Saturday, March 13, 2010



Good relations with Islam, the commitment to lay formation and the work for justice and peace, were the issues discussed by Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the bishops of Sudan, who are in Rome on their ad limina visit. The Pope stressed the commitment to peace based on justice, accountability, and charity. He said efforts are needed to reduce ethnic tensions, corruption, and indifference. The Holy Father said As heralds of the Gospel, the bishops have sought to instil in their people and in society a sense of responsibility towards present and future generations, encouraging forgiveness, mutual acceptance and respect for commitments taken. He also said the bishops should engage in a dialogue life with Muslims.

Pope Benedict Meets with the Croatian Prime Minister

Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday morning received the Croatian Prime Minister, Jadranka Kosor. A statement from the Holy See Press Office states that during the cordial discussions the two spoke about the situation in the region and the main challenges that lie ahead, as well as the factors which can help to strengthen peace and stability. The long-standing Catholic tradition in Croatia was also highlighted, as well as the importance of respecting this identity and promoting the common good through constructive dialogue between the government and bishops, with the collaboration of all parts of society
NOTE ISSUED BY HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE DIRECTOR VATICAN CITY, 13 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. today issued a note entitled "A clear route through stormy waters". "At the end of a week in which a large part of the attention of the European media has been focused on the question of sexual abuses committed by people in institutions of the Catholic Church, we would like to make three observations: "Firstly, the line being taken by the German Episcopal Conference has shown itself to be the right way to face the problem in its various aspects. The declarations of the president of that conference, Archbishop Zollitsch, following his meeting with the Holy Father, recap the strategy laid down in the conference's recent assembly and reiterate its essential operational aspects: recognition of the truth and help for victims, reinforcement of preventative measures and constructive collaboration with the authorities (including the judicial authorities of State) for the common good of society. Archbishop Zollitsch also unequivocally reiterated the opinion of experts according to whom the question of celibacy should in no way be confused with that of paedophilia. The Holy Father has encouraged the line being followed by the German bishops which - even taking account of the specific context of their own county - may be considered as a useful and inspiring model for other episcopal conferences that find themselves facing similar problems. "Furthermore, an important and wide-ranging interview given by Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, promoter of justice of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gives a detailed explanation of the significance of the specific canonical norms established by the Church over the years to judge the heinous crimes of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy. It is absolutely clear that these norms did not seek, and have not favoured, any kind of cover-up of such crimes; quite the contrary, they initiated intense activities to confront, judge and adequately punish the crimes in the context of ecclesiastical legislation. And it must be remembered that all this was planned and set in motion when Cardinal Ratzinger was prefect of the Congregation. The line he followed was always one of rigour and coherence in dealing with even the most difficult situations. "Finally, the archdiocese of Munich has replied, with a long and detailed communique, to questions concerning the case of a priest who moved from Essen to Munich at the time in which Cardinal Ratzinger was archbishop of that city, a priest who subsequently committed abuses. The communique highlights how the then archbishop was completely unconnected with the decisions in the wake of which the abuses took place. Rather, it is evident that over recent days some people have sought - with considerable persistence, in Regensburg and Munich - elements that could personally involve the Holy Father in questions of abuse. To any objective observer, it is clear that these efforts have failed. "Despite the storm, the Church clearly sees the route she must follow, under the sure and rigorous guidance of the Holy Father. As we have already had occasion to observe, it is our hope that this torment may, in the end, help society as a whole to show ever greater concern for the protection and formation of children and adolescents".OP/SEXUAL ABUSE/LOMBARDI VIS 100313 (560)



Asia News report: Faithful were gathered in prayer when attack occurred. There were four priests, one deacon and 400 parishioners in the building, women and children also targeted. Fundamentalists fury, egged on by the imam, unleashed by the rumour that the Christians are building a new church. In reality it is a hospice.
Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The toll from an attack on the Coptic Christian community that took place yesterday in the north-western province of Mersa Matrouh, Egypt is 25 wounded, including women and children. A crowd of around 3 thousand Muslims attacked the faithful gathered in prayer in a building adjoining the local church. The fundamentalists fury, encouraged by the imam, was sparked by the rumour that the Christians have begun to build a new place of worship.
Around 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon, the Muslims - a group of Bedouins and Salafi fanatics - started throwing stones at a construction site, which they believe in reality will be a new church. Local witnesses reported that security forces present were not sufficient to contain the attack. The police fired tear gas and arrested a dozen people, including Muslims and Christians. Only this morning, reinforcements arrived from Alexandria, thanks to which the Coptic faithful trapped inside the building could return to their homes.
At the moment of the attack the Christian prayer house contained four priests, one deacon and about 400 parishioners. Christians say that the building under construction, in fact, is a nursing home and said they were "terrified" by the latest attack. The local imam Shaikh Khamees intervention during Friday prayers has helped to foment the anger of Muslims. He emphasized the duty to fight against the "enemies" of Islam and stressed that "we do not tolerate the Christian presence in our area."
Reverend Matta Zakarya confirms that this morning there was a summit between the leaders of the local church, state security forces and even some Muslims. "The Coptic are scared - he stresses - especially women and children who were inside the building and witnessed the assault."
In Egypt, the Coptic Christian community is about 10% of the population in a country with an overwhelming Muslim majority, which discriminates against the Christian community. It is the victim of violence, caused by a sharp rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Sometimes the basis of many attacks there are disputes over land ownership and disputes for women, but they soon become sectarian clashes.,-25-injured-17876.html


UCAN report — The Christian community in Karachi is observing a fast today following last month’s attack on two churches and a Christian settlement.
Catholic priests and Protestant pastors had called for a day of fasting to be observed following the Feb. 21 attack on two Protestant churches and Christian houses in the Pahar Ganj area of Karachi.

Damaged cross on the roof of Interdenominational Calvary Church in Karachi
“We do not want to protest or raise the issue again in sermons to invite more unrest,” Father Richard D´Souza, head of St. Jude’s Parish, told UCA News. “But fasting for peace during Lent is necessary for this troubled country.”
On Feb. 21, about 150 armed Muslims raided the Christian settlement. They shot at houses, beat Christians, vandalized vehicles and destroyed shops. Four motorcycles were burnt and two auto rickshaws and several shops destroyed during the two-hour attack.
St. Mary Church of Pakistan and the Interdenominational Calvary Church were also damaged.
Local Christians retaliated by pelting the Muslims with stones until rangers brought the situation under control.
The police arrested five Christians and four Muslims. The arrested Christians were released last week on bail of 15,000 rupees (US$176) each.
According to Aashiq Pervaiz, president of the Calvary Church, all the nine men booked in the case were innocent. Government officials have not visited the site nor have they given compensation for the damage, he said.
Pahar Ganj has nine churches serving 2,500 Catholic and Protestant families.


CNA report: On March 27, local participants will be riding for homeless families in Memphis, Tennessee for the Dorothy Day Family Fun Ride. The Dorothy Day House of Hospitality, a transitional housing ministry that allows homeless families to stay together as a family while they rebuild their lives, is hosting this first annual fundraising event.
"The Dorothy Day Family Fun Ride is a chance for families to have fun together, riding their bikes with other families and/or individual participants at Overton Park, while raising money for this important ministry" said Michael Synk, ride director.
The event will be held on March 27, and will begin at the Levitt Shell, with check in from 9-10 a.m. Riders who register by March 20 will receive a t-shirt and gift bag commemorating the event.
The Peddler Bike Shop will be conducting free safety inspections of bikes and Little Caesars will be providing pizza for the lunch. Other sponsors include Knowledge Tree, Senior Risk, @ Home Computers, Blue Sky Couriers, Fulmer Companies, Strategic Resource Management, master-IT, Boyle Insurance, Corporate IQ, and Mangiante Photography.
"The goal of the bike ride is to raise funds and awareness for this important ministry" said Sister Maureen Griner O.S.U., co-director of the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality. "We've been able to help 13 families stay together and get back on their feet in the past few years. The money raised in this event helps us serve families and keep the lights on."
The Dorothy Day House of Hospitality, accepts intact families with children of all ages. Throughout their stay, families are assisted with educational resources and guidance, parenting skills, employment counseling, prospective job contacts, transportation assistance, referrals for child care, financial and budgeting advice, personal counseling, advocacy and mentoring, and access to sources of permanent housing.
For more information, visit: or


Catholic Herald report: The Catholic Church, much like the old HSBC adverts used to proclaim, is at once local and global, at once personal and universal, and the newly created Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed) draws upon this aspect of the Church’s nature. “How many young people do you come into contact with or work with?”asks Fr Dominic Howarth on stage. And the answers tumble out of the crowd. Some work with two youngsters, some are in contact with five, while others shout hundreds, even thousands. Many are young themselves – members of the millennial generation, roughly comprising those born between 1981 and 1999 – and are the subject of today’s CYMFed congress.Fr Howarth, the chairman of CYMFed, does the calculation from his vantage point on the stage. If there are 1,000 people in the lecture theatre at the Friends House near London’s Euston station, and every person in the room is in touch with an average of 100 young people, he reckons, then 100,000 millennials are already in contact with the Church. Established to replace the old Catholic Youth Services office, run from Eccleston Square as a department of the bishops’ conference, CYMFed draws on the American National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) for inspiration. The American organisation was founded in the early 1980s and aimed to support and develop youth ministry work on a national, diocesan and parish level, to educate adults involved in youth ministry and draw on the experience of those already engaged in it. At the moment CYMFed consists of approximately 40 members, predominantly diocesan youth ministry directors. Other members belong to movements and religious orders. They will meet three times a year, though the board will meet more regularly, and they hope to organise more congresses for those working in youth ministry like the one themed “We place our hope in the living God” taking place today.Fr Howarth says: “Twenty-five years ago a similar thing happened in the United States, which brought together people who were working in the area of youth ministry. It’s very different from the old Catholic Youth Service which consisted of one and a half people. Now we have a forum for people working in the same field where they can share their experiences. This is drawing on the grassroots.”Catholic youth ministry varies from diocese to diocese – with some more engaged in youth work than others – and one of the hopes Fr Howarth has for CYMFed is that it will reach out to those working on a diocesan and parish level, help them with ideas and resources as well as drawing from them, and offer a renaissance in youth ministry.After the opening liturgy – an acted contemporary rendition of the Song of Songs and praise songs – Bob and Maggie McCarty, the event’s first speakers, get up to speak. The husband and wife team’s presence is a nod at the federation’s American inspiration. Bob, a short man with a perfect side parting and a serious looking suit, is the executive director of the NFCYM in the states. Maggie sports a fringed bob, a formal red jacket and a big smile. Both have been involved in youth ministry since the 1970s, in a voluntary, academic and professional capacity. The McCartys have been helping the founders of CYMFed turn the concept into a reality from its beginnings 18 months ago.Bob and Maggie address the problems posed by “the post-modern world”, its effects on religion and Catholicism’s declining appeal in the West, especially among the young. They identify a trend towards privatised religion, a search for spirituality divorced from religion and a marked increase in religious individualism. Moralistic therapeutic deism – the phrase of the moment in American youth ministry – has infiltrated the major denominations and replaced conventional notions of religion. The phenomenon, which treats God like a “cosmic therapist and a divine butler, is the default position for adolescent religiosity when the community’s engagement and education is weak”, says Bob. This is a creator-god who wants people “to be good and fair”; “the goal of life is to be happy and feel good”, and people should call on God when there is a problem. Jesus is missing from the equation, say the McCartys, and the Cross and the Incarnation are lost. Catholicism offers the answers because of its nature as a communal religion and its sacramental imagination, according to the McCartys. Young Catholics, they say, have a hunger for meaning and purpose. Youth ministers need to be storytellers and witnesses, re-telling Catholicism as a spiritual path and presenting the “Jesus experience”, offering the “sacramental community” and showing the young that Christ offers “liberation and justice” and frees them from personal and social superficialities. For the McCartys, the answer lies in an EPIC Church. The acronym stands for an experiential, participative, image-driven and connected Church. Next up is a new study entitled “Mapping the Terrain”, which looks at the attitudes of young people who self-identify as Catholic or are in Catholic schools. The data was drawn from 1,000 young people between the ages of 11 and 25. While the stats are hardly surprising – fewer than one in five thought that going to Mass regularly was important for them personally – they offer a clear picture of the religious landscape that youth ministry has to work with. Only 35 per cent of self-identifying young Catholics had an orthodox belief in God and seven per cent did not believe in God at all. Fifty-four per cent of the group attended Mass on a regular basis, of which 37 per cent went monthly or more often. The study also identified an age-related drop-off, which showed a stronger commitment to orthodox beliefs between the ages of 11 to 14 than in the ages of 15 to 19, with another drop in the early 20s. In the summary of the study, the researchers – Danny Curtin, Matthew van Duyvenbode and Avril Baigent – suggest that young people struggle with their faith at an earlier juncture and wonder whether their questions about the faith are being answered. Instead of a deepening of faith in the late teens and early 20s, they saw a further dilution of Catholicism, while the young people continued to hold adolescent religious opinions. Alongside the data the researchers identified different types of young Catholics, who held a range of varying views and beliefs about Catholicism. Abbot Christopher Jamison of Worth Abbey presents the data with Mr Curtin and Mr van Duyvenbode. He says the research challenges the Church to make contact with these different types of Catholics in local communities. “But,” he says, “making sure we are in touch with those who still have even a limited sense of Catholic belonging is only the first stage. We also want to help young people to move to a deeper sense of the Church.”Some people are good at reaching out to “where the young are standing, to stand alongside them, accepting them and encouraging their sense of belonging, even if it is confused and contradictory”, he says, but that they sometimes lose the ability to challenge the young to move and change. One youth ministry worker I talk to tells me that in his parish it is very difficult to talk to young people about the Church as community and family because they often come from broken homes and have no sense of what those words actually mean. Sometimes their first experience of that is with the youth group. Between talks I look around. There are religious sisters in the crowd and the Jesuit volunteers are manning a stall, as is Cafod. A lone Franciscan queues for a coffee alongside secular priests in clericals and the guys from the Radical Statistics conference which is going on next door. Youth 2000 is represented, as are the Young Christian workers. Part of me wonders why the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, whose work with the young is tremendous, aren’t listed as members, or the Neocatechumenate, but Fr Howarth explains that this was not an intentional exclusion. I get chatting to a girl in her early 20s, who is not involved in youth ministry ­– though she was an altar server in her parish and involved in her parish. I ask her what she thinks of the congress so far. She says that she thinks it’s good that the congress has identified the problems but wonders whether it is going into their causes deeply enough. From her experiences of the youth group in her parish, especially when she was preparing for Confirmation, she wishes there had been a stronger emphasis on catechesis and teaching the faith.“After all,” she says, laughing, “how can you have real opinions about something you know nothing about? I think many of the others in my class would have been able to make a real decision about their faith if they’d actually known what it was.”Fr Timothy Radcliffe, the former Master of the Dominicans, gets up to speak about the Eucharist. For both he and Abbot Jamison, the core of youth ministry is space and silence; giving young people the space they need and the silence to pray and meditate, to be with God. He holds the audience enthralled as he talks about his experiences in Africa and jokes about his brief stint as a chaplain. But he constantly returns to the Eucharist and the need for Eucharistic adoration and prayer. He finishes his speech to thunderous applause. Fr Radcliffe has captured the crowd’s imagination.After his speech there is a panel which comprises the day’s speakers and Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster. They take questions from the crowd. Archbishop Nichols closes the event with a speech and a Hail Mary, before the closing liturgy. A rousing rendition of “Amazing Grace” rounds off the evening.
Cath News report: ConnectCare, a software project that helps people in aged care facilities stay connected to their families and their communities, has been honoured at the national telecommunications industry awards.
The project, an initiative of Church Resources, won the broadband excellence award for introducing software as a service technology into the not-for-profit, aged care sector at the annual Australian Telecommunications User Group (ATUG) event in Sydney.
With six industry partners, Church Resources used high speed broadband and wireless and video conferencing technologies to create a unique way for the aged care sector to manage residents' records, and their clinical management and relationships with the patients' medical practitioners.
A Virtual Visiting program also has helped reconnect elderly residents to distant family members and friends by introducing them to video conferencing. Virtual Visiting has been piloted in three sites at Sawtell and Macksville in NSW and Caloundra on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
Church Resources CEO, Luke Kenny, said that the award recognised that while broadband and technology could not solve all the challenges in the aged care sector, they went a long way to helping health care professionals increase quality of care as well as quality of life for residents.
"In a sector where costs are spiralling, and the pressures on the facilities growing daily, this technology can bring economies of scale to the organisations, and in that way, frees more capital for their core mission - the care of our aged Australians," he said.


St. Euphrasia
Feast: March 13
Feast Day:
March 13

Virgin, b. in 380; d. after 410. She was the daughter of Antigonus, a senator ofConstantinople, and a relation of Emperor Theodosius. Her father died shortly after her birth, and her mother, also Euphrasia, devoted her life thenceforth exclusively to the service of God.
To carry out this ideal she abandoned the capital, and, with her seven-year-old daughter, repaired to Egypt, where she dwelt on one of her estates, near a convent, and adopted the nuns' austere mode of life. This example aroused in her daughter the desire to enter the convent, and her mother gave her into the care of the superior, that she might be trained in the ascetic life.
After her mother's death she declined an offer of marriage made, by the EmperorTheodosius, on behalf of a senator's son, transferred to the emperor her entire fortune, to be used for charitable purposes, and took up, with a holy ardour, the rigorous practices of Christian perfection. She was about thirty when she died. Her feast is celebrated in the Greek Church on 25 July, and in the Latin Church on 13 March. She is mentioned by St. John Damascene, in his third "Oratio de imaginibus".

Sts. Roderic and Salomon
Feast: March 13
Feast Day:
March 13
9th century southern Spain

Roderic, also called Rudericus and Rodrigo, was a priest at Cabra who was assaulted by his two brothers, one a Muslim and the other a lapsed Catholic. He was denounced by the Muslim brother and imprisoned for falling away from the Islamic faith. Roderic proclaimed that he had always been a Christian but was charged with apostasy. In prison, he met Salomon, a man under the same charge. They were beheaded at Cordoba after a long period of imprisonment.

Luke 18: 9 - 14
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others:
"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, `God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.'
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me a sinner!'
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."