Friday, May 7, 2010




VATICAN CITY, 7 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:
"This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Mikheil Saakashvili, president of Georgia. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
"The meetings provided an opportunity to examine various bilateral questions, and other important matters concerning life in Georgia, restating the commitment of the parties in favour of intercultural exchange. In particular, The positive humanitarian contributions made by Caritas to the population were noted, and encouragement given to the peaceful coexistence of believers from various religions, for the sake of the common good. As regards the situation in the region, the hope was expressed that all difficulties will be overcome through dialogue and negotiation among the parties concerned".
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VATICAN CITY, 7 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the thirty new members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard who were sworn in as members of the corps in a ceremony held yesterday afternoon. The guards were accompanied in their meeting with the Pope by their parents.
Speaking German, Benedict XVI evoked the history of the Swiss Guard, recalling how, from now on, the new recruits will be "visible guardians" of that history. He likewise encouraged them to continue with "generous commitment" the tradition of service to Peter's Successor who, down the centuries, has placed his trust in them. The Pope also expressed the hope that, through their work, the new recruits "may mature as individuals and as Christians".Then, in French, the Pope explained how the members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard are, "in an indirect but very real way, associated with Peter's service to the Church". Referring to the mission entrusted to the Apostle following the resurrection (that of showing real solicitude to everyone), the Pope highlighted the fact that Peter's Successor "wishes to show that solicitude to all Churches and to each of the faithful, and to everyone who expects something from the Church".
For this reason, the Holy Father told the new Guards, "by being close to Peter's Successor, the charity that animates you is called to become universal, and your hearts are called to expand. Your service will bring you to discover, in the face of each man and woman, a pilgrim seeking another face through which to receive a living sign of the Lord".
The Pope concluded his brief remarks in Italian. "We know", he said, "that everything we do in Jesus' name, however humble it may be, transforms us and makes us a little more like the new man regenerated in Christ. Thus your service to the Petrine ministry will give you a livelier sense of Catholicism, together with a more profound perception of the dignity of all mankind".
In closing, Benedict XVI entrusted the new Guards to the intercession of the Virgin Mary and to their patron saints: Sebastian, Martin and Nicholas of Flue.
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VATICAN CITY, 7 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At midday today in the Holy See Press Office, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, presented two initiatives due to take place on 19 and 20 May: the "Days of Russian Culture and Spirituality in the Vatican", and a concert in honour of Benedict XVI.
The events are being promoted by the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and the Pontifical Council for Culture.
Archbishop Ravasi explained how between 14 and 20 May, Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow, will head a delegation as it visits various Italian cities: Ravenna, Milan, Turin, Bologna and Rome.
In Rome on the evening of 19 May, Archbishop Hilarion will inaugurate a photographic exhibition by Valdimir Chodakov on the Russian Orthodox Church today. He will also attend a symposium on the theme: "Orthodox and Catholics in Europe today. The Christian roots and the shared cultural heritage of East and West". Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Archbishop Ravasi are also due to participate in the symposium.
At 9 a.m. on 20 May, Archbishop Hilarion will preside at the divine liturgy in Rome's Russian Orthodox church of St. Catherine Martyr. At 6 p.m. on the same evening, the Russian national orchestra and the synodal choir of Moscow will give a concert in honour of the Pope. The concert, promoted by Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, will be held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.
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VATICAN CITY, 7 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Two prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Belgium, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Bishop Lucas Van Looy S.D.B. of Ghent.
- Msgr. Koen Vanhoutte, diocesan administrator of Bruges.
- Bishop Valentino Di Cerbo of Alife-Caiazzo, Italy, accompanied by members of his family.


Asia News report: Letter From Bishop of Nagni, protesting and calling for release of the detained. The government denies the police attack, but admits that the land of the cemetery is no longer usable, since it is destined to become a "residential area". Da Nang (AsiaNews) - Participants at a funeral were attacked by police and 59 of them were arrested. The episode has was denounced by the Bishop of Da Nang in central Vietnam, Mgr. Joseph Chau Ngoc Tri, in a pastoral letter condemning the incident and calling on the faithful and authorities to control themselves to prevent further violence.
In the document, dated May 6, the bishop reports that on May 4, in the parish of Con Dau, during the procession for the funeral of Mary Tan, 82, police intervened to prevent the burial in the cemetery. For almost an hour there were clashes between the faithful and 500 police resulting in the arrest of 59 people. "The police went looking for other believers," the bishop writes.
Yesterday, the Vietnamese government denied that the Catholics were arrested or injured. According to the spokesman of Foreign Ministry, Nguyen Phuong Nga, "this information is false and aimed only to slander Vietnam". "The truth - she said - is that this affair has nothing to do with religion." Nga had denied the burial was blocked, but added that it is known that the cemetery is located in an area destined for a new residential zone and so can not be used.
The fact is that the bishop is calling for the immediate release of those arrested. And the cemetery, where many Catholics have been buried, is one of those areas that have become attractive in the recent hike in land values and one on which local authorities, it seems, are planning to build a tourist resort.


CBN report: The National Day of Prayer went on as planned, Thursday, despite a number of objections including claims that the day violates the separation of church and state.

A number of prayers echoed from inside the halls of the Capitol, calling on the power of God to bless the country, give wisdom to its leaders, and protect the men and women of the U.S. military.
"Our nation is who it is today, our nation is as strong as it is today, because of the faith that we have," Democratic Rep. Lincoln Davis said.
This year's prayer events took on a defiant tone after opponents threw up several roadblocks, including a recent federal judge's ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.
Rev. Franklin Graham -- son of evangelist Billy Graham and honorary National Day of Prayer chairman -- led the main event at the Capitol, Thursday.
Graham said he didn't want to be offensive, but as a minister of the gospel, could only pray and preach based on the Bible. He gave a message about the leper who asked Jesus for healing.
"The only hope that he had was the Lord Jesus Christ," Graham said. "No hope apart from the shed blood of Jesus Christ."
Graham highlighted how the country's religious heritage is giving way to moral decay, from adultery to abortion, and children not respecting their parents.
Earlier Thursday, he prayed privately with his family outside the Pentagon. Graham had been at the center of the National Day of Prayer controversy after the military withdrew an invitation for him to pray at their event because of his past comments on Islam.
The flap, however, drove many to come out and support this year's event.
"I'm encouraged to pray more," student attendee Josiah Twiddy said. "I mean, I often forget to pray for my country. I'm just forgetful in that way."
Graham said his prayer is for America to be made whole just like the leper who was healed.
"May we turn to You and worship You and acknowledge You," he said. "And live by Your laws and Your standards. God bless America."


All Africa report: A few weeks before the 2010 Football World Cup, the Catholic Bishops and Priests of Southern Africa will celebrate a special Holy Mass as "a counter-witness to the scourge of human trafficking".

This event will take place on May 8, at 10.00 am at the Christian Brothers' College (Pretoria East), and will be presided over by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Archbishop of Durban.
Sr Melanie O'Connor, Coordinator of the Counter Trafficking in Persons Desk, has said on numerous occasions that "it is incumbent that we pray earnestly for an end to this new slavery. The desecration of even one human being is an insult to our Creator God in whose image and likeness we are all made. We need to seize the opportunity of the World Cup, the first on the African continent, to draw the attention of the media and the fans to the tragedy of women and children all over the world being trafficked". Drawing closer to home, she says, "It is an honour for us having been chosen to host the 2010 World Cup, but we cannot forget that such an event can have its dark side. South Africa is already known to be a 'hotspot' for human trafficking. We need to be vigilant at all times and do all we can to protect our people from this hideous crime".
The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference has been working in the last two years to protect potential victims of trafficking, especially through awareness raising programs.
The Church is acutely aware that during the World Cup, it is the young women and children who will be especially vulnerable. "Traffickers can swoop in to fulfil the demands for the sex industry in order to up their profits. We got rid of Apartheid, lets get rid of Human Trafficking," says Sr O'Connor.


CNA report: Some 60 young people from pro-life organizations in Madrid took part in a march against abortion in the Spanish capital this week, calling on the government to provide more assistance to families and to reverse the country's new law on abortion.

Jose Maria Blanco, who directs the Nasciturus pro-life organization, told Europa Press the march was the “climax” of a year of activities the pro-life groups have carried out.
The young people at the march all wore t-shirts with a picture of Martin Luther King and words, “Have a Dream Today,” to underscore that they are struggling “for the same things as King, which are the rights of the human person.”
Blanco said that while King’s fight was against racial discrimination, today the discrimination is against “the unborn and pregnant woman,” who “are not offered any alternatives to abortion and are pushed to accepted it.”
“This is going to impact the future and is already impacting the moral idea of man that society and the economy have,” he added.
Blanco said young people reject Spain’s new law on abortion, as well as the manipulation, irresponsibility and sex-ed policies of the government, which he explained, does not pay attention to the people. “Society has never asked for measures such as this law on abortion or for the teaching of kids to masturbate.”


Cath News report: There is mounting speculation in Rome that Cardinal George Pell is about to be appointed to a senior Vatican post, The Australian reports.

Cardinal Pell's forthcoming book-launch tour of three states is increasingly thought to be a farewell tour, according to prominent Catholic blogs in Europe and Australia, the report said.
Yesterday a leading Italian newspaper, Il Giornale, speculated that just days ago, Cardinal Pell had spent an hour with Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re - the current prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. This followed an earlier meeting between Cardinal Pell and the Pope
The report by journalist Andrea Tornielli - who has accurately predicted several developments during this pontificate - suggested that the meeting was to discuss Cardinal Pell taking over from Cardinal Battista Re, 76, who has been prefect for 10 years.
It also said Cardinal Pell had been "officially nominated" as Cardinal Battista Re's successor by the Pope. If appointed, Cardinal Pell would take up the position of prefect by the end of August.


St. John of Beverley

Feast: May 7
Information: Feast Day: May 7
Born: Harpham
Died: 7 May 721, Beverley
Canonized: 1037
This illustrious saint was born at Harpham, a village in the province of the Deiri, which comprised Yorkshire, Lancashire, and the rest of the kingdom of the Northumbers, on the south side of the Tyne; what lay beyond it being called Bernicia.
An earnest desire of qualifying himself for the service of God drew him young into Kent, where he made great progress in learning and piety, in the famous school of St. Theodorus, the archbishop, under the direction of the holy abbot Adrian.
Afterwards returning into his own country, he pursued the exercises of piety in the monastery of men under St. Hilda at Whithy; till in the beginning of the reign of king Alfred, upon the death of Eata, he was made bishop of Hagulstad, or Hexam. What time he had to spare from his functions he consecrated to heavenly contemplation; retiring for that purpose into the churchyard of St. Michael's, beyond the river Tyne, about a mile and a half from Hagulstad, especially during the forty days of Lent. He was accustomed to take with him some poor person, whom he served during that time.
Once in the beginning of a Lent, he took with him a dumb youth, who never had been able to utter one word, and whose head was covered with hideous scabs and scales, without any hair. The saint caused a mansion to be built for this sick youth within his enclosure, and often admitted him into his own cell. On the second Sunday he made the sign of the cross upon his tongue, and loosed it. Then. he taught him to say , which signifies in Saxon , or ; then the letters of the alphabet, A, B, C, and afterwards syllables and words. Thus the youth miraculously obtained his speech.
Moreover, by the saint's blessing the remedies prescribed by a physician whom he employed, his head was entirely healed, and became covered with hair. When St. Wilfred returned from banishment, St. John yielded up to him the see of Hagulstad: but some time after, upon the death of Bosa, a man of great sanctity and humility, as Bede testifies, he was placed in the archiepiscopal chair of York. Venerable Bede, who received the holy orders of deacon and priest at his hands, gives ample testimony to his sanctity; and relates the instantaneous cure of the sick wife of a neighboring thane or lord, by holy water, and several other miracles performed by him, from the testimony of Bercthun, abbot of Beverley, and Herebald, abbot of Tinmouth, who had been eye-witnesses to several of them. St. John made frequent retirement his delight, to renew thereby his spirit of devotion, lest the dissipation of exterior employs should extinguish it.
He chose for his retreat a monastery which he had built at Beverley, then a forest, now a market-town, twenty-seven miles from York. This monastery, according to the custom of those times, he erected for the use of both sexes, and put it under the government of his disciple, Bercthun, or Brithun, first abbot of Beverley, then called Endeirwood, or wood of the Deiri. In 717, being much broken with age and fatigues, he resigned his bishopric to his chaplain, St. Wilfrid the, younger, and having ordained him bishop of York, he retired to Beverley, where he spent the remaining four years of his life in the punctual performance of all monastic duties. He died there the death of the just, on the 7th of May, 721. His successor governed the see of York fifteen years, was a great lover of the beauty of God's house and is named among the saints, April the 29th. The monastery of Beverley having been destroyed by the Danes, king Athelstan, who had obtained a great victory over the Scots by the intercession of St. John, founded in his honor, in the same place, a rich collegiate church of canons. King Henry V. attributed to the intercession of this saint the glorious victory of Agincourt, on which occasion a synod, in 1416, ordered his festival to be solemnly kept over all England. Henschenius the Bollandist, in the second tome of May, has published four books of the miracles wrought at the relics of Saint John of Beverley, written by eye-witnesses. His sacred bones were honorably translated into the church by Alfric, archbishop of York, in 1037: a feast in honor of which translation was kept at York on the 25th of October.
On the 13th of September, (not the 24th, as Mr. Stevens says,) in 1664, the sexton, digging a grave in the church of Beverley, discovered a vault of freestone, in which was a box of lead, containing several pieces of bones, with some dust, yielding a sweet smell; with inscriptions, by which it appeared that these were the mortal remains of St. John of Beverley, as we read in Dugdale's History of the Collegiate Church of Beverley, who has transcribed them, p. 57. These relics had been hid in the beginning of the reign of king Edward VI. Dugdale and Stevens testify, that they were all reinterred in the middle-alley of the same church. Alcuin had an extraordinary devotion to St. John of Beverley, and in his poem on the saints of York, published by Thomas Gale gives a long history of the miracles wrought by him from verse 1085 to 1215. Rabanus Maurus has placed Alcuin in his Martyrology on the 19th of May, and Henschenius on that day gives his life, and mentions several private Martyrologies in which his name is found, though he has never been anywhere honored in the office of the church.


John 15: 12 - 17

12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.

15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

17 This I command you, to love one another.
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