Sunday, March 18, 2012


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday appealed for continued commitment to achieving equitable access to safe water resources adequate to the needs of all.

Speaking after the traditional Angelus prayer on the Sunday that marks the mid-way point of the season of Lent, and in the context of the close – on Saturday – of the VI World Water Forum in Marseille, as well as the World Water Day to be celebrated this coming Thursday, the Pope expressed hope that the success of these initiatives will promote the right to life and the nutrition of every human person, as well as a responsible use of the Earth’s resources in a manner ordered to the common good, in the present and into the future.

Before the Angelus, the focus of the Holy Father’s brief catechesis was the great period of penitential preparation for Easter, in which the Church now finds Herself. He called the Lenten season, “A journey with Jesus across the ‘desert’ - a time, that is, in which to listen more and more closely to the voice of God, and to unmask the temptations that speak within each of us.”

It was a theme to which the Holy Father returned in his remarks to English-speaking pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square:

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for today’s Angelus. This Sunday, we reach the mid-way point of our Lenten journey. As we continue on our way, we keep our eyes fixed upon our goal, when we will accompany our Lord on the path to Calvary, so as to rise with him to new life. May Christ, the light of the world, shine upon you and fill you with his blessings!

The Pope also had words of encouragement for a group of Italian workers facing the prospect of a mass-layoff, promising prayerful support to them and their families in the hope that a solution to their difficult situation might be found.

Finally, Pope Benedict asked all the faithful for prayers in support of his upcoming voyage to Mexico and Cuba. Speaking in Spanish, he entrusted the pilgrimage, “to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is so dearly known in those blessed lands under the names of Guadalupe and Charity.” SOURCE:


Continued from March 8 is our list of TOP CATHOLIC WOMEN.
11. ST. MARY MAGDALENE lived during the 1st Century AD. She was one of the followers of Jesus Christ. Her feast is celebrated on July 22. She is mentioned in the Gospels as a repentant sinner who Jesus cleansed of 7 evil spirits. Mary Magdalene was with Mary, the mother of Jesus, during his crucifixion and death. She is a model of conversion from a life of sin to love of Jesus.
12. ST. HELENA, mother of Constantine, live in the 200s-330 AD. She was wife of Emperor Constantius and mother of Emperor Constantine. She converted to Christianity and influenced her son's conversion. This began the acceptance of Christianity in the Roman empire and the world. She had Churches built and discovered the relic of the true Cross. Her feast is August 18. 13. ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA, was born in Italy on March 25, 1347. She was the youngest of 24 children; to Lapa and Giacomo. She saw visions of Christ from an early age and consecrated herself to Jesus at the age of 7. She became a Dominican Tertiary. She lived in a small room in her parents house and cared for the sick, poor, and sinners. She travelled and gave advice to many; including Pope Urban VI. She suffered many ailments and offered them up for the Church in union with Christ. She died on April 29, 1380 at the age of 33. Her feast April 30. 14. ST. TERESA OF AVILA, was born in Spain, on March 28, 1515. She was 1 of 10 children to a wealthy businessman. She entered a Carmelite monastery in 1535. She became very ill during these early years and almost died. Teresa began to have great visions of Jesus. She began a reform of the Carmelites and founded a new convent. Her writings on union with God; The Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle are popular to this day. She died on Oct. 4, 1582. Her feast day is Oct. 15. 15. BL. KATERI TEKAKWITHA, was born in Auriesville, New York, in 1656, to the Mohawk tribe. Her mother died when she was 4 from Small Pox, which also disfigured the face of Kateri. Kateri converted during her teen years and was baptised at the age of 20. She moved to a Canadian colony; where she served the poor, sick and elderly natives. Kateri had a devotion to the Eucharist. Kateri is known as the "Lily of the Mohawks". She died on April 17, 1680. Her feast is July 14; and will be canonized in Oct. 2012. Her dying words: “Jesos konoronkwa!” “Jesus, I love you!”
16. ST. HEDWIG, duchess of Silesia. She was born in 1174, in Trebnitz, formerly part of Germany, but now of Poland. Two of her brothers were bishops. At the age of 12 years she was married to Henry I, Duke of Silesia. They had 7 children together and founded religious institions. She took care of the poor, sick and sinners. She died on October 15, 1243. Her feast is October 16. 17. ST. MONICA was the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. She was from Africa and married to Patritius an official of Tagaste now Algieria, Africa. He was a pagan and of ill temperment. They had 3 children. Through much prayer and suffering on Monica's part, her husband was converted to Christianity before his death. She then tried to convert her wayward son, Augustine, with prayers for 17 years. A bishop seeing her crying in prayer said to her "the child of those tears shall never perish". He eventually converted and became a great Saint. She died in 387 and her feast is on August 27.
18. ST. BERNADETTE Soubirous, was born on January 7, 1844 in Lourdes, France. She was the eldest of 5 children. They were a very poor family. She is known for her visions of Our Lady of Lourdes, from February 11-July 16, 1858. Mary called herself the "Immaculate Conception" during the visions. The healing waters of Lourdes that sprung from the apparition site have produced many miraclous healings. Millions continue to visit the Lourdes site. St. Bernadette's body has remained incorrupt since death on April 16, 1879. Her feast is on April 16.
19. ST. CLARE of Assisi, was born on July 16, 1194. She was born in Assisi, Italy as Chiara. Clare's father wanted her to marry; but at the age of 15 after hearing a sermon of St. Francis she entered the Benedictines. She later founded an order of religious called the Order of Poor Ladies which came to be known as the Poor Clares. This is the 1st monastic order to have been founded by a woman. She died on August 11, 1253. Her feast is on August 11. 20. ST. JOAN of Arc, was born in 1412 in Eastern France. She was a peasant girl who received visions to help the French army drive England out. She then led them Joan was captured by the English and burned at the stake at age 19. She died on May 30, 1431. She was canonized in 1920. Her feast is May 30. (IMAGES: GOOGLE/BLOGS)


SHENOUDA III, Patriarch of the Coptic Church has died on Saturday at the age of 88. Shenouda III was battling liver and lung problems for many years. He was known as "Baba Shenouda" and led this Church for 40 years. He was born on August 3, 1923. Shenouda was born in Asyut, Egypt and replaced Patriarch Cyril in 1971. He established relations with the Vatican and met Pope John Paul II. The Coptic Church is the largest Christian Church in the Middle East and has followers world-wide. A new Pope will be chosen from the remaining 150 Bishops of the Council when they gather for voting. For now the most senior Bishop will be interim leader. He will be buried at Emba Bishoy monastery in Wadi Natroun. He tried to defend the Christians during the violence that occurred there between other religious groupings. There are approximately 80 million Copts in Egypt.
On learning of the sad departure to God, our common Father, of His Holiness Shenouda III, Patriarch of Alexandria on the See of Saint Mark the Evangelist, I wish to express to the members of the Holy Synod, to the priests and all the faithful of all the Patriarchate, my most sincere brotherly compassion. I recall with gratitude his commitment to Christian Unity, his memorable visit to my predecessor Pope Paul VI, and their signing of the Joint Declaration of Faith in the Incarnation of the Son of God together in Rome, on May 10, 1973, as well as his Cairo meeting with Pope John Paul II during the Great Jubilee of the Incarnation, on February24, 2000. I can say how the Catholic Church as a whole shares the grief that afflicts the Orthodox Copts, and how she stands in fervent prayer asking that He, who is who is the Resurrection and the Life, might welcome his faithful servant. May the God of all mercy receive Pope Shenouda in His joy, His peace and light.


by Nirmala Carvalho
The news confirmed by Indian police, anda few hours after Italian Foreign Ministry. Only certainty is revolutionarygroup's demands for release of political prisoners are freed and an end to thehunt for Maoists. It would bethe first time that the Communists kidnap foreigners. Government representative to AsiaNews: "We are doing everything possible for their release."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Two Italian tourists were abducted by a group of Maoists inOdisha, in the district of Kandhamal, in Orissa. In exchange for the release, the revolutionary groupwants the army to call off its operation against them and the government toopen up negotiations. The news was broadcast by NDTV television.

The Indian police hasconfirmed the fact happened last night, but said that there are no details fornow. An audio message from the highest local Maoist leader, Sabyasachi Panda,confirms the abduction and demands. The deadline to fulfill them isscheduled for tonight.

The Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed the kidnapping this morning. The news reports are somewhatconfused: it is said that Italian tourists were kidnapped while takingphotographs of tribal women bathing in an area prohibited by the rules of theState. It would be the first time the Maoists - who are fighting for theindependence of their regions, inhabited by ethnic minorities - have resortedto kidnapping foreigners. Kandhamaldistrict is where the 2008 pogrom against Christians took place, but theauthors of the killings were fundamentalists and Hindu nationalists,traditional enemies of the Maoists.

The only certain fact is the set of 13 demands that the Maoists havepresented to the government, similar to those made a year ago when theykidnapped a government representative of Malkangiri, R Vineel Krishna. The demands include the release ofpolitical prisoners and a halt to Operation Greenhunt against the Maoists.

Speaking to AsiaNews after police confirmation,the District Collector [representative of the local government] Pravakar RajeshPatil said that "the kidnapping of the tourists is a sad fact." Hepointed out that the Maoists kidnappers, usually, "communicate with themedia, they have their sources to make public their information and will notsend any official communication."

Patil believes that the Maoists are behind the kidnapping, although theinvolvement of others is not to be "100%" excluded.

"This - he added - is bad news for the tourism sector. But theMaoist problem exists. We do not know exactly the reasons and circumstances inwhich the Italian tourists were kidnapped. All efforts have been made at the highest level, we are on the job tosecure their release. "


By Mark Greaves on Friday, 16 March 2012
Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the SSPX, ordains a priest in Econe, Switzerland (Photo: CNS)
Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the SSPX, ordains a priest in Econe, Switzerland (Photo: CNS)
The Holy See has said that a statement by the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) is “not sufficient” to overcome the doctrinal problems that keep it estranged from Rome.
In a communiqué published today the Holy See asked Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior of the SSPX, to “clarify his position in order to be able to heal the existing rift, as is the desire of Pope Benedict XVI”.
The SSPX statement had been a response to a “doctrinal preamble” issued by the Vatican outlining principles that would form the basis of any further discussion between the SSPX and Rome. The preamble, issued in September, had come at the end of years of talks.
Last November Bishop Fellay said that the preamble needed changes before it could be accepted as the basis for reconciliation.
He said the preamble was “a document which can be clarified and modified, as the accompanying note points out. It is not a definitive text.
“The proposal that I will make in the next few days to the Roman authorities and their response in turn will enable us to evaluate our remaining options. And whatever the result of these talks may be, the final document that will have been accepted or rejected will be made public,” he said.
In its communiqué the Holy See said that the SSPX response had arrived in January.


More than 2000 students at St Patrick's Day Mass

St-patricks day celebrationsFriday 16 March 2012
By David Ahern, Catholic Education Office Melbourne
The St Patrick’s Day celebrations kicked off early for more than 2000 Catholic school students who attended a Mass in honour of the popular Irish saint yesterday.
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The celebration of the life of one of the Catholic Church’s most famous saints included a vibrant student procession into St Patrick’s Cathedral, with Catholic schools celebrating major milestones and new Catholic schools leading the parade, including St Francis of Assisi in Tarneit and St Joseph’s Flexible Learning Centre (FLC), North Melbourne. Two Irish pipers added colour to the occasion, as students in full school uniform and holding school flags marched proudly into the cathedral.

Dignitaries at the Mass, which is always a major highlight during Catholic Education Week, included the Premier Ted Baillieu, the Deputy Premier, Peter Ryan and Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews. This year’s Catholic Education Week theme was ‘Throw Open the Doors — Let in the Light’.
A mass choir involved students from St Gregory the Great Primary, Doncaster, Avila College, Mount Waverly, and St Kevin’s College, Toorak. The Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, was the main celebrant, assisted by priests from parishes throughout the Archdiocese.
Many had an ear out for the rain following a heavy downpour during the Mass but thankfully the skies cleared for the concert in the Treasury Gardens. Students in their school groups wandered down to the usually tranquil gardens which came alive for the St Patrick’s Day Concert.

Enjoying a picnic lunch on the lawns, students rocked to the sounds of the navy band and musical entertainment provided by students from four Catholic schools: Resurrection School, Keysborough, St Monica’s, Footscray, St Matthew’s, Fawkner North and Star of the Sea, Gardenvale.

Executive Director of Catholic Education, Stephen Elder, said the Mass and the Concert were a wonderful opportunity for Catholic school students to celebrate their Catholic faith and the life of a great saint.
“Saint Patrick was a great missionary in Ireland and his legacy lives on, not just for the many people of Irish heritage now living in Australia but for all Australians," he said.
“Catholic Education Week has become one of the major events on the Catholic education calendar, and is a chance to acknowledge the work and wonderful achievements of our principals, teachers and students in Catholic schools."
Photos by Timothy Burgess



2 Chronicles 36: 14 - 17, 19 - 23
14 All the leading priests and the people likewise were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations; and they polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.
15 The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place;
16 but they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words, and scoffing at his prophets, till the wrath of the LORD rose against his people, till there was no remedy.
17 Therefore he brought up against them the king of the Chalde'ans, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, old man or aged; he gave them all into his hand.
19 And they burned the house of God, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem, and burned all its palaces with fire, and destroyed all its precious vessels.
20 He took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia,
21 to fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate it kept sabbath, to fulfil seventy years.
22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:
23 "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, `The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him. Let him go up.'"
Ephesians 2: 4 - 10

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us,
5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God --
9 not because of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Psalms 137: 1 - 6
1 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres.
3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
4 How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither!
6 Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy!

John 3: 14 - 21

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up,
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
18 He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21 But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.


St. Cyril of Jerusalem
Feast: March 18

Feast Day: March 18
Died: 386
Bishop of Jerusalem and Doctor of the Church, born about 315; died probably 18 March, 386. In the East his feast is observed on the 18th of March, in the West on the 18th or 20th. Little is known of his life. We gather information concerning him from his younger contemporaries, Epiphanius, Jerome, and Rufinus, as well as from the fifth-century historians, Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret. Cyril himself gives us the date of his "Catecheses" as fully seventy years after the Emperor Probus, that is about 347, if he is exact. Constans (d. 350) was then still alive. Mader thinks Cyril was already bishop, but it is usually held that he was at this date only as a priest. St. Jerome relates (Chron. ad ann. 352) that Cyril had been ordained priest by St. Maximus, his predecessor, after whose death the episcopate was promised to Cyril by the metropolitan, Acacius of Caesarea, and the other Arian bishops, on condition that he should repudiate the ordination he had received from Maximus. He consented to minister as deacon only, and was rewarded for this impiety with the see. Maximus had consecrated Heraclius to succeed himself, but Cyril, by various frauds, degraded Heraclius to the priesthood. So says St. Jerome; but Socrates relates that Acacius drove out St. Maximus and substituted St. Cyril. A quarrel soon broke out between Cyril and Acacius, apparently on a question of precedence or jurisdiction. At Nicaea the metropolitan rights of Caesarea had been guarded, while a special dignity had been granted to Jerusalem. Yet St. Maximus had held a synod and had ordained bishops. This may have been as much as the cause of Acacius' enmity to him as his attachment to the Nicene formula. On the other hand, Cyril's correct Christology may have been the real though veiled ground of the hostility of Acacius to him. At all events, in 357 Acacius caused Cyril to be exiled on the charge of selling church furniture during a famine. Cyril took refuge with Silvanus, Bishop of Taraus. He appeared at the Council of Seleucia in 359, in which the Semi-Arian party was triumphant. Acacius was deposed and St. Cyril seems to have returned to his see. But the emperor was displeased at the turn of events, and, in 360, Cyril and other moderates were again driven out, and only returned at the accession of Julian in 361. In 367 a decree of Valens banished all the bishops who had been restored by Julian, and Cyril remained in exile until the death of the persecutor in 378. In 380, St. Gregory of Nyssa came to Jerusalem on the recommendation of a council held at Antioch in the preceding year. He found the Faith in accord with the truth, but the city a prey to parties and corrupt in morals. St. Cyril attended the great Council of Constantinople in 381, at which Theodosius had ordered the Nicene faith, now a law of the empire, to be promulgated. St. Cyril then formally accepted the homoousion; Socrates and Sozomen call this an act of repentance. Socrates gives 385 for St. Cyril's death, but St. Jerome tells us that St. Cyril lived eight years under Theodosius, that is, from January 379.


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