Tag Archives: Pope Francis



O God of charity without limit, and of mercy without measure, it was thy love that induced thee to come to me. I give thee my body as a temple, my will as sacrifice, my heart as an altar, my soul as a pyx.

O Lord, merciful Redeemer of heaven, O noble, lowly Infant, keep me in thy peace. Give me a dwelling in thy heart. Dissolve me in the fragrance of thy charity, strengthen me with thy love, receive me through thy death. O Lord, make me entirely pleasing to thee through the fruits of thy Sacred Heart. Amen.

Blessed be the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament!

[300 days’ Indulgence, each time – Pius X, 12th June, 1905.]

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


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When the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became man, the sublime office of guarding the Saviour during the thirty-three years of His earthly life fell to God’s zealous advocate, St Michael. 

This is the pious belief of eminent Doctors and theologians. And since the Ark of the Covenant has been replaced by the Tabernacle, St Michael guards the Blessed Eucharist and keeps watch over the thousands of tabernacles and altars scattered throughout the world. Even so, he zealously guards Christ’s Vicar upon earth, the reigning Pope.

It has been revealed to various Saints that the great Archangel is the special guardian of the Blessed Sacrament; that he accompanies it everywhere: in the hands of the priest, upon the throne of exposition, in the tabernacle, when borne in procession, on its obscure visits to the sick, or wherever the love of the Divine Victim may cause it to be borne. Day and night, he keeps faithful vigil before the tabernacle in loving adoration.

At the beginning of Holy Mass, he is mentioned in the confession of faults. At the Offertory of a Solemn High Mass the priest implores the blessing of the Almighty upon the oblation, through the intercession of St Michael. And during the Canon of the Mass, after the Consecration, the priest prays God to command that the oblation is borne by the hands of His holy angel to His altar on high. The angel here referred to is doubtless the Archangel Michael. With loving solicitude, he watches over all the tiny particles which fall from the consecrated Hosts at the time of Holy Communion, that they may not be lost or desecrated.

The liturgy also presents St Michael to us as the incense-bearer standing beside the altar as our intercessor and as the bearer of the Church’s prayers before the throne of God. “An angel stood near the altar of the Temple, having a golden censer in his hand, and there was given to him much incense; and the smoke of the perfumes ascended before God” (Offertory Mass of St Michael).

Christ silent and veiled in the Holy Eucharist and Christ visible and speaking to us in the person of the Pope – these are the two objects of Satan’s inveterate hatred and rage. And these are also the two objects of St Michael’s greatest devotion and solicitude.

Let us range ourselves under the banner of St Michael, and by active zeal in the interests of Jesus, atone for the many outrages against the Blessed Sacrament and Christ’s vicar.

– From: ‘Neath St Michael’s Shield, Fifth Edition, 1962


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The Year of Mercy has arrived just in time

The Holy Year of Mercy began on 8th December with the Holy Father opening the Holy Door, the occasion also marked the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council.

Doors have always been highly significant in the Church, with the late-Cardinal Virgilio Noe, the former Archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica, explaining how “the door of a church marks the divide between the sacred and the profane, separating the church’s interior from the outside world.”

The significance of doors

Doors also symbolise Jesus Christ. According to the Gospel of John (10:9), Jesus said, “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.”

The opening of the Holy Door provides an opportunity for penance and reconciliation showing Christ inviting those who have strayed from his flock back into the Church and welcome them with open arms.

The Holy Father has invited people from all over the world to embrace the virtues of mercy, forgiveness, care and compassion for their fellow people and especially those who are suffering.

Healing suffering and hatred throughout the world

The Year of Mercy comes at a time when the world is mired in turmoil. In recent years we have witnessed awful atrocities, terrorist attacks, people being displaced from their homes due to violence and war and world leaders finding themselves having to answer serious questions about dealing with those issues.

Pope Francis has spread the message of the mercy of God since becoming pope in March 2013 and has spoken about healing suffering and hatred throughout the world. He has also called for a radical commitment to the poor and those on the margins of society. The Holy Father has given strong support to refugees fleeing their war-torn countries, going as far to say that the rejection of them is an ‘act of war’.

Missionaries of Mercy

In the lead up to the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis announced that women who have had abortions could be offered God’s forgiveness by priests, although the act of abortion would remain a grave sin. He is also sending missionaries of mercy to all local churches to hear Confessions.

With the opening of the Holy Door and the beginning of the Holy Year of Mercy we pray that Pope Francis’ merciful vision to heal the world from destruction, violence and suffering will be realised and that he will receive the support and help he needs to make it happen.

– This article by Nick Benson entitled “Year of Mercy has arrived just in time” was published in the Catholic Universe newspaper, issue 11 December 2015. For subscriptions please visit (external link).


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Christian life is a daily battle against the Devil

“Christian life is a constant battle against the Devil, who really exists and is not the stuff of legend, Pope Francis said in a homily last week.

The battle is not easy, because the Evil One’s traps and temptations are many, and ‘the Devil is not tossing flowers at us’, but ‘flaming arrows’ aimed to kill, the Pope said at a morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.

There are three ‘enemies of Christian life’, Pope Francis said: ‘The Devil, the world and the flesh’, in other words, the carnal passions that are ‘the wounds of Original Sin’.

‘But this generation, and many others, made people think that the Devil was a myth, a character, an idea, the concept of evil,’ the Pope said, according to Vatican Radio.

‘The Devil exists and we have to fight against him. Paul says so – I’m not the one saying it. The word of God says it,’ the Pope added, referring to the day’s reading from St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians (6:10-20), which calls on believers to ‘stand firm against the tactics of the Devil’.

Even believers ‘are not too convinced’ the Devil exists, he said, or else ‘we are a bit lazy in the fight and we let ourselves be led by our passions, by temptations. It’s because we are sinners – all of us… However, do not be discouraged. [Have] courage and strength because the Lord is with us’ and supplies all we need for battle, the Pope said.

Because the Devil is ‘the father of lies, the father of deception’, Christians must arm themselves with the ‘armour of God – the truth’.

Earlier in the week hundreds of exorcists gathered in Rome for a convention organised by the International Association of Exorcists. In a message Francis said their work showed the Church’s care for ‘those who suffer because of the work of the Devil’.”

– This article was published in the Catholic Herald newspaper, issue November 7 2014. For subscriptions please visit (external link).


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A short biography of St Ludovico

“…St Ludovico was born in Casoria, outside Naples, Italy, in 1814. As a youth he apprenticed as a cabinet maker, but on 1st July 1832 he entered the novitiate of the Franciscans.

Shortly after his ordination as a priest, he was appointed to teach philosophy and mathematics to the young members of the Friary of St Peter in Naples. St Ludovico soon embarked on a lifetime of establishing good works to care for the poor and needy, founding orphanages and dispensaries. In the year 1852 St Ludovico opened a school for African boys and girls who had been freed from slavery. He also founded institutions for the deaf and mute and provided care for the elderly members of the Franciscan Order.

The Grey Friars of Charity and the Franciscan Sisters of St Elizabeth

Following the advice of his superiors, St Ludovico wanted to ensure that the good works he had established would be able to be continued after his death. In 1859 he instituted a new community of men known as the Grey Friars of Charity because of the greyish colour of their religious habit. Three years later St Ludovico also instituted a likewise congregation of women, known as the Franciscan Sisters of St Elizabeth, whom he placed under the protection of St Elizabeth of Hungary, one of the first members of the Third Order of St Francis and its patroness.

Following Christ in suffering

Nine years before his death, St Ludovico was struck down with a serious and painful illness, from which he never completely recovered. He died in 1885 and within a few months his cause for canonisation as a saint was introduced to Rome. He was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1993, and has now been declared a saint by Pope Francis.

St Ludovico’s spiritual testament begins, ‘The Lord called me to Himself with a most tender love, and with an infinite charity He led and directed me along the path of my life.'”

– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris/2014 (headings in bold added afterwards)


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[From the Bishop of Shrewsbury, Bishop Mark Davies]

“…The bishop also emphasised the importance of the personal call to holiness and listed practical ways of responding. He said: ‘Conversation is a definite step towards becoming a saint. Exhausted after a hard day’s work but willing to sit down with your children and listen patiently to them, this too can be a step towards holiness.

Making time for prayer each day even when we are tired: this is a sure step towards holiness. Being ready for Mass on Sunday, and at times making a good Confession,’ which ‘cleans us up’ Pope Francis says, these are vital steps towards holiness. He adds that thinking of Our Lady, the Pope says, ‘so good, so beautiful’ and taking up the rosary to pray, this is yet another step towards holiness.

Meeting someone in need, making time and being willing to help are real steps towards becoming the saint we are called to be.

In other words the call to holiness is not found up in the clouds or in our dreams. The call to become a saint is right in front of us every day!’

He concluded: ‘May Mary, who in Pope Francis’s words is ‘so good, so beautiful,’ help us recognise how in these apparently small things of each day is the path to our holiness, to our complete and everlasting happiness.'”

– This is an excerpt of the article “Bishop Davies gives faithful his tips for a holy life” by Madeleine Teahan, published in The Catholic Herald newspaper issue November 28 2014. For subscriptions please visit (external link).


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“We are more than just consumers

In an inspired remark at the Mass for All Souls Day, our parish priest Fr Paul Redmond at Christ the King, Bramley, invited us to reflect on the fact that when we die and meet God ‘face to face, the full purpose and meaning of our own mysterious lives will be revealed to us’.

When we die and meet God face-to-face, the full purpose and meaning of our lives will be revealed to us

Meanwhile, we struggle on, trying to relate to others and manage our human desires for basic material goods, for other human beings and for God.

The difficulty seems to be that we are now living in times of such ferocious reductionism that our abilities to manage our desires are constantly being diminished. No need to worry about God in our secular world, only our abuse of others is a serious problem (especially in war and sexual abuse), though we can scarcely agree on what are the basic human needs of shelter, food and clothing for each and every person.

And yet, as St Augustine spelled out, our insatiable desires have the power to burn us up if not managed properly.

Our insatiable desires have the power to burn us up if not managed properly

An editorial in the recent Concilium theology magazine asked: ‘How can we humans order our desires rightly when we are bombarded with advertising that constantly tells us that we need more of everything all the time?’

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded

We are all increasingly reduced to being regarded as consumers today. All values are reduced to monetary measures as the ‘economy now rules all’. Parents are even being urged by government to ask first and foremost ‘can they afford to have another child’? Students, patients and passengers are all called ‘consumers’. Personal contribitions, even of charitable volunteers, are now measured in quantitative cash values. As Pope Francis spells out in Evangelii Gaudium : ‘human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a throwaway culture which is now spreading’.

Everything human is being given a price tag

Not only are humans being regarded as literally ‘disposable’, increased consumerism is being driven by economic globalism, which is leading to a widening divide between those getting richer and those becoming poorer. Trade and commerce are driven by a continuing commodification of human life where nearly everything that human beings can be or do is increasingly a marketable product. Everything human is being given a price tag. This is far from the mysterious meaning and purpose of the human vocation, that personal ‘calling by God’ of each and every person whose human dignity is sacred from the outset.

Resisting the tyranny of market domination

Resisting this ‘tyranny’ of market domination, as Pope Francis labels it, is a huge challenge. Notably, the new supermarkets of Aldi and Lidl are overtaking the ‘big four’. In Leeds, Morrisons in Kirkstall offers 28,000 choices of goods on the shelves; the new Aldi store in Bramley only 8,000. St Augustine warned that entrapment in too many ‘choices’ is actually a form of slavery which diminishes our capacity to make really important choices.

I find myself hard to grasp (St Augustine)

When he wrote ‘I find myself hard to grasp’ he was challenging that  reduction of our lives to the economy of ever-expanding choices and inviting us to open up to God’s mysterious purposes.

– This article by John Battle was published in the Catholic Universe newspaper, issue 7th November, 2014. (Bold and headings added afterwards.) For subscriptions to the Catholic Universe newspaper please contact (external link)


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