Tuesday, May 1, 2012



To mark a year since the beatification of John Paul II on May 1st 2011, we bring you his words in English focusing on prayer and priestly life, as well as the testimony of some of those who witnessed this first-hand.
Among them, the late Carmelite Father, Redemptus Valabek, former postulator of the causes of the saints of his Order, who explains why many used to describe John Paul II as being a Carmelite at heart.
Also, Nigerian Cardinal, Francis Arinze, head of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious dialogue at the time of the remarkable prayer gathering in Assisi.He points to how this Polish Pontiff's call for all to pray was addressed not just to Christians but to non-Christians as well.
In this programme in which you can hear Blessed John Paul II reciting the 'Our Father', we also highlight how this Pope's 's prayer life was inseparable from his priestly vocation. How he often told his friends: "I am first and foremost a priest", reminding them how privileged he was to have this vocation because it allowed him to preside at the Church's most important prayer of all: the Celebration of the Eucharist .



lepineCanadian Conference of Catholic Bishops StatementThe Most Reverend Christian Lépine has taken canonical possession of the Archdiocese of Montreal with all the powers and rights involved. In accordance with canonical norms, this terminates the mandate of His Eminence Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese. He had been appointed Apostolic Administrator by Pope Benedict XVI at the same time that the Holy Father accepted Cardinal Turcotte's resignation as Archbishop of Montreal.

Archbishop Lépine will be formally installed as the Archbishop of Montreal on Friday, April 27, 2012, at 7:30 pm, in the Cathedral Basilica of Marie-Reine-du Monde - Saint Jacques, Montreal.

With his recent episcopal appointment, Archbishop Lépine becomes an ex officio
member of the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.


By Francis X Rocca on Thursday, 19 April 2012
American women religious attend a meeting of Network (CNS)
American women religious attend a meeting of Network (CNS)
The Vatican has called for major reforms of an American association of women religious to ensure the group’s fidelity to Catholic teaching in areas including abortion, euthanasia, women’s ordination and homosexuality.
Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle will provide “review, guidance and approval, where necessary, of the work” of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the Vatican announced yesterday. The archbishop will be assisted by Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio, and Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, and draw on the advice of fellow bishops, women religious and other experts.
The LCWR, a Maryland-based umbrella group that claims about 1,500 leaders of US women’s communities as members, represents about 80 per cent of the country’s 57,000 women religious.
The announcement from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) came in an eight-page “doctrinal assessment” based on an investigation that Bishop Blair began on behalf of the Vatican in April 2008. That investigation led the doctrinal congregation to conclude, in January 2011, that “the current doctrinal and pastoral situation of LCWR is grave and a matter of serious concern, also given the influence the LCWR exercises on religious congregation in other parts of the world”.
Among the areas of concern were some of the most controversial issues of medical and sexual ethics in America today.
“While there has been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the Church’s social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception to natural death, a question that is part of the lively public debate about abortion and euthanasia in the United States,” the doctrinal congregation said. “Further, issues of crucial importance in the life of the church and society, such as the Church’s biblical view of family life and human sexuality, are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes Church teaching.”
The Vatican also found that “public statements by the LCWR that disagree with or challenge positions taken by the bishops, who are the Church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals, are not compatible with its purpose”.
According to the Vatican, such deviations from Catholic teaching have provoked a crisis “characterised by a diminution of the fundamental Christological centre and focus of religious consecration”.
But the congregation’s document also praised the “great contributions of women religious to the church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor, which have been founded and staffed by religious over the years”, and insisted that the Vatican “does not intend to offer judgment on the faith and life of women religious” in the LCWR’s member congregations.
During his tenure as the Holy See’s delegate, which is to last “up to five years, as deemed necessary”, Archbishop Sartain’s tasks will include overseeing revision of the LCWR’s statutes, review of its liturgical practices and the creation of formation programmes for the conference’s member congregations. The archbishop will also investigate the LCWR’s links to two outside groups: Network, a Catholic social justice lobby, and the Resource Center for Religious Institutes, which offers legal and financial expertise to religious orders.
The doctrinal assessment grew out of the Vatican’s “Apostolic Visitation of Religious Communities of Women in the United States”, a study of the “quality of life” in some 400 congregations, which began in December 2008. The visitation’s final report was submitted in December 2011 but has not yet been published.


Article and Photographs by Fr R Cross
On Monday 16 April, Malankara Syrian Orthodox Bishop, His Grace Paulose Mor Ireneous, paid a courtesy visit to the Archbishop of Perth, His Grace Timothy Costelloe.

L to R: Fr Jomon Thomas, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, Bishop Paulose Mor Ireneous and Fr Boutros Touma Issa

Bishop Pailos Mor Ireneous was accompanied by Fr Jomon Thomas and Mr Matthew Samuel as well as the Very Reverend Father Chorepiscopus Boutros Touma Issa and Reverend Deacon Theodore Issa of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Perth.
During the meeting, Bishop Pailos Mor Ireneous presented Archbishop Costelloe with a Ponnada as a sign of respect for the Archbishop. The Ponnada consists of a fine woven cloth with a golden silver stitched border and is placed around the shoulders of the recipient.
The Malankara Syrian Orthodox Christians in Perth come under the Patriarch of Antioch in Damascus and is called St Peter's Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church.
The community regularly celebrates Holy Mass (Malayalam Qurbana) at St Thomas More Chapel in Mounts Bay Road Crawley.
The following website provides more information about the St Peter's Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church
L to R: Deacon Theodore Issa, Fr Jomon Thomas, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, Bishop Paulose Mor Ireneous and Fr Boutros Touma Issa and Mr Mathew Samuel


Ly Sovanna (aka Vanna), 33, and Keum Sokhon, 32, have been married for eight years. The Cambodian couple will be among thousands of families from 70 countries attending the 7th World Family Meeting scheduled for 30 May-3 June in Milan, which will end with an embrace of Benedict XVI.

Milan (AsiaNews) - Vanna and Sokhoh are a deeply religious Catholic couple. Their story deserves to be known. Paola Maiocchi, a member of PIME's lay missionary community active in Cambodia for years, will present it.

Vanna originally hails from Kompong Cham province. Orphaned at the age of 10, he was taken to Kompong Thom (Battambang diocese) to live with relatives. Quickly, the "little orphan" was helped by the Church and so grew up near priests and Christians. Sokhon is from a Catholic family in Kompong Thom. She grew up in the Church. In 1996, both were baptised in Kompong Thom.

Eventually the two close friends came to Phnom Penh to further their education. Vanna went to the Catholic University Student Centre (opened in 2000), whilst Sokhon went to study with the Salesian nuns.

The two were married in 2004 and settled permanently in Phnom Penh. After training in computer science, Vanna was asked by Fr Omer Giraldo, a Colombian missionary with the Yarumal Missionary Society and director of the Social Communications Office, to set up a Catholic Social Communications (CSC) programme for the Catholic Church in Cambodia. In 2009, Vanna became its director.

Sokhon became involved instead in the world of the disabled, working with Jesuit-sponsored projects until 2007, when her first child, Gabriel, was born. A second child, Elisabeth, was born in 2009, and a third one is on the way.

The couple also went abroad. Sokhon took part in World Youth Day in Rome of 2000. Vanna spent three months in Taizé that same year. For professional reasons, Vanna has also attended international conferences, especially in Asia.

"They are highly involved members of Phnom Penh's Child Jesus parish, a model of reference for other couples and young people," said Paola Maiocchi, who knows them very well. "Having them as guests (staying at her grandmother) will be a way for the meeting to find echoes back in Cambodia," she explained.

Vanna and Sokhon will be the only Cambodian couple at this year's World Family Meeting. However, many participants will come from other Asian nations and Churches.

A large delegation will come from the Philippines (more than 600) with groups of families travelling from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, South Korea, Japan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Lebanon, Myanmar, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Turkey and Vietnam.

Some families will also come from Hong Kong, Macao and the People's Republic of China and even North Korea, whilst a few will be from war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine and Syria. (GF)

To give everyone a change to take part in the 7th World Meeting, a 'World Family Reception Fund' was created. Anyone who wishes to make a donation can do so at the following account: IBAN IT16Q0306901629100000014189. Object: Gemellaggi per Family 2012.



JAMAM, April 27, 2012 (CISA) -Tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees face life-threatening water shortages and a growing threat of fatal diseases in Jamam camp, South Sudan, and must be urgently moved to a new site, international agency Oxfam said today.
“As conflict spreads along the border between Sudan and South Sudan, there are fears that more refugees could arrive in a camp that is already stretched beyond its limits and unable to cope with a further influx,” the humanitarian organisation said.
Extensive work by Oxfam and other organizations has been unable to find enough safe and reliable sources of water to meet the growing needs.
Heavy rains in the coming weeks will make delivering aid and relocating the refugees even more difficult, and will further exacerbate an escalating humanitarian crisis, Oxfam said. The rains will increase the threat of diseases such as malaria and cholera, and destroy the flimsy shelters under which new arrivals are sheltering.
“We are fast running out of time and options in the midst of a huge humanitarian crisis. We have drilled for water and carried out a geological survey, but there is simply not enough ground water available to sustain the growing number of people who need it. Women have to queue for hours in the burning sun just to collect a fraction of the water they need, and the situation is getting more desperate by the day. The only solution is for people to be moved urgently,” said Pauline Ballaman, head of Oxfam’s operations in Jamam.
Since December, nearly 37,000 refugees have arrived in Jamam, fleeing the ongoing conflict in Sudan’s Blue Nile state, and more continue to arrive. More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee Sudan because of the fighting in Blue Nile and the parallel conflict in Southern Kordofan, and hundreds of thousands more have been displaced within Sudan.
Oxfam urged all agencies and local authorities to urgently prepare a new safe and secure site for 23,000 people, where long-term water sources can be found.
This region of Upper Nile is one of the most remote and least developed parts of South Sudan and safe drinking water is extremely scarce. The existing boreholes can only provide the recommended amount of water for about 16,500 people, but there is already twice that number in Jamam camp, and families continue to arrive each day. Shortages are also increasing among the several thousand permanent residents of the area. Oxfam is concerned that tensions over competition for water are growing between the refugee community and permanent residents.
Ultimately, Oxfam said, the only sustainable solution to the crisis is for all parties to negotiate for long-term peace in Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan and the rest of the border region, so that refugees can return home.
Meanwhile IOM has started providing water and hygiene kits to 700 displaced people in Abyei who fled ongoing military clashes between Sudan and South Sudan.
The displaced families, mostly women and children, abandoned their houses on 21 April 2012 in the village of Abiemnom in South Sudan’s Unity State when the fighting broke out and trekked some 20 km to the village of Rumamier, in Abyei.
The distribution of aid including jerry cans, buckets and water purification tablets, started on Monday, 23 April 2012. IOM is also disseminating hygiene messages among the displaced written on T-shirts and posters.


Matthew 13: 54 - 58
54 and coming to his own country he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?
55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?
56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?"
57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house."
58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.


St. Joseph
Feast: March 19

Feast Day: March 19
Died: 1st century
Patron of: against doubt, against hesitation, Americas, bursars, cabinetmakers, Canada, carpenters, Catholic Church , confectioners, craftsmen, Croatian people , dying people, emigrants, engineers, expectant mothers, families, fathers, holy death, house hunters, immigrants, interior souls, laborers, married people, Oblates of Saint Joseph, people in doubt, people who fight Communism, pioneers, protection of the Church, social justice, travellers, unborn children, Universal Church , Vatican II, wheelwrights, workers, many more...
The glorious St. Joseph was lineally descended from the greatest kings of the tribe of Judah, and from the most illustrious of the ancient patriarchs; but his true glory consisted in his humility and virtue. The history of his life hath not been written by men; but his principal actions are recorded by the Holy Ghost himself God entrusted him with the education of his divine Son, manifested in the flesh. In this view he was espoused to the Virgin Mary. It is an evident mistake of some writers, that by a former wife he was the father of St. James the Less, and of the rest who are styled in the gospels the brothers of our Lord; for these were only cousin-germans to Christ, the sons of Mary, sister to the Blessed Virgin, wife of Alphaeus, who was living at the time of our Redeemer's crucifixion. St. Jerome assures us1 that St. Joseph always preserved his virgin chastity; and it is of faith that nothing contrary thereto ever took place with regard to his chaste spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was given her by heaven to be the protector of her chastity, to secure her from calumnies in the birth of the Son of God, and to assist her in his education, and in her journeys, fatigues, and persecutions. How great was the purity and sanctity of him who was chosen the guardian of the most spotless Virgin! This holy man seems, for a considerable time, to have been unacquainted that the great mystery of the Incarnation had been wrought in her by the Holy Ghost. Conscious, therefore, of his own chaste behaviour towards her, it could, not but raise a great concern in his breast to find that, notwithstanding the sanctity of her deportment, yet he might be well assured that she was with child. But being , as the scripture calls him, and consequently possessed of all virtues, especially of charity and mildness towards his neighbour, he was determined to leave her privately, without either condemning or accusing her, committing the whole cause to God. These, his perfect dispositions, were so acceptable to God, the lover of justice, charity, and peace, that before he put his design into execution he sent an angel from heaven, not to reprehend anything in his holy conduct, but to dissipate all his doubts and fears, by revealing to him this adorable mystery. How happy should we be if we were as tender in all that regards the reputation of our neighbor; as free from entertaining any injurious thought or suspicion, whatever certainty our conjectures or our senses may seem to rely on; and as guarded in our tongue! We commit these faults only because in our hearts we are devoid of that true charity and simplicity, whereof St. Joseph sets us so eminent an example on this occasion.
In the next place we may admire in secret contemplation with what devotion, respect, and tenderness he beheld and adored the first of all men, the new-born Saviour of the world, and with what fidelity he acquitted himself of his double charge, the education of Jesus and the guardianship of his blessed mother. "He was truly the faithful and prudent servant," says St. Bernard,2 "whom our Lord appointed the master of his household, the comfort and support of his mother, his foster-father, and most faithful co-operator in the execution of his deepest counsels on earth." "What a happiness," says the same Father, "not only to see Jesus Christ, but also to hear him: to carry him in his arms, to lead him from place to place, to embrace and caress him, to feed him, and to be privy to all the great secrets which were concealed from the princes of this world!"
"O astonishing elevation! O unparalleled dignity!" cries out the pious Gerson,3 in a devout address to St. Joseph, "that the mother of God, queen of heaven, should call you her lord; that God himself, made man, should call you father, and obey your commands. O glorious Triad on earth, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, how dear a family to the glorious Trinity in heaven, Father, Son,, and Holy Ghost! Nothing is on earth so great, so good, so excellent." Amidst these extraordinary graces, what more wonderful than his humility! He conceals his privileges, lives as the most obscure of men, publishes nothing of God's great mysteries, makes no further inquiries into them, leaving it to God to manifest them at his own time, seeks to fulfil the order of providence in his regard without interfering with anything but what concerns himself. Though descended from the royal family which had long been in the possession of the throne of Judea, he is content with his condition, that of a mechanic or handicraftsman, and makes it his business, by labouring in it, to maintain himself, his spouse, and the divine Child.
We should be ungrateful to this great saint if we did not remember that it is to him, as the instrument under God, that we are indebted for the preservation of the infant Jesus from Herod's jealousy and malice, manifested in the slaughter of the Innocents. An angel appearing to him in his sleep bade him arise, take the child Jesus, and fly with him into Egypt, and remain there till he should again have notice from him to return. This sudden and unexpected flight must have exposed Joseph to many inconveniences and sufferings in so long a journey, with a little babe and a tender virgin, the greater part of the way being through deserts and among strangers; yet he alleges no excuses, nor inquires at what time they were to return. St. Chrysostom observes that God treats thus all his servants, sending them frequent trials to clear their hearts from the rust of self-love, but intermixing seasons of consolation.4 "Joseph," says he, "is anxious on seeing the Virgin with child; an angel removes that fear; he rejoices at the child's birth, but a great fear succeeds; the furious king seeks to destroy the child, and the whole city is in an uproar to take away his life. This is followed by another joy- the adoration of the Magi; a new sorrow then arises; he is ordered to fly into a foreign unknown country, without help or acquaintance." It is the opinion of the Fathers that upon their entering Egypt, at the presence of the child Jesus all the oracles of that superstitious country were struck dumb, and the statues of their gods trembled, and in many places fell to the ground, according to that of Isaiah xix.: The Fathers also attribute to this holy visit the spiritual benediction poured on that country, which made it for many ages most fruitful in saints.
After the death of King Herod, which was notified to St. Joseph by a vision, God ordered him to return with the child and his mother into the land of Israel, which our saint readily obeyed. But when he arrived in Judea, hearing that Archelaus succeeded Herod in that part of the country, apprehensive he might be infected with his father's vices- cruelty and ambition-he feared on that account to settle there, as he would otherwise probably have done, for the more commodious education of the child. And therefore, being directed by God in another vision, he retired into the dominions of his brother Herod Antipas, in Galilee, to his former habitation in Nazareth, where the wonderful occurrences of our Lord's birth were less known. St. Joseph being a strict observer of the Mosaic law, in conformity to its direction annually repaired to Jerusalem to celebrate the passover. Archelaus being banished by Augustus and Judea made a Roman province, he had now nothing more to fear at Jerusalem. Our Saviour being advanced to the twelfth year of his age, accompanied his parents thither; who, having performed the usual ceremonies of the feast, were now returning with many of their neighbours and acquaintances towards Galilee, and, never doubting but that Jesus had joined himself with some of the company, they travelled on for a whole day's journey without further inquiry after him before they discovered that he was not with them. But when night came on, and they could hear no tidings of him among their kindred and acquaintance, they, in the deepest affliction, returned with the utmost speed to Jerusalem; where, after an anxious search of three days, they found him in the temple, sitting among the learned doctors of the law, hearing them discourse, and asking them such questions as raised the admiration of all that heard him, and made them astonished at the ripeness of his understanding: nor were his parents less surprised on this occasion. And when his mother told him with what grief and earnestness they had sought him, and to express her sorrow for that, though short, privation of his presence, said to him, "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I sought thee in great affliction of mind": she received for answer that, being the Messias and Son of God, sent by his Father into the world in order to redeem it, he must be about his Father's business, the same for which he had been sent into the world; and therefore that it was most likely for them to find him in his Father's house: intimating that his appearing in public on this occasion was to advance his Father's honour, and to prepare the princes of the Jews to receive him for the Messias; pointing out to them from the prophets the time of his coming. But though in thus staying in the temple, unknown to his parents, he did something without their leave, in obedience to his heavenly Father, yet in all other things he was obedient to them, returning with them to Nazareth, and there living in all dutiful subjection to them.
Aelred, our countryman, Abbot of Rieval, in his sermon on losing the child Jesus in the temple, observes that this his conduct to his parents is a true representation of that which he shows us, whilst he often withdraws himself for a short time from us to make us seek him the more earnestly. He thus describes the sentiments of his holy parents on this occasion."5 Let us consider what was the happiness of that blessed company, in the way to Jerusalem, to whom it was granted to behold his face, to hear his sweet words, to see in him the signs of divine lie wisdom and virtue; and in their mutual discourse to receive the influence of his saving truths and example. The old and young admire him. I believe boys of his age were struck with astonishment at the gravity of his manners and words. I believe such rays of grace darted from his blessed countenance as drew on him the eyes, ears, and hearts of every one. And what tears do they shed when he is not with them." He goes on considering what must be tie grief of his parents when they had lost him; what their sentiments, and how earnest their search: but what their joy when they found him again. "Discover to me," says he, "O my Lady, Mother of my God, what were your sentiments, what your astonishment and your joy when you saw him again, and sitting, not among boys, but amidst the doctors of the law: when you saw every one's eyes fixed on him, every one's ears listening to him, great and small, learned and unlearned, intent only on his words and motions. You now say: I have found him whom I love. I will hold him, and will no more let him part from me. Hold him, sweet Lady, hold him fast; rush on his neck dwell on his embraces, and compensate the three days' absence by multiplied delights in your present enjoyment of him. You tell him that you and his father sought him in grief. For what did you grieve? not for fear of hunger or want in him whom you knew to be God: but I believe you grieved to see yourself deprived of the delights of his presence even for a short time; for the Lord Jesus is so sweet to those who taste him, that his shortest absence is a subject of the greatest grief to them." This mystery is an emblem of the devout soul, and Jesus sometimes withdrawing himself, and leaving her in dryness, that she may be more earnest in seeking him. But, above all, how eagerly ought the soul which has lost God by sin to seek him again, and how bitterly ought she to deplore her extreme misfortune!
As no further mention is made of St. Joseph, he must have died before the marriage of Cana and the beginning of our divine Saviour's ministry. We cannot doubt but he had the happiness of Jesus and Mary attending at his death, praying by him, assisting and comforting him in his last moments: whence he is particularly invoked for the great grace of a happy death, and the spiritual presence of Jesus in that tremendous hour. The church reads the history of the Patriarch Joseph on his festival, who was styled the saviour of Egypt, which he delivered from perishing by famine; and was appointed the faithful master of the household of Potiphar, and of that of Pharaoh and his kingdom. But our great saint was chosen by God the saviour of the life of him who was the true Saviour of the souls of men, rescuing him from the tyranny of Herod. He is now glorified in heaven, as the guardian and keeper of his Lord on earth. As Pharaoh said to the Egyptians in their distress, "Go to Joseph"; so may we confidently address ourselves to the mediation of him, to whom God, made man, was subject and obedient on earth.
The devout Gerson expressed the warmest devotion to St. Joseph, which he endeavoured by letters and sermons to promote. He composed an office in his honour, and wrote his life in twelve poems, called Josephina. He enlarges on all the circumstances of his life by pious affections and meditations. St. Teresa chose him the chief patron of her order. In the sixth chapter of her life she writes thus: "I chose the glorious St. Joseph for my patron, and I commend myself in all things singularly to his intercession. I do not remember ever to have asked of God anything by him which I did not obtain. I never knew anyone who, by invoking him, did not advance exceedingly in virtue; for he assists in a wonderful manner all who address themselves to him." St. Francis of Sales, throughout his whole nineteenth entertainment, extremely recommends devotion to him, and extols his merits, principally his virginity, humility, constancy, and courage. The Syrians and other eastern churches celebrate his festival on the 20th of July; the western church on the 19th of March. Pope Gregory XV in 1621, and Urban VIII in 1642, commanded it to be kept a holiday of obligation.
The holy family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph presents to us the most perfect model of heavenly conversation on earth. How did those two seraphim, Mary and Joseph, live in their poor cottage! They always enjoyed the presence of Jesus, always burning with the most ardent love for him, inviolably attached to his sacred person, always employed and living only for him. What were their transports in beholding him, their devotion in listening to him, and their joy in possessing him! O heavenly life! O anticipation of the heavenly bliss! O divine conversation! We may imitate them, and share some degree of this advantage, by conversing often with Jesus, and by the contemplation of his most amiable goodness, kindling the fire of his holy love in our breasts. The effects of this love, if it be sincere, will necessarily appear in our putting on his spirit, and imitating his example and virtues; and in our studying to walk continually in the divine presence, finding God everywhere, and esteeming all the time lost which we do not spend with God, or for his honor.


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