Monday, April 2, 2012




Vatican City, 1 April 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today opened Holy Week celebrations by celebrating Mass for Palm Sunday in St. Peter's Square, in the presence of 60,000 faithful.
The Pope went by popemobile to the altar, situated under the obelisk of St. Peter's Square which was decorated with branches, flowers and thirteen olive trees from the Italian region of Puglia.
"Palm Sunday", said the Holy Father in his homily, "is the great doorway leading into Holy Week, the week when the Lord Jesus makes His way towards the culmination of His earthly existence. He goes up to Jerusalem in order to fulfil the Scriptures and to be nailed to the wood of the Cross, the throne from which He will reign forever, drawing to Himself humanity of every age and offering to all the gift of redemption".
The Pope dwelt on the episodes associated with Christ's entry into Jerusalem: the healing of blind Bartimaeus and the enthusiasm of the crowds who cried: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”. "This festive acclamation, reported by all four evangelists, is a cry of blessing, a hymn of exultation: it expresses the unanimous conviction that, in Jesus, God has visited His people and the longed-for Messiah has finally come. And everyone is there, growing in expectation of the work that Christ will accomplish once He has entered the city".
"But", the Holy Father added, "what is the content, the inner resonance of this cry of jubilation? The answer is found throughout Scripture, which reminds us that the Messiah fulfils the promise of God’s blessing, God’s original promise to Abraham, father of all believers: “I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you ... and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves”. ... Hence He Whom the crowd acclaims as the blessed one is also He in Whom the whole of humanity will be blessed. Thus, in the light of Christ, humanity sees itself profoundly united and, as it were, enfolded within the cloak of divine blessing, a blessing that permeates, sustains, redeems and sanctifies all things".
Therefore the primary message of today’s feast is "the invitation to adopt a proper outlook upon all humanity, on the peoples who make up the world, on its different cultures and civilisations. The look that the believer receives from Christ is a look of blessing: a wise and loving look, capable of grasping the world’s beauty and having compassion on its fragility. Shining through this look is God’s own look upon those He loves and upon Creation, the work of His hands".
"Who is Jesus of Nazareth for us? What idea do we have of the Messiah, what idea do we have of God? It is a crucial question, one we cannot avoid, not least because during this very week we are called to follow our King Who chooses the Cross as His throne. We are called to follow a Messiah Who promises us, not a facile earthly happiness, but the happiness of heaven, divine beatitude.
We must ask ourselves what our true expectations are, the Pope said addressing young people also for the occasion of today's World Youth Day. "May Palm Sunday be a day of decision for you, the decision to say yes to the Lord and to follow Him all the way, the decision to make His Passover, His death and resurrection, the very focus of your Christian lives. It is the decision that leads to true joy, as I reminded you in this year’s World Youth Day Message – “Rejoice in the Lord always”".
Finally, the Holy Father expressed the hope that these days may "call forth two sentiments in particular: praise, after the example of those who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with their “Hosanna!”, and thanksgiving, because in this Holy Week the Lord Jesus will renew the greatest gift we could possibly imagine: He will give us His life, His body and His blood, His love. But we must respond worthily to so great a gift, that is to say, with the gift of ourselves, our time, our prayer, our entering into a profound communion of love with Christ Who suffered, died and rose for us".
Benedict XVI concluded his homily with the words of St. Andrew, bishop of Crete: "So it is ourselves that we must spread under Christ’s feet, not coats or lifeless branches or shoots of trees, matter which wastes away and delights the eye only for a few brief hours. But we have clothed ourselves with Christ’s grace, or with the whole Christ, ... so let us spread ourselves like coats under His feet. ... Let us offer not palm branches but the prizes of victory to the conqueror of death".

Vatican City, 1 April 2012 (VIS) - At the end of this morning’s Mass for Palm Sunday, and before praying the Angelus, the Pope reminded the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that today also marks World Youth Day (WYD) 2012. In this context he addressed a special greeting to the organisers of WYD Madrid 2011 and WYD Rio de Janeiro 2013, who were present at the celebration and who have recently participated in a congress in Rome.
"The theme of today's World Youth Day is St. Paul's appeal to 'rejoice in the Lord always'", Benedict XVI said. "The joy arising from the knowledge that God loves us is a central element of Christian experience. In a world often characterised by sadness and anguish, this is an important testimony of the beauty and reliability of the faith. Be joyful witnesses of Christ!"

Vatican City, 2 April 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience 5,000 young people from the archdiocese of Madrid, Spain, accompanied by their archbishop Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela. They are currently on a pilgrimage to Rome to thank the Pope for his trip to Spain during last August's World Youth Day. Extracts from Benedict XVI's words to them are given below.
"Whenever I recall the twenty-sixth World Youth Day in Madrid, my heart is filled with gratitude to God for those unforgettable days. ... That marvellous encounter can only be understood in the light of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church, which never ceases to infuse hearts with encouragement, and continually leads us out into the public square of history, as happened at Pentecost, to bear witness to God's wonders. You are called to cooperate in this edifying task. ... Christ needs you at His side to extend and build His Kingdom of charity".
"No one is superfluous to such an undertaking. Therefore, never cease to ask yourselves what the Lord is calling you to do, and how you can help Him. Each of you has a personal vocation which He has given you for your own joy and sanctity. When a person is conquered by the fire of His gaze, no sacrifice seems too great to follow Him and give Him the best of ourselves. This is what the saints have always done, spreading the light of the Lord ... and transforming the world into a welcoming home for everyone".
"Like the first Apostles, you too must be missionaries of Christ among your relatives, friends and acquaintances, in the places where you study and work, among the poor and the sick. Speak of His love and goodness with simplicity, without fear. Christ Himself will give you the strength to do so. For your part, listen to Him, interact with Him often and sincerely. Trustingly tell Him of your desires and aspirations, of your own sufferings and those of people you perceive without consolation or hope".
"Yesterday we began Holy Week, in which we will follow the footsteps of Christ. ... We will contemplate His passion and humiliation unto death. ... I encourage you to take up your own cross, the cross of the pain and sin of the world, so as to gain a better understanding of Christ's love for humanity. Thus you will feel impelled to proclaim the God Who loves men and women, and Who sent His Son, not to condemn them, but for them to achieve a life of fullness and meaning".

Vatican City, 31 March 2012 (VIS) - Franciscans and Poor Clares throughout the world are currently celebrating the "Clarian Year", the eighth centenary of the "conversion" and consecration of St. Clare of Assisi (1193-1253) which took place on Palm Sunday 1211 or 1212. For the occasion, Benedict XVI has written a letter to Bishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi - Nocera Umbra - Gualdo Tadino, Italy.
The Pope recalls the life story of the founder of the Poor Clares. Following St. Francis' advice, she attended Palm Sunday Mass dressed in all her finery. She received a palm from the hands of the bishop then, later that night, fled the house of her parents - who had been hoping to marry her to a wealthy man - and went to the Porziuncola where St. Francis and his companions were waiting for her. There Clare renounced the world, Francis cut her hair and she adopted the black veil and rough sandals which became the first habit of the Poor Clares.
Clare's history "also speaks to our generation, and has a particular fascination for the young", the Holy Father says. Francis had a good reason for advising Clare to flee her parents' house at the beginning of Holy Week. "All Christian life, and thus also consecrated life", he writes, "is the fruit of the Paschal Mystery and of our participation in the death and resurrection of Christ. In the Palm Sunday liturgy pain and glory come together, a theme which will be developed over the following days through the dark night of the Passion up to the ultimate light of Easter. With her choice Clare relived this mystery".
"At its most profound level, Clare's 'conversion' is a conversion of love. No longer would she have the refined dress of the Assisan aristocracy, but an elegance of soul expressed in praise of God and giving of self. Day by day a fraternity came into being within the confines of the monastery of San Damiano, at the school of the Eucharistic Christ, ... a fraternity regulated by love of God and prayer, by concern for others and service. It was in this context of profound faith and great humanity that Clare came to interpret the Franciscan ideal, imploring the 'privilege' of poverty and renouncing even the shared possession of material goods, something which left even the Supreme Pontiff perplexed, until in the end he too surrendered to the heroism of her sanctity".
The Holy Father continues: "How can we not present St. Clare, and St. Francis, to the young people of today? The time dividing us from these two saints has not lessened their allure. Quite the contrary, their contemporary importance is evident in the face of the illusions and delusions which often mark the life of modern youth. Never has a time caused the young to dream so much, with the multiple attractions of a life in which everything seems possible and permissible. And yet, how much dissatisfaction exists, how many times the search for happiness and self-realisation follows paths which lead to artificial paradises such as those of drugs and unbridled sensuality. And the current situation, with the difficulty of finding dignified work and forming a united and happy family, adds further clouds to the horizon.
"Yet", the Pope adds in conclusion, "there is no lack of young people who, even in our own times, accept the invitation to entrust themselves to Christ and to face the journey of life courageously, responsibly and hopefully, choosing even to leave everything to follow Him and serve their brethren. The story of Clare, with that of Francis, is an invitation to reflect upon the meaning of life and to seek the secret of true joy in God. It is concrete proof that those who accomplish the will of God and trust in Him not only lose nothing, but discover the real treasure which gives meaning to everything".

Vatican City, 31 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a message to prisoners detained in Rome's Rebibbia prison for the Way of the Cross they celebrated there yesterday evening. The celebration, presided by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, was attended by 300 prisoners, the chaplain, Caritas volunteers, seminarians who offer daily service inside the prison and numerous faithful from various parishes. The Pope made a pastoral visit to the jail on 18 December last year.
"I feel a particularly close bond to this initiative", the Pope writes, "because I conserve in my heart the memory of the visit I made to Rebibbia prison shortly before last Christmas. I remember the faces I saw and the words I heard, all of which left a profound mark on me".
"I know that this Way of the Cross also seeks to be a sign of reconciliation. In fact, as one of the prisoners said during our meeting, the purpose of prison is to help us rise again after having fallen, it serves to achieve reconciliation with ourselves, with others and with God, and so re-enter society. When in the Way of the Cross we see Jesus fall to the ground - once, twice, three times - we understand that He shared our human condition. The weight of our sins caused Him to fall; but three times Jesus got up again and continued the journey to Calvary. Thus, with His help, we too can rise from our falls, and perhaps also help a brother to rise as well.
"But what gave Jesus the strength to carry on?", the Pope asked. "He knew that the Father loved Him, and this immense love, this infinite mercy of the heavenly Father, consoled Him and was greater than the violence and abuse surrounding Him".
"The great gift that Jesus gave us with His Way of the Cross was this: He showed us that God is infinite love, He is mercy and He carries the burden of our sins unto the end, enabling us to rise again, to find reconciliation and rediscover peace. We too, then, should not be afraid to follow our own 'way of the cross' to carry our cross together with Jesus. He is with us".
"With this hope, grounded in faith, I trust that you will all live this coming Easter in the peace and joy which Christ bought for us with His blood, and with great affection I impart upon you my apostolic blessing".

Vatican City, 31 March 2012 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" today published a communique announcing that the Pope has made a donation of 100,000 US dollars in support of the people of Syria.
The communique mentions the numerous appeals Benedict XVI has made for an end to violence in Syria and for the opening of dialogue and reconciliation between the conflicting parties, with a view to peace and the common good. The Holy Father has also frequently exhorted the faithful to pray for those who suffer. "Now", the communique says, "the Pope has chosen to donate the sum of 100,000 US dollars, through the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum', for the charitable activities of the local Church in Syria in support of the suffering population". In order to ensure the delivery of the aid, meetings have been planned with His Beatitude Gregorios III Laham, president of the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy in Syria, and with other representatives of the local Church.
Finally, the communique notes that, through her charity organisations, the Catholic Church in Syria is currently involved in assistance projects, particularly in the areas of Homs and Aleppo.
On another front, "Cor Unum" is to finance agricultural development projects in two Cuban dioceses, according to today's "Osservatore Romano". This is the first concrete result of Benedict XVI's recent apostolic visit to the island, on which he was accompanied by Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", who met with Cuban bishops to discuss possible initiatives in support of the population. Two of the bishops, having informed the cardinal that they had received State permission to work for and with farmers in their dioceses, presented two projects which will be realised with the help of "Cor Unum".

Vatican City, 2 April 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to provide information on preparations for World Youth Day (WYD) 2013, due to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 23 to 28 July 2013. The conference was presented by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity; Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta O. Cist. of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, and Msgr. Eduardo Pinheiro da Silva, president of the Brazilian Episcopal Commission for Youth.
In his remarks Cardinal Rylko expressed the view that "WYD truly was a prophetic intuition on the part of Blessed John Paul II, and marked a revolution in the field of youth pastoral care. ... And Benedict XVI has explained how WYD opens up a new way of being Christian". Hence the great efforts the Church makes in preparing these events, he explained.
With the Rio celebration, WYD is returning to Latin America, twenty-six years after the first international WYD, held in Buenos Aires. Rio 2013 "will be part of the continental mission, which emerged from the meeting of bishops of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) at Aparecida in 2007. At the level of the universal Church, the Rio WYD will also be linked to this year's Synod of Bishops on the theme of the new evangelisation". The cardinal also noted that the WYD will be taking place during the Year of Faith. "The aim of WYD", the cardinal explained, "is to increase faith among young people and foment the mission. ... The main need of young people today is to be rooted in the faith and in the great family of the Church, in order to be able to make a greater and more effective contribution to the life of society".
In conclusion, the cardinal also mentioned this year's World Youth Day, which was celebrated throughout the world at a diocesan level yesterday under the theme "Rejoice in the Lord always". "Joy is a characteristic of WYDs", he said. "and that is no coincidence because, if on the one hand young people seek happiness, on the other the Church possesses in herself the treasure of true joy, which arises from encountering Christ the Saviour".
For his part Archbishop Tempesta recalled that information on next year's WYD is available in five languages on the website: The WYD page on Facebook and Twitter already has 600,000 followers, and bookings for pilgrim groups will be open as of July this year.
In conclusion the archbishop of Rio noted that the Brazilian economy had improved in recent years, and social differences had diminished. "WYD will", he said, "be an opportunity to improve the Christian values of solidarity, justice, hope and courage among the new generations".

Vatican City, 2 April 2012 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. has released the following declaration concerning the decision by the authorities in Cuba to make next Good Friday a holiday.
"The fact that the Cuban authorities have immediately accepted the request made by the Holy Father to President Raul Castro, declaring next Good Friday a holiday, is certainly a very positive sign".
"The Holy See hopes that this will facilitate participation in religious celebrations and favour a happy Easter holiday. It also hopes that the Holy Father's visit may continue to produce fruits for the good of the Church and of all Cubans".

Vatican City, 2 April 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Archbishop Mark Benedict Coleridge of Canberra and Goulburn, Australia, as archbishop of Brisbane (area 65,000, population 2,760,007, Catholics 643,371, priests 239, permanent deacons 13, religious 890), Australia.
- Cardinal Angelo Comastri, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City, as his special envoy to the closing celebrations of the National Eucharistic Congress of Ukraine, due to be held in Lviv on 3 May, sixth centenary of the establishment of the archiepiscopal and metropolitan see of Lviv of the Latins.


Stamp of approval for Vatican Post Office | Vatican Easter stamp 2012,Peter Jennings
A postage stamp issued by the Vatican Post office to commemorate Easter 2012 - 'Christ is risen. Alleluia', has received a stamp of approval from Great Britain. The 0.75c value Vatican City stamp shows a magnificent picture of the Risen Christ, and includes the words: “Surrexit Christus Alleluia MMXII”, together with the Keys of Peter.
Released on a special pictorial first day cover and postmarked in advance with an Easter Sunday, 8 April 2012, pictorial handstamp, the stamp is on sale to pilgrims and tourists at the Vatican Post Offices situated in St Peter’s Square. The stamp, the postmark and the cover each display the Risen Christ - three very different treatments of the defining event of Christian faith.

This particular Vatican stamp and commemorative cover will be prized by stamp collectors and non-collectors, Catholic and non-Catholic alike from around the world as a beautiful memento of Rome and Easter 2012.

During a memorable Colloquium “Britain and the Holy See: A Celebration of 1982 and the Wider Relationship”, organised by the British Embassy, and held at the Venerable English College, in Rome on Friday 30 March, I invited eight of the distinguished speakers to autograph one of these covers.

That makes it a unique philatelic item - signed by: H E Nigel Baker, British Ambassador to the Holy See; Mr Mark Pellew, Ambassador to the Holy See 1998-2002; His Eminence Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland; His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster; the Most Rev Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales; The Rt Rev Bishop Edwin Regan, Bishop of Wrexham; The Rt Rev Bishop Christopher Hill, Anglican Bishop of Guildford; and Mgr Mark Langham of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

Anglican bishops sign with their sees as their surnames, so we see “Christopher Guildford” written upwards to the left of the reproduced painting from the Vatican Museum.

In the discerning world of philately the Holy See enjoys a good reputation for the design and production of its postage stamps, as also for its commemorative and first day covers.


Agenzia Fides REPORT- Thirteen prisoners died in a clash between groups of prisoners and the outbreak of a fire: which took place inside a prison in Sula, an industrial city in the north of the country, where the prisoners barricaded themselves and even denied access to the fire brigade and police. The Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Pedro Sula, Monsignor Romulo Emiliani, went to the prison "to negotiate, as the prisoners themselves asked" and he said, before entering the prison, that " the authorities have known about this situation for a long time and are not interested in prisons, this is a time bomb that will continue to explode ".
In the note sent to Fides we learn that the fire alarm was given at noon yesterday, but after several hours no one could get close to San Pedro Sula detention center. From the local media, we learn that there are prisoners who died from the clash and others due to the fire. The Government, through the Secretary of Security, Pompeo Bonilla, has only confirmed the figure of 13 deaths, without specifying the cause.
The return of calm in the prison was only possible thanks to the intervention of the Bishop, Monsignor Romulo Emiliani, who mediated with inmates in order to put an end to internal conflict. "They made peace, I am grateful to God because it was like a miracle, because the situation was on the brink of total chaos", said Bishop Emiliani, revealing that the prisoners assured him that for now "there will not be conflicts" and they also asked the police to leave, which is what they did.
Mgr. Emiliani said that "at an appropriate time" the list of people who unfortunately died will be officially released: "We cannot anticipate names, because the appeal of the 2,400 inmates is being carried out in a place that is made to accomodate 800 people. There is lack of water in the prison. The water that was availabele was used to extinguish the fire, by the prisoners themselves, and now we are asking for drinking water, which is urgent", said the Bishop.
There is a lot of tension and concern among the general population and among the prisoners’ relatives, who immediately recalled the tragedy of February 14 in Comayagua prison (see Fides 16/02/2012), where a fire killed more than 300 prisoners who were confined in various areas of this prison. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 30/3/2012


NLD officials call by-elections a victory for all the country's people reporters, Mandalay and Kawhmu
April 2, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Suu Kyi camp claims near clean sweep
Aung San Suu Kyi mobbed by supporters after the elections
National League for Democracy (NLD) officials are today claiming a possible clean sweep following yesterday’s by-elections.
According to party spokesman Han Thar Myint, the NLD has won 43 out of 45 seats due to be contested in yesterday’s polls. One result in northern Shan State is too early to call, while a candidate in one other seat was not qualified to take part.
“We are overjoyed the NLD has won most of the seats,” Han Thar Myint told today.
Official results are expected later this week.
Party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who easily won her seat in Kawhmu constituency, today called the polls a victory for the people of Myanmar.
“This is the people’s victory …. We won through a combination of people’s spirit and strength. From today onwards, we must not think about the win but instead we must start to work [towards reconciliation],” she said in a short speech outside the NLD Party headquarters in Yangon.
In Mandalay, thousands of supporters gathered in front of the NLD’s office, waving party flags and hailing Suu Kyi. Others drover through the city’s streets until late at night honking horns in celebration.
Rival candidates congratulated the unofficial winners and described the polls as being free and fair.
U Than Tun, a candidate from the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) who fought for the Maharaungmyae seat in Mandalay told today that he had no complaints about the results.
“I would like to congratulate the NLD on its victory. It was a fair election and the competition was very tough,” he said, adding he hoped that the new MPs would enter parliament and all work to help develop the country and its people.
The NLD had voiced concerns before the polls over voter list irregularities and intimidation of candidates. The polls are a key test of the country’s political reforms and could pave the way for the easing of Western sanctions.
Yesterday U Ohn Kyaing, the chief party spokesperson and unofficial NLD winner in Maharaungmyae said that “some 1,000 people couldn’t cast their ballots as their IDs card numbers were wrong.”
U Myo Chit, the chairman of the local Election Commission admitted to that some voters were unable to cast their ballots because of administrative errors.
“It’s was great so many people wanted to vote. But I’m sorry that some couldn’t cast their ballots as there were some voter lists problems, which probably were a result from our mistakes,” he said.


RUMBEK, March 30, 2012 (CISA) –The missionary congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers, the Spiritans, is ready to open its first mission in South Sudan.
This was revealed by the Superior of the Spiritans in Kenya, Fr Martin Keane who has ministered in Kenya for over 40 years, in an interview with Good News Radio.
Fr Keane said that the Spiritans had resolved to open their first mission in South Sudan with the pioneer members coming to Rumbek Diocese last September, explaining that the move was postponed following the death of the bishop of Rumbek last July.
He further said that dialogue is underway to have the Spiritans in Rumbek Diocese in the course of this year, revealing that two members would be ready to come in May and another two in October this year.
Fr Keane also said that priority will be given to learning the local language and the culture, adding that his confreres would eventually evangelize through education.
Fr Keane went on to call on South Sudanese to approach the process of development with patience, citing the example of Kenya where the first years after independence recorded a rather slow process of growth and development.
He also advocated for unity among the people of South Sudan, encouraging a good relationship between the Church and the State with the Church playing the role of being the conscience of the nation.
Meanwhile, the Diocesan Administrator of Rumbek Diocese, Fr Fernando Colombo welcomed the decision by the Spiritans to join other missionaries in the service of evangelization, explaining that the diocese is still in the stage of first evangelization and that it is in need of missionaries.
Founded in France, there are three thousand Spiritans ministering in all the five continents of the world and several islands. They are guided by the mission to work in places where the Church has difficulty finding pastoral agents and especially contexts of first evangelization.


Annual Walk with Mary Mass and procession

Monday 2 April 2012
walk-with-mary-2012-350By Ian Gaudry
A large crowd gathered at St Patrick's Cathedral on Sunday 25 March for the annual Walk with Mary Mass and procession to St Paul's Cathedral.

The unique event commemorates one of the most important feasts in the Church: the Annunciation when Jesus Christ became incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin.

Bishop Peter Elliott was the principal celebrant at the Mass, which was attended by Anglican Bishop Peter Danaher from Geelong. Both bishops participated in the procession, and at St Paul's Cathedral Bishop Danaher also gave an excellent homily. The procession was a colourful and spiritually enriching experience with many priests, families, Religious, parishioners and representatives of communities such as the Chinese, Portuguese and the Tongan communities amongst many others.

Sacred Heart Girls College, Oakleigh Choir did a wonderful work by leading the singing. St Patrick's College Ballarat had the honour of carrying the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Along the route the Rosary was recited and the Lourdes hymn and other hymns sung.

Priests commented that they felt the whole city of Melbourne being blessed by the procession and public witness.

The Combined Societies of Mary wishes to thank all who participated, and all who assisted in any way to help make the day such a memorable occasion.

A grand celebration is now being planned for next year, which will commemorate the 25th Walk With Mary.



John 12: 1 - 11
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Laz'arus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
2 There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Laz'arus was one of those at table with him.
3 Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.
4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said,
5 "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?"
6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it.
7 Jesus said, "Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial.
8 The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me."
9 When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Laz'arus, whom he had raised from the dead.
10 So the chief priests planned to put Laz'arus also to death,
11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.


St. Francis of Paola
Feast: April 2

Feast Day: April 2
Born: 1416 at Paola, Calabria, Italy
Died: 2 April 1507 at Plessis, France
Canonized: 1512 by Pope Julius II
Founder of the Order of Minims; b. in 1416, at Paula, in Calabria, Italy; d. 2 April, 1507, at Plessis, France. His parents were remarkable for the holiness of their lives. Remaining childless for some years after their marriage they had recourse to prayer, especially commending themselves to the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi. Three children were eventually born to them, eldest of whom was Francis. When still in the cradle he suffered from a swelling which endangered the sight of one of his eyes. His parents again had recourse to Francis of Assisi, and made a vow that their son should pass an entire year in the "little habit" of St Francis in one of the convents of his order, a not uncommon practice in the Middle Ages. The child was immediately cured. From his early years Francis showed signs of extraordinary sanctity, and at the age of thirteen, being admonished by a vision of a Franciscan friar, he entered a convent of the Franciscan Order in order to fulfil the vow made by his parents. Here he gave great edification by his love of prayer and mortification, his profound humility, and his prompt obedience. At the completion of the year he went with his parents on a pilgrimage to Assisi, Rome, and other places of devotion. Returning to Paula he selected a retired spot on his father's estate, and there lived in solitude; but later on he found a more retired dwelling in a cave on the sea coast. Here he remained alone for about six years giving himself to prayer and mortification.
In 1435 two companions joined him in his retreat, and to accommodate them Francis caused three cells and a chapel to be built: in this way the new order was begun. The number of his disciples gradually increased, and about 1454, with the permission of Pyrrhus, Archbishop of Cosenza, Francis built a large monastery and church. The building of this monastery was the occasion of a great outburst of enthusiasm and devotion on the part of the people towards Francis: even the nobles carried stones and joined in the work. Their devotion was increased by the many miracles which the saint wrought in answer to their prayers. The rule of life adopted by Francis and his religious was one of extraordinary severity. They observed perpetual abstinence and lived in great poverty, but the distinguishing mark of the order was humility. They were to seek to live unknown and hidden from the world. To express this character which he would have his disciples cultivate, Francis eventually obtained from the Holy See that they should be styled Minims, the least of all religious. In 1474 Sixtus IV gave him permission to write a rule for his community, and to assume the title of Hermits of St. Francis: this rule was formally approved by Alexander VI, who, however, changed their title into that of Minims. After the approbation of the order, Francis founded several new monasteries in Calabria and Sicily. He also established convents of nuns, and a third order for people living in the world, after the example of St. Francis of Assisi.
He had an extraordinary gift of prophecy: thus he foretold the capture of Otranto by the Turks in 1480, and its subsequent recovery by the King of Naples. Also he was gifted with discernment of consciences. He was no respecter of persons of whatever rank or position. He rebuked the King of Naples for his ill-doing and in consequence suffered much persecution. When Louis XI was in his last illness he sent an embassy to Calabria to beg the saint to visit him. Francis refused to come nor could he be prevailed upon until the pope ordered him to go. He then went to the king at Plessis-les-Tours and was with him at his death. Charles VIII, Louis's successor, much admired the saint and during his reign kept him near the court and frequently consulted him. This king built a monastery for Minims at Plessis and another at Rome on the Pincian Hill. The regard in which Charles VIII held the saint was shared by Louis XII, who succeeded to the throne in 1498. Francis was now anxious to return to Italy, but the king would not permit him, not wishing to lose his counsels and direction. The last three mouths of his life he spent in entire solitude, preparing for death. On Maundy Thursday he gathered his community around him and exhorted them especially to have mutual charity amongst themselves and to maintain the rigour of their life and in particular perpetual abstinence. The next day, Good Friday, he again called them together and gave them his last instructions and appointed a vicar-general. He then received the last sacraments and asked to have the Passion according to St. John read out to him, and whilst this was being read, his soul passed away. Leo X canonized him in 1019. In 1562 the Huguenots broke open his tomb and found his body incorrupt. They dragged it forth and burnt it, but some of the bones were preserved by the Catholics and enshrined in various churches of his order. The Order of Minims does not seem at any time to have been very extensive, but they had houses in many countries. The definitive rule was approved in 1506 by Julius II, who also approved a rule for the nuns of the order. The feast of St. Francis of Paula is kept by the universal Church on 2 April, the day on which he died.


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