Monday, March 26, 2012


Vatican City, 24 March 2012 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. today the Holy Father left Miraflores College in Leon to travel to the city of Guanajuato, sixty-four kilometres away. He covered the first part of the journey by car, transferring to the popemobile shortly before reaching his destination. The city of Guanajuato, which has a population of around 70,000, underwent its greatest expansion during the period of Spanish rule, thanks to the nearby silver and gold mines. It is also famous for being the cradle of the Mexican national independence movement led by Miguel Hidalgo. In 1998 the city and its silver mines became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (PHOTO: ASIA NEWS)
After entering Guanajuato, the Pope made his way to the Casa del Conde Rul, the headquarters of the State government, where he paid a courtesy visit to Felipe de Jesus Calderon Hinojosa, president of Mexico. The two men held a private meeting, after which Benedict XVI, accompanied by Archbishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago of Leon, appeared on the balcony of the building to greet children and faithful gathered below in the Plaza de la Paz.
"You have a very special place in the Pope’s heart", he told the children. "And in these moments, I would like all the children of Mexico to know this, especially those who have to bear the burden of suffering, abandonment, violence or hunger, which in recent months, because of drought, has made itself strongly felt in some regions. I am grateful for this encounter of faith, and for the festive and joyful presence expressed in song. ... God wants us to be happy always. He knows us and He loves us. If we allow the love of Christ to change our heart, then we can change the world. This is the secret of authentic happiness.
"This place where we stand today has a name which expresses the yearning present in the heart of each and every person: “la paz”, peace. This is a gift which comes from on high. “Peace be with you”. These are the words of the Risen Lord. We hear them during each Mass, and today they resound anew in this place, with the hope that each one of you will be transformed, becoming a sower and messenger of that peace for which Christ offered His life.
"The disciple of Jesus does not respond to evil with evil, but is always an instrument of good instead, a herald of pardon, a bearer of happiness, a servant of unity. He wishes to write in each of your lives a story of friendship. Hold on to Him, then, as the best of friends".
"I have come that you may know my affection. Each one of you is a gift of God to Mexico and to the world. Your family, the Church, your school and those who have responsibility in society must work together to ensure that you receive a better world as your inheritance, without jealousies and divisions.That is why I wish to lift up my voice, inviting everyone to protect and to care for children, so that nothing may extinguish their smile, but that they may live in peace and look to the future with confidence.
"You, my dear young friends, are not alone. You can count on the help of Christ and His Church in order to live a Christian lifestyle. Participate in Sunday Mass, in catechesis, in apostolic works, looking for occasions of prayer, fraternity and charity. Blessed Cristobal, Antonio and Juan, the child martyrs of Tlaxcala, lived this way, and knowing Jesus, during the time of the initial evangelisation of Mexico, they discovered that there is no greater treasure than He".
"We will remain close in prayer. So I invite you to pray continually, even in your homes; in this way, you will experience the happiness of speaking about God with your families. Pray for everyone, and also for me. I will pray for all of you, so that Mexico may be a place in which everyone can live in serenity and harmony".

Vatican City, 25 March 2012 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in the Parque Bicentenario of the city of Leon. He reached the venue by helicopter from Miraflores College where he is staying during his apostolic visit to Mexico. On arrival he was welcomed by the governor of the State of Guanajuato before boarding the popemobile to greet the 500,000 faithful.
The Holy Father concelebrated Mass with Mexican cardinals and bishops, the presidents of the twenty-two episcopal conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean, and some 3,000 priests. The ceremony was accompanied by a 200-strong choir and the faithful were able to follow the event on giant screens.
Extracts from the Holy Father's homily are given below.
"We said, “A pure heart, create for me, O God” during the responsorial psalm. This exclamation ... helps us to look deeply into the human heart, especially in times of sorrow as well as hope, as are the present times for the people of Mexico and of Latin America.
"The desire for a heart that would be pure, sincere, humble, acceptable to God was very much felt by Israel as it became aware of the persistence in its midst of evil and sin as a power, practically implacable and impossible to overcome. There was nothing left but to trust in God’s mercy and in the hope that He would change from within, from the heart, an unbearable, dark and hopeless situation".
"This should remind each one of us and our peoples that, when addressing the deeper dimension of personal and community life, human strategies will not suffice to save us. We must have recourse to the One Who alone can give life in its fullness, because He is the essence of life and its author; He has made us sharers in the same through His Son Jesus Christ.
"Today’s Gospel takes up the topic and shows us how this ancient desire for the fullness of life has actually been achieved in Christ. ... On the cross ... His “glory” will begin, because of His sacrifice of expiation for all, as the grain of wheat fallen to the ground that by dying germinates and produces abundant fruit. ... Our Lady of Guadalupe showed her divine Son to St. Juan Diego, not as a powerful legendary hero but as the very God of the living, by Whom all live, the Creator of persons, ... of heaven and earth. At that moment she did what she had done previously at the wedding feast of Cana. Faced with the embarrassment caused by the lack of wine, she told the servants clearly that the path to follow was her Son: “Do whatever he tells you”".
"By coming here I have been able to visit the monument to Christ the King situated on top of the Cubilete. ... This monument represents Christ the King. But His crowns, one of a sovereign the other of thorns, indicate that His royal status does not correspond to how it has been or is understood by many. His kingdom does not stand on the power of His armies subduing others through force or violence. It rests on a higher power that wins over hearts: the love of God that He brought into the world with His sacrifice and the truth to which He bore witness. This is His sovereignty which no one can take from Him and which no one should forget".
"From this park, foreseen as a memorial of the bicentenary of the birth of the Mexican nation, ... we ask Christ for a pure heart, where He as Prince of Peace may dwell “thanks to the power of God Who is the power of goodness, the power of love”. But for God to dwell in us, we need to listen to Him; we must allow His Word to challenge us every day, meditating upon it in our hearts after the example of Mary. In this way we grow in friendship with Him, we learn to understand what He expects from us and we are encouraged to make Him known to others.
"At Aparecida, the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean saw with clarity the need to confirm, renew and revitalise the newness of the Gospel rooted deeply in the history of these lands. ... We need to overcome fatigue related to faith and rediscover “the joy of being Christians, of being sustained by the inner happiness of knowing Christ and belonging to His Church. From this joy spring the energies that are needed to serve Christ in distressing situations of human suffering, placing oneself at His disposition and not falling back on one’s own comfort”. This can be seen clearly in the saints who dedicated themselves fully to the cause of the Gospel with enthusiasm and joy without counting the cost, even of life itself. Their heart was centred entirely on Christ from Whom they had learned what it means to love until the end".
"Let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to assist us in purifying our hearts. ... And let us also ask her to continue accompanying and protecting her Mexican and Latin American children, that Christ may reign in their lives and help them boldly to promote peace, harmony, justice and solidarity".

Vatican City, 25 March 2012 (VIS) - "As we now pray the Angelus and remember the Annunciation of the Lord, our eyes too turn spiritually towards the hill of Tepeyac, to the place where the Mother of God, under the title of “the Ever-Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe” has been fervently honoured for centuries as a sign of reconciliation and of God’s infinite goodness towards the world", said the Holy Father this morning before the Marian prayer.
"Do not forget", he went on, "that true devotion to the Virgin Mary always takes us to Jesus, and “consists neither in sterile nor transitory feelings, nor in an empty credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to recognise the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to filial love towards our Mother and to the imitation of her virtues”. To love her means being committed to listening to her Son, to venerate the Guadalupana means living in accordance with the words of the blessed fruit of her womb.
"At this time, when so many families are separated or forced to emigrate, when so many are suffering due to poverty, corruption, domestic violence, drug trafficking, the crisis of values and increased crime, we come to Mary in search of consolation, strength and hope. She is the Mother of the true God, who invites us to stay with faith and charity beneath her mantle, so as to overcome in this way all evil and to establish a more just and fraternal society.
"With these sentiments, I place once again this country, all Latin America and the Caribbean before the gentle gaze of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I entrust all their sons and daughters to the Star of both the original and the new evangelisation; she has inspired with her maternal love their Christian history, has given particular expression to their national achievements, to their communal and social initiatives, to family life, to personal devotion and to the continental mission which is now taking place across these noble lands. In times of trial and sorrow she was invoked by many martyrs who, in crying out “Long live Christ the King and Mary of Guadalupe” bore unyielding witness of fidelity to the Gospel and devotion to the Church. I now ask that her presence in this nation may continue to serve as a summons to defence and respect for human life. May it promote fraternity, setting aside futile acts of revenge and banishing all divisivehatred", the Pope concluded.
After the Angelus, Benedict XVI prayed for a few moments in silence before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. As he imparted the final blessing, he also blessed ninety-one images of the Virgin of Guadalupe which are destined to be displayed in all the dioceses of Mexico.

Vatican City, 25 March 2012 (VIS) - At 6 p.m. today the Holy Father arrived at the cathedral of "Nuestra Senora de la Luz" in the city of Leon, where he celebrated Vespers with Mexican bishops and numerous other prelates from the episcopal conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean. On arrival the Pope was greeted by the cathedral chapter, then paused for a moment of private prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
Following a greeting by Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, president of the Mexican Episcopal Conference and of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), the celebration of Vespers began. Extracts from the homily delivered by the Holy Father during the ceremony are given below.
"The Blessed Virgin ... has shown us Jesus and passed down to us the great things which God constantly does for humanity. ... A decisive sign of these great things is given to us in the reading just proclaimed at these Vespers. The people of Jerusalem and their leaders did not acknowledge Christ, yet, by condemning Him to death, they fulfilled the words of the prophets. Human evil and ignorance simply cannot thwart the divine plan of salvation and redemption. Evil is simply incapable of that. ... There is no reason, then, to give in to the despotism of evil".
"I have greatly looked forward to this meeting with you, the pastors of Christ’s pilgrim Church in Mexico and in the different countries of this great continent. I see this meeting as an occasion to turn our gaze together to Christ. ... Certainly your dioceses face a number of challenges and difficulties at the present moment. Yet, in the sure knowledge that the Lord is risen, we are able to move forward confidently, in the conviction that evil does not have the last word in human history, and that God is able to open up new horizons to a hope that does not disappoint".
"In you I see reflected the concerns of the flocks which you shepherd, and I am reminded of the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops, where the participants applaud after an intervention by someone who exercises his ministry in particularly troubling situations for the Church’s life and mission. That applause is a sign of deep faith in the Lord and fraternity in the apostolate, as well as gratitude and admiration for those who sow the Gospel amid thorns, some in the form of persecution, others in the form of social exclusion or contempt. Neither are concerns lacking, for want of means and human resources, or for limitations imposed on the freedom of the Church in carrying out her mission.
"The Successor of Peter shares these concerns and he is grateful for your patient and humble pastoral outreach. You are not alone. ... All of us are one in sufferings and in consolation. Know that you can count on a special place in the prayers of the one who has received from Christ the charge of confirming his brethren in faith. He now encourages you in your mission of making our Lord Jesus Christ ever better known, loved and followed in these lands, and he urges you not to let yourselves be intimidated by obstacles along the way".
"The initiatives planned for the Year of Faith must be aimed at guiding men and women to Christ; His grace will enable them to cast off the bonds of sin and slavery, and to progress along the path of authentic and responsible freedom. ... I encourage you to continue to share freely the treasures of the Gospel, so that they can become a powerful source of hope, freedom and salvation for everyone".
"Amid the challenges now facing us in our pastoral care and our preaching of the Gospel, it is essential to show great concern for your seminarians. ... No less fundamental is the need to remain close to your priests; they must never lack the understanding and encouragement of their bishop, nor, if necessary, his paternal admonition in response to improper attitudes. ... The same should be said for the different forms of consecrated life, whose charisms need to be gratefully esteemed and responsibly encouraged, in a way respectful of the gift received. Greater attention is due to the members of the lay faithful most engaged in the fields of catechesis, liturgical animation, charitable activity and social commitment. Their faith formation is critical if the Gospel is to become present and fruitful in contemporary society. It is not right for them to feel treated like second-class citizens in the Church, despite the committed work which they carry out inaccordance with their proper vocation, and the great sacrifice which this dedication at times demands of them. In all of this, it is particularly important for pastors to ensure that a spirit of communion reigns among priests, religious and the lay faithful, and that sterile divisions, criticism and unhealthy mistrust are avoided".
"Stand beside those who are marginalised as the result of force, power or a prosperity which is blind to the poorest of the poor. The Church cannot separate the praise of God from service to others. The one God, our Father and Creator, has made us brothers and sisters: to be human is to be a brother and guardian to our neighbour. ... The Church must relive and make present what Jesus was: the Good Samaritan Who came from afar, entered our human history, lifted us up and sought to heal us".
Following the ceremony, Juan Manuel Oliva Ramirez, governor of the State of Guanajuato, handed the Pope a device with which he illuminated the new lighting system of the nearby Shrine of Christ the King.

Vatican City, 25 March 2012 (VIS) - This evening, following the celebration of Vespers, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. presided at a dinner in the courtyard of the cathedral of Leon. The event was attended by Mexican and Latin American bishops, and by members of the papal entourage.
The secretary of State pronounced an address in which he observed that the Pope's visit to Mexico was "an occasion of profound happiness, seeing how this beloved nation has once again opened wide its doors to the Successor of Peter, manifesting in this way the greatness of spirit of her children, her exquisite hospitality and the robust Catholic faith rooted among her citizens".
Cardinal Bertone noted that this year marks the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mexico and the Holy See. "Both the Church and the State share a common duty, each according to its specific mission, in protecting and promoting the fundamental rights of each person", he said. "Of special note among them is the freedom of man to search for the truth and to profess his own religious convictions, in public as well as in private, which has been recognised and guaranteed by civil law. And it is to be hoped that in Mexico this fundamental right will continue to be strengthened, conscious that it goes much further than mere freedom of worship. It penetrates every dimension of the human person, called to express his or her faith, to proclaim it and share it with others, without imposing it, as the most precious gift from God.
"Moreover", the cardinal added, "diplomatic efforts must be more fully rooted in the promotion of this great common cause, to which Christianity can offer a valid contribution, because it is “a religion of freedom and of peace, and it is at the service of the authentic good of humanity”. The Church never ceases to call on everyone to let political activity be a praiseworthy and ceaseless endeavour in support of citizens, and not become a struggle for power or an imposition of rigid ideological systems, which so often result in the radicalisation of wide sectors of the population.
"In this sense, the bishops here present represent the Catholic Church’s engagement to work for the benefit of the human family, for whom Jesus Christ gave His life. In each generation, she has written a page of this history of service to humanity. Some lines of it are the work of saints, others of the martyrs. This history has not been lacking in daring pastors, in exemplary religious men and women, in young people with prophetic voices, in valiant witnesses to charity and in faithful lay people who, often with great simplicity, have offered a hand and an open door to their brothers and sisters in need. The beauty of Christianity has been expressed in many different ways so that each man or woman, without regard to race, language or social class can be embraced. In it, much of the dimension of faith has come to be so deeply professed and celebrated, as is seen in Mexico and throughout Latin America, and shown through the many charitable projectswhich have inspired so many to overcome selfishness and to help with the most basic and urgent social needs. Nor should we forget initiatives for the promotion of the right of every person and all peoples, the defence of their liberty and the cultivation of art and culture.
"If this mission has been tainted in some way, that does not tarnish the splendour of the Gospel, which is always present to purify and illuminate our path, which today is seen in the revitalisation of the faith to which Benedict XVI continues to invite us".



On Sunday, Guanajuato’s monumental statute of Christ the King is the backdrop to Pope Benedict XVI’s first Mass on Mexican soil. This giant bronze statue, 22 meters high, crowns the Cerro del Cubilete, its arms reaching towards Leon city, embracing the region renowned for being the cradle of Mexican spirituality. This statue is a tribute to the price that thousands of Mexican Catholics paid for religious freedom in the last century. They were known as the Cristeros and their motto was Viva Cristo Rey!, Long live Christ the King.
Now an epic film is bringing their story to life and it could not come at a more appropriate time. “We didn’t plan it, and certainly the Holy Father didn’t plan it, but he is going there [Leon], he is going to the heart of Mexico not only its geographical heart but its spiritual heart”, says Mexican business man, proud father of four and erstwhile film producer Pablo Jose Barroso. He is just one of the faces behind For greater glory.

The film, one of the biggest and most expensive in the history of Mexican cinema, tracks the 1926-29 Cristeros War, when in an attempt to stop the governments’ goal of secularising the nation and stamping out the Catholic faith, ordinary people took up arms in a spontaneous uprising. The revolt was sparked by anti-clerical legislation passed by the Mexican President Plutarco Elías Calles. Under these laws church property was seized, all foreign priests expelled, and the monasteries, convents and religious schools closed. The persecution became so fierce that in 1926 Calles ordered the original statue of Christ the King destroyed. “It’s very important that the Holy Father goes down to Mexico to the heart of where this really started. Thousands will be there for him”, Barroso says.

Ahead of the Pope’s departure, Vatican journalists were given the rare treat of a special preview of the film. Directed by Dean Wright, For greater glory follows the true life stories of many of those who went on to become martyrs for the faith, some of whom have since been canonized and beatified. One of the most moving perhaps, is that of 14-year-old Jose Sanchez del Rio, who was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. Excellently portrayed by the young Mexican actor Mauricio Kuri, suffice it to say there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, as the story of one of the youngest martyr in the Cristeros war unfolded.

“The movie is very important because it is about ordinary people fighting for religious freedom, which is also a difficult issue in these times, not only in the middle east where Christians are killed for their faith but also for example in the United States were Catholics are being forced to do things that go against their moral values”, noted Barroso. “I think it’s a very relevant story”.
Also starring Andy Garcia as the reluctant hero General Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, and Peter O’ Toole as an utterly convincing elderly and compassionate priest, the film runs at just under two hours, but the pace is fast enough to keep viewers involved. Apart from breathtaking locations, high quality performances and amazing action sequences, for the uninitiated, For greater glory is not only a lesson in history but in what it really means to stand up for what you believe in.
For Greater Glory opens in cinemas in Mexico April 20, in the USA June 1.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
26 Mar 2012

Cardinal George Pell
The run up to and including Easter is always a busy time in the Catholic Church, especially for the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell.
Throw in a couple of television forums, launches, blessings and meetings and a post-Easter sabbatical would be looking good.
Cardinal Pell will be taking a three-month sabbatical in April to re-charge his batteries, do a lot of reading, some writing and as he has described get prepared for "the run home".
Cardinal Pell is talking about retirement which most priests taker at 75 - or another four years. Although few in the Archdiocese see retirement around the corner for Cardinal Pell.
Cardinals are sometimes asked to "stay on" beyond the 75 year benchmark.
Cardinal Pell will begin his sabbatical with a three-week pilgrimage to Turkey, Greece and Rome.
"This pilgrimage and study tour is in the footsteps of St Paul which I have not done before. I am very much looking forward to it," he said this week.
"I will then spend time at Domus Australia, our pilgrim and visitors centre in Rome.
"I am looking forward to a lot of reading and some writing. There will be much happening in the Archdiocese over the next few years so I want to make sure I am re-energised."
This is the first long break Cardinal Pell has taken since 1983 although there have been a number of pilgrimages with young people to various World Youth Days.
Cardinal Pell will be in Sydney for Holy Week and all the Easter Services at St Mary's Cathedral.


Flame Congress: Archbishop Vincent Nichols | Flame Youth Congress, Archbishop Vincent Nichols

The Light of the World Holman HuntArchbishop Nicols received a rapturous reception at the Flame Youth Congress in Wembley Arena on Saturday. He gave the following address before the time of Adoration.

There’s a famous painting called ‘The Light of the World’. It shows Jesus holding a burning lamp, knocking on a closed door. At the first showing of the painting, the artist, Holman Hunt, when asked why the door had no handle, replied it was because the door on which Jesus knocks can be opened only from the inside.

That door is the door of our hearts. The Lord’s knocking upon our hearts isn’t the noise of one demanding entry, rather the enquiring knock of one seeking us out in gentleness and love. I hope that during this day each of you has both heard the Lord knocking on that door and opened it to him. This is a crucial experience which shapes our entire lives, our understanding of who we are and who we’re called to be.

The one who knocks is the light of the world, by which we see things as they truly are: ourselves, our actions, our neighbours, our family, our society, and our pathway ahead. Others try to cast a different light on all these things. There are some very bright lights around: blinding lights whose brightness stuns us, causing us to lose our sense of balance; strobe lights beguiling and seducing us with their rhythm and effects so that we lose our inner self and become simply part of a mass movement; customer-designed lights, leading us to think we can each provide our own light, our own values, our own individual pathway through life.

The light of Christ is none of these: it’s steady, warm, inviting. It’s a revelation, not a personal invention. It’s a gift offered from outside of us, yet longing to find a home within us, to penetrate the darkness we so easily sense within ourselves.

Listen again to the words of Pope Benedict speaking to you, on the Piazza of Westminster Cathedral in September of 2010:

‘I ask each of you first and foremost to look into your heart, think of all the love that your heart was made to receive, and also the love it is meant to give, after all we were made for love. This is what the Bible means when it says that we are made in the image and likeness of God.’

The Holy Father then went on to speak of the love we receive – from family and friends and all who help us; and of the love we give, in enthusiasm, in generosity and idealism. He then said this:

‘I ask you to look into your hearts each day to find the source of all true love: Jesus. He is always there, quietly waiting for us to be still with him and to hear his voice. Deep within your heart he is calling you to spend time with him in prayer, and this kind of prayer, real prayer, requires discipline. It requires time for moments of silence every day. Often it means waiting for the Lord to speak. We need to make time and -space for silence…because it is in silence that we find God and in silence we discover our true self.’

These powerful words lead us now into the silence of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. This has been a wonderful gathering. I’m so grateful to everyone who’s worked immensely hard to ensure that there’s been so much to inspire you. But the best moments are still ahead of us. Here, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, everything comes together.

Here is the Lord. He wants to be present with us in this great gift of the Blessed Sacrament. He makes his love for us vividly clear. He’s present in the moment of his total self-giving, as on the Cross, a body broken for us, blood poured out for us. This is the sacrament of his Sacrifice, of his Love, made present in every time and place so that no woman or man, no girl or boy may ever doubt their own true worth. In this Sacrament, Jesus says to each of us: I love you. I give myself for you. You are my work of art. For your forgiveness, for your freedom, for your life I gave mine.

People often say that true love accepts me as I am. That’s correct, but not the whole truth. True love wants only what’s best for the beloved. True love wants us to grow, not to stay as we are. True love has high hopes for the beloved and isn’t satisfied with ‘things just as they are’. True love, the love that Jesus has for each of us, calls us to be more, to strive for goodness, even for perfection.

This is what the Holy Father means when he says that in prayer with the Lord we discover our true self. He explained that here we discover the particular vocation God has for each one of us, ‘for the building up of his Church and for the redemption of the world.’ There are many ways in which this can be done. But in that invitation to work for the building up of the Church and for the redemption of the world is the secret of a happy life: to serve the Lord with all our hearts and never lose trust in him.

That’s the key witness we can give today: to embody the joy and happiness which comes with loving generously. This is the light we want to shine in the sight of everyone, so that they may give the praise to our Father in heaven.

Now is the time for prayer, precious moments when heart speaks unto heart. My prayer is with yours, yours with mine, that we may serve the Lord with gladness all our days. Amen

Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster


by Nirmala Carvalho
It happened yesterday in West Bengal. Meanwhile in Mumbai, 400 people attended a rally to celebrate the event. Bishop Agnelo Gracias, President of the Diocesan Commission for human life: "It is in giving that we receive. Jesus died on the cross to give us life. "

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - More than 400 people attended a demonstration in Mumbai to celebrate the Day for Life, yesterday. Organized by the Diocesan Commission for Human Life (DHLC), the event began with a Mass presided by the Cdvu Chairman Mgr. Agnelo Gracias. Meanwhile, however, in a village in West Bengal, a woman was burnt alive by her husband. For the man and his family, Rupali Bibi, 25, was "guilty" of having given birth to two daughters and no male. The victim's father reported the murder to the Khargram police station, saying that the groom's family had long planned to kill her. Currently, the murderers are on the run, but the police superintendent Humayun Kabir said that "none of them will be spared."

An India with two faces, says Dr. Pascoal Carvalho, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, that "along with economic progress, sees growing a culture of death. To be able to fight this, governments, religious leaders, NGOs, youth groups, unions, educational institutions and media must work together, to promote a culture of life. It's a shame that in cities that are changing like Indian ones, there are still cases of female infanticide and feticide. Or, as in the case of Rupali Bibi, a woman burned at the stake because she gave birth to a girl. "

The 2011 census, the doctor adds, "has revealed a shocking imbalance between the number of males and females, the worst since independence. This is really disturbing, and some states of the country have already seen the consequences." The data reveal that the ratio between the number of female and male births (sex ratio) is 940 women per 1,000 men. Recent studies predict that at this rate, over the next 20 years India will have 20% more men than women.

"The Day for Life - said Mgr. Agnelo Gracias, DHLC President - explains that it is in giving that we receive. Being pro-life does not mean self-expression but self-sacrifice. Our life is like a candle . When lit, it burns and disappears quickly. But in this process, it gives light. Jesus died on the cross to give us life. This is the paradox: life through death. "


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "The Country is pervaded by a sense of relief" Church sources told Fides from Senegal, where yesterday, March 25, outgoing President Abdoulaye Wade acknowledged his defeat in the second round of presidential elections and welcomed the challenger, Macky Sall. "Wade phoned Macky Sall after he saw that the partial results" say our sources. "There definite results have not been published yet, but Macky Sall’s victory is certain. The admission of defeat by Wade was a demonstration of 'fair play' which was widely appreciated". "The euphoria of the people of Senegal is shared by all African observers who arrived in the Country to follow the ballot. After the case of Côte d'Ivoire and the current one in Mali, Senegal wanted to avoid post-election chaos and this is a sign that is good for the whole of Africa " underline our sources.
"The first problem that the new President will have to face is that of forming a stable government. The electoral coalition between the Socialists and former liberals who supported him cannot last because it was united with the aim of defeating Wade" stress Fides sources. "It is possible that a government was created to lead the Country to the general elections scheduled in June, although it may be postponed to November, to allow the parties to organize the campaign. The current Parliament lacks representativeness because the opposition boycotted the 2007 legislative elections".
Our sources also point out that "Macky Sall is the first President of Senegal born after independence, and hopefully will continue on the path of renewal of the ruling class, both in Wade's party, the Democratic Party, and in the socialist party, whose leaders are still those belonging to the Senghor period. A signal in this sense could come from the appointment of the Prime Minister by the new Head of State ".
Among the issues that the new President will have to face is that of the Casamance region of Senegal wedged between Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry, where since 1982 an armed separatist movement has been active. "Macky Sall has become aware that Casamance is a key issue. It seems that his first trip abroad will be in Gambia," Fides sources said.
An important fact has emerged from these elections: the people of Casamance have participated en masse to vote, claiming their role as citizens of Senegal. "It is a clear sign given to the rebels since the majority of the inhabitants of the region consider anachronistic to fight with weapons for something that must be resolved with democratic means", conclude the source of Fides. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 26/3/2012)


Luke 1: 26 - 38
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28 And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"
29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.
30 And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."
34 And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?"
35 And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
36 And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing will be impossible."
38 And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.


St. Margaret Clitherow
Feast: March 26

Feast Day: March 26
Born: 1556 as Margaret Middleton at York, England
Died: 25 March 1586 at York, England
Canonized: 25 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI
Major Shrine: The Shambles, York
Patron of: businesswomen, converts, martyrs
Margaret Clitherow, born in Yorkshire, England, was the wife of John Clitherow, whose family was Catholic, although he had taken on the state religion of England long before he married. Two or three years after her marriage, Margaret became a Catholic. Her home became a stopping-off place for priests, and Mass was offered secretly there.
Her husband went along with her interests, even when she sent their oldest son to Douai, in France, to be educated. Not only was she devout, she was also a zealous promoter of the faith, converting others and bringing back backsliders to the practice of their religion. Meanwhile, the laws against the Catholic faith became more harsh, and the. government was determined that Catholicism should be stamped out in Yorkshire where it was especially strong.
Everyone loved St. Margaret Clitherow, and even her servants knew that she hid fugitive priests, but no one betrayed her. She was a good housewife, capable in business, dearly loved by her husband, whose only regret was that she would not attend church with him. Her husband was summoned by the authorities to explain why his oldest son had gone abroad, and the Clitherow house was searched. A Flemish boy, from fear, revealed the hiding place of the priests where chalices and vestments were kept. Margaret was arrested along with a neighboring housewife who had attended Mass at the Clitherow home. Margaret's only concern was that her family was safe.
She was brought to trial and would not plead, her only statement being, "Having made no offense, I need no trial." If she had been tried, her family would have been called as witnesses against her, and she was determined that this would not happen. Reluctantly, the judge sentenced her to be "pressed to death," a bizarre death sentence in which the condemned was placed under a door (or similar object) and rocks piled on the door until the person was crushed to death.
Margaret died on March 25, 1586, her last words being, "Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, have mercy on me!" She was only thirty years old and was canonized in 1970.


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