Tuesday, May 31, 2011





TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAY. 31: LUKE 1: 39- 56

PONTIFICAL INSTITUTE OF SACRED MUSIC CELEBRATES A CENTURYVATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, the Holy Father sent a letter to Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, chancellor of the institution. The letter, which was published today, was read at the institute last Thursday, 26 May. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

Benedict XVI recalled that Pope St. Pius X founded the Higher School of Sacred Music, which two decades later was elevated by Pius XI to a pontifical institute. The Holy Father stated that, in order to clearly understand the identity and mission of that Institute, it was necessary to know that St. Pius X founded it "eight years after having issued the Motu Proprio 'Tra le sollecitudini' on 22 November 1903, with which he brought about a profound reform in the area of sacred music, turning to the great tradition of the Church against the influence exercised by profane music, above all of the operatic type".

This magisterial intervention, in order to be implemented in the universal Church, needed a center of studies and teaching that would faithfully and appropriately transmit the directives indicated by the Supreme Pontiff according to the authentic and glorious tradition that dates back to St. Gregory the Great. In the span of the last 100 years, this Institution has assimilated, developed, and expressed the doctrinal and pastoral teaching of the pontifical documents, as well as those of Vatican Council II, concerning sacred music, to illumine and guide the work of composers, chapel maestros, liturgists, musicians, and all instructors in this field".

The Pope then emphasized how, since St. Pius X until today, "even though evolving naturally, there has been a substantial continuity of the Magisterium on sacred music". In particular he cited Paul VI and John Paul II who "in light of the conciliar constitution 'Sacrosanctum Concilium', reiterated the purpose of sacred music, that is to say, 'the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful' and the fundamental criteria of the corresponding tradition...: a sense of prayer, dignity, and beauty; full adherence to liturgical texts and expressions; the assembly's participation and, therefore, the legitimate adaptation to local culture, at the same time maintaining the universality of language; the primacy of Gregorian chant as the supreme model of sacred music and the careful assessment of other expressive forms that make up the historical-liturgical patrimony of the Church, especially but not just polyphony; and the importance of the 'schola cantorum', particularly in cathedral churches".

"However, we always have to ask ourselves: Who is the true subject of the liturgy? The answer is simple: the Church. It is not the individual or the group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God's action through the Church with its history, its rich tradition, and its creativity. The liturgy, and thus sacred music, 'lives from a correct and constant relationship between healthy traditio and legitimate progressio', keeping always in mind that these two concepts ... are interwoven because 'tradition is a living reality that, therefore, encompasses within it the very principle of development and progress'", the Pope concluded.

MESS/ VIS 20110531 (500)


VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for the month of June is: "That priests, united to the Heart of Christ, may always be true witnesses of the caring and merciful love of God".

His missionary intention is: "That the Holy Spirit may bring forth from our communities many missionaries who are ready to be fully consecrated to spreading the Kingdom of God.".



VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed as members of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura: Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Cardinal Paolo Sardi, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta; and His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Rai, O.M.M., Maronite Patriarch of Antioch, Lebanon.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: Clashes occurred on Monday when workers were protesting against a draft law that would not guarantee a lifetime retirement pension. Three people are said to have died in the incident. Police used tear gas and prevented wounded from being evacuated to hospitals.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Catholic priests and human rights activists have firmly slammed the brutal police crackdown on thousands of Free Trade Zone workers who staged a protest yesterday in Katunayake. Protesters are against a proposed Private Sector Pension bill, which they deem deeply flawed because it does not guarantee workers a lifetime pension (see Melani Manel Perera, “Sri Lanka: pension guaranteed ‘until funds run out’,” in AsiaNews, 17 May 2011). “Independent protest is a right of every free citizen,” said Fr Reid Shelton Fernando, a Catholic priest. “What has happened shows that, in this country, people cannot exercise one of their fundamental rights.”

According to some witnesses, police stormed a number of factories looking for demonstrators. They also blocked the main entry point to the zone in order to stop people from leaving. After a few hours, workers were able to force the blockade, allowing some 18,000 people to pour into the streets where they clashed with police. Witnesses said police also tried to prevent the wounded from being taken to hospitals.

Fr Sarath Iddamalgod, a Catholic priest, was in a local temple with six Buddhist monks when the mayhem broke out. “We saw the police launch tear gas to stop the demonstrators.”

“The government is trying to crush peaceful protests,” Laxman Rosa, a Christian political activist, said. “This is a total violation of human rights, the right of freedom of expression and the right to defend workers’ rights.”

Unofficial sources have also reported three deaths. Freddy Gamage, who writes for theMeepuranewspaper, said that 216 wounded people are in the Negombo hospital. One of them has a gunshot wound to the leg and is in the intensive care unit.

The proposed Private Sector Pension Bill law would set up three pension funds to provide workers with retirement benefits but only as long as the pension fund does not run out of money. In practice, this means workers will contribute a fixed percentage of their salary to fund their pension plan and will be entitled to benefits upon retirement. However, should the plan run out of money, they would receive nothing.,000-workers,-Catholics-condemn-the-crackdown-21713.html


- The Knights of Columbus and the Sisters of Life are sponsoring and hosting a pilgrim center for English-speaking participants at World Youth Day in Madrid.

Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson said the center will provide “a place of rest, prayer and fellowship for English-speaking pilgrims from around the world” where they can join friends and participate in “a spectacular outpouring of faith.”

Activities at the center will be free and scheduled around the World Youth Day event program. Events include Masses and devotions, catechesis sessions, concerts, speakers, witness testimonies, prayer and movie screenings.

Other events at the site include a Eucharistic procession and an outdoor Way of the Cross.

Eucharistic adoration and Confession will be available continuously at the site throughout the week.

The center, named “Love and Life: A Home for English-Speaking Pilgrims,” is co-sponsored by Holy Cross Family Ministries, Canada's Salt and Light Television, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, the Apostleship of Prayer, the World Youth Alliance and the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.

The Knights and the Sisters hosted a smaller pilgrim center at World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney.

More than one million pilgrims are expected to participate in the Madrid World Youth Day gathering, which begins on Aug. 16 and ends Aug. 21. Pope Benedict XVI will also celebrate Mass at the event.

A smartphone application for the “Love and Life” center is available through its website,


Agenzia Fides REPORT – The plague of the displaced persons welcomed in the parish of Duékoué, in western Côte d'Ivoire continues. In late March, following the conquest of the city by the Republican Forces in Côte d'Ivoire (RFCI) faithful to the current president Alassane Ouattara, about 27,000 people, mostly gueré ethnic group(supporters of President Gbagbo) have taken refuge in the small Catholic mission in the city.
"The situation gets more and more dramatic: 27,000 people living within the space of a small parish. Each of them live in just a square meter. The sanitary and health conditions are so poor, "says Bishop Gaspard Beby Gnéba, Bishop of Man to Fides, and Duékoué is part of this territory.
The UNMCI (United Nations Mission in Côte d'Ivoire) ensures the safety of these people while Caritas provides meals and health service. The presence of UN soldiers, however, is not sufficient to reassure the refugees and bring them back home. "The uncertainty is still very strong. But the real problem is that these people have no home to go back to because their homes have been ransacked, destroyed and burned, "said Mgr. Gnéba. "It is urgent to find another place for these people, as well as guaranteeing security to those who still have a home and want to return. You then need to rebuild destroyed homes, " concluded the Bishop of Man (LM) (Agenzia Fides 31/05/2011)


CATH NEWS REPORT: Parishioners and faithful were given the chance to have their say on the future of NSW's Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese at a special meeting held in Forbes Monday night, reports theForbes Advocate.

Bishop Kevin Manning, currently Apostolic Administrator for the Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese, said the meeting was part of the terms of reference of an investigative committee established to examine the viability of the diocese.The public meeting, held in the hall opposite St Laurence's church on Johnson Street, followed a similar meeting earlier in the day between parish priests of the diocese and a special committee established by NSW bishops.

The diocese includes 22 parishes in an area occupying about half of the state.

Bishop Manning said part of the committee's role was to consult with as many stakeholders as possible in the diocese. "There have been suggestions that some parishes be aligned with adjoining dioceses," Bishop Manning said.

"But there is a feeling that the people of the diocese would like to stick together with improved services," he said. "One of the biggest things is the travel. In some cases priests are driving 250km on Sundays just to say Mass."


Faith leaders, EU Institutions pledge support for 'Arab Spring' | Arab Spring,EU Institutions, President José Manuel Barroso, Jerzy Buzek,European Parliament,Herman Van Rompuy,European Council

The 'Arab Spring' was at the heart of this year’s annual summit meeting of European faith leaders with the Presidents of the EU Institutions. This was the seventh high-level meeting which took place at the invitation of President José Manuel Barroso and was co-chaired by Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament and Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council.

Comparisons were made with the wave of freedom and democracy in central and eastern Europe in 1989, which led to the reunification of the Continent, European leaders are willing to take the momentum of the Arab Spring to establish peace, democracy and prosperity around the Mare Nostrum. On 8 March, the European Commission issued a series of proposals establishing a partnership for the southern Mediterranean. In this context, the EU institutions intend to join forces with all partners who share the same willingness to defend and promote the same universal values. “I strongly believe that these challenges cannot be met without the active contribution of religious communities” stated President Barroso.

Mr Buzek, President of the European Parliament, acknowledged that the revolutions in the Arab world were made by the people themselves expressing a deep call for Freedom and Justice. “These are not our revolutions, but these are our values” he stated, recalling the decisive role played by Churches in central Europe in fighting for Solidarity and Freedom 20 years ago.

Twenty senior representatives from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim religions as well as from the Buddhist communities answered the invitation and shared their experience and thoughts with the EU leaders.

Cardinal Marx, Vice President of COMECE emphasised that faith is a positive force, which invites and calls for a constructive shaping of the world. With a reminder that the limitation of power and violence is at the heart for democratic regimes, the Cardinal recalled that faith protects against fantasies of omnipotence. “The human being is free but not omnipotent. Therefore faith and religions from a Christian perspective represent a source for a free state order”

“Christians are the natural allies of all those who love freedom” stated Cardinal Nycz, the Archbishop of Warsaw. He particularly asked the EU institutions to stand for religious freedom in the southern Mediterranean, recalling that this fundamental right not only covers freedom of worship but, most of all, freedom of conscience.

COMECE President Mgr van Luyn regretted that the coexistence of different religious communities in the Middle-East and North Africa was often manipulated to set them against each other. “God wants us to be Christians in and for our Middle Eastern societies. This is our mission and vocation - to live as Christians and Muslims together.”

Referring to the project of the Order of the Dominicans to create an Open University in Bagdad, Mgr van Luyn recalled that Churches in the Middle East and North Africa are promoting similar projects of education, intercultural dialogue and citizenship, which, he trusts the European Commission will support and partner.

Source: COMECE


Visitation of the Blessed Virgin

Feast: May 31


Feast Day:May 31

Assuming that the Annunciation and the Incarnation took place about the vernal equinox, Mary left Nazareth at the end of March and went over the mountains to Hebron, south of Jerusalem, to wait upon her cousin Elizabeth, because her presence and much more the presence of the Divine Child in her womb, according to the will of God, was to be the source of very great graces to the Blessed John, Christ's Forerunner.

The event is related in Luke 1:39-57. Feeling the presence of his Divine Saviour, John, upon the arrival of Mary, leaped in the womb of his mother; he was then cleansed from original sin and filled with the grace of God. Our Lady now for the first time exercised the office which belonged to the Mother of God made man, that He might by her mediation sanctify and glorify us. St. Joseph probably accompanied Mary, returned to Nazareth, and when, after three months, he came again to Hebron to take his wife home, the apparition of the angel, mentioned in Matthew 1:19-25, may have taken place to end the tormenting doubts of Joseph regarding Mary's maternity.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAY. 31: LUKE 1: 39- 56

Luke 1: 39 - 56
39In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,40and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth.41And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!43And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?44For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."46And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord,47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,48for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;49for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.50And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.51He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,52he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree;53he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.54He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,55as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."56And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.