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Posted on 10/1/2022 14:00 PM (CNA Daily News)
Manchester, England, Oct 1, 2022 / 06:00 am (CNA).
As Mass finished on a recent late-summer Sunday morning in northern England, people sang heartily “Faith of Our Fathers,” the anthem to the men and women who were executed by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
No sooner did the chords die down than the people started forming a solemn queue. As they passed by a small cylinder enclosing a withered hand — COVID’s aftermath means they still cannot touch or kiss the reliquary — each worshipper prayed a silent prayer.
The hand belongs to Edmund Arrowsmith, a priest who was executed for celebrating Mass in the 17th century.
Like other martyrs of that era, he was hanged until nearly unconscious and then cut down only to be dragged through the streets lying on a hurdle before arriving at his final execution spot, where he was cut open and mutilated. (Picture the final scene of the Mel Gibson movie “Braveheart,” when William Wallace is disemboweled.) As a further deterrent, his body parts were displayed prominently to scare others from defying the monarch.
Brave devotees salvaged these relics, which is how the hand of now St. Edmund Arrowsmith has pride of place in the Church of St. Edmund and St. Oswald in Ashton-in-Makerfield, a former mining town midway between Liverpool and Manchester.
A persecuted family
The Jesuit and martyr was born Brian Arrowsmith around 1585 into a Catholic family that was constantly harassed for practicing the “old” faith.
One uncle died in prison, and Arrowsmith had to be cared for by neighbors, as his parents were carried off to jail when he was a child. A relative of his mother’s, Father John Gerard, wrote the classic account of life as an illegal pastor in his book “Autobiography of a Hunted Priest.” Gerard was tortured in the Tower of London and staged a daring escape from the prison in which so many Catholics were incarcerated.
Given this heritage, it was no surprise the future saint became a priest. Using his confirmation name, Edmund, he served as a missionary from 1612 to 1622, when he was arrested and questioned by the Anglican bishop of Chester.
Arrowsmith was released when King James I of England ordered an amnesty for all arrested priests as part of negotiations to arrange a Spanish marriage for his son.
During this period, restrictions ranged from punitive to murderous, but for six years, Arrowsmith was able to travel around the northwest of England, tending to the needs of a far-flung flock. Sadly, his rebuke of a couple for their sexual immorality saw him reported to the authorities, and he tried to flee his pursuers on horseback.
The house where he was based is called Arrowsmith House in the village of Brindle near the city of Preston. Holy Mass is celebrated once a year in the upstairs room where St. Edmund said his final Mass before fleeing.
This time, there was no reprieve, as the horse refused to clear a ditch. He was kept overnight in the cellar of a local pub, where his captors used his money to buy beer.
Arrowsmith was kept in Lancaster Castle before his execution but not before another priest to be martyred, now St. John Southworth, heard his confession. (Southworth’s remains are enclosed in a case in Westminster Cathedral, London.)
After his execution in Lancaster, the Arrowsmith family kept St. Edmund’s hand as a relic before it went to its present home in 1929 — the year of his beatification. The saint was one of the 40 English martyrs canonized by St. Paul VI in 1970.
Current parish priest at the Church of St. Edmund, Father John Gorman, feels the weight of the saint’s history on his shoulders.
“I feel like I am the custodian of his legacy, which is a very big responsibility,” he said. “As I told the people in my homily for the feast day [Aug. 28] this year, we are not likely to be executed for our faith but what we believe is not popular in the current climate. We all have to have the same fidelity of St. Edmund.”
Posted on 10/1/2022 10:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Oct 1, 2022 / 02:00 am (CNA).
October is designated by the Catholic Church as the “Month of the Rosary.” Here are seven common myths and facts about this devotion to Our Lady.
Only Catholics can pray the rosary.
False. While rosaries are typically associated with Catholics, non-Catholics can certainly pray the rosary — and in fact, many credit it with their conversion. Even some Protestants recognize the rosary as a valid form of prayer.
Praying the rosary is idolatry.
False. Some have objections to the rosary, claiming it idolizes Mary and is overly repetitive.
Just like any practice, the rosary could be abused — just as someone might idolize a particular pastor or priest, form of worship, or fasting. But the rosary itself is not a form of idolatry.
The rosary is not a prayer to Mary — it is a meditation on the life of Christ revealed in five mysteries “with the purposes of drawing the person praying deeper into reflecting on Christ’s joys, sacrifices, sufferings, and the glorious miracles of his life.”
When we pray the Hail Mary, we are not adoring Mary, we are asking for her intercession — just as we might ask a friend or family member to pray for us.
Second, any prayer can lose its meaning if we do not intentionally meditate on it. Focusing on the mysteries with purpose and intention is key to the rosary’s transforming power. As one author encourages: “The rosary itself stays the same, but we do not.”
You can wear a rosary as a necklace.
It depends. It is typically considered disrespectful and irreverent to wear a rosary around one’s neck, even though the Church does not have an explicit declaration against doing so.
However, Canon 1171 of the Code of Canon Law says that “sacred objects, set aside for divine worship by dedication or blessing, are to be treated with reverence. They are not to be made over to secular or inappropriate use, even though they may belong to private persons.”
It is important to treat the rosary with respect and intention. If you intend to wear the rosary as a piece of jewelry, this would not be respectful and should be avoided. It goes without saying that wearing the rosary as a mockery or gang symbol would be a sin.
But if it is your intention to use the rosary and be mindful of prayer, then it could be permissible. It is not uncommon in some cultures, like in Honduras and El Salvador, to see the rosary respectfully worn around the neck as a sign of devotion.
Rosary rings or bracelets might be a better option if you want to keep your rosary close at hand as a reminder to pray, as they are kept more out of sight and would not be as easily misconstrued to be a piece of jewelry.
The rosary is an extremist symbol.
False. A widely-shared Atlantic article this summer went viral for accusing the rosary of being an “extremist symbol.”
“Just as the AR-15 rifle has become a sacred object for Christian nationalists in general, the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or “rad trad”) Catholics,” the article read.
The author also cited the Church’s stance on traditional marriage and the sanctity of life as evidence of “extremism” and claimed that Catholics’ tendency to call the rosary a “weapon in the fight against evil” as dangerous.
As CNA reported this year, popes have urged Catholics to pray the rosary since 1571 — often referring to the rosary as a prayer “weapon” and most powerful spiritual tool.
The rosary is not biblical.
Untrue! Most of its words come directly from Scripture.
First, the Our Father is prayed. The words of the Our Father are those Christ taught his disciples to pray in Matthew 6:9–13.
The Hail Mary also comes straight from the Bible. The first part, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,” comes from Luke 1:28, and the second, “Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,” is found in Luke 1:42.
Finally, each of the decades prayed on the rosary symbolizes an event in the lives of Jesus and Mary. The decades are divided into four sets of mysteries: Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious, the majority of which are found in Scripture.
A rosary bead, or pea, can kill you.
Somewhat true. A rosary pea, or abrus seed, is a vine plant native to India and parts of Asia. The seeds of the vine, which are red with black spots, are often used to make beaded jewelry — including rosaries. Rosary pea seeds contain a toxic substance called abrin, which is a naturally-occurring poison that can be fatal if ingested. However, it’s unlikely for someone to get abrin poisoning just from holding a rosary made from abrus seeds, as one would have to swallow them.
Today, most rosaries are made from other non-toxic materials, such as olive wood, plastic, or glass — eliminating this concern.
Carrying a rosary can protect you.
True. The rosary has proven to be a miraculous force for protecting those of faith and bestowing upon them extra graces, such as the victory of the Christian forces at the Battle of Lepanto after St. Pius V implored Western Christians to pray the rosary.
Many great saints across history, including Pope John Paul II, Padre Pio, and Lucia of Fatima, have also recognized the rosary as the most powerful weapon in fighting the real spiritual battles we face in the world.
We know that spiritual warfare is a real and present danger: “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:11–12).
“The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin … If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors,” Pope Pius XI said.
Posted on 10/1/2022 09:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
Rome Newsroom, Oct 1, 2022 / 01:00 am (CNA).
Scenes from St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s beloved spiritual autobiography “Story of a Soul” come alive when walking through the rooms of her childhood home in northern France.
The red brick home in Lisieux in the region of Normandy nurtured a household of saints under one roof.
In addition to the youngest doctor of the church, Thérèse’s parents, Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin, were canonized together in 2015, and the cause of her older sister, Léonie, is currently being examined by the Vatican.
Sister Veronique, a Carmelite who assists visitors to St. Thérèse’s childhood home, told CNA that visits to the house have resulted in “many conversions.”
“People are very touched by the witness of the Martin family when they come into this house. They realize how much love was exchanged between the parents and the children,” she said.
“They feel that love and that this house has a soul.”
The Martin family settled in the house in Lisieux in 1877 after Thérèse’s mother, Zélie, died of cancer when Thérèse was only 4 years old.
Thérèse was the ninth child in the family — four of her siblings, two of whom were boys, died before she was born.
After the death of his wife, Louis Martin “educated his girls well by placing God at the forefront of the family,” Sister Veronique said.
“He went to Mass every morning and when his daughters saw their father pray, they imagined him as a saint. Truly all of the Martin girls realized that they had parents who were saints and followed their example.”
Thérèse chose her older sister Pauline as her “second mother.” When Thérèse learned that Pauline planned to enter the local Carmelite convent as a cloistered religious sister, she was very distressed and eventually became ill. Her father asked for a novena of Masses to be offered for 10-year-old Thérèse’s healing. His prayers were soon answered.
In Thérèse’s bedroom, on the second floor of the house, one can stand in the spot where a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary smiled at Thérèse and she experienced a miraculous healing on May 13, 1883.
Thérèse recounted the event in “Story of Soul”: “I turned to my Heavenly Mother, begging her from the bottom of my heart to have pity on me. Suddenly the statue seemed to come to life and grow beautiful, with a divine beauty that I shall never find words to describe. The expression of Our Lady’s face was ineffably sweet, tender, and compassionate, but what touched me to the very depths of my soul was her gracious smile.”
With the grace of the smile from the Blessed Virgin, Thérèse was cured. The white Marian statue currently in Thérèse’s bedroom is a copy of the original, which can be found above the shrine in the Carmelite chapel in Lisieux.
Hanging on the wall in the bedroom is St. Thérèse’s real hair, cut before she entered Carmel.
The dining room contains the original kitchen table and chairs where the Martin family would gather for their daily meals. The clock on the wall is signed “Louis Martin” by Thérèse’s father, who was both a jeweler and a clockmaker.
Sister Veronique’s favorite story from the life of St. Thérèse took place near the fireplace where Thérèse received a “Christmas grace” of complete conversion at the age of 14 in 1886.
The Little Flower wrote: “I knew that when we reached home after Midnight Mass I should find my shoes in the chimney-corner, filled with presents, just as when I was a little child, which proves that my sisters still treated me as a baby.”
However, Thérèse overheard her father complaining that she was too old to behave like such a little child. Though greatly upset, she did not cry, as she would have before.
“Choking back my tears, I ran down to the dining-room, and, though my heart beat fast, I picked up my shoes, and gaily pulled out all the things, looking as happy as a queen.”
Thérèse pinpointed this moment as the time that she “regained, once for all, the strength of mind which she had lost at the age of four and a half.”
Less than two years later, Thérèse left the childhood home where she had spent 11 years of her life and entered the Carmel, where she remained until her death from tuberculosis at 24 years of age on Sept. 30, 1897. Her house has been a place of pilgrimage since 1913.
“My mission — to make God loved — will begin after my death,” she said before she died. “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses.”
Posted on 10/1/2022 06:00 AM (Catholic Online > theFeed)
Posted on 10/1/2022 06:00 AM (Catholic Online > Prayer of the Day)
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Posted on 10/1/2022 06:00 AM (Catholic Online > Saint of the Day)
Posted on 10/1/2022 03:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
Denver Newsroom, Sep 30, 2022 / 19:00 pm (CNA).
Indigenous issues were at the forefront when about 90 Catholic bishops met in Cornwall, Ontario for the Canadian bishops’ 2022 plenary assembly.
“2022 has been a historic year for listening, learning and working to rebuild longstanding relationships that have been profoundly damaged by the legacy of residential schools,” Bishop Raymond Poisson, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Sept. 29.
“Pope Francis apologized on behalf of the Church for the sins of her children, acknowledged the catastrophic impact of the residential school system and called on us to promote the rights of Indigenous Peoples and to favor processes of healing and reconciliation,” said Poisson, who heads Quebec’s Diocese of Saint-Jérôme - Mont-Laurier.
The residential school system was set up by the Canadian government, beginning in the 1870s, as a means to forcibly assimilate indigenous children and strip them of familial and cultural ties. Both Catholic and Protestant groups ran the schools, with Catholics responsible for the majority of them.
The schools were poorly supervised and funded. The students received a poor education and lived in substandard housing. Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in a 2015 report estimated that 4,100 to 6,000 students died as a result of disease, injury, neglect, or abuse over the decades. Tuberculosis was a major killer, as was influenza. As late as 1945, the death rate among indigenous children at the schools was almost five times the death rate of other Canadian children the same age.
The Canadian bishops’ conference president emphasized the need for continued action.
“We know that this is a journey that requires long-term commitment, dialogue and consultation, and we pray that our discussions at this plenary have been a meaningful step towards a more hopeful future,” Poisson commented.
Canadian bishops pledged continued dialogue and relationship-building with Canada’s indigenous people, known as First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Indigenous delegations to Rome in March and the papal visit in July saw “respectful collaboration” between the Catholic Church and local, regional, and national indigenous leaders. The bishops hope to make this kind of collaboration more effective and permanent.
Poisson, writing on behalf of the Canadian bishops, sent a Sept. 26 letter thanking Pope Francis for his visit to Canada.
“There can be no question that it has left a profound and lasting mark on Canada, Indigenous Peoples, and the local and universal Church,” said the letter. He said the Roman Pontiff’s presence and his words of healing and reconciliation have helped the bishops take steps toward “a more hopeful future.”
The bishops’ meeting pledged to continue providing documentation and records to help residential school survivors and researchers find the truth, in the face of cumbersome processes to identify and request records. They have approved guidelines for dioceses across Canada, emphasizing “transparency and simplicity.”
While the historic injustices against indigenous people have been discussed for decades, the residential schools again became a major issue in Canada in mid-2021 when researchers reported preliminary findings of what appeared to be graves of students near former residential schools.
News reports erroneously depicted the possible graves as “mass graves” and often failed to clarify that the findings had not been confirmed by exhumation and other analysis. It is also possible that any graves are from community graveyards and include remains of non-students and non-indigenous peoples of the area, including residential school staff and their families.
The reaction to the reports helped inspire a wave of vandalism and arson against Catholic churches, including some churches on indigenous land which still serve indigenous Catholics. The attacks drew condemnation from indigenous leaders. Canada’s national statistical office, Canada Statistics, reported a 260% spike in anti-Catholic hate crimes in 2021.
Catholic outreach efforts continue.
The Canadian bishops’ meeting pledged continued support for Catholic institutions, seminaries, and religious communities that foster a greater understanding of indigenous culture, language and spiritual traditions and values. They hoped that this support would lead to more direct encounters with indigenous communities and help non-indigenous clergy and laity hear indigenous perspectives, “with attention to the issues of colonization and residential schools.”
The bishops voiced recognition for “the contribution of Indigenous culture and wisdom to our future life in Canada.” They will stand in solidarity with indigenous peoples in “their stewardship of the land and the goods of Creation, the gifts of the Creator.” They will work with local community leaders to support the spiritual well-being of young people and to address social challenges like poverty, suicide, violence, and incarceration.
They reiterated support for the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund, which accepts donations from 73 Catholic dioceses across Canada to support reconciliation initiatives. The fund has raised $5.5 million and is “on track” to exceed its $30 million goal over five years.
The bishops said they would continue dialogue with the Vatican on issues indigenous delegates and representatives have identified. They are actively working with the Vatican to issue a new statement on the “Doctrine of Discovery,” principles of sovereignty and conquest found in some papal documents dating to the expeditions of European exploration in the 15th century, especially disputes between Spain and Portugal.
The bishops’ conference website provides documents on this subject, including the April 27, 2010 remarks of Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the apostolic nuncio leading the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations.
Migliore said that the documents supposedly behind the “Doctrine of Discovery” were rendered irrelevant by successive documents or changing circumstances only a few years after they were issued. He emphasized papal teaching in support of indigenous people, including the 1537 papal bull Sublimis Deus.
“Canada’s Bishops continue to reject and resist ideas associated with the Doctrine of Discovery in the strongest way possible,” the bishops’ conference said Sept. 29. They pledged continued support for the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The gathering was the first in-person plenary meeting since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Bishop Poisson, in his report to the bishops, discussed ongoing child abuse prevention efforts and the Synod on Synodality. He also noted that the new French-language version of the Roman Missal was implemented across the country. The bishops’ new National Program for Priestly Formation has been published and implemented. His report anticipated new resources to help dioceses form lay ministers of catechist, lector, and acolyte in keeping with Pope Francis’ apostolic letters.