Wednesday, August 4, 2010




Radio Vaticana report: They are future of the Church in Europe. From Germany, France, Austria, Poland, Luxembourg, Switzerland and even Georgia, they travelled by night and day across the continent by bus, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Coetus Ministrantium Internationalis (ICD), the International Movement of Altar servers, together in St Peter’s Square.

On Wednesday, from early morning they filled the square to capacity, with banners unfurled and in song, making it in the words of Pope Benedict XVI “happier place” and gifting him "a happier heart".
In fact, the Wednesday audience – the first since the summer break – was entirely dedicated to the estimated 55 thousand young boys and girls who serve the altars of Europe. In his address delivered mainly in German, the Pope recalled that he too had once been an altar boy and in a gesture that was greeted by rousing applause donned a scarf gifted him by the Archdiocese of Basil.
“Serve Jesus generously in the Eucharist” – he told them, - It 's an important task, which allows you to be particularly close to the Lord and to grow as his true friends."
A large bronze statue of St. Tarcisius, the young Roman who was martyred in 257 AD for having defended the Blessed Sacrament stood on the steps to the basilica. It had reached Rome at the end of a journey throughout central Europe and at the close of the pilgrimage will be place before the catacomb of St. Callistus where the martyr and patron saint of altar servers, is buried.
Reflecting on this ‘young and brave man’s’ devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, Pope Benedict recalled that the Eucharist is "the greatest gift Jesus left us, support and strength for our daily journey”.
He called on the altar servers to "communicate the gift of this friendship to their peers, with joy, enthusiasm, without fear."
The Pope added that “probably martyrdom will not be demanded of us”, but instead Jesus asks us for "fidelity to the little things, our daily tasks, to witnessing his love."
Pope Benedict’s concluding words to the crowd of young boys and girls were that the witness of St. Tarcisius, "shows us the great love we must have towards the Eucharist", a "immeasurable treasure", "an open road to eternal life". “You are lucky to live near this great mystery, carry out your task with love and devotion. Prepare yourselves well for Holy Mass ", helping priests, you can become closer to Jesus," He will not fail to reward you, giving you true joy, and complete happiness".


Radio Vaticana report: At the end of the Wednesday general audience today Pope Benedict recalled the people affected by recent natural disasters such as fires and floods in Russia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, asking God to "relieve their suffering and support them in their difficulties, and express his hope that "solidarity will not be lacking."

He said: “My thoughts are with the people affected by recent serious natural disasters that have caused loss of lives, injuries and damage, leaving many people homeless. In particular, I think the vast fires in the Russian Federation and the devastating floods in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I pray to the Lord for the victims and am spiritually close to those who are suffering hardship. I ask God to relieve their suffering and support them in their difficulties. I also hope that the solidarity of all will not be lacking”.


The organisers of the papal visit unveiled the official merchandise for the Pontiff’s trip to Britain today.

Papal visit souvenirs include papal flags inscribed with the visit’s date and logo, baseball caps, a Swarovski bracelet, rosaries with pictures of the Pope, prayer cards, tote bags and branded T-shirts. An electric flashing candle is also among the items advertised. T-shirts include a beatification T-shirt with a retro-style picture of John Henry Newman, as well as a black-and-white Pope Benedict T-shirt which features the Pontiff in profile. Parishes are also able to customise papal visit T-shirts so that their entire pilgrim team will be able to go to the papal events in personalised shirts.
The Pope’s visit, which coincides with London Fashion Week, has prompted stiff competition in T-shirt design.
For unofficial merchandise, Catholics with Attitude supply “Benedict 16″ hoodies along with a wide variety of other papal and Catholic-themed T-shirts. Meanwhile, the Guardian Comment is Free Belief section has its own papal visit T-shirt competition in response to the National Secular Society’s Pope Nope T-shirts.

USA: PRO-LIFE TELEVISION SHOW "FACING LIFE HEAD-ON" WINS EMMY report – Producers and staff members with the weekly pro-life television show Facing Life Head-On are celebrating after the show was awarded a regional Emmy in the category of Interview and Discussion.
"I believe this is a first for the pro-life movement—receiving an accolade at this level by the media industry, much less the Academy," said Brad Mattes, host and executive producer of the show.
The show, which is a project of the Life Issues Institute , won the award on the strength of an episode in which Mattes interviewed Missy Davert, a woman who is 2 feet 11 inches tall and has a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta.
Davert, whose condition makes her bones exceptionally brittle (she has had over 200 fractures throughout her life), found out eleven years ago that she was pregnant with twins. Doctors advised Davert and her husband that she should abort one or both of the infants due to the many difficulties that her pregnancy would entail – an option that the tiny, but feisty woman was unwilling to consider.
With the help of Dr. Daniel Wechter, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist based in Saginaw, Michigan, she was able to carry the twins for 32 weeks before giving birth to Austin and Michaela. They are now 10 years old.
“Missy’s story is an inspiration to any woman who may be facing a high-risk pregnancy,” reads a description of the episode on Facing Life Head-On’s website. “With the help and support of Dr. Wechter, Missy was able to defy the odds and give birth to two beautiful children.”
In the acceptance speech at the black-tie award ceremony, Brad Mattes thanked God for allowing him to interview guests that have been such an inspiration to his viewers.
"We thank God for this award," he has said. "The glory goes to HIM. It’s HIS ministry."


Asia News report: Born in India to a Parsi family that emigrated to Canada, Hezuk tells AsiaNews about his faith journey from conversion to Catholicism until the discovery of a priestly vocation. Ordained deacon to the Archdiocese of Ottawa he will become a priest on 14 May, 2011. "When you fall in love with Christ, He takes full possession of your heart. And I've never been as happy as now. "

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - On May 2011 Hezuk Shroff, a young Parsi Indian whose name means "Light of the Universe", will be ordained a priest. On his journey towards Catholicism he has also attended the Protestant community. He became a deacon on 14 May, Hezuk who has lived in Canada since the age of four, tells AsiaNews about the journey that led to his decision to offer his life to Christ. The only son of a sailor in the Indian Merchant Navy Hezuk was born in Calcutta in 1971. In 1975 with his mother and younger sister Pearl he moved to Canada following his father, who had found work with the Canadian Coast Guard.
"My parents were Parsi (Zoroastrians) - he says - and I grew up following the teachings of this religion. My name Hezuk was my paternal grandmother’s name meaning "Light of the Universe" and I find it very beautiful because Jesus said "you will be the Light of the World."
The young man first heard of Christianity from his mother, who as a child had attended a Catholic school in Nanital (Uttarakhand). His personal path to Christianity, however, began with undergraduate studies in biochemistry at McGrill University in Montreal, when a roommate introduced him to the local Protestant communities of the Pentecostal Church.
During his years in the Protestant community, the young man began to read books about the Catholic religion and in 1994, out of curiosity, he accompanied by one of his college friends to a Catholic church for mass. "The liturgy of the Mass fascinated me - he says-I knew within myself that this was a sacred moment." "I think – he continues - I fell in love with the beauty and truth of Catholic faith and it helped me greatly to hear about the Grace of God, the Holy Eucharist and devotion of the faithful to the Virgin Mary and the saints." "The Mass – he adds - is the heart of my conversion and my priestly vocation. In the Holy Sacrifice, we have it all. God gives himself to us as spiritual food for our pilgrimage from earth to Heaven.
In September 1994 Hezuk decide to begin the catechumenate. In April 1995, he received baptism in the Basilica of St. Patrick Montreal during the Easter Vigil.
"At that time - he says - I came to realize that the Magisterium and authority in the Church are at the service of Truth and Love, and that they are a great blessing. Some people reject the Catholic Church because they feel that the Magisterium "binds" them (what they can believe, do, etc.). But I felt the opposite; Truth makes one freer to love. We are so blessed to have the Holy Father and the teaching authority of the Church, because they teach us how to truly grow in the life of Grace. " Hezuk says that during his very first experience of a Catholic Mass he understood that this was the "place where God was calling him."
After the baptism, the young man felt even more strongly the call of God to the priesthood. So, a few months later, he went to France, where he spent three years in a community of Benedictine monks. In this period of meditation and prayer Hezuk understood that the life of a monk was not for him, and entered the Community of St. John, where he spent six years first in the United States and then France, where he studied theology and philosophy. Upon graduation, the community leaders decided to send Hezuk to Cebu, the Philippines, for a period of mission. "It 's here in the Philippines - he says - after working in youth ministry, that I finally understood that God was calling me to serve as a diocesan priest."
In fact, during his mission in Cebu, Hezuk noted that the young people of his community were poorly integrated into parish life. "The young people – he says - told me that their pastor had no time for them, because he was too busy running the parish. Inside of me I thought 'how sad, after all, the first mission of a priest should be the care of the souls entrusted to him. So I began to understand that God had given me the heart of a 'shepherd' to continue his work. " "Every day – he continues – I understood more and more that God wants me to serve as pastor, to restore the sense of prayer and contemplation in the parishes." "The parish - he says - is one of the few points of contact with their Catholic faith."
Looking at the vibrancy of the young people in St. John’s and especially how they change due to common prayer and worship, Hezuk feels compelled to bring this approach to parish life. "The social aspect of faith is important - he says - but it should never be placed before prayer."
After his experience in Cebu, the young man decided to return to Canada in September 2006 and entered the Augustinian seminary in Toronto. Here he studied to become a priest at the service of the Archdiocese of Ottawa, a journey that will end next May with ordination. Hezuk said that it was difficult for his family to accept his choice, even if they respect and maybe only one sister who lives in the United States will attend his ordination.
"My mother - he says - was very happy with my conversion and even when I said that I would become a priest. It was difficult for my father, because being the only son he knew that I would not continue the family name. "
"Over time – he continues –he has accepted my choice, but it’s still very difficult for him to understand my conversion and my call to the priesthood. His religion is a part of his culture and roots and he thinks that by changing my religion, I also rejected my cultural and ethnic roots. I said that conversion to Christianity does not imply the rejection of anything, but that was a good thing. I have not rejected his religious beliefs and my roots, but I just felt that Christ was calling me to be one of his. "
Hezuk emphasizes that religion is a very personal choice, which must take place between the individual and God "Love of family and tradition are very important - he adds - but love of God must always come first. Christ calls me to follow him completely, even if this means a division between me and my father. When you fall in love with Christ, He takes full possession of your heart. And I've never been as happy as now. ",-the-young-Indian-Zoroastrian-converted-by-the-beauty-of-the-Eucharist-19118.html


Former deputy Prime Minister and Australian ambassador to The Vatican, Tim Fischer, will quit the role after his three-year term, he said during a visit to the South Australian town of Penola.

"I want to return home and to my family farm and slow down," Mr Fischer, who was deputy prime minister in the Howard government from 1996 to 1999, told The Australian. He was appointed ambassador to the Holy See in 2008.
Mr Fischer was in Penola to check on local preparations for October's canonisation of Mary MacKillop and thank the region's winemakers for donating 117 cases of wine for celebrations in Rome.
He also presented an official Vatican flag to the Mary MacKillop Interpretive Centre and inspected the fallout from a weekend tornado that damaged a skylight at the centre and the roof of the old school house where MacKillop taught, the report adds.


Agenzia Fides REPORT– The Congolese bishops have welcomed the American Congress' adoption of a legislation to create an honest management in the marketing of minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is what was affirmed yesterday, August 2, by Bishop Nicholas Djomo of Tshumbe, President of the Congolese Bishops' Conference, at a press conference convened to explain the Catholic Church's stance on the new U.S. law that requires American companies to disclose what procedures they will take to ensure that their products do not contain the so-called “conflict minerals,” or minerals sold on the international market by guerrilla groups that have been sowing death and destruction in eastern DRC for 15 years (see Fides 03/08/2010).

"For 10 years, the Bishops' Conference of Congo (Episcopal Conférence Nationale du Congo - CENCO) has been paying particular attention to the problem of exploitation of natural resources of the DRC," said Bishop Djomo in a statement delivered to the press. "It is mainly from the analysis of the causes of the repeated conflicts that CENC has felt obliged to speak out, to highlight the links between the exploitation of natural resources, armed conflict, violations of human rights, the displacement of entire populations, the accentuation of poverty and misery, and environmental destruction. "

"We wish to thank the American government, the House of Representatives and the Senate, for having adopted the statutory provision relating to the exploitation of DRC's natural resources, especially minerals that fuel conflicts in eastern DRC and the Great Lakes Region," writes the President of the CENCO. "This is a clear sign of solidarity on the part of the American people with the Congolese people. We also thank all those who in one way or another supported the adoption of this law - in particular, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). We are also happy that our government has warmly welcomed the adoption of this law."
To ensure that this legislation will help restore peace in the DRC, Bishop Djomo says more efforts are needed in strengthening the democratic process and good governance, strengthening of the legal economy, working for peace and reconciliation, creation of a legal framework to reinvigorate the judicial system, and encouragement of citizens to engage in public life.


St. John Vianney

Information: Feast Day: August 4
Born: May 8, 1786, Dardilly, France
Died: August 4, 1859, Ars-sur-Formans, France
Canonized: 1925, Rome by Pope Pius XI

Major Shrine: Shrine of St. John Vianney; Ars-sur-Formans, France

Patron of: parish priests; confessors
Curé of Ars, born at Dardilly, near Lyons, France, on 8 May, 1786; died at Ars, 4 August, 1859; son of Matthieu Vianney and Marie Beluze."
In 1806, the curé at Ecully, M. Balley, opened a school for ecclesiastical students, and Jean-Marie was sent to him. Though he was of average intelligence and his masters never seem to have doubted his vocation, his knowledge was extremely limited, being confined to a little arithmetic, history, and geography, and he found learning, especially the study of Latin, excessively difficult. One of his fellow-students, Matthias Loras, afterwards first Bishop of Dubuque, assisted him with his Latin lessons.
But now another obstacle presented itself. Young Vianney was drawn in the conscription, the war with Spain and the urgent need of recruits having caused Napoleon to withdraw the exemption enjoyed by the ecclesiastical students in the diocese of his uncle, Cardinal Fesch. Matthieu Vianney tried unsuccessfully to procure a substitute, so his son was obliged to go. His regiment soon received marching orders. The morning of departure, Jean-Baptiste went to church to pray, and on his return to the barracks found that his comrades had already left. He was threatened with arrest, but the recruiting captain believed his story and sent him after the troops. At nightfall he met a young man who volunteered to guide him to his fellow-soldiers, but led him to Noes, where some deserters had gathered. The mayor persuaded him to remain there, under an assumed name, as schoolmaster. After fourteen months, he was able to communicate with his family. His father was vexed to know that he was a deserter and ordered him to surrender but the matter was settled by his younger brother offering to serve in his stead and being accepted.
Jean-Baptiste now resumed his studies at Ecully. In 1812, he was sent to the seminary at Verrieres; he was so deficient in Latin as to be obliged to follow the philosophy course in French. He failed to pass the examinations for entrance to the seminary proper, but on re-examination three months later succeeded. On 13 August, 1815, he was ordained priest by Mgr. Simon, Bishop of Grenoble. His difficulties in making the preparatory studies seem to have been due to a lack of mental suppleness in dealing with theory as distinct from practice -- a lack accounted for by the meagreness of his early schooling, the advanced age at which he began to study, the fact that he was not of more than average intelligence, and that he was far advanced in spiritual science and in the practice of virtue long before he came to study it in the abstract. He was sent to Ecully as assistant to M. Balley, who had first recognized and encouraged his vocation, who urged him to persevere when the obstacles in his way seemed insurmountable, who interceded with the examiners when he failed to pass for the higher seminary, and who was his model as well as his preceptor and patron. In 1818, after the death of M. Balley, M. Vianney was made parish priest of Ars, a village not very far from Lyons. It was in the exercise of the functions of the parish priest in this remote French hamlet that as the "curé d'Ars" he became known throughout France and the Christian world. A few years after he went to Ars, he founded a sort of orphanage for destitute girls. It was called "The Providence" and was the model of similar institutions established later all over France. M. Vianney himself instructed the children of "The Providence" in the catechism, and these catechetical instructions came to be so popular that at last they were given every day in the church to large crowds. "The Providence" was the favourite work of the "curé d'Ars", but, although it was successful, it was closed in 1847, because the holy curé thought that he was not justified in maintaining it in the face of the opposition of many good people. Its closing was a very heavy trial to him.
But the chief labour of the Curé d'Ars was the direction of souls. He had not been long at Ars when people began coming to him from other parishes, then from distant places, then from all parts of France, and finally from other countries. As early as 1835, his bishop forbade him to attend the annual retreats of the diocesan clergy because of "the souls awaiting him yonder". During the last ten years of his life, he spent from sixteen to eighteen hours a day in the confessional. His advice was sought by bishops, priests, religious, young men and women in doubt as to their vocation, sinners, persons in all sorts of difficulties and the sick. In 1855, the number of pilgrims had reached twenty thousand a year. The most distinguished persons visited Ars for the purpose of seeing the holy curé and hearing his daily instruction. The Venerable Father Colin was ordained deacon at the same time, and was his life-long friend, while Mother Marie de la Providence founded the Helpers of the Holy Souls on his advice and with his constant encouragement. His direction was characterized by common sense, remarkable insight, and supernatural knowledge. He would sometimes divine sins withheld in an imperfect confession. His instructions were simple in language, full of imagery drawn from daily life and country scenes, but breathing faith and that love of God which was his life principle and which he infused into his audience as much by his manner and appearance as by his words, for, at the last, his voice was almostinaudible.
the miracles recorded by his biographers are of three classes:
* first, the obtaining of money for his charities and food for his orphans;
* secondly, supernatural knowledge of the past and future;
* thirdly, healing the sick, especially children.

The greatest miracle of all was his life. He practised mortification from his early youth. and for forty years his food and sleep were insufficient, humanly speaking, to sustain life. And yet he laboured incessantly, with unfailing humility, gentleness, patience, and cheerfulness, until he was more than seventy-three years old.
On 3 October, 1874 Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney was proclaimed Venerable by Pius IX and on 8 January, 1905, he was enrolled among the Blessed. Pope Pius X proposed him as a model to the parochial clergy.
[Note: In 1925, Pope Pius XI canonized him. His feast is kept on 4 August.]


Matthew 15: 21 - 28

21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.

22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon."

23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying after us."

24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me."

26 And he answered, "It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."

27 She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."

28 Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly.
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