Monday, April 25, 2011








TODAY'S GOSPEL: APR. 25: Matthew 28: 8- 15


The entire faith of the Church springs from the Resurrection, and on Easter Monday we read of St. Peter making the announcement to the people of Jerusalem – which Pope Benedict, during his Easter Monday Regina Coeli address, called the first missionary address of the Church.
The Pope was speaking to about 2000 people gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, where the Holy Father arrived Sunday evening for a few days of rest.

In his Italian greetings, Pope Benedict addressed representatives of the association "Meter", which promotes a National Day for child victims of violence, exploitation and indifference, and encouraged them in their work.

Finally, the Holy Father recalled that today we celebrate St. Mark the Evangelist, and mentioned he is the patron saint of Venice, where he will visit on May 7th and 8th.


- In the week of the Royal Wedding, a centuries-old law banning British monarchs from becoming or marrying a Catholic is sparking an international row in the United Kingdom.

London’s Daily Telegraph reported on April 25 that plans to abolish the 1701 Act of Settlement have been ditched because of "significant objections" from the Church of England.

Now the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, has written to the British Government asking for urgent clarification.

"I recently wrote to the Prime Minister (David Cameron) calling for the abolition of all discrimination contained in the Act of Settlement, including its blatant discrimination towards Catholics, which is completely unacceptable in a modern society. I am deeply concerned at these reports that this much-needed and long overdue reform has been shelved by the UK Government," Salmond wrote.

There is no similar prohibition on the British royal family marrying members of other faiths such as Islam or Judaism, or those who are agnostic or athiest. Anglicanism is still the state religion in England and the monarch is called the "Supreme Governor" of the Anglican faith.

A spokesman for the British Government told the Telegraph, that the government “accepts there are provisions (in the Act) which could be discriminatory."

However, he added, the process of amending the law is “a complex and difficult matter that requires careful and thoughtful consideration” because it effects succession to England’s throne.

A Church of England spokesman expressed similar concerns. He said that the anti-Catholic prohibition “inevitably” looks outdated.

“But if the prohibition were removed the difficulty would still remain that establishment requires the monarch to join in communion with the Church of England as its Supreme Governor and that is not something that a Roman Catholic would be able to do consistently with the current rules of that Church,” the spokesman told The Telegraph.

The Act was originally passed to prevent the descendants of the Catholic King James II from ascending the throne. He was deposed in the 1688 "glorious revolution" by supporters of the Protestant William and Mary. Mary was the eldest Protestant daughter of James II and was married to William of Orange, who later became William III.

In recent years, the Act has effected several members of the British royal family.

In 2001, Lord Nicholas Winsdor, the youngest son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, permanently forfeited his right to the royal succession by converting to Catholicism.

In 2008, Autumn Kelly, the Canadian fiancee of the Queen's grandson Peter Philips, converted from Catholicism to Anglicanism, thus preserving her husband's chances of becoming king.

The present heir to the British throne, Prince William, will marry Kate Middleton on April 29 at a Anglican service in London's Westminster Abbey.


Messages from the Bishop
Easter Message 2011

In the past few months we’ve really been through the wringer in our part of the world. Floods, cyclones and earthquakes in Japan, New Zealand and Australia have hit us again and again. The pictures of the ruins of Christchurch's Catholic and Anglican cathedrals are etched on our memories even from the safe distance of Parramatta.

And people ask: Where was God in all this? Where was He in Jesus’ last days – in the melee in the garden, the conspiracy of the priests and politicians, the jeering of the crowd, the torture on the cross?

Where was God at Auschwitz? Where was He hiding during the recent natural disasters? Is there any more to this world than destructive natural forces and survival of the fit and fortunate?

At one time or another we all wonder at the problem of evil, whether natural or human. Sometimes we find half-satisfying answers, until something new guts us. Then we feel as the Mother of the Lord must have felt at the foot of the cross. We gape with mute incomprehension and impotence before the mystery of suffering.

Against the backdrop of these recent tragedies Parramatta cathedral was full on Ash Wednesday and I predict it will be full again on Good Friday. Whether queuing for the ashes or ‘creeping to the cross’, people respond when the Liturgy speaks so directly about evil, suffering and mortality.

Dust we are and to dust we shall return. No words, no answers suffice: as in true love, so too in suffering, body language speaks louder than words.

We stand by the cross and wonder at evil. But after the grief our gaping mouths and haunted minds, our sickened hearts and paralysed bodies can move on...

We try in our little way to make some sense and to find some comfort. We conclude, as Christians must conclude, that storms and quakes and other evils are no ‘act of God’ whatever the insurers say; that no innocent person suffers by God’s active will; that even what God permits so as to allow us freedom costs Him greatly; that suffering and death are NOT the last word.

Jesus dies upon the cross in solidarity with all suffering humanity. God goes down into tomb with all those we’ve loved and lost. Jesus goes to the land of the Dead, to speak the compassion of God even there. And He shows them and us the way out. We move with him from the numbness, anger and disgust, to better feelings such as pity and hope. We come to trust creation again, to be reconciled with our enemies, to believe once more.

We too can know compassion, the compassion in own hearts for others who suffer, the compassion others show us when we are hurting. In the cross of Christ is the power to conquer sin, suffering and death. We find, as our fellow Australians, Japanese and New Zealanders did amidst the recent natural disasters, that we can give of ourselves to others, even to strangers.


UCAN REPORT: Police prevent Shouwang church members from celebrating Easter outdoors in third raid
Police cracked down for a third successive week on worshippers at a house church in Beijing on Easter Sunday.

BBC television news showed police in plain clothes stopping people in the street and herding them on to buses to be taken away for questioning.

The crackdown was intended to prevent members of the Shouwang house church holding an open-air service as they have tried to do since their eviction from the building they had previously used as a church.

The Shouwang evangelical church in the northwestern district of Haidian is one of Beijing’s biggest underground churches with more than 1,000 adherents, according to Damian Grammaticus, the BBC’s Beijing correspondent.

There are 20 million worshippers at officially approved Christian churches in China, he said, but about 50 million underground.

The US based ChinaAid group, which monitors religious persecution in the country, said that as on the previous two Sundays police were waiting at the church’s designated outdoor meeting site in Zhongguancun.

Some church members were able to assemble in small groups in nearby restaurants, where they held impromptu services.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Chinese authorities chose to disrupt peaceful worshippers who were simply celebrating Easter today,” ChinaAid founder and president Pastor Bob Fu said in a statement.

Shouwang’s leaders, including its founder, Pastor Jin Tianming, have not been allowed out of their homes for more than two weeks, ChinaAid said. Also detained were the Shouwang choir, reputedly the best of the Beijing house church choirs. The choir had been practicing for months for the Easter celebration.


ALL AFRICA REPORT: Over two thousand catholic faithful of Nossa Senhora Aparecida Parish celebrated Saturday, here, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, in a mission cherished with songs, thanks giving among others.

The mass, celebrated by priest Francisco Lumuangano, reflected on the benefits that death and resurrection of Jesus Christ brought to Humanity.

As part of Easter spirit, Francisco Lumuangano, urged the religious community to avoid depending on problems of the past, but instead to count on sacrifice that Jesus made as rescue of new life.The catholic preacher urged also the faithful to forgive one another and accept a person as they are, without segregation and discrimination.



A statue of Pope John Paul II greets students in a hall at the Catholic elementary school named after the late Polish pontiff in Wilmington, Del. (CNS/Don Blake, The Dialog)

By Becket Adams
-- Pope John Paul II High School in Lacey, Wash., will celebrate the May 1 beatification of the late pope with a prayer service and the showing of a video that celebrates his life and what he means to the school.

Across the country, in Lecanto, Fla., a Catholic grade school bearing his name also plans to show videos about his "life history and his personal story" and to celebrate a memorial Mass, said principal Lou Whitaker.

"He was such an inspirational leader. He will most likely go down in history as one of the most influential people in modern history," she said in a telephone interview with Catholic News Service.

There are currently 32 grade schools and high schools in the United States named for Pope John Paul. A 33rd school -- a regional elementary school -- will open in the Detroit Archdiocese in the fall.

Among other U.S. institutions named for the late pontiff are John Paul the Great Catholic University in San Diego; the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America in Washington, and the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, also in Washington. The center, currently up for sale and open only by appointment, has several events planned to mark the beatification.

Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate the beatification Mass in St. Peter's Square. Estimates for how many people will attend the liturgy range from 300,000 to 1.5 million.

In Louisville, Ky., Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz will celebrate Mass at John Paul II Academy the same day as the Mass in Rome, said principal Lynn Wilt. The special Mass will feature student choirs from three schools.

But the school has been celebrating the life of the late pontiff for a number of weeks leading up to his beatification, and "and we will continue doing so for a while afterward," Wilt told CNS. "We have also been featuring videos about John Paul II.

"John Paul II is so important to us as a school because he put such an emphasis on the youth and bringing our faith to our everyday life. Faith is the central part of daily life and he really stressed that," she said.

Principal Susan Vadas of Pope John Paul II Catholic School in Wilmington, Del., called the pope "such an ideal role model for living the Christian life. We have taken his example and we try to instill that in our students." This school, too, planned a special Mass.

At John Paul II Catholic High School in Terre Haute, Ind., "we'll remember him: his life, story and influence. He was so loved. When we started our school in 2000, we would use a lot off his homilies for our Masses," said principal Sandy McBroom.

"We will continue to use them after his beatification and through the life of the school," she said.

Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville, Tenn., will mark the beatification with an art exhibit at the school as well as a spring choral concert and a Mass May 1 that is open to the whole Nashville Diocese.

Catholic schools in the diocese were asked to send a delegation of five to 10 teachers and students to represent their school at the Mass, which will be celebrated in the school's courtyard.


St. Mark


Feast: April 25


Feast Day:April 25
Born:1st century AD, Palestine
Died:April 25, 68 AD, Alexandria
Major Shrine:Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Cairo, Egypt)
Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Alexandria, Egypt)
Basilica di San Marco (Venice, Italy)
Patron of:against impenitence, against struma, attorneys, barristers, captives, glaziers, imprisoned people, prelature of insect bites, Ionian Islands, lawyers, lions, notaries, prisoners, scrofulous diseases, stained glass workers, struma patients, Venice

St Mark was of Jewish extraction. The style of his gospel abounding with Hebrewisms shows that he was by birth a Jew, and that the Hebrew language was more natural to him than the Greek. His acts say he was of Cyrenaica, and Bede from them adds, of the race of Aaron. Papias, quoted by Eusebius, St. Austin, Theodoret, and Bede say he was converted by the apostles after Christ's resurrection. St. Irenaeus calls him the disciple and interpreter of St. Peter, and, according to Origen and St. Jerome, he is the same Mark whom St. Peter calls his son. By his office of interpreter to St. Peter, some understood that St. Mark was the author of the style of his epistles; others, that he was employed as a translator into Greek or Latin of what the apostle had written in his own tongue, as occasion might require it. St. Jerome and some others take him to be the same with that John, surnamed Mark, son to the sister of St. Barnabas; but it is generally believed they were different persons, and that the latter was with St. Paul in the East at the same time that the Evangelist was at Rome or at Alexandria. According to Papias, and St. Clement of Alexandria, he wrote his gospel at the request of the Romans; who, as they relate, desired to have that committed to writing which St. Peter had taught them by word of mouth. Mark, to whom this request was made, did accordingly set himself to recollect what he had by long conversation learned from St. Peter; for it is affirmed by some that he had never seen our Saviour in the flesh. St. Peter rejoiced at the affection of the faithful; and having revised the work, approved of it, and authorized it to be read in the religious assemblies of the faithful. Hence it might be that, as we learn from Tertullian,6 some attributed this gospel to St. Peter himself. Many judge, by comparing the two gospels, that St. Mark abridged that of St. Matthew; for he relates the same things, and often uses the same words; but he adds several particular circumstances and changes the order of the narration, in which he agrees with St. Luke and St. John. He relates two histories not mentioned by St. Matthew, namely, that of the widow giving two mites, and that of Christ's appearing to the two disciples going to Emmaus. St. Austin calls him the Abridger of St. Matthew. But Ceillier and some others think nothing clearly proves that he made use of St. Matthew's gospel. This evangelist is concise in his narrations, and writes with a most pleasing simplicity and elegance. St. Chrysostom9 admires the humility of St. Peter (we may add also of his disciple St. Mark) when he observes that his evangelist makes no mention of the high commendations which Christ gave that apostle on his making that explicit confession of his being the Son of God; neither does he mention his walking on the water; but gives at full length the history of St. Peter's denying his Master, with all its circumstances. He wrote his gospel in Italy, and in all appearance before the year of Christ 49.

St. Peter sent his disciples from Rome to found other churches. Some moderns say St. Mark founded that of Aquileia. It is certain, at least, that he was sent by St. Peter into Egypt, and was by him appointed Bishop of Alexandria (which, after Rome, was accounted the second city of the world), as Eusebius, St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome, and others assure us. Pope Gelasius, in his Roman Council, Palladius, and the Greeks universally add that he finished his course at Alexandria by a glorious martyrdom. St. Peter left Rome and returned into the East in the ninth year of Claudius and forty-ninth of Christ. About that time St. Mark went first into Egypt, according to the Greeks. The Oriental Chronicle, published by Abraham Eckellensis, places his arrival at Alexandria only in the seventh year of Nero and sixtieth of Christ. Both which accounts agree with the relation of his martyrdom, contained in the ancient acts published by the Bollandists, which were made use of by Bede and the Oriental Chronicle, and seem to have been extant in Egypt in the fourth and fifth centuries. By them we are told that St. Mark landed at Cyrene, in Pentapolis, a part of Lybia bordering on Egypt, and by innumerable miracles brought many over to the faith, and demolished several temples of the idols. He likewise carried the gospel into other provinces of Lybia, into Thebais, and other parts of Egypt. This country was heretofore of all others the most superstitious; but the benediction of God, promised to it by the prophets, was plentifully showered down upon it during the ministry of this apostle. He employed twelve years in preaching in these parts before he, by a particular call of God, entered Alexandria, where he soon assembled a very numerous church, of which it is thought, says Fleury, that the Jewish converts then made up the greatest part. And it is the opinion of St. Jerome and Eusebius that these were the Therapeutes described by Philo, and the first founders of the ascetic life in Egypt.

The prodigious progress of the faith in Alexandria stirred up the heathens against this Galilaean. The apostle therefore left the city, having ordained St. Anianus bishop, in the eighth year of Nero, of Christ the sixty-second, and returned to Pentapolis where he preached two years, and then visited his church of Alexandria, which he found increased in faith and grace as well as in numbers. He encouraged the faithful and again withdrew; the Oriental Chronicle says to Rome. On his return to Alexandria, the heathens called him a magician on account of his miracles, and resolved upon his death. God, however, concealed him long from them. At last, on the pagan feast of the idol Serapis, some that were employed to discover the holy man found him offering to God the prayer of the oblation, or the mass. Overjoyed to find him in their power, they seized him, tied his feet with cords and dragged him about the streets, crying out that the ox must be led to Bucoles, a place near the sea, full of rocks and precipices, where probably oxen were fed. This happened on Sunday, the 24th of April, in the year of Christ 68, of Nero the fourteenth, about three years after the death of SS. Peter and Paul. The saint was thus dragged the whole day, staining the stones with his blood and leaving the ground strewed with pieces of his flesh; all the while he ceased not to praise and thank God for his sufferings. At night he was thrown into prison, in which God comforted him by two visions, which Bede has also mentioned in his true Martyrology. The next day the infidels dragged him, as before, till he happily expired on the 25th of April, on which day the Oriental and Western churches keep his festival. The Christians gathered up the remains of his mangled body and buried them at Bucoles, where they afterwards usually assembled for prayer. His body was honourably kept there, in a church built on the spot, in 310; and towards the end of the fourth age the holy priest Philoromus made a pilgrimage thither from Galatia to visit this saint's tomb, as Palladius recounts. His body was still honoured at Alexandria, under the Mahometans, in the eighth age, in a marble tomb. It is said to have been conveyed by stealth to Venice in 815 Bernard, a French monk, who travelled over the East in 870, writes that the body of St. Mark was not then at Alexandria, because the Venetians had carried it to their isles. It is said to be deposited in the Doge's stately rich chapel of St. Mark in a secret place, that it may not be stolen, under one of the great pillars. This saint is honoured by that republic with extraordinary devotion as principal patron.

The great litany is sung on this day to beg that God would be pleased to avert from us the scourges which our sins deserve. The origin of this custom is usually ascribed to St. Gregory the Great, who, by a public supplication or litany, with a procession of the whole city of Rome, divided into seven bands or companies, obtained of God the extinction of a dreadful pestilence This St. Gregory of Tours learned from a deacon, who had assisted at this ceremony at Rome. The station was at St. Mary Major's, and this pro cession and litany were made in the year 590. St. Gregory the Great speaks of a like procession and litany which he made thirteen years after on the 29th of August, in the year 603, in which the station was at St. Sabina's. Whence it is inferred that St. Gregory performed this ceremony every year, though not on the 25th of April, on which day we find it settled, in the close of the seventh century, long before the same was appointed for the feast of St. Mark. The great litany was received in France, and commanded in the council of Aix-la-Chapelle in 836, and in the Capitulars of Charles the Bald. St. Gregory the Great observed the great litany with a strict fast. On account of the Paschal time, on the 25th of April, it is kept in several dioceses only with abstinence; in some with a fast of the Stations, or till None.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: APR. 25: Matthew 28: 8- 15

Matthew 28: 8 - 15
8So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
9And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Hail!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.
10Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me."
11While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place.
12And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sum of money to the soldiers
13and said, "Tell people, `His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.'
14And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble."
15So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

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