CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: MON. APR. 4, 2011: Headlines-
LENT: TIME OF THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD
VATICAN CITY, 3 APR 2011 (VIS REPORTS) - At noon today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. (RADIO VATICANA REPORT)
"The Lenten path we are following is a time of particular grace, in which we may experience the Lord's grace toward us. This Sunday's liturgy... invites us to be glad and to rejoice", the Holy Father said.
He explained that the reason for this joy is related in the Gospel, in which Jesus cures a man blind since birth and asks him, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?". The blind man recognises the sign given by Jesus and passes from receiving the light in his eyes to the light of the faith: "Lord, I believe". This shows how a simple and sincere person may gradually undertake a path to faith: he first encounters Jesus as a "man" among others, then considers Him a "prophet", then finally opens his eyes and proclaims Him "Lord".
"We too, because of Adam's sin, are born 'blind', but at the baptismal font we are illuminated by Christ's grace", continued the Holy Father. "Sin brought harm to humanity, condemning it to obscurity and death, but the newness of life and the true end to which we are called are resplendent in Christ. In Him, reinvigorated by the Holy Spirit, we receive the strength to overcome evil and to do good. In fact, Christian life is a continual conformation to Christ, the image of the new man, in order to reach full communion with God. The Lord Jesus is 'the light of the world', as 'the light of the knowledge of the glory of God' shines in Him, and continues to reveal the meaning of human existence in the complex fabric of history".
Following the Angelus, Benedict XVI recalled that 2 April was the sixth anniversary of the death of John Paul II. "Due to his forthcoming beatification, I have not celebrated the traditional Mass of suffrage for him, but I have remembered him with affection in prayer, as I think you have all done. While, along the Lenten path, we prepare for Easter, we also approach with joy the day on which we will be able to venerate as Blessed this great Pontiff and witness of Christ, and to trust ever more in his intercession".
DECREES OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE CAUSES OF SAINTS
VATICAN CITY, 2 APR 2011 (VIS) - Today, during a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Pope authorised the congregation to promulgate the following decrees:
- Venerable Servant of God Serafino Morazzone, Italian diocesan priest (1747-1822).
- Venerable Servant of God Clemente Vismara, Italian professed priest of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (1897-1988).
- Venerable Servant of God Elena Aiello, Italian foundress of the Minim Sisters of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1895-1961).
- Venerable Servant of God Maria Catalina Irigoyen Echegaray (Sr. Maria Desposorios), Spanish professed nun of the Congregation of Servants of Mary, Ministers of the Sick (1848-1918).
- Venerable Servant of God Enrica Alfieri (nee Maria Angela), Italian professed nun of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Jeanne-Antide Thouret (1891-1951).
- Servant of God Peter Adrian Toulorge, French professed priest of the Premonstratensian Regular Canons, killed in hatred of the faith at Coutances, France (1757-1793).
- Servants of God Francisco Esteban Lacal, Spanish professed priest of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and twenty-one companions, and Candido Castan San Jose, Spanish layman, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.
- Servant of God Thomas Kurialacherry, Indian, first bishop of Changanacherry and founder of the Sisters of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (1873-1925).
- Servant of God Adolphe Chatillon (Br. Theophanius-Leo), Canadian professed religious of the Brothers of Christian Schools (1871-1929).
- Servant of God Maria Chiara of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus (nee Vincenza Damato), Italian professed nun of the Order of St. Clare (1909-1948).
- Servant of God Maria Dolores Inglese (nee Maria Libera Italia), Italian professed nun of the Congregation of Sisters Servants of Mary Reparatrix (1866-1928).
- Servant of God Irene Stefani (nee Aurelia), Italian professed nun of the Institute of Missionary Sisters of the Consolata (1891-1930).
- Servant of God Bernhard Lehner, German layman (1930-1944).
VATICAN CITY, 2 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today published the following English-language communique:
"On 1 January 2011, after the Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he wished to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the historic meeting that took place in Assisi on 27 October 1986, at the wish of the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II. On the day of the anniversary, 27 October this year, the Holy Father intends to hold a 'Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world', making a pilgrimage to the home of St. Francis and inviting fellow Christians from different denominations, representatives of the world's religious traditions and, in some sense, all men and women of good will, to join him once again on this journey.
"The Day will take as its theme: 'Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace'. Every human being is ultimately a pilgrim in search of truth and goodness. Believers too are constantly journeying towards God: hence the possibility, indeed the necessity, of speaking and entering into dialogue with everyone, believers and unbelievers alike, without sacrificing one's own identity or indulging in forms of syncretism. To the extent that the pilgrimage of truth is authentically lived, it opens the path to dialogue with the other, it excludes no-one and it commits everyone to be a builder of fraternity and peace. These are the elements that the Holy Father wishes to place at the centre of reflection.
"For this reason, as well as representatives of Christian communities and of the principal religious traditions, some figures from the world of culture and science will be invited to share the journey - people who, while not professing to be religious, regard themselves as seekers of the truth and are conscious of a shared responsibility for the cause of justice and peace in this world of ours".
The communique affirms that "the delegations will set off from Rome by train on the morning of 27 October, together with the Holy Father. Upon arrival in Assisi, they will make their way to the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, where the previous meetings will be recalled and the theme of the Day will be explored in greater depth. Leaders of some of the delegations present will make speeches and the Holy Father will likewise deliver an address".
There will then be a simple lunch, followed by a moment of silence for individual reflection and prayer. Later, all those present in Assisi will make a "pilgrimage" to the Basilica of Saint Francis, "in silence, leaving room for personal meditation and prayer". The final part of the Day will include "a solemn renewal of the joint commitment to peace".
"In preparation for this Day, Pope Benedict XVI will preside over a prayer vigil at St. Peter's the previous evening, together with the faithful of the diocese of Rome. Particular Churches and communities throughout the world are invited to organise similar times of prayer".
The communique concludes by highlighting that "the Pope asks the Catholic faithful to join him in praying for the celebration of this important event and he is grateful to all those who will be able to be present in St. Francis' home town to share this spiritual pilgrimage".
VATICAN CITY, 4 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany.
- Msgr. Franz-Josef Overbeck, bishop of Essen, Germany.
- Msgr. Carlo Maria Vigano, secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State.
- Msgr. Pauly Kannookadan, bishop of Irinjalakuda of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his ad limina visit, accompanied by the bishop emeritus James Pazhayattil.
- Msgr. Jacob Manathodath, bishop of Palghat of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his ad limina visit.
- Msgr. Paul Alappatt, bishop of Ramanathapuram of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his ad limina visit.
- Msgr. John Vadakel C.M.I., bishop of Bijnor of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his ad limina visit.
- Msgr. Thomas Thuruthimattam C.S.T., bishop of Gorakhpur of the Syro-Malabars, India, on his ad limina visit.
On Saturday 2 April he received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
- Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, apostolic nuncio to the Russian Federation.
- Br. Alois, prior of the Community of Taize.
- Rudolf Voderholzer, director of the "Institut Papst Benedikt XVI", Regensburg, Germany.
- Cardinal Mark Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
VATICAN CITY, 4 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed William Wright of the clergy of the archdiocese of Sydney, Australia, as Bishop of Maitland-Newcastle (area 33,757, population 648,000, Catholics 157,000, priests 70, permanent deacons 9, religious 236), Australia. The bishop-elect was born in Washington DC, USA in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1977. He succeeds Msgr. Michael John Malone, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
On Saturday 2 April it was made public that the Holy Father:
- Appointed Msgr. Francois Fonlupt, episcopal vicar of the archdiocese of Clermont, France as Bishop of Rodez (area 8,743, population 273,377, Catholics 260,000, priests 196, permanent deacons 11, religious 807), France. The bishop-elect was born in Allegre, France in 1954, and ordained a priest in 1979. He succeeds Bishop Bellino Ghirard, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Archbishop Santos Abril y Castello, vice chamberlain of Holy Roman Church, as a member of the Congregation for Bishops.
- Tonya Roque and her four children are looking forward to Easter, a holy day that will hold special significance for them as they and nearly 2,000 others enter the Catholic Church in North Georgia at the close of this Lenten season.
On Sunday, March 13, the Roques joined the thousands who filled the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center for the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion, a celebration led by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and Atlanta Auxiliary Bishop Luis R. Zarama.
This Easter in its parishes and missions, the archdiocese anticipates baptizing 647 catechumens, those who have never been initiated before into a Christian community. Another 1,265 candidates, those previously baptized in the Christian faith, will be initiated into the Catholic sacraments of Eucharist and confirmation.
It was an exciting time for the Roque family, who, as new Catholics, will be entering the faith of their husband and father, Fernando. They were seated with the other candidates and catechumens from St. Philip Benizi Church, the Catholic community in Jonesboro where the family will become parishioners.
Tonya Roque did not grow up in a Christian family, but said she has attended all types of Christian services during her life. But when she first started seeking more information about the Catholic Church, she felt confirmed that she was heading in the right direction.
“There is a difference when you walk into a Catholic church,” she said. “Everyone is so welcoming. It felt like a family.”
Her husband’s family in Texas is Catholic and first exposed her to the faith. She remembers attending celebrations with the family during a visit at Christmas 2009. She attended Las Posadas, a nine-day celebration reflecting the nine months Mary was pregnant with Jesus. Each night was spent at a different home where reenactments of Mary and Joseph’s journey and search for shelter took place. The sense of community among the faithful was inspiring to her and she felt called to try and foster the same closeness within her own family.
‘It Was Time To Make A Change’
Her journey to the Catholic Church officially began last year when Roque and her children began attending RCIA classes at St. Philip Benizi. It has been several months of prayer, learning and discernment, which eventually led her to the Rite of Election this past Sunday. They are catechumens.
“There was a time when I knew myself that it was a time to make a change,” she said about her family life. “I wanted to show them the right way to live.”
She began calling around to different churches and eventually spoke to Mary Mauldin, director of faith formation at St. Philip Benizi.
“The first person I talked to was Mary and just talking to her over the phone about the Catholic religion, I knew that was the place I wanted to go,” she said.
Roque and her four children, Justino, 17, Leticia, 16, Lisa, 14, and Joshua, 11, all began to participate in RCIA shortly afterward. They have been learning about the richness and depth of Catholicism, which has led to family discussions about God, something for which Roque is grateful.
The same feeling of welcome that Roque experienced when she first sought information from St. Philip Benizi was echoed in the archbishop’s words at the Rite of Election.
“On the first Sunday of Lent, the church in North Georgia gathers to welcome catechumens and candidates for the Easter sacraments. We all want you to realize how joyfully we receive you,” Archbishop Gregory said. “We choose you and promise to journey with you during these few weeks before the great celebration of Easter. Christ himself has sanctified these days through his own glorious example of fidelity to the truth. We are called to do nothing less.”
'Does God Hear Me If I’m Praying?’
Through the classes at St. Philip Benizi, Roque has learned things about the Catholic faith that she never knew and now understands other aspects of the religion that she wasn’t sure about. The divine and human natures of Jesus and the place of Mary have been topics of special interest to Roque.
As her knowledge of the Catholic faith continues to grow, her prayer life has strengthened as well. Roque said she used to be unsure of how to pray or if she should even pray at all because she was not practicing any particular religion. Now when she prays, she can feel God’s presence with her.
“When I would try to sit and pray, I felt like there was a guilt. ‘Why am I praying? Does God hear me if I’m praying and I’m not going to church or trying to learn more about him?’” she would ask herself. “And now when I pray, I feel a peace like I know he is there, that he is listening to what I’m saying.”
At the Rite of Election, more than 60 parishes with candidates and catechumens preparing to join the Catholic Church were represented. The total of 1,912 new Catholics in North Georgia is slightly fewer than 2010’s historic number of 2,062, which was the largest the archdiocese has received at one time.
“The Rite of Election is the celebration of the impending growth of the Church and of the unity of all those who belong to Christ and are thus safe from the tricks of the one who works best alone, whether in garden or desert,” the archbishop said, referring to the day’s readings, which included the tempting of Eve in the Garden of Eden and the temptation of Jesus in the desert.
“Let us take great comfort in being sisters and brothers in Christ, who has victoriously banished the tempter from all those he calls his own,” Archbishop Gregory said.
Beirut (AsiaNews) – More deaths and wounded were reported today in Syria, a day after the address to the nation by President Bashar al-Assad. His opponents called for demonstrations after the address as it fell far short, according to Western diplomats, of the expectations of those who want reform, freedom and democracy.
Opposition sources say that thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets today, which is a day of prayer. For the first time, the police cracked down around Abdul Karim al-Rifai Mosque in Damascus, causing a massacre according to protesters.
More demonstrations have been reported in Latakia and Deraa, scene of deadly clashes in previous days, as well as in Qameshli, Homs, Douma, Mouda, Hama and Baniyas. Almost everywhere, demonstrators report gunfire and violent crackdown by security forces.
Wednesday afternoon, following Assad’s address to a supportive parliament, opposition activists said, “People were furious after they watched Assad's speech and they came on to the streets to peacefully vent their anger”. However, “they came under fire from the security forces and from unidentified people in passing cars. We are still trying to establish the death toll”.
As evidence of the broad disappointment generated by the presidential speech, Syria’s official news agency SANA announced that “Under a directive by President Bashar al-Assad,” the ruling Ba‘ath party (the only one allowed in the country) is setting up “a committee of legal experts [. . .] to study new laws on national security and counter-terrorism, in order to pave the way for ending the state of emergency”.
Effectively, this means an end to change on the short run. It also signals a rejection of those who expected an immediate end to the 48-year emergency rule, which gives police the right to arrest and detain people without due process. It also dashes all hope for press freedom and an end to the one-party state.
Likewise, SANA reported that the president “directed the Head of the High Judicial Council to form a special judiciary committee to launch immediate investigations into all the incidents which claimed the lives of a number of civilians and military personnel in Daraa (Deraa) and Latakia.”
In his speech, the president blamed the incidents on foreigners and enemies of Syria. (PD)
“I think that the will to negotiate is strengthening, although there are still several obstacles to overcome. I appeal once more to the African Union and also to Europe to step up peace efforts. The people are tired of war and the bombings,” says Bishop Martinelli. In the past few days, some emissaries from the Libyan regime travelled to some European capitals to seek a political solution to the crisis.
Bishop Martinelli recounts two episodes which, in his view, demonstrate the willingness of the Libyans to find a peaceful solution: “Two women, who spoke excellent Italian because they had studied in a Catholic school, came to me saying that the Church must help to reconcile the Libyan people.” The Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli also says he learned “from a religious sister working in Yafran, that the rebel forces would withdraw after having reached a local agreement of reconciliation.”
Bishop Martinelli expresses his concern about the areas in Libya which are still marked by fighting, particularly Misurata “where there is fighting and we don't know how the Filipino Catholic community there is holding up. Communications are also difficult with Bengasi. In Tripoli the life of the Church continues despite many problems. Yesterday 2 April, we celebrated two Masses which were well attended by the faithful.”
According to Bishop Martinelli, the 70 Eritrean castaways found dead on the beach in Tripoli “after they were brought to the city morgue, were buried in the Christian cemetery. The morgue is full of the bodies of people killed in the fighting and bombing. It was decided to bury those poor people as quickly as possible.”
CATH NEWS REPORT: A nursing home in Victoria run by former Labor aged care minister Peter Staples has been criticised by the industrial tribunal for its ''unsound, indefensible and unfounded'' sacking of its Catholic priest last year, reports The Age.
The Sunday Age reported last October on the sacking of Father Andrea Bellia from the Assisi Aged Care Centre in Rosanna. In a scathing judgment by Fair Work Australia commissioner John Ryan last week, the priest was fully vindicated and the nursing home witnesses castigated, the newspaper said.
The home's latest financial report for the year ended June 2010 set aside $200,000 in legal costs to ''vigorously defend'' Father Bellia's case. Father Bellia had sought reinstatement to the home but ''I have no confidence the board would act professionally or fairly'', Commissioner Ryan said. Instead he ordered $95,000 compensation, subjected to reduction for various reasons, so only $2500 would to be paid to the priest.But last week the Assisi centre lost that case, with the evidence of Mr Staples, the home's executive manager, being described as ''unhelpful and unreliable'' by Commissioner Ryan. Father Bellia's account of events was deemed preferable in all respects to the witnesses from the centre.
St. Isidore of Seville
Feast: April 4
Born at Cartagena, Spain, about 560; died 4 April, 636.
Isidore was the son of Severianus and Theodora. His elder brother Leander was his immediate predecessor in the Metropolitan See of Seville; whilst a younger brother St. Fulgentius presided over the Bishopric of Astigi. His sister Florentina was a nun, and is said to have ruled over forty convents and one thousand religious.
Isidore received his elementary education in the Cathedral school of Seville. In this institution, which was the first of its kind in Spain, the trivium and quadrivium were taught by a body of learned men, among whom was the archbishop, Leander. With such diligence did he apply himself to study that in a remarkably short time mastered Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Whether Isidore ever embraced monastic life or not is still an open question, but though he himself may never have been affiliated with any of the religious orders, he esteemed them highly. On his elevation to the episcopate he immediately constituted himself protector of the monks. In 619 he pronounced anathema against any ecclesiastic who should in any way molest the monasteries.
On the death of Leander, Isidore succeeded to the See of Seville. His long incumbency to this office was spent in a period of disintegration and transition. The ancient institutions and classic learning of the Roman Empire were fast disappearing. In Spain a new civilization was beginning to evolve itself from the blending racial elements that made up its population. For almost two centuries the Goths had been in full control of Spain, and their barbarous manners and contempt of learning threatened greatly to put back her progress in civilization. Realizing that the spiritual as well as the material well-being of the nation depended on the full assimilation of the foreign elements, St. Isidore set himself to the task of welding into a homogeneous nation the various peoples who made up the Hispano-Gothic kingdom. To this end he availed himself of all the resources of religion and education. His efforts were attended with complete success. Arianism, which had taken deep root among the Visigoths, was eradicated, and the new heresy of Acephales was completely stifled at the very outset; religious discipline was everywhere strengthened. Like Leander, he took a most prominent part in the Councils of Toledo and Seville. In all justice it may be said that it was in a great measure due to the enlightened statecraft of these two illustrious brothers the Visigothic legislation, which emanated from these councils, is regarded by modern historians as exercising a most important influence on the beginnings of representative government. Isidore presided over the Second Council of Seville, begun 13 November, 619, in the reign of Sisebut. But it was the Fourth National Council of Toledo that afforded him the opportunity of being of the greatest service to his county. At this council, begun 5 December, 633, all the bishops of Spain were in attendance. St. Isidore, though far advanced in years, presided over its deliberations, and was the originator of most of its enactments. It was at this council and through his influence that a decree was promulgated commanding all bishops to establish seminaries in their Cathedral Cities, along the lines of the school already existing at Seville. Within his own jurisdiction he had availed himself of the resources of education to counteract the growing influence of Gothic barbarism. His was the quickening spirit that animated the educational movement of which Seville was the centre. The study of Greek and Hebrew as well as the liberal arts, was prescribed. Interest in law and medicine was also encouraged. Through the authority of the fourth council this policy of education was made obligatory upon all the bishops of the kingdom. Long before the Arabs had awakened to an appreciation of Greek Philosophy, he had introduced Aristotle to his countrymen. He was the first Christian writer to essay the task of compiling for his co-religionists a summa of universal knowledge. This encyclopedia epitomized all learning, ancient as well as modern. In it many fragments of classical learning are preserved which otherwise had been hopelessly lost. The fame of this work imparted a new impetus to encyclopedic writing, which bore abundant fruit in the subsequent centuries of the Middle Ages. His style, though simple and lucid, cannot be said to be classical. It discloses most of the imperfections peculiar to all ages of transition. It particularly reveals a growing Visigothic influence. Arévalo counts in all Isidore's writing 1640 Spanish words.
Isidore was the last of the ancient Christian Philosophers, as he was the last of the great Latin Fathers. He was undoubtedly the most learned man of his age and exercised a far-reaching and immeasurable influence on the educational life of the Middle Ages. His contemporary and friend, Braulio, Bishop of Saragossa, regarded him as a man raised up by God to save the Spanish people from the tidal wave of barbarism that threatened to inundate the ancient civilization of Spain, The Eighth Council of Toledo (653) recorded its admiration of his character in these glowing terms: "The extraordinary doctor, the latest ornament of the Catholic Church, the most learned man of the latter ages, always to be named with reverence, Isidore". This tribute was endorsed by the Fifteenth Council of Toledo, held in 688.