Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Vatican City, 26 February 2012 (VIS) - The Pope and the Roman Curia began their annual spiritual exercises this evening, the first Sunday of Lent.
This year's meditations are being directed by Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, who will focus on the theme of "the communion of Christians with God".
The exercises are being held in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, and will come to an end on Saturday 3 March. During the retreat all audiences are suspended, including the weekly general audience of Wednesday 29 February.

Vatican City, 26 February 2012 (VIS) - In his reflections before praying the Angelus this morning with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI commented on the Gospel reading from this Sunday's liturgy, St. Mark's narrative of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.
"The Lord chose to undergo the attack of the tempter so as to defend us with His help and instruct us with His example", said the Holy Father quoting a text written by St. Leo the Great. This episode teaches us that man is never free from temptation, but we can become stronger than any enemy "by following the Lord every day with patience and humility, learning to build our lives not without Him or as if He did not exist, but in Him and with Him, because He is the source of true life. The temptation to remove God, to regulate ourselves and the world counting only on our own abilities, has always been present in the history of man", the Pope said.
In Christ, God addresses man "in an unexpected way, with a closeness that is unique, tangible and full of love. God became incarnate and entered man's world in order to take sin upon Himself, to overcome evil and to bring man back into God's world. But His announcement was accompanied by a request to respond to such a great gift. Indeed, Jesus said "repent, and believe in the good news'. This is an invitation to have faith in God and to convert every day of our lives to His will, orienting our every action and our every thought towards what is good. The period of Lent is a good time to renew and strengthen our relationship with God through daily prayer, acts of penance and works of fraternal charity".
Following the Angelus the Pope greeted pilgrims in a number of different languages, asking them to pray for him as he and the Roman Curia retire for their Lenten spiritual exercises, which begin this evening.

Vatican City, 25 February 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received 200 scientists and members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which is currently celebrating its eighteenth general assembly on the theme: "The diagnosis and treatment of infertility". This subject, said the Pope, "has particular scientific importance, and is an expression of the concrete possibility of fruitful dialogue between ethics and biomedical research".
"Research into diagnosis and therapy is the most scientifically correct approach to the question of infertility, as well as being the most respectful of the human condition of the people involved", said Benedict XVI. "Indeed, the union of a man and a woman, in that community of love and life which is marriage, represents the only worthy 'place' for a new human being to be called into existence".
The Pope explained how "the human and Christian dignity of procreation does not lie in a 'product', but in its bond with the conjugal act: that expression of the spouses' love for one another, that union which is not only biological but also spiritual. ... An infertile couple's legitimate aspirations to become parents must therefore, with the help of science, find a response which is fully respectful of their dignity as people and as spouses". Yet, the Holy Father said, the field of human procreation seems to be dominated "by scientism and the logic of profit", which often "restrict many other areas of research.
"The Church is attentive to the suffering of infertile couples", he added, "and her concern for them is what leads her to encourage medical research. Science, nonetheless, is not always capable of responding to the needs of many couples, and so I would like to remind those who are experiencing infertility that their matrimonial vocation is not thereby frustrated. By virtue of their baptismal and matrimonial vocation, spouses are always called to collaborate with God in the creation of a new humanity. The vocation to love, in fact, is a vocation of self-giving and this is something which no bodily condition can impede. Therefore, when science cannot provide an answer, the light-giving response comes from Christ".
Benedict XVI invited the participants in the general assembly to continue to develop "a science which is intellectually honest and dedicated to the continual search for the good of mankind. ... Indifference towards truth and goodness is a dangerous threat to authentic scientific progress", he warned. In conclusion, the Pope encouraged his audience to dialogue with faith because "it was Christian culture - rooted in the affirmation of the existence of Truth, and the intelligibility of reality in the light of Supreme Truth - which enabled modern scientific knowledge to develop in mediaeval Europe, a knowledge which in earlier cultures had remained in the bud".

Vatican City, 25 February 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, accompanied by Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary of the same congregation.

Vatican City, 25 February 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Arrigo Miglio of Ivrea, Italy, as archbishop of Cagliari (area 4,041, population 572,615, Catholics 567,615, priests 247, permanent deacons 37, religious 919), Italy. He succeeds Archbishop Giuseppe Mani, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Medellin, Colombia, presented by Bishop Gilberto Jimenez Narvaez, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Bishop John F. Du of Dumaguete, Philippines, as metropolitan archbishop of Palo (area 4,620, population 1,762,000, Catholics 1,362,000, priests 161, religious 191), Philippines.


Agenzia Fides REPORT– It is an initiative that should be rejected because it "has no reference to the defense of life, population health, environmental protection": this is the opinion expressed by Mgr. Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, S.J., Archbishop of Huancayo, who criticized the proposal to "bless", with government approval, a controversial mining project that is creating serious environmental problems and to public health. In Peru there is a "PAMA" ("Programa De Adecuacion Y Manejo Ambiental "), a sort of "certificate" that the government grants to industrial and mining projects, ensuring environmental sustainability and health care. The Parliamentary Huaire Casio proposed that the approval granted to a mining project, and its metallurgical complex is given to the Doe Run Peru and active in the district of Junin. The mining project, according to the Environmental Commission established by the diocese, "creates shameful living conditions for local people, to the advantage of the Doe Run Peru," said the Archbishop.
As reported to Fides by the "Coordination of National Radio in Peru," even Mar Perez, of the National Commission of Human Rights expressed his views on the issue. Perez said that the current government has a "mistaken view of human rights because it gives a misleading picture of development. It offers a false model development, focused only on revenues from the mines." "In the case of Doe Run Peru – he continued - the state is failing in its obligation to protect fundamental human rights. The need for development cannot be an excuse for neglecting the protection of human rights. Protecting the right to health and environment is a way to ensure real development for the country".
According to observers, the Doe Run Peru mining project generates poverty and suffering in society, because of the high rate of pollution: families will be forced to deal with diseases contracted due to contamination with toxic gases. The exposure of citizens to high levels of pollution - are warning local committees - involves high social costs, lives are destroyed and leads to a serious deterioration of public health. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 25/2/2012)


Caoimhe O'Reilly from Cavan, Cardinal Seán Brady, Eimear Brady from Cavan and François-David Freschi, Youth Officer for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 at Crossroads 2012.
50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012, Extends Invitation to Ireland’s Youth

Young people from across Ireland are invited to celebrate their faith at this summer’s International Eucharistic Congress 2012 (IEC2012) in an event that is being described as one of the most ambitious youth ministry programmes ever presented in this country.
The programme called ‘Go! Be Church!’ will happen in an area known as the Chiara Luce Youth Space at IEC2012 in the RDS from 10-16 June. Young people from 17 to 25 years of age will engage in a diverse range of activities that include workshops, dramas, interactive catechesis, celebrations, concerts, social activities, games, and art.
Around 2,500 young people are expected to participate in ‘Go! Be Church!’ this summer and, in preparation for the upcoming Congress, more than 350 young people from across the Dioceses of Ulster gathered in Tyrone on Sunday last, 26 February, to celebrate faith through music, workshops and prayer at an event called Crossroads 2012.
The significant role that youth play in the Church in Ireland was highlighted by the presence of Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All-Ireland, who was the principal celebrant of the Eucharist at Crossroads 2012.
Other bishops concelebrating the Mass at St Ciaran’s College in Ballygawley included Bishop Liam MacDaid, Bishop of Clogher, and Bishop Donal McKeown, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor. They were joined by IEC2012 Diocesan Delegates from the Northern dioceses.
Bishop McKeown emphasised the important role the youth programme will play in the upcoming Congress: “These are difficult years for everybody in modern Ireland – and, in a particular way, for young people. We are all paying the price for trying to live in the fast lane or coarsening our hearts with superficiality.
“The 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 provides a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for the people of this island to pause and reflect on the deep human hunger; for meaning, love, God, healing and communion. Adults may well need to see, hear and listen to young people much more than the youth need the adults!”
Bishop McKeown added: “The Congress is a God-given opportunity to reawaken our idealism through reflecting on the mystery of love, community and service. It is a divine invitation to put communion at the heart of who we are as a people.”
Francois-David Freschi, IEC2012 Youth Officer, said: “We are hoping that every parish in Ireland will send at least one young person to represent them in the IEC2012 Chiara Luce Youth Space. The Church in Ireland needs young people and the Congress is a fantastic opportunity for young adults to explore and celebrate their faith.”
Each diocese in Ireland is being invited by IEC2012 to bring groups of young people to the Congress, either for the entire week or a portion of it. At the end of the week, young people will be missioned to go back to their parishes to begin local faith programmes.
The IEC2012 Youth Space is named after Chiara Badano, an ordinary young woman involved in the Focolare movement, who died in 1990 at the age of 18, after succumbing to bone cancer. Because of her qualities as a friend, and her deep sensitivity to the needs of others, especially the poor, she came to be known as ‘Chiara Luce’ (Claire ‘the Light’ in Italian). Chiara was beatified in 2010 and is the patron saint of the IEC2012 Youth Space.
To support the spiritual journey of young people before and after the Congress, groups of young people are invited to dip into the Pastoral Programme which is available on It invites us to walk in the footsteps of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Further information:
• Aisling Harmey, Media Relations Manager, 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012,
Tel: 00353 (01) 234 9903 Mob: 00353 (0) 87 137 2447 Email:
• Aoife Connors, Media Officer, 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012,
Tel: 00353 (01) 234 9940 Mob: 00353 (0) 87 628 0580 Email:
Notes for Editors:
• The 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 will take place in Dublin from 10 – 17 June 2012 with up to 25,000 pilgrims expected to attend each day at the RDS, including 12,000 international pilgrims representing 95 different countries.
• IEC2012 will transform the RDS into a Eucharistic Village for an eight day festival of faith and culture. The Eucharist will be celebrated in the Liturgy and adored in the Prayer Space.
• The Congress is an international gathering of people, every four years somewhere in the world, which aims to promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church; to help improve our understanding and celebration of the liturgy and to draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist. These aims are achieved through a programme of pastoral preparation in the years leading up to the Congress and a programme of liturgical and cultural events, lectures and workshops over the course of one week.
• The theme of the Congress is ‘The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one Another’ (Communion – like Solidarity – means a relationship of mutual love and self-giving).
• On 17 June, more than 80,000 people are expected to gather and celebrate the Final Mass of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 at Croke Park Stadium.
• There will be 18 keynote addresses by international speakers.
• The full programme is available here:
• Previous Congresses took place in Quebec (2008) and Guadalajara (2004)
• For more information:
• Registration for the Congress is now live.


by Kalpit Parajuli
For the authorities, this is the worst attack since 2009. The bomb explodes near the Nepali Oil Corporation headquarters. A small terrorist group fighting for the rights of indigenous minorities claims responsibility.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - A powerful bomb exploded at the main gate of the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), some 300 metres from the Singha Durbar, the official seat of Nepal's government, killing three people and wounding seven. According to police, this is the worse attack of its kind in four year after the attack against Kathmandu's Catholic cathedral in March 2009.

The Samyukta Jatiya Mukti Morcha-Bishwokranti (SJMM), a small Hindu terrorist group fighting for the rights of the poor and indigenous groups, has claimed responsibility.

In a statement sent to local media, it said that the action was meant to slam higher fuel prices and denounce the government for its corruption.

Experts believe the SJMM wants to gain the sympathy of the poorest in the Nepali population in order to discredit the Maoists, historical defenders of minorities under the Hindu monarchy.

Little is known of the group. It first appeared on 11 October 2011 with an attack against a phone company bus in Dadhing.

That attack also wounded seven people.'s-business-district,-killing-three-24089.html


Cisa News
DAKAR, February 24, 2012 (CISA) –The Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace through the local Caritas has chosen 850 observers to help in conducting the elections in Senegal.
“Out of about 3,000 local electoral observers, one third are Catholics,” sources told Fides.
“The atmosphere is tense, to the point that private schools in Dakar have cancelled classes until after the vote,” local Church sources said.
On February 21, pop singer and opposition activist, Youssou N’Dour, was wounded in the leg during an unauthorized demonstration in Dakar against incumbent President Wade, who is contesting the elections for a third term.
Sources say that the African Union mission, led by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, arrived in Dakar and has probably played a role in calming tempers after meeting all the members of the opposition.


REPORT OF : Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
23 Feb 2012

Stephen Lawlor rides a powerful
motorbike and as a Papal Knight will have
permission to ride a horse into the Vatican
Each morning, Stephen Lawlor, Director of the Archdiocese of Sydney's Ephpheta Centre roars up the streets of Punchbowl to work on his super-powerful Yamaha XJR 1300 motorbike. But from tomorrow when in Rome he has permission to use another type of transport enabling him not only to ride a horse into St Peter's Square but into the Vatican itself.
In a special ceremony hosted by the Archbishop of Sydney at Cathedral House on Friday, Stephen and four other outstanding Sydney Catholics will receive Papal awards in recognition of their faith and their significant contributions to the city and to the Church.
Created a Papal Knight of the Equestrian Order of St Sylvester in honour of his ongoing commitment, dedication and pastoral care to Sydney's 500-strong deaf community, Stephen has discovered the honour the award brings - not to mention the permission to ride his horse into the Vatican.
However while it is unlikely he will saddle up and canter into the Vatican, Stephen nevertheless is making history as the world's first non hearing Catholic to receive a Papal knighthood.
"As far as we can find out, Stephen is the first profoundly deaf Catholic to be honoured by the Holy Father with a Papal award," says Nicole Clark, hearing interpreter and assistant to the director of the Ephpheta Centre.
However this is not the first time Ephpheta's tall, charismatic chief with a passion for big motor bikes and a keen sense of humour has made history.
Appointed Director of the Centre in 2005 by an intuitive and far-sighted Cardinal Pell, Stephen became the first non hearing man or woman worldwide to head up a Catholic organisation for the deaf.
"His Eminence had quite a lot of experience with the deaf through his involvement with the John Pierce Centre for the Deaf Ministry during his time as Archbishop of Melbourne and appointing me director of the Centre was due to his understanding of the Sydney's deaf community's need for self determination," he says speaking via Nicole and using Auslan (Australian sign language).

Stephen Lawlor and Nola his wife of 40 years
with four of their six grandchildren
An active member of the Church since childhood, Stephen has always made time to help members of Sydney's deaf community, particularly non hearing parents with hearing children or hearing parents with a deaf child. But it wasn't until his retirement from the printing industry 11 years ago that he became involved with the Ephpheta Centre full time.
Then six and a half years ago he took over as director.
Chosen as 2008's Deaf Professional of the Year by the NSW Association of the Deaf, Stephen says while he has come across "a couple of deaf priests overseas and a deacon in Germany who is deaf, and a few from South Africa," so far he has not come across a non hearing person who is also head of a ministry.
Profoundly deaf since the age of three, but still unsure what caused his deafness, Stephen refuses to see his loss of hearing as a disability.
"As deaf people we see ourselves through a cultural perspective rather than a medical one," he insists and points out that just like other cultural minorities, Sydney's deaf community has its own language (AUSLAN), marry one another and live in what he describes as a "world within a world."
Rather than deafness, he explains, it is the lack of spoken language that can present difficulties.
For many years Stephen has worked to ensure the deaf have proper access to the Mass as well as hymns and different liturgies through the use of interpreters. As a member of the chaplaincy team at Ephpheta he also gives support and pastoral care to members of Sydney's deaf community during times of deep sorrow as well as times of happiness such as the birth of a child or a wedding.

Cardinal Pell understood Sydney's Catholic deaf
community needed self determination
Describing his role at Ephpheta as "the middle man" between the Catholic ministry and Sydney's deaf community, he would like to see more resources and materials for the world's non-hearing Catholics produced in their own language and in the context of a world without the spoken language the rest of us enjoy.
But as he points out when it comes to the Lord there are no difficulties for the deaf or hard of hearing. "God communicates with us as well as He does with anyone, and His great love overcomes all language barriers."
Stephen was notified of his Papal Knighthood ahead of the ceremony and admits his first reaction was one of disbelief. "The letter arrived on a teeming wet Friday and tired from work, I put it aside didn't grasp what a great honour I had been given until I finally read it on Sunday."
Nola, Stephen's wife of 40 years is also deaf although the couple's two sons and two daughters were born able to hear, as were their six grandchildren.
Thrilled and excited at the honour given to her husband, Nola will be at the ceremony tomorrow, as will the couple's sons and their wives, their daughters and their husbands, as well as Steve's brother Gary and his sister, Carol is flying down from Brisbane specially for the event.
"I was told we were each allowed to bring 10 family and guests to the ceremony but with a family the size of ours, His Eminence gave us permission to bring the whole family, all 15 of us," he says.
The other leading Catholics honoured with Papal Awards are Dominican priest and former parish priest at St Benedict's, Fr John Neill, OP who is being recognised for his services to education; Stanilaus Anthony (Tony) Carroll for his contribution to education and the law; Mrs Rosemary Flannery for her longstanding and dedicated contribution to the Parish of St Mary's North Sydney; and Mrs Patricia Martin, who is also being recognised for her outstanding service to the Archdiocese through her active involvement with the Parish of St Mary's.
Mr Carroll will be created a Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great. Ms Flannery will become Dame Commander of the Order of St Sylvester with Ms Martin created a Dame of the Order of St Gregory the Great. Fr Neill will receive the Papal Croce Pro Ecclesia et Pontiface.


Matthew 25: 31 - 46
31 "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.
34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
37 Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?
38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?
39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'
40 And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'
41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;
42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'
44 Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?'
45 Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.'
46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

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