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"O Lord open my lips and my mouth shall declare your praise"  Sunrise at St. Hedwig's, Barry's Bay

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  • Saint Pedro de San José Betancur
    Saint Pedro de San José Betancur | Catedral de La Laguna | photo by Koppchen
    Image: Saint Pedro de San José Betancur | Catedral de La Laguna | photo by Koppchen

    Saint Pedro de San José Betancur

    Saint of the Day for April 26

    (March 19, 1626 – April 25, 1667)

     

    Saint Pedro de San José Betancur’s Story

    Central America claimed its first saint with the canonization of Pedro de San José Betancur. Known as the “St. Francis of the Americas,” Pedro de Betancur is the first saint to have worked and died in Guatemala.

    Pedro very much wanted to become a priest, but God had other plans for the young man born into a poor family on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Pedro was a shepherd until age 24, when he began to make his way to Guatemala, hoping to connect with a relative engaged in government service there. By the time he reached Havana, he was out of money. After working there to earn more, he got to Guatemala City the following year. When he arrived, he was so destitute that he joined the breadline that the Franciscans had established.

    Soon, Pedro enrolled in the local Jesuit college in hopes of studying for the priesthood. No matter how hard he tried, however, he could not master the material; he withdrew from school. In 1655, he joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later, he opened a hospital for the convalescent poor; a shelter for the homeless, and a school for the poor soon followed. Not wanting to neglect the rich of Guatemala City, Pedro began walking through their part of town ringing a bell and inviting them to repent.

    Other men came to share in Pedro’s work. Out of this group came the Bethlehemite Congregation, which won papal approval after Pedro’s death. A Bethlehemite sisters’ community, similarly founded after Pedro’s death, was inspired by his life of prayer and compassion.

    He is sometimes credited with originating the Christmas Eve posadas procession in which people representing Mary and Joseph seek a night’s lodging from their neighbors. The custom soon spread to Mexico and other Central American countries.

    Pedro died in 1667, and was canonized by Pope John Paul II in Guatemala City on July 30, 2002.

    Calling the new saint an “outstanding example” of Christian mercy, the Holy Father noted that Saint Pedro practiced mercy “heroically with the lowliest and the most deprived.” Speaking to the estimated 500,000 Guatemalans in attendance, the Holy Father spoke of the social ills that plague the country today and of the need for change.

    “Let us think of the children and young people who are homeless or deprived of an education; of abandoned women with their many needs; of the hordes of social outcasts who live in the cities; of the victims of organized crime, of prostitution or of drugs; of the sick who are neglected and the elderly who live in loneliness,” he said in his homily during the three-hour liturgy.

     


    Reflection

    As humans, we often pride ourselves on our ability to reason. But as Pedro’s life shows, other skills may be an even more crucial element of our humanity than a clever mind: compassion, imagination, love. Unable to master studies for the priesthood despite his efforts, Pedro responded to the needs of homeless and sick people; he provided education to the poor and salvation to the rich. He became holy—as fully human as any of us can ever be.

Divine Office

  • Apr 27, Invitatory for Thursday of the 2nd week of Easter

    Lord, open my lips.
    And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

    Ant. The Lord is risen, alleluia.

    Psalm 67

    O God, be gracious and bless us
    and let your face shed its light upon us.
    So will your ways be known upon earth
    and all nations learn your saving help.

    Ant. The Lord is risen, alleluia.

    Let the peoples praise you, O...

Bishop M. Mulhall's Letter On Euthanasia

My Dear Faithful,

The events of the past year regarding euthanasia have been a very troubling experience. On June 17, 2016, Bill C - 14 received royal assent, making euthanasia and assisted suicide legal in Canada.  In supporting euthanasia,  both  private  and  institutional  voices  have  neglected  the intrinsic  value  of  life  and  have undermined  the  fundamental  value  of  individual  freedom  of conscience.  The program  of  support  for  euthanasia  has  been  marked  by  misrepresentation and  manipulation, which in turn has created significant frustration for many people of  good will.

Read more...
 

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