Wednesday, March 17, 2010





Papal photo source:



(VIS) - The Message of the Holy Father for twenty-fifth World Youth Day has just been published. The Day, which is due to be celebrated in all the dioceses of the world on Palm Sunday 28 March, has as its theme this year: "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Extracts from the Message are given below: "The present 25th Youth Day represents a stage on the journey towards the next World Youth Day, which will take place in August 2011 in Madrid, Spain, where I hope many of you will come to experience that event of grace. "To prepare ourselves for this celebration, I would like to suggest some reflections on this year's theme: "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?", taken from the Gospel account of Jesus' meeting with the rich young man, a topic already considered in 1985 by Pope John Paul II in a most beautiful Letter, addressed to young people for the first time". 1. Jesus Meets a Young Man "The Gospel narrative effectively expresses Jesus' great concern for young people. ... His desire is to meet with you personally and establish a dialogue with each one of you". 2. Jesus Looked at Him and Loved Him "In the evangelical narrative, St. Mark stresses how 'Jesus looking at him, loved him'. The Lord's gaze was at the core of that very special encounter, and of all Christian experience. In fact, Christianity is not primarily an ethic, but an experience of Jesus Christ Who loves us personally, young and old, poor and rich; He loves us even when we turn our backs on Him". "The awareness that ... Christ loves everyone and always ... enables us to overcome any trial: ... sins, suffering or discouragement. In this love lies the source of all Christian life and the fundamental reason for evangelisation; for if we have truly found Jesus, we cannot but bear witness to Him to those people who have not yet encountered His gaze". 3. Discovering a Plan for Life "The rich young man asks Jesus: 'What must I do?' The stage of life you are currently experiencing is a time of discovery: discovery of the gifts that God has lavished on you, and of your responsibilities. It is, moreover, a time of fundamental choices to create a plan for your lives. It is a moment, therefore, to question yourselves about the authentic meaning of existence and to ask: 'Am I satisfied with my life? Is there something lacking?'" "Do not be afraid to address these questions! ... They await answers, answers that are not superficial but able to satisfy your authentic expectations of life and happiness. To discover the life plan that can make you fully happy, listen to God, Who has a plan of love for each one of you. 4. Come and follow me! "The Christian vocation springs from a proposal of love from the Lord, and can only be fulfilled through a response of love. ... Dear friends, following the example of so many disciples of Christ, joyfully accept His invitation to follow, in order to live intensely and fruitfully in this world. "The sadness of the rich young man of the Gospel is that which arises in the heart when a person does not have the courage to follow Christ, to make the right choice. However, it is never too late to respond to Him! "In this Year for Priests, I would like to exhort boys and young men to be attentive as to whether the Lord is inviting them to a greater gift ... in ordained ministry, and generously and enthusiastically to make themselves ready to accept this sign of special predilection, undertaking with a priest or spiritual director the necessary path of discernment. Do not be afraid, dear young people, if the Lord calls you to the religious, monastic or missionary life, or to a life of special consecration: He is able to give profound joy to those who respond with courage. "Moreover, I invite all those who feel the vocation to marriage to accept it with faith, committing themselves to laying solid foundations for a love that is great, faithful and open to the gift of life, which is a source of richness and grace for society and the Church". 5. Oriented to Eternal Life "To ask ourselves about the definitive future awaiting each of us gives full meaning to existence, because it orients our life plan toward horizons that are not limited or fleeting, but broad and profound; horizons which lead us to love the world so loved by God himself, to dedicate ourselves to its development, but always with the freedom and joy born of faith and hope. These horizons help us not to make absolute values of earthly realities, aware that God is opening greater prospects for us. ... Dear young people, I exhort you not to forget this perspective in your own lives: We are called to eternity". 6. The Commandments, the Way of Authentic Love "Jesus also asks you if you know the commandments, if you are concerned to form your conscience according to divine law and if you will put it into practice. These are certainly questions that go against the tide of the present-day mentality, which presents freedom as disconnected from values, rules and objective norms, and invites us to reject any limitation to momentary desires". "God gave us the commandments because He wants to educate us to true freedom, because He wants to build with us a Kingdom of love, justice and peace. To listen to them and to put them into practice does not mean to be alienated, but to find the path of authentic freedom and love, because the commandments do not limit happiness, but show how to find it". 7. We Have Need of You "Young people today find themselves facing many problems arising from unemployment, and from the lack of solid ideals, and of concrete prospects for the future. ... Despite the difficulties, do not let yourselves be discouraged and do not give up your dreams! Rather, cultivate great desires of fraternity, justice and peace in your hearts. The future is in the hands of people who know how to seek and discover powerful reasons for life and hope" "In my recent Encyclical 'Caritas in Veritate' on integral human development, I listed some of the great modern challenges, which are urgent and essential for the life of this world: the use of the resources of the earth, respect for ecology, the just division of wealth, the control of financial mechanisms, solidarity with poor countries, ... the struggle against hunger in the world, the promotion of the dignity of human work, service to the culture of life, the building of peace between peoples, inter-religious dialogue, and the correct use of the social communications media. "These are challenges to which you are called to respond in order to build a more just and fraternal world; challenges that call for an exacting and passionate life plan, into which to pour all your richness according to the design that God has for each one of you". "In this Year for Priests, I invite you to study the lives of the saints, especially those of saintly priests. You will see that God guided them and that they found their path day after day, in faith, hope and love. Christ calls each of you to commit yourselves, with Him, and to assume your responsibilities to build a civilisation of love".MESS/WORLD YOUTH DAY/... VIS 100316 (1270)



Asia News report: The widespread appeal in recent days was signed by over a thousand people including religious leaders and politicians. They accuse the army of human rights violations. Health professionals were working for a local NGO. The army arrested them on 6 March with the false accusation of making weapons and bombs used by insurgents of the communist New Peoples Army.
Manila (AsiaNews) - Bishops, religious leaders and politicians are asking the army and government for the immediate release of 43 medical volunteers held from 6 February in Morong (Rizal Province) who have been falsely accused of supporting the rebels of the Communist New Peoples Army (NPA). The appeal was circulated in recent days by national media and signed by over a thousand people including politicians and religious leaders, Catholics and Protestants.
"Injustice has no space in society – says Mgr. Edward Malecdan head of the Filipino bishops' conference - especially when it affects those people who try to help our brothers in need". The 43 volunteers were participating in a refresher course held by the NGO Council for Health and Development at the Philippine General Hospital consultant Dr. Melecio Velmonte in the village of Morong about 100 kilometers from the capital. During the lesson more than 300 soldiers raided the hospital and arrested them. According to the army, the volunteer group was in possession of explosives and firearms used to support the guerrillas of the communist NPA rebels active in the area. After the arrest, the volunteers were transported to a military camp where for a month they have suffered physical and psychological torture.
"The arrest was based on false accusations and was in violation of normal standards of the law - said Fr Joe Dizon, a priest and activist for human rights - we deplore the torture of volunteers, subjected to continued questioning, forced to stand blindfolded for 36 hours and deprived of legal assistance and medical assistance. " On 10 March the Court of Appeal rejected a petition signed by relatives of the arrested and confirmed the jurisdiction of the case to court in the province of Rizal. The relatives have announced that they will appeal to the Supreme Court.



CNA report: The Tourism chaplain for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising has been immediately suspended from ministry after more allegations that he sexual abused minors. While some news reports have tried to link Pope Benedict XVI to the charges, a subordinate in the archdiocese has claimed responsibility for failures in responding to the case.
A statement from the archdiocese said that it had been presented with evidence the clergyman committed sexual abuse since an episode in 1986.
The accused, known as Priest H., had held youth services and took young people camping despite a ban on his contact with children, says.
Archbishop of Munich and Freising Bernhard Kellner on Monday announced that he would be suspended from service with “immediate effect.”
Priest H. reportedly abused at least two children in Essen in 1979 and in Bavaria in 1985. He was sentenced to 18 months probation in the latter case.
One victim, 41-year-old Wilfried Fesselmann, is from Gelsenkirchen in North Rhine-Westphalia. He said that he was 11 at the time of the alleged abuse.
According to Fesselmann, the priest invited “nice children” to sleep in the rectory. Priest H. gave Fesselman an alcoholic drink and forced him to perform an oral sex act.
Priest H.’s superior, Prelate Josef Obermaier, resigned on Monday. A spokesman for the archdiocese said he accepts responsibility for “serious errors in the course of his supervision.”
Some media reports have tried to link Pope Benedict XVI to the scandal because he was Archbishop of Munich and Freising between 1977 and 1982.
Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See's Press Office, released a statement on Saturday morning on the issue. He said that a recent communiqué from the Archdiocese of Munich answers questions about Priest H. He stressed that the document shows that as archbishop the future Pope Benedict was completely "extraneous" to the decisions made after the abuses were verified.
The archdiocese said during Pope Benedict’s tenure as archbishop Priest H. was in the pastoral care of the vicar general at the time, Fr. Gerhard Gruber.
"Gruber assumes full responsibility for these mistaken decisions," the archdiocese reported.
Fr. Lombardi’s statement also criticized media coverage of the charges.
"It's rather evident that in recent days there are those who have sought - with a certain tenacity, in Regensburg and in Munich - elements for personally involving the Holy Father in the questions of the abuses. For every objective observer, it's clear that these efforts have failed."
The Vatican spokesman concluded by reaffirming that "despite the tempest," the Church sees the course to follow "under the sure and rigorous guide of the Holy Father."



USCCB report: Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, will celebrate a Mass for Immigrants, March 21, at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Washington. The event coincides with the “March for America: Change Takes Courage and Faith” organized by diverse communities of faith demanding comprehensive immigration reform.
WHAT: Mass for Immigrants
WHEN: March 21 at 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church (Upper Church)—19 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC (corner of N. Capitol and I Streets; Union Station Metro)
WHO: Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, Chairman, USCCB Committee on Migration Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, Virginia Bishop Francisco González, SF Auxiliary Bishop of Washington Father Allan Deck, SJ, executive director, USCCB Cultural Diversity Office
The Mass is organized by the Justice for Immigrants Campaign ( of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Following Mass, organizers encourage Catholics to participate in the “March for America: Change Takes Courage and Faith,” 1-5 p.m. on the National Mall.



CISA report: Muslim gangs attacked three villages in central Nigeria and killed up to 500 Christians in pre-dawn attacks on March 7. “The shooting was just meant to bring people from their houses and then when people came out they started cutting them with machetes,” said one witness. Another added, “We saw mainly those who are helpless, like small children and then the older men, who cannot run, these were the ones that were slaughtered.” Some 300 Christian churches have been destroyed in the area around Jos during the past four years.In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos described his efforts to have friendly relations with Muslims, the effects of the local imposition of Sharia and the caution with which he catechizes potential Muslim converts, some of whom “come just because they want to infiltrate.” Meanwhile, central Nigeria, Bishop James Daman of the Catholic Diocese of Shendam said that ``Shendam is under tension now’’. Daman who disclosed this to this CISA correspondent on Monday during a telephone discussion blamed the crisis on politicians from other parts of Northern Nigeria who he said wanted to have the political control of Jos Metropolis and Plateau State in general. Catholic diocese of Shendam a sufragan of Jos was created out of Jos Metropolitan Archdiocese on February 6, 2007 with Daman as its pioneer bishop. Daman explained that the present crisis in which over 500 dead had been given mass burial has more political undertone rather than the indigene –settler differences with politicians from the northern parts of Nigeria being the arrow head. ``Indeed, what these politicians from other states are doing in Plateau State at present is barbaric and it could not be replicated in their states by indigenes of Plateau state without those politicians rebuffing such. ``So, they should allow the indigenes and nationals of Plateau, Nasarawa and Benue states to dictate what they think would be best for them politically rather than for some outsiders to impose their decisions on them,’’ he suggested. The nation of 142.5 million is 15 percent Catholic.



Wollongong's 162-year-old St Francis Xavier Cathedral, originally a chapel which was meant to be temporary, was finally dedicated as a sacred place of prayer this week.
"It began as a very simple building and then it was enlarged on a couple of occasions in its history," Wollongong Bishop Peter Ingham was quoted by the Illawarra Mercury.
"It didn't become a cathedral until the diocese was formed in 1952. Up until then it was part of the Archdiocese of Sydney.
"It was probably seen as a temporary church, people thinking that at one stage a new cathedral might be built."
Bishop Ingham said the dedication was more a formality because the church had already been sanctified by the religious functions it had performed over so many years.
"Think of all the generations of people who have prayed there, worshipped there, the baptisms, confirmations, reconciliations, marriages, the Masses offered there and the people who have been buried from there and the community that has been built because of it," he said.
"It's been a centre of community in Wollongong and contributes to the good of the community.
"In a secular city these churches, including St Michael's, remind us that God is part of our lives, part of our city, part of our existence."


St. Heribert of Cologne
Feast: March 16
Feast Day:
March 16
970 at Worms, Germany
16 March 1021 at Cologne, Germany
1075 by Pope Saint Gregory VII
Major Shrine:
Patron of:

Archbishop of Cologne; born at Worms, c. 970; died at Cologne, 16 March, 1021. His father was Duke Hugo of Worms. After receiving his education at the cathedral school of Worms, he spent some time as guest at the monastery of Gorze, after which he became provost at the cathedral of Worms. In 994 he was ordained priest; in the same year King Otto III appointed him chancellor for Italy and four years later also for Germany, a position which he held until the death of Otto III on 23 January, 1002. As chancellor he was the most influential adviser of Otto III, whom he accompanied to Rome in 906 and again in 997. He was still in Italy when, in 999, he was elected Archbishop of Cologne. At Benevento he received ecclesiastical investiture and the pallium from Pope Sylvester II on 9 July, 999, and on the following Christmas Day he was consecrated at Cologne. In 1002 he was present at the death-bed of the youthful emperor at Paterno. While returning to Germany with the emperor's remains and the imperial insignia, he was held captive for some time by the future King Henry II, whose candidacy he first opposed. As soon as Henry II was elected king, on 7 June, 1002, Heribert acknowledged him as such, accompanied him to Rome in 1004, mediated between him and the House of Luxemburg, and served him faithfully in many other ways; but he never won his entire confidence until the year 1021, when the king saw his mistake and humbly begged pardon on the archbishop. Heribert founded and richly endowed the Benedictine monastery and church of Deutz, where he lies buried. He was already honoured as a saint during his lifetime. Between 1073 and 1075 he was canonized by Pope Gregory VII. His feast is celebrated on 16 March. SOURCE:


John 5: 1 - 16
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Beth-za'tha, which has five porticoes.
In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed.
One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?"
The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me."
Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your pallet, and walk."
And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked. Now that day was the sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured, "It is the sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet."
But he answered them, "The man who healed me said to me, `Take up your pallet, and walk.'"
They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, `Take up your pallet, and walk'?"
Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place.
Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you."
The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.
And this was why the Jews persecuted Jesus, because he did this on the sabbath.
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