Thursday, April 8, 2010




VATICAN CITY, 8 APR 2010 (VIS) - As he did last year, Giorgio Napolitano, president of the Italian Republic, will offer a concert to mark the Holy Father's birthday and the fifth anniversary of his pontificate.
The concert is due to take place in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall at 5.30 p.m. on Thursday 29 April. The Italian Youth Orchestra of Fiesole conducted by Nicola Paszkowski will play Sammartini's Symphony in D Major, Mozart's Prague Symphony (K504), and Beethoven's Fourth Symphony..../CONCERT/NAPOLITANO VIS 20100408 (90)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 8 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Nicolas Baisi, rector of the seminary of the diocese of San Miguel, Argentina, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of La Plata (area 4,652, population 899,417, Catholics 809,475, priests 144, permanent deacons 3, religious 375), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1993.
NEA/.../BAISI VIS 20100408 (70)


CNA report: Southern Catholic College, a Legionaries of Christ institution, has announced that due to a lack of funds it will close on April 15, a month before the end of the spring semester.

Fr. Shawn Aaron, LC, sent an April 7 e-mail to all faculty, staff, and students about the abrupt closure. He reported that on March 31 college chaplain Fr. Brian Higgins visited a benefactor to seek help to ensure the financial viability of the college.
“I am extremely grateful to him for his effort –as I am grateful to the benefactor for even considering our petition for support,” Fr. Aaron wrote in his e-mail. “Unfortunately, it was not to be. This has proven to be the last in a series of efforts to procure financing that would allow us to at least complete the semester on May 13.”
“I deeply regret that I must inform you that, as of Thursday, April 15, Southern Catholic will close its doors for the semester,” he continued, apologizing that he could not deliver the message in person.
He announced a general assembly for faculty, staff and students on Monday, April 12 to field questions and to provide detailed information about transcripts, grades, graduation, insurance, unemployment, and other information.
He also informed students that the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC) has confirmed that they will receive full credit for the entire semester. Students may stay on campus from April 11-15 to say goodbye to fellow students, collect their belongings, and collect relevant information from college offices.
“Words cannot express how profoundly sorrowful I am at this situation,” Fr. Aaron’s e-mail concluded. “Yet I also know that Our Lord has proven himself stronger than death and therefore stronger than our pain, weaknesses and circumstances. We must continually turn to him for strength.”
Southern Catholic College was founded in 2000. As of 2009 it had more than 200 students from 25 states on its Dawsonville, Georgia campus an hour’s drive north of Atlanta.
Last year the college and the Legionaries of Christ agreed to make the school a Legion institution.


Catholic Herald report: David Cameron has underlined his commitment to families and religious freedom in response to questions from readers of The Catholic Herald in the week that the Prime Minister called a general election.

But the Conservative leader stopped short of offering firm promises on conscience issues such as abortion and euthanasia.
Mr Cameron’s comments came shortly after Gordon Brown described the Catholic Church as “the conscience of our country” in an interview days before he named May 6 as the election date.
Asked by a reader to explain the difference between the Conservatives and Labour, Mr Cameron argued: “We stand for a more responsible society. We back people when they do the right thing. Under Labour, that sense of responsibility has been sucked out of society.
“We’ve got record levels of debt, politics is in a total mess, and crime, drugs, gangs and incivility are plaguing our streets. Why are all these things going wrong? It’s because too often, too many people are taking irresponsible decisions. Instead of asking, ‘what is the right thing for me to do?’, too often people are asking, ‘What do I feel like doing?’
“Recognising marriage and civil partnerships in the tax system is one way of doing that, but there are also other things we can do, such as ending the couple penalty in the tax credits system and extending the right to request flexible working to all parents with children under 18.” But Mr Cameron did not make any concrete commitments on life issues.
Asked whether he would press for a reduction in the abortion limit, he said there should be a review. “I think that the way medical science and technology have developed in the past few decades does mean that an upper limit of 20 or 22 weeks would be sensible,” he said.
He added that it was important that MPs have a free vote on abortion, as well as euthanasia. He said his personal view was “that if assisted dying is legalised, there is a danger that terminally ill people may feel pressurised into ending their lives if they feel they’ve become a burden on loved ones. I don’t believe anyone should be put in this position.”
The Conservative leader, who is the favourite to win the generAl election next month, said he had no plans to overturn the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which had allowed for the creation of human-animal embryos and legally fatherless children. But he said it was “a contentious Act, and there were a number of things in it which I for one had some concerns with”.
Regarding the Children, Schools and Families Bill, which many Catholics feared would force schools to teach about contraception and abortion, Mr Cameron said faith schools would have the freedom to teach such issues “in line with their values”.
“I do think that sex and relationship education is an important part of learning about responsibility,” he said. “But schools should be allowed to teach it in a way that’s consistent with their beliefs, and parents should be free to decide whether or not their children should take part in these lessons.
“I think parents who have chosen a faith-based education for their children should have that decision respected. I’m a big supporter of faith schools and I think it’s really important that their rights are protected in this way.”
One reader asked Mr Cameron if he believed in the Resurrection. “Yes,” he replied, “but I sometimes struggle with the big leaps.”
The Conservative leader also promised reforms of schools and the welfare system, which are the key platforms on which he promises to mend what he calls Britain’s “broken society”.
His party would allow parents to set up their own schools and would change the tax system, which penalises low-income couples who stay together. Britain has among the worst levels of fatherlessness and delinquency in the world.
But some Christians are sceptical of what they see as Mr Cameron’s social liberalism, especially after he voted with the Government on the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which denied Catholic adoption agencies the right to refuse to assess same-sex couples as potential adopters.
The election, which will take place on May 6, is expected to be the closest in at least 18 years, with many predicting a hung Parliament. Despite widespread disapproval of the Government’s record on abortion, the adoption agencies, the Iraq war and immigration, recent opinion polls still show that Catholics were more likely to vote for Labour than any other party.
But in an election message for the Conservative Christian Fellowship (CCF) last week, Mr Cameron said: “As I’ve gone round the country I’ve been amazed at just how much the Church is doing. Wherever there is a need, you are there – caring for the vulnerable and helping to build a strong society. These values are at the heart of the sort of Britain I want to see.”
Elizabeth Berridge, the CCF’s executive director, said: “If Christians want to support marriage then they can do so very practically in 2010, by voting Conservative. The evidence supports the view that children thrive in a stable environment and if their parents are married when they are born they are more likely to stay together.
“Many Christian groups tell me that they don’t even bother to apply for funding because as soon as they say they have a Christian ethos they are refused. Under Conservatives the Christian ethos of charities will be valued and appreciated and funding will be based on outcomes not ethos.”
Meanwhile, in an interview for a new magazine, Faith Today, Gordon Brown said his Government was the “good Samaritan” who would not “pass by on the other side”.
“Our common realm is not and cannot be stripped of values – I absolutely reject the idea that religion should somehow be tolerated but not encouraged in public life,” he said.
“Our Equality Bill is specifically designed to protect religion and belief on exactly the same terms as race or gender or sex.
"I welcome the role that people of faith play in building Britain’s future – and the Catholic communion in particular is to be congratulated for so often being the conscience of our country.”
In a Good Friday message on the Downing Street website, the Prime Minister hailed the “redeeming power of faith” and said an official visit by Pope Benedict would make this a special year for Britain.
“The Christian churches are the conscience of our country, always ready to bear witness to the truth and to remind us of our responsibilities to what the Bible calls ‘the least of these’,” he said.
“I am incredibly grateful for all that you do to ensure our public square is more than a place of transaction and exchange and remains always, as it should be, a place of shared values and social justice.”


Asia News report: The bishop was officially installed today, but refused to co-celebrate Mass with Ma Yinglin, who was ordained in 2006 without the permission of the Holy See. Forced to attend the ceremony, the bishop was still able to say publicly that he was taking part in the ceremony against his will.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Mgr Matthias Du Jiang, bishop of Bameng, is under house arrest, local sources told AsiaNews. Today he was officially installed in his office. Sources said that he was placed under house arrest because of his refusal to co-celebrate Mass during his installation ceremony with a bishop who was excommunicated in 2006 because he was ordained without Holy See approval.
Mgr Du has been bishop of Bameng (Inner Mongolia) for the past six years. He was ordained in secret, with Vatican approval, and without permission by the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), an agency that is trying to set up a national Catholic Church, separate from Rome.
Mgr Du, 47, has not been able to speak in public as bishop until now, nor was not able to wear his Episcopal biretta and pectoral cross in public.
Today’s ceremony in Sanshenggong Cathedral was designed to show that he was being recognised by the government as well. However, the CCPA demanded that Mgr Joseph Ma Yinglin, unlawfully consecrated on 30 April 2006, be part of the service. A latae sententiae excommunication hangs over the latter.
Recently, the Vatican Commission on the Catholic Church in China issued a statement, calling on bishops to avoid acts (for example, sacramental celebrations, Episcopal ordinations or meetings) that contradict their communion with the Pope. For this reason, Bishop Du refused to take part in the service in the presence of Ma Yinglin.
During the ceremony, he publicly said that he was forced to take part in the Mass with Ma Yinglin. Now, he is under house arrest.
For the past few days, security forces have been out in force policing the city. Internet and telephones have also been placed under surveillance.
“Mgr Du’s courage is inspiring. Let us hope that other bishops follow his example,” a number of Chinese Christians told AsiaNews. However, “There are rumours that more ordinations are on the way and that Ma Yinglin wants to preside over all of them”.
For the past two years, the CCPA has tried to convince official bishops to accept Ma Yinglin as CCPA president.


Cath News report: Hundreds of mourners farewelled NSW teenager Michelle Morrissey at St Mary's Catholic Church in Mudgee, remembering an "outgoing and confident" 19-year-old.

She was found dead in her home about 10 days ago, with dozens of stab wounds, said the Daily Telegraph.
Her sister Kate said Michelle was "such a unique person who was taken all too soon", according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
"The fondest memories are the laughter and even the tears we shared, the road trips, watching Gossip Girl, working together, the shopping sprees," she remembered.
Luke John Cotterill, 18, has been charged with murder in connection with her death.


All Africa report: The Bishop of the Greater Refuge Temple Church of our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc. on Front Street, over the weekend shared gifts at the church’s edifice with several people from various communities in Monrovia.

Bishop Nathaniel N. Zarway and team gave assorted food and clothing to the elderly, vulnerable mothers and babies, undernourished children as well as disabled people from the communities of Snapper Hill, Old Kru Town, Rock Hill, Slip way and West Point, adding it is Refuge Temple’s way of identifying with the needy during the Holy week of Easter.
Bishop Zarway told the beneficiary that people have in the past immensely supported the church, and now is time the church do same to help the down-trodden by bringing them to their Creator through relief services. He said more assistance have been done outside of Monrovia in the past years.
He said the Holy week of Easter has always been a passion of his life-style as a Christian and also a church leader to give to people in need. He said people need physical as well as spiritual food to come to Christ, but when physically hungry and down-trodden, they cannot experience the vision of the call from the pulpit.
The Chairman of the Vision 2015 Expansion and Enlargement Outreach Committee, speaking during the distribution exercise also said the Outreach Program of Greater Refuge Temple Church is two-fold. Pastor Abraham Gayetaye said the committee will reach out in every community spreading the Gospel which is the first part and then meeting the physical needs of the down-trodden as the second part of his mission.
As for his part Elder Michael B. Chea told the recipients what they have received from the church is a blessing reminding them of the saving knowledge of Christ and receiving Him as their Lord and Savior. Elder Chea cautioned the recipients to consider the physical food as a spiritual food bringing them close to Christ and not to take them to the market for sale. The Outreach Committee of Refuge Temple has endeavored to reach every corner and dimension of the nation to bring people to Christ. Elder Chea said this is their calling.


St. Julia Billiart

Feast: April 8
Information: Feast Day: April 8
Born: 12 July 1751 at Cuvilly,France
Died: 8 April 1816 at Namur, Belgium

Canonized: 22 June 1969 by Pope Paul VI

Patron of: against poverty, bodily ills, impoverishment, poverty, sick people, sickness
Foundress, and first superior-general of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur, born 12 July, 1751, at Cuvilly, a village of Picardy, in the Diocese of Beauvais and the Department of Oise, France; died 8 April, 1816, at the motherhouse of her institute, Namur, Belgium. She was the sixth of seven children of Jean-François Billiart and his wife, Marie-Louise-Antoinette Debraine. The childhood of Julie was remarkable; at the age of seven, she knew the catechism by heart, and used to gather her little companions around her to hear them recite it and to explain it to them. Her education was confined to the rudiments obtained at the village school which was kept by her uncle, Thibault Guilbert. In spiritual things her progress was so rapid that the parish priest, M. Dangicourt, allowed her to make her First Communion and to be confirmed at the age of nine years. At this time she made a vow of chastity. Misfortunes overtook the Billiart family when Julie was sixteen, and she gave herself generously to the aid of her parents, working in the fields with the reapers. She was held in such high esteem for her virtue and piety as to be commonly called, "the saint of Cuvilly". When twenty-two years old, a nervous shock, occasioned by a pistol-shot fired at her father by some unknown enemy, brought on a paralysis of the lower limbs, which in a few years confined her to her bed a helpless cripple, and thus she remained for twenty-two years. During this time, when she received Holy Communion daily, Julie exercised an uncommon gift of prayer, spending four or five hours a day in contemplation. The rest of her time was occupied in making linens and laces for the alter and in catechizing the village children whom she gathered around her bed, giving special attention to those who were preparing for their First Communion.
At Amiens, where Julie Billiart had been compelled to take refuge with Countess Baudoin during the troublesome times of the French Revolution, she met Françoise Blin de Bourdon, Viscountess of Gizaincourt, who was destined to be her co-laborer in the great work as yet unknown to either of them. The Viscountess Blin de Bourdon was thirty-eight years old at the time of her meeting with Julie, and had spent her youth in piety and good works; she had been imprisoned with all of her family during the Reign of Terror, and had escaped death only by the fall of Robespierre. She was not at first attracted by the almost speechless paralytic, but by degrees grew to love and admire the invalid for her wonderful gifts of soul. A little company of young and high-born ladies, friends of the viscountess, was formed around the couch of "the saint". Julie taught them how to lead the interior life, while they devoted themselves generously to the cause of God and His poor. Though they attempted all the exercises of an active community life, some of the elements of stability must have been wanting, for these first disciples dropped off until none was left but Françoise Blin de Bourdon. She was never to be separated from Julie, and with her in 1803, in obedience to Father Varin, superior of the Fathers of the Faith, and under the auspices of the Bishop of Amiens, the foundation was laid of the Institute of the Sisters of Notre Dame, a society which had for its primary object the salvation of poor children. Several young persons offered themselves to assist the two superiors. The first pupils were eight orphans. On the feast of the Sacred Heart, 1 June, 1804, Mother Julie, after a novena made in obedience to her confessor, was cured of paralysis. The first vows of religion were made on 15 October, 1804 by Julie Billiart, Françoise Blin de Bourdon, Victoire Leleu, and Justine Garson, and their family names were changed to names of saints. They proposed for their lifework the Christian education of girls, and the training of religious teachers who should go wherever their services were asked for. Father Varin gave the community a provisional rule by way of probation, which was so far-sighted that its essentials have never been changed. In view of the extension of the institute, he would have it governed by a superior-general, charged with visiting the houses, nominating the local superiors, corresponding with the members dispersed in the different convents, and assigning the revenues of the society. The characteristic devotions of the Sisters of Notre Dame were established by the foundress from the beginning. She was original in doing away with the time-honored distinction between choir sisters and lay sisters, but this perfect equality of rank did not in any way prevent her from putting each sister to the work for which her capacity and education fitted her. She attached great importance to the formation of the sisters destined for the schools, and in this she was ably assisted by Mother St. Joseph (Françoise Blin de Bourdon), who had herself received an excellent education.
When the congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame was approved by an imperial decree dated 19 June, 1806, it numbered thirty members, In that and the following years, foundations were made in various towns of France and Belgium, the most important being those at Ghent and Namur, of which the latter house Mother St. Joseph was the first superior. This spread of the institute beyond the Diocese of Amiens cost the foundress the greatest sorrow of her life. In the absence of Father Varin from that city, the confessor of the community, the Abbé de Sambucy de St. Estève, a man of superior intelligence and attainments but enterprising and injudicious, endeavored to change the rule and fundamental constitutions of the new congregation so as to bring it into harmony with the ancient monastic orders. He so far influenced the bishop. Mgr. Demandolx, that Mother Julie had soon no alternative but to leave the Diocese of Amiens, relying upon the goodwill of Mgr. Pisani de la Gaude, bishop of Namur, who had invited her to make his episcopal city the center of her congregation, should a change become necessary. In leaving Amiens, Mother Julie laid the case before all her subjects and told them they were perfectly free to remain or to follow her. All but two chose to go with her, and thus, in themid-winter of 1809, the convent of Namur became the motherhouse of the institute and is so still. Mgr. Demandolx, soon undeceived, made all the amends in his power, entreating Mother Julie to return to Amiens and rebuild her institute. She did indeed return, but after a vain struggle to find subjects or revenues, went back to Namur. The seven years of life that remained to her were spent in forming her daughters to solid piety and the interior spirit, of which she was herself the model. Mgr. De Broglie, bishop of Ghent, said of her that she saved more souls by her inner life of union with God than by her outward apostolate. She received special supernatural favors and unlooked-for aid in peril and need. In the space of twelve years (1804 - 1816) Mother Julie founded fifteen convents, made one hundred and twenty journeys, many of them long and toilsome, and carried on a close correspondence with her spiritual daughters. Hundreds of these letters are preserved in the motherhouse. In 1815 Belgium was the battlefield of the Napoleonic wars, and the mother-general suffered great anxiety, as several of her convents were in the path of the armies, but they escaped injury. In January, 1816, she was taken ill, and after three months of pain borne in silence and patience, she died with the Magnificat on her lips. The fame of her sanctity spread abroad and was confirmed by several miracles. The process of her beatification, begun in 1881, was completed in 1906 by the decree of Pope Pius X dated 13 May, declaring her Blessed. [Note: She was canonized in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.]
St. Julie's predominating trait in the spiritual order was her ardent charity, springing from a lively faith and manifesting itself in her thirst for suffering and her zeal for souls. Her whole soul was echoed in the simple and naove formula which was continually on her lips and pen: "Oh, qu'il est bon, le bon Dieu" (How good God is). She possessed all the qualities of a perfect superior, and inspired her subjects with filial confidence and tender affection.

Luke 24: 35 - 48

35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

36 As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them.

37 But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit.

38 And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts?

39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have."

41 And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?"

42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,

43 and he took it and ate before them.

44 Then he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled."

45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,

46 and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,

47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

48 You are witnesses of these things.
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