Friday, April 6, 2012


Following the meditations of Mr. & Mrs. Danilo Zanzucchi of the Focolare movement and the founders of the New Families movement, through the fourteen Stations of the Cross, Pope Benedict XVI’s reflections at the via crucis on Good Friday evening at the Colosseum in Rome were focused on the family:

“In times of trial and tribulation,” said Pope Benedict, “we are not alone; the family is not alone. Jesus is present with his love, he sustains them by his grace and grants the strength needed to carry on, to make sacrifices and to evercome every obstacle.”

The Holy Father went on to say:

It is to this love of Christ that we must turn when human turmoil and difficulties threaten the unity of our lives and our families.”

The Pope spoke of how the mystery of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection inspires us to go on in hope: times of trouble and testing, when endured with Christ, with faith in him, already contain the light of the resurrection, the new life of a world reborn, the passover of all those who believe in his word.

“In that crucified Man who is the Son of God,” he said, “even death itself takes on new meaning and purpose: it is redeemed and overcome, it becomes a passage to new life.”

The Pope concluded with an exhortation, asking all the faithful to entrust themselves to the Blessed Virgin, Mary.

He prayed:

May Mary, who accompanied her Son along his way of sorrows, who stood beneath the cross at the hour of his death, and who inspired the Church at its birth to live in God’s presence, lead our hearts and the hearts of every family through the vast mysterium passionis towards the mysterium paschale, towards that light which breaks forth from Christ’s resurrection and reveals the definitive victory of love, joy and life over evil, suffering and death.

The evening of Holy Saturday, in St Peter’s Basilica, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate the Easter Vigil Mass. Listen:


Below, please find the full text of Pope Benedict XVI's remarks to the faithful gathered at the Colosseum in Rome for the via crucis on Good Friday.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Once more in meditation, prayer and song, we have recalled Jesus’s journey along the way of the cross: a journey seemingly hopeless, yet one that changed human life and history, and opened the way to “new heavens and a new earth” (cf. Rev 21:1). Especially today, Good Friday, the Church commemorates with deep spiritual union the death of the Son of God on the cross; in his cross she sees the tree of life, which blossoms in new hope.
The experience of suffering and of the cross touches all mankind; it touches the family too. How often does the journey become wearisome and difficult! Misunderstandings, conflicts, worry for the future of our children, sickness and problems of every kind. These days too, the situation of many families is made worse by the threat of unemployment and other negative effects of the economic crisis. The Way of the Cross which we have spiritually retraced this evening invites all of us, and families in particular, to contemplate Christ crucified in order to have the force to overcome difficulties. The cross of Christ is the supreme sign of God’s love for every man and woman, the superabundant response to every person’s need for love. At times of trouble, when our families have to face pain and adversity, let us look to Christ’s cross. There we can find the courage and strength to press on; there we can repeat with firm hope the words of Saint Paul: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom 8:35,37).
In times of trial and tribulation, we are not alone; the family is not alone. Jesus is present with his love, he sustains them by his grace and grants the strength needed to carry on, to make sacrifices and to evercome every obstacle. And it is to this love of Christ that we must turn when human turmoil and difficulties threaten the unity of our lives and our families. The mystery of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection inspires us to go on in hope: times of trouble and testing, when endured with Christ, with faith in him, already contain the light of the resurrection, the new life of a world reborn, the passover of all those who believe in his word.
In that crucified Man who is the Son of God, even death itself takes on new meaning and purpose: it is redeemed and overcome, it becomes a passage to new life. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn 12:24). Let us entrust ourselves to the Mother of Christ. May Mary, who accompanied her Son along his way of sorrows, who stood beneath the cross at the hour of his death, and who inspired the Church at its birth to live in God’s presence, lead our hearts and the hearts of every family through the vast mysterium passionis towards the mysterium paschale, towards that light which breaks forth from Christ’s resurrection and reveals the definitive victory of love, joy and life over evil, suffering and death. Amen.


Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. On this day the death of Jesus Christ is commemorated. Jesus died in the year 33 AD. The story of the Crucifixion and death of Jesus is told in the Gospels. On this day no Mass is celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church. There is a Church Service at 3:00pm. There are readings from the Bible. The organ is not played but hymns may be sung accappella. The Cross is venerated by those attending. Here the Eucharist is distributed from the preceding Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper. Catholics are called to fast on this day which means that they cannot eat more than 1 meal and 2 repasts. They cannot eat meat on this day. (Image source:
The Church is striped of the linens and the tabernacle door is left open.
The Reproaches (Improperia) are chanted by a priest during the Good Friday service while the people are venerating the Cross.
My people, What have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!
I led you out of Egypt; but you led your Savior to the Cross.
For forty years I led you safely through the desert,
I fed you with manna from heaven,
and brought you to the land of plenty; But you led your Savior to the Cross.
O, My people! What have I done to you that you should testify against me?

Holy God. Holy God. Holy Mighty One. Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us.


With the Easter holidays fast approaching, a new survey finds that Poles still associate the holiday with traditions such as blessing food in Church and sharing eggs.
As Easter in much of the western world has been reduced to buying the kids chocolate Easter eggs, 90 percent of Poles cling to traditions associated with the Christian festivity.
The study shows that Easter continues to be a stronghold of Polish tradition, as celebrations have remained unchanged over decades.
Eighty percent of respondents cannot imagine the Christian holiday without special cakes, such as the babka or mazurek, or without śmigus-dyngus –the ‘Wet Easter Monday ‘tradition, which gives, mainly, the perfect excuse to drench girls, and each other, with buckets of water.
Three out of four respondents couldn’t do without hand-painted eggs known as pisanki; two-thirds declare they regularly take part in Resurrection Mass.
Ever since CBOS began running surveys about the observation of Easter in Poland 14 years ago, statistics have remained stable with a comparable number of people declaring attachment to Easter customs.
Figures have been dropping in the case of festive cards being sent ahead of the holidays, however.
While in the late 1990s the custom was prevalent across the country, it has been preserved in 70 percent of families. (ab/pg)


+ Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney
6 Apr 2012

Easter is a feast for everyone, but especially for adults and young adults. One of the two great Christian celebrations which shape our yearly calendars, Easter is about meaning and struggle, about triumph through suffering. It even goes beyond the claim of "no pain, no gain".
While Christmas is first of all about the hope generated by the birth of a new baby and Easter also calls us to hope in personal resurrection, the story of Jesus' unmerited suffering and death points to the unavoidable struggle between good and evil in our hearts and everywhere in society.
It is a summons to find meaning in misfortune, a call to self discipline and ordered love, to doing our duty, supporting good against evil.
The religious dimension of Easter and Christmas is often ignored or denied in these holiday periods, but Easter claims should not be trivialized. There is more to the season than the Easter bunny and even more than Easter eggs as a symbol of new life. Easter is a Christian reminder of the pain and cost of new growth and birth.
Everyone takes the Easter holidays and nearly everyone would concede the importance of Christian teachings in Australian history. They acknowledge the Ten Commandments as the essential moral framework of public life, even when they are uncertain about the first three commandments on God.
The Easter message is also a call to responsibility more than an assertion of rights; a call to duty and action rather than procrastination, "keeping one's options open". Young people need to hear these teachings and see them lived out among their elders.
In many ways the social capital of too many Australian communities is being run down and we are paying an increasing financial and spiritual price for this.
The Easter teaching of right and wrong (Christ was killed by evil men), of forgiveness and redemptive suffering is a stream of light in the gathering clouds of moral confusion and damaging uncontested selfishness.
Many young people might be unsure of the way forward, but most recognize that the claim that there are no sins is mistaken, damaging nonsense.
Easter peace is real, although it only comes at a price. I hope this Easter peace penetrates everywhere, into all families, especially into the hearts of the sick and suffering, the lonely and dejected.
And I pray too that Christ's moral teaching, one essential dimension of the Easter message, will continue to write the hidden laws which constrain and inspire our hearts.
A happy Easter to everyone.
Cardinal Pell's Good Friday Homily


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
South Koreans are afflicted by materialism, selfishness and social autism. Never before has humanity enjoyed such "unprecedented material affluence," but what has it brought? The destruction of "harmony among ourselves and with nature." In an appeal for the upcoming elections, the bishops call on voters to choose wisely "people who are ready to serve the nation".

Seoul (AsiaNews) - The light of Christ rising from the dead "is the best gift the faithful can offer the society in which they live. Easter should help us find harmony among ourselves and with nature. All of our problems, political ones included, can be solved by following the example of our Saviour," Korean bishops said in a message sent out to the country's parishes on the occasion of Easter celebrations.

"Our society today experiences problems in human communication and coexistence," said Card Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, archbishop of Seoul. "Humanity nowadays enjoys unprecedented material affluence, but selfishness and arrogance are the dark side. The polarisation caused by wealth has worsened as the high tech media system isolates and alienates people."

"Life's unity is possible when we accept our differences and accept to live together peacefully," he added. "We must respect those who think differently from us on all matters, be they political, social and religious."

Speaking about South Korea's upcoming general elections on 11 April, the prelate called on the faithful to "think rationally and meditate on the best choice for the nation's future and the happiness of our people."

Mgr Hyginus Kim, archbishop of Kwangju, focused on the hope Jesus brought us with his victory over death. South Korea "faces many problems", he explained, including "many foreign workers, multicultural families, North Korean defectors and victims of school violence." However, "by rising from his death, Christ shows every creature how to regain their original nature and life."

Sadly, "human greed has led to environmental destruction and undermined development. The nuclear race is likely to lead to future disasters. For this reason, we must pray for harmony with nature and restore God's plan for he is the Creator of the universe."

For Mgr Lucas Kim, bishop of Chuncheon, "the light of Christ, who rose from the dead, must light up the society that surrounds us".

On the issue of this month's parliamentary elections, the prelate urged his fellow Koreans "to choose people who are ready to serve the nation, not those who want to rule over them."
"Let us not forget past elections," he warned, "when emotions and prejudices prevailed." This, he noted, "brought unhappiness and suffering to us all.",-let-the-light-of-Christ-enlighten-a-society-divided,-sick-from-materialism-24444.html


Agenzia Fides REPORT - In recent months, national and foreign armed groups still present in Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), have resumed and intensified their military activities. This is revealed in a report by Peace Network for Congo (sponsored by the local missionaries), sent to Fides. On March 1, nine representatives of organizations for the defense of human rights groups denounced the fact that no fewer than 300 people were killed in the past 12 months in South Kivu province, that is to say an average of 25 a month. It is the director of Caritas Bukavu who personally presented the complaint of the Organizations to the Minister of Interior of the province, Etienne Babunga, currently interim Governor of South Kivu, pending the next local elections. The deteriorating security situation is in the context of renewed attacks by the "negative forces", foreign and local, and certain undisciplined military of the FARDC (Congolese army)
The local population continues to live in a situation of great insecurity: attacks on villages, robberies, rapes, kidnappings, killings and arbitrary arrests are still on the agenda, so much so that the army and the UN Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) have recently undertaken new military operations against these armed groups, "Perfect Peace" in South Kivu and "Lightning thunder" in North Kivu (see Fides 17/03/2012). "Other similar operations had been undertaken in the past (Umoja Wetu, Kimia II, Amani leo), but all with negative results. We should understand why. It was found that a predominantly military approach is clearly inadequate and, indeed, causes intolerable collateral damage", write the missionaries.
At the root of the conflict there is, in fact, a network that revolves around the underworld of illegal trade in minerals. It is composed of armed groups leaders, regular army officers, security services and administration agents, politicians, brokers, dealers and mining company agents. This network does not work only at a local level, but has ramifications at an international level, especially in neighboring countries such as Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya. According to a UN report, 85 are foreign companies involved in the export of illegal minerals from the DRC.
"In this context - conclude the missionaries - the problem of insecurity in the east of the Country must be addressed in the context of reform of the mining sector, of the army, security services and justice, without forgetting international relations". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 03/04/2012)


John 18: 1 - 40
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples across the Kidron valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.
2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples.
3 So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.
4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them, "Whom do you seek?"
5 They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am he." Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.
6 When he said to them, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.
7 Again he asked them, "Whom do you seek?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."
8 Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he; so, if you seek me, let these men go."
9 This was to fulfil the word which he had spoken, "Of those whom thou gavest me I lost not one."
10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus.
11 Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?"
12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him.
13 First they led him to Annas; for he was the father-in-law of Ca'iaphas, who was high priest that year.
14 It was Ca'iaphas who had given counsel to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. As this disciple was known to the high priest, he entered the court of the high priest along with Jesus,
16 while Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the maid who kept the door, and brought Peter in.
17 The maid who kept the door said to Peter, "Are not you also one of this man's disciples?" He said, "I am not."
18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves; Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
20 Jesus answered him, "I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly.
21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said."
22 When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, "Is that how you answer the high priest?"
23 Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?"
24 Annas then sent him bound to Ca'iaphas the high priest.
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, "Are not you also one of his disciples?" He denied it and said, "I am not."
26 One of the servants of the high priest, a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, "Did I not see you in the garden with him?"
27 Peter again denied it; and at once the cock crowed.
28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Ca'iaphas to the praetorium. It was early. They themselves did not enter the praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover.
29 So Pilate went out to them and said, "What accusation do you bring against this man?"
30 They answered him, "If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over."
31 Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law." The Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death."
32 This was to fulfil the word which Jesus had spoken to show by what death he was to die.
33 Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"
34 Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?"
35 Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?"
36 Jesus answered, "My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world."
37 Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice."
38 Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, "I find no crime in him.
39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?"
40 They cried out again, "Not this man, but Barab'bas!" Now Barab'bas was a robber.
John 19: 1 - 42
1 Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him.
2 And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe;
3 they came up to him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and struck him with their hands.
4 Pilate went out again, and said to them, "See, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him."
5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, "Behold the man!"
6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him."
7 The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God."
8 When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid;
9 he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave no answer.
10 Pilate therefore said to him, "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?"
11 Jesus answered him, "You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin."
12 Upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, "If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar."
13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gab'batha.
14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "Behold your King!"
15 They cried out, "Away with him, away with him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar."
16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
17 So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol'gotha.
18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.
19 Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."
20 Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.
21 The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, "Do not write, `The King of the Jews,' but, `This man said, I am King of the Jews.'"
22 Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written."
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom;
24 so they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be." This was to fulfil the scripture, "They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots."
25 So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag'dalene.
26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"
27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
28 After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), "I thirst."
29 A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth.
30 When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished"; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him;
33 but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
35 He who saw it has borne witness -- his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth -- that you also may believe.
36 For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, "Not a bone of him shall be broken."
37 And again another scripture says, "They shall look on him whom they have pierced."
38 After this Joseph of Arimathe'a, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body.
39 Nicode'mus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds' weight.
40 They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid.
42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.


St. William of Eskilsoe
Feast: April 6

Feast Day: April 6
Born: 1125 at Paris, France
Died: 6 April (Easter Sunday) 1203 in Denmark
Canonized: 21 January 1224 by Pope Honorius III
He was born of an illustrious family in Paris, about the year 1105, and received his education in the abbey of St. Germain-des-Prez, under his uncle Hugh, the abbot. By the regularity of his conduct, and the sanctity of his manners, he was the admiration of the whole community. Having finished his studies, he was ordained sub-deacon, and installed canon in the church of St. Genevieve au-Mont. His assiduity in prayer, love of retirement and mortification, and exemplary life, seemed a troublesome censure of the slothful and worldly life of his colleagues; and what ought to have gained him their esteem and affection, served to provoke their envy and malice against him.
Having in vain endeavored to prevail on this reformer of their chapter, as they called him, to resign his canonry, in order to remove him at a distance, they presented him to the curacy of Epinay, a church five leagues from Paris, depending on their chapter. But not long after, Pope Eugenius III. coming to Paris, in 1147, and being informed of the irregular conduct of these canons, he commissioned the celebrated Suger, abbot of St. Denys, and prime minister to King Louis the Young, to expel them, and introduce in their room regular canons from the abbey of St. Victor: which was happily carried into execution, Eudo of St. Victor's being made the first abbot. St. William with joy embraced this institute, and was by his fervor and devotion a pattern to the most perfect. He was in a short time chosen sub-prior.
The perfect spirit of religion and regularity which he established in that community, was an illustrious proof of the incredible influence which the example of a prudent superior has over docile religious minds. His zeal for regular discipline he tempered with so much sweetness and modesty in his injunctions, that made all to love the precept itself, and to practice with cheerfulness whatever was prescribed them. The reputation of his wisdom and sanctity reached the ears of Absalon, bishop of Roschild, in Denmark, who, being one of the most holy prelates of his age, earnestly sought to allure him into his diocese. He sent the provost of his church, who seems to have been the learned historian Saxo the Grammarian, to Paris on this errand. A prospect of labors and dangers for the glory of God was a powerful motive with the saint, and he cheerfully undertook the voyage. The bishop appointed him abbot of Eskille, a monastery of regular canons which he had reformed. Here St. William sanctified himself by a life of prayer and austere mortification; but had much to suffer from the persecutions of powerful men, from the extreme poverty of his house in a severe climate, and, above all, from a long succession of interior trials: but the most perfect victory over himself was the fruit of his constancy, patience, and meekness. On prayer was his chief dependence, and it proved his constant support.
During the thirty years of his abbacy, he had the comfort to see many walk with fervor in his steps. He never left off wearing his hair-shirt, lay on straw, and fasted every day. Penetrated with a deep sense of the greatness and sanctity of our mysteries, he never approached the altar without watering it with his tears, making himself a victim to God in the spirit of adoration and sacrifice, together with, and through the merits of the holy victim offered thereon: the dispositions in which every Christian ought to assist at it. He died on the 6th of April, 1203, and was canonized by Honorius III. in 1224.
See his life by a disciple in Surius, and at large in Papebroke's Continuation of Bollandus, t. 1, Apr. p. 620. Also M. Gourdan in his MSS. Lives of Illustrious Men among the regular Canons at St. Victor's, in Paris, kept in the library of MSS. in that house, in fol. t. 2, pp. 324 and 814.


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