Saturday, August 13, 2011










RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Saturday morning Pope Benedict XVI received the President of the German Bishops' Conference Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg (see photo), Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Bishop Franz-Josef Hermann Bode of Osnabrück, and Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen in the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.

Following the encounter the German bishops released a statement explaining that the audience regarded Pope Benedict XVI’s forthcoming pastoral visit to Germany, scheduled for September 22 to 25.

The bishops say they “informed the Holy Father on the process of dialogue that has been ongoing in the Catholic Church in Germany since the 2010autumn plenary assembly, the Letter to the Community dated March 17, 2011, as well the launch of the dialogue process on July 7 and 8 in Mannheim”.

According to the bishops’ statement, “Pope Benedict was very interested in this dialogue process which will give important momentum to the Church's journey towards the future. He then described the process of as a spiritual journey of renewal and encouraged the German bishops to continue on this road. The Pope stressed, in particular, its connection with the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council”. The statement concludes that “the meeting, which took place in a deep spirit of brotherhood also included a lunch, which lasted nearly three hours”.

Archbishop Zollitsch announced a comprehensive “process of dialogue and reflection” at the end of the Conference’s plenary session in September 2010. The aim of the process is to find a way to overcome the current crises in credibility and trust of the Church in Germany related to the abuse scandal that emerged in 2010.

The first round of consultations in the dialogue process took place July 7 and 8. At the invitation of the German Bishops, approximately 300 participants addressed the issue of “Prospectives of the Church of Tomorrow”. They were selected by the Secretariat of the German Bishops Conference, under the leadership of the Jesuit Hans Langendörfer.


Pope Benedict prays at ground zero in 2008. CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec.

USCCB REPORT: Cardinal Edward Egan describes ministering at hospital, Ground Zero, funerals
Chief of Chaplains Donald Rutherford saw soldiers’ faith grow
Minnesota parents note son’s heroics in ‘first victory against terrorism’ in Shanksville, PA

WASHINGTON—The Catholic Church Remembers, a website to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11, will highlight people’s firsthand experiences of pain and hope from the disaster. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will launch the site August 12.

The site at includes six video vignettes, including recollections of Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop-emeritus of New York. He became intimately involved in the tragedy moments after it happened – when New York Mayor Giuliani called and asked him to head for St. Vincent’s Hospital.

Thus began soul-searing days tending to the sick on stretchers and anointing bodies pulled from smoldering rubble where the Twin Towers fell. Cardinal Egan also speaks movingly of Ground Zero, which he dubs “Ground Hero,” the funeral Masses at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the priests pressed into service that day.

“If I had to sum up 9/11, I would say it was a time in which people taught this nation and the world how to be strong and how to be willing to sacrifice themselves for others,” he says in one video. “It was a terrible tragedy, it was a crime, but it was a magnificent manifestation of courage and willingness to sacrifice self.”

He describes finding closure at Ground Zero with Pope Benedict XVI in April 2008, as the pope met with victims’ families, lit a candle and prayed.

“There was so much goodness there that the evil was, I think, not only conquered, it was smothered,” Cardinal Egan says.

The website also includes video of Chaplain Donald Rutherford, a two-star general and Catholic priest now head of all U.S. military chaplains. He is based at the Pentagon, where terrorists flew a plane into the building on 9/11. He describes the effect on young soldiers.

Before 9/11, he says, “it was kind of a carefree world where you never had been attacked before. I think now it says that we’re all vulnerable .… We look at the young soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines that we work with everyday …. they are a faithful people. We saw their faith grow that day.”

The website also hosts individual reflections of several people impacted that day.

Lt. Col. Shareda Hosein, U.S. Army Reserves, a woman Muslim chaplain, immediately afterwards was both applauded for her military service and scorned for her Muslim dress.

“I feel the resiliency of my faith as the biggest strength in helping build bridges of understanding with my fellow Americans. I have persevered with patience, a loving kindness, non-judgment and taken a stand to live in a pluralistic America that has liberty and justice for all no matter what race, gender, religion or personal affiliation.”

Beverly and Thomas Burnett, Sr., saw their son Thomas Burnett, Jr., and others “drafted unknowingly as the first citizen-soldiers in the war on terrorism,” they said.

“Little more than one hour into the war, America won its first battle against terrorism,” the couple said. They described their son speaking via cell phone to his wife of a plan to take back a hi-jacked plane and his last words: “We’re going to do something.” Young Burnett and others died fighting terrorists over the skies of Shanksville, Pennsylvania and brought down a plane thought to be headed for the nation’s capital.

New York City firefighter Kenneth Zaveckas, who lost 343 firefighter brothers – 24 of them close friends – when the Twin Towers imploded, asks why he was let live. He was on loan from Manhattan to a unit in Brooklyn, the only borough unit ordered to stay there to protect another suspected target, the Hasidic community. Zaveckas later retired early from the fire department because of lung damage from rescue work at the site.

“I still try to figure out what God was thinking and why I deserved to be spared twice that day.”

Jesuit Father James Martin, culture editor of America magazine, aided rescue workers.

“In this hell I found grace,” he said. “I thought ‘what is God like? God is like the firefighter who rushes into a burning building to save someone. That’s how much God loves us.’ And I saw this love expressed in the great charity of all the rescue workers who gathered at the American Golgotha.”

Msgr. Anthony Sherman, a Brooklyn pastor, led funerals for parishioners lost in the inferno. There were firefighters, and a woman whose marriage he had officiated at a year before, and who had announced on 9/10 that she was pregnant.

“9/11 led us all into the very depths of the mysteries of human suffering, death and resurrection. We discovered that we cannot obtain nor find all the answers to the atrocities we experienced. Yet with God’s grace we also experienced the height of human sacrifice and the ability of our brothers and sisters to manifest heroic love.”

Franciscan Father Joseph Bayne, chief chaplain of New York’s Erie County Emergency Services, traveled from Buffalo, New York, to support his fellow rescue workers sent downstate.

“I did not see the devil’s face at Ground Zero. I saw the face of God in the people working, caring, sweating, crying, rescuing, recovering and being very spiritual in their very humanness.”

Paulist Father Paul Wierichs, a former chaplain to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, worked with the New York FBI office.

because we were all together..

“People came together in unity that day. We can all remember where we were on 9/11


WYD MADRID REPORT: The Sisters of Life and World Youth Day

Sisters of Life Profile

August 12, 2011. Although it has only been 20 years since John Cardinal O´Connor of New York founded the Sisters of Life in 1991, they have made a big impact in the Catholic world. Their charism? To counter-act the culture of death and to spread a culture of life.

“Cardinal O´Connor saw that in the history of the Church, the Holy Spirit has raised up communities to meet the pressing need of the time. He wanted us to focus on the most vulnerable in society, the unborn,” says Sr. Mary Elizabeth.

As part of their charism, they provide assistance to unwed mothers facing unplanned pregnancies through Holy Respite, a home for unwed mothers in downtown Manhattan, as well as though Visitation Mission where the sisters provide opportunities to sit and talk with women facing unplanned pregnancies.
They further support the dignity of the Human Person through retreats, and various other forms of outreach like the Dr. Stanton Library, a collection of materials documenting the prolife movement.

Currently, they have convents in Canada as well as in the United States. This September, eight women will join this growing order.Hermanas2

How does this relate to WYD, you might ask? The Sisters, in conjunction with the Knights of Columbus, will be hosting the “Love and Life Pavilion, a Home for English-speaking Pilgrims” during the week of World Youth Day.

“Our goal during our time at WYD in the Love and Life Pavilion is to invite young people to encounter Jesus Christ because He is the way, the truth, and the life. Young people are seeking to live life to the full, they are seeking the path that leads to abundant life. At the Love and Life Pavilion we will have talks, prayer, adoration and times when young people can just get to know each other,” says Sr. Mary Elizabeth.

The Sisters and the Knights have a packed schedule for English speakers, a mix of speakers, music and prayer. They are expecting around 10,000 pilgrims to pass through daily.

Sr. Mary Elizabeth mentioned three important highlights to look for that are currently not mentioned on the website.

First, the Vocations Café. This will be an informal place and opportunity for young people to explore possible vocation paths.

“You will be able to talk with a priest, a nun, or a married couple. You do not have to be discerning to stop by. It will be an informal set up, there will be comfy chairs, no pressure.”

Secondly, “Ask the Bishop”. If you have ever wanted to have a one on one with a bishop from any country, this is an excellent opportunity. “Different bishops from different countries will be present and young people will be able to get to know them. Any Bishops are welcome to stop by at any time!” Sr. Mary Elizabeth elaborates.

There will also be an opportunity explore further the Sisters´charism and dedication to the dignity of the Human Person through a multi-media exhibit created specifically for the Love and Life site.

“It talks about 4 real life stories and important decisions that are made and how one decision can change the world,” concludes Sr. Mary Elizabeth.
This event is free and will be available during the entirety of WYD.

The Sisters will also be blogging about their experience at with live streaming from Salt + Light Television network.


UCAN REPORT: Poor children benefit from fundraising efforts reporter, Hai Phong
August 11, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of Priest keeps students in school
Father John Baptist Vu Van Kien (center) and scholarship winners

Many students from poor families in the northern city of Hai Phong are avoiding being forced to drop out of school thanks to the efforts of a local priest.

“I’ve been providing fifty scholarships each year to students since 2006 as a result of my fund-raising efforts,” said Father John Baptist Vu Van Kien, from Hai Phong diocese.

The total cost amounts to around 40 million dong (US$1,943), he said.

Students, regardless of their background, are granted somewhere between 400,000 and 3 million dong each.

Father Kien, 40, said that on his birthdays, priestly anniversaries and feast days, he asks local Catholics to donate money, rice or other items for his education fund, instead of giving him flowers.

The priest, who was ordained in 2005, said he got the fundraising idea from priests in Ho Chi Minh City where he studied philosophy and theology.

He also raises funds by staging concerts at churches and asking for donations from individuals and companies.

Father Kien, who gets around by bicycle, said last week he and a local bus company are seeking to give scholarships and 500,000 dong each to 40 students, so they can buy uniforms, books, bags and other items for the new school year starting later this month.

“My main priority is to support poor students in furthering their studies so that they can escape from poverty in the future,” said Father Kien, who also serves as head of Caritas in the diocese.

People live in poverty because they have had a poor education, so children who are given the opportunity to study are more likely to lead a good life and avoid social ills in the future, he added.

He said about 20 percent of students in the diocese have dropped out of elementary and high-school education.

They drop out mainly due to lack of money or deaths in the family.

Marie Nguyen Thi Trang, a ninth grader, said she and her younger brother would have dropped out if they hadn’t received Church scholarships after their parents died in a flood two years ago.

They are supported by their 84-year-old grandmother who begs for help from neighbors, she added.

Father Kien said during the last academic year, Caritas also offered scholarships to 350 students in the diocese, most of whom are living with HIV/AIDS.


CATHOLIC WEEKLY REPORT: Fr Christopher Sheehy was a “larger than life figure” who served a lot of people with patience, understanding and empathy, says Mons Kerry Bayada, parish priest of Caringbah.

“He had a wonderful sense of humour and was much loved and respected by parishioners in the various parishes in which he served,” said Mons Kerry Bayada.

Fr Sheehy, parish priest at Rosebery, died after suffering a heart attack last Saturday night. He was 63.

Mons Bayada, who conducted Mass at Rosebery last Sunday, said the feeling among parishioners was “one of great sadness”.

“The parishioners were in shock at his sudden loss,” Mons Bayada said. “He did such wonderful work not only in the parish, but also as director of the Matrimonial Tribunal for the Sydney archdiocese. He will be sorely missed, but he has left a wonderful legacy.”

A canon lawyer, Fr Sheehy was Judicial Vicar of the Regional Tribunal of Sydney (NSW and ACT), and director of the Tribunal of the Sydney archdiocese, an involvement spanning more than 30 years.

Tribunal administrator Adrienne Connaghan said Fr Christopher was a great example of “compassion, justice and service to the Church”.

“He was an excellent canon lawyer and very much loved by his staff in the

tribunal,” she said.

“He was a very compassionate man, deeply spiritual and had a vibrant, loveable personality. He has left a lasting impression on all those who knew and had contact with him.”

Born in Sydney on June 10, 1948, he was educated at Waverley College (1955–65), before studying at St Columba’s College, Springwood, and St Patrick’s College Manly (1967–73). He was ordained at St Mary’s Cathedral on October 20, 1973 and took up his first role as assistant priest at East Granville.

Following this he acted as assistant priest at Kogarah (1975), Parramatta (1976), Penrith (1979) and Rosebery (1980).

Fr Sheehy was appointed a Notary to the Tribunal in 1980. In 1982 he was appointed the administrator of Rosebery.

From 1984–1985 Fr Sheehy studied Canon Law at St Paul’s University, Ottawa, Canada. On his return to Sydney he was appointed a Judge of the Regional Tribunal of Sydney in June 1986. At the same time he was appointed an assistant priest at Mascot. In 1991 he was appointed parish priest at Rosebery and was appointed the Judicial Vicar of the Regional Tribunal and director of the Sydney Archdiocesan Tribunal Office.

Fr Sheehy’s Requiem Mass was held at St Mary’s Cathedral on August 11.


Fides Service report- South Kordofan, in the north region of Sudan on the border with South Sudan (has recently become independent ) seems to have become the new "hot spot" that threatens the stability of the regime in Khartoum.
In this area, since the beginning of June, heavy fighting opposes the Sudanese troops to the Nuba rebels who had fought together with Southerners during the war in 1983-2005. The Nuba rebels of southern Kordofan belong to the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), originally part of the SPLM, the rebel movement that acted in southern Sudan and is now in power in South Sudan.
According to a report in the newspaper "Sudan Tribune" the SPLM-N is negotiating with two rebel movements operating in Darfur (west of the country) to join forces in order to overthrow the Khartoum regime. On August 7, the three rebel groups announced the formation of Sudan's Revolutionary Front Alliance (SRFA), whose objective is to overthrow the National Congress Party (NCP the ruling party in Khartoum) and then give birth to a liberal and secular State.
The seriousness of the situation in South Kordofan has been underlined by the U.S. emissary Princeton Lyman, who fears the extension of the conflict to other areas of the region and even to South Sudan, considering the existing links between the Nuba and Southern fighters.
The Khartoum government is accused of conducting bombings against civilians. The site of the Sudan Catholic Radio Network reports the testimony of a priest, whose name was not released for security reasons, claiming that Khartoum has sent 500 spies to South Kordofan to coordinate the bombing. The spies are equipped with satellite phones which transmit the details of the targets to hit.
Meanwhile, efforts on behalf of Ethiopia to negotiate a political settlement to the conflict in the region continues, since in July, mediation by former South African President Thabo Mbek failed. (L.M.)


St. John Berchmans


Feast: August 13


Feast Day:August 13
Born:13 March 1599 at Driest, Brabant, Belgium
Died:12 August 1621 at Rome, Italy
Canonized:1888 by Pope Leo XIII
Major Shrine:Sant'Ignazio
Patron of:altar boys, Oblate novices, young people

This young saint of the Society of Jesus was born in Flanders, the oldest of five children. He grew up in an atmosphere of political turmoil caused by a religious war between the Catholic and Protestant sections of the Netherlands. He studied at the Gymnasium at Diest and worked as a servant in the household of Canon John Froymont at Malines in order to continue his studies.

In 1615, the Jesuits opened a college at Malines, and St. John Berchmans was one of the first to enter. He was an energetic student and was a leader among the students. In 1616, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Malines and came under the influence of Father Antoine Sucquet. The young Berchmans developed a strong and deep spirituality based on the loving practice of fidelity. St. Aloysius of Gonzaga was his spiritual model, and he was influenced as well by the example of the Jesuit English martyrs.

It was his realistic appreciation for the value of ordinary things, a characteristic of the Flemish mystical tradition, that constituted his holiness. He was affable, kind, and endowed with an outgoing personality that endeared him to everyone. In 1618, he was sent to Rome to study philosophy and was an exceptional student. He requested after ordination to become a chaplain in the army, hoping to be martyred on the battlefield.

In the summer of 1619, the intense heat of Rome started to affect his health and he began progressively to get weaker. The doctors could not determine what was wrong, and for two years he was continually sick, requiring medical care, and as the summer of 1621 came, it was clear that he would not last long. He died peacefully on August 13, 1621, and numerous miracles were attributed to him at the time of his funeral.

He was beatified by Pope Pius IX in 1865 and canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888. His body lies in the church of St. Ignatius in Rome, where Aloysius of Gonzaga is also buried.

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St. Pontian


Feast: August 13

Dates of birth and death unknown. The "Liber Pontificalis" (ed. Duchesne, I, 145) gives Rome as his native city and calls his father Calpurnius. With him begins the brief chronicle of the Roman bishops of the third century, of which the author of the Liberian Catalogue of the popes made use in the fourth century and which gives more exact data for the lives of the popes. According to this account Pontian was made pope 21 July, 230, and reigned until 235. The schism of Hippolytus continued during his episcopate; towards the end of his pontificate there was a reconciliation between the schismatic party and its leader with the Roman bishop. After the condemnation of Origen at Alexandria (231-2), a synod was held at Rome, according to Jerome (Epist. XXXII, iv) and Rufinus (Apol. contra Hieron., II, xx), which concurred in the decisions of the Alexandrian synod against Origen; without doubt this synod was held by Pontian (Hefele, Konziliengeschichte, 2nd ed., I, 106 sq.). In 235 in the reign of Maximinus the Thracian began a persecution directed chiefly against the heads of the Church. One of its first victims was Pontian, who with Hippolytus was banished to the unhealthy island of Sardinia. To make the election of a new pope possible, Pontian resigned 28 Sept., 235, the Liberian Catalogue says "discinctus est". Consequently Anteros was elected in his stead. Shortly before this or soon afterwards Hippolytus, who had been banished with Pontian, became reconciled to the Roman Church, and with this the schism he had caused came to an end. How much longer Pontian endured the sufferings of exile and harsh treatment in the Sardinian mines is unknown. According to old and no longer existing Acts of martyrs, used by the author of the "Liber Pontificalis", he died in consequence of the privations and inhuman treatment he had to bear. Pope Fabian (236-50) had the remains of Pontian and Hippolytus brought to Rome at a later date and Pontian was buried on 13 August in the papal crypt of the Catacomb of Callistus. In 1909 the original epitaph was found in the crypt of St. Cecilia, near the papal crypt. The epitaph, agreeing with the other known epitaphs of the papal crypt, reads: PONTIANOS, EPISK. MARTUR (Pontianus, Bishop, Martyr). The word mártur was added later and is written in ligature [cf. Wilpert, "Die Papstgräber und die Cäciliengruft in der Katakombe des hl. Kalixtus" (Freiburg, 1909), 1 sq., 17 sq., Plate III]. He is placed under 13 Aug. in the list of the "Depositiones martyrum" in the chronographia of 354. TheRoman Martyrology gives his feast on 19 Nov.

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