CARDINAL DE PAOLIS TO TAKE POSSESSION OF DIACONATE CHURCH
VATICAN CITY, 10 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announced that on Sunday, 15 May, at 11:30am, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, C.S., President of the Prefecture of Economic Affairs of the Holy See, will take possession of the diaconate of Gesu Buon Pastore alla Montagnola at Via Luigi Perna, 3.
VATICAN CITY, 10 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed:
- Archbishop Fernando Filoni, formerly substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. He succeeds Cardinal Ivan Dias, whose resignation the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.
- Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, formerly apostolic nuncio to Cuba, as substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.
- Bishop Johannes Harmannes Jozefus van den Hende, of Breda, Netherlands, as Bishop of Rotterdam, (area 8,326, population 3,555,000, Catholics 528,000, priests 383, permanent deacons 38, religious 599), Netherlands.
- Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, formerly apostolic nuncio to Chile, as apostolic nuncio to the Philippines.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 2011
Milan (AsiaNews) – On Sunday, June 26 in Piazza Duomo in Milan (at 9.30-12) Father Clemente Vismara (1897-1988) will be beatified. In 1983, on the sixtieth year of his mission, the Episcopal Conference proclaimed him "Patriarch of the Burma". Born in 1897 in Agrate Brianza, he took part in the First World War, as a trench soldier, emerging from battle with the rank of sergeant and three medals for military valour. He understood that "life has value only if you give it for others" (as he wrote), and thus he became a priest and missionary of PIME in 1923 and left for Burma. Arriving in Toungoo, the last city with a British governor, he spent six months in the bishop's house to learn English, then he set off for Kengtung, an almost unexplored land of forest, mountains and inhabited by tribal people, still under the domination of a local king (sabo) sponsored by the British. After14 days of riding he arrived at Kengtung where he would remain for three-months to learn the local languages and then the superior of the mission accompanied him to Monglin reached after six days on horseback, his last destination on the border between Laos, Thailand and China.
It was October 1924 and in 32 years (in the midst of World War II, a prisoner of the Japanese), Clemente Vismara, out of nowhere, built three parishes: Monglin, Mong Phyak and Kenglap. He wrote to Agrate: "Here I am 120 kilometres from Kengtung, if I want to see another Christian I have to look in the mirror". He lives with three orphans in a mud and straw shed. His apostolate is to tour the tribal villages on horseback, to pitch his tent and make himself known: he brought medicine, pulled rotten teeth, adapted to life with the tribals, the climate, dangers, food, rice and spicy salsa, hunting for meat. From the outset he took in orphans and abandoned children in Monglin to educate them. Later he founded an orphanage that became home to between 200 to 250 orphans. Today he is invoked as the "protector of children" and a lot of the graces received concern children and families.
A life lived in conditions of extreme poverty, Clement wrote: "This is worse than when I was in the trenches on the Adamello and Monte Maio, but I wanted this war and I have to fight to the end with God's help I'm always in the hands of God. Gradually a Christian community was born, the Sisters of the Child Mary come to help, he founded schools and chapels, factories and rice fields, irrigation canals, he taught carpentry and mechanics, built brick houses and brought new crops, wheat, corn, silkworms, vegetables (carrots, onions, salad - "the father eats grass," the people would say).
Soon-to-be Blessed Clement founded the church in a corner of the world where there are no tourists, but only opium smugglers, black magicians and guerillas from different backgrounds, he brought peace and stabilised nomadic tribes within the territory who, through the schooling and health care, have raised their standards of living and now have doctors and nurses, artisans and teachers, priests and nuns, bishops and civil authorities. Many of them called Clement and Clementina.
In 1956, when he founded the Christian citadel of Monglin and converted fifty villages to faith in Christ, the bishop moved him to Mongping, 250 kilometers from Monglin in the vast diocese of Kengtung, where he had to start from scratch.Clemente wrote to his brother: "I obey the bishop because I understand that if I do things my own way then I do them wrong." At the age of sixty he began a new mission and also founded here the Christian town and parish of Mongping, a second parish in Tongtà and left another fifty Catholic villages in his wake. He died June 15, 1988 in Mongping and is buried near the church and the Grotto of Lourdes, which he built. On his grave visited by many non-Christians fresh flowers and lit candles are never lacking. Now, 23 years later, June 26, 2011, Father Clemente Vismara is to be declared blessed of the Church Universal and is the first blessed of Burma. A rapid cause for beatification, given the usually long time needed for these Roman "processes".
Why is Father Clemente Vismara being declared Blessed? In life he did not perform miracles, have visions or revelations, he was not a mystic nor a theologian, he made no great works nor had any extraordinary gifts. He was a missionary like the rest, so much so that when we discussed the opening of his beatification cause here at PIME, some of his confreres in Burma said: "If you declare him Blessed you need to declare all of us here blessed who have led the same life he did". In 1993 I went to Kengtung with two missionaries who had been with Clement in Burma and we asked the Bishop Abraham Than, "Why do you want father Clement declared blessed?". He said: "We had many PIME missionaries saints who founded diocese, including the first Bishop Erminio Bonetta, still remembered as a model of evangelical charity, and others whose memory is still alive. But none of them have sparked this devotion and this movement of people who declare them saints, like Father Vismara. In this I see a sign from God to start the diocesan process. "
As one of his brothers said: "Vismara saw the extraordinary in the ordinary." At eighty years had the same enthusiasm for his vocation as a priest and missionary, peaceful and joyful, generous to all, trusting in Providence, a man of God despite the tragic situations in which he lived. He had an adventurous and poetic vision of the missionary vocation, that made him a fascinating character through his writings, perhaps the most famous Italian missionary of the twentieth century.
His trust in Providence was proverbial. He had no budgets or estimates, he never counted the money he had. In a country where the majority of people in some months suffer from hunger, Clement gave food to all, he never turned anyone away empty-handed. The PIME brothers and Sisters of the Child Mary would reproach him for taking in too many children, old people, lepers, disabled, widows, mentally unbalanced. Clemente always said: "Today we all ate, tomorrow the Lord will provide." He trusted in Providence, but across the world he wrote to donors for support and help with articles in various magazines. He spent his evenings writing letters and articles by candlelight (I have collected over 2000 letters and 600 articles.) It must be added that the writings of Father Vismara, poetic, adventurous, inflamed with love for the poorest, have attracted many vocations to the priesthood, and religious missionaries not only in Italy.
Clement represents well the virtues and the values of the missionaries to be passed down to future generations. In the last half century, mission to the nations has dramatically changed, but always remaining to be what Jesus wants, "Go into all the world, proclaim the Gospel to every creature." But the new methods (responsibility of the local church, inculturation, interreligious dialogue, etc..) must be experienced in the spirit and continuity of the ecclesial tradition that dates back to the Apostles.
Clemente is one of the last links in this glorious Apostolic Tradition. He was in love with Jesus (he prayed a lot!) in love with his people, especially the small and the least and wrote: "These orphans are not mine, but of God and God never allows us to lack the necessary". He lived to the letter what Jesus says in the Gospel: "Do not worry too much, saying, 'What shall we eat? What shall we drink? How will we dress? '. The ones who do not know that God cares for all these things ... But if you look for the Kingdom of God and do his will, everything else God will give you and more "(Matt. 6, 31-34). Utopia? No, Clemente was a living reality, which brings joy to the heart despite all the problems he had.
I visited Burma in 1983, at 86 he was still parish priest at Mongping. I wanted to interview him about his adventures and he told me: "Forget my past I have told that story too many times. Let's talk about my future” and he spoke to me about the villages to visit, schools and chapels to be built, the requests for conversion that came from various parts. As a confrere said: "He died at 91 without ever being old." He had kept the enthusiasm of the early days of his mission.
Father Clemente Vismara is one of about 200 PIME missionaries who since from 1867 until the present have been based in north-eastern Burma in six of the 14 dioceses in Myanmar: Toungoo, Kengtung, Taunggyi, Lashio, Loikaw and Pekong, with about 300 thousand baptized, indigenous bishops, priests and nuns, more than half of Catholics in Burma. Clemente is one of many who, all together, are a good example of the missionary tradition and spirit of the PIME, that continues to assist the Church of Myanmar in various ways, among other things, in taking on their missionary vocations, training them and sending them into the institution's community present on every continent to proclaim Christ and found the church in other nations.
* To find out more and get to know Blessed Clemente Vismara
- The biography "Prima del sole” (Emi pagg. 224, 10 Euro): Clement would rise early and went up the hill to see the sun rise. He wrote: "When I see the sun appear, I understand that God has not forsaken me."
- "Clemente Vismara il santo dei bambini” (Emi, pagg. 158, 10 Euro), a selection of 45 articles on his children and the children who lived with him, with a study on "How Father Clement educated his children."
- "Lettere dalla Birmania” (San Paolo, pagg. 238, Euro 12), a selection of his letters from Burma.
- “Positio”, the monumental biography of Clemente for the Congregation of Saints, with the testimonies from the canonical process of beatification, letters and writings of Vismara and, various documents.Volume of 610 A4 pages plus photographic plates, $ 50.
- “Clemente racconta…” , tri-monthly journal on Blessed Clemente edited by Agrate missionary group sent free of charged on request.
For further information contact Rita Gervasoni, Italy Via Giovine, 16 - 20041 Agrate Brianza (MB). Tel 039 652 207 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Or Father Piero Gheddo, PIME, Via Monterosa, 81 - 20149 Milano. Tel 02.43.82.04.18 - Email: email@example.com
- Approximately 1,500 men heard a call to profound conversion at the May 7 Rocky Mountain Catholic Men's Conference. The World Arena in Colorado Springs hosted the event, which featured Father Benedict Groeschel, Fr. Larry Richards, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, and Patrick Madrid.
Stages of the spiritual life
Fr. Benedict Groeschel, from the Franciscan Friars of the renewal, discussed spiritual growth. The 78-year-old priest spoke with contemplative wisdom and dry wit, as he explained its basic pattern: first, turning from sin, then trusting in God, and finally living in his presence.
“Don't say that you trust God completely – only a saint does that,” the Franciscan priest said. “We all trust a bit, and send some requests: 'Please, can we pay off our mortgage!'”
But this piecemeal trust in God must grow up. “There comes a point of spiritual maturity – when a person puts everything, in trust, in God,” he explained. “Mature faith accepts the mysteries of God.
Fr. Groeschel remembered the religious sisters he knew as a child, who showed him the spiritual life's goal: “to live in the presence of God,” finding peace and strength in any situation.
One of those sisters cared for an elderly woman whose appearance frightened the future priest when he was an eight-year-old boy. But the sister was perfectly at peace.
“How come 'the witch' didn't bother Sister Teresa?” he recalled wondering, as he knelt in prayer.
As he was praying for an answer to his question, an surprising inspiration hit the young boy – a thought that would lead him to discover the sister's source of peace for himself.
“Something said: 'Be a priest.'” Fr. Groeschel placed his own trust in God, and has now followed that call for 50 years.
A wake-up call for 'spiritual wimps'
Fr. Larry Richards, who heads the Reason For Our Hope Foundation and published “Be A Man!: Becoming the Man God Created You to Be” in 2009, followed Fr. Groeschel.
In a talk intended to help men prepare for confession, Fr. Richards discussed their spiritual responsibilities and common failings.
“Men have become spiritual wimps,” he said. “We sit there and we say stuff like, 'Oh, women are more spiritual.' Gentlemen, that's garbage! Muslim men are willing to pray publicly in front of everybody!”
“God's always speaking to you,” he asserted. “What's the problem? You're not listening!” He ridiculed the notion that men should “try” to make time for daily prayer, joking that no one would “try” to eat or go to work every day.
Fr. Richards went on to discuss the fundamentals of confession.
“Some of you have never made a good confession, because you've been afraid,” he said. The deliberate omission of serious sins, he explained, results in an invalid confession. He compared sin to cancer, and
said confession – like chemotherapy – must “get rid of it all.”
Fr. Richards drove home his points about sin's seriousness, but emphasized that the love of God should be the main reason to repent.
“If the only reason you follow Jesus is so you don't go to hell, who do you love? Yourself.” he observed.
“You want to go to heaven, so that you can be with the one you love more than anybody.”
Sin's social reality
The hour-long lines for confession during lunch indicated that Fr. Richards struck a nerve. Afterward, Fr. Mitch Pacwa took the stage to give a more analytical reflection on the subject of sin, drawing on history and Biblical scholarship.
Fr. Pacwa, a Jesuit priest and host of EWTN Live, observed that ancient cultures had a sense of sin's universality and seriousness.
But today, this acknowledgment of original sin becomes an excuse for doing wrong. Meanwhile, in the Church, “there's very poor catechesis on sin.”
Fr. Pacwa told a story from the life of Bl. John Paul II to illustrate the point. A group of bishops, he recalled, had gone to meet with the Pope as all bishops must every five years.
“One of the bishops, from out east, was at the luncheon that they always have with the Pope – telling him, 'Holy Father, you have to realize that many of our young people in America do not even know that having sex before marriage is the sin of fornication! They don't even know that it's a mortal sin!'”
“And the Pope said back: 'For the young people who do not know, this is not their fault. But for the bishop who does not tell them this is sin – this is his fault!”
Fr. Pacwa told the men that they, too, had a responsibility to call sin by its proper name, first in their personal lives and then in the world.
“We are going to be a great help to our society, by the way we call people to repentance and forgiveness,” he promised.
Putting away 'childish things'
This message of outreach continued in a presentation by the lay apologist Patrick Madrid. The former vice president of Catholic Answers and current publisher of Envoy magazine took St. Paul's discussion of “putting away childish things” as his theme for addressing the men's conference.
“We are all Catholic men, called by the Lord,” he reflected. “To be soldiers, to be fathers and husbands. Boys can't accomplish those missions. Men have to do that.”
He described how his own faith matured through different stages. As a five-year-old child, he assumed every family was Catholic. During adolescence, he was peppered with questions by an anti-Catholic girlfriend's father. As a musician in local rock bands, he watched his generation succumb to a reckless lifestyle.
Madrid said these experiences made him grow in appreciation and knowledge of his faith, so that he could transmit it to others. He told the story of encountering a woman who said she “hated the Catholic Church,” which she had left after having an abortion as a teenager.
“I'm sitting there wondering, what in the world can I possibly say to this lady?” he explained. “The only thing I could think of to say was, 'You need to go to confession.'” The woman replied that it was unthinkable.
“I said, 'Well, just know that the door is open if you ever want to go' … I didn't know what else to do.”
“Six or seven weeks later, I got an email from her,” Madrid continued. “She said: 'Dear Patrick, you were right, I needed to go to confession.'”
“She came back to the Catholic Church,” Madrid concluded. “All I really needed to do was keep my mouth closed. And when the moment came, God would provide the words that needed to be said.”
The 'privileged place' of the Eucharist
After a day of talks that focused heavily on confession and repentance, Colorado Springs Bishop Michael J. Sheridan celebrated the closing Mass. He offered a homily on the Eucharist as the center of Christian life.
“What we are doing now, what you do every Sunday – this is the heart of what it means to be a Catholic,” he explained.
“This is the privileged place where we recognize Jesus, in the breaking of the bread,” he taught. “Never, ever miss Sunday Mass.”
|IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT:|
CATH NEWS REPORT: A Melbourne priest has challenged people to forgive Osama bin Laden, including him in a "We Remember" tribute to those who have died recently in a parish newsletter, reports the Herald Sun.
Father David Hofman, from the Our Lady of Mount Carmel church, in Middle Park, said including bin Laden was an act of forgiveness for a man who needs all the prayers he can get as he goes before God.
"It's hard to think of anyone who needs it more," he said.
Others who have been previously added in the parish newsletter include the victims of the US September 11 attack, and Yasser Arafat.
"But considering what he (bin Laden) has been responsible for, this is a man in need of prayer.""Obviously with someone like Osama bin Laden or Yasser Arafat there is a variety of responses, some people are offended by it.
St. Antonius of Florence
Feast: May 10
St. Damien of Molokai
Feast: May 10