Friday, April 8, 2011









TODAY'S GOSPEL: APR. 8: JOHN 7: 1- 2, 10, 25-30



VATICAN CITY, 8 APR 2011 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received participants in the plenary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, dedicated to the theme "Impact of popular piety on the process of evangelisation in Latin America".

The Pope affirmed that the bishops who met at the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean held in 2007 in Aparecida, Brazil, "presented popular piety as a space in which to encounter Jesus Christ, and a form of expression of the faith of the Church. It cannot, therefore, be considered as a secondary aspect of Christian life", and added that "the profound popular religiosity characteristic of the way faith is experienced among the Latin American people ... constitutes "a valuable asset of the Catholic Church in Latin America, and must be protected, promoted and also, where necessary, purified".

"In pursuing the new evangelisation in Latin America", he continued, "one cannot disregard the many manifestations of popular piety. All these, well channelled and duly accompanied, help bring about a fruitful encounter with God, fostering an intense veneration of the Sacrament, a profound devotion to the Virgin Mary, affection for Peter's Successor and a sense of belonging to the Church ... Consequently, the faith has to be the principal source of popular piety, in order that it not be reduced simply to a form of cultural expression within a given region. Moreover, it must remain in strict relation with the sacred liturgy, which may not be substituted with any other form of religious expression".

"Nevertheless, one cannot deny", he remarked, "the existence of certain deviant forms of popular religiosity which, far from promoting active participation in the Church, instead create confusion and can give rise to a superficial religious practice detached from a deep-rooted and inwardly vital faith ... However, to exclude it would be completely mistaken. Through popular piety, faith enters into the heart of men, forming a part of their sentiments, customs, commonly shared ways of feeling and living ... Certainly, popular piety must be continually purified and orientated, but deserves our love, as it truly renders us 'People of God'."

The Holy Father concluded by thanking the bishops for their "valuable and consistent contributions to the protection, promotion and purification of all that is connected to expressions of popular religiosity in Latin America" and highlighted that, in order to achieve this aim, it would be valuable to continue to promote the continental Mission, "with which the Latin American Episcopate has renewed the process of the new evangelisation following the conference in Aparecida", and which "has given particular space to the pastoral field, which constitutes a privileged method for ensuring that the faith is welcomed into the hearts of the people, touching their deepest sentiments, and is shown to be strong and flourishing through divine charity".

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VATICAN CITY, 8 APR 2011 (VIS) - A press conference was held at the Holy See Press Office this morning to present the cultural activities planned for the Santo Domingo International Book Fair, to which the Holy See has been invited as a guest of honour.

Participating in the conference were Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Victor Manuel Grimaldi Cespedes, ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the Holy See; Fr. Giuseppe Costa, S.D.B., director of the Vatican Publishing House; and Fr. Miguel Angel Reyes Arreguin, director of the Department for Latin America.

The Holy See will participate with a pavilion at this year's fair, which will be held at the Plaza de la Cultura grounds from 4 to 22 May. The fair will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the diocese of Santo Domingo, the first diocese to be erected on the American continent, which was elevated to the rank of metropolitan archdiocese in 1546.

Cardinal Ravasi explained that "Benedict XVI has received the invitation with approval. It will be the first time that the Holy See participates as a guest of honour at an international book fair". Cardinal Ravasi has been designated as the Holy Father's delegate at the event.

He continued, "A collaboration agreement has been signed by the Holy See and the Santo Domingo Ministry of Culture, including plans for the participation of twenty lecturers, art exhibitions, concerts and other events. The Vatican delegation will donate a considerable amount of books by Catholic authors which will subsequently be destined for schools and public libraries in Santo Domingo, in order to promote greater knowledge of contemporary Catholic literature among newer generations of Santo Domingans".

The design and construction of the pavilion will be entrusted to the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Vatican Publishing House, the Vatican Museums, the Vatican Apostolic Library and the Vatican Secret Archives. Representatives of various Vatican institutions, such as the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Vatican Internet Office, Vatican Radio and so on, will present the activities of the Church in the field of culture.

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VATICAN CITY, 8 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Bishop Joseph Kunnath, C.M.I., of Adilabad of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.

- Bishop Vijay Anand Nedumpuram, C.M.I., of Chanda of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.

- Bishop Simon Stock Palathara, C.M.I., of Jagdalpur, of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.

- Bishop Jacob Angadiath of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Chicago, of the Syro-Malabars, USA; apostolic visitor for the faithful of the Syro-Malabar rite resident in Canada, on his "ad limina" visit.

This afternoon the Holy Father will receive Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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VATICAN CITY, 8 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Agapitus Enuyehnyoh Nfon of the clergy of Kumbo, as auxiliary bishop of Bamenda (area 10,000, population 1,261,000, Catholics 303,729, priests 92, religious 296), Cameroon. The bishop-elect was born in Kumbo, Cameroon, in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1991.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - “Apart from some sporadic strikes, the situation is calm. There are displaced people in all the parishes of Abidjan. Just in the Cathedral we have welcomed 2,000 displaced. However, we need food and medicine,” says Mons.Yessoh Pierre Claver N’Guessan, Vicar General for the Archdiocese of Abidjan, the administrative capital of Côte d'Ivoire, where attempts to forcibly remove the former President Laurent Gbagbo from his residence have failed. Yesterday evening, April 7, the President-elect, Alassane Ouattara, in a speech to the nation, launched an appeal for national reconciliation. He also declared that his forces will not attempt new assaults on Gbagbo's residence They will simply surround it, and wait for the former President and his men to surrender when the food and water run out.
“I do not think that the fighting will resume. I think that a negotiated solution will prevail, but it will take some time,” says the Vicar. “The real problem will be to reconcile the Ivorians. It will be very difficult to bring the supporters of each together again. The involvement of France, the United States and the African Union has greatly divided Ivorians,” he concludes.
Ouattara's forces, backed by the United Nations Mission in Côte d'Ivoire and the French soldiers of the “Force Licorne”, currently control the majority of the country. Gbagbo is barricaded in the presidential residence, transformed into a bunker, along with about 200 supporters.


Faithful are worshipping in secret because militants oppose prayer houses
Windy Subanto, Painan
April 8, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of Muslim seeks protection for Catholics
Team of interfaith forum discuss ways to boost religious harmony

A local official in West Sumatra says radical Muslims have forced Catholics to worship in secret and has called for assistance in providing protected prayer houses for them.

Deri Susanto, a village leader in Indrapura Utara sub-district, said religious freedoms for non-Muslims in the resettlement area are under threat, and he is unable to give much assistance because he is “just a low ranking official.”

He said Catholic families still pray in secret after their prayer house was burned down eight years ago by a group of radicals, who said the Catholics were outsiders and shouldn’t have used the house.

“Local people, mostly Muslims, did not have a problem with Catholics using the house. They just wanted people to live in harmony,” Susanto told an interfaith forum on April 6 in Painan, capital of Pesisir Selatan district.

Members of the provincial forum later visited Indrapura Utara to talk with local leaders about religious harmony in the area and to find ways of boosting interfaith cooperation.

Father Alexius Sudarmanto, who visits the area once a month, said Eucharistic services were being conducted secretly in the house of a lay Catholic.

“If I did not visit them, they would not have Sunday Mass. Some have to travel 60 kilometers to a neighboring Bengkulu province,” he said.

After the prayer house was destroyed, another place of worship was offered by a local military commander, which was condemned and could not be used anymore, the priest said.

EUROPE: SPAIN: NEW AMBASSADOR TO VATICAN MARIA FIGA REPORT: The Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero has appointed a new female ambassador to the Vatican. Maria Jesus Figa has a prestigious diplomatic career, and until recently was the under-secretary of Foreign Affairs. She's replacing Francisco Vazquez, who served as ambassador for five years, managing to maintain a steady relationship between Zapatero and the Vatican.

María Jesús Figa is well known in Roman circles because she was one of the main interlocutors between the government of Zapatero and the Church.

With the approval of the Vatican, she will present her credentials to the pope on April 16. Her main challenge will be Benedict XVI's visit to Spain scheduled for next August.

She will now belong to an exclusive club, because the Vatican holds diplomatic relations with 178 countries but has only 17 accredited females ambassadors to the Vatican.


- Archbishop Javier del Rio of Arequipa, Peru recently stated that Catholics cannot vote for presidential candidates who support abortion.

“In no way can one vote for a candidate who has explicitly stated his or her intention to go against marriage, human life and the family,” the archbishop told CNA in an April 7 interview.

The country's presidential elections will take place Sunday, April 10.

“An informed Catholic can never vote for a candidate who supports these kinds of policies, because that is expressly stated in the compendium of Social Teachings of the Church,” he explained.

Catholics have a duty to participate in the political life of their country and to inform themselves about the positions of those running for office, he continued. “We must not be influenced by whether we like or don’t like a candidate, but rather we must conscientiously study their plans for governing,” the archbishop said.

The backgrounds of the candidates must also be evaluated, he added, including their “credibility, their dedication to work, their seriousness and their honesty.”

“This, together with the Social Teachings of the Church, should form the basis for our vote,” he explained.

Bishop Miguel Irizar of Callao, Peru told CNA that voters must pray for discernment in choosing the best candidates. All Peruvians must be treated with dignity and respect, he said, adding that those who will assume public office must carry out the mission for which they were elected.

He exhorted future lawmakers “to follow the law, God’s law first, and to enact legislation based on the common good.”



Tim Lougoon has one of the most interesting and challenging youth ministry jobs in Australia. On December 10 last year, he was appointed by Bishop Joe Grech of Sandhurst to lead the diocesan pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Madrid, writes Beth Doherty on the WYD 2011 website.

Two weeks later, the inspiring and charismatic “Bishop Joe” died suddenly in a Melbourne hospital of a blood disorder.

Nonetheless the enthusiastic Lougoon, 22, decided he would lead a large pilgrimage group in Bishop Joe’s memory and as he stood up to speak at Bishop Joe’s vigil celebration on January 5, 2011, he committed to trying to get 100 pilgrims from the Diocese to go to Madrid.

“Bishop Joe’s wish was to have 100 young people from Sandhurst go to WYD this year. It is exceptionally hard to do it, but we really want to try”, he said.

“I went to World Youth Day in Cologne in 2005, and I have no doubt that this is a large part of the reason I am working in Youth Ministry today”, said Lougoon.“Bishop Joe really wanted everyone to have an experience of the universal Church, and the opportunity to realize that you aren’t the only person in the world that believes. He felt that being part of WYD helped young people to see the bigger picture. He wanted young people to experience the love that God has for each one of us”, Lougoon said.

“I’ve been involved in youth ministry in the diocese for the last three or four years. I was part of the Journey of the Cross and Icon in Bendigo and then on the Youth reference group for the Diocese. I attended the youth leaders gathering and then the Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention at Bishop Joe’s request.”

Lougoon has just completed an engineering degree and decided to take 12 months off from that work to focus on youth ministry.


St. Julia Billiart


Feast: April 8


Feast Day:April 8
Born:12 July 1751 at Cuvilly,France
Died:8 April 1816 at Namur, Belgium
Canonized:22 June 1969 by Pope Paul VI
Patron of:against poverty, bodily ills, impoverishment, poverty, sick people, sickness

Foundress, and first superior-general of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur, born 12 July, 1751, at Cuvilly, a village of Picardy, in the Diocese of Beauvais and the Department of Oise, France; died 8 April, 1816, at the motherhouse of her institute, Namur, Belgium. She was the sixth of seven children of Jean-François Billiart and his wife, Marie-Louise-Antoinette Debraine. The childhood of Julie was remarkable; at the age of seven, she knew the catechism by heart, and used to gather her little companions around her to hear them recite it and to explain it to them. Her education was confined to the rudiments obtained at the village school which was kept by her uncle, Thibault Guilbert. In spiritual things her progress was so rapid that the parish priest, M. Dangicourt, allowed her to make her First Communion and to be confirmed at the age of nine years. At this time she made a vow of chastity. Misfortunes overtook the Billiart family when Julie was sixteen, and she gave herself generously to the aid of her parents, working in the fields with the reapers. She was held in such high esteem for her virtue and piety as to be commonly called, "the saint of Cuvilly". When twenty-two years old, a nervous shock, occasioned by a pistol-shot fired at her father by some unknown enemy, brought on a paralysis of the lower limbs, which in a few years confined her to her bed a helpless cripple, and thus she remained for twenty-two years. During this time, when she received Holy Communion daily, Julie exercised an uncommon gift of prayer, spending four or five hours a day in contemplation. The rest of her time was occupied in making linens and laces for the alter and in catechizing the village children whom she gathered around her bed, giving special attention to those who were preparing for their First Communion.

At Amiens, where Julie Billiart had been compelled to take refuge with Countess Baudoin during the troublesome times of the French Revolution, she met Françoise Blin de Bourdon, Viscountess of Gizaincourt, who was destined to be her co-laborer in the great work as yet unknown to either of them. The Viscountess Blin de Bourdon was thirty-eight years old at the time of her meeting with Julie, and had spent her youth in piety and good works; she had been imprisoned with all of her family during the Reign of Terror, and had escaped death only by the fall of Robespierre. She was not at first attracted by the almost speechless paralytic, but by degrees grew to love and admire the invalid for her wonderful gifts of soul. A little company of young and high-born ladies, friends of the viscountess, was formed around the couch of "the saint". Julie taught them how to lead the interior life, while they devoted themselves generously to the cause of God and His poor. Though they attempted all the exercises of an active community life, some of the elements of stability must have been wanting, for these first disciples dropped off until none was left but Françoise Blin de Bourdon. She was never to be separated from Julie, and with her in 1803, in obedience to Father Varin, superior of the Fathers of the Faith, and under the auspices of the Bishop of Amiens, the foundation was laid of the Institute of the Sisters of Notre Dame, a society which had for its primary object the salvation of poor children. Several young persons offered themselves to assist the two superiors. The first pupils were eight orphans. On the feast of the Sacred Heart, 1 June, 1804, Mother Julie, after a novena made in obedience to her confessor, was cured of paralysis. The first vows of religion were made on 15 October, 1804 by Julie Billiart, Françoise Blin de Bourdon, Victoire Leleu, and Justine Garson, and their family names were changed to names of saints. They proposed for their lifework the Christian education of girls, and the training of religious teachers who should go wherever their services were asked for. Father Varin gave the community a provisional rule by way of probation, which was so far-sighted that its essentials have never been changed. In view of the extension of the institute, he would have it governed by a superior-general, charged with visiting the houses, nominating the local superiors, corresponding with the members dispersed in the different convents, and assigning the revenues of the society. The characteristic devotions of the Sisters of Notre Dame were established by the foundress from the beginning. She was original in doing away with the time-honored distinction between choir sisters and lay sisters, but this perfect equality of rank did not in any way prevent her from putting each sister to the work for which her capacity and education fitted her. She attached great importance to the formation of the sisters destined for the schools, and in this she was ably assisted by Mother St. Joseph (Françoise Blin de Bourdon), who had herself received an excellent education.

When the congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame was approved by an imperial decree dated 19 June, 1806, it numbered thirty members, In that and the following years, foundations were made in various towns of France and Belgium, the most important being those at Ghent and Namur, of which the latter house Mother St. Joseph was the first superior. This spread of the institute beyond the Diocese of Amiens cost the foundress the greatest sorrow of her life. In the absence of Father Varin from that city, the confessor of the community, the Abbé de Sambucy de St. Estève, a man of superior intelligence and attainments but enterprising and injudicious, endeavored to change the rule and fundamental constitutions of the new congregation so as to bring it into harmony with the ancient monastic orders. He so far influenced the bishop. Mgr. Demandolx, that Mother Julie had soon no alternative but to leave the Diocese of Amiens, relying upon the goodwill of Mgr. Pisani de la Gaude, bishop of Namur, who had invited her to make his episcopal city the center of her congregation, should a change become necessary. In leaving Amiens, Mother Julie laid the case before all her subjects and told them they were perfectly free to remain or to follow her. All but two chose to go with her, and thus, in themid-winter of 1809, the convent of Namur became the motherhouse of the institute and is so still. Mgr. Demandolx, soon undeceived, made all the amends in his power, entreating Mother Julie to return to Amiens and rebuild her institute. She did indeed return, but after a vain struggle to find subjects or revenues, went back to Namur. The seven years of life that remained to her were spent in forming her daughters to solid piety and the interior spirit, of which she was herself the model. Mgr. De Broglie, bishop of Ghent, said of her that she saved more souls by her inner life of union with God than by her outward apostolate. She received special supernatural favors and unlooked-for aid in peril and need. In the space of twelve years (1804 - 1816) Mother Julie founded fifteen convents, made one hundred and twenty journeys, many of them long and toilsome, and carried on a close correspondence with her spiritual daughters. Hundreds of these letters are preserved in the motherhouse. In 1815 Belgium was the battlefield of the Napoleonic wars, and the mother-general suffered great anxiety, as several of her convents were in the path of the armies, but they escaped injury. In January, 1816, she was taken ill, and after three months of pain borne in silence and patience, she died with the Magnificat on her lips. The fame of her sanctity spread abroad and was confirmed by several miracles. The process of her beatification, begun in 1881, was completed in 1906 by the decree of Pope Pius X dated 13 May, declaring her Blessed. [Note: She was canonized in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.]

St. Julie's predominating trait in the spiritual order was her ardent charity, springing from a lively faith and manifesting itself in her thirst for suffering and her zeal for souls. Her whole soul was echoed in the simple and naove formula which was continually on her lips and pen: "Oh, qu'il est bon, le bon Dieu" (How good God is). She possessed all the qualities of a perfect superior, and inspired her subjects with filial confidence and tender affection.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: APR. 8: JOHN 7: 1- 2, 10, 25-30

John 7: 1 - 2, 10, 25 - 30
1After this Jesus went about in Galilee; he would not go about in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him.
2Now the Jews' feast of Tabernacles was at hand.
10But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.
25Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, "Is not this the man whom they seek to kill?
26And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?
27Yet we know where this man comes from; and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from."
28So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, "You know me, and you know where I come from? But I have not come of my own accord; he who sent me is true, and him you do not know.
29I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me."
30So they sought to arrest him; but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come.

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