Thursday, March 10, 2011


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: For the first time ever, a Pope will take part in a TV program. This Good Friday, Italian State TV Raiuno, will broadcast the Holy Father’s answers to three questions about Jesus chosen from those submitted by the faithful, during the program “A Sua Imagine” or, “In His Image”. The footage will be pre-recorded by Vatican Television Centre.

Also Tuesday it was announced that a televised press conference will be held Thursday to mark the presentation of the second of the three volume work by Pope Benedict XVI on Jesus of Nazareth. Chaired by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the conference will take place at 5pm Rome time in the Vatican Press Office.

VATICAN CITY, 8 MAR 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Rolando Jose Alvarez Lagos of the clergy of the archdiocese of Managua, Nicaragua, pastor of the parish of "San Francisco de Asis", secretary of the department for the social communications media of the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua, and adjunct secretary of the secretariat of the Central American Episcopate, as bishop of Matagalpa (area 6,794, population 544,000, Catholics 521,000, priests 48, religious 60), Nicaragua. The bishop-elect was born in Managua in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1994.


BISHOPS OF IRELAND REPORT: Cardinal Brady and Archbishop Martin launch the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012

  • Call for volunteers and to prayer for the success of the Congress in Ireland
  • Congress Bell to visit all 26 dioceses of Ireland
  • 3,000 volunteers needed to help organise the Eucharistic Congress in Ireland

In the RDS in Dublin today Cardinal Seán Brady and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin launched two major initiatives as part of the preparations for the 50th International Congress which takes place in Ireland in 2012: a major volunteer drive; and, the Congress Bell. Please see below addresses from launch:

The theme of next year's Congress is "The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and one another". The Eucharistic Congress is one of the largest liturgical events and opportunities for pilgrimage throughout the universal Catholic Church. It is hosted by a different country every four years.

The main events of the Congress next year will take place in the RDS, Dublin, beginning with the opening ceremony on 10 June 2012. Over the week 10 - 17 June a programme of liturgical and cultural events, workshops and daily celebration of the Eucharist will culminate in an open air Mass and closing ceremony in Croke Park.

Congress organisers have been developing partnerships with tourism representatives in Dublin as it is hoped the international visitors will give a significant boost to the city's tourism industry.

Organisers are also keen to encourage volunteers to take part not only in the Eucharistic Congress itself but also in the lead up to the main events. Volunteers are needed in a wide variety of roles including administration, hospitality, translation services and stewarding.

Details are available in seven different languages on

Next week, on Saint Patrick's Day, a pilgrimage of the Congress Bell will begin from St Mary's Pro Cathedral, Dublin, going to St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh and it will visit all 26 dioceses of Ireland. The bell is a symbolic invite to Irish Catholics, and for Christians of other traditions, to join in the call to faith, prayer, reconciliation and mission that is at the heart of the Church's preparation for the Congress over the next year and a half.

The Secretary General for the Eucharistic Congress Fr Kevin Doran said at today's launch "Core to the mission of the Congress is the view that it is a pilgrim journey involving spiritual and pastoral preparation. Each diocese in Ireland has its own organising committee to promote a deepening of understanding for Catholics of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Church, a richer celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy and an awareness of the social responsibility that comes with the communion and self-gift of Jesus which we celebrate."

Congress Bell

The Congress Bell has its origins in the Dominican Convent in Portstewart in Co Antrim and will be brought on foot from diocese to diocese by teams of volunteers. It is hoped that the Congress Bell will be a focal point for the prayer in parishes and at places of pilgrimage all over Ireland between now and June 2012.

The first International Eucharistic Congress, held in France in 1881, gathered 300 people at the head of Eucharistic movements in European countries. During the following 125 years, the format of Congresses strongly evolved and they now attract some 12,000 to 15,000 participants for a full week of celebrations, adoration, catechesis, cultural events, fraternal gatherings, and commitments to aid the poor. Ireland last hosted the International Eucharistic Congress in 1932.

Since 1881, the Pope had always been represented by a special Delegate at the celebration of Eucharistic Congresses. In 1964, Pope Paul VI took part in the last two days of the Congress held in Bombay, an initiative followed by his successor, John Paul II.


Cardinal Seán Brady

Thank you all for attending today here in the RDS in Dublin as we formally launch the 50th International Eucharistic Congress which will take place in Ireland next year. Most of the week-long celebration will be based on this historic campus and Fr Kevin Doran and his planning team have relocated here.

The 49th International Eucharistic Congress took place in Quebec City, Canada in 2008. Pope Benedict's announcement that Ireland had been chosen to host the 50th Congress was broadcast live from Rome as part of the final Mass of that Congress.

I, along with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Fr Doran and other Irish pilgrims who were attending the Congress in Canada at the time, felt honoured, excited and humbled that the Holy Father had chosen our country to host the next International Eucharistic Congress in 2012.

But our excitement soon gave way to a keen realisation of the logistical demands that such a large-scale and important week-long project places on the Catholic Church in Ireland. More will be said on that issue by others here today. What I would like to highlight this morning is the purpose of the Eucharistic Congress, and my hopes for it.

The purpose of every Eucharistic Congress is to deepen understanding of, and devotion to, the Holy Eucharist which is central to our Catholic faith. That devotion holds a special place in the affection of Irish Catholics.

The Eucharist is the source and summit of the life of every follower of Jesus. The hosting of the Congress in Ireland serves not just our local Church, but it will be an international event. The celebration will attract thousands of pilgrims and will enable Catholics, at home and abroad, to meet and participate in daily Masses, discuss issues of faith, take part in workshops, witness reflections, and take part in adoration of the Eucharist.

Of course this is the second time that the International Eucharistic Congress has been hosted in Ireland. The 1932 Congress in Dublin was considered an organisational success and it publicly showcased Catholic faith in the newly established State. But we live in different times now. I know that the Organising Committee will seek to reflect those different times in next year’s Congress.

It is our hope that the 2012 Congress will assist renewal in the Catholic Church in Ireland by reflecting on the centrality of the Eucharist at the heart of our increasingly diverse community, and give renewed impetus to the living of faith.

Last Thursday at Confirmation in Dromintee, Co Armagh, I met a 90 year old man who proudly told me that he had been at the Eucharistic Congress in 1932 and that he hoped, with the help of God, to be at next year’s as well. I know that hope is shared by tens of thousands of people throughout Ireland.

Since 2008 much preparation has already taken place for the Congress and this has concentrated on catechesis on the Eucharist for parishes and encouraging volunteers to support the many activities of the Congress. This year a National Eucharistic Congress will take place to coincide with Feast of Corpus Christi on the last weekend of June.

This National Eucharistic Congress will involve workshops and liturgies and will be celebrated in Knock and in all 26 dioceses on the island. As part of this Congress, in June this year, we are holding an International Conference on prayer in Armagh. It is entitled Spiritfest and will have many speakers from abroad. Bishop Richard Clarke, Church of Ireland Bishop of Meath and Kildare and Rev Ruth Patterson, of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, will give it an ecumenical dimension. This National Eucharistic Congress will mark the beginning of the final year of preparation for the International Eucharistic Congress in 2012.

Today is about putting the 2012 International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland "on the map". I especially wish to acknowledge the valuable involvement of the media in this task. Please continue to take an interest in this important Church initiative.

In a few moments we will hear the story of the Congress Bell and I look forward to hearing the wonderful Eucharistic Congress hymn "Though We Are Many" sung by the choir from the Holy Child Secondary School, Killiney. In Armagh too a special hymn has been composed for Spiritfest.

Finally, this morning I ask that the faithful pray to the Holy Spirit to lead us all to a greater appreciation of the presence of Jesus in our midst, for love of us, in the gift of the Eucharist.




Several people badly hurt, their houses and valuables wrecked reporter, Thakurgaon

A burned-out Christian house

Seven houses were burnt and several people badly injured after a group of Muslims attacked a Christian village in northwestern Bangladesh yesterday.

A group of Muslims quarreled with predominantly Catholic Christian villagers in Banglagar in Thakurgaon sub-district, part of Dinajpur diocese on March 7, triggered by ongoing land disputes. Later they attacked poor villagers with sticks and sharp weapons and also set their homes on fire.

The attack left seven people badly wounded and their homes and valuables worth several hundred thousand taka (US$ 1= 70 taka) burnt to ashes.

The injured people are being treated at nearby Ranishonkoil sub-district health complex.

Sabina Akter, 37, a Muslim nurse at the health complex said, “We’ve 6 people- 4 male and 2 female admitted here who have serious injuries in chest, head, back and other places.”

Father Anthony Sen, parish priest of Thakurgaon parish, said: “After we called the police and informed about the attack the culprits fled.”

Father Sen, secretary of diocesan justice and peace commission also visited the place and distributed 40 kilos of rice and 9 blankets among the victims.

One of the villagers filed a case against the perpetrators, with the diocese and local Caritas wing to provide legal assistance.

Soon afterwards, local police visited the village and assured the victims of compensation and punitive measures against the culprits after proper investigation.

However, several villagers said they fear further attacks might take place.

Father Sen said land dispute with the Muslims is one of major challenges they often have to face.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - “I pray that there will be no further spilling of blood. I don't believe that it is appropriate to step in with force, because there will be more bloodshed. So declared Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, in Libya. “I believe that we can find another way out of this situation,” continued the Bishop. “And it is not difficult to find one because in the Bedouin culture there are social structures that assist reconciliation. There may be people that would favour a turn in negotiating. In my humble opinion, it is the only way to surpass the crisis and prevent more bloodshed. There are better ways than with violence.”


- The U.S. bishops are urging Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to sign an anti-death penalty law after weeks of indecision on the state leader's part, saying that the legislation would help build a “culture of life in our country.”

“Respect for life applies to all, even the perpetrators of terrible acts,” Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California wrote to Gov. Quinn on March 3. Bishop Stockton serves as chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development for the U.S. Bishops' Conference.

The landmark Senate Bill 3539 abolishing the death penalty passed through the Illinois legislature in January and now awaits Gov. Quinn’s approval.

At an event at the University of Illinois on Jan. 19, Gov. Quinn says he'd like feedback from the citizens of Illinois before he decides whether to sign the legislation. He added that he is currently going through a period of what he called “reflection and review” and has not indicated when he will make a decision. According to local news outlets, the governor has until March 18 to sign the bill into law before it takes effect without his signature.

“On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I join the Catholic bishops of Illinois and urge you to sign SB 3539,” Bishop Blaire said in a letter to Gov. Quinn.

The Stockton bishop added that the legislation would not only end the use of the death penalty in Illinois but also provide funds for training law enforcement personnel and providing services to families of murder victims.

Bishop Blaire also noted in his letter to the governor that Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, “called for the end to the use of the death penalty as a sign of greater respect for all human life.”

His letter also drew from the U.S. Bishops' Conference 2009 document “In A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death,” which says that even “when people deny the dignity of others, we must still recognize that their dignity is a gift from God and is not something that is earned or lost through their behavior.”

“The legislation before you would help to begin building a culture of life in our country,” he said.

Karen Clifton, executive director of the Catholic Mobilizing Network – a group that works collaboratively with the U.S bishop's conference – said in a Jan. 18 interview with CNA that “all eyes are on Illinois” as Catholics wait to see if it will repeal the death penalty.

“Presently there are 15 states without the death penalty and 35 still have the death penalty on their books,” Clifton said. “We are waiting for Illinois to make the number 16.”

Clifton spoke against the continued use of the death penalty in comments to EWTN News, saying that Catholics need to be consistent in promoting the Church's stance on the issue. Failure to do so, she added, puts the faith community at risk of not being taken seriously on other pro-life initiatives.



Image of Cardinal Raymond Burke from


Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican's supreme court, will offer a Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Traditional Latin Rite at St Brigid's Catholic Church, Marrickville, Sydney on Saturdayt 10.30 am, said a blog about the event.Cardinal Burke is visiting Australia for the first time as guest of the Australian Catholic Students Association, and has agreed to celebrate the Mass with the approval of Sydney's Cardinal George Pell.

The Mass - to be accompanied by Gregorian Chant and Polyphony and telecast by EWTN - will be celebrated in the traditional Latin rite ("Extraordinary Form") in accordance with the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum issued by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007, said the blog.

Bishop Julian Porteous will be among those attending.


St. John of God


Feast: March 8


Feast Day:March 8

March 8, 1495, Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal

Died:March 8, 1550, Granada, Spain


October 16, 1690, Rome by Pope Alexander VIII
Patron of:alcoholics; bookbinders; dying people; firefighters; heart patients; hospital workers; publishers; sick people

Born at Montemor o Novo, Portugal, 8 March, 1495, of devout Christian parents; died at Granada, 8 March, 1550. The wonders attending the saints birth heralded a life many-sided in its interests, but dominated throughout by implicit fidelity to the grace of God. A Spanish priest whom he followed to Oropeza, Spain, in his ninth year left him in charge of the chief shepherd of the place, to whom he gradually endeared himself through his punctuality and fidelity to duty, as well as his earnest piety. When he had reached manhood, to escape his mastery well-meant, but persistent, offer of his daughter's hand in marriage, John took service for a time in the army of Charles V, and on the renewal of the proposal he enlisted in a regiment on its way to Austria to do battle with the Turks. Succeeding years found him first at his birthplace, saddened by the news of his mother's premature death, which had followed close upon his mysterious disappearance; then a shepherd at Seville and still later at Gibraltar, on the way to Africa, to ransom with his liberty Christians held captive by the Moors. He accompanied to Africa a Portuguese family just expelled from the country, to whom charity impelled him to offer his services. On the advice of his confessor he soon returned to Gilbratar, where, brief as had been the time since the invention of the printing-press, he inaugurated the Apostolate of the printed page, by making the circuit of the towns and villages about Gilbratar, selling religious books and pictures, with practically no margin of profit, in order to place them within the reach of all.

It was during this period of his life that he is said to have been granted the vision of the Infant Jesus, Who bestowed on him the name by which he was later known, John of God, also bidding him to go to Granada. There he was so deeply impressed by the preaching of Blessed John of Avila that he distributed his worldly goods and went through the streets of the city, beating his breast and calling on God for mercy. For some time his sanity was doubted by the people and he was dealt with as a madman, until the zealous preacher obliged him to desist from his lamentations and take some other method of atoning for his past life. He then made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, where the nature of his vocation was revealed to him by the Blessed Virgin. Returning to Granada, he gave himself up to the service of the sick and poor, renting a house in which to care for them and after furnishing it with what was necessary, he searched the city for those afflicted with all manner of disease, bearing on his shoulders any who were unable to walk.

For some time he was alone in his charitable work soliciting by night the needful supplies, and by day attending scrupulously to the needs of his patients and the rare of the hospital; but he soon received the co-operation of charitable priests and physicians. Many beautiful stories are related of the heavenly guests who visited him during the early days of herculean tasks, which were lightened at times by St.Raphael in person. To put a stop to the saint's habit of exchanging his cloak with any beggar he chanced to meet, Don Sebastian Ramirez, Bishop of Tuy, had made for him a habit, which was later adopted in all its essentials as the religious garb of his followers, and he imposed on him for all time the name given him by the Infant Jesus, John of God. The saint's first two companions, Antonio Martin and Pedro Velasco, once bitter enemies who had scandalised all Granada with their quarrels and dissipations, were converted through his prayers and formed the nucleus of a fourishing congregation. The former advanced so far on the way of perfection that the saint on his death-bed commended him to his followers as his successor in the government of the order. The latter, Peter the Sinner, as he called himself, became a model of humility and charity.

Among the many miracles which are related of the saint the most famous is the one commemorated in the Office of his feast, his rescue of all the inmates during a fire in the Grand Hospital at Granada, he himself passing through the flames unscathed. His boundless charity extended to widows and orphans, those out of employment, poor students, and fallen women. After thirteen years of severe mortification, unceasing prayer, and devotion to his patients, he died amid the lamentations of all the inhabitants of Granada. His last illness had resulted from an heroic but futile effort to save a young man from drowning. The magistrates and nobility of the city crowded about his death-bed to express their gratitude for his services to the poor, and he was buried with the pomp usually reserved for princes. He was beatified by Urban VIII, 21 September, 1638, and canonized by Alexander VIII, 16 October, 1690. Pope Leo XIII made St. John of God patron of hospitals and the dying.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAR. 8: MARK 12: 13- 17

Mark 12: 13 - 17
13And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Hero'di-ans, to entrap him in his talk.
14And they came and said to him, "Teacher, we know that you are true, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?
15Should we pay them, or should we not?" But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, "Why put me to the test? Bring me a coin, and let me look at it."
16And they brought one. And he said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said to him, "Caesar's."
17Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at him.

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