Sunday, May 23, 2010




Radio Vaticana report: Marking the Feast of Pentecost, Pope Benedict XVI called special attention to feast of Our Lady Help of Christians on Monday, which is also a day of prayer for the Church of China, and urged all the faithful to pray for the Church in China and for unity among Catholics throughout the world. He asked that we pray in a special way for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, especially among people of Chinese origin.

Reflecting on the Feast of Pentecost before the Regina Coeli, Pope Benedict said, “There is no Pentecost without the Virgin Mary. Thus it was at the beginning, in the Upper Room where the disciples "devoted themselves to prayer, together with some women and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and his brothers" - as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles ( 1.14).
Speaking from the window of his study high above St Peter’s Square, the Holy Father explained that the Church constantly lives in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit without which it would exhaust its strength, “like a sailboat if the wind were to fail." Pentecost is especially renewed in particular moments, on a local and universal level, both in small gatherings and large encounters, from the Second Vatican Council to the local prayer meetings "in which young people clearly feel the God’s call to root their lives in love".
And there is no Pentecost without the Virgin Mary - concluded the pope – so it has always been and so it was a few days ago in Fatima, where "we were all one heart and soul", an immense multitude living a renewed Pentecost.

Radio Vaticana report:  “The church is by its nature one and manifold, destined as it is to live among all nations, all peoples, and in various social contexts. It responds to its vocation, to be a sign and instrument of unity for the whole human race. Only if it remains independent from all states and all particular cultures. Always and everywhere the Church must be truly Catholic and Universal, the house that belongs to all peoples where everyone can truly find themselves".

In Mass marking the Feast of Pentecost, Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed the nature of the Church, which he said; “precedes “precedes the particular Churches, and they must always conform themselves to it, according to a criterion of unity and universality. The Church never remains a prisoner of political, racial or cultural confines, it is not to be confused with the States and even with the Federation of States, because its unity is different in kind and aims to move through all human boundaries".
Thousands of faithful were gathered in St Peter’s Basilica to celebrate the Liturgy of Pentecost with the Pope. Vested in vibrant red, a symbol of the fire of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Father went out of his way to greet families as he processed up the centre aisle to the main altar.
In his homily he said: “Christians and particular churches must always compare themselves to and harmonise themselves with that of the one Catholic Church". The church can only be united when it is infused by the fire of the Holy spirit”.
"The Apostles, together with believers of different communities, have brought this divine flame to the ends of the Earth, thus they opened a path for humanity… , and they collaborated with God who with his fire wants to renew the face of the earth. How different this fire is from that of war and bombs! How different the fire of Christ is, propagated by the Church, than that of the dictators of every age, even those of the last century, which left behind scorched earth. The fire of God, the fire of the Holy Spirit, is the fire of the bush that rages without burning (cf. Ex 3:2). It is a flame that burns but does not destroy, indeed, its flames bring out the best and truest in man, [..]it reveals his inner form, his call to truth and love"
"And yet the fire of the Holy Spirit transforms us , and so must consume something in man, the waste that corrupts and hinders his relationship with God and neighbour. The effects of the divine fire, frightens us, we are afraid of being 'burned', preferring to stay as we are. This is because often our life is set according to the logic of having, of possession and not giving. Many people believe in God and admire the figure of Jesus Christ, but when they are asked to lose something of themselves, then they draw back, afraid of the demands of faith".
“In losing something, indeed, losing ourselves for the true God, the God of love and life, we actually gain something, we find ourselves more fully. Those who entrust themselves to Jesus in this life experience a peace and joy of heart, that the world can not give them or take away from them once it has been gifted by God. It is therefore worthwhile to allow ourselves to be touched by the fire of the Holy Spirit! The pain that it brings us is necessary for our transformation”.

"Therefore, enlightened and comforted by these words of life, we raise our plea: Come, Holy Spirit! Kindle in us the fire of thy love! We know that this is a daring prayer, with which we ask to be touched by the flame of God, but above all we know that this flame - and it alone - has the power to save”.


Asia News report: Large areas are under water. Floods force residents to flee, leaving all their possessions behind. Army and navy are mobilised; camps are set up. The Church is involved, providing shelter and assistance to the refugees. Many of the victims are angry with the government for doing little to prevent flooding.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Torrential rain and strong winds have led to devastating floods in several parts of Sri Lanka. About 20 people were dead as of Thursday. Another 513,586 (118,888 families) have been displaced. Right away, the Catholic Church set its agencies to bring relief to the victims.
Floodwaters now cover large areas in Gampaha, Colombo and Kalutara, the most affected districts, in the western part of the country. About 220 homes have been destroyed; another 1,039 have been damaged. Many families have lost everything and are now sheltering in camps set up by the government. In Kalutara, there are 65,823 refugees, 154,121 in Colombo, and 194,770 in Gampaha.
The Sri Lanka Navy has sent 23 naval teams and 22 naval crafts to bring relief to the population, whilst the Sri Lankan army has dispatched more than 2,000 soldiers.
The government has already started distributing food, dispensing hot meals to the people affected as well as providing freeze-dried food. However, adequate health services remain to be organised.
The Church is playing a crucial role in the relief efforts; individual parishes are opening their churches and making their buildings available to the homeless. Caritas is also directly involved in relief operations. It is coordinating a number of religious groups housing victims in schools, churches and makeshift refugee camps, providing food and health care across the affected territory.
Caritas Colombo-Seth Sarana has already raised half a million rupiahs for relief aid.
In the Archdiocese of Colombo, the faithful have responded positively to the appeal launched by Mgr Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, to open their churches, parish halls and other buildings to the refugees, as well as provide them with food.
About 70 families are staying at a primary school run by the Convent of Mary Immaculate (Nimala Maria Balia Viddyalaya), close to the Tudella Parish Church; others are housed at the St. Mary School in Ja-ela.
The evacuees come from the lower part of Ma-eliya village and from near the Ja-ela canal bund.Fr Shantha Sagara Hettiarchchi told AsiaNews that he had to cancel this Sunday’s festivities at the Ma-eliya Church because this church is also flooded. The latter are now getting three hot meals, cooked by refugees themselves as well members of the Sacred Heart community. Parishioners have pitched in by donating food. Being there to help one another is essential to overcome the difficulties endured in makeshift camps. Women have to cope with the added problem of the relative lack of privacy in matters of personal hygiene.
Residents of the rural villages of Sudu Wella and Delatura found shelter last Tuesday, including 150 elderly people and 100 children. and they stay at the tudella Parish Church and the Primary School of the Convent run by Mary Immaculate.
For many, evacuation has also meant separation from family members. Udeni Chamila, a 27-year-old mother of two, said her husband has to remain in the village to protect their house from rising waters and looters.
Many refugees are quite distressed, even enraged, said 33-year-old Sunil Shantha, for losing everything, even the little they had to live on.
Sunil is himself angry with the government for investing heavily in expensive public works, like highways and more, whilst doing very little for the poor.
In his view, it was easy to see that flooding would occur because his village had already had a similar experience in 2008. At that time, he ended up spending a month in the same church.
Since then though, nothing was done to reinforce the two canals that run around the village; in the end, they proved inadequate to their task.
In his appeal, Mgr Ranjith called on the faithful of the Archdiocese of Colombo, to bring food and relief material for the refugees to the Caritas Seth Sarana office at Archbishop’s House.


Life Site News report: Eduardo Verástegui, Latin American superstar and the lead of the pro-life film “Bella,” is hosting the first ever Latino United for Life Family Congress this Sunday at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The Congress will raise funds for pro-life projects and will feature an assortment of pro-life entertainers, actors, and speakers throughout the day.

"The funds raised … will be used to open a medical center in Los Angeles that provides free, high-quality care for pregnant women and their preborn babies," stated Eduardo Verástegui in a press release.
Verástegui said the forthcoming Guadalupe Medical Center will be situated in an area that has ten abortion clinics, making the center “an oasis of life in the midst of a desert of death.” The dream of building a pro-life medical center in L.A. has been on the Catholic performer’s mind for several years, after he discovered that at least nine abortion clinics were operating within a one mile stretch of the city.
The event starts at 8 a.m. and will last until 7 p.m at the LA Convention Center. Many entertainers will be on hand including singers Emmanuel and Alexander Acha, Mariachi Sol de Mexico, impersonator Gilberto Gless, and actress Karyme Lozano. Pro-life speakers include former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson, and the vibrant young Australian actor Nick Vujicic, who was born without limbs, but who inspires people throughout the world with his witness. Vujicic and Verástegui co-starred in the award-winning short film, The Butterfly Circus.
"Just as Latinos have had their dignity undermined by negative stereotypes in the media, so too have preborn babies had their dignity denied since the controversial 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision,” said Verástegui. “It is the mission of Manto de Guadalupe to promote the dignity of the human person with a special focus on restoring honor and dignity to Latinos - from the child in her father's arms to the child in her mother's womb, from the embryo to the elderly."
The United for Life congress is the brainchild of Manto de Guadalupe, an international aid organization founded by Verástegui, and dedicated to promoting the dignity of the human person throughout the world and bringing relief to those suffering extreme poverty. The group’s projects include building homes, delivering food and medicine, and providing lifesaving assistance to impoverished pregnant women.
Jason Jones, founder of the Human rights Education and Relief Organization (HERO), will speak at the pro-life pro-family congress as well. Verástegui and Jones have collaborated on many missions promoting the dignity of the human person, including bringing a message of hope to prison inmates in Texas and delivering lifesaving supplies to the poor and oppressed in Darfur, Sudan.  "The threat to innocent life isn’t limited to the poorest nations. We need to be vigilant in promoting the dignity and incomparable worth of every human person right where we are," stated Verástegui.

Agenzia Fides report - "I support the appeal made by civil society in Niangara to President Obama as a useful effort in trying to make the world understand our tragedy," Fides was told by Bishop Andavo Mbia of Isiro-Niangara, a diocese in the Eastern Province (northeast) of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where civil society and representatives of 7 NGOs for human rights, have appealed to U.S. President Barak Obama, asking that he intervene to block attacks by the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

"The signatories of the appeal are all members of local civil society, including some Catholics," says Bishop Mbia. The appeal calls for, inter alia, the creation of a telephone network and a community radio to warn people of the approach of the guerrillas.

"The LRA attacks are continuous and have led to a serious situation of insecurity in the villages near Niangara" says Bishop Mbia. "The violence committed by the guerrillas is unspeakable. Unfortunately, so far the response from the Congolese army and UN peacekeepers of the UN Mission in Congo (MONUC) has been inadequate in facing up to this scale of violence," says the Bishop of Isiro-Niangara.

According to the humanitarian organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has boosted the appeal made by civil society in Niangara, LRA rebels have savagely killed 96 civilians and kidnapped dozens of people between January and April 2010 in the northeast DRC. To these are added the crimes committed by LRA rebels in the southeastern part of Central Africa (see Fides 19/5/2010) and southern Sudan.

"The violence of the LRA is a regional problem that must be solved with the help of the international community. Do not leave us on our own in facing this tragedy," concluded Bishop Mbia. (L.M.)


Bishop Conference of England report: We believe that services which offer or refer for abortion - whether commercial or not-for-profit organisations - should not be allowed to advertise on broadcast media.

Abortion is not a consumer service. To present it as such erodes respect for life and is highly misleading and damaging to women, who may feel pressured into making a quick decision, which can never be revoked. Moreover, to allow the broadcasting advertising of abortion-referral services is, in effect, to allow the exploitative promotion of these services and is not in the interests of the health or psychological well-being of women.
For this reason the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has consistently opposed any relaxation of the BCAP Guidance on broadcast advertising to allow this (see below).
The Bishops of England and Wales encourage and support women to make informed choices about their emotional, psychological and physical well-being. The Bishops support a number of charities which do this, in particular the organisation called ‘LIFE’ which offers confidential information, counselling and practical help and support for women contemplating abortion, suffering after pregnancy loss or struggling to cope after abortion.
A copy of the submission made by the Bishops conference to the BCAP consultation is at

PARENTS OF UNBORN BABY KILLED  IN CAR ACCIDENT DEMAND JUSTICE report: THE parents of an unborn baby girl, killed when her heavily pregnant mother was run down on Christmas Day by a driver allegedly on drugs, are demanding a charge of murder or manslaughter over their child's death.

But according to NSW law, Zoe Ball was not a human being because, despite spending eight months in her mother's womb, the baby did not take a breath.
Parents Brodie Donegan and Nick Ball, have decided to tell their story about the loss of their child with one aim: to change the law.
Ms Donegan was 32-weeks pregnant with the second child they had longed for when she went for a short walk to "stretch her restless legs". Just 20m from her driveway an allegedly drug-affected driver swerved off the road and hit her.
The impact shattered Ms Donegan's pelvis, lower spine, hip and right foot. She went head-first through the windscreen of the woman's minivan. The 40-year-old driver escaped uninjured.
The charges - driving under the influence of drugs and causing grievous bodily harm - are yet to be heard in court.
The couple want the driver charged with their daughter's murder or manslaughter. But the officer in charge of their case said the driver could not be charged.
The police report provided to Ms Donegan and the driver's insurance company did not even mention that she lost the child.
"As Zoe did not technically take a breath and was stillborn they say they can't charge her with manslaughter," Ms Donegan said.
Now the couple, from Ourimbah on the NSW Central Coast, are campaigning for the death of an unborn child to be a crime attracting a charge of murder or manslaughter.
"Not charging for Zoe's death negates her life," Ms Donegan said yesterday.
"There has to be a specific law that recognises the viability of life and protects an unborn child and the wording of that law has to include manslaughter. And it should apply on a national level."
They said police told them there was no intent to harm mother or child, even though a police spokeswoman said the driver had been charged under Byron's Law.
But Ms Donegan argued: "I believe if you get into a car under the influence or even knowingly fatigued that is intent.
"I begged them to do the caesarean as soon as I arrived at hospital. They said it was more important they assess my injuries."
A spokesman for Police Minister Michael Daley said the minister was willing to sit down with the Attorney-General's office to see if Byron's Law needed "adjusting".
A spokesman for Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said his office had been in touch with Ms Donegan and felt for her.
"The Attorney-General's office spoke with the victim last week and is seeking to obtain the full details of this case," the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Senior Sergeant Peter Jenkins, commander of the Metropolitan Crash Investigation Unit, defended the charges.
He said police did not have power to lay charges over and above grievous bodily harm to a pregnant mother if the baby did not take a breath.


St.John Baptiste de Rossi

Feast: May 23
Information: Feast Day: May 23

Born: February 22, 1698, Voltaggio, Province of Alessandria, Piedmont, Duchy of Savoy
Died: May 23, 1764, Rome, Papal States
Canonized: December 8, 1881, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine: Church of San Giovanni Battista de Rossi, Rome
Born at Voltaggio in the Diocese of Genoa, 22 February, 1698; died at Rome, 23 May, 1764; feast on 23 May. His parents, Charles de Rossi and Frances Anfossi, were not rich in earthly goods, but had solid piety and the esteem of their fellow-citizens. Of their four children, John excelled in gentleness and piety. At the age of ten he was taken to Genoa by friends for his education. There he received news of the death of his father. After three years he was called to Rome by a relative, Lorenzo de Rossi, who was canon at St. Mary in Cosmedin. He pursued his studies at the Collegium Romanum under the direction of the Jesuits, and soon became a model by his talents, application to study, and virtue. As a member of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin and of the Ristretto of the Twelve Apostles established at the college, he led the members in the meetings and pious exercises, in visits to the sick in the hospitals and in other works of mercy, and merited even then the name of apostle. At the age of sixteen he entered the clerical state. Owing to indiscreet practices of mortification he contracted spells of epilepsy, notwithstanding which he made his course of scholastic philosophy and theology, in the college of the Dominicans, and, with dispensation, was ordained priest on 8 March, 1721. Having reached the desired goal, he bound himself by vow to accept no ecclesiastical benefice unless commanded by obedience. He fulfilled the duties of the sacred ministry by devoting himself to the labourers, herds, and teamsters of the Campagna, preaching to them early in the morning, or late in the evening, at the old Forum Romanum (Campo Vaccino), and by visiting, instructing, and assisting the poor at the hospital of St. Galla. In 1731 he established near St. Galla another hospital as a home of refuge for the unfortunates who wander the city by night ("Rom. Brev.", tr. Bute, Summer, 573). In 1735 he became titular canon at St. Mary in Cosmedin, and, on the death of Lorenzo two years later, obedience forced him to accept the canonry. The house belonging to it, however, he would not use, but employed the rent for good purposes.
For a number of years John was afraid, on account of his sickness, to enter the confessional, and it was his custom to send to other priests the sinners whom he had brought to repentance by his instructions and sermons. In 1738 a dangerous sickness befell him, and to regain his health he went to Cività Castellana, a day's journey from Rome. The bishop of the place induced him to hear confessions, and after reviewing his moral theology he received the unusual faculty of hearing confessions in any of the churches of Rome. He showed extraordinary zeal in the exercise of this privilege, and spent many hours every day in hearing the confessions of the illiterate and the poor whom he sought in the hospitals and in their homes. He preached to such five and six times a day in churches, chapels, convents, hospitals, barracks, and prison cells, so that he became the apostle of the abandoned, a second Philip Neri, a hunter of souls. In 1763, worn out by such labours and continued ill-health, his strength began to ebb away, and after several attacks of paralysis he died at his quarters in Trinità de' Pellegrini. He was buried in that church under a marble slab at the altar of the Blessed Virgin. God honoured his servant by miracles, and only seventeen years after his death the process of beatification was begun, but the troubled state of Europe during the succeeding years prevented progress in the cause until it was resumed by Pius IX, who on 13 May, 1860, solemnly pronounced his beatification. As new signs still distinguished him, Leo XIII, on 8 December, 1881, enrolled him among the saints.

Acts 2: 1 - 11

1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

2 And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them.

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.

6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

7 And they were amazed and wondered, saying, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?

9 Par'thians and Medes and E'lamites and residents of Mesopota'mia, Judea and Cappado'cia, Pontus and Asia,

10 Phryg'ia and Pamphyl'ia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyre'ne, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

11 Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God."

Psalms 104: 1, 24, 29 - 31, 34

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, thou art very great! Thou art clothed with honor and majesty,

24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy creatures.

29 When thou hidest thy face, they are dismayed; when thou takest away their breath, they die and return to their dust.

30 When thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the LORD endure for ever, may the LORD rejoice in his works,

34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.

1 Corinthians 12: 3 - 7, 12 - 13

3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says "Jesus be cursed!" and no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit.

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;

5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;

6 and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.

7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- Jews or Greeks, slaves or free -- and all were made to drink of one Spirit.


John 20: 19 - 23

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."

20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
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