Friday, March 5, 2010




(VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received bishops from the Uganda Episcopal Conference, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. Before beginning his remarks to them, the Holy Father mentioned the recent landslides in the Bududa region of the country, saying "I offer prayers to Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, that He may grant eternal rest to the souls of the deceased, and give strength and hope to all who are suffering the consequences of this tragic event". He then turned his attention to the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, held last autumn. It was, he said, "memorable in its call for renewed efforts in the service of a more profound evangelisation of your continent. The power of the word of God and the knowledge and love of Jesus cannot but transform people's lives by changing for the better the way they think and act. "In the light of the Gospel message", he added, "you are aware of the need to encourage the Catholics of Uganda to appreciate fully the Sacrament of marriage in its unity and indissolubility, and the sacred right to life. I urge you to help them, priests as well as the lay faithful, to resist the seduction of a materialistic culture of individualism which has taken root in so many countries. Continue to call for lasting peace based on justice, generosity towards those in need and a spirit of dialogue and reconciliation". And he continued his English-language remarks to the prelates: "While promoting true ecumenism, be especially close to those who are more vulnerable to the advances of sects. Guide them to reject superficial sentiments and a preaching that would empty the cross of Christ of its power; in this way you will continue, as responsible pastors, to keep them and their children faithful to the Church of Christ. ... Continue to sustain all who with generous hearts assist displaced persons and orphans from war-torn areas. Encourage those who care for people afflicted by poverty, AIDS and other diseases, teaching them to see in those whom they serve the suffering face of Jesus. "Renewed evangelisation gives rise in turn to a deeper Catholic culture which takes root in the family", said the Pope, noting how the bishops' reports show that "programmes of education in parishes, schools and associations, and your own interventions on topics of common interest, are spreading a stronger Catholic culture. Great good can come from well-prepared lay people who are active in the media, in politics and culture", he explained, highlighting how such people need to be well versed in Catholic social doctrine. "Bishops, as the first agents of evangelisation, are called to bear clear witness to the practical solidarity born of our communion in Christ. In a spirit of Christian charity dioceses that enjoy more resources, both materially and spiritually, should assist those that have less. At the same time, all communities have a duty to strive for self-sufficiency. It is important that your people develop a sense of responsibility towards themselves, their community and their Church, and become more deeply imbued with a Catholic spirit of sensitivity to the needs of the universal Church". The Holy Father concluded: "Your priests, as committed ministers of evangelisation, already benefit greatly from your fatherly concern and guidance. In this Year for Priests ... exhort them to prayer and vigilance, especially with regard to self-centred, worldly or political ambitions, or excessive attachment to family or ethnic group. Continue promoting vocations, providing for due discernment of candidates and for their proper motivation and formation. ... Priests and religious require constant support in their lives of celibacy and consecrated virginity. By your own example, teach them of the beauty of this way of life, of the spiritual fatherhood and motherhood with which they can enrich and deepen the love of the faithful for the Creator and Giver of all good gifts".AL/.../UGANDA VIS 100305 (670)

LENTEN SERMONS IN THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY FATHER VATICAN CITY, 5 MAR 2010 (VIS) - In the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace at 9 a.m. today, in the presence of the Holy Father, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap., preacher of the Pontifical Household, delivered the first Lenten sermon. The theme of his meditations this year is: "Dispensers of the Mysteries of God: priests, ministers of the Word and the Sacraments". This year's Lenten meditations will continue to explore the episcopal and priestly ministries in the context of the current Year for Priests. Particular attention will be given to the following aspects: the person of Jesus Christ, heart of the Christian message; announcing what we live and living what we announce; how to live and help others to live the Eucharistic mystery; towards a renewal of the Catholic priesthood in the Holy Spirit. The next two sermons will be given on the Friday 12 and Friday 26 March. No sermon will be given on 19 March..../LENTEN SERMONS/CANTALAMESSA VIS 100305 (170)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 5 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences seven prelates from the Uganda Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Robert Muhiirwa of Fort Portal, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Mugenyi Sabiiti and by Bishop emeritus Paul L. Kalanda. - Bishop Callistus Rubaramira of Kabale. - Bishop Egidio Nkaijanabwo of Kasese. - Archbishop Denis Kiwanuka Tote of Tororo, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Charles Martin Wamika.AL/.../... VIS 100305 (80)


CNA report:
Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz of Santiago is urging the faithful of Chile to unite in prayer each day at 7 p.m. local time to remember the victims of the country's recent earthquake, and to thank God for the gift of life.
The prayer campaign began on March 2 at 7 p.m. when the bells of the Cathedral of Santiago rang as a sign of unity and hope in response to the tragedy Chile is experiencing because of last Saturday's earthquake.
In a statement, the Archdiocese of Santiago asked all the churches within the archdiocese to ring their bells each day at 7 p.m. “to remind us that there are people in need who await our prayers and solidarity.”
Cardinal Errazuriz also encouraged the Chilean people by emphasizing the greatness of their country. “God has given us a country like very few that is beautiful and abundant in its own natural resources. We are proud to be Chileans and we have opted to continue living in our homeland.”
The cardinal also thanked God for the survivors. “After the terrible catastrophe, we thank God with all our hearts for not losing the gift of life,” he said. As long as our loved ones are alive, “the things we have lost are of little importance. If they have died, we are filled with sadness but also hope,” he concluded.


Asia News report;
The arrests come on the last day of the “long march,” launched to defend the rights of Christian “outcastes”. Despite the disturbances, a public meeting scheduled for tonight in Chennai is still to go ahead. Catholic priest says arrests show how people involved in “legitimate democratic struggles” are treated. Chennai (AsiaNews) – Indian police today arrested Christian bishops, priests, nuns and ordinary Catholics, and released them after four hours. Mgr Anthonisamy Neethinathan, bishop of Chinglepet, Malayappan Chinnappa, archbishop of Madras-Mylapore, and Mgr Peter Fernando, archbishop of Madurai, were among those taken into custody. All of them took part in a march for equal rights for Christian Dalits. Fr G. Cosmon Arokiaraj, member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), talked to AsiaNews about the incident, slamming the State (Tamil Nadu) and Union governments for treating this way people involved in “legitimate democratic struggles.”
The arrests came at the end of a “long march”, a month-long march that set off from Kanyakumari to Chennai, in the State of Tamil Nadu, in southeast India, drawing thousands of Catholics. Its purpose was to raise awareness amongst the population and the authorities over the discrimination still practiced vis-à-vis Christian Dalits or outcastes.
Despite the disturbances, a public meeting will still go ahead at Mangkollai, in Chennai. It had been scheduled to conclude the demonstration, but was cancelled after prelates and faithful were arrested. Some 15,000 people are expected to be present at the event.
Tonight, at 7 pm (local time) a private meeting is also scheduled between the bishops and other arrested Catholic leaders and the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.
Fr G Cosmon Arokiaraj, executive secretary of the CBCI Commission for Schedule Caste and Backward Tribe, described to AsiaNews what happened.
“Around 12.30 today, Mgr Neethinathan and 500 faithful wanted to join the march. When they reached Guindy, a Chennai neighbourhood, police stopped them and prevented them from going any further. It then proceeded to arrest them.”
Earlier in the morning, at around 11.30, the other two prelates tried to meet the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. However, the latter said that he was not prepared to meet Catholic leaders.
When they learnt about the arrest of the bishop of Chinglepet, “Mgr Chinnappa and Mgr. Peter Fernando went to the area of the incident, near St Thomas Mount, and were promptly arrested as well.”
The priest slammed the bishops’ arrest as well as that of the faithful. “This is how the State and Union governments respond to those who undertake legitimate democratic struggles.” For this reason, he called on all Christians "to awake and respond to state repression.”


CNA report:
The Italan Bishops' Conference has announced their support, both financially and through prayer, to assist Chile after the devastating earthquake last weekend.
In a note posted on the Italian Bishops' Conference (CEI) website, the bishops expressed the "closeness" of the Italian Church to the victims of last Saturday's disaster, which killed 279 people, according to the official government count.
They also invited the Church to pray for those affected and to support the "initiatives of solidarity" being taken by Caritas Italy, which pledged 100,000 euros for immediate aid on Tuesday.
The CEI announced that to "face first emergencies and the essential needs of the people struck by the earthquake" it has allocated the use of one million euros to Church-based relief assistance for Chile. The sum, they indicated, comes from the "eight per thousand" program, which gives the bishops' conference 0.8 percent of the taxes paid to the Italian government by those who wish to contribute to the Church.
According to the CEI, its Committee for Charitable Interventions in the Third World will oversee the distribution of funds, responding to requests for assistance to directly support projects in the local Chilean Church.
Three days of national mourning have been called for by Chilean president Michelle Bachelet beginning this coming Sunday.


Cath News report:
Good Shepherd Mission & Justice and the Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans are launching a Fairtrade Easter Chocolate campaign to stop child trafficking into West African cocoa plantations.
This campaign will also send a message to chocolate producers who do not use Fairtrade chocolate, the organisations said in a media statement.
Cocoa, which comes from the cocoa bean, is one of the main ingredients used to make chocolate and about 40 percent of the world's chocolate is made from cocoa grown in West Africa. Tens of thousands of children are forced to work on these plantations as slaves and many are trafficked from nearby poor countries, it said.
"When most people think of slavery, they think of it as part of our history rather than our present. But slavery continues today. Good Shepherd and ACRATH are part of a worldwide campaign to end the trafficking of humans, particularly the slave trade of young people who are sold to cocoa farmers in Cote d'Ivoire, Africa," said Roberto Morales from Good Shepherd Mission & Justice .
"We hope that more and more people will use their money to buy Fairtrade chocolate at Easter, and support those chocolate manufacturers who have gone Fairtrade. Supporting Fairtrade ensures cocoa farmers get two things - a fair price for their crop, and a premium for their community to spend on a community project," Mr Morales said.


CISA report:
As calls continue to grow for the constitution to be followed strictly in resolving the leadership crisis in the country and the sudden return of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) yesterday at the end of their plenary conference in Abuja called on the Presidency and the National Assembly to restore the country to the path of constitutional leadership and stop assaulting the psyche of Nigerians.The Catholic clergy, in a communiqué signed by the President Rev Felix Alaba-Job, Secretary, Rev. Adewale Martins and read by the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Rev Calistus Onaga said, "for over three, months, we have been faced with a crisis of leadership that is rooted in unwillingness to be truthful in handling issues of governance.News reports say President Umaru Yar'Adua is back in the country, we thank God and we pray for his continued recovery. But in the meantime, the nation should be promptly restored to the path of stability and progress under a clear constitutional leadership, we pray for the acting President and Commander-in-Chief, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, who now oversees the affairs of our nation".The group also deplored the manner in which the president was taken back with his whereabouts shrouded in secrecy. Part of the communiqué read as follow: "Government and its functionaries should not be seen as working very hard to show that they cannot be trusted; we deplore the contempt with which Nigerians have been repeatedly denied knowledge of his whereabouts and the true state of his health.The immorality of dishonesty undermines the authority of government; they also violate the rights of the citizens to good governance."While praising the conduct of the February 6th Anambra State governorship elections, the bishops maintained that, "the fact that we are a young democracy is no excuse a flawed electoral process, we must exercise a collective will to organise elections we can be proud of.We call on political parties, the electoral commission and its officials, the police and the electorates to work together so that ours can be a democracy in name and in fact, we also call on the National Assembly to expedite action in making effective laws for the reform of our electoral system".Onaga, who read the communiqué went further to state that, "while we commend government for the amnesty process which has brought relative peace to the Niger-Delta, we insist that post-amnesty programmes must be faithfully implemented".While appraising the performance of the Nigerian Church, the bishops said from 1950 when Pope Pius XII declared the Catholic Church in Nigeria a local church, without any indigenous bishop, today, it boast 64 indigenous bishops with only 2 non-Nigerians. The church, according to the bishops has grown beyond bounds where it exports missionaries to other nations in need of evangelism.


St. John Joseph of the Cross
Feast: March 5
Feast Day:
March 5
August 15, 1654, Ischia
March 5, 1739
1839, Rome by Pope Gregory XVI
Patron of:

Born on the Island of Ischia, Southern Italy, 1654; d. 5 March, 1739. From his earliest years he was given to prayer and virtue. So great was his love of poverty that he would always wear the dress of the poor, though he was of noble birth. At the age of sixteen years he entered the Order of St. Francis at naples, amongst the Friars of the Alcantarine Reform, being the first Italian to join this reform which had been instituted in Spain by St. Peter of Alcantara. Throughout his life he was given to the greatest austerity: he fasted constantly, never drank wine, and slept but three hours each night. In 1674 he was sent to found a friary at Afila, in Piedmont; and he assisted with his own hands in the building. Much against his will, he was raised to the priesthood. As superior, he always insisted upon performing the lowliest offices in the community. In 1702 he was appointed Vicar Provincial of the Alcantarine Reform in Italy. He was favoured in a high degree with the gift of miracles, people of every condition being brought to him in sickness. His zeal for souls was such that even in sickness he would not spare any labour for them. His great devotion was to our Blessed Lady, and he was urgent with his penitents that they also should cultivate this. He was beatified in 1789, and canonized in 1839.


Matthew 21: 33 - 43, 45 - 46
"Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country.
When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit;
and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another.
Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them.
Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.'
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.'
And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?"
They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons."
Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: `The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it."
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them.
But when they tried to arrest him, they feared the multitudes, because they held him to be a prophet.