Sunday, May 9, 2010




YouTube Vatican channel report: The Bishops are here in Rome for their ad limina visits
The Pope told the bishops that a strong pastoral concern for vocations, solid religious formation, and a heightened commitment to the formation of the laity are the ways to respond to the decline in priests and the difficulties of the Church in secular society in Belgium.
The pope stressed that the personal testimony of priests and consecrated persons is the foundation of all true pastoral approach.
He told the bishops to appreciate the work being done and stressed the importance of the recent canonization of Father Damien De Veuster, a saint who has dedicated himself to the apostolate of lepers giving his life for the work that still speaks to the people of Belgium.

YouTube Vatican channel report: Pope Benedict spoke about the life of Cardinal Luigi Poggi after his funeral on Friday evening. The 92 year old cardinal died last Tuesday at the age of 92.
In his remarks, the Holy Father traced the long life of the prelate, whom he called a faithful servant of the Gospel and the Church. He also spoke of the hope of the resurrection. He said in the face of the mystery of death, which for those with no faith all seems hopelessly lost, for those who have faith, the pious death of a brother in Christ is always a cause of deep and grateful wonder, because it frees us from darkness as we are drawn to the Father by his beloved Son


All Africa report. The water seeped into Feliciana Teresa Matia's home from beneath its mud floor and when her 20-year-old son Francisco got up to go to work, grabbing a metal pole for guidance in the dark, he was electrocuted. Clutching her dead son's identity card, the 49-year-old widow wept quietly as she told of how she had returned home from visiting family to be told her son was in the morgue.
"It's very, very sad, I can't stop thinking about it," she said, adding: "I don't want to live here any more, I want to move away to another place but I have nowhere to go." Feliciana lives in a small concrete block house that she and her family built in the Boavista neighbourhood near Luanda's port.
Their home - three dark rooms around a small central yard - lies next to an open drain which is full of stagnant green water and rotting litter.
A few hundred metres away, smartly-dressed American and European oil executives climb out of oversized sports utility vehicles as they arrive at at SONILS, the main operations hub for Angola's billion-dollar oil industry.
Angola pumps close to two million of barrels of oil per day and the International Monetary Fund has forecast a growth of 7.1 percent for 2010.
Yet despite its booming economy, the majority of Angolans live like Feliciana in slum-like conditions, And every year when the rain comes, chaos ensues.
This season's rains have claimed 54 lives, left more than 65,000 people homeless and destroyed schools, bridges and businesses.
While the provinces in the south and the north of the country experienced the most rainfall, the overcrowded capital Luanda bore a large brunt of the damage.
Heavy downpours during February, March and April left large areas of the city under water, newly-laid roads collapsed, drains filled up and overflowed, homes were washed away and schools and health posts flooded.
"These are neighbourhoods which are densely populated with houses built in a disorderly way and where sanitation arrangements are precarious," explained Cupi Baptista, head of Water and Sanitation at the NGO Development Workshop (DW).
"There are many difficulties here," he added. "The construction is not good quality, many families do not have latrines and defecate in the open air, so when it rains you can imagine how the situation gets worse."
The rain-induced chaos in the capital triggered a "solidarity campaign" where rank and file members of the ruling MPLA (Movimento Popular para a Libertação de Angola - Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) rolled up their sleeves and helped clear litter and stagnant water from the worst-hit parts of the city.
Various high level political visits have also been made to the affected neighbourhoods and there has been a wave of pledges from various sectors of government to take action to improve roads and drainage and avoid a repetition of the situation next year.
During a rare news conference held at the Presidential Palace, Minister of State and the President's Chief of Staff, Carlos Feijó, said a new plan was being drawn up to find "integrated solutions" for the parts of Luanda worst-hit by the flooding.
"Due to the consequences of the recent rains in Luanda, one of the concerns of the president and the executive in general, is how we deal with the problem of Luanda," he said.
Feijó explained a plan has already been made to redefine city boundaries and reorganise and improve administration.
He added that a new unit had been created to oversee basic sanitation in the capital, focussing on micro and macro-drainage programmes, and a new credit line from Brazil would finance completion of the rehabilitation of Luanda's trunk roads and secondary routes.
"So that the new drainage works and the other works in the city can be useful and done to time, we need to have a resettlement programme of relocation," he explained.
"We need an integrated programme for Luanda, and an integrated programme means a combination of various factors, sanitation, roads and population resettlement."
But Luisete Araújo, political secretary for the Partidos de Oposição Civil (Civil Opposition Parties), is sceptical about the media fanfare surrounding the Government's reaction to the flooding.
She said: "These speeches are just made for radio and television, to distract people from the real problems and the lack of action, nothing will change, we have been here before."
She added: "And work that has been done is of such poor quality it doesn't last, it just creates more problems, that is what happened with the rains this year.
"The war has been over here for eight years now, something needs to start happening, there have been too many broken promises."
Although there is new language from within government about proactively addressing the problems in peri-urban Luanda in a bid to improve conditions and reduce poverty levels, officials have also appealed families not to build in high risk areas or along water lines.
But Araújo said it was time the government stopped blaming Angolans for the problem"This happens every year when the rains come and it proves the government is not prepared," she said. "They should take preventative measures during the dry season, not wait for it to rain."It is not the fault of the people for building their homes in these places, they have nowhere else to go."
Minister of State Feijó said population relocation would be done in conjunction with a social housing plan, but gave little detail at the news conference.
Baptista, from DW, admitted there had been a number of plans over the year to improve drainage and water supplies in Luanda, but that they had not always been completed due to what he called "logistical constraints".
But he said: "The idea of a more integrated approach is welcome because we have seen things happen in piecemeal ways for too long.
"We hope that this idea is put into practice and we see more joined up solutions because this is what we need."


Princeton University report: Princeton legal philosopher and constitutional scholar Robert George has been awarded the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of human rights.

Marek Zubik, deputy ombudsman of the Office of the Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection and a law professor at the University of Warsaw, bestowed the medal in a ceremony May 4 at the University of Warsaw, after which George delivered the 2010 Petrazycki Lecture in legal philosophy on "Natural Law, God and Human Dignity."George was chosen for the honor by Poland's Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection Janusz Kochanowski, who died in the April 10 plane crash that also killed the country's president and dozens of political and military leaders.
(Left to right) Robert George with Polish Deputy Ombudsman of the Office of the Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection Marek Zubik and Marta Kochanowski, the daughter of the late Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection Janusz Kochanowski. (Photo: Courtesy of the Office of the Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection)

At Princeton, George is the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, a professor of politics and the director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He is the author or co-author of several books, including "Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics," "Embryo: A Defense of Human Life," "The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion and Morality in Crisis," "In Defense of Natural Law" and "Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality."
He has served as a presidential appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and as a member of the President's Council on Bioethics. He was a judicial fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award. He currently serves on UNESCO's World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Among George's other honors are the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Bradley Prize for Intellectual and Civic Achievement, the Philip Merrill Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Liberal Arts, and honorary doctorates of law, ethics, letters, science, civil law, humane letters and juridical science.


CNA report: Catholic Charities is bringing youth and Catholic social teaching together in a radical new way this summer in the hopes of sparking a nationwide movement for the future of the Church. Christ in the City, as the program is called, seeks to form young people at all levels and send them out in the world to bring Christ into all sorts of ministries.

“The vision of Christ in the City is to have hundreds of young people from throughout the country serving in cities across the nation,” Dr. Jonathan Reyes, President of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Denver, told CNA. “It’s a vision of a program that includes an intellectual dimension, a spiritual formation dimension, and a service dimension.”
“We want to integrate the whole human person in the service of those most in need,” said Reyes, “and we believe we can do that through strong education in Catholic social teaching, through living situations that are centered around the spiritual life and that include professional spiritual formators, and we know we can do that by getting people out on the streets and into our homeless shelters, and our emergency assistance care centers, and into the places that most need help.”
“In all of these locations, you are going to see the elements of God, care, love, home,” said Patrick Tracy, a college student who has been helping Catholic Charities set up the Christ in the City program. “And I promise you, that if you come to this Christ in the City program, you will not only be spiritually nourished in the act of serving others, you’ll be physically nourished from the sites.”
“In Christ in the City, you are going to see people, you’re going to see humanity, in its place, as they are,” described Tracy. “You’re going to meet people at their level and step out of your world.”
This year, the program begins as a two week “adventure,” said Reyes. Participants will walk around the city and get a tour of Denver’s homeless population. They will visit homeless shelters, meet with professionals with years of experience working to serve those most in need, speak with lawmakers, local business owners, and even Denver’s bishops, about what can be done to help serve from different perspectives in the community.
The hope is that, after experiencing the intensity of the two-week program, participants will be key contributors in setting up a year-long program with the same focus.
One of the goals of Christ in the City is to help people, not just in their material needs, but spiritually as well.
“We believe that Christ in the City is a program oriented towards serving the poor in all of their needs: the Spiritual Works of Mercy, the Corporal Works of Mercy,” Reyes said, extending his invitation to college-aged youth nationwide. “To help them, to befriend them, to serve them, is a testimony that the Holy Father is calling for.”
“Recently, the Holy Fathers, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, have issued a summons to youth in particular to be involved in the formation and the transformation of our society,” recalled Reyes.
“We at Catholic Charities believe that a fundamental approach to this transformation is to have youth not only learn their faith and study their faith, but to literally take it to the streets.”


Asia News report: Thousands attended the mass, several hundred protested outside, fearing that Mgr. Kiet will be removed, in compliance with the harsh demands of the government. The vice-president of the Episcopal conference stresses unity and common love for the Church.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - Thousands of Catholics took part yesterday morning at the installation ceremony of the new coadjutor bishop of Hanoi, Mgr. Peter Nguyen Van Nhon in the Cathedral of St. Joseph. Bishop Van Nhon, 72, is assistant to Mgr. Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet, 58, ill for many years. The ceremony took place in a calm atmosphere, despite fears of protests.
Many Catholics in Hanoi are concerned that the Vatican has gone along with government demands [to remove the archbishop] and hasten the arrival of assistant on the removal of Msgr. Kiet. Some think that the change of leadership in the diocese of Hanoi is a condition placed by the government after the resumption of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Vietnam, an aim that the Vatican has pursued for years through informal dialogues.
Yesterday morning, hundreds of people remained outside the cathedral with placards and banners to express their appreciation for Mgr. Ngo Quang Kiet, asking that he not be removed from the diocese (see photo). Inside the cathedral, in his speech, Archbishop Kiet acknowledged the fears of the faithful concerning the appointment of Mgr. Van Nhon. "In the past - he said - the Church of the North has suffered greatly. The Archdiocese of Hanoi has lived miserable time. From the psychological point of view, having suffered so much in our lives, it is natural and even necessary to be alert. "
But he also assured the faithful that Mgr. Peter Nguyen Van Nhon will love and take care of the diocese and of his flock: "your happiness - said Mgr. Kiet - will be his joy, your sadness will be his bitterness, and your aspirations will be his wishes. He will live and die with you".
Bishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh, vice President of the Vietnamese Episcopal conference, congratulated Mgr. Kiet for receiving Mgr. Van Nhon as coadjutor. He also admitted that the appointment has inflamed disputes between Vietnamese Catholics. "Some pessimists - he explained - have defined it a big mistake of the Vatican, a sign of division among the bishops and bishops' conference, a sign of manipulation and as a sad chapter in the history of the Church of Vietnam and Hanoi in particular" . The prelate stressed, however, some positive signs. First, that "the bishops of the nation had the opportunity to listen to the faithful from various situations of life" and second, "despite the various differences of opinion on the appointment, they show a common point, which is the love of all faithful of the Church”.
He also has invited Catholics to pray for the Church in Vietnam.


Cath News report: Word is spreading in in Hermannsburg, west of Alice Springs, that an Aboriginal woman said she was cured from an illness some momnths ago after drinking from a tap next to the site of the old Lutheran church.

Aborigines believe this is holy ground, because the missionaries built it on a spot God had personally chosen, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Elderly or ill Aborigines in Alice Springs are asking relatives to bring them the holy water, which they drink straight from the bottle.
This issue requires gentle management by the Lutheran Church or, to put it another, more accurate way, non-management. They quietly hope the tap will go away, the report adds.
There is history here, said the Telegraph. For years, Hermannsburg Aborigines eyed with fond envy the people of the Catholic community of Santa Teresa, about 200km east, who had their own place of miraculous healing. It was a spring in a hillside.
The Santa Teresa site generated strong believers. Aboriginal prisoners would ask family members to bring them the holy water to drink, said the report.
While the Church wished neither to ridicule the people's beliefs nor encourage them, the spring wasn't recognised as a place of miracles.
The newspaper cites an insider saying: "I knew a man in charge of power and water. The spring is very near a water tower. The man said to me, 'I think there's a leak in the water pipe and I'm not game to fix it.'
"But since then, they have fixed the leak and the water has dried up."


St. Peter of Tarantaise

Feast: May 8
Information: Feast Day: May 8

Born: 1102, Saint-Maurice-l'Exil near Vienne, a town ot the Rhône-Alpes

Died: 1174, Bellevaux Abbey

Major Shrine: 1191 by Pope Celestine III
He was a native of Dauphine. A strong inclination to learning, assisted by a good genius and a happy memory, carried him very successfully through his studies. At twenty years of age he took the Cistercian habit at Bonnevaux, a monastery that had been lately filled by a colony sent by St. Bernard from Clairvaux. They employed a great part of the day in hewing wood, and tilling the ground in the forest, in perpetual silence and interior prayer. They ate but once a day, and their fare was herbs or roots, mostly turnips of a coarse sort. Four hours in the twenty-four was the usual allowance for sleep; so that, rising at midnight, they continued in the church till it was morning, and returned no more to rest: which was the primitive custom of that order. Peter practiced the greatest austerities with fervor and alacrity: he was most exactly obedient, obliging to all, humble, and modest. His pious parents, after the birth of four children, lived in perpetual continency, and the practice of rigorous abstinence, prayed much, and gave large alms: their house they seemed to turn into a hospital, so great was the number of poor and strangers they constantly entertained, whom they furnished with good beds, while they themselves often lay on straw. The father and his two other sons at length followed Peter to Bonnevaux and the mother and daughter embraced the same order in a neighboring nunnery. The year after Peter had taken the monastic habit, his example was followed by Amedeus, nearly related to the emperor Conrad III., and sixteen other persons of worth and distinction. Amedeus, indeed, having there made his solemn profession with the rest, by the advice of persons of great virtue and discretion, spent some time at Cluni, the better to superintend his son's education, in the school established there for the education of youth: but he returned after some time to Bonnevaux; and made it his request, at his readmission, that he might be enjoined the lowest offices in the house. To this the abbot, for his greater advancement in humility and penance, consented. The earl of Albion, his uncle, coming one day to see him, found him in a sweat, cleaning the monks' dirty shoes, and, at the same time, so attentive to his prayers, as not to perceive him. The earl remembering in what state he had seen him in the world, was so struck and so much edified at this spectacle, that he ever after retained the deep impression which it made on his mind, and published it at court. Amedeus built four monasteries of his order: among which was that of Tamies, or Stomedium, in the desert mountains of the diocese of Tarentaise, of which he procured his intimate friend St. Peter, not then quite thirty years of age, to be appointed the first abbot, in 1128. Amedeus worked himself with his spade and mattock in building some of these monasteries, and died at Bonnevaux, in the odor of sanctity, in 1140. His son Amedeus, for whose education in piety he had always the greatest concern, after having spent part of his youth in the court of his kinsman the emperor, became a Cistercian monk under St. Bernard, at Clairvaux, and died bishop of Lausanne.
The monastery of Tamies seemed a house of terrestrial angels; so constantly were its inhabitants occupied in the employment of angels, paying to God an uninterrupted homage of praise, adoration, and love. St. Peter, by the help of Amedeus III., count of Savoy, founded in it a hospital to receive all the poor sick persons of the country, and all strangers; and would be himself its servant to attend them. In 1142, the count of Savoy procured his election to the archbishopric of Tarentaise, and he was compelled by St. Bernard and the general chapter of his order, though much against his own inclinations, to accept of that charge. Indeed, that diocese stood extremely in need of such an apostolic pastor, having been usurped by a powerful ambitious wolf, named Idrael, whose deposition left it in the most desolate condition. The parish-churches and tithes were sacrilegiously held by laymen; and the clergy, who ought to have stemmed the torrent of iniquity, contributed but too often to promote irregularity by their own wicked example. The sight of these evils drew tears from the eyes of the saint, with which he night and day implored the divine mercy upon the souls intrusted to his care. He directed all his fasts, his prayers, and labors, for the good of his flock: being persuaded that the sanctification of the people committed to his charge was an essential condition for securing his own salvation. He altered nothing in the simplicity of a monastic life, and looked on the episcopal character as a laborious employment rather than a dignity. His clothes were plain, and his food coarse; for he ate nothing but brown bread, herbs, and pulse, of which the poor had always their share. He made the constant visitation of his diocese his employ; he everywhere exhorted and instructed his whole charge with unwearied zeal and invincible patience, and besides, he provided the several parishes of his diocese with able and virtuous pastors. When he came to his bishopric, he found the chapter of his cathedral full of irregularities, and the service of God performed in a very careless manner; but he soon made that church a pattern of good order and devotion. He recovered the tithes and other revenues of the church that had been usurped by certain powerful laymen; made many excellent foundations for the education of youth, and the relief of the poor; repaired several churches, and restored everywhere devotion and the decent service of God. The author of his life, who was the constant companion of his labors, and the witness of the greatest part of his actions after he was made bishop, assures us he wrought many miracles in several places, chiefly in curing the sick, and multiplying provisions for the poor in times of great distress; so that he was regarded as a new Thaumaturgus. The confusion his humility suffered from the honors he received, joined to his love of solitude, made him resolve to retire from the world; and accordingly, in 1155, after he had borne the weight of the episcopal character thirteen years, having settled his diocese in good order, he disappeared on a sudden; and made his way to a retired monastery of Cistercians in Germany, where he was not known. In the mean time, his family and diocese mourned for the loss of their tender father. Strict inquiry was made in all the neighboring provinces, especially in the monasteries, but in vain; till, after some time, divine providence discovered him by the following accident. A young man, who had been brought up under his care, came to the monastery in which he lay concealed, and upon observing the monks as they were going out of the church to their work, he knew his bishop, and made him known to the whole community. The religious no sooner understood who he was, but they all fell at his feet, begged his blessing, and expressed much concern for not having known him before. The saint was inconsolable at being discovered, and was meditating a new escape, but he was so carefully watched, that it was not in his power; so that he was forced to go back to his diocese, where he was received with the greatest demonstrations of joy. He applied himself to his functions with greater vigor than ever. The poor were always the object of his peculiar care. He was twice discovered to have given away, with the hazard of his own life, in extreme cold weather in winter, the waistcoat which he had on his back. For three months before the harvest he distributed general alms among all the inhabitants of the mountains, provisions being always very scarce there at that season. He founded hospitals on the Alps, for the entertainment of poor travellers; because, before that time, many perished for the want of such a succor. To preserve in his heart the spirit of devotion and penance, he continued to practise, as much as possible, all the austerities and other rules of his order, only commuting manual labor for the spiritual functions of his charge. By his conversation with the God of peace, he imbibed an eminent spirit of that virtue, and learned, by humility and charity, to be truly the man of peace; having also a singular talent for extinguishing the most implacable and inveterate enemies. He often reconciled sovereign princes when they were at variance, and prevented several bloody wars. The emperor Frederic I. set up Octavian, a schismatical pope, under the name of Victor, against Alexander III. St. Peter was almost the only subject of the empire who had the courage openly to oppose his unjust attempt, and he boldly defended the cause of justice in presence of the tyrant, and in many councils. The emperor, who banished others that spoke in favor of that cause, stood in awe of his sanctity: and Peter, by his mild counsels, frequently softened his fierceness, and checked the boisterous sallies of his fury, while, like a roaring lion, he spread terror on every side. The saint preached in Alsace, Burgundy, Lorraine, and in many parts of Italy; and confounded the obstinate by numberless miraculous cures of the sick, performed by the imposition of his hands and prayer. He was ordered by the pope to go into France and Normandy, to endeavor a reconciliation between the kings of England and France, who had made peace in 1169, but quarrelled again the next year. Though then very old, he preached wherever he went. Louis VII. sent certain gentlemen of his court to meet him at a great distance, and received him with the greatest marks of honor and respect; but honors and crowds were of all things the most troublesome to the saint. The man of God restored the use of sight to one blind in the presence of the count of Flanders, and many other noblemen, who were at that time with the king of France: who, being also himself an eye-witness, examined carefully all the circumstances, and declared the miracle to be evident and incontestable. The saint went from Paris to Chaumont, on the confines of Normandy, where Henry II., king of England, met him: and when he arrived in sight of the holy man, alighted from his horse, and coming Up, fell at his feet. The people stole the cloak or hood of St. Peter, and were going to cut it in pieces to divide the scraps, being persuaded that they would perform miracles. But the king took the whole cloak for himself, saying: I have myself seen miraculous cures performed by his girdle, which I already possess." In his presence, the saint restored the use of speech to a girl that was dumb. On Ash-Wednesday, in 1171, St. Peter being at the Cistercian abbey of Mortemer, in the diocese of Rouen, the king of England came thither with his whole court, and received ashes from his hands. The archbishop prevailed on the two kings to put an end to their differences by a treaty of peace, and to procure councils to be assembled in their dominions, in which Alexander's title should be solemnly recognised. The holy man hereupon returned to his church, but was some time after sent again by the pope to the king of England, to endeavor to compose the difference between him and his son: but his journey had not the desired effect. He fell sick on his return, and died the death of the just, at Bellevaux, a monastery of his order, in the diocese of Besancon, in 1174, being seventy-three years old. He was canonized by pope Celestine III., in 1191. See his life written nine years after his death by Geoffrey, some time his companion, and afterwards abbot of Hautecombe, by the order of pope Lucius III. See also Le Nain, t. 2, p. 83.


John 15: 18 - 21

18 "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.

19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

20 Remember the word that I said to you, `A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.

21 But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me.
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