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St. Hunna

St. Hunna

Feast date: Apr 15

Known as "the Holy Washerwoman", St. Hunna was a 7th century noblewoman who cared for and bathed the poor of Strasbourg, France. Pope Leo X canonized her in 1520. She is the patroness of laundry workers and laundresses.

Good Friday

Good Friday

Feast date: Apr 15

On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Good Friday, in the Adoration of the Cross, in the chanting of the 'Reproaches', in the reading of the Passion, and in receiving the pre-consecrated Host, we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord.

The Church - stripped of its ornaments, the altar bare, and with the door of the empty tabernacle standing open - is as if in mourning. In the fourth century the Apostolic Constitutions described this day as a 'day of mourning, not a day of festive joy,' and this day was called the 'Pasch (passage) of the Crucifixion.'

The liturgical observance of this day of Christ's suffering, crucifixion and death evidently has been in existence from the earliest days of the Church. No Mass is celebrated on this day, but the service of Good Friday is called the Mass of the Presanctified because Communion (in the species of bread) which had already been consecrated on Holy Thursday is given to the people .

Traditionally, the organ is silent from Holy Thursday until the Alleluia at the Easter Vigil , as are all bells or other instruments, the only music during this period being unaccompanied chant.

The omission of the prayer of consecration deepens our sense of loss because Mass throughout the year reminds us of the Lord's triumph over death, the source of our joy and blessing. The desolate quality of the rites of this day reminds us of Christ's humiliation and suffering during his Passion. We can see that the parts of the Good Friday service correspond to the divisions of Mass:
  • Liturgy of the Word - reading of the Passion.
  • Intercessory prayers for the Church and the entire world, Christian and non-Christian.
  • Veneration of the Cross
  • Communion, or the 'Mass of the Pre-Sanctified.'

The Veneration of the Cross

In the seventh century, the Church in Rome adopted the practice of Adoration of the Cross from the Church in Jerusalem, where a fragment of wood believed to be the Lord's cross had been venerated every year on Good Friday since the fourth century. According to tradition, a part of the Holy Cross was discovered by the mother of the emperor Constantine, St. Helen, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 326. A fifth century account describes this service in Jerusalem. A coffer of gold-plated silver containing the wood of the cross was brought forward. The bishop placed the relic on the a table in the chapel of the Crucifixion and the faithful approached it, touching brow and eyes and lips to the wood as the priest said (as every priest has done ever since): 'Behold, the Wood of the Cross.'

Adoration or veneration of an image or representation of Christ's cross does not mean that we are actually adoring the material image, of course, but rather what it represents. In kneeling before the crucifix and kissing it we are paying the highest honor to the our Lord's cross as the instrument of our salvation. Because the Cross is inseparable from His sacrifice, in reverencing His Cross we are, in effect, adoring Christ. Thus we affirm: 'We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee because by Thy Holy Cross Thou has Redeemed the World.'

Congo-Brazzaville: Bishops evaluate and offer guidance to episcopal commissions

Bishops in the Republic of Congo, over the weekend, concluded their first Plenary Assembly for 2024. The Plenary was held in the capital, Brazzaville. During the report sessions, they evaluated various pastoral projects and received reports on the activities of the Episcopal Commisions and Church institutions.

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The C9 commences April meetings in the Vatican

April 15 marks the start of the April working session of the Council of Cardinals, in the presence of Pope Francis.

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The invisible and indelible wounds of war

Dr. Richard Mollica, Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, shares with Vatican Media his decades of experience in assisting trauma survivors as they and their families seek healing from the hidden wounds of war.

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Poland: Thousands join National March for Life in Warsaw

Thousands of people express their support for the lives of unborn children and their opposition to expanding access to abortion, as they took part in Poland’s National March for Life on Sunday.

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Cardinal Parolin tells university students their commitment counts

The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, encourages university students of the Università Cattolica in Milan, to make the most of their time now, in order to create a better future.

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Ukraine military fears more losses at battlefields

Ukraine’s military chief warned that the battlefield situation in the industrial east has “significantly worsened in recent days,” amid concerns that warming weather allows Russian forces to launch a fresh push along several stretches of the more 1,000 km-long (620-mile) front line.

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Pope pleads for military restraint in the Middle East

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The morning after Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel, Pope Francis pleaded with nations to avoid a further escalation of the violence.

"I make a heartfelt appeal for a halt to any action that might fuel a spiral of violence with the risk of dragging the Middle East into an even greater conflict," the pope said April 14 after reciting the "Regina Coeli" prayer with visitors in St. Peter's Square.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Iran launched 330 exploding drones and missiles at Israeli military facilities late April 13 and early April 14. The vast majority of the weapons were intercepted.

Pope Francis told thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square, "I am following in prayer and with concern, also sorrow, the news that has come in the last few hours about the worsening of the situation in Israel because of the intervention by Iran."

People join Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square
As Pope Francis pleaded with nations to exercise restraint and avoid an escalation of violence in the Middle East after his recitation of the "Regina Coeli" prayer at the Vatican April 14, 2024, members of the Auxilium Cooperative, a social-service agency, hold up a sign that says, in Italian: "With Pope Francis for a Better World." (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

"No one should threaten the existence of others," the pope said. "Instead, all nations should take the side of peace, and help the Israelis and Palestinians to live in two states, side by side, in security."

Israelis and Palestinians have a "deep and legitimate desire" to live peacefully and independently, he said, "and it is their right! Two neighboring states."

Once again Pope Francis urged Israel and Hamas to stop the fighting in Gaza "and let the paths of negotiation be pursued with determination."

"Let that population, plunged into a humanitarian catastrophe, be helped; let the hostages kidnapped months ago be freed at once," he said, referring to the hundreds of Israelis taken hostage by Hamas in October.

"So much suffering," he said. "Let us pray for peace. No more war, no more attacks, no more violence! Yes to dialogue and yes to peace!"

Later in his remarks, addressing children and inviting them to participate in the first celebration of World Children's Day at the Vatican in May, Pope Francis said everyone needs young people's joy and their hopes "for a better world, a world at peace."

"Brothers and sisters, let's pray for the children who are suffering because of wars -- there are so many -- in Ukraine, in Palestine, in Israel, in other parts of the world, in Myanmar," he said. "Let's pray for them and for peace."

 

Calls for calm after Iran launches massive missile attack

The Israeli military says 99% of the drones and missile fired at it from Iran overnight were intercepted without hitting their target.

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