Prayer to our Lady of Sheshan, World Day of Prayer for the Church in China (24 May)

Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother, venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title “Help of Christians”, the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.

We come before you today to implore your protection. Look upon the people of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.

When you obediently say “yes” in the house of Nazareth, you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.

You willingly and generously cooperated in that work, allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul, until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary, standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.

From that moment, you became, in a new way, the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith and choose to follow in His footsteps by taking up His Cross.

Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter. Grant that your children may discern at all times, even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.

Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love. May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus.

In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high, offering Him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love. Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses of this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.

Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us now and forever. Amen!

Official Schedule of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to the Holy Land (24-26 May 2014)

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-holy-land-pilgrimage-schedule-release

Here is the official schedule of Pope Francis’ planned visit to the Holy Land, which will take place from Saturday, 24 May 2014 to Monday, 26 May 2014.

 

Saturday, 24 May 2014
08:15 Departure from Rome Fiumicino Airport for Amman
13:00 Arrival at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman
13:45 Arrival ceremony and welcome for Pope Francis in the al-Husseini Royal Palace in Amman. Pope Francis will also pay a courtesy visit to the King and Queen of Jordan in the Royal Palace.
14:20 Pope Francis is scheduled to meet the officials and authorities of the Kingdom of Jordan.
16:00 Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Mass at the International Stadium in Amman.
19:00 Pope Francis will pay a visit to the Baptismal Site at Bethany beyond the Jordan
19:15 Pope Francis will meet with refugees and disabled youths in the Latin church at Bethany beyond the Jordan.

Sunday, 25 May 2014
8:15 Pope Francis departs from Jordan at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, heading towards Bethlehem
8:30 Departure by helicopter from the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman for Bethlehem
9:20 Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive at the helicopter port of Bethlehem
9:30 Arrival ceremony and welcome for Pope Francis at the Presidential Palace in Bethlehem. Pope Francis will pay a courtesy visit to the President of the State of Palestine.
10:00 Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with the officials and authorities of the State of Palestine.
11:00 Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Mass in Manger Square in Bethlehem. This will be followed by Regina Caeli/Coeli.
13:30 Pope Francis will host a lunch with Palestinian families in the Franciscan convent of Casa Nova in Bethlehem
15:00 Pope Francis will pay a private visit to the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
15:20 Pope Francis will greet children from the Deheisheh, Aida and Beit Jibrin refugee camps at the Phoenix Center of the Deheisheh Refugee Camp
15:45 Pope Francis will depart from the State of Palestine at the helicopter port of Bethlehem
16:00 Departure by helicopter from the helicopter port of Bethlehem for Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv
16:30 Arrival ceremony and welcome for Pope Francis at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.
17:15 Transfer by helicopter to Jerusalem
17:45 Arrival at the helicopter port of Jerusalem on Mount Scopus
18:15 Pope Francis will have a private meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Patriarch Bartholomew I at the Apostolic Delegation in Jerusalem. They will sign of a joint declaration together.
19.00 Ecumenical Meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
20:15 Dinner with the Patriarchs and Bishops and the Papal suite at the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem

Monday, 26 May 2014
8:15 Pope Francis will visit the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in the building of the Great Council on the Esplanade of the Mosques.
9:10 Pope Francis is scheduled to pay a visit t0 the Western Wall in Jerusalem
9:45 Pope Francis will lay a wreath at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem
10.00 Pope Francis will visit Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
10:45 Pope Francis will pay a courtesy visit to two chief rabbi at Heichal Shlomo Center in Jerusalem, next to the Jerusalem Great Synagogue.
11:45 Pope Francis will pay a courtesy visit to the President of Israel at the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem.
13:00 Pope Francis will have a private audience with the Prime Minister of Israel at Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem.
13:30 Lunch with the Papal suite at Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem
15:30 Pope Francis will have a private visit to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople at the building next to the Orthodox church of Viri Galileai on the Mount of Olives
16:00 Pope Francis will meet with priests, religious brothers and sisters and also seminarians in the church of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives.
17:20 Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Mass with the ordinaries (Patriarchs and bishops) of the Holy Land and the Papal Suite (Papal entourage) in the room of the Cenacle in Jerusalem.
19:30 Transfer by helicopter from the helicopter port on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem to Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv
20:00 Farewell and departure from Israel at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.
20:15 Departure from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv for Ciampino Airport in Rome.
23:00 Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive back at Ciampino Airport in Rome.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial Feast of our Lady of Fatima (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a truly wonderful and beautiful feast of the Church, honouring the blessed mother of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that is His mother, Mary, who appeared to three children at a village known as Fatima in Portugal, almost a century ago, in which she revealed much revelations of truth to the children, about the faith and the Church and the constant battles it faces daily against the evil in the world.

The revelations of Fatima had been a very popular topic among many of the faithful, and many speculations about its contents had arisen. But most importantly, the truth is that Mary who appeared to the three children foretold the many events that would happen, and did happen in the course of the last one century since the apparition.

The apparition was seen by the three children, but many tens of thousands of other people saw the miracle of the sun and testified to its truth, through which the Blessed Virgin Mary showed the truth of her message, and the urgency of the contents of such message, in the view of the increasing dangers facing the Church of God and the faithful disciples of the Lord.

Our Lady and mother of our Lord had often appeared to us, to mankind to continue to urge us to return to the loving embrace of her Son, and abandon our past, sinful lives, in exchange of a new life anchored upon God’s love. She appeared to the three children at a time of great difficulty, not just for the Church but also for the entire world and mankind.

The first world war was raging when the three children saw our Lady in Fatima, and her appearance occurred just moments before the downfall of the Christian nation of Russia, the Russian Empire, which was overthrown by the Communist rebels and agitators, ushering in a long period of suffering, death and destruction, which we all are very aware about, the effects of which are still felt today.

The Cold war, and the second world war was all indirectly and directly linked to that event, and also to other sad events that had unfolded during the past one century. And the apparition revealed those sad events to the children, who eventually one of them revealed much of the revelations to the Church. This world indeed had been filled with so much violence and evil for much of the past century, and it is therefore ever more urgent that we heed the call for repentance.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to change our ways if we have dwelt in darkness and engage in wicked behaviours and dealings. We cannot be ignorant and continue with our lives as if nothing has happened. We have to commit ourselves to the way of the Lord and listen to the call of His mother, who, as the greatest among the saints and intercessors, and as the one nearest to her Son’s throne, she is our greatest help in this life’s battle against the corrupting nature of sin and evil.

The Lord Himself said that those who do the will of God, and keep as well as understand His precepts will be blessed. As such, that is what our Lady at Fatima encouraged mankind, that is to give themselves to the Lord and dedicate themselves to Him, and to ask His mother for help and intercession during the time of troubles. We must not be afraid to do so, for the mother of our Lord is loving and merciful, and she wants to help us that we may be saved and be reunited with her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have to be profoundly changed in our ways, that in all the things we say and do, we will always reflect the will and nature of our God, and in that, be blessed in all that we do. Let us heed the call of our beloved mother Mary, who appealed to us to reform our ways that we may shun violence and evil, and embrace instead her Son who showed us love in all its perfection through His sacrifice on the cross.

O, our Lady of Fatima, the mother of our Lord and our mother, help us to change our ways and continue to speak to us, just as you had spoken at Fatima long time ago, that we may understand better, how to become loving children of God, and sin no more but live eternally in His grace. O most loving mother, pray for us sinners. Amen.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial Feast of our Lady of Fatima (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 10 : 22-30

The time came for the feast of the Dedication. It was winter, and Jesus walked back and forth in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around Him and said to Him, “How long will you keep us in doubt? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered, “I have already told you, but you do not believe. The works I do in My Father’s Name proclaim who I am, but you do not believe because, as I said, you are not My sheep.”

“My sheep hear My voice and I know them; they follow Me and I give them eternal life. They shall never perish, and no one will ever steal them from Me. What the Father has given Me is above everything else, and no one can snatch it from out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.”

 

Alternative Reading (Mass of our Lady of Fatima)

 

Luke 11 : 27-28

As Jesus was speaking, a woman spoke from the crowd and said to Him, “Blessed is the one who gave You birth and nursed You!”

Jesus replied, “Truly blessed are those who hear the word of God, and keep it as well.”

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial Feast of our Lady of Fatima (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 86 : 1-3, 4-5, 6-7

He Himself has built in His holy mountain; the Lord prefers the gates of Zion to all of Jacob’s towns. Great things have been foretold of you, o city of God.

Between friends we speak of Egypt and Babylon; and also Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia : “Here so-and-so was born.” But of Zion it shall be said, “More and more are being born in her.” For the Most High Himself has founded her.

And the Lord notes in the people’s register : “All these were also born in Zion.” And all will dance and sing joyfully for You.

 

Alternative Reading (Mass of our Lady of Fatima)

 

Psalm 44 : 11-12, 14-15, 16-17

Listen, o daughter, pay attention; forget your father’s house and your nation, and your beauty will charm the King, for He is your Lord.

All glorious as she enters is the princess in her gold-woven robes. She is led in royal attire to the King, following behind is her train of virgins.

Amid cheers and general rejoicing, they enter the palace of the King. Forget your fathers and think of your sons, you will make them princes throughout the land.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial Feast of our Lady of Fatima (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 11 : 19-26

Those who had been scattered because of the persecution over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message, but only to the Jews. But there were some natives of Cyprus and Cyrene among them who, on coming into Antioch, spoke also to the Greeks, giving them the Good News of the Lord Jesus.

The hand of the Lord was with them so that a great number believed and turned to the Lord. News of this reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, so they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the manifest signs of God’s favour, he rejoiced and urged them all to remain firmly faithful to the Lord; for he himself was a good man filled with Holy Spirit and faith. Thus large crowds came to know the Lord.

Then Barnabas went off to Tarsus to look for Saul and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they had meetings with the Church and instructed many people. It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.

 

Alternative Reading (Mass of our Lady of Fatima)

 

Isaiah 61 : 9-11

Their descendants shall be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a race YHVH has blessed.

I rejoice greatly in YHVH, my soul exults for joy in my God, for He has clothed me in the garments of His salvation, He has covered me with the robe of His righteousness, like a bridegroom wearing a garland, like a bride adorned with jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its growth, and as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord YHVH make justice and praise spring up in the sight of all nations.