But this, the Pope’s third visit to Spain, will also have the diplomatic protocol of an official state visit. In fact the Holy Father will visit with the head of Spain, King Juan Carlos and meet with the Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
Speaking to Vatican Radio from Madrid Apsotolic Nunicio Archbishop Renzo Fratini says Spain “is waiting for the Holy Father with great desire and hope that he will also encourage a spiritual rebirth of the nation”.
The Nuncio in Madrid says the nation is going through a crisis of values and believes that the Pope will bring a new wind to society,” even though Pope Benedict’s mission is primarily a spiritual one.
He says “many young people feel disillusioned and are in need of new hope and so this day - I believe - represents a new beginning”. The Nuncio believes that this World Youth Day is a crucial component in Pope Benedict’s vision of a ‘new evangelization’ of the European continent.
Archbishop Fratini says “The Pope will also make time for confessions - a testimony to indicate that the Christian life really starts from an inner renewal, from a conversion: the return to God.”
The theme for World Youth Day in Madrid is “Rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the Faith,” taken from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians. Archbishop Fratini believes this to be particularly apt in a time of economic uncertainty.
“I believe it is a good opportunity to rediscover the foundations of the fundamental choice of Christian life: live it every day in relationship with others and in a dimension of solidarity and openness to the world”. The Archbishop concluded with the hope that the week of events will help lead many young people to discover their vocation in life.
This afternoon, at 17.30, in the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, a concert held in honor of Pope Benedict XVI and his brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, on the occasion of the anniversary of priesthood 60.mo.
The program includes music by Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi, performed by Master Albrecht Mayer, oboe and violin by Arabella Steinbacher. With them also the ' New Seasons Ensemble , composed of six musicians from different orchestras.
BISHOPS' CONFERENCE OF ENGLAND RELEASE: The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster has spoken about the violence and theft which has occurred in parts of London.In a statement issued on 9 August 2011 he said:
“The scenes of the last few nights in parts of London and elsewhere are shocking. The criminal violence and theft that have been witnessed are to be condemned. They are a callous disregard for the common good of our society and show how easily basic principles of respect and honesty are cast aside. “
“I ask that Catholics pray especially for those directly affected by the violence, for those facing danger on the streets, for those whose livelihood has been ruined, for those whose lives are marked by fear, for those whose parents are worried about the behaviour of their youngsters and for those who, at this time, are being tempted into the ways of violence and theft.”(IMAGE SOURCE: thisworldera.blogspot.com)
“In the face of these difficulties, a forthright common effort is needed to ensure that these times bring out the best in our society and not the worst. I am sure that, as Catholic citizens, we shall play our part with clear principles for living, both as individuals and as a society, with honesty, compassion and prayer.”
“May God grant us courage and determination to shape our lives with dignity, self respect and care for the common good.”
The Diocese of Westminster’s boundaries include the London Boroughs north of the River Thames, between the River Lea to the East, the Borough of Hillingdon to the West, and including the County of Hertfordshire to the North.
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Archbishop Broglio said:
“On behalf of my Auxiliary Bishops, the priests, and the faithful of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, I express my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the valiant members of the Armed Forces and the Afghani citizens who perished in the helicopter crash and the recent fighting in the Tangi Province of Afghanistan. Their death is one more reminder of the terrible tragedy of war and its toll on all people. No person of good will is left unmoved by this loss.
“As we pray for the repose of their souls and the consolation of their families, we also raise our hearts and minds to Almighty God and beg for the elusive gift of peace on earth and harmony among all people.”
As the nation’s only Catholic archdiocese without geographical boundaries, the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, has active military priests and chaplains stationed throughout the country and around the world. Their mission is to meet the spiritual and sacramental needs of 1.5 million Catholics in the U.S. Armed Forces, their families, Catholics in VA Medical Centers, and U.S. Government civilians overseas.
Several parishes in Shenzhen, southern China, are welcoming foreign athletes for the Summer Universiade starting August 12.
Two priests and two nuns from Beijing diocese are also serving at the Catholic worshipping room at the Religious Service Center in the Universiade Village, where English Masses are being celebrated every day.
The 26th Summer Universiade, which runs until August 23, is the most prestigious sporting event for university athletes and is organized by the International University Sports Federation.
More than 12,000 athletes and officials from 152 “delegations” from around the world are due to take part. According to a local parish website, it is anticipated that nearly half the 8,000 athletes are Catholics.
In the Universiade Village in Longgang district, the Religious Service Center has four activity rooms for Buddhists, Catholics, Muslims and Protestants respectively, and several other rooms for meditation and prayers to be shared by believers of other faiths.
There are 14 religious personnel from the four religions among the 107 full-time workers at the center, which is open 24 hours a day.
Father Paul Liu Zhentian of Beijing, who served at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, said he and another priest are taking turns performing Masses in English and serving those “who want to pray, receive Sacraments or seek pastoral care.”
A couple of Catholic churches in Shenzhen city will also welcome foreign visitors during the games.
To serve foreign Catholics, on Sundays, in addition to the 2pm English Mass at St. Anthony’s Church in Futian district, the Christ the King Church in Bao’an district has temporarily changed its 3pm Chinese Mass to an English one.
The Christ the King Church has also arranged volunteers at the church to help those in need of assistance, said Father Joseph Hu Qinghua.
Tan Yandu, a young Catholic Universiade volunteer, said he hopes to perform good service “as a witness for the Gospel.”
Some other parishioners who have to work on weekdays said they will help at weekends. They said they hoped the local Church could grasp this evangelization opportunity by holding many activities for the public good.
This is the Catholic mission run by Benedictine monks from Illeret. Illeret is 900 km north of Nairobi in Marsabit district, near Lake Turkana. As announced by the Kenyan Episcopal Conference site, long before the government started to buy cattle from farmers in the area to minimise the loss of local heritage of cattle caused by drought, the Church of Marsabit had already launched the initiative, thanks to the initiative of Fr Florian von Bayern, a German Benedictine who works in the diocese.
Despite the enormous difficulties to be overcome (bad roads, the limit of the unbearable desert climate, strong tribal tensions), the Benedictines were able to complete the irrigation project in the area. At the shores of Lake Turkana, the Marsabit diocese has installed a wind-powered pump that delivers the lake water along a distance of three kilometers to the Illeret mission. In this way a section of the vast desert area has been transformed into an appealing green zone where the cattle bought by the Benedictine monks from local pastors are welcomed. The latter can then obtain the means to deal with the emergency caused by drought. Water is stored in a 60 thousand litre tank and is used for growing some plants resistant to the strong alkalinity of the lake.
The animals are then transported to the Benedictine monastery of Tigoni, in central Kenya, where they are taken care of to attain the right slaughter standards. (L.M.) '
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
Feast: August 9
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, was born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland), on 12 October 1891, the youngest of 11, as her family was celebrating Yom Kippur, that most important Jewish festival, the Day of Atonement. "More than anything else, this helped make the youngest child very precious to her mother". Being born on this day was like a foreshadowing to Edith, a future Carmelite nun.
Edith's father, who ran a timber business, died when she had just turned two. Her mother, a very devout, hardworking and strong-willed woman, now had to look after the family and their large business. However, she did not succeed in keeping up a living faith in her children. Edith lost her faith in God. "I consciously decided, of my own volition, to give up praying", she said.
In 1911 she enrolled at the University of Breslau to study German and history, but her real interest was philosophy and women's issues. She became a member of the Prussian Society for Women's Suffrage. "When I was at school and during my first year at university", she wrote later, "I was a radical suffragette. Then I lost interest in the whole issue. Now I am looking for purely pragmatic solutions".
In 1913 Edith Stein transferred to Gottingen University, to study under Edmund Husserl. She became his pupil and teaching assistant, and he later tutored her for a doctorate. At the time, anyone who was interested in philosophy was fascinated by Husserl's new view of reality. His pupils saw his philosophy as a return to objects: "back to things". Husserl's phenomenology unintentionally led many of his pupils to the Christian faith. In Gottingen Edith Stein also met the philosopher Max Scheler, who turned her attention to Roman Catholicism. Nevertheless, she did not neglect her studies and took her degree with distinction in January 1915.
"I no longer have a life of my own", she wrote at the beginning of the First World War, having taken a nursing course and gone to serve in an Austrian field hospital. This was a hard time for her, as she looked after the sick in the typhus ward, worked in an operating theatre and saw young people die. When the hospital was closed in 1916, she followed Husserl as his assistant to Freiburg, Germany, where she received her doctorate summa cum laude in 1917, after writing a thesis on "The Problem of Empathy".
Her first encounter with the Cross and its power
During this period she went to Frankfurt cathedral and saw a woman with a shopping basket going in to kneel for a brief prayer. "This was something totally new to me. In the synagogues and Protestant churches I had visited people simply went to the services. Here, however, I saw someone coming straight from the busy marketplace into this empty church, as if she was going to have an intimate conversation. It was something I never forgot". Towards the end of her dissertation she wrote: "There have been people who believed that a sudden change had occurred within them and that this was a result of God's grace". How could she come to such a conclusion?
Edith Stein had been a friend of Husserl's Gottingen assistant, Adolf Reinach, and his wife. When Reinach died in Flanders in November 1917, Edith went to Gottingen to visit his widow. The Reinachs had converted to Protestantism. Edith felt uneasy about meeting the young widow at first, but was surprised when she actually met a woman of faith. "This was my first encounter with the Cross and the divine power it imparts to those who bear it ... it was the moment when my unbelief collapsed and Christ began to shine his light on me—Christ in the mystery of the Cross". Later, she wrote: "Things were in God's plan which I had not planned at all. I am coming to the living faith and conviction that—from God's point of view—there is no chance and that the whole of my life, down to every detail, has been mapped out in God's divine providence and makes complete and perfect sense in God's all-seeing eyes".
In autumn 1918 Edith Stein left her job as Husserl's teaching assistant. She wanted to work independently. It was not until 1930 that she saw Husserl again after her conversion, and she talked with him about her faith, as she would have liked him to become a Christian too. Then she wrote down the amazing words: "Every time I feel my powerlessness and inability to influence people directly, I become more keenly aware of the necessity of my own holocaust".
Edith Stein wanted to obtain a professorship, a goal that was impossible for women at the time. Husserl wrote the following reference: "Should academic careers be opened up to women, I can recommend her wholeheartedly". Later, she was refused a professorship on account of being Jewish.
Baptized on the feast of the Circumcision
Back in Breslau, Edith Stein began to write articles about the philosophical foundation of psychology. However, she also read the New Testament, Kierkegaard and Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. She felt that one could not just read a book like that, but had to put it into practice.
In the summer of 1921 she spent several weeks in Bergzabern at the country estate of Hedwig Conrad-Martius, another of Husserl's students. Hedwig had converted to Protestantism with her husband. One evening Edith picked up an autobiography of St Teresa of Avila and read this book all night. "When I had finished the book, I said to myself: this is the truth". Later, looking back on her life, she wrote: "My longing for truth was a single prayer".
On 1 January 1922 Edith Stein was baptized. It was the feast of the Circumcision of Jesus, when Jesus entered into the covenant of Abraham. Edith Stein stood at the baptismal font, wearing Hedwig Conrad-Martius' white wedding cloak. Hedwig was her godmother. "I had given up practising my Jewish religion when I was a 14-year old girl and did not begin to feel Jewish again until I had returned to God". From this moment on she was continually aware that she belonged to Christ not only spiritually, but also through blood. On the feast of the Purification of Mary—another day with an Old Testament connection—she was confirmed by the Bishop of Speyer in his private chapel.
After her conversion she went straight to Breslau: "Mother", she said, "I am a Catholic". The two women wept. Hedwig Conrad-Martius wrote: "Behold, two Israelites in whom there is no guile!" (cf. Jn 1:47).
Immediately after her conversion she wanted to join a Carmelite convent. However, her spiritual mentors, Vicar General Schwind of Speyer and Erich Przywara, S.J., stopped her from doing so. Until Easter of 1931 she taught German and history at the Dominican Sisters' school and teacher-training college at St Magdalen's Convent in Speyer. At the same time she was encouraged by Archabbot Raphael Walzer of Beuron Abbey to accept extensive speaking engagements, mainly on women's issues. "During the time immediately before and quite some time after my conversion I ... thought that leading a religious life meant giving up all earthly things and having one's mind fixed on divine things only. Gradually, however, I learnt that other things are expected of us in this world ... I even believe that the deeper someone is drawn to God, the more he has to 'go beyond himself' in this sense, that is, go into the world and carry divine life into it".
She translated the letters and diaries of Cardinal Newman from his pre-Catholic period as well as Thomas Aquinas' Quaestiones Disputatae de Veritate. The latter was a very free translation, for the sake of dialogue with modern philosophy. Erich Przywara also encouraged her to write her own philosophical works. She learnt that it was possible to "pursue scholarship as a service to God". To gain strength for her life and work, she frequently went to the Benedictine monastery of Beuron to celebrate the great feasts of the Church year.
In 1931 Edith Stein left the convent school in Speyer and devoted herself to working for a professorship again, this time in Breslau and Freiburg, though her endeavours were in vain. It was then that she wrote Potency and Act, a study of the central concepts developed by Thomas Aquinas. Later, at the Carmelite convent in Cologne she rewrote this study to produce her main philosophical and theological study, Finite and Eternal Being. But by then it was no longer possible to print the texts.
She successfully combined faith and scholarship
In 1932 she accepted a teaching post in the Roman Catholic division of the German Institute for Educational Studies at the University of Münster, where she developed her anthropology. She successfully combined scholarship and faith in her work and teaching, seeking to be a "tool of the Lord" in everything she taught. "If anyone comes to me, I want to lead them to him".
In 1933 darkness broke out over Germany. "I had heard of severe measures against Jews before, but now it dawned on me that God had laid his hand heavily on his people, and that the destiny of these people would also be mine". The Nazis' Aryan Law made it impossible for Edith Stein to continue teaching. "If I cannot go on here, then there are no longer any opportunities for me in Germany", she wrote. "I had become a stranger in the world".
Archabbot Walzer of Beuron now no longer stopped her from entering Carmel. While in Speyer, she had already taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. In 1933 she met the Prioress of the Carmelite convent in Cologne. "Human activity cannot help us, but only the suffering of Christ. It is my desire to share in it".
Edith Stein went to Breslau for the last time, to say goodbye to her mother and her family. Her last day at home was her birthday, 12 October, which was also the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Edith went to the synagogue with her mother. It was a hard day for the two women. "Why did you become acquainted with it [Christianity]?", her mother asked. "I don't want to say anything against him. He may have been a very good person. But why did he make himself God?". Edith's mother cried. The following day Edith was on the train to Cologne. "I did not feel any passionate joy. What I had just experienced was too terrible. But I felt a profound peace—in the safe haven of God's will". From now on she wrote to her mother every week, though she never received any replies. Instead, her sister Rosa sent her news from Breslau.
'A very poor and powerless little Esther'
Edith Stein entered the Carmelite convent of Cologne on 14 October and was clothed in the habit on 15 April 1934. The Mass was celebrated by the Archabbot of Beuron. Edith Stein was now known as Sr Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. In 1938 she wrote: "I understood the Cross as the destiny of God's People, which was beginning to be apparent at the time (1933). 1 felt that those who understood the Cross of Christ should take it upon themselves on everybody's behalf. Of course, I know better now what it means to be wedded to the Lord under the sign of the Cross. However, one can never comprehend it, because it is a mystery". On 21 April 1935 she took her temporary vows. On 14 September 1936 the renewal of her vows coincided with her mother's death in Breslau. " My mother held on to her faith to the last moment. But as her faith and her firm trust in her God ... were the last thing that was still alive in the throes of her death, I am confident that she will have met a very merciful judge and that she is now my most faithful helper, so that I can reach the goal as well".
When she took her perpetual vows on 21 April 1938, she had the words of St John of the Cross printed on her devotional picture: "Henceforth my only vocation is to love". Her final work would be devoted to this author.
Edith Stein's entry into the Carmelite Order was not escapism. "Those who join the Carmelite Order are not lost, to their near and dear ones, but have been won for them, because it is our vocation to intercede with God for everyone". In particular, she interceded with God for her people: "I keep thinking of Queen Esther who was taken away from her people precisely because God wanted her to plead with the king on behalf of her nation. I am a very poor and powerless little Esther, but the King who has chosen me is infinitely great and merciful. This is a great comfort" (31 October 1938).
On 9 November 1938 the anti-Semitism of the Nazis became apparent to the whole world. Synagogues were burnt and the Jewish people were terrorized. The Prioress of the Cologne Carmel did her utmost to take Sr Teresa Benedicta of the Cross abroad. On New Year's Eve 1938 she was smuggled across the border into the Netherlands, to the Carmelite convent in Echt. This is where she wrote her will on 9 June 1939: "Even now I accept the death that God has prepared for me in complete submission and with joy as being his most holy will for me. I ask the Lord to accept my life and my death ... so that the Lord will be accepted by his people and that his kingdom may come in glory, for the salvation of Germany and the peace of the world".
In Echt, Edith Stein hurriedly completed her study of "The Church's Teacher of mysticism and the Father of the Carmelites, John of the Cross, on the Occasion of the 400th Anniversary of His Birth, 1542-1942". In 1941 she wrote to a friend, who was also a member of her order: "One can only gain a scientia crucis (knowledge of the cross) if one has thoroughly experienced the cross. I have been convinced of this from the first moment onwards and have said with all my heart: 'Ave, Crux, Spes unica' (I welcome you, Cross, our only hope)". Her study on St John of the Cross is entitled: Kreuzeswissenschaft "The Science of the Cross".
Edith Stein was arrested by the Gestapo on 2 August 1942, while she was in the chapel with the other sisters. She was to report within five minutes, together with her sister Rosa, who had also converted and was serving at the Echt convent. Her last words to be heard in Echt were addressed to Rosa: "Come, we are going for our people".
Together with many other Jewish Christians, the two women were taken to a transit camp in Amersfoort and then to Westerbork. This was an act of retaliation against the protest letter written by the Dutch Catholic Bishops against the pogroms and deportations of Jews. Edith commented: "I never knew that people could be like this, neither did I know that my brothers and sisters would have to suffer like this.... I pray for them every hour. Will God hear my prayers? He will certainly hear them in their distress". Prof. Jan Nota, who was greatly attached to her, wrote later: "She is a witness to God's presence in a world where God is absent".
On 7 August, early in the morning, 987 Jews were deported to Auschwitz. It was probably on 9 August that Sr Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, her sister and many others of her people were gassed.
When Edith Stein was beatified in Cologne on 1 May 1987, the Church honoured "a daughter of Israel", as Pope John Paul II put it, "who during the Nazi persecution remained united, as a Catholic, in fidelity and love to the crucified Lord Jesus Christ, and, as a Jew, to her people.
Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/T/stteresabenedictaofthecross.asp#ixzz1UYDNporJ
|Matthew 18: 1 - 5, 10, 12 - 14|
|1||At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"|
|2||And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them,|
|3||and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.|
|4||Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.|
|5||"Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me;|
|10||"See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.|
|12||What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?|
|13||And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.|
|14||So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.|