Thursday, March 3, 2011







TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAR. 3: MARK 10: 46- 52




VATICAN CITY, 3 MAR 2011 (VIS REPORT) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:"This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Sebastian Pinera Echenique, president of the Republic of Chile. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

"During the cordial discussions attention focused on questions of mutual interest, such as the protection of human life and the family, aid for integral development, the fight against poverty, respect for human rights, social justice and peace. In this context, the positive role played by Catholic institutions in Chilean society was reiterated, especially in human promotion and education.

"The discussions then turned to consider the general situation in Latin America, it being noted that the views of the Holy See and the Chilean government converge on the fundamental values of human coexistence".

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VATICAN CITY, 3 MAR 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI received a group of prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

Addressing them in English, the Pope mentioned the pastoral challenges confronting the country. "Among them, one of the most important is the task of ongoing catechetical formation. The deep personal piety of your people needs to be nourished and supported by a profound understanding of and appreciation for the teachings of the Church in matters of faith and morals. Indeed, these elements are required in order for the human heart to give its full and proper response to God", he said.

The Holy Father likewise called on the bishops not to fail to include "outreach to families" in their catechesis, "with particular care for parents in their role as the first educators of their children in the faith".

"As diocesan bishops you never face any challenge alone, being assisted first and foremost by your clergy", Pope Benedict XVI remarked, going on to highlight the prelates' "particular duty to know your priests well and to guide them with sincere concern, while priests are always to be prepared to fulfil humbly and faithfully the tasks entrusted to them".

"Many of your dioceses already have in place programmes of continuing formation for young priests", he said, noting how "older priests who have proven themselves to be faithful servants of the Lord ... can guide their younger confreres along the path towards a mature and well-balanced way of priestly living.

"Moreover", the Pope added, "priests of all ages require ongoing care. Regular days of recollection, yearly retreats and convocations, as well as programmes for continuing education and assistance for priests who may be facing difficulties, are to be promoted. I am confident that you will also find ways to support those priests whose assignments leave them isolated".

"In accordance with their solemn promises at ordination, remind your priests of their commitment to celibacy, obedience, and an ever greater dedication to pastoral service. In living out their promises, these men will become true spiritual fathers with a personal and psychological maturity that will grow to mirror the paternity of God".

The Holy Father then went on to emphasise that "dialogue with other religions remains a high priority, especially in the southern areas of your country. While the Church proclaims without fail that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, nevertheless she respects all that is true and good in other religions, and she seeks, with prudence and charity, to enter into an honest and amicable dialogue with the followers of those religions whenever possible. In doing so, the Church works toward mutual understanding and the advancement of the common good of humanity. I commend you for the work you have already done and I encourage you, by means of the dialogue that has been established, to continue to promote the path to true and lasting peace with all of your neighbours, never failing to treat each person, no matter his or her beliefs, as created in the image of God".

And the Pope concluded: "The greatest good that we can offer those whom we serve is given to us in the Eucharist. In the Holy Mass, the faithful receive the grace needed to be transformed in Jesus Christ. It is heartening that many Filipinos attend Sunday Mass, but this does not leave room for complacency on your part as shepherds. It is your task, and that of your priests, never to grow weary in pursuing the lost sheep, making sure that all the faithful draw life from the great gift given to us in the sacred Mysteries".

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VATICAN CITY, 3 MAR 2011 (VIS) - A joint declaration of the twenty-first International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee Meeting was published at midday today. The meeting was held in Paris, France from 27 February to 2 March.

"The conference, titled 'Forty Years of Dialogue - Reflections and Future Perspectives' addressed the past, present and future of Catholic-Jewish dialogue in its international settings", reads the English-language declaration.

"The conference highlighted the positive relationship that began with Vatican Council II and the promulgation of 'Nostra Aetate' (the declaration on the relationship of the Church to non-Christian Religions) in 1965".

"A principal outcome of the conference was the deepening of personal relationships and of a shared desire to confront together the enormous challenges facing Catholics and Jews in a world in rapid and unpredictable transformation".

"The conference acknowledged contemporaneous events taking place in parts of Northern Africa and the Middle East where millions of human beings are expressing their thirst for dignity and freedom. In many parts of the world, minorities, especially religious minorities, are discriminated against, threatened by unjust restrictions of their religious liberty, and even subjected to persecution and murder. Speakers expressed a profound sadness at repeated instances of violence or terrorism 'in the name of God', including the increased attacks against Christians, and calls for the destruction of the State of Israel".

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VATICAN CITY, 3 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Jan Vokal of the clergy of Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, official of the Secretariat of State, as bishop of Hradec Kralove (area 11,650, population 1,266,000, Catholics 452,000, priests 225, permanent deacons 26, religious 306). The bishop-elect was born in Hlinsko, Czech Republic in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1989.

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VATICAN CITY, 3 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Bishop Hernan Alvarado Solano, apostolic vicar of Guapi, Colombia, on 31 January at the age of 65.

- Bishop Jesus Maria Coronado Caro S.D.B., emeritus of Duitama-Sogamoso, Colombia, on 1 January at the age of 92.

- Bishop Eduardo Davino, emeritus of Palestrina, Italy, on 20 January at the age of 81.

- Archbishop Emanuele Gerada, apostolic nuncio, on 21 January at the age of 90.

- Bishop Francis Anthony Gomes, emeritus of Mymensingh, Bangladesh, on 17 February at the age of 79.

- His Beatitude Jean Pierre XVIII Kasparian, patriarch emeritus of Cilicia of the Armenians, Lebanon, on 16 January at the age of 83.

- Archbishop Emilio Ognenovich, emeritus of Mercedes-Lujan, Argentina, on 29 January at the age of 88.

- Bishop Gustave Olombe Atelumbu Musilamu, emeritus of Wamba, Democratic Republic of Congo, on 17 February at the age of 83.

- Bishop Manoel Pestana Filho, emeritus of Anapolis, Brazil, on 8 January at the age of 82.

- Bishop Reinaldo Ernst Punder of Coroata, Brazil, on 16 January at the age of 72.

- Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia, emeritus of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico, on 24 January at the age of 86.

- Bishop Eugenio Salessu, emeritus of Malanje, Angola, on 20 January at the age of 87.

- Bishop Jacques Sarr of Thies, Senegal, on 18 January at the age of 76.

- Bishop John James Ward, former auxiliary of Los Angeles, U.S.A., on 10 January at the age of 90.

- Archbishop Jozef Miroslaw Zycinski of Lublin, Poland, on 10 February at the age of 62.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: The bishops underline their "profound grief" over the loss of "a statesman" who fought for Interreligious Dialogue and against the blasphemy law. Anglican Church united in mourning. The Pakistani president and the PML-N condemn the assassination. Christians in prayer before the minister's house, chanting slogans and hymns.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Hundreds of Christians are gathering in front of the house Shahbaz Batthi, the Minister for Minorities murdered in cold blood yesterday by a group of Pakistani Taliban. The Catholic Church of Pakistan has announced three days of mourning and strikes to protest the murder of the statesman. In a public statement the bishops' conference stresses their "profound grief" over the loss of a "patriotic man of state", who always fought for "inter-religious harmony." The Anglican Bishop of Lahore Alexander John Malik, has also joined the initiative condemning the murder in no uncertain terms.Condolences were also expressed by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Christians are still in shock over the brutal execution of Shahbaz Bhatti, the first Catholic parliamentarian to have assumed the post of federal minister. He fought in defense of religious freedom, along with Salman Taseer - who was also killed in cold blood by fundamentalists – and defended the cause of Asia Bibi, the 45 year old Christian mother sentenced to death on blasphemy charges. (PICTURED IN MIDDLE WITH BLACK SUIT)

Meanwhile, controversy is mounting over the security detail designed to protect the minister. The police chief of Islamabad rejects the accusations, stressing that it was Bhatti himself who did not want the police escort in his house. According to the official, the minister had ordered that the security officers wait at his office every day. The execution, with 30 rounds shot from a firearm, was carried out on the street on his way to work.

As part of the three days of mourning and protest announced by the Church, all institutions, schools, activities run by Catholics will be closed starting today. The strike will be marked by moments of prayer and fasting. Meanwhile hundreds of people - especially Christians – have gathered around Bhatti’s house, located in I-8 / 3 Islamabad, chanting slogans and songs including "Bhatti, your blood is the beginning of a new revolution ... We will continue your battle for the repeal of the blasphemy law. " The Anglican Church of Pakistan has also joined the days of mourning and prayer, as confirmed by the Bishop of Lahore Alexander John Malik.Even Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have expressed their disapproval of the brutal murder.

In the statement, signed by the Archbishop of Lahore Mgr. Lawrence John Saldanha, the Catholic Bishops' Conference expressed "deep sorrow" for the death of Bhatti, which highlights the most urgent "issue of protecting religious minorities, life and freedom." The bishops urged the government "to move beyond the rhetoric of" rights for all and to "take concrete steps" to eradicate extremism in Pakistan.The President of the bishops expressed "solidarity with the family" and condemned in no uncertain terms "the abuses committed in the name of religion" in the country.


CATHOLIC ONLINE REPORT: Authority is exercised legitimately only when it seeks the common good

As Christians, we understand freedom and sacrifice better than most. Thus, when we witness the tragedy of the Copts, we should recall that we have something of great value to offer the world. One way we can offer our wisdom to the world is by standing up to injustice and oppression whenever we encounter it in our own lives. - We are witnessing a revolution by the people in Egypt. By the sheer force of their numbers, Muslims and Copts forced President Mubarak out of office. But now we need to ask ourselves if this historic change will bring greater freedom for all the people. Based on an article written by Mary Abdelmassih and published on the website of the Assyrian International News Agency, it appears that the revolution has not benefited Egypt's Coptic Christian minority and may portend a worsening situation for them

Saint Bishoy Monastery in Wadi el-Natroun, Egypt

Saint Bishoy Monastery in Wadi el-Natroun, Egypt


After the uprising began about a month ago, the police who had been protecting the monks deserted their posts. One of the monasteries was subsequently attacked by prisoners who had escaped during the uprising. And six monks were injured at the second monastery when it was attacked by armed Arabs and robbers. As a result, the monks requested help from the state security office, but they were told that no police were available to help them. They also called the military and were told they had to protect themselves until the military could send help. It was then that the monks decided to build fences for protection.

Then around February 20, the army attacked Saint Makarios Monastery of Alexandria located about 62 miles from Cairo. The article states that the army stormed the monastery using live ammunition. When the attack was over, more than ten monks were injured. One was shot. All of the others were beaten. The army destroyed the fence and part of the monastery. They also confiscated the monk's building materials.

About two days later the army approached the fifth-century, Saint Bishoy Monastery in Wadi el-Natroun with five tanks, armored vehicles and a bulldozer. Saint Bishoy is about seven miles further from Cairo than the first monastery. The attack was brutal, and it lasted for about thirty minutes. By the time it was over, around eight people were wounded and four were arrested.

The military denied the attack at Saint Bishoy. They claimed that they only demolished some fences on state property. They also issued a statement claiming that they respected ". . . the freedom and chastity of places of worship of all Egyptians." However, since the monks feel vulnerable to violent attacks from escaped prisoners, Muslim fanatics and the Egyptian military, they are holding a sit-in at the monastery in protest. In addition, thousands of Copts organized a peaceful demonstration at the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo and then marched toward the famous Tahrir Square of the revolution.

I cannot begin to understand the frustration and desperation that these poor Christians must feel. The very persons who are supposed to protect them, arrest them, beat them and kill them. Could anyone feel less valued and more unwanted in this life, besides our Lord himself? Are they simply to die because they are hated for existing? What alternatives do they have? It is for reasons like this that men go to war. But the Copts do not go to war, they hold sit-ins and demonstrations. They must truly be the suffering souls of the world-wide Church.

The evil being perpetrated upon the Copts reminds us that governments have incredible power over their citizens. It is too much power to be in the hands of extremists or the self-serving or the arrogant. Such people have ruled humankind for too long. Governments are not to exploit, manipulate, degrade, or kill their citizens. The proper function of government is to support, serve and protect its citizens. When governments oppress their citizens through deceit or force, they relinquish their moral authority, and they are no longer legitimate.

Paragraph 1903 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states it this way: "Authority is exercised legitimately only when it seeks the common good of the group concerned and if it employs morally licit means to attain it. If rulers were to enact unjust laws or take measures contrary to the moral order, such arrangements would not be binding in conscience. In such a case, 'authority breaks down completely and results in shameful abuse.'"

While most of us are not able to directly help our brothers and sisters suffering persecution in Egypt and other parts of the world, we can pray for their safety and that the revolution will bring authentic human freedom to all of the people. But this is not all we can do. As Christians, we understand freedom and sacrifice better than most. Thus, when we witness the tragedy of the Copts, we should recall that we have something of great value to offer the world. One way we can offer our wisdom to the world is by standing up to injustice and oppression whenever we encounter it in our own lives. Perhaps in this way, we can help to encourage the kind of truly human change that Egyptian Muslims and Copts hoped for when they stood together in Tahrir Square.


London: thousands of New Zealanders attend service for earthquake victims  | Ngati Ranana, New Zealand, Rt Hon John Key,New Zealand High Commissioner, Derek Leask

Ngati Ranana - image Wikipedia
Never before have so many New Zealanders in London been gathered under one roof. On Wednesday evening, 1,500 were seated very quickly in Westminster Cathedral, with another 1,000 around the side chapels and a further 1,000 or so outside in the piazza.

Canon Christopher Tuckwell from the Cathedral welcomed everyone and led the opening prayers. The Maori choir Ngati Ranana sang 'How Great Thou Art' both in Maori and English. There was a scripture reading from Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 'for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...'

The New Zealand High Commissioner, Derek Leask, welcomed all fellow New Zealanders and read a message from the New Zealand Prime Minister, Rt Hon John Key, and then spoke himself about the courage of those who worked tirelessly to rescue as many survivors as they could and how a rescue team had arrived from the UK to help and support the team in New Zealand. There was mention of how resilient New Zealanders are in the face of a crisis. They are a people of hope and a people who will rebuild their lives and who will rebuild their city.

There had been so many offers of help from all over the world which was very gratifying, the High Commissioner said.

There followed, after a hymn sung in Maori, “Hareruia”, a two minute silence.

Former Councillor, Paddy Austin, read some personal reflections from some Christchurch residents. All of them, no matter what adversity they had faced, were glad to be alive. One resident said that she never thought in her whole life that she and her family would end up sleeping in a tent at the bottom of their garden, eating cold tinned food, washing from a bowl and having to use a bucket as a toilet. She said that it was a humbling experience but she and her family were so lucky to be alive even though they had lost their house and their possessions.

After the bidding prayers, Hayley Westenra led the New Zealand National Anthem E Ihowa Atua God of Nations at Thy feet, In the bonds of love we meet, Hear our voices, we entreat, God defend our free land. Guard Pacific’s triple star, from the shafts of strife and war, Make her praises heard afar, God defend New Zealand.

The service concluded with a prayer and a final blessing. The whole event was very moving and it was so gratifying to see so many New Zealanders present really feeling and wanting to show solidarity for their fellow country folk . Donations were coming in aplenty for the Red Cross as well.


Pope Accepts Cardinal Mahony’s Resignation, Coadjutor Archbishop Gomez Succeeds Him in Los Angeles

WASHINGTON (March 1, 2011)—Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Roger M. Mahony from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The cardinal presented his resignation upon having reached the age of 75. He is succeeded by Archbishop José H. Gomez, 59, until now coadjutor archbishop of the same see.

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, publicized the announcement March 1, in Washington.

Cardinal Mahony was appointed Archbishop of Los Angeles by Pope John Paul II on July 16, 1985. He was installed as the fourth archbishop of Los Angeles on September 5, 1985. Shortly after his appointment, he created five pastoral regions to better minister to the needs of Catholics in the massive archdiocese. He also built the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to replace earthquake-damaged former St. Vibiana’s Cathedral. Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal on June 28, 1991. Prior to his assignment to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahony served as Auxiliary Bishop of Fresno (1975-1980) and Bishop of Stockton (1980-1985).

Pope Benedict XVI named Archbishop José H. Gomez, Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles on April 6, 2010. Pope John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of San Antonio on December 29, 2004. Prior to that, he served as Auxiliary Bishop of Denver (2001-2004).

The Los Angeles Archdiocese, the largest Roman Catholic diocese in the United States, includes 8,762 square miles. It has a population of 11,606,889 with 4,176,296, or 36 percent, of them Catholic.



CATH NEWS REPORT: The online Lenten reflection program, launched last year by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Commission for Mission and Faith Formation, is back by popular demand, according to a media release.

"If you are looking to enrich your Lenten experience, either as a parish or family group, or in your own home at your own pace, why not join the Australian bishops in their enormously popular online program, The Reflection," it states.

The success of The Reflection 2010 was overwhelming, with more than 30,000 people across Australia and around the world logging on each week during Lent to join the bishops in exploring and meditating on the Sunday Gospels using the prayerful method of lectio divina.

Archbishop John Bathersby, the Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Mission and Faith Formation, said he hoped even more people would join in this year.

"The feedback from the first Reflection has been excellent," he said.

"It seems that providing this kind of online vehicle for personal and shared reflection on the Scriptures during Lent has tapped into a deep thirst that we all have to encounter God in our lives, wherever we are at.

"It was an enriching experience not only for the tens of thousands of people who logged on and joined in the program, but also for us bishops who took part and shared our personal Lenten pilgrimage through meditating on the Scripture readings.

"I invite everyone to join us with The Reflection again this year as we journey towards Easter

Archbishop Bathersby said an especially poignant part of this year's program will be the inclusion of a tribute to and reflections from the late Bishop of Sandhurst, Bishop Joseph Grech, who died in
December, after having filmed his contribution for The Reflection.

The Reflection will begin at midday on Monday, March 7 and will comprise seven short weekly episodes posted on the website at the same time each Monday during Lent.

Those who wish to participate can log on each week at


St. Katharine Drexel


Feast: March 3


Feast Day:March 3

November 26, 1858, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Died:March 3, 1955, Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania


2000 by Pope John Paul II
Major Shrine:Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania
Patron of:philanthropists, racial justice

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. on 26 November 1858, Katharine was the second daughter of Francis Anthony Drexel, a wealthy banker, and his wife, Hannah Jane. The latter died a month after Katharine's birth, and two years later her father married Emma Bouvier, who was a devoted mother, not only to her own daughter Louisa (born 1862), but also to her two step-daughters. Both parents instilled into the children by word and example that their wealth was simply loaned to them and was to be shared with others.

Katharine was educated privately at home; she travelled widely in the United States and in Europe. Early in life she became aware of the plight of the Native Americans and the Blacks; when she inherited a vast fortune from her father and step-mother, she resolved to devote her wealth to helping these disadvantaged people. In 1885 she established a school for Native Americans at Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Later, during an audience with Pope Leo XIII, she asked him to recommend a religious congregation to staff the institutions which she was financing. The Pope suggested that she herself become a missionary, so in 1889 she began her training in religious life with the Sisters of Mercy at Pittsburgh.

In 1891, with a few companions, Mother Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. The title of the community summed up the two great driving forces in her life—devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and love for the most deprived people in her country.

Requests for help reached Mother Katharine from various parts of the United States. During her lifetime, approximately 60 schools were opened by her congregation. The most famous foundation was made in 1915; it was Xavier University, New Orleans, the first such institution for Black people in the United States.

In 1935 Mother Katharine suffered a heart attack, and in 1937 she relinquished the office of superior general. Though gradually becoming more infirm, she was able to devote her last years to Eucharistic adoration, and so fulfil her life’s desire. She died at the age of 96 at Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania, on 3 March 1955. Her cause for beatification was introduced in 1966; she was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II on 26 January 1987, by whom she was also beatified on 20 November 1988.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAR. 3: MARK 10: 46- 52

Mark 10: 46 - 52
46And they came to Jericho; and as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great multitude, Bartimae'us, a blind beggar, the son of Timae'us, was sitting by the roadside.
47And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
48And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
49And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; rise, he is calling you."
50And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to Jesus.
51And Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" And the blind man said to him, "Master, let me receive my sight."
52And Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

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