Wednesday, February 23, 2011







VATICAN CITY, 22 FEB 2011 (VIS REPORT) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present the 2011 Lenten Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The title of this year's Message is: "You were buried with Him in Baptism, in which you were also raised with Him".

Participating in today's conference were Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"; Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso and Msgr. Segundo Tejado Munoz, respectively secretary and under secretary of the same council, and Myriam Garcia Abrisqueta, president of the Spanish association "Manos unidas". (IMAGE SOURCE RADIO VATICANA)

Referring to the bonds between Baptism and charity, which the Holy Father emphasises in his Message, Cardinal Sarah affirmed that "in the face of the very real suffering that we encounter on a global level ... we are obliged to seek out concrete solutions to alleviate misery. ... But Christ founded the Church to give much more. Suffering, both global and personal, ... requires an answer that only the possession of eternal life can give", as promised by Baptism. The new nature received in Baptism "is the source of specific deeds of charity on behalf of our brothers and sisters", he explained.

The president of "Cor Unum" then went on to identify three elements of the Holy Father's message which, he said, represent "a road map to rekindle the supernatural life that was given to us in Baptism". Firstly, the Pope "fixes for us concrete appointments with specific persons and events on the five Sundays of Lent. He puts before us the Word of God proclaimed on those Sundays. By doing so, he wishes us to experience a personal encounter with Christ, the answer to the deepest longings of the human person and the world". Secondly, "the encounter with Christ in His Word and the Sacraments manifests itself in concrete works of mercy". Finally, Lent is presented to us as "a path or journey, a span of time to bring to fruition the seed planted at Baptism".

For her part, the president of "Manos unidas" recalled how "more than fifty years ago the women of the World Union of Female Catholic Organisations launched an appeal for attention to be given to hunger in the world. In a beautiful expression of 'feminine genius' in the Church they published a manifesto, ... inspired by their nature, as mothers, to give and protect life; and as Catholic women called by Jesus Christ 'to bear witness to a universal and effective love for the human family'".

"From the very beginning", she concluded, "they understood that they had to struggle against hunger: hunger for bread, hunger for culture and hunger for God. ... In this way this organisation of the Church in Spain has stood alongside men and women in more than sixty countries through some 25,000 development projects".

OP/ VIS 20110222 (480)


VATICAN CITY, 22 FEB 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was the 2011 Lenten Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The text, dated 4 November 2010, has as its title a passage from St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians: "You were buried with Him in Baptism, in which you were also raised with Him". Extracts from the English-language version of the document are given below:

"The fact that, in most cases, Baptism is received in infancy highlights how it is a gift of God: no one earns eternal life through their own efforts. The mercy of God, which cancels sin and, at the same time, allows us to experience in our lives 'themind of Christ Jesus', is given to men and women freely".

"Hence, Baptism is not a rite from the past, but the encounter with Christ, which informs the entire existence of the baptised, imparting divine life and calling for sincere conversion; initiated and supported by Grace, it permits the baptised to reach the adult stature of Christ.

"A particular connection binds Baptism to Lent as the favourable time to experience this saving Grace. ... In fact, the Church has always associated the Easter Vigil with the celebration of Baptism. ... This free gift must always be rekindled in each one of us, and Lent offers us a path like that of the catechumenate, which, for the Christians of the early Church, just as for catechumens today, is an irreplaceable school of faith and Christian life. Truly, they live their Baptism as an act that shapes their entire existence.

"In order to undertake more seriously our journey towards Easter and prepare ourselves to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord - the most joyous and solemn feast of the entire liturgical year - what could be more appropriate than allowing ourselves to be guided by the Word of God? For this reason, the Church, in the Gospel texts of the Sundays of Lent, leads us to a particularly intense encounter with the Lord, calling us to retrace the steps of Christian initiation: for catechumens, in preparation for receiving the Sacrament of rebirth; for the baptised, in light of the new and decisive steps to be taken in the 'sequela Christi' and a fuller giving of oneself to Him".

"The Lenten journey finds its fulfilment in the Paschal Triduum, especially in the great vigil of the Holy Night: renewing our baptismal promises, we reaffirm that Christ is the Lord of our life, that life which God bestowed upon us when we were reborn of 'water and Holy Spirit', and we profess again our firm commitment to respond to the action of the Grace in order to be His disciples.

"By immersing ourselves into the death and resurrection of Christ through the Sacrament of Baptism, we are moved to free our hearts every day from the burden of material things, from a self-centred relationship with the 'world' that impoverishes us and prevents us from being available and open to God and our neighbour. ... Through the traditional practices of fasting, almsgiving and prayer, which are an expression of our commitment to conversion, Lent teaches us how to live the love of Christ in an ever more radical way.

"Fasting, which can have various motivations, takes on a profoundly religious significance for the Christian: by rendering our table poorer, we learn to overcome selfishness in order to live in the logic of gift and love; by bearing some form of deprivation - and not just what is in excess - we learn to look away from our 'ego', to discover Someone close to us and to recognise God in the face of so many brothers and sisters. For Christians, fasting, far from being depressing, opens us ever more to God and to the needs of others, thus allowing love of God to become also love of our neighbour.

"In our journey, we are often faced with the temptation of accumulating and love of money that undermine God's primacy in our lives. The greed of possession leads to violence, exploitation and death; for this, the Church, especially during the Lenten period, reminds us to practice almsgiving - which is the capacity to share. The idolatry of goods, on the other hand, not only causes us to drift away from others, but divests man, making him unhappy, deceiving him, deluding him without fulfilling its promises, since it puts materialistic goods in the place of God, the only source of life".

"The practice of almsgiving is a reminder of God's primacy and turns our attention towards others, so that we may rediscover how good our Father is, and receive His mercy.

"During the entire Lenten period, the Church offers us God's Word with particular abundance. By meditating and internalising the Word in order to live it every day, we learn a precious and irreplaceable form of prayer. ... Prayer also allows us to gain a new concept of time: without the perspective of eternity and transcendence, in fact, time simply directs our steps towards a horizon without a future. Instead, when we pray, we find time for God, to understand that His 'words will not pass away', to enter into that intimate communion with Him 'that no one shall take from you', opening us to the hope that does not disappoint, eternal life".

"The Lenten period is a favourable time to recognise our weakness and to accept, through a sincere inventory of our life, the renewing Grace of the Sacrament of Penance, and walk resolutely towards Christ.

"Dear brothers and sisters, through the personal encounter with our Redeemer and through fasting, almsgiving and prayer, the journey of conversion towards Easter leads us to rediscover our Baptism. This Lent, let us renew our acceptance of the Grace that God bestowed upon us at that moment, so that it may illuminate and guide all of our actions. What the Sacrament signifies and realises, we are called to experience every day by following Christ in an ever more generous and authentic manner".

MESS/ VIS 20110222 (1020)


VATICAN CITY, 22 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that at 6.30 p.m. on Sunday 27 February Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli, penitentiary major of the Apostolic Penitentiary, will take possession of the diaconate of St. Anselm on the Aventine, Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta 5, Rome.

OCL/ VIS 20110222 (70)


VATICAN CITY, 22 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix I.S.P.X., auxiliary of the archdiocese of Quebec, Canada, as metropolitan archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 35,180, population 1,192,108, Catholics 1,027,166, priests 737, permanent deacons 91, religious 3,515). The archbishop-elect was born in Saint-Hilaire de Dorset, Canada in 1957 he was ordained a priest in 1988 and consecrated a bishop in 2009.

- Appointed Bishop Gilles Lemay, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Quebec, Canada, as bishop of Amos (area 127,237, population 111,220, Catholics 88,875, priests 35, religious 96), Canada. He succeeds Bishop Eugene Tremblay, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Charles Drennan of the clergy of Christchurch, New Zealand, diocesan chancellor, as coadjutor of the diocese of Palmerston North (area 36,200, population 470,000, Catholics 59,099, priests 58, religious 141), New Zealand. The bishop-elect was born in Christchurch in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1996.

- Appointed Fr. Jean Kockerois of the clergy of the archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, dean of Brussels-south; Fr. Jean-Luc Hudsyn of the clergy of the archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, episcopal vicar for Brabante Vallone, and Fr. Leon Lemmens of the clergy of Hasselt, Belgium, official of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels (area 3,635, population 2,524,000, Catholics 1,615,000, priests 1,909, permanent deacons 90, religious 3,761). Bishop-elect Kockerois was born in Brecht, Belgium in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1993. Bishop-elect Hudsyn was born in Uccle, Belgium in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1972. Bishop-elect Lemmens was born in Boorsem, Belgium in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1977.

- Appointed Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, as apostolic nuncio to Greece.

- Appointed Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil of Calicut, India, as secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of San Luis, Argentina, presented by Bishop Jorge Luis Lona, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Pedro Daniel Martinez.


NEWS.AU.COM REPORT: THE major earthquake that hit New Zealand's second largest city this morning has caused an unknown number of deaths and extensive destruction to buildings. These interactive photos show the effects of the quake on the streets of Christchurch.

Christchurch Cathedral before the February 22, 2011 quake
Christchurch Cathedral after the February 22, 2011 earthquake
This shows the damage done to Christchurch Cathedral, a landmark of Christchurch that has been a part of the city for nearly 150 years.
The 6.3 Magnitude earthquake that struck yesterday has destroyed the building, toppling the spire.
The cathedral's spire stood 63m above Cathedral Square.
The cathedral was under repair for damage sustained in aftershocks on Boxing Day last year.

The Reverend Peter Beck, Dean of Christchurch said at the time the cathedral escaped destruction during the earthquake, telling "My thanks go to council for all that earthquake strengthening work. Without that we would have had major damage.''
Unfortunately Christchurch Cathedral was not so lucky this time.
In other areas of the city, streets were filled with rubble and buildings crushed by the force of the quake.
More before-and-after pictures show how the earthquake has dramatically changed Christchurch's landscape.
Read more:


ASIANEWS REPORT: Tens of thousands of Christians hold an interfaith gathering, followed by a prayer vigil to protest against a distorted report on targeted attacks on churches in 2008. Archbishop Moras "The BJP government has the dubious honour of being a witness to an attack on churches or Christians every three days."

Bangalore (AsiaNews) - Christians in Bangalore held a massive protest against the Somasekhar Commission's report, considered one-sided and biased, into the series of attacks on churches and Christian places of worship in Mangalore in 2008 andseveral other districts of Karnataka. (02/21/2011Mangalore Christians march to demand justice in attacks on churches).

The protest was organized under the banner of Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights (Kucfhr), opposite the cathedral of St. Francis Xavier, and was attended by more than 30 thousand people. The rally was followed by a candlelight vigil. Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights. The Archbishop of Bangalore, Mgr.Bernard Moras, who is also chairman of Kucfhr, opened the meeting by explaining the reasons that led Christians to demonstrate and illustrate the sequence of events that began with the attacks on churches in 2008.(Photo: A Gospel burned).

The Archbishop pointed out that persecution of the minority community, especially the Christians, started since the change of government after the May 2008 Assembly elections. The series of well-planned, simultaneous and brutal attacks against Churches and places of worship belonging to Christians that began on September 13 and 14, 2008 in Mangalore, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and other districts, including Bangalore and Kolar, went on till October 2008 and have been continuino since the Bjp (Bharatiya Janata Party) came to power. The Archbishop said the ruling BJP that celebrated its 1000 days in office Sunday, February 20, has earned the dubious distinction of the State witnessing an attack against Christians or their Churches almost every third day.

“This is in sharp contrast to the brotherly relationship and communal harmony that prevailed in the State between people of different religions in Karnataka until the BJP came to power,” he said pointing out that the law abiding nature and peaceful disposition along with the meekness of Christians was interpreted as a weakness”, noted the Archbishop.



Sixth form pupils raise money for Mary’s Meals

From left: Sam Higginson, Tom Pugh, George Gardner, Beth Adams, Katie Smith and Elisha Ahmed

Princethorpe College sixth form students Beth Adams and Katie Smith have capitalised on a romantic theme to raise over £125 for the charity Mary’s Meals.

Red and white carnations were bought by the students as an expression of love or friendship to be hand-delivered to classrooms on Valentine’s Day. Princethorpe College in Warwickshire has already raised £2,741 to provide school meals for a whole academic year for the Betsy Williams School in Bomi County, Liberia.

Liberia is the second-poorest country in the world and it is Princethorpe’s aim to match that total amount for next academic year as well. Mary’s Meals is an international movement set up to provide feeding projects in communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education.

Rod Isaacs, deputy head of sixth form, along with a dedicated fundraising student team, have a number of charity initiatives in the pipeline. In April over 20 students will complete the Coventry Way Walk and in March a cultural Irish Night will provide Irish music and entertainment all to raise money for the Betsy Williams school.

Mary’s Meals provides daily meals in school for over 450,000 children in Africa, Asia, Latin America and eastern Europe.


CATHOLIC ONLINE REPORT: Baby Joseph is once again being threatened with death by judicial fiat. The hospital is attempting to have Joseph placed under Guardianship so his parents can no longer make medical decisions for him. They have said they will proceed with the removal of his breathing tube even if the Michigan hospital agrees to transfer him. This family needs your urgent prayers and your help.

Baby Joseph Maraachli

Baby Joseph Maraachli

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - Baby Joseph's story has taken another wrong turn. It seemed like some good news had finally come for this child and his parents on Sunday night when a hospital in Michigan agreed to review his case and possibly transfer him there to receive the care he needed. (Read backstory here.) But that relief was short-lived. Baby Joseph is once again being threatened with death by judicial fiat.

The Ontario hospital has asked the Office of the Public Guardian to assume guardianship of Joseph so decision-making power regarding his care will be taken from his parents and given to the guardian and hospital. The Public Guardian can order his breathing tube removed immediately at any time, and the hospital now says it will proceed with the removal even if the Michigan hospital offers to transfer Joseph. (A decision from the Office of the Public Guardian is expected any time.)

His parents are being robbed of their right to be parents and their authority over their infant son. The hospital seeks to exert its power over this child's life in order to end his life.

And if that weren't bad enough, the hospital has also added further insult to grievous injury by denying his parents the right to be with their son privately. They are now allowed to see their son only with a security guard present. They are being treated like criminals and Joseph like a hostage. A hostage to the hospital's death wish.

LifeSiteNews reports, "Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, which has been offering support to the parents, Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader, says they are now only allowed to see their son with a security guard present.

"They fight my family. ... they put security for me. They never give me private to pray with my son," Moe told Fox News this afternoon.

"Security watch me and security stay with me," he added. "When I go to hospital I feel I am not in Canada. I feel I'm in jail or they kidnapped my baby."

"It's ridiculous. It's not like they could pick the child up and take him home. The baby would die," said Schadenberg.

Schadenberg said that Moe tried to bring him in to see Joseph on Monday, but security denied him access to the room, and told him to leave the premises. "It's become crazy. The hospital's going overboard and it makes no sense," he said."

Indeed, this makes no sense. Why are they so bent on making sure this baby dies in their hospital, as soon as possible? Why not let him go home with his family? Why not let him be transferred? Why treat his parents like criminals simply because they don't want their son to be suffocated to death?

Perhaps this started out as a financial hole the hospital simply wanted out of. Joseph's care perhaps had gotten too expensive, with no "benefit" for all the expense. A financial liability. That's the focus of state-run health care - to get the greatest benefit for the dollar spent, and when the patient is too sick to be "worth it" anymore, then the care must be terminated, even if it means the patient is terminated.

But why the stubborn refusal to allow this child to live when someone else has offered to help? Why go even further by trying to usurp the parents' authority? Is it to make an example of them?

If the Maraachli's were to win this fight, it might encourage others in the same situation to resist the death mandate. Is that what the hospital and the court fears? Is this merely about asserting their control for the sake of control?

It certainly appears that way. Again I say, this is what happens when human beings are treated like animals to be "put to sleep." This is what comes of denying the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.

Drug-induced respiratory failure, or palliative care, does not equal dignity. It does not equal compassion. It does not equal respect for life. What's happening to Joseph and his parents is quite the opposite and it's wrong. It must be opposed.

Please continue to hold this family in your prayers and plead his case in emails and phone calls to the hospital. Here again is the Canadian contact information.

Bonnie Adamson
President and CEO, London Health Sciences Centre
800 Commissioners Road East
London, Ontario Canada N6A 5W9
Phone: 519-685-8462

Dalton McGuinty, Premier
Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Fax: (416) 325-3745

Tim Hudak, Opposition Leader
The Ontario PC Party
19 Duncan Street
Suite 401
Toronto, ON M5H 3H1
Phone: 416-861-0020
Toll-free: 1-800-903-6453
Fax: 416-861-9593


Agenzia Fides REPORT – “San Gaspare” Hospital in Itigi, situated in one of the poorest zones in the region, offers assistance to people who live there but also to people from further away, without distinction for race or religion. The hospital has about 350 beds and 250 staff including doctors, paramedics and nurses. Every year about 7,000 in-patients are registered, more than 62,000 out-patients and about 9,000 lab exams are conducted. It ranks among the nation's top hospitals for management, quality of machinery, expertise and capabilities. One of the most important units is paediatrics where there are 150 beds. Thanks also to this service, the Country's infant mortality rate has been reduced from 98% in the 1960s to 10% today. The hospital is part of humanitarian projects supported by the “Friends of Missions”, which has long collaborated with the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, to serve the poorest and most needy in Tanzania and India. For many years, the hospital in Itigi has worked with the “Bambino Gesù” Hospital in Rome for special surgeries, including heart surgery.


Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle

Feast: February 22


Feast Day:February 22

St Peter having triumphed over the devil in the East, pursued him to Rome in the person of Simon Magus. He who had formerly trembled at the voice of a poor maid now feared not the very throne of idolatry and superstition. The capital of the empire of the world, and the centre of impiety, called for the zeal of the prince of the apostles. God had established the Roman empire, and extended its dominion beyond that of any former monarchy, for the more easy propagation of his gospel. Its metropolis was of the greatest importance for this enterprise. St. Peter took that province upon himself; and repairing to Rome, there preached the faith and established his episcopal chair, whose the bishops of Rome have been accounted in all ages. That St. Peter founded that church by his is expressly asserted by Caius, a priest of Rome under Pope Zephyrinus; who relates also that his body was then on the Vatican Hill, and that of his fellow-labourer St. Paul on the Ostian Road. That he and St. Paul planted the faith at Rome, and were both crowned with martyrdom at the same time, is affirmed by Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, in the second age. St. Irenaeus, who lived in the same age, calls the church at Rome "the greatest and most ancient church, founded by the two glorious apostles, Peter and Paul." Eusebius, in several places, mentions St. Peter's being at Rome, and the several important translations of this apostle in that city. Not to mention Origen, Hegesippus, Arnobius, St. Ambrose, St. Austin, St. Jerome, St. Optatus, Orosius, and others on the same subject. St. Cyprian calls Rome the of St. Peter (as Theodoret calls it his ), which the general councils and ecclesiastical writers, through every age and on every occasion, repeat. That St. Peter at least preached in Rome, founded that church, and died there by martyrdom under Nero are facts the most incontestable by the testimony of all writers of different countries who lived near that time; persons of unquestionable veracity, and who could not but be informed of the truth in a point so interesting, and of its own nature so public and notorious, as to leave them no possibility of a mistake. This is also attested by monuments of every kind; also by the prerogatives, rights, and privileges which that church enjoyed from those early ages in consequence of this title.

It was an ancient custom, as Cardinal Baronius and Thomassin show by many examples, observed by churches to keep an annual festival of the consecration of their bishops. The feast of the chair of St. Peter is found in ancient Martyrologies, as in one under the name of St. Jerome, at Esternach, copied in the time of St. Willibrord, in 720. Christians justly celebrate the founding of this mother-church, the centre of catholic communion, in thanksgiving to God for his mercies on his church, and to implore his future blessings.

Christ has taught us, in the divine model of prayer which he has delivered to us, that we are bound to recommend to him, before all other things, the exaltation of his own honour and glory, and to beg that the kingdom of his holy grace and love be planted in all hearts. If we love God above all things, and with our whole hearts, or have any true charity for our neighbour, this will be the centre of all our desires, that God be loved and served by all his creatures, and that he be glorified, in the most perfect manner, in our own souls. By placing this at the head of our requests, we shall most strongly engage God to crown all our just and holy desires. As one of his greatest mercies to his church, we most earnestly beseech him to raise up in it zealous pastors, eminently replenished with his Spirit, with which he animated his apostles.



Matthew 16: 13 - 19
13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare'a Philip'pi, he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?"14And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli'jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."15He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"16Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."17And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

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