Monday, May 7, 2012






Vatican City, 7 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience new Swiss Guard recruits who yesterday took the oath at their swearing-in ceremony.
After greeting the recruits and their families, as well as representatives of the Swiss authorities accompanying the group, Benedict XVI dwelt on the fact that the Swiss Guards undertake "a direct service to the Supreme Pontiff and the Apostolic See. It is heartening to see that young men choose to consecrate a number of years of their lives to helping Peter's Successor and his collaborators", he said. (RADIO VATICANA REPORT)
"Your work", he told the recruits, "is part of a tradition of unquestioned fidelity to the Pope, which became heroic sacrifice during the 'Sack of Rome' in 1527 when, on 6 May, your predecessors lost their lives. The special service of the Swiss Guards could not then, and cannot now be carried out without the characteristics which distinguish each member of the corps: firm Catholic faith; faithfulness and love for the Church of Jesus Christ; diligence and perseverance in everyday tasks, the great and the small; courage and humility; altruism and willingness. Your hearts must be replete with these virtues when you discharge your service of honour and security in the Vatican.
"Help and support one other in your daily work", the Pope added. "Maintain an approach of evangelical charity towards the people you meet every day. In Sacred Scripture the call to love others is linked to the commandment to love God with all our heart, all our soul and all our strength. In order to give love to others we must draw it from the furnace of divine charity, through long periods of prayer, constant listening to the word of God and a life focused on the mystery of the Eucharist".
The Holy Father went on: "The secret of being effective, in your work here in the Vatican and in any other projects you have, is constant reference to Christ. This was the experience of many of your predecessors, who were outstanding not only in their work but also in their commitment to Christian life. Some of them were called follow the Lord in the priesthood or consecrated life, and responded readily and enthusiastically; others fulfilled their vocation to marriage through the Sacrament of Matrimony. I thank God, the source of all goodness, for the various gifts and missions He gives you, and I pray that you too, as you begin your service, may respond to the call of Christ, following Him with faithful generosity.
"Dear friends", the Pope added in conclusion, "take advantage of the time you spend in Rome to develop your friendship with Christ, to increase your love for His Church and to advance towards the goal of each true Christian life: sanctity".

Vatican City, 6 May 2012 (VIS) - Today, the fifth Sunday of Easter, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's Square, to pray the Regina Coeli with faithful gathered below.
Commenting on today's Gospel in which Jesus tells His disciples "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower", the Holy Father explained that "the true vineyard is God and the true vine is Jesus, Who with His sacrifice of love gave us salvation and opened the way for us to become part of that vineyard. And just as Christ abides in the love of God the Father, so the disciples, pruned by the Master's word, united themselves profoundly to Him, becoming fruitful branches which produced abundant fruit".
"The day of our Baptism, the Church grafts us as branches onto Jesus' Paschal Mystery, onto His very Person. From that root we receive the precious lymph that enables us to participate in divine life. As disciples we too, with the help of the pastors of the Church, grow in the Lord's vineyard bound together by His love. ... It is important to remain united to Jesus, to depend upon Him, because without Him we can do nothing".
The Holy Father went on to explain this latter concept by quoting a question put to the fifth-century monk John the Prophet who lived in the desert of Gaza: "How is it possible to reconcile man's freedom with the fact that we can do nothing without God?" The hermit’s response was: "If man inclines his heart to goodness and asks help of God, he receives the strength necessary to achieve his task. Therefore, man's freedom and God's power go hand in hand. This is possible because goodness comes from God but it is realised thanks to His faithful".
"Each of us", Pope Benedict continued, "is like a branch which lives only if it grows every day through prayer and participation in the Sacraments, through charity and union with the Lord. Those who love Christ, the true vine, produce fruits of faith for an abundant spiritual harvest".
Following the Regina Coeli, the Pope reminded those present of his forthcoming trip to Milan, Italy, in early June for the Seventh World Meeting of Families. Addressing Spanish-speaking pilgrims he also recalled the fact that today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the canonisation of St. Martin de Porres "whom we ask to intervene in favour of the new evangelisation, that sanctity may blossom in the Church".
Finally, the Holy Father addressed twenty-six new recruits of the Swiss Guard who took their oath today. "I greet the new Swiss Guards and their families, on the feast day of that historic corps", he said.
The oath of new recruits to the Swiss Guards takes place every year on 6 May, usually in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace but this year, due to rain, in the Vatican's Sala Nervi. The ceremony commemorates the 147 members of the corps who lost their lives protecting Pope Clement VII from the onslaught of the troops of Emperor Charles V during the Sack of Rome on 6 May 1527.

Vatican City, 5 May 2012 (VIS) - The question of religious education and the formation in the faith of the next generation of Catholics in the United States was the theme of the Holy Father's remarks to prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Regions X-XIII), who have just completed their five-yearly "ad limina" visit:
Speaking to the group in English, the Pope began by acknowledging "the great progress that has been made in recent years in improving catechesis, reviewing texts and bringing them into conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church". He also praised efforts underway "to preserve the great patrimony of America’s Catholic elementary and high schools, which have been deeply affected by changing demographics and increased costs, while at the same time ensuring that the education they provide remains within the reach of all families, whatever their financial status".
"On the level of higher education, many of you have pointed to a growing recognition on the part of Catholic colleges and universities of the need to reaffirm their distinctive identity in fidelity to their founding ideals and the Church’s mission in service of the Gospel. Yet much remains to be done, especially in such basic areas as compliance with the mandate laid down in Canon 812 for those who teach theological disciplines. The importance of this canonical norm as a tangible expression of ecclesial communion and solidarity in the Church’s educational apostolate becomes all the more evident when we consider the confusion created by instances of apparent dissidence between some representatives of Catholic institutions and the Church’s pastoral leadership: such discord harms the Church’s witness and, as experience has shown, can easily be exploited to compromise her authority and her freedom.
"It is no exaggeration", the Pope added, "to say that providing young people with a sound education in the faith represents the most urgent internal challenge facing the Catholic community in your country".
"First, as we know, the essential task of authentic education ... is not simply that of passing on knowledge, essential as this is, but also of shaping hearts. There is a constant need to balance intellectual rigour in communicating ... the richness of the Church’s faith with forming the young in the love of God, the praxis of the Christian moral and sacramental life and, not least, the cultivation of personal and liturgical prayer".
The Holy Father went on to explain that "the question of Catholic identity, not least at the university level, entails much more than the teaching of religion or the mere presence of a chaplaincy on campus. All too often, it seems, Catholic schools and colleges have failed to challenge students to reappropriate their faith as part of the exciting intellectual discoveries which mark the experience of higher education. The fact that so many new students find themselves dissociated from the family, school and community support systems that previously facilitated the transmission of the faith should continually spur Catholic institutions of learning to create new and effective networks of support.
"In every aspect of their education, students need to be encouraged to articulate a vision of the harmony of faith and reason capable of guiding a life-long pursuit of knowledge and virtue. ... In effect, faith by its very nature demands a constant and all-embracing conversion to the fullness of truth revealed in Christ. ... The Christian commitment to learning, which gave birth to the medieval universities, was based upon this conviction that the one God, as the source of all truth and goodness, is likewise the source of the intellect’s passionate desire to know and the will’s yearning for fulfilment in love.
"Only in this light can we appreciate the distinctive contribution of Catholic education, which engages in a “diakonia of truth” inspired by an intellectual charity which knows that leading others to the truth is ultimately an act of love. Faith’s recognition of the essential unity of all knowledge provides a bulwark against the alienation and fragmentation which occurs when the use of reason is detached from the pursuit of truth and virtue; in this sense, Catholic institutions have a specific role to play in helping to overcome the crisis of universities today".

Vatican City, 5 May 2012 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received in audience Bamir Topi, president of the Republic of Albania. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
A communique released by the Holy See Press Office states that, "during their cordial discussions the parties highlighted the good relations that exist between the Holy See and the Republic of Albania, and turned their attention to questions of mutual interest regarding relations between the ecclesial and civil communities, including inter-religious dialogue and the Church's contribution in the fields of education and social care. Consideration was also given to Albania's journey towards full integration into the European Union. Finally, the parties exchanged opinions on the current international and regional situation, with particular focus on the economic crisis".

Vatican City, 5 May 2012 (VIS) - Made public today was the letter by which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna, Austria, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the 450th anniversary of the formal renewal of the archbishopric of Prague, due to take place on 12 May.
In the text, written in Latin and dated 30 March, the Pope mentions the long centuries of Church activity in that region of Europe, evangelised by the brothers Cyril and Methodius and homeland to Blessed Ludmilla and St. Wenceslaus.
The cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Fr. Benedikt Mohelnik O.P., provincial of the Dominican Province of Bohemia, and by Fr. Vojtech Novak, pastor and dean of Rakovnik, and director of the Pontifical Missionary Works for the archdiocese of Prague.
Vatican City, 7 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Eight prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Wilton Daniel Gregory of Atlanta, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama.
- Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone of Charleston, accompanied by Bishop emeritus David Bernard Thompson.
- Bishop Peter Joseph Jugis of Charlotte.
- Bishop Michael Francis Burbidge of Raleigh.
- Bishop Gregory John Hartmayer O.F.M. Conv. of Savannah, accompanied by Bishop emeritus John Kevin Boland.
- Ali Akbar Naseri, ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on his farewell visit.
On Saturday 5 May he received in audience:
- Archbishop Santo Gangemi, apostolic nuncio to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, accompanied by members of his family.
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
Vatican City, 7 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Ecatepec, Mexico, presented by Bishop Onesimo Cepeda Silva, upon having reached the age limit.
On Saturday 5 May it was made public that the Holy Father appointed Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun S.D.B., bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, China, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the centenary of the birth of Blessed Peter To Rot, catechist and martyr of Papua New Guinea, due to take place in Rabaul on 7 July.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the canonization of St. Martin de Porres, the Dominicans (OP), Order to which he belonged, have prepared a special program to celebrate this event with initiatives that will last until December. The note sent by the Episcopal Conference of Peru to Fides informs that the celebrations began on Saturday, May 5, when for the first time in history, the relics of St. Martin de Porres left the Convent of Santo Domingo to be brought to procession in the Cathedral of Lima. In the days following the relics will reach the main cities of Peru. On Sunday, May 6, a solemn Mass was held in the Cathedral of Lima, presided by Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, Archbishop of Lima. After Mass, a crowded procession was seen on the principal streets of Lima.
As part of the celebrations, on May 5 an iconographic exhibition on San Martin de Porres was opened at the Convent of the Holy Rosary. In addition, on May 11, the presentation of the book "Iconography of St. Martin de Porres" will take place in the same convent.
St. Martin de Porres (1579-1639) was canonized in Rome by Blessed Pope John XXIII, on May 6, 1962, called "Martin of Charity" and declared "Patron of Social Justice." The Dominicans have prepared a series of special events to be held until December 9, aiming to highlight the Christian life and religious, charity, justice and truth of the "Holy Moreno". St. Martin de Porres is well known in America as the "Saint of the Broom," he was the first black saint, as he was the illegitimate son of a Spanish aristocrat and a former black slave of African origin. The Holy Father Benedict XVI, after Marian prayer of the Regina Caeli yesterday, Sunday, May 6, said in Spanish: "Today we remember the fiftieth anniversary of the canonization of St. Martin de Porres, we ask him to intercede for the work of new evangelization, so holiness may flourish in the Church." (



Celebrating the Early Years of Marriage News Story
Photo: Jack Crombie.

By Karolyn Ellis, CatholicCare Social Services - Diocese of Parramatta Pre Marriage and Family Relationship Education Services Manager.
What a sight on Sunday 22 April to see so many families from around 20 Parishes enjoying the beautiful day and wonderful surroundings of the Mercy Congregation Centre, spending time together and celebrating the vocation of marriage.
The inaugural Celebrating the Early Years of Marriage event was organised by the Marriage and Family Relationship Education Services of CatholicCare Social Services - Diocese of Parramatta (CCSS), to promote and highlight the importance and value of marriage and to give parishioners of the Diocese an opportunity to show their support for marriage.

Maintaining a strong couple relationship

Celebrating the Early Years of Marriage News Story
Photo: Jack Crombie.
After receiving a huge amount of Parish and Diocesan support for CCSS's other annual September event, Celebrating the Journey (honouring the anniversaries of couples married for 25 years and beyond), we felt there was an opportunity to show support for those couples embarking on marriage and to validate the struggle and sometimes more difficult tasks of raising a family, as well as maintaining a strong couple relationship in the early years of marriage.

The Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, officiated at the Mass in St Patrick's Cathedral Parramatta and welcomed guests with a blessing before lunch as well as enjoying time meeting the attending families and couples who attended.
More than 56 couples and 90 children registered for the event, with 16 volunteers from CCSS Pre Marriage Education, Natural Fertility Planning Education, CCSS staff and seven members of the Christ the King North Rocks Parish Youth Group who all willingly gave their time to prepare the lunch venue, entertain the children and welcome families to the event.

A secure cradle for raising children

Celebrating the Early Years of Marriage News Story
Photo: Jack Crombie.
Feedback from those couples attending was very positive towards showing support for marriage and this event. Couples said they looked forward to attending these events to celebrate their significant wedding anniversaries (1st, 5th, 10th, 15th and 20th), and of the value of bringing their children to St Patrick’s Cathedral as a first time experience.

Supporting couples in their marriage is very important to CCSS. Research has shown the benefit and importance of a strong and committed couple relationship as a secure cradle for raising children.
CCSS would welcome any feedback or suggestions about this event or other event ideas in support of families and marriage.
Please contact Karolyn Ellis. Ph: 02 9933 0222.

Go to Celebrating the Early Years of Marriage Photo Gallery
Download Bishop Anthony's Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, with Blessing of Newly Married Couples Download Bishop Anthony's Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, with Blessing of Newly Married Couples
Listen to this Homily at Bishop Anthony's iTunes Podcasts
Visit CCSS


The newly elected French President, Francois Hollande, has received a warm welcome from the upper echelons of the Church. French bishops have urged him to work towards national unity, emphasising the “political errors” that led to Sarkozy’s defeat, reports Vatican Insider.
On the evening of his swearing-in ceremony, Valerie Trierweiler - who has been Hollande’s partner since 2005 - hinted at the new President’s relationship with the Catholic Church, in an interview with France Press news agency.
“Will the fact that you are not married pose diplomatic problems? I don’t think it is a problem, though it could be if we were to pay a visit to the Pope.”
In the meantime, congratulatory greetings are being mixed with subtle warnings from the French and European Episcopate. “I would like to say to the President of the Republic: you are going to need everyone. I hope the President will really work towards unity,” Mgr Bernard Podvin, spokesman for the French Episcopal Conference stated.
In terms of the positions expressed by President Hollande with regards to same-sex unions and euthanasia, Mgr Podvin pointed out that: “These issues need to be discussed and the Catholic Church has never kept quiet about what it thinks in relation to certain stances taken by the man who has now become the President of the Republic.
"Said stances need to be discussed in greater depth.”


Posted by on Saturday, May 5, 2012 · Leave a Comment
NAIROBI, May 4, 2012 (CISA) –Catholic Bishops of Kenya are deeply concerned by secession calls that have gained momentum along the country’s Coast Province.
During a press conference at the Resurrection Garden in Karen, Nairobi on May 3, the bishops said in their statement, “We call on the government to find out what causes groups of Kenyans to give up on this beautiful country. In the same vein, we condemn attempts by politicians to prey on vulnerable youth for their own selfish ends.”
A group calling itself Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) has been demanding for secession of the coastal region from mainland Kenya, claiming that successive governments have marginalized the area. The Kenyan government has reacted by outlawing the group and arresting its members.
Meanwhile, a Muslim cleric has described the secession calls as a product of frustrations facing people living along the Kenyan Indian Ocean coast.
Sheikh Ahmed Set, currently the coordinator of Inter-Religious Council in Isiolo told CISA in an interview on May 4, 2012 that poverty, unemployment and landlessness are some of grievances that are triggering secession calls along the Kenyan coast.
Sheikh Set said, “It is just out of frustrations and inequality of resources that is propelling these demands. The coastal people feel reduced to servants of other people.”
He called on the government to set up a special committee to look into these grievances.
“I feel that the biggest question is land. Powerful people have grabbed most of the prime land to develop into tourism hubs and the indigenous people are living as squatters in their own land,” said the Sheikh.
The Muslim cleric however faulted the secession calls saying, “It is not in order for the coastal people to call for separation because historically Pwani is part of Kenya.”


The opposition has boycotted the vote in various cities because of the climate of violence. Eleven parties are running against pro-Assad coalition. Syrian bishops urge voters to cast their ballot to build a democratic Syria.

Damascus (AsiaNews/ Agencies) - Syrian held the first democratic election of its history, after almost 50 years of Baa'th party hegemony under the Assad family. Election officials said nearly 15 million of Syria's roughly 23 million people are eligible to vote for the 250-member National Assembly. However, the turnout could be low because of the opposition boycott.

Rebels fighting the regime call the vote a "farce" because of the ongoing violence, and accuse the regime of violating the UN-sanctioned ceasefire.

In the southern town of Dael, residents stopped anyone from putting up election posters and instead put up photos of the 20 local residents killed in the uprising. Similar actions were taken in other cities and villages.

Despite rebel criticism, Catholics believe that the elections are a sign of the regime's promised openness after a year of civil war that claimed 11,000 lives.

On 25 April, the Assembly of Syrian Bishops and Patriarchs issued a message urging the population to vote.

"The state has called for dialogue," the statement said. "We urge all national parties, at home and abroad, to build a democratic and multiparty Syria. We also encourage everyone to participate fully in free and fair elections to the National Assembly and express the popular will."

The election stems from democratic proposals that began with the constitutional referendum of 26 February, which marked the end of the one-party state in favour of multiparty democracy.

This enabled pro-democracy leaders to create 11 parties. The latter have presented more than 7,000 candidates who can for the first time challenge pro-Assad candidates running in a grand coalition called the National Progressive Front.'th-party-hegemony-24681.html


John 14: 21 - 26
21 He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?"
23 Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
24 He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.
25 "These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you.
26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.


St. John of Beverley
Feast: May 7

Feast Day: May 7
Born: Harpham
Died: 7 May 721, Beverley
Canonized: 1037
This illustrious saint was born at Harpham, a village in the province of the Deiri, which comprised Yorkshire, Lancashire, and the rest of the kingdom of the Northumbers, on the south side of the Tyne; what lay beyond it being called Bernicia.
An earnest desire of qualifying himself for the service of God drew him young into Kent, where he made great progress in learning and piety, in the famous school of St. Theodorus, the archbishop, under the direction of the holy abbot Adrian.
Afterwards returning into his own country, he pursued the exercises of piety in the monastery of men under St. Hilda at Whithy; till in the beginning of the reign of king Alfred, upon the death of Eata, he was made bishop of Hagulstad, or Hexam. What time he had to spare from his functions he consecrated to heavenly contemplation; retiring for that purpose into the churchyard of St. Michael's, beyond the river Tyne, about a mile and a half from Hagulstad, especially during the forty days of Lent. He was accustomed to take with him some poor person, whom he served during that time.
Once in the beginning of a Lent, he took with him a dumb youth, who never had been able to utter one word, and whose head was covered with hideous scabs and scales, without any hair. The saint caused a mansion to be built for this sick youth within his enclosure, and often admitted him into his own cell. On the second Sunday he made the sign of the cross upon his tongue, and loosed it. Then. he taught him to say , which signifies in Saxon , or ; then the letters of the alphabet, A, B, C, and afterwards syllables and words. Thus the youth miraculously obtained his speech.
Moreover, by the saint's blessing the remedies prescribed by a physician whom he employed, his head was entirely healed, and became covered with hair. When St. Wilfred returned from banishment, St. John yielded up to him the see of Hagulstad: but some time after, upon the death of Bosa, a man of great sanctity and humility, as Bede testifies, he was placed in the archiepiscopal chair of York. Venerable Bede, who received the holy orders of deacon and priest at his hands, gives ample testimony to his sanctity; and relates the instantaneous cure of the sick wife of a neighboring thane or lord, by holy water, and several other miracles performed by him, from the testimony of Bercthun, abbot of Beverley, and Herebald, abbot of Tinmouth, who had been eye-witnesses to several of them. St. John made frequent retirement his delight, to renew thereby his spirit of devotion, lest the dissipation of exterior employs should extinguish it.
He chose for his retreat a monastery which he had built at Beverley, then a forest, now a market-town, twenty-seven miles from York. This monastery, according to the custom of those times, he erected for the use of both sexes, and put it under the government of his disciple, Bercthun, or Brithun, first abbot of Beverley, then called Endeirwood, or wood of the Deiri. In 717, being much broken with age and fatigues, he resigned his bishopric to his chaplain, St. Wilfrid the, younger, and having ordained him bishop of York, he retired to Beverley, where he spent the remaining four years of his life in the punctual performance of all monastic duties. He died there the death of the just, on the 7th of May, 721. His successor governed the see of York fifteen years, was a great lover of the beauty of God's house and is named among the saints, April the 29th. The monastery of Beverley having been destroyed by the Danes, king Athelstan, who had obtained a great victory over the Scots by the intercession of St. John, founded in his honor, in the same place, a rich collegiate church of canons.
King Henry V. attributed to the intercession of this saint the glorious victory of Agincourt, on which occasion a synod, in 1416, ordered his festival to be solemnly kept over all England. Henschenius the Bollandist, in the second tome of May, has published four books of the miracles wrought at the relics of Saint John of Beverley, written by eye-witnesses. His sacred bones were honorably translated into the church by Alfric, archbishop of York, in 1037: a feast in honor of which translation was kept at York on the 25th of October.
On the 13th of September, (not the 24th, as Mr. Stevens says,) in 1664, the sexton, digging a grave in the church of Beverley, discovered a vault of freestone, in which was a box of lead, containing several pieces of bones, with some dust, yielding a sweet smell; with inscriptions, by which it appeared that these were the mortal remains of St. John of Beverley, as we read in Dugdale's History of the Collegiate Church of Beverley, who has transcribed them, p. 57. These relics had been hid in the beginning of the reign of king Edward VI. Dugdale and Stevens testify, that they were all reinterred in the middle-alley of the same church.
Alcuin had an extraordinary devotion to St. John of Beverley, and in his poem on the saints of York, published by Thomas Gale gives a long history of the miracles wrought by him from verse 1085 to 1215. Rabanus Maurus has placed Alcuin in his Martyrology on the 19th of May, and Henschenius on that day gives his life, and mentions several private Martyrologies in which his name is found, though he has never been anywhere honored in the office of the church.


No comments: