Friday, May 18, 2012


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: "Silence and Word: path of evangelization" - that's the theme chosen by Pope Benedict XVI for the Church’s 46th World Day for Communications, celebrated each year on the Sunday before Pentecost - on Sunday May 20th this year.
The Pope traditionally releases his message for the occasion on January 24, the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers.
But does this year's message represent a contradiction in terms?
Fr. Jean-Pierre Ruiz thinks not. He is a biblical scholar and Theology professor at St. John's University in New York, and he’s an expert in new media. He says the Pope’s choice of “silence and word” as a theme for evangelization and communication is “strangely eloquent…because we live in a world where words in a certain sense have become a cheapened commodity and where people say very often much less than they actually mean.”

Fr. Ruiz reminds us that “the Church has been about communicating not only by words, for a very long time – in fact, from the beginning.”

He explains “the Church’s liturgy for example is not just reading, it’s not just text, it’s not merely just what we say – it’s also the attitude of our bodies, it’s also sound without words in terms of instrumental liturgical music.”

“It involves the use of all of our senses: our sense of smell in terms of incense and the flowers used to decorate the sanctuary for the Eucharistic liturgy. So I think if we were to reduce communications to just mere words, I think we would be impoverished.”



On Sunday, May 13th 2012, the 1st MARCH FOR LIFE took place in Rome. Thousands of people marched from the Coliseum to Castel Sant'Angelo.
Italy has the lowest fertility rate in the world. (Image source: (
Gianni Alemanno, Mayor of Rome, took part in the March with his official Italian sash.
The Mayor of Rome, granted the City’s patronage.
He is quoted as saying "Our message is that no family or woman must be compelled to give up a child." "I am here only to say that we are for Life. This is a grass-roots demonstration, with no political sponsor. It truly espresses a demand for life."
5 million of innocent babies have been murderd in Italy through abortion to date.


By Alphonsus Tan

COSDU-Catholic-Society-Easter-camp-350Thirty-seven tertiary students from the Catholic Overseas Student Down Under (COSDU) of The University of Melbourne participated in its annual Easter camp held during the Easter Weekend (6 April – 9 April) at Wesley Point Camp in the vicinity of Lake Eppalock.

COSDU Catholic Society is the only Catholic students group based in the University of Melbourne. It was founded in 1987 by a group of international tertiary students from the university. It aims to provide a family away from home and to support the faith formation of youths and young adults. Over the years, COSDU has forged a network of relationships with Australian communities, and reached out to local students as well as other universities in Victoria. COSDU Catholic Society also aims to serve the community through various social justice programs. The society has about 65 members this year.

COSDU Easter Camp is organised annually to promote community bonding between members and to support the faith formation and spiritual life of its members. This year, the Easter Camp Committee adopted the theme 'God is Love'. This theme is based on John 15: 1-17 with a strong emphasis on the verse 'I am the vine; you are the branches'. (Jn 15:5) .

COSDU-Catholic-Society-Easter-camp-350-2Led by Father Simon Wayte MGL, the participants were able to reflect on their personal relationship with God and to understand the special type of ‘love’ that Jesus has shown through his dying on the cross for us. Fr Wayte covered aspects of God’s saving love through the image of Jesus on the cross and used the Parable of the Prodigal Son to explain the Father’s unfaltering love for us sinners. The participants were challenged to live in God’s message of love in our relationships with others by trusting in God and inviting Jesus to be the ‘bridge of Salvation’ for us to God the Father. The participants were also encouraged to take the first step in expressing God’s love by sharing their gifts and talents within the Christian community in order to bear witness to life in union with God the Father.

In addition, participants were also involved in various activities such as group discussions and sharing, Good Friday Service, Stations of the Cross, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Masses, Taizé, games, talent night and reconciliation ceremony. One of the key activities which has been the tradition of COSDU Easter Camp is the ‘Affirmation Night’, where participants are encouraged to show their appreciation for one another by affirming each others’ gifts and talents in both personal and community level.

Easter Camp 2012 was a success as the participants provided positive responses and experiences below:

This was my first ever COSDU Easter Camp. In fact I have never celebrated Easter in this way before. Rather than just going to mass, I celebrated Easter with many of my good friends from COSDU in the tranquil surroundings of Lake Eppalock. In the four days I was able to focus on God, listen to his words and reflect upon his love for us all. It was an enlightening experience and I had a great sense of joy inside me by the end of the camp. I would definitely go again next year and I recommend you to go as well.
Ivan Fung

I really enjoyed myself at Easter Camp this year. Apart from the wonderful friends I've made, the camp also provided me with a good opportunity to spend quiet time with God and for self-reflection in a beautiful and tranquil place.
Joanna Ting

Easter Camp has helped me to realise how great and amazing is God’s love for me, and that I need not worry so much as he has the best of plans set out for me.
Jeanne Chiew

For more information about COSDU Catholic Society or its upcoming events, visit
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Photos supplied by Fr Thinh Nguyen


The dissident said that "within 15 days," the Chinese government will give him, his wife and children a passport to study in the United States. But in Shandong repression against his family continues: his older brother was tortured, his nephew is in jail.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The blind dissident Chen Guangcheng said that he and his family should have their passports in 15 days that will allow him to leave China for the U.S.: "Some officials came yesterday and we filled out forms for passports for me, my wife and my children, " said Chen from the hospital in Beijing where he has been staying for several days. "We were told that the documents should be ready within 15 days."

Chen, who escaped from house arrest in his home village in Shandong, is known worldwide for his battles against forced abortions and illegal expropriation of land. After his escape he fled the American embassy in Beijing where he spent 6 days. Persuaded to leave with various assurances from both the Americans and Chinese, he is in fact again under arrest in a hospital in the capital.

In the meantime, however, the Chinese regime continues to pursue its vendetta against the family of the dissident. Chen Guangfu, Guangcheng's elder brother, was tortured and beaten in late April, after blind activist's escape from arrest. According to Chinese Human Rights Defender, citing anonymous sources, local officials in Shandong had beaten Chen Guangfu's hands with a leather belt, hit him in the ribs and stepped on his foot with force during an interrogation that lasted several hours.

Guangfu was then forced to leave his village and has not yet regained feeling in his left hand or right foot. The Chen Guanfu's son, Chen Kegui, and his wife were beaten. Chen Kegui was arrested on charges of attempted murder for having stabbed a few officers who had raided his home. Yesterday, lawyer Si Weijiang, tried to obtain permission from the authorities to visit Chen Kegui in prison. So far, no-one has been able to meet with or speak to Chen Guangcheng's nephew.


NAIROBI, May 15, 2012 (CISA) -Catholic Bishop, The Right Rev Alfred Rotich has urged Kenyans to pray and work towards a peaceful General Elections, scheduled for early next year.
“From now until Elections’ time, we as Christians and Kenyans need to pray and collaborate. We are expected to commit ourselves to peace-making with our neighbours and offering prayers for peaceful elections,” said Bishop Rotich of the Diocese of Military Ordinariate and outgoing Chairman of the Bishops’ Commission for Social Communications.
He was speaking at the Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations, Nairobi on May 11 during the launch of a film called “The Rally”, a joint production of Jesuit Hakimani Centre and Artful Eyes Productions and directed by Jesuit priest, Rev Dr Elias Mokua.
The film aims to show how and why political campaigns are essential for candidates to elective posts, which Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia, Chairman of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, Kenya described as handy before the General Elections.
Bishop Rotich said many evils could happen in the forthcoming General Election as has been the case in the past “unless we keep peace to each other and offer prayers on the issue.”
Dr Kibunjia told the congregation, which included the clergy, religious men and women that peaceful elections were possible.
“But this will not depend on the beautiful Constitution we have or the Commission nor our politicians but on the 40 million Kenyans on their concrete decision to keep peace during the Elections,” he said.
He said that every time Kenyans hold elections, they always seem to have an agenda, for example the removal of Session 2A, leading to multi-party democracy and the removal of KANU government from the power.
“This time around, the agenda should be peaceful elections,” he added.
“Our people must work hard for peace and good neighborhood to avert the country going back to the old bad days of violence during elections period,” emphasized Dr Kibunjia, while urging the Church to avail civic education to the faithful.
Ms Winfred Lichuma, Chairperson of National Gender and Equality Commission urged women to ensure they went for elective posts during the forthcoming General Elections.
“The said two thirds positions set aside for women as per our new Constitutions are confined to the Counties, while other positions, like for Members of Parliament, will be out for grabs by both men and women,” she said.


Agenzia Fides report - The Archbishop of San Salvador, Mgr. José Luis Escobar Alas, insisted, in his regular press conference on Sunday, on the importance that it is necessary to have a national program dedicated to solving the common interests of the country, and that this is an essential part of the commitment of political parties. Mgr. Escobar Alas said that the most important thing to bring forward a national program, is the commitment of those working to solve citizens' problems, ie political parties, civil society organizations and especially the citizens.
The note sent to Fides reports the words of the Archbishop: " priority to the welfare of society must be given, the same parties will be rewarded if they manage to put before the good of the nation and its people's interests." This opportunity must show the willingness of all sectors to build a program of work, particularly to address the issue of security, only through dialogue we can reach agreements. "Politicians have the capacity and conditions to reach a national agreement, there must be a national agreement, we ask the Lord to have this agreement," concluded Mgr. Escobar Alas. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 14/5/2012)


St. Paschal Baylon
Feast: May 17

Feast Day: May 17
Born: 1540, Torrehermosa, Aragon
Died: 17 May 1592
Canonized: October 16, 1690 by Alexander VIII
Major Shrine: Royal Chapel in Villareal
Patron of: Patron of Eucharistic congresses and Eucharistic associations
The state of poverty was honored by the choice of our blessed Redeemer, and hath been favored with his special blessing. It removes men from many dangers and temptations, and furnishes them with perpetual occasions for the exercise of self-denial, patience, penance, resignation to the divine will, and every other heroic Christian virtue: yet these great means of salvation are by many, through ignorance, impatience, and inordinate desires, often perverted into occasions of their temporal and eternal misery. Happy are they who, by making a right use of the spiritual advantages which this state, so dear to our divine Redeemer, offers them, procure to themselves present peace, joy, and every solid good; and make every circumstance of that condition in which providence hath placed them a step to perfect virtue and to everlasting happiness. This in an eminent degree was the privilege of St. Paschal Baylon. He was born in 1540, at Torre-Hermosa, a small country town in the kingdom of Aragon. His parents were day-laborers, and very virtuous; and to their example our saint was greatly indebted for the spirit of piety and devotion, which he seemed to have sucked in from his mother's milk. Their circumstances were too narrow to afford his being sent to school; but the pious child, out of an earnest desire of attaining to so great a means of instruction, carried a book with him into the fields where he watched the sheep, and desired those that he met to teach him the letters; and thus, in a short time, being yet very young, he learned to read. This advantage he made use of only to improve his soul in devotion and piety: books of amusement he never would look into; but the lives of the saints, and, above all, meditations on the life of Christ were his chiefest delight. He loved nothing but what was serious and of solid advantage, at a time of life in which many seem scarce susceptible of such impressions. When he was of a proper age, he engaged with a master to keep his flocks as under-shepherd: he was delighted with the innocent and quiet life his state permitted him to lead. That solitary life had charms for him. Whatever he saw was to him an object of faith and devotion. He read continually in the great book of nature; and from every object raised his soul to God, whom he contemplated and praised in all his works. Besides external objects, he had almost continually a spiritual book in his hands, which served to instruct and to inflame his veal in the love and practice of virtue. His master, who was a person of singular piety, was charmed with his edifying conduct, and made him an offer to adopt him for his son, and to make him his heir. But Paschal, who desired only the goods of another life, was afraid that those of this world would prove to him an incumbrance; he therefore modestly declined the favor, desiring always to remain his humble state, as being more conformable to that which Christ chose for himself on earth, who came not into the world to be served, but to serve. He was often discovered praying on his knees under some tree, while his flocks were browsing on the hills. It was by this secret entertainment of his soul with God, in the most profound humility, and perfect purity of his affections, that he acquired a most sublime science and experience in spiritual things, at which those who were the most advanced were struck with admiration. He could truly say with David: 1 He spoke of God and of virtue with an inimitable unction and experimental light, and with sentiments which the Holy Ghost alone forms in souls which are perfectly disengaged from earthly things, and replenished with his heavenly fire. Often was he seen ravished in holy prayer; and frequently was not able to conceal from the eyes of men the vehement ardor of the divine love with which his soul melted in an excess of heavenly sweetness. He felt in himself what many servants of God assure us of, that "the consolation which the Holy Ghost frequently infuses into pious souls, is greater than all the pleasures of the world together, could they be enjoyed by one man. It makes the heart to dissolve and melt through excess of joy, under which it is unable to contain itself." In these sentiments did this servant of God sing with David: 2 The reward of virtue is reserved for heaven; but some comforts are not denied during the present time of trial. Even in this vale of tears, Isa. li. 3. It is sufficiently understood that the saint did not receive these heavenly comforts without severe interior trials, and a constant practice of self-denial, by which his heart was crucified to the world. The dew of extraordinary spiritual comforts never falls on unmortified souls, which seek the delights of this world. St. Paschal in his poverty joined alms with his continual prayer; and not having any other means to relieve the poor, always gave them a good part of his own dinner which was sent him into the fields.

How great soever his love was for his profession, he found however several difficulties in it which made him think of leaving it. He was not able, notwithstanding all the care he could take, to hinder a flock of goats he had in charge from sometimes trespassing on another's ground. This occasioned his giving over the inspection of that flock. But he found other troubles in taking care of other cattle. Some of his companions, not baying the same piety with himself, were but too much addicted to cursing, quarrelling, and fighting; nor were they to be reclaimed by his gentle rebukes on these accounts. He was therefore determined to leave them, not to participate in their crimes. And to learn the will of God in this important choice of a state of life in which he might most faithfully serve him, he redoubled lids prayers, fasts, and other austerities. After some time spent in this manner, ho determined to become a religious man. Those to whom he first disclosed his inclination to a religious state, pointed out to him several convents richly endowed. But that circumstance alone was enough to disgust him; and his answer was: "I was born poor, and I am resolved to live and die in poverty arid penance." Being at that time twenty years of age he left his master, his friends, and his country, and went into the kingdom of Valentia, where was an austere convent of barefoot reformed Franciscans, called Soccolans, which stood in a desert solitude, but at no great distance from the town of Montfort. He addressed himself to the fathers of this house for spiritual advice; and, in the mean time, he entered into the service of certain farmers in the neighborhood to keep their sheep. He continued here his penitential and retired life in assiduous prayer, and was known in the whole country by the name of the Holy Shepherd. To sequester himself from the world, he made the more haste to petition for the habit of a lay-brother in the house above-mentioned: and was admitted in 1564. The fathers desired to persuade him to enter himself among the clerks, or those who aspired to holy orders, and sing the divine office in the choir; but they were obliged to yield to his humility, and admit him among the lay-brothers of the community. He was not only a fervent novice, which we often see, but also a most fervent religious man, always advancing, and never losing ground. Though his rule was most austere, he added continually to its severity, but always with simplicity of heart, without the least attachment to his own will; and whenever he was admonished of any excess in his practices of mortification, he most readily confined himself to the letter of his rule. The meanest employments always gave him the highest satisfaction. Whenever he changed convents, according to the custom of his order, the better to prevent any secret attachments of the heart, he never complained of any thing, nor so much as said that he found any thing in one house more agreeable than in another; because, being entirely dead to himself; he everywhere sought only God. He never allowed himself a moment of repose between the Church and cloister duties, and his work; nor did his labor interrupt his prayer. He had never more than one habit, and that always threadbare. He walked without sandals in the snows, and in the roughest roads. He accommodated himself to all places and seasons, and was always content, cheerful, mild, affable, and full of respect for all. He thought himself honored if employed in any painful and low office to serve any one.
The general of the order happening to be at Paris, Paschal was sent thither to him about some necessary business of his province. Many of the cities through which he was to pass in France, were in the hands of the Huguenots, who were then in arms. Yet he offered himself to a martyrdom of obedience, travelled in his habit, and without so much as sandals on his feet, was often pursued by the Huguenots with sticks and stones, and received a wound on one shoulder of which he remained lame as long as he lived. He was twice taken for a spy; but God delivered him out of all dangers. On the very day on which he arrived at his convent from this tedious journey, he went out to his work and other duties as usual. He never spoke of any thing that had happened to him in his journey unless asked; and then was careful to suppress whatever might reflect on him the least honor or praise. He had a singular devotion to the mother of God, whose intercession he never ceased to implore that he might be preserved from sin. The holy sacrament of the altar was the object of his most tender devotion; also the passion of our divine Redeemer. He spent, especially towards the end of his life, a considerable part of the night at the foot of the altar on his knees, or prostrate on the ground. In prayer he was often favored with ecstasies and raptures. He died at Villa Reale, near Valentia, on the 17th of May, in 1592, being fifty-two years old. His corpse was exposed three days, during which time the great multitudes which from all parts visited the church, were witnesses to many miracles by which God attested the sanctity of his servant. St. Paschal was beatified by Pope Paul V. in 1618, and canonized by Alexander VIII. in 1690.

If Christians in every station endeavored with their whole strength continually to advance in virtue, the Church would be filled with saints. But alas! though it be an undoubted maxim, that not to go on in a spiritual life is to fall back, "Nothing is more rare," says St. Bernard, "than to find persons who always press forward. We see more converted from vice to virtue, than increase their fervor in virtue." This is something dreadful. The same father assigns two principal reasons. First, many who begin well, after some time grow again remiss in the exercises of mortification and prayer, and return to the amusements, pleasures, and vanities of a worldly life. Secondly, others who are regular and constant in exterior duties, neglect to watch over and cultivate their interior; so that some interior spiritual vice insinuates itself into their affections, and renders them an abomination in the eyes of God. "A man" says St. Bernard,4 "who gives himself up entirely to exterior exercises without looking seriously into his own heart to see what passes there, imposes upon himself, imagining that he is something while he is nothing. His eyes being always fixed on his exterior actions, he flatters himself that he goes on well, and neither sees nor feels the secret worm which gnaws and consumes his heart. He keeps all fasts, assists at all parts of the divine office, and fails in no exercise of piety or penance; yet God declares, '' He only employs his hands in fulfilling the precepts, and his heart is hard and dry. His duties are complied with by habit and a certain rotation: he omits not a single iota of all his exterior employments; but while he strains at a gnat, he swallows a camel. In his heart he is a slave to self-will, and is a prey to avarice, vain-glory, and ambition: one or other or all these vices together reign in his soul."



John 16: 16 - 20
16 "A little while, and you will see me no more; again a little while, and you will see me."
17 Some of his disciples said to one another, "What is this that he says to us, `A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'; and, `because I go to the Father'?"
18 They said, "What does he mean by `a little while'? We do not know what he means."
19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him; so he said to them, "Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, `A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'?
20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.

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