Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Vatican City, 23 May 2012 (VIS) - "God is our Father because He is our Creator. Each one of us, each man and each woman, is a miracle of God, desired by Him and known personally by Him. ... For Him we are not anonymous and impersonal, we have a name. The Holy Spirit, which speaks within us and says 'Abba! Father!', leads us to this truth, communicating it to the most intimate depths of our being and filling our prayer with serenity and joy". These words were pronounced this morning by the Holy Father to more than 20,000 faithful filling St. Peter's Square for his weekly general audience.
The Holy Father focused his catechesis on two passages from the Letters of St. Paul, wherein the Apostle speaks of the power of the Holy Spirit which enables us to call God "Abba", our Father. The Pope explained that "that great master of prayer which is the Holy Spirit teaches us to address God with the affectionate terms of children, calling Him 'Abba, Father'. This is what Jesus did, even at the most dramatic moment of His earthly life. He never lost faith in the Father and always invoked Him with the intimacy of a beloved Son". (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
The Holy Spirit, gift of the risen Christ, "places us in a filial relationship with God, a relationship of profound trust, like that of children; a filial relationship analogous to that of Jesus though different in origin and importance. Jesus is the eternal Son of God Who became flesh, while we become God's children in time through faith in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation".
The Holy Father went on: "Perhaps mankind today does not perceive the beauty, greatness and profound consultation contained in the word 'Father' with which we can address God in prayer, because often the paternal figure is not sufficiently present or positive in daily life". Yet, the Pope explained, "the love of Jesus, the only-begotten Son Who even gave Himself on the cross, reveals the true nature of the Father: He is Love".
In his Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul tells us that the the Spirit cries out within us saying 'Abba! Father!', while in his Letter to the Romans he writes that we ourselves make this cry in the Spirit. The Apostle, Benedict XVI explained, "wants us to understand that Christian prayer is never unidirectional, from us to God. ... Rather, it is an expression of a reciprocal relationship in which it is always God Who acts first. It is the Spirit which cries within us, and we too can cry out because the impulse comes from the Holy Spirit. ... This presence opens our prayers and our lives to the horizons of the Trinity and the Church".
"When we address the Father in our hearts, in silence and meditation, we are never alone. ... We are within the great prayer of the Church, we are part of a great symphony which the Christian community in all places and times raises to God. ... Prayer guided by the Spirit causes us to cry out 'Abba! Father!' with Christ and in Christ. It makes us part of the great mosaic of the family of God, in which everyone has an important place and role, profoundly united to all things".
The Pope concluded his catechesis by exhorting the faithful: "When we pray, let us learn to appreciate the beauty of being friends, or rather children, of God, invoking Him with the confidence and trust of a child addressing his parents who love him. Let us open our prayers to the action of the Holy Spirit, that it may cry out within us: 'Abba! Father!'".

Vatican City, 23 May 2012 (VIS) - Following his catechesis in this morning's general audience, Benedict XVI pronounced greetings in various languages to the more than 20,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Speaking Polish, he recalled that next Sunday marks the Solemnity of Pentecost. "Together with Mary and the Apostles, let us persevere in prayer", he said. "With Christ, let us ask our Father God for His Spirit to permeate our thoughts and actions, that we may become increasingly worthy of the dignity of children of God".
In other languages the Holy Father said "Let us pray to God to send the Holy Spirit with abundance of gifts that we may become courageous witnesses of Christ. ... May the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost always support and nourish the life of faith of the Christian community. Dear young people, place the search for God above all other things. ... Dear sick people, may the Spirit be a help and comfort in your moment of greatest need".


John 17: 11 - 19
11 And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
12 While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled.
13 But now I am coming to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14 I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.
18 As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.


Singing Friar from Assisi goes on-line | Franciscan Friar,Saint Francis of Assisi, Porziuncola, 
Friar Alessandro Brustenghi,

Friar Alessandro
A Franciscan Friar from the original Porziuncola founded by Saint Francis of Assisi: the Porziuncola, has signed a deal with Universal. Alessandro Brustenghi debue album is called Voice from Assisi.

He is a Friar and a carpentar. Friar Alessandro Brustenghi performed at the 2012 International Decca Conference.

The order of St. Fracis will receive all proceeds.


Agencia Fides REPORT – The President has been treated in the hospital nearest to his office, but his injuries are not serious”, Don Edmondo Dembele, Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Mali, where yesterday a group of demonstrators attacked the President of the transition Dioncounda Traoré, informed Fides.
Don Dembele described the sequence of events to Fides Agency: “Yesterday morning May 21, in Bamako there were demonstrations, organized by several groups in reaction to the agreement reached with CEDEAO on May 20 according to which the rebel council was called to hand over power to a Head of State and a “transitional” government which will last for a year. (See Fides 21/5/2012). Some demonstrators were received by the Prime Minister, Cheick Modibo Diarra, who appealed for calm and patience, inviting the people to allow the transition government rule”.
“One part the demonstrators”, continued Don Dembele, “went toward the President’s residence on the hill of Koulouba. The President received the demonstrators and in the course of the meeting he was attacked. The President’s bodyguard reacted, it seems by shooting. We do not yet have precise information but it appears that among the attackers there are injured and perhaps one or two dead”.
The Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Mali affirms that “the demonstrators are supporters of the military of the rising and they did not accept the agreement with the CEDEAO. They are contrary, in particular, to the fact that Traoré is the President of the transition. Already for 3 or 4 days in Bamako there was a succession of demonstrations against prolonging Traoré’s mandate (who was interim President of the 40 days which expires today, 22 May)”
The political and institutional crisis in Bamako overlaps the one in the North of Mali, controlled by several troops (among which are an independent movement of some Islamic groups) “So long as there is no stable government recognized by the International community one cannot speak of control of the crisis in the North. What happened yesterday in Bamako is delaying the negotiations to resolve the question of the North” concludes Don Dembele.( L.M.) (Fides Agency 22/5/2012)


by Nirmala Carvalho
The St. Mary Athirampuzha (Syro-Malabar Church) will host three buildings on its land for 21 families. People will use it for 15 years, after paying a nominal rent. The goal is to educate young people to make them self reliant. The project is funded by the parishioners of the archdiocese.

Kottayam (AsiaNews) - The church of St. Mary Athirampuzha (Archdiocese of the Syro-Malabar Church of Changanassery, Kerala) is building apartments to house the poorest families in the area, without discrimination of caste or creed. To finance the Daiva Paripalana Bhavan project, the Church has sought free contributions of the parishioners, about 2,400 families. Guests of the new homes will pay a nominal rent and can stay there for 15 years, a period in which the Church will commit to educating and teaching children to make them self-sufficient in the future. On 27 May (first Sunday of Pentecost), the Archbishop Mgr. Mar Joseph Perumthottam will bless the launch of the construction

The project is expected to cost 12 million rupees (about 170 thousand euros) and involves the construction of three buildings on land owned by St. Mary, for a total of 21 apartments. Each of these will have two bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room and terrace. The ground floor will house a chapel and a common kitchen, to gather during the holidays. Once the 15 year term limit expires, the family will be replaced by another occupant.

Fr. Hands Puthiyidam, pastor of the church and the mind behind the project, tells AsiaNews: "The basic purpose is to assist, together with the whole community, the children, to help them make new and creative choices for their future. For this, Bhavan's children will go to school at St. Aloysius or St. Mary, both run by the Church. "

The priest, who earned a doctorate from the Pontifical Gregorian University, adds: "Currently, we have already received 50 requests, from which we will select people who really need it. We will ask the families a small amount of rent, to make them feel part of this project and to encourage respect for themselves and the property. "

Erected in 1887, the Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Changanassery has a total population of about 9.4 million people, of which 385 thousand (4%) are Catholics. In total counts it 267 parishes, 575 priests and 2,700 religious.


Tuesday 22 May 2012
In his letter to schools and parishes Father Joe Caddy, Director of CatholicCare’s Family week, urged us to reflect on the challenges facing families today. He asked for school communities “to reflect on the mission of the Church to support those who are struggling or suffering in any way”.

The Genazzano Social Justice Committee, the Mission Representatives and the St Vincent de Paul group sat down to work out how the College community could take up the challenge provided by Family Week.

Companionship is part of the Genazzano ethos, echoing the charism of the Faithful Companions of Jesus who founded the school and so the task of raising awareness of the struggle many families face at this time, is supported by the College vision. There are opportunities in a school community to do this and we decided to design a desktop for the College website that would remind us all, when we opened our computers that this was Family Week. Talia Contini, the Arts and Communication Prefect designed a great image that provided such a reminder. The Daily Bulletin always contains a prayer and for this week our College prayer suggested our need to support all families in whatever circumstances they experience.

As a more practical strategy, we decided to organise a blanket and warm clothes collection for our local St Vincent de Paul conference. As the different groups of students met to plan this action, the Mission Representatives, the Social Justice Representatives and the St Vincent de Paul group we were aware of the ties that bound us into the community, the family, of the school. The Genazzano students and staff responded generously to this appeal and we delivered a pile of bedding and clothes to the staff at the Vinnies Opportunity Shop in Collingwood. These items will assist some of the most vulnerable members of the Melbourne community stay warm during the coming winter months.

Genazzano is a P-12 College and for our younger students, we organised a Jump4Justice day, where the Prep -6 students collected sponsors for their skipping and were able to raise $944.40 over a couple of lunchtimes. We are really grateful for the generosity of our parents and grandparents who supported this appeal.

On 29 May the whole school will be involved in a Dress for A Cause Day. On days like this the students pay a gold coin and pay for the privilege of coming to school in casual clothes. Proceeds from the day will go to support Catholic Care whose values include the responsible use of resources.

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the importance of the family. He said “Within the family, children develop their potentialities, discover their dignity and prepare to face their individual destiny.” In our experience of Family Week we have tried to help with the support all families need to achieve this. In our efforts we have reflected on the great gift our own families provide to all of us.

Genazzano Social Justice and Mission Group
Images courtesy of Genazzano FCJ College.


On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. / I adore the brightness of Your purity the unerring keenness of Your justice and the might of Your love. You are the Strength / and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart! To be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light: and listen to Your voice and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You / by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds / and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart / I implore You / Adorable Spirit I Helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere / “Speak Lord for Your servant heareth.” Amen.
O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul / the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth / the Spirit on Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude, that I may bear my cross with You I and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God find know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable / the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples / and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.
If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn'd to ill.
The Gift of Understanding
Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion BY faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to "walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God."
Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.

(Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father 7 TIMES. Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)


I am currently in Guatemala, volunteering with Wells of Hope, a charitable organization that brings clean drinking water to the poor mountain people of Jalapa, Guatemala. They also build schools, homes, and bring necessary supplies, medical and dental aid to these people.

We have been here for 6 days now and the experience is nothing less than phenomenal!!! I cannot express what I have seen here. You must see it for yourself to understand.

Today's events:
6:15 am: Some friends I met last year (Paula and her children) came to visit us. We made a small garden for her last year. I gave her some gifts from Canada. This is my "special family." We had coffee together, and also gave her some clothes. Three of the children desperately needed new shoes. We found one pair here and I bought two pairs at the market this afternoon. I asked them if they are cold at night (I am, a little). She said "Yes," so I gave them both of the sleeping bags we brought up from Canada. There are others we can use while we're here. Paula's house is very poorly made.

7:15 am: We walked down to the mill to grind corn, as all the local women do, daily. We came home and make tortilllas later.

8:30 am: Delivered three loads of adobe bricks to a family whose house is being built, compliments of Wells of Hope. This family has a newborn baby, 3 weeks old, and two other young children. They are currently living in a tarp house (no exaggeration). I call it a "house that isn't a house." Carrying the bricks is gruelling work but when you pass their house and see the mother and children, you don' t mind at all! An adobe house costs only about $2500 to build and can be done in about three weeks.

11:30 am: Delivered toys and supplies to another family. Their newborn baby was sleeping in a homemade hammock made out of a grain bag! Peacefully sleeping. There were ducklings and baby chicks waddling all around us.
The bricks are heavy and the work is hard, but we have fun while we're at it.
Wall construction under way.
Cost of house: $2500... Takes 3 weeks to build. Floors: usually dirt; and the roof: metal sheets.

In addition...

12:30: A meal of honour for Wells of Hope!!! This community received a well and they all worked together to finish the pipeline so that the women no longer had to walk downhill and back up a great distance, to bring water to their homes. It was a great community effort and they were SO THANKFUL to Ted and the Wells of Hope teams to do this for them. Alyssa, Mike and I did not help in this effort, but we were fortunate to be here when the community wanted to "officially thank the team" with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and an Appreciation meal. We all felt so honoured and humbled! We had a great time with the kids too. Once you break through their shyness, they won't leave you alone! We loved it!

2:30 pm: Off to a brief meeting and then dropped off our homemade tortillas for a family. On our way home, Ted drove us up, up, up another mountain, through last year's cornfield to show us a house that they found yesterday, because a request was made for a new home. This home is made out of cornstalks, with tarps for a roof! Inside was one bed that looks like a primitive bed that was used in pioneer times. This house is totally inadequate and will not protect the family when the rainy season comes. I did not feel sad when I saw it because I know that within about three weeks this family will have a brand new house!

3:30 pm: Jalapa market. We bought some machetes.... Yes! machetes! and some other items. Lots of fun and very interesting.

That is it for the day, pretty much. A very full day and now we are all tired. We are all very thankful for what we have. We are among the rich of this world. I can also say that spending this time with the Vander Zalm family and sharing in their work really brings out the best in us.

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