante, the meeting. Holy Simeon, on that occasion, received into his arms the object of all his desires and sighs, and praised God in raptures of devotion for being blessed with the happiness of beholding the so much longed-for Messias. He foretold to Mary her martyrdom of sorrow; and that Jesus brought redemption to those who would accept of it on the terms it was offered them; but a heavy judgment on all infidels who should obstinately reject it, and on Christians also whose lives were a contradiction to his holy maxims and example. Mary, hearing this terrible prediction, did not answer one word, felt no agitation of mind from the present, no dread for the future; but courageously and sweetly committed all to God's holy will. Anne also, the prophetess, who, in her widowhood, served God with great fervor, had the happiness to acknowledge and adore in this great mystery the world's Redeemer. Amidst the crowd of priests and people, the Saviour of the world is known only by Simeon and Anne. Even when he disputed with the doctors, and when he wrought the most stupendous miracles, the learned, the wise, and the princes did not know him. Yet here, while a weak, speechless child, carried in the arms of his poor mother, he is acknowledged and adored by Simeon and Anne. He could not hide himself from those who sought him with fervor, humility, and ardent love. Unless we seek him in these dispositions, he will not manifest himself, nor communicate his graces to us. Simeon, having beheld his Saviour in the flesh, desired no longer to see the light of this world, nor any creatures on earth If we truly love God, our distance from him must be a continual pain: and we must sigh after that desired moment which will free us from the danger of ever losing him by sin, and will put us in possession of Him who is the joy of the blessed, and the infinite treasure of heaven. Let us never cease to pray that he purify our hearts from all earthly dross, and draw them to himself: that he heal, satiate, and inflame our souls, as he only came upon earth to kindle in all hearts the fire of his love.

Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/presentationofchildjesusinthetemple.asp#ixzz2JkmkTeyg

Pax et Gaudium

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness