Sunday, August 15, 2010





Radio Vaticana report: Pope Benedict XVI, quoting Pope Paul VI, called on believers to entrust themselves to Mary, who "assumed into heaven, has not abandoned her mission of intercession and salvation." He was speaking to more than 4,000 faithful gathered in the courtyard of the Papal Summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo during the Angelus on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Holy Father recalled that since the fourth century there have been Marian feasts that highlight the role of the Virgin in salvation history and celebrate the key moments of her earthly existence. He urged the faithful to turn to their Mother in heaven with the words of an 'ancient prayer: " We fly to thy partonage, O holy Mother of God despise not our petitions in our necessities but deliver us from all dangers, oh glorious and blessed Virgin."


CNN report -- Tens of thousands of Roman Catholic worshippers were evacuated from Lourdes in southwest France after a bomb threat, officials with the Notre Dame de Lourdes confirmed Sunday.

The shrine reopened Sunday evening after 30,000 people calmly evacuated the site, according to Benjamin Foussier, as spokesman for the shrine at Lourdes. A bomb squad searched the area, but Foussier was not able to comment on whether it found anything.
Police didn't immediately confirm the credibility of the threat.


Agenzia Fides REPORT– "It seems like a very spectacular process but that will be hard to get to the bottom of things with such different aspects and such complex information," Fr. Gerardo Caglioni, a Xaverian missionary with extensive experience in Sierra Leone, told Fides in commenting on the hearings of the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, in these days the focus of world media because of the testimony of Naomi Campbell. The man under fire is former President of Liberia, Charles Tayloor, accused of having fomented the war in the neighboring state to start a lucrative trade in diamonds (the so-called “blood diamonds”). The civil war erupted in Sierra Leone in 1991 and lasted, intermittently, until January 2002. The conflict was marked by widespread atrocities against civilians: abductions, amputations, rapes, forced recruitment of child soldiers (see Fides missionary testimony - Fides 29/01/2004). The guerrilla group, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF, the Group supported by Taylor) has been accused of most of these crimes, which are now being studied by a special tribunal established by the United Nations.

"It's a very slow process, as they're judging situations that began well over 10 years ago. The responsibilities of Charles Taylor, that were already there for all to see since the time of the civil war, clearly emerge, but I fear it will be difficult to bring out the bigger picture on the marketing of so-called blood diamonds," says Fr. Caglioni.

"There are responsibilities that go beyond Sierra Leone and Liberia. Most of Taylor's fighters, apart from locally recruited child soldiers taken by force, were foreign mercenaries in practice. At the time, a lot of talk was made about Bin Laden's providing the weapons in exchange for diamonds illicitly excavated in Sierra Leone. However, these diamonds were placed in the international circuits, managed by gem multinationals. Thus, there are gray areas that I fear will be very difficult to illuminate," says the missionary.


CNA report: Bishop Horacio Valenzuela of Talca is calling for prayers each day at noon for the 33 miners who have been trapped for a week in the San Jose mine in Chile.

The bishop asked the faithful to pray an Our Father and a Hail Mary at noon each day to show spiritual solidarity with the miners, their friends and family members.
“May God allow something good to come from our suffering,” the bishop said. “For this reason, this intense sorrow over the miners is an occasion for us to unite as a country and be strong for them,” he continued, adding that the true riches associated with the cooper mine are the miners who work there.
“Prayer is always an opportunity to unite as a country, and no doubt the results will always be better. I invite you to prayer wherever you are: at work, at school, on the bus, at home. Thanks to this the families of the miners will not be alone in their suffering,” he said.
Bishop Valenzuela added that the accident should lead to a review of the safety and security measures that are in place.
Chile’s Minister for Mining, Laurance Golborne, said the chances of finding the trapped miners alive are minimal.


CNN report -- Two U.S. Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters arrived Saturday to assist with humanitarian and rescue efforts in flood-ravaged Pakistan, which canceled celebrations of its 63rd birthday.

A statement from the U.S. State Department says the two aircraft are part of the contingent of 19 helicopters, ordered to Pakistan on Wednesday by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
Seven of the 19 craft are now in the country. One other MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter and four U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E helicopters arrived earlier this week.
Twelve Marine CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters will arrive over the next few days.
Since August 5, U.S. military helicopters have rescued more than 3,500 people and transported more than 412,000 pounds of emergency relief supplies, according to the State Department.

One-fifth of Pakistan -- which is about the size of Florida -- has been flooded in relentless monsoon rains, the United Nations says. Nearly 1,400 people have died and 875,000 homes have either washed away or are damaged, according to Pakistan's Disaster Authority.

Millions more are still at peril as the bloated Indus River is cresting this weekend in parts of Sindh province. In some areas, the Indus has expanded from its usual width of one mile to 12 miles.

Homes, crops, trees, livestock, entire villages and towns have been transformed into vast lakes.

The worst floods since Pakistan's creation have disrupted the lives of about 20 million people, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said Saturday.

Surrounded by a tragedy of epic proportions, Pakistanis canceled Saturday's celebrations of independence, hard won from the British in 1947. They might have otherwise attended parades, burst firecrackers and waved the green and white flag proudly.

Instead, President Asif Ali Zardari, under fire for a perceived lack of government response, toured flood-ravaged Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the north, where the crisis began more than two weeks ago. He urged Pakistanis to remember the afflicted.

"The best way to celebrate the Independence Day this year is to reach out to the victims and help them to help themselves," he said, according to the Associated Press of Pakistan.

"I stand with you and the people of Pakistan stand with you as well, in your hour of trial," he told flood victims in Seraiki. "Do not lose hope as the entire nation stands with you."

Gilani said that even some religious events connected to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan were canceled. He said money that might have been spent on Iftar, the feast that breaks the daily fast between sunrise and sundown, should be used to alleviate suffering.

Meanwhile, the United Nations said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon intends to visit Pakistan Sunday and see the devastation firsthand. His trip comes as U.N. and other humanitarian agencies are racing against time to prevent more death and suffering.

"Relief supplies must reach women, men and children as soon as possible, in order to avoid further death caused by waterborne diseases and food shortages," said Martin Mogwanja, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator for Pakistan.

"The death toll has so far been relatively low compared with other major natural disasters, and we want to keep it that way," he said.

Pakistan emergency officials predicted the second wave of floodwaters gushing down the Indus River could reach the southern town of Sukkar by Saturday evening.

Hundreds of thousands of people living along the Indus could be stranded, along with the tens of thousands stranded by the first wave, said Lt. Cmdr. Jawad Khawaja of the Pakistani navy.

Many residents have ignored government warnings to evacuate the area, causing a big concern, Khawaja said.

"The time to act is now -- this is a disaster of unimaginable proportions," said Nilofer Bakhtiar, head of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society.

Thousands of flood victims huddled in sludgy camps or in jam-packed public buildings. Others slept under the stars next to the cows, sheep and goats they managed to rescue from rising waters.

But when they might be able to return to dry lands at home remained a big question. Pakistan's monsoon season is only half way over and more rain is on the way.


Cath News report: Toowoomba's Bishop William Morris said he has offered to meet the families of victims sexually abused by Catholic primary school teacher Gerard Byrnes, "so that I could apologise personally".
"Gerard Byrnes' guilty plea in the Toowoomba District Court in April meant the diocese was for the first time able to directly communicate with the victim's parents, which I did so via a letter to each parent," Bishop Morris said in a statement published in the Toowoomba Chronicle.
"I believed a letter to the victims offering a face-to-face meeting was a more respectful way of making contact, rather than an unannounced phone call."
The family of one of the victims claims they have been forced out of town over the case, the newspaper reported. Two other families of victims have spoken up in support.
"We understand your devastation and hope that you gain some strength from knowing there are people who are willing to stand side by side with you through the most challenging of times," they wrote.
"The families involved have shown incredible courage and resilience in spite of ignorance and "blind faith" being exhibited in a very public way by certain sections of the community.
"As a parent of one of the victims, we have also chosen to relocate to try and protect our family from unwanted exposure."
In his statement, Bishop Morris adds: "I can only begin to imagine the suffering which has been experienced by the victims and their families, including the one referred to in the Toowoomba Chronicle."
Bishop Morris said that invitation for a face-to-face meeting remained open and he would particularly encourage the family who spoke out in the paper to contact him.
He said he wrote to the families who had not yet pursued legal claims, inviting them to participate in the mediation process that will follow the diocese's admission of liability in July.  

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Feast: August 15
Feast Day:
August 15
The Assumption is the oldest feast day of Our Lady, but we don't know how it first came to be celebrated.
Its origin is lost in those days when Jerusalem was restored as a sacred city, at the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (c. 285-337). One of the memories about Jesus' mother centered around the "Tomb of Mary," close to Mount Zion, where the early Christian community had lived.

On the hill itself was the "Place of Dormition," the spot of Mary's "falling asleep," where she had died. The "Tomb of Mary" was where she was buried.

At this time, the "Memory of Mary" was being celebrated. Later it was to become our feast of the Assumption.

For a time, the "Memory of Mary" was marked only in Palestine, but then it was extended by the emperor to all the churches of the East. In the seventh century, it began to be celebrated in Rome under the title of the "Falling Asleep" ("Dormitio") of the Mother of God.

Soon the name was changed to the "Assumption of Mary," since there was more to the feast than her dying. It also proclaimed that she had been taken up, body and soul, into heaven.

Today, the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary stands on the spot of her tomb.

At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople, Emperor Marcian asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople to be enshrined in the capitol. The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that "Mary had died in the presence of the apostles; but her tomb, when opened later . . . was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven."

In the eighth century, St. John Damascene was known for giving sermons at the holy places in Jerusalem. At the Tomb of Mary, he expressed the belief of the Church on the meaning of the feast: "Although the body was duly buried, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay. . . . You were transferred to your heavenly home, O Lady, Queen and Mother of God in truth."

The prayer for the feast reads: "All-powerful and ever-living God: You raised the sinless Virgin Mary, mother of your Son, body and soul, to the glory of heaven. May we see heaven as our final goal and come to share her glory."

In 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution , Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Catholic Church in these words: "The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven."

(Edited from:

St. Tarsicius
Feast: August 15
3rd century
Major Shrine:
San Silvestro in Capite, Rome
Patron of:
altar servers and first communicants
Martyr. Tarsicius carrying the Blessed Sacrament, was attacked by a heathen rabble, and he suffered death rather "than surrender the Sacred Body [of Christ] to the raging dogs". )

Edited from:

St. Stanislaus Kostka
Feast Day:
August 15
October 28, 1550, Rostkowo
August 15, 1568, Rome
Patron of:
Jesuit novices, students, Poland
Born at Rostkovo near Prasnysz, Poland, about 28 October, 1550; died at Rome during the night of 14-15 August, 1568. He entered the Society of Jesus at Rome, 28 October, 1567, and is said to have foretold his death a few days before it occurred. His father, John Kostka, was a senator of the Kingdom of Poland and Lord of Zakroczym; his mother was Margaret de Drobniy Kryska, the sister and niece of the Dukes Palatine of Masovia and the aunt of the celebrated Chancellor of Poland, Felix Kryski. The marriage was blessed with seven children, of whom Stanislas was the second. He was sent to Vienna with his tutor to attend the Jesuit college that had been opened four years before, reaching Vienna, 25 July, 1564.

On the eve of the feast of St. Lawrence, Stanislas felt a mortal weakness made worse by a high fever, and clearly saw that his last hour had come. He wrote a letter to the Blessed Virgin begging her to call him to the skies there to celebrate with her the glorious anniversary of her Assumption (ibid., 636). His confidence in the Blessed Virgin, which had already brought him many signal favours, was this time again rewarded; on 15 August, towards four in the morning, while he was wrapt in pious utterances to God, to the saints, and to the Virgin Mary, his beautiful soul passed to its Creator. (Edited from:

Bl. Isidore Bakanja

Feast Day:
August 15
1887 at northeast Republic of the Congo
8 or 15 August 1909
24 April 1994 by Pope John Paul II
One of "the least brothers" of Jesus, was born in northeast Zaire (then, Belgian Congo) sometime between 1885 and 1890. His baptismal record is the first document about him, as he was attracted to Christ when he was about 18 years of age, working for white colonizers as an assistant mason. He never forgot the lessons taught him by the Trappist missionaries from Westmalle Abbey in Belgium: a follower of Jesus should be characterized by prayer and witness. He should be recognized by the rosary and scapular (Mary's habit, as it was rendered in Isidore's native tongue). Often with rosary in hand, he looked for opportunities to share his new-found faith with others, to the extent that many thought of him as a catechist. He definitively left his native village because there were no fellow followers of Christ there. In a larger settlement, he found employment with the agent of a Belgian company that controlled the rubber plantations in the region. He was hired as a domestic boy. He was told to stop teaching his fellow workers how to pray: "You'll have the whole village praying and no one will want to work", one agent shouted at him. Isidore was told to discard his scapular. When he did not, he was twice flogged. The second time, the agent flew into one of his rages. He jumped at Isidore, tore the scapular from around his neck and threw him to the ground. He had two servant boys hold Isidore by his hands and feet and a third domestic flogged him. The Isidore asked for mercy. "My God, I'm dying", he muttered. But the colonizer kept kicking Isidore in the neck and head, and ordered his domestic to scourge him harder still. After 100, those assisting lost count of the number of blows. Isidore's back was one open wound; some of his bones were exposed. After scourging he was thrown, legs chained, into a hut for processing rubber. He could not even move to relieve himself. Since an inspector was due, Isidore was banished to another village. But because he could not walk, he fell by the wayside and hid in the forest. He dragged himself before the inspector, who was horrified at the sight of this modern Job. The inspector himself left a written account of his impression: "I saw a man come from the forest with his back torn apart by deep, festering, malodorous wounds, covered with filth, assaulted by flies. He leaned on two sticks in order to get near me -he wasn't walking; he was dragging himself". The agent appeared on the scene and tried to kill "that animal of mon pere", but the inspector even physically prevented him. He took Isidore to his own settlement, hoping to help him heal. But Isidore felt death in his bones. He told someone who had pity on him: "if you see my mother, or if you go to the judge, or if you meet the priest, tell them that I am dying because I am a Christian". Two missionaries spent several days with him. He devoutly received the last sacraments. He told them the reason for his beating: "The white man did not like Christians.... He did not want me to wear the scapular.... He yelled at me when I said my prayers". The missionaries urged Isidore to forgive the agent; he assured them that he had already done so and that he nursed no hatred for him. This "animal of mon pere", this convert of two-and-a-half years proved that he knew what it meant to follow Jesus - even to the point of being flogged like him, even to the point of carrying the cross, even to the point of dying. The missionaries urged Isidore to pray for the agent. "Certainly I shall pray for him. When I am in heaven, I shall pray for him very much". His agony - more painful than the actual flogging - lasted six months. He died on either 8 or 15 august 1909, rosary in hand and the scapular of Our Lady of Mt Carmel around his neck. Edited from:


Revelation 11: 19

19 Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

Revelation 12: 1 - 6, 10

1 And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;

2 she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery.

3 And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads.

4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth;

5 she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,

6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

Psalms 45: 10 - 12, 16

10 Hear, O daughter, consider, and incline your ear; forget your people and your father's house;

11 and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him;

12 the people of Tyre will sue your favor with gifts, the richest of the people

16 Instead of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth.

1 Corinthians 15: 20 - 27

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.

25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

27 "For God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "All things are put in subjection under him," it is plain that he is excepted who put all things under him.

Luke 1: 39 - 56


In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,

40 and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth.
41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
46 And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
52 he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.
54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."
56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.
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