Wednesday, April 28, 2010




VATICAN CITY, 28 APR 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis during this morning's general audience to two Italian priests: St. Leonardo Murialdo (1828-1900) and St. Giuseppe Benito Cottolengo (1786-1842), "exemplary in the commitment to God and witness of charity which, in the Church and for the Church, they showed towards their needy brothers and sisters".
St. Leonardo Murialdo, having overcome a profound spiritual crisis in his youth, became a priest of St. John Bosco who appreciated him greatly. Thanks to Don Bosco, Fr. Murialdo "came into contact with the serious problems of the poorer classes, ... maturing a profound social, educational and apostolic sensibility which led him to dedicate himself independently to initiatives in favour of young people", the Pope explained."In 1873 he founded the Congregation of St. Joseph, which from its beginnings had as its apostolic goal the formation of young people, especially the poor and abandoned". In this context the Holy Father highlighted how "the central nucleus of Leonardo Murialdo's spirituality was his certainty of the merciful love of God: a Father Who is always good, patient and generous, Who reveals the greatness and immensity of his mercy through forgiveness". St. Leonardo, "highlighting the greatness of the mission of priests, 'who must continue the work of redemption', ... always recalled, both to himself and his confreres, the responsibility of living a life coherent with the Sacrament received".
"The same spirit of charity" marked the life and work of St. Giuseppe Benito Cottolengo, founder of the "Little House of Divine Providence". This saint, "from his childhood showed great sensibility towards the poor". Following years of fruitful priestly ministry, his meeting with a young sick woman, mother of five children, whom he assisted on her deathbed, changed the course of his life.
"The Lord always places signs on our path, guiding us according to His will to what is truly good for us", said Benedict XVI. From that moment Giuseppe Cottolengo "used all his capacities ... to create initiatives in support of the most needy. He involved scores of collaborators and volunteers in his enterprise, ... so as to face and overcome difficulties together. Each person in that Little House of Divine Providence had a specific task. ... The healthy and the sick all shared the same daily burden. Even religious life was organised over time in accordance with particular needs and requirements".
"For the poor and needy", Giuseppe Cottolengo always defined himself as "the labourer of Divine Providence", the Holy Father recalled.
"These two priest saints", the Pope concluded, "lived their ministry by totally giving their lives to the poorest, the most needy, the last. The profound root, the eternal source of their activity was always their relationship with God, drawing from His love in the profound conviction that it is not possible to exercise charity save by living with Christ in the Church. May their intercession and example continue to illuminate the ministry of the many priests who give themselves generously for God and for the flock entrusted to them, and help everyone to give themselves joyfully and generously to God and to others".
AG/ VIS 20100428 (530)

VATICAN CITY, 28 APR 2010 (VIS) - Among his remarks at the end of today's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope recalled how this Saturday 1 May marks the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, "guardian of the Holy Family and patron of all men who earn their living through their work.
"May this day be an opportunity for deeper reflection on the meaning of work and its proper place in family life. I entrust those of you present here, and all workers, to the protection of St. Joseph".


VATICAN CITY, 28 APR 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was a telegram sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., in the Pope's name, to Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, for the eighth European Congress on Migration, taking place in the Spanish city of Malaga from 27 April to 1 May.
In the telegram the Holy Father greets organisers and participants in the meeting, which has as its theme "Overcoming Fears and Outlining Prospects". He encourages them to continue their efforts to ensure adequate pastoral care for people suffering the consequences of abandoning their own country, and find themselves without a land of reference.He likewise "exhorts them to co-ordinate initiatives and plans to ensure that the light of the Gospel reaches everyone and, with it, the firm hope to see recognition for their rights and a guarantee for their possibilities to live a life dignified in all aspects".TGR/ VIS 20100428 (170)

VATICAN CITY, 28 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Launay Saturne of the clergy of the archdiocese of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, dean of studies at the major inter-diocesan seminary "Notre-Dame d'Haiti", as bishop of Jacmel (area 2,700, population 526,192, Catholics 342,716, priests 36, religious 53), Haiti. The bishop-elect was born in Delatte, Haiti in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1991.

CBN report. Clean-up is underway in several southern states after deadly tornadoes ripped through the region.

At least 12 people were killed and more than 100 homes destroyed. It is being called the worst natural disaster in the region since hurricane Katrina.
Gov. Haley Barbour has declared Tuesday a day of prayer for Mississippi residents who suffered storm damage.
"I was devastated. I never seen anything like this before - not this close to home where I actually have friends people I knew that were hurt and just totally dismayed by all this," Mississippi resident Tabatha Stewart said.
"We've got five confirmed dead we got injured we don't know the count on that I just ask everyone to pray for the lost and the people that are hurting right now," Choctaw County Sheriff Cloyd Halford said.
Salvation Army volunteers have been offering food, water and aid to survivors who are grateful to be alive.
"I do know some of the people that have been taken to the Lord out of our neighborhood," tornado survivor Douglas Miller said. "For those, they're at peace. For those of us left here, we have each day left to be grateful for. We've got a lot of work yet to do."
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is assessing the damage in the region.


Asia News report: Deputy minister of information’s comments reveal this belief. He has instructed the state media to not cover the eventual removal of the archbishop, "as if it were an internal affair of Catholics." His statements have raised fears of those who see the appointment of a coadjutor in Hanoi as an agreement between the Holy See and the authorities.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - The Vietnamese government appears convinced that it has achieved the Vatican’s removal of the Archbishop of Hanoi, Mgr. Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet. As much has been revealed in comments by the deputy minister for information and communication, Su Quy Doan, who on April 6, during a meeting with heads of state media in Hanoi stated: "the obstinate Ngo Quang Kiet has been dealt with by diplomatic means” and who also ordered that "when his transfer is underway, the media must not publish anything, as if it were an internal affair of Catholics." The next day, Doan’s statements and details of his plan for when " Kiet will be thrown out of Hanoi”, began circulating on the Internet.
Of course these statements have reinforced the fears of those who have seen the appointment of Mgr. Peter Nguyen Van Nhon, President of the Conference of Bishops, as coadjutor to the Archbishop of Hanoi, as a step towards replacing Mgr. Kiet. In Catholic circles, it is believed that the Holy See succumbed to government pressure by agreeing to remove Archbishop Kiet - something long requested by the authorities - in exchange for the establishment of diplomatic relations and a papal visit to Vietnam. This despite the fact that Archbishop Kiet and his office have released several statements on the appointment of Mgr. Van Nhon, which Mgr. Kiet has greeted as "great news", inviting the faithful of Hanoi to "thank God and the Holy See for having sent him to serve the archdiocese and support my frail health."
So, on April 9, interviewed by Radio Free Asia, Fr Matthew Vu Khoi Phung, superior of the Redemptorists of Hanoi, expressed "great concern" because "the Hanoi authorities have repeatedly asked for the transfer of the Archbishop. And Father John Nghi, Director of VietCatholic News, has declared that it "is really a great challenge to be able to allay the concerns of the people and regain their confidence, without being subject to reasonable criticism. It will take time and sincere efforts of Church leaders to recover what was lost in the people's trust for the Church ".. The same agency reports that a poll among Catholics in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City showed "a widespread sense of disappointment" and "anxiety" because it seems to them that the Vatican wants to sacrifice the aspirations of the faithful in exchange for diplomatic relations. (EN)

Cath News report. A new bookie-branded "Paddy Power Sin Bin" confessional at a UK Church has been praised by the parish priest as "thought-provoking".

The bookmaker is paying for expensive refurbishment work at St Etheldreda's Church in Newmarket, said Sky News Online. The new confession box has green curtains branded in the corporate logo of the bookmaker and the words "Sin Bin" on the outside.
Parish priest Father Michael Griffin said: "You should never look a gift horse in the mouth."It's thought-provoking and maybe it will result in a few more people dropping in to say, 'Hello.'"
Newmarket is the home of British flat racing and the church has long been seeking ways of building a better relationship with its racing community, said the report.
Paddy Power said: "It's a bit different but it's getting everyone talking."
Worshippers at morning Mass discussed its arrival with one man hailing the idea as "brilliant" and an elderly woman saying: "Judge not lest you be judged yourself."


Cath News report: Canberra-Goulburn Archbishop Mark Coleridge has released a statement saying the Government and the Church are significantly closer to reaching a deal over the Calvary Public Hospital.

ABC reports that the archbishop made the remarks after meeting with the government on Tuesday, saying there were financial and technical issues to resolve, but all the parties have agreed it would be good to reach a resolution as soon as possible.
Archbishop Coleridge's opposition to the previous plan by the ACT Government to buy the hospital for $77 million was at the time blamed by media reports for sinking that deal.
He has said that he wanted a guarantee the hospital would be run under Catholic values


CISA report: Lusaka April 23 –the Church in Zambia will host a Missionary Congress from October 13 to 16.

According to Fr Bernard Makadani Zulu, National Director of Pontifical Mission Societies in Zambia, the Missionary Congress is organized by the local Bishops Conference, in collaboration with the Pontifical Mission Societies and religious institutes, in a report to Fides
“The Church in Zambia is over 100 years old. This is not a small achievement. It certainly calls for a time reflect on the missionary experience of the Church over these years and especially today,” says Fr Zulu.
“The Mission Congress intends to bring together 100 participants - priests, religious and laity - to celebrate our being missionary church, reflect on our missionary journey, and to look to the future, see the missionary challenges, and find our way ahead following up on the Second African Synod.” He added
“The Missionary Congress will be an animation session to orient the ecclesial community towards missionary cooperation, and thus have every diocese, institute, organization and every person in the Church be involved in the missionary efforts,” The National director says.
The PMS Director continues: “It will also be an opportunity to enhance our bond as evangelizers and reflect on the universal missionary cooperation, to widen our horizons beyond our local situation and feel part of the universal efforts to preach the Good News to the ends of the earth.”
“We pray that this pastoral initiative will help increase cooperation, including a diversification beyond the celebration of the mission days. We would love to animate the people of God so that they become aware of their missionary responsibility and their role in the promotion of the missionary initiatives,” concludes Fr Zulu.


St. Gianna Beretta Molla

Feast: April 28
Information:Feast Day: April 28
Born: October 4, 1922, Magenta, Italy
Died: April 28, 1962, Monza, Italy

Canonized: May 16, 2004 by Pope John Paul II

Patron of: mothers, physicians, preborn children
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla was born in Magenta (Milan), Italy, on 4 October 1922, the 10th of 13 children. Already as a young girl she willingly accepted the gift of faith and the clearly Christian education that she received from her excellent parents. As a result, she experienced life as a marvellous gift from God, had a strong faith in Providence and was convinced of the necessity and effectivneess of prayer.
She diligently dedicated herself to studies during the years of her secondary and university education, while, at the same time, applying her faith in generous apostolic service among the elderly and needy as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. After earning degrees in medicine and surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949, she opened a medical clinic in Mesero (near Magenta) in 1950. She specialized in pediatrics at the University of Milan in 1952 and thereafter gave special attention to mothers, babies, the elderly and the poor.
While working in the field of medicine—which she considered a "mission" and practiced as such—she increased her generous service to Catholic Action, especially among the "very young" and, at the same time, expressed her joie de vivre and love of creation through skiing and mountaineering. Through her prayers and those of others, she reflected on her vocation, which she also considered a gift from God. Having chosen the vocation of marriage, she embraced it with complete enthusiasm and wholly dedicated herself "to forming a truly Christian family."
She became engaged to Pietro Molla and was radiant with joy and happiness during the time of their engagement, for which she thanked and praised the Lord. They were married on 24 September 1955 in St. Martin's Basilica in Magenta, and she became a happy wife. In November 1956, to her great joy, she became the mother of Pierluigi; in December 1957 of Mariolina; in July 1959 of Laura. With simplicity and equilibrium she harmonized the demands of mother, wife, doctor and her passion for life.
In September 1961, towards the end of the second month of pregnancy, she was touched by suffering and the mystery of pain; she had developed a fibroma in her uterus. Before the required surgical operation, and conscious of the risk that her continued pregnancy brought, she pleaded with the surgeon to save the life of the child she was carrying, and entrusted herself to prayer and Providence. The life was saved, for which she thanked the Lord. She spent the seven months remaining until the birth of the child in incomparable strength of spirit and unrelenting dedication to her tasks as mother and doctor. She worried that the baby in her womb might be born in pain, and she asked God to prevent that.
A few days before the child was due, although trusting as always in Providence, she was ready to give her life in order to save that of her child: "If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child—I insist on it. Save the baby." On the morning of 21 April 1962 Gianna Emanuela was born. Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them, on the morning of 28 April, amid unspeakable pain and after repeated exclamations of "Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you," the mother died. She was 39 years old. Her funeral was an occasion of profound grief, faith and prayer. The body of the new blessed lies in the cemetary of Mesero (4 km. from Magenta).
Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and officially canonized as a saint on May 16, 2004. Gianna's husband Pietro and their last child, Gianna, were present at the canonization ceremony.

St. Louis de Montfort

Feast: April 28
Information:Feast Day: April 28
Born: 31 January 1673 at Montfort-La-Cane, Brittany, France
Died: 1716 at Saint-Laurent-sur-Sovre, France
Canonized: 1947 by Pope Pius XII
Missionary in Brittany and Vendee; born at Montfort, 31 January, 1673; died at Saint Laurent sur Sevre, 28 April, 1716.
From his childhood, he was indefatigably devoted to prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, and, when from his twelfth year he was sent as a day pupil to the Jesuit college at Rennes, he never failed to visit the church before and after class. He joined a society of young men who during holidays ministered to the poor and to the incurables in the hospitals, and read for them edifying books during their meals. At the age of nineteen, he went on foot to Paris to follow the course in theology, gave away on the journey all his money to the poor, exchanged clothing with them, and made a vow to subsist thenceforth only on alms. He was ordained priest at the age of twenty-seven, and for some time fulfilled the duties of chaplain in a hospital. In 1705, when he was thirty-two, he found his true vocation, and thereafter devoted himself to preaching to the people. During seventeen years he preached the Gospel in countless towns and villages. As an orator he was highly gifted, his language being simple but replete with fire and divine love. His whole life was conspicuous for virtues difficult for modern degeneracy to comprehend: constant prayer, love of the poor, poverty carried to an unheard-of degree, joy in humiliations and persecutions.The following two instances will illustrate his success. He once gave a mission for the soldiers of the garrison at La Rochelle, and moved by his words, the men wept, and cried aloud for the forgiveness of their sins. In the procession which terminated this mission, an officer walked at the head, barefooted and carrying a banner, and the soldiers, also barefooted, followed, carrying in one hand a crucifix, in the other a rosary, and singing hymns.
Grignion's extraordinary influence was especially apparent in the matter of the calvary at Pontchateau. When he announced his determination of building a monumental calvary on a neighbouring hill, the idea was enthusiastically received by the inhabitants. For fifteen months between two and four hundred peasants worked daily without recompense, and the task had just been completed, when the king commanded that the whole should be demolished, and the land restored to its former condition. The Jansenists had convinced the Governor of Brittany that a fortress capable of affording aid to persons in revolt was being erected, and for several months five hundred peasants, watched by a company of soldiers, were compelled to carry out the work of destruction. Father de Montfort was not disturbed on receiving this humiliating news, exclaiming only: "Blessed be God!"
This was by no means the only trial to which Grignion was subjected. It often happened that the Jansenists, irritated by his success, secure by their intrigues his banishment form the district, in which he was giving a mission. At La Rochelle some wretches put poison into his cup of broth, and, despite the antidote which he swallowed, his health was always impaired. On another occasion, some malefactors hid in a narrow street with the intention of assassinating him, but he had a presentiment of danger and escaped by going by another street. A year before his death, Father de Montfort founded two congregations -- the Sisters of Wisdom, who were to devote themselves to hospital work and the instruction of poor girls, and the Company of Mary, composed of missionaries. He had long cherished these projects but circumstances had hindered their execution, and, humanly speaking, the work appeared to have failed at his death, since these congregations numbered respectively only four sisters and two priests with a few brothers. But the blessed founder, who had on several occasions shown himself possessed of the gift of prophecy, knew that the tree would grow. At the beginning of the twentieth century the Sisters of Wisdom numbered five thousand, and were spread throughout every country; they possessed forty-four houses, and gave instruction to 60,000 children. After the death of its founder, the Company of Mary was governed for 39 years by Father Mulot. He had at first refused to join de Montfort in his missionary labours. "I cannot become a missionary", said he, "for I have been paralysed on one side for years; I have an affection of the lungs which scarcely allows me to breathe, and am indeed so ill that I have no rest day or night." But the holy man, impelled by a sudden inspiration, replied, "As soon as you begin to preach you will be completely cured." And the event justified the prediction. Grignion de Montfort was beatified by Leo XIII in 1888.

St. Peter Chanel

Feast: April 28
Information: Feast Day: April 28
Born: July 12, 1803, Cuet, near Belley, France
Died: April 28, 1841, Futuna Island
Canonized: 12 June 1954, Rome by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine: Futuna
Patron of: Oceania
On April 18, 1841, a band of native warriors entered the hut of Father Peter Chanel on the island of Futuna in the New Hebrides islands near New Zealand. They clubbed the missionary to death and cut up his body with hatchets. Two years later, the whole island was Catholic.
St. Peter Chanel's death bears witness to the ancient axiom that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians." He is the first martyr from Oceania, that part of the world spread over the south Pacific, and he came there as the fulfillment of a dream he had had as a boy.
Peter was born in 1803 in the diocese of Belley, France. At the age of seven, he was a shepherd boy, but the local parish priest, recognizing something unusual in the boy, convinced his parents to let him study, in a little school the priest had started. From there Peter went on to the seminary, where it was said of him: "He had a heart of gold with the simple faith of a child, and he led the life of an angel."
He was ordained a priest and assigned to a parish at Crozet. In three years he had transformed the parish. In 1831, he joined the newly founded Society of Mary, since he had long dreamed of being a missionary; but for five years he was assigned to teach at the seminary in Belley. Finally, in 1836, his dream was realized, and he was sent with other Marists to the islands of the Pacific. He had to suffer great hardships, disappointments, frustration, and almost complete failure as well as the opposition of the local chieftain. The work seemed hopeless: only a few had been baptized, and the chieftain continued to be suspicious and hostile. Then, when the chief's son asked for baptism, the chief was so angry that he sent warriors to kill the missionary.
Peter's violent death brought about the conversion of the island, and the people of Futuna remain Catholic to this day. Peter Chanel was beatified in 1889 and canonized in 1954.
Thought for the Day: Success or failure is often not completely in our hands, and sometimes we have to face what seems almost certain failure. But success is not required of us, only fidelity. St. Peter Chanel's work ended in his own death in the face of what seemed total failure. Out of that failure, God brought about the success Peter was seeking.
From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': . . . "Why are you looking in a tomb for someone who is alive? He isn't here! He has come back to life again! Don't you remember what he told you back in Galilee . . . that he would rise again the third day?"—Luke 24:5-7


John 12: 44 - 50

44 And Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me.

45 And he who sees me sees him who sent me.

46 I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

47 If any one hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

48 He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.

49 For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak.

50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me."




VATICAN CITY, 27 APR 2010 (VIS REPORT) - The Vatican Publishing House has recently released a new edition of the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, comprising information on the main aspects of Catholic Church activity in various countries for the period 2000-2008.
Over these nine years, the Catholic presence in the world has grown from 1,045 million in 2000 to 1,166 million in 2008, an increase of 11.54 percent. Considering the statistics in detail, numbers in Africa grew by 33 percent, in Europe they remained generally stable (an increase of 1.17 percent), while in Asia they increased by 15.61 percent, in Oceania by 11.39 percent and in America by 10.93 percent. As a percentage of the total population, European Catholics represented 26.8 percent in 2000 and 24.31 percent in 2008. In America and Oceania they have remained stable, and increased slightly in Asia.
The number of bishops in the world went up from 4541 in 2000 to 5002 in 2008, an increase of 10.15 percent.
The number of priests also increased slightly over this nine-year period, passing from 405,178 in 2000 to 409,166 in 2008, an overall rise of 0.98 percent. In Africa and Asia their numbers increased (respectively, by 33.1 percent and 23.8 percent), in the Americas they remained stable, while they fell by 7 percent in Europe and 4 percent in Oceania.
The number of diocesan priests increased by 3.1 percent, going from 265,781 in 2000 to 274,007 in 2008. By contrast, the number of regular priests showed a constant decline, down by 3.04 percent to 135,159 in 2008. Of the continents, only Europe showed a clear reduction in priests: in 2000 they represented 51 percent of the world total, in 2008 just 47 percent. On the other hand, Asia and Africa together represented 17.5 percent of the world total in 2000 and 21.9 percent in 2008. The Americas slightly increased its percentage to around 30 percent of the total.
Non-ordained religious numbered 55.057 in the year 2000 and 54,641 in 2008. Comparing this data by continent, Europe showed a strong decline (down by 16.57 percent), as did Oceania (22.06 percent), the Americas remained stable, while Asia and Africa grew (respectively, by 32 percent and 10.47 percent).
Female religious are almost double the number of priests, and 14 times that of non-ordained male religious, but their numbers are falling, from 800,000 in 2000 to 740,000 in 2008. As for their geographical distribution, 41 percent reside in Europe, 27.47 percent in America, 21.77 percent in Asia and 1.28 percent in Oceania. The number of female religious has increased in the most dynamic continents: Africa (up by 21 percent) and Asia (up by 16 percent).
The Statistical Yearbook of the Church also includes information on the number of students of philosophy and theology in diocesan and religious seminaries. In global terms, their numbers increased from 110.583 in 2000 to more than 117.024 in 2008. In Africa and Asia their numbers went up, whereas Europe saw a reduction.


Asia News report: A stray bullet kills Adil Masih, 13, during a shootout between two rival Muslim gangs. Christians demand justice. Police responds with tear gas and truncheons. For the second time in just a few months, a “mysterious” fire ravages a Christian school for girls in Punjab.

Gujranwala (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Hundreds of Christians clashed with police during a demonstration that followed the death of a 13-year-old boy, Adil Masih, who was killed during a shootout between two rival Muslim gangs. According to Assist News Service (ANS), the fatal incident occurred last Friday in Dullay, a village in Gujranwala District (Punjab). The Christian boy died from a gunshot wound caused by a stray bullet.
News of the death spread among local Christians, who took to one of the village’s main streets. They blocked road and train traffic, demanding justice. The crowd shouted anti-government slogans, but remained peaceful.
However, when police moved in, tensions rose. Law enforcement used tear gas against the demonstrators, used truncheons to beat people up and fired warning shots in the air. Five people were injured, including two journalists.
Eyewitnesses told ANS that when police began shooting in the air, protesters became angry and started pelting vehicles and shops with stones and bricks.
“Some women fell unconscious from tear gas,” one eyewitness said. “Some police officers were also injured after being hit by the stones hurled by the mob.” The standoff lasted about three hours.
A high-ranking police official tried to reassure the local Christian community, saying, “Justice would be served”; Adil Masih’s killers “would be nailed down, prosecuted and penalised.”
In the meantime, elsewhere in the country, anti-Christian violence continues unabated. On Sunday, fire broke out in a girls’ hostel in Murree, a hill station in Punjab, under “mysterious circumstances”, the Pakistan Christian Post reported. About 100 Christian girls were staying at the facility when the incident occurred. Fortunately, no one was injured or killed.
The hostel is part of the St Deny’s Girls High School. It is the second time that a fire breaks out at the facility under suspicious circumstances. On 4 November 2009, the school, which is owned and run by the Catholic Diocese of Lahore, suffered significant damages. The cause of that blaze was never determined.
Areas where the influence of Islamic extremists is strongest, especially in the North West Frontier Province, women’s and girls’ educational facilities are coming increasingly under attack. Buildings are set on fire and students are attacked with acid.’s-death,-police-charge-protesters-18246.html

ITALY: GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATES BABY LEFT TO DIE report: The Italian government has announced that it will launch an investigation of a hospital where a premature baby born alive following an attempted abortion was left to die for hours, before receiving medical attention thanks to the intervention of a priest.

"If the reports are correct we are talking about a grave case of therapeutic abandonment of a very premature newborn, probably also with some form of disability: an act against the sense of human pity but also against all ethics of medical practice," said Eugenia Roccella, the Italian Subsecretary of Health.
"The Ministry of Health will send its inspectors to Rossano Calabro hospital to see that the case is effectively addressed, and to verify that respect has been shown for law 194, which prohibits abortion when there is the possibility of an autonomous life for the fetus, and allows it only if the continuation of the pregnancy is dangerous to the life of the woman," Roccella added.
The baby, who was at 22 weeks gestation, was aborted in a hospital in Rossano reportedly because he suffered from a deformity, although the mother has also claimed that the pregnancy posed a medical risk. After surviving the doctor's attempt to kill him, the infant was given no medical treatment and was left to die.
According to reports in the Italian media, the situation was discovered by a priest, who had heard of the abortion and had come to pray for the soul of the infant.
However, he was shocked to find that the child was moving and breathing, wrapped in a sheet and lying unattended with his umbilical cord still attached. He reported the situation to the doctors, who then placed the child in intensive care in a neighboring hospital. However, he died only a few hours later.
In addition to the investigation by the national health ministry, local officials in Rossano are also reportedly investigating the case to determine if there was negligence on the part of doctors.
Many similar cases of children left to die after surviving abortions have been documented in the American media as well, prompting the passage of the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which was signed into law in 2002. Barack Obama, the current U.S. president, had infamously opposed a state version of the bill while serving as a senator in Illinois.


CNA report. As protesters gathered outside Peru's Apostolic Nunciature last Saturday to speak out against recent statements by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone connecting pedophilia and homosexuality, a group of Peruvian Catholics showed up in counter-protest to pray the Rosary and defend the Church.

Pro-life organizations organized the counter-protest which brought together many young people who eagerly demonstrated their public support of the Pope and the Church at large.
The gathering lasted for almost two hours. During that time, the counter-protesters sang songs, prayed the Rosary and shouted slogans such as, "Long live Benedict XVI!" "Long live the Church!" and "Long live Celibacy!"
To the rhythm of the chant, "Benedict my friend, Peru is with you," Catholics wearing white shirts as a symbol of solidarity calmly stood before protesters from groups such as Catholics for Free Choice and various gay rights groups.
"We came to pray for the Pope who is being attacked unjustly,” said Marcos, a college student present at the counter-protest. “I believe that Benedict XVI is a saint who has acted very strongly against cases” of abusive priests, the young man affirmed.
Maria Carmen, a Catholic mother who was also present, said, "It is the duty of all Catholics to defend the Pope and the Church.
“We need to make clear that it is only a few members of the clergy who have committed disgraceful acts,” she declared. "I know of many holy priests that do marvelous things which no one ever speaks of, and that is regrettable.”


All Africa report: Christian groups have begun preparations to formally launch the No campaign against the draft constitution a day after the Cabinet shut the door on changes before the referendum.

The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Thursday criticised the Cabinet on the decision it took arguing that it ought to have remained neutral so as to facilitate consensus building.
And on the suggestion that changes could be done after the referendum, the NCCK said the government could no longer be trusted. "We did no consider the offer to be honest. The Church participated in the talks in spirit and with a lot of patience hoping to steer the country forward on the right path but we have been duped," said NCCK deputy general secretary Oliver Kisaka during the Nairobi region conference in Limuru. "All the options the church had to build consensus have been systematically closed. We have no option but to reject the proposed law."The clerics said the whole exercise was clouded in mischief to delay the No team from launching its campaign as the Yes team toured the country promoting the proposed law.
"We have already begun mobilising support against the draft but we shall formally launch the campaign soon," he said.
The NCCK supported the action by the Kenya Christian Church Leaders to pull out of the meeting with the government with Rev Kisaka reiterating they would not renege on that position.
When asked whether they would attend the meetings, he retorted: "Somebody has already taken a decision without engaging us. How then can we meet"?
Rev Kisaka said the Church's strong opposition to draft stems from the failures the clergy noted at the 2005 referendum. At the time the Church asked its followers to read the draft law and decide on their own how they would vote.
"We failed to give leadership in 2005, so now we must guide our flock on the right path. We cannot afford a repeat at this time," he said.
The Church objects to the clause on abortion and retention of kadhis' court in the proposed law. The NCCK insisted that failure to amend the contentious areas would result in injustice, leading to inequality and conflict.
"Recognising that these issues have been raised time and again by the church yet ignored by the organs of review, and noting the decision made by the cabinet yesterday (Tuesday), we announce here today (Thursday) that we are mobilising our members to vote No at the referendum," said Bishop Joseph Kilioba who read the NCCK statement.
The draft, the clerics noted was defective in its architecture and spirit.
Questions have been raised that the Christian clergy have not been united and were only speaking for themselves and not their followers after the recent opinion polls suggested the draft enjoyed almost two-thirds support among Kenyans.
Retired PCEA moderator Rev Timothy Njoya and his counterpart former ACK leader Rt Rev David Gitari have also broken ranks with the rest of the clergy to support the draft.
However, the clerics dismissed the results of the opinion poll terming them 'immature' and also discounted claims of polarisation in the church.
"We are the elected leaders and we speak on behalf of the people who put us in the office. If one or two people are not satisfied with what the national executive committee has decided does not mean the church is polarised," responded Rev Kisaka.


Cath News report: Former Adelaide mayoress Valmai Roche has stated in her will that her daughters should be left "30 pieces of silver of the lowest denomination" from her $3.5 million estate, leaving the rest to Catholic charity Knights of the Southern Cross. Daughters Deborah Hamilton, Fiona Roche and Shauna Roche were also left jewellery from Ms Roche's collection on condition they correctly answered questions relating to their mother's personal diaries, according to a report in The Adelaide Advertiser.
Ms Roche, who died last year aged 81, believed they were involved in the death of her mother and said the amount was "blood money due to Judas", The Economic Times quotes from a Daily Telegraph report.
Her daughters are challenging the will in the South Australian Supreme Court, claiming Ms Roche was "delusional". The matter returns to court next month.
Ms Roche's mother Dorothy Maude Haber was being cared for in a nursing home. Court documents do not reveal how or when she died.
Ms Roche also left "30 pieces of silver" for her ex-husband John Roche, who was Adelaide City Council Lord Mayor from 1975 to 1977.


St. Zita

Feast: April 27

Information: Feast Day: April 27

Born: 1218 at Monsagrati near Lucca, Italy

Died: 27 April 1272 at Lucca, Italy

Canonized: 5 September 1696 by Pope Leo X and Pope Innocent XII

Major Shrine: Basilica di San Frediano, Lucca

Patron of: Domestic servants, homemakers, lost keys, people ridiculed for their piety, rape victims, single laywomen, waiters, waitresses
She was born in the beginning of the thirteenth century at Montsegradi, a village near Lucca in Italy. She was brought up with the greatest care, in the fear of God, by her poor virtuous mother, whose early and constant attention to inspire the tender heart of her daughter with religious sentiments seemed to find no obstacles, either from private passions or the general corruption of nature, so easily were they prevented or overcome. Zita had no sooner attained the use of reason, and was capable of knowing and loving God, than her heart was no longer able to relish any other object, and she seemed never to lose sight of him in her actions. Her mother reduced all her instructions to two short heads, and never had occasion to use any further remonstrance to enforce her lessons than to say, "This is most pleasing to God; this is the divine will"; or, "That would displease God."
The sweetness and modesty of the young child charmed everyone who saw her. She spoke little, and was most assiduous at her work; but her business never seemed to interrupt her prayers. At twelve years of age she was put to service in the family of a citizen of Lucca, called Fatinelli, whose house was contiguous to the church of St. Frigidian. She was thoroughly persuaded that labour is enjoined all men as a punishment of sin, and as a remedy for the spiritual disorders of their souls; and far from ever harbouring in her breast the least uneasiness, or expressing any sort of complaint under contradictions, poverty, and hardships, and still more from ever entertaining the least idle, inordinate, or worldly desire, she blessed God for placing her in a station in which she was supplied with the most effectual means to promote her sanctification, by the necessity of employing herself in penitential labour, and of living in a perpetual conformity and submission of her will to others. She was also very sensible of the advantages of her state, which afforded all necessaries of life, without engaging her in the anxious cares and violent passions by which worldly persons, who enjoy most plentifully the goods of fortune, are often disturbed; whereby their souls resemble a troubled sea, always agitated by impetuous storms, without knowing the sweetness of a true calm. She considered her work as an employment assigned her by God, and as part of her penance; and obeyed her master and mistress in all things as being placed over her by God. She always rose several hours before the rest of the family and employed in prayer a considerable part of the time which others gave to sleep. She took care to hear mass every morning with great devotion before she was called upon by the duties of her station, in which she employed the whole day with such diligence and fidelity that she seemed to be carried to them on wings, and studied when possible to anticipate them.
Notwithstanding her extreme attention to her exterior employments, she acquired a wonderful facility of joining with them almost continual mental prayer and of keeping her soul constantly attentive to the divine presence. Who would not imagine that such a person should have been esteemed and beloved by all who knew her?
Nevertheless, by the appointment of divine providence, for her great spiritual advantage, it fell out quite otherwise and for several years she suffered the harshest trials. Her modesty was called by her fellow-servants simplicity, and want of spirit and sense; and her diligence was judged to have no other spring than affectation and secret pride. Her mistress was a long time extremely prepossessed against her, and her passionate master could not bear her in his sight without transports of rage.
It is not to be conceived how much the saint had continually to suffer in this situation. So unjustly despised, overburdened, reviled, and often beaten, she never repined nor lost her patience; but always preserved the same sweetness in her countenance, and the same meekness and charity in her heart and words, and abated nothing of her application to her duties. A virtue so constant and so admirable at length overcame jealousy, antipathy, prepossession, and malice.
Her master and mistress discovered the treasure which their family possessed in the fidelity and example of the humble saint, and the other servants gave due praise to her virtue. Zita feared this prosperity more than adversity, and trembled lest it should be a snare to her soul. But sincere humility preserved her from its dangers; and her behaviour, amidst the caresses and respect shown her, continued the same as when she was ill-treated and held in derision; she was no less affable, meek, and modest; no less devout, nor less diligent or ready to serve everyone. Being made housekeeper, and seeing her master and mistress commit to her with an entire confidence the government of their family and management of all their affairs, she was most scrupulously careful in point of economy, remembering that she was to give to God an account of the least farthing of what was intrusted as a depositum in her .hands; and, though head-servant, she never allowed herself the least privilege or exemption in her work on that account.
She used often to say to others that devotion is false if slothful. Hearing a man-servant speak one immodest word, she was filled with horror, and procured him to be immediately discharged from the family. With David, she desired to see it composed only of such whose approved piety might draw down a benediction of God upon the whole house and be a security to the master for their fidelity and good example. She kept fast the whole year, and often on bread and water; and took her rest on the bare floor or on a board. Whenever business allowed her a little leisure, she spent it in holy prayer and contemplation in a little retired room in the garret; and at her work repeated frequently ardent ejaculations of divine love, with which her soul appeared always inflamed. She respected her fellow-servants as her superiors. If she was sent on commissions a mile or two in the greatest storms, she set out without delay, executed them punctually, and returned often almost drowned, without showing any sign of reluctance or murmuring.
By her virtue she gained so great an ascendant over her master that a single word would often suffice to check the greatest transports of his rage; and she would sometimes cast herself at his feet to appease him in favour of others. She never kept anything for herself but the poor garments which she wore: everything else she gave to the poor. Her master, seeing his goods multiply, as it were, in her hands, gave her ample leave to bestow liberal alms on the poor, which she made use of with discretion, but was scrupulous to do nothing without his express authority. If she heard others spoken ill of, she zealously took upon her their defence and excused their faults.
Always when she communicated, and often when she heard mass, and on other occasions, she melted in sweet tears of divine love: she was often favoured with ecstasies during her prayers. In her last sickness she clearly foretold her death, and having prepared herself for her passage by receiving the last sacraments, and by ardent signs of love, she happily expired on the 27th of April, in 1272, being sixty years old: one hundred and fifty miracles wrought in the behalf of such as had recourse to her intercession have been juridically proved. Her body was found entire in 1580 and is kept with great respect in St. Frigidian's church, richly enshrined; her face and hands are exposed naked to view through a crystal glass. Pope Leo X granted an office in her honour. The city of Lucca pays a singular veneration to her memory.
The solemn decree of her beatification was published by Innocent XII in 1696, with the confirmation of her immemorial veneration. See her life, compiled by a contemporary writer, and published by Papebroke, the Bollandist, on the 27th of April, p. 497, and Benedict XIV De Canoniz. lib. ii. c. 24, p. 245.


John 10: 22 - 30

22 It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem;

23 it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon.

24 So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness to me;

26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;

28 and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.

29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

30 I and the Father are one."