Thursday, March 15, 2012


RADIO VATICANA REPORT/IMAGE: Pope Benedict XVI has joined the ranks of the quarter of a million pilgrims to ring for renewal in the Church in Ireland on the International Eucharistic Congress Bell. Ahead of his weekly general audience the Holy Father met with a delegation from the IEC2012 organizing committee from Dublin, Ireland, led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, aptly beneath the ‘Arch of the Bell’s’ to the left of the Vatican Basilica.

Fr Kevin Doran, Secretary General of IEC2012 said: "The Pope blessed the bell, rang it vigorously, and paused to admire the icons as Archbishop Martin explained their significance. He was presented with Shamrock by Colette Furlong and with the first copy of the Congress Commemorative Medal, by Sheena Darcy."

"To the surprise of its critics, the Eucharistic congress is taking shape as a genuine moment of renewal in the church," said Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, as he launched the “Ring for renewal” initiative earlier this week.
Cathedrals, churches and chapels across Ireland are being asked to ring their bells for two minutes at 12 noon and 6 p.m this Saturday March 17th, St Patrick’s Day, as a symbol of renewal and a call to gather in preparation for the Congress. Archbishop Martin insists that the event "is being seen as a unique opportunity for renewal of the Christian life."

In fact when they were thinking about a symbol to represent the Dublin Congress, the organizers decided on the symbol of the bell. Why? Because apparently St Patrick, Patron Saint of the Irish, left a bell with each of the Christian communities he founded throughout the island in the 5th century. The idea being that these communities, on hearing the bell, would be called to conversion, to prayer, to and ultimately to communion.

For the past year, a bell taken from a convent on Ireland’s North Sea Coast, has been visiting all of the communities of Ireland’s 26 dioceses. Inner city parishes, fire stations, hospitals and hospices, schools, chapels, cloistered convents and ecumenical organizations.

Through winter cold, sleet and rain and under summer sun the spectacle of men and women young and old struggling beneath the weight of the bell as they carry it literally on their backs from village to village, up mountains and along motorways has puzzled many a motorist. The sound of the bell and hymns ringing along the main streets of towns has stopped many people in their tracks. The bell has become a vibrant sign for the Irish people of the coming Congress, an invitation to them to prepare and become involved, even those who have distanced themselves from the faith and the Church over the years.

The pastoral program that has accompanied the bell’s pilgrimage reflects this. It no longer takes the faith formation of Irish people as a given, offering introductory courses on scripture, liturgy and Church teaching.

“Our main aim is to try and bring as many people as possible to closer union with Christ” says Fina Golden. She is just one example of the new Church that is emerging in Ireland. A lay Catholic, she is on the board for pastoral preparation for the diocese of Elphin. “We also want to leave a lasting legacy in the diocese after Congress is finished, that people will remember, that hey will have deepened their faith and their communion with one another”.

In the past the Church in Ireland was often accused of clericalism. However the Church that is emerging in the lead up to Dublin 2012 while dramatically reduced in numbers, is vibrant, informed and above all centered on bringing forth the laity. They are literally everywhere, and they are not all Irish.

Meet the man behind the Bell, Hungarian Gellert Merza: “It was a fantastic opportunity to be out there and to see how people are attracted to the Church, to the Eucharist. And this little bell that we are carrying about in Ireland is a great opportunity for people to come and reflect again on what the Eucharist means for themselves. The bell is not the most important thing, it was just to start something, to ring in something and of course to call people to the Congress itself”.

To date more than a quarter of a million people- including Pope Benedict - have rung the Congress Bell in Ireland, in Lourdes, France and now also in Rome.


Vatican City, 14 March 2012 (VIS) - During his general audience this morning the Holy Father began a new cycle of catecheses, dedicated to the subject of prayer in the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters of St. Paul. The Pope focused his remarks today on the figure of Mary as she appears in the Acts, when with the Apostles she awaits the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Benedict XVI told the more than 10,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square that "it was with Mary that Jesus' earthly life began, and it was with her that the Church took its first steps. ... She discreetly followed her Son's journey during His public life, even unto the foot of the cross. Then, with silent prayer, she continued to follow the progress of the Church", he explained.
The stages of Mary's own journey from the house of Nazareth to the Upper Room of Jerusalem "were marked by her capacity to maintain an ongoing state of contemplation, meditating upon each event in the silence of her heart, before God. The Mother of God's presence with the Eleven after the Ascension ... has great significance because with them she shared the most precious of things: the living memory of Jesus in prayer".
After Jesus' Ascension to heaven, the Apostles met with Mary to await the gift of the Holy Spirit, without which it is not possible to bear witness to Christ. "She, who had already received the Spirit in order to generate the incarnate Word, shared the entire Church’s expectation of the same gift. ... If it is true that there could be no Church without Pentecost, it is also true that there could have been no Pentecost without the Mother of Jesus, because she had a unique knowledge of what the Church experiences every day by the action of the Holy Spirit".
The Pope went on to recall how the Vatican Council II Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen gentium" had emphasised this special relationship between the Virgin and the Church. "We see the Apostles before the day of Pentecost 'constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women including Mary the mother of Jesus'", he said. "Mary's place is in the Church, 'wherefore she is hailed as a pre-eminent and singular member, ... and as its type and excellent exemplar in faith and charity'.
"Venerating the Mother of Jesus in the Church means, then, learning from her how to become a community of prayer", the Holy Father added. "This is one of the essential aspects of the first description of the Christian community given in the Acts of the Apostles".
Our prayers "are often dictated by difficult situations, by personal problems which cause us to turn to the Lord in search of light, comfort and aid. But Mary invites us to open prayer to other dimensions, to address God not only in moments of need and not only for ourselves, but unanimously, perseveringly, faithfully and with 'one heart and soul'".
Benedict XVI also pointed out that Mary "was placed by the Lord at decisive moments of the history of salvation, and she always responded with complete readiness as a result of her profound bond with God matured through assiduous and intense prayer. ... Between the Ascension and Pentecost, she was 'with' and 'in' the Church, in prayer. Mother of God and Mother of the Church, Mary exercises her maternity until the end of history".
The Pope concluded by saying that "Mary teaches us the need for prayer and shows us how only through a constant, intimate and complete bond of love with her Son can we courageously leave our homes ... to announce the Lord Jesus, Saviour of the world".

Vatican City, 14 March 2012 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, Benedict XVI greeted a delegation led by Archbishop Renato Boccardo of Norcia, Italy, and by the abbots of the Montecassino and Subiaco. They have recently returned from Malta where last Sunday the Benedictine torch "Pro Pace et Europa Una" was lit. The torch will return to the saint's home town of Norcia on 20 March.
The Benedictine torch has been carried around European capital cities since the year 1964 which Paul VI proclaimed St. Benedict as patron saint of Europe. The torch is intended to symbolise the fraternity and peace proclaimed in the Gospel, beyond all political, ideological and religious divides. In the past it has been lit in Berlin, Prague, Bucharest, Strasbourg, Budapest, Madrid, Lisbon, Warsaw, Brussels, Vienna, Moscow and Jerusalem. In 2001 it was taken to New York to bring a message of hope following the attacks of 11 September, while last year it was lit in London during the course of an ecumenical ceremony in Westminster Abbey.

Vatican City, 14 March 2012 (VIS) - At 11 a.m. on Thursday 3 May the Holy Father will visit the Roman campus of the Sacred Heart Catholic University, where he will pronounce an address to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the "Agostino Gemelli" Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, according to a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office.

Vatican City, 14 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Bishop Adalberto Martinez Flores of San Pedro, Paraguay, as military ordinary for Paraguay.
- Fr. Eduardo Jose Castillo Pino of the clergy of the archdiocese of Guayaquil, Ecuador, pastor and episcopal vicar of "Santa Elena", as auxiliary of Portoviejo (area 21,000, population 1,332,723, Catholics 1,298,917, priests 111, religious 311), Ecuador. The bishop-elect was born in Guayaquil in 1970 and ordained a priest in 1994. After studying for his doctorate in Rome, he worked in his home country as a professor in seminaries and schools. He collaborates with the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference and is author of numerous historical and theological works.


Cisa News REPORT:
JOS, March 13, 2012 (CISA) –Nigerian Archbishop Ignatus Kaigama of the Archdiocese of Jos, has condemned the suicide bombing that killed about 11 people and seriously injured 22 others on Sunday, March 11 at St Finbar’s Catholic Church in Rayfield-Jos, Plateau State.
Bishop Kaigama, current President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) described the bombing as “evil, irrational, beastly and criminal.’’
Bishop Kaigama accompanied by Fr Peter Umoren, the parish priest of the bombed church said this while speaking with journalists late Sunday, hours after the blast, a statement sent to CISA said.
“It is an unfortunate incident and the handiwork of detractors,” he said in the statement after visiting the scene on Sunday.
This was the second attack in Jos two weeks after the February 26 attack when a suicide bomber drove an explosive laden-car into the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) and killed four people.
Bishop Kaigama called on Christians to remain calm and appealed to the youth to stop the reprisal attacks and secret killing adding that violence is not the best option.
“We want those that are behind this crisis to come and seek dialogue rather than attacks,” said the bishop.
Fr Umoren told journalists that the attack took place when the 10.30am mass had started.
“… I was right on the pulpit when we heard the heavy explosion…” said Fr Umoren. “The church building almost collapsed on the congregation but God saved us, that the roof did not come down but the ceilings were shattered,’’ he said.
According to him the impact of the explosion damaged 10 vehicles parked within the church premises. The attack also left the parish priest residence badly damaged.
President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the bombing in a statement signed and released to journalists by his spokesman Reuben Abati.
He reassured all Nigerians and friends of the country that the Federal Government is doing everything possible to end the spate of mindless attacks and killings in the country. SOURCE


COMECE Spring Plenary Assembly
Press Information
! COMECE Plenary assemblies are closed to the public !

The COMECE Spring Plenary Assembly will be held from Wednesday 21 to Friday 23March 2012 in Brussels. 23 COMECE Member Bishops will be present. The main topic of the Plenary will be « The European Year 2012 devoted to active ageing and intergenerational solidarity ». Besides, the Bishops delegate will renew the COMECE Permanent Committee by electing a new President and four Vice-Presidents during this Plenary session.

Ageing is undoubtedly a challenge for the whole of society and for all generations in Europe, and it is also a matter for intergenerational solidarity and for the family. The part of the population of the Union comprised of people in their late 50s and over will increase at a much faster rate than ever before. While this is positive, as it is a logical consequence of the improvement in health and the quality of life, this demographic change also presents clear challenges for the Union.

COMECE internal elections: The Bishops delegate will renew the COMECE Permanent Committee by electing a new President and four Vice-Presidents during a closed session on Friday Morning.
Press Conference
Friday 23 March at 14:30 at COMECE
to present the newly elected President

Download the Programme in PDF

A final press release will be issued as usual on Friday at 14:00
For accreditation, interview requests an any further information, please contact:

Johanna Touzel, spokesperson and COMECE Press Officer
Tel +32 (0)2 235 05 15


While being interviewed about his new film "Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure" during the March 2 show, Cameron expressed his opinion about gay marriage. He said he thought homosexuality was "unnatural."
"I think that it's detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization," the actor told Morgan.
Cameron, 41, who is an evangelical Christian, also spoke out against gay marriage.
"Marriage is almost as old as dirt, and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve. One man, one woman for life till death do you part. So I would never attempt to try to redefine marriage. And I don't think anyone else should either," Cameron continued.
"So do I support the idea of gay marriage? No, I don't," he said.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation issued a statement over the weekend condemning the actor's comments.
Celebrities including actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson from ABC's "Modern Family," Jane Lynch, Debra Messing, George Clooney, and Brad Pitt have slammed Cameron for his comments.
CNN's Morgan told that he found Cameron's views "antiquated" but said the actor was "brave" to share them.
Meanwhile, thousands of people across the country have expressed their support of Cameron's stance against homosexuality.
The actor spoke about the backlash against his anti-gay comments for the first time Tuesday.
"I believe that freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand-in-hand in America," Cameron said in a statement released by his publicist.
"I should be able to express moral views on social issues--especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years--without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach "tolerance" that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I'm in the public square," he said. **Read Cameron's entire statement below.
The "Growing Pains" actor has also been slammed by critics for his pro-life views.
"I think that it's wrong, under any circumstances," Cameron told Morgan during the CNN interview. "I think that someone who is ultimately willing to murder a child, even to fix another tragic and devastating situation - like rape or incest or things like that - is not taking the moral highroad."
The actor, who is a father of six children, also explained that he would support a pregnant daughter, even when the conception was a result of rape.
"I love my daughter, I love that little child. This is a little creature made in God's image," Cameron said. "I value life above all things."
Cameron's latest film, "Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure" is set to open as a live telecast event hosted by the actor in 450 theaters across the country on Mar. 27.
The documentary will then open in select theaters Mar. 30.
Actor Kirk Cameron's statement:
"In a recent interview about my film, Monumental, I was asked to share my views on homosexuality, gay marriage, and abortion. I spoke as honestly as I could, but some people believe my responses were not loving toward those in the gay community. That is not true. I can assuredly say that it's my life's mission to love all people.
The only way to properly answer these kind of questions is to begin the discussion with another question: Is life and sexuality sacred or are they not? If they are, then God has something to say about these things. If not, then everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the matter.
I believe that freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand-in-hand in America. I should be able to express moral views on social issues--especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years--without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach "tolerance" that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I'm in the public square.
In any society that is governed by the rule of law, some form of morality is always imposed. It's inescapable. But it is also a complicated subject, and that is why I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect.
I've been encouraged by the support of many friends. Thank you! I look forward to those who will join me as I seek to show you our true "National Treasure," at the live, nationwide viewing of "Monumental" on Tuesday, March 27th."


Article: B Spinks; Photo: Supplied
The Solemn Mass and Reception for Archbishop-designate Timothy Costelloe SDB will take place on 21 March at 6.30pm at St Mary's Cathedral and parishioners across the Archdiocese of Perth are invited to attend.
Archbishop Barry Hickey will officially hand the Archdiocese of Perth to his successor at this historic Liturgy.
Archbishop Costelloe, a member of the Salesian order, holds a Doctorate in Sacred Theology. He comes to Perth from Melbourne, but has four years experience in this Archdiocese. He was based here in the mid-late 1990s at St Joachim’s in Victoria Park and at the University of Notre Dame, Australia, as a lecturer.
Seating inside the Cathedral has been allocated to 1000 formally invited guests including Apostolic Nuncio Giuseppe Lazzarotto, several Australian Archbishops and Bishops, all Archdiocesan priests, deacons and seminarians.
However all the faithful who would like to attend are most welcome to watch the Liturgical proceedings from big TV screens, which will be set up in the piazza areas of the Cathedral grounds.
All those welcomed in the piazza areas will be able to fully participate in the Mass and receive Holy Communion if they wish.
All guests are encouraged to arrive and be seated by 610 as the Liturgy will commence promptly at 6.30pm.
After Mass, a refreshing tea, coffee and shortbread will be served to all guests gathered in the grounds, on the Victoria Avenue side of the Cathedral.
Parking on the Cathedral grounds will not be available on this occasion and guests are encouraged to park in nearby public carparks if needs be.


For four days (5-8 March), water dripped from the feet of Christ on a cross near Our Lady of Velankanni. Pilgrims from all religions brought offerings and recited the rosary. For the parish priest, this "is the real miracle".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - It does not matter "whether science can explain what happened or not, a miracle did occur in Irla, namely that of having dozens of Christians, Hindus and Muslims pray together under the cross," said Fr Augustine Palett, a PIME clergyman and parish priest at Our Lady of Velankanni, Mumbai.

For four days, from 5 to 8 March, water dripped from the feet of a cross in Irla, near the church. For Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association, the whole thing is a fabrication by priests to get money. However, his statement did not sit well with many.

For Fr Augustine, the former's statement "has obscured the real miracle, that is the constant flow of people, day and night, young and old, bringing offerings and reciting the rosary. People even came today to pray at the site."

At 6.30 am on 5 March this year, a Hindu woman saw water drip from the feet of the Christ on the cross in Irla, near Our Lady of Velankanni, Mumbai.

She informed the parish priest right away, who saw the extraordinary event himself. Within hours, a crowd had gathered in pilgrimage and prayer. Some even took some "miracle" water home.

Water stopped dripping at 1 pm on 8 March.,-Hindus-and-Muslims-together-in-prayer-24233.html


Matthew 5: 17 - 19
17 "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.
18 For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
19 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


St. Matilda
Feast: March 14

Feast Day: March 14
895 at Engern, Westphalia, Germany
Died: 14 March 968 at Quedlinburg, Germany
Patron of: death of children, disappointing children, falsely accused people, large families, people ridiculed for their piety, queens, second marriages, widows
Queen of Germany, wife of King Henry I (The Fowler), born at the Villa of Engern in Westphalia, about 895; died at Quedlinburg, 14 March, 968. She was brought up at the monastery of Erfurt. Henry, whose marriage to a young widow, named Hathburg, had been declared invalid, asked for Matilda's hand, and married her in 909 at Walhausen, which he presented to her as a dowry. Matilda became the mother of: Otto I, Emperor of Germany; Henry, Duke of Bavaria; St. Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne; Gerberga, who married Louis IV of France; Hedwig, the mother of Hugh Capet. In 912 Matilda's husband succeeded his father as Duke of Saxony, and in 918 he was chosen to succeed King Conrad of Germany. As queen, Matilda was humble, pious, and generous, and was always ready to help the oppressed and unfortunate. She wielded a wholesome influence over the king. After a reign of seventeen years, he died in 936. He bequeathed to her all his possessions in Quedlinburg, Poehlden, Nordhausen, Grona, and Duderstadt.
It was the king's wish that his eldest son, Otto, should succeed him. Matilda wanted her favourite son Henry on the royal throne. On the plea that he was the first-born son after his father became king, she induced a few nobles to cast their vote for him, but Otto was elected and crowned king on 8 August, 936. Three years later Henry revolted against his brother Otto, but, being unable to wrest the royal crown from him, submitted, and upon the intercession of Matilda was made Duke of Bavaria. Soon, however, the two brothers joined in persecuting their mother, whom they accused of having impoverished the crown by her lavish almsgiving. To satisfy them, she renounced the possessions the deceased king had bequeathed to her, and retired to her villa at Engern in Westphalia. But afterwards, when misfortune overtook her sons, Matilda was called back to the palace, and both Otto and Henry implored her pardon.
Matilda built many churches, and founded or supported numerous monasteries. Her chief foundations were the monasteries at Quedlinburg, Nordhausen, Engern, and Poehlden. She spent many days at these monasteries and was especially fond of Nordhausen. She died at the convents of Sts. Servatius and Dionysius at Quedlinburg, and was buried there by the side of her husband. She was venerated as a saint immediately after her death. Her feast is celebrated on 14 March.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


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