St. Michael God's Knight Rome Reports: At Sunday's Angelus, Pope Francis explains how to face life's difficulties
Sara Shamma was born in Damascus, Syria. From an early age, she was encouraged to pursue her love of painting. In fact, by the time she was 14-years-old, Sara had already had her mind made-up. She knew she wanted to become a professional painter. She graduated fr
At Sunday's Angelus, Pope Francis explains how to face life's difficulties - ROME REPORTS
Rome's intense heat did not stop thousands of pilgrims from attending Sunday's Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square.
Pope Francis explained that God understands that life is hard, but at the same time, invites people not to remain stuck in the difficulties and problems that afflict the heart.
"Many times, when faced with one of life's burdens or a situation that causes us pain, we try to talk to someone who listens to us, with a friend or an expert... Though this does a lot of good, let's not forget Jesus! Let us not forget to open ourselves to Him and tell Him our life, to entrust people and situations to Him.”
Pope Francis said people must not only leave themselves and share their problems, but that they must do so with the person who can help best: Christ. He also invited those to open up the darkest areas of their life that God's light has not yet entered. To achieve this, the pope offered valuable advice.
"If anyone has this dark area, seek Jesus. Go to a missionary of mercy, go to a priest, go... but go to Jesus and tell this to Jesus. He says to each one of us: 'Courage, do not surrender to the burdens of life, do not close yourself when confronted with fears and sins, but come to Me!'”
Pope Francis concluded the morning by recalling that God always hopes, and does not magically fix people's problems, but helps them become stronger in the face of adversity.
St. Michael God's Knight Rome Reports: Full Text: Circular letter to Bishops on the bread and wine for the Eucharist
Full Text: Circular letter to Bishops on the bread and wine for the Eucharist - ROME REPORTS
CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENTS
Circular letter to Bishops on the bread and wine for the Eucharist
1. At the request of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is writing to Diocesan Bishops (and to those who are their equivalents in law) to remind them that it falls to them above all to duly provide for all that is required for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper (cf. Lk 22: 8,13). It is for the Bishop as principal dispenser of the mysteries of God, moderator, promoter and guardian of the liturgical life in the Church entrusted to his care (Cf. CIC can. 835 § 1), to watch over the quality of the bread and wine to be used at the Eucharist and also those who prepare these materials. In order to be of assistance we recall the existing regulations and offer some practical suggestions.
2. Until recently it was certain religious communities who took care of baking the bread and making the wine for the celebration of the Eucharist. Today, however, these materials are also sold in supermarkets and other stores and even over the internet. In order to remove any doubt about the validity of the matter for the Eucharist, this Dicastery suggests that Ordinaries should give
guidance in this regard by, for example, guaranteeing the Eucharistic matter through special certification.
The Ordinary is bound to remind priests, especially parish priests and rectors of churches, of their responsibility to verify those who provide the bread and wine for the celebration and the worthiness of the material. It is also for the Ordinary to provide information to the producers of the bread and wine for the Eucharist and to remind them of the absolute respect that is due to the norms.
3. The norms about the Eucharistic matter are given in can. 924 of the CIC and in numbers 319 – 323 of the Institutio generalis Missalis Romani and have already been explained in the Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum issued by this Congregation (25 March 2004):
a) "The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition. It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament. It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist. Hosts should obviously be made by those who are not only distinguished by their integrity, but also skilled in making them and furnished with suitable tools” (n. 48).
b) "The wine that is used in the most sacred celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice must be natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances. [...] Great care should be taken so that the wine intended for the celebration of the Eucharist is well conserved and has not soured. It is altogether forbidden to use wine of doubtful authenticity or provenance, for the Church requires certainty regarding the conditions necessary for the validity of the sacraments. Nor are other drinks of any kind to be admitted for any reason, as they do not constitute valid matter” (n. 50).
4. In its Circular Letter to the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences regarding legitimate variations in the use of bread with a small quantity of gluten and the use of mustum as Eucharistic matter (24 July 2003, Prot. N. 89/78 – 17498), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published the norms for the celebration of the Eucharist by persons who, for varying and grave reasons, cannot consume bread made in the usual manner nor wine fermented in the normal manner:
a) "Hosts that are completely gluten-free are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist. Low-gluten hosts (partially gluten-free) are valid matter, provided they contain a sufficient amount of gluten to obtain the confection of bread without the addition of foreign materials and without the use of procedures that would alter the nature of bread” (A. 1-2).
b) "Mustum, which is grape juice that is either fresh or preserved by methods that suspend its fermentation without altering its nature (for example, freezing), is valid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist” (A. 3).
c) "The Ordinary is competent to give permission for an individual priest or layperson to use low-gluten hosts or mustum for the celebration of the Eucharist. Permission can be granted habitually, for as long as the situation continues which occasioned the granting of permission” (C. 1).
5. The same Congregation also decided that Eucharistic matter made with genetically modified organisms can be considered valid matter (cf. Letter to the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 9 December 2013, Prot. N. 89/78 – 44897).
6. Those who make bread and produce wine for use in the Mass must be aware that their work is directed towards the Eucharistic Sacrifice and that this demands their honesty, responsibility and competence.
7. In order to facilitate the observance of the general norms Ordinaries can usefully reach agreement at the level of the Episcopal Conference by establishing concrete regulations. Given the complexity of situations and circumstances, such as a decrease in respect for the sacred, it may be useful to mandate a competent authority to have oversight in actually guaranteeing the genuineness of the Eucharistic matter by producers as well as those responsible for its distribution and sale.
It is suggested, for example, that an Episcopal Conference could mandate one or more Religious Congregations or another body capable of carrying out the necessary checks on production, conservation and sale of the Eucharistic bread and wine in a given country and for other countries to which they are exported. It is recommended that the bread and wine to be used in the Eucharist be treated accordingly in the places where they are sold.
From the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 15 June 2017, Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
Robert Card. Sarah, Prefect
Arthur Roche, Archbishop Secretary
St. Michael God's Knight Rome Reports:Pope visits university: Do not be afraid of migrants. Welcome them
For a few hours, Pope Francis became a professor at this Roman university. Although many teachers and students went out to greet him, there were not just students among them.
"Is him a student?"
The Pope took dozens of selfies before beginning his lesson.
Then, four students asked questions. One was this Syrian refugee who the pope brought back from the Greek island of Lesbos. She's a microbiologist, and now researches at the university. She asked about the fear of refugees.
"Do you think migrants threaten the Christian culture of Europe?"
The pope recalled that the attacks in Brussels were committed by young people born in Europe, but who had not been integrated. He also recalled that one in ten Swedes is an emigrant, or the son of emigrants, but that they are perfectly integrated.
"When there is welcome, and they are accompanied and integrated, there is no danger. With migration, one culture is received and another culture is offered. This is my response to fear."
"Because there is war, and they escape war; or there is hunger and they escape hunger. What would be the ideal solution? That there is no war or no hunger. That is, make peace, or bring investments in those places so that they have resources to work and make a living. But if there is hunger, they escape.”
Pope Francis also spoke on global politics and asked that the tone of public debate be changed in order to promote dialogue.
"What "medicines” exist to contrast violent attitudes?"
"It's true, there is an air of violence in our cities. The rush and pace of life also make us violent at home. And many times we forget, at home, to say good morning. We say "Hi, hi...”; these anonymous greetings. Violence is a process that makes us increasingly anonymous. It takes your name away."
"In a society where politics has been degraded so much - I refer to the world society, not only here, to everything- it loses the sense of social construction, of social coexistence. And social coexistence is done with dialogue. And before dialogue, listen.”
It was his first visit to a Roman university. And the students, besides taking note of their class, took the opportunity to take dozens of photos with him, or to embrace him.
It was not an easy visit. Nine years ago, Pope Benedict XVI had to cancel his visit to another university in Rome because a group of professors protested the visit.
Perhaps they could follow Pope Francis' advice to "listen to others”, so the university becomes a place where dialogue can happen.
St. Michael God's Knight Rome Reports: A school that helps children escaping war in Syria
These children belong to refugee families in Lebanon. Some of them arrived only a few weeks ago, while others who have managed to escape the war in Iraq and Syria have been here for two years. They are Christians and Muslims, and learn to hang out together in this special school.
Having lived through violence, persecution for religious reasons, and lack of electricity and food have left wounds that are difficult to heal.
"Children in general are not easy to deal with. Especially children that are emotionally traumatized. They are special cases. You have to be very careful in how you speak to them. You have to give them a very safe environment. They want to feel loved, they want to feel protected, they want to feel safe. And I think that here, in our school, that is our most important goal: to make the children feel safe, before anything else.”
Some of the younger ones, like Mohamad who is almost a teenager, have experienced closed schools back in their countries for several years.
"It’s difficult because, first of all they are learning things that they should have learned at a younger age and are now learning at an older age. That is the most difficult part. Second of all, discipline. They are not disciplined. They don’t know the rules of a classroom. So what we do is to introduce them to the rules in the beginning. We told them what you can do, what you can’t do, group study sessions, interactive learning… We try to make it as interesting as possible, so that they can be excited to learn.”
Fortunately, the fruits of education that the school passes along are appreciated during the first week of lessons.
"I don’t want them to start learning, you know, all the letters and the numbers right away, but the simpler things, like asking for permission before speaking, for example, or writing in neat handwriting and not just scraping the paper. Those are huge improvements. They are huge. And, you know, from week to week I noticed a huge improvement in the kids”.
This initiative is one of the 20 schools that are being managed by the AVSI Foundation in Lebanon that follows the Social Doctrine of the Church.
"Even just playing together without hurting each other, without arguing and so on is something, it's a wonderful achievement. Just being able to see them play, like now, during the recreational activity they have during rest, say, after one class and another. When they come here to play ball, they are together, they talk to each other. We try to pass on these simple values that will serve them for life.”
More than 10,000 children benefit from these educational centers, which open a door of hope for refugee children.
St. Michael God's Knight Rome Reports: She has escaped the horror of Syria with five children and Europe denies them entry
Most refugees transiting the Balkan route are women and children. Their number has grown dramatically. While in 2015, 70 percent were men now 80 percent of these refugees are women and children.
And many of them are here held in Idomeni, on the border between Greece and Macedonia, yet they are being denied entrance into Europe. This is the case with Nisrine and her five children. For the past two weeks, she has been dealing with the realities of her current European hell, while dealing with escaping the Syrian hell she left behind.
"I feel it is impossible to live here with my children. I can’t bear it. I have been here for ten days. I haven’t had a single nights rest. They sleep, I don’t.”
While waiting for a solution, she looks at the photos that she has managed to take with her. These are the few remaining memories of a life that will not return and that seems not to matter to those who have built a wall for her.
"It’s difficult with five children. Yesterday when it rained, my children were all soaked, the blankets were soaked. I dried my children, I put them to bed. And I haven’t slept since.”
Nisrine is a widow. Her husband was killed three years ago with a bomb in Aleppo, one of the cities hardest hit in the five years of armed conflict.
"It's hard. She was a housewife before and my husband was everything to me. And now I am both mother and father at the same time. It's very hard.”
There are about 2.5 million refugee children as a result of the war in Syria. Many others have died in the crossfire or even hunger and others have been used as child soldiers.
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