Thursday, April 5, 2012


RADIO VATICNA/REPORT/IMAGE: Pope Benedict on Thursday morning presided at the Chrism Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, addressing his homily especially to priests on the day the Church commemorates Christ’s institution of the priesthood. Some 1600 priests from the Rome diocese were present in the Basilica to hear the Pope’s words and to renew their vows during this Holy Thursday liturgy. Speaking about the dramatic situation of the church today, Pope Benedict responded directly to a call to disobedience made recently by a group of priests in Austria that is calling for changes to the teaching on women priests and other traditional aspects of the Magisterium.

Recalling the words of his predecessor, John Paul II who said the Church has no authority from the Lord to ordain women priests, Benedict asked ‘Is disobedience a path of renewal for the Church?’

Pope Benedict said anyone who considers the history of the post-conciliar era can recognise the process of true renewal which, he added, often took – and continues to take - unexpected forms. If we look at the people from whom these fresh currents of life burst forth, he said, we see this requires being filled with the joy of faith, the radicalism of obedience, the dynamism of hope and the power of love.

Pope Benedict stressed that configuration to Christ is the precondition and basis for all renewal in the Church and he reminded priests they are charged with teaching the faith to a society that is growing increasingly illiterate in matters of the basic foundations of faith. While they must be concerned with the whole human person and therefore the physical needs of the sick, the hungry, the homeless, he said priests should also be filled with enthusiasm as they respond also to the needs of the soul.

Below, the full text of the Holy Father’s homily for the Chrism Mass:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At this Holy Mass our thoughts go back to that moment when, through prayer and the laying on of hands, the bishop made us sharers in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, so that we might be “consecrated in truth” (Jn 17:19), as Jesus besought the Father for us in his high-priestly prayer. He himself is the truth. He has consecrated us, that is to say, handed us over to God for ever, so that we can offer men and women a service that comes from God and leads to him. But does our consecration extend to the daily reality of our lives – do we operate as men of God in fellowship with Jesus Christ? This question places the Lord before us and us before him. “Are you resolved to be more united with the Lord Jesus and more closely conformed to him, denying yourselves and confirming those promises about sacred duties towards Christ’s Church which, prompted by love of him, you willingly and joyfully pledged on the day of your priestly ordination?” After this homily, I shall be addressing that question to each of you here and to myself as well. Two things, above all, are asked of us: there is a need for an interior bond, a configuration to Christ, and at the same time there has to be a transcending of ourselves, a renunciation of what is simply our own, of the much-vaunted self-fulfilment. We need, I need, not to claim my life as my own, but to place it at the disposal of another – of Christ. I should be asking not what I stand to gain, but what I can give for him and so for others. Or to put it more specifically, this configuration to Christ, who came not to be served but to serve, who does not take, but rather gives – what form does it take in the often dramatic situation of the Church today? Recently a group of priests from a European country issued a summons to disobedience, and at the same time gave concrete examples of the forms this disobedience might take, even to the point of disregarding definitive decisions of the Church’s Magisterium, such as the question of women’s ordination, for which Blessed Pope John Paul II stated irrevocably that the Church has received no authority from the Lord. Is disobedience a path of renewal for the Church? We would like to believe that the authors of this summons are motivated by concern for the Church, that they are convinced that the slow pace of institutions has to be overcome by drastic measures, in order to open up new paths and to bring the Church up to date. But is disobedience really a way to do this? Do we sense here anything of that configuration to Christ which is the precondition for true renewal, or do we merely sense a desperate push to do something to change the Church in accordance with one’s own preferences and ideas?

But let us not oversimplify matters. Surely Christ himself corrected human traditions which threatened to stifle the word and the will of God? Indeed he did, so as to rekindle obedience to the true will of God, to his ever enduring word. His concern was for true obedience, as opposed to human caprice. Nor must we forget: he was the Son, possessed of singular authority and responsibility to reveal the authentic will of God, so as to open up the path for God’s word to the world of the nations. And finally: he lived out his task with obedience and humility all the way to the Cross, and so gave credibility to his mission. Not my will, but thine be done: these words reveal to us the Son, in his humility and his divinity, and they show us the true path.

Let us ask again: do not such reflections serve simply to defend inertia, the fossilization of traditions? No. Anyone who considers the history of the post-conciliar era can recognize the process of true renewal, which often took unexpected forms in living movements and made almost tangible the inexhaustible vitality of holy Church, the presence and effectiveness of the Holy Spirit. And if we look at the people from whom these fresh currents of life burst forth and continue to burst forth, then we see that this new fruitfulness requires being filled with the joy of faith, the radicalism of obedience, the dynamic of hope and the power of love.

Dear friends, it is clear that configuration to Christ is the precondition and the basis for all renewal. But perhaps at times the figure of Jesus Christ seems too lofty and too great for us to dare to measure ourselves by him. The Lord knows this. So he has provided “translations” on a scale that is more accessible and closer to us. For this same reason, Saint Paul did not hesitate to say to his communities: Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. For his disciples, he was a “translation” of Christ’s manner of life that they could see and identify with. Ever since Paul’s time, history has furnished a constant flow of other such “translations” of Jesus’ way into historical figures. We priests can call to mind a great throng of holy priests who have gone before us and shown us the way: from Polycarp of Smyrna and Ignatius of Antioch, from the great pastors Ambrose, Augustine and Gregory the Great, through to Ignatius of Loyola, Charles Borromeo, John Mary Vianney and the priest-martyrs of the 20th century, and finally Pope John Paul II, who gave us an example, through his activity and his suffering, of configuration to Christ as “gift and mystery”. The saints show us how renewal works and how we can place ourselves at its service. And they help us realize that God is not concerned so much with great numbers and with outward successes, but achieves his victories under the humble sign of the mustard seed.

Dear friends, I would like briefly to touch on two more key phrases from the renewal of ordination promises, which should cause us to reflect at this time in the Church’s life and in our own lives. Firstly, the reminder that – as Saint Paul put it – we are “stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor 4:1) and we are charged with the ministry of teaching (munus docendi), which forms a part of this stewardship of God’s mysteries, through which he shows us his face and his heart, in order to give us himself. At the meeting of Cardinals on the occasion of the recent Consistory, several of the pastors of the Church spoke, from experience, of the growing religious illiteracy found in the midst of our sophisticated society. The foundations of faith, which at one time every child knew, are now known less and less. But if we are to live and love our faith, if we are to love God and to hear him aright, we need to know what God has said to us – our minds and hearts must be touched by his word. The Year of Faith, commemorating the opening of the Second Vatican Council fifty years ago, should provide us with an occasion to proclaim the message of faith with new enthusiasm and new joy. We find it of course first and foremost in sacred Scripture, which we can never read and ponder enough. Yet at the same time we all experience the need for help in accurately expounding it in the present day, if it is truly to touch our hearts. This help we find first of all in the words of the teaching Church: the texts of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are essential tools which serve as an authentic guide to what the Church believes on the basis of God’s word. And of course this also includes the whole wealth of documents given to us by Pope John Paul II, still far from being fully explored.

All our preaching must measure itself against the saying of Jesus Christ: “My teaching is not mine” (Jn 7:16). We preach not private theories and opinions, but the faith of the Church, whose servants we are. Naturally this should not be taken to mean that I am not completely supportive of this teaching, or solidly anchored in it. In this regard I am always reminded of the words of Saint Augustine: what is so much mine as myself? And what is so little mine as myself? I do not own myself, and I become myself by the very fact that I transcend myself, and thereby become a part of Christ, a part of his body the Church. If we do not preach ourselves, and if we are inwardly so completely one with him who called us to be his ambassadors, that we are shaped by faith and live it, then our preaching will be credible. I do not seek to win people for myself, but I give myself. The Curé of Ars was no scholar, no intellectual, we know that. But his preaching touched people’s hearts because his own heart had been touched.

The last keyword that I should like to consider is “zeal for souls”: animarum zelus. It is an old-fashioned expression, not much used these days. In some circles, the word “soul” is virtually banned because – ostensibly – it expresses a body-soul dualism that wrongly compartmentalizes the human being. Of course the human person is a unity, destined for eternity as body and soul. And yet that cannot mean that we no longer have a soul, a constituent principle guaranteeing our unity in this life and beyond earthly death. And as priests, of course, we are concerned for the whole person, including his or her physical needs – we care for the hungry, the sick, the homeless. And yet we are concerned not only with the body, but also with the needs of the soul: with those who suffer from the violation of their rights or from destroyed love, with those unable to perceive the truth, those who suffer for lack of truth and love. We are concerned with the salvation of men and women in body and soul. And as priests of Jesus Christ we carry out our task with enthusiasm. No one should ever have the impression that we work conscientiously when on duty, but before and after hours we belong only to ourselves. A priest never belongs to himself. People must sense our zeal, through which we bear credible witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us ask the Lord to fill us with joy in his message, so that we may serve his truth and his love with joyful zeal. Amen.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
4 Apr 2012

Pope Benedict leads the Way of the Cross
The meaning of Easter is Jesus Christ's victory of death. His resurrection symbolises the eternal life that is granted to all who believe in Him. Easter also symbolises the complete verification of all that Jesus preached and taught during His three-year ministry. His resurrection gave the irrefutable proof that He really was the Son of God.

Easter Triduum: (Triduum from the Latin meaning three days)
Lent ends before early evening when Holy Thursday begins. The Easter Triduum begins with the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper, followed by the high point of the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday Night and closing with Vespers on Easter Sunday.
The Easter fast is sacred on the first two days of the Triduum - Good Friday and Easter Saturday.

Thousands gather at the Colosseum
for the Way of the Cross
Holy Thursday is also the day that Catholics commemorate the institution of the three pillars of the Catholic Faith: the Sacrament of Holy Communion, the priesthood and the Mass.
Holy Thursday - there is the morning Chrism Mass when the priests of each diocese gather with their bishop to consecrate holy oils, which are used throughout the year for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick. This ancient practice dates back to the fifth century and stresses the role of the bishop as a successor to the apostles.
There is only one other mass on this day, the Mass of the Lord's Supper which is celebrated after sundown. This mass commemorates the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion and ends with the removal of the Body of Christ from the tabernacle in the main body of the church.
The mass recalls the Last Supper, in which the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, offered to the Father His Body and Blood under the species of bread and wine and gave them to the Apostles as spiritual nourishment, and He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood to perpetuate the offering.

Pope Benedict XVI during
the Way of the Cross
The person celebrating the mass will wash the feet of twelve priests to symbolise Christ's washing the feet of His Apostles, the first priests.
After mass the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession to the Altar of Repose where it remains until the communion service on Good Friday. After the procession the altar is stripped bare, and all the bells in the church are silent until the Gloria at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.
No mass is now celebrated until the Easter Vigil proclaims the Resurrection. However during the night there is the continued Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, just as the disciples stayed with the Lord during His agony on the Mount of Olives before the betrayal of Judas.
Friday - is the Friday within Holy Week - Good Friday - which is traditionally a time of fasting and penance, commemorating the anniversary of Christ's crucifixion and death. For Christians, Good Friday is not just an historical event but the sacrificial death of Christ, which with the resurrection, comprises the heart of the Christian faith. The customs and prayers associated with Good Friday typically focus on the theme of Christ's sacrificial death for our sins. The major Good Friday worship service begins in the afternoon at 3.00pm - the time Jesus likely died. Various customs and traditions are associated with the Western celebration of Good Friday. Including the Veneration of the Cross, Holy Communion, which was consecrated on Holy Thursday and distributed during the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified as well as the Stations of the Cross or Way of the Cross or Commemoration of the Lord's Passion.

Pope Benedict at the Mass of the Lord's Supper
Saturday Evening - Service of Light and Easter Vigil - although celebrated on Holy Saturday, it is the dramatic Easter liturgy that marks the official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus and beginning of Easter. It is the most important Mass of the liturgical year as well as the first celebration of the Eucharist during the fifty-day long celebrations of Easter, and is marked by the first use since the beginning of Lent of the acclamation "Alleluia". The holy water front are drained, all the lights are out, the tabernacle is empty. The service begins outside the church. A new fire is lit and blessed and a Paschal is prepared. The priest lights the candle from the new fire and this is processed through the church, being lifted at three different times. Everyone lights their candle from the Easter candle and continues in procession until the whole church is alight. The paschal candle symbolises Christ, the Light of the World. The Mass begins. During the Mass the Easter water is blessed, new members are brought into the Church through baptism and the faithful are blessed with water and renew their baptismal promises.

Sunday - for Catholics, Easter Sunday comes at the end of 40 days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving known as Lent. It is a day of celebration commemorating the Resurrection of Christ. Unlike Good Friday, the churches are usually filled with flowers and is considered a very special feast because it represents the fulfilment of a Christian's faith.
The Way of the Cross and crucifixion as seen
in Sydney during WYD08
Way of the Cross in Rome

Every Good Friday a very emotive Way of the Cross takes place in Rome with the Holy Father. Television cameras join the thousands of people around the Roman Colosseum in contemplating the Passion of Christ. Each year the Pope asks someone to write the reflections for the Way of the Cross however for the first time ever, Pope Benedict XV1 has asked a married couple to write these. The invitation comes at a time when the role of the family is in the spotlight and under scrutiny with governments and legislators tackling issues of same-sex marriage and wider society questioning the institution of marriage.
This year Danilo and Annamaria Zanucchi have written the reflections.

The Way of the Cross from Rome can be seen live in Sydney on Sky News on Saturday 7 April at 05.15am via Vatican Television.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - Caritas Mali says its local office in Gao in northern Mali was destroyed along with the local church after Tuareg rebels seized the city at the weekend. This was reported by Caritas Mali in a statement sent to Fides.
Despite the conflict in the north and a military coup last month, Caritas Mali says its operations providing desperately needed food aid to the rest of the country continue.
The Tuareg rebels have seized three regional capitals in as many days. The main rebel group is the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). They are operating alongside the Islamist group Ansar Edine and Al Quida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI). According to press reports, in recent hours the Islamic militants have thrown the men of the MNLA out from the conquered positions in Timbuktu and other places.
Fr. Jean-Jacques, director of Caritas Gao said: "Caritas staff fled Gao on Saturday evening, March 31 after learning that some Islamic rebel groups were hunting priests and religious to kill them. On Saturday afternoon, the rebels who were thrown out from the city grouped together to then conquer Gao, abandoned by the armed forces. We have been informed that the centre and the church compound have been destroyed. We have also received calls from the small Catholic community left in Gao. They are now hiding, fearing for their lives. There are about 200 Catholics in Gao".
The capital of Mali is calm. " is normal here in Bamako," said Theodore Togo, the Secretary General of Caritas Mali. "We are monitoring the situation in the north. We were forced to discontinue our operations not only in Gao, but also in Mopti, but they continue in the rest of the Country, to assist the people affected by the food crisis."
Mali Caritas is distributing corn, millet, rice and sorghum, as well as seeds to over 100,000 people affected by a growing food crisis. "If the rebels limit their activities to the north, then the majority of our aid programs will be able to continue as planned," concluded Theodore Togo. (LM) (Agenzia Fides 04/03/2012)


John 13: 1 - 15
1 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him,
3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God,
4 rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel.
5 Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.
6 He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?"
7 Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand."
8 Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part in me."
9 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!"
10 Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not every one of you."
11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "You are not all clean."
12 When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?
13 You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.


Each year, the Secretariat of Divine Worship receives many e-mails and phone calls concerning preparations for the celebration of the Paschal Triduum. The following eighteen questions address the most commonly received questions, and may be freely reproduced by diocesan Offices for Worship, parish Liturgy Committees, and others seeking to promote the effective celebration of these most sacred days.

  1. When does the Triduum begin and end?
    The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday.
  2. May another Mass besides the Mass of the Lord’s Supper be celebrated on Holy Thursday?
    Ordinarily, no other Mass may be celebrated on Holy Thursday. However, by way of exception, the local Ordinary may permit another Mass in churches and oratories to be celebrated in the evening, and, in the case of genuine necessity, even in the morning. Such Masses are provided for those who in no way are able to participate in the evening Mass.
  3. How are the Holy Oils, consecrated and blessed at the Chrism Mass, to be received in the parish?
    A reception of the oils may take place at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The oils, in suitable vessels, are carried in the procession of the gifts, before the bread and wine by members of the assembly. A text for this can be found in the 2004 Sacramentary Supplement published by Catholic Book Publishing Company, or it is available here.
  4. Is the Mandatum, the washing of feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, required?
    No. The Roman Missal only indicates, “Depending on pastoral circumstances [ubi ratio pastoralis id suadeat], the washing of feet follows the homily.”
  5. When should the Good Friday Celebration of the Lord’s Passion take place?
    Normally it should take place in the afternoon, at about 3:00 PM, to enable people to assemble more easily. However, pastoral discretion may indicate a time shortly after midday, or in the late evening, though never later than 9:00 PM. Depending on the size or nature of a parish or other community, the local Ordinary may permit the service to be repeated.
  6. May a deacon officiate at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion?The Roman Missal does not envision the possibility that a deacon could officiate at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, even though it appears that the celebration appears to be a service of the Word with the distribution of Holy Communion. Historically, even though the Eucharist is not celebrated on this day, the liturgy of Good Friday bears resemblance to a Mass. At one time it was called the “Mass of the Presanctified” (referring to the pre-consecrated hosts used at Communion, even when only the priest received Communion). This is also reflected in the prescribed vesture for the priest: stole and chasuble. The liturgy of Good Friday, as an integral part of the Triduum, is linked to the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. While there may be cases where a parish with multiple churches or chapels (e.g., mission churches or a cluster of parishes under one pastor) might rotate the liturgies among the various locations, it would not be appropriate for a community to celebrate only part of the Triduum.
  7. May any of the readings at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion be omitted?
    The Lectionary for Mass does not indicate that any readings may be omitted at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. All three readings (Isaiah, Hebrews, and the Passion according to John) are required. It should be noted, however, for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, the Lectionary indicates that while all three readings provided should be used, there may be circumstances in which one or more of the readings at Mass could be omitted: “Given, however, the importance of the account of the Lord’s Passion, the priest, having in mind the character of each individual congregation, is authorized to choose only one of the two readings prescribed before the Gospel, of if necessary, he may read only the account of the Passion, even in the shorter form. This permission applies, however, only to Masses celebrated with a congregation.” Thus, the account of the Passion is never omitted.
  8. Does the Church encourage any other liturgical celebrations on Good Friday?
    On this day the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer could appropriately be celebrated with the participation of the people in the churches. Note that Evening Prayer is only prayed by those who do not participate in the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion.
  9. Do devotions have a particular importance on Good Friday?
    The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2002) provides the proper perspective in paragraphs 142-145. Clearly the central celebration of this day is the Good Friday Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. In no way should manifestations of popular piety, either by the time or manner in which they are convoked, substitute for this solemn liturgical action. Nor should aspects of the various acts of piety be mixed with the Good Friday celebration, creating a hybrid. In recent times, Passion processions, celebrations of the Stations of the Cross, and Passion Plays have become more common. In such representations, actors and spectators can be involved in a moment of faith and genuine piety. Care should be taken, however, to point out to the faithful that a Passion Play is a representation which is commemorative and they are very different from “liturgical actions” which are anamnesis, or the mysterious presence of the redemptive event of the Passion.
  10. How does the Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday begin?
    The Veneration of the Cross begins with one of two forms of the Showing of the Cross. The First Form begins as the deacon or another suitable minister goes to the sacristy and obtains the veiled Cross. Accompanied by two ministers with lighted candles, the veiled Cross is brought to the center of the sanctuary in procession. The priest accepts the Cross and then, standing in front of the altar and facing the people, uncovers the upper part of the Cross, the right arm, and then the entire Cross. Each time he unveils a part of the Cross, he sings This is the wood of the Cross. In the Second Form of the Showing of the Cross, the priest or deacon goes to the church door, where he takes up the uncovered Cross. Accompanied by two ministers with lighted candles, he processes to the sanctuary, stopping at the door of the church, in the middle of the church, and before entering the sanctuary, to sing the acclamation, This is the wood of the Cross.
  11. How is the cross venerated by members of the congregation on Good Friday?
    After the showing of the Cross, the priest or deacon may carry the Cross to the entrance of the sanctuary or another suitable place. The first person to adore the Cross is the priest celebrant. If circumstances suggest, he takes off his chasuble and his shoes. The clergy, lay ministers and the faithful then approach the Cross. The personal adoration of the Cross is an important feature in this celebration and every effort should be made to achieve it. The rubrics remind us that “only one Cross” should be used for adoration. If the numbers are so great that all cannot come forward, the priest, after some of the clergy and faithful have adored the Cross, can take it and stand in the center before the altar. In a few words he invites the people to adore the Cross. He then elevates the Cross higher for a brief period of time while the faithful adore it in silence. It should also be kept in mind that when a sufficiently large Cross is used even a large community can reverence it in due time. The foot of the Cross as well as the right and left arm can be approached and venerated. Coordination with ushers and planning the flow of people beforehand can allow for this part of the liturgy to be celebrated with decorum and devotion.
  12. When should the Easter Vigil take place?
    The Vigil, by its very nature, must take place at night. It is not begun before nightfall and should end before daybreak on Easter Sunday. The celebration of the Easter Vigil takes the place of the Office of Readings of Easter Sunday. The Easter Vigil begins and ends in darkness. It is a nocturnal vigil, retaining its ancient character of vigilance and expectation, as the Christian people await the Resurrection of the Lord during the night. Fire is blessed and the paschal candle is lighted to illumine the night so that all may hear the Easter proclamation and listen to the word of God proclaimed in the Scriptures. For this reason the Service of Light (Lucernarium) takes place before the Liturgy of the Word. Since sunset varies at different locations throughout the country, local weather stations can be consulted as to the time of sunset in the area, keeping in mind that twilight concludes (i.e., nightfall occurs) somewhat later.
  13. What considerations should be given for the paschal candle used at the Easter Vigil?
    This candle should be made of wax, never be artificial, be replaced each year, be only one in number, and be of sufficiently large size that it may convey the truth that Christ is the light of the world. The paschal candle is the symbol of the light of Christ, rising in glory, scattering the darkness of our hearts and minds. Above all, the paschal candle should be a genuine candle, the pre-eminent symbol of the light of Christ. Choice of size, design, and color should be made in relationship to the sanctuary in which it will be placed.
  14. In the case of mission churches and cluster parishes, can multiple paschal candles be used for the Service of Light?The Roman Missal, not envisioning the pastoral situation of mission churches or cluster parishes, specifies that only one paschal candle is used. To accommodate the particular circumstances, the Secretariat might suggest that the candles from the mission churches or other parish churches could be present at the Easter Vigil, having been prepared in advance, and blessed alongside the main candle (perhaps having deacons or other representatives holding them). In keeping with the rubrics, for the lighting and procession only one candle should be lit (the principal one, or the one which will remain in that particular church). As the other candles in the congregation are lit, the other paschal candles could be lit and held(but not high, in order to maintain the prominence of the one principal candle) by someone at their place in the assembly. Once all the candles are extinguished after the singing of the Exsultet, the other paschal candles are put aside. On Easter Sunday morning, those candles could be taken to each of the missions and carried, lit, in the entrance procession at the first Mass at each church and put in place in the sanctuary.
  15. How many readings should be proclaimed at the Easter Vigil?
    One of the unique aspects of the Easter Vigil is the recounting of the outstanding deeds of the history of salvation. These deeds are related in seven readings from the Old Testament chosen from the law and the prophets and two readings from the New Testament, namely from the apostles and from the Gospel. Thus, the Lord meets us once again on our journey and, “beginning with Moses and all the prophets” (Lk 24:27) opens up our minds and hearts, preparing us to share in the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the cup. The faithful are encouraged to meditate on these readings by the singing of a responsorial psalm, followed by a silent pause, and then by the celebrant’s prayer. Meditation on these readings is so significant for this night that we are strongly urged to use all the readings whenever it can be done. Only in the case of grave pastoral circumstances can the number of readings be reduced. In such cases, at least three readings from the Old Testament should be read, always including Exodus 14.
  16. How is the First Communion of the neophytes to be emphasized during the Easter Vigil?
    The celebrant, before he says, This is the Lamb of God, may make a brief remark to the neophytes about their first Communion and about the importance of so great a mystery, which is the climax of initiation and the center of the Christian life. This is a night when all should be able to receive Holy Communion under both forms.
  17. What directions are given for the celebration of Masses on Easter Sunday?
    Mass is to be celebrated on Easter Day with great solemnity. A full complement of ministers and the use of liturgical music should be evident in all celebrations. In the dioceses of the United States, on Easter Sunday, the rite of the renewal of baptismal promises takes place after the homily, followed by the sprinkling with water blessed at the Vigil, during which the antiphon Vidi aquam, or some other song of baptismal character should be sung. (It should be noted that the Bishops of the United States have requested to retain this particular adaptation in the forthcoming third edition of the Roman Missal). The holy water fonts at the entrance to the church should also be filled with the same water. On the subsequent Sundays of the Easter season, it is appropriate that the Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water take the place of the Act of Penitence (Penitential Rite).
  18. Where is the paschal candle placed during the Easter season?
    The paschal candle has its proper place either by the ambo or by the altar and should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday, whether at Mass, or at Morning and Evening Prayer. After the Easter season the candle should be kept with honor in the baptistery, so that in the celebration of Baptism the candles of the baptized may be lit from it. In the celebration of funerals the paschal candle should be placed near the coffin to indicate Christ’s undying presence, his victory over sin and death, and the promise of sharing in Christ’s victory by virtue of being part of the Body of Christ (see Order of Christian Funerals, no. 35). The paschal candle should not otherwise be lit nor placed in the sanctuary outside the Easter season.

For more information on the various aspects of the Paschal Triduum, please see the Lent and Easter resources page.

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COMECE RELEASE: Freedom of Religion:
The EU should set the standard on this central Human Right

In every country where the people’s rights of freedom of religion has been violated - and even threatened -, the society itself is at risk. Freedom of Religion is actually an important indicator for assessing the implementation of Fundamental Rights as a whole. The EU should therefore more clearly monitor violations of Freedom of Religion both within the EU and throughout the world. This was the main request put forward by the Church and Society Commission of CEC and COMECE to the European Commission and the European External Action Service on the occasion of the Dialogue Seminar held in Brussels on 30 March.

During a day-long session, the Churches presented their assessment of the recent violations of Religious Freedom. Mgr Coutts, the Archbishop of Karachi and Paul Bhatti, the brother of the assassinated Minister, presented a vibrant report on the situation of Christians and other minorities in Pakistan. Like in a number of other countries, although Religious Freedom is officially granted in Pakistan, the facts show that religious minorities suffer from violence and the exercise of pressure.
Christians and other religious minorities do not claim a special status or protection, but simply access to ‘common citizenship’, the Bishop emphasized: “they are full citizens of their countries and should simply be granted their legitimate rights as citizens”.

The representatives from the European External Action Service shared their intention to enhance the monitoring of Religious Freedom violations through a more systematic and coordinated strategy at the EU level. The Churches fully supported the increase of the EEAS potential in this regard and encouraged the EEAS to develop a ‘Toolkit’ containing measures and instruments to counter Religious Freedom violations in the world and offered their expertise in the field. To this effect, Canon Dr Gary Wilton from the Church of England offered several best practices such as ranging from human rights education inside and outside the churches to common seminars with police, judiciary and religious representatives from specific conflict zones. He also added that in Trade agreements concluded by the EU with third-countries, the insertion of conditionality clauses relating to respect for human rights are a good tool but that these clauses need to be made more effective, especially with regard to religious freedom.

Concerning countries which intend to join the EU, the European Commission should scrutinise with particular attention the respect for the fundamental right to freedom of religion and its related aspects (property rights, implementation of the rule of law). Clear and unequivocal steps towards the implementation of freedom of religion shall be present before a country is allowed to join the EU.

When it comes to the internal dimension, the main reference point for EU policies on human rights is Article 2 TEU. The right to religious freedom within the EU is based on Article 10 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The EU institutions should ensure that it is not simply an individualistic interpretation of this fundamental right which is promoted but that this is also broadened out so as to fully include its social and institutional dimension. Dr Peter Krömer, from the Protestant Church AB in Austria, and of Rev Anthony Peck, Secretary General of the European Baptist Federation, emphasized in their presentations the need to pay special attention to the implementation of the rights of minority Churches and religious communities under the anti-discrimination provisions.

The Churches asked the Fundamental Rights Agency to produce a survey on discrimination based on the grounds of freedom of religion in EU Member States and in applicant countries. To this end, the EU should also encourage the Member States to collect this kind of data at national level and provide the FRA with the relevant information on a yearly basis.

Recent attacks based on religious hatred make it clear that respect for freedom of religion is at the very heart of our living together in Europe and allows the promotion of ‘Unity in Diversity’. The role of religion in the public square must be protected from attacks, which constitute a violation of religious freedom. It is important, in this regard, to acknowledge the positive role that religion plays in public life and in society.

Contributions to Download:

Speech of Prof. Feliciani in FR

Contribution by Canon Dr Gary Wilton FROB

Power point presentation by Canon Dr Gary Wilton FROB

Contribution by His Eminence Bishop of Backa FROB

Contribution by Rev. Tony Peck

Video of the Interview with Paul Bhatti:



Centuries old tradition also attracts many non-Christians to island
Jacob Herin, Atambua
April 5, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Thousands gather for Good Friday procession
Pilgrims in a procession
Thousands of devotees have gathered in Larantuka in East Nusa Tenggara province for a traditional procession to mark Good Friday.
They include hundreds of devotees from Kupang, the provincial capital, who took advantage of free round-trip ferry tickets offered by the governor to make the 10-hour ferry trip to Flores Island.
The procession involves carrying the statues of Tuan Ma (Mary) and Tuan Ana (Jesus) through Larantuka to the Queen of the Rosary Cathedral.
The tradition started in the 16th century and continues to attract Christian and non-Christian pilgrims.
The Portuguese ambassador to Indonesia Carlos Manuel Leitao Frota and his wife, the tourism minister Marie Elka Pangestu, are among the guests of honor for this year’s procession.
“I have been taking part in the procession for five years. I once asked the Virgin Mary for luck, and I got a job soon after,” said Bernadete Besu, a Protestant.


St. Vincent Ferrer
Feast: April 5

Feast Day: April 5
Born: January 23, 1350, Valencia, Kingdom of Valencia
Died: April 5, 1419, Vannes, Brittany, France
Canonized: June 3, 1455, Rome by Pope Calixtus III
Major Shrine: Vannes Cathedral
Patron of: builders, construction workers, plumbers
Famous Dominican missionary, born at Valencia, 23 January, 1350; died at Vannes, Brittany, 5 April, 1419. He was descended from the younger of two brothers who were knighted for their valour in the conquest of Valencia, 1238. In 1340 Vincent's father, William Ferrer, married Constantia Miguel, whose family had likewise been ennobled during the conquest of Valencia. Vincent was their fourth child. A brother, not unknown to history, was Boniface Ferrer, General of the Carthusians, who was employed by the antipope Benedict XIII in important diplomatic missions. Vincent was educated at Valencia, and completed his philosophy at the age of fourteen. In 1367 he entered the Dominican Order, and was sent to the house of studies at Barcelona the following year. In 1370 he taught philosophy at Lérida; one of his pupils there was Pierre Fouloup, later Grand Inquisitor of Aragon. In 1373 Vincent returned to the Dominican "Studium arabicum et hebraicum" at Barcelona. During his stay there famine was prevalent; filled with compassion for the sufferers; Vincent foretold, while preaching one day, the near approach of ships bearing wheat. His prediction was fulfilled. In 1377 he was sent to continue his studies at Toulouse, where, in his own words, "study followed prayer, and prayer succeeded study". In 1379 Vincent was retained by Cardinal Pedro de Luna, legate of the Court of Aragon, who was endeavouring to win King Peter IV to the obedience of Avignon. The saint, thoroughly convinced of the legitimacy of the claims of the Avignon pontiffs, was one of their strongest champions. From 1385 to 1390 he taught theology in the cathedral at Valencia.
After this Vincent carried on his apostolic work while in Pedro de Luna's suite. At Valladolid he converted a rabbi, later well known as Bishop Paul of Burgos. At Salamanca Queen Yolanda of Aragon chose him for her confessor, 1391-5. About this time he was cited before the Inquisiton for preaching publicly "the Judas had done penance", but Pedro de Luna, recently raised to the papal chair as Benedict XIII, cited the case before his tribunal and burned the papers. Benedict then called him to Avignon and appointed him confessor and Apostolic penitentiary. Notwithstanding the indifference of so many prelates in the papal Court, he laboured zealously among the people. He steadfastly refused the honours, including the cardinalate, which were offered to him. France withdrew from the obedience of Avignon in September, 1398, and the troops of Charles VI laid siege to the city. An attack of fever at this time brought Vincent to death's door, but during an apparition of Christ accompanied by St. Dominic and St. Francis he was miraculously cured and sent to preach penance and prepare men for the coming judgment. Not until November, 1399, did Benedict allow Vincent Ferrer to begin his apostolate, furnished with full powers of a legate a latere Christi. For twenty years he traversed western Europe, preaching penance for sin and preparation for judgment. Provence was the first field of his apostolate; he was obliged to preach in squares and open places, such were the numbers that flocked to hear him. In 1401 he evangelized Dauphiny, Savoy, and the Alpine region, converting many Catharins and Waldensians. Thence he penetrated into Lombardy. While preaching at Alexandria he singled out from among the hearers a youth who was destined to evangelize Italy, Bernadine of Siena. Another chosen soul with whom Vincent came in contact while in Italy was Margaret of Savoy. During the years 1403-4 Switzerland, Savoy, and Lyons received the missionary. He was followed by an army of penitents drawn from every rank of society, who desired to remain under his guidance. Vincent was ever watchful of his disciples, and never did the breath of scandal touch this strange assemblage, which numbered at times 10,000. Genoa, Flanders, Northern France, all heard Vincent in turn. It would be difficult to understand how he could make himself understood by the many nationalities he evangelized, as he could speak only Limousin, the language of Valencia. Many of his biographers hold that he was endowed with the gift of tongues, an opinion supported by Nicholas Clemangis, a doctor of the University of Paris, who had heard him preach.
In 1408 Vincent was at Genoa consoling the plague-stricken. A meeting had been arranged there between Gregory XII and Benedict XIII in the hope of putting an end to the schism. Vincent again urged Benedict to have pity on the afflicted Church, but in vain. Disappointed, he returned to Spain. It would be difficult to overestimate the influence which he exercised in the Iberian peninsula. Castile, Aragon, Valencia, Murcia, Granada, Andalusia, and Asturias were visited in turn, and everywhere miracles marked his progress; Christians, Jews, and Moslems were all lost in admiration of the thaumaturgus. From 1408 until 1416 he worked almost continuously south of the Pyrenees. At different times in Spanish history strenuous attempts had been made to convert the Jewish people, baptism or spoliation being the alternatives offered to them. This state of affairs existed when Vincent began to work among them; multitudes were won over by his preaching. Ranzano, his first biographer, estimates the number of Jews converted at 25,000. In the Kingdom of Granada he converted thousands of Moors. Vincent was often called upon to aid his country in temporal affairs, as the counsellor of kings and at one time the arbiter of the destiny of Spain. In 1409 he was commissioned by Benedict XIII to announce to Martin of Aragon the death of his only son and heir.
After Martin's death, the representatives of the Kingdoms of Aragon, Valencia, and Catalonia appointed Vincent one of the judges to determine the succession to the Crown. At the judgment, known as the Compromise of Caspe, he took the leading part and helped to elect Ferdinand of Castile. Vincent was one of the most resolute and faithful adherents of Benedict XIII, and by his word, sanctity, and miracles he did much to strengthen Benedict's position. It was not until 1416, when pressed by Ferdinand, King of Aragon, that he abandoned him. On 6 January, preaching at Perpignan, he declared anew to the vast throng gathered around his pulpit that Benedict XIII was the legitimate pope, but that, since he would not resign to bring peace to the Church, Ferdinand had withdrawn his states from the obedience of Avignon. This act must have caused Vincent much sorrow, for he was deeply attached to Benedict. Nevertheless, it was thought that Vincent was the only person sufficiently esteemed to announce such a step to the Spanish races. John Dominici was more fortunate in his attempts to pave the way for reunion, when he announced to the Council of Constance the resignation of Gregory XII. Vincent did not go to the Council of Constance; he continued his apostolic journeys through France, and spent the last two years of his life in Brittany, where consciences without number were reformed and instructed in a Christian way of life.
Vincent felt that he was the messenger of penance sent to prepare men for the judgment. For twenty years he traversed Western Europe preaching penance and awakening the dormant consciences of sinners by his wondrous eloquence. His austere life was but the living expression of his doctrine. The floor was his usual bed; perpetually fasting, he arose at two in the morning to chant the Office, celebrating Mass daily, afterwards preaching, sometimes three hours, and frequently working miracles. After his midday meal he would tend the sick children; at eight o'clock he prepared his sermon for the following day. He usually travelled on foot, poorly clad. Among St. Vincent's writings are: De suppositionibus dialecticis"; "De natura universalis"; "De monderno ecclesiae schismate", a defence of the Avignon pontiffs; and "De vita spirituali". His "Sermons" were published at Antwerp (1570), Augsburg (1729), and Lyons (1816); and his complete works at Valence (1591). He was canonized by Calixtus III at the Dominican Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Rome, 3 June, 1455.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


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