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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : TUESDAY JUNE 5, 2012


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VATICAN : POPE : NEXT WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES IN PHILADELPHIA
TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : TUESDAY JUNE 5, 2012
AMERICA : WOMEN RELIGIOUS MEET ON VATICAN ASSESSMENT
EUROPE : IRELAND : HISTORIC ORDINATIONS TO DEACONATE
ASIA : CHINA : OVER 180000 AT TIANANMEN SQUARE VIGIL
AUSTRALIA : HEAVENLY GALA BALL OF CATHOLIC CARE
AFRICA : LIBYA : FREEDOM MUST BE RE-CONQUERED
TODAY'S SAINT : JUNE 5 : ST. BONIFACE

VATICAN : POPE : NEXT WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES IN PHILADELPHIA

RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Following the Papal Mass in Milan and before reciting the Angelus, the Pope, speaking off the cuff said, “I cannot find the words to express my thanks for your presence here for this celebration of the Family.” And to the cheers of the hundreds of thousands gathered, the Holy Father announced that the 2015 World Meeting of Families would take place in Philadelphia in the United States.


“I now have the joy of announcing that the next World Meeting of Families will take place in 2015 in Philadelphia in the United States of America. I send my warm greetings to Archbishop Charles Chaput and to the catholics of that great city, and look forward to meeting them there along with numerous families from all around the world. May God bless you all!”

There was also loud applause when the Auxillary Bishop of Milan Erminio De Scalzi announced that Pope Benedict was donating 500 thousand euro to those affected by the recent earthquake in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy.

In concluding remarks the Pope encouraged the faithful to be always near to families who face difficulties, such as those Italian families stricken by the recent earthquake and those who face hardship due to the economic crisis.

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA


CARDINAL QUEZADA TORUNO WAS A GENEROUS SERVANT OF THE CHURCH
Vatican City, 5 June 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a telegram of condolence to Archbishop Oscar Julio Vian Morales S.D.B. of Guatemala, Guatemala, for the death of Cardinal Rodolfo Ignacio Quezada Toruno, archbishop emeritus of that metropolitan see. Cardinal Quezada Toruno died yesterday at the age of 80.
In the telegram the Pope asks the Lord to grant His peace to a man who "served the Church with such intensity and generosity during his pastoral ministry, as guide of the diocese of Zacapa and prelate of Santo Cristo de Esquipulas, then as archbishop of the metropolitan see of Guatemala.
"With faith in the Paschal Mystery of Christ which illuminates moments of suffering and fills them with hope, and in recollection of a pastor committed to the mission of evangelisation", the Pope concludes, "I am pleased to impart my special apostolic blessing to those mourning such a touching loss".



OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 5 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Florian Worner of the clergy of Augsburg, Germany, diocesan director for the pastoral care of young people, as auxiliary of the same diocese (area 13,250, population 2,299,092, Catholics 1,360,575, priests 1020, permanent deacons 153, religious 2,125). The bishop-elect was born in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany in 1970 and ordained a priest in 1997. He has served in pastoral care in various parishes and has worked in the "Jugend 2000" youth association. Since 2009 he has also been vicar of the cathedral of Augsburg.

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : TUESDAY JUNE 5, 2012

Mark 12: 13 - 17
13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Hero'di-ans, to entrap him in his talk.
14 And they came and said to him, "Teacher, we know that you are true, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?
15 Should we pay them, or should we not?" But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, "Why put me to the test? Bring me a coin, and let me look at it."
16 And they brought one. And he said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said to him, "Caesar's."
17 Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at him.

AMERICA : WOMEN RELIGIOUS MEET ON VATICAN ASSESSMENT

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT;
US: Women religious leaders meet to discuss CDF report | Leadership Conference of Women Religious,LCWR,Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The national board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) held a special meeting in Washington, DC from May 29-31 to review, and plan a response to, the report issued to LCWR by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The board members raised concerns about both the content of the doctrinal assessment and the process by which it was prepared. Board members concluded that the assessment was based on unsubstantiated accusations and the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency. Moreover, the sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the concerns raised and could compromise their ability to fulfill their mission. The report has furthermore caused scandal and pain throughout the church community, and created greater polarization.

The board determined that the conference will take the following steps:

* On June 12 the LCWR president and executive director will return to Rome to meet with CDF prefect Cardinal William Levada and the apostolic delegate Archbishop Peter Sartain to raise and discuss the board’s concerns.

* Following the discussions in Rome, the conference will gather its members both in regional meetings and in its August assembly to determine its response to the CDF report.

The board recognizes this matter has deeply touched Catholics and non-Catholics throughout the world as evidenced by the thousands of messages of support as well as the dozens of prayer vigils held in numerous parts of the country. It believes that the matters of faith and justice that capture the hearts of Catholic sisters are clearly shared by many people around the world. As the church and society face tumultuous times, the board believes it is imperative that these matters be addressed by the entire church community in an atmosphere of openness, honesty, and integrity.

For more information see: https://lcwr.org/
SHARED FROM IND. CATH. NEWS

EUROPE : IRELAND : HISTORIC ORDINATIONS TO DEACONATE

IRISH CATHOLIC BISHOPS' CONFERENCE RELEASE
The newly ordained deacons being vested by members of their family.
Historic weekend of Ordinations in Archdiocese of Dublin
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin ordained a new priest for the Archdiocese of Dublin this weekend and eight permanent deacons. This is the first ordination of permanent deacons in Ireland.
On Saturday, Paul Ludden was ordained a priest in his home parish of Malahide. Fr. Ludden (34) is the youngest of a family of four. Before entering the seminary in Maynooth he studied Business the Institute of Technology in Mountjoy Square and Athlone. He worked for four years in Discount Electrical in Mountjoy Square in Dublin. Fr Ludden said he applied for the priesthood following a time of serious personal commitment and reflection on his Catholic faith. He was an active member of the Malahide branch of the Legion of Mary. Fr. Ludden is the first priest of the class of 2012 to be ordained this year.
While permanent deacons minister in other European countries, this is the first group to be ordained to the diaconate in Ireland. Seven other dioceses around the country have permanent deacons in formation at this time. Formation to the Diaconate involves four years of preparation for ordained ministry, which includes academic study, spiritual, human and pastoral formation.
In his homily at the Ordination of the Permanent Deacons this evening(see below) Archbishop Martin said “As deacons, you are being called to be part of that witness, not just through your individual generosity but through the building up of communion in the Church. Communion with Christ must always be clearly marked by a life-style of communion.”
The areas of ministry entrusted to deacons fall under three general headings, Altar, Word and Charity. Deacons can assist the priest at the celebration of the Eucharist; they can celebrate Baptism and marriage and preside at funerals. They will also be facilitating visiting the sick, prisoners and the bereaved and promoting awareness of the social teaching of the church.
This is a voluntary part-time ministry however if deacons have taken early retirement or reduced their work commitments they may be able to offer a greater time commitment.
The new deacons will work in parish teams in the Archdiocese of Dublin. They will join priests and lay parish pastoral workers in parishes. Dublin was the first Diocese in the country to train and appoint Parish Pastoral workers over four years ago. Today, twelve men and twenty women work as parish pastoral workers throughout the Archdiocese. The role of the parish pastoral worker is to work with priests and communities in developing an understanding of faith and to support and develop parish initiatives around prayer and the sacraments.
Notes for editors:
The ordination to the Permanent Diaconate took place on Monday 4th June at 7pm in St Mary’s Pro Cathedral.
The eight deacons being ordained to the Permanent Diaconate are:
  • Mr Eric Cooney, Monkstown, currently working in financial services.
  • Mr Gabriel Cooney, Dundrum, currently working as a lecturer in Dublin Institute of Technology.
  • Mr Gerard Larkin, Templeogue.
  • Mr Gerard Riley, Donaghmede, working in financial services
  • Mr Jim Adams, Donnybrook
  • Mr Joe Walsh, Lucan South, retired
  • Mr Noel Ryan, Ballinteer, retired
  • Mr Steve Maher, Malahide, semi-retired and former Aer Lingus worker
ORDINATION OF PERMANENT DEACONS
Homily Notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin Archbishop of Dublin
Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, 4 June 2012
This is an historic day in the life of the Church in the Archdiocese of Dublin. This evening we ordain eight men to the order of deacons restoring within our Church the ancient order of permanent deacons, following the indications of the Second Vatican Council.
Many will ask what deacons are. The Vatican Council spoke of a true diaconal ministry in the Church which is exercised in the liturgical and pastoral life of the Church, in charitable works, but which is strengthened by the imposition of hands and the work of the Spirit.
Due perhaps to the fact that for centuries the permanent deaconate and other institutionalised ministries were present in the Latin Church only in a limited manner, there is a tendency in our times to look on ministries in a distorted way, asking in the first place what a person called to a particular ministry can do, as opposed to others. Ordained ministry is classified just in terms of what the deacon or the priest or the bishop can do.
Inevitably in such a context, the restoration of the ministry of permanent deacons is somehow looked on in terms of what the deacon can or cannot do compared with the priest and ministry of the deacon is looked on as some sort of second-class ministry. People who speak or write in this framework fail to understand the deaconate and fail to understand ministry. The order of deacons is not just about doing things; it is a call to be configured in a special way to Jesus who serves and to represent in a special way in the life of the Church Jesus who serves.
We have heard the reading from the Acts of Apostles. It is a reading which is relevant to our ordination this evening but it would be too simplistic to think of that reading directly as the establishment of the order of deacons.
The context of the reading form the Acts of the Apostles was that of a dispute within the Church, as the community of Christians underwent a rapid expansion numerically and entered into different cultures. The predominantly Jewish community in Jerusalem was marked by a sense of intimate gathering to listen to the word of God, for the prayers and for the breaking of bread. Springing from the manner in which they celebrated their communion with Christ in the breaking of bread, the early Christians built up a unique life-style of fellowship and communion with each other.
The Gospel reading which is taken from Saint John’s account of the Last Supper reminds us that the Eucharist is the sacrifice of Jesus self-giving as a servant. As Christians who gather for the Eucharist we are called “to copy what I have done”.
That is the significance of the theme of our 50th International Eucharistic Congress. Communion with Christ is not simply a matter of individual devotion. The theological notion of communion cannot be captured in solely individualistic terms. It flows from that communion which is at the heart of the Trinity and from the way Jesus through revealed to us who God is. Many today fail to see the contribution of our communion with Christ to the good of society. When one feels that communion is just individualistic devotion and that religion is just something for the individual then the sense of Christian fellowship and communion will not be understood.
My dear candidates for deaconate: in your ministry you must remember that the manner in which the value of communion with Christ can be presented in a challenging and convincing way as relevant to the society of our times is through witness. This evening, as deacons, you are being called to be part of that witness, not just through your individual generosity but through the building up of communion in the Church. Communion with Christ must always be clearly marked by a life-style of communion.
The dispute which arose in our reading was about a very practical manner. At the time of the writing of the Acts of the Apostles, the Church was growing and moved from the intimacy of the Jerusalem community to a broader and culturally more mixed and complex community. Change required adaptation: certain parts of that adaptation proceeded normally, but things also went wrong. In our times, the Church in the Archdiocese of Dublin is undergoing great change and a closer look at our reading indicates some interesting and challenging reflections and lessons we can apply to the culture of change that we are experiencing.
The dispute in our reading arose from a complaint from some Greek widows who felt that they were not being treated in the manner in which the deprived of the original Christian communities had been and were not getting their proper share in the distribution of food and support. True fellowship and communion were not being attained.
How did the apostles react? The easy way to interpret their action in designating seven men to assist in the distribution of food is to think in the business terms of our times: it is to say that the twelve decided that this was simply a problem of dysfunctional administration. In that sense the problem could be resolved by introducing new systems: competencies should be more clearly set out, job descriptions better defined and then things would function well. This is the sort of win-win situation we often hear about in business terms. The distribution of food would be more efficient and the apostles would be freed to carry on their ministry of prayer and preaching and presiding.
But this would be a very superficial reading of the text and of the problem to be addressed. What is at stake here is not better administration. It is about the very nature of the Church. When the sense of service and sharing within the Church is obfuscated, then the Church is no longer realising its witness. It is not that systems are not functioning; it is that the very ministry of service which reflects Jesus who serves is weakened in the Church and thus the Church itself is damaged and the message of Jesus concealed.
Ministry in the Church is not about power but about calling and witness. Deacons are called to a special witness of a vital dimension of the life of the Church: the ministry of Jesus who serves. This is of course part of the mission of every Christian, lay and ordained. It is part of the mission of the priest and the bishop, indeed it is a defining part of their mission. But the deaconate is a special witness in the Church reminding the entire community of this dimension of the mission of the Church and calling the entire community to witness.
You are this evening not being ordained for yourselves. Being a deacon is not an honour conferred on you, like an honorary doctorate recognising your service. The ministry being conferred on you is a deep calling to Diaconia, to service, which must now become a fundamental dimension of your personal existence, a dominant characteristic not just of your ministry but of your lives.
Your configuration to Jesus who serves becomes today part of your identity and is something you must continue to integrate into the way you live from this day onwards. Whenever ministry looses the characteristic of service then it can quickly degenerate into the opposite to ministry, to that “self-indulgence which is the opposite of the spirit”. Your calling is to renounce any temptation towards self-centeredness, towards using ministry and using others really for your own needs. When sacred authority is exercised not as ecclesial service, but in our own interest, then a betrayal of sacred authority takes place.
The decision of the Apostles to resolve the dispute that had arisen was not to treat it as just a problem of administration. Disputes in the Church, then and now, will not be resolved by external structural change alone, but by a return to the very essence of calling. The choice of the seven who in our reading were called to the special ministry of service is not just the fruit of aptitude tests or of canvassing a variety of viewpoints, but in the first place is attained by prayer and the laying on of hands. It is attained through the transmission of special gifts of the Spirit.
It is the Spirit alone who is the guarantee that what is decided in the Church at any time is something which embodies truly what Jesus Christ intends for his Church. Today, at a time of rapid change and of challenge to so much of what is fundamental in life, we have to discern what the Spirit is saying in our time and through the tradition of the Church. We are never free to reinvent the Church at our will. If we attempt on our own to reinvent the Church, then it will remain our Church rather than the Church of Jesus Christ.
My prayer this evening is that in the atmosphere of prayer and silence and worship which we will characterise the Eucharistic Congress we will be led by the Spirit to a path of renewal in the Church, through the authentic witness of all its members and especially now with the special witness to Jesus who serves to which you, our new deacons, are called this evening.
Further information: Annette O’Donnell 01 8360723/0878143462, Carol Faulkner 01 8360723/0876172947 Communications Office, Archdiocese of Dublin
Email communications@dublindiocese.ie Web www.dublindiocese.ie
SHARED FROM IRISH CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE

AFRICA : LIBYA : FREEDOM MUST BE RE-CONQUERED

Agenzia Fides REPORT - "The situation is calm again. When we left this morning at 7 am after Mass, we did not notice anything special " said His Exc. Mgr. Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli to Fides, where yesterday the tension had increased after the militia had occupied the civilian airport. The assault was led by Brigadier Al-Awfea of Tarhuna, a town 80 miles southeast of Tripoli, who calls for the release of one of his leaders, who has disappeared in unclear circumstances in Tripoli. After the occupation, air traffic was blocked. After a few hours the Deputy Minister of the Interior, Omar al-Khadrawi, announced that the authorities had regained control of the airport. The Deputy Minister said that dozens of assailants were arrested and their weapons confiscated.
"This is an episode that is part of an internal dialogue that must be built, hoping that dialogue is reached by abandoning weapons. Libya is free, but it is a freedom that must be re-conquered. It is continuous training to learn how to dialogue," underlines Mgr. Martinelli.
Tensions in Tripoli and Benghazi (where yesterday evening there were clashes between the military police and a local brigade) appear to be related to the elections for the Constituent Assembly, scheduled for mid-June but will likely be postponed. "The common opinion is that the elections will be postponed to July before the start of Ramadan," said Mgr. Martinelli. The Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli remains confident, however, on the evolution of Libya, and ensures that "the Catholic community continues its journey and service to the Libyan people with courage. Let us make Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation our own: "courage", fully accepting his words." (L.M.)

ASIA : CHINA : OVER 180000 AT TIANANMEN SQUARE VIGIL

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
by Eugenia Zhang
Many of the participants came from mainland China, where after 23 years, no one can speak of the massacre of June 4. The testimony of Fang Zheng, who survived the massacre: his legs were severed by an army tank. A "House of memory of June 4" has already seen over 10,000 visitors, 20% were Chinese from the mainland China.


Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The candlelight vigil of June 4 this year, commemorating the 23rd anniversary of the 1989 massacre in Beijing, has drawn 180,000 people to the Victoria Park, of whom many came from mainland China and attended the commemoration for the first time in Chinese soil. However, local police said there were 85,000 people at the rally's peak time.

Speaking at the rally, Fang Zheng (see photo), a survivor of 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square, said he was moved and shocked to see so many people at the Victoria Park, and it showed Hong Kong people's insistence on showing one's conscience and their pursuit of democracy. It was his first participation in the Tiananmen commemorative vigil in Hong Kong.Fang, now 46 year-old, is wheel chair bound: his legs were severed by one of the tanks on the streets. Speaking to press before the Vigil he said that he is a living witness to disprove Beijing's saying that nobody was hurt by tanks in the Tiananmen Square.

"What moved me most - Fang said at the ceremony - is to see so many young people and university students here." He and his family now live in the United States since 2009. He thanked people in Hong Kong for the continuous support and remembrance of the dead and victims of the 1989 movement over the past 23 years.

He said numerous participants from mainland China were expected as many in China suffered oppressions in different ways and people cannot openly express their opinions. He told the press earlier that he is a living witness to disprove Beijing's saying that nobody was hurt by tanks in the Tiananmen Square.

Wang Dan, a student leader of the 1989 democracy movement, spoke at the rally through a video. The "perseverance" of Hong Kong people to commemorate the June 4 event since 1989 is meaningful, as it shows the people is mature, remembers their past and undertaking a test of their will.

Lee Cheuk-yan, chairperson of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement, a Protestant, told the rally that the alliance is raising fund to establish a "June 4 commemorative house," which will display photos and materials about the pro-democracy movement, the crackdown and the victims. A temporary house has been opened for a month. About 10,000 visitors have visited, of whom 20 percent came from mainland China, Lee said.

A participant from mainland China told AsiaNews at the vigil that he specially came to join the event since people in China have no freedom to express their views, particularly regarding the 1989 event and other restrictions. "Social injustices exist. We, as ordinary people, can only tolerate and keep silent of oppressions," he said.

Before the rally, hundreds of Catholics held a prayer gathering in Victoria Park.


SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

AUSTRALIA : HEAVENLY GALA BALL OF CATHOLIC CARE

ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE RELEASE
CatholicCare’s Heavenly Gala Ball


Monday 4 June 2012

By Loretta Walshe

CatholicCare’s Heavenly Gala Ball was held in Melbourne on Thursday 24 May.

As CatholicCare’s Corporate Relations and Events Manager Angela Smith says, “It was a fantastic evening with so many dedicated supporters enjoying a great range of entertainment and dancing – and digging deep to support CatholicCare’s St Mary of the Cross Alcohol & Other Drug Family Service. The evening also served to raise awareness of the devastating impact of substance addiction on so many families.”

View the photo gallery

The 2012 report of the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry stated that ‘there is a high risk of neglect for children whose parents misuse substances. For example, children may not have basic needs met such as regular meals, a clean and safe environment and an emotionally nurturing home.’ As the Australian Education and Rehabilitation Foundation reported, each year, more than 20,000 children across the nation are victims of substantiated alcohol-related child abuse. A 2008 study found that 70 per cent of cases where children needed to be removed from their homes for their own safety were due to parental substance misuse.
Good family relationships form the key to the success of rehabilitation and preventative programs. CatholicCare’s Alcohol and Other Drug Family Service is focused on restoring the wellbeing and relationships of those affected by problematic alcohol and other drug use.
CatholicCare’s counsellors provide support ranging from crisis intervention to acting as a stable, long-term presence for families dealing with severe problems. They also have a Community Educator/Counsellor and two supported playgroups to reduce the isolation of families affected by problematic alcohol and other drug use and improve the quality of care these parents provide to their children.
For further information, please contact CatholicCare’s Alcohol and Other Drug Family Service on 8417 1200.

CatholicCare wished to express their gratitude for the support of the following organisations and individuals who donated goods and services to the Heavenly Gala Ball: Alana Conway, Mike Nolan, David Seery, Richard Smith, Coty, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne – Communications Office, Genazzano Choir, Kangan Institute and the Victoria Police Show Band.

Photos by Ellice Stretenovich and Lyn Rushford
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE

TODAY'S SAINT : JUNE 5 : ST. BONIFACE

St. Boniface
BISHOP, MARTYR
Feast: June 5


Information:
Feast Day: June 5
Born: 673-680 at Crediton, Devonshire, England
Died: 5 June 754 at Dokkum, Freisland
Patron of: brewers; file cutters; tailors
Isolated missionary groups had penetrated central Germany in earlier times, but not until the eighth century was there a systematic effort to Christianize the vast pagan wilderness. To the English monk Boniface belongs the honor of opening up this region and creating a hierarchy under direct commission from the Holy See. Thirty-six years of missionary labor under difficult and dangerous conditions, ending at last in martyrdom, entitle this good and courageous man to the designation, "Apostle of Germany."
Boniface, or Winfrid, to give him his baptismal name, was born into a Christian family of noble rank, probably at Crediton in Devonshire, about the year 680. The reorganized English Church, still under the inspiration brought to it from Rome two generations earlier by Augustine of Canterbury, was full of fervor and vitality. Winfrid was a very small boy when he found himself listening to the conversation of some monks who were visiting his home. He resolved then to enter the Church, and this resolution never weakened. Winfrid's father had other plans for his clever son, but a serious illness altered his attitude, and he sent the boy to the neighboring abbey of Exeter to be educated. Some years later, Winfrid went to the abbey of Bursling, in the diocese of Winchester. After completing his studies there, he was appointed head of the school.
His teaching skill attracted many students, and for their use he wrote a grammar which is still extant. The pupils diligently took notes at his classes, and these were copied and circulated in other monasteries, where they were eagerly studied. At the age of thirty he was ordained priest, and now added preaching to teaching and administrative work.

Winfrid was assured of rapid advancement in the English Church, but God revealed to him that his work was to be in foreign lands, where need was greater. Northern Europe and most of Central Europe were still in pagan darkness. In Friesland, which then included modern Netherlands and lands to the east, the Northumbrian missionary Willibrord had long been striving to bring the Gospel to the people. It was to this region that Winfrid felt himself called. Having obtained the consent of his abbot, he and two companions set out in the spring of 716. Soon after landing at Doerstadt they learned that Duke Radbold of Friesland, an enemy of Christianity, was warring with Charles Martel, the Frankish duke, and that Willibrord had been obliged to retire to his monastery at Echternacht. Realizing that the time was inauspicious, the missionaries prudently returned to England in the autumn. Winfrid's monks at Bursling tried to keep him there, and wished to elect him abbot, but he was not to be turned from his purpose.

This first attempt had shown him that to be effective as a missionary he must have a direct commission from the Pope, so in 718, with commendatory letters from the bishop of Winchester, he presented himself in Rome before Gregory II. The Pope welcomed him warmly, kept him in Rome until spring of the following year, when traveling conditions were favorable, and then sent him forth with a general commission to preach the word of God to the heathen. At this time Winfrid's name was changed to Boniface (from the Latin, , fortunate). Crossing the lower Alps, the missionary traveled through Bavaria into Hesse. Duke Radbold had died and his successor was more friendly. Going into Friesland, Boniface labored for three years under Willibrord, who was now very old. Boniface declined to become Willibrord's coadjutor and successor as bishop of Utrecht, saying that his commission had been general, "to the heathen," and he could not be limited to any one diocese. He now returned to work in Hesse.

Boniface had little difficulty in making himself understood as a preacher, since the dialects of the various Teutonic tribes closely resembled his native Anglo-Saxon. He won the interest of two powerful local chieftains, Dettic and Deorulf, who at some previous time had been baptized. For lack of instruction they had remained little better than pagans; now they became zealous Christians and influenced many others to be baptized. They also gave Boniface a grant of land on which he later founded the monastery of Amoeneburg. Boniface was able to report such remarkable gains that the Pope summoned him back to Rome to be ordained bishop.

In Rome on St. Andrew's Day, November 30, 722, Pope Gregory II consecrated him as regionary bishop with a general jurisdiction over "the races in the parts of Germany and east of the Rhine who live in error, in the shadow of death." The Pope also gave him a letter to the powerful Charles Martel, "The Hammer." When Boniface delivered it to the Frankish duke on his way back to Germany, he received the valuable gift of a sealed pledge of Frankish protection. Armed thus with authority from both the Church and the civil power, the prestige of Boniface was vastly enhanced. On his return to Hesse, he decided to try to root out the pagan superstitions which seriously affected the stability of his converts. On a day publicly announced, and in the midst of an awe-struck crowd, Boniface and one or two of his followers attacked with axes Thor's sacred oak. These German tribes, along with many other primitive peoples, were tree-worshipers. Thor, god of thunder, was one of the principal Teutonic deities, and this ancient oak, which stood on the summit of Mt. Gudenberg, was sacred to him. After a few blows, the huge tree crashed to earth, splitting into four parts. The terrified tribesmen, who had expected a punishment to fall instantly on the perpetrators of such an outrage, now saw that their god was powerless to protect even his own sanctuary.

To signalize the victory, Boniface built a chapel on the spot. From that time the work of evangelization in Hesse proceeded steadily.

Moving east into Thuringia, Boniface continued his crusade. He found a few undisciplined Celtic and Irish priests, who tended to be a hindrance; many of them held heretical beliefs and others lived immoral lives. Boniface restored order among them, although his chief aim was to win over the pagan tribes. At Ohrdruff, near Gotha, he established a second monastery, dedicated to St. Michael, as a missionary center. Everywhere the people were ready to listen, but there was a critical lack of teachers. Boniface appealed to the English monasteries and convents, and their response was so wholehearted that for several years bands of monks, schoolmasters, and nuns came over to place themselves under his direction. The two monasteries already built were enlarged and new ones founded. Among the new English missionaries were Lullus, who was to succeed Boniface at Mainz, Eoban, who was to share his martyrdom, Burchard, and Wigbert; the nuns included Thecla, Chunitrude, and Boniface's beautiful and learned young cousin, Lioba, later to become abbess of Bischofsheim and friend of Hildegarde, Charlemagne's wife.

Pope Gregory III sent Boniface the pallium in 731, appointing him archbishop and metropolitan of all Germany beyond the Rhine, with authority to found new bishoprics. A few years later Boniface made his third trip to Rome to confer about the churches he had founded, and at this time he was appointed apostolic legate. Stopping at Monte Cassino, he enlisted more missionaries. In his capacity as legate he traveled into Bavaria to organize the Church there into the four bishoprics of Regensburg, Freising, Salzburg, and Passau. From Bavaria he returned to his own field and founded new bishoprics at Erfurt for Thuringia, Buraburg for Hesse, Wurzburg for Franconia, and Eichstadt for the Nordgau. An English monk was placed at the head of each new diocese. In 741 the great Benedictine abbey at Fulda was founded in Prussia to serve as the fountainhead of German monastic culture. Its first abbot was Boniface's young Bavarian disciple, Sturm or Sturmio. In the early Middle Ages Fulda produced a host of scholars and teachers, and became known as the Monte Cassino of Germany.

While the evangelization of Germany was proceeding steadily, the Church in Gaul, under the Merovingian kings, was disintegrating. High ecclesiastical offices were either kept vacant, sold to the highest bidder, or bestowed on unworthy favorites. Pluralism, the holding by one man of many offices, each of which should demand his full time, was common. The great mass of the clergy was ignorant and undisciplined. No synod or church council had been held for eighty-four years. Charles Martel had been conquering and consolidating the regions of western Europe, and now regarded himself as an ally of the papacy and the chief champion of the Church, yet he had persistently plundered it to obtain funds for his wars and did nothing to help the work of reform. His death, however, in 74I, and the accession of his sons, Carloman and Pepin the Short, provided an opportunity which Boniface quickly seized. Carloman, the elder, was very devout and held Boniface in great veneration; Boniface had no trouble in persuading him to call a synod to deal with errors and abuses in the Church in Austrasia, Alemannia, and Thuringia.

The first assembly was followed by several others. Boniface presided over them all, and was able to carry through many important reforms. The vacant bishoprics and parishes were filled, discipline reestablished, and fresh vigor infused into the Frankish Church.

A heretic who had been creating much disturbance, one Adalbert of Neustria, was condemned by the synod of Soissons in 744. In 747 another general council of the Frankish clergy drew up a profession of faith and fidelity which was sent to Rome and laid upon the altar in the crypt of St. Peter's. After five years' labor Boniface had succeeded in restoring the Church of Gaul to its former greatness.

Now Boniface desired that Britain too should share in this reform movement. At his request and that of Pope Zacharias, the archbishop of Canterbury held a council at Clovesho, in 747, which adopted many of the resolutions passed in Gaul. This was also the year when Boniface was given a metropolitan see. Cologne was at first proposed as his cathedral city, but Mainz was finally chosen. Even when Cologne and other cities became archiepiscopal sees, Mainz retained the primacy. The Pope also made Boniface primate of Germany as well as apostolic legate for both Germany and Gaul.

Carloman now retired to a monastery, but his successor, Pepin, who brought all Gaul under his control, gave Boniface his support. "Without the patronage of the Frankish chiefs," Boniface wrote in a letter to England, "I cannot govern the people or exercise discipline over the clergy and monks, or check the practice of paganism." As apostolic legate, Boniface crowned Pepin at Soissons in 75I, thus giving papal sanction to the assumption of royal power by the father of Charlemagne. Boniface, beginning to feel the weight of his years, made Lullus his coadjutor. Yet even now, when he was past seventy, his missionary zeal burned ardently. He wished to spend his last years laboring among those first converts in Friesland, who, since Willibrord's death, were relapsing once more into paganism. Leaving all things in order for Lullus, who was to become his successor, he embarked with some fifty companions and sailed down the Rhine. At Utrecht the party was joined by Eoban, bishop of that diocese. They set to work reclaiming the relapsed Christians, and during the following months made fruitful contact with the hitherto untouched tribes to the northeast. Boniface arranged to hold a great confirmation service on Whitsun Eve on the plain of Dokkum, near the banks of the little river Borne.

While awaiting the arrival of the converts, Boniface was quietly reading in his tent.

Suddenly a band of armed pagans appeared in the center of the encampment. His companions would have tried to defend their leader, but Boniface would not allow them to do so. Even as he was telling them to trust in God and welcome the prospect of dying for Him, the Germans attacked. Boniface was one of the first to fall; his companions shared his fate. The pagans, expecting to carry away rich booty, were disgusted when they found, besides provisions, only a box of holy relics and a few books They did not bother to carry away these objects, which were later collected by the Christians who came to avenge the martyrs and rescue their remains. The body of Boniface was carried to Fulda for burial, and there it still rests. The book the bishop was reading and which he is said to have lifted above his head to save it when the blow fell is also one of Fulda's treasures.

Boniface has been called the pro-consul of the papacy. His administrative and organizing genius left its mark on the German Church throughout the Middle Ages.

Though Boniface was primarily a man of action, his literary remains are extensive.

Especially interesting and important from the point of view of Church dogma and history are his letters. Among the emblems of Boniface are an oak, an axe, a sword, a book.


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/B/stboniface.asp#ixzz1wuwLr1wN




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