Sunday, March 21, 2010




(VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father received prelates from the Conference of Bishops of Burkina Faso and Niger, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. Talking about the results of evangelisation in their countries, the Pope encouraged the prelates to "new missionary efforts that will stimulate your communities fully to accept the evangelical message and faithfully to put into effect. Faith needs to consolidate its roots to ensure there is no return to certain ancient practices that may be incompatible with following Christ, and to resist the lure of a world sometimes hostile to the evangelical ideal". In this context, he praised "the efforts that have been made over many years towards a healthy inculturation of the faith". Benedict XVI likewise expressed his satisfaction at the efforts being made by the Church in the dioceses of Burkina Faso and Niger "in their struggle against the evils that prevent people achieving authentic development". He also mentioned last September's floods in the region, noting how "they were an occasion to promote solidarity with everyone". And he went on: "This solidarity, rooted in the love of God, must be a permanent commitment of the ecclesial community. Your faithful have also demonstrated their generosity towards the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti", he said. Referring then to the Year for Priests, the Pope noted how it is helping "to highlight the greatness of the priesthood and to promote interior renewal in the life of the clergy, that their ministry may become increasingly intense and fruitful". In this context he also identified the need "to ensure priests have a solid formation, not only as they prepare for ordination, but also throughout their ministry. It is vital that a priest should have time to intensify his own priestly life, so as to avoid the danger of sliding into activism. May the example of St. John Mary Vianney arouse in your priests' hearts ... a renewed awareness of their total gift of self to Christ and the Church", and lead to "numerous priestly vocations". Catechists, said the Holy Father, "are the indispensable collaborators of priests as they announce the Gospel", and he encouraged them in their work of evangelisation, at the same time highlighting the fact that the lay faithful have need of formation in order "to take responsibility in the Church and in society, and to become true witnesses of the Gospel". He also invited the prelates to pay particular attention to outstanding figures in the political and intellectual life of their two countries, "who often have to face ideologies opposed to Christian conception of human beings and society". "Enable young people", Pope Benedict told the bishops, "to have the joy of meeting with Christ. Strengthening school and university chaplaincies will help them to find in Him a light capable of guiding them throughout their lives, and of giving them a true sense of human love". The Holy Father concluded by referring to the "generally positive situation of inter-religious relations" and expressed the hope that "the ties that bind Christians and Muslims may continue to be consolidated, so as to favour the progress of peace, justice and the common good, rejecting any temptation to violence and intolerance".AL/.../BURKINA FASO:NIGER VIS 100322 (560)

MEETING OF COMMISSION FOR CATHOLIC CHURCH IN CHINA VATICAN CITY, 20 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today: "The commission established by Benedict XVI in 2007 to study questions of importance concerning the life of the Catholic Church in China will meet in the Vatican from 22 to 24 March. Said commission includes superiors of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia with responsibility in this area, as well as certain representatives of the Chinese episcopate and of religious congregations. "The first plenary meeting, which took place from 10 to 12 March 2008, had as its theme the Letter the Holy Father Benedict XVI addressed to Chinese Catholics on 27 May 2007. The meeting considered how that pontifical document was received, both inside and outside China. Participants also reflected upon the theological principles that inspired the Letter in order to understand the prospects arising therefrom for the Catholic community in China. "The second plenary meeting, which took place from 30 March to 1 April 2009 examined the question of the human, spiritual and pastoral formation of seminarians and consecrated people, as well as the permanent formation of priests. "This plenary meeting will continue to study the abovementioned question of formation so that in China, as in the rest of the world, the work of priests and consecrated persons may help the Church to incarnate and bear witness to the Gospel, also in the face of the challenges arising from changes in social and cultural circumstances".OP/COMMISSION CHURCH CHINA/... VIS 100322 (260)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 20 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Dominic Kimengich, vicar of the diocesan tribunal of Nakuru, Kenya, as auxiliary of the diocese of Lodwar (area 77,000, population 540,000, Catholics 69,145, priests 49, religious 95), Kenya. The bishop-elect was born in Kituro, Kenya in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1986. On Friday 19 March it was made public that he: - Appointed Fr. Vilson Basso S.C.J., formator of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Caygayan de Oro City, Philippines, as bishop of Caxias do Maranhao (area 34,449, population 762,450, Catholics 735,220, priests 29, permanent deacons 2, religious 47), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Cinquentenario Tuparendi, Brazil in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1985. He succeeds Bishop Luis D'Andrea O.F.M. Cap., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Conferred the title of archbishop "ad personam" on Bishop Joan Enric Vives Sicilia of Urgell, Spain, co-prince of Andorra.NER:RE:NA/.../BASSO:D'ANDREA:VIVES VIS 100322 (180)

ANGELUS: THE GREATEST JUSTICE IS THE JUSTICE OF LOVE VATICAN CITY, 21 MAR 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, the fifth Sunday of Lent, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Pope commented on the Gospel reading from today's liturgy, St. John's narrative of how Jesus saved the adulteress from being stoned to death. "It is", he said, "a very dramatic scene. A person's life, and Jesus' own life too, depend on the words He uses. Indeed, the hypocritical accusers pretend to entrust judgement to Him when, in fact, it is precisely Him they want to accuse and to judge". Yet, "He knows what is in the heart of each man, He wants to condemn sin, but to save the sinner and unmask hypocrisy". The Evangelist, Benedict XVI went on, "highlights a particular detail: while the accusers insistently question Him, Jesus bends down and writes with His finger in the dust. St. Augustine noted how this gesture shows Christ as the divine lawmaker, for God wrote the Law with His finger on the tablets of stone. Thus Jesus is the Lawmaker, He is Justice personified. And what sentence does He give? 'Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her'. These words are full of the disarming power of truth, which breaks down the wall of hypocrisy and opens people's minds to a greater justice, that of love". "By absolving the woman of her sin, Jesus introduces her to a new life, one oriented towards goodness: 'Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again'. ... God only wants goodness and life for us. He provides for the health of our souls through His ministers, freeing us from evil with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, that no-one may be lost and everyone may find the way to conversion. "In this Year for Priests", the Pope added, "I wish to encourage pastors to imitate the saintly Cure of Ars in the ministry of sacramental Forgiveness, that the faithful may rediscover its meaning and beauty, and be healed by the love of the merciful God, Who 'even forces himself to forget sin, so that He can grant us His forgiveness'". After the Angelus prayer, the Pope recalled how next Sunday, Palm Sunday, will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first World Youth Day, an initiative of John Paul II. "For this reason", he said, "at 7 p.m. this Thursday in St. Peter's Square I hope to see many young people of Rome and Lazio for a special festive celebration".ANG/HYPOCRISY FORGIVENESS/... VIS 100322 (450)

HOLY WEEK CELEBRATIONS TO BE PRESIDED BY THE POPE VATICAN CITY, 22 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today published the calendar of ceremonies to be presided by Benedict XVI during Holy Week. - Sunday 28 March: Palm Sunday and Our Lord's Passion; 25th World Youth Day on the theme: "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?". At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, blessing of palms, procession and Mass. - Thursday 1 April: Holy Thursday. At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, Chrism Mass. At 5.30 p.m. in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, beginning of Easter Triduum of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection with the Mass of Our Lord's Last Supper. Collection to be donated for the reconstruction of the seminary in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. - Friday 2 April: Good Friday. At 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, celebration of the Passion of Our Lord. Way of the Cross at the Colosseum at 9.15 p.m. - Saturday 3 April: Easter Saturday. At 9 p.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, beginning of Easter Vigil. - Sunday 4 April: Easter Sunday. At 10.15 a.m., Mass in St. Peter's Square. At midday, "Urbi et Orbi" blessing from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica.OCL/HOLY WEEK CELEBRATIONS/... VIS 100322 (220)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 22 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Two prelates of the Conference of Bishops of Burkina Faso and Niger, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Thomas Kabore of Kaya. - Bishop Ambroise Ouedraogo of Maradi. - Three prelates of the Scandinavian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Czeslaw Kozon of Copenhagen. - Bishop Teemu Sippo S.C.I. of Helsinki. - Bishop Pierre Burcher of Reykjavik. On Saturday 20 March, he received in separate audiences: - Five prelates of the Conference of Bishops of Burkina Faso and Niger, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Joseph Sama of Nouna. - Archbishop Seraphin Francois Roumba of Koupela. - Bishop Joachim Ouedraogo of Dori. - Bishop Paul Yembuado Ouedraogo of Fada N'Gourma. - Archbishop Michel Christian Cartateguy S.M.A. of Niamey. - Archbishop Piero Pioppo, apostolic nuncio to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, accompanied by members of his family. - Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa, apostolic nuncio to Angola and to Sao Tome and Principe, accompanied by members of his family. - Archbishop Eugene Martin Nugent, apostolic nuncio to Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles, apostolic delegate to Comoros with functions as apostolic delegate to Reunion, accompanied by members of his family. - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.AL:AP/.../... VIS 100322 (220)



Cath News report:
An English supermarket billionaire has put A$786 million - nearly all of his fortune - into a Catholic trust, to fulfill a promise to God.
Founder of the UK's Kwik Save supermarket chain, Albert Gubay, has put nearly all of his fortune into a trust from which half of all the funds will be spent on projects connected to the Catholic Church, Forbes online reported. The other half will be given away to whomever the trustees deem appropriate.
Gubay, 82, a lifelong Catholic, will keep 10 million pounds ($15 million) to tide him over during his old age. Gubay was born in North Wales to a Jewish Iraqi refugee father and an Irish Catholic mother. The young Mr Gubay cut his entrepreneurial teeth selling sweets, the Daily Mail reports.
He launched the first Kwik Save discount store in 1965, and later, while recovering from a back injury, set up what became the Total Fitness network of gyms.
In a 1997 television documentary, he said: "After the war I came out of the Royal Navy with a demob suit and £80.
"I borrowed £100 and made the pact with God: make me a millionaire - and you can have half of my money."
Mr Gubay, 82, has bettered his promise by giving most of his money away, leaving £10 million for himself. He plans to do more.
"I want to carry on supporting good causes, but my whole focus in the next few years is to work as hard as I can to meet my target of a £1 billion charity. Every penny wasted or lost reduces the pot available to the charity."


UCAN report:
Father Liu Maochun of Mindong diocese, 36, was placed in detention by security officers last Friday, a day after Father John Baptist Luo Wen was released.
They are among seven priests accused of unlawful assembly.
According to Father Luo’s detention statement, he was charged for organizing two faith camps for university students in the name of Mindong’s “underground” Church community, which was banned by the Fu’an city government as an illegal organization in 1992.
The camps, which took place at the Saiqi church from Jan. 28 to Feb. 6, attracted more than 300 Catholic university students. Despite warnings from security officers, the priests and most students proceeded with the activities until the end.
Father Luo was released on March 18 after a 15-day administrative detention in the Fu’an Detention Center.
He told UCA News that he was shut in a 40-square-meter cell that held as many as 21 men who were mostly drug addicts and gamblers.
They shared a long cement bed and some had to sleep on the floor.
While other offenders could receive visitors twice a week, Father Luo said he was deprived of his legal rights.
There was no bathroom and offenders could only wash themselves with cold water in a small courtyard. “Due to the cold and rainy weather, I did not wash during the detention,” said Father Luo.
Two other priests, Fathers Guo Xijin and Miu Yong, have received notices of detention and are expected to be detained for 15 days one after the other.
All seven priests were each fined 500 yuan (US$73).
Fu’an, the base of Mindong’s underground Church community, has been a center of Catholic activities since Spanish Dominican missioners arrived in Fujian province in the 17th century.


CNA report: The theme was “Be Reconciled with the Lord,” and the Men’s Spirituality Conference held March 13 drew more than 1,500 Catholic men of all ages, some even bringing young sons, to Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia on a very stormy Saturday.
It was a full day of instruction, worship and sacramental healing, with 60 priests hearing confessions, culminating with the celebration of the Eucharist by Cardinal Justin Rigali.
This was the second of what is intended to be an annual event. “Last year we had 1,200; that was a strong response,” said Dominic Lombardi, director of the archdiocesan Family Life Office. “This year is even better.”
Cardinal Rigali complimented the throng at his liturgy, telling the men, “each one of you, despite the terrible weather, in your resolution you came here and opened your hearts.”
The Mass readings, those for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, could be summed up in two words, Cardinal Rigali said, they are “mercy and reconciliation.”
The readings culminating with the Gospel parable of the prodigal son were especially fitting for the conference theme of reconciliation. “It is such a magnificent presentation,” Cardinal Rigali said. “Beyond the prodigal son it is the presentation of the merciful Father.”
The day began with prayers offered by Auxiliary Bishop Robert P. Maginnis, who headed the planning committee. It continued with a keynote address by Norristown-born and Phoenixville-raised former Los Angeles Dodgers star Mike Piazza, who is now married with two daughters and living in Florida.
Piazza spoke of his own Catholic upbringing and of later temptations that come with fame and money. He experimented with the lifestyle that goes with stardom, dating the hottest models, living the good life and having fun, but very quickly found it wasn’t fulfilling his real needs.
“I started going to Mass regularly and reading the Bible,” he said. “True power is harnessing power not exploiting it. You have to have faith. Faith is the rudder that keeps us on the straight and narrow.”
Because he was not succumbing to the hedonism that so often goes with fame, he had to contend with printed rumors that he was homosexual, which he attributes to the devil’s response to his trying to live a Christian life.
In spite of his fame, Piazza does not consider himself a better man than anyone else. It doesn’t matter where one’s talents lie, “we are all equal in God’s eyes,” he said. “The real sin is not developing your talents to the fullest. I was an all-star, but that doesn’t me make a better man than you.”
While Piazza was speaking, California lay evangelist Jesse Romero was giving another keynote to Spanish-speaking men. His afternoon reprise in English proved dynamic preaching is dynamic preaching no matter the language.
“The power of confession keeps us humble, it keeps us dependent on the Lord,” he said. “The difference between the believing Christian and the secular humanist is, I worship the triune God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The secular humanist worships an unholy trinity — me, myself and I.”
Other speakers for the day included Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, Father Daniel Mackle, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Philadelphia, Edward Lis, archdiocesan Catholic Social Services’ director of Catholic Mission Integration, Mark Houck, founder of the lay group “The King’s Men,” Augustinian Recollect Father Luis Calderon, businessman Eustace Mita and former Philadelphia Flyer Don Saleski.
Mita, who also served as MC through the day, commented on the success of the conference. “(It is) a great testament to the need and the thirst of men out there to be together in the Lord. People know they are going to get a quality day,” he said.
This is something those in the audience would second.
Joe Griffiths of St. Timothy Parish in Philadelphia observed, “It was excellent and very organized. The guest speakers were so honest and sincere. They really knew what they were talking about, and there were so many ordinary, good people there — it was special.”
Printed with permission from The Catholic Standard & Times, newspaper for the Archdiocese of Philadelpha, Pa.


All Africa report:
The Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) will hold a career day on March 27, 2010 from 9am to 2pm.
The career day is open to all high school leavers, parents, guardians, and sponsors so as to offer them counsel and tips on how to choose the best career path.
The career day will be held simultaneously on March 27, 2010 in all the three CUEA campuses in Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisumu.
The University is holding the career day because after announcement of high school results, parents, guardians, sponsors and the school leavers need assistance for various reasons:
Some Form Four and Six leavers who have excelled in their examinations and obtained grades for university entry need counsel on how to proceed.
Thus the potential university students along with their parents, sponsors and guardians need to be guided on how they choose their programmes based on the youth's career's desire.
Young people often travel abroad for first or even second degrees only due to prestige, parental and even peer pressure. This is due to a lack of information and guidance on how to chart a career path based on the options they embrace after high school.
Some may go to local universities but end up taking courses that are inconsistent with their life's aspirations.
Secondly, young students need guidance on what to undertake in the academic programs at university.
And finally, to offer viable options to parents, guardians, sponsors and school leavers are faced with numerous private and public universities to choose from
It is against this background that CUEA is responding to this societal need to let the public, potential students and parents/sponsors/guardians know what she has to offer.
CUEA is a regional University established by the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) that comprises of eight countries namely Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia.It admits students who meet the entry requirements without any discrimination. The University has introduced a Trimester System with a flexible registration and fees payment mode that works to the benefit of the student.
Admissions for both Undergraduate and Postgraduate shall take place during the first week of May 2010.
The Catholic University of Eastern Africa is an excellent choice for various reasons: Quality academic programmes, undergraduate and postgraduate. Flexible registration of units and credit transfers, flexible payment of fees, numerous co-curricular activities and diversity in culture and religion.
Admission is also open to anyone who qualifies irrespective of gender, race, colour, religion. Partial tuition grants are also offered to needy and bright students after their first year of study at CUEA.

Cath News report: The Archdiocese of Sydney's auxiliary Bishop Julian Porteous has warned that generation Y risks a dangerous fascination with the occult fuelled by the Twilight and Harry Potter series.
"Alternative" relaxation techniques as yoga, reiki massages and tai chi may encourage experimentation with "deep and dark spiritual ideas and traditions", Bishop Porteous was quoted in The Sun-Herald.
The Twilight and Harry Potter books and films "are attractive to adolescents and can be innocent enough.
"However, they can open up a fascination with this mysterious world and invite exploration of various phenomena through the use of occult practices like seances."
Exorcism is no fantasy according to the church, with the Sydney archdiocese last month appointing an as-yet unnamed priest, suitably "endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life" to conduct exorcisms, as required by Catholic canon law.
The report cites David Tacey, associate professor of English at La Trobe University, who said demonic possession was an archaism long discredited by science, psychology and modern theology. Any suggestion that reiki massage, yoga and tai chi could have evil influence were "expressions of Western ignorance about Eastern practices", he said.
"This is an example of how certain voices in the church have no idea about other cultures and religions," Professor Tacey said.
"To argue that only Christianity can rescue people from these supposed 'demonic' forces is a wonderful evangelical trick. The arrogance and ignorance ... is ... transparent, and anyone can see through it as an attempt to recruit people to the failing mainstream religion."

Blessed Clemens August von Galen
Feast: March 22
Feast Day:
March 22
16 March 1878 at Dinklage Castle, Lower Saxony, Germany
22 March 1946 at Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
9 October 2005, Saint Peter's Plaza, Vatican, by Pope Benedict XVI

Clemens August von Galen was born on 16 March 1878 in Dinklage Castle, Oldenburg, Germany, the 11th of 13 children born to Count Ferdinand Heribert and Elisabeth von Spee.
His father belonged to the noble family of Westphalia, who since 1660 governed the village of Dinklage. For over two centuries his ancestors carried out the inherited office of camerlengo of the Diocese of Münster.
Clemens August grew up in Dinklage Castle and in other family seats. Due to the struggle between Church and State, he and his brothers were sent to a school run by the Jesuits in Feldkirch, Austria.
He remained there until 1894, when he transferred to the Antonianum in Vechta. After graduation, he studied philosophy and theology in Frebur, Innsbruck and Münster, and was ordained a priest on 28 May 1904 for the Diocese of Munster by Bishop Hermann Dingelstadt.
John 8: 12 - 20
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
The Pharisees then said to him, "You are bearing witness to yourself; your testimony is not true."
Jesus answered, "Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true, for I know whence I have come and whither I am going, but you do not know whence I come or whither I am going.
You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one.
Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me.
In your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true;
I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me."
They said to him therefore, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father; if you knew me, you would know my Father also."
These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.



Asia News report:
Commenting on the Gospel story of adulteress at the Angelus, Benedict XVI underlined how the words of Jesus are full of disarming force of truth, which brings down the wall of hypocrisy and opens minds to a greater justice, that is love.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Jesus teaches us "to be uncompromising with sin – starting with our own! - and lenient with people". The Gospel story of the adulteress and was raised today by Benedict XVI as a lesson on the sense of divine justice for the over 20 thousand people in St Peter's Square for the Sunday Angelus.
The scene described in the Gospel, the pope said, "is full of drama: the life of the woman but also this own depend on the words of Jesus. The hypocrite accusers, indeed, pretend to trust judgement to him, when in fact he is precisely the one they want to accuse and judge. Jesus, however, is 'full of grace and truth' (Jn 1:14) He knows what is in the heart of every man, he wants to condemn sin, but to save the sinner, and expose hypocrisy. St. John the Evangelist gives prominence to a particular detail: as the prosecutors question him insistently, Jesus bends down and begins to write with his finger on the ground. St. Augustine remarks that the gesture shows Christ as the divine legislator: in fact, God wrote the law with his finger on tablets of stone (cf. Comm on the Gospel of John., 33, 5). Jesus is the Legislator and Justice in person. And what is his verdict? 'He who is without sin cast the first stone at her'. "
"God wants only good and life for us: He ensures the health of our soul through his ministers, freeing us from evil with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so that none perish but all to come to repentance".
"We learn from the Lord Jesus - he concluded - not to judge and not to condemn others, to be uncompromising with sin – starting from our own! - And lenient with people. "

"These words - said the Pope - are full of disarming force of truth, which brings down the wall of hypocrisy and opens minds to a greater justice, that of love, which is the fulfilment of every precept (cf. Romans 13:8-10). "


Catholic Herald report:
Pope Benedict XVI will waive his own rules by beatifying Cardinal John Henry Newman himself, it was announced this week.He will preside at the ceremony at Coventry airport during a four-day visit to England and Scotland that starts on September 16.Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster said the beatification would be the "major" event of a visit. "To see him [Newman] declared 'Blessed' - a step towards sainthood - will be a very, very important moment," he said. "Cardinal John Henry Newman is a figure of great literary culture, a poet and a pastor. He is a towering figure in English history over the last 200 years. Pope Benedict has a particular attentiveness to the writings of Cardinal Newman. He is making an exception to his own rules to do this... this will be the first beatification he has carried out as Pope."I think one of the things that interests the Pope about Cardinal Newman is his witness of a journey to God and his writings on conscience."The Archbishop said that sometimes Cardinal Newman stood accused of interpreting conscience in a liberal and subjective way when in reality he taught that conscience could only be formed "when we stand before God".He explained that under rules devised by Pope Benedict all beatifications must be performed by a cardinal in the diocese where the candidate died.The announcement of the Pope's decision to personally beatify Cardinal Newman was welcomed by Fr Richard Duffield, the Provost of the Birmingham Oratory, the community Newman founded, and actor of the Cause for the cardinal's canonisation. "The Holy Father's life-long devotion to Newman has made a profound contribution to understanding the depth and significance of our founder's legacy," he said. "His decision to beatify Newman in person confers a unique blessing upon the English Oratories and all who have drawn inspiration from Newman's life and work. "We joyfully look forward to welcoming the Holy Father, as well as the many pilgrims and visitors who will come to the beatification ceremony and visit Newman's shrine at the Birmingham Oratory."The papal visit was announced by Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday ahead of a press conference at the Foreign Office attended by Archbishop Nichols, Cardinal Keith O'Brien and Jim Murphy, Scottish Secretary and Minister with responsibility for the trip.A statement from Buckingham Palace said: "At the invitation of Her Majesty The Queen, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will pay a papal visit to the United Kingdom from the 16th-19th September 2010. His Holiness will arrive in Edinburgh on Thursday, 16th of September and will be received by HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. His Holiness will also visit Glasgow, London and Coventry during the four-day papal visit."It will be the first state visit by a pope as the 1982 visit by Pope John Paul II was classed as a pastoral visit because it coincided with the Falklands War and the Vatican was keen not to be drawn into political controversies. Mr Murphy, a Catholic, said the visit would be a "truly unique" event. "I am really excited that the Pope will be coming to Scotland and his plane will land first on Scottish soil," he said.He said he hoped the occasion would be an opportunity for the Government to strengthen ties with the Holy See on such matters as alleviating world poverty and combating climate change. "I hope the visit provides a platform for the role of faith in transforming and enriching society," he added.Archbishop Nichols took the opportunity, however, to criticise the Government's equality agenda as marked by "good intentions" but "misjudgements". He said one of the things the Pope will wish to explore during his trip will be the "interface between reason and faith" and said London was the ideal place to do this. The Pontiff is likely to expound his views on such subjects during an address he will deliver to a "civic audience" from the site of trials of such martyrs as Ss Thomas More and Edmund Campion in Westminster Hall, London.Archbishop Nichols said: "I believe people in this country will recognise the Pope as an eloquent and profound and gentle teacher of all that is right." Other key events will include a public Mass in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, a prayer vigil in London and an event focusing on education. Relations between the Christian Churches will be a theme of the visit as will the relations between the major faiths. The Pope will visit the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace and pray with other church leaders at Westminster Abbey.Cardinal O'Brien, president of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, said: "I am thrilled that the Pope has accepted the UK Government's gracious invitation and I am sure he will receive a heartfelt welcome from Catholics as well as members of other faiths and people of goodwill."A defining feature of Pope Benedict's teaching has been to remind Europe of its Christian roots and culture and to give us guidance on the great moral issues of our day and it is my hope that we all open our hearts to his words."Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow said he was "pleased and honoured to know that the first Mass to be offered on British soil will take place here in Glasgow".He said: "My hopes for the visit are that it might promote a rediscovery of the religious history of Scotland and that it might boost ecumenical relations. The Pope's message will be very positive, that is certain."Archbishop Nichols said that because of time constraints the Pope would not make a visit to Wales and acknowledged that this could cause some hurt.The press conference heard that the costs of the visit are estimated to be in the region of £15million and will be jointly met by the Government and by the Scottish and English and Welsh bishops. Policing costs will be drawn from existing budgets without incurring additional expenditure and unlike most state visits there will be no banquets for the Pope and he will stay in Church residences rather than in the company of the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace.Mr Murphy said the cost compared favourable with the £20million incurred in hosting the G20 talks for just one day.Cardinal O'Brien said: "We will pay our legitimate costs whatever they may be. Be assured that we are not scrimping in any way. I know I speak on behalf of my own people when I say that."A reporter from the BBC asked Cardinal O'Brien if he was still hoping that the Pope would give Labour "hell".The reference was to comments the cardinal made last month in response to Mr Murphy's claim that the Government wanted the faiths to play a greater role in public life - even though legislation acted against religious freedom.The cardinal said: "I would hate for anybody to think that I was anti-Labour because of what I had said about the Pope giving Labour 'hell'. "I am not a politician, I am a churchman. I try to preach the Gospel and that's what I expect the Pope to do - to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ."I do not take any party's side but seek just to preach the truth."


UCAN report — Thai bishops in their recently concluded biannual meeting called on all Catholics to remain neutral in the current political conflict.
Fathier Pipat Rungruangkanokkul, deputy secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand (CBCT) told UCA News, “This is a very sensitive situation. The Church shouldn’t take any side and judge who is correct or wrong as this will create more conflict.”
He noted that individuals have the right to support any side, “but as Church we have to promote mutual understanding.”
Thousands of supporters of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, known as “red shirts,” have descended on Bangkok, demanding that the government hold snap elections.
Grenades have also exploded in some areas.
Bishop John Bosco Panya Kritcharoen of Ratchaburi, CBCT secretary general, said the bishops’ conference “is very concerned about this current situation.”
“We released a formal letter to every church [on March 12] asking for intense prayers, special Masses, sacrifices and silent meditation for peace in the country.”
During the March 16-18 CBCT meeting, “we prepared guidelines on the Church’s stand on this current situation now,” he said.
Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovitvanit of Bangkok is working on these guidelines, and the bishops “hope to release them to schools and churches by next week,” the bishop said.
Achara Somsaengsuang from the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace told UCA News that even though Thailand is a Buddhist country, Buddhist organizations themselves are very careful not to take sides in the conflict.

Fr. Paul Marx, the famed pro-life missionary priest who founded Human Life International in 1981, and the Population Research Institute in 1989, died at 8:10 a.m this morning at the St. John's Benedictine Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. He was 3 months short of 90 years of age.
Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, the current head of Human Life International, called LifeSiteNews today with the news of Fr. Marx's death and stated the following about his organization's founder:
"Because of Fr. Paul Marx, the world has a pro-life movement. He travelled 3 million miles to over 90 countries and was like the Johnney Appleseed of the pro-life movement planting pro-life groups everywhere he went. Pope John Paul II called him the apostle of life with good reason. We miss him terribly but we pray that he has entered into the fullness of life for which he worked so hard in this world."
Stephen Mosher of the Population Research Institute also mourned Fr. Marx' passing in a release today.
"It grieves me to tell you that Father Paul Marx, OSB, my mentor and spiritual Father, went to his reward this morning, March 20, at 8:30 a.m., said Mosher.
"Father Marx touched my life in many ways—he helped to bring me into the Catholic Church, he founded the Population Research Institute and served as its long-time Chairman, and he did me the honor of allowing me to work alongside him in defending Life."
In his statement Mosher also urged, "May we all, in honor of this great Apostle of Life, redouble our efforts on behalf of God's little ones."
Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life also issued a statement about the passing of the great pro-life priest:
"I just learned with sorrow of the death of one of the world's greatest pro-life advocates, Fr. Paul Marx, OSB.
"Fr. Marx was, first and foremost, a priest who was not afraid to be a prophet. He knew that his mission in bearing witness to the Gospel and in fostering love of God and neighbor compelled him to speak up for our smallest neighbors, those in the first moments and weeks of life. He undertook countless initiatives, made seemingly endless trips, gave innumerable talks, wrote a warehouse of articles and books, and inspired countless people in the effort to build a Culture of Life.
"I first came to know Fr. Marx through his founding and leadership of Human Life International and the remarkable conferences he held for pro-life advocates around the world. He was always a clear reminder to his brother priests that we should never be afraid to speak about abortion, contraception, and the beauty of human sexuality as taught by the Church. All of us at Priests for Life are grateful for the strong encouragement he gave to our ministry. We will pray not only for the repose of his soul, but for the continued fruit of his labors in the minds and hearts of so many people and in the policies of so many nations."
Fr. Euteneuer stated that the wake service for Fr. Marx will take place on Thursday night, the Feast of the Annunciation, at 7 p.m. at St. John's Benedictine Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. The funeral will follow on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the same location.

USCCB report: Bishops to House of Representatives: Fix Flaws or Vote No on Health Reform Bill House leadership ignoring pro-life members for essential changes in the legislationWon’t even try to address the serious problems on abortion fundingIgnoring conscience protection and fair treatment of immigrants.
WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops urged the House of Representatives to fix flaws in health care legislation or vote against its passage in a March 20 letter to House members. The letter was signed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chair on the Committee on Migration. The letter follows.
Dear Representative:For decades, the United States Catholic bishops have supported universal health care. The Catholic Church teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential for human life and dignity. Our community of faith provides health care to millions, purchases health care for tens of thousands and addresses the failings of our health care system in our parishes, emergency rooms and shelters. This is why we as bishops continue to insist that health care reform which truly protects the life, dignity, consciences and health of all is a moral imperative and urgent national priority.We are convinced that the Senate legislation now presented to the House of Representatives on a “take it or leave it” basis sadly fails this test and ought to be opposed. Why do we take this position, when we have a long record of support for health care reform? Our fundamental objections can be summarized in two points:
Health care reform must protect life and conscience, not threaten them. The Senate bill extends abortion coverage, allows federal funds to pay for elective abortions (for example, through a new appropriation for services at Community Health Centers that bypasses the Hyde amendment), and denies adequate conscience protection to individuals and institutions. Needed health care reform must keep in place the longstanding and widely supported federal policy that neither elective abortion nor plans which include elective abortion can be paid for with federal funds. Simply put, health care reform ought to continue to apply both parts of the Hyde amendment, no more and no less. The House adopted this policy by a large bipartisan majority, establishing the same protections that govern Medicaid, SCHIP, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and other federal health programs. Despite claims to the contrary, the status quo prohibits the federal government from funding or facilitating plans that include elective abortion. The Senate bill clearly violates this prohibition by providing subsidies to purchase such plans. The House bill provided that no one has to pay for other people’s abortions, while this Senate bill does not. While the Senate provides for one plan without abortion coverage in each exchange, those who select another plan in an exchange to better meet the special needs of their families will be required to pay a separate mandatory abortion fee into a fund exclusively for abortions. This new federal requirement is a far more direct imposition on the consciences of those who do not wish to pay for the destruction of unborn human life than anything currently in federal law.It is not those who require that the Hyde Amendment be fully applied who are obstructing reform, since this is the law of the land and the will of the American people. Rather, those who insist on expanding federal participation in abortion, require people to pay for other people’s abortions, and refuse to incorporate essential conscience protections (both within and beyond the abortion context) are threatening genuine reform. With conscience protection as with abortion funding, our goal is simply to preserve the status quo.
Universal coverage should be truly universal. People should never be denied coverage because they can’t afford it, because of where they live or work, or because of where they come from and when they got here. The Senate bill would not only continue current law that denies legal immigrants access to Medicaid for five years, but also prohibit undocumented immigrants from buying insurance for their families in the exchanges using their own money. These provisions could leave immigrants and their families worse off, and also hurt the public health of our nation.
Now, after a year of divisive political combat, members of the House are told that they can advance health care reform only by adopting the Senate legislation as is, including these fundamental flaws. The House leadership is ignoring the pleas of pro-life members for essential changes in the legislation. Apparently they will not even try to address the serious problems on abortion funding, conscience protection and fair treatment of immigrants. We are bishops, not politicians, policy experts or legislative tacticians. We are also pastors, teachers, and citizens. At this point of decision, we cannot compromise on basic moral principles. We can only urge -- and hope and pray -- that the House of Representatives will still find the will and the means to adopt health care reform that protects the life, dignity, conscience and health of all. The legislation the House adopted, while not perfect, came closer to meeting these criteria. The Senate legislation simply does not meet them. With deep regret, but clear in our moral judgment, we are compelled to continue to urge House members to oppose the Senate bill unless these fundamental flaws are remedied. At this critical moment, we urge Representatives to take the steps necessary to ensure that health care reform respects the life and dignity of all, from conception to natural death.


CISA report: Catholic youth in Kenya have appealed to the bishops to institute a national youth chaplaincy within the Kenya Episcopal Conference-KEC, the top governing and policy-making body within the Church.The youth, who were attending the 2010 National Youth Mass at the National Catholic Youth Centre (Mji wa Furaha), Ruaraka, near Nairobi on Sunday, March 7, under the theme: Good Teacher, What Must I Do to Inherit the Eternal Kingdom (Matthew 19:16): observed that, while this was already there at diocesan levels, the same was lacking at national level.In response, the Executive Secretary for the bishops’ commission for pastoral and lay apostolate, Fr Daniel Mureithi assured the congregation, drawn from various dioceses in the country that he would pass the matter to the bishops.“I agree with you on the need for a national youth chaplain for the youth in the country. Hopefully, the bishops will respond to your request, positively,” he said.He assured the congregated young people, whose Mass was animated by the diocese of Machakos and the homily delivered by Fr Peter Maina, assisted by Fr Dominic Musau that the bishops meant good for them.“They always pray for you and have you at heart,” added Fr. Mureithi.In his homily, Fr. Maina urged the youth to ensure that they lived as par the teachings of the Church.He urged them to ensure that they were not misled by the likes of politicians as the case was in the early part of 2008, during the country’s post elections violence.“Despite the many challenges the youth are facing today, there is still a chance for one to be Christ-like by abiding with the teachings of the Church,” he stressed.

Cath News report:
Brisbane Catholic school Villanova College is using an alternative method called "restorative practice" to tackle bullying in school, empowering students and promoting discussion rather than punishment.
The school, for grade five to senior boys, implemented the "RP" method in 2004, inspired by an Australian Story episode about a former policeman's restorative justice work, ABC reports.
Villanova says it no longer uses the term "bully", instead preferring "wrongdoer", "offender" or "the guy who did the wrong thing", and regularly holds a "Circle Time" of small groups of younger students talking about things that are worrying them.
In more serious cases of bullying, there is the "powerful and emotionally gruelling" Community Conference, where parents, teachers and other key stakeholders intervene.
"What's different about Villanova is it doesn't just see wrongdoing and then put the bully on detention or something," Villanova's vice-captain Sam McCall, 16, told ABC News Online.
"The attitude is that the bully is the end product of problems; so the meetings... involve students, teachers, parents sitting down, trying to work towards bringing out the source of the problem.
Villanova's principal Dennis Harvey left the school for 15 years and came back seven weeks ago to take up the top job. He says he has already noticed that students seem more "empowered", the report adds.
"More often than not, it seems to me that the perpetrator learns something from himself and for others. It seems to stay with them," he said.
Vice-principal Graeme George, who worked on initial research of the method for the school said it takes a lot of hard work to implement.
"If you're looking for a quick-fix tool kit .... it's not the way to go. It's not a lock-step and one-size-fits-all approach," said Mr George.
Ken Rigby, a founder of the National Centre Against Bullying, is cited saying that "a big step forward" would be if school anti-bullying policies include varied approaches to tackle the problem, but still retain the traditional punitive method where warranted.
"If something serious happens, like a student being stabbed, you always revert to the punitive method," Professor Rigby said.


St. Nicholas of Flue
Feast: March 21
Feast Day:
March 21
21 March 1417 at Sachseln, Canton Obwalden, Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
21 March 1487
15 May 1947 by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine:
Sachseln, Switzerland
Patron of:
councilmen, difficult marriages, large families, magistrates, parents of large families, Pontifical Swiss Guards, separated spouses, Switzerland

Had Nicholas not been a saint, or had he eaten and drunk like other saints, Switzerland with all it has meant for peace and humanity would probably not exist today. For Nicholas's entire life was ordained in view of his vocation to save his country.
Nicholas von Flue was born on March 21st, 1417 in the Canton of Unterwalden on the lake of Lucerne, a citizen of a peasant democracy and a farmer's son. As he grew up he proved himself a capable farmer, and the ability he displayed in the local parliament, of which every male citizen was a member, led to his election at an early age as councillor and judge. He also proved himself a capable commander of troops. In the war against the duke of Tirol he persuaded his compatriots to respect a convent of nuns. Though willing to perform his military service, Nicholas condemned as immoral, wars of aggression and the slaughter of non-combatants inevitable in any major modern war. About the age of thirty he married a farmer's daughter, Dorothy Wiss, and built a farmhouse to receive her. The couple had ten children and descendants survive to this day.
Nicholas had thus approved himself to his countrymen as a thoroughly capable man, as farmer, military leader, member of the assembly, councillor, judge and father of a family—also a man of complete moral integrity. All the while, however, he led a life of contemplative prayer and rigorous fasting. He was the subject of symbolic visions and a diabolic assault.
After some twenty years of married life, in 1467 Nicholas received a compelling call to abandon his home and the world and become a hermit. Though she had just borne his tenth child his wife heroically consented. His neighbors, however, even his older children, regarded his action as indefensible, unbalanced, immoral and irresponsible. He set out for Alsace, where he intended to live. Had he carried out his intention his vocation would have been missed. A storm, however, symbolically interpreted, and friendly advice not to settle where the Swiss were detested made him turn back from the border. At the same time he became incapable of eating or drinking—a condition which continued for the rest of his life. As an act of obedience to a bishop he once ate with acute agony a piece of soaked bread. (The problem of prolonged fasting is more fully discussed in the account of St. Lidwina of Schiedam.)
He resumed to his native canton, passing the first night undiscovered in the cow-shed of his farm and settled in a hermitage at Ranft within a few miles of his home. It was no temptation to return home, as he never felt the least desire for his former life. Symbolic visions continued to be a feature of his contemplation, and when, after a month's strict surveillance, his countrymen were convinced that his fast was genuine, they recognised his sanctity and vocation, and he became a spiritual guide whose advice was widely sought and followed. Pilgrims came from distant parts to consult him. He acquired influence with Duke Sigismund of the Tirol, whom he confirmed in his neutrality when the Swiss confederacy met and defeated Charles of Burgundy. Everything was ready for the climax of Nicholas's life: the accomplishment of his unique vocation.
The victorious cantons were at loggerheads. The rural cantons opposed inflexibly the demand of Zurich and Lucerne that Freiburg and Soleure be admitted to the confederacy. A conference held at Stans, December 1481, failed to reach agreement. Next day the delegates would disperse and a civil war ensue which would presumably have destroyed the confederacy. The parish priest, once Nicholas's confessor, hurried to Ranft and laid the matter before the hermit. During the night Nicholas dictated suggested terms of agreement. The priest resumed in time to persuade the delegates to give a hearing to the proposals of a man so widely respected for his well tried practical abilities and so widely venerated for his holiness. The terms suggested—the conditional admittance of Freiburg and Soleure—were unanimously accepted and embodied in the agreement of Stans. Switzerland had been saved.
Nicholas survived his achievement almost six years, universally revered, visited and consulted. On March 21st 1487, his seventieth birthday, he died, apparently of his first illness. One is glad to know that his wife and children attended his deathbed. After all, she had never lost her husband completely. Honored by Swiss Protestants, venerated by Swiss Catholics, Nicholas's cult, uninterrupted since his death, was officially sanctioned by Clement IX (1667-9). In 1947 he was canonized by Pope Pius XII.



Isaiah 43: 16 - 21
Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters,
who brings forth chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.

Psalms 126: 1 - 6
When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb!
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy!
He that goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Philippians 3: 8 - 14
Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ
and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith;
that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

John 8: 1 - 11
but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst
they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.
Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?"
This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."
And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
Jesus looked up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again."