Saturday, May 15, 2010




Below the full text of Pope Benedict XVI's final address at the International Airport, Francisco Sá Carneiro, Oporto:

Mr President,
Distinguished Authorities,
Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear Friends,
At the conclusion of my visit, my heart is filled with vivid memories of a great many moments from my pilgrimage to Portugal. I shall long remember the heartfelt and affectionate welcome that you accorded me, the warmth and spontaneity with which bonds of communion were established with the groups that I was able to encounter, the hard work that went into the preparation and realization of the pastoral programme.

As I take my leave, I express sincere gratitude to all of you: to the President of the Republic, who has honoured me with his presence since my arrival here, to my brother bishops with whom I have renewed our profound union in the service of Christ’s Kingdom, to the Government and to all the civil and military authorities who have done their utmost with visible dedication throughout the entire journey. I offer you every good wish! The communications media have enabled me to reach out to many people who were unable to see me in person. To them too I am most grateful.

To all the Portuguese, whether Catholic or not, to the men and women who live here, whether they were born here or elsewhere, I extend my greetings at this moment of leave-taking. May you live in increasing harmony with one another, a pre-requisite for genuine cohesion and the only way to address the challenges before you with shared responsibility. May this glorious nation continue to manifest greatness of spirit, a profound sense of God and an openness to solidarity, governed by principles and values imbued with Christian humanism. In Fatima I prayed for the whole world, asking that the future may see an increase in fraternity and solidarity, greater mutual respect and renewed trust and confidence in God, our heavenly Father.

It has been a joy for me to witness the faith and devotion of the Portuguese ecclesial community. I was able to see the enthusiasm of the children and young people, the faithfulness of the priests, deacons and religious, the pastoral dedication of the bishops, the desire to search for truth and evident beauty in the world of culture, the resourcefulness of the social pastoral workers, the vibrancy of faith among the lay faithful in the dioceses that I visited. I hope that my visit may become an incentive for renewed spiritual and apostolic ardour. May the Gospel be accepted in its entirety and witnessed with passion by every disciple of Christ, so that it may show itself to be a leaven of authentic renewal for the whole of society!

I impart my Apostolic Blessing to Portugal and to all its sons and daughters, bringing hope, peace and courage, which I implore from God through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, to whom you pray with such trust and firm love. Let us continue to walk in hope! Good-bye!
CANADA: 12, 500 PEOPLE ATTEND MARCH FOR LIFE IN OTTAWA report: Under balmy skies that were greeted with prayers of thanksgiving by those recalling last year’s cold and blustery weather, thousands of pro-life Canadians gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa for the 2010 Canadian March for Life on Thursday - a crowd that Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition, estimated at about 12,500 people.

“This is something that God sent us as a special gift,” said Hughes, the main organizer of the annual pro-life event, about the weather. “Other special gifts include all those that have come up here. I want to congratulate all the teachers and the chaperones and you young people who’ve come.”
“God bless you all and let’s continue to bring life to Canada!” Hughes said to cheers.
Other speakers joined Hughes in praising the huge number of teens and young adults that made up a large percentage of the crowd. They also thanked the group of Members of Parliament, the significant number of Catholic bishops, and other prominent clergy who traveled to the event to show their support.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Primate of Canada, commended the Canadian government for its recent decision not to include support for abortion in its G8 maternal health plan. But he also urged the government to do more to protect life at home. “We would like some more courage, some more courage to do something more in Canada,“ he said.
Bishop Nicola de Angelis of Peterborough, also addressed the crowds, saying: “My message is very simply, my friends, just to remind you that God created life. God did not create death. We don’t own our lives.
"We are the custodians of our life. It is up to God to call our life back whenever he decides and nobody can anticipate for any selfish initiative to terminate life.
“Every child that is born is a sign that God is not tired of man. Remember this my friends: welcome children to life," he urged.
“I congratulate you dear friends, particularly young people, so many young people are here,” said the bishop. “Dear friends, and most of all young people, in promoting and defending life, you don’t count your personal costs. … You are always in the front line trenches, day by day, bearing witness for the cause of life.
"May God strengthen you and give you joy in your undertakings.” Other prominent clergy present on the Hill included: Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, Bishop Luc Cyr of Valleyfield, Quebec, Bishop Stephen Chmilar of the Ukrainian Church in Toronto, Bishop Michael Mulhall of Pembroke, Ontario, Bishop John Pazak of the Canadian Slovaks of the Byzantine Rite in Canada, Bishop Brendan O’Brien of Kingston, Bishop Terrence McGrattan, the auxiliary bishop of Toronto, Bishop Ibrahim M. Ibrahim of the Catholic Greek Melkites of Canada, and Bishop Car Reid of the Traditional Anglican Catholics.
Shortly after Bishop de Angelis concluded his remarks, former Member of Parliament Pat O’Brien took the podium to introduce the twenty-one members of parliament who were present. O’Brien praised the courage of the MPs, telling the crowds that pro-life MPs are often under immense pressure to ignore their convictions, and that the “stick and carrot” are often used to coerce them to keep quiet on the issue of life.
“These are the kind of MPs that we have, and that we need more of,” said O’Brien.  Rod Bruinooge, Chairman of the Pro-Life Parliamentary Caucus, and MP for Winnipeg South, told the throngs that, “It’s been a real privilege to chair the pro-life caucus over the last few years.
“It’s something I really believe in. I believe in the value of the unborn, and I’m not afraid to say that.”
Bruinooge used the opportunity to promote his private member’s bill, Bill C-510, known as Roxanne’s law (named after a woman who was murdered for refusing to abort her child) which he told the crowd would “empower women to press charges again people who threaten them into an abortion.”
“In the pro-life movement in Canada it’s important to take small steps to acknowledge the value of the unborn, and I’m hopeful that people like yourselves will support this bill,” he said.
The other MPs who were present included: Harold Albrecht, David Anderson, Leon Benoit, Kelly Block, Royal Galipeau, Dean Del Mastro, Ed Komarniki, Guy Lauzon, Pierre Lemieux, Gurbax Singh Malhi, Phil McColeman, Dan McTeague, Lavar Payne, Paul Szabo, Brad Trost, Tim Uppal, Maurice Vellacott, Mark Warawa, Jeff Watson, and Stephen Woodworth.
After the speeches, the 12,500 pro-lifers wound their way through the streets of downtown Ottawa, snaking past the infamous Morgentaler abortion facility.
The march concluded with a series of testimonies from members of Silent No More Awareness, men and women who have had abortions and now regret their decision.


Munich (Agenzia Fides) - From May 12 to 16, Munich will be hosting the 2nd Ecumenical Day for Churches (├ľkumenischer Kirchentag). The national leadership of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Germany, "Missio," is present with over 40 initiatives which aim to illustrate the Church's work in the fight against AIDS, its commitment to human rights and peaceful dialogue among religions, as well as the ecumenical effort against youth violence in South Africa. Moreover, at the invitation of "Missio," there are many partners of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the world involved in the Ecumenical Day for Churches in Germany, including the Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul in Iraq, His Excellency Archbishop Georges Casmoussa (see Fides 05/12/2010).

On the eve of the important ecumenical event, "Missio" in Munich has also inaugurated its new offices in Munich, presenting an exhibition on the life of people living in countries where the PMS implement their projects.

On the meaning of ecumenism for the work of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Germany, the National Director of Missio Munich, Fr. Eric Englert (OSA), said: "I am very pleased that at Missio there is a long and established tradition of collaboration with our Protestant ecumenical partners and charitable works of the German Lutheran Church. We try to uphold that fraternal cooperation in our initiatives for the Ecumenical Day for Churches, also."

Among the guests of the "Day," were the President of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), Cardinal Peter Erdo, Archbishop of Estergom-Budapest. In his homily at the Mass celebrated at St. Michael's Church in Munich yesterday afternoon, May 14, the Cardinal noted that "the mission of the apostles and the Christians is not a human work." Thus, "we cannot assume that the success of the Church's mission is merely the result of the knowledge and commitment of men." He then invited everyone to pray "so that with the light and power of the Holy Spirit, through our service to the missions and pastoral work among different peoples and communities, we can truly be an authentic sign and instrument of God's saving love."


Asia News report: Current clashes seen as result of unresolved problems and tensions from the past. Increasingly serious death toll: 20 dead in three days, 46 since the start of protests. The government stands its ground on intransigence, cracks appear in the opposition. AsiaNews sources: "the king’s silence increases confusion."

Bangkok (AsiaNews) – “A social revolt is under way in Thailand" far beyond any "political struggle”, says a source for AsiaNews in Bangkok, who speaks of "conflicts rooted in the past that have never been resolved" Meanwhile, the escalation of violence in capital continues, the scene of a very real urban warfare between the army and anti-government protesters for the past three days. According to other AFP sources there were more deaths today, in addition to the 16 victims (over 140 injured) registered in the previous 24 hours.
This morning, new clashes broke out between the military and "red shirt" supporters of the opposition party United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), close to the exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. AFP Sources reported that three bodies on the street, were dragged away by a group of citizens. The photographer for the French news agency adds that "there were two other abandoned bodies" but the news has yet to be confirmed. The Army has delimited a "live firing areas" where soldiers are authorized to operate as if in a state of war. The Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation has given the green light to soldiers to "shoot real bullets at head-height”.
The military offensive was triggered in the late afternoon of May 13 last, on the expiry of the government ultimatum to the "red shirts". The Executive had proposed early elections for November 14 and the dissolution of Parliament by the end of September. The leaders of the uprising demanded - unsuccessfully - the detention of the deputy prime minister, allegedly responsible for the violence of April 10. An appeal for peace comes from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who "strongly encourage [the government and red shirts] to return to the negotiating table."
Meanwhile the toll of the crisis becomes increasingly severe. Since it first flared in mid-March with the protests of anti-government protesters, 46 people have been killed, twenty in the last three days, over 1400 injured. The exiled former premier Thaksin has asked the government to resume peace talks. The Executive has no intention of abandoning its hard-line and announces that "in the coming days the situation will return to normal." In terms of "red shirts" first cracks in their ranks have appeared: some leaders will continue the fight to the bitter end, a second front, of equal proportions, is calling for an end to violence and a return to legality. Kokaew Pikulthong speaks of " 50/ 50 spilt " and adds: "If Ihad my way, I'd stop." Another leading "red shirt", Kwanchai Praipana, announces a "fight to the bitter end until the government assumes its responsibilities."In the meantime, conditions ex Khattiya Sawasdipol army officer, nicknamed the "Red Commander", are becoming increasingly critical. Allied with the anti-government protesters, he is considered the chief operating the "military" wing of the "red shirts" and advocate for the fight to the bitter end against the government. His condition is critical and, according to doctors, "he could die at any moment".
AsiaNews sources in Thailand, explain that "it is no longer a clash over politics, but a real social revolution." The conflicts, divisions, injustices of the past "are nodes which have now home to roost" because "no one has ever dealt with them seriously." Added to this is "the cultural interference of figures who have studied abroad and who want to" continue the fight for a radical change of society. "
The attack on the general, continues the source, is a targeted attack against the military leader of the rebels, who knows the techniques of war, he supervised the construction of the barricades "and his death will weaken the resistance". The theatre of revolt is also concentrated in a limited area of Bangkok, while the rest of the capital and the country is "under strict police and military control. You have to cross police road blocks – he continues – to travel from one province to another. This prevents the rebellion from spreading like wildfire".
The AsiaNews source points to "the silence of King Bhumibol, who has never intervened in these two months of crisis and" neither of the two fronts in the struggle want to involve him. This silence, however, contributes to the confusion. "(DS),-protest-of-the-red-shirts-from-political-struggle-to-revolt-18420.html


All Africa report: Ascension Day was marked by prayers and church services across the country.

Christians in Cameroon joined the rest of the world yesterday to celebrate Ascension Day. The feast of ascension is celebrated 40 days after Easter Sunday. On Ascension Day Jesus Christ, in the presence of His apostles ascended bodily into Heaven. In Cameroon, the day was marked by prayers and church services in churches in the country. In Yaounde, most churches were open as early as 6:00 a.m. for the first services. At the PCC Nsimeyong Congregation, Christians thronged the church premises with praise and thanksgiving as they celebrate the feast of Ascension. In his sermon, the Parish Pastor Rev. Thomas Mokoko, said God has raised Jesus from the grave to glory and he is in charge of all powers.
Drawing from the book of Ephesians, Rev Mokoko said Christ is above all principalities and powers. He called on Christians to not to worry but to pray. "By worrying we cannot change any situation in our lives because Christ is in charge of all principalities. So worship him in truth and in spirit," he said. The message was similar at the PCC Bastos Congregation in the Nkol Eton neighbourhood. Rev. Henri Fomuso said with Christ having died for our sake, risen and is seated at the right hand of God the father where he pleads for us and strengthens us from there, we have a bright and sure future. He called on Christians to continue to live in sure hope and faith.


Cath News report: Richard Meerdink, 41, and Jason Pearce, 38 have been convicted of manslaughter and jailed for bashing a man to death on the grounds of St Mary's Catholic Church in Maryborough in July 2008.

Wayne Ruks, 45, died from internal bleeding after the attack, ABC reports.
The court heard Pearce claimed he and Meerdink assaulted Mr Ruks because he made a homosexual advance towards him, but Justice Peter Applegarth said there was no evidence to support this claim.
He described the assault as a "prolonged and cowardly attack on a drunken individual."
The bashing that went on for 15 minutes was caught on CCTV footage, which was shown to the jury during the trial, reports the Fraser Coast Chronicle.
Pearce has been sentenced to nine years in prison. He could be out on parole as early as July 2012.
Meerdink has been sentenced to ten years and classed as a serious violent offender. He will have to serve at least 80 percent of his sentence under Queensland law, said the Chronicle.
"He was definitely no homosexual. I can assure you of that," his mother was cited saying by the ABC.
"That was an excuse and that's why I'm not satisfied with this situation and believing these two men."

St. Isidore the Farmer

Feast: May 15
Information: Feast Day: May 15
Born: 1070 at Madrid, Spain
Died: 15 May 1130
Canonized: 12 March 1622 by Pope Gregory XV
Patron of: farmers; day laborers
It is a misfortune which deserves to be lamented with floods of tears, that ignorance, obstinacy, and vice should so often taint a country life, the state which of all others is most necessary and important to the world; the most conformable to a human condition and to nature; the state which was sanctified by the example of the primitive holy patriarchs, and which affords the most favorable opportunities for the perfect practice of every virtue and Christian duty. What advantageous helps to piety did the ancient hermits seek in the deserts, which the circumstances of a country laborer do not offer? The life of St. Isidore is a most sensible proof of this assertion. He was born at Madrid, of poor but very devout parents, and was christened Isidore from the name of their patron, St. Isidore of Seville. They had not the means to procure him learning or a polite education; but, both by word and example, they infused into his tender soul the utmost horror and dread of all sin, and the most vehement ardor for every virtue, and especially for prayer. Good books are a great help to holy meditation; but not indispensably requisite. St. Irenaeus mentions whole nations which believed in Christ, and abounded in exemplary livers, without knowing the use of ink or paper. Many illustrious anchorets knew no other alphabet than that of humility and divine charity. The great St. Antony himself could not so much as read the Greek or Latin languages: nay, from the words of St. Austin, some doubt whether he could read even his own barbarous Egyptian dialect. Yet in the science of the saints, what philosopher or orator ever attained to the A B C of that great man? Learning, if it puffs up the mind, or inspires any secret self-sufficiency, is an impediment to the communications of the Holy Ghost: simplicity and sincere humility being the dispositions which invite him into the soul. By these was Isidore prepared to find him an interior instructor and comforter. His earnestness in seeking lessons and instructions of piety made him neglect no opportunity of hearing them; and so much the more tender and the deeper were the impressions which they left in his soul, as his desire was the stronger and the more pure. His patience in bearing all injuries and in overcoming the envy of fellow-servants by cordial kindnesses, his readiness to obey his masters, and in indifferent things to comply with the inclinations of others, and humbly to serve every one, gave him the most complete victory over himself and his passions. Labor he considered as enjoined him by God in punishment of sin, and for a remedy against it. And he performed his work in a spirit of compunction and penance. Many object that their labors and fatigues leave them little time for the exercises of religion. But Isidore, by directing his attention according to the most holy motives of faith, made his work a most perfect act of religion. He considered it as a duty to God. Therefore he applied himself to it with great diligence and care, in imitation of the angels in heaven, who in all things fulfil the will of God with the greatest readiness and alacrity of devotion. The more humbling and the more painful the labor was, the dearer it was to the saint, being a means the more suitable to tame his flesh, and a more noble part of his penance. With the same spirit that the saints subdued their bodies by toils in their deserts, Isidore embraced his task. He moreover sanctioned it by continual prayer. While his hand held the plough, he in his heart conversed with God, with his angel guardian, and the other blessed spirits; sometimes deploring the sins of the world, and his own spiritual miseries, at other times in the melting words of the royal prophet, raising his desires to the glory of the heavenly Jerusalem. It was chiefly by this perfect spirit of prayer, joined with, or rather engrafted upon a most profound humility and spirit of mortification, that St. Isidore arrived at so eminent a degree of sanctity as rendered him the admiration of all Spain. In his youth he was retained servant by a gentleman named John de Vargas of Madrid, to till his land and do his husbandry work. The saint afterwards took a most virtuous woman to wife, named Mary Toribia. Those who call her de la Cabeza were deceived by a chapel to which that name is given, because her head is kept in it. After the birth of one child, which died young, the parents, by mutual consent, served God in perfect continency.
St. Isidore continued always in the service of the same master. On account of his fidelity, he could say to him as Jacob did to Laban,1 that, to guard and improve his stock, he had often watched the nights, and had suffered the scorching heats of summer, and the cold of winter; and that the stock, which he found small, had been exceedingly increased in his hands. Don John de Vargas, after long experience of the treasure he possessed in this faithful ploughman, treated him as a brother, according to the advice of Ecclesiasticus,2 Let a wise servant be dear to thee as thy own soul. He allowed him the liberty of assisting daily at the public office of the church. On the other side, Isidore was careful by rising very early, to make his devotions no impediment to his business, nor any encroachment upon what he owed to his master. This being a duty of justice, it would have been a false devotion to have pretended to please God by a neglect of such an obligation; much less did the good servant indulge his compassionate charity to the poor, by relieving them otherwise than out of his own salary. The saint was sensible that in his fidelity, diligence, and assiduous labor consisted, in great part, the sanctification of his soul; and that his duty to his master was his duty to God. He also inspired his wife with the same confidence in God, the same love of the poor, and the same disengagement from the things of this world: he made her the faithful imitatrix of his virtues, and a partner in his good works. She died in 1175, and is honored in Spain among the saints. Her immemorial veneration was approved by pope Innocent XII. in 1697. See Benedict XIV., de Canoniz. 1. 2, c. 24, p. 246.
St. Isidore being seized with the sickness of which he died, foretold his last hour, and prepared himself for it with redoubled fervor, and with the most tender devotion, patience, and cheerfulness. The piety with which he received the last sacraments drew tears from all that were present. Repeating inflamed acts of divine love, he expired on the 15th of May, 1170, being near sixty years of age. His death was glorified by miracles. After forty years, his body was removed out of the churchyard into the church of St. Andrew. It has been since placed in the bishop's chapel, and during these five hundred years remains entire and fresh, being honored by a succession of frequent miracles down to this time. The following, among others, is very well attested. Philip III., in his return from Lisbon, was taken so ill at Casarubios del Monte, that his life was despaired of by his physicians. Whereupon the shrine of St. Isidore was ordered to be carried in a solemn procession of the clergy, court, and people, from Madrid to the chamber of the sick king. The joint prayers of many prevailed. At the same time the shrine was taken out of the church, the fever left the king; and upon its being brought into his chamber, he was perfectly cured. The year following the body of the saint was put into a new rich shrine, which cost one thousand six hundred ducats of gold. St. Isidore had been beatified a little before by Paul V., in 1619, at the solicitation of the same king. His solemn canonization was performed, at the request of king Philip IV., on the 12th of March, 1622; though the bull was only made public by Benedict XIII. See the life of St. Isidore, written by John of Madrid, one hundred and forty years after his death; and Card. Lambertini, de Canoniz. SS. t. 3.

John 16: 23 - 28

23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name.

24 Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

25 "I have said this to you in figures; the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures but tell you plainly of the Father.

26 In that day you will ask in my name; and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you;

27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father.

28 I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father."
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