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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: WED. MARCH 31, 2010





CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: WED. MARCH 31, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE: EASTER TRIDUUM LEADS US TO CHRIST/OTHER VIS NEWS-
AMERICA: USA: ANNIVERSARY MASS IN HONOUR OF TERRI SCHIAVO-
EUROPE: ITALY: EXORCIST FR. AMORTH SAYS THE DEVIL PROMPTED REPORTS-
AFRICA: DEM. REP. CONGO: HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT SUPPORTED BY BISHOP-
ASIA: PHILIPPINES: VIRTUAL PILGRIMAGE TO THE SEVEN ROMAN BASILICAS-
AUSTRALIA: BISHOPS CONFERENCE EASTER MESSAGE OF HOPE-




VATICAN
POPE: EASTER TRIDUUM LEADS US TO CHRIST

(VIS) - The Easter Triduum was the central theme of Benedict XVI 's catechesis during his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square. "We are", the Pope began, "living through the holy days that invite us to meditate upon the central events of our Redemption, the essential nucleus of our faith". In this context, he encouraged everyone "to experience this period intensely, that it may decisively guide everyone's life to a generous and strong adherence to Christ, Who died and rose again for us". At the Chrism Mass of Holy Thursday, apart from the blessing of the oil used for catechumens, the sick and those being confirmed, priests will renew their vows. "This year the gesture has particular significance because it takes place in the context of the Year for Priests, which I called to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of the holy 'Cure of Ars'. To all priests I would like to reiterate the hope I expressed at the end of my Letter inaugurating the Year: 'In the footsteps of the Cure of Ars, let yourselves be enthralled by Christ. In this way you too will be, for the world in our time, heralds of hope, reconciliation and peace!'". On the evening of Holy Thursday "we will celebrate the moment of the institution of the Eucharist" when Christ, "in the species of the bread and the wine, makes Himself truly present with the Body He gave and the Blood He split as a sacrifice of the New Covenant. At the same time He made the Apostles and their successors ministers of this Sacrament, which He consigned to His Church as the supreme proof of His love". On Good Friday, in memory of the passion and death of the Lord, we will recall how "Jesus offered His life as a sacrifice for the remission of the sins of humankind, choosing the most cruel and humiliating death: crucifixion. There exists an indissoluble link between the Last Supper and the death of Jesus", said Pope Benedict , explaining how in the Upper Room "Jesus offered His Body and Blood (that is, his earthly existence, Himself), anticipating His own death and transforming it into an act of love. And so death, which by its nature is the end, the destruction of all relations, is made by Him an act of communication of Self, an instrument of salvation and a proclamation of the victory of love". Easter Saturday "is characterised by a great silence. ... At this time of expectation and hope, believers are invited to prayer, reflection and conversion, also through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so that, intimately renewed, they may participate in the celebration of Easter", said the Holy Father. On the night of Easter Saturday, "that silence will be broken by the cry of Alleluia, which announces the resurrection of Christ and proclaims he victory of light over darkness, of life over death. The Church will joy in the meeting with her Lord, entering the day of Easter which the Lord inaugurated by rising from the dead", the Pope concluded.AG/EASTER TRIDUUM/... VIS 100331 (530)




UNIVERSITY STUDENTS: BEAR WITNESS TO CHRIST IN ALL PLACES VATICAN CITY, 31 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Among his greetings at the end of today's general audience, the Pope addressed a group of 4,000 university students from thirty countries who are participating in an international congress promoted annually by the Prelature of Opus Dei. The theme of this year's gathering is: "Can Christianity inspire a global culture?" "Dear friends, you have come to Rome in Holy Week for an experience of faith, friendship and spiritual enrichment", said the Holy Father. "I invite you to reflect on the importance of university study for the formation of that 'universal Catholic mentality' which St. Josemaria described in these terms: 'a breadth of vision and a vigorous endeavour to study more deeply the things that are permanently alive and unchanged in Catholic orthodoxy'. May there be, in each of you, a growing desire to meet Jesus Christ personally, so as to bear joyful witness to Him in all places".AG/GREETINGS/... VIS 100331 (170)





TELEGRAM FOR VICTIMS OF BOMB ATTACKS IN MOSCOW VATICAN CITY, 31 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Made public yesterday afternoon was a telegram of condolence sent by the Pope to Dimitry Medvedev, president of the Russian Federation, for the victims of last Monday's bomb attacks on the Moscow underground. "Having learned the news of the attacks on the Moscow underground in which numerous people lost their lives, I wish to manifest my profound sorrow and firm condemnation for those barbaric acts of violence, and to send an expression of my solidarity, spiritual closeness and condolences to the families of the victims. With assurances of my fervent prayers for the lives so abruptly cut short, and while invoking heavenly consolation for those who mourn their tragic loss, I readily send my blessings and greetings, with a particular thought for the injured".TGR/BOMB ATTACK/MOSCOW VIS 100331 (140)




BENEDICT XVI'S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR APRIL VATICAN CITY, 31 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for April is: "That every tendency to fundamentalism and extremism may be countered by constant respect, by tolerance and by dialogue among all believers". His mission intention is: "That Christians persecuted for the sake of the Gospel may persevere, sustained by the Holy Spirit, in faithfully witnessing to the love of God for the entire human race".BXVI-PRAYER INTENTIONS/APRIL/... VIS 100331 (80)




OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 31 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. William Hanna Shomali, chancellor of the patriarchal diocese of Jerusalem of the Latins, as auxiliary of the same diocese (Catholics 160,700, priests 271, permanent deacons 2, religious 1,432). The bishop-elect was born in Beit-Sahour, Palestine in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1972.NEA/.../SHOMALI VIS 100331 (60)




NOTICE VATICAN CITY, 31 MAR 2010 (VIS) - As previously advised, the VIS bulletin will be suspended from tomorrow Wednesday 1 April to Tuesday 6 April, the holy days of Easter and holidays in the Vatican. Service will resume on Wednesday 7 April..../.../... VIS 100331 (50)




AMERICA


USA: ANNIVERSARY MASS IN HONOUR OF TERRI SCHIAVO


CNA report: Today, the fifth anniversary of the death of Terry Schiavo, Priests for Life will celebrate an honorary Mass and a day of prayer and advocacy on behalf of the vulnerable.
“On March 31, five years ago, Terri Schiavo died a court mandated and government enforced death,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life, on Wednesday. “I saw for myself, as I held her hand and prayed at her bedside, that this death was not ‘peaceful’ and ‘beautiful’ as euthanasia advocates want us to think.”
“Moreover,” he added, “as health care is placed more and more in the hands of the government, we have to be more vigilant than ever to protect the Terris of today and tomorrow.”
Schiavo, a victim of severe brain damage, died in 2005 when she was barred from receiving nutrition and hydration in by a Florida court order after a long legal fight between her husband and her family.
Two years ago Priests for Life and Terri’s Foundation established Terri’s Day, formally known as the “International Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Terri Schindler Schiavo, and All of Our Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters.”
The day is intended to encourage prayer, education and advocacy about discrimination against the disabled and about those in situations similar to Terri Schiavo’s last days.
Terri’s brother, Bobby Schindler, recently cited a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine which found that some people diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) are in fact responsive.
"What is worse is that persons with cognitive disabilities thought to be in this 'PVS' condition, like Terri, are routinely being denied food and hydration – their most basic rights,” Schindler commented in a Feb. 23 press release. He said the new findings underscore the importance of why the “dangerous and often mistaken” PVS diagnosis should not be used as “a standard to kill our most vulnerable.”


EUROPE
ITALY: EXORCIST FR. AMORTH SAYS THE DEVIL PROMPTED REPORTS

CNA report: Noted Italian exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth, commented this week that the recent defamatory reporting on Pope Benedict XVI, especially by the New York Times, was “prompted by the devil.”
Speaking to News Mediaset in Italy, the 85-year-old exorcist noted that the devil is behind “the recent attacks on Pope Benedict XVI regarding some pedophilia cases.”
“There is no doubt about it. Because he is a marvelous Pope and worthy successor to John Paul II, it is clear that the devil wants to ‘grab hold’ of him.”
Father Amorth added that in instances of sexual abuse committed by some members of the clergy, the devil “uses” priests in order to cast blame upon the entire Church: “The devil wants the death of the Church because she is the mother of all the saints.”
“He combats the Church through the men of the Church, but he can do nothing to the Church.”
The exorcist went on to note that Satan tempts holy men, “and so we should not be surprised if priests too … fall into temptation. They also live in the world and can fall like men of the world.”


AFRICA
DEM. REP. CONGO: HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT SUPPORTED BY BISHOP

CISA report -Bishop Richard Domba Mady, has backed a report issued by the Human Rights Watch on the atrocities of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), terming it “a serious investigation, conducted with interviews with victims and rescuers.” “The report is important because it demonstrates the level of the atrocities committed by the LRA,” the Bishop added. The diocese of Doruma-Dungu is located in the Eastern Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the Ugandan LRA rebels have tormented the local population for several years. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report of 67 pages, entitled “Trail of Death: LRA Atrocities in North Eastern Congo,” which documents the massacres committed by the LRA in North Eastern DRC between late 2009 and early 2010. "We know that HRW researchers have made a serious investigation, travelling in the area attacked by rebels and interviewing survivors and aid workers helping victims of violence. Among them are also operators of the local Caritas," says Bishop Domba Mady. According to the HRW report, the LRA fighters attacked 10 villages, killed and captured hundreds of civilians, including women and children. Most victims are men whom the fighters first tied to trees and then killed with machetes or crushed their heads using a hatchet and wooden clubs. Among the dead are 13 women and 23 children: the youngest, only 3 years old was burned alive. The guerrillas have also killed some prisoners thought to be too weak to punish them for trying to escape. Families of victims and local authorities later found their bodies along the route, 105 km from the village of Makombo, a path walked on foot by LRA guerrillas and prisoners. "The area most affected is that of Tapili, where more than 200 people were killed in mid-December, I hope that the Congolese authorities and the international community finally act to stop these killings. We cannot have entire populations living in fear because of this group." said Bishop Domba Mady. The Bishop does not hide, however, the difficulties of the operation to root out the LRA from Congolese territory. "The LRA is divided into small groups that are always moving in the most remote and uninhabited parts of the forest. They only emerge to attack villages, where they take food and basic necessities, and also abduct people. Their attacks are sudden and rapid. Once they have raided the village, they disappear again into the forest. But this should not be an excuse for not acting," concluded Bishop Domba Mady. http://www.cisanewsafrica.org/news.php?id=4495


ASIA
PHILIPPINES: VIRTUAL PILGRIMAGE TO THE SEVEN ROMAN BASILICAS
Asia News report: The gesture of "Visita Iglesia" retraces the pilgrimage to the seven Roman basilicas and was imported by Spanish missionaries in the early eighteenth century. It involves all Catholics during Holy Week in the Philippines and this year there is a special virtual tour for migrants living abroad in non-Catholic countries.
Manila (AsiaNews) - To participate in the sufferings of Christ and pray for the Church. This is the purpose of the traditional "visita Iglesia" or visit of the seven churches that involves all Filipino Catholics each year during Lent. The gesture was imported by Spanish missionaries in the XVIII century, and retraces the pilgrimage of the seven Roman basilicas established in the seventeenth century by St. Filippo Neri.
From this year, Filipinos at home and abroad have the opportunity to also make a virtual tour of the churches of Manila, available at the Philippine Bishops Conference website.
Mary Jane Puring, an elderly Catholic from Manila, said: "I was four years old when I made my first 'Visita Iglesia' with my parents and my brothers and still participate in the tradition which is deeply rooted in me and my family. " "The pilgrimage - she adds - helps me to be in communion with God and to participate in the sufferings of Christ on the Cross."
The 'Visit Iglesia' was introduced by Spanish missionaries in the early eighteenth century and has for centuries involved the entire Filipino people. Unlike the pilgrimage of the seven Roman basilicas (Saint John Lateran, St Mary Major, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. Lawrence Outside the Walls, Holy Cross in Jerusalem, San Sebastian) which is dedicated to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, it focuses mainly on the Passion of Christ. The Filipino faithful may choose to visit places of worship in each of the seven churches to meditate on two of the 14 Stations of the Cross.
"This gesture - said Fr Restie de la Pena, a priest of the Archdiocese of Manila - is a way that helps to reflect the seriousness of our sins and spiritual renewal through a concrete gesture. " According to the priest undertaking the pilgrimage as a journey to Calvary helps individuals to understand the meaning of the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ.
This year, the Philippine Bishops Conference has prepared on its website (http://cbcponline.net/visitaiglesia/) a virtual tour to places of worship in Manila to allow migrants abroad to also make the pilgrimage. The website offers for each church a series of photos and audio files with the steps of the Passion of Christ. The Filipino migrants are around 10 million and over two million living in Muslim countries where there are no churches and public expressions of their faith are prohibited. http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Manila-virtual-pilgrimage-to-7-churches-to-meditate-on-the-sufferings-of-Christ-18035.html



AUSTRALIA
BISHOPS CONFERENCE EASTER MESSAGE OF HOPE

Cath News report: Archbishop Philip Wilson, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, says Easter's message of hope is especially important given the devastating recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.
"While some people look at such shocking events and wonder how God can let them happen, our faith helps us to understand that Jesus is the answer to our suffering" he was quoted by an AAP report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Archbishop Wilson called on Australians to remember the people of Haiti and Chile in their prayers.
Christian leaders urged the faithful to reach out to others this Easter to ease an epidemic of loneliness in the community, said the report.
"The Christian message is about restoring relationships," said the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen in his 2010 Easter message on Thursday.
"As a result of what Jesus did, we are meant to reach out to each other, to care, to love, to serve," Dr Jensen said.
"We are not meant to be alone.
"That is a major spiritual problem."
The Moderator of the Uniting Church Synod of NSW and the ACT, Reverend Niall Reid, said Easter was a time for Christians to be the bearers of hope and life.
"The cross, a brutal instrument of death, is also the tree which offers life - a way of life that stands with the poor and vulnerable against unjust power," he said in his Easter message." http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=20401


TODAY'S SAINT

St. Benjamin
MARTYR, DEACON
Feast: March 31
Information:
Feast Day:
March 31
Died:
424 in Persia

Isdegerdes, son of Sapor III, put a stop to the cruel persecution against the Christians in Persia, which had been begun by Sapor II, and the church had enjoyed twelve years' peace in that kingdom when, in 420, it was disturbed by the indiscreet zeal of one Abdas, a Christian bishop, who burned down the Pyraeum, or temple of fire, the great divinity of the Persians. King Isdegerdes threatened to demolish all the churches of the Christians unless he would rebuild it. Abdas had done ill in destroying the temple, but did well in refusing to rebuild it; for nothing can make it lawful to contribute to any act of idolatry, or to the building a temple, as Theodoret observes. Isdegerdes therefore demolished all the Christian churches in Persia, put to death Abdas, and raised a general persecution against the church, which continued forty years with great fury. Isdegerdes died the year following, in 421. But his son and successor, Varanes, carried on the persecution with greater inhumanity. The very description which Theodoret, a contemporary writer, and one that lived in the neighbourhood, gives of the cruelties he exercised on the Christians strikes us with horror: some were flayed alive in different parts of the body, and suffered all kinds of torture that could be invented: others, being stuck all over with sharp reeds, were hauled and rolled about in that condition; others were tormented divers other ways, such as nothing but the most hellish malice was capable of suggesting. Amongst these glorious champions of Christ was St. Benjamin, a deacon. The tyrant caused him to be beaten and imprisoned. He had lain a year in the dungeon when an ambassador from the emperor obtained his enlargement on condition he should never speak to any of the courtiers about religion.
The ambassador passed his word in his behalf that he would not; but Benjamin, who was a minister of the gospel, declared that he could not detain the truth in captivity, conscious to himself of the condemnation of the slothful servant for having hid his talent. He therefore neglected no opportunity of announcing Christ. The king, being informed that he still preached the faith in his kingdom, ordered him to be apprehended; but the martyr made no other reply to his threats than by putting this question to the king: What opinion he would have of any of his subjects who should renounce his allegiance to him, and join in war against him? The enraged tyrant caused reeds to be run in between the nails and the flesh both of his hands and feet, and the same to be thrust into other most tender parts, and drawn out again, and this to be frequently repeated with violence. He lastly ordered a knotty stake to be thrust into his bowels, to rend and tear them, in which torment he expired in the year 424. The Roman Martyrology places his name on the 31st of March.
St. Ephrem, considering the heroic constancy of the martyrs, makes on them the following pious reflections: "The wisdom of philosophers, and the eloquence of the greatest orators, are dumb through amazement, when they contemplate the wonderful spectacle and glorious actions of the martyrs: the tyrants and judges were not able to express their astonishment when they beheld the faith, the constancy, and the cheerfulness of these holy champions. What excuse shall we have in the dreadful day of judgment, if we, who have never been exposed to any cruel persecutions, or to the violence of such torments, shall have neglected the love of God and the care of a spiritual life? No temptations, no torments, were able to draw them from that love which they bore to God; but we, living in rest and delights, refuse to love our most merciful and gracious Lord. What shall we do in that day of terror, when the martyrs of Christ, standing with confidence near his throne, shall show the marks of their wounds? What shall we then show? Shall we present a lively faith? true charity towards God? a perfect disengagement of our affections from earthly things? souls freed from the tyranny of the passions? silence and recollection? meekness? almsdeeds? prayers poured forth with clean hearts? compunction, watchings, tears? Happy shall he be whom such good works shall attend. He will be the partner of the martyrs, and, supported by the treasure of these virtues, shall appear with equal confidence before Christ and his angels." We entreat you, O most holy martyrs, who cheerfully suffered most cruel torments for God our Saviour and his love, on which account you are now most intimately and familiarly united to him, that you pray to the Lord for us miserable sinners, covered with filth, that he infuse into us the grace of Christ that it may enlighten our souls that we may love him, &c."http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/B/stbenjamin.asp


TODAY'S GOSPEL

Matthew 26: 14 - 25
14
Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests
15
and said, "What will you give me if I deliver him to you?" And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.
16
And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
17
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the passover?"
18
He said, "Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, `The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples.'"
19
And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the passover.
20
When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples;
21
and as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
22
And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?"
23
He answered, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me.
24
The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."
25
Judas, who betrayed him, said, "Is it I, Master?" He said to him, "You have said so."
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