Friday, August 5, 2011









TODAY'S GOSPEL: AUG. 5: Matthew 16: 24- 28


Rome Reports: According to tradition, on the morning of August 5th, back in the year 358, the Esquiline Hill in Rome was completely covered in snow. In an apparition, the Virgin promised pope Liberius that this would happen.

Because of this the Basilica of Santa Maria di Maggiore or St. Mary Major, was built in that very area. It's still one of the most important churches of the Eternal City.

It's not only a historic basilica. It also has a special relationship with Rome. Inside the Church stands the icon of the Madonna Salus Populi Romani, which translates to “The Protectress of Rome.”

Ever since the year 358, every August 5th is celebrated with a Mass and the traditional
“snowfall” of white petals. It's a way to commemorate that one white morning and also a way to enjoy this architectural masterpiece. (IMAGE SOURCE: JESUSTHRUMARY.BLOGSPOT.COM)



UCAN REPORT: Bus crashes claim promising trainee priest, two others seriously hurt reporters, Tangail and Dhaka
August 5, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of Seminarians killed, injured in accidents
Kishore Cruze (2nd right) and Mintu Rozario (left) in the seminary

One priesthood candidate, a diocesan major seminarian, died and two others were injured in two road accidents yesterday.

Kishore Cruze, 25, a second-year seminarian at the country’s only Holy Spirit national major seminary, was one of five people killed in Karatia, some 90 kilometers north of Dhaka, when the bus he was traveling in overturned.

His colleague Mintu Rozario, 26, badly injured his right leg in the accident.

Both hailed from Bonpara parish in northwestern Natore district and were traveling back to their seminary in Dhaka from their homes after a summer vacation.

Another seminarian, Sonjoy Chisim, 28, a tribal Garo Catholic from Mariamnagar parish in northeastern Sherpur, received head and chest injuries when the bus he was travelling in collided with a truck on the Dhaka-Gazipur highway, also yesterday.

Cruze was buried today. Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi commented: “I’m badly hurt at this tragic death. He (Kishore) was among the best seminarians and could have made a very good priest for our diocese. I offer condolences to his shocked family and relatives.”

Assistant seminary rector Father Sebastian Tudu said the whole seminary as well as the Church is in deep mourning.

“Kishore was a good and prayerful seminarian. His untimely death is a blow for all of us,” the priest said.



Spanish Jesuit Father Luis Ruiz Suarez, who dedicated his entire life to needy people in Macau and mainland China, died last week at the age of 97. Father Ruiz was a giant because of the size of his heart. It was as big as a horse.

His missionary work in China began in 1941. It was interrupted by the Second Sino-Japanese War, and resumed after the war ended in 1945. When the Communists took control of China in 1949, he was imprisoned briefly and expelled from the country.

He was told by his Jesuit provincial to stay in Macau, at the time a Portuguese colony, to recover from typhoid, which he contracted in prison, but within a month he was already working with refugees, to whom be brought solace, comfort, food and shelter.

The genius of Luis was the way he reinvented himself as the carer for succeeding generations of those who were neglected and in need – the physically and intellectually disabled, those suffering from chronic diseases that separated them from families and communities with Hanson’s disease (leprosy) and in recent decades those with HIV AIDS.

Mao’s China was full of propaganda; the Chinese spin doctors claimed it was the first civilisation to have no gambling, no prostitution and to have eliminated many of the diseases that have plagued humanity since before history was recorded.

Macau. the size of a postage stamp (12 square miles) and asleep under the benign neglect of its Portuguese colonial rulers for 50 of Luis’ 60 years there, was a hive of creativity and a base for extensive outreach to those in need, far distant from its borders.

Prime among these was Hanson’s disease. With the wave of a magic wand, the Great Helmsman of the People (also known as Mao) had swept away that particular pestilence. Not so, of course.

Against all odds, it was Luis Ruiz’s extraordinary blend of dogged perseverance and utter sincerity that managed to have comfort and care brought to those suffering the disease in remote and secluded parts of southern China. In the face of official denial, the fear of losing face if the reality were exposed and his being a Catholic priest in very Communist China, Luis broke down all barriers to addressing the needs of the ill.



Patient Jack Trelor chats with Dominican Sister Catherine Marie April 19 at Rosary Hill Home, a Dominican-run facility in Hawthorne, N.Y., that provides palliative care to people with incurable cancer and are in financial need. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

By Beth Griffin
Catholic News Service

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. (CNS) -- "If you have to be terminal, this is the place to come," said Harriet Boyle, as the sun poured into her room through huge windows.

Sitting in a bed with floral sheets and a patterned comforter, the grandmother with the carefully applied makeup put down her large-print book and described life at Rosary Hill Home, a free palliative care facility run by the Dominican Sisters Congregation of St. Rose of Lima in Hawthorne, north of New York City.

"It's the most unusual place I've ever been. You're not conscious of people being ill here. We all have cancer and we're all terminal, but it's serene and there are lots of moments of fun and laughter," she said.

"The care is done with love and not for a paycheck. The women who care for you gave up their lives for this work and it's their vocation," Boyle said an interview with Catholic News Service.

The caregivers also are known as the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne. Their congregation was founded at the turn of the last century by Rose Hawthorne, a daughter of New England novelist Nathaniel, author of "The Scarlet Letter."

Mother Mary Alphonsa, as Rose Hawthorne was known, wanted to treat patients as family, "and put them up in our very best bedroom and give them comfort in what time they had left. In dressing their wounds, she was dressing the wounds of Our Lord," according to Superior General Mother Mary Francis.

Present-day sisters still provide direct care for the residents, without charge, and do not accept government funds or insurance reimbursements. They do not have a development office.

"It's a modern day miracle," Mother Mary Francis said. "Part of the whole charism is to trust in Divine Providence. We are not allowed by our constitutions to fundraise. Mother Alphonsa felt if she was doing God's work, God would provide."

The reliance on divine providence extends to both human and material resources. At its peak, the congregation had some 125 active sisters and now deploys 55 sisters and novices in service to approximately 100 patients in Hawthorne, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Kisumu, Kenya, according to Mother Mary Francis. Retired sisters help though a ministry of prayer and presence.

"It has always been a small community, reliant on faith and trust," she said.Similarly, it takes great faith to manage a modern health facility without asking anyone for money. Mother Mary Francis said most of the budget comes from bequests and regular donations, large and small.

"We do the best we can and trust the rest to the Lord," Mother Mary Francis said. "We only take people who are unable to afford care, but we also don't ask to see bank statements. If somebody slips in and they shouldn't, God had a reason. Sometimes there are other kinds of poverty beyond financial," she said.

Mother Mary Francis said patients range in age from about 50 to 101 and the average stay is three to four months. The oldest patient has been a resident for more than 10 years.

Sister Alma Marie, the congregation's director of vocations, said some of the patients were formerly middle-class people who were impoverished by medical costs.

The actual care has changed somewhat since the foundress's time, but the guiding spirit has not. Sisters work in small teams and are responsible for the total care of two or three patients. Visitors are welcome until 9 p.m. and retired sisters maintain an overnight vigil with residents who are near death.

The sisters live in a convent adjacent to the home and worship together four times a day in the Rosary Hill chapel. Daily Mass and prayers from the chapel are available in each room on a video feed. Sister Alma Marie said, "The residents can hear us pray. They feel our love for each other and for all of them. They may not know it, but it is the love of God that animates our lives."

She said, "Many come here with the fear of dying, of being alone. When we care for them, we can see the transformation. We help them live the life that God has given them to the fullest. We celebrate life."

"This is a precious time with families," said Mother Mary Francis. "Illness sometimes brings out the worst tensions in a family." She said the sisters witness reconciliation and acts of forgiveness and attribute them to the presence of God and the Blessed Mother. "He resides in our chapel and Our Lady walks the halls," she said.

At any given time, there are 30 to 35 patients at Rosary Hill, said Mother Mary Francis. "The smallness of it all enables us to provide homelike care. We try to maintain a family atmosphere, with flowered sheets, colored afghans, entertainment, holiday dinners. We encourage the patients to dress each day," she said.

A staff member's gentle dog greets residents and visitors. Patients enjoy the nine-acre property and one man grows fresh vegetables in a verdant garden near an expansive terrace that is used for cookouts.

Christmas is an especially festive time at Rosary Hill. Each room has a decorated tree and a Nativity set. Local groups are eager to entertain the residents and provide gifts. But the intimacy of serving those who are close to death is displayed late on Christmas Eve, when all the visitors have left, the home is quiet and the lights are low, Mother Mary Francis said. "The sisters process from the chapel, carrying lit candles. We go to each room and around each bed, singing carols. It's just the patients and us. And then our Christmas begins."

Boyle, the patient from a fourth-generation family of parishioners at the oldest Catholic church on the Hudson River, said before she came to Rosary Hill, she was treated at a prominent facility in New York. "I always wanted to go home with my family when they visited. I don't feel that way here. I'm already home and my family is content to see me here, because they know I'm happy," she said.


Sydney Archdiocese REPORT-
5 Aug 2011

A tired but exhilarated group of 96 young Australians flew into Cairo today on a journey. The group are all World Youth Day pilgrims who will take part in a once-in-life-time tour led by the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell and other leading Australian clerics to follow the sites of the ancient Biblical prophets before crossing into the Holy Land to retrace the footsteps of Jesus Christ.


Uploaded by on Aug 5, 2011

Called the "Exodus Encounter," the tour will prepare the young people spiritually prior to World Youth Day in Madrid where from 16 August they will meet up with 4000 other pilgrims from across Australia at an event expected to be attended by more than 2 million.

Yesterday some of the groups flying from Sydney to Egypt spent several hours sightseeing during their stopover in Dubai, before joining the group of Australian pilgrims who flew in from Rome where they had been attending a conference.

For most their first glimpse of Cairo was through the windows of the bus that ferried them in from the airport into the city. But it was enough time for most to take in waters of the Nile, the longest river in Africa as well as to see the outline of the famous pyramids of Giza against the horizon.

The airport bus also gave the pilgrims their first sight of the Cairo's famed City of the Dead, the vast Arab necropolis that is more than 6.5 km in length and crammed with Islamic mausoleums and tombs.

While the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons who are charged with the murders of protesters during the February uprising earlier this year began yesterday, the city is generally quiet.

The main reason for the lack of traffic in the normally congested streets and the lack of protesters in Tahrir Square where the democracy demonstrations first began is due to the start of Ramadan which began on 1 August.

Between 80% and 90% of Egypt's population of 85 million are Muslim and for them Ramadan is an important period of prayer and fasting. As a result there is less traffic on the normally-crowded streets with demonstrators and protesters largely steering clear of Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Australia's pilgrims are also staying a considerable distance from the Square and the Courts where Mubarak's trial is now underway and feel very free to move about on this first stage of their adventure.

Later this morning the group will be given a tour of the great pyramids at Giza, known since Biblical times as the seventh wonder of the world, where the pilgrims will have a chance to explore the ancient burial tomb of the Pharaohs and to the massive mysterious Sphinx.

This afternoon (Cairo time) the group will tour Old Cairo which contains remnants of the ancient cities that preceded it as capitals.

Among the highlights are a tour of the Coptic Christians' famous Hanging Church, built in the site of an ancient Roman fort and dating back to the 7th Century. There will also be a visit to the Abu Sarga Coptic Church, the oldest church in Egypt and built in the 4th and 5th Centuries. Constructed above the crypt where the Holy Family, Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus fled to escape persecution from King Herod.

The pilgrims will also visit the Ben Ezra Synagogue once a Christian church believed to have been constructed on the site where Moses was discovered in his cradle in the bulrushes.

For live blogs and information about as the pilgrims continue on this very special journey log on to log on to


CISA REPORT: BANJUL July 29, 2011 -Missionaries in The Gambia in west Africa say a climate of intimidation and lack of alternatives all but ensure the return of President Yahya Jammeh in the coming November elections.

A new wave of arrests and indictments took place recently. Several members of civil society and opposition leaders were indicted for an alleged coup attempt in May. The allegations affect among others, the former president of the National Union of Printing, Ndeye Tapha Sossehand the former Communications Minister Amadou.

In a joint appeal to the International Federation of Journalists and the Federation of African journalists they have warned that “reporters, representatives of civil society and anyone who tries to denounce human rights violations by the government of The Gambia is in a dangerous situation.”

All the indictments concern Jammeh, as his father has ruled since July 22, 1994, when he took power in a military coup. Last week, the president celebrated the 17th anniversary of his takeover and vowed that “neither God nor the November elections” will take power away from him.

Father Benedict Mbah, a missionary of the Society of St Paul said that “The armed forces and police continue to be one of the biggest employers and their massive presence in villages discourages any criticism of the government.”

Although there is huge unemployment, Fr Mbah said he did not think it was likely that people in The Gambia would rise up in the way North African countries have, because of the repression and the peaceful nature of the Gambian people.

The Gambia is a narrow strip surrounded by Senegal to the north and south, with a population of about 1.4 million inhabitants. One of the poorest countries in the world, The Gambia is mainly dependent on the export of peanuts and tourism. Fluctuations in world prices have made foreign aid crucial.

President Jammeh has repeated oftenly that he wants to focus on the search for oil deposits.

The Missionary News Service comments that “the actual hope for a better future lies, in the relations between 98% Muslim majority with the Christian minority.”

“Christmas and Easter – said Father Mbah – are national holidays.”


Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome

Feast: August 5


Feast Day:August 5

THERE are in Rome three patriarchal churches, in which the Pope officiates on different festivals. These are the Basilics of St. John Lateran, St. Peter's on the Vatican Hill, and St. Mary Major. This last is so called because it is, both in antiquity and dignity, the first church in Rome among those that are dedicated to God in honor of the Virgin Mary. The name of the Liberian Basilic was given it because it was founded in the time of Pope Liberius, in the fourth century; it was consecrated, under the title of the Virgin Mary, by Sixtus III., about the year 435. It is also called St. Mary ad Nives, or at the snow, from a popular tradition that the Mother of God chose this place for a church under her invocation by a miraculous snow that fell upon this spot in summer, and by a vision in which she appeared to a patrician named John, who munificently founded and endowed this church in the pontificate of Liberius. The same Basilic has sometimes been known by the name of St. Mary ad Pr├Žsepe, from the holy crib or manger of Bethlehem, in which Christ was laid at His birth. It resembles an ordinary manger, is kept in a case of massive silver, and in it lies an image of a little child, also of silver. On Christmas Day the holy Manger is taken out of the case, and exposed. It is kept in a sumptuous subterraneous chapel in this church.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: AUG. 5: Matthew 16: 24- 28

Matthew 16: 24 - 28
24Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
25For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
26For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?
27For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.
28Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."
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