Thursday, March 4, 2010


(VIS) - Benedict XVI is due to visit the Spanish cities of Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona in November this year, according to announcements made yesterday by Archbishop Julian Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela, and Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona. The Holy Father will travel to Santiago de Compostela on 6 November, for the occasion of the Compostela Holy Year, then move on to Barcelona on 7 November where he will consecrate the church of the "Sagrada Familia". This will be Benedict XVI's second visit to Spain, the first having been in July 2006 for the Fifth World Meeting of Families in Valencia. Furthermore, he is expected to return to the country in August 2011 for the celebration of World Youth Day..../.../... VIS 100304 (140)
AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 4 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Nine prelates from the Uganda Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit: - Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of Kampala, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Christopher Kakooza and by Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala, archbishop emeritus. - Bishop Paul Ssemogerere of Kasana-Luweero. - Bishop Joseph Anthony Zziwa of Kiyinda-Mityana. - Bishop Matthias Ssekamanya of Lugazi. - Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa of Masaka. - Archbishop Paul K. Bakyenga of Mbarara. - Bishop Lambert Bainomugisha, auxiliary of Mbarara, apostolic administrator of Hoima. - Francisco A. Soler, ambassador of El Salvador, on his farewell visit.AL:AP/.../... VIS 100304 (110)
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 4 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Vilnius, Lithuania, presented by Bishop Juozas Tunaitis, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law. - Appointed as members of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses: Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Fr. Wojciech Giertych O.P., theologian of the Pontifical Household, and Fr. Theodore Mascarenhas S.F.X., official of the Pontifical Council for Culture.RE:NA/.../... VIS 100304 (120)

CNA report:
In comments to Catholic News Agency, Bishop Philip Bacarreza Rodriguez of Santa Maria de Los Angeles in Chile explained that the looting and thefts that have occurred following the earthquake on February 27, are "a further demonstration of the people's lack of Christian values,” and absence of faith.
In a telephone conversation with CNA from the Chilean city of Los Angeles, which was also hit by the earthquake, the bishop said, “People are looting the supermarkets in reality because they need to eat ... I can understand that to a certain point. But there have also been acts of vandalism that are truly unacceptable. These people do not steal food, but televisions” and other items having nothing to do with survival.
Bishop Rodriguez went on to denounce "gangs who come to rob the victims. Unfortunately it is a sign of human evil. It is a further demonstration of lack of Christian values, the absence of faith in God."
Emergency situation
Speaking later about his own experience of seeing his house “destroyed and rendered uninhabitable," Bishop Bacarreza noted that the Chilean people are in immediate need of "food, supplies, clothing, blankets - these kinds of things." While many people and organizations are sending aid, he added, what is also needed now is detailed organization in order to distribute the supplies.
The Chilean bishop rejected the idea that the earthquake was divine punishment, calling it instead “an opportunity: God corrects his children because he loves them. Sometimes we are so caught up in frivolous things, such as celebrities,” and when “these kinds of events occur, they bring us back to reality.”
The prelate also noted that many churches have suffered damages and cracks to their foundations. We need to “determine whether these cracks are deep or just on the surface. The minor seminary suffered roof damage. That needs to be fixed as soon as possible,” as the rainy season is approaching.
“The cathedral is okay,” he added, although two other churches were damaged, “and many rural chapels were affected, but we don’t have all of the information yet,” the bishop added.
“We must trust in God and help each other,” he stressed, “because Christian charity at this time of trial must be put into action. Everyone who has resources and greater means should help those who have been affected the most.”
“Let us trust in God and that the Virgin Mary, our patroness, will protect us and be with us.”
Catholic Herald report:
Eight years ago the historic St Patrick's church in Soho Square, London, instituted an "SOS prayerline" service to offer prayer and support to those who call on the telephone. Two weeks ago the prayerline recorded its 50,000th telephone call since it opened on May 13 2003. To mark the occasion Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster came to pray, meet some of the volunteers and offer his blessing for the future of the prayerline. The telephone sits in a chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed from seven o'clock to 11 every evening, 365 days a year. The lay volunteers who answer the calls give their time generously to this simple but effective service. There have been many occasions over the years when callers have phoned to say "thank you" as a result of prayers answered. Monica O'Shea works on the St Patrick's appeal for restoration of the historic Soho church. She said: "They receive a call and the caller requests a prayer. Then usually the volunteer prays with the caller over the phone." Often callers ring up to express their gratitude and to ask how to donate so that the work can go on. All the prayers that have ever been received are recorded in a special book. They are kept in perpetuity and callers' petitions are regularly prayed for.Fr Alexander Sherbrooke, the parish priest, (pictured below), said: "It is a service that offers only prayer. It does not give counsel or information and simply endeavours to use the telephone as a means of bringing callers closer to the source of mercy."At the heart of our parish life is the celebration of Holy Mass and the daily Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from which flows all the various parish activities and makes the church a spiritual oasis in what is probably the busiest part of one of the busiest cities in the world."The appeal for the restoration and expansion of St Patrick's has so far raised £2.7 million and efforts to raise funds continue. In addition to the restoring of the church, a redevelopment is planned to provide a kitchen and cafeteria to give meals for homeless people, a safe house programme for addicts and better rooms for the church fertility advice clinic and the School of Evangelisation.It was the first church in England since the Reformation to be dedicated to St Patrick and was one of the first churches established after the Catholic Relief Acts of 1778 and 1791.Fr Arthur O'Leary, an Irish Franciscan, directed the consecration of the chapel in 1792. The church houses relics of St Oliver Plunkett, one of the Tyburn Martyrs. During the 20th century Archbishop Fulton Sheen, the television evangelist, regularly celebrated Mass at St Patrick's, preached from its neo-Renaissance pulpit and stayed in the parish house on visits to Britain. The church has also survived Hitler's attempt to destroy London: during the Blitz, on the night of November 19 1940, a bomb pierced the roof of the church but failed to explode. During the restoration works the SOS prayerline will continue daily from 7pm to 11pm. In mid-March, however, the church itself will close for 12 months and Masses have been relocated to various churches in the vicinity. The weekday 12.45pm Mass will be in the day chapel in St Patrick's presbytery. The Saturday 6pm Mass will be at the French Protestant church and the Sunday 11am and 5pm Masses at the House of St Barnabas. The Sunday Chinese Mass will be at 2.15pm at Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory in Warwick Street. The Sunday Spanish Mass at 6pm moves to Notre Dame de France in Leicester Place as does the Saturday 4pm Portuguese Mass. For SOS prayerline telephone 020 7434 9211.

CISA report: Catholic Church run schools are among the best performers in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE), whose results were released today by Education Minister, Prof. Sam. Ongeri.Gathuku David Ndung’u of Mang’u High School in Thika District-Central Kenya, led the pack of ten top students in Kenya. Mbaabu Doris Mwendwa of Precious Blood Secondary School, run by the Precious Blood Sisters in Kilungu, Eastern Province, took the second position among the best female performers, nationally.Mwendwa Sue Ellen of Loreto High School, Limuru in Central Kenya claimed the eighth position among the top ten, while Mungai Anne Wanjiku of Precious Blood Girls’ Riruta, Nairobi came in ninth. While releasing the results, Minister Ongeri said a total of 337, 404 candidates had sat last year’s KCSE exams and that the figure represented 45.3 percent of girls and 54.7 percent of boys, nationally.“However, in Central Province, the percentage of girls was higher than that of boys-51.0 percent girls to 49.0 percent boys , while the rest of the provinces the ratio was in favour of boys with the biggest gender gap of 26.24 percent girls to 73.6 percent boys noted in North Eastern Province,” he observed.The minister said the current challenge of the education ministry was how best it could battle out cheating in exams.“Our biggest headache here is how best we can manage to bring this issue-cheating in exams to zero level,” he told a gathering, which included teachers and education officers.“Despite frisking, some candidates still managed to smuggle pre-prepared notes, text books and mobile phones into examination rooms. Some of such materials were also hidden in parts of their bodies where one would least expect, while some notes were written on candidates’ shirts. This shows the extent to which deviant students are ready to go to in order to cheat in examinations,” the minister further stressed.Meanwhile, the country’s examining body, Kenya National Examination Council-KNEC, plans to use an innovative system to make it easier, faster and cheaper for candidates to get their results.The examination council says the new system will allow candidates to receive the exams results instantly, through a simple text message (SMS) to the KNEC office as a subscriber.
UCAN report — A priest today [March 4] cast doubt over claims that communist rebels burnt down a school in Masbate province.
“NPA (New People’s Army) usually go to contractors as the structures are being built and demand taxes,” Father Bienvenido Bautista, pastor of St Joseph’s Parish in the town of Dimasalang, told UCA News.
Once built, “they never touch schools,” he said.
The regional military reported the fire that started in Gaid community around midnight on Monday [March 1].
Residents reported seeing around 10 armed men at the school grounds after the fire, the army said.
A newspaper report said NPA may have burnt the school down but the National Democratic Front of communist groups denied any involvement. The destruction of rice stocks stored in classrooms was also uncharacteristic of NPA attacks, Father Bautista said.
NPA does not destroy food stocks but rather haul them away, he said.
Rice stocks kept in classrooms for the government’s Food for School Program was destroyed in the fire about four kilometers from the center of the coastal town.
No one was injured but the fire left nearly 150 children without classrooms and rice.
Masbate diocesan social action director Father Leo casa told UCA News the Philippine National Police (PNP) provincial chief told him that parents who were “angry at teachers over perceived discrimination in the school’s nourishment program” may have set off the fire.
The PNP director told him parents accused teachers of not giving the children their allotted rice under the government’s Food for Schools program.
Masbate is among the three “poorest” provinces in Philippines, according to the National Poverty Map 2007 prepared by the Peace and Equity Foundation. At least 93 percent of the province’s population is Catholic and St Joseph’s is one of 27 parishes serving some 703,000 Catholics.
Cath News report:
More than 2,000 people will gather in St Patrick's Cathedral precinct this evening for the installation of new bishop, Anthony Fisher OP.
The Mass, which commences at 7.30pm, will also be streamed live through the Catholic social networking site Xt3.
Bishop Fisher will be the principal celebrant, with concelebrants Cardinal George Pell, the Apostolic Nuncio His Excellency Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, the diocese's Apostolic Administrator Bishop Kevin Manning, the bishops of Australia, and priests of the Dioceses of Parramatta, Broken Bay, Sydney and beyond, the Diocese said.
Bishop Fisher, who has served as auxiliary bishop of Sydney for seven years and was behing World Youth Day 2008, is Australia's youngest Catholic bishop and is one of the Church's colourful characters, according to a report in The Australian.
An avid reader, skilled cook and internationally respected academic, he took a path less travelled to the priesthood, studying and practising law, then joining the Dominicans at age 25, The Australian said.
He has since completed a PhD in bioethics at Oxford, lectured at the Australian Catholic University and was the inaugural director of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family in Melbourne.
Catholics comprise a third of the Parramatta diocese's population, making it the most Catholic area in Australia. Parramatta has 80 priests and 12 seminarians, who will all assist at tonight's mass in St Patrick's Cathedral.
"It's a good number but far fewer than Sydney's total. I'd like to see the numbers increase, give Cardinal Pell a little friendly rivalry," Bishop Fisher is cited saying.

St. Casimir
Feast: March 4
Feast Day:
March 4
October 3, 1458(1458-10-03), Wawel, Kraków
March 4, 1484, Hrodna, Belarus
1522, Rome by Pope Adrian VI
Major Shrine:
Vilnius Cathedral
Patron of:
patron saint of Poland and Lithuania

St Casimir was the third among the thirteen children of Casimir III, King of Poland, and of Elizabeth of Austria, daughter to the Emperor Albert II, a most virtuous woman, who died in 1505. He was born in 1458, on the 3rd of October. From his childhood he was remarkably pious and devout. His preceptor was John Dugloss, called Longinus, canon of Cracow, a man of extraordinary learning and piety, who constantly refused all bishoprics and other dignities of the church and state which were pressed upon him. Uladislas, the eldest son, was elected King of Bohemia in 1471, and became King of Hungary in 1490. Our saint was the second son; John Albert the third son, succeeded the father in the kingdom of Poland in 1492; and Alexander, the fourth son, was called to the same in 1501. Casimir and the other princes were so affectionately attached to the holy man, who was their preceptor, that they could not bear to be separated from him. But Casimir profited most by his pious maxims and example. He consecrated the flower of his age to the exercises of devotion and penance, and had a horror of that softness and magnificence which reign in courts His clothes were very plain, and under them he wore a hair shirt. His bed was frequently the ground, and he spent a considerable part of the night in prayer and meditation, chiefly on the passion of our Saviour. He often went out in the night to pray before the church-doors; and in the morning waited before them till they were opened to assist at matins. By living always under a sense of the divine presence he remained perpetually united to, and absorbed in, his Creator, maintained an uninterrupted cheerfulness of temper, and was mild and affable to all. He respected the least ceremonies of the church: everything that tended to promote piety was dear to him. He was particularly devout to the passion of our blessed Saviour, the very thought of which excited him to tears, and threw him into transports of love. He was no less piously affected towards the sacrifice of the altar, at which he always assisted with such reverence and attention that he seemed in raptures. And as a mark of his singular devotion to the Blessed Virgin, he composed, or at least frequently recited, the long hymn that bears his name, a copy of which was, by his desire, buried with him. His love for Jesus Christ showed itself in his regard for the poor, who are his members, to whose relief he applied whatever he had, and employed his credit with his father, and his brother Uladislas, King of Bohemia, to procure them succour. His compassion made him feel in himself the afflictions of every one.
The Palatines and other nobles of Hungary, dissatisfied with Matthias Corvin, their king, son of the great Huniades, begged the King of Poland to allow them to place his son Casimir on the throne. The saint, not then quite fifteen years of age, was very unwilling to consent; but in compliance with his father's will he went, at the head of an army of twenty thousand men, to the frontiers in 1471. There hearing that Matthias had formed an army of sixteen thousand men to defend him, and that all differences were accommodated between him and his people, and that Pope Sixtus IV had sent an embassy to divert his father from that expedition, he joyfully returned, having with difficulty obtained his father's consent so to do. However, as his dropping this project was disagreeable to the king his father, not to increase his affliction by appearing before him he did not go directly to Cracow, but retired to the Castle of Dobzki, three miles from that city, where he continued three months in the practice of penance. Having learned the injustice of the attempt against the King of Hungary, in which obedience to his father's command prevailed upon him to embark when he was very young, he could never be engaged to resume it by fresh pressing invitation of the Hungarians, or the iterated orders and entreaties of his father. The twelve years he lived after this he spent in sanctifying himself in the same manner as he had done before. He observed to the last an untainted chastity, notwithstanding the advice of physicians who excited him to marry, imagining, upon some false principle, this to be a means necessary to preserve his life. Being wasted with a lingering consumption, he foretold his last hour, and having prepared himself for it by redoubling his exercises of piety, and receiving the sacraments of the church, he made a happy end at Vilna, the capital of Lithuania, on the 4th of March, 1484, being twenty-three years and five months old. He was buried in the Church of St. Stanislas. So many were the miracles wrought by his intercession that Swiecicki, a canon of Vilna, wrote a whole volume of them from good memoirs in 1604. He was canonized by Pope Leo X, whose legate in Poland, Zachary Ferrier, wrote the saint's life. His body, and all the rich stuffs it was wrapped in, were found quite entire, and exhaling a sweet smell one hundred and twenty years after his death, notwithstanding the excessive moisture of the vault. It is honoured in a large rich chapel of marble, built on purpose in that church. St. Casimir is the patron of Poland and several other places, and is proposed to youth as a particular pattern of purity. His original picture is to be seen in his chapel in St. German des Prez in Paris, built by John Casimir, King of Poland, the last of the family of Waza, who, renouncing his crown, retired to Paris, and died Abbot of St. Germain's in 1668.
What is there on earth which can engage the affections of a Christian, or be the object of his ambition, in whose soul God desires to establish his kingdom? Whoever has conceived a just idea of this immense happiness and dignity must look upon all the glittering bubbles of this world as empty and vain, and consider every thing in this life barely as it can advance or hinder the great object of all his desires. Few arrive at this happy and glorious state, because scarce any one seeks it with his whole heart, and has the courage sincerely to renounce all things and die to himself: and this precious jewel cannot be purchased upon any other terms. The kingdom of God can only be planted in a soul upon the ruins of self-love: so long as this reigns, it raises insuperable obstacles to the perfect establishment of the empire of divine love. The amiable Jesus lives in all souls which he animates by his sanctifying grace, and the Holy Ghost dwells in all such. But in most of these how many worldly maxims and inclinations diametrically opposite to those of our most holy heavenly king, hold their full sway! how many secret disorders and irregular attachments are cherished! how much is found of self-love, with which sometimes their spiritual exercises themselves are infected! The sovereign King of men and their merciful Redeemer is properly said to reign only in those souls which study effectually, and without reserve, to destroy in their affections whatever is opposite to his divine will, to subdue all their passions, and to subject all their powers to his holy love. Such fall not into any venial sins with full deliberation, and wipe away those of frailty into which they are betrayed, by the compunction and penance in which they constantly live, and by the constant attention with which they watch daily over themselves. They pray with the utmost earnestness that God deliver them from all the power of the enemy, and establish in all their affections the perfect empire of his grace and love; and to fulfil his will in the most perfect manner in all their actions is their most earnest desire and hearty endeavour. How bountifully does God reward, even in this life, those who are thus liberal toward him! St. Casimir, who had tasted of this happiness, and learned truly to value the heavenly grace, loathed all earthly pomp and delights. With what joy ought not all Christians, both rich and poor, to be filled when they hear: The kingdom of God is within you! With what ardor ought they not to devote themselves to make God reign perfectly in their hearts! How justly did St. Casimir prefer this pursuit to earthly kingdoms!SOURCE

Luke 16: 19 - 31
"There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.
And at his gate lay a poor man named Laz'arus, full of sores,
who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried;
and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Laz'arus in his bosom.
And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Laz'arus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.'
But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Laz'arus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.
And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.'
And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.'
But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'
And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'
He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'"
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