Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Vatican City, 11 April 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father dedicated his catechesis during this morning's general audience to the transformation which Jesus' Resurrection brought about in His disciples, also reflecting on the meaning that Easter has for Christians today. Faith in the Risen One, he said, "transforms our lives; it frees them from fear, gives them firm hope, and infuses them with something that provides existence with full meaning: the love of God". (image source : Radio Vaticana)
Benedict XVI explained how on the evening of the day of the Resurrection the disciples were at home behind locked doors, full of fear and doubt at the recollection of the passion of their Lord. "This situation of anguish changed radically when Jesus arrived. He entered through the closed doors, was among them and brought them peace", peace which "for the community became source of joy, certainty of victory, trusting reliance on God".
After His greeting, Jesus showed His wounds to the disciples, "signs of what had befallen and would never be cancelled. His glorious humanity remained 'wounded'. The gesture had the aim of confirming the new reality of the Resurrection. The Christ Who returned among His followers was a real person, the same Jesus Who three days earlier had been nailed to the cross. Thus, in the shining light of Easter, in the meeting with the Risen One, the disciples came to understand the salvific meaning of His passion and death. Then sadness and fear became overwhelming joy".
Jesus greeted them again: "Peace be with you". Yet this, the Pope explained, was not just a greeting, "it was a gift, the gift the Risen One made to His friends. At the same time it was a commission: the peace which Christ had bought with His blood was for them, but it was also for everyone else, and the disciples would have to carry it throughout the world". Jesus "had completed His mission in the world, now it was up to them to to sow faith in people's hearts".
However, the Lord knew that His followers were still afraid. "For this reason He breathed upon them and regenerated them in His Spirit. This gesture was the sign of the new creation. With the gift of the Holy Spirit which came from the Risen Christ, a new world began".
"Today too the Risen One enters our homes and hearts, although sometimes the doors are closed", the Pope said, "He enters bringing joy and peace, life and hope, gifts we need for our human and spiritual rebirth". Only He can put an end to division, enmity, rancour, envy, mistrust and indifference. Only He can give meaning to the lives of those who are weary, sad and without hope.
This was the experience of the two disciples who were walking to Emmaus, full of foreboding at the recent death of their Master. Jesus came up to them and accompanied them without being recognised, explaining the meaning of Sacred Scripture to help them understand His salvific mission. Later they asked Jesus to stay with them and recognised him as He blessed and broke the bread. "This episode", said the Holy Father, "shows us two privileged 'places' in which we can meet the Risen One Who transforms our lives: ... the Word and the Eucharist".
The disciples of Emmaus returned to Jerusalem to join the others. "Their enthusiasm for the faith was reborn, their love for the community and their need to communicate the good news. The Master rose and with Him all life resurges. Bearing witness to this event became an irrepressible need for them".
For Christians, Easter must be a time for the joyful and enthusiastic rediscovery of the sources of the faith. "This means following the same path as that along which Jesus directed the two disciples of Emmaus, through the rediscovery of the Word of God and the Eucharist. The culmination of this journey, then as now, is Eucharistic communion. In communion Jesus nourishes us with His Body and His Blood, becoming present in our lives, making us new and animating us with the power of the Holy Spirit".
In conclusion the Holy Father invited Christians to remain faithful to the Risen One Who "living and true, is always present among us, Who walks with us to guide our lives", and Who "has the power to give life, to make us reborn as children of God, capable of believing and loving".

HIS BEATITUDE CARDINAL IGNACE MOUSSA I DAOUD, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Oriental Churches and patriarch emeritus of Antioch of the Syrians, died in Rome on 7 April at the age of 82. In a telegram of condolence sent to His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Benedict XVI expresses his closeness to that patriarchal Church of which the deceased was "a committed pastor". The Pope also mentions the peoples of the region, who are currently experiencing moments of great difficulty. The cardinal's funeral was held in St. Peter's Basilica on 10 April.
A LETTER WAS MADE PUBLIC ON 7 APRIL in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, as his special envoy to the opening celebrations for the pilgrimage of the "Holy Robe", marking the fifth centenary of the first public display of the relic. The event will be held in the cathedral of Trier, Germany on 13 April, the cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Msgr. Rainer Scherschel and Fr. Reinhold Bohlen, canons of the cathedral.

Vatican City, 7 April 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, as pontifical legate for the celebration of the fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress, which is due to take place in Dublin, Ireland, from 10 to 17 June.

Vatican City, 9 April 2012 (VIS) - Yesterday evening the Holy Father travelled to his residence at Castelgandolfo outside Rome for a brief period of rest. At midday today he appeared on the balcony of the apostolic palace there to pray the Regina Coeli with faithful gathered below in the building's internal courtyard. The Regina Coeli replaces the Angelus during the Easter season.
"In many countries Easter Monday is a holiday. People make trips to the countryside, or mover further afield to visit relatives and to be together as a family. However I would like Christians to keep the reason for this holiday in their minds and hearts: the Resurrection of Christ, the definitive mystery of our faith", the Pope said.
"The moment of the resurrection per se is not described by the Evangelists. It remains a mystery, not in the sense that it is less real, but that it is hidden, beyond the scope of our understanding, like a light so bright that we cannot look at it without our eyes being blinded. The narratives begin when, at dawn on the day after the Saturday, the women went to the tomb and found it open and empty. ... Having received the announcement of the resurrection from the Angel they ran, full of fear and joy, to give the news to the disciples. At that very moment they met Jesus, bowing before His feet and worshipping Him as He said: 'Do not be afraid, go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me'.
"All the Gospels dedicate a lot of space to the women in the narratives of the apparitions of the Risen Jesus, just as they do in those of His passion and death. In Israel at that time the testimony of women did not have official juridical weight, but women experienced a special bond with the Lord and this is fundamental for the real life of the Christian community, in all times and ages, not just in the early days of the Church".
The Pope concluded by recalling that the model for this relationship with Jesus, especially in the Easter mystery, is Mary, Mother of the Lord. "Through the transforming experience of her Son's passion, the Virgin Mary also became Mother of the Church; that is, of each believer and of the entire community".


Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez, of Puerto Rico died on April 10 at the Hospital Espanol Auxilio Mutuo in San Juan at the age of 89. He maintained leadership of the Archdiocese for almost 30 years. The Governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuno, has declared 5 days of official mourning for Cardinal Martinez. (IMAGE SOURCE: GOOGLE.COM) The Governor said,
"His wide priestly and pastoral work leaves a rich spiritual legacy, not only for the Catholic faithful, but also for all men of good will," "The cardinal captivated all who knew him; he reached, by his loyalty to God and his church, the highest place in the Catholic Church in Puerto Rico."
Pope Benedict XVI expressed his condolences to the cardinal's family and the people of Puerto Rico in a telegram sent to San Juan Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves. The Vatican released the text of the message April 11.
BENEDICT XVI HAS SENT A TELEGRAM OF CONDOLENCE to Archbishop Roberto Octavio Gonzalez Nieves O.F.M. of San Juan de Puerto Rico for the death of Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez, archbishop emeritus of the same archdiocese. The cardinal died on 10 April at the age of 89. In the telegram the Holy Father recalls how the late cardinal participated in Vatican Council II and "introduced its dispositions into his particular Church". Cardinal Aponte Martinez likewise "bore witness to his great love for God and the Church, and his great dedication to the cause of the Gospel".
His funeral Mass at 3 p.m., April 16 in the Cathedral of Old San Juan. Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo, of Spain, was presided, with other bishops and the apostolic delegate in Puerto Rico concelebrating.
Born Aug. 4, 1922, in Lajas, Puerto Rico, from a family of 18 children. He earned a Doctorate in law.
He was ordained a priest on April 10, 1950, Pope Paul VI named him a cardinal in 1973.


By David V Barrett on Wednesday, 11 April 2012
Members of the Croydon ordinariate group with Mgr John Broadhurst (Photo: Personal Ordinariate)
Members of the Croydon ordinariate group with Mgr John Broadhurst (Photo: Personal Ordinariate)
More than 3,500 adults were received into the Catholic Church in England and Wales last week.
They included 1,397 catechumens, who had prepared to be baptised, and 1,843 candidates, who had already baptised in another Christian tradition.
The largest numbers were in the dioceses of Westminster (734), Southwark (481), Brentwood (333), Birmingham (255) and Portsmouth (206). The total of 3,695 also included those who had joined the ordinariate. Easter is the traditional time for reception of new members of the Church through the Rite of the Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), the liturgical and catechetical process for adults joining the Church.
Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, chairman of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said many of those who went through the RCIA said they first became interested in the Catholic Church through a family member or friend.
“So we should bear that in mind always in our dealings with people,” the bishop said. “We are all sowers of the seed. If we show ourselves to be happy, optimistic, humble and generous, then it’s more likely we will draw people to God and be signs of the Kingdom.”
The figures are down on last year, when 3,931 adults were received into the Church, in addition to the 795 who joined the then new Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Last week around 250 former Anglicans were accepted into the ordinariate in a “second wave” of growth.
James Bradley, communications officer for the ordinariate, said: “There were about 200 receptions into new ordinariate groups with their pastors, and about 50 into existing groups.”
They bring the total membership of the ordinariate to around 1,200.
In Croydon, 65 former members of St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church, including the former vicar, the Rev Donald Minchew, were received into the ordinariate by former Anglican bishop Mgr John Broadhurst.
Over 50 were received into the ordinariate in Darlington by the Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton; they included the Rev Ian Grieves, who hopes to be ordained in the ordinariate in the coming months.
In his homily Mgr Newton said: “The journey you embarked upon on Ash Wednesday through the days of Lent to your reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church this evening is a model of the whole of your Christian life.
“It has meant for each of you, in a particular way, leaving behind what has been comfortable and familiar and stepping out in faith, certain in the knowledge that we do so in company of Jesus who prayed the night before he died that his disciples might be one. It is a journey that must be total and complete. But like all journeys in the faith, it is one leading to joy and fulfilment.”
Other groups of former Anglicans were received into the ordinariate in Harlow, Essex, Portsmouth, Hampshire, Maidstone, Kent, and Blackpool, Lancashire.
In the United States communities of former Anglicans in Philadelphia and Indianapolis were received into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. In his Holy Week message the American Ordinary, Mgr Jeffrey Steenson, compared the journey to full communion for both individuals and groups of the ordinariate to the journey of Moses and the Chosen People from captivity to the Promised Land.
Nearly 40 former Anglican priests in America are currently studying to be ordained Catholic priests. The first ordinariate candidate was expected to be ordained to the diaconate today.


by Mathias Hariyadi
An 8.7 earthquake is registered off the coast of Aceh, an area devastated by another major quake in December 2004. So far, there have been no reports of casualties. Millions of people have fled the coast. Evacuation operations are underway in India and Thailand. Padang bishop tells AsiaNews, "We are okay".

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A strong 8.7 earthquake was registered at 3.38 pm local time off the coast of the Indonesian province of Aceh, which was struck by a devastating quake in December 2004 followed by a tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people across the region. Currently, a tsunami alert was issued for 26 nations around the Indian Ocean. In Indonesian, millions of people have poured into the streets in panic. The quake itself was felt in India, Thailand and Singapore. The danger of a tsunami and more aftershocks remain the main concern. An 8.2 aftershock was registered at 05.43 pm local time. A tsunami alert remains in place.

Centred near Simeulue Island (Aceh) at a depth of 30 kilometres, the quake lasted about three minutes, affecting dozens of Indonesian cities, including Medan, Padang, Jambi and Bengkulu. People fled beaches and the coastline, seeking refuge on higher elevations.

In a press release, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that there was "no tsunami threat, although we are on alert", especially in the coastal areas of Aceh, West Sumatra, Bengkulu and West Java.

Speaking to AsiaNews about the situation in Padang, West Sumatra, the local bishop, Mgr Martinus Situmorang, said, "We are okay, despite a strong tremor felt here".

Panic broke out causing traffic jams, especially in Aceh. But so far, there have been no reports of casualties.

Power was cut, but local sources told AsiaNews that the airport in Banda Aceh suffered minor damages like broken glasses and remains open. No flights were cancelled.

India's NDTV reported waves of 30-45 centimetres in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, but nothing like three to six metre waves initially announced.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) issued an Indian Ocean tsunami alert, not a full warning. Experts stress that the next few hours will be crucial to see how things will unfold and whether there will be any major aftershock.

Indonesian seismologists reported a second earthquake, measuring 6.5, but did not raise the alert level for the 26 nations that face the Indian Ocean, including Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Myanmar, Thailand, Maldives, Malaysia, Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles, Pakistan, Somalia, Oman, Madagascar, Singapore and Bangladesh.

Indonesia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a chain of hot spots around the Pacific Ocean with intense volcanic and seismic activity.

On 30 October 2009, another major quake hit the Padang area. Some 700 people were killed and more than 180 homes were destroyed.

On 26 December 2004, a tsunami killed more than 160,000 people in Indonesia and other nations around the Indian Ocean.




Cardinal Daoud with Pope John Paul II, screenshot from the Salt + Light TV blog
Cardinal Ignace Moussa Daoud, the former patriarch of the Syrian Catholic Church, died in Rome on April 7, the morning of Holy Saturday, reports the Catholic News Agency.
Pope Benedict remembered the 81-year-old cardinal in prayer and praised him in a telegram to the current Syrian patriarch, Ignace Youssif II Younan.
“I wish to express to you my union in prayer with your Patriarchal Church, with the family of the deceased cardinal and with all those who are affected by this bereavement,” the Pope said.
The Pope prayed that God will welcome “this faithful pastor” into his joy and peace. He said the cardinal “dedicated himself with faith and generosity to the service of the People of God.”


Agenzia Fides REPORT- "With the swearing in of the new President, Joyce Banda, before the Chief Justice, Lovemore Munlo, to the representatives of the Judicial Court and Parliament, and after 26 rounds of cannon and the salute of the military Guard, Malawi peacefully resolved a transfer of power in a time of great tension in the Country ", writes to Fides Fr. Piergiorgio Gamba, a Monfortan missionary who has been working in Malawi for decades. After the sudden death of President Bingu Wa Mutharika, his place was taken by Vice President Joyce Banda, who on April 7 swore in as the new Head of State.
In Malawi there has been a long-lived deep political and economic crisis for a long time and the death of the President was likely to aggravate the situation. "The way out of the crisis is long, but there could not have been anything better than this peaceful transition, which shows the spirit of reconciliation typical of Malawi and its people," writes Fr. Gamba.
"Now it is of extraordinary importance to get out of the international isolation in which Malawi was forced to live in by the previous government, as well as ensuring an economic recovery that brings hope to a country ravaged by profoundly dull and outdated political decisions " says Fr. Gamba.
"Freedom of information should be given priority in a situation of complete monopoly of social communications that had demonized everything and everyone" emphasizes the missionary. The Minister of Information, Patricia Kaliati, was dismissed by President Banda in a process of renewal of institutional leaders. The Chief of Police, responsible of the national television and the Governor of the Central Bank are among the personalities destituted. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 11/4/2012)


Luke 24: 13 - 35
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emma'us, about seven miles from Jerusalem,
14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
17 And he said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad.
18 Then one of them, named Cle'opas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?"
19 And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened.
22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning
23 and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.
24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see."
25 And he said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"
27 And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further,
29 but they constrained him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them.
31 And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.
32 They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?"
33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them,
34 who said, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"
35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.


St. Gemma Galgani
Feast: April 11

Feast Day: April 11
Born: 12 March 1878 at Borgo Nuovo di Camigliano, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
Died: Holy Saturday, 11 April 1903 at Borgo Nuovo di Camigliano, Lucca, Italy
Canonized: 2 May 1940 by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine: Passionist Monastery in Lucca, Italy
Patron of: Students, pharmacists, tuberculosis patients, love and hope
There is little to be said about her life. Born at Camigliano in Tuscany, she suffered from 'tuberculosis of the spine with aggravated curvature', and, though she considered herself cured by a vision of the young Saint Gabriel Possenti, she could not obtain a certificate of health enabling her to enter a convent, as she wished. She had many 'abnormal' experiences from June 1899 onwards, including the 'stigmata' in hands and feet, carefully examined by her confessor and biographer, the Passionist Fr Germano. These began to appear about 8 p.m. on a Thursday and lasted till 3 p.m. on the Friday. No pain preceded their apparition, but only a deep recollection. There was seen first a discoloration on the back and palm of each hand; then a 'rent in the flesh' under the skin which then split, and a deep laceration was observed, at least usually: the holes above and below corresponded and the perforations seemed complete, but it was hard to judge of this because they kept firing up with blood, partly flowing, partly congealing. Fr Germano measured the diameters and shapes of the wounds carefully, and noted that 'a few times' a sort of fleshy swelling, like a nail-head, about an inch across, covered the wounds in the hands (though not those in the feet): 'The deep wounds were the more usual state of Gemma's stigmata—I say, the more usual state'. He also says that directly the Friday ecstasy was over, 'the flow of blood from all < five> wounds ceased immediately; the raw flesh healed; the lacerated tissues healed too': at least by Sunday not a vestige remained of the deep 'cavities'; the new skin was smooth, though 'whitish marks' remained on it. Much more could be said about this saint, but this account suffices as occasion for explaining the principles governing the Church's approach to these and allied phenomena.
First, the Congregation of Rites, declaring that Gemma practiced the Christian virtues to a heroic degree, explicitly refrained from passing judgment on the preternatural character of the recorded phenomena; a matter (it adds) 'upon which no decision is ever made' (see vol. xxiv [1932], p. 57, and Thurston: , ed. J. H. Crehan, chapter 11, especially pp. 52-54).
We must first register the alleged presented to us for observation, and then consider the evidence. Only then may we tentatively embark on . So we notice that before the time of St. Francis of Assisi there can be quoted only two or three instances of stigmatization of doubtful character: but since St. Francis, instances become almost innumerable up to the present day. We start by excluding those where self-inflicted wounds can even be suspected; for there have been instances of downright imposture, of misguided asceticism-conscious or possibly unconscious. This cannot apply to Gemma Galgani, since the gradual appearance and disappearance of her wounds was scrupulously . Again, all instances of complete stigmatization (save probably two) are found in women, and usually (though by no means always) in women who lead an enclosed and constantly meditative life; this suggests that the mind can influence the body-as it obviously can: a can make one blush, or turn pale. Further, an ecstatica's stigmata (or visions) not seldom correspond with some picture or effigy that she habitually sees: the marks of the scourging on Gemma are said to reproduce those on a crucifix she contemplated; Catherine Emmerich and others 'see' our Lord on a Y-shaped cross like one they were accustomed to; some will see Him crucified with three, others with four, nails; the wound of the lance may be on the right, or again on the left. We may therefore grant that a supernatural grace be granted to the soul, the mind, helped by the imagination, may proceed to interpret it to itself by means of such ideas or images as it possesses or prefers. But how far can the 'mind' influence the body? 'Dermatography'—marks on the skin, usually disappearing soon—can undoubtedly be induced by suggestion, whether it be self-suggestion or administered by another; but can suggestion cause lesions of the tissues, persisting and not becoming gangrenous? The word 'hysteria' should now be left aside—the ugly word 'pithiatism' may be replacing it—it merely means 'suggestibility'. Now there is no fault in being 'suggestible'; one person may lie abnormally open to the stimulus of anger, fear, sex or pity. If then we seek the nature of the stimulus lying behind the bodily manifestations observed in one who, on other grounds, is judged to be of exceptional holiness, we can prudently suppose that it is love for God, for Christ incarnate, or crucified, which so moves the entire 'subject'—body-mind—as to produce the exterior phenomena. The miracle would then lie in the intensity of the love for God granted to a human soul; the physical consequences of so super-human a love might be quite incalculable, by no means necessarily the stigmata, though possibly including them: indeed, disconcerting symptoms might well co-exist with those that might be expected, and should by no means be at once ascribed to diabolic influences. The description of all abnormal symptoms of the sort under discussion should be purely clinical, not rhetorical or pietistic.

St. Gemma Galgani was beatified in 1933, and canonized in 1940.


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