Friday, April 23, 2010




VATICAN CITY, 23 APR 2010 (VIS REPORT) - With reference to the lawsuit against the Holy See which lawyers in the United States have filed at a federal court in Milwaukee, in the name of a victim of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy, the Holy See Press Office reiterates a declaration released by Jeffrey Lena, the Holy See's attorney in the U.S.A., the complete text of which is given below:
"First and foremost, sympathy is due to the victims of the criminal acts committed by Fr. Lawrence Murphy. By sexually abusing children, Murphy violated both the law and the trust that his victims had placed in him.
"While legitimate lawsuits have been filed by abuse victims, this is not one of them. Instead, the lawsuit represents an attempt to use tragic events as a platform for a broader attack - this one dependent on re-characterising the Catholic Church as a worldwide 'business enterprise'.
"The case against the Holy See and its officials is completely without merit. Most of the complaint rehashes old theories already rejected by U.S. courts. With regard to Murphy himself, the Holy See and its officials knew nothing of his crimes until decades after the abuse occurred, and had no role whatsoever in causing plaintiff's injuries.
"Given its lack of merit, the lawsuit - together with its de rigueur press conference and news releases - is simply the latest attempt by certain U.S. lawyers to use the judicial process as a tool of media relations.
"If necessary, we will respond more fully to this lawsuit in court and at the appropriate time".

VATICAN CITY, 23 APR 2010 (VIS) - Given below are the texts of two declarations, one by Bishop Roger Joseph Vangheluwe of Bruges, Belgium, concerning his resignation from office, and the other by Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium. Both declarations were delivered during a press conference held at midday today in Brussels.
"When I was still just a priest, and for a certain period at the beginning of my episcopate, I sexually abused a minor from my immediate environment. The victim is still marked by what happened. Over the course of these decades I have repeatedly recognised my guilt towards him and his family, and I have asked forgiveness; but this did not pacify him, as it did not pacify me. The media storm of recent weeks has increased the trauma, and the situation is no longer tenable. I profoundly regret what I did and offer my most sincere apologies to the victim, to his family, to all the Catholic community and to society in general. I have presented my resignation as bishop of Bruges to Pope Benedict XVI. It was accepted on Friday and so I retire".Declaration by Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels.
"We are facing a particularly serious situation. Our thoughts go first and foremost to the victim and his family, some of whom have learned the shocking news only today. For the victim this has been a long Calvary, which has clearly not yet ended.
"As for Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, as a person he has the right to conversion, trusting in the mercy of God. However, as regards his function, it is vital that, out of respect for the victim and his family, and out of respect for the truth, he should resign from office. This is what he has done. The Pope immediately accepted the resignation of the bishop of Bruges, which is at this moment is being published in Rome.
"The Church thus underlines the importance of not procrastinating in such cases. We hope to contribute to the rehabilitation of the victim.
"The decision of the bishop of Bruges, and the calling of this press conference, express the transparency that the Catholic Church in Belgium rigorously wishes to apply in these matters, turning a new page with respect to the not-so-distant period in which the Church, and others, preferred the solution of silence or concealment.
"It goes without saying that this event will cause great suffering in the whole Catholic community of Belgium, especially because Bishop Vangheluwe was considered a generous and dynamic person, much appreciated in his diocese and in the Belgian Church. We, his confreres, are aware of the crisis of trust this will provoke in many people. Nonetheless, we dare to hope that wisdom will prevail and that the bishops, and especially the priests, of this country will not be unduly discredited as a group, because the vast majority live a lifestyle coherent with their vocation, with a faithfulness for which I here publicly express my thanks".
OP/ VIS 20100423 (510)

VATICAN CITY, 23 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.
- Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
- Maria Voce, president of the "Focolari" Movement.
- Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

AP/ VIS 20100423 (70)

VATICAN CITY, 23 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Bruges, Belgium, presented by Bishop Roger Joseph Vangheluwe, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.


Release of Catholic Bishops Conference of India: A 35-minute shortfilm called The Last Appeal written, directed and produced by Fr. Bala Shoury Udumala of Vijayawada Diocese received two International Prestigious Recognition Awards in USA. It was aired on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), the largest Catholic channel on April 11. Fr. Bala Udumala graduated in Masters from Loyola Mary Mount University in Los Angeles in Film and Television Production in 2008.The Las Vegas International Film Festival 2009 awarded the director the “Official Finalist Award” this month in Las Vegas. The Mexico International Film Festivals also has awarded “The Silver Palm Award” for the film in the Student Category. About 2000 films from over 50 countries represented at each of these film festivals.

The film portrays the true story of a peasant girl, Helen who later becomes a nun in a convent in Poland. Jesus chose her to be the message of his mercy. The film brings out vividly the struggle Helen Kowalska went through in the process of delivering the message through the humble life of a nun in a convent in Poland at the beginning of the 20th century. The film depicts the revelations and visions of God to Helen. Besides English and Spanish, the film has been dubbed into several Indian languages. The Gujarvani production of Gujarat has already dubbed the film into Hindi and Telugu. The Hindi version was recently released in Mumbai by Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Telugu version by Bishop Prakash Mallavarapu in Vijayawada.
The last appeal is a compelling message of Divine Mercy for our time that has already touched millions of people. In the U.S. The film is being distributed by Vision Video, a Protestant company that has distributed films like Bella, The Nativity Story.


Caritas report: Caritas says the food crisis in Niger and other parts of the Western Sahel needs to be tackled urgently before the beginning of the rainy season makes aid delivery impossible in remote regions.
“In some areas, the situation is already very bad. Some people are only eating wild plants. Aid needs to arrive quickly. In 45 days, the rainy season will start and some areas will be cut off,” said Caritas Niger volunteer Bruno Sossou after an exploratory visit to remote villages.
As a direct consequence of the food crisis, people are leaving villages in large number for the cities or neighboring countries. Many schools are closing down due to lack of students and fields not being farmed anymore.
The situation in Niger is particularly worrying but the whole Western Sahel is affected. Millions are put at risk as a result of last year’s droughts and the long-term effects of previous food crises.
Over 800,000 children under the age of five in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, northern Nigeria and Chad are classified as needing treatment for severe malnutrition.
“The crisis has been underestimated in Niger. Food insecurity was a taboo subject under the former government, overthrown in a coup on 18 February.
It was not until the media and international associations put pressure on the government to conduct a survey on this issue that we got a clearer picture of the emergency’s scope,” said Raymond Yoro, Secretary General of Caritas Niger (CADEV Niger).
Some 7.8 million people, or nearly 60 percent of Niger's population, are running out of food according to the national survey conducted by Niger’s government in December.
“The political environment is crucial for aid interventions to succeed. At least, now we are free to coordinate our efforts with other NGOs and have access to detailed geographical surveys that allows us to step in where it is most needed,” said Mr. Yoro.
Caritas is preparing to launch an appeal to provide emergency food aid to the most vulnerable in Niger. It has projected to deliver food aid to almost 250,000 households in 327 villages.
Aid will be provided through free cereal distributions and cash-for-work activities, with a special focus on children and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.
“In a first phase, we need to tackle the emergency with food aid. But then, we also want to start a rehabilitation program through capacity building, encouraging income-generating activities in rural areas and a long-term improvement of food security,” said Maliki Oumarou, in charge of emergencies at Caritas Niger.
Please call Patrick Nicholson on +39 06 698 79 725 or +39 334 359 0700 or email with any requests. 


CNS report -- In a former garment factory on a wind-blown Brooklyn avenue dotted with auto supply stores and bodegas, nine new mothers get to know their babies in a safe, structured, cheerful residential environment while they transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency.

Downstairs, more than 100 hungry neighbors enjoy a daily hot meal prepared and served by volunteers drawn from local schools, churches and an organic food cooperative. Sister Mary Maloney, a Franciscan Sister of the Poor, directs the operation with the unflappable air of someone who has seen it all in her three decades in the post.
The Frances Residency Program and the soup kitchen are projects of Christian Help in Park Slope. Known as CHIPS, the nonsectarian organization was started in 1972 by parishioners at St. Francis Xavier Church in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood as a response to their study of the documents of the Second Vatican Council. It is now sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor.
Sister Mary, 78, a Brooklyn native and registered nurse, came to CHIPS after serving in rural health clinics in Brazil and West Africa.
She was the sole employee of the group, which had $300 in the bank and operated out of a rented ground-floor space in a four-story, 19th-century building. After the soup kitchen guests left each day, volunteers moved the tables and set up cots for overnight use by homeless people.
The need rapidly outgrew the space. Sister Mary said more single, young, pregnant women came to the soup kitchen, and had no safe place to go to escape the violence of the streets and whatever family situation contributed to their homelessness.
When the building's owner offered to sell the property for a reasonable price and gave CHIPS several months to raise money for a down payment, Sister Mary and the volunteer board scrambled to get private donations and a grant from New York state.
Ultimately, they gutted the building and reconfigured it to include nine airy studio apartments and a community room on the upper floors. Each apartment has living and sleeping areas, a kitchenette and a bathroom.
The Frances Residency, named for Blessed Mary Frances Schervier, foundress of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, opened in 1999.
"In our overnight shelter, we had so many women who were homeless and whose children had been taken away from them," Sister Mary told Catholic News Service. "There were very few shelters for mothers and babies. My dream was to give them a place to come."
Women referred to the Frances Residency by shelters, hospitals and churches move in when they are in the third trimester of their pregnancy and are welcome to stay for one year. Residence coordinator Crystal Smith helps the women settle in and develop an "interdependent living plan," which outlines their goals.
"The mothers need a lot of love and support," Sister Mary said. "Each has a different history, but the majority have not had discipline, they don't know how to cook, they've been rejected at home and maybe by the father of their baby. Some of their own mothers are in jail or on drugs." Their average age is 19: Each woman is required to apply for housing and food stamps, make and keep clinic appointments, sign up for a day care program and, when the baby is 3 months old, attend school, a vocational program or a job. "We want to prepare them to have housing, a job and day care when they leave us," said Sister Mary. "We want to give the mothers a chance to get on their feet, but we don't want to take the responsibility of the baby away from them."
Weekly volunteer speakers address topics including mother and child nutrition, banking, job search and interviewing techniques.
One young resident showed off her baby girl and told CNS the Frances Residency is a homey spot and "a nice place to put our heads." She said her favorite feature is the weekly lectures, "because we're all new mothers and you can never know too much about babies."
At 21, she is estranged from her family, but in contact with the baby's father. She is enrolled in a program to earn her General Education Diploma and has secured day care near her school.
Sister Mary said it's a challenge to keep the women motivated to achieve their goals but gratifying to see the mothers care for their "beautiful healthy babies."
On a recent rainy day in the soup kitchen, lunch was beef stew supplied in cans by a government program, supplemented with organic filet mignon cut from grain fed beef. The filet mignon was donated by the Park Slope Food Co-op, which also supplies daily volunteers and donates surplus and about-to-expire foods.
"I love it here. It's like family." said Tom Pace, the volunteer kitchen manager du jour. "Everyone comes with a smile, and I've never had a grouchy person."
Sister Betty Schroeder, a Sister of St. Joseph of Brentwood, is the full-time kitchen coordinator. A former elementary school principal, she organizes the volunteers and the food supply, which comes from many sources. She describes the balancing act required to utilize the purchased and donated provisions. "You have to make sure you have enough food and that it lasts," she said.
Sister Betty warms to the gratitude expressed by the guests and occasionally steps in to calm the situation when a diner seems ready to start a fight.
Sister Mary said 150 volunteers supplement a handful of paid staff.
In 2009, the soup kitchen served more than 70,000 hot meals and distributed bags of food to about 150 people each week. From 2008 to 2009, the Frances Residency hosted 36 newborns and their mothers. Nine of the mothers secured fulltime employment and 29 participated in pre-employment training.
Sister Mary raises $30,000 a month toward her annual budget of $470,000 for the two programs. She recalls an earlier era when members of her congregation held cups and begged in public to support themselves and their works. With a laugh, she said, "We're still begging, but now we do it through a foundation," the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor Foundation.
Sister Mary is optimistic about her fundraising, because she said Blessed Mary Frances assured her sisters, "Providence will always provide if you work for the poor."


CNA report: Cardinal Severino Poletto has invited the faithful to complete a novena as the Pope’s visit to the Cathedral of Turin approaches. Stressing the spiritual foundations of the May 2 visit, the cardinal encouraged prayer as a means of living the "true meaning" of the event.

The novena will run from Friday, April 23, until May 1, the day before the Holy Father’s arrival in the northern Italian city.
Expressing his joy at the “extraordinary gift” of the Pope's visit to the city “to venerate the Shroud, but also to meet with our Christian community,” the Cardinal Archbishop of Turin emphasized the spiritual nature of the event.
“My hope is that the many pilgrims to the Shroud ... realize internally a copious return of spiritual fruits for themselves, for their families and for all of society,” he wrote.
Recalling Jesus’ teaching that we must pray to receive divine grace, the cardinal invited all of the parishes, religious communities and other Church-affiliated entities to participate in the nine-day prayer “to dispose our hearts to welcome the Pope properly.”
Cardinal Poletto asked that the entire archdiocese complete the novena for the Pope and “the intentions that He cultivates in his heart” through Mass, the Rosary, Eucharistic adoration or “at least” by remembering him in their daily prayers. From the sick, he also asked the offering of their suffering for the same cause.
The cardinal concluded by expressing his certainty this collective prayer will be “very effective for living the true spiritual meaning of the Papal visit,” which will serve "to remind us that the contemplation of the suffering of Christ, of which the Shroud is a mirror.” Prayerful preparation should also help the faithful to “see, console and sustain the innumerable physical, moral, spiritual and social sufferings of so many of our brothers and sisters.”
The Shroud, which 200,000 people saw during its first week on display, is on exposition from April 10 to May 23 in the Cathedral of Turin. More than 1.6 million people have reserved tickets.This is the first exposition of the Shroud since the year 2000, and May 2 will mark the first time a Pope will be in Turin to venerate it since John Paul II was there in 1998.


Cath News report: Victorian Catholic schools are getting their Building the Education Revolution projects up and running much faster than their public counterparts. Nearly all of their projects are already underway.

The key difference between the two systems in Victoria is that Catholic school principals are in control of their BER projects, whereas state school principals claim they are being left out of the planning and site management process, The Australian reports.
Principals have been highly critical of the way the Brumby government has implemented the BER, with the Education Department hiring project managers to co-ordinate it and refusing to release financial details and progress information to schools.
Figures obtained by The Australian show that out of 561 projects in the Catholic school system, 523 are under construction, 25 are completed and 13 are still out to tender.
In the state school system, where there are 1323 projects, 1080 have been tendered and just 560 are under construction. By the end of next month, 158 should be completed.
Opposition education spokesman Martin Dixon said the rate of construction in Catholic schools showed it was more efficient than the Brumby government's system.
"Clearly these figures show where principals have autonomy, a better project is delivered," he said. "Bronwyn Pike should apologise to Victorian principals after her claim that the department is better placed to implement the BER projects."
The director of Catholic Education for the archdiocese of Melbourne, Steve Elder, said the success of the implementation of its BER program was based on "getting in early" and letting principals act as managers of their projects.


St. George

Feast: April 23
Information: Feast Day: April 23

Born: between ca. AD 275 and 281, Nicomedia, Bithynia, modern-day northwestern Turkey

Died: April 23, 303, Lydda, Palestine

Major Shrine: Church of Saint George, Lod

Patron of: agricultural workers; Amersfoort, Netherlands; Aragon; archers; armourers; Beirut, Lebanon; Bulgaria; butchers; Cappadocia; Catalonia; cavalry; chivalry; Constantinople; Corinthians; Crusaders; England; equestrians; Ethiopia; farmers; Ferrara; field workers; Genoa; Georgia; Gozo; Greece; Haldern, Germany; Heide; herpes; horsemen; horses; husbandmen; knights; lepers and leprosy; Lithuania; Lod; Malta; Modica, Sicily; Moscow; Order of the Garter; Palestine; Palestinian Christians; Piran; plague; Portugal; Portuguese Army; Portuguese Navy; Ptuj, Slovenia; Reggio Calabria; riders; saddle makers; Scouts; sheep; shepherds; skin diseases; soldiers; syphilis; Teutonic Knights
St George is honoured in the Catholic Church as one of the most illustrious martyrs of Christ. The Greeks have long distinguished him by the title of The Great Martyr, and keep his festival a holiday of obligation. There stood formerly in Constantinople five or six churches dedicated in his honour, the oldest of which was always said to have been built by Constantine the Great, who seems also to have been the founder of the church of St. George, which stood over his tomb in Palestine. Both these churches were certainly built under the first Christian emperors. In the middle of the sixth age, the Emperor Justinian erected a new church in honour of this saint at Bizanes, in Lesser Armenia: the Emperor Mauritius founded one in Constantinople. It is related in the life of St. Theodorus of Siceon that he served God a long while in a chapel which bore the name of St. George, had a particular devotion to this glorious martyr, and strongly recommended the same to Mauritius when he foretold him the empire. One of the churches of St. George in Constantinople, called Manganes, with a monastery adjoining, gave to the Hellespont the name of the Arm of St. George. To this day is St. George honoured as principal patron, or tutelar saint, by several Eastern nations, particularly the Georgians. The Byzantine historians relate several battles to have been gained, and other miracles wrought, through his intercession. From frequent pilgrimages to his church and tomb in Palestine, performed by those who visited the Holy Land, his veneration was much propagated over the West. St. Gregory of Tours mentions him as highly celebrated in France in the sixth century. St. Gregory the Great ordered an old church of St. George, which was fallen to decay, to be repaired. His office is found in the sacramentary of that pope and many others. St. Clotildis, wife of Clovis, the first Christian king of France, erected altars under his name; and the church of Chelles, built by her, was originally dedicated in his honour. The ancient life of Droctovaeus mentions, that certain relics of St. George were placed in the church of St. Vincent, now called St. Germaris, in Paris, when it was first consecrated. Fortunatus of Poitiers wrote an epigram on a church of St. George, in Mentz. The intercession of this saint was implored especially in battles and by warriors, as appears by several instances in the Byzantine history, and he is said to have been himself a great soldier. He is, at this day, the tutelar saint of the republic of Genoa; and was chosen by our ancestors in the same quality under our first Norman kings. The great national council, held at Oxford in 1222, commanded his feast to be kept a holiday of the lesser rank throughout all England. Under his name and ensign was instituted by our victorious king, Edward III, in 1330, the most noble Order of knighthood in Europe, consisting of twenty-five knights besides the sovereign. Its establishment is dated fifty years before the knights of St. Michael were instituted in France by Louis XI; eighty years before the Order of the Golden Fleece, established by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy; and one hundred and ninety years before the Order of St. Andrew was set up in Scotland by James V. The emperor Frederic IV instituted, in 1470, an Order of knights in honour of St. George; and an honourable military Order in Venice bears his name.The extraordinary devotion of all Christendom to this saint is an authentic proof how glorious his triumph and name have always been in the church. All his acts relate that he suffered under Diocletian at Nicomedia. Joseph Assemani shows, from the unanimous consent of all churches, that he was crowned on the 23rd of April. According to the account given us by Metaphrastes, he was born in Cappadocia, of noble Christian parents. After the death of his father he went with his mother into Palestine, she being a native of that country, and having there a considerable estate, which fell to her son George. He was strong and robust in body, and having embraced the profession of a soldier, was made a tribune, or colonel, in the army. By his courage and conduct he was soon preferred to higher stations by the Emperor Diocletian. When that prince waged war against the Christian religion, St. George laid aside the marks of his dignity, threw up his commission and posts, and complained to the emperor himself of his severities and bloody edicts. He was immediately cast into prison, and tried, first by promises, and afterwards put to the question and tortured with great cruelty; but nothing could shake his constancy. The next day he was led through the city and beheaded. Some think him to have been the same illustrious young man who tore down the edicts when they were first fixed up at Nicomedia, as Lactantius relates in his book, On the Death of the Persecutors, and Eusebius in his history. The reason why St. George has been regarded as the patron of military men is partly upon the score of his profession, and partly upon the credit of a relation of his appearing to the Christian army in the holy war, before the battle of Antioch. The success of this battle proving fortunate to the Christians, under Godfrey of Bouillon, made the name of St. George more famous in Europe and disposed the military men to implore more particularly his intercession. This devotion was confirmed, as it is said, by an apparition of St. George to our king, Richard I, in his expedition against the Saracens; which vision being declared to the troops, was to them a great encouragement, and they soon after defeated the enemy. St. George is usually painted on horseback and tilting at a dragon under his feet; but this representation is no more than an emblematical figure, purporting that by his faith and Christian fortitude he conquered the devil, called the dragon in the Apocalypse.

St. Adalbert of Prague

Feast: April 23
Information: Feast Day: April 23

Born: 939, Libice nad Cidlinou, Bohemia

Died: 997, Truso (Elbląg) or Kaliningrad Oblast

Patron of: Bohemia; Poland; Prussia Born 939 of a noble Bohemian family; died 997. He assumed the name of the Archbishop Adalbert (his name had been Wojtech), under whom he studied at Magdeburg. He became Bishop of Prague, whence he was obliged to flee on account of the enmity he had aroused by his efforts to reform the clergy of his diocese. He betook himself to Rome, and when released by Pope John XV from his episcopal obligations, withdrew to a monastery and occupied himself in the most humble duties of the house. Recalled by his people, who received him with great demonstrations of joy, he was nevertheless expelled a second time and returned to Rome. The people of Hungary were just then turning towards Christianity. Adalbert went among them as a missionary, and probably baptized King Geysa and his family, and King Stephen. He afterwards evangelized the Poles, and was made Archbishop of Gnesen. But he again relinquished his see, and set out to preach to the idolatrous inhabitants of what is now the Kingdom of Prussia. Success attended his efforts at first, but his imperious manner in commanding them to abandon paganism irritated them, and at the instigation of one of the pagan priests he was killed. This was in the year 997. His feast is celebrated 23 April, and he is called the Apostle of Prussia. Boleslas I, Prince of Poland, is said to have ransomed his body for an equivalent weight of gold. He is thought to be the author of the war-song, "Boga-Rodzica", which the Poles used to sing when going to battle.


John 6: 52 - 59

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

53 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;

54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.

58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."

59 This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caper'na-um.
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