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Vatican City, Apr 23, 2014 / 04:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- At a conference held at the Vatican Wednesday, a scholar on Bl. John XXIII and the Pope's one-time butler both spoke about his kindness and charity ahead of his canonization, which will occur April 27 along with that of John Paul II.

Guido Gusso, who was John XXIII's personal butler, was present at the April 23 event, recounting several personal stories. Gusso began working for Angelo Roncalli when he was Patriarch of Venice.

Gusso said that when he got a girlfriend, he went to the cardinal to make the case that he wasn't being paid enough.

Roncalli considered what Gusso said, and replied, quoting Christ, that even the birds of the air are taken care of, “so you needn't worry.”

Gusso remained in Roncalli's service.

While Roncalli was cardinal, Gusso made a habit of kneeling before him and kissing his ring. But Roncalli eventually reacted, telling him, “You can kiss my ring in the morning and in the evening, but I don’t like all of this kneeling. Go to the chapel and kneel before the Sacrament, but not in front of me.”
    
Another moment Gusso remembered distinctly was the night Roncalli was elected Bishop of Rome.

Explaining how it was decided not to announce his election immediately, Gusso said the new Pope asked him to go to his office to retrieve for him some papers and cards.

On attempting to leave the area, Gusso was encountered by a cardinal who threatened him with excommunication for potentially breaking the seal of silence.

Returning to John XXIII to tell him what had transpired, Gusso said John told him to simply tell the cardinal that he would immediately lift the excommunication.

Telling the cardinal this on his second try, Gusso was permitted to leave for the papers and cards.

Gusso concluded by noting the “beautiful continuity” between John XXIII and Pope Francis. He pointed in particular to Francis' apostolic exhortation “Evangelii gaudium,” and John's address opening Vatican II, “Gaudet Mater Ecclesia,” or “Mother Church Rejoices.”

He said both tell “the story of the Gospel” and that both documents have a beautiful continuity in both “ideas and spirituality.”

Monsignor Battista Angelo Pansa, a scholar who has written extensively on John XXIII, said the Pope “was a man who was a pastor, a shepherd of peace who was able to work with the east and the west; a man of great dialogue.”

Msgr. Pansa is pastor of Transfiguration parish in Rome, and is a priest of the Bergamo diocese – the same Church for which Roncalli was ordained a priest in 1904.  

He reflected that the blessed displayed “great docility and openness to the Holy Spirit” throughout his life.

John XXIII's life, he said, can be summed up in the expressions “a blessed and happy poverty,” and “the art of encounter.”

Emphasizing how the late Pope learned his values from a family environment, Msgr. Pansa recalled that when Roncalli entered seminary at the age of 20, he wrote to his mother explaining that “I am not becoming a priest for honors … or for money,” but “for the most poor.”

Msgr. Pansa noted that while on retreat before entering the seminary, Roncalli titled his diary “Journal of a Soul,” scribbling on the inside cover “inflame my heart” – showing his life-long desire for sanctity.

The priest discussed Roncalli's decision to take the name John upon his election as Bishop of Rome: it was the name of the parish church in which he was baptized, and of his cathedral, St. John Lateran.

In his discourse upon accepting the supreme mandate, Bl. John XXIII said, “the name John … is that given to two of the men who were nearest” to Christ, John the Evangelist and John the Baptist.

The name, in fact, of St. John Lateran is in full, the “Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior and of Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran.”

Moving on to discuss the good works done by Good Pope John, Msgr. Pansa recounted his visit to Bambino Gesu hospital on Christmas Day, 1958 – the children, seeing the hat he wore, mistook him for Santa Claus.

The following day he traveled to Regina Coeli prison, telling the inmates that “since you cannot come to me, I came to you,” and encouraging them to tell their families that “the Pope came to see you and to bless you.”

Msgr. Pansa told of how, prior to convoking the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII visited both Loretto and Assisi, so as to entrust the council to the intercession of Mary and St. Francis.

Going on, he recalled how the Pope worked to unify east and west during the Cuban Missile Crisis, explaining that after visiting him, the daughter of Nikita Khrushchev, Rada, went to the White House, where she saw a rosary hanging from the bedpost of President Kennedy’s youngest daughter, Caroline.

It was identical to the rosary John XXIII had given to Rada's two children when they met with him in Rome, the priest observed, emphasizing how John wanted to unite the two sides through the rosary.

John XXIII was also the first Pope to address an encyclical to “all men of good will” with his “Pacem in terris,” on establishing universal peace in truth, justice, charity, and liberty.

Reflecting on how the Blessed become known as the “Good Pope,” Msgr. Pansa recalled his visits to parishes of his diocese during Lent in 1962 and 1963; it was during his visit to St. Basil that the moniker was given him: the church was still under construction, and so he had to stand in a makeshift theater outside.

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New Haven, Conn., Apr 23, 2014 / 04:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Knights of Columbus will sponsor major celebrations of the double canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII in several U.S. cities, in addition to providing financial and logistical support in Rome.

“These two saints have each left very important legacies for the Church, and important examples of holiness for all of us,” Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, said April 22.

Anderson noted that John XXIII “led the Church into the Second Vatican Council,” the 1962-1965 ecumenical council that aimed to respond to the challenges of the modern world.

The supreme knight described John Paul II as the council’s “key interpreter” who left a “profound legacy” that is still shaping Christianity.

The Catholic fraternal order will host broadcasts of the April 27 canonization ceremony and hold related events in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and New Haven, Conn.

In Washington, D.C., on the weekend of April 26-27, the Knights will host several events at the National Shrine of Pope John Paul II, including a live broadcast of the ceremony early Sunday morning. Events begin at 7:30 p.m. local time April 26 with a showing of a documentary on John Paul II. The schedule includes a religious procession, a midnight Mass, a rosary, Confessions and Eucharistic Adoration. The veneration of a relic of the Pope will begin as soon as he is officially canonized.

The shrine will be renamed the Saint John Paul II National Shrine on April 27 at a 9:30 a.m. ceremony.

The Knights of Columbus is also a major sponsor of the Los Angeles archdiocese’s celebration at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral, which will last from 7-11 p.m. local time on April 26. The event will include a rosary, Eucharistic Adoration, and music from artists like Tony Melendez, who performed for John Paul II during his 1987 visit to Los Angeles. Several people will speak about how John Paul II changed their lives.

The Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven – where the Knights’ headquarters are located – will begin its celebrations at 10 a.m. Sunday with showings of video biographies of the two newly sainted Popes.

The museum will also host tours of its papal gallery. A shuttle will be made available for travel to St. Stanislaus Church for a 3 p.m. prayer service. Participants will then depart the church in a procession with a relic of John Paul II. The relic is a fragment from the Pope’s bloodstained cassock worn during the 1981 assassination attempt.

The procession will end at the Knights of Columbus Museum, which will allow veneration of the relic until 7 p.m. Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the following Monday and Tuesday.

At April 28 at 5:30 p.m., the museum will host Archbishop emeritus Daniel A. Cronin of Hartford for a talk about his personal memories of the two Pope saints.

The Knights of Columbus has donated almost $100,000 for Vatican Television’s broadcast of the canonizations. Additionally, the organization has opened two of its sports fields in Rome to host campsites for a thousand pilgrims who are attending the canonizations.

There are more than 1.8 million members of the Knights of Columbus worldwide in more than 14,000 local councils.

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Seeing the Face of Christ in the Poor

Each Sunday, we hear St. Vincent’s name mentioned along with St. Louis and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne during the Eucharistic prayers. St. Louis we know was the King of France. We know St. Rose was a teacher and brought education to all children, especially the Native American Indians. We have heard of St. Vincent and we know he is associated with the poor and that the St. Vincent de Paul Society provides resources to those in need. St. Vincent was involved in the formation of priests and set up missionaries to go out among ordinary people and tell them about Jesus. About 150 years after his death, his missionaries came to the St. Louis area. They asked his intercession on their great mission of reaching out to the people in the wilderness of St. Louis, asking him to be our patron. 

In 1581, St. Vincent de Paul was born to poor farmers. He was the third son and learned how to tend the animals. His father thought this would be good for him, but Vincent was smart and everyone noticed. The neighbors convinced his father to send him to school and let one of his other brothers tend the animals. Therefore, Vincent went away to school. He got along very well and taught others. His teaching ability would become an asset to him and allow him many opportunities to bring others to Christ. Although, he lived almost 500 years ago, St. Vincent had a very interesting life. While making a journey by boat to a new city where he was assigned, St. Vincent was captured by pirates and sold into slavery. After years as a slave, his master decided to help him escape and chose to go with him. St. Vincent’s Christian example would lead his master to repent and return to the Catholic Church. 

The St. Vincent de Paul Chapel at the Cardinal Rigali Center

Everywhere St. Vincent lived and worked the example of his life would bring others to Christ. He was a tutor in a very rich household. He affected the parents of the children he tutored. In the 1500’s, dueling was the answer to any offense. Honor was everything. One day, the father of his students was in church praying before going off to duel. St. Vincent convinced the father that taking another’s life in a duel was cruel and God did not approve. The father amended his ways and followed the example of St. Vincent. The father and mother became St. Vincent’s greatest supporters and after the mother’s death, the father would go on to become a priest. 

This was the effect St. Vincent had on people. People would change their behaviors and amend their ways to live according to the church doctrines and follow the ways of Christ. St. Vincent had no desire to be rich or famous. Although he had influential friends, he was happy to stay working with the poor in every community. In a time when people lived extravagant lives with no regard to how the poor people lived, he would remind them of the vast differences in lifestyles. He found priests to be missionaries and formed Lady’s Charities. While volunteering for these charities, wealthier women would work alongside not so wealthy women to feed and shelter the poor. They founded hospitals and orphanages. Where there was a need, St. Vincent found ways to go to these people and meet them where they were. One day he decided to visit the prisoners who served their sentence rowing the large ships. The inhumane way in which these prisoners were treated saddened and shocked him. He appealed to the ship owners and gained permission to take care of these men. It was difficult work, but St. Vincent managed again to con-vert souls and bring more people to the Church. He said to his followers, “Love makes us see God and nothing else but God in each of those whom we love.” St. Vincent gave his life for others and taught everyone by his exam-ple. 

Each month our Pope has special intentions. He has general and missionary intentions. In September 2012, he asked God to send: “Help for the poorest Churches that Christian communities may have a growing willingness to send missionaries, priests, and lay people along with concrete resources to the poorest Churches.” On September 27, we celebrate St. Vincent de Paul’s feast day. This is an appropriate time to ask God to help the poorest. St. Vincent would approve, he once said, “By mutual support the strong will sustain the weak, and God’s work will be accomplished.” St. Vincent wants everyone to be an example of Christ in the world. To love all people as God loved us. --- Alethea Paradis, M.T.S.

 

St. Vincent de Paul's Legacy

Jesus said, “this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12) As Christians we are called by these words of Christ to love and care for one another. The greatest way to outwardly express our love for one another is through charity- by donating our time, talent, and treasures to those in need.

There are many ways to get involved in the Catholic ministries in the Archdiocese of St. Louis that help the poor,
abused, neglected, elderly, disabled and lonely in our community, and one way is through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. 

“Serving Christ’s needy is the first purpose of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.”

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul provides services in crisis intervention, housing, criminal justice ministry, transportation, and health.

Photo courtesy of svdpstlouis.org

Most parishes have a Society of St. Vincent de Paul conference, which are “chapters” of the Society. To find volunteer opportunities with your parish SVDP conference, you can call your parish office or look at the list of SVDP conferences.

To volunteer or donate to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul call 314.881.6000 or donate online.

 

Read more about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.


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St. Adalbert of Prague
4/23/2014 12:00:00 AM
Originally given the name of Wojtech, the boy who would be known as St. Adalbert was born to a family of nobility in the Central European region of Bohemia during the mid-900s. When Wojtech became seriously ill during his childhood, his parents resolved that they would offer their son to God as a priest if their prayers for his survival were granted.  Wojtech survived the illness, and his parents sent him to study with Archbishop Adalbert of Magdeburg, a Benedictine missionary who would later be canonized in his own right. The archbishop gave the young student his own name at confirmation, setting an example that the boy would follow in his own life as a bishop, missionary and monk.  The young Adalbert was 25 when his mentor died in 981. He returned to his native Bohemia, where Bishop Deitmar of Prague ordained him a priest two years later. However, the end of Bishop Deitmar’s life provided the young priest with a cautionary example that would remain with him until the end of his life. During his last illness, the bishop became terrified of his impending judgment, confessing that he had neglected his spiritual duties in favor of wealth, honors and pleasure. After watching his bishop die on the verge of despair, Adalbert immediately resolved to live his own life in a more penitential spirit than before. He began wearing a hair-shirt and distributing his money to the poor. Soon, he would be chosen to replace the bishop whose agonizing death had shown him the gravity of spiritual leadership.  Adalbert was consecrated as the Bishop of Prague just months after becoming a priest. “It is an easy thing to wear the mitre and a cross,â€� Adalbert reflected, “but it is a most dreadful circumstance to have an account to give of a bishopric to the judge of the living and the dead.â€�  The bishop took steps to reform the finances of his diocese, ensuring that his own expenses made up only a small portion of the budget. Meanwhile, he slept on the floor, fasted regularly, gave sermons almost daily, and visited poor neighborhoods and prisons.  But in six years of constant prayer, fasting, and preaching, Bishop Adalbert made little headway among the Bohemians. The low point came when he unsuccessfully attempted to shield a woman convicted of adultery from a mob that sought to kill her. He responded by excommunicating the murderers, but the public seemed to favor them rather than the bishop. Frustrated and dejected, Adalbert journeyed to Rome and asked Pope John XV for permission to retire from his diocese in 989. He joined a Roman monastery and purposely took on its most undesirable tasks of work and maintenance.  Five years after Adalbert’s departure, the Archbishop of Mentz – who had consecrated him as a bishop – asked the Pope to send him back to the diocese of Prague. Pope John did so, but made it clear that Adalbert was free to leave if the residents of his diocese continued to resist him. When their former bishop returned, the residents of Prague welcomed him warmly and promised to change their ways. Sadly, however, this promise proved false, and Adalbert came to fear that he might be driven to despair by the rebellious locals. In keeping with the Pope’s provision, he left and became a missionary to the Hungarians.  In the course of his Hungarian missions, Adalbert taught – among many others – King Stephen I, who would later be canonized as St. Stephen of Hungary. Afterward, he returned to the Roman monastery of St. Boniface, where he served in the office of prior. But Adalbert’s consecrator remained insistent that he should return to Prague yet again. Pope Gregory V finally ordered Adalbert to resume his duties as the Bishop of Prague. This time, however, the citizens defied him openly. A Bohemian prince named Boleslaus went so far as to kill several of Adalbert's relatives and burn their homes, to make it clear how unwelcome his presence would be. Nonetheless, Adalbert attempted to obey the Pope’s charge, and sent a message asking whether the other residents of Prague might allow him to return. The response he received indicated he should not come back, and would be in danger if he chose to do so. Rejected by his own people, Adalbert decided to begin a mission to the pagan tribes in Poland and northeastern Germany. He successfully converted many of them, but eventually encountered the same hostility that had driven him from his diocese. This was partly because he denounced the native practices of tree-worship and human sacrifice, but also because he was suspected of being a Polish spy. A pagan priest eventually captured Adalbert and his two companions, binding them and taking them hostage while they slept. Adalbert prayed aloud, offering his own life to God and begging forgiveness for his attackers. “You had it always in your mouth that it was your desire to die for Christ,â€� he heard the pagan priest say, as he stabbed Adalbert in the chest with a lance. Six others proceeded to stab him, and he died of his wounds on April 23, 997. A Polish prince ransomed back St. Adalbert's body from the pagans, exchanging his remains for their weight in gold. His relics were transferred to the Polish city of Gniezno, and kept in the church known as Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Adalbert.
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First Reading - Acts 3:1-10
4/23/2014 12:00:00 AM
1 Now Peter and John went up into the temple at the ninth hour of prayer.2 And a certain man who was lame from his mother' s womb, was carried: whom they laid every day at the gate of the temple, which is called Beautiful, that he might ask alms of them that went into the temple.3 He, when he had seen Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked to receive an alms.4 But Peter with John fastening his eyes upon him, said: Look upon us.5 But he looked earnestly upon them, hoping that he should receive something of them.6 But Peter said: Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise, and walk.7 And taking him by the right hand, he lifted him up, and forthwith his feet and soles received strength.8 And he leaping up, stood, and walked, and went in with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God.10 And they knew him, that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened to him. 
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