EASTER TRIDUUM: WELCOMING GOD'S WILL IN OUR LIVES
VATICAN CITY, 20 APR 2011 (VIS REPORT) - In this morning's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke on the Easter Triduum, "the three holy days in which the Church commemorates the mystery of Jesus' passion, death, and resurrection". (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
Benedict XVI explained that "Holy Thursday is the day that commemorates the institution of the Eucharist and ministerial priesthood. In the morning, each diocesan community, with their bishop, meets at their cathedral church to celebrate the Chrism Mass. ... Priestly vows are also renewed."
"In the afternoon of Holy Thursday", he continued, "the Easter Triduum truly begins, with the remembrance of the Last Supper at which Jesus instituted the commemoration of his Passion, fulfilling the Jewish paschal ritual. ... Jesus washes the feet of his apostles, inviting them to love one another as He loved them, giving His life for them. Repeating this gesture in the liturgy, we are also called to actively bear witness to our Redeemer's love".
The Holy Father recalled that Holy Thursday "ends with Eucharistic adoration, in memory of the Lord's agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. ... Aware of his imminent death on the cross, he felt a great sorrow".
Referring to the somnolence of the apostles who accompanied Jesus to the Mount of Olives, the Pope noted that "it was the insensibility for God that makes us insensitive to evil". With his death(the chalice that he had to drink from)., the Lord "felt all the suffering of humanity". His will was subordinated to the will of the Father, his natural will transformed into a 'yes' to God's will".
Entering into the will of God, he added, "is not slavery but an entering into truth, love, and the good. It is directing our will toward God". The act at Gethsemane is that "Jesus, with his anguish, charged with the drama of humanity, with our suffering and our poverty, transforms it into the will of God and thus opens the gate of heaven".
Later, referring to Good Friday, the Pope said that this day commemorates "the Lord's passion and death. We adore the crucified Christ, participating in his suffering with our penitence and fasting".
"Finally, on the night of Holy Saturday, we celebrate the solemn Easter Vigil at which is announced Christ's resurrection, his definitive victory over death, which challenges us to be new persons in Him".
The Holy Father highlighted that "the standard that guided each of Jesus' decisions during his entire life was his firm desire to love the Father and be faithful to Him. ... On reliving the Holy Triduum", he concluded, "we make ourselves available to welcome God's will into our lives, aware that our true good, the path of our lives, is found in His will. May the Virgin Mother guide us along this path and grant us her divine Son's grace to be able to dedicate our lives, in the love of Jesus, to the service of others".
During his greetings to the groups present at today's audience, the Pope addressed the 3,000 students participating in the International UNIV Congress sponsored by the Opus Dei prelature. "I hope", he said, "that these Roman day will be the occasion for you to rediscover the person of Christ and a strong ecclesial experience, so that you may return home inspired by the desire to witness to the mercy of the heavenly Father. May your lives thus realize what St. Josemaria Escriva described: "Your bearing and conversation were such that, on seeing or hearing you, people would say: This man reads the life of Jesus Christ".
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
VATICAN CITY, 20 APR 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed:
- Bishop Faustino Armendariz Jimenez, of the diocese of Matamoros, Mexico, as Bishop of Queretaro (area 15,326, population 1,856,000, Catholics 1,809,000, priests 338, religious 1,071), Mexico. He succeeds Archbishop Mario de Gasperin Gasperin whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Bishop Fernando Natalio Chomali Garib, titular of Noba and auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Santiago, Chile, as archbishop metropolitan of Concepcion (area 11,330, population 1,248,993, Catholics 645,978, priests 121, permanent deacons 35, religious 254), Chile.
- Bishop Mylo Hubert Claudio Vergara, of the diocese of San Jose, the Philippines, as bishop of Pasig (area 78, population 1,517,000, Catholics 1,143,000, priests 29, religious 8), the Philippines.
- Fr. Peter Andrew Comensoli, professor of the Catholic Institute of Sydney, Australia, as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Sydney (area 1,264, population 2,366,000, Catholics 634,000, priests 478, permanent deacons 5, religious 1,583), Australia. The bishop-elect was born in Bulli, New South Wales, Australia in 1964. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1992 for the diocese of Wollongong.
Yesterday, 19 April, the Holy Father named Bishop George Stack, titular bishop of Gemellae in Numidia and auxiliary bishop of Westminster, as Metropolitan Archbishop of Cardiff, (area 3,064, population 1,510,000, Catholics 144,960, priests 94, permanent deacons 16, religious 157), Wales, United Kingdom.
Lahore (AsiaNews) – Pakistani Christians and churches around the world have lighted candles and said prayers to save Asia Bibi, the 45-year-old mother of five, sentenced to death on blasphemy charges and now the target of Muslim fundamentalists. The initiative was launched on 13 April by the Masihi Foundation and has been picked up by bishops, priests and Pakistani lay people. Mgr Rufin Anthony told AsiaNews that “he was deeply touched by her faith”, which “shall set her free” because of her belief in “Christ the Saviour”. In the meantime, Arif Masih, the 40-year-old Christian man held for a few days on blasphemy charges, later dropped, is in a safe location in “good physical and mental conditions”.
This afternoon at 4 pm (Pakistan time), special Masses and vigil prayers and fasting were held to remember Asia Bibi and all the victims of Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy law. The Catholic woman has been on death row for almost two years, far from her husband and children, waiting for her death sentence to be carried out.
Three months ago, the authorities placed her in isolation because of death threats from Muslim fundamentalists, who want to kill her before her appeal trial.
Many people have joined the Masihi Foundation initiative, including the bishops and archbishops of Islamabad, Faisalabad, Lahore, Multan and Karachi.
The Anglican Church also expressed its solidarity towards Catholics over the Asia Bibi affair and has organised special services and prayers on behalf of the 45-year-old Catholic woman, urging Anglicans to light a candle for her.
Using AsiaNews as a platform, the bishop of Islamabad Rufin Anthony said he wanted to send “a brief message of consolation to Asia Bibi”. The prelate said that he followed “the matter with great interest and affection since its early phase.” Despite her health problems, she “has been fasting and in so doing is showing how strong her faith is, praying for others.”
“I am deeply touched by her faith,” Mgr Anthony added, for it “shall set her free” because of her belief in “Christ the Saviour”.
The bishop of Islamabad urged “all Christians” to light a candle “for the mother in prison and pray for her” so that she may soon “be reunited with her family”. As Lent is time “for sacrifice”, he said, “We must pray to give her strength” during Holy Week. “I pray God that He might make her strong in his name and glory”.
Meanwhile, 40-year-old Arif Masih, a Christian man arrested on 5 April and held for a few days for blasphemy is in “good physical and mental conditions”.
Police dropped charges against him thanks to the efforts of the activists of the Masihi Foundation. He had been arrested for allegedly tearing up a copy of the Qur‘an based on accusations made by one Shahid Yousaf, one of Masih’s Muslim neighbours. His release was made possible by affidavits signed by dozens of other Muslim neighbours, which showed that the accusations were false and the result of a personal vendetta.
At present, Arif Masih and his family are in a safe location to protect him from possible retaliation from Muslim fundamentalists. Speaking to AsiaNews, he said he never lost faith even when he was in police custody. “I prayed and put my trust in God’s help because I knew he would be there for me,” he said.
He was well treated by police and was never abused. “I was in a cell with 40 other prisoners. They knew I was in prison for blasphemy but they did neither threaten me nor ask me any awkward questions.”
Arif is grateful to the Masihi Foundation for its help and protection, which will continue because “he is not safe in Pakistan.”
In fact, anti-Christian violence continues in the country. The latest victim is Saleem Masih, a garment worker in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (ex-NWFP). Four men on motorbikes stopped him on his way home from work. After beating him up, they threatened him.
A few days ago, he had had an altercation with Muslim colleagues over the murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti and a bounty placed on Asia Bibi’s head by Muslim fundamentalists. Now, he has fled his home for a safe house for himself and his family.
For Fr Javed Gill, cases like Saleem Masih’s “have become routine in Pakistan”, where religious minorities in general and Christians in particular are regularly attacked.
“When someone openly puts a bounty on Asia Bibi’s head and is not charged or arrested, that is a sign that extremist groups are stronger than the government,” the priest said in reference to Mullah Yousuf Qureshi who offered a US$ 6,000 reward for anyone who would kill the Christian woman.
- Parishioners at St. John Vianney are determined to rebuild after an April 16 arson attack destroyed their Hacienda Heights, Calif. church.
“The church is completely destroyed, I mean down to ashes and dust. The pews, organ, everything,” parish pastor Msgr. Tim Nichols told the 5 p.m. Sunday Mass. He presented remnants of the altar and tabernacle and said only a few vessels and vestments were saved.
“The church that (founding pastor) Msgr. James O’Callaghan built is gone. But we’re going to build another one, okay?” he said, causing fervent applause. “We will rise again.”
The Mass was celebrated in a parish hall on the church property that is typically used for wedding receptions and other events. More than 1,000 people attended.
Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala, who lives two blocks away from the 5,000-member church in Los Angeles County, was awakened by a neighbor pounding on his door soon after midnight on Saturday morning. From his front lawn he could see the fire’s flames shooting 150 feet into the air. He rushed to the church to join priests and parishioners watching the blaze destroy the church and the rectory.
The fire burned for almost three hours before firefighters were able to extinguish it.
“The investigators have been quite definitive to me, this was very definitely a deliberate act,” Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, told the Los Angeles Times.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Msgr. Nichols told parishioners at Mass. He noted the responsorial psalm’s despondent refrain “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” and pondered whether the disaster was “rewriting the book of Job.”
However, he rallied parishioners.
“Before there were churches, there was us, right? We’re the church, right? … We’re a community first and then we build the church buildings,” he affirmed.
He said reconstruction will take “two to three years” and “millions of dollars” because money from insurance will certainly not cover the full cost.
Alice Ameluxen, 43, grew up in the parish and her parents were among its founding parishioners.
“My happiest and saddest memories are here,” she told the LA Times. “I just feel like I lost my home.”
The fire caused an estimated $8 million to $10 million in damages. Parishioners have created a Facebook page called “Rebuild St. John Vianney Church” and a website to help draw attention to the rebuilding effort.
Present and former parishioners are using the page to share their memories and pledge support.
In May 2010 vandals broke into and ransacked St. Rose of Lima parish school in the city of Maywood in Los Angeles County.
Holy Rosary Church in Woodland near Sacramento has been victimized by theft and vandalism four times since 2007. St. Stanislaus Church in Modesto suffered a burglary and vandal attack which desecrated the sanctuary, knocking down and damaging four statues of the Virgin Mary.
The Facebook page and the website for rebuilding effort can be found at:http://www.facebook.com/RebuildStJohnVianneyChurch
st. Agnes of Montepulciano
NUN AND FOUNDRESS
Feast: April 20
Born in the neighbourhood of Montepulciano in Tuscany about 1268; died there 1317. At the age of nine years she entered a monastery. Four years later she was commissioned by Pope Nicholas IV to assist in the foundation of a monastery at Proceno, and became its prioress at the age of fifteen. At the entreaty of the citizens of her native town, she established (1298) the celebrated convent of Dominican nuns at Montepulciano which she governed until the time of her death. She was canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726. Her feast is celebrated on 20 April.
(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)