Friday, April 1, 2011





TODAY'S GOSPEL: APR. 1: MARK 12: 28- 34




VATICAN CITY, 1 APR 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram to Bishop Bosco Puthur of the Major Archiepiscopal Curia of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India, for the death at the age of 83 of Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil C.SS.R., Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

"I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly. I offer you, the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the entire Syro-Malabar Church my deepest condolences and the assurance of my prayers. I recall with gratitude the cardinal's dedication and service to the Syro-Malabars and to the universal Church. I join you and all who mourn him, including the members of the late cardinal's family, in commending his soul to the infinite mercy of God our loving Father. To all assembled for the solemn funeral liturgy, I cordially impart my apostolic blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in the Lord".

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VATICAN CITY, 1 APR 2011 (VIS) - In the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace at 9 a.m. today, in the presence of the Holy Father, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap., preacher of the Pontifical Household, delivered the second of his Lenten sermons. The theme of his meditations this year is: "Above all, clothe yourselves with love". The first sermon was delivered on Friday 24 March and the next two are due to be given on Friday 8 and Friday 15 April.

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VATICAN CITY, 1 APR 2011 (VIS) - At midday the Holy See Press Office published an informative note announcing that "today, 1 April, marks the coming into force of Law 127 concerning the prevention and countering of the laundering of proceeds from criminal activities and of the financing of terrorism. The Law was published on 30 December 2010 together with the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI's "Motu Proprio" Apostolic Letter on the same subject. The Law and the Motu Proprio constitute an event of great importance which has wide-reaching moral and pastoral implications".

Today's note also explains how "the offices and organisations obliged to respect the new Law include the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), as well as other institutions dependent on Vatican City State and on the Holy See, or that are associated with the latter.

"The Regulation concerning the transportation of money in cash also comes into force today", the note adds. This new rule "does not forbid carrying sums greater than 10,000 (ten thousand) euro when entering or leaving Vatican City State, but it does stipulate that they be declared to the offices and organisations obligated by the anti-money laundering legislation, where an operation is to be carried out, or to the Corps of the Gendarmerie at the entrance to the State. ... The failure or partial failure to meet this obligation to declare will be punished with an administrative sanction".

Finally the note explains that "last month Marcello Condemi and Francesco Di Pasquale, respectively substitute president and director of the Financial Information Authority, participated on behalf of the Holy See and of the Financial Information Authority itself at the third meeting on the application of theCouncil of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism. The convention was signed in Warsaw, Poland, in 2005".

Condemi and Di Pasquale "also had the opportunity to meet with members of MONEYVAL, an office of the Council of Europe charged with examining anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism laws, including those of the Holy See. In coming days they will attend the thirty-fifth plenary assembly of MONEYVAL in Strasbourg, during which attention will also be given to the Holy See's proposal to submit its own anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism measures for examination by that office".

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VATICAN CITY, 1 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Bilateral Commission of Delegations of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews celebrated its tenth meeting in Jerusalem from 29 to 31 March. The meeting - presided by Chief Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen and by Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia, archivist and librarian emeritus of Holy Roman Church - discussed the challenges of faith and religious leadership in secular society.

At the end of its meeting the commission published an English-language communique stating that the deliberations "sought to define the challenges that modern secular society faces. In addition to its many benefits; rapid technological advancement, rampant consumerism, and a nihilistic ideology with an exaggerated focus on the individual at the expense of the community and collective wellbeing, have led to a moral crisis. Together with the benefits of emancipation, the last century has witnessed unparalleled violence and barbarity. Our modern world is substantially bereft of a sense of belonging, meaning and purpose".

Religious leaders, the text continues, "have a critical role in responding to these realities, in providing both hope and moral guidance derived from the awareness of the Divine Presence and the Divine Image in all human beings. ... The biblical description of Moses was presented as a paradigm of religious leadership who, through his encounter with God, responds to the Divine call with total faith, loving his people, declaring the Word of God without fear, embodying freedom and courage, and an authority that comes from obeying God always and unconditionally, and listening to all, ready for dialogue".

"The bilateral commission expressed the hope that the outstanding matters in the negotiations between the Holy See and the State of Israel would soon be resolved, and bilateral agreements speedily ratified for the benefit of both communities. The Catholic delegation took the opportunity to reiterate the historic teaching of the Vatican Council II Declaration 'Nostra Aetate' regarding the Divine Covenant with the Jewish People, ... and recalled the prayer for peace of Pope Benedict XVI when receiving the bilateral delegation in Rome on March 12 2009".

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VATICAN CITY, 1 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, accompanied by Bishop Alan Stephen Hopes, auxiliary of Westminster, England, and by Msgr. Keith Newton, ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

- Bishop Bosco Puthur of the Major Archiepiscopal Curia of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Thomas Chakiath and Sebastian Adayanthrath.

- Bishop George Punnakottil of Kothamangalam of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.

- Bishop Lawrence Mukkuzhy of Belthangady of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.

- Bishop Joseph Arumachadath M.C.B.S. of Bhadravathi of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.

- Bishop Jose Porunnedom of Mananthavady of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.

- Bishop George Njaralakatt of Mandya of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.

- Bishop Remigiose Inchananiyil of Thamarasserry of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his "ad limina" visit.

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VATICAN CITY, 1 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Peter Holiday of the clergy of the archdiocese of Johannesburg, South Africa, pastor of Our Lady of the Wayside in Maryvale, as bishop of Kroonstad (area 30,248, population 946,000, Catholics 87,230, priests 19, religious 14), South Africa. The bishop-elect was born in Durban, South Africa in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1992.


UCAN REPORT: Head of the Syro-Malabar Church took bold decisions for the good of the Church in India
April 1, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil dies
Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil

Church and political leaders in India have mourned the death of Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, head of the Syro-Malabar Church.

The Redemptorist prelate, who led the Oriental Catholic Church for the past 12 years, was suffering from heart ailments for some time.

He fell unconscious while celebrating Mass around noon today and was rushed to nearby Lisie Hospital in Kochi, where he died around 2:30 pm. He was 84.

The funeral is scheduled after April 10 as most Syro-Malabar bishops are away in Rome for the Ad Limina visit.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), hailed Cardinal Vithayathil as a “great missionary and exemplary priest, who contributed a lot for the growth of the Church in India and the Syro-Malabar Church.”

Cardinal Gracias, who heads the Indian Catholic Church, said he had visited the deceased cardinal three times after he fell seriously ill.

“He was a man of deep faith who was loyal to the Church. He worked strenuously for the good of the Church even in his illness,” said Cardinal Gracias, archbishop of Bombay.

Cardinal Gracias also said he had worked closely with Cardinal Vithayathil as the CBCI office bearers and found him “an effective administrator who took bold decisions for the good of the Church in India.”

Major Archbishop Baselios Cleemis, head of the Syro-Malankara Church, said Cardinal Vithayathil worked for bringing unity among India’s three ritual Churches.

The deceased cardinal provided “a mature leadership” to the Indian Church when he was the CBCI president during 2008-2010. He also played an active role in public issues of Kerala.

Cardinal Vithayathil, who was also the archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly diocese, was ordained a priest in 1954.

He taught for 25 years at the Redemptorist seminary in Bangalore, southern India. He also taught different subjects in several other seminaries in that city.

He was elected provincial of Redemptorists in India and Sri Lanka in 1978, a post he held for six years. He was also the president of the Conference of Religious India, the national body of India’s Religious Major Superiors.

Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal in 2001.

National leaders cutting across political parties paid homage to the deceased cardinal.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi hailed him for promoting communal harmony and the peace in the country.

Federal Defense Minister A.K. Antony said the cardinal tried to help the poor and believed in social justice.

Marxist leader Pinarayi Vijayan said Cardinal Vithayathil never opted for confrontation. “He always believed in consensus. He was a role model for all of us.”


IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: Father Austin Smith, a Passionist priest, who lived and worked in Toxteth died on Thursday 24 March at the age of 82. For almost 40 years he lived and ministered within the Toxteth Community - but with influence that extended far beyond in both national and international circles. The respect and affection of the local community for Austin - especially the Black community - is outstanding. His positive contribution to the struggle to overcome racism in all its forms is well documented. Significantly in 1981 during the Toxteth riots, Austin played a positivemand pivotal role in articulating the deeper issues that were at play.

GERALD AUSTIN SMITH (known by his Passionist name - Austin) was born on 31st July 1928 in Liverpool, the younger of two sons to Jim and Josie. He was educated by the Irish Christian Brothers for whom he has always maintained deep admiration and close contact. He completed secondary studies at the Passionist Junior Seminary, Blythe Hall, Ormskirk. From there he went to the Novitiate in Broadway Worcestershire.

After profession he completed studies for the priesthood in Passionist communities in St Helens, St David's and was ordained in St Joseph's, Highgate. From there he went to Rome for post-graduate studies in philosophy at the Pontifical Angelicum University.

Returning home he taught philosophy to students in the Passionist Community at Minsteracres, County Durham. During the 1960s he was appointed Superior of the Junior Seminary at Blythe Hall. Pursuing his interest in Philosophy and Church Social Teaching, Austin began to earn a national reputation as a preacher and lecturer and was closely involved with the YCW and YCS movements in the 1960s.

Encouraged by the fresh vitality post Vatican II, Austin began to articulate and propose new ways to reach out in gospel witness particularly in places stigmatised as marginal. With the blessing of his Congregation in October 1971 Austin established a new Passionist presence in Toxteth, which became known as the Passionist Inner City Mission.

Uninterruptedly Austin has lived and ministered since then within the Toxteth Community - but with influence that extended far beyond in both national and international circles. For many years Austin was Assistant Chaplain in Walton Prison, till ill-health forced retirement.

The respect and affection of the local community for Austin - especially the Black community - is outstanding. His positive contribution to the struggle to overcome racism in all its forms is well documented. Significantly in 1981 during what was called the Toxteth riots, Austin played a positive and pivotal role in articulating the deeper issues that were at play.
Liverpool: Father Austen Smith has died | Father Austin Smith,Passionist priest, Toxteth

Fr Austin Smith

With an invitation from the local community, Austin was delighted to live for many happy years as he continued his work in the Steve Biko Housing Project.

He has written numerous articles, poetry and three books - the most recent of which "Mersey Vespers" was published recently by Kevin Mayhew in October 2010. In recognition of all Austin's academic and community achievements Liverpool University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate. Perhaps as much or even more important to him than this honour, in October 2010 the Black Community awarded him their Outstanding Achievement award.

As his health deteriorated, in 2008 Austin moved to Granby Care Home, Liverpool 8. Already known to Staff and Residents through his frequent visits, he was proud to have been part of the original team helping create a design to reflect the rich cultural diversity of the Granby neighbourhood. Over the two years Austin lived there, the sensitivity and care staff have provided, has been truly inspiring.
Especially in recent months as he approached the end, Staff and District Nurses provided wonderful support. Austin died peacefully on Thursday morning 24 March 2011. Consistent to the end his Requiem Mass will be at St Anne's Overbury Street and afterwards we shall respect his wish to be buried in Toxteth Cemetery, Smithdown

His body will be received into St Anne's church, Overbury Street, this Thursday, 31 March, at 6.30pm when Mass will be celebrated. His Funeral Mass will be celebrated there at 12.noon on Friday, 1 April.


CNS REPORT -- The Vatican's representative to the Ivory Coast has said Catholic priests have been targeted by armed groups during the current conflict, but added that he still hopes "full-scale civil war" can be avoided in the West African country.

In Rome, officials of Caritas Internationalis, the church's charitable aid agency, said one of the priests kidnapped was Father Richard Kissi, diocesan director of Caritas in Abidjan, who was kidnapped March 29 by an armed group.

In a March 30 telephone interview, the nuncio, Archbishop Ambrose Madtha, told Catholic News Service, "I wouldn't call it a civil war as yet -- the rebel army has been trying to attack certain cities, and this is why the violence is continuing."

He said students at the main Catholic seminary in Abidjan, the country's largest city, had been evacuated after its buildings were occupied by rebel soldiers. He added that a Catholic priest had been abducted while helping supervise the evacuation, while another had been attacked while returning from a late-night radio broadcast and had been hospitalized. He would not identify the priests by name.

But in Rome March 31, Caritas said Father Kissi was kidnapped by an armed group while he was heading to Anyama, a suburb of Abidjan, to evacuate seminarians. Caritas said its officials in Ivory Coast had not heard from him, and investigations into his whereabouts had been unsuccessful.

"We do not know whether Father Kissi is well and have not received any claims from the kidnappers," said Jean Djoman, director of human development at Caritas in Ivory Coast.

Archbishop Madtha said that, during the fighting, "both sides have generally respected Catholic churches, although soldiers have also entered at least one in search of rebels."

"We can only hope political leaders and the people attached to them will now hear the appeals for peace and pay more attention to what they are doing," he said.

Communal violence flared after President Laurent Gbagbo refused to recognize Alassane Ouattara's victory in a Nov. 28 runoff that was expected to return the French-speaking country to stability following a 2002-03 civil war and subsequent economic stagnation.

More than 460 people have been killed, and at least a million forced to flee during the conflict, according to the United Nations, which has 9,000 peacekeeping troops in Ivory Coast, monitoring a 2003 cease-fire.

Fighting intensified in late March as rebel forces advanced on and entered Yamoussoukro from strongholds in the North, as well as toward the key cocoa-exporting port of San Pedro in the southwest.

Amnesty International reported March 31 that at least 10,000 people in Duekoue, Ivory Coast, went to the local Salesian-run mission seeking help after rebel forces loyal to Ouattara conquered Duekoue, where the mission had already received 5,000 refugees.

ANS, the Salesian news agency, reported that the Salesians were no longer able to provide cover for all the refugees, and the night of March 30 the area had rain. The agency said March 31 that the mission had been without electricity or running water for three days and needed help from humanitarian agencies.

The ANS report said Ouattara supporters completely looted the Carrefour district of the city March 30. It said attackers forced residents to leave their homes and all their belongings, then looted and burned the houses.

"Many witnesses report that the refugees were told to go to the Salesian mission," said the report. "These same witnesses also speak about young men being executed on suspicion of taking part in the fighting or of belonging to the local armed militia."

"People think the churches are safe places, so they usually flock to Catholic compounds whenever there's a problem," said Archbishop Madtha. "At the beginning, no one here believed this conflict would last so long. But it's already passed four months, and we simply don't know where it will end."

Pope Benedict XVI has appealed for peace in the region and said he would send Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to Ivory Coast as his envoy.


- Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani and Archbishop Jose Gomez visited the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice session on March 30, meeting with the team and talking basketball with the players.

The Cardinal Archbishop of Lima, a former player on the Peruvian national basketball team, found he had common ground with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak.

LA Lakers player Pau Gasol talks with Archbishop Jose Gomez and Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani.

“Kupchak and Cipriani spoke,” archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg, who was at the event, told CNA. “They determined that they knew players in common whom they played against in international competition. I think that’s what kept Kupchak there for so long. He and Cipriani were really talking basketball.”

The two archbishops witnessed a full-court scrimmage and also had one-on-one conversations with Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant, forward Pau Gasol and coach Phil Jackson.

The conversations centered on the Lakers’ recent success, which include a division championship and a 15-1 winning streak. However, the cardinal also talked about his own time in the sport. He was on Peru’s national team from 1961 to 1967.

“When I see basketball practices, I lose about 30 or 40 years (off my life),” Cardinal Cipriani, 67, told the Los Angeles Times. He said he talked basketball offense and defense with Kupchak.

“We offered them some prayers so they could finish a good tournament,” he continued. “They're doing really well in these last games and hopefully they'll be ready for the playoffs. Maybe they'll repeat.”

The cardinal told Bryant that his competitiveness set a good example and asked the Spanish-born Gasol how he has adjusted to life in the United States.

Bryant said the visit was uncommon and “pretty cool.”

“We have people come in and want to watch (practice), but that was the first time in my 15 years that that's happened,” he said.

Cardinal Cipriani was able to make the visit because he was in Los Angeles to travel with Archbishop Gomez to Rome for a meeting of the Pontifical Council for Latin America.

Archbishop Gomez, who was installed as Archbishop of Los Angeles in February, had been a San Antonio Spurs fan from his time as archbishop in Texas.

“It was a perfect opportunity for us to come and enjoy the practice of the Lakers,” he said. He reported that the prayers for him to switch his allegiance to the Lakers have worked.

“Now I'm a Lakers fan. I'm also praying for the Spurs but a sign from God is that the Lakers are playing much better,” he said.

The Lakers were “very gracious” to invite the archbishop and the cardinal, Tamberg said. People “gravitated” towards the two churchmen once they knew who they were.

“One person within the Lakers organization came up with a rosary and asked the archbishop to bless it,” Tamberg said. “They had a nice little conversation. It was one of those small moments where the Church is present.”

Archbishop Gomez is “a big basketball fan.” When he announced in his first homily as Archbishop of Los Angeles that he had become a Lakers fan, the news went around the city quickly.

Tamberg explained that the archbishop’s ministry was related to the visit.

“Archbishop Gomez is the Archbishop of all of Los Angeles, and that means he should be equally at home in any environment in this city. Certainly the Lakers are part of that.”

He added that the Church can be present in many different places.

“This time it was at a practice. They were able to have fun and enjoy a chance to see the Lakers practice. At the same time, their presence speaks of the Church’s universality. The Church can be everywhere and should be everywhere. You never know where the points of contact are going to be.”


CATH NEWS REPORT: In his recently-released book, Australian Jesuit priest Richard Leonard looks at how we understand the presence of God in our lives when we are faced with suffering, reports Thinking Faith. Using his own experience of a family tragedy, Fr Richard speaks about his personal response when he is tempted to ask: ‘Where the hell is God?’ - the title of his book.

Most explorations of where or how God can be found in human suffering tend to be fairly academic. I have found them to be immensely important, even when I have disagreed with their arguments or conclusions. I have even found the intellectual distance they establish to be somehow helpful in dissecting an anything but distant enquiry.

My passion for some answers in this area started from a different base. It was not, primarily, an academic question, though I hope my thoughts are intelligent. My interest started from experience, from my grappling with a family tragedy which forced me to confront how I can hold on to my belief in a loving God in the face of suffering.

On October 23, 1988 my sister, Tracey, was involved in a freakish car accident: she dislocated the 5thcervical vertebra and fractured the 6th and 7th vertebrae. For the last 23 years she has been a quadriplegic.

She had returned to Australia and got a job working with the Sisters of Our Lady of Sacred Heart, running a health centre for Aboriginal people at Port Keats. It was near there that the car accident happened.Tracey is one of the finest people I know, and even at the time of the accident, at 28 years of age, she had already lived in Calcutta for three years and nursed the poorest of the poor at Mother Teresa’s House of the Dying.

Within 12 hours of my mother finding out about Tracey’s accident, she was standing in a hospital room in Darwin asking: "Where the hell is God?"


St. Hugh of Grenoble


Feast: April 1


Feast Day:April 1
Born:1053 at Chateauneuf, Dauphiné, France
Died:1 April 1132
Canonized:1134 by Pope Innocent II

The first tincture of the mind is of the utmost importance to virtue; and it was the happiness of this saint to receive from his cradle the strongest impressions of piety by the example and care of his illustrious and holy parents. He was born at Chateau-neuf, in the territory of Valence, in Dauphine, in 1053. His father, Odilo, served his country in an honourable post in the army, in which he acquitted himself of his duty to his prince with so much the greater fidelity and velour, as he most ardently endeavoured to sanctify his profession, and all his actions, by a motive of religion. Being sensible that all authority which men receive over others is derived from God, with an obligation that they employ it, in the first place, for the advancement of the divine honour, he laboured, by all the means in his power, to make his soldiers faithful servants of their Creator, and by severe punishments to restrain vices, those especially of impurity and lying. By the advice of his son, St. Hugh, he afterwards became a Carthusian monk, when he was upwards of fourscore years old, and lived eighteen years in great humility and austerity under St. Bruno and his successors, in the Great Chartreuse, where he died one hundred years old, having received extreme unction and the viaticum from the hands of his son. Our saint likewise assisted in her last moments his mother, who had for many years, under his direction, served God in her own house, by prayer, fasting, and plenteous alms-deeds. Hugh, from the cradle, appeared to be a child of benediction. He went through his studies with great applause, and his progress in piety always kept pace with his advancement in learning. Having chosen to serve God in an ecclesiastical state, that he might always dwell in his house and be occupied in his praises, he accepted a canonry in the cathedral of Valence. In this station, the sanctity of his life and his extraordinary talents rendered him the ornament of that church; and the gentleness and affability of his deportment won him the affection of all his colleagues. He was tall and very comely, but naturally exceeding bashful; and such was his modesty that for some time he found means to conceal his learning and eloquence; nevertheless, his humility served only to show afterwards those talents to more advantage and with greater lustre. For no virtue shines brighter with learning than modesty, as nothing renders scholars more odious or despicable than haughtiness and pride, which they discover by their obstinacy and clamours, by the contempt with which they treat those who dissent from them in opinion, and by their ostentatious pedantry in embracing every occasion of exhibiting their supposed superior wit and extraordinary parts.

Hugh, then Bishop of Die, but soon after Archbishop of Lyons, and also cardinal legate of the holy see, was so charmed at first sight of the saint when he happened to come to Valence that he would not be contented till he had taken the good man into his household. He employed him in extirpating simony, and in many other affairs of importance. In 1080, the Legate Hugh held a synod at Avignon, in which he took under consideration the desolate condition and the grievous disorders into which the church of Grenoble was sunk through the sloth and bad example of its late mercenary pastor. The eyes of the legate and of the whole council were fixed on St. Hugh as the person best qualified, by his virtue and prudence, to reform these abuses and restore the ancient glory of that church; and with them the voice of the whole city conspired. But his reluctance and fears were not to be overcome till he was compelled by the repeated commands of the legate and council. The legate took our newly appointed bishop with him to Rome, in order to his receiving the episcopal consecration from the hands of Gregory VII, who then sat in the chair of St. Peter. The servant of God was glad of this opportunity of consulting the vicar of Christ concerning his own conscience; for during a great part of his life he had been extremely molested with troublesome temptations of importunate blasphemous thoughts against the divine providence. Pope Gregory, who was a man very well versed in the interior trial of souls, assured him that this angel of Satan was permitted by God, in his sweet mercy, to buffet him only for his trial and crown: which words exceedingly comforted the saint, and encouraged him to bear his cross with patience and joy. A devout soul. under this trial, which finds these suggestions always painful and disagreeable, ought not to lose courage; for by patience and perseverance she exceedingly multiplies her crowns, and glorifies God, who has laid it upon her shoulders, and who will, when he sees fit, scatter these mists, and on a sudden translate her from this state of bitterness and darkness into the region of light, Joy, and the sweetest peace. St. Hugh prayed earnestly to be freed from this enemy, but received for a long time the same answer with St. Paul.1 In the mean while, his patience and constancy were his victory and his crown: and assiduous meditation on the sufferings of our divine Redeemer, who was made for us a man of sorrows, was his comfort and support.

The pious Countess Maud would needs be at the whole charge of the ceremony of his consecration: she also gave him a crosier and other episcopal ornaments, with a small library of suitable books, earnestly desiring to be instructed by his good counsels and assisted by his prayers. St. Hugh, after his ordination, hastened to his flock; but being arrived at Grenoble, could not refrain his tears, and was exceedingly afflicted and terrified when he saw the diocese overrun with tares which the enemy had sown while the pastor slept. He found the people in general immersed in a profound ignorance of several essential duties of religion, and plunged in vice and immorality. Some sins seemed by custom to have lost their name, and men committed them without any scruple or sign of remorse. The negligence and backwardness of many in frequenting the sacraments indicated a total decay of piety, and could not fail introducing many spiritual disorders in their souls, especially a great lukewarmness in prayer and other religious duties. Simony and usury seemed, under specious disguises, to be accounted innocent, and to reign almost without control. Many lands belonging to the church were usurped by laymen; and the revenues of the bishopric were dissipated, so that the saint, upon his arrival, found nothing either to enable him to assist the poor, or to supply his own necessities, unless he would have had recourse to unlawful contracts, as had been the common practice of many others, but which he justly deemed iniquitous; nor would he by any means defile his soul with them. He set himself in earnest to reprove vice and reform abuses. To this purpose he endeavoured by rigorous fasts, watchings, tears, sighs, and prayer to draw down the divine mercy on his flock; and so plentiful was the benediction of heaven upon his labours that he had the comfort to see the face of his diocese in a short time exceedingly changed. After two years, imitating therein the humility of some other saints, he privately resigned his bishopric, presuming on the tacit consent of the holy see; and, putting on the habit of St. Bennet, he entered upon a noviciate in the austere abbey of Chaise-Dieu, or Casa-Dei, in Auvergne, of the reformation of Cluni. There he lived a year a perfect model of all virtues to that house of saints, till Pope Gregory VII commanded him, in virtue of holy obedience, to resume his pastoral charge. Coming out of his solitude, like another Moses descending from the conversation of God on the mountain, he announced the divine law with greater zeal and success than ever. The author of his life assures us that he was an excellent and assiduous preacher.

St. Bruno and his six companions addressed themselves to him for his advice in their pious design of forsaking the world, and he appointed them a desert which was in his diocese, whither he conducted them in 1084. It is a frightful solitude, called the Chartreuse, or Carthusian Mountains, in Dauphine, which place gave name to the famous order St. Bruno founded there. The meek and pious behaviour of these servants of God took deep root in the heart of our holy pastor; and it was his delight frequently to visit them in their solitude, to join them in their exercises and austerities, and perform the meanest offices amongst them, as an outcast and one unworthy to bear them company. Sometimes the charms of contemplation detained him so long in this hermitage that St. Bruno was obliged to order him to go to his flock, and acquit himself of the duties which he owed them. He being determined to sell his horses for the benefit of the poor, thinking himself able to perform the visitation of his diocese on foot, St. Bruno, to whose advice he paid an implicit deference, opposed his design, urging that he had not strength for such an undertaking. For the last forty years of his life he was afflicted with almost continual headaches, and pains in the stomach; he also suffered the most severe interior temptations. Yet God did not leave him entirely destitute of comfort; but frequently visited his soul with heavenly sweetness and sensible spiritual consolations, which filled his heart under his afflictions with interior joy. The remembrance of the divine love, or of his own and others' spiritual miseries, frequently produced a flood of tears from his eyes, which way soever he turned them; nor was he able sometimes to check them in company or at table, especially whilst he heard the holy scriptures read. In hearing confessions, he frequently mingled his tears with those of his penitents, or first excited theirs by his own. At his sermons it was not unusual to see the whole audience melt into tears together; and some were so strongly affected that they confessed their sins publicly on the spot. After sermons, he was detained very long in hearing confession. He often cast himself at the feet of others, to entreat them to pardon injuries, or to make some necessary satisfaction to their neighbours. His love of heavenly things made all temporal affairs seem to him burdensome and tedious. Women he would never look in the face, so that ho knew not the public news or reports, for fear of detraction, or at least of dissipation. His constant pensioners and occasional alms (in the latter of which he was extremely bountiful) were very expensive to him: insomuch, that though, in order to relieve the poor, he had long denied himself every thing that seemed to have the least appearance of superfluity, still, for the extending his beneficent inclination, he even sold, in the time of famine, a gold chalice, and part of his episcopal ornaments, as gold rings and precious stones. And the happy consequence of St. Hugh's example this way was, that the rich were moved by it to bestow of their treasures to the necessitous, whereby the wants of all the poor of his diocese were supplied.

He earnestly solicited Pope Innocent II for leave to resign his bishopric, that he might die in solitude; but was never able to obtain his request. God was pleased to purify his soul by a lingering illness before he called him to himself. Some time before his death he lost his memory for everything but his prayers; the psalter and the Lord's prayer he recited with great devotion, almost without intermission; and he was said to have repeated the last three hundred times in one night. Being told that so constant an attention would increase his distemper, he said, "It is quite otherwise; by prayer I always find myself stronger." In the time of sickness, a certain forwardness and peevishness of disposition is what the best of us are too apt to give way to, through weakness of nature and a temptation of the enemy, who seeks to deprive a dying person of the most favorable advantages of penance and patience, and to feed and strengthen self-love in the soul while upon the very cross itself; and in the crucible in. which she is thrown by a singular mercy, in order to her coming forth refined and pure. In this fiery trial, the virtue of the saints shows itself genuine, and endued with a fortitude which renders it worthy its crown. By the same test is pretended virtue discovered: self-love can no longer disguise itself: it cries out, murmurs, frets, and repines: the mask which the hypocrite wore is here pulled off: saints, on the contrary, under every degree of torture cruelty can invent, preserve a happy patience and serenity of soul. Hence the devil would not allow the virtue of Job to be sincere before it had been approved under sickness and bodily pain.2 St. Hugh left us by his invincible patience a proof of the fervour of kits charity. Under the sharpest pains, he never let fall one word of complaint nor mentioned what he suffered; his whole concern seemed only to be for others. When any assisted him, he expressed the greatest confusion and thankfulness: if he had given the least trouble to anyone, he would beg to receive the discipline, and because no one would give it to him, would confess his fault, as he called it, and implore the divine mercy with tears. The like sentiments we read in the relation of the deaths of many of the holy monks of La Trappe. Dom. Bennet, under the most racking pains, when turned in his bed, said, "You lay me too much at my ease." Dom. Charles would not cool his mouth with a little water in the raging heat of a violent fever. Such examples teach us at least to blush at and condemn our murmurs and impatience under sickness. The humility of St. Hugh was the more surprising, because everyone approached him with the greatest reverence and affection, and thought it a happiness if they were allowed in any thing to serve him. It was his constant prayer, in which he begged his dear Carthusians and all others to join him, that God would extinguish in his heart all attachment to creatures, that his pure love might reign in all his affections. One said to him, "Why do you weep so bitterly, who never offended God by any wilful crime?" He replied, "Vanity and inordinate affections suffice to damn a soul. It is only through the divine mercy that we can hope to be saved, and shall we ever cease to implore it?" If anyone spoke of news in his presence, he checked them, saying, "This life is all given us for weeping and penance, not for idle discourses." He closed his penitential course on the 1st of April, in 1132, wanting only two months of being eighty years old, of which he had been fifty-two years bishop. Miracles attested the sanctity of his happy death; and he was canonized by Innocent II in 1134.

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TODAY'S GOSPEL: APR. 1: MARK 12: 28- 34

Mark 12: 28 - 34
28And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?"
29Jesus answered, "The first is, `Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one;
30and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.'
31The second is this, `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
32And the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he;
33and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
34And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And after that no one dared to ask him any question.

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