Thursday, March 3, 2011






TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAR. 2: MARK 10: 32-45


ST. FRANCIS OF SALES: GREAT MASTER OF SPIRITUALITY AND PEACEVATICAN CITY, 2 MAR 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - During today's general audience, which was held in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope spoke about St. Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor of the Church who lived in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

Born in 1567 to a noble family in the Duchy of Savoy, while still very young Francis, "reflecting on the ideas of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, underwent a profound crisis which led him to question himself about his own eternal salvation and about the destiny God had in store for him, experiencing the principle theological questions of his time as an authentic spiritual drama". The saint "found peace in the radical and liberating truth of God's love: loving Him without asking anything in return and trusting in divine love; this would be the secret of his life".

Francis de Sales, the Holy Father explained, was ordained a priest in 1593 and consecrated as bishop of Geneva in 1602, "in a period in which the city was a stronghold of Calvinism. ... He was an apostle, preacher, writer, man of action and of prayer; committed to realising the ideals of the Council of Trent, and involved in controversies and dialogue with Protestants. Yet, over and above the necessary theological debate, he also experienced the effectiveness of personal relations and of charity".

With St. Jane Frances de Chantal he founded the Order of the Visitation, characterised "by a complete consecration to God lived in simplicity and humility". St. Francis of Sales died in 1622.

In his book "An Introduction to the Devout Life", the saint "made a call which may have appeared revolutionary at that time: the invitation to belong completely to God while being fully present in the world. ... Thus arose that appeal to the laity, that concern for the consecration of temporal things and for the sanctification of daily life upon which Vatican Council II and the spirituality of our time have laid such emphasis".

Referring then to the saint's fundamental work, his "Treatise on the Love of God", the Pope highlighted how "in a period of intense mysticism" it "was an authentic 'summa' and at the same time a fascinating literary work. ... Following the model of Holy Scripture, St. Francis of Sales speaks of the union between God and man, creating a whole series of images of interpersonal relationships. His God is Father and Lord, Bridegroom and Friend".

The treatise contains "a profound meditation on human will and a description of how it flows, passes and dies, in order to live in complete abandonment, not only to the will of God, but to what pleases Him, ... to His pleasure. At the apex of the union with God, beyond the rapture of contemplative ecstasy, lies that well of concrete charity which is attentive to all the needs of others".

Benedict XVI concluded his catechesis by noting that "in a time such as our own, which seeks freedom, ... we must not lose sight of the relevance of this great master of spirituality and peace who gave his disciples the 'spirit of freedom', true freedom, at the summit of which is a fascinating and comprehensive lesson about the truth of love. St. Francis of Sales is an exemplary witness of Christian humanism. With his familiar style, with his parables which sometimes contain a touch of poetry, he reminds us that inscribed in the depths of man is nostalgia for God, and that only in Him can we find true joy and complete fulfilment".

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VATICAN CITY, 2 MAR 2011 (VIS) - At the end of his general audience this morning, the Pope received in private audience Josette Sheeran, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), who has just returned from a mission to the border between Libya and Tunisia.

Following the meeting, the executive director of the WFP spoke of the Holy Father's concern for the innocent people trapped in this terrible tragedy, and expressed her own gratitude for the Catholic Church's support in the task of feeding the hungry around the world.

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VATICAN CITY, 2 MAR 2011 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at 5 p.m. on Thursday 10 March, a press conference will be held to present the book: "Jesus of Nazareth. From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection", written by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) and published by the Vatican Publishing House.

The conference will be presented by Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and by Claudio Magris, a writer and German scholar.

The book is being published in seven languages - German, Italian, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Polish - and has nine chapters and an epilogue.

Chapter one deals with "The Entrance into Jerusalem and the Cleansing of the Temple". Chapter two, which focuses on "Jesus' Eschatological Discourse", is subdivided into three sections: "The End of the Temple", "The Times of the Gentiles" and "Prophecy and Apocalyptic in the Eschatological Discourse". Chapter three has as its subject "The Washing of the Feet" and contains the following six subheadings: "The hour of Jesus", "You are clean", " Sacramentum and exemplum - gift and task: The 'new commandment'", "The mystery of the betrayer", "Two conversations with Peter" and "Washing of feet and confession of sin".

Chapter four has as its title "Jesus' High-Priestly Prayer" and is subdivided as follows: "The Jewish Feast of Atonement as Biblical Background to the High-Priestly Prayer", "Four Major Themes of the Prayer: ('This is eternal life...', ' Sanctify them in the truth...', ' I have made your name known to them...', ' That they may all be one...')".

Chapter five is entirely dedicated to "The Last Supper" which is analysed under the headings: "The Dating of the Last Supper", "The Institution of the Eucharist", "The Theology of the Words of Institution", and "From the Last Supper to the Sunday Morning Eucharist".

"Gethsemane", the tile of chapter six, includes sections on: "On the Way to the Mount of Olives", "The Prayer of Jesus", "Jesus' Will and the Will of the Father" and "Jesus' Prayer on the Mount of Olives in the Letter to the Hebrews".

Chapter seven, "The Trial of Jesus", includes sections on "Preliminary Discussion in the Sanhedrin", "Jesus before the Sanhedrin" and "Jesus before Pilate". Chapter eight, on the "Crucifixion and Burial of Jesus", begins with a reflection on "Word and Event in the Passion Narrative", then continues with "Jesus on the Cross: ('The first of Jesus' words from the Cross: Father, forgive them', 'Jesus is mocked', 'Jesus' cry of abandonment', 'The casting of lots for Jesus' garments', 'I thirst', 'The women at the foot of the Cross - the Mother of Jesus', 'Jesus dies on the Cross', and ' Jesus' burial')". The chapter concludes with "Jesus' Death as Reconciliation (Atonement) and Salvation".

The ninth and final chapter is entitled "Jesus' Resurrection from the Dead" and is subdivided as follows: "What Is the Resurrection of Jesus?", "The Two Different Types of Resurrection Testimony", "The Confessional Tradition: ('Jesus' death', 'The question of the empty tomb', 'The third day', 'The witnesses')", "The Narrative Tradition ('Jesus' appearances to Paul', 'The appearances of Jesus in the Gospels', 'Summary: The Nature of Jesus' Resurrection and Its Historical Significance')".

The Holy Father's book concludes with an epilogue entitled: "He Ascended into Heaven - He Is Seated at the Right Hand of the Father, and He Will Come Again in Glory".

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VATICAN CITY, 2 MAR 2011 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a declaration made this morning by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. concerning the assassination of Shabbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani minister for minorities.

"The assassination of Shabbaz Bhatti, Pakistani minister for minorities, is another terrible episode of violence. It shows how right the Pope is in his persistent remarks concerning violence against Christians and against religious freedom in general.

"Bhatti was the first Catholic to hold such an office. We recall how he was received by the Holy Father in September last year, and how he bore witness to his own commitment to peaceful coexistence among the religious communities of his country.

"Our prayers for the victim, our condemnation for this unspeakable act of violence, our closeness to Pakistani Christians who suffer hatred, are accompanied by an appeal that everyone many become aware of the urgent importance of defending both religious freedom and Christians who are subject to violence and persecution".

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VATICAN CITY, 2 MAR 2011 (VIS) - A note published today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announces details of forthcoming ceremonies in which two cardinals will take possession of their diaconate churches:

At 10.30 a.m. on Sunday 6 March, Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, will take possession of the diaconate of St. Julian of the Flemish, in Via del Sudario 40, Rome.

At 5 p.m. on Saturday 12 March, Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, former president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, will take possession of the diaconate of St. Angelo in Pescheria, in della Tribuna di Campitelli 6, Rome.


CCCB REPORT… His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI today named the Most Reverend Gérald Cyprien Lacroix Archbishop of Quebec City. At the time of his nomination, he was Auxiliary Bishop of Quebec City. On August 17, 2010, he had been elected Diocesan Administrator of the same diocese. Archbishop-elect Lacroix succeeds His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet whom the Holy Father appointed last June as Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Commission for Latin America.lacroix

Bishop Lacroix was born July 27, 1957, in Saint-Hilaire de Dorset, Quebec. He attended Laval University where he earned a master’s degree in pastoral theology. A member of the Pius X Secular Institute (I.S.P.X.), he was ordained a priest on October 8, 1988. In 1990, he began missionary work in Colombia, where he assisted in establishing his secular institute there as well as working in a parish and teaching at the Major Seminary of Popayán, Colombia. Upon returning to Canada in 1998, he became the head of the Pius X Secular Institute, a position he held until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop on April 7, 2009. Since 2008 Bishop Lacroix has been on the Executive Council of the World Conference of Secular Institutes. He is currently a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Life and Family of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).

The Archdiocese of Quebec City has a Catholic population of 1,040,690 in 220 parishes and missions, served by 431 diocesan priests, 275 religious order priests, 93 permanent deacons, 2,916 religious Sisters and Brothers, and 67 lay pastoral workers.



Leader argues that all executions shoud be stopped pending outcome of review

Cheng Tao, president of the Association of Chinese Catholic Prison Ministry, (right) counsels a prisoner

A veteran Catholic prison ministry leader has called on the Taiwan government to abolish the death penalty, as the jsustice minister indicated another round of executions may take place in a few weeks.

“Our government should replace the death penalty with lifetime imprisonment to show to the world that Taiwan cherishes human life,” said Cheng Tao, president of the Association of Chinese Catholic Prison Ministry.

Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou had said about a month ago that the government would reduce the number of executions before society reached a consensus on the controversial issue.

However, justice minister Tsang Yung-fu said March 1 that the 11-month break in executions may end as early as this month. In a cautious approach, the ministry would only execute a death row inmate only if he or she had tried all legal channels for an appeal, he said.

Involved in prison ministry for 14 years, Cheng said the government should give death row inmates a chance for renewal as many of them did repent for their wrongdoings during imprisonment.

It is also common to hear wrong judgments in court and thus “we should not use death penalty to determine the life and death of a person,” said the 71-year-old layman.

Abolition of the death penalty has been a controversial issue in Taiwan as many people still hold the idea of “an eye for an eye”.

Last year, it stirred heated debate in society when the former justice minister Wang Ching-feng stepped down for refusing to sign any execution orders. Shortly after Tsang took the place of Wang, he approved the execution of four inmates. The court later also sentenced five more criminals to death row. Currently there are 45 death row inmates, 11 of them still waiting for an appeal.

In a statement issued in response to last year’s debate, the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference says the death penalty is absolutely not a way of resolving the problem of crime.

It appeals to Taiwan society to consider the abolition of the death penalty and to support suspending carrying out the death penalty pending its complete abolition in order to respect human dignity and the sacredness of life.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – At the desire of Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak, Metropolitan Archbishop of Czestochowa, the Missionary and Marian Centre of the Archdiocese of Czestochowa will be built in Myszków – Mrzyglód, at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary. Head of the project implementation is Fr Jacek Gancarek, parish priest and custodian of the Shrine, Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies for the Archdiocese of Czestochowa. “The Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary is the appropriate place for the Missionary and Marian Centre. The Holy Rosary is a special prayer for the missions of the Church,” said Fr Jacek Gancarek to Fides. “At our centre we live the Church's evangelising mission. We also want to present to children, young people and pilgrims the vast missionary issue. Our Sanctuary can and must become the place of continuous prayer for missions,” concluded Fr Gancarek. (MF/SL) (Agenzia Fides 2/03/2011)


Luanda — Angola Catholic priest, Apolónio Graciano, Sunday in Luanda, slammed the uprising occurring since recently in the Middle East now spreading to north Africa.

The priest expressed his feelings during a church service, saying what is happening are attitudes that increase the suffering of people and severely affects their wellbeing.

"For all suffering experienced by Angolans during the period of war, all types of actions that could place this country in a situation of that context should be rejected. We should not encourage hatred," he stated.

On the other hand, the clergyman appealed for solidarity between the rich and the poor.


CATH NEWS REPORT: Australian Anglo-Catholics want St Thomas Becket - who was martyred as Archbishop of Canterbury after having vexed King Henry II - as the patron of their Ordinariate, reportsthe Record.Becket was martyred in his Cathedral after he angered King Henry II by excommunicating the Bishops of London and Salisbury for their support of the King, with whom Becket disagreed on changes to law regarding Church and Crown courts, among other things.

Australian Anglo-Catholics believe adopting Becket as their patron is apt, considering how they say they have been ostracised by the Anglican ChurchSt Thomas Becket is immortalised in Canterbury Cathedral, which hosts one of the four great mediaeval shrines of the Church. His burial place was destroyed during the Reformation in seven stages.

Archbishop John Hepworth said that by the time King Henry VIII's chief minister Thomas Cromwell, who history shows was anti-Christian, came to finish off the relic there was only the right hand left – the blessing hand.

It was smuggled across the channel to a Catholic monastery in Normandy, France where it survived the French revolution and was venerated.

Surviving pieces of the relic was placed at the altar during recent Mass celebrations, including during the Anglo-Catholics' 1-3 February national conference on the Gold Coast.


St. Agnes of Prague


Feast: March 2


Feast Day:March 2

1211, Prague

Died:March 6, 1282, Prague


November 12, 1989 by Pope John Paul II

Born at Prague in the year 1200; died probably in 1281. She was the daughter of Ottocar, King of Bohemia and Constance of Hungary, a relative of St. Elizabeth. At an early age she was sent to the monastery of Treinitz, where at the hands of the Cistercian religious she received the education that became her rank. She was betrothed to Frederick II, Emperor of Germany; but when the time arrived for the solemnization of the marriage, it was impossible to persuade her to abandon the resolution she had made of consecrating herself to the service of God in the sanctuary of the cloister. The Emperor Frederick was incensed at the unsuccessful issue of his matrimonial venture, but, on learning that St. Agnes had left him to become the spouse of Christ, he is said to have remarked: "If she had left me for a mortal man, I would have taken vengeance with the sword, but I cannot take offence because in preference to me she has chosen the King of Heaven." The servant of God entered the Order of St. Clare in the monastery of St. Saviour at Prague, which she herself had erected. She was elected abbess of the monastery, and became in this office a model of Christian virtue and religious observance for all. God favoured her with the gift of miracles, and she predicted the victory of her brother Wenceslaus over the Duke of Austria. The exact year of her death is not certain; 1281 is the most probable date.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAR. 2: MARK 10: 32-45

Mark 10: 32 - 45
32And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him,
33saying, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles;
34and they will mock him, and spit upon him, and scourge him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise."
35And James and John, the sons of Zeb'edee, came forward to him, and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."
36And he said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?"
37And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory."
38But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"
39And they said to him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
40but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."
41And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.
42And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.
43But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
44and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.
45For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

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