On the edge of Buenos Aires is a nothing little street called Pasaje C, a shot of dried mud leading into a slum from what passes for a main road, the garbage-strewn Mariano Acosta. There is a church, the Immaculate Virgin, toward the end of the pasaje—Spanish for passage—where, on one occasion, the local priest and a number of frightened residents took refuge deep in the sanctuary when rival drug gangs opened fire. Beyond the church, Pasaje C branches into the rest of the parish: more rutted mud and cracked concrete form Pasajes A to K. Brick chips from the hasty construction of squatter housing coagulate along what ought to be sidewalks. The word asesino—murderer—is scrawled in spray-paint on the sooty wall of a burned-out house, which was torched just days before in retaliation for yet another shooting. Packs of dogs sprawl beneath wrecked cars. Children wander heedless of traffic, because nothing can gather speed on these jagged roads. But even Pasaje C can lead to Rome.
As Cardinal and Archbishop of Buenos Aires, a metropolis of some 13.5 million souls, Jorge Mario Bergoglio made room in his schedule every year for a pastoral visit to this place of squalor and sorrow. He would walk to the subway station nearest to the Metropolitan Cathedral, whose pillars and dome fit easily into the center of Argentine power. Traveling alone, he would transfer onto a graffiti-blasted tram to Mariano Acosta, reaching where the subways do not go. He finished the journey on foot, moving heavily in his bulky black orthopedic shoes along Pasaje C. On other days, there were other journeys to barrios throughout the city—so many in need of so much, but none too poor or too filthy for a visit from this itinerant prince of the church. Reza por mí, he asked almost everyone he met. Pray for me.
When, on March 13, Bergoglio inherited the throne of St. Peter—keeper of the keys to the kingdom of heaven—he made the same request of the world. Pray for me.
This is a small little preview of the much-asked-about John Paul II Eucharistic Center here at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of the Angels Monastery. To Catholics and believers of all faiths alike, the reason for the Shrine, while prominent, remains an inexhaustible mystery. At the center and heart of the chapel here is Christ, truly present in the Eucharist. The JPII center is a ‘small’ yet significant and innovative tribute to Jesus’ unfathomable gift to us – Himself in the Eucharist. Here, visitors to the Shrine can step into recreations of a Jewish home at Passover (a foreshadowing of the Eucharist) and a constructed synagogue like the one where Christ gave the discourse in John chapter 6.
On display are immense paintings depicting the price Christ paid to give us this memorial of His passion and death. Multi Media presentations including stunning reenactments of historical Eucharistic miracles as well as dynamic question and answer segments at various booths. Not least of all are tributes to Saints and martyrs who gave the ultimate confession of faith in Christ’s Real Presence – their own life. Your prayers and support for this great work are truly appreciated! Adoro te devote!
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis admitted he wasn’t a pharmacist, but he didn’t hesitate being the spokesman for the heart-healthy benefits of 59 little pills strung together: the rosary.
“I want to recommend some medicine for all of you,” the pope said Nov. 17 at the end of his Sunday Angelus address. “It’s a spiritual medicine.”
Holding up a white medicine box with an anatomical drawing of the human heart on it, Pope Francis told some 80,000 people gathered for the midday prayer that the boxes contained a rosary.
“Don’t forget to take it,” he said. “It’s good for your heart, for your soul, for your whole life.” (more…)
Well, folks, greetings from the calm before what could just end up being the defining day of this pontificate…
…after the last almost seven months, that’s saying something, no?
Before 8am local (2am ET) tomorrow, what was unthinkable not all that long ago will be realized as the first Pope called Francis begins a daylong pilgrimage in Assisi, to the Poverello’s home on his feast – the place where, eight centuries after him, the spirit of the most beloved of saints isn’t merely still felt, but remains the Umbrian town’s ethereal, pervading element.
As no less than six speeches are planned – all of them looking to be drawn from the template of Francesco di Bernardone and his radical embrace of “Lady Poverty” for the sake of witnessing to the Gospel – the more sensitive among us might want to brace yourselves. Whatever the case, let’s all just breathe, pray and take it easy while easy can last.
For now, as ever, look to your right sidebar for the running updates – more here once the words are sufficient… even as these have stood the test of the ages:
Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart
and give me true faith,
certain hope and perfect charity, sense and knowledge,
that I may carry out, Lord,
Your holy and true command.
This article is a bit old but I thought it spoke so eloquently of Our Lady and a call for peace in a troubled land that we could do well to reflect on it.
IN THE shimmering air of an arid mountainside, a graceful animal can suddenly speak with a human voice of succour; and a beast that seems to offer its own flesh to a hungry traveller turns out instead to be a provider of water, which is even more desperately needed. That, at any rate, is the story of what happened to the eastern Roman Emperor Justinian as he was marching across Syria with a thirsty army. Spying a lovely gazelle in the distance, he chased the animal until it led him to a cool, refreshing spring. Before he could slay the animal, it transformed into an (more…)
The Pope gave a strong message on unity in the Church at the General audience on Wednesday.
What I like most about this video is the size of the audience! This is on a Wednesday, middle of the week and middle of the workday and St Peter’s Square is packed! The unity of this diverse crowd is a great backdrop for the Pope’s message. It also ties in with his homily in Calgari at Our Lady of Bonaria where he says that Our lady will teach us to look out for each other. Here he calls on Christians to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted for their faith.
There were two videos on Rome Reports on the event. The first is shorter and focuses on the pope and the large audience. The second is longer and includes a reading of the entire message in English by a prelate and an address of welcome to the many English speaking pilgrims in attendance from around the world.
One more post on Mary’s Birthday which was on the 9th of September. This is from Bangalore, India where Catholics are a small minority but they sure get the world prize for celebrating the Birthday of Mary at their Cathedral.
Bangalore, Sep 9: The St Mary’s birthday festival, which is popular among Konkani Catholics from the coastal region as Monthi Fest, was celebrated with devotion and even pomp with lacs of devotees thronging the St Mary’s Basilica at Shivajinagar. The nine-day novena of prayers and devotion in honour of Mother Mary, which is being celebrated in all parishes with those having substantial number of Konkani Catholics from the coastal region having special services in their mother tongue, culminated at the St Mary’s Basilica with a traditional car festival which was flagged off by Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah after a special blessing of the chariot by Bangalore Archbishop Bernard Moras.
here is an Indian news video from the one in 2011:
Here are pictures form the 2013 event:
Divers from different groups say a prayer and offer flowers at an image of the Virgin Mary 80 feet underwater in Bien Unido, Bohol. The dive was in line with the birthday celebration of the Holy Mother yesterday. FERDINAND EDRALIN
BIEN UNIDO, Bohol, Philippines — Devotees of the Virgin Mary here, as well as divers, commemorated her birthday yesterday with a solemn prayer at an area in Danajon Bank where her 14-foot statue lies about 80 feet underwater.
There was a brief fluvial parade attended by Bien Unido residents, mostly coming from the neighboring small islands. Flowers were offered to the Virgin Mary while the “Happy Birthday” was sung. The divers, meanwhile, went underwater to clean the Virgin Mary’s statue from algae.
This was the second time the town held a similar event. During last year’s celebration, divers from all over the country participated in the underwater pilgrimage.
MSGR. JOSE DOMINGO ULLOA Archbishop of Panama “The best gift is understanding that we are Gods loved children. That Mary, our mother, has been at our side, and above all, understanding our commitment to become disciples and missionaries. To listen to Marys voice, which says, Do as He commands, and spread His good word.” The final part of the trip ended with this sea-side procession through Panamas bay, precisely to mark the arrival of the Spaniards 500 years ago. Thousands of people flocked to the streets to join the image as it made its way to the Cathedral. After the procession, came an impressive firework display. The celebration ended in the early morning with a serenade to honor Our Lady, a rosary prayer and a Mass led by the countrys bishops. In this way the diocese marked 500 years of Christianism in Panama, which changed the course of its history.
Ave Maria! Looks like a big turn out for the Pope Francis’s Prayer Vigil.
Home » News » Asia – Pacific
Mary’s Nativity draws tens of thousands to Indian basilica
By Antonio Anup Gonsalves
Basilica of St Mary in Bangalore (L) and a statue of the Virgin Mary inside the basilica traditionally dressed in an Indian Sari. Credit: St Mary’s Basilica Bangalore.
Bangalore, India, Sep 4, 2013 / 04:23 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Huge crowds started gathering in Bangalore, India, last week, as the city’s novena leading up to the Nativity of Mary began with the city’s archbishop raising a Marian flag in prayer.
“The Virgin Mary is the Mother of God and also our heavenly mother, and thus people tend to venerate her motherly affection and dress her in local culture as their mother,” said Father J. Sandhayagu, administrator of St. Mary’s Basilica in the capital of the south-western Indian state of Karnataka.
The statue of Mary found in the basilica is daily dressed in an elaborate sari, often laced with gold thread and jewelry, offered as a fulfillment of vows.
“The Nativity of Mary is an important feast for the Archdiocese of Bangalore,” Fr. Sandhayagu continued. He told CNA on Aug. 30 that millions of people, irrespective of culture and religion, flock to participate at the city’s Marian novena.
Archbishop Bernard Moras hoisted a Marian flag on Aug. 29 in the presence of some 15,000 devotees to initiate the novena, or nine-day period of prayer. In his homily, he reflected on the Year of Faith as an opportune time for renewal and spiritual richness.
The novena continues through Sept. 7, the vigil of the Feast of Mary’s Nativity – or birth – and is crowned by a procession and a festive Mass celebrated on the feast day itself.
During the novena, around 30,000 people participate in Mass, Adoration, Anointing of the Sick, Confession, and other events each day, said Fr. Sandhayagu.
“Over the years the numbers of devotees have tremendously increased their participation in the liturgies and in Confession.”
St. Mary’s Basilica, he said, “has been witnessing numerous miracles and healings. People receive grace, hence people of all faith, including Hindus, Muslims, and other religions, rush every day to seek blessings.”
During the novena, Mass is said every half hour in the basilica from 5:30 in the morning until 9:00 at night, with up to 5,000 people attending each Mass.
The government of Karnataka provides security during the novena, and ministers, bureaucrats and leaders – even those who aren’t Catholic – participate in the festival and seek blessings.
The vast presence of devotees flocking to Bangalore is “evidence of faith, and prayerful and spiritual graces,” Fr. Sandhayagu said, with pilgrims bringing offerings of flowers, candles, clothes, jewelry and food to the basilica.
The basilica is the oldest church in the Bangalore archdiocese, having been consecrated in 1882 on Mary’s Nativity. It was named a minor basilica by Paul VI in 1973.
Vatican City, Sep 1, 2013 / 07:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Departing from his typical reflections on the Sunday gospel, Pope Francis used his Angelus audience today to call for peace throughout the world, particularly in conflict-ridden Syria.
“I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me,” he said to the crowds in St. Peter’s Square on Sept. 1.
“There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming,” continued the Pope.
“For this reason, brothers and sisters, I have decided to call for a vigil for the whole Church,” he announced.
It will be “a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, in the Middle East, and throughout world.”
The vigil will take place on Sept. 7, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace. Those who can will gather in St. Peter’s Square from 7 p.m. until midnight: other local Churches are requested to join in the fasting and prayer by gathering together.
Pope Francis extended his invitation to “fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.”
“Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace!” said the Pope.
“All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace,” he charged.
“I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!”
The Pope went on to lament the use of arms and its negative impact on civilians, the unarmed, and children, particularly recently in the “martyred country” of Syria.
“With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict,” he said.
Pope Francis also asked the international community “to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay.”
He rejected the use of chemical weapons and requested that humanitarian workers “be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.”
The Pope continued his insistent appeal for peace: “it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.”
Noting Mary’s universal motherly concern, Pope Francis said, “Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children!”
As he has done on previous Sundays, Pope Francis led the crowds in invoking her intercession: “Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!”
KAFR HAKIM, EGYPT — For 67 years, the Virgin Mary Church has been a peaceful refuge for Shenouda El Sayeh, much like the Giza province village of Kafr Hakim where it rests and where he has lived all those years.
But, as he swept its floors on Thursday, it was painfully obvious things had changed.
The night before, a mob — chanting against Coptic Christians such as El Sayeh and calling for Egypt to become an “Islamic state” — had torched and looted the Virgin Mary Church.
“I didn’t expect this to happen,” El Sayeh said.
He’s not alone. Christians all around Egypt are cleaning up in the aftermath of a spate of attacks, which came on the country’s deadliest day since the 2011 revolution that overthrew longtime President Hosni Mubarak.
Bishop Angaelos, the Cairo-born head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said he was told by colleagues in Egypt that 52 churches were attacked in a 24-hour span that started Wednesday, as well as numerous Christians’ homes and businesses.
http://en.romereports.com Behind each pilgrim there’s a story. The film "Mary’s Land. Fiction or Reality?" shares the testimonies of people that have come back to the Catholic faith, after experiencing a type of intervention from the Mother of Christ