Friday, July 23, 2010




 Rome Reports: The pope takes these days to stroll through Castel Gandolfo's gardens. Benedict XVI enjoys nature in a hat and comfortable shoes, accompanied by his personal secretary Georg Gänswein.
Benedict XVI is preparing the third volume of his work on Jesus. He's writing it at Castel Gandolfo, where he enjoys his summer vacation.

The pope spends a portion of his free time writing this book, dedicated to Jesus' infancy.
Benedict XVI wrote the first volume during his vacation in 2003 and 2004. The second will be published in the coming months and includes reflections on the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
The pope also takes these days to stroll through Castel Gandolfo's gardens. Benedict XVI enjoys nature in a hat and comfortable shoes, accompanied by his personal secretary Monsignor Georg Gänswein.
Benedict XVI also doesn't miss the opportunity to feed fish in the garden's small pond.
The pope uses these trips to pray the rosary before an image of the Virgin.
Benedict XVI also uses these summer days to rest, pray, enjoy nature and writing—things he can only do three weeks a year, away from the intense work in Rome.


23 JUL 2010 (VIS REPORT) - Thousands of young altar servers are due to travel to Rome on 3 and 4 August for the tenth European pilgrimage promoted by the "Coetus internationalis ministrantium" movement (CIM). The theme of this year's pilgrimage is "Drinking Waters from the True Well".
On the afternoon of Tuesday 3 August, altar servers from twelve European nations (including 44,000 from Germany and 8,000 from Hungary, France, Romania and Switzerland) will attend a concert in St. Peter's Square. The event, involving interviews and guest appearances, will culminate in the praying of Vespers and some words from the Pope. At the end of the event, participants will be invited to exchange their national pilgrim shawls with participants from other countries.
On Wednesday 4 August, the young altar servers will attend the Holy Father's general audience. Bishop Martin Gachter, auxiliary of Basel, Switzerland, and president of CIM, will greet the national groups then present the Pope with a white pilgrim shawl. Following the Holy Father's address and blessing, a band and choir from Hamburg will play in honour of the German Pope.


Asia News report:  After years of peaceful coexistence with residents, Muslim organisation gets the authorities to tear down the building. Ten people are arrested. The Pentecostal Church announces legal action against local authorities.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Police demolished a residential building in Bogor (West Java) that regularly hosted a house church. Police also detained, interrogated and released ten people, Compass Direct News (CDN) reported.
Last Monday, police raided a house used for worship by Narogong Pentecostal Church in the village of Limusnunggal, Cileungsi sub-district. The action was followed by clashes between agents and worshippers. The building was eventually torn down and ten people arrested.
“Local residents, including non-Christians, had accepted the presence of the church,” said local Block Captain Junaedi Syamsudin, “but a group called the Forum of the Muslim Brotherhood of Limusnunggal has worked since 2008 to have the church eliminated.”
“Three months ago members of the forum went to Cileungsi offices to object to the church's presence,” Syamsudin added, “and the regent promised to demolish the house.”
Bogor Police Chief Eddy Hidayat said that the house “lacked a use permit”, but Pentecostal Church coordinator Hotlan P. Silaen retorted that police were not neutral in the dispute.
"The clash with citizens could have been avoided if the police had been neutral and not been goaded into a situation that caused bodily harm," Silaen said.
Rev Rekson Sitorus announced that the Church would take "legal action" against those responsible for demolishing the house, including the Bogor administration.
CNA REPORT.- A Eucharistic celebration marking the 100th anniversary of St. Pio of Pietrelcina's ordination will take place in Benevento, Italy next month. A pilgrimage from the saint's birthplace will precede the solemn celebration of the Mass.
Padre Pio was ordained in a chapel at the Cathedral of Benevento, Italy on Aug. 10, 1910 at the age of 23. This year's celebration for the century milestone will be held on the same day, but this year Archbishop of Benevento Andrea Mugione will preside over Mass in the courtyard of the archbishop's residence.
The Italian Bishops' news service SIR announced the Mass to remember the unique event. On that day, young Francesco Forgione, already a Capuchin for more than seven years, was given a dispensation by the local bishop from the minimum age requirement for priestly ordination, 24 years-old, because of a serious illness.
Despite his health problems he, his mother, brother and parish priest walked to Benevento so he could receive Holy Orders.
The diocese's current vicar general, Msgr. Pompilio Cristino announced that for the 100th anniversary, "To relive the trip made that morning by Fr. Pio ... a pilgrimage will depart on foot from the parish of Pietrelcina at 5 a.m." The route covers approximately eight miles.
Msgr. Cristino said that the the faithful will also have the opportunity to obtain a plenary indulgence during the Eucharistic celebration.
Cath News report: Caritas Australia's Blueprint for a Better World exhibition was officially launched yesterday in Canberra at the Museum of Australian Democracy in the Old Parliament House.

A joint project with AusAID, the display explores each of the eight Millennium Development Goals set in 2000 that aim to lift millions of people out of poverty by 2015, said a report on the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn news page.
Speaking at the launch, Archbishop Mark Coleridge discussed Caritas' local and global aid work and said it was pleasing to see the Church working with AusAID to help educate Australians on the issue.
Caritas Humanitarian and Emergencies Response Team project coordinator Dr Ingvar Anda concluded the proceedings by highlighting the way climate change threatens the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
He said Caritas was using climate change adaptation programs to help communities prepare. In Bangladesh for example, which has already been impacted by rising sea levels, options include saline tolerant rice, floating schools and relying on ducks rather than chickens.
Dr Anda said these and other projects would not be possible without more funding.
Blueprint for a Better World will be open at the Museum of Australian Democracy in Old Parliament House from 9am-5pm daily until 18 August.
Admission costs $2 for adults, $1 for children and concessions and $5 for families. The exhibition will move to St Francis Xavier College, Florey and be available for school tours from 23 August to 1 September.


Agenzia Fides report - Brilliant high school students in the upper classes living in isolated rural areas, or from poor families in urban districts, may have a chance to change their future through a 3 year 2010-2012 Young Talents project, organised by the Faculty of Social Science and Management FSSG at the Catholic University of Central Africa (UCAC) run by the Jesuit Fathers, by MAGIS an Italian Jesuit NGO, and funded by the Italian Bishops' Conference CEI. The news was sent to Fides by the Jesuit Generalate in Rome. “There is no better means of breaking the vicious circle of poverty from which many families cannot escape. We have seen that if one members of the family emerges, this opens the way for others ”, says Fr Ludovic Lado S.J., vice dean of the della FSSG. About 200 students will be selected the first year. “We will ascertain the sincerity and seriousness of each to reduce to the minimum the risk that they may give up, a rather remote possibility seeing the strict selection and sacrifices requested of the families ” the priest adds. The students will then start preparatory courses before entrance exams for Schools of Superior Formation and University. Once accepted the students will be accompanied and may benefit from a fund which will give them partial support during the future years of study.

Catholic Online REPORT- When telling friends I was going to interview Amy Grant most of them said, "I love Amy Grant, my family listened to her music on road trips," or "Heart In Motion was my favorite album as a kid. I sang her songs all the time." Their reactions to Amy Grant resonate with me as I too grew up with her music playing in our family minivan, be it a five minute trip to the grocery store or across several states to visit family. Our collection of Amy Grant cassettes are probably still in our attic; somewhere.

For decades she has been the queen of contemporary Christian music and awed millions with her angelic sound and powerful lyrics. Her record of success is second to none with six Grammys, dozens of Dove Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. While few are able to claim such success, she was the first woman to charge forward as a Christian who sang of life, love, and the Lord.
Amy has not had a typical American life. Her highly publicized 1999 divorce to Christian musician Gary Chapman had many in the Christian world outraged, with some radio stations refusing to play her songs. Her marriage to Vince Gill less than a year after her divorce was final also raised questions about her fidelity to her first marriage. And for Christians who were not convinced of the moral legitimacy of her divorce, they saw her stained and with little to offer Christianity even after 20 plus years of inspirational and heart-felt music.
In speaking with Amy I wanted to move past her stardom and the vulnerability of her image in the media, which was easy to do since she has the demeanor of a family friend, rather than a musical sensation. Her candidness is almost off-putting.
I wanted to unveil the story behind the struggling mom faced with incredible adversity, and yet still perseveres. In fact, what drew me to request an interview with her was a song on her new album Somewhere Down The Road, (her first album in six years) that epitomizes who she is. Better than a Hallelujah is one of the most successful songs on the album, and recently debuted in video. Perhaps by divine inspiration I played the song and was blown away by the reality of its message.
Amy Grant reacted the same way when she first heard it, since she didn't actually write the song. I asked, "In the first few lines you say, 'God loves a lullaby, in a mother's tears in the dead of night, are better than a hallelujah sometimes.' and I thought to myself, 'Wow, this is a bit strange-how does God hear crying as a lullaby?' It wasn't a happy-go-lucky song. It hit the truth of suffering both for the person and for God."
"I do write a lot of my material and I wish I had written that song. But I felt the same way. I was in the middle of so much angst and sadness when I heard that song. I remember when someone sent it to me in an email and I hit PLAY again and again and again," she said with an almost shy voice.
Since some of her struggles are still so real, the song is therapeutic for her-which it is for me as well. Going into the interview she knew that I am a two-time cancer survivor and struggled with faith and why God allows suffering. Because she opened the interview with a reference to my connection with the song, I knew she was interested in what I thought. She was eager to know that I was inspired by the music, if not changed by it.
The lyrics tell the message like a camera coming into focus. She tells the story and slowly refocuses the background so all of a sudden you see the whole picture. Some of the lyrics read, "the woman holding on to life, the dying man giving up the fight, are better than a hallelujah sometimes.we pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody. Beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries of breaking hearts, are better than a hallelujah."
I told her, "I hear those words and they hit so heavy. It is easy to understand, and yet it's so complex because we're talking about God's nature. When he hears us send up those honest cries, it's because we believe He can change our situation-and that He's good. If we didn't believe that there would be no reason to send up those honest cries." She interjected:
If I could add to that.Holding on with that last shred of hope, almost everybody has hope that He's in control. The reality is that He is in control and is taking care of us. still it is a weekly part of my life to look back and see that all along God was in control. He was never NOT in control. He was in control the morning I spent with Ruth the day that she died. He was in control then too. I have to believe that and take a deep breath and say 'oh my goodness, all things work together for good.'

I was in the waiting room for the multiple times a loved one tried to take their life, when I asked, 'It's not going to end like this, right? This is not the end' and say 'All things.' A dear friend of mine that I've written songs with together for years killed himself at the end of April and I went to see his mom and dad. They were at his house, and when I was driving up I said, 'Ok, it's either all things, or it's not at all. Either it's hog-wash, or everything fits under his control.'"
I was surprised to hear that Amy's life has been impacted by more than just personal choices, negative media attention, and the reactions of fans (both current and former). She held her friend Ruth McGinnis the day he died of cancer. She wept in hospital waiting rooms after friends attempted, and sometimes succeeded, in committing suicide. I saw a side of Amy Grant that the public rarely if ever gets to see-a sufferer person that expresses her life through song. On the tail end of that rough, yet beautiful, ride is an audience eager to see that they have more in common with her than they might have realized.
I have been privileged to speak on multiple occasions about suffering. I've sat by the bed of children and grown men alike who asked me some of the questions Amy Grant addresses in her album Somewhere Down the Road. Why does God allow Christians to suffer? Why do years of dedicated ministry not protect you from attacks of the devil? The more Amy spoke, the more I realized the purpose and inspiration behind her music: experience. Her trying experiences not only serve as the inspiration behind her songs, but they are the reason as well.
I asked Grant about the purpose and reason for her music. It became apparent to me that she is not just an entertainer or a performer; but instead she is something else. She said:
I'm always trying to connect with people. I use the word "connect" a lot, but I want to connect people to each other, the things they believe in, the love of God, forgiveness, and things that are active and alive. I sing songs about regular life and people will say, "Oh that song reminds me of Spring Break" or "That song made me dance." And in the middle of those warm and fuzzies I'll sing a song that is really meant to speak to them. Like Better than a Hallelujah says, "God loves a lullaby and a mother's tears in the dead of night." I'm not trying to hit them while their guard is down-but I'm trying to create a familiar landscape and they often go 'that's me, that's me". And then when I sing a song that presents the Gospel they go "oh my goodness, that's me too."
To understand the purpose of her singing, I asked, "I know songwriters sometimes just write a song hoping that someone will sing it, but the more I listen to it and knowing some of your story it seems like you were supposed to sing this song. Do you feel that way?"
She explained, "Well I was just glad I heard it. It felt so familiar to me. As somebody who lives in a town [Nashville] where there are a lot of amazing songwriters, I hear great songs all the time. When I hear an amazing song, my first thought is 'please somebody get that out on the airwaves.'"
Her response offered a new thought about the purpose of her music. "How do you see yourself as a singer and performer? Do you see yourself as someone who is supposed to help 'get that song out there?'-as a messenger, if you will," I asked.
"For me, it's always about the music. In my experience music facilitates the experience of someone being able to articulate a certain experience, or maybe experience it for the first time. Music is like a flower that grows up through the cracks in a sidewalk and you say, 'No way! How did anything break through that wall?' It's an amazing instrument for connecting us," she said.
Better than a Hallelujah is a particularly unique song because it addresses tough questions in a peaceful melody with poetic fashion. Quite frankly, the song's character is almost identical to Grant herself. She is a stylish woman who has both a singing and speaking voice that draws audiences from every corner of the Christian and secular market. She does not just sing what I like to call "happy-clappy" songs that leave the audience as spiritually empty as they might have arrived. Better than a Hallelujah has the same qualities as Grant, and rivals the song for which the album is titled, Somewhere Down The Road. I would say that the new Amy Grant-six years since her last album and more hardships under her belt-has more to offer her audiences because she, more often than not, has been in their shoes.


Toronto Sun report: Donald Keith can’t believe the fuss that has been made because a Shepherd received Holy Communion.

The Shepherd called Trapper — a Shepherd mix rescue dog — received the wafer that represents the body of Christ at St. Peter’s Anglican Church on Carlton St.
“This happened a month ago,” Keith said. “One church parishioner had a problem with it. This morning (Wednesday) I wake up and see it on the news that some guy’s dog received communion. Then I go to the dog park and people were talking about it being on the radio.”
When Trapper received communion, Keith was a new member of the church, where pets are allowed.
“The minister welcomed me and said come up and take communion, and Trapper came up with me and the minister gave him communion as well. Then he bent his head and said a little prayer,” Keith said.
“I thought it was a nice way to welcome me into the church,” he said. “I thought it was acceptable.
“There was an old lady in the front just beaming when she saw this,” Keith said. “Ninetynine-point-nine per cent of the people in the church love Trapper and the kids play with him.
“It was just one person who got his nose out of joint and went to the head of the Anglican Church,” he said. “Holy smokes. We are living in the downtown core. This is small stuff. I thought it was innocent and it made me think of the Blessing of the Animals.”
The church has since told Keith he and his dog are most welcome at the church, but Trapper can no longer receive communion.
“This has blown me away. The church is even getting e-mails from Catholics,” he said.
Everything is fine, said Peggy Needham, the deputy people’s warden at the church.
“The backlash is from just one person. Something happened that won’t happen again. Something our interim priest did spontaneously,” Needham said.
“This person went to the top and e-mailed our Bishop to make a fuss and change things,” she said. “But he misjudged our congregation.”


St. Bridget of Sweden

Information: Feast Day: July 23

Born: 1303 at Finsta Castle, Uppsala, Sweden

Died: 23 July 1373 at Rome, Italy

Canonized: 7 October 1391 by Pope Boniface IX
Major Shrine: Vadstena
Patron of: Europe, Sweden, Widows
The most celebrated saint of the Northern kingdoms, born about 1303; died 23 July, 1373.
She was the daughter of Birger Persson, governor and provincial judge (Lagman) of Uppland, and of Ingeborg Bengtsdotter. Her father was one of the wealthiest landholders of the country, and, like her mother, distinguished by deep piety. St. Ingrid, whose death had occurred about twenty years before Bridget's birth, was a near relative of the family. Birger's daughter received a careful religious training, and from her seventh year showed signs of extraordinary religious impressions and illuminations. To her education, and particularly to the influence of an aunt who took the place of Bridget's mother after the latter's death (c. 1315), she owed that unswerving strength of will which later distinguished her.
In 1316, at the age of thirteen, she was united in marriage to Ulf Gudmarsson, who was then eighteen. She acquired great influence over her noble and pious husband, and the happy marriage was blessed with eight children, among them St. Catherine of Sweden. The saintly life and the great charity of Bridget soon made her name known far and wide. She was acquainted with several learned and pious theologians, among them Nicolaus Hermanni, later Bishop of Linköping, Matthias, canon of Linköping, her confessor, Peter, Prior of Alvastrâ, and Peter Magister, her confessor after Matthias. She was later at the court of King Magnus Eriksson, over whom she gradually acquired great influence. Early in the forties (1341-43) in company with her husband she made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. On the return journey her husband was stricken with an attack of illness, but recovered sufficiently to finish the journey. Shortly afterwards, however, he died (1344) in the Cistercian monastery of Alvastrâ in East Gothland.
Bridget now devoted herself entirely to practices of religion and asceticism, and to religious undertakings. The visions which she believed herself to have had from her early childhood now became more frequent and definite. She believed that Christ Himself appeared to her, and she wrote down the revelations she then received, which were in great repute during the Middle Ages. They were translated into Latin by Matthias Magister and Prior Peter.
St. Bridget now founded a new religious congregation, the Brigittines, or Order of St. Saviour, whose chief monastery, at Vadstena, was richly endowed by King Magnus and his queen (1346). To obtain confirmation for her institute, and at the same time to seek a larger sphere of activity for her mission, which was the moral uplifting of the period, she journeyed to Rome in 1349, and remained there until her death, except while absent on pilgrimages, among them one to the Holy Land in 1373. In August, 1370, Pope Urban V confirmed the Rule of her congregation. Bridget made earnest representations to Pope Urban, urging the removal of the Holy See from Avignon back to Rome. She accomplished the greatest good in Rome, however, by her pious and charitable life, and her earnest admonitions to others to adopt a better life, following out the excellent precedents she had set in her native land. The year following her death her remains were conveyed to the monastery at Vadstena. She was canonized, 7 October, 1391, by Boniface IX.


Matthew 13: 18 - 23

18 "Hear then the parable of the sower.

19 When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path.

20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;

21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.

22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."
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