Thursday, May 3, 2012



Vatican City, 3 May 2012 (VIS) - The "Agostino Gemelli" Faculty of Medicine and Surgery is currently celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father made a visit to Rome's Sacred Heart Catholic University this morning, where he pronounced an address focusing on "quaerere Deum" (the search for the absolute) in contemporary culture. (image source: RADIO VATICANA)
The Pope was received by the academic authorities of the teaching hospital, who were accompanied by Gianfranco Fini, president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and by Lorenzo Ornaghi and Renato Balduzzi, respectively ministers of culture and of health. Also present was Cardinal Agostino Vallini, His Holiness' vicar general for the diocese of Rome, and Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy and president of the "Giuseppe Toniolo" Institute for Higher Studies. Many students and patients gathered to hear the Holy Father’s words, which he pronounced on an open area in front of the hospital building.
"Ours is a time in which the empirical sciences have transformed our view of the world, and even man's understanding of himself", the Pope said. "Numerous discoveries and innovative technologies ... are a justified reason for pride, but often they are not without worrying side effects".
"The Europe's fruitful root of culture and progress seems to have been forgotten; there the search for the absolute - 'quaerere Deum' - also embraced the need to develop the profane sciences, the entire world of knowledge. Indeed, scientific research and the demand for meaning, each with is own specific epistemological and methodological attributes, spring from a single source: the Logos which presided over the work of creation and guides the course of history. A mentality that is fundamentally technical and practical generates a dangerous imbalance between what is technically possible and what is morally good, with unforeseeable consequences.
"It is therefore important for culture to rediscover the vigour of meaning and the dynamism of transcendence. In a word, it must open itself decisively to the horizon of 'quaerere Deum'", Benedict XVI added. "Science and faith possess a fruitful reciprocity, almost a complementary need to understand reality. ... Christianity, the religion of the Logos, does not relegate faith to the field of irrationality; rather is attributes the origin and meaning of reality to creative Reason, which in the crucified God showed itself to be love and which invites us to follow the path of 'quaerere Deum': 'I am the way, the truth and the life'".
"By following the path of faith, man is able to distinguish, even in the reality of suffering and death which traverse his existence, an authentic possibility for goodness and for life. ... Care for those who suffer is, then, a daily encounter with the face of Christ, and the dedication of mind and heart becomes a sign of God's mercy and of His victory over death.
"Experienced in its entirety this search is illuminated by science and faith, drawing vigour and impetus from these two 'wings' and never losing a due sense of humility and of its own limitations. In this way the quest for God enriches understanding, becoming a ferment of culture, a promoter of true humanism, a search which does not stop at the surface. ... It is here that the irreplaceable role of the Catholic University comes into play, a place in which education is placed at the service of the person in order to construct an academic competence rooted in that heritage of knowledge which the succeeding generations have distilled into life wisdom; a place where care is not a task, but a mission".
"The Catholic University, which has a special relationship with the See of Peter, is today called to be an exemplary institution which does not limit learning to functionality and economic success, but broadens it horizons to projects in which the gift of intelligence investigates and develops the gifts of creation, abandoning a purely productive and utilitarian view of existence because 'the human being is made for gift, which expresses and makes present his transcendent dimension'". Finally, the Pope concluded his remarks by assuring patients at the Gemelli Hospital of his "prayers and affection".

Vatican City, 3 May 2012 (VIS) - In a communique made public today the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household states that the Holy Father, accepting the invitation of Bishop Raffaello Martinelli of Frascati, will celebrate Mass in Piazza San Pietro in that Italian town on 15 July. Following the celebration the Pope will return to Castelgandolfo where he will pray the Angelus. The announcement was made this morning by Bishop Martinelli while celebrating the Feast of Sts. Philip and James the Less, patron saints of that suburbicarian diocese.

Vatican City, 3 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Antoni Dziemianko, auxiliary of Minsk-Mohilev. Belarus, as bishop of Pinsk (area 72,700, population 3,141,000, Catholics 50,500, priests 48, religious 78), Belarus.


Poland has taken part in large celebrations for the anniversary of Pope John Paul II's beatification. There was a Mass in Krakow with Cardinal Dziwisz at the John Paul II Centre, with thousands of pilgrims. In Rome, Italy there was a prayer vigil and processionwith thousands of youth. This was at the Tor Vergata. Many left prayer petitions before the tomb of JP II. He set a record for spending the most hours before the Tabernacle for a Pope. It is evident to many that Pope John Paul II's canonization is coming very soon.



Presidential Proclamation -- National Day of Prayer, 2012

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Prayer has always been a part of the American story, and today countless Americans rely on prayer for comfort, direction, and strength, praying not only for themselves, but for their communities, their country, and the world.

On this National Day of Prayer, we give thanks for our democracy that respects the beliefs and protects the religious freedom of all people to pray, worship, or abstain according to the dictates of their conscience. Let us pray for all the citizens of our great Nation, particularly those who are sick, mourning, or without hope, and ask God for the sustenance to meet the challenges we face as a Nation. May we embrace the responsibility we have to each other, and rely on the better angels of our nature in service to one another. Let us be humble in our convictions, and courageous in our virtue. Let us pray for those who are suffering around the world, and let us be open to opportunities to ease that suffering.

Let us also pay tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces who have answered our country's call to serve with honor in the pursuit of peace. Our grateful Nation is humbled by the sacrifices made to protect and defend our security and freedom. Let us pray for the continued strength and safety of our service members and their families. While we pause to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending liberty, let us remember and lend our voices to the principles for which they fought -- unity, human dignity, and the pursuit of justice.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 3, 2012, as a National Day of Prayer. I invite all citizens of our Nation, as their own faith directs them, to join me in giving thanks for the many blessings we enjoy, and I call upon individuals of all faiths to pray for guidance, grace, and protection for our great Nation as we address the challenges of our time.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.



by Wang Zhicheng
The blind activist has "changed his mind" after meeting his wife and the children who made him aware of recent threats and violence. At the hospital, contrary to promises, no US representatives: Chen is in the hands of Chinese police. The U.S. has "abandoned" Chen Guangcheng. Not true that the activist has left the embassy "of his own free will."

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The blind activist Chen Guangcheng wants to go into exile in the United States rather than remain in China, over fears for his safety and that of his family. Yesterday, the dissident who revealed the campaigns of forced abortions and sterilizations in Shandong, left the U.S. embassy in Beijing to seek treatment in the hospital of Chaoyang District, in the capital (see photo).

Chen had taken refuge in the embassy six days ago. According to the U.S. representatives, Chen left the building "of his own free will," in what looks like an agreement between the U.S. and China, under which the dissident would meet with his family, move to live outside of Shandong - where he has been persecuted and kept under house arrest without charges for quite a long time- continue his studies and China would open an investigation into the violence and isolation he was subjected to.

But after being allowed to meet his wife and his two sons, who told him of the threats they received these days, the dissident asked for asylum the U.S. because "my rights and my security here can not be guaranteed" .

Chen's wife, Yuan Weijing, said she had been tied to a chair for two days, while members of the government of Shandong threatened to beat her to death.

Already many of the assurances given by the U.S. Embassy have been betrayed. In leaving his refuge, Chen was told that his stay in hospital would be guaranteed by the presence of U.S. diplomatic officials. But today there is not one of them and the ward where he was admitted is controlled by Chinese police.

The fate of Chen and his family seems to be now in the hands of the Chinese government which has demanded an apology of the United States for allowing Chen to take refuge in the embassy. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Weimin has accused Washington of "interfering in the internal affairs of China."

Chen Guangcheng has also appealed directly to President Barack Obama, asking him to do everything to ensure the safety of his family.

The U.S. position is very awkward: yesterday US-China talks on various economic issues and policies started and the U.S. does not want to spoil the atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation with Beijing. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, urged China to respect human rights, but did not even name Chen Guangcheng. According to Bob Fu of China Aid Association, longtime friend of Chen, the U.S. has "abandoned" Chen.

Chinese dissident circles are also dubious about Chen's "voluntary" departure from the U.S. Embassy. In some messages on Twitter, Zeng Jinyan, a friend of Chen and his wife, says that "If Guangcheng had not left the embassy, they would have taken her and her children back home," to face threats, violence and constant surveillance.

For Zeng "Chen wants to leave China with his entire family."



Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
30 Apr 2012

Many families on the minimum wage living in poverty
On the Eve of the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, Bishop Christopher Saunders has called for a new approach to the Australian workforce and an end to poor pay and conditions for the men and women who labour to feed, clothe, clean and teach us, and selflessly tend to the sick and those in need.
"It is unacceptable such a low value is placed on their work," says Bishop Saunders, Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council in a pastoral letter to coincide with the Feast Day of St Joseph the Worker's Feast Day tomorrow, 1 May.
"In a developed nation such as Australia, one would imagine our wealth and the organisation of our labour market would ensure low paid, vulnerable workers and their families could live in basic dignity. Sadly, this is not the case," the prelate says.

Bishop Christopher Saunders
Bishop Saunders believes one of the key issues is the increasing number of Australians employed on a casual basis.
"Over the past three decades, the nation has witnessed monumental changes in the labour market which have included increasing risks of unemployment and insecurity. While Australia boasts an unemployment rate of around 5%, this masks a significant rise in casual and insecure work. Up to one quarter of employees today are in casual jobs, without many of the normal entitlements of paid leave, penalty rates, regular hours or notice of termination," he says.
But Bishop Saunders believes the number of insecure workers is far higher than this, particularly with the increasing use of fixed term contracts, independent contractors and labour hire agencies, and quotes from an inquiry currently being conducted by the Australian Council Trade Unions which estimates 40% of the nation's workforce are now employed as casuals or on short term contracts, and do not enjoy the rights and entitlements of secure employment.

Bishop Saunders reminds us of Pope Benedict XVI's 2009 Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, where the Holy Father reaffirmed the Church's call for "decent work."

New approach to labour policy desperately needed
According to this important Encyclical, decent work means "work that expresses the essential dignity of every man and woman in the context of their particular society: work that is freely chosen, effectively associating workers, both men and women, with the development of their community; work that enables the worker to be respected and free from any form of discrimination; work that makes it possible for families to meet their needs and provide schooling for their children without the children being forced into labour; work that permits the workers to organise themselves freely and make their voices heard; work that leaves enough room for rediscovering one's roots at a personal, familial and spiritual level; work that guarantees those who have retired a decent standard of living."
But in Australia today this is often not the case, says Bishop Saunders and points out the casualisation of work over the past 30 years is not confined to a few sectors of the labour market but now ranges across the retail, accommodation, hospitality, health and social services, education, transport, construction and manufacturing industries.

Most retail workers are casually employed
with no entitlements, holiday pay or sick leave
"Casual work has become so widespread that it may be time to question the common wisdom that this type of work provides a stepping stone to more secure permanent work," he says and describes the increasingly close relationship between high rates of casualisation and high unemployment, especially in the retail and accommodation sectors where almost one third of casual workers want and are willing to work longer hours but are unable to obtain the shifts needed to give them a living wage.
In a submission to this year's Annual Wage Review by Fair Work Australia, the Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations revealed that for many families the wages safety net has not kept pace with rising costs of living, and that the wages safety net for all families had fallen well behind average weekly earnings.
"It is estimated families relying on the minimum wage of $589.30 per week are living in deep poverty, with the likelihood of poverty increased where casual workers with irregular hours cannot gain the hours of work needed to earn even the minimum," Bishop Saunders says.

More than 65% of nurses are now employed
as part timers or casuals
But the insecurity suffered is no longer confined to sectors such as retail and accommodation but now also affects many highly skilled professions such as university staff where 65 percent of those employed are now on a casual or short term basis.
The vital work carried out by nurses also suffers with 65% employed part time or in casual positions with almost half of these wanting to work full-time hours.
"A new approach to Australia's labour policy is urgently needed to ensure the dignity of the workers at the centre of deliberation on pay and conditions," the Bishop says. SOURCE: ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY RELEASE


CISA REPORT: Matter-Heart-Run
NAIROBI, April 30, 2012 (CISA) -A mission hospital run by the congregation of Sisters of Mercy has opened five satellite outpatient clinics within and outside the city centre, offering its patients convenient one-stop option for healthcare.
The Mater Hospital which is marking 50 years of providing quality and affordable health care in Kenya opened the five satellite outpatient clinics as part of newly launched growth strategy.
The clinics which are strategically located at Development House, Moi Avenue, Buruburu Shopping Centre, Thika town and Taj Mall in Embakasi are intended to increase efficiency in patient care and to cater for the growing demand for outpatient services.
The new clinics will serve as emergency centres offering diagnosis and treatment of patients.
“Access to quality and affordable health care varies greatly throughout the country, and as we celebrate a half century of “caring more”, the opening of the outpatient clinics is an affirmation of our commitment to providing quality health care to all Kenyans ,” said Dr John Mureithi, CEO of The Mater Hospital.
All the Outpatient clinics offer doctor’s consultation, laboratory and pharmacy services as well as a range of specialized services such as paediatrics, gynaecology, immunization, and physiotherapy.
The charges remain affordable with consultation fees ranging from Kshs 600 to1, 200. There will also be stand-by ambulances services to transfer those in need of admission.
The Mater Hospital plans to open more branches in other neighbourhoods and out of town areas and will ensure the high standards are maintained.
Also as part of The Mater Hospital growth strategy, plans are afoot to increase the bed capacity, expansion of imaging services to include cardiac Computed tomography-CT, Magnetic resonance imaging- MRI and Picture archiving and communication system- PACS Systems, as well as developing the Mater cardiac program into a regional hub for East Africa.
The Mater Hospital is a 145 bed tertiary care institution founded in 1962 by The Sisters of Mercy .The Hospital offers a wide range of services in all subspecialties. Plans are currently underway to increase the bed capacity by a further 30 beds. The Mater Hospital is a leader in East Africa in the area of pediatric cardiac care. They have an active diagnostic and therapeutic care for all forms of heart ailment.
Meanwhile the hospital will also hold the Annual Mater Heart Run on May 26, 2012. The run raises money to perform cardiac operations on underprivileged children.
Since the inception of the programme, over 2000 children have benefited from cardiac procedure.SOURCE : CISA NEWS AFRICA


John 14: 6 - 14
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.
7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him."
8 Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied."
9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father'?
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.
12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father.
13 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son;
14 if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.


St. Philip
Feast: May 3

Feast Day: May 3
Born: Bethsaida, Palestine
Died: 80 at Hierapolis, Phrygia
Patron of: hatters; pastry chefs
St. Philip was of Bethsaida, in Galilee, and called by our Saviour to follow him the day after St. Peter and St. Andrew. He was at that time a married man, and had several daughters; but his being engaged in the married state hindered him not, as St. Chrysostom observes, from meditating continually on the law and the prophets, which disposed him for the important discovery of the Messias in the person of Jesus Christ, in obedience to whose command he forsook all to follow him, and became thenceforth the inseparable companion of his ministry and labors. Philip had no sooner discovered the Messias, than he was desirous to make his friend Nathanael a sharer in his happiness, saying to him: , that is, the Messias; Nathanael was not so ready to give his assent to this assertion of his friend, by reason that the supposed Messias was reported to be of Nazareth. Philip therefore desired him himself to Jesus ; not doubting but, upon his personal acquaintance with the Son of God, he would be as much convinced of the truth as he was himself. Nathanael complied, and Jesus, seeing him approach, said, within his hearing: Nathanael asked him, how he came to know him: Jesus repined: Nathanael, as two holy fathers explain the matter, calling to mind that the closeness of his retirement on that occasion was such, that no human creature could see him, owned him hereupon for the , and the , or, in other words, the Messiah, foretold by Moses and the prophets. The marriage at Cana of Galilee happening three days after, to which Jesus and his disciples were invited, St. Philip was present at it with the rest. The year following, when our Lord formed the college of apostles, Philip was appointed one of that number, and. from the several passages of the gospel, he appears to have been particularly dear to his divine Master. Thus, when Jesus was about to feed five thousand persons, who had followed him into the wilderness, for the greater evidence of the miracle, and for the trial of this apostle's faith, Jesus proposed to him the difficulty of feeding the multitudes in that desolate place. And a little before our Saviour's passion, certain Gentiles, desirous to see Christ, made their first address to Philip, and by him and St. Andrew obtained that favor. Our Saviour, in the discourse he made to his disciples immediately after his last supper, having promised them a more clear and perfect knowledge of his heavenly Father than they had had hitherto, St. Philip cried out, with a holy eagerness and impatience: From which words our Saviour took occasion to inculcate afresh a steady belief of his divinity, and perfect equality with the Father, saying: , (teaching you who I am both by my words and actions,) < and have you not known me?> (If you beheld me with the eyes of faith such as I really am, in seeing me you would see the Father also, because)
After our Lord's ascension the gospel was to be preached to the whole world by a few persons, who had been eye-witnesses of his miracles, and were enabled, by the power of the Holy Ghost, to confirm their testimony concerning him by doing the like wonderful works themselves. That this might be accomplished, it was necessary that the disciples should quickly disperse themselves into all parts of the world. St. Philip accordingly preached the gospel in the two Phrygias, as Theodoret and Eusebius assure us from undoubted monuments. St. Polycarp, who was only converted in the year 80, enjoyed his conversation for some time, consequently St. Philip must have lived to a very advanced age. It appears, from a passage of Polyerates, quoted by Eusebius, that he was buried at Hierapolis, in Phrygia, which city was indebted to his relies for its preservation by continual miracles, as is averred by the author of the sermon on the twelve apostles, attributed to St. Chrysostom. An arm of St. Philip was brought from Constantinople to Florence, in 1204, whereof we have an authentic history in the Bollandists. The Orientals keep his festival on the 14th of November; the Latins on the 1st of May, with St. James. His body is said to be in the church of SS. Philip and James, in Rome, which was dedicated to God under their name, in 560. The emperor Theodosius, in a vision, received from St. John the Evangelist, and St. Philip, the assurance of victory over the tyrant Eugenius, the morning before the battle, in 394, as Theodoret relates.
From St. Philip we must particularly learn an ardent love of God, and desire to see the Father. He asked only this favor, because this was his only desire. Is it ours? Do we feel it so perfect as to extinguish all inordinate earthly affections and desires in our breasts? Do we employ the proper means to attain to this happy disposition? To obtain it, let us employ the succor of this apostle's prayers, and by disengaging our hearts from corruption and vanity, become, in desires and affections, citizens of heaven. The pilgrim soul sees herself a stranger here on earth, and discovers nothing in this desert place of her banishment hut an abyss of vanity, and subjects of compunction, grief, and fears. On the other side, looking up to God, she contemplates the magnificence and splendor of his kingdom, which will have no end; its peace, security, sanctity without stain, delights without sorrow, unchangeable and incomprehensible joys; and she cries out in a holy transport: "O joy surpassing all joys, and without which there is no true joy, when shall I possess you? O, sovereign good, discover to me some ray of thy beauty and of thy glory; may my heart be set on flame by thy love, and my soul languish and wade with desire to be united to thee, to behold thee face to face, to sing thy praises night and day, to drink of the plenty of thy house, and of the torrent of thy delights, to be forever confirmed in thy love, and in some measure transformed into thee!" Such a soul seeks to hide herself from the eyes of men, to live unknown to the world; and, in retirement and repose, to apply herself to prayer, all her thoughts being taken up in contemplating the glorious things which are said of the blessed city of her God. All worldly enjoyments and distractions are insupportable to her, and she finds no comfort in this place of banishment but in singing the praises of her God, in adoring and in doing always his will, and in the sweet sighs and tears with which she seeks him, and begs him to reign perfectly in her affections by his grace and love, and to draw her speedily to himself out of this Babylon, in which every object increases her affliction, and inflames her desire, seeming to say to her:


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