Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Vatican City, 27 May 2012 (VIS) - After celebrating Mass this morning in the Vatican Basilica for the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Regina Coeli with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Before the Marian prayer the Pope announced that on 7 October, at the start of the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, he will proclaim St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen as Doctors of the Universal Church. "These two great witnesses of the faith lived in very different historical periods and cultural environments", he said. "Hildegard was a Benedictine nun during the height of the German Middle Ages, a true master of theology and a great scholar of the natural sciences and of music. John was a young diocesan priest of the Spanish Renaissance, who participated in the travails of the cultural and spiritual renewal of the Church and society at the dawn of the Modern Age".
The sanctity of their lives and the profundity of their doctrine mean that these two saints "retain all their importance. The grace of the Holy Spirit enabled them to experience profound understanding of divine revelation and intelligent dialogue with the world, two factors which represent the perennial goal of the life and activity of the Church".
St. John and St. Hildegard are particularly significant on the eve of the forthcoming Year of Faith, and in light of the new evangelisation to which the Synod of Bishops will be dedicating its attention. "Also in our own day, and through their teaching, the Spirit of the risen Lord continues to make His voice heard and to illuminate the path which leads to the Truth, which is the only thing that can make us free and give full meaning to our lives", the Pope said.
After praying the Regina Coeli he recalled that Mother Saint Louis (nee Marie-Louise Elisabeth de Lamoignon, widow of Mole de Champlatreux), foundress of the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis who lived between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, was today proclaimed a blessed in France. She was "an exemplary witness of love for God and for neighbour", the Holy Father said. He also recalled the fact that he is due to travel to Milan on Friday to participate in the seventh World Meeting of Families, and he asked the faithful to pray for the success of that event.

Vatican City, 28 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:
"This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Laura Chinchilla Miranda, president of Costa Rica. 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.
"During their cordial discussions the parties highlighted the good relations that exist between the Holy See, the local Church and the State, expressing the hope that they may be strengthened by an Agreement respectful of the identity of the country and of the healthy autonomy and collaboration between civil and ecclesiastical authorities. Mention was then made of the special contribution the Church makes through her educational, social and charitable institutions. Finally attention turned to the importance of continuing to protect the fundamental dignity of human beings, from the moment of conception".

Vatican City, 26 May 2012 (VIS) - "We must form people's consciences in the light of the Word of God, whence all plans of the Church and of men draw meaning and strength, also as regards the construction of the earthly city. We must renew the soul of our institutions and make history fertile with the seeds of new life". Benedict XVI pronounced these words this morning in St. Peter's Square where he received thousands of members of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit Association,which is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of its foundation in Italy.
The Pope expressed the view that "in modern society we are experiencing a situation which is in some ways precarious, characterised by insecurity and the fragmentary nature of decisions. Often there is a lack of points of reference from which to draw inspiration for our lives. It is, then, increasingly important to construct the edifice of life and social relationships on the stable rock of the Word of God".
Today, the Holy Father said, believers are called to show a "convincing, sincere and credible witness of faith, one closely united to charitable commitment, It is, in fact, through charity, that people far removed from and indifferent to the the message of the Gospel are able to approach the truth and to become converted to the merciful love of the heavenly Father".
Pope Benedict also dedicated his attention to the work of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit Association over recent decades. "Your apostolic efforts have contributed to the development of spiritual life in the Italian ecclesial and social fabric through paths of conversion which have helped many people to be profoundly healed by the love of God, and many families to overcome moments of crisis", he said. "Your groups have not been lacking in young people ready to respond generously to the vocation of special consecration to God in the priesthood and in the religious life". The Holy Father also underlined the movement’s support for people in situations of need and marginalisation, especially in the field of the spiritual and material rebirth of prisoners.
The Pope concluded by exhorting those present: "Never cease to look to heaven; the world has need of prayer. We need men and women who feel the draw of heaven in their lives, who make praising the Lord the basis of a new lifestyle. Be joyous Christians! I entrust you all to Mary Most Holy, who was present in the Upper Room at the moment of Pentecost".

Vatican City, 26 May 2012 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" today released a communique announcing that, "following the earthquake of recent days, which wrought destruction particularly in the territory of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions of Carpi, Mantua, Modena-Nonantola and Ferrara-Comacchio, the Holy Father, through the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum', has decided to send a special contribution of 100,000 euro, to be shared among the dioceses affected by the calamity, to aid the Catholic Church's assistance activities in favour of the victims. That sum is intended to be a concrete expression of the Supreme Pontiff's sentiments of spiritual closeness and paternal solicitude towards the people affected by the earthquake".

Vatican City, 27 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a message to His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, for the fiftieth anniversary of his consecration as bishop. In the letter, written in English, Benedict XVI recalls the patriarch’s visit to Rome in 1994 for the signing of a Common Declaration on Christology, his presence at the funeral of John Paul II, and his visit to Rome in 2007 during which the Pope had expressed his hope that they would continue their "common journey towards the re-establishment of full communion".
"I thank the Lord for the many blessings he has bestowed on the Assyrian Church of the East through your ministry, and I am grateful for your commitment to promoting constructive dialogue, fruitful cooperation and growing friendship between our Churches".
"I wish also to reiterate my solidarity with the Christian communities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, praying that effective forms of common witness to the Gospel and pastoral collaboration in the service of peace, reconciliation and unity may be deepened between the Catholic and Assyrian faithful".
The Holy Father concludes his letter by invoking the blessings of the Blessed Trinity upon the Patriarch.

Vatican City, 26 May 2012 (VIS) - Made public today was a letter, written in Latin and dated 17 April, in which the Holy Father appoints 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 June, sixth centenary of the establishment of the archiepiscopal and metropolitan see of Lviv of the Latins.

Vatican City, 26 May 2012 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. today made the following declaration concerning investigations taking place in the Vatican on the leaking of reserved documents.
"I can confirm that the individual arrested on Wednesday evening for illegal possession of reserved documents, which were found in his domicile located within Vatican territory, is Mr. Paolo Gabriele, who is still being held in detention.
"The first phase of the 'summary investigation' under the direction of Nicola Picardi, promoter of justice, has come to an end and given way to the phase of 'formal investigation', which is being conducted by Piero Antonio Bonnet, investigating magistrate.
"The accused has appointed two lawyers to represent him who are authorised to act before the Vatican Tribunal, and he has had the opportunity to meet with them. They will be able to help him in successive stages of the proceedings. He benefits from all the juridical guarantees laid down by the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure in force in Vatican City State.
"The investigatory phase will continue until an adequate picture of the situation being investigated has emerged, after which the investigating magistrate will either acquit the suspect or send him for trial".

Vatican City, 28 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Archbishop Paul Cremona O.P. of Malta, Malta, accompanied by Archbishop emeritus Joseph Mercieca, on their "ad limina" visit.
- Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo, Malta, on his "ad limina" visit.
- Bishop Ralph Heskett C.SS.R. of Gibraltar, Gibraltar, on his "ad limina" visit.
On Saturday 26 May he received in audience Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

Vatican City, 28 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Fr. Leopold Ouedraogo, vicar general of the archdiocese of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 9,600, population 2,337,000, Catholics 810,310, priests 188, religious 905). The bishop-elect was born in Ouagadougou in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1979. He has worked as a pastor and as professor then rector of the major seminary of "Saint Pierre et Paul".
- Fr. Elkin Fernando Alvarez Botero of the clergy of Sonson - Rionegro, Colombia, director of the Department for Hierarchical Ministries of the Colombian Episcopal Conference, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Medellin (area 687, population 3,456,000, Catholics 3,004,000, priests 1,027, permanent deacons 50, religious 3,664), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in El Retiro, Colombia in 1968 and ordained a priest in 1993. He studied in Colombia and in Rome and has worked in pastoral care, education and as a local collaborator of the apostolic nunciature to Colombia.
- Bishop Philippe Rukamba of Butare, Rwanda, as apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the diocese of Gikongoro, Rwanda.
On Saturday 26 May it was made public that the Holy Father
- Appointed Fr. Dieudonne Espoir Atangana of the clergy of Obala, Cameroon, former rector of the the major seminaries of "Notre Dame de l'Immaculee Conception" of Yaounde and "Notre Dame de l'Esperance" of Bertoua, as bishop of Nkongsamba (area 10,952, population 751,000, Catholics 350,000, priests 131, religious 74), Cameroon. The bishop-elect was born in Ngongo, Cameroon in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1986. He studied in Rome and has worked in the field of education in a number of seminaries. He is currently on a sabbatical year, during which he is serving in various parishes in the diocese of Obala.
- Erected the new diocese of Bafang (area 7,229, population 252,284, Catholics 131,475, priests 31, religious 11) Cameroon, with territory taken from the diocese of Nkongsamba, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Douala. He appointed Fr. Abraham Kome, apostolic administrator of Nkongsamba, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Loum-ville, Cameroon in 1969 and ordained a priest in 1999. Among other roles, he has worked as vicar of the diocesan cathedral, master of ceremonies and pastor of the parish of St. Francis Xavier in Kekem.
- Appointed Bishop Jurij Bizjak, auxiliary of Koper, Slovenia, as bishop of the same diocese (area 4,306, population 267,300, Catholics 194,800, priests 161, religious 91). He succeeds Bishop Metod Pirih, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.


Sunday 27 May 2012

We sometimes make an incredible mess of our lives. Wouldn’t it be good to be able to reboot – to erase all our mistakes – and to have the opportunity of a fresh start?

Download a PDF version of this Pentecost Letter

On the computer, making a new start can be as easy as pressing the ‘restart’ button. In our lives, it isn’t always so easy. Especially when we hurt those we love, or do something that seems to us to threaten our future happiness, we need the help of an expert who will stand with us and walk us through the steps to start again.

Jesus is the one who helps you “start afresh”. He loves you personally and uniquely. He gives you the grace – the free gift and the creative power – to make a new start. For you, he is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). He will show you the path through dark times, teach you the Truth about yourself and your place in the world, and help you fulfill the unique life God has planned for you.
At the start of this new Millennium, Blessed Pope John Paul II gave advice about how to begin afresh from Jesus. He wrote: “We shall not be saved by a formula but by a Person, and the assurance which he gives us: I am with you! (Matthew 28:20).” (Novo Millennio Ineunte)

Here then is the Good News: you are not on your own. Jesus is with you every step of the way. Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote: “There is a temptation which always besets every spiritual journey...: that of thinking that the results depend on our ability to act and to plan. ... it is fatal to forget that “without Christ we can do nothing” (cf. John 15:5).”
Jesus was born for you. Jesus died for you. Jesus lives for you. Do not despair over your past. Jesus told St Paul that “My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). This is what the Church means by “grace”. It doesn’t all depend on you! As you make a new start in Jesus, remind yourself that “it is all grace”.

Jesus said: “You must be born again” (John 3:7). When you were baptised, you were “reborn” in him. St Paul taught us: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Your baptism is a present reality. Because you are reborn in Jesus, your past mistakes have no power over you. Each day is a new day for you, an Easter Day, as you rise afresh from the tomb with Jesus. Each day is a new Pentecost, a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, in which God gives you the strength to step out in hope. As you start afresh from Jesus, live each day as God’s “new creation”!

When you need to start afresh in a human relationship, conversation and communication are needed. So too in your new life with God, prayer is the key, because prayer is conversation with God.
To develop a personal relationship with God in Jesus, you need to learn to pray. “Lord, teach us to pray!”, the disciples asked Jesus (Luke 11:1). So Jesus taught them to say: “Our Father who art in heaven”. Start with this prayer, and the other prayers you learned as children: Hail Mary, Glory be, Lord have mercy. From there you can progress to deeper prayer.
When you start to speak to God, God will speak to you. Conversation will grow, and your whole life will be filled with prayer. Give thanks to God, praise God, adore God, until you truly fall in love with God. At every moment of the day, turn afresh to God in prayer.


“Do not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25). The Sunday Eucharist is the place where we start each new week with Jesus.
Attending the Sunday Eucharist, wrote Blessed Pope John Paul II, “is a fundamental duty, to be fulfilled not just in order to observe a precept but as something felt as essential to a truly informed and consistent Christian life.”
Pope Benedict has said “We cannot live without Sunday.” Just as breakfast gives you the nourishment you need for each new day, so your hunger for a new start is satisfied in the sacred meal in which Jesus gives you his body and blood. Jesus invites you every Sunday to his table. The “true Bread from heaven” will nourish you for a new start.

But what if things have gone really wrong? When we willfully and knowingly act in a way that violates God’s plan for our lives, Jesus meets us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation to give us a new start. By confessing your sins to God’s priest with true sorrow, receiving absolution, and fulfilling your assigned penances, Jesus renews you in the grace of your Baptism and prepares you to receive him in Holy Communion.
Do not be afraid or ashamed to approach Jesus in this sacrament. In the Sacrament of Confession, God meets you face to face in Jesus. He shows us the compassionate heart of God and reconciles us fully with God. As often as we fall, Jesus helps us back up to make a fresh start.
Do you own a bible? Do you read it? The bible is a book written and put together by humans, but guided by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For thousands of years, people have found inspiration in the bible to help them make a new start in their lives.
You can make a new start by reading the Gospels. The Gospels are not history books – they are the place where you will meet Jesus face to face, just like the first disciples. The Gospels tell us that Jesus met his disciples where they were – at the fishing boats, at the tax collecting table – and said “Follow me”. As you read the Gospels, Jesus will meet you where you are and call you to start afresh with him.

Blessed Pope John Paul II called us to engage in a “new evangelisation” – a new proclamation of the Gospel in lands (like our own) where the Gospel was once proclaimed, but has now been forgotten by many. If you have made a fresh start with Jesus, are you prepared to show others the way to make this same fresh start in their lives?
The Good News is for sharing. Witness to God’s work in your life; show love by serving others; be a person of prayer and actively participate in the liturgy; talk about your faith with your friends and family. In all you do, help others to make a fresh start in Jesus.
Jesus has the power to change lives. His grace gives us hope. Like the disciples at the first Pentecost, join me and the whole Church in Australia as we commit ourselves in this Year of Grace to “start afresh from Christ”.

Download a PDF version of this Pentecost Letter


by Melani Manel Perera
Sri Lanka's Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, a Muslim, accuses Mgr Rayappu Joseph of stirring the Tamil community against Muslims in his region. People from across the country come together to demand an official apology. "No one defends our rights like the bishops," Muslims and Hindus say.

Mannar (AsiaNews) - More than 5,000 people, Christians, Muslims and Hindus, lay people, members of the clergy and Senior and junior Tamil politicians, gathered yesterday at the Cathedral of St Sebastian in Mannar to show their support and express their solidarity with Mgr Rayappu Joseph, bishop of Mannar (Northern Province), against the "vile comments" of the Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.

In a recent statement in parliament, the minister accused the bishop of stirring the Tamil population in his region against Muslims. He even compared the bishop to the Ven Innamaluwe Sumangala Nayak Thero, a Buddhist monk from the Golden Temple in Dambulla, who in late April backed a group of Buddhists who attacked a mosque.

With people coming from around Sri Lanka, rally participants stressed the "extraordinary courage" Mgr Joseph puts in everything he does. At the end of the meeting, people appealed to the minister to apologise to the prelate.

"The minister, a Muslim, should be condemned for his statement," said Makkal Caddar, a retired imam. "We appreciate what the bishop is doing for all the people of Mannar."

Similarly, for Sister Jacintha, a nun with the Sisters of Charity that represented the Trincomalee & Batticaloa Diocese, the minister's remarks "undermine harmony in the population."

"We admire what Mgr Joseph does," said Mano Iankaran Sharma, a Hindu. "His dedication is incredible. He works on behalf of each one of us, Tamil, Sinhalese, Catholics, Hindus or Muslims. I have never seen a Hindu priest do the same."



Text: Archbishop Fitzgerald at Missionaries of Africa Centenary Mass | Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald MAfr, Apostolic Nuncio in Egypt,Our Lady Queen of Apostles, Bishops Waltham,Missionaries of Africa,White Fathers, Bishop Crispian Hollis,Abbot Cuthbert Johnson,

Bishop Hollis with Archbishop Fitsgerald
Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald MAfr, Apostolic Nuncio in Egypt, gave the following homily at Our Lady Queen of Apostles, Bishops Waltham, in Hampshire, at a Mass of Thanksgiving for 100 years of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in Great Britain. The Mass, on the Vigil of Pentecost, marked the beginning of a weekend of celebrations. (More reports to come).

Bishop Crispian Hollis was the main celebrant and the Mass was attended by Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, Fr Paul Hannon, Superior of the Missionaries of Africa GB Sector, some 40 White Fathers, members of the 'Pelicans', (the association of old students from the seminary which was based on the site of the current church) and the parish community who organised two receptions.

The text follows:

My Lord Bishop, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is surely fitting that this first celebration of the centenary of the presence of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in Great Britain, should take place here in Bishops Waltham, The site of the first
foundation in this country. It is also fitting that it should take place at Pentecost which has always been recognised as a missionary feast, the birthday of the Church and the beginning of its spread throughout the whole world.

The coming of the White Fathers to Bishops Waltham a hundred years ago must be seen within the missionary context. Although there was a practical reason behind the foundation - the wish to escape from anti-clerical restrictions in vigour at that time in France - the aim remained: the training of young men to join the mission fields in Africa. The desire was strong to deliver the people of that continent from the slavery pf sin, and indeed from slavery tout court,so that they might enjoy the freedom and dignity of being children of God; to bring them the knowledge of Jesus Christ , so that they too could benefit from the "Fountains of living water' flowing from his heart.

The first reading of this Pentecost Vigil speaks about Babel, a confusion of languages; a lack of unity due to sin which only the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love and reconciliation , would be able to overcome. An element of Babel may indeed have been present when the first Pere Blancs came to this area of Hampshire. People may have caught the not-so-heavenly strains of of the anthem Sancta Maria, being sung in Latin, each evening at the end of night prayers. Many may have been asking themselves: "who are these white ghosts haunting the former Royal Albert Infirmary, speaking in a foreign language?" Yet I am sure the other Fathers and Brothers following the instructions of the Founder, Cardinal Lavigerie, must have made valiant efforts to speak the language of Shakespeare and to fit into their new surroundings.

If these men adapted, they were certainly adopted. On this day, the White Fathers wish to express their gratitude to the people of Bishops Waltham who welcomed them and made them feel part pf the local community.
Gratitude is also due to the bishops of Portsmouth, the Bishop William Cotter who accepted a new community into the diocese and to his successor Archbishop John Henry King, who was reigning when I was here as a boy. It is a great joy that Bishop Crispian Hollis has accepted to be the principal celebrant at this Mass, thus giving a tangible expression to the link with the diocese.

This is not the time to indulge in a history of the White Fathers' junior seminary here in Bishops Waltham, but we should remember those who came here, as teachers or as students. The majority of the latter did not become Missionaries of Africa, but a good number kept fond memories of the years they spent here, as the presence of members of the Pelicans Association at this celebration attests.

It is often said that the testimony to a living community lies in the cemetery. I wish to recall the names of three confreres who died here in Bishops Waltham: Fr Pierre Marie Travers, Brother Modeste, Fr Pierce English - a Frenchman and Dutchman and an Irishman. This is a good reflection of the international character of the Missionaries of Africa, another reminder that the Holy Spirit, the soul of the Church's mission, is not restricted by national boundaries. To these should be added Fr Henry (Harry) Moreton, who was parish priest in this parish , and who died in Southampton in 1965. I wish to remember also another confrere, who though he did not die here, is buried in BIshops Waltham. I am referring of course to Mgr Arthur Hughes, a former pupil of the seminary and a missionary in Uganda, who was then appointed Apostolic Delegate in Egypt and who succeeded in having that country establish full diplomatic relations with the Holy See, the first Muslim majority country to do so. Having as a boy prayed beside his grave, I am proud to be his successor in Cairo.

The case of Mgr Hughes shows that there are many different ways of being a missionary. The forms may change sown the years, but the Church's mission remains the same - to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the whole world. Over a hundred me from Great Britain have given their lives for the mission in Africa, without counting those from Ireland and from other countries who were associated with the work in this country. There are presently 56 living members of what is now the British Sector of the Province of Europe. The Missionaries of Africa, though no longer here in Bishops Waltham, are still present in Great Britain, working to spread the Gospel among the people of Africa, committed to justice and peace for the population of this continent, arousing awareness of the need to respect the environment, engaging in dialogue and encounter with people of other religions. And they are still calling people to join them in their mission. As we celebrate the centenary of this presence, we ask God to continue to bless these on-going missionary endeavours, for His glory and for the good of the Church, particularly in Africa.

For more information on the White Fathers in Britain, see:

For the Pelican's site go to:


DURBAN, May 25, 2012 (CISA) -The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has called on President Jacob Zuma to lead the nation to a new dialogue on reconciliation and dignity.
“Let us all make every effort to be the South Africa we want to be and want to become,” said Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Archbishop of Durban.
The cardinal also expressed shock at the tone and temperament of the language surrounding the furore over the painting The Spear by Brett Murray depicting President Zuma, saying it has exposed a number of fault lines in our South African civic discourse.
“We need honest, respectful and clear dialogue in South Africa. We have lived with enough violence in word and deed,” said Cardinal Napier.

He also expressed strongly that the Catholic Community does not in any way hold the position of the Nazareth Baptist Church (Shembe) or of the broader Christian Community.
Nazareth Baptist Church Spokesperson Enoch Mthembu said, “This man has insulted the entire nation and he deserves to be stoned to death. What he did clearly shows his racist upbringing because art does not allow people to insult others…”
However, in response to this statement, Cardinal Napier said, “Calling for the ‘stoning’ of someone who has created an expression of his own vision is tantamount to hate speech and is a very clear incitement to violence. Let the courts decide, this is why we have an independent Judiciary and laws that are not arbitrary.”
Cardinal Napier said, “The jump to the language of race has once again allowed us to default to the easy position of blame without having to make any effort to understand or to attempt a broader dialogue.”
“Let me be clear. I don’t like the painting, its graphic subject matter or the slur on the character of the president. But simply reducing this incident to the level of race is a sad indicator that we have, once again, allowed the easy card to be played because it serves to deflect us from the real issues of national reconciliation and the building of a community that chooses the highest possible good rather than the lowest and basest human instincts,” said the cardinal.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Bishop of the Diocese of Temuco, His Exc. Mgr. Manuel Camilo Vial, underlined that the Church must participate in working panel discussions with indigenous communities, announced by President Sebastián Piñera during his speech on May 21. The reason for this request made by the Bishop as President of the Social Pastoral- Caritas in Chile, was the announcement made by President Piñera in his last public statement, related to the proposal to create two new Indigenous Development Areas in Ercilla, Collipulli and the Province of Arauco. Mgr. Manuel Camilo Vial said he does not know how the new areas will function, since he has not been informed about the details, and this is why he has many questions to ask. The Church must participate in the project, based on the work carried out in Ercilla and Collipulli, through schools and parishes in the area which are in the province of Malleco in Araucania.
From the information gathered by Fides, it seems that President Sebastián Piñera has proposed working panel discussions in different territories, so that the indigenous themselves are able to actively participate in decisions that affect them. Mgr. Manuel Camilo Vial Risopatrón has already spoken on this subject (see Fides 02/05/2012), asking the government for constitutional recognition of indigenous Mapuche people, and society to take on multiculturalism. (CE)


Mark 10: 17 - 27
17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
18 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.
19 You know the commandments: `Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'"
20 And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth."
21 And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
22 At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!"
24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?"
27 Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."

TODAY'S SAINT : MAY 28 : MON. MAY 28, 2012

St. Germanus
Feast: May 28

Feast Day: May 28
Born: 496 at Autun, France
Died: 576
St. Germanus, the glory of the church of France in the sixth age, was born in the territory of Autun about the year 469. He was brought up in piety and learning under the care of Scapilion his cousin, a holy priest. In his youth no weather could divert him from always going to Matins at midnight, though the church was above a mile from the place of his abode. Being ordained priest by St. Agrippinus bishop of Autun, he was made abbot of St. Symphorian's in the suburbs of that city, a house since converted into a priory of regular canons. Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers, who was well acquainted with our saint, tells us that he was favored at that time with the gifts of miracles and prophecy. It was his custom to watch great part of the night in the church in prayer, while his monks slept. One night in a dream he thought a venerable old man presented him with the keys of the city of Paris and said to him, that God committed to his care the inhabitants of that city, that he should save them from perishing. Four years after this divine admonition, in 554, happening to be at Paris when that see became vacant, on the demise of the bishop Eusebius, he was exalted to the episcopal chair, though he endeavored by many tears to decline the charge. His promotion made no alteration in his continual fasts and other austerities; and the same simplicity and frugality appeared in his dress, table, and furniture. In the evening at nine o'clock he went to the church, and staved there in prayer till after Matins, that is, in summer till about break of day His house was perpetually crowded with the poor and the afflicted. and he had always many beggars at his own table, at which no dainty meats were ever served; he took care that the souls of his guests should be refreshed at the same time with their bodies, by the reading of some pious book. God gave to his sermons a wonderful influence over the minds of ale ranks of people; so that the face of the whole city was in a very short time quite changed. Vanities were abolished, dances and profane amusements laid aside, enmities and discord extinguished, and sinners reclaimed. King Childebert, who till then had been an ambitious worldly prince, by the sweetness and the powerful discourses of the saint, was entirely converted to piety, and by his advice reformed his whole court. And so desirous did that prince become of exchanging the perishing goods of this world for eternal treasures, that, not content with making many religious foundations, to be nurseries of piety in all succeeding ages, and with sending incredible sums of money to the good bishop, to be distributed among the indigent after his coffers were drained he melted down his silver plate, and gave away the chains which he wore about his neck, begging the bishop, whom he made the steward of his charities, never to cease giving, assuring him that on his side he should never be tired with supplying all things for the relief and comfort of the distressed.

In the year 542, king Childebert, together with his brother Clotaire, making war in Spain, besieged Saragossa. The inhabitants of that city reposed a particular confidence in the patronage of St. Vincent, whose relics they carried in procession within sight of the French camp. King Childebert was moved with their devotion, and desiring to speak with the bishop of the city, promised to withdraw his army, on condition he might obtain some portion of the relics of St. Vincent. The bishop gave him the stole which that holy deacon wore at the altar. Upon which the king raised the siege, and, at his return to Paris, built a church in honor of St. Vincent, and of the Holy Cross; which is now called St. Germain's in the meadows, and stands in the suburbs of Paris. Childebert falling sick at his palace at Celles, near Melun, at the confluence of the Yon and Seine, St. Germanus paid him a visit; and when the physicians had in vain tried every thing, all human means failing, the saint spent the whole night in prayer for his recovery, and in the morning laid his hands on him; and at the same moment the king found himself perfectly healed. The king relates himself this miracle in his letters patent, in which, in gratitude to God for this benefit, he gave to the church of Paris and the bishop Germanus, the land of Celles, where he had received this favor. The good king did not long survive. As the king had chosen the church of St. Vincent for the place of his burial, the saint, assisted by six other bishops, performed the ceremony of the dedication on the 23d of December, 558, the very day on which that prince died. The king likewise had built a large monastery joining to this new church, which he endowed most liberally with the fief of Issy and other lands, on part of which a considerable suburb of Paris has been since built. This magnificent edifice was called the Golden Church, the walls being covered on the outside with plates of brass gilt, and within adorned with paintings on a rich gilt ground.1 This church was plundered by the Normans, in 845, 857, 858, and set on fire by them in 861 and 881; but rebuilt in 1014, and dedicated by pope Alexander III. in 1163. The lower part of the great tower and its gate with the statues of Clovis, Clodomir, Thierri, Childebert and his wife Ultrogotta, Clotaire, and others, seem to be as old as the time of king Childebert. This prince committed the monastery and church to the care of our saint, who placed there monks under the holy abbot Droctoveus, whom he had invited from Autun, where he had formed him to a religious life. Clotaire, who succeeded his brother Childebert, was the last of the sons of the great Clovis; and united again the four kingdoms of France into one monarchy. On his removing from Soissons to Paris, he at first seemed to treat the holy bishop coldly; but falling ill soon after of a violent fever, was put in mind by some that were about him to send for St. Germanus. He did so, and full of confidence in the power of God and the sanctity of his servant, took hold of his clothes and applied them to the parts of his body where he felt pain, and recovered immediately. From that moment he always treated the saint even with greater honor than Childebert had done. But that prince dying shortly after, in 561, his four sons, Charibert, Gontran, Sigebert, and Chilperic, divided the French monarchy into four kingdoms, in the same manner as the sons of Clovis had done. That of Paris was given to Charibert or Aribert, Gontran was king of Orleans and Burgundy, Sigebert of Austrasia, and Chilperic of Soissons. Charibert sunk into a vicious indolence, yet was obstinate and headstrong in his passions not being divested of all the prejudices of paganism, he divorced his wife Ingoberga, and took to wife Marcovesa her maid, who had worn a religious habit; and after her death, he married her sister Merofleda, Ingoberga being still living. Our saint many ways endeavored to make him sensible of the enormity of his crimes; but finding all his remonstrances lost on him, he proceeded so far as to excommunicate him and the accomplice of his sin, to hinder at least the dangerous influence of his scandalous example. The sinners were hardened in their evil courses; but God revenged the contempt of his laws and of the holy pastor as he has often done, by visible judgments; for the criminal lady fell ill and died in a few days, and the adulterous king did not long survive her, leaving by his lawful wife only three daughters, two of whom became nuns, the third, called Bertha, was married to Ethelbert, king of Kent.

Upon the death of Charibert in 570, his three brothers divided his dominions; but not being able to agree who should be master of Paris, the capital, came to an accommodation that they should hold it jointly, on condition that none of them should go into the city without the leave of the other two St. Germanus found his flock involved by this agreement in great difficulties, and the city divided into three different parties, always plotting and counterplotting against one another. He did all that the most consummate charity, prudence, and vigilance could do, to preserve the public peace; yet Sigebert and Chilperic appeared in arms, being fired by ambition, and stirred up by their wicked queens Fredegonda, wife of the latter, and Brunehaut of the former, burning with the most implacable jealousy against each other. The saint prevailed with them to suspend their hostilities for some time. At length Chilperic invaded the territories of Sigebert, but being worsted in battle, fled to Tournay. This victory left Sigebert free liberty of going to Paris with his wife Brunehaut and children, where he was received as conqueror. St. Germanus wrote to the queen, conjuring her to employ her interest with her husband to restore the peace of France, and to spare the life and fortune of a brother, whose ruin and blood would cry to heaven for vengeance. But Brunehaut's passion rendered her deaf to all remonstrances, and Sigebert was determined by her furious counsels to besiege Tournay. As he was setting out for this enterprise, he was met by St. Germanus, who told him that if he forgave his brother, he should return victorious; but if he was bent on his death, divine justice would overtake him, and his own death should prevent the execution of his unnatural design. Sigebert allowed this wholesome advice no weight; but the event showed that God had put these words in the mouth of the good bishop; for queen Fredegonda, enraged at the desperate posture of her husband's.

affairs, hired two assassins, who dispatched him with poisoned daggers, while he made a halt in his march at Vitri, in 575, after he had reigned fourteen years, with some reputation of humanity, as Fortunatus tells us.
Chilperic, by his tyranny and oppressions, deserved to be styled the French Nero, as St. Gregory of Tours calls him. He sacrificed his own children by former wives to the fury of Fredegonda, but having discovered her infidelity to him, he was, by her contrivance, murdered by her gallant in 584. Fredegonda was regent of the kingdoms of Soissons and Paris for her son Clotaire III., and continued her practices and wars against Brunehaut and her son till she died, in 601. Brunehaut governed the kingdom of Austrasia for her son Childebert II., and after his death for her grandson Theodebert; but afterwards persuaded Theodoric, her second grandson, who reigned at Challons, to destroy him and his whole family in fill. The year following Theodoric died, and Clotaire II., surnamed the Great, son of Fredegonda, inheriting both their estates, accused Brunehaut before the states of putting to death ten kings and St. Desiderius, bishop of Vienne, because he had reproved her for her public scandalous lusts, and many other illustrious persons. She had at first appeared liberal, and built several churches; but afterwards became infamous for her cruelty, avarice, restless ambition, and insatiable lusts, to which she sacrificed all things, and employed both the sword and poison in perpetrating her wicked designs. Being condemned by the states, she was put to the rack during three days, and afterwards dragged to death, being tied to the tail of a wild mare; or, according to others, drawn betwixt four horses, in 613.

St. Germanus lived not to see the miserable ends of these two firebrands of their country. In his old age he lost nothing of that zeal and activity with which he had filled the great duties of his station in the vigor of his life, nor did the weakness to which his corporal austerities had reduced him, make him abate any thing in the mortifications of his penitential life, in which he redoubled his fervor as he approached nearer to the end of his course. By his zeal the remains of idolatry were extirpated in France. In the third council of Paris, in 557, he had the principal share in drawing up the canons. By his advice, king Childebert issued an edict commanding all idols to be destroyed throughout his dominions, and forbidding all indecent dances and diversions on Sundays and festivals. The saint continued his labors for the conversion of sinners till he was called to receive the reward of them on the 28th of May, 576, being eighty years old. King Chilperic composed his epitaph, in which he extols his zeal for the salvation of his people, and their affection and veneration for his person. He mentions the miracles which were wrought at his tomb, and says that sight was restored to the blind and speech to the dumb.2 He was, according to his own desire, buried in St. Symphorian's chapel, which he built at the bottom of the church of St. Vincent already mentioned. Many miracles manifested his sanctity, of which Fortunatus, then a priest, afterwards bishop of Poitiers, has left us a history, in which he gives two on his own evidence. Also two anonymous monks compiled relations of several miracles of St. Germanus, which Aimoinus, a monk of this monastery in 870, and a careful writer, digested into two books.3 The relics of St. Germanus remained in the aforesaid chapel till the year 754, when the abbot removed them into the body of the church. The ceremony of this translation was performed with great solemnity; and king Pepin thought himself honored by assisting at it.
Prince Charles, known afterwards by the title of Charlemagne, who was then but seven years old, attended his father on this occasion, and was so strongly affected with the miracles performed at that time, that when he came to the crown, he took a particular pleasure in relating them, with all their circumstances. The greatest part of the relics of St. Germanus remain still in this church of St. Vincent, commonly called St. Germain-des-Prez. This abbey is possessed of the original privilege of its foundation and exemption, written on bark, and subscribed by St. Germanus, St. Nicetius, and several other bishops. The most valuable work of St. Germanus of Paris, is An Exposition of the Liturgy, published from an ancient manuscript by Dom. Martenne.4 The characteristical virtue of St. Germanus was his unbounded charity to the poor. Liberality in alms moves God to be liberal to us in the dispensations of his spiritual graces; but he who hardens his heart to the injuries and wants of others, shuts against himself the treasury of heaven.


No comments: