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ST ANTHONY MARY CLARET, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

ST ANTHONY MARY CLARET, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR

ST ANTHONY MARY CLARET, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 24

Anthony Mary Claret was born at Vich in Spain, of devout and honourable parents. He started life as a weaver, but afterwards became a priest. He was first engaged in parochial work, but later went to Rome to be sent on the foreign missions by the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. By the will of God, however, he returned to Spain and as a Missionary Apostolic travelled through Catalonia and the Canary Islands.

HE FOUNDED THE CONGREGATION OF THE SONS OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY

Besides being a prolific writer of fine books, he also founded the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Appointed Archbishop of the See of Santiago in Cuba, he proved, by his virtues, to be a zealous pastor. He restored the seminary, improved the education and discipline of the clergy, established social works and founded the Teaching Sisters of Mary Immaculate for the Christian education for girls.

THE TEACHING SISTERS OF MARY IMMACULATE 

Finally summoned to Madrid as the confessor and councillor in important ecclesiastical affairs for the Queen of Spain, he gave an excellent example of austere life adorned with every virtue. In the Vatican Council, he strongly defended the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff.

A STAUNCH PROMOTER OF DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED SACRAMENT 

He was a staunch promoter of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and her Rosary. At length, at Font Froide, in France, he died in exile in the year 1870 [on October 24]. Being renowned for miracles, Pope Pius XI added him to the list of the blessed and Pius XII to that of the saints.

PRAYER:

O God, who glorified blessed Anthony Mary, your Confessor and Bishop, because of his zeal for souls, and through him established in the Church new households of men and women religious, we beseech you to grant that, with his counsels as a guide, and through the merits of his prayers, we may continually apply ourselves to seeking the salvation of souls. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 [bold headings added afterwards]

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PRAYER FOR CATECHISTS

PRAYER FOR CATECHISTS

LET THEM COME TO ME, FOR OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

O Jesus, Friend of children, Who from thy most tender years didst grow visibly in wisdom and in grace before God and men; Who at the age of twelve east seated in the Temple, in the midst of the doctors, listening to them attentively, asking them questions, and exciting their admiration by the prudence and wisdom of thy discourse; Who didst receive so willingly the children, blessing them and saying to thy disciples: “Let them come to Me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven,” inspire me as thou didst inspire Blessed Peter Canisius, model and guide of the perfect Catechist, with a profound respect and a holy affection for childhood, a taste and a marked devotion for instructing them in Christian doctrine, a special aptitude in making them understand its mysteries, and love its beauties. I ask this of thee, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

[300 days, once a day. – Pius X., March 15th, 1906.]

– St Anthony’s Treasury, Laverty & Sons, Leeds, 1916

 

 

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“THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS LIFTED MORE PEOPLE OUT OF POVERTY THAN ANY OTHER CIVIC INSTITUTION”

SERVING THE POOR AND PROMOTING SOCIAL JUSTICE ARE CENTRAL TO THE CHURCH’S IDENTITY AND MISSION.

“The Catholic Church has lifted more people out of poverty than any other civic institution, a former World Bank director has said.

Writing in the ‘New York Times’ Robert Calderisi said: ‘As a result of its work in basic health and education – and despite its obtuse views on birth control – in the last 50 years the Church has probably lifted more people out of poverty than any other civic institution in history.’ Mr Calderisi, who is a baptised Catholic, wrote: ‘In some African countries, as much as half of basic education and health services are provided by the Church. Catholic hospitals and clinics around the world distribute about a third of all the antiretroviral drugs received by people living with HIV and Aids, and in India, where Catholics are no more than two per cent of the population, the Church is the second-largest care provider in this area after the government.

Mr Calderisi, author of ‘Earthly Mission: the Catholic Church and World Development’, continued: ‘Many of the Pope’s statements have been highly arresting: he has attacked the ‘idolatry of money’ and called unchecked capitalism ‘a new tyranny.’ His trenchant critique of trickle-down economics has earned the ire of conservative commentators.

‘Francis has stressed that serving the poor and promoting social justice are central to the Church’s identity and mission.

‘As the first pope from the developing world, Francis may help divert international concern about poverty away from imaginary geographical groupings like ‘north’ and ‘south’…

‘Pope Francis has renewed the hope of Catholic activists that faith and charity can go hand in hand.'”
– This article by Madeleine Teahan entitled “Former director at World Bank hails Church’s work on poverty” was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue January 10 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 
 

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CATHOLIC SCHOOLS PLAY A VITAL ROLE FOR SOCIETY AND CARRY OUT THE CHURCH’S MISSION TO THE POOR

“The results of a new census reveal that on average Catholic schools serve more pupils from deprived areas than schools nationally.

The data comes from the annual Digest of 2013 Census Data for Schools and Colleges in England, which is commissioned by the Catholic Education Service.

Catholic schools account for 10 per cent of the maintained schools sector and educate around 770,000 pupils in total. They also employ more than 46,000 teachers and 37,000 education support staff.

The data collected in the census shows that 18.4 per cent of pupils in Catholic primary schools come from the most socially deprived areas in England, which is significantly higher than the 13.8 per cent national average.

Catholic secondary schools also follow the same trend, with 17.3 per cent of students coming from deprived areas, compared with a national figure of 12.2 per cent.

The data also reveals that both primary and secondary Catholic schools teach more pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds – 34.5 per cent and 30.2 per cent respectively.

Paul Barber, director of the Catholic Education Service, responded to the new data, saying: ‘The makeup of Catholic schools reflects the growing diversity of our communities.

‘These figures demonstrate the vital role that Catholic schools play in working towards a common good for the whole society and carrying out the Church’s mission to the poor,’ he continued.

The number of Catholic pupils attending Catholic schools has actually increased, although the average percentage has remained fairly static over the past few years at 70.2 per cent.

This leaves almost 30 per cent of pupils who identify with other faiths or none at all, yet there remains a very low number of students who choose to withdraw from collective worship in schools, at just 0.01 per cent.”
– This article was published in “The Catholic Universe” issue Sunday 15th December 2013. For subscriptions please visit http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com (external link).

 
 

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“OUR CHURCH HAS SPOKEN OUT INCREASINGLY ABOUT NEGATIVE TRENDS”

“A Church commission in the Republic of Congo cautioned that the country’s education system is being destroyed by corruption.

A report from the Church’s Justice and Peace Commission in Brazzaville documented the misappropriation of government funds in 10 of 12 Congolese regions and said that nearly two-thirds of planned school improvements had not been undertaken.

The report blamed corruption for eroding teaching levels and said ‘shady operators’ who diverted money from education should be ‘arrested and brought before the courts.’

THE CHURCH HAS SPOKEN OUT

‘Our Church has spoken out increasingly about negative trends here with popular encouragement,’ said Fr Celestin Ngombe, spokesman for the Republic of Congo bishops’ conference.

‘We’ve shown it’s possible to do something if we really take a firm stand, and today’s grave levels of corruption are a case in point,’ he said.

TAKING A FIRM STAND

Fr Ngombe said the bishops earlier condemned corruption and would continue campaigning against it. ‘The Church’s voice is listened to here. It can make an important difference,’ he added.

‘THE CHURCH’S VOICE IS LISTENED TO HERE’

‘Although corruption will be hard to tackle, we can make a real start by praying and acting.’

Catholics comprise about half the 4.36 million inhabitants of Congo. Corruption allegations have been repeatedly levelled against the government of President Denis Sassou Nguesso.”
– This article entitled “Corruption ruining Congo schools” was published in “The Catholic Universe” issue Sunday 15th December, 2013. For subscriptions please visit http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com (external link).

 
 

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CATHOLIC SCHOOLS – STILL PROVIDING A FIRST CLASS EDUCATION FOR EVERY PUPIL

HAPPY TO WELCOME CHILDREN FROM ALL BACKGROUNDS

“It is a key part of the Church’s mission to offer good quality education as part of our contribution to society as a whole.

Catholic schools are always happy to welcome children from all backgrounds whose parents seek a Catholic education for them, where there are sufficient places to meet this demand. In cases of oversubscription, priority is given to Catholic pupils.

The Catholic Church was the original provider of education in this country. From the Middle Ages onwards, the Church took responsibility for teaching children. Central to this work has always been our dedication to providing education for the poorest in society. Following Catholic emancipation in the 19th century, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales prioritised the building of schools before the building of churches. Then, as now, the Church’s commitment to education was strong.

HELPING TO GIVE CHILDREN A GOOD START IN LIFE

As time went on, of course, the Church ceased to be the only provider of schools in this country as state-funded education for all became available. So why have we continued to be involved? We consider education to be crucially important as a means of forming the whole person intellectually, morally and socially and we want to help to give children as good a start in life as we can. Catholic schools strive to offer children a well-rounded education, providing them with a moral basis from which they are free to make their own decisions.

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS OUTPERFORM THE NATIONAL AVERAGE

And we all know that Catholic schools have long been a success story. Ofsted rate them more highly in terms of their overall effectiveness than other schools nationally, (74 per cent of Catholic primary schools are judged good or outstanding by Ofsted compared to 66 per cent nationally), and they also achieve higher examination results (at GCSE, Catholic schools outperform the national average by six). Of course, the immeasurable benefit of a Catholic education is that students are encouraged to engage with the wider community and to make a positive contribution to society as a whole.

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS FROM CATHOLICS UP AND DOWN THE COUNTRY

The current government, like previous governments, recognises the value that a Catholic education offers young people, which is why the state continues to fund many of the costs associated with Catholic schools. But the Catholic Church doesn’t just expect handouts. We own the land on which most of our schools are built. This is no small financial contribution, and it has been made over a long period of time: it is an arrangement that has been in place since the 1944 Education Act when Catholic schools became partners with the state provision of education. The financial contribution made by the Church comes from Catholics up and down the country, who not only pay their taxes, but who also give generously to the Church, thus helping to fund Catholic schools.

OUR SCHOOLS ARE MORE ETHNICALLY DIVERSE

Catholic schools are inclusive. Our schools are more ethnically diverse than schools nationally (31.2 per cent of students in Catholic secondary schools come from ethnic groups other than the ‘White British’ category, compared to only 26.5 per cent in secondary schools nationally). Recently published data also showed that Catholic schools have a higher proportion of students from the most deprived areas compared to schools nationally. Catholic schools are rated more highly by Ofsted when it comes to their commitment to community cohesion than other schools are. Visit your local Catholic school and you’re unlikely to find it full of middle-class children with pushy parents.

CATHOLIC ETHOS

Central to this is the Catholic ethos and distinctive nature of our schools. This is maintained, in part, by Catholic children having priority in cases of oversubscription, defined by local bishops according to local circumstances. Steps are taken to ensure that the system meets the needs of genuine applicants rather than those parents who might try to ‘play the system’.

A MAJOR CONTRIBUTION TO BRITISH SOCIETY

Interestingly, in England around a quarter of pupils in Catholic schools are not Catholics and in Wales the figure is a third.

As Baroness Warsi recognised in a speech on this subject, the provision of education is a major part of the Catholic Church’s contribution to British society, part of a centuries-old tradition. We are proud to offer a well-rounded, high-quality education to almost 800,000 pupils and students in England and Wales: Catholics, members of other faiths and none.”
– This article by Maeve McCormack, formerly of the Catholic Education Service, was published in “The Catholic Universe” issue Sunday 21st July, 2013. For subscriptions please visit http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com (external link)

 

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PRAYER FOR THE INTERCESSION OF ST ISIDORE

ST ISIDORE, BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH; MEMORIAL: APRIL 4

St Isidore was born in Seville about 560 and appointed Bishop of Seville in 601. Isidore convoked various synods, notably the fourth Council of Toledo in 633, for the good government of the Church in Spain. He wrote a great deal, and was very concerned with the education of young people, founding a school which was much ahead of its time. He died in 636.

PRAYER:

Lord,
hear the prayers we offer in commemoration of Saint Isidore.
May your Church learn from his teachings
and benefit from his intercession.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

 

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