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Manchester, United Kingdom, Apr 16, 2014 / 04:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, England, has announced plans for a house of discernment for potential priests, emphasizing the need for “a renewed love for the priesthood.”

“If we truly open our hearts in prayer within our families and parishes, I have no doubt this gift of new vocations will be given us,” the bishop said in his homily during the April 16 Chrism Mass at St. Anthony’s Church in the Wythenshawe district of Manchester.

The new discernment house will be based at the Shrewsbury Cathedral and is set to open in September 2015, the Diocese of Shrewsbury reports.

Bishop Davies said the house will create “a community at the heart of our diocese where the vocation to priesthood can be actively discerned and supported.” The house will be a year-long program.

He told the congregation that Catholics must recognize their role in caring for “the supernatural environment of faith and love within which each new generation grows.”

“Each of us has a part in making an environment where vocations can flourish,” he said.

The bishop lamented that some young people have told him that they were discouraged from their vocation, not by “hostile influences” outside the Church, but by Catholics.

Bishop Davies compared concerns for the vocations environment to concerns about the natural environment. He noted that problems in the natural environment turn people’s attention to the state of the water, soil and air.

“Likewise in the supernatural order if these vital signs of life in the vocations of marriage, consecrated life and the priesthood die away in a local church we also must be alert to the environment,” he said.

“This crisis of vocation is neither inexplicable nor irreversible,” the bishop continued. He encouraged prayer and a “renewed love for priestly vocation” to resolve the vocations crisis.

Bishop Davies noted that Jesus teaches Christians to pray “not as a last resort but as the first and irreplaceable means towards receiving this gift from God.”

He also announced prayer cards for vocations, which bear a prayer he wrote himself. These cards will be sent to all his diocese’s parishes.

The bishop also voiced gratitude for priests.

“Today we give thanks for every priest who has faithfully accompanied us along the path of our Christian lives bringing us the word of truth, the grace of the Sacraments and, above all, the supreme gift of the Holy Eucharist,” he said.

This love for the priesthood is not “human adulation” but rather “a faith-filled appreciation of the gift God gives in every man called to share in Christ’s priesthood.”

The priesthood is a life and ministry in which a man seeks “to draw all eyes to Christ the Lord,” Bishop Davies explained.

The Diocese of Shrewsbury presently has eight seminarians and 111 priests, including 28 retired priests, who are serving 98 parishes with 121 churches.

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Vatican City, Apr 16, 2014 / 12:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis is contributing to the fight against human trafficking by making the matter a frequent point of public discourse, says a U.S. ambassador who specializes in the subject.
 
Luis CdeBaca, U.S. Ambassador in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, shared with CNA April 12 his impressions about the Pope Francis’ commitment against modern day slavery.
 
“I do see Pope Francis working to insert the issue of human trafficking in informal comments. The idea is to institutionalize the issue as part of the normal public discourse,” the ambassador said.

He underscored that when Pope Francis “talks about freedom and mentions modern slavery, the latter becomes the normal part of the conversation– it is very exciting.”

He emphasized that “Popes in the past have issued writings and statements, but writings and statements don’t necessarily have the same impact as the spoken word and what people may hear. For instance, I was struck that at the Mass we had here in Washington for the St. Josephine Bakita feast, the priest talked in the sermon very extensively about what Pope Benedict XVI wrote on human trafficking. Just a few people knew it, and policy makers have not really heard it.”

Pope Francis had fierce words against human trafficking during the first year of his pontificate.

In a speech to a new group of ambassadors accredited to the Holy See Dec. 12, the pontiff said that human trafficking is “an issue that worries me very much and today is threatening people’s dignity.”

On March 5, Pope Francis sent a message to the faithful in Brazil on the occasion of the annual Lenten “Fraternity Campaign,” exclaiming that “it is not possible to remain indifferent before the knowledge that human beings are bought and sold like goods!”
 
Pope Francis also backed a workshop on “Trafficking in Human Beings: Modern Slavery” organized by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences and held last November.
 
The conference organizers issued a joint statement based on the suggestions presented by the participants, which included proposals for media, religious institutions, civil organizations and business sectors to work together in order to combat human trafficking.
 
Ambassador CdeBeca took part in that workshop.
 
He told CNA that “the final document laying out the 42 points was very well thought-out, and represents the Vatican’s cutting edge work on human trafficking. It is evident that the Vatican is putting itself into the lead on human trafficking, making sure that it is not just religious, but also ‘secular.’”
 
The ambassador stressed that “human trafficking is modern slavery and impacts people across the globe. It’s vital to focus on the victims as survivors and incorporate their voices into anti-trafficking policies and programs.”  
 
“Part of our goal is to encourage NGOs we work with to think outside-the-box,” he explained. “For example, many NGOs do a great job addressing the child sex trafficking or migration issue; however, we encourage these organizations to take a hard look at issues facing adults or people in their own countries, rather than only children or migrants. It’s important to look at the issue of human trafficking holistically.”

A holistic approach to the issue was also experienced in a conference on human trafficking organized by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales April 9-10, hosted by the Pontifical Academy for the Sciences, in the Vatican City State.
 
The conference gathered police chiefs from 20 different nations around the world, and both law enforcement and Vatican officials exchanged ideas on how to collaborate in combating the issue and caring for victims.
 
In a message sent to the conference, Pope Francis encouraged the participants all to “combine our efforts” with the desire for “our strategies and areas of expertise to be accompanied and reinforced by the mercy of the Gospel” and “by closeness to the men and women who are victims of this crime.”

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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. Bernadette Soubirous is the renowned visionary of Lourdes. She was born into a poor family in Lourdes, France, in 1844 and was baptized with the name Mary Bernard. Our Lady first appeared to the 14-year-old Bernadette on Feb. 11, 1858, in a cave on the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes. The visions continued for a period of several weeks. Two weeks after the first appearance of Our Lady, a spring emerged from the cave, and the waters were found to miraculously heal the sick and the lame. One month later, on March 25, the woman whom Bernadette had been seeing told her that her name was "the Immaculate Conception", and that a chapel should be built on the site of the apparitions. Civil authorities tried to frighten Bernadette into retracting her accounts, but she remained faithful to her visions. They also tried to shut down the spring and delay the construction of the chapel, but Empress Eugenie of France intervened when her child was cured with the water from the spring, and the church was built. In 1866, Bernadette entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in Nevers. She was diagnosed with a painful, incurable illness soon afterward and died in 1879 at the age of 35. Pope Pius XI canonized her in 1933.
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First Reading - Is 50:4-9a
4/16/2014 12:00:00 AM
4 The Lord hath given me a learned tongue, that I should know how to uphold by word him that is weary: he wakeneth in the morning, in the morning he wakeneth my ear, that I may hear him as a master.5 The Lord God hath opened my ear, and I do not resist: I have not gone back.6 I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me.7 The Lord God is my helper, therefore am I not confounded: therefore have I set my face as a most hard rock, and I know that I shall not be confounded.8 He is near that justifieth me, who will contend with me? let us stand together, who is my adversary? let him come near to me.9a Behold the Lord God is my helper: who is he that shall condemn me? 
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