Sunday, May 6, 2012


In his message for the Regina Coeli, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the Gospel for today, the Fifth Sunday of Easter. He recalled the words of Christ, who said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine-grower.”

“On the day of our Baptism,” the Pope said, “The Church grafts us as branches into the Paschal Mystery of Christ, into His own Person.” He called upon the faithful to bear in mind that “every one of us is like a vine, which lives only if it is growing every day in prayer, participation in the Sacraments, in charity, in its union with the Lord. And he who loves Jesus, the true vine, produces fruits of faith for an abundant spiritual harvest. Let us beseech the Mother of God that we might remain firmly grafted in Jesus and that all our actions may have their beginning, and their fulfillment, in Him.”

After the Regina Coeli prayer, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims and visitors from around the world. He reminded the faithful of the VII World Meeting of Families, taking place at the beginning of next month. The Meeting is being sponsored by the Pontifical Council of the Family, headed by Cardinal Ennio Antonelli. The Holy Father thanked the Ambrosian Diocese and other dioceses in Lombardy who are cooperating in the preparation of this ecclesial event, and noted that, “I, too, God willing, will have the joy of participating” in the Meeting.

Pope Benedict then greeted pilgrims from around the world. In his remarks to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, the Holy Father said:
“I extend warm greetings to the English-speaking visitors present for today’s Regina Coeli, and especially to the large group of pilgrims from Indonesia. In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks of himself as the true vine and He calls us to be fruit-bearing branches. I pray that God’s children all over the world will grow in unity and love, sustained and nourished by the divine life that he has planted deep within us. May God bless all of you!”


Get Informed: NEW Bulletin Inserts

The USCCB will issue a series of educational bulletin inserts in English & Spanish over the coming months.

April-May 2012 -- Religious Liberty
If we are not free in our conscience and our practice of religion, all other freedoms are fragile.

Advocate: UPDATED Action Alert

The HHS is holding a public comment period on additional rulemaking that applies the mandate to religious employers. Let the Administration know you oppose their unjust, coercive mandate and the co-called "accommodation" that violates the conscience rights of institutions & individuals alike. The message to Congress has been updated in light of the Senate's activity on the bill earlier this spring.

Pray: NEW Religious Liberty & Conscience Protection Prayers

In light of multiple threats, our bishops are calling for a campaign of prayer & penance to restore religious liberty & conscience rights -- especially during the "Fortnight for Freedom" from June 21 - Independence Day, 2012.

More Background

On January 20, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reaffirmed a rule forcing virtually all private health care plans to cover sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. These are listed among "preventive services for women" that all health plans will have to cover without co-pays or other cost-sharing -- regardless of whether the insurer, the employer or other plan sponsor, or even the woman herself objects to such coverage.
The exemption provided for "religious employers" was so narrow that it failed to cover the vast majority of faith-based organizations—including Catholic hospitals, universities, and charities—that help millions every year. Ironically, not even Jesus and his disciples would have qualified for the exemption, because it excludes those who mainly serve people of another faith.
On February 10, the Obama Administration made this rule final “without change”; delayed enforcement for a year against religious nonprofits that were still not exempted (our charities, hospitals, and colleges); and promised to develop more regulations to “accommodate” them by the end of that additional year. But that promised “accommodation” still forces them to pay for “services” that violate their religious convictions.
  • The original rule that violated our religious liberty so severely has not been changed, but finalized.
  • HHS has promised some kind of “accommodation,” but only after the election.
  • The promised “accommodation”—even at its best—would still force our institutions to violate their beliefs.
  • There is no exemption for objecting insurers, secular employers, for-profit religious employers, or individuals.
Now that the Administration has refused to recognize the Constitutional conscience rights of organizations and individuals who oppose the mandate, the bishops are now urging Catholics and others of good will to fight this unprecedented attack on conscience rights and religious liberty.

We urgently need legislation to correct the mandate’s threats to religious liberty and conscience rights. The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act has been introduced in Congress (H.R. 1179/S. 1467) to ensure that those who participate in the market for health insurance “retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.”

More than 400 Catholic leaders have called on Congress and the Administration to protect conscience rights in health care. The open letter appeared as a full page ad featuring over 150 of those leaders in the New York Times and the Washington Post on December 21.

Get Informed & Take Action Now

  • Learn about some of the numerous federal laws and regulations that currently protect rights of conscientious objection.
  • "White House Misrepresents Its Own Contraceptive Mandate" To justify its widely-criticized mandate for contraception and sterilization coverage in private health plans, the Obama administration posted a set of false and misleading claims on the White House blog (“Health Reform, Preventive Services, and Religious Institutions,” February 1). This USCCB fact sheet quotes and responds to each claim in turn.

Select News Releases/Statements

Additional Resources on Conscience Protection

Want to know why the bishops are fighting the HHS insurance mandate? Need more material to help teach others - or prayers to join in solidarity with our bishops?

The following resources are available for use in a wide variety of settings, including universities & schools, associations, parishes, RCIA programs, and families.


The 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012 (IEC2012) launches a free iPhone and iPad App designed exclusively for Congress pilgrims by Dominican Friar Luuk Dominiek Jansen.

Login to the iTunes store, search for IEC2012 or click on the following link to download the free iPhone and iPad IEC2012 App. Using 21st century technology, the IEC2012 App gives pilgrims from all over the world the opportunity to experience the Congress.

Brother Luuk Jansen uses IEC2012 AppThe App provides a comprehensive guide for pilgrims to the Congress programme including a pilgrim guide, a pastoral resources tool, and news and multimedia feeds.

Additional functions within the App include a daily guide for pilgrims about Congress events in the RDS; where the main Congress programme, youth programme, prayer space programme, children’s programme and exhibitions take place. Information is also fed through the App about the host churches' programme that will run across 34 Dublin Churches and Statio Orbis in Croke Park.

A unique feature of this App is the ‘My Planner’ section, which allows pilgrims to organise their own personal schedule based around the Congress week programme. ‘My Planner’ creates an individual timetable for the pilgrim based around the workshops, talks, exhibitions and arena events that they are interested in attending.

The App also provides a map and GPS locations for each scheduled event on the Congress programme. Pilgrims will be able to locate where they want to go and how to get there.

Pilgrims using the App will be kept well informed throughout the Congress with the flexible approach that this App adopts, providing the most up to date information at all times.

Additional functions of the App include the news and multimedia sections that inform pilgrims through Youtube videos, photos on Flickr, press releases and TV feeds in the lead up to and during the Congress

A tab with ‘Pastoral Resources’ contains the Congress prayer, an mp3 to play the Congress hymn Though We are Many, details about the IEC2012 logo, the patron saints and Congress Icons, theology and pastoral reflections on the theme of the Congress, and prayers and reflections around the Eucharist.

The pilgrim guide section of the App has details about onsite booking, ticket collection, and maps with GPS guides to the RDS venues, Croke Park, the host Churches, the seven City Churches pilgrimage and optional tourist attractions.

Login to the iTunes store, search for IEC2012 or click on the following link to download the free iPhone and iPad IEC2012 App.

Read more about the IEC2012 App.
Read an interview with Brother Luuk Jansen.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
4 May 2012

CatholicCare's team
for the ground breaking Holyoake Program
left to right, Michelle Laving, Sally Riley,
Sean Panambalana, Jane Singleton
A groundbreaking program at CatholicCare is achieving remarkable results and restoring hope to embattled families as they struggle to cope with the fall-out from a parent, partner or child's addiction to alcohol, drugs or gambling.
Originally developed in Western Australia, the Holyoake system uses a combination of education, therapy, support and the latest research to help individual family members, no matter what their age, deal with the trauma of living with someone they love, who has become an addict and turned their world upside down.
"Young children frequently believe they have caused the problem and that it is up to them to fix it," explains Sean Panambalana, a leading Sydney psychologist and Manager of Holyoake Family Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Programs for CatholicCare. "For children this is a great burden. Our job is to let them know they didn't cause this, that the problem is not theirs to fix. We teach them how to take better care of themselves and how to recognise what is theirs to change and what is not."
Adolescents may also have strong reactions to the situation and can assume too much responsibility for what their family is going through.
"As the habit of the substance abuser in the family gets worse, he or she will turn to drugs or alcohol to inoculate themselves against painful emotions such as anger, fear, shame hurt, grief and embarrassment at whatever is going on. But these feelings don't go away. Instead they are carried by the rest of the family," Sean explains.
Addiction affects everyone in the family. They may each respond differently but each will experience confusion, stress and trauma as they try to sort through what is happening and how best to deal with this.
Developed more than 30 years ago, the Holyoake approach is one of the success stories in the battle with problematic substance abuse, particularly in relation to the effect this can have on the entire family.
At CatholicCare, the Holyoake program involves 12 week intensive courses for participants, with individual programs designed to suit children, teenagers or adults.
From the outset, the results have been overwhelmingly positive with feedback from families. What the feedback also shows is that change in just one member of the family as a result of the program, can lead to change in the rest of the family.
In a large percentage of cases, this change can also precipitate and accelerate change in the substance abuser and help motivate them to overcome their addiction.
But even in cases where the addicted member does not change, through the Holyoake program at CatholicCare, family members are able to find a way of dealing with the intolerable and discovering not only how to tolerate the situation but how to get on with their lives.
"Nothing is guaranteed and there is no magic silver bullet," Sean cautions. "But the feedback we have received from individuals who have taken our program has not only helped them deal with their family situation but has reconnected them to their hopes, dreams and aspirations."

Helping keep families together
While many register at CatholicCare convinced the 12 week Holyoake Program will show them how to "fix the user" and get him or her off drugs or alcohol or a gambling addiction. But what they learn instead is how to help themselves.
"The process is not about the user, it's about the family member," Sean explains. "The whole Holyoake process is focused on helping that person and to reconnect them with themselves. And it is through this that genuine change can begin."
While there are well-known programs such as Al-Anon for families of alcoholics, what makes the Holyoake program different is that in addition to group therapy where others in similar situations share their experiences and support one another, there is also individual psychological evaluation and counselling, education about addiction, its effects on families along with the latest research in this field.
Sean says group discussion and sharing common ground with others is an important and powerful part of the process. But when combined with education, research, psychological insight and support on how to integrate what has been learned into day to day life, family members are able to make deep and lasting changes.
Members from more than 100 families across Sydney enrol in CatholicCare's Holyoake Program each year. Often more than one member will attend with a daughter undergoing one course to be followed by a mother or a sibling. Other times it might be a couple.
"Of those we see many have been through a series of cycles and have come to us as a last resort, stressed, desperate and unsure how to cope," Sean says.
Through the program they learn to reconnect with themselves, are given strategies and tools to get on with their lives and bring change and new hope in their embattled families.
"For me the great joy of working in this program is to see children suddenly playful again and with a spring in their step," Sean says. "It is wonderful to see them happy and having fun once more."
But beyond even this, for Sean and his small but dedicated team of psychologists and counsellors, the most compelling and inspiring feature of their work is the extraordinary courage, dedication and love shown of the families who come to them for help.
"Because of the love they feel for one another, and their determination to hang on to a sense of family, they are willing to go through what is a very painful process in a bid to find some relief, and a way to get on with their lives," he says. "At times they might hate the person who is addicted, and be hurt by them or feel let down. But even during these times, their commitment to a better life for their family never wavers."
To find out more about CatholicCare's Holyoake Family and Other Drug (AOD) Programs log on to


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "In the first quarter of 2012, in North Kivu alone, displaced people increased by 241,000 units" this is the complaint made to Fides by Fr. Loris Cattani, a Xaverian missionary animator of "Peace Network for Congo." The population of North Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, is forced to flee from violence committed by a few hundred soldiers who have deserted the ranks of the army. The deserters are soldiers from the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), integrated in the national army in 2009 (according to the peace agreements), but still under the command of General Bosco Ntaganda, accused of crimes against humanity and wanted by the International Criminal Court. According to the UN, the total number of people displaced in the DRC are over 2 million.
Peace Network for Congo had denounced the violence committed by military deserters in North and South Kivu (see Fides 21/04/2012), but according to reports gathered to date, the most serious situation is in the North. "In South Kivu it seems that the mass defection of the military has gone back to normal: many deserters have returned to the ranks of the regular army while some commanders who had incited the rebellion were arrested," said Fr. Cattani.
The different situation in North Kivu than in the South comes from the fact that, according to Fr. Cattani, Bosco Ntaganda has its stronghold in the North, especially in the territory of Masisi. "I am not sure why this is happening, but there are some hypothesis, continued the missionary. "Surely there is a reaction on behalf of soldiers of the CNDP due to the increased international pressure on the government in Kinshasa so that it handsover Bosco Ntaganda to the ICC. One cannot exclude, also, an attempt by the CNDP, which has turned into a political party, to intimidate the population of the territory of Masisi in view of the parliamentary elections that are to be held in two months. But this is only a personal hypothesis " said Father. Cattani. In Masisi legislative elections were canceled for the riots that had occurred, and in the time being the CNDP has no deputies in Parliament. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 03/05/2012)


UCAN REPORT: reporter, Hong Kong
May 2, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Blind activist ‘leaves US embassy’
Chen Guangcheng (left) and fellow activist Hu Jia
Blind dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng has left the US embassy after staying there for six days, according to a news brief from Xinhua News Agency around 3:30pm (7:30am GMT) today.
The agency said he had “left of his own volition” and gone to a Beijing hospital for a check-up. A BBC report said his wife was with him and said she and their children were well.
The foreign ministry in Beijing has demanded the US apologize for what it termed “interference.”
Yesterday a Hong Kong Church group urged the head of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) to speak up for Chen and his family, whose lives it said could be in danger.
The CCPA president is Bishop Johan Fang Xingyao, who is also the prelate of Linyi, the home town of Chen and his family.
Chen, who spoke out against the way the country’s one-child policy is enforced, such as forced abortions, escaped from detention on April 22 after having spent more than 18 months in custody.
As Bishop of Linyi and a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference — a top advisory body to the Chinese government — the Vatican-approved prelate “has the responsibility to voice support for his fellow townsman Chen, his family and those who are now in danger for helping him,” according to Or Yan-yan of the Hong Kong Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.
“Chen helps victims file lawsuits against illegal enforcement of the one-child policy. This is in line with the Church’s teaching on life. We hope Bishop Fang will not stay silent in the face of government pressure,” Or said yesterday.
“The China Church should not just fight for its own religious freedom it has to help protect the rights of people in society,” she added, citing a recent communique from the Vatican’s Commission for the Church in China.
The April 26 communique said: “Both bishops and priests should make every effort to consolidate the lay faithful in their knowledge of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, and in particular of ecclesiology and the social doctrine of the Church.”
Meanwhile, the JPC has issued a statement supporting Chen’s demand that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao look into his allegations of corruption and abuse of power by officials.
Related reports:
Officials arrest escaped activist’s nephew
Jailed dissident gets family visit


Acts 9: 26 - 31
26 And when he had come to Jerusalem he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.
28 So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem,
29 preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists; but they were seeking to kill him.
30 And when the brethren knew it, they brought him down to Caesare'a, and sent him off to Tarsus.
31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Sama'ria had peace and was built up; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it was multiplied.
Psalms 22: 26 - 28, 30 - 32
26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD! May your hearts live for ever!
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.
28 For dominion belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.
30 Posterity shall serve him; men shall tell of the Lord to the coming generation,
31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, that he has wrought it.
1 John 3: 18 - 24
18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before him
20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
21 Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
22 and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.
24 All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.
John 15: 1 - 8
1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.


St. Eadbert
Feast: May 6

Feast Day: May 6
Born: 7th century England
Died: 6 May 698
Venerable Bede assures us, that this holy man excelled both in the knowledge of the holy scriptures, and in the observance of the divine precepts. All his lifetime he was remarkable for his alms-deeds, and it was a law with him to lay aside yearly the tenth part of his goods for the poor. He was ordained successor to St. Cuthbert, in the see of Lindisfarne, in 687, and most worthily governed that church eleven years. It was his custom twice a year, in Lent, and during forty days before Christmas, to retire into a solitary place, encompassed by the waters of the sea, where St. Cuthbert had for some time served God in private before he went to the isle of Ferne. St. Eadbert spent this time remote from all company, in abstinence, prayers, and tears. St. Cuthbert had been buried about eleven years, when the brethren desired, with the approbation of Eadbert, to take up the bones of that eminent servant of God, whose life had been signalized by many illustrious miracles. Instead of dust, to which they expected they were reduced to their great surprise they found the body as entire, and the joints all as pliable as if it had been living—all the vestments and clothes in which it was laid were also sound, and wonderfully fresh and bright. The monks made haste to inform the holy bishop, who was then in his Lent retreat, and they brought him part of the garments which covered the holy body. These he devoutly kissed, and ordered that the blessed body should be laid in other garments, put into the new coffin which was made for the holy relics, and, for greater veneration, placed above the pavement in the sanctuary. He added, that the grave which had been sanctified by so great a miracle of heavenly grace, would not remain long empty. This was accordingly done, and presently after Eadbert, the bishop beloved of God, fell dangerously sick, and his distemper daily increasing, on the 6th of May following he departed to our Lord. His body was laid in St. Cuthbert's grave, and over the place was deposited the uncorrupted body of that glorious servant of God. "Miracles here wrought from time to time, in curing the sick, bear testimony to the merits of them both," says Bede. The same historian informs us, that St. Eadbert covered with lead the church of Lindisfarne, which was dedicated by the archbishop Theodorus, under the patronage of St. Peter. It had been formerly built by bishop Finan, after the Scottish fashion, of oak boards and thatched with reeds.


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