Thursday, March 24, 2011






VATICAN CITY, 24 MAR 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Giuseppe Giudice of the clergy of the diocese of Teggiano-Policastro, Italy, currently pastor of the parishes of Sant'Anna and of Sant'Antonio di Padova in Sala Consilina, and director of the diocesan offices for catechesis and for schools, as bishop of Nocera Inferiore - Sarno (area 157, population 235,800, Catholics 225,170, priests 114, permanent deacons 8, religious 268), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Sala Consolina, Italy in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1986. He succeeds Bishop Gioacchino Illiano, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)


Agenzia Fides REPORT – The confrontation between the armed forces of Côte d'Ivoire, who support the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, and the supporters of President-elect, Alassane Ouattara is becoming increasingly dramatic. In particular, Gbagbo's forces continue to make strikes on the neighbourhoods in Abidjan (the administrative capital of the Country), where Ouattara's men are concentrated. “In the afternoon of Thursday, 17 March, artillery rounds fell within 100 meters of our house. There have been numerous deaths and injuries,” says Sister Rosaria from the Congregation of the Holy Family of Spoleto, from Abobo, in Abidjan where fighting began between the security forces that remained loyal to Gbabo and the 'invisible commando', a group close to President-elect Alassane Ouattara. “On Friday, 18 March, we were at the funerals of victims from the previous day when they fired more shots, causing panic among the people. I was told that there were other deaths, although I did not see them,” says the sister.
“In the afternoon of Monday, 21 March, other shots were fired near the monastery of the Poor Clares. Fortunately, the sisters were in the chapel praying,” continues Sister Rosaria. The sister describes the drama that the neighbourhood is going through: “Rounds are fired suddenly, when you least expect it. The exodus of the population continues. There are people dying of starvation because food and medical supplies are scarce. Add to that the effects of heat on the physically debilitated. After the bombing this morning, the people in the district seem to have disappeared, no one knows where. Perhaps they are preparing something dramatic.”
Sister Rosaria is outraged because “human rights are not being respected. It is impossible to watch people dying simply because they have no medicine. The pharmacies are closed and the embargo that was imposed (to force Gbagbo to concede power), aggravates the situation. The people are tired of not having anything.”
“It is the poor who are paying the price for everyone. The smallest pay in the struggle for power. I saw an eight year old girl taken to the dispensary with her brains hanging out of her head. How can we stop this massacre?” asks the sister.


New free resource for parish youth groups  |
A new and comprehensive resource for parish youth groups has recently been launched. ‘three one’ is designed to let young people encounter the faith in an engaging way which makes sense to them and answers the questions they are asking about life, God and the Church. It is a faithful representation of the faith, in a contemporary, modern way. The resource is divided into five sections with a total of 40 individual sessions.

Jack Regan from said: “what makes this special is firstly that it’s completely free, but also that it is the product of a lot of people chipping in ideas and contributing to discussions. Many of the sessions are the fruit of chats we have had on the site over many years about what works and what doesn’t. We are hoping that as people use ‘three one’ they will join in with this process and make the resource even stronger in the future.”

This is the first time that has published such a complete resource and they are hoping that it will be the first of many.

‘three one’ starts off by suggesting how to structure a two hour meeting with a senior youth group. Part of that structure includes a time for encountering and learning about the faith, and it is this part of the meeting that most of the resource is aimed at. Each of the forty sessions is different. The approaches and activities change each time and there is a deliberate attempt to engage the young people as much as possible and to use a lot of multimedia.

“As well as the resource itself there is also a website, with a page for each session. Each page has a load of YouTube videos, links and other resources to help out. There is also a discussion thread for each session so that people who use it can come along and chip in their ideas.”

‘three one’ is available free of charge at:


IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: The National Catholic Education Commission has said it expects "funding maintained" provisions will not survive the school funding review being led by David Gonski, according to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Tim Smith of the National Catholic Education Commission also told a Canberra forum organised by the Independent Education Union, which represents non-government school teachers, that the Catholic sector would argue that no school should be worse off in real terms.

''We think it's gone,'' he told the forum.

Under the model introduced in 2001, the federal government allocates funding to private schools according to a formula that measures the socio-economic status of a school community as determined by census data. Schools that draw students from higher status areas receive lower levels of funding than those from lower status areas.

Critics have pilloried the so-called ''funding maintained'' provisions, which apply to 55 per cent of Catholic schools and 17 per cent of independent schools.But because the Howard government promised that no school would be worse off under its system, 1083 schools have had their funding entitlements preserved with full indexation at the levels they enjoyed before joining the socio-economic status model.

An issues paper released by the Gonski review panel in December said education groups had told it ''the arrangements seemed to operate as a separate and second funding model that applied to a prescribed group of non-government schools which provided a secure and favourable funding environment, but one that was not consistent with the equal application of the SES funding model''.

The review panel is expected to deliver its report to the government late this year.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: Police raid a 12-member community in a remote village, seizing their Bibles and other religious literature. The government’s campaign against underground communities continues as the authorities fear prayers in favour of a ‘Jasmine Revolution’.

Beijing (AsiaNews/CAA) – Two Christians have been in police custody for the past ten days after their house church was raided and closed on 13 March. In China, any unauthorised religious meeting is deemed a criminal offence and anyone involved can be prosecuted.

On 13 March, a dozen underground Christians were worshipping in the home of Weng Zemei in Ma’an Village, Zhongchang township (Baihe county), when the local police chief Xia Huashan and two officers burst into the home and took all 12 worshippers into custody.

Ten were released the same evening, but two remain in detention. They are Weng and Zhang Yongkuan. Police also confiscated all the Bibles and other religious books and publications.

For years, Beijing has tried to crush underground Protestant communities, either by forcing them to disband or by inducing them to join the Movement of Three Autonomies, the official state-sponsored organisation for Chinese Protestants. However, most of the faithful, estimated to be at least 50 million, have rejected an entity that, in their view, has “sold out to the state”.

In recent weeks, many underground Protestant communities have launched a prayer campaign in favour of a Chinese version of the ‘Jasmine Revolution’ that swept away the regimes of Tunisia and Egypt.

Alarmed by this, the government has placed its security forces and the army on high alert to crack down on dissidents and activists and prevent any kind of demonstration.,-two-Protestants-imprisoned-21111.html


Caritas tribute to Elizabeth Taylor  | Elizabth Taylor, HIV AIDS, Msgr Robert J Vitillio

Elizabeth Taylor
IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor died today. Msgr Robert J Vitillio, Caritas Internationalis Special Advisor on HIV and AIDS, remembers the day he met her.

Fr Robert writes: The news of Elizabeth Taylor's death brings back vivid memories of the day that she visited Caritas Rome's 'Villa Glori' residence for people living with HIV and AIDS.

In the late 1980s, Caritas Romana was among the first organizations in Italy to set up such a residence. It was a time when people living with AIDS were feared and rejected, often by their own family members. Fear and rejection were not within the vocabulary - or heart - of Msgr Luigi Di Liegro, then- Director of Caritas Romana.

One night I accompanied 'Don Luigi' on a walk through his neighbourhood to check on the street people who camped out near his house; he knew each by name and was interested in what they might need and encouraged them to go to the shelter, another service maintained by Caritas Romana.

On this particular evening, Don Luigi informed me that "Liz" was coming to visit the Villa Glori residence and invited me to be present, since I had helped to set up and organize the residence. Ms. Taylor was accompanied by a famous Italian fashion designer; he stayed only a few minutes, but she made it clear that she had come to visit and remained for almost two hours.

As soon as she started to speak English, Don Luigi realized that he had not provided for translation - she he shouted across the room to me, "Bob, lo fai tu! (Bob, you do the translation!)" and thus I became the personal interpreter for this famous actress.

At first, I was transfixed by her eyes - they really were lavender in colour! But then I quickly realized that I had to pay attention to her words if I did not want to make a fool of myself but also because she was speaking in such an affirming and caring manner to the residents.

They were well aware of her fame, but they put on no 'airs' with her - they wanted her to feel at home, as they truly felt in this residence. Of course, they asked her for autographs. She had no pen with her and borrowed mine (then almost took it away with her, so I had to remind her that the pen was my property!). She showed how comfortable she was with the residents by accepting a plastic cup filled with Fanta and some of the cake that was served on paper plates.

But she also listened with much respect as they recounted their stories of drug use, life in prostitution, and various other personal problems experienced in the course of engaging in risk behaviour that ultimately resulted in HIV infection. Her compassionate, non-judgemental attitude was one that those of us who are HIV educators try to inculcate in trainees preparing to do counselling with persons living with or vulnerable to this virus.

Liz lived long and fully enough to cover several spans of life, but she maintained her commitment to promote the rights and dignity and full access to treatment for people living with HIV. May God take this into account when she faces her Creator and, through God's loving mercy, may the welcome she received at Caritas in Rome be repeated in eternal life.


St. Catherine of Sweden


Feast: March 24


Feast Day:March 24
Born:1331 at Sweden
Died:24 March 1381
Canonized:1484 (cultus confirmed) by Pope Innocent VIII
Patron of:against abortion, against miscarriages

The fourth child of St. Bridget and her husband, Ulf Gudmarsson, born 1331 or 1332; died 24 March, 1381. At the time of her death St. Catherine was head of the convent of Wadstena, founded by her mother; hence the name, Catherine Vastanensis, by which she is occasionally called. At the age of seven she was sent to the abbess of the convent of Riseberg to be educated and soon showed, like her mother, a desire for a life of self-mortification and devotion to spiritual things. At the command of her father, when about thirteen or fourteen years, she married a noble of German descent, Eggart von Kürnen. She at once persuaded her husband, who was a very religious man, to join her in a vow of chastity. Both lived in a state of virginity and devoted themselves to the exercise of Christian perfection and active charity. In spite of her deep love for her husband, Catherine accompanied her mother to Rome, where St. Bridget went in 1349. Soon after her arrival in that city Catherine received news of the death of her husband in Sweden. She now lived constantly with her mother, took an active part in St. Bridget's fruitful labours, and zealously imitated her mother's ascetic life. Although the distinguished and beautiful young widow was surrounded by suitors, she steadily refused all offers of marriage. In 1372 St. Catherine and her brother, Birger, accompanied their mother on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; after their return to Rome St. Catherine was with her mother in the latter's last illness and death.

In 1374, in obedience to St. Bridget's wish, Catherine brought back her mother's body to Sweden for burial at Wadstena, of which foundation she now became the head. It was the motherhouse of the Brigittine Order, also called the Order of St. Saviour. Catherine managed the convent with great skill and made the life there one in harmony with the principles laid down by its founder. The following hear she went again to Rome in order to promote the canonization of St. Bridget, and to obtain a new papal confirmation of the order. She secured another confirmation both from Gregory XI (1377) and from Urban VI (1379) but was unable to gain at the time the canonization of her mother, as the confusion caused by the Schism delayed the process. When this sorrowful division appeared she showed herself, like St. Catherine of Siena, a steadfast adherent of the part of the Roman Pope, Urban VI, in whose favour she testified before a judicial commission. Catherine stayed five years in Italy and then returned home, bearing a special letter of commendation from the pope. Not long after her arrival in Sweden she was taken ill and died. In 1484 Innocent VIII gave permission for her veneration as a saint and her feast was assigned to 22 March in the Roman martyrology. Catherine wrote a devotional work entitled "Consolation of the Soul" (Sielinna Troëst), largely composed of citations from the Scriptures and from early religious books; no copy is known to exist. Generally she is represented with a hind at her side, which is said to have come to her aid when unchaste youths sought to ensnare her.

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TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAR. 24: LUKE 16: 19- 31

Luke 16: 19 - 31
19"There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.20And at his gate lay a poor man named Laz'arus, full of sores,21who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.22The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried;23and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Laz'arus in his bosom.24And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Laz'arus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.'25But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Laz'arus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.'27And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house,28for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.'29But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'30And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'31He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'"

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