Tuesday, May 8, 2012



Vatican City, 8 May 2012 (VIS) - The Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) has organised the twelfth European Congress for Catechists, which is being held in Rome from 7 to 10 May on the theme: "Christian Initiation from the Perspective of New Evangelisation". The event will dedicate particular attention to children and young people between the ages of 7 and 16.
The meeting, which is being coordinated by the CCEE's commission for catechesis, schools and universities, is being attended by bishops and by national directors for catechesis from European episcopal conferences. It is taking place with a view to forthcoming Year of Faith, and in the context of Church reflections on new evangelisation in the year marking the twentieth anniversary of the Publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Vatican Council II.
Work began yesterday with the presentation of the results of a survey of more than 3,600 children and young people, which will serve as the basis for discussion during the congress. The themes of the survey include: family, friends school and their influence on the Christian initiation of children; the Christian community, it members and its liturgical life; and the importance of the children's personal journey towards God.
On Wednesday 9 May, the participants will attend Mas at the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major, celebrated by Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary and president of the CCEE.

Vatican City, 8 May 2012 (VIS) - An Agreement was signed this morning at the seat of government of Lower Saxony between the Holy See and that German "Land", modifying the Concordat of 26 February 1965, according to a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office.
The Agreement was signed by Archbishop Jean-Claude Perisset, apostolic nuncio to Germany, as plenipotentiary of the Holy See, and by David McAllister, minster-president of Lower Saxony.
On the ecclesiastical side, the signing ceremony was attended by Bishop Norbert Trelle of Hildesheim; by Msgr. Felix Bernhard, director of the Catholic Office of Lower Saxony for the Land's relations with the dioceses of Hildesheim, Munster (Oldenburg) and Osnabruck, and by diocesan directors for Catholic schools regulated by the Concordat. Among those present on the government side were the minister of culture of Lower Saxony and a number of high-ranking cabinet functionaries.
The document signed today updates paragraph 6 of the Annex to the Concordat and its relative implementation agreement (Durchführungsvereinbarung) in the light of the current legislation of Lower Saxony, which has introduced the definition of high school. The modifications are intended to meet the needs of Catholic schools regulated by the Concordat.

Vatican City, 8 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Stephen Robson of the clergy of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 5,504, population 1,521,000, Catholics 115,000, priests 151, permanent deacons 3, religious 165). The bishop-elect was born in Carliste, England in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1979. He studied in Scotland and in Rome then worked in pastoral care in the archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. From 1998 to 2006 he was spiritual director of the Pontifical Scottish Seminary in Rome.


ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY RELEASE: Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
7 May 2012

Ephpehta Centre's Youthful Signing Choir At Strathfield Mass
The Charitable Works Fund (CWF) launched its May Pastoral Appeal yesterday and hopes to raise $3 million to help support six important agencies within the Archdiocese of Sydney.
The agencies assisted in this way are the Ephpheta Centre which provides practical help as well as pastoral care to Sydney's 500-strong community of the deaf and hearing impaired; the Seminary of the Good Shepherd at Homebush; the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine which provides religious education and resources for Catholic children at public schools; the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry which promotes reconciliation and mutual understanding as well as providing pastoral care and support for Sydney's Catholic Aboriginals; and some of the more than 100 programs delivered by CatholicCare, the welfare arm of the Archdiocese.
In addition the CWF helps fund the Archdiocese of Sydney's chaplaincies which provide support and pastoral care to those in prison or in hospital to the seamen on board the tankers and freighters that dock at our ports. The CWF also pays the cost of tuition for 22 candidates for the priesthood studying at the Redemptoris Mater Missionary Seminary of the Neocatechumenal Way at Chester Hill.

The Ephpheta Centre offers
Sydney's deaf community
a social network
as well as pastoral care
"The generosity of our parishioners to our annual CWF Pastoral Appeals have made it possible to continue to make a real difference in people's lives," says Father Philip Linder, Chairman of the CWF.

For the past nine years, the ongoing big-hearted donations, bequests and pledges from Sydneysiders has enabled the CWF to continue its vital support to these agencies which provide practical as well as pastoral care to many thousands of men, women and children across the city.
Each year, Catholic Care, which is one of the city's largest not-for-profit community service providers, delivers locally based intervention and prevention programs as well as a wide range of other programs ranging from job skill training and employment, to aged care and assistance for those with disabilities, as well as help with parenting.
The Ephpheta Centre is equally important providing a social network, support base and pastoral care to the profoundly deaf and hard of hearing as well as conducting regular Masses in ASLAM, Australian sign language.
The Catholic Aboriginal Ministry is another essential agency and since February this year, in addition to fortnightly Masses being celebrated at the Church of Reconciliation at La Perouse, Mass has been held on alternate Sundays in the inner city at the Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, St Mary's, Erskineville.

CatholicCare helps 50,000 families each year
and provides vital help for children at risk
To find out more about each of these agencies including the Seminary of the Good Shepherd and the Redemptoris Mater Missionary Seminary, and their impressive and far-reaching work, obtain a copy of the latest CWF Newsletter from your local parish or log on to


Cite decree on minority communities in the predominantly Muslim province
Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
May 8, 2012
Local officials in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam province last week closed three Christian churches in the predominantly Muslim region where sharia law is enforced.
Local media reports said the churches, two Catholic and one Protestant, were closed because of their failure to meet the requirements of a 2006 decree by the religious affairs and home ministries.
The decree states that any religious community that is not part of the local majority must have at least 90 members of the congregation and the approval of at least 60 people from other religious communities in order to build a house of worship.
“The churches … were sealed simultaneously [on May 1],” said Frans R Zai, a Capuchin seminarian from Sibolga diocese yesterday.
However, Zai said the motive for the closures was unclear.
“The Church in Napagaluh village, for example, was built in 1974. Why did the local government close it after 38 years? In fact, the joint ministerial decree and governor’s regulation were just presented a few years ago.”
Local media reports said that members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and police officers from the Public Order unit were dispatched to close the churches.
Zai said the closures were politically motivated rather than a sign of escalating religious conflict.
“Although some perpetrators were members of FPI, the motive was not social or interreligious conflict. It was the impact of the regional elections,” Zai said.
He added that the elections, held last month, had tipped the balance of power in the province, where Christians were a small minority, and that discussions on the matter would be held on May 10.
Theophilus Bela, secretary-general of the Indonesian Committee on Religion and Peace, said he would ask for help from the government.
“The local government should not take such [unreasonable] actions against Catholic and Protestant minority groups,” he said.


CISA REPORT:(CISA) -Bishop John Namanzah Niyiring of Kano in Nigeria, described 10 Catholics who were killed during a terrorist attack on April 29 at St Stephen chaplaincy, Bayero University Kano as martyrs.
Bishop Niyiring was speaking at the requiem Mass celebrated for all the 10 deceased Catholics at Our Lady of Fatima Cathedral.
He described the death as painful, saying the Catholic Church honours those who died in their faith.
The bishop said, “These beloved Catholics who we mourn today were killed inside the church while worshiping God.”
“We must rejoice with them because they have died as martyrs who will receive God’s merciful judgment.”
According to Vanguard, the bishop called upon Nigerian Catholics to draw strength from the deaths and remain steadfast in the face of persecution.
The Boko Haram terrorist group is suspected of mounting the attack.


Phyllis Bowman has died | Phyllis Bowman, Right to Life

Phyllis Bowman
Phyllis Bowman, founder of Right to Life, and one of the world's leading pro-life campaigners against abortion and euthanasia died peacefully this morning in Hammersmith Hospital with her family at her side. Pro-lifers around the world are mourning her passing.

The following statements have been issued today by close friends of Phyllis:

Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe, former Home Office Minister and Conservative MP and a life-long pro-life campaigner today said:

"Phyllis Bowman's contribution to the pro-life cause was unique but her work will be carried on and she is probably already getting the heavenly hosts organised. Right to Life has lost a much loved founder and all of us a much loved friend. The biggest tribute we can pay her is to ensure her vigorous defence of the helpless unborn child continues unabated."

Prof Lord Alton of Liverpool, who as Lib Dem MP, David Alton, brought forward many measures to tighten the law on abortion today said:

"For half a century Phyllis has been an indefatigable champion of the unborn child and for the sanctity of human life. Her tireless efforts, right up to her final illness and last days, serve as an inspiration to the next generation. She was an extraordinarily talented woman, utterly dedicated, highly articulate, politically shrewd and the possessor of an encyclopedic memory. Her early training as a Fleet Street journalist never left her short of things to say. Her Christian faith and her beloved husband, Jerry, kept her strong throughout years of having to fight endless battles against abortion, embryo experimentation, human cloning and euthanasia. Her name deserves to be associated with some of the great women who have given their lives to great causes - Elizabeth Fry, Florence Nightingale, Emmeline Pankhurst, Cicely Saunders, Mother Teresa and Sue Ryder."

Chris Whitehouse, Secretary of the Catholic Legislators' Network and a Trustee of Phyllis Bowman's Right to Life Charitable Trust added:

"Phyllis Bowman was one of the key foundation stones upon which the world pro-life movement was built. Her legacy is that despite the rising tide of the culture of death, hundreds of thousands are alive today who would otherwise have been slaughtered in the womb; and that the United Kingdom has to date resisted the introduction of euthanasia. She was a lantern of hope in the dark, and will continue to shine through the generations of young pro-lifers whom she inspired."


Agenzia Fides REPORT- 46 deaths is the toll due to the rains affecting Colombia, where there are 113,602 homeless, according to the report of the National Unit for the Disaster Risk Management (UNGRD). From the data collected by Fides, and according to the report of this Unit of government, the rainfall affecting the country since mid-March, have caused enormous calamity and disasters in 417 municipalities of 28 of the 32 departments that make up Colombia. There are 483 homes destroyed, while 18,096 others are declared unfit for damages. Furthermore, relief agencies reported 10 missing.
Moreover not all roads are accessible: there are 381 roads damaged, which further hinders rescue. Two weeks ago the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, had promulgated the Law of Disaster Risk Management, an initiative that aims to enable the State to respond and prevent similar tragedies.
There are areas like Montería and Sincelejo where the water has reached a height of five feet, and has entered homes and has destroyed everything. In addition to the danger created by the crumbling of the walls of houses and various buildings, now soaked with water, the population must also beware of the danger of snake bites, as happened yesterday to two members of the National Police engaged in rescue, because the water carries reptiles in areas where one does not imagine them to be. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 08/05/2012)


John 14: 27 - 31

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
28 You heard me say to you, `I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.
29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe.
30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me;
31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go hence


St. Peter of Tarantaise
Feast: May 8

Feast Day: May 8
Born: 1102, Saint-Maurice-l'Exil near Vienne, a town ot the Rhône-Alpes
Died: 1174, Bellevaux Abbey
Major Shrine: 1191 by Pope Celestine III
He was a native of Dauphine. A strong inclination to learning, assisted by a good genius and a happy memory, carried him very successfully through his studies. At twenty years of age he took the Cistercian habit at Bonnevaux, a monastery that had been lately filled by a colony sent by St. Bernard from Clairvaux. They employed a great part of the day in hewing wood, and tilling the ground in the forest, in perpetual silence and interior prayer. They ate but once a day, and their fare was herbs or roots, mostly turnips of a coarse sort. Four hours in the twenty-four was the usual allowance for sleep; so that, rising at midnight, they continued in the church till it was morning, and returned no more to rest: which was the primitive custom of that order. Peter practiced the greatest austerities with fervor and alacrity: he was most exactly obedient, obliging to all, humble, and modest. His pious parents, after the birth of four children, lived in perpetual continency, and the practice of rigorous abstinence, prayed much, and gave large alms: their house they seemed to turn into a hospital, so great was the number of poor and strangers they constantly entertained, whom they furnished with good beds, while they themselves often lay on straw. The father and his two other sons at length followed Peter to Bonnevaux and the mother and daughter embraced the same order in a neighboring nunnery. The year after Peter had taken the monastic habit, his example was followed by Amedeus, nearly related to the emperor Conrad III., and sixteen other persons of worth and distinction. Amedeus, indeed, having there made his solemn profession with the rest, by the advice of persons of great virtue and discretion, spent some time at Cluni, the better to superintend his son's education, in the school established there for the education of youth: but he returned after some time to Bonnevaux; and made it his request, at his readmission, that he might be enjoined the lowest offices in the house. To this the abbot, for his greater advancement in humility and penance, consented. The earl of Albion, his uncle, coming one day to see him, found him in a sweat, cleaning the monks' dirty shoes, and, at the same time, so attentive to his prayers, as not to perceive him. The earl remembering in what state he had seen him in the world, was so struck and so much edified at this spectacle, that he ever after retained the deep impression which it made on his mind, and published it at court. Amedeus built four monasteries of his order: among which was that of Tamies, or Stomedium, in the desert mountains of the diocese of Tarentaise, of which he procured his intimate friend St. Peter, not then quite thirty years of age, to be appointed the first abbot, in 1128. Amedeus worked himself with his spade and mattock in building some of these monasteries, and died at Bonnevaux, in the odor of sanctity, in 1140. His son Amedeus, for whose education in piety he had always the greatest concern, after having spent part of his youth in the court of his kinsman the emperor, became a Cistercian monk under St. Bernard, at Clairvaux, and died bishop of Lausanne.
The monastery of Tamies seemed a house of terrestrial angels; so constantly were its inhabitants occupied in the employment of angels, paying to God an uninterrupted homage of praise, adoration, and love. St. Peter, by the help of Amedeus III., count of Savoy, founded in it a hospital to receive all the poor sick persons of the country, and all strangers; and would be himself its servant to attend them. In 1142, the count of Savoy procured his election to the archbishopric of Tarentaise, and he was compelled by St. Bernard and the general chapter of his order, though much against his own inclinations, to accept of that charge. Indeed, that diocese stood extremely in need of such an apostolic pastor, having been usurped by a powerful ambitious wolf, named Idrael, whose deposition left it in the most desolate condition. The parish-churches and tithes were sacrilegiously held by laymen; and the clergy, who ought to have stemmed the torrent of iniquity, contributed but too often to promote irregularity by their own wicked example. The sight of these evils drew tears from the eyes of the saint, with which he night and day implored the divine mercy upon the souls intrusted to his care. He directed all his fasts, his prayers, and labors, for the good of his flock: being persuaded that the sanctification of the people committed to his charge was an essential condition for securing his own salvation. He altered nothing in the simplicity of a monastic life, and looked on the episcopal character as a laborious employment rather than a dignity. His clothes were plain, and his food coarse; for he ate nothing but brown bread, herbs, and pulse, of which the poor had always their share. He made the constant visitation of his diocese his employ; he everywhere exhorted and instructed his whole charge with unwearied zeal and invincible patience, and besides, he provided the several parishes of his diocese with able and virtuous pastors. When he came to his bishopric, he found the chapter of his cathedral full of irregularities, and the service of God performed in a very careless manner; but he soon made that church a pattern of good order and devotion. He recovered the tithes and other revenues of the church that had been usurped by certain powerful laymen; made many excellent foundations for the education of youth, and the relief of the poor; repaired several churches, and restored everywhere devotion and the decent service of God. The author of his life, who was the constant companion of his labors, and the witness of the greatest part of his actions after he was made bishop, assures us he wrought many miracles in several places, chiefly in curing the sick, and multiplying provisions for the poor in times of great distress; so that he was regarded as a new Thaumaturgus. The confusion his humility suffered from the honors he received, joined to his love of solitude, made him resolve to retire from the world; and accordingly, in 1155, after he had borne the weight of the episcopal character thirteen years, having settled his diocese in good order, he disappeared on a sudden; and made his way to a retired monastery of Cistercians in Germany, where he was not known. In the mean time, his family and diocese mourned for the loss of their tender father. Strict inquiry was made in all the neighboring provinces, especially in the monasteries, but in vain; till, after some time, divine providence discovered him by the following accident. A young man, who had been brought up under his care, came to the monastery in which he lay concealed, and upon observing the monks as they were going out of the church to their work, he knew his bishop, and made him known to the whole community. The religious no sooner understood who he was, but they all fell at his feet, begged his blessing, and expressed much concern for not having known him before. The saint was inconsolable at being discovered, and was meditating a new escape, but he was so carefully watched, that it was not in his power; so that he was forced to go back to his diocese, where he was received with the greatest demonstrations of joy. He applied himself to his functions with greater vigor than ever. The poor were always the object of his peculiar care. He was twice discovered to have given away, with the hazard of his own life, in extreme cold weather in winter, the waistcoat which he had on his back. For three months before the harvest he distributed general alms among all the inhabitants of the mountains, provisions being always very scarce there at that season. He founded hospitals on the Alps, for the entertainment of poor travellers; because, before that time, many perished for the want of such a succor. To preserve in his heart the spirit of devotion and penance, he continued to practise, as much as possible, all the austerities and other rules of his order, only commuting manual labor for the spiritual functions of his charge. By his conversation with the God of peace, he imbibed an eminent spirit of that virtue, and learned, by humility and charity, to be truly the man of peace; having also a singular talent for extinguishing the most implacable and inveterate enemies. He often reconciled sovereign princes when they were at variance, and prevented several bloody wars. The emperor Frederic I. set up Octavian, a schismatical pope, under the name of Victor, against Alexander III. St. Peter was almost the only subject of the empire who had the courage openly to oppose his unjust attempt, and he boldly defended the cause of justice in presence of the tyrant, and in many councils. The emperor, who banished others that spoke in favor of that cause, stood in awe of his sanctity: and Peter, by his mild counsels, frequently softened his fierceness, and checked the boisterous sallies of his fury, while, like a roaring lion, he spread terror on every side. The saint preached in Alsace, Burgundy, Lorraine, and in many parts of Italy; and confounded the obstinate by numberless miraculous cures of the sick, performed by the imposition of his hands and prayer. He was ordered by the pope to go into France and Normandy, to endeavor a reconciliation between the kings of England and France, who had made peace in 1169, but quarrelled again the next year. Though then very old, he preached wherever he went. Louis VII. sent certain gentlemen of his court to meet him at a great distance, and received him with the greatest marks of honor and respect; but honors and crowds were of all things the most troublesome to the saint. The man of God restored the use of sight to one blind in the presence of the count of Flanders, and many other noblemen, who were at that time with the king of France: who, being also himself an eye-witness, examined carefully all the circumstances, and declared the miracle to be evident and incontestable. The saint went from Paris to Chaumont, on the confines of Normandy, where Henry II., king of England, met him: and when he arrived in sight of the holy man, alighted from his horse, and coming Up, fell at his feet. The people stole the cloak or hood of St. Peter, and were going to cut it in pieces to divide the scraps, being persuaded that they would perform miracles. But the king took the whole cloak for himself, saying: I have myself seen miraculous cures performed by his girdle, which I already possess." In his presence, the saint restored the use of speech to a girl that was dumb. On Ash-Wednesday, in 1171, St. Peter being at the Cistercian abbey of Mortemer, in the diocese of Rouen, the king of England came thither with his whole court, and received ashes from his hands. The archbishop prevailed on the two kings to put an end to their differences by a treaty of peace, and to procure councils to be assembled in their dominions, in which Alexander's title should be solemnly recognised. The holy man hereupon returned to his church, but was some time after sent again by the pope to the king of England, to endeavor to compose the difference between him and his son: but his journey had not the desired effect. He fell sick on his return, and died the death of the just, at Bellevaux, a monastery of his order, in the diocese of Besancon, in 1174, being seventy-three years old. He was canonized by pope Celestine III., in 1191. See his life written nine years after his death by Geoffrey, some time his companion, and afterwards abbot of Hautecombe, by the order of pope Lucius III. See also Le Nain, t. 2, p. 83.


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