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Our Lady Heals Again

A pensioner claims he could walk properly for the first time in years 10 minutes after obtaining a 4ft-tall statue of the Virgin Mary.

Grandfather Des Fitzgerald (82), of Greystones in Limerick city, recently purchased the statue to mark the centenary of the first apparitions in Fátima, Portugal.

He bought the blessed statue for €400 – but said he did not expect to receive a “miracle” as his health dramatically improved.

After alternating between using a wheelchair and a walking aid for a decade, he said his prayers had been answered.

“I hadn’t the statue 10 minutes when I was able to walk fully. It was a miracle straight away. To prove it to myself, I walked out of the house, down to the gate and back up again. Before, I was barely able to stand up for a minute on my own,” he told the ‘Limerick Leader’.

Mr Fitzgerald, who has been overcome with emotion given the change in his circumstances, said he was afraid to wake up each morning in case he suddenly finds that his mobility has been impaired again.

“The excitement of the whole thing this past week has been absolutely unbelievable,” said the former butcher and bookmaker.

A shrine, currently under construction, will be blessed by a number of priests later today, while a decade of the Rosary will be said at the site.

Fr Joe Young, formerly parish priest in Southill and the chaplain with the Brothers of Charity in Bawnmore, said while some people might be sceptical of the possibility of miracles occurring, he urged them to keep an open mind.

“When we close ourselves to the infinite possibilities that exist, we close down on a lot of areas of our lives that could do with rethinking. The unreflected life is a life not worth living,” said Fr Young.

Fr Tom Mangan, parish priest in Donaghmore and a friend of Mr Fitzgerald’s, said “any area of devotion or faith which is of help to people is worthy and very encouraging”.The healing power of Our Lady


Twelve worshipers killed by falling tree at Marian procession in Madeira Portugal

At least 12 people have been crushed to death and 52 others injured by a falling tree at a festival in Madeira.

TV footage showed emergency workers gathered under a group of tall trees near the Portuguese island’s capital, Funchal.

The tragedy happened during the Celebration of Our Lady of the Mount festival, which is the island’s biggest annual celebration.

Rescue workers recover a victim's body

Image:Rescue workers recover a victim’s body

RTP television is reporting that “many people were concentrated” in the area at the time – and a further 35 people are believed to be injured, four of them seriously.

Two children are feared to be among those who died when the 200-year-old oak tree came down on worshipping crowds.

The Roman Catholic festival marks the Assumption – or entry into heaven – of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.

The moment the tree fell was captured on a Facebook Live broadcast – and the video showed many people running for their lives.

The tree came down near Madeira's capital, Funchal

Image:The tree came down near Madeira’s capital, Funchal

“It was terrible, it was so sudden,” one witness told SIC television.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said his government had offered its support to authorities on the island.

He tweeted: “I express my condolences for the victims of the accident in Madeira. My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims.

“The government has provided medical support given the high number of victims.”

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Catholic community helps London fire victims

.- The Catholic bishops of Westminster offered their prayers and local parishes opened their doors to offer aid and supplies to those affected by a massive fire at an apartment complex in west London on Wednesday.

“We pray for all the residents of the Grenfell Tower. I pray particularly for those who have suffered injury, those who have died, and all the residents who are left without a home today, and the entire community that has been affected,” said Cardinal Vincent Nichols in a statement.

On June 14, just after midnight, a fire began on the fourth floor of Grenfell Tower located in north Kensington, a district of west London. The 24-story building is home to hundreds of people, and the fire blazed until early in the morning

Authorities have said it is too soon for speculation into the cause of the fire.

So far, six people have been reported dead in the fire and some 70 people have been hospitalized for injuries sustained in the incident, including 20 people whose condition is critical.

Hundreds of others who escaped the flames have still lost their homes and all of their belongings, but Catholic parishes in the surrounding area have quickly begun receiving donations of food, clothes, and water to be distributed. Saint Clemente, one nearby church, has seen such an outpouring that it has asked for future donations to be given to a church a few blocks away.

Meanwhile, many residents remain unaccounted for, and friends and family are scrambling to connect with their loved ones.

Auxiliary Bishop John Wilson of Westminster especially offered prayers for “all who are still worried about their loved ones who are unaccounted for.

Stuart Cundy, commander of the Metropolitan Police, expects the death toll to rise, but he has thus far declined to comment on any details of the missing people due to the complexity and difficulty of the identifying process.

Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton has encouraged surviving residents to report themselves to authorities so they are known to be safe. An emergency number has also been established for friends and family who are worried for loved ones, known to be residents in the building.

According to BBC news, Cotton also expressed concern that people may still be trapped inside, and fire fighters would be expected to stay on the scene until the next day at least.

Cardinal Nichols applauded the emergency response team, which included over 250 firefighters and more than 100 ambulance medics.

“Once again in our city we witness the heroic efforts of our emergency services who responded so quickly. I thank them for all they are doing to help the victims of this devastating fire,” he said.



Pope Francis speaks directly from the Vatican through Ted Talk

Pope Francis Ted TalkWhat A simple but meaningful message of words, so simplistic yet so true from Pope Francis. “Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the ‘other’ is not a statistic, or a number,” he says. “We all need each other.”

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Pope Francis. Mary, “Expresses the wealth of divine mercy that reaches out to all in their daily need”

Rome, Italy, Oct 8, 2016 / 10:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During a special Jubilee weekend dedicated to Mary, Pope Francis said Mary was not only Christ’s mother, but also his obedient disciple and a model of concrete service to others.

“Throughout her life, Mary did everything that the Church is asked to do in perennial memory of Christ,” the Pope said Oct. 8.

With her faith, “we learn to open our hearts to obey God; in her self-denial, we see the importance of tending to the needs of others; in her tears, we find the strength to console those experiencing pain.”

In each of these moments, Mary “expresses the wealth of divine mercy that reaches out to all in their daily need.”

Pope Francis spoke to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to celebrate a special Oct. 7-9 Marian Jubilee, which is part of the Pope’s larger Jubilee of Mercy.
The Marian Jubilee opened Oct. 7 with Mass in the Roman Basilica of Saint Mary Major. The Mass was followed by the recitation of the rosary in Saint Peter’s Square and the Prayer to the Queen of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii.

Adoration and confessions were then available until midnight in the parishes of Santa Maria in Valicella, also called “Chiesa Nuova,” and San Salvatore in Lauro.

Jubilee activities continued Saturday morning with a pilgrimage to the Holy Doors of the four Major Basilicas in Rome: St. Mary Major, St. Paul Outside the Wall, St. John Lateran and St. Peter’s.

Groups of various Marian delegations from national communities and shrines then participated in a special procession to St. Peter’s Square, where Pope Francis led pilgrims in praying the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary before delivering his address.

In his speech, the Pope noted how from the earliest centuries of the Church Mary has been invoked as the “Mother of Mercy,” explaining that the prayer of the rosary in many ways is a “synthesis of the history of God’s mercy, which becomes a history of salvation for all who let themselves be shaped by grace.”

By reflecting on the important moments in Jesus’ life, we see how his mercy is shown to everyone from all walks and stages of life, he said, adding that Mary always accompanies us on this journey, pointing us in the direction of her Son, “who radiates the very mercy of the Father.”

Mary guides us toward the path we are called to take “in order to be true disciples of Jesus,” he said, adding that in praying the rosary, we feel her closeness in each mystery and contemplate her role as “the first disciple of her Son, for she does the Father’s will.

Francis stressed that Mary can help teach us what it means to be a disciple of Christ, because while she was “eternally chosen to be his Mother,” she also learned how to be his disciple.

“Her first act was to listen to God,” he said, noting how she then obeyed the angel’s message and followed Jesus closely, “listening to every word that issued from his lips” and keeping them in her heart.
However, the Pope stressed, “it’s not enough simply to listen.” While this is the first step, it must be followed by concrete action.

“The disciple truly puts his life at the service of the Gospel,” he said, and, recalling Mary’s own actions, pointed to how after the Annunciation, Mary immediately went to her cousin Elizabeth to help her during her pregnancy.

Not only did she then give birth to the Son of God, but she also showed her concern for the young spouses in Cana by interceding for them. When Jesus was crucified on Golgotha, Mary “did not flee pain but stood beneath the cross of Jesus and, by his will, became the Mother of the Church.”

After Jesus rose from the dead, she then “encouraged the apostles assembled in the upper room as they awaited the Holy Spirit, who would make them fearless heralds of the Gospel,” Pope Francis said.

Francis closed his homily invoking Mary’s intercession, praying that she would be “a protection, help and blessing for us all the days of our life.”

“We fly to your protection, holy Mother of God. Scorn not our petitions in the hour of need. O glorious and blessed Virgin, deliver us always from every peril.

Celebrations for the Marian Jubilee will conclude Sunday with a special Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square.


Mother Teresa and Her visions of Jesus

Vatican City, Aug 27, 2016 / 04:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).-MotherTeresa Even her friend of more than 30 years, Father Sebastian Vazhakala, did not know Mother Teresa had conversations with and visions of Jesus before forming the Missionaries of Charity.

It wasn’t until after her death, for the vast majority of people, that this part of Mother Teresa’s spiritual life was uncovered. “It was a big discovery,” Missionary of Charity priest, Fr. Vazhakala told CNA.

When Mother Teresa’s cause for canonization was opened, just two years after her death in 1997, documents were found in the archives of the Jesuits in Calcutta, with the spiritual director and another of Mother Teresa’s close priest friends, and in the office of the bishop, containing her accounts of the communications.

Fr. Vazhakala, who co-founded the contemplative branch of the Missionaries of Charity alongside Mother Teresa, said he has a document handwritten by Mother Teresa where she discusses what Jesus spoke to her directly during the time of the locutions and visions.
During a period lasting from Sept. 10, 1946 to Dec. 3, 1947, Mother Teresa had ongoing communication with Jesus through words and visions, Fr. Vazhakala said. This all happened while she was a missionary sister in the Irish order of the Sisters of Loreto, teaching at St. Mary’s school in Calcutta.

Mother Teresa wrote that one day at Holy Communion, she heard Jesus say, “I want Indian nuns, victims of my love, who would be Mary and Martha, who would be so united to me as to radiate my love on souls.”

It was through these communications of the Eucharistic Jesus that Mother Teresa received her directions for forming her congregation of the Missionaries of Charity.

“She was so united with Jesus,” Fr. Vazhakala explained, “that she was able to radiate not her love, but Jesus’ love through her, and with a human expression.”

Jesus told her what sort of nuns he wanted her order to be filled with: “’I want free nuns covered with the poverty of the Cross. I want obedient nuns covered with the obedience of the Cross. I want full-of-love nuns covered with the charity of the Cross,’” Fr. Vazhakala related.

According to the Missionary, Jesus asked her, “Would you refuse to do this for me?” “In fact, Jesus told her in 1947,” Fr. Vazhakala explained, “’I cannot go alone to the poor people, you carry me with you into them.’”

After this period of joy and consolation, around 1949, Mother Teresa started to experience a “terrible darkness and dryness” in her spiritual life, said Fr. Vazhakala. “And in the beginning she thought it was because of her own sinfulness, unworthiness, her own weakness.”

Mother Teresa’s spiritual director at the time helped her to understand that this spiritual dryness was just another way that Jesus wanted her to share in the poverty of the poor of Calcutta.
This period lasted nearly 50 years, until her death, and she found it very painful. But, Fr. Vazhakala shared that she said, “If my darkness and dryness can be a light to some soul let me be the first one to do that. If my life, if my suffering, is going to help souls to be saved, then I will prefer from the creation of the world to the end of time to suffer and die.”

People around the world know about Mother Teresa’s visible acts of charity toward the poor and sick in the slums of Calcutta, but “the interior life of Mother is not known to people,” said Fr. Vazhakala.

Mother Teresa’s motto, and the motto of her congregation, was the words of Jesus, “I thirst.” And that they could quench the thirst of Jesus by bringing souls to him. “And in every breathing, each sigh, each act of mind, shall be an act of love divine. That was her daily prayer. That was what was motivating her and all the sacrifices, even until that age of 87, and without resting,” he said.

Mother Teresa never rested from her work during her life on earth, and she continues to “work” for souls from heaven. “When I die and go home to God, I can bring more souls to God,” she said at one point, Fr. Vazhakala noted.

She said, “I’m not going to sleep in heaven, but I’m going to work harder in another form.”

Credit: Catholic New Agency


Earthquake In Italy

Spoleto, Italy, Aug 24, 2016 / 04:56 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- While the number of victims of the earthquake that hit central Italy in the early hours of Wednesday climbs, the gestures of generosity and aid for those affected have multiplied.

At approximately 3:30 am Aug. 24, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck roughly six miles southeast of Norcia in central Italy. Over the next several hours, nearly 200 aftershocks shook the regions of Umbria, Lazio, and Marche, leaving towns throughout the area devastated.

So far, at least 159 people have been killed, according to Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi. More than 360 are injured; most of the victims are from the towns of Amatrice, Accumoli, Arquata del Tronto, and Pescara del Tronto – all of which have been reduced to rubble.
Among those affected by the disaster are the Benedictine monks of Norcia. They are all safe, but their buildings are damaged, and the community has announced that they will transfer to Rome for a time as a precautionary measure.

“We strive to maintain the order of the Rule even during the most difficult of circumstances, and this transfer, while disruptive, will ensure the safety of our monks and grant us all the peace to continue to practice our monastic life,” they stated.

The Monks of Norcia @monksofnorcia
While the monks are temporarily in Rome, please keep them in your prayers. https://twitter.com/monksofnorcia/status/768483991955570688 …
5:31 PM – 24 Aug 2016
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However, aid has arrived quickly. Medical teams, nurses, and rescue workers from the Italian Aid Corps of the Sovereign Order of Malta have already reached the affected areas.
In Arquata del Tronto, a canine unit has been called in to aid rescue operations. An emergency evaluation team – including a doctor and a nurse – is now located in Amatrice, where it is joined by staff of the Department of Civil Protection engaged in disaster intervention and medical care.

The Order of Malta has activated a mobile unit that will provide assistance to the affected populations in Amatrice and Accumoli. Within hours of the earthquake, the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fra. Matthew Festing, extended to Italian president Sergio Mattarella a message of condolence.

“I want to convey feelings of sincere condolences for the many victims. I also want to express solidarity and sympathy, and assure prayers of comfort and consolation to their family, to the survivors, and to the displaced persons,” Festing said.

As in other similar situations, Vatican City has sent help, making six fire brigades available to the Italian Civil Protection. In addition, the Catholic aid group for ill Lourdes pilgrims, Unitalsi, along with Bishop Domenico Pompili of Rieti are coming back from their pilgrimage to Lourdes in order to help the victims in Amatrice.

“We have already sent the National Department of Civil Protection a note informing them of the immediate availability of our personnel and motor vehicles for the transport of disabled persons,” said Unitalsi national president, Antonio Diella.

Bishop Javier Echevarría Rodriguez, the prelate of Opus Dei, asked Catholics, “especially the faithful of the Prelature and our friends present in the area. to collaborate as much as possible and to help those responsible for organizing and bringing relieve to those affected.”

On social media throughout Italy, there are many posts from people offering support and shelter for survivors of the earthquake, and many teams of volunteers from around Italy have arrived in the provinces of Rieti and Ascoli Piceno.

Credit: Catholic News Agency


Pope prays for victims of ‘bloody’ attack at a wedding in Turkey

Vatican City. After an explosion in southern Turkey lit up a wedding ceremony, killing 50 people and wounding nearly 100 more, Pope Francis offered his prayers for the victims, and asked for peace to be given to all.

“Dear brothers and sisters, I have heard of the sad news of the bloody attack yesterday which struck the beloved Turkey,” the Pope said Aug. 21, after leading pilgrims in praying the traditional Angelus prayer.

He offered his prayers for the victims, both “living and dead,” and led those gathered in a moment of silence and a Hail Mary, asking for “the gift of peace for all.”

According to news agency Aljazeera, at least 50 people have been killed and 94 wounded after what is believed to be a suicide bomber blew themselves up at a wedding ceremony in Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, Aug. 20.

The blast, which took place at roughly 11p.m. local time, happened in the Akdere neighbourhood of Sahin Bey district as those celebrating were dancing in the street, which is common for wedding ceremonies in the south of Turkey.
Gaziantep is a major city roughly 37 miles from the Syrian border, and has become a hub for Syrians fleeing the civil war that’s tearing their country apart.

Although no one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, Aljazeera reports that Ali Yerlikaya, the governor of Gaziantep, referred to it as a “terror attack,” and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said “Daesh is the likely perpetrator,” using the Arabic name for ISIS.

In his address before the Angelus, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel passage from Luke, in which Jesus, as he was teaching in Jerusalem, was asked if only a few people would be saved.

Pope Francis noted that in his response Jesus didn’t give a direct answer to the question, but instead referred to a door, telling the crowd to “strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”

By giving the image of the door, Jesus is telling his listeners “it’s not a question of numbers.” Knowing how many will be saved is not important he said, but knowing the path that leads to salvation is.

This path requires that we pass through a door, Francis said, explaining that this door is “Jesus himself… he says it; he leads us into communion with the Father, where we find love, understanding and protection.”

Reflecting on why the door is “narrow,” the Pope said it’s not because it’s “oppressive,” but rather because it challenges us to “restrict and contain our pride and our fear, to open ourselves with a heart that’s humble and faithful to him, recognizing that we are sinners in need of his forgiveness.”

While the door of salvation is narrow, the door of God’s mercy is “always wide open” for everyone to enter, he said, adding that God doesn’t have preferences, but welcomes all “without distinction.”

Jesus, he said, “awaits each one of us, whatever sin we have committed, to embrace us, to offer us his forgiveness. Only he can give full meaning to our existence, giving us true joy.”
By entering through the door that is Jesus, we are able to let go of “worldly attitudes, of bad habits, of selfishness and closure,” and experience an authentic change through the Holy Spirit, he said.

In off-the-cuff comments, Pope Francis urged pilgrims to pause for a moment to reflect on what impedes them from opening the door to Jesus, as well as the door of mercy he offers to us.

“The Lord offers us many occasions to save ourselves and enter through the door of salvation,” the Pope said, adding that “this door is the opportunity that must not be wasted.”

Francis stressed that giving “academic speeches” on salvation isn’t necessary to enter through the gate, but instead we must “seize the opportunities of salvation” that are given to us.

He turned to the Gospel passage, in which Jesus recounts how the master of the house “has arisen and locked the door,” telling those who knock outside asking to be let in: “I do not know where you are from.”

If God is merciful and loves us, “why does he close the door?” Francis asked, explaining that he does it “because our life is not a videogame or a soap opera; our life is serious and the goal to achieve is important: eternal salvation.”

Pope Francis closed his address by asking Mary to intercede in helping all to “seize the opportunities” the Lord offers us to enter by the wide road. This road, he said, is one “of salvation capable of welcoming all those who allow themselves to be involved with love.”

“It’s love that saves, love which already on earth is a source of beatitude for those, in meekness, patience and justice, forget about themselves and give themselves to others, especially the most vulnerable.”

Credit, http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/