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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : WEDNESDAY JUNE 6, 2012

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VATICAN : POPE : YES TO THE GOSPEL AND OTHER NEWS
AMERICA : PRIESTS FOR LIFE CANADA - DEFENDING LIFE
AFRICA : NIGERIA : 9 KILLED IN CHURCH BOMBING ON SUNDAY
ASIA : PAKISTAN : US KILLS AL-QUAEDA LEADER AL-LIBI
AUSTRALIA : CATHOLIC HEALTH STUDY - INEQUALITIES
EUROPE : RIP JESUIT FR. SEBASTIAN KARAMVELIL - AGE 73
TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : WEDNESDAY JUNE 6, 2012
TODAY'S SAINT : JUNE 6 : ST. NORBERT
 

VATICAN : POPE : YES TO THE GOSPEL AND OTHER NEWS

WORLD MEETING IN MILAN: AN EPIPHANY OF THE FAMILY (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)Vatican City, 6 June 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI focused his catechesis during this morning's general audience on his recent trip to Milan, his first pastoral trip as Peter's Successor to that Italian archdiocese where he had participated in the seventh World Meeting of Families.
The Holy Father recalled the first stage of his journey, which had taken him to Piazza del Duomo, heart and symbol of Milan, where he had exhorted the hundreds of thousands gathered to greet him "to live the faith as part of their individual and community experience, their private and public life, so as to create a stable and authentic 'well being' on the basis of the family, which must be rediscovered as mankind's most important heritage".
That evening the Holy Father had attended a concert at the La Scala opera house, in which "the notes of Beethoven's ninth symphony expressed that aspiration to universality and fraternity which the Church tirelessly seeks by announcing the Gospel; a fraternity which bursts forth in the famous 'Hymn to Joy'". At the end of the concert, he said, "I spoke of the contrast between this ideal and the dramatic events of history, and of the need for a God Who is near, Who shares our sufferings, as my thoughts went to so many of our brothers and sisters who are suffering because of the earthquake". Benedict XVI also recalled how he had spoken of the family in the third millennium. "It is in families that we first experience how human beings are not created to live closed in themselves, but in relation with others. It is in the family that the light of peace begins to burn in people's hearts, so as to illuminate ourworld".
On Saturday, addressing priests, religious, seminarians and Church leaders in the cathedral of Milan, the Pope had reaffirmed "the importance of celibacy and consecrated virginity, which was to dear to the great St. Ambrose. ... These are a luminous sign of love for God and for our brothers and sisters, founded on an increasingly intimate relationship with Christ in prayer and expressed in the total gift of self".
Benedict XVI then went on to recall how, in the stadium of San Siro, he had invited young people who had recently received or were about to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation "to say their free and responsible 'yes' to the Gospel of Jesus, and to welcome the gifts of the Holy Spirit which mould them as Christians and enable them to live the Gospel and to be active members of the community".
During his meeting with representatives of government, industry and the world of culture, the Pope had emphasised the fact that "the legislation and activities of State institutions must always be at the service of individuals, safeguarding them in all aspects, beginning with the right to life which must never be deliberately suppressed, and reconsigning the specific identity of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman".
At the "Celebration of Witnesses" in Milan's Bresso Park the Holy Father had responded to questions put to him by a number of families. "I wanted to provide a sign of the open dialogue that exists between families and the Church, between the world and the Church", he said to the faithful at his general audience. "I was greatly struck by the moving testimonies of couples and children from different continents on the important issues of our day: the economic crisis, the difficulty in reconciling work and family, the spread of separation and divorce, and existential questions which touch adults, young people and children alike. I wish to recall what I have often said in the past in defence of family time, which is threatened by the imposition of work-related commitments. Sunday is the day of the Lord, the day of man, a day in which everyone must be free, free for the family and free for God. By defending Sunday we defend man'sfreedom".
At Mass on Sunday 3 June for the close of the seventh World Meeting of Families, also celebrated in Bresso Park which "was transformed into a kind of open-air cathedral", Benedict XVI had launched a "call to build ecclesial communities increasingly similar to families, capable of reflecting the beauty of the Blessed Trinity and of evangelising not just with the word but by irradiation, with the power of a love that is lived, because love is the only power that can transform the world".
More than one million people had attended the gathering in Milan meeting which was, the Holy Father concluded, "an 'epiphany' of the family. Families were present in their many different forms, but also in that unicity which is their fundamental identity: a communion of love founded upon marriage and called to be a shrine of life, a small Church, a cell of society. A message of hope went out from Milan to the whole world, a message backed up by real experience that it is possible and joyful, though demanding, to experience a faithful love 'forever', open to life; it is possible to participate as families in the mission of the Church and in the construction of society. ... May the experience of Milan bring abundant fruits to the Church and favour increased attention to the cause of the family, which is the cause of man and of civilisation".


PAPAL MESSAGE FOR THE DIAMOND JUBILEE OF ELIZABETH II
Vatican City, 6 June 2012 (VIS) - Made public today was a message sent by the Holy Father to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom who is currently celebrating her Diamond Jubilee (sixty years since she became monarch). The English-language text bears the date of 23 May.
"I write to offer my warmest congratulations to Your Majesty on the happy occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of your reign. During the past sixty years you have offered to your subjects and to the whole world an inspiring example of dedication to duty and a commitment to maintaining the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, in keeping with a noble vision of the role of a Christian monarch.
"I retain warm memories of the gracious welcome accorded to me by Your Majesty at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh at the beginning of my apostolic visit to the United Kingdom in September 2010, and I renew my thanks for the hospitality that I received throughout those four days. Your personal commitment to cooperation and mutual respect between the followers of different religious traditions has contributed in no small measure to improving ecumenical and inter-religious relations throughout your realms.
"Commending Your Majesty and all the royal family to the protection of Almighty God, I renew my heartfelt good wishes on this joyful occasion and I assure you of my prayers for your continuing health and prosperity".



OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 6 June 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Fr. Jose Gilson O.F.M. Cap., definitor general of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins in Rome, as bishop of Erexim (area 5,586, population 211,685, Catholics 168,800, priests 64, permanent deacons 15, religious 133), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Ibirama, Brazil in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1988. He has held a number of offices in his order including master of postulants, bursar and minister provincial of Curitiba. He has also worked as professor of ecclesiastical history at the "Studium Theologicum" of Curitiba. He succeeds Bishop Gironimo Zanandrea, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Archbishop Julio Murat, apostolic nuncio to Zambia, also as apostolic nuncio to Malawi.

AMERICA : PRIESTS FOR LIFE CANADA - DEFENDING LIFE


FATHER THOMAS LYNCH is the National Director of "Priests for Life" Canada. He is pictured here with his nieces at the "National March for Life" 2011 in Ottawa, Canada.
BIO -
Fr. Tom Lynch was chosen as the National Director for Priests for Life Canada in May of
2008. Fr. Thomas A. Lynch is not new to the pro-life movement. He has been directly
involved in advocating for the rights of individuals for the past 30 years. His involvement
in pro-life matters goes back to his younger school days.
Fr. Tom was born in Lindsay, Ontario, on July 29, 1957, and ordained to the Catholic
priesthood in the Diocese of Peterborough, Ontario, on May 25, 1984. His extensive
knowledge and experience has made him a popular advocate, lecturer, and teacher in the
area of family and life.

What is Priests for Life Canada?

Priests for Life Canada is an association of Canadian Catholic priests and lay people who give special emphasis to promoting and defending the sanctity of human life. A 'Priest for Life' is not asked to leave his diocese or specific ministry.

But isn't every priest 'for life'?

Yes, in fact, every person is called to stand for life. 'Priest for Life' means that being 'for life' is ESSENTIAL to the life of EVERY priest. (Just like, while every priest is for Jesus, there is also a Society of Jesus.)

Why are so many lay people involved in Priests for Life Canada?

Lay people lend support to the operations of Priests for life Canada. It is also important for Catholic lay people to become involved in pro-life issues. Most information distributed by Priests for Life Canada is designed or directly approved by priests.

What is the purpose of Priests for Life Canada?

Priests for Life brings together and encourages priests and all Catholics to fight the culture of death, particularly abortion and euthanasia.

What specific objectives does Priests for Life Canada have?

  • Priests for Life seeks to link up priests across Canada who are actively involved in the pro-life movement;
  • to help all priests speak and act against abortion and euthanasia;
  • to distribute the Priests for Life Canada newsletter, a practical aid for preaching and activity;
  • to provide priests with homilies, bulletin inserts, tapes and other pro-life resources;
  • to provide lay pro-life groups an effective link with the clergy;
  • In some areas, Priests for Life gather in small groups on a regular basis to pray and share ideas on pro-life issues.
  • SOURCE: http://www.priestsforlifecanada.com/English/

AFRICA : NIGERIA : 9 KILLED IN CHURCH BOMBING ON SUNDAY

CISA NEWS REPORT:
Bauchi-bomb-blast-360x225
KANO, June 5, 2012 (CISA) -At least 9 people were killed, and 35 seriously injured, in a suicide bombing at a Christian church in northern Nigeria on Sunday, June 3.
The suicide bomber drove his vehicle, packed with explosives, into a security checkpoint that had been set up by police near the church in Bauchi.
Although the vehicle was stopped short of the church itself, the explosion caused the building to collapse, and worshippers who rushed out were caught in a fire started by the bomb.
“We have a checkpoint not far from the church which prevented the bomber from gaining access to his target,” said State police commissioner Mohammed Ladan.
“So he rammed the car into a security gate and the car exploded, killing him and eight other people. … many people were injured,” he added.
Boko Haram has claimed attacks killing more than 1,000 in Nigeria since July 2009, with some of the worst bloodshed coming in the northeast.
The group staged a daring jailbreak in Bauchi in September 2010 during which it said roughly 100 of its members were freed.
Meanwhile Archbishop of Jos and President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, Ignatius Ayau Kaigama condemned the killings. “We are appalled and shocked by the two tragedies that hit Nigeria, the airplane crash in Lagos that killed 153 people, and the attack on a Christian church in Bauchi,”
On Sunday, June 3, an airliner that links Abuja to the economic capital Lagos, crashed in a neighborhood in the latter city. The plane, carrying 147 passengers and six crew members, hit a two-story building and a church and a small print shop. There were no survivors.
SHARED FROM CISA NEWS AFRICA

ASIA : PAKISTAN : US KILLS AL-QUAEDA LEADER AL-LIBI

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
According to experts, 49 year old Libyan Abu Yahya al-Libi, had the "religious credentials" and "combatant" quality to make him leader. He was killed during a drone attack on the Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan. For the international terror network his is a loss "irreparable damage".


Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - For U.S. terrorism experts, the death yesterday of Abu Yahya al-Libi is the hardest blow dealt to al Qaeda, thirteen months after the death of Osama bin Laden. The extremist fighter of Libyan origin - as his name reveals - was killed yesterday during a CIA drone raid in Pakistan's tribal area bordering Afghanistan. He was number two in line in the hierarchy of the international jihad, just behind the sheikh and Egyptian doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri (60 years), but his influence and prestige exceeded his mere numerical classification. Al-Libi was much loved and respected by fighters and credited with possessing what analysts define as the "religious credentials", absent in other leaders, to lend an "inspirational" ideological message to conflict and global terrorism.

Jarret Brachman, an expert on terrorism at North Dakota State University, told AFP that "the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi is a devastating blow to the leadership of al Qaeda," so severe as to be defined as "irreparable damage". The researcher adds that there is no one within the international network of terror that has "combination" of key elements such as "academic credentials, personal charisma and the ability to direct and guide fighters at a regional and global level."

The terrorist, 49 years or so, first joined the terrorist movement in Libya. He studied the Koran and Islamic law in Mauritania, before moving to Afghanistan. He was a proponent of "religious orthodoxy and purity," but was also a skilled orator and an expert in computers and information technology, seen in the many video messages he released over the years. Captured in 2002 by Pakistan, he was imprisoned by the Americans in Bagram prison (north of Kabul), from which he escaped in 2005, an act which later earned him respect and admiration in the international terrorist movement.

The American drone attack, which led to his death, occurred early yesterday morning in Hassu Khel, a small village south of Mir Ali in North Waziristan tribal area along the border with Afghanistan and a stronghold of fighters and extremists . During the raid from 14 to 16 people died and this is considered the bloodiest in the area since November 2011.

The line of succession of al Qaeda is difficult to interpret, but in any case U.S. experts say it is a blow to the movement, because no second tier leader has his charisma and preparation. It should be added that al Qaeda is an international network consisting of many cells affiliated with each other, ranging from Pakistan to the Philippines and Indonesia, but that - often - they act in an autonomous and independent manner under the direction of a local leader.
SHARED FROM: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/U.S.-raid-kills-al-Qaeda-no.-2,-al-Libi-24948.html

AUSTRALIA : CATHOLIC HEALTH STUDY - INEQUALITIES

ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY RELEASE:
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
5 Jun 2012


Education, housing, income all play key role in
determining health outcomes
An Australia-first study on the inequalities of health commissioned by Catholic Health Australia (CHA) found that as many as 500,000 cases of chronic illness could be avoided resulting in a saving of more than $2.3 billion in hospital costs each year.
The ground breaking study which examines The Cost of Inaction on the Social Determinants of Health was carried out by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) and within less than 24 hours of its release has resulted in the announcement of a Senate Committee Inquiry aimed at implementing the World Health Organisation's social determinants of health action plan, and providing better and more inclusive health care for Australia's poor and disadvantaged.
Announcing the Senate Inquiry yesterday, Mark Butler, Minister of Mental health and Ageing and Minister for Social Inclusion, acknowledged the CHA-commissioned study and said the issues raised in this report would be considered by the Inquiry as it examined long-term health impacts of all policies and practices aimed at delivering a more socially inclusive Australia.
In 2010, CHA commissioned the first of two important reports into social determinants of health. The first report was commissioned after CHA took issue with the Rudd Government's health reforms failure to address the needs of Australia's poor and most vulnerable.

Martin Laverty CEO of Catholic Health
Australia
"The proposed health reforms focussed on hospitals rather than keeping people out of hospital, " Mr Laverty said at the time.
The first report by NATSEM was carried out soon after and was commissioned by CHA to discover the role wealth played in a person's health. Published in September 2010, the report, entitled Health Lies in Wealth," found 65% of those on low incomes had long term health problems compared with just 15% of those on high incomes. The study also found 20% of those on the nation's lowest incomes had three times the rate of obesity, a higher percentage of problem drinkers and were four or five times more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
The report also showed there was double the chance of younger adults who left high school early becoming high risk drinkers compared to those with a tertiary education.
In other words social determinants of health were very much affected by income, education, secure employment, housing status and similar factors.
The follow up study, released early yesterday morning, built on the first report and counted the cost in terms of dollars and cents of avoidable chronic ill health among Australia's disadvantaged. It found that not only could $2.3 billion be saved in annual hospital costs but there would be savings of $273 million in unneeded medicare services. A further $8 billion could be saved in lost wages and $4 billion saved in welfare support payments that would no longer be needed.
Poor and disadvantaged have three times rate
of obesity than their wealthier counterparts
"This latest NATSEM report commissioned by CHA shows that if we improve the health of low income earners, there are significant savings to the taxpayer and gains for the economy to be made," Mr Laverty says. But he is quick to point out that to achieve these gains and to improve the health of society's most vulnerable, it is not necessary to reform the health system.

"Instead we need to target existing education and social programs to better serve the needs of those in socio-economic disadvantage," he says.
Australia already has a good track record in these areas and Mr Laverty is hopeful the Senate Committee Inquiry announced by the Minister for Social Inclusion will look at improvements along these lines as well as consider how best to target early childhood conditions, school completion, workforce participation and other factors that international evidence consistently shows determines a person's health status and outcomes.
"The Inquiry will also need to look at what targets and indicators will be needed to track progress in order for tax payer savings and economic productivity gains to be made," he says.
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

EUROPE : RIP JESUIT FR. SEBASTIAN KARAMVELIL - AGE 73

IND. CATH NEWS REPORT:
Obituary: Fr Sebastian Karamveli, Society of St Paul | Society of Paul,Fr Sebastian Karamvelil

Fr Sebastian Karamvelil
It is with great sadness that the Society of Paul announces the death, on Sunday 3 June, of Fr Sebastian Karamvelil, aged 73.

Born in Kerala, India on 19 March 1939, Sebastian entered the Society of St Paul on 27 June 1957 and took final vows on 8 September 1967. He was ordained a priest on 30 June 1970. After further study at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome he engaged upon a life time of commitment and service to the work of the Society of St Paul, inspired to a great degree by his personal encounter with its Founder, Blessed James Alberione.

Working in all aspects of the Apostolate, Sebastian spent time in the Philippines, Bombay, Kochi (where he contributed to the first translation of the Bible into Malayalam), Oman and Milan. In 1987 he was transferred to the community in England, which then resided in Slough, Berkshire, later moving to its present location in Battersea, London. Over the past 25 years, Sebastian used his incredible wealth of knowledge and experience to build up the work and reputation of the Society throughout England and Ireland. Initially he worked in St Pauls Publications until, in 1992, at the invitation of the late Cardinal Basil Hume, the opportunity arose to open a bookshop next to Westminster Cathedral. The success of this project led to him being invited to establish shops by Leeds Cathedral, Hinsley Hall, Birmingham and York.

A man totally committed to the work of spreading the Gospel by using the various media, Sebastian was a much-respected priest, businessman and friend. At times, his professional approach to business gave the impression of a man more concerned with financial gain than evangelisation. However, for those who had the privilege of working very closely with him, and learning from his wisdom and experience, it was abundantly evident that, for him, the work of the Society could only be successful when approached in this way. The world of Christian publishing and retail will be much the poorer without him. Although a somewhat reserved and shy man in social gatherings, Sebastian's incredible sense of humour and enjoyment of life were evident to those to whom he was willing to come close.

May the Lord, who he laboured tirelessly to serve in this life, grant him the joy and peace of the resurrection life available to us all. Please pray for him and for his family, the members of the Pauline family and employees of St Pauls and his many friends as we mourn his passing.

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : WEDNESDAY JUNE 6, 2012


Mark 12: 18 - 27
18 And Sad'ducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question, saying,
19 "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the wife, and raise up children for his brother.
20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no children;
21 and the second took her, and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise;
22 and the seven left no children. Last of all the woman also died.
23 In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife."
24 Jesus said to them, "Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?
25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, `I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?
27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong."

TODAY'S SAINT : JUNE 6 : ST. NORBERT

St. Norbert
FOUNDER
Feast: June 6


Information:
Feast Day: June 6
Born: 1080 at Xanten, Germany
Died: 6 June 1134 at Magdeburg, Germany
Canonized: 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII
Patron of: invoked during childbirth for safe delivery; Magdeburg, peace
St. Norbert was born at Santen, in the duchy of Cleves, in 1080. His father, Heribert, count of Gennep, was related to the emperor, and his mother derived her pedigree from the house of Lorraine. The rank which his birth gave him was rendered more illustrious by the excellent qualifications of his mind and body. His application to his studies was equal to the quickness of his parts, and he went through his academical exercises with extraordinary applause. But being at first blinded by the flattery of the world, he suffered himself to be carried away by its pleasures and pastimes, and had no higher thoughts than how he might live in honor and at his ease. He even received the ecclesiastical tonsure with a worldly spirit; and though he was instituted to a canonry at Santen and ordained sub-deacon, he neither changed his spirit nor his conduct. Being naturally inclined to mirth and gayety, he was the soul of all parties of pleasure, and by living in a circle of diversions, he drowned his soul in a round of vanities and trifling amusements, and was a stranger to serious reflection on himself, which would have opened his eyes. He would not be prevailed on to receive any higher orders for fear of a greater restraint on his conduct; and he led the same manner of life in the court of his cousin, the emperor Henry IV., who appointed him his almoner. God beheld with compassion the heart of this young nobleman enslaved to the world, in which he in vain sought that contentment and quiet of mind which no earthly advantages can afford, and which it is in the power of virtue alone to give. But to break his secret chains an extraordinary grace was necessary; and God awakened him from his spiritual lethargy by an alarming accident. Norbert was riding to a village in Westphalia, called Freten, in pursuit of his pleasures, mounted on a horse richly caparisoned, and attended by only one servant, when, in the midst of a pleasant meadow, he was overtaken by a violent storm, accompanied with dreadful thunder and lightning. Finding himself at a great distance from any shelter, he was overwhelmed with perplexity and fear, and while he was going on briskly, having set spurs to his horse, a ball of fire, or lightning, with a loud clap of thunder, fell just before his horse's feet, burned the grass, and cleft the earth. The poor beast, thus affrighted, threw his rider who lay like one dead for near an hour. At last coming to himself, like another Saul, he cried out to God, in the bitter compunction of his heart, "Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do?" To which the divine grace interiorly suggested this reply, "Turn away from evil, and do good: seek after peace, and pursue it." Being thus humbled in the full career of his passions, he became upon the spot a sincere penitent. Returning no more to the court, he withdrew to his canonry at Santen, there led a life of silence and retirement, wore a hair shirt next his skin, and spent his time in tears, holy prayer, and meditation. Now taking a serious review of himself and the world, he detested his past ingratitude to God, and his folly in serving a deceitful world which mingles in all its delights much gall and bitterness, far outweighing the false and momentary pleasure. The remembrance of the divine mercy which had spared him, while many others had been cut off in their sins, and in a moment been buried in hell, pierced his heart to the quick, and drew daily from his eyes streams of tears, by which he endeavored to wash away the stains of his soul. The fire of divine love thus kindled in his heart, gained strength every day by his fidelity, and by fresh supplies of grace. But his conversion was completed by a retreat which he made in St. Sigebert's monastery near Cologne, and by the pious exhortations of Conon, the holy abbot of that house, who was made soon after bishop of Ratisbon. Norbert was at this time in the thirtieth year of his age.

After his conversion, he employed two years in preparing himself for the priesthood, which he received from the hands of the archbishop of Cologne, together with the order of deacon, his fervor seeming a sufficient cause for such a dispensation. At the time of his ordination, he appeared in a lambskin cassock tied with a cord, and thus published to the world, that from that moment he renounced all its vanities. After his ordination, he returned to Conon, and made, under his direction, a severe retreat of forty days to dispose himself by tears, prayer, and fasting to say his first mass, which he came back to Santen to celebrate with his chapter. After the gospel was sung at high mass, he mounted the pulpit, and made a most pathetic sermon on the vanity of the world, the shortness of human life, and the insufficiency of all created beings to satisfy the heart of man; and he indirectly inveighed against the disorders of his colleagues. In a chapter which was held the next day, he pointed them out more distinctly, and pressed a reformation so vigorously, that several of them became perfect converts, and loudly condemned their past irregularities. But others, who could not bear that their sores should be touched to the quick, burst out into intemperate rage against him, and not content with ill-usage, they accused him to the pope's legate as an innovator, a hypocrite, and one who covered pernicious designs under the specious presence of zeal for a reformation of manners. The saint, having before his eyes the sins of his past life, confessed that he deserved all manner of contempt and ill treatment, and rejoiced under injuries and afflictions Nevertheless, reflecting on what he owed to God's honor, he purged himself before the legate, in a council held at Fritzlar, in 1118. Soon after, inflamed with an ardent zeal to live to God alone, he resigned all his ecclesiastical preferments into the hands of the archbishop of Cologne, and sold his own estate, giving the money to the poor, reserving only to himself ten marks of silver, a mule, and sacred vestments and ornaments for the altar. Thus divested of all that could engage his stay in his own country, he travelled barefoot to St. Giles's in Languedoc, where pope Gelasius II. was at that time. He threw himself at his holiness's feet, and with extraordinary compunction, made to him a general confession of his whole life, begging absolution of all his past disorders, especially of the irregularity committed in his receiving the holy orders of deacon and priest at the same time, with out observing the interstices prescribed by the canons, though it had been done by the dispensation of his diocesan; and cheerfully offered himself to make any satisfaction. He obtained of the pope faculties to preach the gospel where he judged proper. It was then the depth of winter. Yet he walked barefoot through the snow, and, inflamed with an ardent love of God, and desire of promoting his glory, seemed insensible to the rigors of the season. His whole life was a perpetual lent, and he never took his meal till evening, except on Sundays. He preached penance with incredible fruit over the provinces of Languedoc, Guienne, Poitou, and Orleanois. Till he came to Orleans, he had been accompanied only by two laymen; but, passing through that city, was joined by a subdeacon, who desired to assist him in his mission. His three disciples all fell sick, and died at Valenciennes, in Hainault, in 1119. In that city Burchard, bishop of Cambray, who had been acquainted with the saint in the emperor's court, meeting him, was extremely edified with his humility, penance, and zeal; and Hugh, his chaplain, quitting his hopes and prospects in the world, resolved to accompany Norbert in his apostolical labors: this great man afterwards succeeded him in the government of his order. With this companion, the saint preached penance through all Hainault, Brabant, and the territory of Liege. The people crowded to hear him wherever he came, and his sermons, enforced and illustrated by an evangelical life, procured the conversion of great numbers, reconciled those that were at variance, and engaged usurers and others to make restitution of their ill-gotten goods.

Pope Calixtus II. having succeeded Gelasius II. in 1119, Norbert went to Rheims, where his Holiness held a council soon after his exaltation. The prelates of that assembly were no less charmed with the eloquence, wisdom, and piety of this great servant of God, than amazed at the austerity of his penance, which some advised him in vain to moderate. He was introduced to the pope, who was one of the greatest men that had filled the apostolic chair, by Bartholomew bishop of Laon, and obtained a fresh grant of the privileges and faculties he had received from his predecessor. That prelate earnestly requested that his Holiness would allow him to fix the holy man in his diocese, that he might employ him in reforming the regular canons of St. Martin's church at Laon. The pope readily consented, but these canons could not be induced to submit to his severe regulations. Wherefore the zealous bishop gave the holy man the choice of several places to build a house. The saint pitched upon a lonesome valley called Premontre, in the forest of Coucy, where he found the remains of a small chapel, which bore the name of St. John, but stood in so barren a soil that the monks of St. Vincent at Laon, the proprietors of it, had abandoned it. The bishop bought of them this desert piece of land, and there built a monastery for the saint, who assembled out of Brabant thirteen brethren, desirous to serve God under his direction. Their number soon increased to forty, who made their profession on Christmas-day, 1121. The saint gave them the rule of St. Austin, with a white habit, destining them, in imitation of the angels in heaven, to sing the divine praises on earth. Their manner of living was very austere; but their order is no other than a reformation of regular canons. It was soon spread over several parts of Europe. Among the foundations made by our saint, that of St. Michael's at Antwerp was attended with circumstances which were illustrious proofs of his zeal. That town was then in the diocese of Cambray, and consisted at that time but of one parish, which fell into the hands of an unworthy pastor, by whose sloth and irregular conduct the flock was sunk into great disorders. Tankelin, a bold and eloquent heretic, took his advantage of this unhappy state of the church at Antwerp, and openly asserted that the institution of the priesthood is a fiction, and that the eucharist and other sacraments are of no service to salvation. He drew after him three thousand persons, who believed him a great prophet, and were ready to commit any outrages to support his impious extravagances. After he had spread his errors in the dioceses of Utrecht, Cambray, and the adjacent churches, luring the people with magnificent banquets, and practising the most filthy abominations of the Gnostics, he was slain in 1115, in those tumults which himself had raised, meeting with the usual fate of the authors of seditions and disturbers of the public peace.

The combustion, however, continued still to rage with no less fury than ever, and to fill the whole country with desolation. The reputation of the sanctity and erudition of Norbert attracted the eyes of all Europe; and the canons of Antwerp, in this distress of their church, being joined by Burchard their bishop, who resided at Cambray, implored his charitable assistance. The saint lost no time, and arrived at Antwerp with a select number of his canons who labored under his direction. Such was the success of this mission, that in a short time the people were undeceived, the heretics converted, abuses reformed, and the city restored to its former tranquillity and lustre. The clergy of Antwerp settled St. Michael's church on the saint and his order; and removed the ancient college of secular canons to our Lady's, which in 1559 was erected by pope Paul IV. into a cathedral, when Antwerp was made a bishop's see. The bishop of Cambray confirmed the donation of St. Michael's to the saint in 1124. St. Norbert revived the devotion of the people to the holy sacrament of the altar, and its frequent use, which heresy had interrupted, and had the comfort to see this church flourish in piety before he returned to his first settlement. His order was then much increased, and contained ten abbeys and eight hundred religious men. Among others who embraced his rule, count Godfrey, a nobleman of high renown in the empire, put on the habit at Floreff near Namur, and led an exemplary life in that convent, serving God in the humble quality of a lay-brother. Several other persons of distinction fled from the corruption of the world to the sanctuaries established by this great director in the paths of salvation. His institute had been approved by the legates of Calixtus II., but a more solemn confirmation being judged necessary, St. Norbert undertook a journey to Rome in 1125. Pope Honorius II., who had succeeded Calixtus II. in the close of the foregoing year, and was a great encourager of learning and of good men, received him with all possible marks of respect and affection, and granted all he desired, as appears by his bull, dated in the February following. The saint at his return to Premontre, put the abbey of St. Martin's at Laon under his rule, which the canons then demanded, though they had rejected it six or seven years before. The abbey of Viviers in the diocese of Soissons made the same step. Theobald, a prime nobleman of France, desired to embrace his order; but the saint diverted him from that design, showing him that God, by the situation in which he had placed him in the world, pointed out what he required at his hands; he made him sensible that his obligations to his family and bleeding country were ties in conscience, and that by faithfully acquitting himself of them, he would most effectually labor to advance the honor, and accomplish the will of God.

Norbert having completed the great work of the establishment of his order, was obliged to quit his monastery, to be placed in a more exalted station for the benefit of many. The count of Champagne, who did nothing of importance without the advice and direction of our saint, took him into Germany, whither he was going to conclude a treaty of marriage between himself and Maud, a niece to the bishop of Ratisbon. After the death of the unhappy emperor Henry V., Lothaire II., duke of Saxony, was chosen king of the Romans in 1125, though he was only crowned emperor at Rome in 1132, by pope Innocent II. This excellent prince, whose reign was equally glorious and religious, was holding a diet at Spire when the count and St. Norbert arrived at that city. Deputies from the city of Magdeburg were come to the same place to solicit Lothaire for an archbishop in the room of Roger, who died the year before. Two persons were proposed for that dignity; but Lothaire preferred Norbert to them both. At his name the deputies rejoiced exceedingly; and, indeed, the saint was the only person not pleased with the nomination. The pope's legate, cardinal Gerard, who afterwards sat in St. Peter's chair under the name of Lucius II., made use of his authority to oblige him to comply. The deputies of Magdeburg took him with them to that city, where he was met at a distance by the principal persons, and by his clergy. He followed the procession barefoot, and was conducted to the church, and thence to his palace. But his dress was so mean and poor, that the porter shut the door against him, saying: "Why will you go in to disturb my lords?" Those that followed cried out: "He is our bishop." The saint said to the porter: "Brother, you know me better than they do who have raised such a one to this dignity." In this high station the austerity of his life was the same he had practiced in a cloister, only his humility was snore conspicuous. By the joint weight of his authority, eloquence, and example, he made a great reformation both; in the clergy and laity of his diocese; and by his strenuous and undaunted resolution, he recovered a considerable part of the lands of his church which had fallen into the hands of certain powerful secular princes. But his zeal made those his enemies whom his charity could not gain to their duty They loaded him with injuries, decried him among themselves, and encouraged one another in their disobedience and contempt of his person, calling him a stranger, whose manners were opposite to theirs. To such an excess did their rage carry them, that some even made attempts upon his life. One who saw himself obliged by the saint to renounce his licentious manner of life, hired a villain to assassinate him under presence of going to confession on Maundy-Thursday. The saint was apprized of his design, as some authors affirm, by revelation, and he caused him to be searched as he came in, and a dagger was found upon him. Another shot an arrow at the saint, which only missed him to wound another that was near him. Of these villanies Norbert only said, without the least emotion: "Can you be surprised that the devil, after having offered violence to our divine Head, should assault his members?" He always pardoned the assassins, and showed himself ever ready to lay down his life in the defence of truth and justice. By this patience and unshaken courage, ha in three years broke through the chief difficulties which obstructed the reformation of manners he labored to introduce, and from that time he carried on the work, and performed the visitation of his diocese with ease and incredible success. He continued still to superintend the observance of discipline in his order, though upon his episcopal consecration he had left the government thereof to his first disciple Hugh. The fourth general chapter consisted of eighteen abbots.
After the death of pope Honorius II. an unhappy schism divided the church. Innocent II. was duly chosen on the 14th of February, 1130: notwithstanding which, Peter, the son of Leo, under the name of Anacletus II., was acknowledged at Rome, and by Roger duke of Sicily. The true pope was obliged to fly into France, where he held councils at Clermont, Rheims, and Puy in Velay. St. Bernard and St. Norbert labored vigorously to prevent or remedy the disorders which the schism brought into many places. St. Norbert assisted for this purpose at the council which the pope assembled at Rheims in 1131. Upon his return home, the emperor Lothaire, who resolved to march with an army to Rome to put Innocent II. in possession of the Lateran church in 1132, carried our holy bishop with him in that expedition, trusting that his piety, prayers, and zealous exhortations, would contribute very much to the success of his undertaking; and the event answered his expectations. The saint returned to Magdeburg, where he fell, ill, and after four months' tedious sickness, died the death of the just on the 6th of June, in the eighth year of his episcopal dignity, the fifty-third of his age, of our redemption 1134. He was canonized by Gregory XIII. in 1582. Pope Urban VIII. appointed his festival to be kept on the 10th of June. His body remained at Magdeburg till that city embraced the Lutheran doctrine and revolted. The emperor Charles V. laid siege to it; but was prevailed upon to withdraw his army for a great sum of money. In the reign of Ferdinand II. the Lutheran magistrates, at the request of the Norbertine order, and of many princes, consented that the body of St. Norbert should be removed out of their city. The emperor ordered that it should be translated to Prague; which was done with great pomp in 1627. The sacred treasure was carried into that city by fourteen abbots with their mitres on, and laid in the church called of Mount Sion, all the orders of the city attending the ceremony in the most solemn and magnificent procession.

St. Norbert is usually painted holding a ciborium in his hand. He is distinguished by this symbol on account of his extraordinary devotion to the blessed sacrament. He inculcated in all his sermons the frequent use of this divine food, being sensible from daily experience, and from the words of truth itself, that a neglect, and much more a distaste or loathing of the holy communion, is a deplorable symptom of a most dangerous state in a spiritual life. A short interval in order to a better preparation is often a wholesome counsel, and sometimes a necessary duty. But "he who seldom approaches, because he is tepid and cold, is like one who should say I never approach the fire, because I am cold: I have not recourse to the physician, because I am sick," as the devout Gerson writes. This divine sacrament is the most powerful strengthener of our weakness, the sovereign remedy of our spiritual miseries, and the source of heavenly comfort to alleviate the labors and sorrows of our mortal pilgrimage. The deeper sense we have of our spiritual indigence, with so much the greater eagerness ought we continually to cry out: If I shall but touch the hem of his garment, I shall be saved. Can we slight the most tender invitations of our divine Redeemer? Can we disobey his repeated commands, and contemn his threats? Above all, can we be insensible to that excess of infinite love by which he has wrought so many wonders, that he might here abide in us by the strongest alliance? That person cannot love Jesus who is not solicitous to unite himself often with him in this sacrament of love. The devil employs all his artifices to deprive us of this seed of immortality, as the fathers style it. Holofernes, when he besieged Bethulia, seeing the place impregnable, attempted to take it by stopping the pipes which conveyed water to the city, being sure by this stratagem to reduce it. In like manner the devil seeks to draw a soul from this banquet, that when she has lost her strength he may make her an easy prey. St. Ambrose applies to this spiritual food that passage of the psalmist: They that go far from thee, shall perish.
source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/N/stnorbert.asp#ixzz1x11dyn9i

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