Wednesday, June 13, 2012




Vatican City, 13 June 2012 (VIS) - St. Paul's experience of contemplation and the power of prayer, as recounted in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, provided the central theme of Benedict XVI's catechesis, during his general audience held this morning in the Paul VI Hall.
Paul did not respond to the voices questioning the legitimacy of his apostolate by enumerating the communities he had founded, nor did he limit himself to recounting the difficulties he had had to face in announcing the Gospel. Rather, the Pope explained, "he pointed to his relationship with the Lord, ... which was so intense as to be marked by moments of ecstasy and profound contemplation". Indeed, the Apostle says: "I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me".
Thus the Apostle of the Gentiles helps us to understand "that all the difficulties we meet in following Christ and bearing witness to His Gospel can be overcome by opening ourselves trustingly to the action of the Lord. ... St. Paul clearly understood how to face and experience each event in his life, especially those involving suffering, difficulty and persecution: at the moment we feel our own weakness the power of God becomes manifest, a power which does not abandon or leave us alone but becomes our support and our strength".
"As our union with the Lord grows and our prayer becomes more intense, we too come to focus on the essential and to understand that it is not the power of our own means that creates the Kingdom of God, but God Who works miracles through our very weakness", the Pope said.
The intense contemplation of God which St. Paul experienced was, like that of the disciples on Mount Tabor, "enthralling and tremendous". Contemplating the Lord is "enthralling because He draws us to Himself, seizing our hearts and carrying them aloft to His heights were we experience the peace and beauty of His love. It is tremendous because it exposes our human frailty and inadequacy, the fatigue of defeating the Evil One who ensnares our lives".
"In a world in which we risk relying only on the power of human means, we are called to rediscover and bear witness to the power of prayer, through which we grow day by day as our lives are conformed to that of Christ", said the Holy Father. He then went on to recall the Nobel Prize-winner and Protestant theologian Albert Schweitzer who said that "'Paul is a mystic and nothing more than a mystic', a man truly enamoured of Christ and so united to Him as to able to say: Christ lives in me. St. Paul's mysticism was not founded only on the exceptional events of his life, but also on his intense daily relationship with the Lord, Who always supported him with His Grace.
"In our own life of prayer we too may experience moments of particular intensity in which we feel the Lord's presence more keenly", Benedict XVI added. "But it is important to remain constant and faithful in our relationship with God, especially in moments of aridity, difficulty and suffering. Only if we are seized by the love of Christ will we be able to face adversity, as Paul did, in the conviction that we can do all things through Him Who gives us strength".
The Holy Father went on: "The more space we give to prayer, the more we will see our lives transformed and animated by the real power of God's love. This is what happened, for example, to Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta who, in contemplating Jesus, discovered the ultimate reason and incredible strength to recognise Him in the poor and abandoned, despite her fragile figure.
"The contemplation of Christ in our life does not distance us from reality", the Pope concluded. "It makes us even more involved in human affairs, because the Lord, drawing us to Himself in prayer, enables us to remain close to all our brothers and sisters in His love".

Vatican City, 13 June 2012 (VIS) - At the end of his catechesis this morning, Benedict XVI dedicated some remarks to the fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress, which is currently being held in the Irish capital Dublin on the theme: "The Eucharist. Communion with Christ and with One Another".
The congress, the Holy Father said, "is an important opportunity to reaffirm the central place of the Eucharist in the life of the Church. Jesus, Who is truly present in the Sacrament of the altar, with the supreme Sacrifice of love on the cross gives Himself to us, He becomes our food in order to assimilate us to Him, to bring us into communion with Him. Through this communion we are also united among ourselves, we become a single object in Him, members of one another.
"I invite you to remain spiritually united to Christians in Ireland and the world, praying for the work of the congress, that the Eucharist may always be the pulsating heart of all Church life", he concluded.

Vatican City, 13 June 2012 (VIS) - On the evening of Monday 11 June in the basilica of St. John Lateran, Benedict XVI inaugurated the diocesan ecclesial congress of Rome, which comes to an end today. During the three-day event participants discussed the importance of Baptism in the context of the theme of the gathering: "Go and make disciples, baptising and teaching. Let us rediscover the beauty of Baptism".
Extracts from the Pope's off-the-cuff inaugural address are given below:
"Baptism means being united to God in a new and unique existence. ... Thinking about this, we immediately see that it has certain consequences. The first of these is that God is no longer distant from us. ... We are in God and God is in us. The priority, the central place of God in our lives is a first consequence of Baptism".
"A second consequence ... is that we become Christian. ... Of course, my own decision is also necessary, but above all it is an action of God with me. ... I am assumed by God ... and, by saying 'yes' to this action by God, I become Christian. ... A third element ... is that, by being immersed in God, I am naturally united to my brothers and sisters, because everyone else is also in God and, if I am drawn out of my isolation, ... then I am immersed in communion with others".
"This rite, like the rite of nearly all the Sacraments, is made up of two elements: matter (water) and word. ... Christianity is not something purely spiritual. ... God is the creator of all matter, ... and that is why it is very important for matter to be part of our faith. ... The other element is the word, which takes three forms: renunciations, promises and invocations. It is important that these words ... mark our life journey".
"Let us examine the renunciations. They are three in number and I will first consider the second: 'Do you renounce the lure of evil?' ... In the early Church ... they used the phrase: 'Do you renounce the pomp of the devil'. ... The pomp of the devil referred to the brutal public shows in which cruelty became a form of entertainment, in which killing men became a spectacle. ... Yet, beyond this immediate meaning, ... the phrase also referred to a certain kind of culture, ... and Baptism fundamentally means ... freeing oneself from that culture. Today too we see cultures in which the truth does not count. In which all that counts is the spirit of calumny and destruction. A culture which does not seek goodness, a culture which uses its morality as a mask to confuse and destroy. To this culture in which falsehood is disguised as truth and information, to this culture which seeks only material wealth and denies God, we say'no'".
"The first renunciation is: 'Do you renounce sin to live in the freedom of the children of God?' Today freedom and Christian life ... seem to move in opposite directions. Being Christian is taken to mean a kind of slavery and freedom is seen as emancipation from Christian faith, in the final analysis emancipation from God. ... Yet God made Himself vulnerable ... because He loves us. ... Our first concern must be ... not to destroy His love, ... because to do so is to go against our own selves and our own freedom".
"And ultimately: 'Do you renounce Satan?' This tells us that there is a 'yes' to God and a 'no' to the power of the Evil One, who ... wishes to become god of this world".
"Finally there remains the question ... of the Baptism of children. Is it right to do so or would it be better for them to follow a catechumenal journey before Baptism? The other question that always arises is: Can we impose a religion upon children? ... Yet the true question is, in fact: Is it right to give life in this world without having received consent? ... I would say that it is possible and right to do so only if, along with life, we also give the guarantee that life, despite all the problems of the world, is good ... and protected by God. ... Only the anticipation of the meaning can justify the anticipation of life. Therefore Baptism as a guarantee of God's goodness, as an anticipation of meaning, as an anticipation of God's 'yes' which protects this life, justifies the anticipation of life".

Vatican City, 13 June 2012 (VIS) - Given below is the calendar of liturgical celebrations due to be presided over by the Holy Father between the months of July and September.
- Sunday 15. Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Pastoral visit to Frascati. Mass at 9.30 a.m.
- Wednesday 15: Solemnity of the Assumption, Mass at 8 a.m. in the parish church of St. Thomas of Villanova in Castelgandolfo.
- Friday 14 to to Sunday 16: Apostolic trip to Lebanon.

Vatican City, 13 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Marcello Romano of the clergy of the diocese of Guanhaes, Brazil, diocesan administrator, as bishop of Aracuai (area 23,526, population 416,000, Catholics 277,000, priests 34, religious 40), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Conceicao do Mato Dentro, Brazil in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1994. He has served as pastor in a number of different parishes.


Annual Global Rosary Relay
Annual Day of Prayer for Priests
In 2002, the Catholic Church announced a special annual world priest day, a day of prayer for the sanctification of priests to be held on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Annual Global Rosary Relay for Priests
The Annual Global Rosary Relay idea is a simple one: in that each of the 60 participating shrines prays a particular mystery of the Rosary at a particular half hour on the day in thanksgiving to God for our priests and to implore the protection and loving care of Our Lady, Mother of all priests, for all her priestly sons. With the coming of midnight on the 15th June 2012, the entire world, by then, will have been encircled in prayer for our priests on this The Annual Rosary Relay Day.

How to Promote the Annual Global Rosary Relay


ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY REPORT: Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
The pouring rain and cold conditions did not deter around 5,ooo people last Sunday when they turned out for the annual Walk With Christ Eucharistic Procession in the heart of Sydney.
Held annually on the Feast of Corpus Christi to celebrate the great gift of the Eucharist or the Body and Blood of Christ, the procession not only draws many families, priests and religious but more often than not a good downpour!
This year was no exception.
Crowds representing their parishes, schools, universities, ethnic groups and various organisations and movements gathered outside St Patrick's Church. They were all united in their love of Jesus, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament - and even the wet and cold weather was not going to stop them following Bishop Julian Porteous and the two other Auxiliary Bishops, Bishop Terence Brady and Bishop Peter A. Comensoli as they made their way through the streets of the central business district to St Mary's Cathedral.
Bishop Julian carried the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance while the crowd reflected on the prayers being played on the loudspeakers and joined in the hymns.
Winding its way up to and along Macquarie Street the procession morphed into a moving sea of umbrellas but the quiet enthusiasm was contagious.
Many people stopped to watch the dedicated group who seemed impervious to the rain.
An evangelisation team of 12 volunteers spoke with the passers-by, explaining what the procession was all about. They also carried New Testaments, Miraculous Medals, Rosaries and Compendiums of the Catechism so they could answer any questions.

Cathy Kennedy , the Director of CREDO, the archdiocese agency for evangelisation and renewal which hosts the event, said people were grateful to have the procession explained.
"Quite a few people asked us to pray for them or for a special intention in their lives," Cathy said.
"Sometimes we give them a devotional gift, if they want it but we always approach people with politeness and humility. They often comment about our joy in talking about our faith."
Arriving at the Cathedral, the Blessed Sacrament was placed under a canopy at the top of the stairs for adoration.
And still the people stayed and prayed as the rain kept falling.
Bishop Julian thanked the crowds for the great faith they showed by attending the procession and staying for adoration in such difficult conditions.
"The procession was a wonderful testament to the faith of Catholics of the Archdiocese in the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Eucharist," he said.
Bishop Julian spoke about the history of processions in the Catholic tradition and how they serve as a great witness of faith amongst the community.

Finally he invited everyone to enter into the Year of Grace by encouraging them to take time to contemplate the face of Christ in Eucharistic Adoration.
It may have been one of the wettest Walk With Christ processions but it was also one of the most faith-filled.



ASIA NEWS REPORT: The attacks in Baghdad, Hilla and Balad. Shiite pilgrims targeted during celebrations for anniversary of the death of the grandson of Muhammad, police also killed. In the capital alone there were nine different shootings and explosions.

Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The death toll - still provisional - from a series of shootings and bombings that have struck Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad and a group of police officers in the city of Hilla, in the center of ' Iraq stands at 44 dead. The explosions today, coinciding with one of the most important religious holidays, have also caused dozens of casualties. The attacks are a further sign of deep conflict that is pitting the various ethnicities and religions that make up the country, once united under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and Nasser, against each other in a "war" over the division of the nation's territory and wealth - oil and natural gas. (see AsiaNews 10/01/2012 The conflict between Shiites and Sunnis for sectarian division of Iraq).

According to preliminary reports, in the capital Baghdad bombs were detonated amongst at least nine groups of Shiite pilgrims gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the death of Imam Moussa al-Kadhim, great grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Other witnesses also reported a series of shootings that have claimed over 20 dead and dozens injured. Today's episode is just the latest in a series of attacks that have targeted the Iraqi Shiite community. June 10 last in Baghdad, at least four people died after an attack near a shrine.

In the city of Hilla, in the center of the country, two bombs, one of which was a suicide bomb, struck outside a restaurant frequented by local police forces, leaving 22 dead and wounded 38, some of them in serious condition. Two other car bombs killed four people in the mostly Shiite town of Balad, about 80 km north of Baghdad.

The violence in Iraq declined progressively after the peak recorded in 2006 and 2007. However, attacks remain a constant threat, especially in the capital Baghdad. Official sources report that, in the month of May, a total of 132 Iraqis died as a result of violence in different parts of the country.



Agenzia Fides REPORT – There is growing tensions in different parts of Libya as a result of attacks and clashes between militias. In Misratha, a bomb hit the local headquarters of the International Red Cross, injuring a bystander. On 11 June a convoy carrying the British Ambassador to Libya was hit by rockets in Benghazi, the capital of Cyrenaica (east). Only a few days earlier a bomb had exploded near the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. In this regard, His Exc. Mgr. Sylvester Carmel Magro, Apostolic Vicar of Benghazi, told Fides that "the city's population wants peace and tranquility, after many deaths due to war last year. Apparently everything seems normal, shops are open, people go to work but deep down inside there is stress. The foreign community is undoubtedly shaken by the recent events."
Even in Tripoli, local sources reported to Fides, calm seems to prevail during the day, but at night gunfire is often heard. The presence of various armed militias can lead to fights like those erupted in the region of Mezda (south-west of Tripoli) between members of the tribe of Machachia and those of the tribe of Gontrar and the town of Zenten. In this town 4 members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) are held who arrived in Libya to meet Gaddafi's son, Seif al-Islam, held by local militias. (L.M.) (Agenzia


Ireland: Papal Legate Cardinal Ouellet meets survivors of abuse in Lough Derg | Cardinal Marc Ouellet, abuse victims, Lough Derg

Cardinal Marc Ouellet
During his pilgrimage to Lough Derg, Co Donegal, yesterday and today, the Papal Legate to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, met with a representative group of survivors of child abuse in the Church. This included representatives of institutional and clerical abuse, men and women, from different parts of Ireland, North and South. The meeting lasted two hours during which each survivor spoke of his or her own personal experience of abuse and its impact on their lives.
After the meeting the Papal Legate celebrated Mass in St Patrick's Basilica on the island with approximately one hundred Irish and international pilgrims, some of whom had travelled to the island as part of their attendance at the Eucharistic Congress.
During his homily, Cardinal Ouellet said: "Pope Benedict XVI asked me, as his Legate to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, that I would come to Lough Derg and ask God's forgiveness for the times clerics have sexually abused children not only in Ireland but anywhere in the Church.
"I come here with the specific intention of seeking forgiveness, from God and from the victims, for the grave sin of sexual abuse of children by clerics. We have learned over the last decades how much harm and despair such abuse caused to thousands of victims. We learned too that the response of some Church authorities to these crimes was often inadequate and inefficient in stopping the crimes, in spite of clear indications in the code of canon law...
"In the name of the Church, I apologize once again to the victims, some of which I have met here in Lough Derg.
"I repeat here what the Holy Father told to the victims in his Letter to the Catholics of Ireland: 'It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or to be reconciled with the Church. In her name I openly express the shame and remorse that we feel. At the same time, I ask you not lose hope. It is in the communion of the Church that we encounter the person of Jesus Christ, who was himself a victim of injustice and sin.'
"The tragedy of the sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by Christians, especially when done so by members of the clergy, is a source of great shame and enormous scandal. It is a sin against which Jesus himself lashed out: 'It would be better for him if a millstone was put around his neck and he is thrown in to the sea than for him to cause one of the little ones to stumble' (Lk. 17:2).
"From the context of this International Eucharistic Congress, I reaffirm the commitment of the Catholic Church to create a safe environment for children and we pray that a new culture of respect, integrity and Christ like love would prevail in our midst and permeate the whole society."
Speaking afterward, the Papal Legate said he was deeply moved by his meeting with the survivors of abuse and that he would be reporting on the meeting to Pope Benedict XVI on his return to Rome.
The Papal Legate and his delegation, including the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, along with the Bishop of Clogher, Bishop Liam MacDaid, stayed overnight on the island during which time they fasted and participated in other penitential exercises with the pilgrims on the island.
The full text of Cardinal Ouellet's homily will published later this afternoon.
Source: Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth


Mark 16: 15 - 20

15 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.
16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.


St. Anthony of Padua
Feast: June 13

Feast Day: June 13
1195, Lisbon, Portugal
Died: 13 June 1231, Padua
30 May 1232, Spoleto, Italy by Pope Gregory IX
Major Shrine: Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua in Padua, Italy
Patron of: animals; barrenness; Brazil; elderly people; faith in the Blessed Sacrament; fishermen; Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land; harvests; horses; Lisbon; lost articles; lower animals; mail; mariners; American Indians; oppressed people; Padua, Italy; poor people; Portugal; pregnant women; sailors; seekers of lost articles; shipwrecks; starvation; sterility; swineherds; Tigua Indians; travel hostesses; travellers; watermen
St. Anthony of Padua is one of the most famous disciples of St. Francis of Assisi. He was a famous preacher and worker of miracles in his own day, and throughout the eight centuries since his death he has so generously come to the assistance of the faithful who invoke him, that he is known throughout the world.
St. Anthony's Youth & Conversion

St. Anthony was born in the year 1195 A. D. at Lisbon (Portugal) where his father was a captain in the royal army. Already at the age of fifteen years, he had entered the Congregation of Canons Regular of St. Augustine and devoted himself with great earnestness both to study and to the practice of piety in the Monastery at Coimbra (Portugal).

About that time some of the first members of the Order of Friars Minor, which St. Francis has founded in 1206 A. D. came to Coimbra. They begged from the Canons Regular a small and very poor place, from which by their evangelical poverty and simplicity they edified everyone in the region. Then in 1219 A. D. some of these friars, moved by divine inspiration, went as missionaries to preach the Gospel of Christ to the inhabitants of Morocco. There they were brutally martyred for the Faith. Some Christian merchants succeeded in recovering their remains; and so brought their relics in triumph back to Coimbra.

The relics of St. Bernard and companions, the first martyrs of the Franciscan Order, seized St. Anthony with an intense desire to suffer martyrdom in a like manner. So moved by their heroic example he repeatedly begged and petitioned his superiors to be given leave to join the Franciscan Order. In the quiet little Franciscan convent at Coimbra he received a friendly reception, and in the same year his earnest wish to be sent to the missions in Africa was fulfilled.

St. Anthony's Arrival in Italy

But God had decreed otherwise. And so, St. Anthony scarcely set foot on African soil when he was seized with a grievous illness. Even after recovering from it, he was so weak that, resigning himself to the will of God, he boarded a boat back to Portugal. Unexpectedly a storm came upon them and drove the ship to the east where it found refuge on coast of Sicily. St. Anthony was greeted and given shelter by the Franciscans of that island, and thus came to be sent to Assisi, where the general chapter of the Order was held in May, 1221 A. D..

Since he still looked weak and sickly, and gave no evidence of his scholarship, no one paid any attention to the stranger until Father Gratian, the Provincial of friars living in the region of Romagna (Italy), had compassion on him and sent him to the quiet little convent near Forli (also in Italy). There St. Anthony remained nine months as chaplain to the hermits, occupied in the lowliest duties of the kitchen and convent, and to his heart's content he practiced interior as well as exterior mortification.

St. Anthony, Preacher and Teacher

But the hidden jewel was soon to appear in all its brilliance. For the occasion of a ceremony of ordination some of the hermits along with St. Anthony were sent to the town of Forli. Before the ceremony was to begin, however, it was announced that the priest who was to give the sermon had fallen sick. The local superior, to avert the embarrassment of the moment, quickly asked the friars in attendance to volunteer. Each excused himself, saying that he was not prepared, until finally, St. Anthony was asked to give it. When he too, excused himself in a most humble manner, his superior ordered him by virtue of the vow of obedience to give the sermon. St. Anthony began to speak in a very reserved manner; but soon holy animation seized him, and he spoke with such eloquence, learning and unction that everybody was fairly amazed.

When St. Francis was informed of the event, he gave St. Anthony the mission to preach throughout Italy. At the request of the brethren, St. Anthony was later commissioned also to teach theology, "but in such a manner," St. Francis distinctly wrote, " that the spirit of prayer be not extinguished either in yourself or in the other brethren." St. Anthony himself placed greater value in the salvation of souls than on learning. For that reason he never ceased to exercise his office as preacher despite his work of teaching.

The number of those who came to hear him was sometimes so great that no church was large enough to accommodate and so he had to preach in the open air. Frequently St. Anthony wrought veritable miracles of conversion. Deadly enemies were reconciled. Thieves and usurers made restitution. Calumniators and detractors recanted and apologized. He was so energetic in defending the truths of the Catholic Faith that many heretics returned to the Church. This occasioned the epitaph given him by Pope Gregory IX "the ark of the covenant."

In all his labors he never forgot the admonition of his spiritual father, St. Francis, that the spirit of prayer must not be extinguished. If he spent the day in teaching and heard the confession of sinners till late in the evening, then many hours of the night were spent in intimate union with God.

Once a man, at whose home St. Anthony was spending the night, came upon the saint and found him holding in his arms the Child Jesus, unspeakably beautiful and surrounded with heavenly light. For this reason St. Anthony is often depicted holding the Child Jesus.

St. Anthony's Death

In 1227 A. D., St. Anthony was elected Minister Provincial of the friars living in northern Italy. Thus he resumed the work of preaching. Due to his taxing labors and his austere penance, he soon felt his strength so spent that he prepared himself for death. After receiving the last sacraments he kept looking upward with a smile on his countenance. When he was asked what he saw there, he answered: "I see my Lord." He breathed forth his soul on June 13, 1231 A. D., being only thirty six year old. Soon the children in the streets of the city of Padua were crying: "The saint is dead, Anthony is dead."

Pope Gregory IX enrolled him among the saints in the very next year. At Padua, a magnificent basilica was built in his honor, his holy relics were entombed there in 1263 A. D. From the time of his death up to the present day, countless miracles have occurred through St. Anthony's intercession, so that he is known as the Wonder-Worker. In 1946 A. D. St. Anthony was declared a Doctor of the Church.
(Taken from the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate)


No comments: