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Pope on All Saints Day: Beatitudes, the path to holiness in daily life

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On All Saints, Nov. 1, Pope Francis recited the midday ‘Angelus’ prayer with the faithful and tourists in Rome St. Peter’s Square.

By Robin Gomes

Pope Francis on Thursday urged Christians to seek holiness not by accomplishing extraordinary things but by following the path of the Beatitudes without half measures in everyday life.

The Holy Father offered the exhortation before the midday “Angelus” prayer on All Saints Day, a holiday in Italy and the Vatican. 

Speaking from his studio window to a crowd gathered in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square, the Pope reflected on the First Reading of the day’s Mass from the Book of Revelations that speaks about “a vision of a great multitude” singing God’s praise.  The Pope said this praise is most apt at Mass when we sing “Holy, Holy, Holy…”. “We not only think of the saints, but we do what they do to them.”

Family

feast

The Pope said we are united not only with the saints of the calendar but also with our “next door” saints – our relatives and acquaintances who are now part of that immense multitude.  Hence, the Pope said, All Saints Day is a family feast, because the saints, our truest brothers and sisters, love us, know what is our true good, help us, await us and want us to be happy with them in heaven. 

Path of the Beatitudes

And this path to happiness as indicated by the day’s Gospel, the Pope said are the Beatitudes which is contrary to the way of the world.

The Gospel says blessed are the poor, while the world says blessed are the rich.  The Gospel says blessed are the meek, while the world says blessed are

the



proud
.
  The Gospel says blessed are

the



pure
,
while the world says blessed are the sly and pleasure seekers.

It may seem that the way of the beatitudes and holiness needs to lead to defeat, yet the First Reading depicts the saints holding “palm branches in their hands”, symbols of victory.  It is the saints who are victorious, not the world, and they exhort us to choose their side, that of God who is Holy.

Belonging to heaven or earth?

In this regard, the Pope urged for an examination of conscience, whether we are on the side of heaven or of earth, whether we live for the Lord or for ourselves, for eternal happiness or for some gratification now.

The Pope said, “It is good for us to let ourselves be provoked by the saints, who never had half measures here on earth and who from there above “cheer” us, so that we choose God, humility, meekness, mercy and purity, because we are impassioned about heaven rather than earth.

The Pope said these brother and sister saints today are not asking us to listen to the Gospel one more time but rather to “put it into practice, to set out on the way of the Beatitudes.”  “It is not a question of doing extraordinary things, but of following this path every day that takes us to heaven, to our families, to our homes,” the Pope concluded.

After reciting the “Angelus”, Pope Francis greeted participants in the Race of Saints, an annual November 1 event sponsored by the Don Bosco Missions foundation that supports Salesian missionaries worldwide.  “Thank you for your beautiful initiative and for your presence,” the Pope said.

The Pope also reminded his listeners that on Friday, November 2, All Souls Day, he would be visiting the Laurentino Cemetery, some 13 km south of Rome.  “I invite you to accompany me with prayers on this day of supplication for those who have preceded us in the sign of faith and sleep the sleep of peace,” the Pope urged.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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Nuncio tasks clergy, laity on good stewardship

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Nuncio tasks clergy, laity on good stewardship

The Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, has urged the clergy, religious and lay faithful to be trustworthy, transparent, selfless and generous stewards in the discharge of their duties in the Church, following the way of Jesus.

Archbishop Filipazzi made the call during the opening ceremony of the maiden General Assembly of the Abuja Archdiocese, which was held on at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Friday September 4.

The General Assembly, with the theme “Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja: Together in Evangelization,” saw Bishops, priests, religious men and women, and the laity gathered together to discuss means of strengthening the faith of God’s people amid the ongoing Covid-19 health crisis.

Addressing participants, Archbishop Filipazzi said that “an administrator is neither a master nor a slave who cannot decide anything, but one who is given a responsibility by the Master.” In this light, the faithful are called to be “true administrators of divine mystery” entrusted to them by Our Lord, according to their varying roles in the Church.

The Apostolic Nuncio also said “differences must not lead to division,” as everyone, though different, must strive for unity since there is no room for divisions in the body of Christ.

Archbishop Filipazzi, speaking on the upsurge in violence in northern Nigeria in a Vatican News interview on 29 August, had also called for shunning divisions along religious and ethnic lines.

Rather, he appealed for “general respect of the law and general intervention of the government” in the violent attacks which have claimed many lives and caused massive material damage.

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Assumpta CMO raises fund to roof “St Joseph’s Hall of Faith”

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Assumpta CMO raises fund to roof “St. Joseph's Hall of Faith”

The Catholic Men Organization, CMO, Maria Assumpta Cathedral Parish Owerri, joined their counterparts in the Archdiocese to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, August 30.

The celebration earlier scheduled for May 10 this year was differed because of Covid-19 pandemic.

The occasion began with a Pontifical Mass presided over by His Grace, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Archbishop of Owerri cum Parish Priest of the Cathedral Parish.

In his homily, Archbishop Obinna called on Christians to live a life of witnessing to Christ at all times. He said that the zeal to preach the word of God is like a fire that burns inside the heart of a Christian and will not abate until one bears witness to Christ. This, he said, must be done in the course of our daily lives, in our places of work, in our families, among our friends, through living life that is Christ-like.

He congratulated the Christian fathers on the occasion and appealed for support to enable them complete their building project in no distant time. His Grace also appreciated the performance of the CMO choir during the Mass.

The theme for the parish celebration is: “Catholic Men As Spiritual Heads of the Domestic Church: Implications in the Family.”

The parish CMO used the celebration to raise fund for the roofing of their building project named: “St. Joseph’s Hall of Faith.”

In his brief remark at the occasion, the Parish CMO President, Arc. Anthony Emeka Ozoude said, “We have been able to complete the block work,” adding that, “the task before us now is to put a roof on the building.”

He therefore made a passionate appeal for generous donations from members and well wishers, assuring donors that every kobo donated will be prudently applied for the purpose.

Arc. Ozoude recalled that early this year, the parish CMO executive identified a three-prong programme of focus, namely: Membership revalidation, Debt recovery and Fund raising for the roofing.

He advised members not to sit on the fence anymore as there is so much to gain spiritually, morally and even intellectually from participating in the CMO activities both at the parish, stations and prayer groups levels.

“The committed members who attend our programmes regularly have discovered this and have remained resolute in their participation,” he said.

Activities marking this year’s celebration included Retreat, visit to ailing members in their homes, thanksgiving Mass blessing of the mini altars for the 5 prayer groups of CMO etc.

Arc. Ozoude thanked in a special way, Archbishop Obinna, the Cathedral Administrator and priests working in the Cathedral for their support. He also commended the various stations and prayer groups for their cooperation.

The CMO president acknowledged the good work and sacrifice of the Planning Committee, headed by Dr. Uche Ukozor and thanked them for a job well done.

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