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Today’s Gospel in Art – I still have many things to say to you

Last Supper, by Andy Warhol 1986, © Phillips New York, 17 May 2018, lot 14, sold for $8,2 millionGospel of 20th May 2020 – John 16:12-15 Jesus said, ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is min…

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US Catholics invited to take Pledge to Protect

Individuals across the United States are signing a new pledge to take personal responsibility for protecting others as cities and states reopen despite widespread concerns about how to do so safely and responsibly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pledge functions to help people pause and think about how they will act in the context of our states and cities starting to reopen and…

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Pope celebrates Mass at tomb of St John Paul II

ScreenshotPope Francis celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of St John Paul II by offering Holy Mass at the altar where the Polish Pope is buried in St Peter’s Basilica. Joined by a very small congregation, this was the first Mass open to the public after almost two months of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Holy Father began his homily by reminding us that God loves His P…

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Video: Candles in the Night – a Prayer for the World

Just before the eve of the Feast of the Ascension, parish priest Canon Pat Browne and visiting seminarian Patrick van der Vorst, from Holy Apostles church in Pimlico, central London, have released a beautiful short film called Candles in the Night – a Prayer for the World. For the past few weeks, although the church has been closed because of the Covid-19 crisis, parishioners who are on lockdow…

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Viewpoint: Charity or Justice – we need both

Outside St Thomas’ hospital in south London, an artwork has been created of artificial flowers with the message: I (big heart) NHS.

This captures the sentiments of so many who have been clapping on their doorsteps every Thursday, placing rainbows in their windows, acknowledging in personal messages their admiration and support for those who work in hospitals and care homes. An important h…

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Northern Ireland: Churches welcome cautious approach to ending lockdown

The leaders of Ireland’s main churches have written to Northern Ireland’s First and deputy First Ministers this afternoon to welcome the announcement of the beginning of Step 1 of the Northern Ireland Executive’s pathway to recovery. In their letter they expressed their appreciation for the careful preparation that preceded this announcement, which included consultation with the Churches about …

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Amazonia: Catholic leaders warn of humanitarian, environmental catastrophe

Three Catholic leaders issued a joint statement yesterday calling for “urgent and unified action to avoid a humanitarian and environmental tragedy” in the Amazon region.

Brazilian Cardinal Claudo Hummes, Peruvian Cardinal Pedro Barreto Jimeno and Mauricio Lopez, executive secretary of the Pan-Amazonian Church Network write: ‘A tremendous force, on a scale never seen before, is devastating…

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Pakistan: Christian girl, 14, abducted and forced to marry

Maira ShahbazA mother in Pakistan has spoken of her distress after a man struck while the country was in lockdown, abducting the woman’s 14-year-old daughter, forcing her to marry him and abandon her Christian faith.

Faisalabad Magistrates Court ruled in favour of Mohamad Nakash, who claimed that Catholic girl Maira Shahbaz is 19 in spite of evidence being produced to show she is five years younger in…

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Saint of the Day

St Bernardino of Siena

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Saint Of The DayFranciscan preacher. St Bernadino was born at Massa di Carrera in 1380, and brought up by an aunt after his parents died. As a young man he took charge of the La Scala hospital at Siena after most of the staff died of plague. He then looked after his bedridden aunt until her death. In 1402 he became a Franciscan friar and soon began to make a name for himself as a preacher. For many years he journeyed on foot, preaching up and down Italy in churches and in the open air. For eight years his teaching was criticised by the University of Bologna, but eventually they decided in his favour.

Called the ‘people’s preacher’, St Bernardino spoke out relentlessly against usury. He also denounced the strife between different Italian cities. He was best known for his devotion to Jesus. At the end of his sermons he would hold up a plaque with the letters IHS. It is said that these letters became so popular, card-makers who had been ruined by the saint’s denunciation of gambling, recouped their losses, by selling the religious plaques instead. They can still be seen in churches in Tuscany and elsewhere.

For a time he was vicar general of his order and worked hard to restore a stricter observance of the Franciscan rule. During his office, vocations to the order increased tenfold. He set up schools of theology and took part in the Council of Florence which attempted to reunite the Eastern and Western Churches.

But in 1443 he resigned and went back to his favourite task of preaching. He died on this day in 1444 in Abruzzi. Ten years later he was canonised.

There were many mediaeval paintings of him, generally depicting him as a small man with burning eyes holding the IHS plaque. Sometimes he is shown with three mitres at his feet – representing three bishoprics he refused. His cult spread to England especially with the Observant Friars who set up their first foundation in Greenwich in 1482 and became a province of five houses by 1499.