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Friday, April 22, 2011

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: FRI. APRIL 22, 2011












VATICAN: POPE: EXPLAINS EASTER ON TV BROADCAST

AFRICA: ZAMBIA: CHURCH LEADERS CALL FOR PEACE AND UNITY

EUROPE: POLAND: PREPARATIONS FOR EASTER

TODAY'S GOSPEL: GOOD FRIDAY: APR. 22: JOHN 18-19


RAD. VAT. REPORT: Pope Benedict XVI made papal broadcasting history on Good Friday when he became the first pope to appear on a question and answer TV show. The pre-recorded program for "In His Image", broadcast on the Italian RAI Uno station, showed the pope replying to seven questions submitted from around the world, that included a young Japanese girl, a Muslim mother from the Ivory Coast and seven Christian students from Iraq. The full text follows:

Pope's Responses from the Transmission of "In His Image"

Q. Holy Father, I want to thank you for your presence here, which fills us with joy and helps us remember that today is the day in which Jesus showed His love in the most radical way, that is, by dying on the cross as an innocent. It is precisely on this theme of innocent sorrow that is the first question that comes from a seven-year-old Japanese child who says: "My name is Elena. I am Japanese and I am seven years old. I am very frightened because the house where I felt safe really shook a lot and many children my age have died. I cannot go to play at the park. I want to know: why do I have to be so afraid? Why do children have to be so sad? I'm asking the Pope, who speaks with God, to explain it to me".

A. Dear Elena, I send you my heartfelt greetings. I also have the same questions: why is it this way? Why do you have to suffer so much while others live in ease? And we do not have the answers but we know that Jesus suffered as you do, an innocent, and that the true God who is revealed in Jesus is by your side. This seems very important to me, even if we do not have answers, even if we are still sad; God is by your side and you can be certain that this will help you. One day we will even understand why it was so. At this moment it seems important to me that you know "God loves me" even if it seems like He doesn't know me. No, He loves me, He is by my side, and you can be sure that in the world, in the universe, there are many who are with you, thinking of you, doing what they can for you, to help you. And be aware that, one day, I will understand that this suffering was not empty, it wasn't in vain, but behind it was a good plan, a plan of love. It is not chance. Be assured, we are with you, with all the Japanese children who are suffering. We want to help you with our prayers, with our actions, and you can be sure that God will help you. In this sense we pray together so that light may come to you as soon as possible.

Q. The second question presents us with a Calvary because we have a mother under her son’s cross. This mother is an Italian named Maria Teresa and she asks you: "Your Holiness, has the soul of my son Francesco, who has been in a vegetative coma since Easter Sunday 2009, left his body, seeing that he is no longer conscious, or is it still near him?"

A. Certainly his soul is still present in his body. The situation, perhaps, is like that of a guitar whose strings have been broken and therefore can no longer play. The instrument of the body is fragile like that, it is vulnerable, and the soul cannot play, so to speak, but remains present. I am also sure that this hidden soul feels your love deep down, even if unable to understand the details, your words, etc. He feels the presence of love. Your presence, therefore, dear parents, dear mother, next to him for hours and hours every day, is the true act of a love of great value because this presence enters into the depth of that hidden soul. Your act is thus also a witness of faith in God, of faith in man, of faith, let us say, of commitment, to life, of respect for human life, even in the saddest of situations. I encourage you, therefore to carry on, to know that you are giving a great service to humanity with this sign of faith, with this sign of respect for life, with this love for a wounded body and a suffering soul.

Q. The third question takes us to Iraq, to the youth of Baghdad, persecuted Christians who send you this question; "Greetings from Iraq, Holy Father", they say. "We Christians in Baghdad are persecuted like Jesus. Holy Father, in your opinion, in what way can we help our Christian community to reconsider their desire to emigrate to other countries, convincing them that leaving is not the only solution?"

A. First of all I want to cordially greet all the Christians of Iraq, our brothers and sisters, and I have to say that I pray every day for the Christians in Iraq. They are our suffering brothers and sisters, as those who are suffering in other lands are too, and therefore they are particularly dear to our hearts and we must do whatever we can so that they might be able to stay, so that they might be able to resist the temptation to emigrate, which is very understandable in the conditions they are living in. I would say that it is important that we are near to you, dear brothers and sisters in Iraq and we also want to help you, when you come, to truly receive you as brothers and sisters. Naturally, all the institutions that truly have the possibility to do something in Iraq for you should do it. The Holy See is in permanent contact with the diverse communities, not only the Catholic community and the other Christian communities, but also with our Muslim brothers and sister, Shi‛ites and Sunni. We want to create reconciliation and understanding, with the government as well, to help in this difficult journey of rebuilding a torn society. Because this is the problem, that the society is profoundly divided, torn, there is no longer the awareness that "In our diversity we are one people with a common history, where each has its place". This awareness needs to be rebuilt: that in diversity, they have a common history, a common determination. In dialogue, precisely with the various groups, we want to assist the process of reconstruction and encourage you, dear brothers and sisters in Iraq, to have faith, to be patient and have faith in God, to collaborate in this difficult process. Be assured of our prayers.

Q. The next question comes to you from a Muslim woman from the Ivory Coast, a country that has been at war for years. This lady's name is Bintu and she greets you in Arabic, saying "May God be in all the words that we say to one another and may God be with You". It is an expression that they use when beginning an address. She then continues in French: "Dear Holy Father, here in the Ivory Coast we have always lived in harmony between Christians and Muslims. Families are often formed by members of both religions. There also exists a diversity of ethnicities but we have never had problems. Now everything has changed: the crisis we are living under, caused by politics, has sown division. How many innocents have lost their lives! How many persons have been displaced, how many mothers and how many children traumatized! The messengers have exhorted peace, the prophets have exhorted peace. As an ambassador of Jesus, what do you advise for our country?

A. I would like to respond to your greeting: May God also be with you and help you forever. I have to say that I have received heartbreaking letters from the Ivory Coast in which I see the sorrow, the depth of suffering, and I am saddened that I can do so little. We can do one thing always: remain in prayer with you and, as much as possible, we can offer works of charity. Above all we want to help, as much as is in our power, the political and human contacts. I have entrusted Cardinal Turkson, who is the president of our Council for Justice and Peace, to go to the Ivory Coast to try to mediate, to speak with the various groups and various persons to encourage a new beginning. Above all we want to make the voice of Jesus, whom you also believe in as a prophet, heard. He was always a man of peace. It could be expected that, when God came to earth, He would be a man of great power, destroying the opposing forces. That He would be a man of powerful violence as an instrument of peace. Not at all. He came in weakness. He came with only the strength of love, totally without violence, even to going to the cross. This is what shows us the true face of God, that violence never comes from God, never helps bring anything good, but is a destructive means and not the path to escape difficulties. He is thus a strong voice against every type of violence. He strongly invites all sides to renounce violence, even if they feel they are right. The only path is to renounce violence, to begin anew with dialogue, with the attempt to find peace together, with a new concern for one another, a new willingness to be open to one another. This, dear lady, is Jesus' true message: seek peace with the means of peace and leave violence aside. We pray for you, that all sections of your society might hear Jesus' voice and thus that peace and communion will return.

Q. Holy Father, the next question is on the theme of Jesus' death and resurrection and comes from Italy. I will read it to you: "Your Holiness, what is Jesus doing in the time between His death and resurrection? Seeing that in reciting the Creed it says that Jesus, after His death, descended into Hell, should we think that that will also happen to us, after death, before going to heaven?"

A. First of all, this descent of Jesus' soul should not be imagined as a geographical or a spatial trip, from one continent to another. It is the soul's journey. We have to remember that Jesus' soul always touches the Father, it is always in contact with the Father but, at the same time, this human soul extends to the very borders of the human being. In this sense it goes into the depths, into the lost places, to where all who do not arrive at their life's goal go, thus transcending the continents of the past. This word about the Lord's descent into Hell mainly means that Jesus reaches even the past, that the effectiveness of the Redemption does not begin in the year 0 or 30, but also goes to the past, embraces the past, all men and women of all time. The Church Fathers say, with a very beautiful image, that Jesus takes Adam and Eve, that is, humanity, by the hand and guides them forward, guides them on high. He thus creates access to God because humanity, on its own cannot arrive at God's level. He himself, being man, can take humanity by the hand and open the access. To what? To the reality we call Heaven. So this descent into Hell, that is, into the depth of the human being, into humanity's past, is an essential part of Jesus' mission, of His mission as Redeemer, and does not apply to us. Our lives are different. We are already redeemed by the Lord and we arrive before the Judge, after our death, under Jesus' gaze. On one had, this gaze will be purifying: I think that all of us, in greater or lesser measure, are in need of purification. Jesus’ gaze purifies us, thus making us capable of living with God, of living with the Saints, and above all of living in communion with those dear to us who have preceded us.

Q. The next question is also on the theme of Resurrection and comes from Italy. "Your Holiness, when the women reach the tomb on the Sunday after Jesus' death, they do not recognize their Master but confuse him with another. It also happens to the apostles: Jesus shows them his wounds, breaks bread, in order to be recognized, precisely by his actions. He has a true body, made of flesh, but it is also glorified. What does it mean that His risen body didn't have the same characteristics as before? What, exactly, does a glorified body mean? Will the Resurrection also be like that for us?"

A. Naturally, we cannot define the glorified body because it is beyond our experience. We can only note the signs that Jesus has given us to understand, at least a little, in which direction we should seek this reality. The first sign: the tomb is empty. That is, Jesus dead not leave his body behind to corruption. This shows us that even matter is destined for eternity, that it is truly resurrected, that it does not remain something lost. But he then assumed this matter in a new condition of life. This is the second point: Jesus no longer dies, that is, He is beyond the laws of biology and physics because He endured this one death. Therefore there is a new condition, a different one, that we do not know but which is shown in the fact of Jesus and which is a great promise for all of us: that there is a new world, a new life, toward which we are on a journey. Being in this condition, Jesus had the possibility of letting himself be felt, of offering his hand to his followers, of eating with them, but still of being beyond the conditions of biological life as we live it. We know that, on the one hand, He is a real man, not a ghost, that he lives a real life, but a new life that is no longer submitted to the death that is our great promise. It is important to understand this, at least as much as we can, for the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, the Lord gives us His glorified body, not flesh to eat in a biological sense. He gives us Himself, this newness that He is in our humanity, in our being as person, and it touches us within with His being so that we might let ourselves be penetrated by His presence, transformed in His presence. It is an important point because we are thus already in contact with this new life, this new type of life, since He has entered into me and I have gone out of myself and am extended toward a new dimension of life. I think that this aspect of the promise, of the reality that He gives Himself to me and pulls me out of myself, toward on high, is the most important point. It is not about noting things that we cannot understand but of being on a journey to the newness that always begins again anew in the Eucharist.

Q. Holy Father, the last question is about Mary. At the cross we witness a poignant dialogue between Jesus and his mother in which Jesus says to Mary: “Behold your son”, and to John, “Behold your mother”. In your latest book, Jesus of Nazareth, you define it as “Jesus’ final provision”. How are we to understand these words? What meaning did they have at that moment and what do they mean today? And, on the subject of entrusting, do you intend to renew a consecration to the Virgin at the beginning of this new millennium?

A. These words of Jesus are, above all, a very human act. We see Jesus as a true man who makes a human act, an act of love for His mother, entrusting the mother to the young John so that she might be safe. A woman living alone in the East at that time was an impossible situation. He entrusts his mother to this young man and to this young man he gives his mother, therefore Jesus actually acts as a human with a deeply human sentiment. This seems very beautiful to me, very important, that before any theology we see in this act the true humanity of Jesus, his true humanism. Naturally, however, this has several dimensions, not just about this moment but regarding all of history. In John, Jesus entrusts all of us, the whole Church, all future disciples, to His mother and His mother to us. In this the course of history is fulfilled. More and more, humanity and Christians have understood that the mother of Jesus is their mother and more and more they have entrusted themselves to the Mother. Think of the great sanctuaries, think of this devotion for Mary in which more and more people feel “This is your mother”. And even some who have difficulty reaching Jesus in his greatness, the Son of God, entrust themselves without difficulty to the Mother. Someone said, “But this doesn’t have any Biblical foundation!” To this I reply, with St. Gregory the Great: “In reading”, he says, “grow the words of Scripture.” That is, they develop in lived reality. They grow and more and more in history this Word develops. We see how we can all be grateful because there is truly a Mother; we have all been given a mother. We can also go to this Mother with great confidence because she is also the Mother of every Christian. However, it is also true that this Mother expresses the Church. We cannot be Christians alone, following a Christianity based on our own ideas. The Mother is the image of the Church, the Mother Church, and entrusting ourselves to Mary means we must also entrust ourselves to the Church, live the Church, be the Church with Mary. And so we arrive at the meaning of entrusting ourselves: the Popes—whether it was Pius XII, or Paul VI, or John Paul II—have made a great act of entrusting the world to the Madonna and it seems to me, as a gesture before humankind, before Mary herself, that it was a very important gesture. I believe that now it is important to internalize this act, to let ourselves be penetrated, and to bear it out in ourselves. In this sense I have gone to some of the great Marian sanctuaries of the world: Lourdes, Fatima, Czestochowa, Altötting…, always with this sense of making real, of interiorizing this act of entrustment, so that it might truly become our act. I think that the great, public act has been made. Perhaps one day it will be necessary to repeat it again, but at the moment it seems more important to me to live it, to make it real, to enter into this entrusting so that it might truly be our own. For example, at Fatima I saw how the thousands of persons present truly entered into this entrustment. In themselves, for themselves they entrusted themselves to her; they made this made this trust real within them. It thus becomes a reality in the living Church and thus also the Church grows. The common entrustment to Mary, letting ourselves be penetrated by this presence, creating and entering into communion with Mary makes the Church, make us together with Mary, truly the Bride of Christ. Thus, at the moment, I do not intend to make a new act of public entrustment, but I would rather invite you to enter into this entrustment that has already been made, so that we might truly live it every day, and thus that a truly Marian Church might grow, a Church that is Mother, Bride, and Daughter of Jesus.

AMERICA: USA: N. CAROLINA: BISHOP CALLS FOR PRAYERS FOR VICTIMS OF TORNADOES

- Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh has asked the faithful to pray this Holy Week for the victims and survivors of the deadly April 16 tornadoes which struck parts of his diocese.

In a video message to the faithful of the Diocese of Raleigh, he said the storms left “death, injury and destruction.”

“The pictures of the devastation are dramatic, but much more significant are the people who have been so traumatically affected,” the bishop said. “In just a few seconds many lost all their possessions. Some were badly injured and, sadly, several lost their lives.”

“If you know of a need for immediate assistance in your community, please contact your local Catholic Charities office,” he added.

He also announced a special collection and asked Catholics to participate.

Some 60 tornadoes killed at least 21 people and left hundreds homeless in the worst storm in the state since 1984.

Survivors of the storms had dramatic stories of the events.

Twenty-one-year-old Jonathan Robinson saw the tornado moving towards his mobile home in the town of Dunn and grabbed his cousin’s three-month-old son. He ran towards a closet in his bedroom but the tornado tore his home into pieces around him and swept the baby into the sky.

“As soon as I jumped in the closet, it came down and that little baby flew out of my hand,” he told the Associated Press. “I seen him leave my arms. That's how strong the wind was.”

After a search through the rubble of the Cedar Creek Mobile Home Park, family members found the baby unconscious but with only minor injuries.

John Lucas, a 73-year-old resident of the same mobile home park, was buried under his home’s walls.

“I wasn't hurt. I was just pinned down on the floor and couldn't get out,” Lucas said. “According to what those people tell me, I'm a lucky man.”

Rev. Darren Whitehurst of Greater Wynns Gove Baptist Church saw his church damaged by the storm. Its steeple was swept away in the wind and hasn’t been found.

He helped dig church members out of the rubble of their homes before Palm Sunday services, whose message was about helping others in need.

“It's been a trying night. It's been a bloody night,” Whitehurst told the Associated Press. “But God is still good.”

The Catholic community is working with government officials to provide for victims in Bertie County, one of the hardest-hit areas where 11 lost their lives. They are helping assess damage and provide services such as trauma counseling.

In Wake County, the Catholic Charities agency Catholic Parish Outreach has been providing assistance to residents of a mobile home community which sustained major damage.

Three young children, members of St. Raphael Parish in Raleigh, died in the storm there.

“In this holiest of weeks, I ask that you include a special intention in your prayers every day for those who have died, those who are injured, and those who have suffered property loss or damage,” said Bishop Burbidge, who also asked for prayers for first responders and those tending to victims.

“May Our Lord be especially close to each of these most in need,” Bishop Burbidge prayed, “and may God also bless you and your family during these sacred days and always.”

Individuals may donate to the tornado relief effort through the web page of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh, marking their donation for “Disaster Relief.”

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/n.-carolina-bishop-calls-for-prayers-and-support-after-deadly-tornadoes/

ASIA: CHINA: SUFFERING CHURCH SEES MULTITUDE OF BAPTISMS

ASIA NEWS REPORT: Many communities are still divided because of the Patriotic Association. Hebei underground communities change venue to avoid being arrested by police. In Shanghai, joy for the process of beatification of Paul Xu. But underground Catholics would like to also see Card. Gong Pinmei beatified. Yet in all the official and underground communities there will be dozens of baptisms.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Church in China is suffering the strict control of the regime and persecutions, but in each parish, even the smallest, the baptism of dozens of new Christians will be celebrated during the Easter vigil.

In Beijing, the faithful of the official Church are a bit 'confused by the strong control of the Patriotic Association, which has forced Archbishop Joseph Li Shan to participate in the illicit ordination ceremonies of Chengde and the Assembly of Chinese Catholic Representatives. Both gestures, according to the Holy See are a sign against the communion with the Pope. Just yesterday, during Mass of the Lord's Supper, Benedict XVI recalled that "he Eucharist is the sacrament of unity. It reaches the very mystery of the Trinity and thus creates visible unity..... Hence the words “una cum Papa nostro et cum episcopo nostro” are a requisite part of the Church’s Eucharistic Prayer." These words are not an addendum of sorts, but a necessary expression of what the Eucharist really is. Furthermore, we mention the Pope and the Bishop by name: unity is something utterly concrete, it has names. In this way unity becomes visible; it becomes a sign for the world and a concrete criterion for ourselves.

In Shanghai, the faithful celebrate Easter with more enthusiasm after they received the news from the Vatican of the beginning of the process of beatification of Paul Xu Guangqi, a Mandarin friend of Matteo Ricci, among the first converted by the Jesuits in the seventeenth century and a highly respected character by historians.

The joy for the beatification of Paul Xu Guangqi is also shared by the city's underground Christians, though they have long called on the Vatican to open the beatification process of Cardinal Ignatius Gong Pinmei as well, a champion of faith and fidelity to the pope. The then bishop of Shanghai past 33 years in prison for this very reason and was appointed cardinal "in pectore" by John Paul II (cf. AsiaNews.it, 25/02/2010, Waiting for the beatification of Card Kung Pin-mei ten years after his death).

In Hebei, some Baoding Catholics have confessed to AsiaNews their pain over the division of their community, after Mgr. Francis An Shuxin moved to the official Church of (29/10/2009 In Hebei, underground bishop joins Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association). Yesterday, at the Chrism Mass, only 20 priests - out of 100 - attended the celebration with Msgr. An.

Many underground communities, afraid of being arrested by the police, continue to change the venue in which they will celebrate Easter. In other parts of the country, underground communities are left alone, provided they remain unobtrusive in their celebrations.

Even in these difficulties and divisions, each community has confirmed to AsiaNewsthat on the night of the Easter Vigil, there will be dozens of baptisms in each parish or group. A parish in the north will see 40 baptisms. An important fact is the age of the newly baptized (mostly adults between 30 and 40 years) and the reasons that led them to become Catholic. "In a society where there is a lot of lies, they are driven to seek the truth and to find answers to important questions of life, that materialism is unable to meet."

Some estimates state there are at least 150 thousand newly baptized each year in China.

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Church-in-China:-Easter-of-suffering,-but-full-of-baptisms-21379.html

AFRICA: ZAMBIA: CHURCH LEADERS CALL FOR PEACE AND UNITY

ALL AFRICA REPORT: Church leaders have called on Zambians to maintain peace and unity as the country heads towards general elections.

The clergy, who led hundreds of people in celebrating Palm Sunday yesterday, said there was need for Zambians to love one another and maintain peace as the country goes to the polls later this year.

Some Church denominations represented at the celebrations were the Anglican Church, United Church of Zambia and Catholic Church.

Father Thomas said the Church was praying for political leaders and the people of Zambia so that the country holds peaceful elections.

He said while people could hold different opinions, they should always be led by the Holy Spirit and love for one another.

At the same occasion, St Ignatius Church superior Charles Chilinda appealed to Zambians to embrace peace and love.

Fr Chilinda said all Zambians belonged to Jesus Christ and as they campaigned, they should remember His love for all.

He said Zambians should be like Jesus who despite knowing that he was going to die for people's sins did not stop loving.

Fr Chilinda said celebrating Palm Sunday with other Church denominations and people with different opinions was a demonstration that the Spirit of God should be upon everyone.

He said people who opposed peace and love in Zambia were against God's work.

Ecumenical Committee chairperson, Thompson Mkandawire said the humility shown by Jesus as He entered Jerusalem should be reflected by all Zambians, especially as the country goes towards the elections.

Reverend Mkandawire said Jesus entered Jerusalem with a message of peace and every Christian should identify with it by accepting and loving one another.

He said this year's Palm Sunday celebration was a launch of a campaign for non-violence during the elections.


And the Government has pledged to work with the Church mother bodies to ensure that this year's elections are held in a peaceful environment.Palm Sunday, which is an annual event, signifies the day Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem and was welcomed by a multitude of people.

Livingstone District Commissioner Francis Chika said yesterday that the Government wanted to work with the Church as partners in national development.

Livingstone Brethren in Christ Reverend-in-charge, Howard Sikwela urged Zambians to vote wisely in this year's elections.

Council of Churches in Zambia Livingstone chairperson Cosmas Wakunguma urged people to pray against violence.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201104220186.html

EUROPE: POLAND: PREPARATIONS FOR EASTER


THENEWS.PL REPORT: Poles around the world are busying themselves in preparation for the Easter holidays, which, in keeping with its Roman Catholic traditions, remains one of the most important dates in the national calendar.

Stocking up on eggs and other seasonal items such as cake and ham is a must, whilst in the churches and cathedrals, the ancient rites of Holy Week provide a moving echo of centuries past.

Good Friday, marking Christ's crucifixion, is correspondingly the most mournful stage of Holy Week. No masses are held, but the churches fill up with the faithful, and the liturgy takes on a decidedly solemn tone.

Echoing Christ's entombment, volunteers from local parishes unveil a Polish speciality, Groby Panskie (The Lord's Tombs). These are fanciful recreations of Jesus lying in his tomb, often life-size, and although amateur, they can be considered authentic incarnations of folk art, often highly inventive and striking in form.

Saturday

On Saturday, the tone becomes more upbeat. Families get dressed up and take little baskets of victuals to church, where the priest blesses them en masse. This beguiling custom, known as Swiecone (The Blessed), was conjured up in many old Polish paintings. In the countryside, the tradition was always especially vibrant, owing to the colourful regional costumes, some of which endure today.

Sunday

Easter Sunday typically revolves around the home. Food blessed in church the previous day is now supplemented by many hearty dishes and consumed in an elaborate breakfast, which usually does not start until after midday. Exquisitely painted eggs are often placed on the table, usually hailing from the countryside, although children sometimes have a go themselves.

Monday

On Easter Monday, the mood changes yet once more. Youngsters are free to douse unwitting punters with pails of water, providing plenty of opportunity for mischief. The custom of Smigus Dyngus, or Lany Poniedzialek (Wet Monday), has been enacted for centuries, and in Krakow, girls by the name of Wanda can technically be thrown into the River Vistula (echoing the fate of a fabled princess), although in reality, locals don't go that far these days.

On Tuesday, life begins to return to normal, although many schools have this day off too. In Krakow, the ancient ceremony of Rekawka has been revived in recent years. This event, which takes place on the pagan burial mound of Prince Krak, combines pre-Christian and Catholic traditions, with a dash of medieval swordplay thrown in for good measure.

http://www.thenews.pl/national/?id=153961

AUSTRALIA: 3 METER CRUCIFIX INSTALLED AT CHURCH ON GOLD COAST

CATHOLIC LEADER REPORT: A STAINLESS steel 3m crucifix is the latest significant feature to be installed at Mary Immaculate Church, at Ashmore on the Gold Coast.

Southport parish priest Fr Peter Dillon said the crucifix was installed from the church roof on April 15 and was to be unveiled on Good Friday.

Maleny sculptor Cezary Stulgis was commissioned to undertake the work, and Fr Dillon said the end result was a really significant crucifix that challenged people to meditate on Christ's Passion.

"The crucifix is such a significant piece in every church, but I had found that some of the more traditional ones were not drawing people into their imagination, (people) were just saying 'doesn't it look lovely'.

"I wanted this one to be confronting, I wanted people to understand his (Jesus') crucifixion was not lovely but it was a means to something very important."

Fr Dillion said the parish had wanted the new crucifix to highlight the scriptural parts of the crucifixion.

"Features such as the crown of thorns, nailing of the hands and feet and the piercing of the side were filled in and all sculptured in a way to draw people in so that when we read the Passion, people will be able to focus on those particular pieces," he said.

"The rest of the body is almost see-through, it's clear.

"We didn't want to put too much structure so the people themselves can say, 'I can see the passion of it, I can see the suffering', but you can also see the fact that he's God and Man, a whole lot of connections between what we know scripturally and what we allow the revelation of Christ to be in the present day."

Fr Dillon said the crucifix was attached to the church ceiling to be visible to people as they looked at the altar.

http://www.catholicleader.com.au/news.php/top-stories/new-crucifix-to-be-unveiled-at-ashmore_73209

TODAY'S SAINT: APR. 22: ST. OPPORTUNA

St. Opportuna

VIRGIN AND ABBESS

Feast: April 22



Information:

Feast Day:April 17
Born:at the castle of Exmes, Argentan, near Ayesmes, Normandy, France
Died:22 April 770, Montreuil, France
Patron of:Diocese of Séez

Virgin and abbess of Montreuil, three miles from Seez, an episcopal see in Normandy, of which her brother, St. Chrodegang, was bishop. This holy prelate, returning from a pilgrimage of devotion which he had made to Rome and other holy places, went to pay a visit to his cousin, St. Lantildis, abbess of Almanesches, in his diocese; but was murdered in the way, at Normant, on the 3d of September, 769, by the contrivance of Chrodobert, a powerful relation, to whom he had intrusted the administration of his temporalities during his absence. He is honored in the Breviary of Seez on the day of his death: his head is enshrined in the abbey of St. Martin in the Fields, at Paris, and his body in the priory of Isle-Adam upon the Oise, near Pontoise. St. Opportuna did not long survive him, dying in 770, on the 22d of April, having lived an accomplished model of humility, obedience, mortification, and prayer. Her relics were carried from Seez during the incursions of the Normans, in the reign of Charles the Bald, to the priory of Moussy, between Paris and Senlis, in 1009: and some time after to Senlis. In the reign of Charles V., in 1374, her right arm was translated to Paris with great devotion and pomp, and deposited in the church which was built in her honor, in the reign of Charles the Bald, to receive a former portion of her relics then brought from Moussy. It was then a small church, built at the entrance of a wood, near a hermitage, called before, Notre Dames des Bois Paris. The town being since extended much beyond this church, it was made parochial and a collegiate of canons. Great part of the head of St. Opportuna remains at Moussy; her left arm, with part of her skull, at Almenesches: one jaw in the priory of St. Chrodegang, at l'Isle-Adam, and a rib, with her right arm, in her church at Paris. In processions, when the shrine of St. Genevieve is taken down, and carried, the ancient portion of the relics of St. Opportuna, kept in a large shrine, is also carried next the shrine of St. Honoratus. She is commemorated in the Paris Breviary, and is the titular saint of a parish in that city.



source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/O/stopportuna.asp#ixzz1KG6HPqEk

TODAY'S GOSPEL: GOOD FRIDAY: APR. 22: JOHN 18-19

John 18: 1 - 40
1When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples across the Kidron valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples.3So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.4Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them, "Whom do you seek?"5They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am he." Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.6When he said to them, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.7Again he asked them, "Whom do you seek?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."8Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he; so, if you seek me, let these men go."9This was to fulfil the word which he had spoken, "Of those whom thou gavest me I lost not one."10Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus.11Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?"12So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him.13First they led him to Annas; for he was the father-in-law of Ca'iaphas, who was high priest that year.14It was Ca'iaphas who had given counsel to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.15Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. As this disciple was known to the high priest, he entered the court of the high priest along with Jesus,16while Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the maid who kept the door, and brought Peter in.17The maid who kept the door said to Peter, "Are not you also one of this man's disciples?" He said, "I am not."18Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves; Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.19The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.20Jesus answered him, "I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly.21Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said."22When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, "Is that how you answer the high priest?"23Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?"24Annas then sent him bound to Ca'iaphas the high priest.25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, "Are not you also one of his disciples?" He denied it and said, "I am not."
26One of the servants of the high priest, a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, "Did I not see you in the garden with him?"
27Peter again denied it; and at once the cock crowed.
28Then they led Jesus from the house of Ca'iaphas to the praetorium. It was early. They themselves did not enter the praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover.
29So Pilate went out to them and said, "What accusation do you bring against this man?"
30They answered him, "If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over."
31Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law." The Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death."
32This was to fulfil the word which Jesus had spoken to show by what death he was to die.
33Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"
34Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?"
35Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?"
36Jesus answered, "My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world."
37Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice."
38Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, "I find no crime in him.
39But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?"
40They cried out again, "Not this man, but Barab'bas!" Now Barab'bas was a robber.
19: 1 - 42
1Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him.
2And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe;
3they came up to him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and struck him with their hands.
4Pilate went out again, and said to them, "See, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him."
5So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, "Behold the man!"
6When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him."
7The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God."
8When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid;
9he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave no answer.
10Pilate therefore said to him, "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?"
11Jesus answered him, "You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin."
12Upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, "If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar."
13When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gab'batha.
14Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "Behold your King!"
15They cried out, "Away with him, away with him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar."
16Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
17So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol'gotha.
18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.
19Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."
20Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.
21The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, "Do not write, `The King of the Jews,' but, `This man said, I am King of the Jews.'"
22Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written."
23When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom;
24so they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be." This was to fulfil the scripture, "They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots."
25So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag'dalene.
26When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"
27Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
28After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), "I thirst."
29A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth.
30When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished"; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
32So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him;
33but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
34But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
35He who saw it has borne witness -- his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth -- that you also may believe.
36For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, "Not a bone of him shall be broken."
37And again another scripture says, "They shall look on him whom they have pierced."
38After this Joseph of Arimathe'a, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body.
39Nicode'mus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds' weight.
40They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
41Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid.
42So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

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