Friday, May 4, 2012


Vatican City, 4 May 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received five new non resident ambassadors to the Holy See: Teshome Toga Chanaka of Ethiopia, David Cooney of Ireland, Naivakarurubalavu Solo Mara of the Republic of Fiji, Viguen Tchitetchian of Armenia and Dato' Ho May Young, the first ambassador of Malaysia to the Holy See. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
Excerpts from the Holy Father's French-language address to the diplomats is given below:
"The development of the communications media has, in some way, made our planet smaller. ... Awareness of the great suffering caused throughout the world by both material and spiritual poverty calls people to mobilise in order to face, in justice and solidarity, all threats to human beings, society and the environment".
"Exodus to the great cities, armed conflict, hunger and pandemics, which affect so many people, give rise to new forms of poverty in our time. The global economic crisis has caused an increasing number of families to live in precarious conditions. When the manufacture and increase of needs leads us to believe in the possibility of unlimited enjoyment and consumption, the lack of the means necessary to achieve these ends leads to frustration. ... When poverty coexists with enormous wealth, a sense of injustice arises which can become a source of rebellion. Therefore it is necessary for States to ensure that legislation does not increase social inequality and that people can live dignified lives".
"The development to which all nations aspire must involve human beings in their entirety, not just economic factors. ... Experiences such as micro-credit, and initiatives to create cooperative associations show that it is possible to harmonise economic objectives with social necessities, democratic government and respect for nature. It is also advisable to encourage manual work and to promote an agriculture which works in favour of local people, viewing these activities with the respect they deserve".
"In order to strengthen the human factor of social and political life, attention must given to another kind of poverty: the loss of reference to spiritual values and to God. This defect make it more difficult to distinguish good from evil, and to overcome personal interests in favour of the common good. States have a duty to promote their cultural and religious heritage, which contributes to the development of a nation, and to facilitate people's access thereto, because by familiarising ourselves with our history each of us is able to discover the roots of our own existence".
Subsequently, “many young people in search of an ideal, turn to artificial paradises which destroy them. Addiction, consumerism and materialism, do not fill the heart of man made for infinity. For the greatest poverty is the lack of love”.

Pope Benedict said: “In distress, compassion and selfless listening are a great comfort. Even without great material resources, it is possible to be happy. Living simply in harmony with what we believe, should remain a possibility

"Religion helps us to recognise others as brothers and sisters in humanity. Giving everyone the opportunity to know God, in complete freedom, is to help them forge a strong personality which will enable them to bear witness to good, and put it into effect even at great cost. In this way we will build a society in which sobriety and fraternity triumph over misery, indifference and selfishness, over exploitation and waste and, above all, over exclusion".
Vatican City, 4 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Ten prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Michael Jarboe Sheehan of Santa Fe.
- Bishop James S. Wall of Gallup.
- Bishop Ricardo Ramirez C.S.B. of Las Cruces
- Bishop Thomas James Olmsted of Phoenix, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares.
- Bishop Gerald Frederick Kicanas of Tucson.
- Bishop James Douglas Conley, apostolic administrator of Denver.
- Bishop Paul D. Etienne of Cheyenne.
- Bishop Michael John Sheridan of Colorado Springs.
- Bishop Fernando Isern of Pueblo.
- Bishop Luigi Negri of San Marino-Montefeltro.
Vatican City, 4 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. James Romen Boiragi, vicar general and currently diocesan administrator of Khulna, Bangladesh, as bishop of the same diocese (area 28,236, population 15,343,767, Catholics 33,296, priests 45, religious 104). The bishop-elect was born in Holdibunia, Bangladesh in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1985. He studied in Bangladesh and in Rome and has served as pastor of the cathedral of Khulna and as vice judicial vicar of the diocesan tribunal


A new promotion video for the priesthood has been produced by Star Media Pro. This now popular youtube clip released a few weeks ago has gained thousands of views in a short time. Release: In times of joy and happiness, sadness and sickness, the Catholic Church has always been a foundation of support for the world. One of the pillars of the Church is the Priesthood. For 2000 years they have stood by the side of millions, guiding, protecting, administering, and leading them to Christ.


Mgr Giuseppe Nazaro provides background details to the army assault against the university, which left four people dead. For months, foreign militants have been trying to influence students at Alep university in order to bring violence to the city; the only one spared so far from the fight between rebels and the regime. In his view, the media are manipulated.

Alep (AsiaNews) - "Alep University is full of Libyan and Turkish infiltrators who have been trying to sway young Syrians to their cause. These people are armed and they provoked the army, which responded with force," said Mgr Giuseppe Nazaro, apostolic vicar in Alep, who spoke to AsiaNews about the assault by security forces against the university residences that claimed the lives of four students.

The Franciscan prelate lives only 150 metres from the university and saw Wednesday's assault with his own eyes after more than 1,500 students demonstrated against the regime. According to eyewitness accounts, soldiers chased the students into the university residences and arrested more than 200 people. To avoid further incidents, the authorities shut down the university until the end of the academic year.

"Alep is the only city that did not rise against Assad," the bishop said. "There have been some demonstrations in the past few months, but people do not want violence."

"Islamic militants have tried to push young people to engage in inconsiderate and dangerous behaviour in order to create a climate of violence and chaos in our city. This threatens everyone," Mgr Nazaro explained.

Since the clashes two days ago, Alep has lived in an atmosphere of tension and violence.

More than 40,000 students from around the country attend the city's university. Many of them cannot go home because of the war.

Convents and parish churches have opened their doors to hundreds of them. "Our residence has given shelter to 20 women, both Christian and Muslim, who fled the university residences after the army's raid. They joined another 40 female students who live in our dormitory."

Sadly, the situation is getting out of hand, according to the apostolic vicar. Turkey, Libya and other Muslim countries are sending militants and weapons to sustain the war against Assad. This has created an impossible situation for a ceasefire and reconciliation.

"Ordinary people are paying the price. Sooner or later, they will not be able to stand this climate of violence and the economic crisis," the prelate added.

Most reports on Western media are false or fabricated, he contends. "Newspapers and news agencies rely only on reports from al Jazeera and other Arab media funded by Qatar and Saudi Arabia who are the main backers of Syrian rebels. Their only interest is to create chaos until the Assad regime falls."

After a year of fighting, the death toll from the war between the Syrian regime and the Free Syrian Army now stands at 9,000 with tens of thousands of people displaced, UN sources report.

Instead, Syrian authorities say that 3,838 people are dead as a result of the violence, 2,493 civilians and 1,345 soldiers and security forces personnel.

Meanwhile, the UN observer mission in Syria continues its work after a ceasefire between the regime and the rebels came into effect on 12 April.

Yesterday, as violence continues across the country despite the truce, Gen Mood Robert, head of the UN mission, called on Syrian forces to be the first to cease their fire.

Still, the presence of observers is having a positive effect, this according to Neeraj Singh, UN mission spokesman in Damascus. The government, he said, is in fact giving the 50 UN monitors a certain leeway to move around.


Live TV Mass marks final preparations for 50th International Eucharistic Congress | 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 (IEC2012)Papal Nuncio, the Most Rev Charles Brown.RTE1,Palestrina Choir,Blánaid Murphy
The final month of preparation for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 (IEC2012) is being marked with a special Mass celebrated by the Papal Nuncio, the Most Rev Charles Brown. IEC2012 staff members and volunteers will gather in RTE for the Mass to be broadcast on RTE1 at noon on Sunday 6 May. Music will be provided by the Palestrina Choir under the directorship of Blánaid Murphy.

Speaking in advance of the televised Mass to mark IEC2012 preparations, Fr Kevin Doran, Secretary General of IEC2012 said: “Those who are sick or frail due to old age have an important place in the life of the Church and we are delighted that, through this celebration of Mass, they can be drawn into the final stage of preparations for the Congress.”

Meanwhile this weekend, the final National Collection to raise funds for this year’s 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC2012) will be held in parishes across Ireland on 5 & 6 May 2012.

This annual collection is the final in a series of four which form a key part of fundraising for the Congress. Parishioners responded very generously to collections in 2009, 2010 and 2011 on the Feast of Corpus Christi raising a total of €3 million to date.

Due to the difficult economic climate and a desire not to compete with funding for education or healthcare, IEC2012 has specifically not sought any of the kind of public funding that would normally be made available to a large international event such as the Congress, which will be attended by around 20,000 people daily in the RDS from 10-16 June and will have an audience of up to 80,000 people in Croke Park on 17 June.
Funds generated from the National Collections will form part of the overall budget of €11.5 million for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress.

Events such as the Congress must adhere to stringent health and safety requirements involving careful preparation and infrastructure. The money raised will go towards logistical expenses including: hiring and fitting out the two venues; RDS and Croke Park, provision of essential requirements for the liturgy, the communication of the Congress on website and broadcast media, the preparation of signage for venues all around Dublin and all the other preparatory work that will enable us to welcome pilgrims in comfort and safety.

The funds will also support the volunteer programme which is helping to make the Congress run smoothly by providing it with meals and uniforms for almost two thousand volunteers working as part of the organisation team.

Previous Congresses have been funded by a variety of measures including private contributions, sponsorship, fundraising and delegate fees. This Congress is following a similar approach. The Congress, though hosted in Dublin, is a pastoral initiative of the whole Irish Church.

Speaking about the fourth National Collection and its significance to the Congress, Fr Kevin Doran, Secretary General of IEC2012 said: “We are conscious that in the circumstances of the times that the Congress should not be ostentatious. We are committed to making it a worthy celebration of faith. The celebration of the Eucharist will be at the heart of IEC2012, but the Congress will also include a comprehensive programme of educational and cultural activities.

For more information see:

Source: IEC2012


Agenzia Fides report - At least 34 people died caused by a bomb in a cattle market which took place yesterday afternoon, May 2, in Potiskum, in the north-east of Nigeria. According to agency sources, the toll of the attack is set to worsen and the victims might be fifty. The information is still sparse. the victims were killed during an assault committed by a criminal gang who opened fire and launched explosive devices onto the crowd.
At present, the prevailing hypothesis is that this was a particularly heinous act of banditry. But one cannot yet completely rule out the possibility that the assault was committed by members of the Boko Haram sect, who recently committed attacks against several targets, including places of Christian worship.
If the involvement of Boko Haram were confirmed in this attack, it would sound like a prophetic warning, are the words by Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria released just days ago, complaining of the inefficiency of the security forces, he said: "one must ask where will the next attack be. In an airport? In an open market or in another crowded place?" ( See Fides 04/30/2012).
Archbishop Kaigama also reiterated that "the Church, especially the Catholic, is a goal." The alarm was raised by the President of the Association of Christians in Nigeria (CAN) Ayo Oritsejafor, who asked the authorities to stop terrorism against Christians, even to prevent reprisals. Ayo Oritsejafor appealed to all Nigerians to remain calm and not to follow the path of violence. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 03/05/2012)



Sunday 29 April 2012
IntoAfrica Kairos Catholic Journal, Volume 23, issue 7
Despite having made two previous visits to Tanzania and Kenya, Terry O'Shannassy says his recent immersion trip accompanying 10 young adults was the experience of a lifetime.
Kairos Catholic Journal, Volume 23, issue 7

FOLLOWING in the footsteps of Melbourne Christian Brothers who went to Tanzania and Kenya in the late 1980s to contribute to the education of impoverished local youth, our group of five young men and five young women enthusiastically embraced the people of Nairobi and Arusha and their culture during our four-week immersion in January this year.

IntoAfricaThis was not difficult, given the warmth of the welcome that we received from the African Edmund Rice leaders, and the common spirit that we share. The immense power of a shared spiritual reality was refreshing and in total contrast to the seemingly nihilist approach to faith evident in much of today's media, and portrayed as typical of young people in the West.

While our group seemed unremarkable and like any other group of young people externally, what happened internally accounted for a remarkable difference, and it will take a lot of reflection, unpacking and sharing before any of us can articulate our individual story.

IntoAfricaHistorically, nothing of what we did was unusual. For two millennia, women and men have been moved by the life of Jesus and the Gospel values he articulated to journey great distances on pilgrimages. But our experience must be viewed through the lens of the 2012 political and economic situation in Kenya and Tanzania and the extreme poverty and deprivation in those places.

The immersion was entitled Tutembee Pamoja, literally translated as 'We Walk Together', and our group had spent many months of saving and preparation. A heady mix of emotions—excitement for the young, apprehension for the elders, and uncertainty for both—surrounded the departing travellers as we gathered at Melbourne Airport on 2 January. Bystanders could be forgiven for puzzlement at our choice of destination. The saying 'for those who do have faith, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not, no explanation is possible', probably encapsulated the general feeling. Why would 10 relatively privileged young Australians choose to sacrifice their Christmas holidays and their savings to immerse themselves in the poorest parts of troubled Africa?

IntoAfricaOur group comprised 13 in all, 10 participants from Melbourne and Launceston, two young organisers and myself. A parallel group of 14 from Perth met us in Africa.

One aim of the immersion was, as the title suggests, to walk with and stand beside our Edmund Rice brothers and sisters in Nairobi and Arusha and to try to see life through their eyes. This program was initiated by young Edmund Rice leaders a few years ago to channel some of the hunger for justice generated from camps for disadvantaged children and to provide a spiritually nourishing personal cross-culture experience. It is certainly the most cutting-edge ministry that the Christian Brothers are leading, and one that has captured the support of Australian schools and old boys' organisations.

We arrived in Nairobi on 3 January, still bubbling after 20 hours travel. The next morning we were welcomed by the local Edmund Rice leaders in an energetic and memorable way. The shared spirit admitted to no barriers and very quickly new bonds were struck. The locals had committed to act as guides and mentors for the four weeks of our visit, and a detailed program had been arranged. We began with a couple of visits to local ministries, before the major immersion experience in the Kibera slum.

While the word Kibera rolls off the tongue easily, the reality is very daunting. The area straddles a grossly polluted river moving through a steep valley, and from the top all that the eye can take in is a sea of rusty iron sheds crammed together, with narrow walkways leading down. Australian farmers would be reluctant to house cattle in the decrepit buildings, and the stench from the river is dreadful. Running water is limited to a few taps to which children walk with plastic drums to be filled, and there is no rubbish disposal system.

First impressions of our surroundings were dismal, but fortunately they were only one part of the picture. The hesitant smiles of the local children soon gave way to shrieking and laughter as they swarmed over the visitors and all sorts of games were hastily organised in the dusty primary school yards.

Some schools are relatively small and have very limited space, apart from being of similar construction to the shanties with dirt floors and no glass in the windows. But for all the manifold disadvantages, the hunger for learning and respect for knowledge was astounding. The leaders were invited into classrooms and given the opportunity to work with the students, who were attentive and keen to answer questions. Kibera was both a confronting and very satisfying experience.


The missionary effort pioneered by the Melbourne Christian Brothers and now shared by the wider Edmund Rice Network, enjoys the wholehearted support of a wide coalition of groups and individuals. New facilities are being built and a new generation of African brothers are being trained. The Christian Brothers Foundation for Charitable Works forwarded $1.2 million in 2011, $180,000 of which was raised by the ‘500 Club’, an old collegians group inspired by long-time supporter Noel O’Brien.

Individual Edmund Rice schools make significant contributions from student fundraising efforts. The Cotton On Foundation in Geelong has also been heavily involved in supporting similar work in Africa, working through the Belmont parish. These three organisations would all welcome your support and donations, and there are other ways to assist.

A particular need exists within the Ruben Centre in Nairobi for volunteer help in their medical clinic. On the edge of the Mukuru slum, the free clinic sees 50,000 episodes a year, recently inoculating 12,000 babies and young children over four days.

An extraordinary range of volunteers from all over the world spends time there, particularly providing instruction to local workers in the use of modern medical technology. Medical professionals from Australia are able to access a recently completed, secure three-bedroom unit.

Further details: Terry O’Shannassy, Coordinator of the Edmund Rice Network, 9287 5570.

Photos provided by Terry O'Shannassy


John 14: 1 - 6
1 "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
3 And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
4 And you know the way where I am going."
5 Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?"
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.


St. Godehard of Hildesheim
Feast: May 4

Feast Day: May 4
Born: 960, Reichersdorf, Bavaria
Died: May 4, 1038
Canonized: 1131, Rheims by Innocent II
Patron of: ravelling merchants; invoked against fever, dropsy, childhood sicknesses, hailstones, the pain of childbirth, and gout; invoked by those in peril of the sea
He was a native of Bavaria, and abbot of Altaich, in that country, and reformed likewise the abbeys of Hersfeld, in Hesse, of Tergensee, in the diocese of Frisinguen, and of Chremsmunster, in that of Passaw. In 1021, the episcopal chair of Hildesheim falling vacant by the death of St. Bernward, St. Godard was compelled by St. Henry to take upon him that pastoral charge. The relief of the poor, both spiritual and temporal, was everywhere the first object of his attention. He died on the 4th of May, 1038, and was canonized by Innocent II in 1131. Many places in Germany acknowledge him patron, and several bear his name. See his life by Wolfhert, his disciple, in Henschenius, p. 501, and in Mabillon: and more at large, with long histories of miracles, among the writers of the history of the most illustrious house of Brunswick-Hanover, t. 2, p. 483. Several very devout epistles of St. Godard, or Godehard, are given us by Dom. Pez, in his Codex Diplomatico-Historico-Epistolaris, p. 133, & c.


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