Thursday, April 26, 2012


Vatican City, 26 April 2012 (VIS) - The Commission for the Catholic Church in China, established by Benedict XVI in 2007 to study questions of major importance regarding the life of the Catholic Church in that country, held its fifth meeting in the Vatican from 23 to 25 April. At the end of the gathering the commission released a communique in English and Chinese, the text of which is given below.
"With deep spiritual closeness to all brothers and sisters in the faith living in China, the Commission recognised the gifts of fidelity and dedication which the Lord has given to His Church throughout the past year.
"The participants examined the theme of the formation of the lay faithful, in view also of the “Year of Faith” which the Holy Father has announced will be held from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013. The words of the Gospel, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man”, set out the task to which the Catholic lay faithful in China are called.
"In the first place, they must enter ever more deeply into the life of the Church, nourished by doctrine, conscious of their being part of the Catholic Church, and consistent with the requirements of life in Christ, which necessitates hearing the word of God with faith. From this perspective, a profound knowledge of the Catechism of the Catholic Church will be a particularly important aid for them.
"In the second place, lay Catholics are called to take part in civic life and in the world of work, offering their own contribution with full responsibility: by loving life and respecting it from conception until natural death; by loving the family, promoting values which are also proper to traditional Chinese culture; by loving their country as honest citizens concerned for the common good. As an ancient Chinese sage put it, “the way of great learning consists in illustrating noble virtues, in renewing and staying close to people, and in reaching the supreme good”.
"Thirdly, the lay faithful in China must grow in grace before God and men, by nourishing and perfecting their own spiritual life as active members of the parish community and by involving themselves in the apostolate, also with the help of associations and Church movements which foster their ongoing formation.
"In this regard, the Commission noted with joy that the proclamation of the Gospel by Catholic communities, which are sometimes poor and without material resources, encourages many adults to request baptism every year. It was thus emphasised that the dioceses in China should promote a serious catechumenate, adopt the rite of Christian initiation of adults, and care for their formation after Baptism as well. Pastors, both bishops and priests, should make every effort to consolidate the lay faithful in their knowledge of the teachings of Vatican Council II, and in particular of ecclesiology and the social doctrine of the Church. Moreover, it will be useful to dedicate special solicitude to the preparation of pastoral workers dedicated to evangelisation, catechesis and works of charity. The integral formation of lay Catholics, above all in those places where rapid social evolution and significant economic development are occurring, is part of a commitment tomake the local Church vibrant and thriving. Finally, an adequate response to the phenomenon of internal migration and urbanisation is to be hoped for.
"Practical indications, which the Holy See has proposed and will propose to the universal Church for a fruitful celebration of the “Year of Faith”, will undoubtedly be heeded with enthusiasm and with a creative spirit also in China. These suggestions will stimulate the Catholic community to find adequate initiatives to put into practice what Pope Benedict XVI has written regarding the lay faithful and the family in his Letter of 27 May 2007 to the Catholic Church in the People’s Republic of China.
"The lay faithful, therefore, are called to participate with apostolic zeal in the evangelisation of the Chinese people. By virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they receive from Christ the grace and the task to build up the Church.
"In the course of the meeting, attention then focused on the pastors, in particular on bishops and priests who are detained or who are suffering unjust limitations on the performance of their mission. Admiration was expressed for the strength of their faith and for their union with the Holy Father. They need the Church’s prayer in a special way so as to face their difficulties with serenity and in fidelity to Christ.
"The Church needs good bishops. They are a gift of God to His people, for the benefit of whom they exercise the office of teaching, sanctifying and governing. They are also called to provide reasons for life and hope to all whom they meet. They receive from Christ, through the Church, their task and authority, which they exercise in union with the Roman Pontiff and with all the bishops throughout the world.
"Concerning the particular situation of the Church in China, it was noted that the claim of the entities, called “One Association and One Conference”, to place themselves above the bishops and to guide the life of the ecclesial community, persists. In this regard, the instructions given in the Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, remain current and provide direction. It is important to observe them so that the face of the Church may shine forth with clarity in the midst of the noble Chinese people.
"This clarity has been obfuscated by those clerics who have illegitimately received episcopal ordination and by those illegitimate bishops who have carried out acts of jurisdiction or who have administered the Sacraments. In so doing, they usurp a power which the Church has not conferred upon them. In recent days, some of them have participated in episcopal ordinations which were authorised by the Church. The behaviour of these bishops, in addition to aggravating their canonical status, has disturbed the faithful and often has violated the consciences of the priests and lay faithful who were involved.
"Furthermore, this clarity has been obfuscated by legitimate bishops who have participated in illegitimate episcopal ordinations. Many of these bishops have since clarified their position and have requested pardon; the Holy Father has benevolently forgiven them. Others, however, who also took part in these illegitimate ordinations, have not yet made this clarification, and thus are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.
"The participants in the plenary meeting follow these painful events with attention and in a spirit of charity. Though they are aware of the particular difficulties of the present situation, they recall that evangelisation cannot be achieved by sacrificing essential elements of the Catholic faith and discipline. Obedience to Christ and to the Successor of Peter is the presupposition of every true renewal and this applies to every category within the People of God. Lay people themselves are sensitive to the clear ecclesial fidelity of their own pastors.
"With regard to priests, consecrated persons and seminarians, the commission reflected once again on the importance of their formation, rejoicing in the sincere and praiseworthy commitment to provide not only suitable programmes of human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral formation for the seminarians, but also times of ongoing formation for priests. In addition, appreciative mention was made of the initiatives which are being undertaken by various female religious institutes to coordinate formation activities for consecrated persons.
"It was noted, on the other hand, that the number of vocations to the priestly and religious life has noticeably declined in recent years. The challenges of the situation impel the faithful to invoke the Lord of the harvest and to strengthen the awareness that each priest and woman religious, faithful and luminous in their evangelical witness, are the primary sign still capable of encouraging today’s young men and women to follow Christ with undivided heart.
"Finally, the Commission recalls that this upcoming 24 May, the liturgical memorial of the “Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians” and the Day of Prayer for the Church in China, will provide a particularly auspicious opportunity for the entire Church to ask for energy and consolation, mercy and courage, for the Catholic community in China".

Vatican City, 26 April 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.
- Archbishop Francois Bacque, apostolic nuncio.
- Six prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop John George Vianzy of Portland in Oregon.
- Bishop-elect Liam Stephen Carey of Baker, accompanied by Bishop William Stephen Skylstad, emeritus of Spokane and apostolic administrator of Baker.
- Bishop Michael Patrick Driscoll of Boise City.
- Bishop Michael William Warfel of Great Falls-Billings.
- Bishop George Leo Thomas of Helena.


or 'Mater boni consilii' in Latin, is a title given to Our Lady, Mary mother of Jesus. It originates with a miraculous painting was found in the Augustinian Church in Genazzano, Italy in the 13th century. It was 40 by 45 centimeters on porcelain. This title was added to the Litany of Loreto. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, records from the reign of Pope Paul II (1464-71) relate that the picture was first called "La Madonna del Paradiso" and also known as "Madonna del Buon Consiglio". The painting was observed to hang suspended in the air without support. Many Popes have visited the painting and increased devotion to our Lady with this title.
Start novena April 17 thru April 25, vigil of Feast Day.
Our Lady of Good Counsel
(State your petitions)
Holy Virgin, moved by the painful uncertainty we experience in seeking and acquiring the true and the good,
we cast ourselves at thy feet and invoke thee under the sweet title of Mother of Good Counsel.
We beseech thee: come to our aid at this moment in our worldly sojourn when the twin darknesses of error and of evil
that plots our ruin by leading minds and hearts astray.

Seat of Wisdom and Star of the Sea,
enlighten the victims of doubt and of error so that they may not be seduced by evil masquerading as good;
strengthen them against the hostile and corrupting forces of passion and of sin.

Mother of Good Counsel, obtain for us from thy Divine Son the love of virtue and the strength to choose,
in doubtful and difficult situations, the course agreeable to our salvation.
Supported by thy hand we shall thus journey without harm along the paths taught us by the word and example of Jesus our Savior,
following the Sun of Truth and Justice in freedom and safety across the battlefield of life under the guidance of thy maternal Star,
until we come at length to the harbor of salvation to enjoy with thee unalloyed and everlasting peace. Amen.

(By Pope Pius XII, 23 January 1953)


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Joseph Mahmoud
The Chaldean archbishopric holds a reconciliation forum today. Some 50 political, religious and cultural leaders attend the event. Mgr Sako presents a seven-point proposal, signed by participants, as a "joint commitment" to dialogue. A committee is set to see to its implementation.

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - The Chaldean Archbishopric of Kirkuk, northern Iraq, organised a reconciliation forum today on "Building bridges of peace", on the initiative of Mgr Louis Sako, archbishop of the city. The meeting brought together Christian and Muslims leaders, altogether some 50 people, including politicians like the provincial governor, lawmakers, party chiefs and tribal sheiks; religious leaders from the Shia, Sunni and Christian communities; and representatives of the Kurdish, Arab, Turkmen and Assyrian-Chaldean communities.

The forum comes a few days after a series of attacks left a trail of blood and destruction in Kirkuk as well as the rest of the country. Despite the departure of US troops, the situation has not improved and peace and security remain as elusive as ever.

Today's meeting is "an opportunity for all parties" to sit around a table to talk "in a civilised manner", Church sources in Kirkuk said. This way they can try to solve problems and bridge divisions, thus "reducing tensions rather than make it worse with threats."

Among the various speeches and interventions, Mgr Sako presented a seven-point proposal that participants signed as a joint "commitment" to dialogue and peace. An ad hoc committee made up of individuals from various backgrounds will be set up to evaluate the application of its principles and directives.

In his address, Mgr Sako reiterated the principle of dialogue with Islam so that people can live together and overcome theological issues that today are unsolvable.

For Christians, this means adopting a language that can be "understood" by the Muslim community. At the same time, a "secular civil society" is necessary based on "shared Iraqi citizenship."

A number of plans are on the drawing board to achieve these goals. They include a kindergarten for 80 children (10 per cent Muslim) and an elementary school that should open in September.

As those behind these initiatives note, coexistence begins in infancy.,-a-project-that-unites-Christians-and-Muslims-in-Kirkuk-24600.html


Joyce banda
LILONGWE, April 24, 2012 (CISA) – “A moment that was very negative at a political and economical level has come to an end” said Fr Piergiorgio Gamba, a Monfortan missionary who has been working in Malawi for 30 years, commenting on the state funeral of President Bingu wa Mutharika held on Monday April 23.
The Malawi president died on April 5. His position was taken by Vice President, Joyce Banda. Thousands of people attended his funeral, after which he was buried in the imposing mausoleum built on his property, in the south of the Country. The marble building, was baptized “Mpumulo wa Bata” (“Rest in peace”).
(IMAGE SOURCE: GOOGLE) “Bingu wa Mutharika had built this mausoleum for his wife, a most worthy person who spent all for the poor,” said Fr Gamba. “That building, so massive and expensive, is one example of the politics of the late President.”
Fr Gamba who spoke in Italy where he received an honorary membership card as a journalist by the Association of Journalists of Lombardy, for his efforts in establishing the Malawian media (including television Luhtha TV), gave a short summary of Bingu wa Mutharika’s Presidency.
”Everyone gives him merit for the first 5 years of his government considered valid,” said the missionary. “His policy of distributing seeds and fertilizers to three million farmers solved the food problem in Malawi. At the same time, however, this subsidy policy emptied the State coffers. In the end the people who could benefit from the subsidies were reduced to one million, which is still a very large number. In short, Bingu wa Mutharika had solved the food problem, but not permanently, even though everyone recognizes the merit of having eliminated hunger in Malawi.”
“The problems,” continued Fr Gamba, “ started after the first 5 years in power, when Bingu wa Mutharika’s party won an absolute majority in Parliament and, in practice, had no opposition with which to confront. Bingu wa Mutharika embarked on such absurd political and economic projects, such as the construction of a new port on the south side of Lake Malawi, which was blocked by the new President.”
With regards to the future of the Country, the missionary said: “The climate has changed, the atmosphere is different. The political transition took place peacefully, and this week the new government will be formed. The names of the new Ministers are promising. Hopefully now that the economic transition can proceed, reversing the failed policy of the last two years. This week we will see if the Kwanza, the local currency will be devalued. Bingu wa Mutharika had imposed an artificial exchange rate of the Kwanza. Consequently, the official market is locked, while a black market developed that has virtually been legalized. This situation must change, “concludes the missionary.


Holy Father's World Day of Prayer for Vocations Message News Story
Vocation Director for the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Fr Warren Edwards welcomes Fr John Watkins to the Presbyterate at his ordination in 2010. Photography: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu
By Fr Warren Edwards, Vocation Director for the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta
That God is love and that He has called us into a communion of love with Him, where our perfect happiness is to be found, seems to be something we have overlooked in much of our contemporary culture. We are so caught up in seeking the fleeting delights of this world that we miss out on the true calling to beatitude.
Pope Benedict XVI has reminded us of this in his message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations. He asks us to meditate on the theme: Vocations, the Gift of the Love of God.
To help us envision the love of God, Pope Benedict reminds us of the realisation of St Augustine. In a famous page of the Confessions, St Augustine expresses with great force his discovery of God, supreme beauty and supreme love, a God who was always close to him, and to whom he at last opened his mind and heart to be transformed:
“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.” (X, 27.38).
With these images, the Saint of Hippo seeks to describe the ineffable mystery of his encounter with God, with God’s love that transforms all of life.
It is the main job of priests to facilitate people to come to this love of God. He is to witness to, teach about and make present the personification of God’s love in Christ.
By his own personal prayer and use of the sacraments he is to be a man of God, close to the source, so that he may be the channel of God’s grace to others.
The priest is the instrument who removes all barriers to us and the love of God by forgiving sins and healing us, especially of our hard hearts.
It is the priest who offers up the sacrifice of the Mass and brings about Christ’s own presence so that we may become one with Him who gives us love and has conquered all sin and evil.
It is the mission of the priest to serve the holiness of the people of God so that we all might be shining lights to a world that has lost hope in goodness and the truth of love.
We need young people who are willing to give it all to be witnesses of love.
It is men and women who consecrate their lives totally to Christ who most clearly witness that God is everything.
To follow God completely is not to miss out on anything but rather gain everything as Christ is the beginning and the end, our reason for existence and our complete satisfaction as human beings.
This love is not clear in the world at the moment and we need to promote it. Our families need to be places of God’s loving presence, places of prayer and piety so that the idea of someone giving themselves totally to Christ is not deemed foreign but recognised for what it is – a great gift being a disciple of Christ and entering into closer union with Him and His mission.
A culture of vocations needs to be embraced if we are going to change the world for the better and bring more souls to the love of God. This culture grows in our families and parishes, seeing holiness as the call of all, and realising it can be achieved through the grace of God.
From this will come many young people who will be willing to give it all as they have encountered the love of God in their families and churches and wish to have it all.
As we all pray hard for vocations, we should pray that we may live out our vocations well in our families and parishes, and pray that young people be inspired to step up and be the leaders who will make Christ present to all the people of God.
If we could only realise God’s love for us in the same way that St Augustine did, then we would have no hesitation to follow at all. Indeed, it would be the things that get in our way of experiencing God’s love to the full which would be deemed as most ugly and unattractive to us.
Let us pray this on World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Good Shepherd Sunday on 29 April, for the knowledge and realisation of the love of God in ourselves, the grace to bring this to others and especially that we may have holy priests, deacons, brothers and sisters to lead and guide us to beatitude.

Visit Vocations for the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta
Visit Holy Spirit Seminary


USCCB REPORT: WASHINGTON—Blog posts, YouTube videos, an online quiz and resources on Facebook are among the ways U.S. Catholics can learn about the Church’s teaching on issues and involvement in the political process, as part of an initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). These resources promote the document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the call to political responsibility issued by the U.S. bishops in 2007 and reissued last fall.
“Christians have a responsibility to live out their faith in the public square, and today that also means online,”said Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Communications. “People donate, speak out on numerous issues, get their news and participate in campaigns through the Internet and social media. The Church also needs to reach people through these media.”
Resources include:
·An issues quiz, which will help Catholics form their consciences through statistics and facts related to key moral issues including abortion, poverty, embryonic stem cell research and immigration. One quiz question will be posted every Tuesday and Thursday starting April 24 at
·Video reflections by bishops, including Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami and Archbishop-designate William Lori of Baltimore, discussing different issues of importance for Catholic voters:
·A “Catholics Care. Catholics Vote.” blog series, which explores different aspects of the bishops’ document, including its assertion that political involvement is a moral duty for Catholics, the questions of conscience formation and a range of issues highlighted by the bishops ahead of the 2012 Elections:
·A tab on USCCB’s page on Facebook called “Catholics Care. Catholics Vote.” This web portal aggregates all of these resources at


John 6: 44 - 51
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.' Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.
46 Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father.
47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
48 I am the bread of life.
49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."


St. Marcellinus
Feast: April 26

Feast Day: April 26
Born: Rome, Italy
Died: 25 October 304 at Rome, Italy
He succeeded St. Caius in the bishopric of Rome, in 296, about the time that Diocletian set himself up for a deity and impiously claimed divine honours. Theodoret says that in those stormy times of persecution Marcellinus acquired great glory. He sat in St. Peter's chair eight years, three months, and twenty-five days, dying in 304, a year after the cruel persecution broke out, in which he gained much honour. He has been styled a martyr, though his blood was not shed in the cause of religion, as appears from the Liberian Calendar, which places him among those popes that were not put to death for the faith.
It is a fundamental maxim of the Christian morality, and a truth which Christ has established in the clearest terms and in innumerable passages of the gospel, that the cross, or sufferings and mortifications, are the road to eternal bliss. They, therefore, who lead not here a crucified and mortified life are unworthy ever to possess the unspeakable joys of his kingdom. Our Lord himself, our model and our head, walked in this path, and his great apostle puts us in mind that he entered into bliss only by his blood and by the cross. Nevertheless, this is a truth which the world can never understand, how clearly soever it be preached by Christ and recommended by his powerful example and that of his martyrs and of all the saints. Christians still pretend, by the joys and pleasures of this world, to attain to the bliss of heaven, and shudder at the very mention of mortification, penance, or sufferings. So prevalent is this fatal error, which self-love and the example and false maxims of the world strongly fortify in the minds of many, that those who have given themselves to God with the greatest fervour are bound always to stand upon their guard against it, and daily to renew their fervour in the love and practice of penance, and to arm themselves with patience against sufferings, lest the weight of the corruption of our nature, the pleasures of sense, and flattering blandishments of the world, draw them aside and make them leave the path of mortification, or lose courage under its labours, and under the afflictions with which God is pleased to purify them and afford them means of sanctifying themselves.


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