Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Vatican City, 9 May 2012 (VIS) - "From the first moment of my election as Successor of St. Peter I have always felt supported by the prayers of the Church, by your prayers, especially at moments of greatest difficultly, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart", said Benedict XVI today during his general audience. "Constant choral prayer is also an important way to overcome any trials that may arise on life's journey, because it is by being profoundly united to God that we can also be profoundly united to others". (RADIO VATICANA REPORT)
As part of a series of catecheses dedicated to the early Church, this morning the Holy Father focused his remarks on the last episode of St. Peter's life recounted in the Acts of the Apostles, when he was imprisoned by Herod Agrippa then freed by an angel of the Lord.
The Pope reminded the 10,000 faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that, while the Apostle was in prison, the Church prayed for him constantly. Thus, the Holy Father explained, "the power of the Church’s incessant prayer rose up to God; the Lord listened and sent His angel to ensure the Apostle was freed by an inconceivable and unexpected act of liberation".
The Pope then turned to consider Peter's actions while in prison, and the fact that he was sleeping which the angel came. "In such a critical and dangerous situation, this may seem strange, but it actually denotes tranquillity and trust", he said. "Peter trusted in God, he knew he was surrounded by the solidarity and support of his followers and so abandoned himself entirely into the hands of the Lord. This is how our prayer must be: assiduous, united with others, an expression of complete trust in God Who knows us in our most intimate selves and looks after us".
Once free, Peter went to the house of Mark's mother where many disciples were gathered in prayer. As in other episodes in the Acts of the Apostles, so also on this occasion "the response of the community to difficulties and peril was to entrust themselves to God, to intensify their relationship with Him", Pope Benedict said. In this context he also dwelt on another moment of difficult faced by the early Church, motivated by envy and disputes within the community. According to St. James, who recounts the episode, there were two reasons for the crisis: the fact that people allowed themselves to be dominated by their passions, especially selfishness, and the lack of prayer. That situation will change, the Apostle says, if the entire community prays together, assiduously and cohesively. This recommendation, the Pope explained, is "also an important call for us and for our communities, both small communities such as the family, and largercommunities such as the parish, the diocese and the Church as a whole".
The liberation of St. Peter, the Holy Father concluded, "tells us that the Church, and each one of us, must suffer difficulties, but the incessant vigilance of prayer supports us. ... With constant and trusting prayer the Lord frees us from our chains and guides us. ... He gives us serenity of heart to face the difficulties of life, even rejection, opposition and persecution. ... The Apostle Peter, though in chains, was calm and certain that he was not alone: the community was praying for him, the Lord was close. He knew that 'the power of Christ is fully expressed in weakness'".

Vatican City, 9 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Roque Costa Souza of the clergy of the archdiocese of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, rector of the "Sao Jose" major seminary, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 1,261, population 6,215,000, Catholics 3,772,000, priests 604, permanent deacons 144, religious 1,061). The bishop-elect was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1994. He has worked in pastoral care in a number of parishes and as chaplain to the military police in the State of Rio de Janeiro.


JOURNEY OF A BISHOP BLOG REPORT: The Most Reverend Martin W. Currie, Archbishop of St. John's has made known the death today of the Most Reverend William Aquin Carew, who served the Church for many years in the Vatican's diplomatic service.

Archbishop William Aquin Carew was born in St. John's October 23, 1922, only son of William J. Carew, C.B.E., K.C.S.S., and Mary Channing. There were three sisters who are all resident in St. John's. Educated at St. Bonaventure's College from 1927 to 1940, and at St. Paul's Seminary of the University of Ottawa, he was ordained to the priesthood June 15, 1947.

From 1950 to 1952 he specialised in diplomacy at the Pontificia Academia Ecclesiastica, the Vatican's diplomatic college in Rome. Returning to St. John's, Father Carew was Secretary to Archbishop P.J. Skinner during 1952-1953.

Returning to Rome, he became an official of the Vatican Secretariat of State from 1953 to 1969. He was bureau chief of the English language section from 1963 to 1969 and as such handled all Papal audiences by English-speaking heads of state and government.

Created a Supernumerary Privy Chamberlain of His Holiness in 1955, he became a Right Reverend Monsignor in 1964. Monsignor Carew accompanied His Holiness Pope Paul VI on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in January 1964 and on his visit to Uganda in 1969.

He was a member of the Papal Mission to the tercentenary of the Canadian Hierarchy in Quebec in October 1959 and to the quadricentennial of the evangelisation of the Philippines in Cebu, April 1965.

On November 27, 1969 he was named titular Archbishop of Telde and Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda-Burundi in Central Africa. He was consecrated January 4, 1970 in St. Peter's Basilica by the late Cardinal lldebrando Antoniutti, whom he had served as personal secretary at the Apostolic Delegation in Ottawa from 1947 to 1950.

Archbishop Carew arrived in Kigali, Rwanda, February 28, 1970 and served as Nuncio in both republics for four and a half years. In April 1972 he was sent as extraordinary envoy of His Holiness on a special mission to Bangladesh.

On May 10, 1974 the Archbishop was named Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine (including Israel and Jordan with residence in Jerusalem), as well as Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Cyprus and Apostolic Visitor to Greece. While in these posts he served as Grand Chancellor of the University of Bethlehem, Ecclesiastical Superior of the Advanced Theological Studies at Tantur, and of the House of Abraham Hospice in Jerusalem.

After nine and a half years as Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine (Jordan and Israel) and Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Cyprus, he was named Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Japan on August 30, 1983. Archbishop Carew arrived in Tokyo November 18, 1983, and presented Credential Letters to Emperor Hirohito on November 30, 1983. His Holiness Pope John Paul II went to Japan February 24-26 1981, visiting Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After retiring in 1997, Archbishop Carew returned to his native Newfoundland. Funeral details are pending.

Requiescat in pace.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "It was not the militants of Yafran to attack the seat of government, but those of Zeltan" say to Fides qualified sources from Tripoli, in Libya, where yesterday, May 8, a militia group attacked the headquarters of the Libyan government asking for the payment of fees owed to them for having fought for eight months against Muammar Qaddafi and his regime. The 200 militants had arrived on board of about 50 vehicles equipped with weapons of different calibers, including some anti-aircraft guns: they surrounded the seat of government, blocked all the surrounding roads and after firing the first gusts of intimidation and attempted to unnecessarily start a negotiation, they raided the building. The reaction of the security forces made it possible to release the seat of government and restore order. In the gunfight at least one person was killed and several others wounded
The sources of Fides, which for security reasons wish to remain anonymous, pointed out that this episode should be viewed in the struggle to get their hands on the "incredible amount of money left by Gaddafi. Everyone wants to have his/her share. The problem of the stabilization of Libya stems from here." "In Libya, there are still many bank accounts in Gaddafi’s name" continue Fides sources, and "bank managers are encouraged to transfer these funds to other shores." "There is an incredible flow of cash and gold, because there are 'treasures' of the old regime which are buried in the desert, and everybody is trying to get their hands on them, in one way or another," conclude our sources. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 09/05/2012)


Dublin: statement from Association of Catholic Priests | Association of Catholic Priests, Second Vatican Council, Irish Church,
A gathering in Dublin on Monday, 7 May, called by the Association of Catholic Priests has received a great deal of press coverage. The following statement was issued after the meeting:

'Over 1000 people, representative of a broad range of opinions in the Catholic Church, gathered today at a meeting called by the Association of Catholic Priests. The meeting agreed on the need to recapture as a matter of urgency the reforming vision of the Second Vatican Council.

The meeting called for a organised dialogue in the Irish Church, a dialogue that would work towards establishing appropriate structures that would reflect the participation of all the baptised. This dialogue should take place at parish, diocesan and national levels, and should address all issues facing our people at this time of crisis. We call on all who are concerned with the future of our Church, including our Church leaders, to participate in this dialogue.

Despite all the difficulties, despite the fear, today was a real experience of hope and of the presence of the Spirit among us all.'

For more information and links to further reports see:


Villagers caught in crossfire after troops stumble upon rebel fighters
Kerima Bulan T. Navales, Davao City
May 9, 2012
At least 150 people, most of them children, were forced to flee a remote village in Agusan del Sur province in Mindanao yesterday as a battle between government troops and communist guerrillas intensified.
The shooting started when government troops stumbled upon New People’s Army rebels in the village of New Visayas on Monday. The soldiers were in the area for a meeting with villagers as part of the government’s anti-insurgency campaign.
The villagers were told to flee yesterday when government troops ordered airstrikes against the rebels.
“The fighting yesterday lasted from eight in the morning until around noon. The military sent in helicopters and attack planes in the afternoon and dropped around eight bombs,” said Ricardo Caduplana, one of the fleeing villagers.
“The children were very scared. They didn’t stop crying,” he said.
The displaced families have sought temporary shelter at the nearby village of Pulang Lupa.
“We didn’t bring anything. We fled after hearing the first burst of gunfire,” said Ailyn Quilaton who left with her two young children.
“I hope it all ends soon,” she added.
The military said the residents had to leave the village in order for the soldiers to pursue the rebels.
“We have not received reports of civilian casualties or damage to property. But we have [internally displaced persons],” said army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Danilo Benavides.
He admitted that displacement of people “is something unavoidable in times of clashes because civilians really get scared.”
“Right now, we are taking care of them,” Lt Col Benavides said.


Social justice statement Tuesday 8 May 2012
By Denis Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Catholic Social Services Victoria
Around 60 members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul gathered in Melbourne on Saturday 5 May to consider how best to meet the needs of those who are caught up in the criminal justice system.

Several speakers outlined key features of the justice system in Victoria.
Fr Joe Caddy, Chief Executive Officer of CatholicCare Melbourne, and himself a prison chaplain, endorsed the view of Fr John Brosnan (1919 – 2003) that many of those in prison today are ‘more sinned against than sinned’.

Drawing on the 2011 Social Justice Statement from the Australian Catholic Bishops, Building Bridges not Walls, Fr Joe reflected that a truly safe society will be built through stronger families and communities that support children more effectively; and through political debate that takes the populist heat out of the issue, considers the effectiveness of alternatives to prison, and balances the allocation of resources rather than concentrating on expensive prison capacity.

Violet Lotter from VACRO provided inspiring and useful information on their programs to assist prisoners and their families. These included pre and post-release prisoner suppoVinnies justice system dayrt; mentoring for women leaving prison or on Community Service Orders; support for families and children of prisoners; etc. Violet presented an insightful analysis of the impact of imprisonment on children and on families.
Daniel Clements, manager of the Brosnan Centre at Jesuit Social Services, focused on engagement with young offenders. Daniel highlighted the small numbers of young people who are under youth justice supervision – just 0.3% of 10-17 year olds in Victoria. But he emphasised the need for us, as a society, to take steps as early as possible to prevent these young people becoming part of the system: almost half of this group enter supervision before the age of 15; and one third have been in the child protection system.

Prison ministry is grounded in the Society’s history. St Vincent de Paul (1551 – 1660) was himself imprisoned, and, later, ministered to men and women in prison and led the cause of prison reform in France. Blessed Frederick Ozanam (1813 – 1854), the founder of the Society, also engaged in prison ministry.

The Vincentian Prison Visitation Ministry in Victoria has for the past seven years engaged members of the Society in a range of ministries, varying with the need at the different prisons throughout the State. Outgoing coordinator of this Ministry, Austin Byrne, outlined its key features. These include: visiting with prisoners; a program to engage children who accompany a parent on prison visits; a contact and referral service in the visitors centre; and supporting the chaplaincy team in worship and fellowship in the prison. This specialised Ministry complements the support that local St Vincent de Paul Conferences provide to the families of prisoners, and their engagement with people who have left prison.
Many ideas and opportunities emerged, both for services of various kinds, and for work to build more just structures.

The Vincentian ministry could utilise more volunteers; there are openings for volunteers within Jesuit Social Services programs, including mentoring for young offenders from ethnic communities, and assistance to learner drivers at Dandenong; and fundraising is an ever-present need.
Several speakers emphasised keeping ourselves informed, and the importance of speaking out to friends, to politicians and to the media to correct the distortions around crime and punishment: there is indeed crime, which needs to be taken very seriously, but police data indicates that Victoria is quite a safe place, and the rate of crime has fallen significantly over the past decade. We should not let stridency and unbalanced publicity distort our political priorities, or prevent us adopting policies of prevention and support that would truly build a safer society. Catholic Social Services Victoria urged the Victorian Government to take a sensible approach to its policy of abolition of suspended sentences and called on it to avoid any steps that would increase levels of imprisonment at the cost of a more just and safer Victoria.

Support for prisoners and for a better system of criminal justice are at the heart of the Gospels’ teaching, and of the Church’s response over the centuries. The St Vincent de Paul Society has a proud place in that tradition. As a result of this forum, members should be better able to see the face of Christ in those who are imprisoned, and to work to meet the needs of all who suffer because of crime and our response to it.

• Only six per cent of adult male prisoners have completed secondary school or a trade
• indigenous Australians are 17 times more likely to be in prison
• mental and physical health problems, drug usage, unemployment prior to prison – these are the characteristics of so many of the 5,000 adults in Victorian prisons


John 15: 1 - 8
1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.


St. Pachomius
Feast: May 9

Feast Day: May 9
Born: 292, Thebes, Egypt
Died: 9 May 348, Egypt
Though St. Antony be justly esteemed the institutor of the cenobitic life, or that of religious persons living in community under a certain rule, St. Pachomius was the first who drew up a monastic rule in writing. He was born in Upper Thebais about the year 292, of idolatrous parents, and was educated in their blind superstition, and in the study of the Egyptian sciences. From his infancy, he was meek and modest, and had an aversion to the profane ceremonies used by the infidels in the worship of their idols. Being about twenty years of age, he was pressed into the emperor's troops, probably the tyrant Maximinus, who was master of Egypt from the year 310; and in 312 made great levies to carry on a war against Licinius and Constantine. He was, with several other recruits, put on board a vessel that was falling down the river. They arrived in the evening at Thebes, or Diospolis, the capital of Thebais, a city in which dwelt many Christians. Those true disciples of Christ sought every opportunity of relieving and comforting all that were in distress, and were moved with compassion towards the recruits, who were kept close confined, and very ill-treated. The Christians of this city showed them the same tenderness as if they had been their own children; took all possible care of them, and supplied them liberally with money and necessaries.
Such an uncommon example of disinterested virtue made a great impression on the mind of Pachomius. He inquired who their pious benefactors were, and when he heard that they believed in Jesus Christ the only Son of God, and that in the hope of a reward in the world to come, they labored continually to do good to all mankind, he found kindled in his heart a great love of so holy a law, and an ardent desire of serving the God whom these good men adored. The next day, when he was continuing his journey down the river, the remembrance of this purpose strengthened him to resist a carnal temptation. From his infancy he had been always a lover of chastity and temperance but the example of the Christians had made those virtues appear to him far more amiable, and in a new light.
After the overthrow of Maximinus, his forces were disbanded. Pachomius was no sooner returned home, but he repaired to a town in Thebais, in which there was a Christian church, and there he entered his name among the catechumens, or such as were preparing for baptism; and having gone through the usual course of preliminary instructions and practices with great attention and fervor, he received that sacrament at Chenoboscium, with great sentiments of piety and devotion. From his first acquaintance with our holy faith at Thebes, he had always made this his prayer: "O God, Creator of heaven and earth, cast on me an eye of pity: deliver me from my miseries: teach me the true way of pleasing you, and it shall be the whole employment, and most earnest study of my life to serve you, and to do your will." The perfect sacrifice of his heart to God, was the beginning of his eminent virtue. The grace by which God reigns in a soul, is a treasure infinitely above all price. We must give all to purchase it. To desire it faintly is to undervalue it. He is absolutely disqualified and unfit for so great a blessing, and unworthy ever to receive it, who seeks it by halves, or who does not esteem all other things as dung that he may gain Christ.
When Pachomius was baptized, he began seriously to consider with himself how he should most faithfully fulfil the obligations which he had contracted, and attain to the great end to which he aspired. There is danger even in fervor itself. It is often an artifice of the devil to make a novice undertake too much at first, and run indiscreetly beyond his strength. If the sails gather too much wind, the vessel is driven ahead, falls on some rock and splits. Eagerness is a symptom of secret passion, not of true virtue, where it is wilful and impatient at advice. Pachomius was far from so dangerous a disposition, because his desire was pure, therefore his first care was to find a skilful conductor.
Hearing that a venerable old man named Palemon, served God in the desert in great perfection, he sought him out, and with great earnestness begged to live under his direction. The hermit having set before him the difficulties and austerities of his way of life, which several had already attempted in vain to follow, advised him to make a trial of his strength and fervor in some monastery; and, to give him a sketch of the difficulties he had to encounter in the life he aspired to, he added: "Consider, my son, that my diet is only bread and salt: I drink no wine, use no oil, watch one half of the night, spending that time in singing psalms or in meditating on the holy scriptures, and sometimes pass the whole night without sleeping." Pachomius was amazed at this account, but not discouraged. He thought himself able to undertake every thing that might be a means to render his soul pleasing to God, and readily promised to observe whatever Palemon should think fit to enjoin him; who thereupon admitted him into his cell, and gave him the monastic habit. Pachomius was by his example enabled to bear solitude, and an acquaintance with himself. They sometimes repeated together the psalter, at other times they exercised themselves in manual labors (which they accompanied with interior prayer,) with a view to their own subsistence and the relief of the poor. Pachomius prayed above all things, for perfect purity of heart, that being disengaged from all secret attachment to creatures, he might love God with all his affections. And to destroy the very roots of all inordinate passions, it was his first study to obtain the most profound humility, and perfect patience and meekness. He prayed often with his arms stretched out in the form of a cross; which posture was then much used in the church. He was in the beginning often drowsy at the night office. Palemon used to rouse him, and say: "Labor and watch, my dear Pachomius, lest the enemy overthrow you and ruin all your endeavors." Against this weakness and temptation he enjoined him, on such occasions, to carry sand from one place to another, till his drowsiness was overcome. By this means the novice strengthened himself in the habit of watching. Whatever instructions he read or heard, he immediately endeavored fervently to reduce to practice.
One Easter-day Palemon bade the disciple prepare a dinner for that great festival. Pachomius took a little oil, and mixed it with the salt, which he pounded small, and added a few wild herbs, which they were to eat with their bread. The holy old man having made his prayer, came to table; but at the sight of the oil he struck himself on the forehead, and said, with tears: "My Saviour was crucified, and shall I indulge myself so far as to eat oil?" Nor could he be prevailed upon to taste it.
Pachomius used sometimes to go into a vast uninhabited desert, on the banks of the Nile, called Tabenna, in the diocese of Tentyra, a city between the Great and Little Diospolis. While he was there one day in prayer, he heard a voice which commanded him to build a monastery in that place, in which he should receive those who should be sent by God to serve him faithfully. He received, about the same time, from an angel who appeared to him, certain instructions relating to a monastic life.. Pachomius going back to Palemon, imparted to him this vision; and both of them coming to Tabenna, built there a little cell towards the year 325, about twenty years after St. Antony had founded his first monastery. After a short time, Palemon returned to his former dwelling, having promised his disciple a yearly visit, but he died soon after, and is honored in the Roman Martyrology on the 11th of January.
Pachomius received first his own eldest brother John, and after his death many others, so that he enlarged his house; and the number of his monks in a short time amounted to a hundred. Their clothing was of rough linen; that of St. Pachomius himself often haircloth. He passed fifteen years without ever lying down, taking his short rest sitting on a stone. He even grudged himself the least time which he allowed to necessary sleep, because he wished he could have been able to employ all his moments in the actual exercises of divine love. From the time of his conversion he never ate a full meal. By his rule, the fasts and tasks of work were proportioned to every one's strength; though all are together in one common refectory, in silence, with their cowl or hood drawn over their heads, that they might not see one another at their meals. Their habit was a tunic of white linen without sleeves, with a cowl of the same stuff; they wore on their shoulders a white goatskin, called a Melotes. They received the holy communion on the first and last days of every week. Novices were tried with great severity before they were admitted to the habit, the taking of which was then deemed the monastic profession, and attended with the vows. St. Pachomius preferred none of his monks to holy orders, and his monasteries were often served by priests from abroad, though he admitted priests, when any presented themselves, to the habit, and he employed them in the functions of their ministry. All his monks were occupied in various kinds of manual labor: no moment was allowed for idleness. The saint, with the greatest care, comforted and served the sick himself. Silence was so strictly observed at Tabenna, that a monk, who wanted any thing necessary, was only to ask for it by signs. In going from one place to another, the monks were ordered always to meditate on some passage of the holy scripture, and sing psalms at their work. The sacrifice of the mass was offered for every monk that died, as we read in the life of St. Pachomius. His rule was translated into Latin by St. Jerome, and is still extant. He received the sickly and weak, rejecting none for the want of corporal strength, being desirous to conduct to heaven all souls which had fervor to walk in the paths of perfection. He built six other monasteries in Thebias, not far asunder, and from the year 336, chose often to reside in that of Pabau, or Pau, near Thebes, in its territory, though not far from Tabenna, situated in the neighboring province of Diospolis, also in Thebais. Pabau became a more numerous and more famous monastery than Tabenna itself. By the advice of Serapion, bishop of Tentyra, he built a church in a village for the benefit of the poor shepherds, in which for some time he performed the office of Lector, reading to the people the word of God with admirable fervor; in which function he appeared rather like an angel than a man. He converted many infidels, and zealously opposed the Arians, but could never be induced by his bishop to receive the holy order of priesthood. In 333, he was favored with a visit of St. Athanasius at Tabenna. His sister, at a certain time, came to his monastery desiring to see him; but he sent her word at the gate, that no woman could be allowed to enter his enclosure, and that she ought to be satisfied with hearing that he was alive. However, it being her desire to embrace a religious state, he built her a nunnery on the other side of the Nile, which was soon filled with holy virgins. St. Pachomius going one day to Pane, one of his monasteries, met the funeral procession of a tepid monk deceased. Knowing the wretched state in which he died and to strike a terror into the slothful, he forbade his monks to proceed in singing psalms, and ordered the clothes which covered the corpse to be burnt, saying: "Honors could only increase his torments; but the ignominy with which his body was treated, might move God to show more mercy to his soul; for God forgives some sins not only in this world, but also in the next." When the procurator of the house had sold the mats at market at a higher price than the saint had bid him, he ordered him to carry back the money to the buyers, and chastised him for his avarice.
Among many miracles wrought by him, the author of his life assures us, that though he had never learned the Greek or Latin tongues, he sometimes miraculously spoke them; he cured the sick and persons possessed by devils with blessed oil. But he often told sick or distressed persons, that their sickness or affliction was an effect of the divine goodness in their behalf; and he only prayed for their temporal comfort, with this clause or condition, if it should not prove hurtful to their souls. His dearest disciple, St. Theodorus, who after his death succeeded him in the government of his monasteries, was afflicted with a perpetual headache. St. Pachomius, when desired by some of the brethren to pray for his health, answered: "Though abstinence and prayer be of great merit, yet sickness, suffered with patience, is of much greater." He chiefly begged of God the spiritual health of the souls of his disciples and others, and took every opportunity to curb and heal their passions, especially that of pride. One day a certain monk having doubled his diligence at work, and made two mats instead of one, set them where St. Pachomius might see them. The saint perceiving the snare, said, "This brother hath taken a great deal of pains from morning till night, to give his work to the devil." And, to cure his vanity by humiliations, he enjoined him, by way of penance, to keep his cell fire months, with no other allowance than a little bread, salt, and water. A young man named Sylvanus; who had been an actor on the stage, entered the monastery of St. Pachomius with the view of doing penance, but led for some time an undisciplined life, often transgressing the rules of the house, and still fond of entertaining himself and others with buffooneries. The man of God endeavored to make him sensible of his danger by charitable remonstrances, and also employed his more potent arms of prayer, sighs, and tears, for his poor soul. Though for some time he found his endeavors fruitless, he did not desist on that account; and having one day represented to this impenitent sinner, in a very pathetic manner, the dreadful judgments which threaten those that mock God, the divine grace touching the heart of Sylvanus, he from that moment began, to lead a life of great edification to the rest of the brethren; and being moved with the most feeling sentiments of compunction, he never failed, wheresoever he was, and howsoever employed, to bewail with bitterness his past misdemeanors. When others entreated him to moderate the floods of his tears, "Ah," said he, "how can I help weeping, when I consider the wretchedness of my past life, and that by my sloth I have profaned what was most sacred? I have reason to fear lest the earth should open under my feet, and swallow me up, as it did Dathan and Abiron. Oh! suffer me to labor with ever-flowing fountains of tears, to expiate my innumerable sins. I ought, if I could, even to pour forth this wretched soul of mine in mourning; it would be all too little for my offences." In these sentiments of contrition he made so "real progress in virtue, that the holy abbot proposed him as a model of humility to the rest; and when, after eight years spent in this penitential course, God had called him to himself by a holy death, St. Pachomius was assured by a revelation, that his soul was presented by angels a most agreeable sacrifice to Christ. The saint was favored with a spirit of prophecy, and with great grief foretold the decay of monastic fervor in his order in succeeding ages. In 348 he was cited before a council of bishops at Latopolis, to answer certain matters laid to his charge. He justified himself against the calumniators, but in such a manner that the whole council admired his extraordinary humility. The same year, God afflicted his monasteries with a pestilence, which swept off a hundred monks. The saint himself fell sick, and during forty days suffered a painful distemper with incredible patience and cheerfulness, discovering a great interior joy at the approach of the end of his earthly pilgrimage. In his last moments he exhorted his monks to fervor, and having armed himself with the sign of the cross, resigned his happy soul into the hands of his Creator in the fifty-seventh year of his age. He lived to see in his different monasteries seven thousand monks. His order subsisted in the cast till the eleventh century: for Anselm, bishop of Havelburgh, writes, that he saw five hundred monks of this institute in a monastery at Constantinople. St. Pachomius formed his disciples to so eminent a degree of perfection chiefly by his own fervent spirit and example; for he always appeared the first, the most exact, and the most fervent, in all the exercises of the community. To the fervor and watchfulness of the superior it was owing that in so numerous a community discipline was observed with astonishing regularity, as Palladius and Cassian observe. The former says that they ate with their cowl drawn so as to hide the greatest part of their faces, and with their eyes cast down, never looking at one another. Many contented themselves with taking a very few mouthfuls of bread and oil, or of such like dish; others of pottage only. So great was the silence that reigned among them while every one followed his employment, that in the midst of so great a multitude; a person seemed to be in a solitude. Cassian tells us, that the more numerous the monastery was, the more perfect and rigorous was regular observance of discipline, and all constantly obeyed their superior more readily than a single person is found to do in other places. Nothing so much weakens the fervor of inferiors as the example of a superior who easily allows himself exemptions or dispensations in the rule. The relaxation of monastic discipline is often owing to no other cause. How enormous is the crime of such a scandal!


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