Tuesday, April 10, 2012



RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Benedict XVI will visit Lebanon from the 14th to the 16th September.

The announcement was made in two separate statements by the Presidency of the Republic of Lebanon and the Lebanese Bishop’s Office for Communications on the very day the Pope appealed for peace in the Middle East and the Holy Land. A call to end the violence in the region the Holy Father made during the traditional Easter ‘’Urbi and Orbi’ message.

According to these statements during this visit the Pope will hand over and sign the Post- synodal Apostolic Exhortation for the Middle East in the nation’s capital Beirut, during Holy Mass on the 16th September.

This document is the result of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East which took place in the Vatican from the 10th to the 24th of October 2010.

Other events outlined for the visit in the communiqués are meetings with civil and religious authorities as well as with young people.

The visit is described by the Press Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Lebanon as one : “ which will confirm the deep seated historical relations uniting Lebanon and the Holy See, allowing to reaffirm the statute, role and mission of Lebanon as witness of freedom and friendship”

It marks the second to the region for Benedict XVI who visited Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories in May 2009 .


by Nirmala Carvalho
A group of Hindus attack Fr Sisirakant Sbhanayak, parish priest in Sukananda (Kandhamal District) on four occasions during Holy Week. The attackers wanted to destroy a path that leads to a Lourdes Grotto attached to the local church. During anti-Christian pogroms in 2008, the church was demolished together with the home of the Sisters of Mother Teresa.

Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) - "They tried to kill me. They beat me, insulted me, and threatened to kill me," said Fr Sisirakant Sbhanayak, a Catholic priest in Sukananda village, in Orissa's Kandhamal District. He was speaking about attacks he suffered during Holy Week. According to the preliminary results of an investigation by G-Udaygiri police, members of Hindu ultranationalist groups tried to disrupt Easter celebrations at the Mary Mother of God Parish. To prevent incidents, the police set up a tight security detail around the church on Easter Sunday.

The story began on 29 March, when Manoj Nayak and Rabindra Nayak as well as others began destroying the path that leads to the church's Marian grotto. "I told them to stop and they did," Fr Sisirakant said. However, "they came back the next day with excavating equipment. I told them again not to destroy the path, but this time Manoj and the others started to insult me using filthy language. Deepak Nayak later grabbed me by the neck, hitting me with his fists and threatened to kill me."

If that was not enough. On 4 April, Manoj Nayak ambushed the priest as he made his way to G. Udaygiri and beat him. Two days later, Rabindra Nayak threatened to kill him.

Fr Sisirakant has been parish priest in Sukananda since 2010. The Mary Mother of God Church has existed for more than 90 years and is part of the Diocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar.

During anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal in 2008, the church building, the priest's residence and the home of the Missionaries of Charity were looted and set on fire.,-insulted-and-threatened-with-death-during-Easter-in-Orissa-24459.html
(Santosh Digal contributed to the article.)


Dion DiMucci tells Rory Fitzgerald that a ‘sudden and brilliant’ encounter inspired him to give up heroin and embrace the faith
By Rory Fitzgerald on Friday, 30 March 2012
Dion DiMucci, performing here in New York’s Mercury Lounge, describes John Lennon’s celebrated song Imagine as ‘an anthem for a self-centred wretch’ (Photo: PA)
Dion DiMucci was there at the creation of rock’n’roll. In the late 1950s, the Italian-American boy from the Bronx scored runaway hits with songs like “The Wanderer” and “Runaround Sue”. By the age of 20, the once-poor gang member had become a millionaire. In 1959, while touring with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper, he fatefully chose not to get on the plane that killed them both. In the 1960s, although he had everything the world could offer, he felt profoundly empty. He struggled with heroin and alcohol addiction until one night in 1967 when he fell to his knees and prayed. Then everything changed.
Dion appears on the legendary cover of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album and counts Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Lou Reed as friends and admirers. Although now 72, he is still writing recording music and has just published a moving memoir of his journey back to his Catholic roots: Dion: The Wanderer Talks Truth.
Speaking from his Flordia home Dion told me of his deep love for the Catholic Church, which he says is far more than merely a natural organisation.
“It’s supernatural,” he says. “That’s why I love it. I love the Church. I love the teachings. I love the truth.
“A lot of people think [being Catholic] is about judging people, but it’s not. It helps you to accept everybody. A lot of people don’t understand that approval and love are two very different things. If you confuse them, you’ll be seeking approval all your life. I have three daughters; I brought them up making a distinction between the two.
“People have a strong desire to be approved of, but I tell them: ‘I’ve been married 49 years. I didn’t marry my wife because she agrees with me on everything.”
He says that having different views on moral issues should be no bar to love: “It takes acceptance.”
In America, as in Britain, the debate rages as to whether civil marriage should be re-defined to allow for same-sex marriage. Dion says: “Of course, I believe in marriage between a man and a women. But I’ve got gay people in my family that I love dearly. God knows, some of the gay people in my family are some of the brightest, nicest people that I’ve ever met, and that I look up to.”
Whether he approves of everything they do or believe, he says, “has nothing to do with my love for them”.
“I love them completely, and look up to them,” he says. “I just go with God’s definition [of marriage but] I have to love people. I’m not perfect. Who’s perfect? I accept them.”
On issues such as this he feels the real intolerance is coming from the liberal side. “In this country the liberals tolerate anything – except conservatives. I say, well I’m liberal with my love, but I’m conservative in my thinking.”
Some might think that a conservative rocker is an oxymoron, but Dion sees no contradiction, and cites other examples, like Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper and Johnny Ramone.
He agrees that in the western world today Catholicism has become counter-cultural. Starting out in rock’n’roll in the 1950s he was going against the cultural grain, so he’s comfortable with that.
“Rockers truly believe in freedom and truth,” he says. “But sometimes they don’t know what either one of them means. I see myself as a true rocker. Because freedom isn’t doing anything you want, it’s having the freedom to choose God’s very best. It’s not being in bondage, politically or spiritually. When you’re in bondage to drugs or anything, you can’t choose the best you don’t have the ability; the drugs come first. A lot of rockers are naïve, they don’t think deep enough. They think they’re thinking, but they’re not… They confuse freedom with licence. They think freedom is doing anything you want.
“When I grew up, people had a belief system. They had a blueprint for life.
And a lot of it came from the Church and the teachings and the Commandments. They actually had the Commandments hanging
on the blackboards in the schools.
“My grandparents came over here from Italy. My grandfather used to say ‘See the Statue of Liberty? They should erect the Statue of Responsibility on the west coast’, because with great power and freedom comes great responsibility.”
There are things Dion misses about the era in which he grew up.
“There was a lot of beautiful things about [1950s America]: There was a love of country, there was a love of God. When I grew up, on Sundays you could really tell that it was Sunday. People got dressed up. The church bells would ring. You could smell the baked goods in the air. People had the newspapers wrapped under their arms. They didn’t work. It was a special day of rest and enjoying family, and God had a place in the world. Now it’s a blur.”
By 1967, after a decade of fame and fortune, Dion was in a bad place. He was heavily addicted to heroin and alcohol, and his career was suffering. He was moved to see his tough-guy father-in-law praying on his knees.
He recalls saying to him: “Pray for me.” The wry reply came: “Pray for yourself, God loves to hear from strangers.”
Eventually, one night he tried it. He got down on his knees and asked God to free him from his addictions.
He says: “It’s been 44 years since I said that prayer, and I haven’t taken a drug or a drink.”
He also now counsels other addicts. As to whether that was his very first prayer, he says: “You know, nobody’s ever asked me that question. I would say it was my first conscious prayer, when I got down on my knees and prayed from my heart. You could call it my first prayer.”
That prayer, which freed him from alcohol and drugs, began his deep embrace of Christianity. It also changed his musical direction. Just months after saying the prayer, he had a hit with a gentle, contemplative song, “Abraham, Martin and John”, which sold over a million copies in America.
Yet he was to have another profound spiritual experience. While out jogging in 1979, Dion says: “I had this experience, it
was very sudden and brilliant and profound. Christ appeared to me, and I’ve never been the same. It truly set me free.
“By the time I was 20, I had 12 gold records on the wall, and I’d made a couple of million dollars, but I was empty. Something was missing. But when Christ came in to my life, I understood who he was – that God stepped in to history for a reason. When you open up to the wonder and awe and mystery of life, and find out that God is a reality, it fills you. It filled my heart,
my mind and my spirit. I’ve never looked back. I thank God for what he did for me.”
In his book he makes an articulate arguments against moral relativism, using John Lennon’s secular hymn “Imagine” to deconstruct
the idea. Dion notes that the song, which contains the lines “Imagine there’s no heaven, above us only sky” was released at a time when much of the world was in the grip of atheistic Communism.
Dion says: “For me it’s an anthem for a self-centred wretch, and in the same breath, I gotta tell you, I love John Lennon… that song just doesn’t go deep enough… you’re talking to a guy who couldn’t even get along with his bandmates. My imagination’s not that big, only God’s is, and he knew how to do it, but we’re throwing out the solution. We’re overestimating what we can do, and underestimating what he can do.”
He says that nowadays “anybody who stands for anything is under attack. You can’t make a stand for anything, because they say: ‘That’s intolerant.’”
On tackling moral relativism, he says: “I don’t know if you can break through that thinking with a sledgehammer or an axe, but God can. The truth of your life is a witness, in a sense.
I think people respect when you take a stand… but you have to do it. You know Jesus said: ‘They’re not going to like you – but it’s not you, it’s me.’ If he was politically correct they would never have hung him and put nails in his hands.
“My little way of making stand is writing that book… I didn’t want to write a 500-page book on ‘here’s all the girls I screwed, here’s all the drugs I did, and here’s how popular I am’.
“What kind of legacy is that for my grandchildren? What’s the deal with that? It’s nothing.”
He says that Catholics nowadays need to try to “infiltrate the culture”.
“That’s our job, I think, to infiltrate the culture.” Not, he explains, to impose, but to expose “what’s important in life and give people an opportunity to see the truth.”
Dion: The Wanderer Talks Truth is available from, priced £9.76



Today we celebrate the joy of Easter Sunday morning – having concluded the season of Lent and more especially this past Holy Week. Just one Sunday ago, we commemorated the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, being greeted by the peoples with the waving of palms. In our own liturgies, again central to our celebration was our commemoration of that solemn entry of Jesus – with each one of us having some form of palm in our hands, many folded into the form of a cross.
On Holy Thursday we commemorated the institution by Jesus of the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and of the Priesthood in our liturgy – and also remembered the great humility of Jesus in washing the feet of his disciples. (IMAGE SOURCE: GOOGLE.COM)
On Good Friday itself, we remembered the passion and death of Jesus – and showed by our veneration of the cross our love of that crucified Lord and our own determination to follow in his footsteps.
Now on this Easter Sunday morning, following on our Vigil ceremonies yesterday evening, we celebrate the ‘Triumph of the Cross’ – when Jesus conquered death, left the tomb and sent his disciples to continue his mission.
Central to our liturgy is the cross – its testament and its triumph. Veiled in purple in the earlier part of Holy Week, then changed into the white of joy, it is a reminder of the glory of the Resurrection.

For all Christians, the symbol of the cross is central to our faith.
When we are baptised it is with the sign of the cross; perhaps the first sign we learn to make is that ‘Sign of the Cross’ taught at our mother’s knee; in our homes and in our schools, it is with the sign of the cross that we begin and end each day; when we celebrate our great act of worship in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, again we begin and end with that sign of the cross; and here in Scotland, as indeed in our flag of the United Kingdom, the signs of the cross represent the nations of the United Kingdom in the crosses of St. Andrew and St. George.
When we use the sign of the cross, it is not in any way because of a morbid way of looking back on the sufferings of Jesus Christ himself, the Son of God. Rather, it is a sign that we ourselves are trying to follow in some way or another, no matter how weak we are, the path set out for us by Christ himself. It was through his sufferings on the cross that he achieved the glory of the Resurrection – a transformation that can have parallels in many of our own lives.
We should always see in the cross a sign of God’s love for us and an indication of our own intention to reach out in love for others, whether or not they profess the same Christian faith as ourselves, whatever their lifestyles or lack of belief in any formal religion.
I think that is the reason why, as Christians, we honour that sign of the cross of Christ – we want to witness to the Kingdom of Christ, we want to spread the Church to every corner of the world, and we want to work in charity in a spirit of faith and love.

So often the teachings of Jesus Christ are divided and ignored; so often those who try to live a Christian life are made fun of and ridiculed and marginalised.
Perhaps the more regular use of that sign of the cross might become an indication of our desire to live close to that same Christ who suffered and died for us, and whose symbol we are proud to bear.
Displaying the Sign of the Cross, the cross of Christ should not be a problem for others – but rather they should see in that sign an indication of our own desire to love and to serve all peoples in imitation of that love and service of Jesus Christ.
Just 18 months ago, Pope Benedict XVI stood in Westminster Hall in London addressing a vast audience of politicians, diplomats, academics and business leaders. There he clearly stated that: “Religion is not a problem for legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to the national conversation. In this light, I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalisation of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance”.
Those words were a great clarion call for Christians at this present time to emphasise that no governments or public bodies should be frightened of Christians and their influence. Rather, they should seek closer collaboration with them as having something important to say and to do – namely to offer their services in whatever way to those in any sort of need in our country. Marginalisation of religion should not be taking place at this present time – rather the opposite. Here in our own country where we do place a great emphasis on tolerance, surely our Christianity should be an indication to others of our desire, while living our Catholic Christian lives to tolerate others who do not have our same values.

So on this Easter Sunday morning, I suggest something very simple to you. When the Pope addressed those leaders in Westminster Hall, his cross was visible over his robes – as indeed the cross is visible over the garments of every Cardinal and Bishop.
Why shouldn’t each and every Christian similarly wear proudly a symbol of the cross of Christ on their garments each and every day of their lives. I know that many of you do wear such a cross of Christ – not in any ostentatious way, not in a way that might harm you at your work or recreation, but a simple indication that you value the role of Jesus Christ in the history of the world, that you are trying to live by Christ’s standards in your own daily life and that you are only too willing to reach out a hand of help to others, as did Jesus Christ when he was on earth. Whether on a simple chain or pinned to a lapel, the cross identifies us as disciples of Christ and we should wear it with pride.
When concluding his speech in Westminster Hall, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the harmony and co-operation which should be possible between the Church and public bodies. He indicated that for this to be fruitful, religious bodies “need to be free to act in accordance with their own principles and specific convictions based upon the faith and the official teachings of the Church”.
This co-operation is indeed looked for by our Church in this country and I think that that symbol of the cross of Christ, worn frequently by our Catholic community and by Christians of all denominations, is an indication of our desire to live by Christian standards and to hand on those standards to others as best we can, living in a spirit of co-operation.
May God indeed bless you all at this Eastertide and now, having moved from that spirit of suffering with Christ, may we continue to rejoice in the Triumph of the Cross, the Glory of his Resurrection.


Article and photos by Fr R Cross
Around 1300 people packed St Mary's Cathedral for the Solemn Celebration of the Lord's Passion.

Archbishop Costelloe was accompanied by the Cathedral and visiting clergy.

In his homily, Archbishop Costelloe recalled how St Paul said to the Corinthians that Christians ". . . preach a crucified Christ; to the Jews an obstacle that they cannot get over, to the pagans madness, but to those who have been called, whether they are jews or Greeks, a Christ who is the power and the wisdom of God." (1Cor 1:23,24).
His Grace said that as Christians we are called to enter deeply into the death of Christ and not just jump over it to the resurrection. In humility to his Father, Christ did not cling to his divinity and eqality with God, but humbly assumed the conditon of a slave, even to accepting death, death on a cross (Ph2:6-11).

Christ, said the Archbishop, totally entered into the desolation of death, because in his life, he had daily lived in loving trust of his Father. Nothing got in the way of his relationship with God his Father. Similarly, we too are called to grow daily in our trust of the Father, to die to ourselves, our angers and hurts and entrust them to God and so discover new life in Jesus Christ.
After the reading of the Passion from St John's Gospel, everybody had an opportunity to venerate the wood of the Cross and receive Christ in the Eucharist.
At the conclusion of the Passion, the Cathedral fell silent in expectant hope of the celebration of the Resurrection at the Easter Vigil, whch will commence at 7.30pm Saturday evening, 7 April.


Agenzia Fides REPORT- The north of Mali like the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo? Is what the Congolese newspaper "Le Potentiel" asks in an article entitled "Est de la RDC, Nord du Mali: des Similitudes frappantes" (East of the DRC, north of Mali, disconcerting similarities).
The eastern DRC has been for at least 20 years destabilized by internal forces, and especially by foreign, African and non, in a design aimed at depriving the Country of the enormous mineral wealth in the area (see Fides 03/04/2012) . The protagonists of the destabilization are groups of guerrillas, some of whom claim the protection of minorities, who they say are, "marginalized" by the central power of the State. The reasons, real or imagined, of these guerrilla movements have long since become a pretext to hide instead the looting of eastern DRC, with the complicity of neighboring Countries and foreign companies.
According to the Congolese newspaper, the same pattern can be applied also to the north of Mali, where the demands of the Tuareg (taken from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawar, MNLA) are likely to take second place in favor of the control of illegal traffic (drugs, weapons and human beings) and the area of mineral resources (gold, oil and natural gas). In the article one wonders if the military coup leaders have been deceived in implementing the Coup of 22 March, far from strengthening the powers of the State to deal with the rebellion in the north (as they claimed), but weakened them.
"The Potentiel" emphasizes that the situation in Mali risks destabilizing the entire West Africa, coming to threaten Nigeria, the largest and most powerful Country in the area. Everything falls into a complex scheme of "balkanization" of the African states, rich in natural resources. For Balkanization one intends the process of division and reduction in size of the smaller States, taking advantage of their internal divisions, of political, ethnic, religious orders. Smaller States that are weak and easy prey to foreign powers that can leverage their resources at will.
In the process of destabilization of Saharan Africa - Sahelian jihadist groups like Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) compete, too, which seem to be undermining the MNLA from areas of northern Mali just reclaimed from the control of the army, and the Nigerian Boko Haram sect. All these movements benefit from the looted weapons from the arsenals of the disbanded army of the Libyan Qadhafi. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 04/04/2012)


John 20: 11 - 18
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb;
12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.
13 They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him."
14 Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."
16 Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rab-bo'ni!" (which means Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."
18 Mary Mag'dalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.


St. Fulbert
Feast: April 10

Feast Day: April 10
Born: between 952 and 962
Died: 10 April 1028 or 1029
Bishop, b. between 952 and 962; d. 10 April, 1028 or 1029. Mabillon and others think that he was born in Italy, probably at Rome; but Pfister, his latest biographer, designates as his birthplace the Diocese of Laudun in the present department of Gard in France. He was of humble parentage and received his education at the school of Reims, where he had as teacher the famous Gerbert who in 999 ascended the papal throne as Sylvester II. In 990 Fulbert opened a school at Chartres which soon became the most famous seat of learning in France and drew scholars not only from the remotest parts of France, but also from Italy, Germany, and England. Fulbert was also chancellor of the church of Chartres and treasurer of St. Hilary's at Poitiers. So highly was he esteemed as a teacher that his pupils were wont to style him "venerable Socrates". He was a strong opponent of the rationalistic tendencies which had infected some dialecticians of his times, and often warned his pupils against such as extol their dialectics above the teachings of the Church and the testimony of the Bible. Still it was one of Fulbert's pupils, Berengarius of Tours, who went farthest in subjecting faith to reason. In 1007 Fulbert succeeded the deceased Rudolph as Bishop of Chartres and was consecrated by his metropolitan, Archbishop Leutheric of Sens. He owed the episcopal dignity chiefly to the influence of King Robert of France, who had been his fellow student at Reims. As bishop he continued to teach in his school and also retained the treasurership of St. Hilary. When, about 1020, the cathedral of Chartres burned down, Fulbert at once began to rebuild it in greater splendour. In this undertaking he was financially assisted by King Canute of England, Duke William of Aquitaine, and other European sovereigns. Though Fulbert was neither abbot nor monk, as has been wrongly asserted by some historians, still he stood in friendly relation with Odilo of Cluny, Richard of St. Vannes, Abbo of Fleury, and other monastic celebrities of his times. He advocated a reform of the clergy, severely rebuked those bishops who spent much of their time in warlike expeditions, and inveighed against the practice of granting ecclesiastical benefices to laymen.
Fulbert's literary productions include 140 epistles, 2 treatises, 27 hymns, and parts of the ecclesiastical Office. His epistles are of great historical value, especially on account of the light they throw on the liturgy and discipline of the Church in the eleventh century. His two treatises are in the form of homilies. The first has as its subject: Misit Herodes rex manus, ut affligeret quosdam de ecclesia, etc. (Acts 12:50); the second is entitled "Tractatus contra Judaeos" and proves that the prophecy of Jacob, "Non auferetur sceptrum de Juda", etc. (Genesis 49:10), had been fulfilled in Christ. Five of his nine extant sermons are on the blessed Virgin Mary towards whom he had a great devotion. The life of St. Aubert, bishop of Cambrai (d. 667), which is sometimes ascribed to Fulbert, was probably not written by him. Fulbert's epistles were first edited by Papire le Masson (Paris,1585). His complete works were edited by Charles de Villiers (Paris, 1608), then inserted in "Bibl. magna Patrum" (Cologne,16l8) XI, in "Bibl. maxima Patri." (Lyons, 1677), XVIII, and with additions, in Migne, P.L., CXLI, 189-368.
(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

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