Thursday, April 14, 2011





TODAY'S GOSPEL: APR. 14: JOHN 8: 51- 59



VATICAN CITY, 14 APR 2011 (VIS REPORT) - At midday today Benedict XVI received in audience the bishops and faithful of the Maronite Church, on the occasion of the ecclesiastical communion of their new patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rai on 24 March. (IMAGE SOURCE; RADIO VATICANA)

The Pope emphasised at the beginning of his address that this was the first visit to the Successor of Peter by the patriarch Rai since his election to the patriarchal see of Antioch of the Maronites.

Referring to the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East (October 2010), the Pope underlined that on that occasion it was necessary "to reiterate many times the urgency of proposing the Gospel to those who do not know it well or have moved away from the Church. With all the vital force present in Lebanon and the Middle East, I know you will make efforts to announce, to bear witness to and to live in communion this Word of life in order to rediscover the enthusiasm of the first Christians".

"This region of the world which the patriarchs, prophets, apostles and Christ Himself blessed with their presence and their teaching, aspires to the lasting peace that the Word of Truth, welcomed and shared, is able to establish".

The Holy Father went on to speak about the education of young people, expressing his wish that the patriarch's "role in their formation be better recognised by society, in order that fundamental values be transmitted without discrimination, and to ensure that the youth of today become responsible men and women within their families and society at large, to build greater solidarity and fraternity between the members of the nation. Transmit to the young all my esteem and affection, reminding them that the Church and society need their enthusiasm and hope".

"Therefore", he concluded, "I invite you to intensify your efforts in the formation of priests and the many young people called to the Lord within your eparchies and in your religious congregations. By their teaching and their existence, may they be authentic witnesses to the Word of God, to help the faithful anchor their lives and their mission in Christ!"

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vATICAN CITY, 14 APR 2011 (VIS reports) - The Holy See Press Office today published the following communique:

"Today in the Apostolic Palace Benedict XVI received in audience the president of the Republic of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers, who subsequently met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. (image source: RADIO VATICANA)

"During the cordial discussions mention was made of the good relations between Latvia and the Holy See, also emphasised by the 2000 Agreement, and the high esteem in which the Church is held in the country.

"Considering the current international economic climate, which has had heavy repercussions also in Latvia, appreciation was expressed for the significant and valid contribution the Church offers to Latvian society, not only through its initiatives in the educational and social fields, but also through the presentation of its social doctrine.

"Throughout the discussions, emphasis was placed on the importance of safeguarding traditional values and peaceful coexistence. At the international level, mention was made of the contribution of Latvia in the promotion of peace and in areas of collaboration with the Holy See".

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VATICAN CITY, 14 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today published the calendar of ceremonies to be presided by Benedict XVI during Holy Week.

- Sunday 17 April: Palm Sunday and Our Lord's Passion; 26th World Youth Day on the theme: "Rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith" (Col 2.7). At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, blessing of palms, procession and Mass.

- Thursday 21 April: Holy Thursday. At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, Chrism Mass. At 5.30 p.m. in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, beginning of Easter Triduum of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection with the Mass of Our Lord's Last Supper. Collection to be donated to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

- Friday 22 April: Good Friday. At 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, celebration of the Passion of Our Lord. Way of the Cross at the Colosseum at 9.15 p.m.

- Saturday 23 April: Easter Saturday. At 9 p.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, beginning of Easter Vigil.

- Sunday 24 April: Easter Sunday. At 10.15 a.m., Mass in St. Peter's Square. At midday, "Urbi et Orbi" blessing from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica.

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VATICAN CITY, 14 APR 2011 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy See Press Office published the following English-language communique on the IVth Plenary Meeting, held in the Vatican from 11 to 13 April, of the Commission instituted by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 to study questions of major importance concerning the life of the Church in China.

At the end of the meeting, the participants addressed a message to Chinese Catholics:

"1. Moved by love for the Church in China, by sorrow for the trials you are undergoing and by the desire to encourage you, we deepened our knowledge of the ecclesial situation by means of a panoramic vision of the organization and life of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions in your country. We noted the general climate of disorientation and anxiety about the future, the sufferings of some circumscriptions deprived of Pastors, the internal divisions of others, the preoccupation of still others who do not have sufficient personnel and means to tackle the phenomena of growing urbanization and depopulation of rural areas.

"From an examination of the information, there also emerged a living faith and an experience of the Church, capable of dialoguing in a fruitful way with the social realities of each territory.

"2. We encourage the Bishops, together with their priests, to conform themselves ever more closely to Christ the Good Shepherd, to ensure that their faithful do not lack education in the faith, to stimulate a just industriousness and to strive to build, wherever they are lacking and are necessary, new places of worship and education in the faith and, especially, to form mature Christian communities. We also invite Pastors to take care of the life of the faithful with renewed commitment and enthusiasm, especially in its essential elements of catechesis and liturgy. We exhort the same Pastors to teach priests, by their own example, to love, forgive and remain faithful. We also invite ecclesial communities to continue to proclaim the Gospel with ever more intense fervour, while we unite ourselves to their gratitude to God for the baptism of adults, which will be celebrated during the upcoming days of Easter.

"3. We dwelt in particular on some difficulties which have recently emerged in your communities.

"As far as the sad episode of the episcopal ordination in Chengde is concerned, the Holy See, on the basis of the information and testimonies it has so far received, while having no reason to consider it invalid, does regard it as gravely illegitimate, since it was conferred without the Papal mandate, and this also renders illegitimate the exercise of the ministry. We are also saddened because this took place after a series of consensual episcopal ordinations and because the consecrating Bishops were subjected to various constrictions. As the Holy Father wrote in his Letter of 2007: 'the Holy See follows the appointment of Bishops with special care since this touches the very heart of the life of the Church, inasmuch as the appointment of Bishops by the Pope is the guarantee of the unity of the Church and of hierarchical communion. For this reason the Code of Canon Law (cf. c. 1382) lays down grave sanctions both for the Bishop who freely confers episcopal ordination without an apostolic mandate and for the one who receives it: such an ordination in fact inflicts a painful wound upon ecclesial communion and constitutes a grave violation of canonical discipline. The Pope, when he issues the apostolic mandate for the ordination of a Bishop, exercises his supreme spiritual authority: this authority and this intervention remain within the strictly religious sphere. It is not, therefore, a question of a political authority, unduly asserting itself in the internal affairs of a State and offending against its sovereignty' (No. 9).

"The external pressures and constrictions could mean that excommunication is not automatically incurred. However, there remains a grave wound, perpetrated on the ecclesial body. Every Bishop involved is therefore obliged to refer to the Holy See and find the means of explaining his position to the priests and faithful, renewing his profession of fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff, to help them to overcome their interior suffering and repair the external scandal caused.

"We are close to you in these difficult times. We invite priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful to understand the difficulties of their Bishops, to encourage them, to support them by their solidarity and prayer.

"4. With regard to the 8th National Assembly of Catholic Representatives, the words of the Holy Father, once again, are inspiring: 'Considering "Jesus' original plan", it is clear that the claim of some entities, desired by the State and extraneous to the structure of the Church, to place themselves above the Bishops and to guide the life of the ecclesial community, does not correspond to Catholic doctrine, according to which the Church is "apostolic", as the II Vatican Council underlined. (...) Likewise, the declared purpose of the aforementioned entities to implement "the principles of independence and autonomy, self-management and democratic administration of the Church" is incompatible with Catholic doctrine' (No. 7).

"5. The choice of Pastors for the governance of the numerous vacant dioceses is an urgent necessity, and, at the same time, a source of deep concern. The Commission strongly hopes that there will not be new wounds to ecclesial communion, and asks the Lord for strength and courage for all of the persons involved. Concerning this, one should also bear in mind what Pope Benedict XVI has written: 'The Holy See would desire to be completely free to appoint Bishops; therefore, considering the recent particular developments of the Church in China, I trust that an accord can be reached with the Government so as to resolve certain questions regarding the choice of candidates for the episcopate, the publication of the appointment of Bishops, and the recognition - concerning civil effects where necessary - of the new Bishops on the part of the civil authorities' (No. 9). We make these desires ours and we look with trepidation and fear to the future: we know that it is not entirely in our hands and we launch an appeal so that the problems do not grow and that the divisions are not deepened, at the expense of harmony and peace.

"6. In examining the situation of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions, various difficulties regarding their boundaries have emerged. Concerning this, the necessity of taking note of the changed circumstances was recognised as well as the need of respecting the ecclesiastical norms and always keeping in mind what is written in the Papal Letter to the Catholics in China: 'I wish to confirm that the Holy See is prepared to address the entire question of the circumscriptions and ecclesiastical provinces in an open and constructive dialogue with the Chinese Episcopate and - where opportune and helpful - with governmental authorities' (No. 11).

"7. Finally, we dwelt on the theme of formation of seminarians and female religious, inside and outside of China ... We have noted with pleasure that the Catholic communities in China organise within themselves initiatives for the purpose of formation.

"8. We hope that the sincere and respectful dialogue with the civil authorities may help to overcome the difficulties of the present moment, so that the relations with the Catholic Church may also contribute to harmony in society.

"9. We have learnt with joy the news that the diocese of Shanghai can start the beatification cause of Paul Xu Guangqi, which will be added to that of Fr. Matteo Ricci, S.J.

"10. To overcome the difficult situations of each community, prayer will be of great help. Various initiatives can be organised, which will help to renew your communication of faith in Our Lord Jesus and of fidelity to the Pope, so that the unity among you may be ever more deepened and visible.

"11. In the gathering that took place at the end of the Plenary Meeting, His Holiness recognised the desire for unity with the See of Peter and with the Universal Church which the Chinese faithful never cease to manifest, notwithstanding being in the midst of many difficulties and afflictions. The faith of the Church, set forth in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and to be defended even at the price of sacrifice, is the foundation on which the Catholic communities in China should grow in unity and communion".

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VATICAN CITY, 14 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Pontifical Biblical Commission will hold its annual plenary session from 2 to 6 May in the Domus Sanctae Marthae (Vatican City), under the presidency of Cardinal William Joseph Levada. Fr. Klemens Stock, S.J., secretary general, shall direct the work of the assembly.

According to a communique issued today, "during the meeting the members will continue their reflections on the theme 'Inspiration and truth in the Bible'. In the first phase of study the Commission will attempt to examine how the themes of inspiration and truth appear in the Sacred Scriptures. Subsequently, on the basis of their individual competences, each Member shall present a report which shall then be discussed collectively in the Assembly".

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VATICAN CITY, 14 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received Francisco Vasquez y Vasquez, ambassador of Spain to the Holy See, accompanied by his wife, on his farewell visit.

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VATICAN CITY, 14 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed as advisors of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts:

Krzysztof Nitkiewicz, bishop of Sandomierz, Poland; Bernard Anthony Hebda, bishop of Gaylord, USA; Msgr. Giacomo Incitti, Extraordinary Professor of Canon Law at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Italy; Msgr. Joaquin Llobell, ordinary professor of Canon Law at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and Judge of the Vatican City State Court of Appeal; Msgr. Mauro Rivella, under-secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference; Jorge Miras Pouso, dean of the School of Canon Law, University of Navarra, Spain; Marcel Ndjondjo Ndjula K'Asha, dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science, Catholic University of the Congo; Jean-Pierre Schouppe, promoter of justice and defender of the bond at the Interdiocesan Tribunale of First Instance of the Francophone dioceses of Belgium; Markus Graulich, S.D.B., substitute promoter of justice at the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signatura; Fr. Manuel Jesus Arroba Conde, C.M.F., president of the "Utriusque Iuris" Institute of the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome; Fr. Damian Guillermo Astigueta, S.J., ordinary professor at the School of Canon Law, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; Priamo Etzi, O.F.M., dean of the School of Canon Law, Pontifical University "Antonianum", Rome; Fr. Philippe Toxe, O.P., ordinary professor of Canon Law at the Institut Catholique, Paris, France; Carlo Cardia, ordinary professor of Ecclesiastical Law and professor of Philosophy of Law at the Faculty of Law, University "Roma Tre", Rome; Ludger Muller, president of the Institute of Canon Law in the Faculty of Catholic Theology, University of Vienna, Austria; Helmuth Pree, ordinary professor of Canon Law, University of Munich, Germany; Carlos Rene Salinas Araneda, ordinary professor of Canon Law and Jurisprudence, Faculty of Law, Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso, Chile; Geraldina Boni, ordinary professor of Law at the University of Bologna, Italy; Maria Jose Roca Fernandez, ordinary professor at the Faculty of Law, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.



Pope John Paul II Memorial Video - As the Vatican prepares for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, this 17-minute commemoration looks back at his pontificate through images and video clips of his extensive travels, highlighting his seven visits to the United States and the mutual affection that developed between the pope and the American people.

Video from United States Conference of Catholic Bishops archives. Photos courtesyL’Osservatore Romano from the book John Paul II: A Light for the World.

Blessed John Paul II

On May 1, 2011, the man who canonized more saints than any other pope in modern history will be one step closer to sainthood himself when he becomes “Blessed John Paul II.”

Pope Benedict VXI will preside at the beatification ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on the Second Sunday of Easter, the last day of the Octave of Easter, also known as Divine Mercy Sunday.

The date has much significance in John Paul II’s life. In 2000, he presided at the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska, a countrywoman from his native Poland, on the Sunday after Easter and declared that day should thereafter be known as "Divine Mercy Sunday” in honor of the saint’s lifelong effort to shed light on the mystery of divine mercy. Pope John Paul II died on April 2, just a day before the 2005 celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday.

The beatification ceremonies for John Paul II will begin with an open air evening vigil on Saturday, April 30, at the Circus Maximus, the site of the ancient Roman racing grounds between the Palatine and Aventine hills.

Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II during a pastoral visit to Abuja, Nigeria, in March 1998. (CNS file photo from L'Osservatore Romano)
The actual beatification ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m., Sunday, May 1, in St. Peter's Square. No tickets are needed for the ceremony, but visitors are expected to arrive early to secure a space.

According to Monsignor Guido Marini, Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, the beatification ceremony will have the same characteristics of every beatification ceremony, including the proclamation of the newly Blessed during the Mass and the reading of a brief summary of the life of John Paul II. Following the proclamation, an image of John Paul II will be unfurled to hang from the central balcony in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Immediately after the ceremony, the remains of the newly Blessed John Paul II will be placed in front of the High Altar in St. Peter's Basilica for veneration. On Monday, May 2, at 10:30 a.m., Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone will preside at a Mass of thanksgiving in St. Peter's Square.

Following this Mass, Pope John Paul II’s remains will be reinterred in the side chapel of St. Sebastian, in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The beatification of Pope John Paul II comes on a rare fast track just six years following his death. The speedy process was made possible when the Congregation for the Causes of Saints waived the usual five-year waiting period that is normally required before a cause for beatification and canonization can begin. It follows a precedent John Paul II himself set when he beatified Mother of Teresa of Calcutta in 2003, just six years after her death.

During his pontificate, John Paul II canonized 482 saints. All other twentieth century popes combined canonized a total of 98 saints. With his 1983 apostolic constitution, Divinus Perfectionis Magister, Pope John Paul II simplified procedures for beatification and canonization allowing so many blesseds and saints to be named during his pontificate. John Paul II believed that the exemplary lives of the saints could inspire the faithful to answer the universal call to holiness.

“The saints offer us precious insights which enable us to understand more easily the intuition of faith, thanks to the special enlightenment which some of them have received from the Holy Spirit, or even through their personal experience of those terrible states of trial which the mystical tradition describes as the ‘dark night.’”

---Pope John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, Apostolic Letter at the Close of the Great Jubilee of The Year 2000


UCAN REPORT: Local Church officials discuss future course of action, seek more priests
April 14, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of Papal Nuncio visits disaster area
Ofunato Church in Iwate Prefecture escaped damage due to its position high on a hill but a mausoleum nearby, once standing in the foreground of this picture, was demolished

The Apostolic Nuncio to Japan, Archbishop Alberto Bottari de Castello, has visited Sendai diocese to see for himself the devastation caused by last month’s earthquake and tsunami.

The Nuncio celebrated Mass outside Motoderakoji Cathedral in Sendai City on Sunday, during which he offered words of encouragement to those who have suffered since the disaster struck.

He had no choice but to hold the liturgy in the garden outside the cathedral, because the building was itself a victim of the destruction and is unsafe for use. During a 7.1-magnitude aftershock on April 8, a portion of the wall directly above the sanctuary crumbled and fell to the floor far below, leaving debris strewn about the altar.

After Mass, Archbishop Bottari de Castello visited two churches, Shiogama and Ishinomaki, which have become bases for volunteer activities since the earthquake on March 11. He offered encouragement and praise to the people working there and saw for himself the harsh conditions people are living under.

The nuncio’s three-day visit which ended on Monday followed two days of meetings involving bishops, priests and other Catholics devoted to the long-term care and reconstruction of the region and its people.

During the first, on April 7, Sendai diocesan priests discussed responses to the region’s troubles. They decided to continue operating the Sendai Diocese Support Center, which was established as an emergency measure in the first few days following the disaster.

It was also decided that each church in areas along the battered coast should have a priest of its own.

Father Shiro Komatsu, chancellor of Sendai diocese, explained the decision.

“Until now, we had some priests assigned to several churches there, and people going from inland churches to take care of coastal ones. But for a period of three to five years, we would like to assign priests in [those coastal churches],” he said.

“Of course, that means that some inland parishes will have to lose their priests, so we will submit a request to the bishops’ conference asking them whether we can get some priests from other dioceses and from the religious orders — and perhaps whether they could send some Religious and laypeople here, too,” he added.

Fr. Komatsu was also present at the next meeting on April 8 at Sendai diocese’s main office.

This meeting, headed by bishops Daiji Tani of Saitama, Tetsuo Hiraga of Sendai, and Caritas Japan president Isao Kikuchi of Niigata, discussed how the Sendai Diocese Support Center would continue operating.

It also addressed the previous meeting’s recommendations and requests.

Bishop Kikuchi said he would take up the request for more priests. Also, it was resolved that Sendai would finalize and submit a reconstruction plan in the near future.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - Pope Shenouda III, spiritual leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church could play a role as mediator in the dispute that opposes Egypt and Ethiopia for the redistribution of the Nile waters. According to the Egyptian daily Al Masri al Youm, Mona Omar, Secretary for African Affairs of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry has welcomed a possible mediation by Shenouda III. "There is a strong relationship between the Egyptian and Ethiopian churches - said the senior member of Cairo -. The Coptic Pope Shenouda III is generally respected by all Christians in the world and in Africa in particular. "
Ethiopia has announced the construction of a dam with an adjacent hydroelectric plant on the Blue Nile in the western region of Benishangul. The future plant , with 6 thousand megawatts of power, provoked violent controversy and alarm in Egypt, with the risk of impoverishment of water resources of the Nile, with serious damage to the Egyptian economy. Ethiopia needs the new plant to triple the production of electricity, and said that Egypt is not at risk because once the turbines of the plant are powered, the water will be left free to continue its course towards the sea.
The dispute regards the "Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), reached in May 2010 in Entebbe, Uganda, after ten years of negotiations. The agreement provides for amendments to the 1929 colonial treaty that gave Egypt the right to veto projects which it believes could interfere with the flow of the river, which flows 6,600 km from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean. A subsequent agreement with Sudan in 1959 gave the two countries 90% control of the Nile waters, approximately 70 million cubic meters a year. The CFA was signed by Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi. The Democratic Republic of Congo has not signed yet, while Egypt and Sudan have opposed . The independence of southern Sudan, established by referendum in January is likely to further complicate the situation.


NEWS.COM.AU REPORT: DENMARK'S Crown Prince Frederik and the Australian-born Princess Mary baptised their three-month-old twins Thursday, finally revealing the highly anticipated names - Vincent and Josephine.

The Tasmanian-born Mary gave birth to the brown-eyed, brunette twins at Copenhagen's university hospital Jan. 8. But in keeping with royal traditions, the names stayed secret until the baptism, which took place at Holmen church in the center of the capital.

Their full names are Vincent Frederik Minik Alexandre and Josephine Sofia Ivalu Mathilda, the Jyllands-Posten newspaper reported.

The names of the twins have been the subject of feverish speculation in Denmark, eclipsing even the upcoming wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Vincent and Josephine have two older siblings, five-year-old Prince Christian and three-year-old Princess Isabella, who were present today's baptism.SOURCE


Sts. Tiburtius, Valerian, Maximus


Feast: April 14


Feast Day:April 14

Known by their inclusion in the Acts of St. Cecilia. It is generally accepted that the Acts are fiction, but the three perhaps were genuine martyrs, especially as their tombs in the cemetery of Praetextatus were exceedingly popular duing the Middle Ages. According to the Acts, Valerian was Cecilia's husband, Tiburtius her brother, and Maximus a Roman soldier or official who died with them.

(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints)


TODAY'S GOSPEL: APR. 14: JOHN 8: 51- 59

John 8: 51 - 59
51Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death."
52The Jews said to him, "Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and you say, `If any one keeps my word, he will never taste death.'
53Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you claim to be?"
54Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God.
55But you have not known him; I know him. If I said, I do not know him, I should be a liar like you; but I do know him and I keep his word.
56Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad."
57The Jews then said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?"
58Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."
59So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

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