Monday, May 23, 2011



TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAY 23: JOHN 14: 21-26



VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Last Wednesday, 18 May, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care spoke at the 64th World Health Assembly underway in Geneva, Switzerland from 16 to 24 May. His address was dedicated to the theme "Guaranteeing Universal Access to Medical Care". (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

"The World Health Report 2010", he said, "emphasizes health system financing as the conduit to the much desired universal coverage in health service provision. It also notes with concern that despite the progress made in some countries, on the whole, we are still a long way from universal coverage. This sad fact highlights the need for a true global solidarity, in which high income countries do not only promise, but effectively meet their commitments on development assistance".

Then, citing the papal encyclical "Caritas in veritate", he noted that, in it, Benedict XVI asserted that "more economically developed nations should do all they can to allocate larger portions of their gross domestic product to development aid, thus respecting the obligations that the international community has undertaken in this regard".

As regards the World Health Organization's Draft HIV Strategy 2011-2015, "the Holy See appreciates the emphasis laid on eliminating new HIV infections in children and expanding and optimizing HIV treatment and care for them, which up to date has been lagging behind the progress made in treating adults. In this area, the archbishop emphasized "the importance of education in changing human behavior and responsible living as a key element of the prevention campaign".

Lastly, the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care affirmed that his delegation "fully shares the concerns ... for child injury prevention. ... the Holy See would like to appeal to the international community to support transfer of knowledge on measures and instruments for the prevention of child injury to low- and middle-income countries, where 95% of child injury deaths occur", oftentimes provoked by "long civil wars".

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VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arabic Republic of Egypt and newly elected Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Mr. Nabil Al-Arabi, during his visit to Rome the past Wednesday, 18 May.

At this meeting, according to a communique issued today, the minister conveyed the greetings of Sheikh of al-Azhar, Prof. Ahmad Al-Tayyib, and expressed the Grand Imam's desire that the recent difficulties in the relationship with the Holy See would be overcome.

Cardinal Tauran reiterated the esteem of Pope Benedict XVI for the people and authorities of Egypt and the Holy See's readiness to continue on the path of interreligious dialogue and cooperation with al-Azhar, carried on regularly since 1998.

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VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - This afternoon in the Paul VI Hall of the Vatican, Benedict XVI met with administrators, teachers, and students of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Italy on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of its foundation.

The Pope referred to "great and rapid transformations" that are affecting the university: "humanist culture is being affected by a progressive deterioration; ... there exists the tendency to reduce the human horizon to what can be measured, to eliminate the fundamental question of meaning from systematic and critical knowledge". In this sense, he noted that "in the way in which the empirical sciences monopolize the territories of reason, it seems that there is no more room for reasons to believe; the religious dimension is relegated to the sphere of what is opinion and private. In this context, the very motivations and characteristics of the institution of the university are called into question".

"The Christian perspective", he continued, "is not in contradiction of scientific knowledge or the achievements of human ingenuity. Just the opposite, it considers faith as the horizon of meaning, the path to full truth, and the guide of authentic development. Without an orientation to the truth, without a humble and ardent attitude of investigation, every culture crumbles, decays into relativism, and becomes lost in the ephemeral".

Benedict XVI emphasized that "faith and culture are indissolubly united, a manifestation of that 'desiderium naturale vivendi Deum' that is present in each human being. When this tie is broken, humanity tends to fold in on itself and become locked within its own creative capacities".

"The question of Truth and the Absolute - the question of God - ... is the fundamental question upon which the discovery of the meaning of the world and of life depends. ... Knowledge of the faith, therefore, illuminates human research, interprets it, humanizing it, integrates it in projects for the good, rooting out the temptation of calculative thought that instrumentalizes knowledge and turns scientific discoveries into ways of enslaving persons".

The Holy Father stressed that "the horizon that animates the work of a university can and should be the authentic passion for the human being. ... Serving humanity is doing the truth in love, it is loving life, always respecting it, beginning with the situations in which it is most fragile and defenseless. This is one of our tasks, especially in times of crisis: the history of cultures shows that human dignity has been truly recognized in its totality in the light of the Christian faith".

"The attitude of closure or detachment in the face of the proposal of faith means forgetting that throughout history, and even today, it has been an impetus of culture and light for human intelligence, a stimulus to develop all its positive capacities for the true good of humanity".

While highlighting that "the testimony of the faith and of love are inseparable", the Pope noted that "in Jesus we discover that God is love and only in love can we know Him. ... The pinnacle of knowing God is reached in love. ... The human person needs love, needs the truth, in order not to ruin the fragile treasure of freedom and be exposed to the violence of the passions and to clear or hidden conditionings".

Addressing in particular the professors, Benedict XVI reminded them that they have been entrusted with "a decisive role: showing how the Christian faith can be an impetus of culture and light for the intelligence".

The Pope concluded, pointing out that "the Chapel is the beating heart that constantly nourishes the life of the university, along with the pastoral centers connected to it where the spiritual assistants of the different branches are called to carry out their precious priestly mission, which is essential for the identity of the Catholic University".

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VATICAN CITY, 22 MAY 2011 (VIS) - "This Sunday's Gospel ... proposes a double mandate of the faith: Believe in God and believe in Jesus. These are not two separate acts but one single act of faith. Full adherence to the salvation worked by the Father through His only Son", the Pope said while praying the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered today at noon in St. Peter's Square.

"The New Testament has put an end to the invisibility of the Father", the pontiff continued. "The Son of God, by His incarnation, death, and resurrection has freed us from the slavery of sin, giving us the freedom of sons and daughters of God: He has shown us the face of God, which is love. We can see God, He is visible in Christ".

"Faith in Jesus means following Him daily in the simple actions that make up our day. ... For Christians, for each of us, therefore, the way toward the Father is letting ourselves be guided by Jesus, by His word of truth, welcoming the gift of His life. ... The challenge of proclaiming Jesus as 'the way, the truth, and the life' constitutes the Church's main task", the Holy Father finished.

After the Regina Coeli, the Pope greeted pilgrims in Portuguese, showing his joy for the two new Blesseds, Sr. Maria Clara do Menino Jesus, who was beatified yesterday in Lisbon, Portugal and Sr. Dulce Lopes Pontes, beatified today in San Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.

He also addressed, in English, the World Council of Churches, which is celebrating an International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica in these days. This meeting, said Benedict XVI is the culmination of a decade-long project with the goal of combating all forms of violence. We pray for "this noble intention and recommit ourselves to eliminating violence in families, in society, and in the international community".

Finally, he greeted representatives of the Pro-Life Movement in Italian, thanking them in particular for "the dedication with which you help women who are facing a difficult pregnancy, as well as engaged and married couples who desire to procreate responsibly; you are thus acting concretely for a culture of life".

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VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican the Pope received in separate audiences first the president of the Republic of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, and then the Chairwoman of the National Assembly of Bulgaria, Tsetska Tsacheva, both accompanied by their respective delegations, on the occasion of the annual commemoration of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.

In his address to the delegation from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Holy Father emphasized that the lives of Sts. Cyril and Methodius "were totally dedicated to their apostolic activity and to the divine intuition of making the message of Revelation understandable and accessible to the peoples, which was a reason of unity for different traditions and cultures. In embracing God's salvific plan, peoples can rediscover the foundations upon which to build civilizations and societies that are characterized by a spirit of reconciliation and peaceful living together. There cannot be true unity without respect for the dignity of each person and their inalienable rights".

In the later audience with the delegation from the Republic of Bulgaria, the Pope said that "for the European peoples, who in these years are opening themselves to new perspectives of cooperation, these two great saints are a reminder that their unity will be more solid if based on common Christian roots. Effectively, in the complex history of Europe, Christianity represents a central and qualifying element. The Christian faith has shaped the culture of the old continent and is indissolubly interwoven with its history, to the point that this history would not be understandable without reference to the events that characterized, first, the great era of evangelization and, then, the long centuries in which Christianity took on an ever more relevant role. That is why it is important that Europe also grown in a spiritual dimension, following the path of its best history. The unity of the continent, which progressively grows in awareness and is also being defined in its political aspects, represents a perspective of great hope".

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VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today, in separate audiences, the Holy Father received two prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India on their ad limina visit:

- Archbishop Thumma Bala of Hyderbad, and

- Archbishop Mariadas Kagithapu, M.S.F.S., of Visakhapatnam.

On Saturday, 21 May, the Holy Father received, in separate audiences:

- Five prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India on their ad limina visit:

- Bishop John Baptist Thakur, S.J., of Muzaffarpur,

- Bishop Angelus Kujur, S.J., of Purnea,

- Bishop Thomas Thiruthalil, C.M., of Balasore,

- Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak of Berhampur, and

- Bishop Lucas Kerketta, S.V.D., of Sambalpur.

- as well as Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

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VATICAN CITY, 23 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed Fr. Dabula Anthony Mpako, of the clergy of Pretoria, South Africa, as bishop of the diocese of Queenstown (area 25,000, population 2,200,000, Catholics 52,000, priests 22, permanent deacons 10, religious 26), South Africa. The bishop-elect was born in 1959 in Eastern Cape, South Africa, and was ordained in 1986. He is currently pastor of St. Thomas Moore in Monavoni, South Africa.

On Saturday, 21 May, the Holy Father:

- appointed Archpriest Mikael Mouradian, formerly patriarchal vicar of the Institute for the Patriarchal Clergy of Bzommar, Lebanon and superior of the convent of Notre Dame of Bzommar, as bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Nareg in New York of the Armenians (Catholics 36,000, priests 10, permanent deacons 1, religious 16), USA. The bishop-elect was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1987. He succeeds Bishop Manuel Batakian, I.C.P.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same eparchy the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- appointed Archbishop Thomas E. Gullickson, apostolic nuncio to Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Sts. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, and apostolic delegate in the Antilles, as apostolic nuncio to Ukraine.

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Koudougou, Burkina Faso, presented by Bishop Basile Tapsoba, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.



St. Mary Church is seen destroyed May 23 following a tornado in Joplin, Mo. (CNS/Catherine Koch via The Mirror)

By Catholic News Service

JOPLIN, Mo. (CNS) -- A Catholic hospital in Joplin took a direct hit from a severe tornado that struck the city May 22. Within a day of the twister, 89 people were confirmed dead, with the number almost certain to rise as rescue teams searched amid the rubble for survivors.

St. John's Regional Medical Center was in the path of the tornado, variously described as being from a half-mile to a mile-and-a-half wide. A spokeswoman for the hospital told The New York Times May 23 that its 183 patients had been moved to other facilities. It was uncertain whether any perished during the storm. Telephone service to the hospital was cut off after the twister.
Caption: The Our Lady of the New Millennium statue stands outside St. John the Evangelist Church as dark storm clouds roll through St. John, Ind., May 22. The 33-foot-tall stainless steel statue found a permanent home after being carted from parish to parish in the Chicago area for more than a decade. A dedication service planned for the outdoors had to be moved inside because of the weather. (CNS/Michael McArdle, Northwest Indiana Catholic)
The Our Lady of the New Millennium statue stands outside St. John the Evangelist Church as dark storm clouds roll through St. John, Ind., May 22. The 33-foot-tall stainless steel statue found a permanent home after being carted from parish to parish in the Chicago area for more than a decade. A dedication service planned for the outdoors had to be moved inside because of the weather. (CNS/Michael McArdle, Northwest Indiana Catholic)

"Please keep the people of Joplin in our prayers, especially those whose lives were taken as well as those who lost loved ones," said a May 23 statement from Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. "We pray especially for the people of St. Mary's Catholic Church and school who suffered a total loss as well as St. John's Mercy Hospital which sustained major damage."

In 1971, a major tornado struck Joplin, resulting in one death and 50 injuries. Joplin, in southwest Missouri near the borders of Kansas and Oklahoma, sits in "Tornado Alley," so called for the frequency and ferocity of the region's twisters.

The church, school and rectory buildings of St. Mary Parish were all destroyed by the tornado, but the parish pastor, Father Justin Monaghan, was reported unhurt. "The pastor rode it out in the bathtub. He's fine," said Leslie Anne Eidson, editor of The Mirror, newspaper of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. "He's staying with a local parishioner right now."

At Joplin's other Catholic church, St. Peter the Apostle, parish administrator Elizabeth Runkle, told Catholic News Service May 23, "St. Peter's is fine. We're OK. We didn't have any damage. Everybody's fine." St. Peter has an outreach center that they're trying to use to speed aid to victims, according to Eidson.

McAuley Catholic High School, which serves the city's two parishes, escaped damage, Eidson said. It was being used as an overflow triage center.

In a message posted on his Facebook page the evening of the storm, Father John Friedel, St. Peter's pastor, said: "Just got back from closing down the Catholic high school, which was opened as an overflow triage center. Our area of town was untouched, though the neighboring parish (20 blocks away) has probably lost their entire physical plant. ... I know you've all seen the footage of St. John's, our Catholic hospital, which is probably also a total loss!

"Please keep our community in your prayers. ... There has been and will be much suffering. Such destruction and violence. ... Thanks, everyone, for your calls, texts and messages of support. Going to sleep now, so we can be at it again in the morning."

Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri was in Joplin and seeking donations to aid tornado victims, she added. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul also was coordinating its own relief efforts in the Joplin area, according to Eidson, who said the Convoy of Hope, which has a large operation in southwestern Missouri, had already established a base in Joplin.

Early estimates put 10 percent to 20 percent of the 50,000-population city's buildings as being damaged. Utility poles were uprooted by the tornado, making telephone communication difficult at best. Electricity and natural gas service was out in several sections of the city, with downed lines and dislodged pipes hampering search efforts. News accounts and Internet-posted photos and video were rife with flattened structures and twisted slabs of metal that had once been cars.

"The tornado has split Joplin in two," reported Eidson. Travel in and out of the city was difficult in the wake of the tornado, she added.


CNN REPORT-- Volcanic ash from an Icelandic eruption could reach British airspace Tuesday, sooner than previously predicted, Britain's Civil Aviation Authority warned Monday.saturday2_gyst

Scotland's Loganair announced that all flights will be canceled Tuesday due to forecasts that indicate "a high density of ash will be present in large parts of Scottish airspace." British Airways and Dutch airline KLM also canceled dozens of scheduled Tuesday flights to and from locations in Scotland.

The eruption forced U.S. President Barack Obama, who was in Ireland on Monday, to move up the departure for his next stop on a six-day European tour.

"Due to a recent change in the trajectory in the plume of volcanic ash, Air Force One will depart Ireland for London tonight. The schedule for tomorrow will proceed as planned," White House official John Earnest told CNN.

Get more information from the UK's National Weather Service

The Barcelona football club was also considering flying early to London for its Saturday match-up against Manchester United in the Champions League Final.

Volcano erupts in Iceland

The ash forced the closure of Icelandic airspace over the weekend, raising the specter of the kind of disruption of trans-Atlantic and European air travel that took place last year.

But Britain's CAA said new arrangements have been put in place since last year's eruption of another Icelandic volcano, and those changes should reduce the number of flights that have to be canceled if the ash cloud spreads.

The main international airport in Iceland reopened Monday evening, according to the airport's website.

There were no international flights in or out of the country on Sunday after Grimsvotn -- Europe's most active volcano -- began to erupt on Saturday.

Last year, trans-Atlantic and European air traffic was snarled for weeks by an ash cloud from the other volcano, Eyjafjallajokull.

The Grimsvotn volcano under the Vatnajokull glacier erupted Saturday, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office.

The last eruption of the volcano was in 2004, CNN affiliate TV2 Iceland reported.

Grimsvotn is Iceland's most frequently active volcano. In 1783, a 16.7-mile fissure system from the volcano produced the world's largest known historical lava flow over a seven-month period, damaging crops and livestock, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. A resulting famine resulted in the loss of one-fifth of Iceland's population, according to the Smithsonian website.

CNN's Alex Felton and Brianna Keilar contributed to this report.



ASIA NEWS REPORT: After the pope's appeal, underground priests were taken away by security forces on a "trip" to prevent them going to the shrine of Our Lady of Sheshan. Prayer for underground bishops, held by the police for decades. Bishop Jia Zhiguo in hospital for heart problems, under police supervision. Bishop’s tomb desecrated. Rosaries, Masses and worship, in obedience to the pope’s invitation. But some say they know nothing of his message.

Shanghai (AsiaNews) - Among the difficulties and arrests, Chinese Catholics are preparing to celebrate tomorrow's World Day of Prayer for China, established by Benedict XVI in his 2007 letter to the faithful in China. The day coincides with the feast of Mary Help of Christians, venerated at the National Shrine of Sheshan, about 40 km southwest of Shanghai.

In the past, on May 24th tens of thousands of official and underground Catholics made pilgrimages to the shrine, in a common gesture of prayer and reconciliation. Since 2008, the date of the first Day launched by the pope, the government has constantly placed obstacles to the faithful’s participation, blocking underground Catholics, limiting the influx from other dioceses and only allowing groups of faithful from Shanghai access to the shrine.

AsiaNews sources confirm that this year "security in Sheshan is very tight, with police and checkpoints with video cameras placed everywhere." One priest, however, confirmed that tomorrow Mgr. Xing Wenzhi, auxiliary bishop of Shanghai will go to the shrine to celebrate a mass. The ordinary of the diocese, Mgr. Aloysius Jin Luxian, 95, will not participate, having already presided at mass at the shrine on 1 and 11 May last.

Sources in the underground community in Shanghai yesterday told AsiaNews that their priests have been "taken away by police for a tour at government expense" to prevent them from making the pilgrimage to Sheshan, as they had planned. Yesterday none of the city's underground community was able to celebrate mass because of the absence of their priests.

Sometimes, some communities are able to circumvent controls. A young priest said that in 2010 public security tried to stop them, but he and his group managed to get to Sheshan. "We arrived at Sheshan on May 24 with much sadness and difficulty, but we were happy to offer our prayers to Our Lady on this special day."

It also reported arrests among the priests of the underground community of North China. Some of them had prepared hundreds of copies of the prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan, distributing them to the faithful.

Benedict XVI, in his letter, asks for prayers to show "solidarity and concern" for the "past and present sufferings" of Chinese Catholics. Various underground communities pray for their bishops who disappeared in police custody decades ago, and whose fate is unknown. Among them we recall Mgr. James Su Zhimin (diocese of Baoding, Hebei), 77, was arrested and disappeared in 1996 and Mgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang (diocese of Yixian, Hebei), 88, arrested and disappeared in the hands of police April 13, 2001.

Catholics in Zhengding want to pray especially for their bishop, Mgr. Julius Jia Zhiguo, who has been in hospital in Shijiazhuang since May 18 with heart problems. Even in hospital, the bishop is under police surveillance.

In Luoyang (Henan), underground Catholics are praying for their Bishop. Li Hongye, who died last April 23 after spending ten years in hard labor. "The community is still mourning - said one priest - and we are very disappointed that the authorities have demolished the cross erected on the grave of our bishop."

Yesterday in Hohhot (Inner Mongolia), Mgr. Meng Qinglu reminded the faithful to offer prayers especially for those who do not go to church, to help revive their enthusiasm for the faith and for unity and communion with the universal Church.

In Taiyuan (Shanxi) communities, tomorrow will make a pilgrimage to the local shrines of Mount of the Seven Sorrows and Mount Guquan. Other communities have jointly prepared rosaries, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Eucharistic celebrations. Some communities have told AsiaNews that they know nothing about Benedict XVI’s latest appeal for prayer for China launched on May 18 and that they will not celebrate the Day of Prayer.

The Pope’s Prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan

Prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan:

Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title "Help of Christians", the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection. We come before you today to implore your protection. Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.

When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth, you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption. You willingly and generously cooperated in that work, allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul, until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary, standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.

From that moment, you became, in a new way, the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross. Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter. Grant that your children may discern at all times, even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.

Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China,who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love. May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus. In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high, offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love. Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built. Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!


Image from the Bishops' plenary, photo supplied


The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has released a wrap-up of its Plenary meeting held earlier this month, outlining areas of discussion and focus during the gathering.

The bishops said they "remembered fondly but with deep sadness their brother Bishop Joseph Angelo Grech, who died suddenly late last year (December 28) of a blood disorder".

They also discussed "at length the retirement of Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba and the implications for the Australian Church", and issued a pastoral letter to the appointed Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Brian Finnigan.

Among other topics of discussion were pastoral responses to abortion, problem gambling, the Commonwealth review of funding for schooling, the acculturation of priests from abroad and the implementation of the new Missal.

Full details of the areas covered by the bishops can be found in their statement, linked below.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Kenyan Episcopal Conference (KEC) inaugurated its new website with a ceremony presided over by His Eminence Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi, at the "St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Nairobi. " In a society so impoverished by the lack of values, we cannot fail to carry out programs directed by the Social Doctrine of the Church, that are both educational and train the human person, deeply oriented towards true emancipation of people and the restoration of their dignity and integrity "said Cardinal Njue. "The new site will continue to be a window through which even those who are far will follow the work of our Secretariat. We try to navigate and interact to add value to our programs, "the cardinal continued.


St.John Baptiste de Rossi


Feast: May 23


Feast Day:May 23
Born:February 22, 1698, Voltaggio, Province of Alessandria, Piedmont, Duchy of Savoy
Died:May 23, 1764, Rome, Papal States
Canonized:December 8, 1881, Rome by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine:Church of San Giovanni Battista de Rossi, Rome

Born at Voltaggio in the Diocese of Genoa, 22 February, 1698; died at Rome, 23 May, 1764; feast on 23 May. His parents, Charles de Rossi and Frances Anfossi, were not rich in earthly goods, but had solid piety and the esteem of their fellow-citizens. Of their four children, John excelled in gentleness and piety. At the age of ten he was taken to Genoa by friends for his education. There he received news of the death of his father. After three years he was called to Rome by a relative, Lorenzo de Rossi, who was canon at St. Mary in Cosmedin. He pursued his studies at the Collegium Romanum under the direction of the Jesuits, and soon became a model by his talents, application to study, and virtue. As a member of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin and of the Ristretto of the Twelve Apostles established at the college, he led the members in the meetings and pious exercises, in visits to the sick in the hospitals and in other works of mercy, and merited even then the name of apostle. At the age of sixteen he entered the clerical state. Owing to indiscreet practices of mortification he contracted spells of epilepsy, notwithstanding which he made his course of scholastic philosophy and theology, in the college of the Dominicans, and, with dispensation, was ordained priest on 8 March, 1721. Having reached the desired goal, he bound himself by vow to accept no ecclesiastical benefice unless commanded by obedience. He fulfilled the duties of the sacred ministry by devoting himself to the labourers, herds, and teamsters of the Campagna, preaching to them early in the morning, or late in the evening, at the old Forum Romanum (Campo Vaccino), and by visiting, instructing, and assisting the poor at the hospital of St. Galla. In 1731 he established near St. Galla another hospital as a home of refuge for the unfortunates who wander the city by night ("Rom. Brev.", tr. Bute, Summer, 573). In 1735 he became titular canon at St. Mary in Cosmedin, and, on the death of Lorenzo two years later, obedience forced him to accept the canonry. The house belonging to it, however, he would not use, but employed the rent for good purposes.

For a number of years John was afraid, on account of his sickness, to enter the confessional, and it was his custom to send to other priests the sinners whom he had brought to repentance by his instructions and sermons. In 1738 a dangerous sickness befell him, and to regain his health he went to Cività Castellana, a day's journey from Rome. The bishop of the place induced him to hear confessions, and after reviewing his moral theology he received the unusual faculty of hearing confessions in any of the churches of Rome. He showed extraordinary zeal in the exercise of this privilege, and spent many hours every day in hearing the confessions of the illiterate and the poor whom he sought in the hospitals and in their homes. He preached to such five and six times a day in churches, chapels, convents, hospitals, barracks, and prison cells, so that he became the apostle of the abandoned, a second Philip Neri, a hunter of souls. In 1763, worn out by such labours and continued ill-health, his strength began to ebb away, and after several attacks of paralysis he died at his quarters in Trinità de' Pellegrini. He was buried in that church under a marble slab at the altar of the Blessed Virgin. God honoured his servant by miracles, and only seventeen years after his death the process of beatification was begun, but the troubled state of Europe during the succeeding years prevented progress in the cause until it was resumed by Pius IX, who on 13 May, 1860, solemnly pronounced his beatification. As new signs still distinguished him, Leo XIII, on 8 December, 1881, enrolled him among the saints.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: MAY 23: JOHN 14: 21-26

John 14: 21 - 26
21He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."
22Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?"
23Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
24He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.
25"These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you.
26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
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