Saturday, March 26, 2016

ACN News - A prayer for a priest abducted by ISIS

"Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done"

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Peace be with you! We are still in shock from the brutal murder of the four Missionaries of Charity and 12 collaborators in Aden on March 4. We pray for the repose of their souls. At the same time we implore the four martyrs to intercede for Yemen and for the whole Middle East that peace may come and violence cease.

Since March 4, Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Salesian priest, who has been serving in Yemen for several years, has been missing. Since the day he was kidnapped we do not know what has happened to him or where he is. There is still hope that he may be freed.

As we are celebrating the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord, I ask all of you to pray for Father Tom, especially during the adoration hours on Maundy Thursday after the celebration of the Last Supper Mass.

United with Jesus, with Father Tom and many others who are persecuted we pray: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). We pray that the same angel who comforted Jesus may give strength to all who are in danger and strengthen them in the hours of darkness.

I wish to express my solidarity and compassion with all who are affected by the events in Aden: the family members, the Missionaries of Charity, the Congregation of the Salesian Fathers, and not least the patients of the home and the few Christians remaining without a shepherd during this time of trial.

We pray for the conversion of the evildoers and make our own, the prayer of Jesus on the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). We believe that Golgotha is not the end. Jesus is the Christ, the Risen Lord who lives and reigns forever. In Him I wish you all a very Happy Easter.

Bishop Paul Hinder
Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia
Abu Dhabi, March 22, 2016

Editor’s Notes:

Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at or call 718-609-0939 or fax718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

St. Alphonsus de Liguori's Meditations for Passion Thursday - Jesus is crowned with Thorns, and treated as a Mock King

"The Crowning with Thorns" - from Hans Holbein's Grey Passion Series
Picture source

"...And when the thorns, by the pressure of their hands alone, could not be made to penetrate deeper in that divine head which they were piercing, with the self-same reed, and with all their might, they battered down that barbarous crown:  And spitting upon Him, they took the reed, and struck His Head.  O grateful thorns, do you thus torture your Creator?  But what thorns?  what thorns?  You, ye wicked thoughts of mine; it is you that have pierced the head of my Redeemer.

O, my God! how the blood is now streaming down from that pierced head over the face and the breast of Jesus!

And Thou, my Saviour, dost not even utter a complaint of of such unjust cruelties!   Thou art King of heaven and of earth: but now, my Jesus, Thou art brought down so low as to appear before us a king of derision and of sorrows, being made the laughing stock of all Jerusalem...

But no; these men for whom Thou art suffering have not yet their fill of torturing and making game of Thee.  After having thus tortured Thee, and dressed Thee up as a mock king, they bend their knee before Thee, and scornfully address Thee:  Hail to Thee, O king of the Jews.  And the, with shouts of laughter, they deal out more blows upon Thee, thus rendering twofold the anguish of the head already pierced by the thorns:  And bowing the knee before Him, they derided Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews, and they gave Him blows.  Do thou at least go, O my soul, and recognize Jesus for what He is, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; and return thanks to Him, and love Him, now that thou beholdest Him become for love of Thee, the king of sorrows..."

-The Passion and the Death of Jesus Christ

Monday, March 21, 2016

St. Alphonsus de Liguori's Meditation for Passion Monday

"Christ Before Caiphas" by Nicolo Frangipane

Picture source

Jesus is apprehended, and led before Caiphas

..."'They apprehended Jesus, and bound Him."  O amazement!  A God bound as a criminal by His own creatures!  Behold, my soul, how some of them seize hold of His hands; others put the handcuffs on Him; and others smite Him; and the innocent Lamb lets Himself be bound and struck at their will, and says not a word:  'He was offered because it was His own will, and opened not His mouth.  He is led as a sheep to the slaughter.'  He neither speaks nor utters complaint, since He had Himself already offered Himself up to die for us; and, therefore, did that Lamb let Himself be bound and led to death without opening His mouth.  

They bring Him up before Caiphas, who is pleased at seeing Him and asks Him about His disciples, and about His doctrine.  Jesus replies that He has spoken openly...'Behold, these (the Jews) know what I have said.'  But upon this reply, one of the officials of the court gives Him a blow in the face, saying, 'Dost Thou answer the high-priest so?'  But, O God, how does a reply, so humble and gentle, deserve so great an insult?

Ah, my Jesus, Thou dost suffer it all in order to pay the penalty of the insults that I have offered to Thy heavenly Father.

'What more need have we of witnesses?  Behold, ye have now heard His blasphemy; what is your opinion?  And they unanimously replied, He is guilty of death.'  And then, as the Evangelists relate, they all began to spit in His face, and to abuse Him, and slapping Him with their hands, and striking Him with their fists; and then tying a piece of cloth over His face, they turned Him into ridicule, saying, 'Prophesy to us, Thou Christ; who is it that smote Thee?'...St. Mark writes, And some began to spit upon Him, and to cover His face, and to deal upon Him blows, and to say to Him,  'Prophesy.  And the officers did smite Him with the palms of their hands.'"

- The Passion and the Death of Jesus Christ