Tuesday, June 30, 2009
It seems the remains the Vatican had tested could be those of St. Paul. This is truly something great! Especially today as the Catholic Church is under attack from all directions this I guess is a great moral booster!
Article is from the Catholic News Service:
Closing Pauline year, pope reveals results of tests on apostle's tomb
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
ROME (CNS) -- Closing the year of St. Paul, Pope Benedict XVI announced that tests done on the presumed tomb of the Apostle revealed the presence of bone fragments from a human who lived between the first and second century.
"This seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that they are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul," the pope said during an evening prayer service June 28 at Rome's Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
The basilica has long been held to be the burial site of St. Paul, but because of the destruction and rebuilding of the basilica, the exact location of the tomb was unknown for centuries. Vatican officials announced in December 2006 that several feet below the basilica's main altar and behind a smaller altar, they had found a roughly cut marble sarcophagus beneath an inscription that reads: "Paul Apostle Martyr."
Because part of the sarcophagus is buried beneath building material, Vatican officials determined they could not dig it out to open and examine the contents. Initially they tried to X-ray it to see what was inside, but the marble was too thick.
Pope Benedict said a "very tiny perforation" was drilled into the marble so that a small probe could be inserted in order to withdraw fragments of what was inside.
In addition to traces of purple linen, a blue fabric with linen threads and grains of red incense, he said they found bone fragments.
The bone fragments "underwent a carbon-14 analysis carried out by experts who did not know their place of origin," the pope said, adding that the results "indicate they belong to a person who lived between the first and second century."
Before beginning the evening prayer service, Pope Benedict descended the steps at the foot of the basilica's main altar and prayed before a small window that allows the public to see a portion of the sarcophagus.
In his introductory remarks, the pope said the 2008-2009 commemoration of the 2,000th anniversary of St. Paul's birth was an opportunity to help Christians rediscover St. Paul's writings, "which exhort us to preach the word in every age and to be irreproachable in healthy doctrine. If we want to receive the crown of justice, we must continue to fight the good fight and keep the faith."
From personal experience, St. Paul knew that conversion was a life-long process and that Christians are called to become new people in Christ, not just in the way they behave, but also in the way they think and the way they look at the world, Pope Benedict said in his 25-minute homily.
"The world always is looking for something new because, rightly, it is not content with concrete reality," he said.
But Christians learn from St. Paul that the newness they are looking for, the newness that will save them and save the world, is a mature faith in the Gospel.
"In recent years, 'adult faith' has become a widespread slogan. Frequently it is used to mean the attitude of those who no longer listen to the church and its pastors, but autonomously choose what to believe and what not to believe," he said.
Too often, he said, expressing an opinion contrary to the teaching of the church is described as being courageous.
"In reality, however, one does not need courage for this because one always can count on public applause. Instead, courage is needed to adhere to the teaching of the church even when this contradicts the ideas of the modern world," the pope said.
"It is part of adult faith, for example, to defend the inviolability of human life from the first instant, radically opposing the principle of violence, including in the defense of the most defenseless human creatures," he said.
"Recognizing the marriage of one man and one women for their entire lives as the order established by the Creator and reestablished by Christ is part of adult faith," the pope said.
"Adult faith does not allow itself to be pushed here and there by every breeze," he said.
Pope Benedict said the life and writings of St. Paul also emphasize the fact that Christ died for all men and women of all cultures and all times.
"The crucified Christ embraced the entire universe in every dimension. He takes the world into his hands and carries it up to God," he said.
"We pray that the Lord will help us recognize something of the vastness of his love. We pray that his love and truth will touch our hearts," the pope said.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24
2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24
God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. Since he has created everything, all creatures of the universe are for our good; there is no deadly poison in them and the netherworld has no dominion over the earth, because immortal is not submitted to death.
Indeed God created man to be immortal in the likeness of his own nature, but the envy of the devil brought death to the world, and those who take his side shall experience death.
2 O LORD my God, I cried to thee for help, and thou hast healed me.
3 O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.
4 Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
10 Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me! O LORD, be thou my helper!"
11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
12 that my soul may praise thee and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to thee for ever.
2nd Reading: 2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15
You excel in everything: in the gifts of faith, speech and knowledge; you feel concern for every cause and, besides, you are first in my heart. Excel also in this generous service.
You know well the generosity of Christ Jesus, our Lord. Although he was rich, he made himself poor to make you rich through his poverty.
I do not mean that others should be at ease and you burdened. Strive for equality; at present give from your abundance what they are short of, and in some way they also will give from their abundance what you lack. Then you will be equal and what Scripture says shall come true: To the one who had much, nothing was in excess; to the one who had little, nothing was lacking.
Gospel: Mk 5:21-43
Jesus then crossed to the other side of the lake and while he was still on the shore, a large crowd gathered around him. Jairus, an official of the synagogue, came up and seeing Jesus, threw himself at his feet and asked him earnestly, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her so that she may get well and live."
Jesus went with him and many people followed, pressing from every side. Among the crowd was a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a lot at the hands of many doctors and had spent everything she had, but instead of getting better, she was worse. Since she had heard about Jesus, this woman came up behind him and touched his cloak thinking, "If I just touch his clothing, I shall get well." Her flow of blood dried up at once, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her complaint.
But Jesus was conscious that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" His disciples answered, "You see how the people are crowding around you. Why do you ask who touched you?" But he kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, aware of what had happened, came forward trembling and afraid. She knelt before him and told him the whole truth.
Then Jesus said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace and be free of this illness."
While Jesus was still speaking, some people arrived from the official's house to inform him, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Master any further?" But Jesus ignored what they said and told the official, "Do not fear, just believe." And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house, Jesus saw a great commotion with people weeping and wailing loudly. Jesus entered and said to them, "Why all this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep."
They laughed at him. But Jesus sent them outside and went with the child's father and mother and his companions into the room where the child lay. Taking her by the hand, he said to her, "Talitha kumi!" which means: "Little girl, get up!"
The girl got up at once and began to walk around. (She was twelve years old.) The parents were astonished, greatly astonished. Jesus strictly ordered them not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.
Upset? Yes I am!!! First it was for selfish reasons related to money. We are going on vacation the 2 weeks prior to the shutdown and now it is too late to cancel without substantial monetary penalties. I could have used the money to ease the burden of the unpaid week. Now as it stands we will go because I can't afford not to as again I can't afford to lose the money either.
No the problem is this has hit me hard inside. All my life I was brought up to work hard be respectful and to produce for whoever I work for because this is what gets you ahead eventually. You know hard work will be rewarded. But this and the attitude of the boss was a clear indication that he does not care what effort you have put forth in the success of the company, you are insignificant and any effort is clearly not acknowledged or appreciated.
It has all been hard to swallow as we are a small company and there was never a question of putting out to finish projects whether it meant staying to midnight everyday but we all pulled together and now boom you don't like it there is the door.
I am really stunned and unable to comprehend the attitude and this has lead to my confusion. I have for the first time started to look at the job postings as it is obvious that I have to move on and soon or be stuck here with the ever looming that no matter what you do and how well you do your job and are respected by the people you deal with inside and outside the office you are insignificant and can be fired tomorrow so the boss can maintain his lifestyle of cell phones for his family with about $1500 per month bills drive around in his $100,000 sports coupe to his $300,000 yacht and expense everything at the sametime back to the company. I don't know but something is leaving a bad taste in my mouth!!!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
The mass and procession went very well and smoothly. Even I had a week off as the other couple ran the presentation even though at the end of mass Father B said he preferred me as I know the mass better and can lead the parish better with the screen display. He was happy also with the overall proceedings and was happy that the parishioners are now getting comfortable with some of the older ways of the church.
Work though ended on a bad note and tomorrow it will be worse. Apparently the powers that be have decided to close the place down for at least a week to save money. Sales this year are zilch, over heads are still enormous so basically the place is bleeding money. Should be interesting meeting tomorrow as the boss tries to explain this especially when there have been no cutbacks from them in expenses and what they charge for themselves through the company. It will be interesting and you can bet there will be a lot of praying on my part to have the Lord control my temper and somehow guide me through this without losing my cool. I see the waste and complain and have been told to be quite as I do not know what I am talking about.
The worst out of this is that we are a small company and we have made sacrifices as employees numerous times and only ever had marginal rewards for our efforts while the bosses live high off the hog. First class business flights, when finishing early on a business trip instead of coming back staying and living it up on company money.
For me I am still trying to work this out as I am scheduled for vacation and have paid in part for our vacation. I can't afford to go but now I can't afford not to. College tuition is coming up again and we need our pay to get that in. Really tough for us employees while the boss sits on his 42' boat and lives it up.
So I will be saying many prayer today and tonight for help and guidance and so far God has helped me and I have to truly trust in him to guide me through. Any extra prayers from the readers on my behalf will also be welcomed.
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Job 38:1, 8-11
Then Yahweh answered Job out of the storm:
Who shut the sea behind closed doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling clothes; when I set its limits
with doors and bars in place,
when I said, "You will not go beyond these bounds;
here is where your proud waves must halt?"
23 Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded, and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men, and were at their wits' end.
28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress;
29 he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to the sons of men!
2nd Reading: 2 Cor 5:14-17
Indeed the love of Christ holds us and we realize that if he died for all, all have died. He died for all so that those who live may live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and rose again for them. And so from now on, we do not regard anyone from a human point of view; and even if we once knew Christ personally, we should now regard him in another way.
For that same reason, the one who is in Christ is a new creature. For him the old things have passed away; a new world has come.
Gospel: Mk 4:35-41
On that same day when evening had come, Jesus said to them, "Let's go across to the other side." So they left the crowd and took him away in the boat he had been sitting in, and other boats set out with him. Then a storm gathered and it began to blow a gale. The waves spilled over into the boat so that it was soon filled with water. And Jesus was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.
They woke him up and said, "Master, don't you care if we sink?" As Jesus awoke, he rebuked the wind and ordered the sea, "Quiet now! Be still!" The wind dropped and there was a great calm. Then Jesus said to them, "Why are you so frightened? Do you still have no faith?"
But they were terrified and they said to one another, "Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him!"
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Bishops fear new Bill could force schools to take down crucifixes
By Simon Caldwell
12 June 2009
Catholic schools and care homes could be forced to remove crucifixes and holy pictures from their walls in case they offend atheist cleaners, bishops have warned MPs.
Harriet Harman, pictured outside 10 Downing Street, is responsible for the Equality Bill (PA Photo)
They said that under the terms of Equality Minister Harriet Harman's new Equality Bill they could be guilty of harassment if they depicted images "offensive" to non-Catholics.
Under the terms of the Bill, which is being scrutinised by a parliamentary committee, harassment is defined as "unwanted conduct ... with the purpose or effect of violating a person's dignity, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading or offensive environment".
The bishops of England, Wales and Scotland have complained that because the burden of proof for such a highly subjective definition is reversed in legal proceedings, under the terms of the Bill, it would put them in an impossible position if people complained about any manifestation of religious belief - even on Church property.
Mgr Andrew Summersgill, the general secretary of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said: "The practical consequences of this are that a Catholic care home, for example, may have crucifixes and holy pictures on the walls which reflect and support the beliefs of the residents.
"A cleaner may be an atheist or of very different religious beliefs. Nonetheless, if a cleaner found the crucifixes offensive there would be no defence in law against a charge of harassment," Mgr Summersgill said in a written joint submission to the committee.
The bishops argue that it is essential that a test of "reasonableness" is included if the Church is not to be unduly penalised by the law. "If this Bill is serious about equality, everything possible must be done to avoid it having a chilling effect on religious expression and practice," added Mgr Summersgill.
A spokesman for the bishops confirmed that a similar threat existed for Catholic schools, which could be forced to remove crucifixes or holy pictures if atheist dinner ladies found them offensive.
The bishops have also complained that the Bill, which applies to employment practices, appears to establish a hierarchy of rights in which some rights are subservient to others. They fear that the rights of homosexual people, for instance, will always trump the rights of religious freedom.
"Exempting Catholic staff from a gay pride recruitment event could be seen as failing to tackle prejudice against homosexuality - but obliging them to participate could be seen as failing to tackle prejudice against religious belief, to say nothing of harassment," said Mgr Summersgill. "It is regrettable that the Bill provides no indication how such overlapping rights are to be dealt with."
The written submission was made by the Catholic Church ahead of an oral hearing in Parliament on Tuesday.
Richard Kornicki, a former senior Home Office civil servant who now works as a parliamentary coordinator for the English and Welsh bishops, was due to express the concerns of the bishops.
Even though the Bill is supposed to ensure equality for religious groups Miss Harman conspicuously forgot to mention this when she announced the proposals to the House of Commons last month.
A fortnight ago she also refused point blank to allow a debate on the rising numbers of Christians complaining that they are discriminated against in the public sector.
Her refusal to acknowledge a problem comes in spite of a sudden proliferation in the number of legal battles between employers and Christians suspended or sacked for expressing their religious convictions or simply wearing religious jewellery such as crucifixes.
Publicly funded Church schools, adoption agencies and even hospital chaplains have all come under attack while the Government has given taxpayers' money to groups that promote atheism.
Last week MPs on the parliamentary committee scrutinising the Equality Bill received evidence from groups sympathetic to the legislation including the Equality and Human Rights Commission, a Government quango, the gay rights group Stonewall and the British Humanist Association.
It also heard from Professor Stephen Whittle of Press for Change, a transsexual rights group. "We would argue strongly that we experience discrimination because other people think that we look different," Prof Whittle told the committee. "It is what those other people do, not what we do, that creates that discrimination. Therefore, the Bill needs to re-focus upon what it is those other people see and react to."
Lynne Featherstone, a Liberal Democrat member of the committee, said she was persuaded by his argument.
But Fr Tim Finigan, a priest in south-east London, said the demands of Professor Whittle meant that if a teacher or Church accountant, for instance, "decides to come in some days dressed as a man but is presently at the stage of having a part-time inclination to come in wearing a skirt and stilettos, they'll be protected by law against any 'harassment' on your part. Remember - it's what you do, not what they do that creates the discrimination," he said on his blog, the Hermeneutic of Continuity.
Fr Finigan added: "For the Government to promote this agenda in the extreme form it is taking in the Equality Bill at a time when the political system is suffering unparalleled contempt, and the far-Right groups have their best opportunity for years, is stupid beyond belief."
The Equality Bill is an overarching piece of legislation designed to sweep up the different strands of discrimination law created over the last few decades into one coherent package.
Equality and diversity guidelines used by employers have already been used against Christians who expressed their faith at work. Examples include Christian nurse Caroline Petrie, who was suspended after offering to pray for a patient.
The Government has made clear that certain provisions in the Bill are intended to make sure churches can no longer insist that employees such as youth workers live lives consistent with the churches' teaching on sexual ethics.
Neil Addison, a barrister and an expert on discrimination law, said there was no need for the Equality Bill to contain any clauses on harassment because British law already covered it.
He said it had arisen from a misinterpretation of the European legal requirement to prevent harassment in the workplace. But he said the provisions of the Bill lacked the objective test of reasonableness included in the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
"It is tailor-made for people to come up with silly objections and be petty-minded because it puts the emphasis on the person being offended rather than on an objective test of what ought to be considered reasonable," he said.
Father B was very happy to see my wife and myself as we arrived. Somehow he likes us because I guess we help out we ask for nothing in return we do not ask for recognition we do not want positions of power in the parish politics we do it because we feel we should help out because we are not only helping the priest the parish but in some small way we are also helping God and Jesus.
We put up the tents etc. and then one of the ladies who kind of looks after certain day to day chores and decorates the alter etc. asked me to go get some beer and sent my wife out for some food so we could have a small lunch for those who did help. I though through the hours I was there I was able to get a sense of Father B's frustration with the parish locals. Like he said 6 men to put up a tent 6 ways to do it and 5 will be upset it was not done to their specifications.
Father B asked about my feelings about the mass with the Bishop from Hungary and I told him it was beautiful, well run well planned out and he was pleased to hear this. I then asked him if he was being reassigned elsewhere and all he said but with a very coy face that that was a secret. Truthfully I think he will be leaving soon and then what will happen I have no clue as I guess there is a possibility the new priest will get thrown to the wolves when he arrives and this could start the death march for the parish.
As Father B said it is the parish groups that dictate to what the parish church should be doing and not the other way. The one example he touched on was the Hungarian Scouting group and the Hungarian school how none of those kids attend mass nor are they asked to. But the Scouts and the school try to tell Father B how to run the church and mass. Father B said this will be the downfall of all Hungarian churches outside of Hungary as there is no young people coming in to replace the older generation and with the change in politics and the downfall of communism there is no exodus to leave Hungary so again no new blood coming through. I did admit to being guilty also for ignoring the Hungarian church for so long and not taking my kids to the church and having them learn about the church and God and Jesus. Father B forgave and said I made some amends by coming back myself and with my wife and that this was 2 more sheep for the small flock than he had before.
So as you can see an eventful day but a day where I did feel a little bit more accepting of my journey back and then now the guilt of my selfish struggle about Father B possibly leaving has taken an occasional hold in me. I know he has worked hard and deserved to be reassigned back to Hungary especially with his mother being ill but then I get selfish as I worry about what will happen to me? I know I have to accept what the Lord will have in store for me. The Lord got me to this parish for a reason and he will be providing me with more challenges for me as I continue on.
Until next time take care!
Mk 14:12-16,22- 26
Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ
1st Reading: Ex 24:3-8
Moses came and told the people all the words of Yahweh and all his laws. The people replied with one voice: "Everything that Yahweh has said, we shall do."
Moses wrote down all the words of Yahweh, then rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve raised stones for the twelve tribes of Israel.
He then sent young men from among the sons of Israel to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice bullocks as peace offerings to Yahweh.
And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins; and with the other half of the blood he sprinkled the altar.
He then took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. They said, "All that Yahweh said we shall do and obey."
Moses then took the blood and sprinkled it on the people saying, "Here is the blood of the covenant that Yahweh has made with you in accordance with all these words."
12 What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,
14 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
16 O LORD, I am thy servant; I am thy servant, the son of thy handmaid. Thou hast loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.
18 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people
2nd Reading: Heb 9:11-15
Christ has appeared as the high priest with regard to the good things of these new times. He passed through a sanctuary more noble and perfect, not made by hands, that is, not created. He did not take with himself the blood of goats and bulls but his own blood, when he entered once and for all into this sanctuary after obtaining definitive redemption. If the sprinkling of people defiled by sin with the blood of goats and bulls or with the ashes of a heifer provides them with exterior cleanness and holiness, how much more will it be with the blood of Christ? He, moved by the eternal Spirit, offered himself as an unblemished victim to God and his blood cleanses us from dead works, so that we may serve the living God.
So Christ is the mediator of a new covenant or testament. His death made atonement for the sins committed under the old testament, and the promise is handed over to all who are called to the everlasting inheritance.
Gospel: Mk 14:12-16, 22-26
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the day when the Passover Lamb was killed, the disciples asked him, "Where would you have us go to prepare the Passover meal for you?"
So Jesus sent two of his disciples with these instructions, "Go into the city and there a man will come to you carrying a jar of water. Follow him to the house he enters and say to the owner, `The Master says: Where is the room where I may eat the Passover meal with my disciples?' Then he will show you a large room upstairs, already arranged and furnished. There you will prepare for us." The disciples went off. When they reached the city, they found everything just as Jesus had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. And he said, "Take this, it is my body." Then he took a cup and after he had given thanks, passed it to them and they all drank from it. And he said, "This is my blood, the blood of the Covenant, which is to be poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not taste the fruit of the vine again until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God."
After singing psalms of praise, they went out to the Hill of Olives.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
This past weekend we had a special treat and visitors. Father B was able to arrange for the Bishop of Hungarian Churches abroad to come and say mass and also perform a Confirmation celebration for some of the younger members of our parish and some adults also.
My hats off to Father B as everything came together nicely and he came off looking good. Also important to note was the attendance of the Bishop of our Diocese who was impressed by how the Hungarian peoples stay and hold together.
The church was decorated beautifully and of course for the special occasion everyone showed up and the place was packed. I only wish it was like that every week what a vibrant parish it would truly be but alas that is not the case.
The only real bad news and I have to pry and investigate is that father B might be leaving. The Hungarian Bishop gives the decision to where Hungarian priests are sent and after 17 years of being in Canada it appears Father B might be going home. Now I am happy for Father B if this was to occur but also sad for selfish reasons. Father B has taken me in if you will, he has used my help for what he needs and has shielded me from the political crap that occurs in all parishes and he has been a good friend. I guess in the end what is best for him is the most important. Maybe if there will be a new priest I can get acquainted with him and be able to help him. We will see.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
In reading the story I wondered how wonderful it would be to sit down with the Holy Father and just discuss things and talk about things with him. Anyways that is my musing for today and now on to the article,
Meeting children, pope shares early memories, says being pope is hard
By Sarah Delaney
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI offered a rare glimpse into his private feelings, telling a group of children that as a boy he never dreamed of becoming pope and that he still sometimes worries he is not up to the job.
The pope answered questions and described growing up in a small German village during an audience May 30 at the Vatican with 7,000 children from the Holy Childhood Association, a group affiliated with the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
The meeting with the enthusiastic young audience gave the pope an opportunity to speak more openly than usual about himself, prompted by the children's more personal questions.
When asked whether as a boy he had ever thought he might one day be pope, he admitted that it had not been one of his youthful plans.
"To tell the truth, I never would have thought I might become pope. ... I was a pretty ingenuous boy in a small village far from the city," he said. "We were happy to be in the country and didn't think about much else."
Even today, he said, "it's difficult for me to understand how the Lord could have thought of me, to choose me for this ministry. But I accept it from his hands, even if it is very surprising and seems very much beyond my means."
"But the Lord helps me," he said.
For him and his companions, Pope Pius XI, the pontiff at the time, "was loved and venerated, but for us he was unreachable, almost of another world," the pope said.
The young Joseph Ratzinger spent his childhood and adolescent years in the Bavarian village of Traunstein, near the Austrian border.
The pope told the children about growing up there with children of different socioeconomic circumstances, but said it hadn't caused problems because "we all collaborated, everyone helped each other and we went on our paths together. We were all Catholic, and this was a great help."
As children, he said, "sometimes we argued, but then we made up and forgot about what had happened. This is important ... the art of reconciliation, forgiveness, starting over without bitterness of the spirit."
At 8 or 9 years old, he became an altar boy, the pope said. "At that time, there were no altar girls, but the girls read better than we did so they would read from the liturgy."
Reminiscing about his early religious education with his village companions, he said, "We learned altogether to know the Bible. ... We learned the catechism together, we learned to pray together and together we prepared for our first Communion -- that was a splendid day."
He said that as children and teens, "we weren't saints and we had our arguments, but there was a beautiful communion between us, and the distinction between rich and poor, intelligent and less intelligent, didn't count."
The pope said nothing about the difficult circumstances of his childhood with the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi regime and World War II. Pope Benedict has written several times that he had been obligated as a young teenager to take part in the Hitler Youth program and that he was drafted into an anti-aircraft unit in the last months of the war.
Telling the children, "You all are missionaries, messengers for the missionary work of the church," he reminded them to pray often, together and with their families. "Pray before lunch, before dinner and on Sunday," he said.
He added, "A Sunday without Mass, the great common prayer of the church, isn't a real Sunday; it lacks heart and therefore the light for the rest of the week."
Monday, June 1, 2009
1st Reading: Acts 2:1-11
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. And suddenly out of the sky came a sound like a strong rushing wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared tongues as if of fire which parted and came to rest upon each one of them. All were filled with Holy Spirit and began to speak other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.
Staying in Jerusalem were religious Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered, all excited because each heard them speaking in his own language. Full of amazement and wonder, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? How is it that we hear them in our own native language? Here are Parthians, Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and foreigners who accept Jewish beliefs, Cretians and Arabians; and all of us hear them proclaiming in our own language what God, the Savior, does."
Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, thou art very great! Thou art clothed with honor and majesty
24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy creatures.
29 When thou hidest thy face, they are dismayed; when thou takest away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
30 When thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the ground.
31 May the glory of the LORD endure for ever, may the LORD rejoice in his works.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.
2nd Reading: 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13 (or Gal 5:16-25)
I tell you that nobody inspired by the Spirit of God may say, "A curse on Jesus," as no one can say, "Jesus is the Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.
There is diversity of gifts, but the Spirit is the same. There is diversity of ministries, but the Lord is the same. There is diversity of works, but the same God works in all.
The Spirit reveals his presence in each one with a gift that is also a service.
As the body is one, having many members, and all the members, while being many, from one body, so it is with Christ.
All of us, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, have been baptized in one Spirit to form one body and all of us have been given to drink from the one Spirit.
Gospel: Jn 15:26-27; 16:12-15 (or Jn 20:19-23)
On the evening of that day, the first day after the Sabbath, the doors were locked where the disciples were, because of their fear of the Jews, but Jesus came and stood in their midst. He said to them, "Peace be with you"; then he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples kept looking at the Lord and were full of joy.
Again Jesus said to them, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." After saying this he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit; for those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained."