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Sunday, April 17, 2011

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: SUN. APRIL 17, 2011











CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: SUN. APRIL 17, 2011: HEADLINES-

VATICAN: POPE: HOMILY FOR PALM SUNDAY: ACCOMPANY JESUS

EUROPE: ENGLAND: SUCCESSION LAW DISCRIMINATORY- MIGHT CHANGE

AUSTRALIA: LENTEN VIDEO MESSAGE ON CONFESSION - BISHOP FISHER


VATICAN: POPE: HOMILY FOR PALM SUNDAY: ACCOMPANY JESUS

RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Homily of Pope Benedict XVI: Palm Sunday, 2011

Homily of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
Palm Sunday
(17 April 2011, Saint Peter’s Square)


Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Dear young people!

It is a moving experience each year on Palm Sunday as we go up the mountain with Jesus, towards the Temple, accompanying him on his ascent. On this day, throughout the world and across the centuries, young people and people of every age acclaim him, crying out: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

But what are we really doing when we join this procession as part of the throng which went up with Jesus to Jerusalem and hailed him as King of Israel? Is this anything more than a ritual, a quaint custom? Does it have anything to do with the reality of our life and our world? To answer this, we must first be clear about what Jesus himself wished to do and actually did. After Peter’s confession of faith in Caesarea Philippi, in the northernmost part of the Holy Land, Jesus set out as a pilgrim towards Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. He was journeying towards the Temple in the Holy City, towards that place which for Israel ensured in a particular way God’s closeness to his people. He was making his way towards the common feast of Passover, the memorial of Israel’s liberation from Egypt and the sign of its hope of definitive liberation. He knew that what awaited him was a new Passover and that he himself would take the place of the sacrificial lambs by offering himself on the cross. He knew that in the mysterious gifts of bread and wine he would give himself for ever to his own, and that he would open to them the door to a new path of liberation, to fellowship with the living God. He was making his way to the heights of the Cross, to the moment of self-giving love. The ultimate goal of his pilgrimage was the heights of God himself; to those heights he wanted to lift every human being.

Our procession today is meant, then, to be an image of something deeper, to reflect the fact that, together with Jesus, we are setting out on pilgrimage along the high road that leads to the living God. This is the ascent that matters. This is the journey which Jesus invites us to make. But how can we keep pace with this ascent? Isn’t it beyond our ability? Certainly, it is beyond our own possibilities. From the beginning men and women have been filled – and this is as true today as ever – with a desire to “be like God”, to attain the heights of God by their own powers. All the inventions of the human spirit are ultimately an effort to gain wings so as to rise to the heights of Being and to become independent, completely free, as God is free. Mankind has managed to accomplish so many things: we can fly! We can see, hear and speak to one another from the farthest ends of the earth. And yet the force of gravity which draws us down is powerful. With the increase of our abilities there has been an increase not only of good. Our possibilities for evil have increased and appear like menacing storms above history. Our limitations have also remained: we need but think of the disasters which have caused so much suffering for humanity in recent months.

The Fathers of the Church maintained that human beings stand at the point of intersection between two gravitational fields. First, there is the force of gravity which pulls us down – towards selfishness, falsehood and evil; the gravity which diminishes us and distances us from the heights of God. On the other hand there is the gravitational force of God’s love: the fact that we are loved by God and respond in love attracts us upwards. Man finds himself betwixt this twofold gravitational force; everything depends on our escaping the gravitational field of evil and becoming free to be attracted completely by the gravitational force of God, which makes us authentic, elevates us and grants us true freedom.

Following the Liturgy of the Word, at the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer where the Lord comes into our midst, the Church invites us to lift up our hearts: “Sursum corda!” In the language of the Bible and the thinking of the Fathers, the heart is the centre of man, where understanding, will and feeling, body and soul, all come together. The centre where spirit becomes body and body becomes spirit, where will, feeling and understanding become one in the knowledge and love of God. This is the “heart” which must be lifted up. But to repeat: of ourselves, we are too weak to lift up our hearts to the heights of God. We cannot do it. The very pride of thinking that we are able to do it on our own drags us down and estranges us from God. God himself must draw us up, and this is what Christ began to do on the cross. He descended to the depths of our human existence in order to draw us up to himself, to the living God. He humbled himself, as today’s second reading says. Only in this way could our pride be vanquished: God’s humility is the extreme form of his love, and this humble love draws us upwards.

Psalm 24, which the Church proposes as the “song of ascent” to accompany our procession in today’s liturgy, indicates some concrete elements which are part of our ascent and without which we cannot be lifted upwards: clean hands, a pure heart, the rejection of falsehood, the quest for God’s face. The great achievements of technology are liberating and contribute to the progress of mankind only if they are joined to these attitudes – if our hands become clean and our hearts pure, if we seek truth, if we seek God and let ourselves be touched and challenged by his love. All these means of “ascent” are effective only if we humbly acknowledge that we need to be lifted up; if we abandon the pride of wanting to become God. We need God: he draws us upwards; letting ourselves be upheld by his hands – by faith, in other words – sets us aright and gives us the inner strength that raises us on high. We need the humility of a faith which seeks the face of God and trusts in the truth of his love.

The question of how man can attain the heights, becoming completely himself and completely like God, has always engaged mankind. It was passionately disputed by the Platonic philosophers of the third and fourth centuries. For them, the central issue was finding the means of purification which could free man from the heavy load weighing him down and thus enable him to ascend to the heights of his true being, to the heights of divinity. Saint Augustine, in his search for the right path, long sought guidance from those philosophies. But in the end he had to acknowledge that their answers were insufficient, their methods would not truly lead him to God. To those philosophers he said: recognize that human power and all these purifications are not enough to bring man in truth to the heights of the divine, to his own heights. And he added that he should have despaired of himself and human existence had he not found the One who accomplishes what we of ourselves cannot accomplish; the One who raises us up to the heights of God in spite of our wretchedness: Jesus Christ who from God came down to us and, in his crucified love, takes us by the hand and lifts us on high.

We are on pilgrimage with the Lord to the heights. We are striving for pure hearts and clean hands, we are seeking truth, we are seeking the face of God. Let us show the Lord that we desire to be righteous, and let us ask him: Draw us upwards! Make us pure! Grant that the words which we sang in the processional psalm may also hold true for us; grant that we may be part of the generation which seeks God, “which seeks your face, O God of Jacob” (cf. Ps 24:6). Amen.

EUROPE: ENGLAND: SUCCESSION LAW DISCRIMINATORY- MIGHT CHANGE

CNN REPORT -- The British government has accepted that laws surrounding succession to the throne could be "discriminatory" and that "discussions have started" to change them, CNN has learned.

Current rules state older daughters are overlooked in favor of the first-born son, and non-Protestants are banned from assuming the throne.

The development comes as Britain gears up for the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William -- second-in-line to the throne as the eldest son of the heir to the throne, Prince Charles.

As the wedding preparations gather speed it was almost inevitable the couple would be asked about their hopes for children.

Prince William told ITN: "I think we'll take it one step at a time. We'll sort of get over the marriage first and then maybe look at the kids. But obviously we want a family so we'll have to start thinking about that."


U

Royal Wedding chatter


It's the most simple of wishes for any engaged couple but, if you're second in line to become king, and head of state for the Commonwealth countries as well, the first born could spark a constitutional crisis.

If Kate and William were to have a daughter followed by a son, then the son would currently be next in line for the throne after William.

In the 21st century that will likely be more unpalatable than it was in the 18th century when the 1701 Act of Settlement laid down the succession laws.

The British government confirmed to CNN that it has been working on this matter behind closed doors.

The Cabinet Office said: "The Government accepts there are provisions which could be discriminatory.

"Discussions have started with those Commonwealth countries who would be directly affected by any change in the rules, and are continuing, but it would not be appropriate to release details at this stage."

These discussions also deal with religious discrimination inherent in the laws surrounding succession, the Cabinet Office says.

If William was Catholic, he could not succeed to the throne. He also could not become king if Kate had been Catholic.

The anti-Catholic clause is a throwback to the 1600s when theCatholic King James II was perceived as favoring Catholics and appointing them to positions of power.

While the Act of Settlement says only Protestants are eligible to succeed, it also specifically bans Catholics.

Professor Rebecca Probert, a family law expert at Warwick University in central England, explained the shortcomings of the anti-Catholic clause.

"The reason that's bizarre is because you don't forfeit the right to the throne if you marry someone who subsequently becomes a Catholic so the act doesn't even achieve what it sets out to achieve.

"He could marry any other religion. He could marry a Satanist, a Scientologist, a Muslim, a Methodist and that would have no impact whatsoever in his right to succeed to the throne."

Keith Vaz, a British member of parliament, said: "I think they are all sitting down praying that Prince William and Kate Middleton have a son first, because if they do there is no need to consider this for some time to come."

Vaz added that the current boys' first rule was "offensive" and he wants to see the 310-year-old law updated.

He has proposed a bill to outlaw the discriminatory parts of the succession rules, which says: In determining the line of succession to the Crown and to all the rights, privileges and dignities belonging thereto, no account shall be taken of gender.

But he doesn't just need to get it through the UK parliament. He also needs the support of every parliament in all 15 realms or countries where the queen is monarch. So far he has the support of just one, St Lucia.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said the laws for succession and the possibility of changing them was a matter for government.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/04/15/succession.laws/index.html

AUSTRALIA: LENTEN VIDEO MESSAGE ON CONFESSION - BISHOP FISHER

COMING TO GOD WITH A HUMBLED HEART

The Bishop of Parramatta Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP's Pastoral Video Message on Reconciliation. (Recorded for Sunday 3 April 2011).

AMERICA: USA: JEWISH-CATHOLIC BASKETBALL GAME

- Although the idea began as a joke, and still elicits laughter from students, an April 17 “Jews versus Catholics” basketball game has a serious purpose for the priest and the rabbi who organized it as a form of outreach to their communities' non-practicing members.

Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm and Fr. David Nix
“These are the two main religions of the West, and there are a lot of people who left them,” said Fr. Dave Nix, parochial vicar at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center in Boulder, Colorado. “The second-largest religious denomination in the U.S. is ex-Catholics. This is a link back to people's roots, in a fun way.”

Fr. Nix organized the game along with Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm, who directs campus ministries for the Hasidic Jewish outreach group Chabad. Rabbi Wilhelm and Fr. Nix, both age 32, hope the game will bring back young adults who have fallen away from their religion.

Catholic team members “don't have to promise they'll go to Mass and Confession,” said Fr. Nix, who says that “if you’re a baptized Catholic and you can make a free throw, you can play.” But he said the game offers reluctant Catholics “a connection to the family of faith, even a chance to be bold about belonging to it, before they're ready to make any kind of commitment.”

Rabbi Wilhelm's organization, Chabad, has the explicit aim of bringing nominal Jews back to the practice of their religion. Fr. Nix observed that the Catholic Church, despite its universal mission, often faces a similar task.

“Our mission is to reach every single person for Christ, whether they're Catholic or not – but of course, our first mission is to reach Catholics. We want to reach people who were baptized as Catholics, but aren't practicing their faith.”

For men, he said, sports can play an especially important role in this kind of “re-evangelization.”

“Sports is a way that people can trust each other, in a competitive environment,” said Fr. Nix. “It's sort of like going to war. You can learn to trust someone, but it's not on the basis of how orthodox they are or how frequently they're going to Mass.”

“The question is, can they be a real man? Can they act competitively?”

“Discipline is an important part of following Christ, and an important part of sports. There's a connection between those who can take up the cross and follow Christ, and those who are willing to be competitive for their team.”

Fr. Nix said he was glad to live in an era where a “Catholics versus Jews” basketball game could take place in a friendly spirit. But he noted that he and his Jewish counterpart were not seeking to downplay the real differences that divide the two faiths.

Catholicism and Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidism are “both pretty black and white religions,” he said, reflecting on both groups' strong truth-claims and adherence to tradition.

Fr. Nix observed that the opposition of his team and Rabbi Yisroel's is not the “gray versus gray” contest that might take place between more liberal Christian and Jewish groups. However, in keeping with Chabad's spirit of tolerant conservatism, many of the Jewish players will come from branches of Judaism that are less traditional than Rabbi Yirsroel's own.

Even the team uniforms will contain an acknowledgment of what Catholics and Jews have in common and what separates them.

“The back, for the Catholics and Jews, is the exact same,” Fr. Nix explained. “The front has a Star of David over the left breast, for all players.”

“But the Catholics have a Cross inside the Star of David,” he said, “almost as if to say: 'Jesus Christ fulfills all of the Hebrew Scriptures.'”

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/jews-vs.-catholics-basketball-game-seeks-to-bring-back-lapsed-believers/

ASIA: PHILIPPINES: CATHOLICS ONLINE CHURCH FOR SHUT-INS

UCAN REPORT: Website caters for OFWs and those unable to get to a church during this holy time
Julian Labores and Lourdes Abelardo, Manila
Philippines
April 15, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of Online church a hit ahead of Holy Week
The Visita Iglesia website

With just one week to go before Holy Week, the Catholic Church’s online Visita Iglesia (church visit) for this year has already attracted more than 13,000 faithful.

A counter on the CBCP’s Visita Iglesia site showed at least 13,431 had visited it as of Friday morning.

The site, launched April 1 to cater mainly to Filipinos abroad or those who cannot physically observe the tradition of visiting churches during the Holy Week, has more features from last year’s Visita Iglesia site.

Meanwhile, petitions and thanksgiving letters may now be sent to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help – popularly known as Baclaran Church – via electronic mail.

Father Victorino Cueto, the Shrine rector, said this is to accommodate people who cannot go to Baclaran in Paranaque City, such as those in the provinces or abroad.

“The emails we get usually come from Filipinos in other countries like the US and Korea, plus those in the provinces who cannot come here,” he said in an interview.

Since they started this system four or five years ago, Father Cueto said, the average number of petitions that they receive weekly, both online and handwritten, ranges from 2,500 to 2,800, plus 1,200-1,500 letters of thanksgiving.

He said they expect to receive more letters from the faithful, especially during Holy Week.

“Usually there are more letters every first Wednesday of the month, Holy Week, and Ash Wednesday,” said Cueto.

Asked what is the usual prayer of the petitioners, he said most of the letters are about wanting to pass an exam, to go abroad, be cured from sickness, to have a lifetime partner, gift of a child, or financial help.

http://www.ucanews.com/2011/04/15/online-church-a-hit-ahead-of-holy-week/

AFRICA: DEM. REP. OF CONGO: CENTRE FOR DISPLACED CHILDREN

Agenzia Fides report - "Boscolac" is a humanitarian centre built in Goma, R.D. Congo, by the NGO "Red Deporte" in collaboration with the Salesians, which takes care of the children most in need in that area. Recently, 30 boys arrived at the centre, all from displaced families living in Mugunga, a shantytown on the outskirts of Goma. Don Llunga Faustin, Director of the local project welcomed them: "In this centre you have to become good Christians and honest citizens”, it said in a statement from Ans to Fides. There will be two promoters at the centre who will live together with the children, a nurse and two other people who will be caretakers. "It takes half a minute to realize that for many of them it is the first time they sleep on a mattress with sheets and blankets”, said Mr. Nkot, operator of Red Deporte. In the coming months Boscolac Centre will also give the opportunity to the community leaders of the surrounding areas, mostly inhabited by families displaced by the war to attend various workshops on conflict resolutions, human rights, basic health, nutrition. The first workshop on peace building, took place in early April, and was attended by the parents of some of the new residents in Boscolac. In the future we also hope to launch paid work programs and that the nurse of the centre (where a psychologist will be present part-time) can help the community to access for better medical services.

TODAY'S SAINT: APRIL 17: ST. STEPHEN HARDING1


St. Stephen Harding

CONFESSOR

Feast: April 17



Information:

Feast Day:April 17
Born:Dorset, England
Died:28 March 1134
Major Shrine:Church of St. Stephen Harding in Apátistvánfalva, Hungary, district of Szentgotthárd.

Confessor, the third Abbot of Citeaux, was born at Sherborne in Dorsetshire, England, about the middle of the eleventh century; died 28 March, 1134. He received his early education in the monastery of Sherborne and afterwards studied in Paris and Rome. On returning from the latter city he stopped at the monastery of Molesme and, being much impressed by the holiness of St. Robert, the abbot, joined that community. Here he practised great austerities, became one of St. Robert's chief supporters and was one of the band of twenty-one monks who, by authority of Hugh, Archbishop of Lyons, retired to Citeaux to institute a reform in the new foundation there. When St. Robert was recalled to Molesme (1099), Stephen became prior of Citeaux under Alberic, the new abbot. On Alberic's death (1110) Stephen, who was absent from the monastery at the time, was elected abbot. The number of monks was now very reduced, as no new members had come to fill the places of those who had died. Stephen, however, insisted on retaining the strict observance originally instituted and, having offended the Duke of Burgundy, Citeau's great patron, by forbidding him or his family to enter the cloister, was even forced to beg alms from door to door. It seemed as if the foundation were doomed to die out when (1112) St. Bernard with thirty companions joined the community. This proved the beginning of extraordinary prosperity. The next year Stephen founded his first colony at La Ferte, and before is death he had established thirteen monasteries in all. His powers as an organizer were exceptional, he instituted the system of general chapters and regular visitations and, to ensure uniformity in all his foundations, drew up the famous "Charter of Charity" or collection of statues for the government of all monasteries united to Citeaux, which was approved by Pope Callistus II in 1119 (see CISTERCIANS). In 1133 Stephen, being now old, infirm, and almost blind, resigned the post of abbot, designating as his successor Robert de Monte, who was accordingly elected by the monks. The saint's choice, however, proved unfortunate and the new abbot only held office for two years. Stephen was buried in the tomb of Alberic, his predecessor, in the cloister of Citeaux. In the Roman calendar his feast is 17 April, but the Cistercians themselves keep it on 15 July, with an octave, regarding him as the true founder of the order. Besides the "Carta Caritatis" he is commonly credited with the authorship of the "Exordium Cisterciencis cenobii", which however may not be his. Two of his sermons are preserved and also two letters (Nos. 45 and 49) in the "Epp. S. Bernardi".



SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/S/ststephenharding.asp#ixzz1Jnx1kU00

TODAY'S MASS READINGS: PALM SUNDAY: YEAR A

Isaiah 50: 4 - 7
4The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary. Morning by morning he wakens, he wakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.
5The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I turned not backward.
6I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
7For the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been confounded; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
Psalms 22: 8 - 9, 17 - 20, 23 - 24
8"He committed his cause to the LORD; let him deliver him, let him rescue him, for he delights in him!"
9Yet thou art he who took me from the womb; thou didst keep me safe upon my mother's breasts.
17I can count all my bones -- they stare and gloat over me;
18they divide my garments among them, and for my raiment they cast lots.
19But thou, O LORD, be not far off! O thou my help, hasten to my aid!
20Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog!
23You who fear the LORD, praise him! all you sons of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you sons of Israel!
24For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; and he has not hid his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.
Philippians 2: 6 - 11
6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,7but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.8And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.9Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name,10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Matthew 27: 11 - 54
11Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus said, "You have said so."
12But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no answer.
13Then Pilate said to him, "Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?"
14But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge; so that the governor wondered greatly.
15Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted.
16And they had then a notorious prisoner, called Barab'bas.
17So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release for you, Barab'bas or Jesus who is called Christ?"
18For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.
19Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, "Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much over him today in a dream."
20Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the people to ask for Barab'bas and destroy Jesus.
21The governor again said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release for you?" And they said, "Barab'bas."
22Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said, "Let him be crucified."
23And he said, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Let him be crucified."
24So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves."
25And all the people answered, "His blood be on us and on our children!"
26Then he released for them Barab'bas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.
27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him.
28And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him,
29and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
30And they spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head.
31And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.
32As they went out, they came upon a man of Cyre'ne, Simon by name; this man they compelled to carry his cross.
33And when they came to a place called Gol'gotha (which means the place of a skull),
34they offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.
35And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots;
36then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
37And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, "This is Jesus the King of the Jews."
38Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.
39And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads
40and saying, "You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross."
41So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying,
42"He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.
43He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said, `I am the Son of God.'"
44And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.
45Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.
46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, la'ma sabach-tha'ni?" that is, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
47And some of the bystanders hearing it said, "This man is calling Eli'jah."
48And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink.
49But the others said, "Wait, let us see whether Eli'jah will come to save him."
50And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
51And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split;
52the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,
53and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
54When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!"
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