The Vigil of Prayer in Circus Maximus begins at 20:00 hrs, local time, but pilgrims will be granted access to the arena starting from 17:30 hrs. The Vigil – divided into two parts – will include a live link up for the praying of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary with five Marian Shrines around the world and will conclude with a final benediction from Pope Benedict XVI, who will link up live from the Apostolic Palace.
Following the Vigil, pilgrims are invited to take part in the “White Night of Prayer” organised by the Diocese of Rome. Teams of young people will be on the streets in front of eight Churches that line the route from Circus Maximus to the St Peter’s area, to invite faithful to join in a moment of prayer and mediation before the Blessed Sacrament. Priests will also be on hand to hear confessions in each of the Churches which will remain open throughout the night. The Churches are: Sant' Agnese in Agone, Piazza Navona; San Marco al Campidoglio; Santa Anastasia; Santissimo Nome di Gesù all'Argentina; Santa Maria in Vallicella; San Giovanni dei Fiorentini; San Andrea della Valle; and San Bartolomeo on Tiber Island.
The Vigil will be broadcast and streamed live by Vatican Radio and CTV. Just click on the Vatican Player icon on our homepage: www.vaticanradio.org or alternatively www.vatican.va/video .
Those attending the beatification events and own iphones or smartphones can avail of English language news updates by accessing the http address : http://rv.va/5 .
PROVIDING CORRECT AND BALANCED INFORMATION
VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - This afternoon at Castelgandolfo the Pope received the participants in the XVII Assembly of the European Broadcasting Union gathered these days in Rome as guests of Vatican Radio, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.
The Holy Father emphasized that through radio, "pontiffs have been able to transmit, across borders, messages of great importance for humanity. ... It can be said that the entire teaching of the Church in this area - beginning with the addresses of Pius XII, through the documents of the Second Vatican Council, up to my most recent messages on new digital technologies - is marked by a current of optimism, hope, and sincere compassion with those who dedicate themselves in this field to promoting encounter and dialogue, to serve the human community and to contribute to the peaceful development of society".
"In today's society", he continued, "the basic values of the good of humanity are in play, public opinion ... is often found disoriented and divided". In this context he noted that "it is a duty to provide every day, correct and balanced information and a profound debate that seeks the best shared solutions regarding these questions in a pluralistic society. It is a task that requires great professional honor, correction and respect, an openness to different perspectives, clarity in treating problems, freedom from ideological barriers, and an awareness of the complexity of problems".
Benedict XVI recalled that the Catholic Church "intends to offer by witnessing to her adherence to the truth that is Christ, yet doing so in a spirit of openness and dialogue. ... Religion contributes by 'purifying' reason, helping it not to fall prey to distortions, such as manipulation by ideology or partial application that fails to take full account of the dignity of the human person". In this sense the Pope invited the professionals in communications to "seek ways of promoting and encouraging dialogue between faith and reason, with a view to serving the common good of the nation".
While emphasizing the difficulties that need to be faced in their service, the Pope stressed that "the challenges of the modern world on which you have to report are too great and too urgent for you to become discouraged or tempted to give up in the face of such difficulties".
The Holy Father concluded by encouraging them to put their "contacts and activities at the service of reflection and commitment" with the aim of "ensuring that the instruments of social communication promote dialogue, peace and development of peoples in solidarity, overcoming cultural separation, uncertainties and fears".
VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2011 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for May is: "That those working in communication media may respect the truth, solidarity, and dignity of all people ".
His mission intention is: "That the Lord may help the Church in China persevere in fidelity to the Gospel and grow in unity".
AGREEMENT BETWEEN HOLY SEE AND REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN
VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2011 (VIS) - Yesterday, Friday 29 April, in the offices of Azerbaijan's State Committee for Work with Religious Associations, Baku, Azerbaijan, an accord was signed between the Holy See and the Republic of Azerbaijan that regulates juridical relations between the Catholic Church and that Nation as made public in a communique published today.
Signing for the Holy See as plenipotentiary was Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, apostolic nuncio to that country, and signing on behalf of the Republic of Azerbaijan was Hidayat Orujov, president of the State Committee for Work with Religious Associations.
The agreement, which entails eight articles, regulates the juridical situation of the Catholic Church in Azerbaijan and, among other things, guarantees the freedom to publicly profess and practice the Catholic faith as well as the right of the Catholic Church to organize and exercise her mission in conformity with ecclesiastic legislation. At the same time it recognizes and registers the juridical person of the Catholic Church and all its institutions, ensuring free communication between the local Catholic community and the Holy See as well as access to the means of communication and the free election, on the part of the Holy See, of an Ordinary with the responsibility of her ecclesiastical constituency. Finally, it regulates the concession of residence and work visas for ecclesiastical personnel.
VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop of Milan, Italy.
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2011 (VIS) - Today The Holy Father appointed:
- Bishop Saul Figueroa Albornoz, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Caracas, as bishop of Puerto Cabello (area 729, population 331,000, Catholics 298,000, priests 25, religious 19), Venezuela.
- Bishop Piero Coccia, archbishop of Pesaro, as a member of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.
- Johan Ketelers, secretary general of the International Catholic Migration Commission, as a consultant of the same council.
CNA REPORT: Catholic Charities is appealing for help for families in southern states after a series of devastating storms killed over 300 people.Tornadoes have “ripped out entire communities” in the past few days, Catholic Charities disaster operations head Kim Burgo told CNA. “Our agencies are working very hard to provide immediate basic needs – food, water, clothing.”
Burgo explained that within the last two weeks, storms started in the midwest “and just moved across the country as we all watched it.”
“Immediately hit was of course, all of Arkansas and then moving over through Tennessee and Mississippi on to Alabama and then Georgia,” she said, “so we're looking at a number of catholic charities affected in these areas.”
Burgo said that at this point, general assessments of the damage are still taking place in some of the most recently hit regions.
“As search and rescue happens, agencies such as Catholic Charities and Red Cross and others are not really allowed into an area until search and rescue is finished,” she said, adding, however, that the organizations have started assistance in places where search and rescue has already been completed.
Burgo said that in addition to helping fulfill basic needs, Catholic Charities is working to provide counseling, temporary shelters and things such as large containers “so that when family members do go back to their residence that they're able to salvage whatever is left of their property and store it in a secure place.”
Appealing to the nation's faithful, Burgo said that “right now, monetary contributions are what's most needed.”
“We haven't been able to determine what kind of material donations are needed in that arena yet so for right now, what is needed is cash.”
Burgo noted that others have been affected by the storms beyond the areas that have been directly hit.
“We heard reports this morning that in one area, there were three large employers whose plants were completely destroyed and so now there's about a thousand people out of work.”
The storms have had “a lot of repercussions – a person may not have not have had their home destroyed but their job may no longer be available.”
“Having these cash donations,” she emphasized, “helps to provide food and helps to provide vouchers so that families can get the supplies they need.”
Burgo said that those wishing to contribute to the families effected by the recent catastrophe should visitwww.catholiccharitiesusa.org.
The riots and violence in Syria is a major concern for the Christian churches in the country. Even today, "Day of wrath", the first to see the Muslim Brotherhood take to the streets, news of protests and repression, deaths and injuries are filtering through not only from Deraa, but from Damascus, Latakia, Homs, Hourani, Deir Zoour and other cities. Fear for the future is mounting, that it will be one of chaos or fundamentalist governments, one that will leave Christians no option but to emigrate abroad. This is what Gregory III Laham, Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, tells AsiaNews today.
The patriarch stresses the participation of Christians in the pain and suffering of the people. Respect for the deaths that have occurred in recent weeks - at least 500 since the anti-Assad demonstrations started - the Easter holiday was celebrated without music and processions, out of respect for those in mourning. Gregory III, however, expresses doubts about the identity of those who lead the uprising (criminals? Fundamentalists? Jihadists?) About his growing concerns for the future. The Melkite Patriarch believes a way to avoid a violent revolution needs to be found on that leads to progress in stability. This is why His Holiness has written letters to European countries and the Americas asking them to help prevent the nation from sliding into chaos and to move swiftly to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian problem, the real priority for peace in the Middle East and the world.
Your Beatitude, as a Christian how do you view the situation in Syria?
The movements and revolts that are shaking Syria worry the Churches and Christians. Not so much for the present, but for the future, for what to expect. In the past, every revolt in the Middle East was followed by a large wave of Christian emigration to Europe, America or Australia. I fear that even now the same will happen, further emptying an already dwindling Christian community.
Some Muslim scholars also are concerned about a possible depletion of Christians in Syria. And are demanding their presence be defended and safeguarded.
Are there problems for the Christian communities?
So far, the riots have not been of a sectarian nature, they are not a Christian-Muslim conflict. Indeed, during demonstrations in Homs, Aleppo and Damascus, young Muslims have offered to protect churches, providing security cordons around the buildings to prevent criminal acts.
In solidarity with those killed in clashes in recent weeks, Christians have celebrated the rites of Holy Week and Easter in a very sober manner, no processions, music or festivities, to correctly participate in the mourning of the population.
At the same time we are trying to play the role of mediators in conflicts that have emerged in Syrian society, so that tensions do not grow until the inevitable. I have personally sent letters to 15 European countries, the United States, and the Americas asking their governments to help improve the situation without any "revolution" violent.
What is your impression of the protesters?
The impression we have from inside is that some groups whose main objective is to provoke a violent response from the government are infiltrating the protests that originally grew from social and economic problems. In this way, tension is stoked to the point of gaining the international community’s condemnation and demands for a regime change from outside. There are very mysterious aspects pervading all of this: there are criminals involved in the protest, there is a massive introduction of weapons in the country to provoke a confrontation .... The future is very uncertain and no-one knows what the outcome will be, no one knows who these people are. Sure, there are young, frustrated people, but many say that among them are criminals and even fundamentalist Muslims who cry for jihad. This is why we fear that giving way to violence will only lead to chaos. I think the tactics of a phony war are being used against Syria.
How would you explain the West’s exaltation of the Syrian protests and its harsh accusations of violations of human rights?
There are political problems and pressures to shake up the balance of power in the Middle East: the alliance with Iran [and Syria-ed], Israel’s concern... In all things that happen in the Middle East, there is always a link with the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, war, emigration ... we have been in this situation for over 62 years. For this I sent the letter to European and American governments and I invited them to put pressure on their governments to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian problem as a priority: only in this way will there be less migration, less terrorism, less fundamentalism, less violence.
This is my mission and it is what I also emphasized in the Synod of Bishops last October and the pope appreciated it. Peace is also important for the future of Muslim-Christian dialogue in Syria and the world. If the crisis continues to force Christians to migrate, the Arab world will become exclusively Muslim increasing the likelihood of a cultural conflict between the Arab-Islamic world and Western-Christian world.
The presence of Christians in the Middle East saves the Arab Middle East by not to reducing it to pure Islam. If Syria is helped to overcome this situation of chaos to one of stability guaranteed by dialogue with the population, the future will be better for everyone.
Is the Assad family rule a positive thing for Syria?
In these 40 years, Syria has made great advances in agriculture, economics, education, even university, generating many jobs. There has been less development on a socio-political level, but the everyday lives of people has improved significantly. Even in religious freedom, there has been a lot of progress. A few months ago I was able to organize - with the sponsorship of the government - an international meeting on the fruits of the Synod of the Middle East (celebrated in the Vatican last October), with the participation of at least 3,500 persons, four patriarchs, 13 churches.
Regarding political reform, we must remember that in the Arab Middle East, in addition to Lebanon, there are democracies. There are parties, elections, but governments try to control the whole society. And in many situations, this is also necessary.
ALL AFRICA REPORT: A new Archbishop for the Benin Metropolitan See of the Catholic Church was yesterday installed. He is Most Rev. Augustine Obiora Akubueze who until recently was the Bishop of Uromi Diocese.
His installation by the Apostolic Nuncio in Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Kasujja had laid to rest this crisis which had faced the Church over his appointment.
The Catholic Pontiff also expressed gratitude to the Archdiocese Administrator, His Lordship, and Most Rev. Dr. Anthony Gbuji for the way and manner he administered the Archdiocese until the appointment of a new head for the Archdiocese.
Speaking at the installation ceremony, the Out going Administrator of the Archdiocese, apologized for the turbulence caused by those he described as "a handful of dissident members of an unorganized and unrecognized group in the church in Benin City".
He stated that the dissident members who he said wanted to halt the installation of the new Archbishop had caused a lot of embarrassment in the Catholic Church in Nigeria and the Holy Sea.
Most Rev. Gbuji who was apparently referring to the litigation instituted by Benin Liturgical Group, however commended the Catholic Legal Luminaries, Knights of the Church who came together to enforce law and order and promote justice to ensure the installation took place.
He said the presence of a great number of people at the installation ceremony which included, the clergy and the religious at the even was a credible testimony to "Our Catholic belief the one Catholic and Apostolic faith".He also expressed gratitude to the state government and the law enforcement agents for providing the needed security, law and order for the happy outcome of the installation of the new Archbishop.
Gbuji said the Catholic Church today through the installation has once more expressed all maturity of faith in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ and their unalloyed loyalty to the leadership of Christ and the Holy Father, the Pope.
He therefore, urged the clergy, the religious and the faithful to fully cooperate with the new Metropolitan Archbishop.
|Pope John Paul II in St Peter's Square, September 2004.|
Photo: Radomił Binek (Wikimedia)
Pope John Paul II
In 1978 John Paul,
To the papacy was raised,
By his charm and by his talents,
We were dazzled and amazed.
There didn't seem much,
That he couldn't do.
Here are his talents,
To name just a few,
Hiking, acting, skiing,
And the occasional book.
John Paul certainly made people,
Take notice and look.
He learnt with ease,
It seemed for him,
It was a breeze.
He knew that to God,
All credit is due,
Unlike proud men,
Who haven't a clue!
In Saint Peter’s Square,
On a sunny day,
A bullet rung out,
And came his way.
John Paul was in
A serious state,
The world was stunned,
By this act of hate.
By Our Lady of Fatima,
John Paul was protected,
Away from his organs,
The bullet deflected.
For many weeks,
We anxiously watched and prayed,
Hoping God's power,
Would soon be displayed.
A suspect was arrested,
And refused bail,
He was tried and convicted,
And then sent to jail.
When John Paul was recovered,
And again feeling well,
He visited the hit man,
In a Rome prison cell.
He showed us how,
Our enemies to forgive,
He showed us how,
God wants us to live.
This message is sorely,
In this world needed,
Where the Gospel of Christ,
Is often unheeded.
Under Lech Walesa,
And with support from the pope,
The Polish people formed trade unions,
With courage and with hope.
The mighty communist empire
Then crumbled down,
When John Paul again
stood on Polish ground.
In country after country,
The Communists lost power,
Freedom in Eastern Europe,
Then again began to flower.
History never saw,
A more travelled pope,
All over the world,
He brought faith and hope.
On John Paul,
waged a war,
The once athletic pope,
Was vigorous no more.
On April two, two thousand and five
To Pope John Paul,
We said goodbye.
His soul to God,
Would now fly.
From mourners at his funeral,
Came a spontaneous call,
To immediately proclaim him,
As “Saint John Paul”.
In answer to prayer,
Favours John Paul, started to shower,
Demonstrating his great,
Intercessory power!Mary Ann Matulis
Parishioner, St John Vianney DoonsideDIOCESE OF PARRAMATTA REPORT:
St. Pius V
POPE AND REFORMER
Feast: April 30
Born at Bosco, near Alexandria, Lombardy, 17 Jan., 1504 elected 7 Jan., 1566; died 1 May, 1572. Being of a poor though noble family his lot would have been to follow a trade, but he was taken in by the Dominicans of Voghera, where he received a good education and was trained in the way of solid and austere piety. He entered the order, was ordained in 1528, and taught theology and philosophy for sixteen years. In the meantime he was master of novices and was on several occasions elected prior of different houses of his order in which he strove to develop the practice of the monastic virtues and spread the spirit of the holy founder. He himself was an example to all. He fasted, did penance, passed long hours of the night in meditation and prayer, traveled on foot without a cloak in deep silence, or only speaking to his companions of the things of God. In 1556 he was made Bishop of Sutri by Paul IV. His zeal against heresy caused him to be selected as inquisitor of the faith in Milan and Lombardy, and in 1557 Paul II made him a cardinal and named him inquisitor general for all Christendom. In 1559 he was transferred to Mondovì, where he restored the purity of faith and discipline, gravely impaired by the wars of Piedmont. Frequently called to Rome, he displayed his unflinching zeal in all the affairs on which he was consulted. Thus he offered an insurmountable opposition to Pius IV when the latter wished to admit Ferdinand de' Medici, then only thirteen years old, into the Sacred College. Again it was he who defeated the project of Maximilian II, Emperor of Germany, to abolish ecclesiastical celibacy. On the death of Pius IV, he was, despite his tears and entreaties, elected pope, to the great joy of the whole Church.
He began his pontificate by giving large alms to the poor, instead of distributing his bounty at haphazard like his predecessors. As pontiff he practiced the virtues he had displayed as a monk and a bishop. His piety was not diminished, and, in spite of the heavy labours and anxieties of his office, he made at least two meditations a day on bended knees in presence of the Blessed Sacrament. In his charity he visited the hospitals, and sat by the bedside of the sick, consoling them and preparing them to die. He washed the feet of the poor, and embraced the lepers. It is related that an English nobleman was converted on seeing him kiss the feet of a beggar covered with ulcers. He was very austere and banished luxury from his court, raised the standard of morality, laboured with his intimate friend, St. Charles Borromeo, to reform the clergy, obliged his bishops to reside in their dioceses, and the cardinals to lead lives of simplicity and piety. He diminished public scandals by relegating prostitutes to distant quarters, and he forbade bull fights. He enforced the observance of the discipline of the Council of Trent, reformed the Cistercians, and supported the missions of the New World. In the Bull "In Coena Domini" he proclaimed the traditional principles of the Roman Church and the supremacy of the Holy See over the civil power.
But the great thought and the constant preoccupation of his pontificate seems to have been the struggle against the Protestants and the Turks. In Germany he supported the Catholics oppressed by the heretical princes. In France he encouraged the League by his counsels and with pecuniary aid. In the Low Countries he supported Spain. In England, finally, he excommunicated Elizabeth, embraced the cause of Mary Stuart, and wrote to console her in prison. In the ardour of his faith he did not hesitate to display severity against the dissidents when necessary, and to give a new impulse to the activity of the Inquisition, for which he has been blamed by certain historians who have exaggerated his conduct. Despite all representations on his behalf he condemned the writings of Baius, who ended by submitting.
He worked incessantly to unite the Christian princes against the hereditary enemy, the Turks. In the first year of his pontificate he had ordered a solemn jubilee, exhorting the faithful to penance and almsgiving to obtain the victory from God. He supported the Knights of Malta, sent money for the fortification of the free towns of Italy, furnished monthly contributions to the Christians of Hungary, and endeavoured especially to bring Maximilian, Philip II, and Charles I together for the defence of Christendom. In 1567 for the same purpose he collected from all convents one-tenth of their revenues. In 1570 when Solyman II attacked Cyprus, threatening all Christianity in the West, he never rested till he united the forces of Venice, Spain, and the Holy See. He sent his blessing to Don John of Austria, the commander-in-chief of the expedition, recommending him to leave behind all soldiers of evil life, and promising him the victory if he did so. He ordered public prayers, and increased his own supplications to heaven. On the day of the Battle of Lepanto, 7 Oct., 1571, he was working with the cardinals, when, suddenly, interrupting his work opening the window and looking at the sky, he cried out, "A truce to business; our great task at present is to thank God for the victory which He has just given the Christian army". He burst into tears when he heard of the victory, which dealt the Turkish power a blow from which it never recovered. In memory of this triumph he instituted for the first Sunday of October the feast of the Rosary, and added to the Litany of Loreto the supplication "Help of Christians". He was hoping to put an end to the power of Islam by forming a general alliance of the Italian cities Poland, France, and all Christian Europe, and had begun negotiations for this purpose when he died of gravel, repeating "O Lord, increase my sufferings and my patience!" He left the memory of a rare virtue and an unfailing and inflexible integrity. He was beatified by Clement X in 1672, and canonized by Clement XI in 1712.