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Friday, March 23, 2012

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : FRI. MARCH 23, 2012

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VATICAN : POPE : ARRIVAL IN MEXICO WITH HOPE
AMERICA : USA : OVER 140 CITIES RALLIES FOR RELGIOUS FREEDOM AGAINST HHS
ASIA : IRAQ : CHRISTIAN PHOTOGRAPHER KILLED
AUSTRALIA : PRIESTS RETIREMENT MEETING
EUROPE : GREAT BRITAIN : SUBWAY STATIONS OF THE CROSS
AFRICA : MADAGASCAR : DAMAGE FROM CYCLONES  
TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. MARCH 23, 2012
TODAY'S SAINT : MARCH 23 : ST. TURIBIUS DE MOGROVEJO
 

VATICAN : POPE : ARRIVAL IN MEXICO WITH HOPE

THE POPE BEGINS HIS TWENTY-THIRD APOSTOLIC TRIP UNDER THE SIGN OF HOPE
Vatican City, 23 March 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today began his twenty-third apostolic trip abroad, which is taking him to Mexico and Cuba. The Holy Father departed from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 9.30 a.m. and is due to land at Leon in the Mexican State of Guanajuato at 4.30 p.m. local time (11.30 p.m. in Rome). Leon is the fourth largest city in Mexico and lies at the geographical centre of the country.
The Holy Father will remain in Mexico until 26 March, during which time he will lodge in the Miraflores College, an educational institution named after a Carthusian monastery in Burgos, Spain, and run by the Sisters Servants of the Blessed Eucharist and of the Mother of God. The Pope's three days in Mexico will be divided as follows: On Saturday he will meet Federal President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, then greet and bless children and faithful in Leon's Plaza de la Paz. At 10 a.m. on Sunday he will preside at Mass in the Parque Bicentenario and, that evening, preside at Vespers in the cathedral of Leon. He is due to depart for Cuba on Monday 26 March.
In his weekly editorial for "Octavia Dies", Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. enumerates the reasons for the Pope's trip to Mexico and Cuba: The bicentenary of the independence of the peoples of Latin America; the Mexicans' enthusiastic desire to welcome the Pope; the twentieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mexico and the Holy See, and the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the image of "Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre" in Cuba, with its concomitant Holy Year.
However, Fr, Lombardi notes, "this voyage to the heart of the Americas also has a specific purpose. It will be a journey of hope. Hope for Mexicans, a people with immense resources and potential, but currently afflicted by serious problems which weigh on their present and future, first among them the problem of violence".
The Holy See Press Office Director also speaks of "hope for Cubans, who feel they are on the threshold of what is potentially a new epoch, in which John Paul II's words on the reciprocal openness of Cuba and the world may be realised in a climate of development, freedom and reconciliation".
Finally, Fr. Lombardi mentions "the hope of all Latin America, where a Church committed to the 'continental mission' launched at the Aparecida Conference, wishes to continue making her inspirational contribution to the progress of the continent, so that human and Christian values may guarantee integral human development, despite the difficulties and dangers of our time".

AMERICA : USA : OVER 140 CITIES RALLIES FOR RELGIOUS FREEDOM AGAINST HHS

Today, March 23, saw rallies for Religious Freedom in over 140 cities across the USA. The Bishops' Conference of the USA described the circumstances:
"One particular religious freedom issue demands our immediate attention: the now-finalized rule of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would force virtually all private health plans nationwide to provide coverage of sterilization and contraception—including abortifacient drugs—subject to an exemption for "religious employers" that is arbitrarily narrow, and to an unspecified and dubious future "accommodation" for other religious organizations that are denied the exemption."
"
So what is it about?
An unwarranted government definition of religion. The mandate includes an extremely narrow definition of what HHS deems a "religious employer" deserving exemption—employers who, among other things, must hire and serve primarily those of their own faith. We are deeply concerned about this new definition of who we are as people of faith and what constitutes our ministry. The introduction of this unprecedented defining of faith communities and their ministries has precipitated this struggle for religious freedom. Government has no place defining religion and religious ministry. HHS thus creates and enforces a new distinction—alien both to our Catholic tradition and to federal law—between our houses of worship and our great ministries of service to our neighbors, namely, the poor, the homeless, the sick, the students in our schools and universities, and others in need, of any faith community or none. Cf. Deus Caritas Est, Nos. 20-33. We are commanded both to love and to serve the Lord; laws that protect our freedom to comply with one of these commands but not the other are nothing to celebrate. Indeed, they must be rejected, for they create a "second class" of citizenship within our religious community. And if this definition is allowed to stand, it will spread throughout federal law, weakening its healthy tradition of generous respect for religious freedom and diversity. All—not just some—of our religious institutions share equally in the very same God-given, legally-recognized right not "to be forced to act in a manner contrary to [their] own beliefs." Dignitatis Humanae, No. 2.
A mandate to act against our teachings. The exemption is not merely a government foray into internal Church governance, where government has no legal competence or authority—disturbing though that may be. This error in theory has grave consequences in principle and practice. Those deemed by HHS not to be "religious employers" will be forced by government to violate their own teachings within their very own institutions. This is not only an injustice in itself, but it also undermines the effective proclamation of those teachings to the faithful and to the world. For decades, the Bishops have led the fight against such government incursions on conscience, particularly in the area of health care. Far from making us waver in this longstanding commitment, the unprecedented magnitude of this latest threat has only strengthened our resolve to maintain that consistent view.
A violation of personal civil rights.The HHS mandate creates still a third class, those with no conscience protection at all: individuals who, in their daily lives, strive constantly to act in accordance with their faith and moral values. They, too, face a government mandate to aid in providing "services" contrary to those values—whether in their sponsoring of, and payment for, insurance as employers; their payment of insurance premiums as employees; or as insurers themselves—without even the semblance of an exemption. This, too, is unprecedented in federal law, which has long been generous in protecting the rights of individuals not to act against their religious beliefs or moral convictions. We have consistently supported these rights, particularly in the area of protecting the dignity of all human life, and we continue to do so."
"Most importantly of all, we call upon the Catholic faithful, and all people of faith, throughout our country to join us in prayer and penance for our leaders and for the complete protection of our First Freedom—religious liberty—which is not only protected in the laws and customs of our great nation, but rooted in the teachings of our great Tradition. Prayer is the ultimate source of our strength—for without God, we can do nothing; but with God, all things are possible."
SOURCE: USCCB

ASIA : IRAQ : CHRISTIAN PHOTOGRAPHER KILLED

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
by Joseph Mahmood
Salman Dawoud Salman was killed with nine shots. He had been kidnapped four days earlier, perhaps for money, the corpse found in the neighborhood southwest of the city. AsiaNews sources: Mosul has become a stronghold of Sunni Islam, linked to Saudi Arabia. The goal is to create an Islamic state.


Mosul (AsiaNews) - The Christian community in Iraqis once more the target of Islamic extremism: Yesterday morning in Mosul in the north, security forces found the corpse of a man riddled with bullets. The discovery occurred in the Yarmouk district, in the south-west of the city, the body carried nine bullet wounds, fired at close range. The victim is Salman Dawoud Salman, 45, a freelance photographer, and had been kidnapped four days earlier, probably for ransom.

AsiaNews sources in Mosul city explain that it is "a stronghold of Sunni Wahabi fundamentalism, which has close ties with Saudi Arabia." The goal, adds an expert on Iraqi politics, is "to form a Shariah state ", with the Koran and the sunna as references to legislation and "Islam as the only state religion". "And the faithful of other religions - he adds - will have no other choice; either convert or flee the country or pay the tax imposed on non-Muslims."

A church figure in the governorate of Mosul confirms that "many Christian families have left Mosul several years ago." "They have lost faith in everything - he adds - and the government is incapable of doing anything to protect them. The administration's promises are lies and a question emerges: what does the future hold for non-Muslims in those countries where the logic of violence dominates ".

For some time the Christian community in northern Iraq has been a victim of kidnapping for extortion and caught up in a war between Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds to gain power and control over huge oil fields contained in the subsoil. In a decade, estimates speak of a minority "more than halved" following the "biblical" exodus caused by the serial murders.

From 2003 to December 2011, the date of complete withdrawal of U.S. troops, 4,550 U.S. soldiers have died and 300 allies. However, the real carnage regards the Iraqi civilian population, which has around 100 thousand casualties since the war began. On 20 March, on the ninth anniversary of the U.S. invasion, a series of attacks - at least 20 explosions, which also targeted a Syrian Orthodox church in Baghdad over 40 people were killed and dozens injured.

SOURCE http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Mosul:-more-Christian-blood,-45-year-old-photographer-killed-24314.html

AUSTRALIA : PRIESTS RETIREMENT MEETING

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
23 Mar 2012


Cardinal George Pell welcomed the retired priests
A number of retired priests or priests considering retirement within the Archdiocese of Sydney had the opportunity to "network" today when they were hosted by the Priests' Retirement Foundation and Cardinal George Pell.
The Foundation is committed to the care of priests in their retirement and today, between swapping yarns and catching up with old friends, they had the opportunity to hear and ask about everything from property matters to health programs. It was also important for the Foundation to gauge feedback including ways support could perhaps be enhanced.
There are about seventy retired priests in the Archdiocese. With a number more due to retire in the near future the Foundation wants everyone of them to feel assured they will do so with dignity.


EUROPE : GREAT BRITAIN : SUBWAY STATIONS OF THE CROSS

CATHOLIC HERALD REPORT:
By Miguel Cullen on Thursday, 22 March 2012
Two pages from the booklet
Commuters forced to ponder the inscrutable workings of London Underground’s Circle Line were this week offered a new diversion. An anonymous artist has designed a pamphlet depicting the 14 Stations of the Cross and has arranged them so they sit alongside stations of the Tube line.
“Jesus is Condemned to Death” occurs at Westminster and St James Park, and “Jesus Falls For the Second Time” at Monument and Notting Hill Gate. The skilful and intriguing paper-cut illustrations are collected in a pamphlet called Stations of the King’s Cross. The pictures will be exhibited in St Mary’s Church, Somers Town, in north London.
The artist, who wanted to be anonymous, said he had been handing the pamphlets out around London. He said: “It would be great if the wonder of the human imagination was acknowledged and encouraged more within the Church. Read the letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists [1999]. He has such clear ideas about the importance of art to human society. [As he says] ‘The human craftsman mirrors the image of God as Creator’.”
In the pamphlet, the pictures are called “just a little idea for those Circle Line passengers who believe that pondering on the enormous mystery of Christ’s death [and mysterious enormity of His love] could be a good thing”.
The images bring to mind the fashionable paper-cuts of artists like Rob Ryan, who set up a residency at Somerset House in 2010.
The artist, however, said that a series of Jianzhi pandas, given to him by his mother when he was eight, was his inspiration.
SHARED FROM http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2012/03/22/stations-of-the-cross-adapted-to-circle-line/

AFRICA : MADAGASCAR : DAMAGE FROM CYCLONES

Agenzia Fides report - The meeting of the Council of Priests of the Diocese of Moramanga ended yesterday, March 22, during which the pastors of the eight district missionaries of the diocese reported the latest news about the damage caused by the passage of two cyclones, Giovanna and Irina, which recently devastated the country (see Fides 14,16,17,20/02/2012). Even Pope Benedict XVI had launched an appeal for Madagascar at the Angelus on Sunday, March 11 (see Fides 12,13/03/2012). Mgr. Gaetano Di Pierro, Bishop of Moramanga, says to Fides that the overall picture reports 8 deaths, 1009 people affected, 809 huts destroyed (the majority of the population lives in the forest huts, some with tin roofs), 14 schools destroyed, 42 churches were destroyed or badly damaged, 3 mission dispensaries damaged, 80% of various kinds of crops destroyed. "We have assessed the damages and this is the result" said the Bishop. "There would be need for sheet metal roofs. The cost of a sheet is 10 euros: a quarter of the monthly salary of one wage earner. At least 500 kg of seeds of rice, 200 kg of maize, 200 kg of legumes are required. This would be enough food for three months, at least until the next harvest, for about fifty families - continues the Bishop -. Also essential medicines for malaria and intestinal diseases are needed. "Monsignor Di Pierro concluded by thanking all the friends who have prayed for the people of his " beautiful country" Madagascar. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 23/3/2012)

TODAY'S SAINT : MARCH 23 : ST. TURIBIUS DE MOGROVEJO

St. Turibius de Mogrovejo
CONFESSOR, ARCHBISHOP OF LIMA
Feast: March 23


Information:
Feast Day: March 23
Born: 16 November, 1538, Mayorga, Spain
Died: 23 March, 1606, SaƱa, Peru
Canonized: 1726
Patron of: Native rights; Latin American bishops; Peru
St Toribio, or Turibius Alphonsus Mogrobejo, was second son to the lord of Mogrobejo, and born in the kingdom of Leon, on the 16th of November, in 1538. From his infancy he discovered a strong inclination to piety; and in his childhood it was his delight, at times of recreation, to erect and adorn altars, and to serve the poor. He trembled at the very shadow of sin. One day, seeing a poor peddler woman angry because she had lost something out of her pack, he most movingly entreated and exhorted her that she would not offend God by passion; and, in order to appease her, gave her the value of her loss, which he had begged of his mother for that purpose. He was very devout to the Blessed Virgin, said every day her office and rosary, and fasted every Saturday in her honour. Whilst at school, he usually gave part of his slender dinner to the poor, and was so much addicted to fasting that his superiors were obliged, by strict commands, to compel him to moderate his austerities. He began his higher studies at Valladolid, but completed them at Salamanca. He was introduced early to the notice of King Philip II, honoured by him with several dignities, and made president or chief judge at Granada. This office he discharged during five years with so much integrity, prudence, and virtue that the eyes of the whole kingdom were fixed on him, and his life in the world was a holy noviceship to the pastoral charge. The pressing necessities of the infant church of Peru required a prelate who inherited, in a distinguished manner, the spirit of the apostles; and the archbishopric of Lima falling vacant, Turibius was unanimously judged the person of all others the best qualified to be an apostle of so large a country, and to remedy the scandals which obstructed the conversion of the infidels. The king readily nominated him to that dignity, and all parties concerned applauded the choice. Turibius was thunderstruck at this unexpected news, and had no sooner received the message but he cast himself on the ground at the foot of his crucifix, praying, with many tears, that God would deliver him from so heavy a burden, which he thought absolutely above his strength. He wrote the most urgent letters to the king's council, in which he pleaded his incapacity, and other impediments, and laid great stress on the canons, which forbid laymen to be promoted to such dignities in the church. This humility it was that obtained the succor of heaven by which he performed wonders in the service of souls. Being compelled by obedience to acquiesce, he at length testified his submission by falling on his knees and kissing the ground.
After a suitable preparation, he received the four minor orders on four successive Sundays, the better to dispose himself for the functions of each; and after passing through the other orders, he was consecrated bishop. Immediately after which he set out for Peru, and landed at Lima, in the year 1581, of his age the forty-third. That diocese is extended one hundred and thirty leagues along the coast, comprising three cities and many towns and villages, with innumerable cottages scattered over two ridges of the mountains of the Andes, esteemed the highest and the most rugged in the whole world. Some of the European generals, who first invaded that country were men who seemed to measure every thing by their insatiable avarice and ambition, and had so far lost all sentiments of humanity towards the poor savages, that they deserved the name rather of tyrants and plunderers than of conquerors. Civil wars and dissension completed the misfortune of that country; and covetousness, cruelty, treachery, fraud, and debauchery seemed triumphant. Nor were the repeated orders of the Spanish court able to redress these evils. The sight of these disorders moved the good pastor often to tears, but his prudence and zeal overcame all difficulties, extirpated public scandals, and made the kingdom a flourishing portion of the Christian church. Upon his arrival, he immediately began a visitation of his vast diocese- an undertaking of incredible fatigue, and attended with many dangers. He often crept over the steepest and most rugged mountains, covered with ice or snow, to visit some poor hut of Indians, and give them suitable comfort and instruction. He travelled often on foot, and sometimes barefoot, and by fasting and prayer never ceased to implore the divine mercy for the salvation of the souls committed to his charge. He placed everywhere able and zealous pastors, and took care that no one in the most remote corners of the rocks should be left destitute of the means of instruction and of the benefit of the sacraments. To settle and maintain discipline, he appointed diocesan synods to be held every two years, and provincial synods every seven; and was vigilant and severe in chastising the least scandal, especially of avarice, in the clergy. Without respect of persons, he reproved injustice and vice, and made use of all the means which his authority nut into his hands, to check the insolence of public sinners, and to protect the poor from oppression. Many of the first conquerors and governors of Peru, before the arrival of the most virtuous viceroy Francis of Toledo, were men who often sacrificed every thing to their passions, and for their private ends. From some of these the saint suffered many persecutions, and was often thwarted by them in the discharge of his duty. But by the arms of meekness and patience he overcame all affronts and injuries, and with an invincible constancy he maintained the rights of justice and truth. He showed that many sinners misconstrued the law of God to make it favour their passions; but that, as Tertullian observes, "Christ calls himself the truth, not custom," and will weigh our actions not in the false balance of the world, but in the true scales of the sanctuary. Thus he extirpated the most inveterate abuses, and established with so great fervour the pure maxims of the gospel, as to revive in many the primitive spirit of Christianity. To extend and perpetuate the advantages of religion, which by his zeal he had procured, he filled this country with seminaries, churches, and many hospitals; but would never suffer his own name to be recorded in any of his munificent charities or foundations. When he was at Lima, he every day visited several hospitals, comforted and exhorted the sick. and administered the sacraments. When a pestilence, though that calamity is seldom known in Peru, raged in some parts of his diocese, Turibius distributed his own necessaries in relieving the afflicted: he preached penance, because sins are the cause of chastisements, and infinitely the worst of evils. He walked in the processions, bathed in tears, with his eyes always fixed on a crucifix, and offering himself to God for his flock; fasted, watched, and prayed for them without intermission, till God was pleased to remove the scourge.
Nothing gave the saint so much pleasure as the greatest labours and dangers, to procure the least spiritual advantage to one soul. Burning with the most vehement desire of laying down his life for his flock, and of suffering all things for him who died for us, he feared no dangers. When he heard that poor Indians wandered in the mountains and deserts, he sought them out; and to comfort, instruct, or gain one of them he often suffered incredible fatigues and dangers in the wildernesses, and boldly travelled through the haunts of lions and tigers.1 He spent seven years in performing his first visitation; his second employed him four years, but the third was shorter. He converted innumerable infidels, and left everywhere monuments of his charity. In travelling, he either prayed or discoursed on heavenly things.. On his arrival at a place, it was his custom to repair first to the church to pray before the altar. To catechise the poor, he would sometimes stay two or three days in places where he had neither bed nor any kind of food. He visited every part of his vast diocese, and when others suggested to him the dangers that threatened him from rocks, precipices, marshes, rivers, robbers, and savages, his answer was that Christ came from heaven to save man, we ought not therefore to fear dangers for the sake of immortal glory. He preached and catechised without intermission, having for this purpose learned, in his old age, all the various languages of the barbarous nations of that country. Even on his journeys he said mass every day with wonderful fervour and devotion. He always made a long meditation before and after it, and usually went to confession every morning; though they who best knew his interior testified that they were persuaded he had never in his whole life forfeited his baptismal innocence by any mortal sin. He seemed to have God and the divine honor alone before his eyes in all his words and actions so as to give little or no attention to any thing else; by which means his prayer was perpetual. He retired in private to that exercise often in the day, and for a long time together. In it his countenance seemed often to shine with a divine light. The care with which he studied to disguise and conceal his great mortifications and works of piety, was the proof of his sincere humility. His munificence in relieving the poor of every class, especially those who were too bashful to make their necessities publicly known, always exhausted his revenues. The decrees of his provincial councils are monuments of his zeal, piety, learning, and discretion: they have been ever since esteemed, not only in the new world, but also in Europe, and at Rome itself, as oracles. The flourishing state of the church of Peru, the great numbers of saints and eminent pastors with which it abounded, and the establishment of innumerable seminaries of piety and learning, and hospitals for the poor, were the fruit of his zeal. If he did not originally plant the faith, he was at least the great propagator of it, and the chief instrument of God in removing scandals and advancing true piety in that vast country, which till then had been a land of abominations: whilst Francis of Toledo, the great viceroy, first settled the civil government in peace and tranquillity by salutary laws, which have procured him the title of the Legislator of Peru. St. Turibius, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, in 1606 during the visitation of his diocese, fell sick at Santa, a town one hundred and ten leagues distant from Lima. He foretold his death, and ordered him to be rewarded who should bring him the first account from his physician that his recovery was despaired of. The ardour of his faith, his hope, his love of his Creator and Redeemer, his resignation, and perfect sacrifice of himself, gathered strength in the fervent exercises and aspirations which he repeated almost without ceasing in his illness. By his last will he ordered what he had about him to be distributed among his servants, and whatever else he otherwise possessed to be given to the poor. He would be carried to the church, there to receive the holy Viaticum, but received extreme unction in his sick bed. He often repeated those words of St. Paul, ; and in his last moments he ordered to be sung by his bedside those of the Psalmist, He died on the 23rd of March, repeating those other words of the same prophet, His body being translated the year after to Lima, was found incorrupt, the joints flexible, and the skin soft. His historian, and the acts of the canonization, mention many sick restored to their health, and a girl raised to life by him whilst he was living; also many miracles wrought through his intercession after his death. He was beatified by Innocent XI in 1679,1 and solemnly canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726. On the miracles wrought by his inter. cession, see Benedict XIV,2 and especially the acts of his canonization.
A pastor of souls must be careful to animate all his exterior actions and labours in the service of his neighbour with the interior spirit of compunction, humility, zeal, charity, and tender devotion. Without this he loses the fruit of all the pains he takes, and by them will often deserve only chastisements in the world to come; so much will his intention and the affections of his heart be infected with self-love, and depraved by various imperfections, and secret sinister desires, even in the most holy functions. Therefore, a fervent noviciate, employed in the exercises of an interior life, ought to be a part of the preparation for this state; and in the discharge of his duties, a person ought always to unite contemplation with action, and reserve to himself sufficient-time for conversing with God and his own soul, and taking a frequent review of his own interior. From his labors he must return frequently to prayer, and constantly nourish in his soul a spirit of fervent devotion, which will thus accompany all his exterior actions and keep his thoughts and affections always united to God. Those who are not faithful in thus maintaining and improving in themselves an interior spirit of piety, and in watching with fear and compunction over the motions of their own hearts, will generally advance very little the kingdom of Christ in the souls of others, and are in great danger of losing their own. This is what St. Bernard feared in his disciple Pope Eugenius III, whom he conjured with tears never to give himself up entirely to the care of others, so as not to live also for himself; so to communicate a spirit of piety to others, as not to suffer it to be drained in his own heart; to be a basin to hold it, not a pipe for it to run through. This lesson is applicable, with due proportion, to other states, especially that of teaching the sciences, in which the exercises of an interior life are so much the more necessary, as the employment is more distracting, more tumultuous, and more exposed to the waves of vanity, jealousy, and other secret petty passions.


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/T/stturibiusdemogrovejo.asp#ixzz1pudK1KRx