Monday, May 31, 2010





VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Today, Trinity Sunday "which in a certain sense recapitulates the revelation of God in the Paschal mysteries", the liturgy returns to "ordinary time". However, said the Holy Father in his remarks before praying the Angelus, "this does not mean that the commitment of Christians must diminish; quite the contrary, having entered divine life through the Sacraments, we are now called to remain open to the action of Grace in order to grow in love towards God and neighbour".
"The human mind and human language are inadequate to explain the relation that exists between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Nonetheless the Fathers of the Church sought to explain the mystery of the One and Triune God by putting it into practice with profound faith in their own lives", the Pope told the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
"The Blessed Trinity comes to dwell in us on the day of Baptism", Benedict XVI explained. "And each time we make the sign of the cross we remember the name of God in which we were baptised. ... The sign of the cross and the name of the living God contain, then, the announcement that generates faith and inspires prayer. And what Jesus promises the Apostles in the Gospel ('when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth'), comes about in the Sunday liturgy when, week after week, priests dispense the bread of the Word and the Eucharist".
The Holy Father concluded his remarks by quoting a prayer of St. Hilary of Poitiers: "Keep, I pray, this my pious faith undefiled, and even till my spirit departs, grant that this may be the utterance of my convictions: so that I may ever hold fast that which I professed in the creed of my regeneration, when I was baptised in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit".ANG/ VIS 20100531 (330)

VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2010 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope recalled how this morning in the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major, the beatification took place of Maria Pierina De Micheli, religious of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception in Buenos Aires.
"Giuseppina, the name with which she was baptised, was born in Milan, Italy, in 1890", said the Pope, noting that "hers was a profoundly religious family which brought forth various vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life. At the age of twenty-three she too started down this path dedicating herself passionately to education, in Argentina and in Italy. The Lord gave her an extraordinary devotion to His Holy Face, which supported her always, even through trials and sickness. She died in 1945 and her remains lie at the Holy Spirit Institute in Rome". Turning then to address English-speaking faithful, Benedict XVI recalled how later this week, from 4 to 6 June, he will visit Cyprus "to meet and pray with the Catholic and Orthodox faithful there and to consign the 'Instrumentum laboris' for the upcoming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Middle East. I ask for your prayers for the peace and prosperity of all the people of Cyprus, as well as for the preparations for the Special Assembly", he said.

ANG/ VIS 20100531 (230)

VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for June is: "That every national and trans-national institution may strive to guarantee respect for human life from conception to natural death".
His mission intention is: "That the Churches in Asia, which constitute a 'little flock' among non-Christina populations, may know how to communicate the Gospel and give joyful witness to their adherence to Christ".

VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning the Holy See Press Office released the following English-language communique concerning the apostolic visitation of Ireland as announced in the Holy Father's 19 March Letter to the Catholics of Ireland:
"Following the Holy Father's Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, the apostolic visitation of certain Irish dioceses, seminaries and religious congregations will begin in autumn of this year.
"Through this visitation, the Holy See intends to offer assistance to the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful as they seek to respond adequately to the situation caused by the tragic cases of abuse perpetrated by priests and religious upon minors. It is also intended to contribute to the desired spiritual and moral renewal that is already being vigorously pursued by the Church in Ireland.
"The apostolic visitors will set out to explore more deeply questions concerning the handling of cases of abuse and the assistance owed to the victims; they will monitor the effectiveness of and seek possible improvements to the current procedures for preventing abuse, taking as their points of reference the Pontifical 'Motu Proprio' 'Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela' and the norms contained in 'Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland', commissioned and produced by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.
"The visitation will begin in the four metropolitan archdioceses of Ireland (Armagh, Dublin, Cashel and Emly, and Tuam) and will then be extended to some other dioceses.
"The visitors named by the Holy Father for the dioceses are: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop emeritus of Westminster, England, for the archdiocese of Armagh; Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, U.S.A., for the archdiocese of Dublin; Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins of Toronto, Canada, for the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, and Archbishop Terrence Thomas Prendergast S.J. of Ottawa, Canada, for the archdiocese of Tuam.
"In its desire to accompany the process of renewal of houses of formation for the future priests of the Church in Ireland, the Congregation for Catholic Education will co-ordinate the visitation of the Irish seminaries, including the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. While special attention will be given to the matters that occasioned the apostolic visitation, in the case of the seminaries it will cover all aspects of priestly formation. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, U.S.A., has been named apostolic visitor.
"For its part, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will organise the visitation of religious houses in two phases. Firstly it will conduct an enquiry by means of a questionnaire to be sent to all the superiors of religious institutes present in Ireland, with a view to providing an accurate picture of the current situation and formulating plans for the observance and improvement of the norms contained in the 'guidelines'. In the second phase, the apostolic visitors will be: Fr. Joseph Tobin C.Ss.R. and Fr. Gero McLaughlin S.J. for institutes of men; Sr. Sharon Holland I.H.M. and Sr. Mairin McDonagh R.J.M. for institutes of women. They will carry out a careful study, evaluating the results obtained from the questionnaire and the possible steps to be taken in the future in order to usher in a season of spiritual rebirth for religious life on the Island.
"His Holiness invites all the members of the Irish Catholic community to support this fraternal initiative with their prayers. He invokes God's blessings upon the visitors, and upon all the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful of Ireland, that the visitation may be for them an occasion of renewed fervour in the Christian life, and that it may deepen their faith and strengthen their hope in Christ our Saviour".

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VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Benin City, Nigeria, presented by Archbishop Richard Anthony Burke S.P.S., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- Appointed Bishop Matthias Kobena Nketsiah, auxiliary of Cape Coast, Ghana, as metropolitan archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 9,788, population 1,745,214, Catholics 318,419, priests 121, religious 152). The archbishop-elect was born in Kakomdo, Ghana in 1942, he was ordained a priest in 1970 and consecrated a bishop in 2007.
- Appointed Bishop Remy Victor Vancottem, auxiliary of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, as bishop of Namur (area 8,100, population 734,000, Catholics 556,000, priests 726, permanent deacons 63, religious 1,367), Belgium.
- Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Munster, Germany, presented by Bishop Heinrich Janssen, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law.
- Appointed Fr. Dieter Geerlings of the clergy of the archdiocese of Munster, Germany, president of diocesan Caritas and canon of the cathedral chapter; Fr. Christoph Hegge of the clergy of the archdiocese of Munster, pro vicar general, head of the office for consecrated life and canon the cathedral chapter, and Fr. Wilfried Theising of the clergy of the archdiocese of Munster, provost and dean at Borken, as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Munster (area 15,265, population 4,335,600, Catholics 2,007,335, priests 1,165, permanent deacons 270, religious 2,827). Bishop-elect Geerlings was born in Emmerich, Germany in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1973. Bishop-elect Hegge was born in Rheine, Germany in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1988. Bishop-elect was born in Wettringen, Germany in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1989.
On Saturday 29 May it was made public that he appointed:
- Fr. Michael Didi Adgum Mangoria of the clergy of Khartoum, Sudan, rector of St. Paul's National Seminary of Khartoum, as coadjutor of the diocese of El-Obeid (area 888,939, population 8,900,000, Catholics 140,000, priests 38, religious 28), Sudan. The bishop-elect was born in Engoth, Sudan in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1992.
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., archbishop of Quebec, Canada, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the fourth centenary of the baptism of Grand Chief Henri Membertou, due to be held on Chapel Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, on 1 August.

VATICAN CITY, 29 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
- Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.LSN report:


LSN report: LifeSiteNews' scheduled summer matching donation drive begins today

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CNA report: The Vatican announced on Friday that the international, charitable Society of St. Vincent de Paul will convene in Spain this week to elect a new president.

From May 28 through June 2 in Salamanca, Spain, the International Confederation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will gather for its extraordinary general assembly, with the aim of electing the group's 15th president.
The confederation is a member of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” and has been able to serve 37 million impoverished people through their efforts over the years. Spain's gathering will bring representatives from the 51,000 local chapters in 142 countries around the globe. These chapters have 700,000 members, who are supported by 1,500,000 volunteers.
A main effort of the group being disaster relief effort, St. Vincent de Paul maintained its assistance in Haiti through its Zafen network which helped provide credit for small businesses and craftsmen during the country's recent catastrophic earthquake.
Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes who heads “Cor Unum” will address the delegates, discuss the identity of Catholic aid organizations and preside over a special Mass on May 30. The cardinal will also bid farewell to current president, Jose Ramon Diaz Torremocha, who has spent many years leading the organization.

All Africa report: Religious Leaders From Various Faith based organizations have agreed to increase their involvement in the fight against maternal mortality.

The leaders, who were meeting in Kigali, last week, to lay a roadmap on the issue, noted the importance of the family component citing that it should be the duty of leaders to ensure that members of their congregation give birth in a family setting.
Father Janvier Nduwayezu from Ruhengeri said that some girls may become pregnant out of wedlock and fear to reveal it because they know that it is not right.
"These girls may refuse to go to health facilities for antenatal care or might even consider abortion. The church is against abortion, and it is up to us the leaders to accept and join such people in holy matrimony if at all they are ready to seek forgiveness from the Almighty God," Nduwayezu said.
Officials also added that faith based organizations have the capability to reach every citizen with messages regarding eliminating maternal mortality, adding that can be done alongside religious teachings.
Dr. Anicet Nzabonimpa, from the Ministry of Health, explained that religious leaders should also play a key role in encouraging people to have few children they are able to raise. He emphasized that one of the reasons for maternal mortality is having too many children.
"The fact is that the maternal mortality rate of Rwanda is still high, with 750 women dying of pregnancy-related causes out of 100,000. Having so many children with no birth spacing definitely puts the lives of mothers at risk," Nzabonimpa explained.
Participants tackled various topics including the role of Islam in the promotion of maternal and child health. It was noted that a book which was prepared to help in the sensitization drive based on the Quran and Bible will soon be launched.
Ministry of Health officials have noted that various interventions such as distribution of mosquito bed nets, introduction of the maternal death audit system and procurement of ambulances for emergency cases are among the adopted measures that aim at curbing the death rates.

UCAN REPORT. Security officials have detained two “underground” Catholic priests in the northwestern part of Hebei province.

Father’s Joseph Wang Jianchen and Joseph Li De of Xuanhua were stopped and “taken away” on the morning of May 30 in Hebei City, while traveling to hold Trinity Sunday Mass for parishioners in Huaian County.
Church sources told UCA News the police officers were lying in wait for the priests in three vehicles.
They believe the authorities must have found out about the recent ordination of Father Li which led to the detentions.
Father Li was ordained less than six months ago.
Father Wang Jianchen serves in
Huaian and Wenquan counties:

Father Wang, 40, was born to a Catholic family and was ordained a priest in 1989. He has served in Huaian and Wenquan counties since 2000.
The detention of the two priests follows the detention of Fathers Liu Jianzhong, Zhang Cunhui, Zhang Jianlin and Zhong Mingchang, also from Hebei diocese, last year.
All were later released except Father Zhang Jianlin, who was sent home for “reflection” but has to report to the local government every day.
Meanwhile, the sources also said government officials held a meeting with all priests from the “open” community and some underground clergy, May 17-21, regarding the Holy See’s China Commission meeting held at the Vatican in March.
The Chinese officials criticized the commission’s communiqué, saying that it interfered with the internal policy of China, one of the sources said.

Cath News report: A national shortage of aged care doctors has left more than half of nursing homes with no choice but to send residents to hospital emergency departments, according to a survey by Catholic Health.

The CHA Survey of Access to General Practice (GP) Services in Residential Aged Care found 57 percent of aged care home respondents had on occasion transferred residents to emergency departments (EDs) because of a doctor shortage; while an additional 18 percent did so more frequently, the organisation said in a statement.
"The national GP shortage means some older Australians are missing out on seeing a doctor in their home, and instead have to be admitted to hospital," CHA CEO Martin Laverty said.
"It's not the fault of those hard working doctors who do visit aged care homes. It's the consequence of not planning years ago for medical shortages as the nation's population ages.
"There are not enough doctors to meet the needs of older Australians who live in residential aged care. Alarmingly, many of the committed doctors who do work in aged care are themselves approaching retirement - which will soon make the shortfall worse."
"Aged care homes and doctors need to put solutions to Government as part of the ongoing health reform process to ensure more doctors are encouraged to take up roles in caring for aged care residents," Mr Laverty said.
The Herald Sun said the survey found about two thirds of homes had difficulty accessing GPs for residents, with one in six saying resident care was compromised.
Health Minister Nicola Roxon was quoted by the paper as saying poor medical workforce planning had created major problems. "The Rudd Government acted quickly to start to turn this around by increasing GP training places and introducing an incentive for doctors to visit aged care facilities in our first year," she said.


Visitation of the Blessed Virgin

Feast: May 31
Information:Feast Day: May 31
Assuming that the Annunciation and the Incarnation took place about the vernal equinox, Mary left Nazareth at the end of March and went over the mountains to Hebron, south of Jerusalem, to wait upon her cousin Elizabeth, because her presence and much more the presence of the Divine Child in her womb, according to the will of God, was to be the source of very great graces to the Blessed John, Christ's Forerunner.
The event is related in Luke 1:39-57. Feeling the presence of his Divine Saviour, John, upon the arrival of Mary, leaped in the womb of his mother; he was then cleansed from original sin and filled with the grace of God. Our Lady now for the first time exercised the office which belonged to the Mother of God made man, that He might by her mediation sanctify and glorify us. St. Joseph probably accompanied Mary, returned to Nazareth, and when, after three months, he came again to Hebron to take his wife home, the apparition of the angel, mentioned in Matthew 1:19-25, may have taken place to end the tormenting doubts of Joseph regarding Mary's maternity.


Luke 1: 39 - 56

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,

40 and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth.

41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit

42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44 For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.

45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

46 And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord,

47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48 for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;

49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

50 And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.

51 He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,

52 he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree;

53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.

54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,

55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."

56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.

Sunday, May 30, 2010




Asia News report: After months in which priests are only spoken of in reference to paedophilia, Benedict XVI recalls the value of priests in initiating the faithful and helping them to grow in their Christian life. A new beatification. A request for prayers for his trip to Cyprus where he will present the Instrumentum laboris for the Synod of Middle East Churches. A book by Card. Celso Costantini.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The divine Trinity .. dwells in us the day of Baptism: 'I baptize you - says the minister - in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit'. " On Holy Trinity Sunday, the theme of his Angelus reflection today in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI did not seek to explain the mystery of God with theological or philosophical reflections, but like the Church Fathers, he indicated its presence in Christian life. "The mind and language of the human - said the Pope - are inadequate to explain the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit."
Every time we make the sign of the cross, he added, we remember "the name of God in whom we were baptized." The Pope then quoted the theologian Romano Guardini, who speaking about the sign of the cross, observes: "we do it before prayer, so ... it brings us spiritually to order, to focus our thoughts, heart and will o God; we do it after prayer, so that what God has gifted us may remain in us ... It embraces the whole being, body and soul ... and everything becomes consecrated in the name of the triune God "( Lo spirito della liturgia. I santi segni, Brescia 2000, 125-126).
Consciousness and experience of the Trinity is deepened by the priest. After months in which the media limits itself to exclusively discussing the problem of paedophile priests, the pontiff offers some positive points of the work of priests in the Church. Referring to today's Gospel, where Jesus promised the Apostles that "when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth" (Jn 16:13), the Pope added: "This is what happens in the Sunday liturgy, when priests dispense from week to week, the bread of the Word and the Eucharist. Even the holy Cure d'Ars reminded the faithful: 'Who welcomed your soul – he would say - when you first entered life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it the strength to make its pilgrimage? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it for the last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? Always the priest ... '(Letter Proclaiming a Year for Priests).
After the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI recalled that today, in the basilica of St. Maria Maggiore in Rome the beatification ceremony took place of Maria Pierina De Micheli, religious sister of the Institute of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception in Buenos Aires: " Giuseppina - this her baptismal name - was born in 1890 in Milan, to a deeply religious family, where different vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life flourished. At 23 she started down this road devoting her time to educational service in Argentina and Italy. The Lord gave her an extraordinary devotion to his Holy Face, which always sustained her during times of trial and illness. She died in 1945 and her remains were laid to rest in the Institute of the Holy Spirit in Rome. " Greeting pilgrims in French he then asked their prayers for his apostolic visit to Cyprus June 4 to 6 next, where he will present the working guidelines (Instrumentum laboris) in preparation for the Synod of the Churches of the Middle East in October.
Finally, in greetings to the Italian-speaking pilgrims, he mentioned a group of faithful from Pordenone, who came to Rome to honour the memory Card. Celso Costantini, a volume of whose Diary was submitted two days ago in Rome, entitled On the edge of war (1938-1947). "This publication - explained the Pope - is of great historical interest. Cardinal Costantini, very close to Pope Pius XII, wrote it when he was Secretary of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide. His diary bears witness to the immense work accomplished by the Holy See during those dramatic years to promote peace and help all the needy. " Card. Costantini was nuncio in China from 1922 to 1934.,-with-the-help-of-priests-18545.html


Catholic Online report: Petty Officer Second Class Mosoor is just one of the many brave men and women - and families - we remember on Memorial Day. 'By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country.'

(Photo furnished by the Department of Defense) US Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholics in the Military) - US Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor was 25 years old the day an insurgent's grenade hit him in the chest and landed on the ground in front of him, effectively blocking the only exit for him and eleven others on mission in the Ma'laab district of Ramadi, Iraq.
With the grenade's fuse too short to toss out, Monsoor chose to give his life so that others might live. The only one who could have saved himself, Petty Officer Second Class Monsoor instead shielded the others- three US Navy Seals and eight Iraqi soldiers- by throwing himself on the explosive. He was two weeks shy of rotating out to go home.
Born in 1981, Michael was of Christian Arab descent and a devout practicing Catholic. The son of a Marine, Michael was drawn to the special operations elite force of US Navy SEALs (SEa, Air, and Land) and ultimately assigned to Delta Platoon, SEAL Team Three. Upon reporting for duty in Ramadi, Petty Officer Second Class Monsoor immediately sought out the Catholic chaplain and went to Confession. Prior to each of Monsoor's eleven missions, he attended Mass.
He lived another thirty minutes after his body bore the brunt of the explosion, just long enough to be evacuated to the battalion aid station and die in the presence of his confessor, US Army chaplain Capt. Fr. Paul Anthony Halladay. Fr. Halladay knew Monsoor as "a man with a depth of courage and spirituality."All this transpired September 29th, 2006, the Feast of the Archangels St. Michael, St. Raphael, and St. Gabriel.
Having previously earned the Bronze Star and Silver Star, MA2 Monsoor was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He is survived by his parents, George and Sally, and three siblings, James, Sara and Joseph.
At the invitation of CatholicMil, public intellectual and theologian George Weigel wrote an article for his syndicated column entitled "Michael Monsoor: Martyr of Charity?" In it, the author considered similarities between the sacrifice of MA2 Monsoor and the sacrifice St. Maximilian Kolbe.
Petty Officer Second Class Mosoor is just one of many souls- and families- we Americans remember on Memorial Day, and with the mind and heart of John Paul II, prayerfully acknowledge:
"Where did they find the strength necessary to do their duty to the full, other than in total adherence to the professed ideals? Many of them believed in Christ, and his words illumined their existence and gave an exemplary value to their sacrifice."
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Automatic Weapons Gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 29 September 2006.
As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army sniper overwatch element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent-held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger.
In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element's position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy's initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire.
As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor's chest and landed in front of him.
Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates.
By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."


Catholic Herald report: Scottish composer James MacMillan's new setting of the Mass will be sung in both Coventry and Glasgow when Pope Benedict visits Britain in September, it has emerged.

Originally it was though that his new setting for the new English translation of the Mass would only be performed at the huge open-air Mass at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow on September 16. Some 150,000 people are expected to attend the all-ticket event, half the number who saw Pope John Paul II in the same park in 1982 due to tighter health and safety regulations.
At the beatification Mass for Cardinal John Henry Newman at Coventry Airport on September 19 it had previously been suggested that the music would be by a variety of modern composers.
Reports originally said that the music for the Coventry Mass would be predominantly by composers from the Birmingham archdiocese. The Eucharistic acclamations would be by Fr Peter Jones, who wrote the music for the Coventry Gloria, used at Pope John Paul II's 1982 visit.
Other composers and compositions for the papal Mass included "Christ be our Light" by Bernadette Farrell and the "Salisbury Alleluia" by Christopher Walker. The Gloria was to be composed by Alan Smith and the psalm set to music by Paul Wellicome.
Mr MacMillan's Mass setting will now be used at both Masses, and the composer is also said to be working on a setting for the three Eucharistic acclamations.
A spokesman for the bishops said that no final decisions had been made yet, and that the music at the two Masses "will not be confirmed for a month or two".


All Africa report: THE Catholic Diocese of Warri, Delta State, will today celebrate the canonical installation of Most Rev. John Afareha as the new Bishop of the diocese.

Chancellor of the church, Very Rev. Bernard Olagba, who briefed newsmen in Warri said, "what we are preparing for is the public celebration of the appointment and installation of Most Rev. Afareha as Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Warri.
"It is a big thanksgiving day with Catholics and non-Catholics, government functionaries, civil society, traditional rulers, family, friends and well wishers coming together to celebrate this God-given grace."
He, however, said the office of the Bishop is usually a very challenging one and called for assistance in the forms of prayers and finance for Afareha to meet the challenges ahead.
Rev. Olagba, who said the church was expecting the Governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, his deputy, Prof. Amos Utuama and Catholic Bishops across the country to grace the occasion, pointed out that the Warri diocese was lacking in infrastructural development and would want men of goodwill, within and outside the diocese, "to come to our aid in any means to help build the diocese."
"We have no functional Bishop's Court, secretariat/chancery office, pastoral centre, and priests' retirement centre", he lamented, adding, "apart from infrastructural issues, the bishop is also challenged with the issues of training of seminarians, further training for priests and taking care of retired priests", he added.

UCAN REPORT: Special meetings held for 1,300 priests and bishops in southern Vietnam provided them with much needed support and an occasion to share pastoral and personal experiences, say participants.

Clergy from 10 southern dioceses attended meetings in two groups from May 26-28 to mark the Year for Priests that will conclude in Rome with an international gathering of priests with the pope from June 9-11.
One group met in Xuan Loc Major Seminary in Dong Nai province, while the other met at the Pastoral Center in Ho Chi Minh City.
“The gathering is an opportunity for us to meet and share our pastoral experiences so as to be able to serve Catholics better in the future,” said Father Joachim Nguyen Van Hinh from Long Xuyen diocese.
Father Hinh, 60, said he also learnt how to teach catechism more effectively to non-Catholics who wish to marry Catholics.
Salesian Father Joseph Doan Hai Dang said the gathering is a great encouragement to him personally. “We need to support one another spiritually (and) to overcome materialism and consumerism because we are also men full of weaknesses,” he added.
Coadjutor Bishop Stephen Tri Buu Thien of Can Tho said he urged his priests to pray that they would live a good life. “Laypeople pray for us a lot. Why don’t we pray for ourselves?” he asked.
The gatherings aim to create opportunities for priests to build fellowship among themselves so that they can serve the Church better, said Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City.


Courier Mail report: CREATIONISM and intelligent design will be taught in Queensland state schools for the first time as part of the new national curriculum.

Creationists dismiss the science of evolution, instead believing that living things are best explained by an intelligent being or God, rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.
The issue of creationism being taught in schools has caused huge controversy in the US, where some fundamentalist religious schools teach it as a science subject instead of Darwin's theory of evolution.
In Queensland schools, creationism will be offered for discussion in the subject of ancient history, under the topic of "controversies".
Don't miss The Courier-Mail on Tuesday for the 2010 High School Report, an eight-page liftout containing Year 12 results, including OPs, from every school across the state
Teachers are still formulating a response to the draft national curriculum, scheduled to be introduced next year.
Queensland History Teachers' Association head Kay Bishop said the curriculum asked students to develop their historical skills in an "investigation of a controversial issue" such as "human origins (eg, Darwin's theory of evolution and its critics").
"It's opening up opportunities for debate and discussion, not to push a particular view," Ms Bishop said. Classroom debate about issues encouraged critical thinking – an important tool, she said.
Associated Christian Schools executive officer Lynne Doneley welcomed the draft curriculum, saying it cemented the position of a faith-based approach to teaching.
"We talk to students from a faith science basis, but we're not biased in the delivery of curriculum," Mrs Doneley said. "We say, 'This is where we're coming from' but allow students to make up their own minds."But Griffith University humanities lecturer Paul Williams said it was important to be cautious about such content.
"It's important that education authorities are vigilant that this is not a blank cheque to push theological barrows," Mr Williams said.
"I would be loath to see it taught as theory.
"It's up there with the world being occupied by aliens since Roswell."
Ms Bishop said there were bigger problems with the national curriculum.
History teachers are planning to object to repetitive subject matter, such as World War I being a major part of the Year 10 course and repeated in Year 11.


St. Joan of Arc

Feast: May 30
Information: Feast Day: May 30
Born: 6 January c. 1412, Domrémy, France
Died: May 30, 1431, Rouen, France
Canonized: May 16, 1920, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome by Pope Benedict XV
Patron of: France; martyrs; captives; militants; people ridiculed for their piety; prisoners; soldiers; Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service; Women's Army Corps
Savior of France and the national heroine of that country, Joan of Arc lives on in the imagination of the world as a symbol of that integrity of purpose that makes one die for what one believes. Jeanne la Pucelle, the Maid, is the shining example of what a brave spirit can accomplish in the world of men and events. The saint was born on the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1412, at Domremy, a village in the rich province of Champagne, on the Meuse River in northeast France. She came of sound peasant stock. Her father, Jacques d'Arc, was a good man, though rather morose; his wife was a gentle, affectionate mother to their five children. From her the two daughters of the family received careful training in all household duties. "In sewing and spinning," Joan declared towards the end of her short life, "I fear no woman." She whose destiny it was to save France was a well-brought-up country girl who, in common with most people of the time, never had an opportunity to learn to read or write. The little we know of her childhood is contained in the impressive and often touching testimony to her piety and dutiful conduct in the depositions presented during the process for her rehabilitation in I456, twenty-five years after her death. Priests and former playmates then recalled her love of prayer and faithful attendance at church, her frequent use of the Sacraments, kindness to sick people, and sympathy for poor wayfarers, to whom she sometimes gave up her own bed. "She was so good," the neighbors said, "that all the village loved her."
Joan's early life, however, must have been disturbed by the confusion of the period and the disasters befalling her beloved land. The Hundred Years War between England and France was still running its dismal course. Whole provinces were being lost to the English and the Burgundians, while the weak and irresolute government of France offered no real resistance. A frontier village like Domremy, bordering on Lorraine, was especially exposed to the invaders. On one occasion, at least, Joan fled with her parents to Neufchatel, eight miles distant, to escape a raid of Burgundians who sacked Domremy and set fire to the church, which was near Joan's home.The child had been three years old when in 1415 King Henry V of England had started the latest chain of troubles by invading Normandy and claiming the crown of the insane king, Charles VI. France, already in the throes of civil war between the supporters of the Dukes of Burgundy and Orleans, had been in no condition to resist, and when the Duke of Burgundy was treacherously killed by the Dauphin's servants, most of his faction joined the British forces. King Henry and King Charles both died in 1422, but the war continued. The Duke of Bedford, as regent for the infant king of England, pushed the campaign vigorously, one town after another falling to him or to his Burgundian allies. Most of the country north of the Loire was in English hands. Charles VII, the Dauphin, as he was still called, considered his position hopeless, for the enemy even occupied the city of Rheims, where he should have been crowned. He spent his time away from the fighting lines in frivolous pastimes with his court.
Joan was in her fourteenth year when she heard the first of the unearthly voices, which, she felt sure, brought her messages from God. One day while she was at work in the garden, she heard a voice, accompanied by a blaze of light; after this, she vowed to remain a virgin and to lead a godly life. Afterwards, for a period of two years, the voices increased in number, and she was able to see her heavenly visitors, whom she identified as St. Michael, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and St. Margaret, the three saints whose ages stood in the church at Domremy. Gradually they revealed to her the purpose of their visits: she, an ignorant peasant girl, was given the high mission of saving her country; she was to take Charles to Rheims to be crowned, and then drive out the English! We do not know just when Joan decided to obey the voices; she spoke little of them at home, fearing her stern father's disapproval. But by May, 1428, the voices had become insistent and explicit. Joan, now sixteen, must first go quickly to Robert de Baudricourt, who commanded the Dauphin's forces in the neighboring town of Vaucouleurs and say that she was appointed to lead the Dauphin to his crowning. An uncle accompanied Joan, but the errand proved fruitless; Baudricourt laughed and said that her father should give her a whipping. Thus rebuffed, Joan went back to Domremy, but the voices gave her no rest. When she protested that she was a poor girl who could neither ride nor fight, they answered, "It is God who commands it." At last, she was impelled to return secretly to Baudricourt, whose skepticism was shaken, for news had reached him of just the sort of serious French defeat that Joan had predicted. The military position was now desperate, for Orleans, the last remaining French stronghold on the Loire, was invested by the English and seemed likely to fall. Baudricourt now agreed to send Joan to the Dauphin, and gave her an escort of three soldiers. It was her own idea to put on male attire, as a protection. On March 6, 1429, the party reached Chinon, where the Dauphin was staying, and two days later Joan was admitted to the royal presence. To test her, Charles had disguised himself as one of his courtiers, but she identified him without hesitation and, by a sign which only she and he understood, convinced him that her mission was authentic.
The ministers were less easy to convince. When Joan asked for soldiers to lead to the relief of Orleans, she was opposed by La Tremouille, one of Charles' favorites, and by others, who regarded the girl either as a crazy visionary or a scheming impostor. To settle the question, they sent her to Poitiers, to be questioned by a commission of theologians. After an exhaustive examination lasting for three weeks, the learned ecclesiastics pronounced Joan honest, good, and virtuous; they counseled Charles to make prudent use of her services. Thus vindicated, Joan returned full of courage of Chinon, and plans went forward to equip her with a small force, A banner was made, bearing at her request, the words, "Jesus Maria," along with a figure of God the Father, to whom two kneeling angels were presenting a fleur-de-lis, the royal emblem of France. On April 27 the army left Blois with Joan, now known to her troops as "La Pucelle," the Maid, clad in dazzling white armor Joan was a handsome, healthy, well-built girl, with a smiling face, and dark hair which had been cut short. She had now learned to ride well, but, naturally, she had no knowledge of military tactics. Yet her gallantry and valor kindled the soldiers and with them she broke through the English line and entered Orleans on April 29. Her presence in the city greatly heartened the French garrison. By May 8 the English fort outside Orleans had been captured and the siege raised. Conspicuous in her white armor, Joan had led the attack and had been slightly wounded in the shoulder by an arrow.
Her desire was to follow up these first successes with even more daring assaults, for the voices had told her that she would not live long, but La Tremouille and the archbishop of Rheims were in favor of negotiating. However, the Maid was allowed to join in a short campaign along the Loire with the Duc d'Alencon, one of her devoted supporters. It ended with a victory at Patay, in which the English forces under Sir John Falstolf suffered a crushing defeat. She now urged the immediate coronation of the Dauphin, since the road to Rheims had been practically cleared. The French leaders argued and dallied, and finally consented to follow her to Rheims. There, on July 17, 1429, Charles VII was duly crowned, Joan standing proudly behind him with her banner.
The mission entrusted to her by the heavenly voices was now only half fulfilled, for the English were still in France. Charles, weak and irresolute, did not follow up these auspicious happenings, and an attack on Paris failed, mainly for lack of his promised support and presence. During the action Joan was again wounded and had to be dragged to safety by the Duc d'Alencon. There followed winter's truce, which Joan spent for the most part in the company of the court, where she was regarded with ill-concealed suspicion. When hostilities were renewed in the spring, she hurried off to the relief of Compiegne, which was besieged by the Burgundians. Entering the city at sunrise on May 23, 1430, she led against the enemy later in the day. It failed, and through miscalculation on the part of the governor, the drawbridge over which her forces were retiring was lifted too soon, leaving her and a number of soldiers outside, at the mercy of the enemy. Joan was dragged from her horse and led to the quarters of John of Luxembourg, one of whose soldiers had been her captor. From then until the late autumn she remained the prisoner of the Duke of Burgundy, incarcerated in a high tower of the castle of the Luxembourgs. In a desperate attempt to escape, the girl leapt from the tower, landing on soft turf, stunned and bruised. It was thought a miracle that she had not been killed.
Never, during that period or afterwards, was any effort made to secure Joan's release by King Charles or his ministers. She had been a strange and disturbing ally, and they seemed content to leave her to her fate. But the English were to have her, and on November 21, the Burgundians accepted a large indemnity and gave her into English hands. They could not take her life for defeating them in war, but they could have her condemned as a sorceress and a heretic. Had she not been able to inspire the French with the Devil's own courage? In an age when belief in witchcraft and demons was general, the charge did not seem too preposterous. Already the English and Burgundian soldiers had been attributing their reverses to her spells.
In a cell in the castle of Rouen to which Joan was moved two days before Christmas, she was chained to a plank bed, and watched over night and day. On February 21, 1431, she appeared for the first time before a court of the Inquisition. It was presided over by Pierre Cauchon, bishop of Beauvais, a ruthless, ambitious man who apparently hoped through English influence to become archbishop of Rouen. The other judges were lawyers and theologians who had been carefully selected by Cauchon. In the course of six public and nine private sessions, covering a period of ten weeks, the prisoner was cross-examined as to her visions and voices, her assumption of male attire, her faith, and her willingness to submit to the Church. Alone and undefended, the nineteen-year-old girl bore herself fearlessly, her shrewd answers, honesty, piety, and accurate memory often proving embarrassing to these severe inquisitors. Through her ignorance of theological terms, on a few occasions she was betrayed into making damaging statements. At the end of the hearings, a set of articles was drawn up by the clerks and submitted to the judges, who thereupon pronounced her revelations the work of the Devil and Joan herself a heretic. The theological faculty of the University of Paris approved the court's verdict.
In final deliberations the tribunal voted to hand Joan over to the secular arm for burning if she still refused to confess she had been a witch and had lied about hearing voices. This she steadfastly refused to do, though physically exhausted and threatened with torture. Only when she was led out into the churchyard of St. Ouen before a great crowd, to hear the sentence committing her to the flames, did she kneel down and admit she had testified falsely. She was then taken back to prison. Under pressure from her jailers, she had some time earlier put off the male attire, which her accusers seemed to find particularly objectionable. Now, either by her own choice or as the result of a trick played upon her by those who wanted her death, she resumed it. When Bishop Cauchon, with some witnesses, visited her in her cell to question her further, she had recovered from her weakness, and once more she claimed that God had truly sent her and that the voices had come from Him. Cauchon was well pleased with this turn of events.
On Tuesday, May 29, 1431, the judges, after hearing Cauchon's report, condemned Joan as a relapsed heretic and delivered her to the English. The next morning at eight o'clock she was led out into the market place of Rouen to be burned at the stake. As the faggots were lighted, a Dominican friar, at her request, held up a cross before her eyes and, while the flames leapt higher and higher, she was heard to call on the name of Jesus. John Tressart, one of King Henry's secretaries, viewed the scene with horror and was probably joined in spirit by others when he exclaimed remorsefully, "We are lost! We have burned a saint!" Joan's ashes were cast into the Seine.
Twenty-five years later, when the English had been driven out, the Pope at Avignon ordered a rehearing of the case. By that time Joan was being hailed as the savior of France. Witnesses were heard and depositions made, and in consequence the trial was pronounced irregular. She was formally rehabilitated as a true and faithful daughter of the Church. From a short time after her death up to the French Revolution, a local festival in honor of the Maid was held at Orleans on May 8, commemorating the day the siege was raised. The festival was reestablished by Napoleon I. In 1920 the French Republic declared May 8 a day of national celebration. Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized by Benedict XV in 1919.


Proverbs 8: 22 - 31

22 The LORD created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old.

23 Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.

24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.

25 Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth;

26 before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world.

27 When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,

28 when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep,

29 when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth,

30 then I was beside him, like a master workman; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always,

31 rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the sons of men.

Psalms 8: 4 - 9

4 what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?

5 Yet thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor.

6 Thou hast given him dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet,

7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the sea.

9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth!

Romans 5: 1 - 5

1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,

4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

John 16: 12 - 15

12 "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Saturday, May 29, 2010




Asia News report: Benedict XVI gives a greeting in Chinese, before the pilgrims from Macerata and Marche, Italy, on the occasion of the fourth centenary of the death of Matteo Ricci. The importance of Matteo Ricci's Chinese friends, "pillars of the nascent Chinese Church." Prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan for a greater relationship between China and Christianity.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Fr Ricci was primarily a missionary, who went to China to bring the Gospel". And in doing so he formed an important "dialogue between cultures, between China and the West”. This is what Benedict XVI said today to a Paul VI Hall packed with thousands of pilgrims from Macerata, birthplace of Matteo Ricci, and Marche, on the occasion of the fourth centenary of the death of the great Jesuit missionary.
Welcoming the bishops and the faithful, the pope also greeted the Chinese with a resounding "Nimen hao" (how are you?).
After noting that Ricci is still held in high esteem in China today, the pontiff said that missionary’s work "must not be separated" from his commitment to "Chinese inculturation of the Gospel Message and his introduction of Western culture and science to China”.
Indeed, many events celebrating the fourth centenary of the death, risked presenting Matteo Ricci, as a mere cultural mediator. "Fr. Ricci - said the pope - went to China not to bring science and Western culture, but to bring the Gospel to make God known”. He added: "And as he proclaimed the Gospel, Fr. Ricci found in his interlocutors the desire for a wider confrontation, so that a encounter motivated by faith, became a dialogue between cultures, a disinterested dialogue free from the ambitions of economic or political power, lived in friendship, which makes the work of Fr. Ricci and his disciples one of the highest and happiest points in the relationship between China and the West".
Benedict XVI also recalled "the role and influence" that his Chinese friends had in the work of Ricci (Xu Guangqi; Zhizao Li, Yang Tingyun, Li Yingshi): "His choices he did not depend on an abstract strategy of inculturation of the faith, but from all the events, encounters and experiences that he made, so all that he achieved was also thanks to his encounter with the Chinese, an encounter he lived in many ways, but which was deepened through his relationship with some friends and disciples, especially the four famous converts, 'pillars of the nascent Chinese Church'. "
The memory of Ricci and his friends, continued Benedict XVI should be an occasion for prayer for "the Church in China and the entire Chinese people, as we do every year, on May 24, turning to Mary, venerated in famous Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai, and may they also be an incentive and encouragement to live the Christian faith intensely, in dialogue with different cultures, but in the certainty that in Christ the true humanism is realised, open to God, full of moral and spiritual values and able to respond to the deepest longings of the human soul".
The Pope concluded expressing his appreciation and greeting to China and the desire for a deeper relationship between it and Christianity: "Like Father Matteo Ricci, today I express my profound respect to the noble Chinese people and its ancient culture, convinced that their renewed encounter with Christianity will bring abundant fruits of good, and like then, that it will favour peaceful coexistence among peoples".


CNS report: The Vatican is hosting two hours of eucharistic adoration “in reparation for abuses committed by priests and for the healing of this wound within the church.”

The service in St. Peter’s Basilica this Saturday will feature an hour of silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, an hour of prayer and meditation, and a solemn blessing at the end.
The unusual initiative was organized by Catholic university students in Rome. Sources said the event was originally planned for the small Church of St. Anne inside Vatican City, but that it was moved to St. Peter’s at the suggestion of Cardinal Angelo Comastri, who is archpriest of the basilica.
So far, however, the Vatican has not publicized the event. Invitations have been forwarded by email and spread by word-of-mouth.
The hour of prayer and meditation will be led by Msgr. Charles Scicluna, an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who deals directly with cases of priests accused of abuse of minors.
In several recent statements, Pope Benedict has said the response to the sex abuse crisis in the church will require openness, adoption of new measures to protect children and spiritual reparation.
In a letter to Irish Catholics earlier this year, he asked that eucharistic adoration be set up in every diocese, so that “through intense prayer before the real presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm.”


All Africa report: Bishop Giuseppe Sandri blessed one of the stadiums that will be used for this year's FIFA World Cup.

On Monday, the bishop of Witbank was given access to the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, one of 10 venues around South Africa that will be used in the international soccer tournament, which begins June 11.
The prelate blessed the 43,000-seat stadium along with a local pastor, Fr Roger Masuku, accompanied by two Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Sister Cecilia Binder and Sister Emily Schmidt.
Stadium workers were diligently preparing for the coming event and security guards were undergoing training as the group of religious passed through the checkpoints to enter the arena.
Bishop Sandri read Psalm 67 and then asked God "to bless this beautiful structure and all who built it and who will use it hopefully in a true spirit of good sportsmanship."
He walked the expanse of the field, blessing it with Holy Water, and then extending the blessing to the first rows of seats, including those reserved for substitute players and the coaching staff.
The bishop blessed workers and other people who gathered to watch the ceremony, and then ended with a final prayer.
Meanwhile, an official 'Church on the Ball' video, focusing on the work of the Catholic Church in South Africa, particularly in the areas of HIV AIDS and human trafficking, has been released today by the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference.
Set against the backdrop of the 2010 Football World Cup, the film shows a different side to the glamour of the tournament.
The Southern African Conference of Bishops has a complete section of their official website dedicated to the world cup. In addition the conference has organized a number of faith related activities and reflections to accompany the world event in South Africa. For more detail on The Church on the Ball click on:


Asia News report: The authorities fear that the final toll may exceed 150 deaths. About 200 injured, some seriously. Police charged a local group affiliated to the rebels, but the spokesman denies any involvement in the incident. Hindu nationalists against the government: too soft on Maoists.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The latest toll from yesterday’s rail disaster in district of West Midnapore (West Bengal), between the stations and Khemasoli Sardiya is of 110 dead. The wounded are about 200, many of whom are in serious condition. The collision between the high speed passenger train (from Calcutta to Mumbai) is believed to have been caused by Maoist rebels tampering with the rail lines. Authorities fear that the toll may exceed 150 deaths.
The accident occurred at 1 .30 am on May 28, in an area considered one of the strongholds of the Maoist guerrillas in West Bengal. The passenger train derailed and five carriages invaded the track of the oncoming freight train. The crash resulted in a real slaughter. Railway sources confirmed the discovery of 78 corpses, but there are still more than 30 bodies trapped between the wreckage that rescuers are still trying to pull out.
The police report that posters of a local group, closely linked to the Maoists rebels were found at the accident site. Investigators confirm the removal of part of the track, which caused the derailment of Gyaneshwari Express passenger train, so far there is no confirmation of a simultaneous bomb explosion at the passage of the convoy.
Police and government point the finger at the Maoists, but the rebels deny any involvement in the massacre. Interviewed by the BBC, spokesman Comrade Khokan said that the government "put the blame on us and put us on the defensive". Meanwhile, Congress, the majority party in India, and executive led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is under pressure to strengthen the fight against Maoist rebels. The Hindu nationalist opposition accuses New Delhi of "too soft" response towards the "Maoist threat", guilty of three large-scale attacks in the last two months.

USCCB report: The U.S. bishops called for steps to protect the lives of the most vulnerable, provide fairness for immigrants and guarantee conscience protections for individual and institutions in a statement on health care reform issued May 21.

The statement was offered by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice, Peace and Human Development, and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Immigration.
“Following enactment of the health care reform legislation, our challenge remains formidable but in some ways is simpler,” the bishops said. “Since the battle over the bill is over, the defects can be judged soberly in their own right, and solutions can be advanced in Congress while retaining what is good in the new law. Indeed, any failure to do so would only leave these genuine problems as ammunition for those who prefer total repeal of the law.”
The bishops said the current situation “provides a new opportunity for the Catholic community to come together in defense of human life, rights of conscience and fairness to immigrants so we will have a health care system that truly respects the life, dignity, health and consciences of all.”
The statement follows.
Setting the Record Straight
As the Chairmen of the three committees most directly involved in the efforts of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on health care reform, we are writing to set the record straight on some important issues raised during and after final consideration of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” this spring.
From our first statement to Congress a year ago ( to Cardinal George’s March 23rd, 2010 statement about the enactment of a “profoundly flawed” final bill, the position of our Conference has been unified and consistent. Reflecting decades of advocacy on behalf of universal access to health care, the bishops were clear in calling for health care reform as a moral imperative and urgent national priority. We called for reform that would make health coverage affordable for the poor and needy, moving our society substantially toward the goal of universal coverage. We were equally clear in stating that this must be done in accord with the dignity of each and every human person, showing full respect for the life, health and conscience of all.
Specifically we insisted that the provisions of the Hyde amendment and other longstanding current laws, which forbid federal funding of abortion and of health plans that cover abortion, must be preserved in this or any new legislation. Likewise, we sought to have longstanding policies of respect for rights of conscience applied to this legislation. Americans must retain in new legislation the rights they had before its enactment. These include the full range of protections regarding the right to provide and purchase health care in accord with their religious beliefs and moral convictions. In addition, since access to basic health care is a right inherent in each human person, as acknowledged both in Catholic social teaching and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, legislation must not unfairly exclude immigrants from health coverage (January 26, 2010 Letter to the House).
Apparently, because we always presented these criteria together and insisted that each had profound moral implications, some thought the bishops might ultimately be persuaded to abandon one or the other in response to political pressures from left or right. Some hoped or feared that we would join with those who reject the need for vigorous government action to reform our ailing health care system. Others hoped or feared that, for the “greater good” of making progress on health care, we would neglect or deny the rights of the most vulnerable members of our society, including unborn children who have no voice and of immigrants.
There was never any chance that the bishops would do any of these things. We will never cease to advocate for everyone, beginning with the most needy, to have access to health care. We will never conclude that we must accept what is intrinsically evil so that some good may be achieved. Specifically we reject the argument made to us by some Catholics that expanding health care coverage justified setting aside our longstanding opposition to government participation in elective abortions or weakening rights to life and freedom of conscience. Catholic teaching rejects any idea that the weakest or “disposable” members of society must be forgotten to serve alleged “greater goods.” Arguments of this sort undermine the common good. Our vision of the common good embraces the good for each and every member without exception, beginning with those who are weakest and most vulnerable.
Ultimately the House of Representatives approved a health care reform bill that the bishops welcomed for substantially meeting most of the principles and goods we were espousing. We hoped to address final concerns as the legislation moved forward. However, the Senate rejected the House legislation, including the key elements that we supported, and produced a bill that abandoned the very principles that we espoused: no expansion of abortion, protections for freedom of conscience and the rights of immigrants. With these foundational principles rejected, it was then announced that no further substantive changes were possible. From that moment on, the bishops were clear and consistent in saying that this “take it or leave it” offer was morally unacceptable and politically divisive. Whatever might be the positive aspects of the Senate bill, we had no choice but to oppose the Senate version as a matter of principle. As bishops we must faithfully proclaim the truth. We must defend the rights of the unborn and the weakest and most vulnerable among us. We must oppose the advance of elective abortion in our society, especially the use of government authority and funding to advance it, and we must speak out in favor of the rights of freedom of conscience for persons and institutions. We urged Congress to vote against this version of the bill, with the hope that together we could find a way to address our legitimate concerns in a bill which would thus have broader appeal and greater support. Unfortunately, the political will to do so did not emerge.
The final result is legislation that expands health care coverage, implements many needed reforms, and provides welcome support for pregnant and parenting women and adoptive families. Unfortunately it also perpetuates grave injustices toward immigrant families and makes new and disturbing changes in federal policy on abortion and conscience rights. We have documented the legislation’s serious flaws in several analyses available on the bishops’ web site,
Since final passage of the legislation, we have been disturbed and disappointed by reactions inside and outside the Church that have sought to marginalize or dismiss legitimate concerns that were presented in a serious manner by us. Our clear and consistent position has been misrepresented, misunderstood and misused for political and other purposes. Our right to speak in the public forum has been questioned. Our teaching role within the Catholic Church and even our responsibility to lead the Church have come under criticism. All of us must be open to different points of view and recognize the legitimacy of serious criticism. However, whether from within or without the Catholic community, very often these critics lacked an understanding of these particular issues or of the moral framework that motivated our positions. Others did grasp the seriousness of the issues we were attempting to address. Yet other priorities, in our judgment, led them to accept an inaccurate reading of the proposed legislation. They gave credence to analyses by those who were likewise dedicated to minimizing important concerns so as to pass the legislation. In the end, they made a judgment that the moral problems in the new law – for example, the fact that the federal government, for the first time in decades, will now force Americans to pay for other people’s elective abortions – simply are not serious enough to oppose a particular health care reform bill. We regret that this approach carried the day, as some overlooked the clear evidence or dismissed careful analysis and teaching on the morality of these matters. But making such moral judgments, and providing guidance to Catholics on whether an action by government is moral or immoral, is first of all the task of the bishops, not of any other group or individual. As Bishops, we disagree that the divergence between the Catholic Conference and Catholic organizations, including the Catholic Health Association, represents merely a difference of analysis or strategy (Catholic Health World, April 15, 2010, “Now That Reform Has Passed”). Rather, for whatever good will was intended, it represented a fundamental disagreement, not just with our staff as some maintain, but with the Bishops themselves. As such it has resulted in confusion and a wound to Catholic unity.
Following enactment of the health care reform legislation, our challenge remains formidable but in some ways is simpler. Since the battle over the bill is over, the defects can be judged soberly in their own right, and solutions can be advanced in Congress while retaining what is good in the new law. Indeed, any failure to do so would only leave these genuine problems as ammunition for those who prefer total repeal of the law. In this context we do not need agreement among lawmakers that the problems are serious enough to oppose the legislation – we only need agreement that the problems are real and deserve to be addressed. This provides a new opportunity for the Catholic community to come together in defense of human life, rights of conscience and fairness to immigrants so we will have a health care system that truly respects the life, dignity, health and consciences of all. We urge Catholics, members of Congress of all parties and others of good will to join us in advancing this worthy goal.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Housto
Chairman, Committee on Pro-Life Activities
Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre
Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice, Peace and Human Development
Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City
Committee on Migration


Cath News report: South Australian's Christian Brothers College will be launching a pilot program to map its water, electricity and gas consumption through an online database.

The program to be launched later this term will involve students in Years 10 to 12 regularly recording the school's energy usage, with the data sent to an online system where they can track their consumption each day, week and month, reports the City Messenger.
The program also will be trialled in a handful of other SA schools, and stems from a program now being used by about 15 schools in Sydney through a partnership with Carbon Systems Australia and the Catholic Education Office.
Christian Brothers College deputy principal Shaun Clarke says the program will enable students to analyse peak periods, including how much energy is used in summer compared to winter, and devise strategies to reduce their carbon footprint.


St. Maximinus of Trier

Feast: May 29
Information: Feast Day: May 29

Born: at Silly near Poitiers, France

Died: 12 September 349 or 29 May 352 (records vary)

Patron of: Trier, Germany
St. Maximinus was one of those pastors whom God raised in the most dangerous times to support his church. He was born at Poitiers, nobly descended, and related to Maxentius, bishop of that city before St. Hilary. The reputation of the sanctity of St. Agritius, bishop of Triers, drew him young to that city, and after a most virtuous education, he was admitted to holy orders, and, upon the death of Agritius, chosen his successor in 332. When St. Athanasius was banished to Triers in 336, St. Maximinus received him, not as a person disgraced, but as a most glorious confessor of Christ, and thought it a great happiness to enjoy the company of so illustrious a saint. St. Athanasius stayed with him two years; and his works bear evidence to the indefatigable vigilance, heroic courage, and exemplary virtue of our saint, who was before that time famous for the gift of miracles. St. Paul, bishop of Constantinople, being banished by Constantius, found also a retreat at Triers, and in St. Maximinus a powerful protector. Our saint, by his counsels, precautioned the emperor Constans against the intrigues and snares of the Arians, and on every occasion discovered their artifice, and opposed their faction. He was one of the most illustrious defenders of the Catholic faith in the council of Sardica in 347, and had the honor to be ranked by the Arians with St. Athanasius, in an excommunication which they pretended to fulminate against them at Philippopolis. St. Maximinus is said to have died in Poitou in 349, having made a journey thither to see his relations. He was buried near Poitiers; but his body was afterwards translated to Triers on the day which is now devoted to his memory. St. Maximinus, by protecting and harboring saints, received himself the recompense of a saint.


Mark 11: 27 - 33

27 And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him,

28 and they said to him, "By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?"

29 Jesus said to them, "I will ask you a question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.

30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men? Answer me."

31 And they argued with one another, "If we say, `From heaven,' he will say, `Why then did you not believe him?'

32 But shall we say, `From men'?" -- they were afraid of the people, for all held that John was a real prophet.

33 So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."

Friday, May 28, 2010




VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS REPORT) - Theodore Loko, the first resident ambassador of Benin to the Holy See, today presented his Letters of Credence to the Holy Father.
In his speech the diplomat mentioned the Beninese Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, former prefect of the Congregation for Bishops who died two years ago, and this theme was taken up by the Pope in his address, who described Cardinal Gantin as "an authentic builder of bridges between cultures and continents", affirming that his example will help the men and women of the Church in Benin "to perform ever more generous and responsible service for their nation, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of its evangelisation next year".
Benedict XVI then went on to consider the importance of Benin's "Conference of the Nation's Living Forces", which was celebrated twenty years ago. "That was not only a political event", he said, "but also bore witness to the close relationship between the faith and its expression in Beninese public life; it determined your future and continues to inspire your present. I ask God to bless the efforts of those who work to build a society founded on justice and peace, which recognises the rights of all its members".
"Architects of their own destiny, the Beninese are called to promote true fraternity. This is an essential precondition for social peace and a factor of integral human promotion", said the Pope exhorting the people of Benin to refer back to values rooted in their own tradition, such as "respect for the sacredness of life". He also called on them "to behave coherently with this commitment, especially as regards factors that attack life and particularly in the context of the law".
Benedict XVI also mentioned fraternity which, he said, "must also lead to the search for justice, the absence of which is always a cause of social tension and leads to dire consequences". "The search for personal advantage to the detriment of the common good is an evil which little by little undermines public institutions and prevents the full development of human beings. A country's political, economic and social leaders are its 'social conscience', guaranteeing the transparency of its structures and the ethics that animate the life of society. They must be just. Justice always accompanies fraternity", the Pope reiterated. "Work occupies a priority place in the development of a society", he went on. "Thanks to work, human beings can satisfy their basic needs and contribute to building a prosperous, just and fraternal society. Benin's motto 'Fraternity, Justice, Work' is the compendium of the charter of a nation with noble human ideals. Its application contributes to solidarity with other nations", said Benedict XVI, in this context thanking the Beninese for "the active fraternity they showed towards the people of Haiti during the recent earthquake".
Finally, the Pope greeted members of the Catholic community of Benin, whom he encouraged to be "increasingly authentic witnesses of the faith and fraternal love that Christ teaches us".
"I also wish to express my appreciation", he concluded, "for the efforts being made by everyone, especially the authorities, to strengthen relations of respect and esteem among the country's religious groups. Freedom of religion helps to enrich democracy and promote development".
CD/ VIS 20100528 (540)

VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS REPORT) - This morning the Pope received participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, who have been meeting to study the theme: "The pastoral care of human mobility today, in the context of the co-responsibility of States and International Organisations".
The Holy Father expressed his appreciation for "efforts to build a system of shared norms which provide for the rights and duties of foreigners and those of the host communities, bearing foremost to mind the dignity of each human being, created in the image and likeness of God. Obviously the acquisition of rights goes hand in hand with the acceptance of duties", he said.
"National and international laws which promote the common good and respect for the person encourage the hopes and efforts being made to achieve a world social order founded on peace, fraternity and universal co-operation, despite the critical phase international institutions are currently traversing as they concentrate on resolving crucial questions of security and development for everyone".
Benedict XVI highlighted how "many people have not lost the desire to break down walls that divide, and to establish broad understanding also through legislative and administrative measures that favour integration, mutual exchange, and reciprocal enrichment. Coexistence among peoples can come about by following prudent and concerted policies of acceptance and integration, offering opportunities for people to attain legal status, favouring the legitimate right to family reunion, asylum and refuge, compensating any necessary restrictive measures, and contrasting the deplorable traffic in human beings.
"It is here", he added, "that the various international organisations, co-operating with one another and with States, can make their specific contribution ... to reconciling recognition for the rights of the individual with the principle of national sovereignty, making specific reference to the needs of security, public order, and the control of frontiers".
The Pope went on to explain that "the fundamental rights of the person can become the focal point for the co-responsible commitment of national and international institutions", recalling that this "is closely linked to openness to life, which is at the centre of true development".
"Openness to life and the rights of the family must be reiterated in various contexts", said the Pope. "The future of our societies rests on the encounter between peoples, on dialogue between cultures while respecting identities and legitimate differences. In this scenario, the family maintains its fundamental role. Thus the Church, by announcing the Gospel of Christ in all areas of life, carries forward her commitment 'not only in favour of the individual migrant, but also of his family, which is a place and resource of the culture of life and a factor for the integration of values'". AC/ VIS 20100528 (470)

VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS REPORT) - The International Confederation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will hold its extraordinary general assembly in the Spanish city of Salamanca from 28 May to 2 June. The meeting has been called to elect the confederation's fifteenth president, according to a communique released today. The confederation, which is a member of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", brings together 51,000 national conferences from 142 countries, with more than 700,000 members supported by 1,500,000 volunteers. In this way, it is able to reach thirty-seven million poor people. It intervenes in support of victims of natural disasters - such as, most recently, typhoons in Asia, earthquakes in Indonesia and Chile, flooding in India, etc. - with the aid being distributed by the Vincentian Family and its volunteers. In Haiti, for example, where it is present in the poorest areas, it has created the Zafen network which facilitates access to credit for small business and craftsmen.
Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of "Cor Unum", has been invited by the heads of the confederation to deliver a lecture to delegates. The cardinal will talk about Blessed Frederic Ozanam with reference to questions of concern to "Cor Unum", such as the specific identify of Catholic aid and assistance organisations.
During his stay in Salamanca, the cardinal will also preside at the Eucharist on Sunday 30 May, with Bishop Carlos Lopez Hernandez of Salamanca, and bid farewell to Jose Ramon Diaz Torremocha, the outgoing president of the confederation, whose mandate is coming to an end after many years of service to the organisation. CON-CU/ VIS 20100528 (280)

VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Agostino Vallini, His Holiness' vicar general for the diocese of Rome.
- Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M., prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.
- Renata Polverini, president of the Region of Lazio, Italy.
AP/ VIS 20100528 (60)

VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Francisco Fortunato De Gouveia of the clergy of Cape Town, South Africa, pastor of the parish of St. John the Evangelist at Fish Hoek, as bishop of Oudtshoorn (area 113,000, population 850,000, Catholics 30,000, priests 30, permanent deacons 4, religious 32), South Africa. The bishop-elect was born in Cape Town in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1976.


Asia News report: The terrorists entered during Friday prayers, where 1500 people had gathered, and continue to shoot and fight the police. The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack. The Ahmadis are considered heretics and subject to violence in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - Today in Lahore armed groups attacked, two mosques belonging to the Ahmadi sect during Friday prayer. The sect is considered heretical by main-stream Islam. One of the mosques are located in an area of Model Town and the other in the crowded area of Garhi Shahu.
The battle is still ongoing with gunfire and grenade attacks. Police report that there are deaths and injuries and that the gunmen have taken hostages and have barricaded themselves inside the mosque. Some armed men are on the roof of one of the mosques and engaged in a shoot-out with police.
An unofficial source said there are at least nine people killed and 10 injured. The terrorists entered the mosque where at least 1500 people were gathered in prayer. According to these sources, the Punjab section of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, the terrorist organization of Pakistani Taliban, has claimed responsibility.
The Ahmadis claim to be Muslims, but do not recognize Muhammad as the last prophet and for this are considered heretics, and suffer heavy violence and ostracism by the fundamentalist Muslims in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia. The Ahmadi community in Pakistan is composed of approximately three million members, mostly residing in Punjab.


CNA report: Reacting to deadly violence between security forces and armed supporters of a local drug lord in Jamaica, the Archbishop of Kingston has said most of the country is calm but well-paid gunmen will continue to skirmish with authorities. He noted in an interview that he has asked all priests and religious in the archdiocese to pray the traditional St. Michael the Archangel prayer.

At least 49 have died in Jamaica’s capital after a Monday police assault on an alleged drug lord’s stronghold in the Tivoli Gardens neighborhood resulted in gun battles in the streets. According to Vatican Radio, soldiers and police stormed the slum in search of Christopher “Dudus” Coke.
Coke’s extradition is sought by the United States on charges of cocaine trafficking and gun-running.
“This country is under siege, and the time has come where it is going to be dealt with and this government is ready to deal with it,'' Information Minister Daryl Vaz said in a nationwide address, according to the Miami Herald.
Archbishop Donald James Reece told Vatican Radio that there is much tension in the area under attack but the rest of the country is “relatively calm.” He voiced concern that the violence could spread to other areas.
“I have communicated to all of our priests, religious and deacons to try and maintain calm, to pray the traditional St. Michael the Archangel prayer,” he reported.
According to the archbishop, the Council of Churches has come out with a statement that the prime minister is no longer able to lead because his credibility has been damaged by “untruths” surrounding the United States’ extradition request for the known drug dealer.
The Jamaican government had claimed for months that the wiretaps cited by the U.S. were illegal, but Prime Minister Bruce Golding abruptly changed his mind on the issue last week.
Vatican Radio asked the archbishop how the Church is involved in helping those affected by drug abuse and drug-related crime.
“We are the only Church that has residence in the conflict area. As a result our men are respected there. We have programs for the ordinary people who live there. The priests who live there are the safest because the gunmen will not bother them, because they identify them as people from their area who give service to them at all times,” he answered.
Archbishop Reece said he has heard that the young men involved in the violence are being paid as much as 100,000 Jamaican dollars ($1,100) per day. He called this “a tidy sum” for them to fight “to the end.”
“That means that they will not capitulate to the security forces, so it could drag on to the bitter end for another week or so,” he lamented.
The security forces are concerned about garrisons in other areas that “tend to be a law unto themselves.” Security forces will target these after the present violence is ended, the archbishop believed.

Agenzia Fides REPORT – On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the evangelization of the Province of Katanga in southeastern DRC, local authorities have decided to dedicate a road in Lubumbashi, the provincial capital, to Jean-Félix Hemptine, the first bishop of the city. This is what Fides was told in a recent statement sent to its headquarters.

Fr. Jean Hemptine-Félix, Benedictine monk from the Abbey of Saint-André-lez-Bruges in Belgium, arrived in 1910 in Elizabethville, now Lubumbashi, along with his brothers. He later became Vicar Apostolic, then Apostolic Prefect, and was finally consecrated bishop. He died in 1958, leaving the memory of a dynamic Bishop. As a member of the provincial council, he recommended a policy of assimilation inspired by Christian values, and a direct political administration, in which blacks and whites enjoyed equal rights. At the time, the Congo was a Belgian colony that was about to become independent.

To mark the 100th anniversary of evangelization, Fr. Germain Kasonde, historian and Vicar of the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, has written a book entitled, “Bishop Jean de Hemptine Felix, Founder of the Apostolic Prefecture and Apostolic Vicariate of Katanga. The political vision and social works in industrial Katanga 1910-1958.”

The centenary celebrations will end August 15, 2010. The Archbishop of Lubumbashi, His Excellency Floribert Songasonga Mwitwa, hopes that this will be a year of giving thanks for the gift of the Gospel through the first missionaries that arrived, who faced difficulties such as the hostile nature of the place.

The centenary is also the occasion for an examination of conscience of the baptized, who are asked to assess their progress in faith.

The richness of the faith brought by missionaries is evidenced by the activities of pastoral agents working in the area: from Salesian missionaries to Benedictines, from diocesan priests to catechists. Currently are 120 diocesan priests present in the diocese or on missions abroad. They are few, considering that they must serve 68 parishes and other communities. Diocesan priests are joined by Benedictines, Salesians, Missionaries of Africa, the Holy Ghost Fathers, and the Sons of the Incarnation.

To mark the centenary, every parish is organizing a Triduum of prayer and reflection on the feast of their patron saint. The various diocesan commissions are called to reflect on the Christian witness in the various areas and religious congregations are called to reflect on their charism.


CNA report: In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, revealed a series of previously unpublished details about the beatification of the shepherd children of Fatima, such as the creation of a commission which concluded that the two children exercised heroic virtues.

Cardinal Martins said the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco Marto, which took place 10 years ago this May, was “a historic event because they were the first children to be raised to the altars who were not martyrs.”
“Before them, it was not, in fact, the practice of the Church to canonize children: it was thought that because of their age, they did not have the capability of practicing Christian virtue to a heroic degree, which is the first condition for beatification. I recall that, in their case, something very interesting was witnessed: thousands of letters from around the world were received in Rome—not only from the faithful but also from bishops and cardinals—that requested the children be beatified,” the cardinal said.
This large number of requests “led to reflection within the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. John Paul II named a commission of experts—theologians, psychologists, teachers—to study the issue. After a profound study, the conclusion was that children are capable of practicing the Christian virtues, of course in a manner that is possible for them. Thanks to that conclusion, we were able to proceed with the beatification,” he said.
Speaking about the signs of holiness in Jacinta and Francisco, Cardinal Martins underscored that they displayed “profound piety, fervent devotion to the Most Holy Trinity, to the Virgin Mary and to the Eucharist. Regarding their heroism, they were willing to give up their lives rather than lie. They were threatened, in fact, and pressured to say that the visions were false, but they did not yield to the pressure.”
Referring to the beatification process of Sister Lucia, the third seer who died several years ago, Cardinal Martins said it is still in the diocesan phase, after the five-year waiting period for opening the cause was waived.
Cardinal Martins also noted that regarding the investigation of miracles in the beatification process, in order for a miracle to be recognized as such, the cure must be “instantaneous, complete and lasting. If doctors conclude there is no scientific explanation, the documents are then sent to the theologians. They must then determine if there is any link between the cure and the prayer of intercession before God by the candidate for beatification.”
“It’s the theologians, not the doctors, who can then speak of miracles. Their conclusions are later sent to the cardinals for study and eventual approval."
Then, he continued, the Pope "is the one who ultimately has the last word: the miracle is approved and everything is ready for the beatification."


Cath News report: Catholic Health Australia (CHA) and Health Super will jointly conduct a study into providing Nurse Unit Managers with better support and training, to improve patient and aged care services.

The Nursing and Midwifery Empowerment Project will explore a range of support options such as new work processes, workplace education and training, and senior staff mentoring, CHA said in a media statement.
CEO Martin Laverty welcomed Health Super's sponsorship, saying it would lead to an action plan to make it easier for Nurse Unit Managers to achieve best practice in patient care.
"Our aim is to empower Nurse Unit Managers to achieve optimum levels of patient care in hospitals and aged care services. But to do this, we need to understand the everyday concerns and needs of Nurse Unit Managers and how they can be better supported through education and training," he said.
Health Super COO Carol McKelson-Timmins said: "This study is an important first step in understanding some of the core issues that Australian Nurse Unit Managers face every day. We are proud to support nurses in this way and anticipate that the research will lead to improvements in nursing care at every level."
The study will be completed in August. It will be made available to the public in September.


St. Germanus

Feast: May 28
Information: Feast Day: May 28
Born: 496 at Autun, France
Died: 576
St. Germanus, the glory of the church of France in the sixth age, was born in the territory of Autun about the year 469. He was brought up in piety and learning under the care of Scapilion his cousin, a holy priest. In his youth no weather could divert him from always going to Matins at midnight, though the church was above a mile from the place of his abode. Being ordained priest by St. Agrippinus bishop of Autun, he was made abbot of St. Symphorian's in the suburbs of that city, a house since converted into a priory of regular canons. Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers, who was well acquainted with our saint, tells us that he was favored at that time with the gifts of miracles and prophecy. It was his custom to watch great part of the night in the church in prayer, while his monks slept. One night in a dream he thought a venerable old man presented him with the keys of the city of Paris and said to him, that God committed to his care the inhabitants of that city, that he should save them from perishing. Four years after this divine admonition, in 554, happening to be at Paris when that see became vacant, on the demise of the bishop Eusebius, he was exalted to the episcopal chair, though he endeavored by many tears to decline the charge. His promotion made no alteration in his continual fasts and other austerities; and the same simplicity and frugality appeared in his dress, table, and furniture. In the evening at nine o'clock he went to the church, and staved there in prayer till after Matins, that is, in summer till about break of day His house was perpetually crowded with the poor and the afflicted. and he had always many beggars at his own table, at which no dainty meats were ever served; he took care that the souls of his guests should be refreshed at the same time with their bodies, by the reading of some pious book. God gave to his sermons a wonderful influence over the minds of ale ranks of people; so that the face of the whole city was in a very short time quite changed. Vanities were abolished, dances and profane amusements laid aside, enmities and discord extinguished, and sinners reclaimed. King Childebert, who till then had been an ambitious worldly prince, by the sweetness and the powerful discourses of the saint, was entirely converted to piety, and by his advice reformed his whole court. And so desirous did that prince become of exchanging the perishing goods of this world for eternal treasures, that, not content with making many religious foundations, to be nurseries of piety in all succeeding ages, and with sending incredible sums of money to the good bishop, to be distributed among the indigent after his coffers were drained he melted down his silver plate, and gave away the chains which he wore about his neck, begging the bishop, whom he made the steward of his charities, never to cease giving, assuring him that on his side he should never be tired with supplying all things for the relief and comfort of the distressed.
In the year 542, king Childebert, together with his brother Clotaire, making war in Spain, besieged Saragossa. The inhabitants of that city reposed a particular confidence in the patronage of St. Vincent, whose relics they carried in procession within sight of the French camp. King Childebert was moved with their devotion, and desiring to speak with the bishop of the city, promised to withdraw his army, on condition he might obtain some portion of the relics of St. Vincent. The bishop gave him the stole which that holy deacon wore at the altar. Upon which the king raised the siege, and, at his return to Paris, built a church in honor of St. Vincent, and of the Holy Cross; which is now called St. Germain's in the meadows, and stands in the suburbs of Paris. Childebert falling sick at his palace at Celles, near Melun, at the confluence of the Yon and Seine, St. Germanus paid him a visit; and when the physicians had in vain tried every thing, all human means failing, the saint spent the whole night in prayer for his recovery, and in the morning laid his hands on him; and at the same moment the king found himself perfectly healed. The king relates himself this miracle in his letters patent, in which, in gratitude to God for this benefit, he gave to the church of Paris and the bishop Germanus, the land of Celles, where he had received this favor. The good king did not long survive. As the king had chosen the church of St. Vincent for the place of his burial, the saint, assisted by six other bishops, performed the ceremony of the dedication on the 23d of December, 558, the very day on which that prince died. The king likewise had built a large monastery joining to this new church, which he endowed most liberally with the fief of Issy and other lands, on part of which a considerable suburb of Paris has been since built. This magnificent edifice was called the Golden Church, the walls being covered on the outside with plates of brass gilt, and within adorned with paintings on a rich gilt ground.1 This church was plundered by the Normans, in 845, 857, 858, and set on fire by them in 861 and 881; but rebuilt in 1014, and dedicated by pope Alexander III. in 1163. The lower part of the great tower and its gate with the statues of Clovis, Clodomir, Thierri, Childebert and his wife Ultrogotta, Clotaire, and others, seem to be as old as the time of king Childebert. This prince committed the monastery and church to the care of our saint, who placed there monks under the holy abbot Droctoveus, whom he had invited from Autun, where he had formed him to a religious life. Clotaire, who succeeded his brother Childebert, was the last of the sons of the great Clovis; and united again the four kingdoms of France into one monarchy. On his removing from Soissons to Paris, he at first seemed to treat the holy bishop coldly; but falling ill soon after of a violent fever, was put in mind by some that were about him to send for St. Germanus. He did so, and full of confidence in the power of God and the sanctity of his servant, took hold of his clothes and applied them to the parts of his body where he felt pain, and recovered immediately. From that moment he always treated the saint even with greater honor than Childebert had done. But that prince dying shortly after, in 561, his four sons, Charibert, Gontran, Sigebert, and Chilperic, divided the French monarchy into four kingdoms, in the same manner as the sons of Clovis had done. That of Paris was given to Charibert or Aribert, Gontran was king of Orleans and Burgundy, Sigebert of Austrasia, and Chilperic of Soissons. Charibert sunk into a vicious indolence, yet was obstinate and headstrong in his passions not being divested of all the prejudices of paganism, he divorced his wife Ingoberga, and took to wife Marcovesa her maid, who had worn a religious habit; and after her death, he married her sister Merofleda, Ingoberga being still living. Our saint many ways endeavored to make him sensible of the enormity of his crimes; but finding all his remonstrances lost on him, he proceeded so far as to excommunicate him and the accomplice of his sin, to hinder at least the dangerous influence of his scandalous example. The sinners were hardened in their evil courses; but God revenged the contempt of his laws and of the holy pastor as he has often done, by visible judgments; for the criminal lady fell ill and died in a few days, and the adulterous king did not long survive her, leaving by his lawful wife only three daughters, two of whom became nuns, the third, called Bertha, was married to Ethelbert, king of Kent.
Upon the death of Charibert in 570, his three brothers divided his dominions; but not being able to agree who should be master of Paris, the capital, came to an accommodation that they should hold it jointly, on condition that none of them should go into the city without the leave of the other two St. Germanus found his flock involved by this agreement in great difficulties, and the city divided into three different parties, always plotting and counterplotting against one another. He did all that the most consummate charity, prudence, and vigilance could do, to preserve the public peace; yet Sigebert and Chilperic appeared in arms, being fired by ambition, and stirred up by their wicked queens Fredegonda, wife of the latter, and Brunehaut of the former, burning with the most implacable jealousy against each other. The saint prevailed with them to suspend their hostilities for some time. At length Chilperic invaded the territories of Sigebert, but being worsted in battle, fled to Tournay. This victory left Sigebert free liberty of going to Paris with his wife Brunehaut and children, where he was received as conqueror. St. Germanus wrote to the queen, conjuring her to employ her interest with her husband to restore the peace of France, and to spare the life and fortune of a brother, whose ruin and blood would cry to heaven for vengeance. But Brunehaut's passion rendered her deaf to all remonstrances, and Sigebert was determined by her furious counsels to besiege Tournay. As he was setting out for this enterprise, he was met by St. Germanus, who told him that if he forgave his brother, he should return victorious; but if he was bent on his death, divine justice would overtake him, and his own death should prevent the execution of his unnatural design. Sigebert allowed this wholesome advice no weight; but the event showed that God had put these words in the mouth of the good bishop; for queen Fredegonda, enraged at the desperate posture of her husband's.
affairs, hired two assassins, who dispatched him with poisoned daggers, while he made a halt in his march at Vitri, in 575, after he had reigned fourteen years, with some reputation of humanity, as Fortunatus tells us.
Chilperic, by his tyranny and oppressions, deserved to be styled the French Nero, as St. Gregory of Tours calls him. He sacrificed his own children by former wives to the fury of Fredegonda, but having discovered her infidelity to him, he was, by her contrivance, murdered by her gallant in 584. Fredegonda was regent of the kingdoms of Soissons and Paris for her son Clotaire III., and continued her practices and wars against Brunehaut and her son till she died, in 601. Brunehaut governed the kingdom of Austrasia for her son Childebert II., and after his death for her grandson Theodebert; but afterwards persuaded Theodoric, her second grandson, who reigned at Challons, to destroy him and his whole family in fill. The year following Theodoric died, and Clotaire II., surnamed the Great, son of Fredegonda, inheriting both their estates, accused Brunehaut before the states of putting to death ten kings and St. Desiderius, bishop of Vienne, because he had reproved her for her public scandalous lusts, and many other illustrious persons. She had at first appeared liberal, and built several churches; but afterwards became infamous for her cruelty, avarice, restless ambition, and insatiable lusts, to which she sacrificed all things, and employed both the sword and poison in perpetrating her wicked designs. Being condemned by the states, she was put to the rack during three days, and afterwards dragged to death, being tied to the tail of a wild mare; or, according to others, drawn betwixt four horses, in 613. St. Germanus lived not to see the miserable ends of these two firebrands of their country. In his old age he lost nothing of that zeal and activity with which he had filled the great duties of his station in the vigor of his life, nor did the weakness to which his corporal austerities had reduced him, make him abate any thing in the mortifications of his penitential life, in which he redoubled his fervor as he approached nearer to the end of his course. By his zeal the remains of idolatry were extirpated in France. In the third council of Paris, in 557, he had the principal share in drawing up the canons. By his advice, king Childebert issued an edict commanding all idols to be destroyed throughout his dominions, and forbidding all indecent dances and diversions on Sundays and festivals. The saint continued his labors for the conversion of sinners till he was called to receive the reward of them on the 28th of May, 576, being eighty years old. King Chilperic composed his epitaph, in which he extols his zeal for the salvation of his people, and their affection and veneration for his person. He mentions the miracles which were wrought at his tomb, and says that sight was restored to the blind and speech to the dumb.2 He was, according to his own desire, buried in St. Symphorian's chapel, which he built at the bottom of the church of St. Vincent already mentioned. Many miracles manifested his sanctity, of which Fortunatus, then a priest, afterwards bishop of Poitiers, has left us a history, in which he gives two on his own evidence. Also two anonymous monks compiled relations of several miracles of St. Germanus, which Aimoinus, a monk of this monastery in 870, and a careful writer, digested into two books.3 The relics of St. Germanus remained in the aforesaid chapel till the year 754, when the abbot removed them into the body of the church. The ceremony of this translation was performed with great solemnity; and king Pepin thought himself honored by assisting at it,
Prince Charles, known afterwards by the title of Charlemagne, who was then but seven years old, attended his father on this occasion, and was so strongly affected with the miracles performed at that time, that when he came to the crown, he took a particular pleasure in relating them, with all their circumstances. The greatest part of the relics of St. Germanus remain still in this church of St. Vincent, commonly called St. Germain-des-Prez. This abbey is possessed of the original privilege of its foundation and exemption, written on bark, and subscribed by St. Germanus, St. Nicetius, and several other bishops. The most valuable work of St. Germanus of Paris, is An Exposition of the Liturgy, published from an ancient manuscript by Dom. Martenne.4 The characteristical virtue of St. Germanus was his unbounded charity to the poor. Liberality in alms moves God to be liberal to us in the dispensations of his spiritual graces; but he who hardens his heart to the injuries and wants of others, shuts against himself the treasury of heaven.


Mark 11: 11 - 26

11 And he entered Jerusalem, and went into the temple; and when he had looked round at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry.

13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.

14 And he said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard it.

15 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons;

16 and he would not allow any one to carry anything through the temple.

17 And he taught, and said to them, "Is it not written, `My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers."

18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and sought a way to destroy him; for they feared him, because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching.

19 And when evening came they went out of the city.

20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots.

21 And Peter remembered and said to him, "Master, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered."

22 And Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God.

23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."