Thursday, March 10, 2011





TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAR. 10: LUKE 9: 22- 25


VATICAN CITY, 10 MAR 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - In the Holy See Press Office this afternoon, the presentation will take place of the second volume of Benedict XVI's book on Jesus of Nazareth: "From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection". The press conference will be presented by Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S. prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and Claudio Magris, a writer and German scholar. (IMAGE: RADIO VATICANA)

The book has been published in seven languages - German, Italian, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Polish - and has nine chapters and an epilogue. The chapter headings and subheadings were published in the VIS bulletin of 2 March.

In an interview published by the "Osservatore Romano" Fr. Giuseppe Costa, director of the Vatican Publishing House which holds the copyright on the Pope's works, explains that there will initially be seven editions of the book with a print run of 1,200,000 copies, and that contracts have been signed with twenty-two publishing houses throughout the world. The work is also available in an e-book edition.

Fr. Costa dwells briefly on the history of the publication, recalling how nearly a year and a half ago Msgr. Georg Gaenswein, private secretary to Benedict XVI, consigned him the text, the last part of which was written in pencil "in the Pope's unmistakeable tiny handwriting".

On the subject of the translations, Fr. Costa explains how "the Italian, in particular, was not easy, because over the decades Joseph Ratzinger's books have been translated by various individuals and the challenge was to achieve a certain homogeneity of language. Furthermore, it was important to avoid the risk of the translations in the various languages failing to conserve, or even betraying, the author's ideas".

"Not all the publishing houses of the first volume have also printed the second", Fr. Costa notes. "The choice was made on the basis of various criteria including editorial and organisational structure, but also reliability. We chose publishers capable of promoting not just the book but also its contents".

In his preface the Pope announces a third book, which he intends to dedicate to the Gospel accounts of Jesus' infancy. This could not enter directly into the current volume, says Fr. Costa, which focuses on the figure of Jesus, His words and His actions. But, as the Pope writes in his preface, "I wish to remain faithful to my promise and present a small work on this subject, if I am granted the strength to do so".

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VATICAN CITY, 10 MAR 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - Yesterday, Ash Wednesday, Benedict XVI presided at the traditional penitential procession from the church of St. Anselm on Rome's Aventine Hill to the Basilica of Santa Sabina where he celebrated Mass. The Pope received ashes from Cardinal Jozef Tomko, titular of the basilica, then himself distributed ashes to the cardinals and bishops present, as well as to a number of faithful.

"Today we begin the liturgical period of Lent with the emblematic ritual of the imposition of the ashes by which we intend to take on the task of turning our hearts towards the horizons of Grace", said the Pope in his homily. "This is not some superficial or transitory conversion, but a spiritual itinerary which has a profound effect on our conscience and involves a sincere intention to amend our lives".

"This means undertaking an authentic conversion to God - returning to Him - recognising His sanctity, His power, His majesty", the Holy Father went on. "Such conversion is possible because God is rich in mercy and great in love. His mercy is regenerating. ... God, in fact, does not want the death of sinners but their conversion to life. ... He offers us His forgiveness, ... so as to give us a new heart purified from the evil that oppresses it, so as to lead us to participate in His joy. Our world needs to be converted by God, it needs His pardon, His love, it needs a new heart".

"'Christ's call to conversion', says the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 'continues to resound in the lives of Christians. This ... is an uninterrupted task for the whole Church who, clasping sinners to her bosom, is at once holy and always in need of purification, and follows constantly the path of penance and renewal'. This struggle for conversion is not an exclusively human effort. It is the dynamism of the 'contrite heart', attracted and moved by grace to respond to the mercy of God".

"Everyone can open themselves to the action of God, to His love", the Pope exclaimed. "With our evangelical testimony, we Christians must be a living message; indeed, in many cases, we are the only Gospel that the men and women of today still read. ... One further reason to live Lent properly is to offer a witness of lived faith to a world in difficulty, a world which needs to return to God, a world which needs conversion".

Finally, the Holy Father referred to today's Gospel in which Jesus reiterates the three principle works of piety in Mosaic Law: alms, prayer and fasting. Christ "highlights how these three works of piety enclose a shared temptation: ... the desire to be esteemed and admired for a good action. ... The Lord Jesus does not ask for formal respect to be shown to a law that is foreign to man; ... on the contrary, He invites us to rediscover these three works of piety, and to experience them more profoundly, not for love of self but for love of God, as a means on the journey of conversion to Him.

"Alms, prayer and fasting, this is the course of divine pedagogy which accompanies us, and not just during Lent, towards the meeting with the Risen Lord; a course to be followed without ostentation, in the certainty that the heavenly Father can read and see into the secret depths of our hearts".

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VATICAN CITY, 10 MAR 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican's Hall of Blessings, as is traditional at the beginning of Lent, the Pope met with pastors and priests of the diocese of Rome.

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VATICAN CITY, 10 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bruno Lilli, bureau chief of the Vatican's Healthcare Assistance Fund, as director of the same organisation.


40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access God's power through prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigil to end abortion in America

Hope is something that is often in short supply in today's world. But it need not be. With God, there is always hope and an everlasting love that should encourage us to persevere-even when it seems like things will never change and there is no point in trying. But God hears our cries and God works miracles.40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access God's power through prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigil to end abortion in America.

STAFFORD, VA. (American Life League) -Hope is something that is often in short supply in today's world. But it need not be. With God, there is always hope and an everlasting love that should encourage us to persevere-even when it seems like things will never change and there is no point in trying. But God hears our cries and God works miracles. This hope is the reason behind the 40 Days for Life campaign that began on Ash Wednesday. Read today's guest commentary for more information on 40 Days for Life and be inspired to take part. God is listening:


By Connie Beckman

For years, I've felt a call to raise awareness of the tragedy of abortion, and to offer hope to those tempted to make that deadly choice and those wounded by doing so. Sometimes, I've felt alone in the fight. At times, I've pictured myself on the battlefield for life all by myself, completely encompassed by the enemy. But even though I felt alone, I knew Jesus was by my side as I continued to trudge forward. It seemed no one wanted to talk about the big "A-word" from the pulpit, or in conversations with my sisters and brothers in Christ. It made people uncomfortable to talk about it. But Jesus shared truth- which sometimes made people uncomfortable. Doesn't Jesus call us to do the same?

One day, during my prayer time, I began to ponder the times that Jesus felt alone and abandoned during His ministry. This gave me courage to continue to share my message of hope with others when the opportunity presented itself-even though it took courage to stand up and speak out. Meditating on how Jesus conveyed His message of truth, I realized He always offered His mercy, love and forgiveness. Each day, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me be honest, gentle, kind and merciful when I share with others. It has been said that we should be gentle and kind to one another, because we are all fighting a difficult battle.

40 days of real hope and change

If we persevere in prayer, God is sure to answer the desires of our hearts. When the 40 Days for Life campaign first came to Helena (Montana's state capital) in the fall of 2008, I felt a sense of renewed hope, and I'm sure many others praying for the end of abortion did also. According to the organization's web site, 40 Days for Life is a community-based campaign that draws attention to the evil of abortion through the use of a three-point program:
- Prayer and fasting
- Constant vigil
- Community outreach

40 Days for Life takes a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, for their own friends and families. .
40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access God's power through prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigil to end abortion in America. The mission of the campaign is to bring together the body of Christ in a spirit of unity during a focused 40-day campaign of prayer, fasting and peaceful activism, with the purpose of repentance, to seek God's favor to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life, thus bringing an end to abortion in America.

If there is no abortion mill in your town, you can still pray and fast in solidarity with other 40 Days participants, knowing that God will use your commitment somehow. The 40-day duration is significant because it reflects biblical history, which is replete with accounts of significant events and transformations occurring during periods of 40 days or 40 years in both the Old and New Testaments.

Montana's first-ever 40 Days for Life campaign took place in Great Falls in the spring of 2008. Kalispell hosted its first in the spring of 2009. The fall of 2009 campaign was a time of great rejoicing for pro-lifers nationwide because Kalispell's Planned Parenthood facility closed its doors for good, as did an abortion mill in Pensacola, Florida; and Abby Johnson, Planned Parenthood's director in Bryan/College Station, Texas, quit her job. Proof that praying, fasting and standing up for life works!

This year's spring 40 Days for Life campaign will be the largest 40 Days event thus far. It will take place from March 9, Ash Wednesday, through April 17, Palm Sunday, in the United States, Canada, Belize, Australia, England, Ireland, Spain, Georgia and Armenia. In the United States, 247 cities from coast to coast will participate. We are particularly joyful and hopeful in Montana because, for the first time, there will be a 40 Days campaign in every city where there is an abortion mill: Helena, Great Falls, Billings, Missoula and Livingston. The first campaign in Billings took place last fall. Missoula and Livingston will be hosting their first campaigns.



ASIA NEWS REPORT: For Lent, the bishops of the 26 dioceses addressed pastoral letters to the faithful. The rediscovery of Baptism, reject what is contrary to the faith, "the cold faith" of consumerism.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - Lent is deeply felt among Vietnamese Catholics: the bishops of the 26 dioceses in the country have addressed pastoral letters to the faithful and, thanks to the Internet, Benedict XVI’s message has also been available in Vietnamese, according to which "through a personal encounter with our Savoir and through fasting, almsgiving and prayer, the journey of conversion towards Easter leads us to rediscover our baptism.".

Yesterday, Ash Wednesday was well attended in all the parishes in the archdiocese of Saigon: nevertheless, in the consumer society, Catholics are experiencing a "cold faith." As Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say, "we are used to pray according to the Gospel, but we do not live according to what it says. This is the main reason why many people do not believe in Jesus. "

In line with the Pope’s message, the bishop of Haiphong, Vũ Văn Thiên, wrote to the religious and the faithful that " we are stepping into the holy season of Lent. Pope Benedict XVI invited us to rediscover the sacrament of Baptism as a means to renovating our life, by becoming a new creation in Jesus’ resurrection. Together we should study and highlight actions that speak of Lent".

"First of all - he continues – we must remember how to specifically increase our Baptismal promises. Catholic doctrine teaches us that through the Sacrament of Baptism our sins are forgiven and we become new creatures. Its purifying water gives us a rebirth, so we become children of God as St. Paul uses words such as 'burial' and regeneration’ to describe the renewal of the faithful when receiving the sacrament. Indeed, through Baptism, we are brought from death to life, from darkness to light. When we received Baptism, we swore to live as children of light leaving sin and what is against the faith. During Lent, we recall the pledge to renew our faith in God, reject what is contrary to the Catholic faith, especially in the forms of superstition and consumerism that are growing in today's society. "


Hundreds formally join Anglican Ordinariate | Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

Our Lady of Walsingham
Today, an estimated 600 Anglicans with at least 20 members of their clergy throughout England and Wales formally join the newly established Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and are being welcomed in Catholic churches. They will be entering into full communion with the Catholic Church during Holy Week.

The largest number of those entering the Ordinariate come from South-East England. In the Southwark diocese six groups have joined.

They include: the Beckenham & Bromley Ordinariate Group: Rev Simon Heans and a group from St Barnabas’, Beckenham; the Folkestone Ordinariate Group: Rev Stephen Bould and a group from St Peter's, Folkestone; the East Kent Ordinariate Group: Rev Christopher Lindlar and a group from St Andrew’s, Deal; the London South Ordinariate Group: a group from St Agnes', Kennington Park; the Sevenoaks Ordinariate Group: Rev Ivan Aquilina, Deacon James Bradley and a group from St John the Baptist’s, Sevenoaks; the Tunbridge Wells Ordinariate Group: Rev Edward Tomlinson and a group from St Barnabas', Tunbridge Wells.

Archbishop Peter Smith is expected to ordain seven former Anglican clergy to the Diaconate during Eastertide and six of these to the Priesthood by Pentecost.

Source: Archdiocese of Southwark


Agenzia Fides REPORT - “The sense of Tunisian solidarity with the Libyan refugees is amazing. They are the ones providing food to the 10,000 people amassed in Ben Gardane, the border crossing between Tunisia and Libya, where foreign workers fleeing Libya are being directed,” Bishop Elias Maroun Lahham of Tunis tells Fides. On 8 March the three Catholic nuns who work in collaboration with a group of Protestant laity to provide assistance to thousands of foreigners fleeing Libya (see Fides 03/03/2011) have returned to Ben Gardane. “The sisters have cooked for 10,000 people every day. The food has been donated by the locals. The sense of solidarity of the Tunisian is amazing. In addition to the Protestant association, assistance is offered in collaboration with Caritas France, USA, Lebanon and Tunisia,” says Bishop Lahham.
“Religious sisters will return to Ben Gardane next week. We need to wait and see if the Libyan border will be open. Up until two or three days ago, it was estimated that were between eight and ten thousand foreign workers stranded on the other side of the Tunisian-Libyan border, most of whom come from the Philippines and Bangladesh. Italy and France have offered to repatriate them as soon as possible,” says the Bishop of Tunis.
Bishop Lahham also stresses that “apart from rare isolated incidents, such as the drama of the Bangladeshi citizens who dived from a ship into the sea in an attempt to swim to Italy and drowned, these people do not want to come to Europe but rather want to return to their countries.”


The Church is considering flying priests and bishops around western New South Wales to reach people in isolated areas, reports the ABC.

The Wilcannia-Forbes diocese, which covers over 400,000 square kilometres, is currently operating without a bishop and minus two priests.

Other church groups within the region equip priests with pilot licences and small aircraft to enable them to visit all parts of their parishes.

The Administrator for the diocese Bishop Kevin Manning says they are discussing a similar idea. "We've already been making inquiries with private plane owners to try and cut down on some of the travel entailed in visiting the diocese and it's essential that the people in the parishes be visited."

"(With) the possibility of some of the priests from overseas having fulfilled their agreement with the diocese to be here for two years ... later in the year we could be down four priests."


Forty Martyrs of Sebaste


Feast: March 10


Feast Day:March 10
Died:320 AD, Sebaste

A party of soldiers who suffered a cruel death for their faith, near Sebaste, in Lesser Armenia, victims of the persecutions of Licinius, who, after the year 316, persecuted the Christians of the East. The earliest account of their martyrdom is given by St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea (370-379), in a homily delivered on the feast of the Forty Martyrs (Hom. xix in P.G., XXXI, 507 sqq.). The feast is consequently more ancient than the episcopate of Basil, whose eulogy on them was pronounced only fifty or sixty years after martyrdom, which is thus historic beyond a doubt. According to St. Basil, forty soldiers who had openly confessed themselves Christians were condemned by the prefect to be exposed naked upon a frozen pond near Sebaste on a bitterly cold night, that they might freeze to death. Among the confessors, one yielded and, leaving his companions, sought the warm baths near the lake which had been prepared for any who might prove inconstant. One of the guards set to keep watch over the martyrs beheld at this moment a supernatural brilliancy overshadowing them and at once proclaimed himself a Christian, threw off his garments, and placed himself beside the thirty-nine soldiers of Christ. Thus the number of forty remained complete. At daybreak, the stiffened bodies of the confessors, which still showed signs of life, were burned and the ashes cast into a river. The Christians, however, collected the precious remains, and the relics were distributed throughout many cities; in this way the veneration paid to the Forty Martyrs became widespread, and numerous churches were erected in their honour.

One of them was built at Caesarea, in Cappadocia, and it was in this church that St. Basil publicly delivered his homily. St. Gregory of Nyssa was a special client of these holy martyrs. Two discourses in praise of them, preached by him in the church dedicated to them, are still preserved (P. G., XLVI, 749 sqq., 773 sqq.) and upon the death of his parents, he laid them to rest beside the relics of the confessors. St. Ephraem, the Syrian, has also eulogized the forty Martyrs (Hymni in SS. 40 martyres). Sozomen, who was an eye-witness, has left us (Hist. Eccl., IX, 2) an interesting account of the finding of the relics in Constantinople through the instrumentality of the Empress Pulcheria. Special devotion to the forty martyrs of Sebaste was introduced at an early date into the West. St. Gaudentius, Bishop of Brescia in the beginning of the fifth century (d. about 410 or 427), received particles of the ashes of martyrs during a voyage in the East, and placed them with other relics in the altar of the basilica which he had erected, at the consecration of which he delivered a discourse, still extant (P. L., XX, 959 sqq.) Near the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua, in the Roman Forum, built in the fifth century, a chapel was found, built, like the church itself, on an ancient site, and consecrated to the Forty Martyrs. A picture, still preserved there, dating from the sixth or seventh century, depicts the scene of the martyrdom. The names of the confessors, as we find them also in later sources, were formerly inscribed on this fresco. Acts of these martyrs, written subsequently, in Greek, Syriac and Latin, are yet extant, also a "Testament" of the Forty Martyrs. Their feast is celebrated in the Greek, as well as in the Latin Church, on 9 March.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAR. 10: LUKE 9: 22- 25

Luke 9: 22 - 25
22saying, "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised."
23And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
24For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.
25For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

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