Tuesday, October 5, 2010




PRESENTATION OF WORLD YOUTH DAY 2011 VATICAN CITY, 5 OCT 2010 (VIS REPORT) - A press conference was held this morning in the Holy See Press Office to present the next World Youth Day, which is due to be held in the Spanish capital city of Madrid in August 2011. Participating in today's presentation were Cardinal Stansilaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity; Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid and president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference; Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity; Bishop Cesar Franco Martinez, auxiliary of Madrid and co-ordinator general for WYD 2011, and Maria de Jaureguizar, vice director of the WYD communications department. Cardinal Rylko highlighted how "the Pope lays much emphasis on the fact that WYD should not be reduced merely to a moment of festivity. Preparation for this great event and the attention that must be given to ordinary pastoral care are an integral and decisive part thereof. The festivities and the event itself act as a kind of catalyst to facilitate an ongoing educational process. In this sense, Benedict XVI sees in WYD a prophetic response to the educational emergency of the post-modern world". In his remarks, Cardinal Rouco Varela explained that "World Youth Day is a clear invitation addressed to all Spanish society to draw near to Christ and His Church. ... If we mange to reveal the beauty of the faith, many young and not-so-young people will proudly discover or rediscover the unearned privilege of being Catholic, and the responsibility we have to transform this world of ours into a better place for everyone". WYD, he went on, "will be possible thanks to many people's help", first among them "dozens of permanent helpers and - when the crucial week of 16-21 August draws near - up to 20,000 Spanish and international volunteers". Many families of Madrid will also welcome pilgrims into their homes. From an economic point of view, "WYD is supported by a vast civic platform, made up of many small donations as well as of contributions from firms and institutions, in money and in kind, who have agreed to become patrons and to share the responsibility of organising WYD, for the benefit of the youth of the world". "I must not fail to mention", Cardinal Rouco continued, "the positive climate of collaboration which has existed since the start with the Spanish public authorities. The welcome given to WYD by the national government, the Autonomous Community of Madrid and the city authorities, was favourable and effective from the first moment". Bishop Clemens analysed the Pope's Message for WYD, noting the autobiographical references Benedict XVI includes in the text. "The Pope mentions his personal experiences on three occasions", said Bishop Clemens. "In doing so he shows - as he has during meetings with children and young people in the past - great closeness and sensibility towards the specific challenges and difficulties youth must face. His words and gestures demonstrate a sincere desire to share with young people, revealing great tact and an attentive and realistic language". "The Holy Father's first autobiographical reference begins with the experience of his own youth as a period of 'great seeking', but also of 'seeking what is great'", said Bishop Clemens. Benedict XVI speaks of the Nazi period, but his experiences are in some way "transferable to the situation of young people today who, though in a different way, also experience being 'closed' in a world where consumerism and personal relations based on interest often prevail". The second reference is to youth as a time of great decisions, and the Holy Father recalls his own decision to become a priest. "The Pope's words", the bishop said, "reflect the experience of many young people who well know that great decisions, often difficult decisions, must subsequently be re-conquered and defended. We all know the widespread difficulty of our time of taking and remaining faithful to great decisions, of committing oneself for a lifetime. It is in this context that the Pope points out the virtues ... of faithfulness and coherence, of willingness and service, as indispensable premises for an 'authentic' life". Thirdly, in his Message Benedict XVI identifies the response that will guide us throughout our lives. "A response that comes from the depths of his heart and from the experience of his long life", said Bishop Clemens. "This response is God, it is faith in Him, it is the meeting with Jesus Christ; ... the real Jesus, not the Jesus of a hypothesis or a scientific theory. As an 'existential foundation' he offers the experience of his own 'personal search for the face of the Lord', which he achieved and developed over long years of study, prayer and meditation". For his part, Bishop Cesar Franco Martinez focused his remarks on the programme and the organisational aspects of WYD. According to information collected from various episcopal conferences, he said, WYD 2011 promises to be one of the best-attended of those organised in Europe although, because of the economic crisis afflicting Spain, it will be marked by a certain sobriety. It will also be a "very Spanish" WYD because the Pontifical Council for the Laity, indicating that each WYD must be firmly rooted in its host country, has asked that there be "a special presentation of Spanish history and culture". The principal aim of WYD in Madrid is to relaunch pastoral activity among young people. "Society is witnessing a fall in religious practice among youth", the bishop explained. "The latest official information shows that among under-twenty-fives the level of religious practice is less than ten percent, while 48.1 percent of young people declare themselves as non-practicing. It is precisely them we wish to reach". On the subject of economic support, the bishop gave the names of various organisations that are supporting the event. He also explained that anyone wishing to make a contribution can visit the portal where they will be able to decide the quantity and purpose of their donation.OP/ VIS 20101005 (1010)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 5 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed the following persons as participants in the forthcoming Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, due to be held in the Vatican from 10 to 24 October on the theme: "The Catholic Church in the Middle East. Communion and Witness. Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul": MEMBERS - Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.- Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, major archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine.- Cardinal Walter Kasper, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.- Cardinal John Patrick Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. - His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, patriarch emeritus of Jerusalem of the Latins. - His Beatitude Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, major archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, India- Archbishop Edmond Farhat, apostolic nuncio.- Archbishop Riccardo Fontana, of Arezzo-Cortona-San Sepolcro, Italy.- Archbishop Mounged El-Hachem, apostolic nuncio.- Archbishop Cyril Vasil, S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.- Bishop Bohdan Dzyurakh, C.SS.R., auxiliary of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine.- Bishop Dimitrios Salachas, apostolic exarch for Greek Catholics of Byzantine Rite resident in Greece.- Bishop Bosco Puthur, curial bishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India.- Msgr. Archimandrite Robert L. Stern, secretary general of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA).- Msgr. Mikael Antoine Mouradian, patriarchal vicar of the Institute for the Patriarchal Clergy of Bzommar, Lebanon.- Fr. David Neuhaus, S.J., head of pastoral care for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem of the Latins. EXPERTS - Fr. Nicolas Antiba, archimandrite of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church in Paris, France.- Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J., president of the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Rome.- Fr. Jean Azzam, secretary of the episcopal theological and biblical commission of the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon (APECL).- Fr. Hani Nasif Wasif Bakhoum Kiroulos, secretary to the Coptic Catholic Patriarch, Egypt.- Fr. Claudio Giovanni Bottini, O.F.M., dean of the Faculty of Biblical Studies and Archaeology in Jerusalem of the Pontifical "Antonianum" University.- Fr. Frans Bouwen, M. Afr., editor of the magazine "Proche‑Orient Chretien".- Msgr. Claude Bressolette, vicar general of the Ordinariate for faithful of oriental rite resident in France and without their own ordinary.- Fr. Nicola Bux, professor at the Theological Faculty of Puglia, Bari, Italy.- Fr. Jalil Canli Hadaya, O.F.M. Conv., judicial vicar of the apostolic vicariate of the Latins in Lebanon.- Fr. Elias Daw, president of the ecclesiastical court of appeal of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church, Israel.- Martino Diez, director of research at the International Oasis Foundation, Italy.- Fr. Peter du Brul, S.J., founder of the department for religious studies at the University of Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories.- Fr. Pier Giorgio Gianazza, S.D.B., professor of theology at the Salesian Theological Institute of Jerusalem.- Fr. Rafic Edward Greiche, head of the press office of the Catholic Church in Egypt.- Fr. Gaby Hachem, C.S.P., associate professor of ecclesiology at the Faculty of Theology of "Saint-Esprit" University at Kaslik, Lebanon.- Fr. Damian Howard, S.J., professor of theology at Heythrop College of the University of London, England.- Sr. Eudoxie Kechichian, S.A.I.C., superior general of the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Lebanon.- Fr. Antoine Louis Mouawad Khalife, O.L.M., director general of "C.H.U. Notre Dame De Secours" at Jbeil‑Byblos, Lebanon.- Msgr. Rafiq Khoury, pastor of "Bir Zeit", patriarchate of Jerusalem of the Latins.- Fr. Hanna Kildani, professor of the modern history of Christianity in the Holy Land, Jordan.- Annie Laurent, member of the Association of Catholic Notaries and of the International Union of the Francophone Press.- Fr. Philippe Luisier, S.J., professor of Coptic language and literature at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome.- Fr. Peter H. Madrous, doctor of biblical theology and biblical studies in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.- Msgr. Ermenegildo Manicardi, rector of Rome's Almo Collegio Capranica.- Fr. Frederic Manns, O.F.M., ordinary professor of the Faculty of Biblical Studies and Archaeology of the "Studium Biblicum Franciscanum" in Jerusalem.- Fr. Sameer Shaba Maroki, O.P., professor of oriental spiritual theology at Babel College, Iraq.- Fr. Paolo Martinelli, O.F.M. Cap., president of the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality at the "Antonianum" Pontifical Athenaeum in Rome.- Graziano Motta, journalist of Vatican Radio.- Sr. Telesphora Pavlou, teacher of dogmatic theology at the "Studio Teologico San Salvatore" in Jerusalem.- Fr. Paul Rouhana, O.L.M., rector of the Faculty of Theology of "Saint-Esprit" University at Kaslik, Lebanon.- Fr. Samir Khalil Samir, S.J., professor of the history of Arab culture and Islamic studies at St. Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon.- Fr. Selim Sfeir, judicial vicar of the eparchy of Cyprus of the Maronites.- Fr. Mark Sheridan, O.S.B., member of the International Association for Coptic Studies.- Msgr. Salim Soussan, vicar general of the archieparchy of Haifa and the Holy Land.- Fr. Guy Tardivy, O.P., prior of the Dominican convent of Saint-Etienne, the French biblical and archaeological school of Jerusalem.- Dietmar Werner Winkler, director of the department of biblical studies and ecclesiastical history at the University of Salzburg, Austria. AUDITORS - Fr. Faez Alfrejatt, O.B.S., monk of the convent of the Holy Saviour, Joun, Lebanon.- Hanna Almasso, member of the national team of leaders of J.O.C. Dubai, United Arab Emirates.- Msgr. Michel Aoun, episcopal vicar of the eparchy of Beirut of the Maronites, Lebanon.- Anton R. Asfar, council member of the patriarchal exarchate of Syro-Catholics of Jerusalem.- Said A. Azer, member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.- Agostino Borromeo, governor general of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.- Msgr. Philippe Brizard, director general emeritus of "L'Oeuvre d'Orient".- Tanios Chahwan, president of the National Council of the Laity in Lebanon.- Hares Chehab, secretary general of the National Committee for Islamic-Christian Dialogue, Lebanon. - Jacques F. El Kallassi, director general of "Tele Lumiere" and president of the managing board of "Noursat", Lebanon. - Amin Fahim, co-founder of the Christian Association of Upper Egypt.- Joseph Boutros Farah, president of Caritas International for the Middle East and North Africa.- Daniella Harrouk, SS.CC., superior general of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.- Marco Impagliazzo, president of the Sant'Egidio Community.- Jocelyne Khoueiry, president of the lay movement "La Libanaise‑Femme du 31 May".- Naguib Khouzam, director general of the SETI Centre ‑ Caritas Egypt.- Pilar Lara Alen, president of the Foundation for the Social Promotion of Culture.- Anan J. Lewis, professor of English poetry (Victorian and modern), at the department of English of the University of Baghdad, Iraq.- Regina Lynch, project director of Aid to the Church In Need. - Sobhy Makhoul, secretary general of the Maronite Catholic exarchate of Jerusalem, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan.- Rita Moussallem, member of the Focolari Movement.- Huda Musher, director of Caritas Jordan.- Sr. Clauda Achaya Naddaf, R.B.P. superior of the convent of Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, Damascus, Syria.- Fr. Georges Dankaye (Kevork Noradounguian), rector of the Pontifical Armenian College in Rome.- Fr. Raymond Leslie O'Toole, S.F.M., assistant to the secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC).- Fr. Rino Rossi, director of the "Domus Galilaeae", Israel.- Sr. Marie-Antoinette Saade, of the Congregation of Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family.- Epiphan Bernard Z. Sabella, associate professor of sociology at the University of Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories.- Paul Saghbini, hospitaller of the Lebanese Association of the Knights of Malta.- Rudolf Wilhelm Maria Solzbacher, member of the presidency of the "Deutsche Verein Vom Heiligen Lande".- Harald Suermann, head of the Middle Eastern section of "Missio".- Sr. Karima Tamer Hendy Awad, R.B.P., provincial superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, Egypt.- Christa Von Siemens, director of the commission for the Holy Land of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.- Husam J. Wahhab, president of Catholic Action of Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories. NA/ VIS 20101005 (1380)

IN MEMORIAM VATICAN CITY, 5 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The following prelates died recently: - Bishop Victor Adibe Chikwe of Ahiara, Nigeria, on 16 September at the age of 72. - Bishop Armindo Lopes Coelho, emeritus of Porto, Portugal, on 29 September at the age of 79. - Bishop Bernard Genoud of Lausanne, Geneve et Fribourg, Switzerland, on 21 September at the age of 68. - Bishop Jakob Mayr, former auxiliary of Salzburg, Austria, on 19 September at the age of 86. - Bishop Joseph Merhi, emeritus of Le Caire of the Maronites, Egypt, on 30 March 2006 at the age of 94. - Bishop James Edward Michaels S.S.C.M.E., former auxiliary of Wheeling-Charleston, U.S.A., on 21 September at the age of 84. - Archbishop-bishop Francis Mansour Zayek, emeritus of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, U.S.A., on 22 September at the age of 89.
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Asia News report: The initiative, promoted by a Protestant organization, was attended by 400 Christians in the holy city. The mayor of Jerusalem, argues that "the heart of the world" must be open so that everyone is free to practice their faith, and that it must remain the undivided capital of IsraelJerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More than 400 Christians, last Sunday, were in Jerusalem, to physically represent the 300 million people around the world who participated in the International Day of Prayer for peace of Jerusalem.The initiative was first launched in 2002 by Robert Stearns, founder and executive director of Eagles' Wings Ministries which aims to create relationships and bridges of hope across the world. The Day calls for global prayer uniting the Christian liturgical calendar with the biblical Hebrew calendar. According to organizers ANS, the Day "has quickly become the biggest moment of centered prayer in Israel's history," as each year sees the participation of over 300 thousand churches in 175 countries.This year, the event was held on the Haas Promenade, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. The city's mayor, Nir Barkat, in his address, affirmed the importance of united Jerusalem. "Jerusalem - he said - is special to 3.0 billion people of faith in the world. No other city in the world is a destination that fills our hearts like Jerusalem. My mission for the city is to return it to its role of 2000 to 3000 years ago and to welcome people from around the world, to explore our ancient past and build our modern future".To do this Barkat insisted Jerusalem must be kept open to people of all faith to enjoy and to freely practice their religion. He pointed out that during Ramadan this year, over 200 thousand Muslims freely traveled to the city in order to visit the Temple Mount to pray. "As mayor, I'm committed to maintaining that. This is not trivial,” he emphasized. “Jerusalem must keep reunited, undivided and be the sovereign capital of Israel. It is the heart of the world. You can't divide the heart,” he continued, “I read the Bible, and it is very clear who the capital of Jerusalem is for.”Other Israeli leaders, pastors and important rabbis, such as Rabbi Shlomo Riskin joined Christians to pray to the Almighty for the holy city.
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AFRICA/SIERRA LEONE - “The people want peace, but the high unemployment among youth is a time bomb,” missionary tells FidesAgenzia Fides REPORT – "Sierra Leone has undoubtedly made progress in recent years, however it must still be observed and encouraged by the international community," Fides has been told by Fr. Gerardo Caglioni, a Xaverian missionary with a long experience in Sierra Leone, commenting on the decision of the UN Security Council to lift the arms embargo on the African country.The UN Security Council has removed the arms embargo as a sign of confidence in the complete control of the territory by the government in Freetown and the completion of the disarmament and demobilization of militias that fought one another in a bloody civil war that ended in 2002."The people want peace, there is no doubt about it," says Fr. Caglioni. "At the same time, however, we must pay close attention to certain social and economic indicators that may take their toll on peace in the country.""The high unemployment among youth is a time bomb," said the missionary, echoing what Fides was told by Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles of Freetown and Bo, Sierra Leone (see Fides 14/9/2010)."The global economic crisis is having a major impact on Sierra Leone, as there are significant decreases in the immigrants' remittances, which are often the only source of livelihood for families," said Fr. Caglioni."Even the natural resources of the country, if they are not well managed, can be a source of destabilization," says the missionary. What was at stake in the war of 1991-2002 was the control of diamond mines in the country. “In addition to diamonds, we are now evaluating the reserves of iron, petroleum, bauxite, and ruthenium. We must be careful that these riches do not attract the interest of forces that act without scruple and then end up placing national peace in jeopardy.""I should also mention that Sierra Leone has become a stop-over point for cocaine traveling from Latin America to Europe, with consequences in terms of security and corruption," added Fr. Caglioni.The missionary then focused on the role of religions in Sierra Leone. "The various religious denominations, the Christian churches, the Muslim community, have played an important role in convincing people to make peace, as well as in the early stages of the peace. Now, however, they seem to have lost some of their role as social agents of integration to the benefit of governing structures. But I think that politics alone is not sufficient to continue the work of pacification and there should be a reevaluation of the role of religious denominations."
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CBN REPORT: A shooting on Sunday at Mid Atlantic Christian University, formerly Roanoke Bible College, located in Elizabeth City, N.C. has left one student dead.Elizabeth City police were called to the school shortly before 1 p.m. and found the man dead when they arrived at the scene, according to a police news release.Two male students got into an argument inside a dorm and that's when one student shot the other, according to a news release issued by the school.A person of interest is in police custody, but police have revealed no other details about the shooting.Fellow students said they are looking to Christ to help them deal with the shocking news."As a Christian individual, we look at the world and things we can't explain, but we have to have hope in eternity and a better place," said Ken Green, the school's vice president.The school has cancelled classes for Monday. University officials said local ministers and counselors will be available to students, faculty and staff for counseling."God is who we turn to in tears and in prayer," said Clay Perkins, the university's president.Mid Atlantic Christian University is a small school with just 180 students and was founded in 1948. All students are required to major in Bible and may choose a second major which can include Applied Linguistics, Cross-Cultural Ministry, General Ministry, Leadership & Administration, Preaching, or Youth and Family Ministry.
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Ind. Cath News report: Religious freedom must be incorporated into the European External Policies of the EU, by adding to agreements with Third Countries a binding clause on the respect of freedom of religion. This is the main demand of a Written Declaration presented today by Mario Mauro MEP (EPP group) and Konrad Szymanski MEP (ECR Group). The initiative was launched today on the occasion of a conference on "Persecution of Christians", which was organised by the two groups and COMECE.Violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief take place all over the world and it affects an estimated 100 million Christians every year. According to Open Doors International, in 2010, the top ten list of countries where Christians are most persecuted because of their faith, consists of North-Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Maldives, Afghanistan, Yemen, Mauritania, Laos, and Uzbekistan.The conference gave the floor to major witnesses of Christian persecution over the world: Mgr Eduard Hiiboro Kussala, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura, Yambio in South Sudan, Mgr Louis Sako, Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk, Iraq, Dr TM Joseph, Principal of the Newman College in Thodupuzha, India and Kok Ksor, President of the Montagnard Foundation (Vietnam).Konrad Szymański MEP (ECR) recalled that: "75% of deaths linked to religion-based hate crimes affect people of the Christian faith, which makes Christians the most persecuted religious group in the world. Europe cannot remain indifferent. The EU must take co-responsibility for protecting religious freedom all over the world. Today, the mass suffering of Christians is still a crime that remains forgotten. We are here to remind the politicians of their responsibilities in this matter".Mario Mauro MEP (EPP Group) stressed that: " Religious freedom is the condition through which all our other freedoms pass: freedom to express and profess the religion in which we believe means to escape the abuse of power. This is the reason why we need to insist on the defence of this principle and this is also why we initiated the Written Declaration in the defence of 'freedom of religion'".Othmar Karas MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group responsible for Interreligious activities, emphasised that: "Non-discrimination is universal. Freedom of religion and non-discrimination go hand in hand. Religions are an important part of the European identity and therefore interreligious dialogue is crucial for political and European consciousness."On the occasion of this conference, the COMECE Secretariat presented its 'Memorandum on Religious Freedom'. The text entails 11 recommendations addressed to the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council and the European External Action Service of the EU so as to contribute, within their respective responsibilities, to the furtherance of religious freedom in the external relations of the EU. The Memorandum recalls that "the right to religious freedom is so closely linked to the other fundamental rights that respect for religious freedom is like a ‘test' for the observance of fundamental rights".The Written Declaration initiated by the MEPs Mario Mauro and Konrad Szymański is foreseen be submitted to the Plenary in the next few weeks. It will require signatures of 380 MEPs within three months to be adopted.
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Cath News report; The Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention has been declared a success by organisers, who said the event has reinvigorated hundreds of Australian youth ministers.“The ACYMC was a huge success. A significant event in the life of the Church and for youth ministry in Australia” reported Malcolm Hart, Senior Youth Ministry Projects Officer for the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life, according to a media release.The convention brought together almost 400 participants from youth ministry in schools, parishes,communities, movements, religious institutions and dioceses from Australia and visitors from New Zealand.The seven Bishops who taught, prayed and mentored the youth ministers over the three days were inspired to see the large crowds gathered and the enthusiasm of participants.“You are the ones who support the young heart of the Church. Your role is important and the Bishops of Australia want to continue to support you in this ministry” said Bishop Eugene Hurley, Chairman of the BCPL.On the final day, Bishop Joseph Grech, the Bishops delegate for youth, commissioned the delegates to spread the Gospel message throughout Australia, with a passionate and charismatic exhortation to grasp their identity and mission as Christians with both hands.“You must take the passion you have for Christ to the young people of the Church. You are to ground yourselves in the scriptures. God has called each one of you to this vital ministry in the Church” said Bishop Grech.
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St. Faustina KowalskaAPOSTLE OF DIVINE MERCYFeast: October 5Information:Feast Day:October 5Born:25 August 1905, Głogowiec, PolandDied:October 5, 1938, Kraków, PolandCanonized:30 April 2000, Pope John Paul IIMajor Shrine:Shrine of Divine Mercy in Łagiewniki, Kraków, PolandPatron of:World Youth DaySt Mary Faustina Kowalska was born on 25 August 1905 in Glogowiec, Poland, to a poor, religious family of peasants, the third of 10 children. She was baptized with the name Helena in the parish church of Swinice Warckle. From a very tender age she stood out because of her love of prayer, work, obedience and her sensitivity to the poor. At the age of nine she made her First Holy Communion and attended school for three years. At the age of 16 she left home and went to work as a housekeeper in Aleksandrow, Lodz and Ostrowek in order to support herself and to help her parents.At the age of seven she had already felt the first stirrings of a religious vocation. After finishing school, she wanted to enter the convent but her parents would not give her permission. Called during a vision of the suffering Christ, on 1 August 1925 she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and took the name Sr Mary Faustina. She lived in the congregation for 13 years, residing in Krakow, Plock and Vilnius, where she worked as a cook, gardener and porter.Externally, nothing revealed her rich mystical interior life. She zealously performed her tasks and faithfully observed the rule of religious life. She was recollected, yet very natural, serene and full of kindness and disinterested love for her neighbour. Although her life was apparently insignificant and monotonous, she hid within herself an extraordinary union with God.It is the mystery of God's mercy, which she contemplated in the word of God as well as in her everyday activities, that forms the basis of her spirituality. The process of contemplating and getting to know the mystery of God's mercy helped to develop within Sr Mary Faustina the attitude of childlike trust in God and of mercy towards her neighbour. "0 my Jesus, each of your saints reflects one of your virtues; I desire to reflect your compassionate heart, full of mercy; I want to glorify it. Let your mercy, 0 Jesus, be impressed upon my heart and soul like a seal, and this will be my badge in this and the future life" (Diary 1242). Sr Faustina was a faithful daughter of the Church. Conscious of her role in the Church, she cooperated with God's mercy in the task of saving lost souls. At the specific request of the Lord Jesus and following his example, she made a sacrifice of her own life for this very goal. Her spiritual life was also distinguished by a love of the Eucharist and a deep devotion to the Mother of Mercy.The years she spent in the convent were filled with extraordinary gifts, such as revelations, visions, hidden stigmata, participation in the Passion of the Lord, bilocation, the reading of human souls, prophecy and the rare gift of mystical espousal and marriage. Her living relationship with God, the Blessed Mother, the angels, the saints, the souls in purgatory—with the entire supernatural world—was as real for her as the world she perceived with the senses. In spite of being so richly endowed with extraordinary graces, Sr Mary Faustina knew that they do not in fact constitute sanctity. In her Diary she wrote: "Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God" (Diary 1107).The Lord Jesus chose Sr Mary Faustina as the apostle and "secretary" of his mercy, so that she could tell the world about his great message. "In the Old Covenant", he said to her, "I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to my people. Today I am sending you with my mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful Heart" (Diary 1588).The mission of Sr Mary Faustina consists in three tasks:—reminding the world of the truth of our faith revealed in the Holy Scripture about the merciful love of God towards every human being;—entreating God's mercy for the whole world and particularly for sinners, among others through the practice of new forms of devotion to the Divine Mercy presented by the Lord Jesus, such as: the veneration of the image of the Divine Mercy with the inscription: "Jesus, I trust in you"; the feast of the Divine Mercy celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter; chaplet to the Divine Mercy and prayer at the Hour of Mercy (3 p.m.). The Lord Jesus attached great promises to the above forms of devotion, provided one entrusted one's life to God and practised active love of neighbour;—initiating the apostolic movement of the Divine Mercy, whose task is to proclaim and entreat God's mercy for the world and to strive for Christian perfection, following the precepts laid down by Sr Mary Faustina. The precepts in question require the faithful to have an attitude of childlike trust in God, expressed in fulfilling his will, and an attitude of mercy toward one's neighbour. Today millions of people throughout the world are involved in this Church movement: it includes religious congregations, lay institutes, religious, confraternities, associations, various communities of apostles of the Divine Mercy, as well as individuals who take up the tasks which the Lord Jesus communicated to them through Sr Mary Faustina.Sr Mary Faustina's mission was recorded in her Diary, which she kept at the specific request of the Lord Jesus and her confessors. In it she faithfully wrote down all of the Lord's wishes and described the encounters between her soul and him. "Secretary of my most profound mystery", the Lord said to Sr Faustina, "know that your task is to write down everything that I make known to you about my mercy, for the benefit of those who by reading these things will be comforted in their souls and will have the courage to approach me" (Diary 1693). Sr Mary Faustina's work sheds light on the mystery of the Divine Mercy. It delights not only simple, uneducated people, but also scholars, who look upon it as an additional source of theological research.Sr Mary Faustina, consumed by tuberculosis and innumerable sufferings, which she accepted as a voluntary sacrifice for sinners, died in Krakow at the age of 33 on 5 October 1938, with a reputation for spiritual maturity and a mystical union with God. Her reputation for holiness grew, as did the devotion to the Divine Mercy and the graces received from God through her intercession. Pope John Paul II beatified Sr Faustina on 18 April 1993. Her mortal remains rest at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Krakow-Lagiewniki.SOURCE
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TODAY'S GOSPEL: OCT. 5: Luke 10: 38 - 42
Luke 10: 38 - 4238Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house.39And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.40But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me."41But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;42one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her."
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