NEWS

  1. Pope Francis attends student play on how the pandemic has affected young people

Pope Francis left the Vatican on Thursday to attend a theatrical performance in Rome by students on how the pandemic has affected young people.

The pope met with the Italian Minister of Education Patrizio Bianchi and a group of young people from 41 countries at the International Pontifical College Maria Mater Ecclesiae in Rome on Nov. 25.

During the visit, the pope watched a show called “The faces of the pandemic,” in which performers covered their faces with decorated white masks.

Catholic Book Review – Happiness in this Life

Pope Francis – Happiness in this Life

For Pope Francis, the appreciation of our everyday lives is a spiritual undertaking. Joy is a divine attribute and creating joy around us an essential part of faith. Happiness in This Life delivers, in warm, engaging language accessible to believers and nonbelievers alike, key lessons instructing readers on how to find love and happiness in a chaotic world.

The book makes a good reference work for someone who might be struggling and needing an encouraging word. Even better, it could provide material for daily meditation, because it is packed with insight about the big questions in life which cannot be addressed purely intellectually.

That Pope Francis emphasizes joy will not be surprising to anyone even slightly familiar with him. The four parts of the collection each emphasize related, but distinct, aspects of the search for joy in our earthly life.

The first part treats the individual spiritual conditions for joy, with a special emphasis on the Beatitudes. Pope Francis offers insights on individual Beatitudes, explaining what purity of heart and meekness are, for example. These insights draw connections with our concrete lives in fresh and thought-provoking ways.

Pope Francis encourages us to work hard to create a coherent life, one in which we identify a grand dream or long-term goal and then organize our daily activities around that goal. The pope lauds the spiritual freedom that enables the Christian to recognize and choose the good and realize that life project. This freedom comes to us from God’s grace working in our daily lives.

Pope Francis frequently teaches that our joy is found in relationship, in going outside of ourselves and encountering Christ in the poor, suffering, and outcast.

In general, the collection shines in the chapters dedicated to families, priests and religious, and women. Pope Francis movingly speaks about the importance of a strong family life, for the family is the “school where we learn the art of living together.” The excerpts on women praise their dignity and their role in the Church, and the pope petitions for work to be done on a theology of the woman. Most importantly, he emphasizes the mercy of God, encouraging us always to seek His forgiveness, especially in confession. 

A short fourth part on prayer brings the book to a close. It includes a selection of prayers the pope has drawn attention to during his pontificate. The core ideas of his Holiness’ papacy – mercy, support for marginalized people, and diplomacy – shine through. The book is full of inspiration and guidance for personal growth.

Book Review – The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is the first detective novel in the eponymous series by Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith, first published in 1998. The novel introduces the Motswana Mma Precious Ramotswe, who begins the first detective agency in Botswana, in the capital city Gaborone, after her beloved father dies. She hires a secretary and solves cases for her clients.

The novel was first published in Scotland, where it gained a following. After two more novels in the series were published, all three were published in the US to much acclaim; in 2002, for example, Publishers Weekly called it a “little gem of a book”.

Mma Ramotswe sits in her office, the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency. She has a secretary, and she has clients. She is in Gaborone the capital of Botswana, a place of which she is proud.

She is the only child of Obed Ramotswe, a man who worked long years in the mines in South Africa, until one day he witnessed a crime, and knew he had to leave the mines. He had married a year or two earlier, and their daughter was born in Mochudi. He was wise with the money he earned in the mines, using it to buy cattle and slowly grow his herd, watched by a cousin while he was in the mines. Not long after he returned, his wife died. A cousin, left by her husband because she was barren, came to help him raise his daughter Precious. The cousin taught her well, caring for her until a second man asked her to marry him, when Precious is about 10 years old. Precious continues at school until she is 16. Her father wants her to pursue more education, but she wants to stop school and does. She itches to see new places. She lives with her cousin and cousin’s husband. He has a business running buses, and is doing well. She takes a job in the firm, and uncovers thievery by another employee, defrauding the company. Each weekend she takes a bus home to Mochudi to see her father. On one bus trip she meets a boy, a musician named Note Mokote. Soon he proposes marriage to her, going to her father for his permission.

She heads back to Mochudi to be with her father until he dies from the lung disease he got in the mines, just after she is 34. Her father’s herd is large, and the price was good. She sells some of the good herd of cattle to set up her office in Gaborone and buy a house there. The house is on Zebra Drive. The office is well-located.

SAINT OF THE DAY – NOV 28, 2021

ST JAMES OF MARCHES

St. James of the Marches was a Franciscan priest in the 15th century. He was born into a poor family in Monteprandone, Italy in 1391 and was educated by his uncle who was a priest. He continued his education, eventually achieving the degree of Doctor in Canon and Civil Law from the University of Perugia. He worked for some time as a tutor in a noble family, but on July 26, 1416, he was received into the order of Friars Minor in the Chapel of the Portiuncula in Assisi.

After completing his novitiate, he studied theology under St. Bernardine of Siena. On June 13, 1420, St. James was ordained a priest, and soon began to preach in Tuscany, in the Marches, and in Umbria. For half a century, he continued as a missionary and preacher. St James of the Marches preached penance, combated heretics, and was on legations in Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, and Bosnia. He was also appointed inquisitor against the Fratelli, a heretic sect that dissented from the Franciscans on the vow of poverty, among other things. He was offered the See of Milan in 1460, but he refused it.

Inspired by St. Jame’s apostolic example, more than 200 young men of Germany were impelled to enter the Franciscan Order. The crowds who came to hear him were so great that the churches were not large enough to accommodate them, and it became imperative for him to preach in the public squares. At Milan he was instrumental in converting 36 women of bad repute by a single sermon on St. Mary Magdalen. It is said that he brought 50,000 heretics into the Church and led 200,000 nonbelievers to baptism. In addition, God granted St James such wisdom that popes and princes sought counsel from him. He possessed the gifts or miracles and of prophesy in great measure, yet his humility surpassed all those distinctions. On Easter Monday, 1462, St. James, while preaching at Brescia, repeated the ideas of some theologians that the Precious Blood shed during the Passion was not united with the Divinity of Christ during the three days of His burial. He was accused of heresy for saying that, but no discussion or resolution was ever granted to his case, and the matter was ignored or forgotten. James spent the last three years of his life at Naples, and was buried there in the Franciscan church of St. Maria la Nuova, where his body can be seen today.

He was beatified by Urban VIII in 1624 and was canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726. Naples venerates him as one of its patron saints.