Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Vatican City, 24 April 2012 (VIS) - The "Osservatore Romano" and the Italian newspaper "Il Sole e 24 Ore" are paying homage to the Holy Father for the seventh anniversary of his election with a book entitled "Benedict XVI, Theologian and Pontiff". The volume is being distributed with today's edition of "Il Sole e 24 Ore" and will shortly be available in digital format on the newspaper’s website, with addition multimedia content and English and Spanish translations. The Spanish newspaper "La Razon" will place the book on its own website on 26 April. (image source: RADIO VATICANA)
In the prologue to the work Giovanni Maria Vian, director of the "Osservatore Romano", explains that, for the Holy Father's eighty-fifth birthday and the beginning of the eighth year of his pontificate, it was decided to publish a book bringing together a number of little-known texts on the figure of Benedict XVI. These include a dialogue on secularism and religion between the philosopher Armando Massarenti and the journalist Giuliano Ferrara, some suggestions for reading the works of Joseph Ratzinger by the historiographer Lucetta Scaraffia, and a chronological summary of the life of "the theologian who became pontiff".
This initiative, Vian writes, "aims above all to contribute to an understanding of the person and works of an intellectual who has dedicated, and continues to dedicate his life to the tireless search for truth, engaging in continuous dialogue between faith and reason, and using a language accessible to everyone".

Vatican City, 24 April 2012 (VIS) - The Catholic news agency Fides has reported that 22,104 people were baptised in China on Easter Sunday. The statistics were collected by the Study Centre of Faith in the Chinese province of He Bei. The newly-baptised Catholics, 75 per cent of whom are adults, belong to 101 dioceses. In He Bei itself 4,410 people were baptised on Easter Day, 615 more than last year, while in Hong Kong, which has more than 360,000 faithful, there were 3,500 baptisms.
In evaluating these figures, it should be borne in mind that some dioceses do not celebrate all their baptisms at Easter. For example, in Shang Hai there were 379 Easter baptisms but the total figure could exceed 1,500 by the end of the year. According to Sr. Li Guo Shuang of the Study Center, "there are still some dioceses or communities which, due to communication difficulties, have not yet reported data to us. So we must emphasise that the figures are not complete, they may still increase".


Klimeck, 27, an actor from Brazil was accidentally hanged during a performance of the Passion and Death of Jesus. During the play the character of Judas Iscariot commits suicide by hanging for his betrayal of Jesus Christ.. It was during this scene that Tiago was accidentally hung. This took place on Good Friday in the city of Itarare, Brazil. It was after 4 minutes of hanging that the performers noticed the actor was not conscious. He was taken to hospital but died on Easter Sunday. A polic investigation is underway; it seems the knot on the rope might have been wrongly tied.
He was pronounced dead in the Santa Casa de Itapeva hospital. (image source:


More than 20,000 demonstrators from all over Poland rallied in downtown Warsaw on Saturday to protest the decision of the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) to deny the right to broadcast on a free public digital network to a conservative Catholic Trwam TV channel.

KRRiT has denied TV Trwam the broadcast license because of lack of transparency in its funding. The channel, available on satellite and private cable, belongs to a Catholic media holding run by a priest, Tadeusz Rydzyk.

The protest was organized by the main opposition conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski and started with an open-air mass.

Then protesters from, carrying Polish flags and anti-government placards marched to the seat of government and to the residence of President Bronislaw Komorowski.

Kaczynski, speaking outside the office of PM Donald Tusk, said: "The people in this building must be ashamed to have raised a hand against the Polish Church, against democracy, against national dignity."
He also used the opportunity to call on the right-wing opposition to unite against the liberal government of Tusk.

Kaczynski appealed to right-wing Solidary Poland (SP) party leader Zbigniew Ziobro to come back to PiS (SP party was formed after its leaders were expelled from PiS). Ziobro later dismissed the proposal, however his first reply on Saturday was more emotional, suggesting the unity is possible. Kaczynski's call might be seen as a strategic move to marginalize SP and gain stronger position, the Polish dailies wrote.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Nirmala Carvalho
The husband and his family were "dissatisfied". The woman, 36, has denounced them and the doctors. A network of clandestine clinics uncovered, the government has already withdrawn the licenses of two gynecologists. Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life: "The female sex-selective abortions are altering the Indian population."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Forced to abort six times, because "incapable" of giving her husband a male heir: it happened in the district of Ahmedabad (Gujarat) to Amisha Bhatt, 36. The woman reported all her captors: her partner and his family for harassment, the doctors and other clandestine clinics in which she suffered first the test to find out the sex of the fetus, and then the six abortions. "With my gesture - Amisha said - I hope I have helped many other women who are in the same condition." Meanwhile, thanks to her complaint, the State of Gujarat has launched detailed investigations and already withdrawn the licenses to two doctors.

Since 1994, with the approval of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technologies (Pndt) Act in India it is illegal to use special tests - such as amniocentesis or ultrasound - to determine the sex of the fetus. By law, doctors are required to submit a list of patients who, for reasons of health, have conducted these tests. However, the Pndt was not enough to curb the spread of selective female abortions, and over the years clandestine clinics have spread. After having made a complaint, Amisha Batt has discovered that her name was not listed in any of the lists of gynecologists who carried out the six abortions on her.

Pascoal Carvalho, a physician and member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told AsiaNews that "selective female abortions, feticide and violence against women and girls" are the only thing in India "beyond the barriers of caste and class." This, he adds, "reveals the brutal instances of widespread prejudice against girls."

These practices have become a plague, tied the archaic cultural preference for male children. But this situation, says Carvalho, a member of the Commission for human life of the Archdiocese of Mumbai, "is altering the composition of the population. According to the latest government census (2011), an average of 914 girls born for every 1,000 males." This is alarming, because in the very years in which the government has taken various measures and awareness campaigns on the theme, the gap between males and females has widened even more. In 2001, in fact, the sex ratio was 927 females per 1,000 males.

According to the doctor to change this situation and reverse the trend we need to first change people's mentality. "Mother Teresa said: If we accept that a mother kills her child, how can we tell others not to do it?".,-they-were-all-female-fetuses-24580.html


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "My call to the Episcopate happens in the context of the crisis in Casamance that lasts and there does not seem to be a solution. This may lead many to a certain weariness and discouragement. This motto wants to give new courage and once again remind all men of good will that all things are possible to who believes in God. "With these words, the new Bishop of Ziguinchor (Senegal), Mgr. Paul Abel Mamba, explained the meaning of his episcopal motto "Nothing is impossible for God" (Lc.1, 37), during the solemn rite of his episcopal ordination, which took place on Saturday, April 21.
The war for secession of the Casamance (of which Ziguinchor is the capital), broke out in 1982 and has left hundreds of victims and forced thousands of refugees to flee. In the region, one of Senegal's most fertile, different ethnicities and faiths live together: Muslims, Christians and animists. Before the war it was the most important tourist center of Senegal.
According to information sent to Fides from the Curia of Bissau, the Mass of ordination of Mgr. Abel Mamba was presided by Cardinal Thédore Adrien Sarr, Archbishop of Dakar, there was also His Exc. Mgr. Jean-Noel Diouf , Bishop of Tambacounda, and His Exc. Mgr. Jean Pierre Bassène, Bishop of Kolda. Mgr. Paul Abel Mamba, who was appointed Apostolic Administrator of Ziguinchor after the death of his predecessor, Bishop Maixent Coly, who died on August 24, 2010, and Bishop of the Diocese on January 25, 2012 (see Fides 26/01/2012) thus became the fourth Bishop of Ziguinchor.
The three Bishops of Guinea-Bissau, His Exc. Mgr. José Câmnate na Bissign, Bishop of Bissau, His Exc. Mgr. Pedro Carlos Zilli, Bishop of BafatḠand His Exc. Mgr. Jose Lampra Cá, Auxiliary Bishop of Bissau, accompanied by a good number of priests and faithful of the Diocese of Bissau and Bafata, participated in this moment so solemn and so important for Ziguinchor and also for the whole sub-region. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 24/4/2012)


24 Apr 2012

Vinnies helping children, families and parents
on the margins
Pensioners, sole parents, those with disabilities and the unemployed have been hit hard by steep rises in electricity and water bills with an increasing number forced to turn to St Vincent de Paul Society for help.
In the past 12 months, Vinnies NSW has experienced a 20% increase in those needing assistance with food, debt management and their utility bills, says Dr John Falzon, Chief Executive of the National Council of St Vincent de Paul Society.
Traditionally, the biggest demand for Vinnies services has come from welfare recipients, according to Dr Falzon there is a "new alarming trend in poverty" with more and more low income workers turning to Vinnies for assistance.
A report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) entitled, "Life on Struggle Street," released two weeks ago, found that over past year, one in three low income households had been unable to pay a utility bill on time, with one in 10 of these households forced to seek help from charitable agencies such as Vinnies.
"It is a very worrying picture that so many Australians are struggling to meet the cost of basic needs," Dr Falzon says.

Dr John Falzon,
CEO St Vincent de Paul Society
Over the past five years the cost of living has escalated leaving many households across NSW battling to survive.
Water costs have shot up by 58% , rents by at least 39%, food by 21%, health costs up by 32% and the fares on public transport have risen by 20% or more with train fares increasing at a rate of 7% per year.
But it is NSW electricity costs that seem to be impacting households the most.
Over the past five years electricity bills risen sharply by more than 64% and are set to increase by a further 17% from 1 July this year with further increases set for 2013 and 2014.
"Energy is a social good. But sadly, it is treated as a commodity with households in NSW forced to bear the burden of price increases as a result of the need for infrastructure renewal to bring power to people's homes," Dr Falzon says. "The injustice of this is felt most sharply by people on low incomes. And it is these households that are being disproportionately impacted."
While the Government continues to congratulate itself on Australia's low unemployment figures, what the monthly statistics don't show are those who are under-employed. Instead the monthly employment figures encompass not only the fully-employed but any man or woman who has had some form of paid employment including those who work for just a couple of hours per week.

Underemployment and lack of job security
is becoming a massive problem
This masks the true picture, says Dr Falzon, explaining that under employment and job insecurity are becoming a massive problem that negatively impacts a wide spectrum of Australians across all industries.
"The latest ABS Labour Market figures show that 2 million workers- or almost one quarter of all employees in Australia - are employed as casuals," he says. "The ABS figures also show there are only around 60% of all Australian workers engaged in full or part-time ongoing employment."
Against this, he says, are more than 850,000 Australians working part-time hours and wishing to work more hours and to have additional shifts.
For most of these casual workers there are not only too few hours of work available or only irregular hours of work on offer, but no paid annual or personal leave and no ongoing job insecurity.
"This puts enormous pressure on individuals and families and we fully understand why the underemployed might turn to us for help," Dr Falzon says.

One in three of all Australian workers
are casually employed
Vinnies and other members of the Australian Council of Social Services (ACSS) have called on the Government to urgently increase income support payments.
"People on unemployment benefits are living in abject poverty," Dr Falzon says and believes this and other allowances are needed to ease the pressure on low income families as they struggle to meet the spiralling costs of food, rent, utilities and transport.
But with Treasurer, Wayne Swan flagging tough measures to bring the Government back into surplus, there is little chance of society's battlers receiving any increases to entitlements or allowances when the Federal Budget 2012-13 is handed down on Monday, 8 May.


John 10: 11 - 16
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
12 He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
13 He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,
15 as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.


St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
Feast: April 24

Feast Day: April 24
Born: 1577 at Sigmaringen, Hohenzollern, Germany
Died: 24 April 1622 at Grusch, Grisons, Switzerland
Canonized: 29 June 1746 by Pope Benedict XIV
Major Shrine: Capuchin Convent of Weltkirchen (Feldkirch), Austria
He was born in 1577, at Sigmarengen, a town in Germany, in the principality of Hoinvenzollen. The name of his father was John Rey. The saint was christened Mark, performed his studies in the university of Fribourg in Switzerland, and while he taught philosophy, commenced doctor of laws. He at that time never drank wine, and wore a hair-shirt. His modesty, meekness, chastity, and all other virtues, charmed all that had the happiness of his acquaintance. In 1604, he accompanied three young gentlemen of that country on their travels through the principal parts of Europe. During six years, which he continued in this employment, he never ceased to instil into them the most heroic and tender sentiments of piety. He received the holy sacrament very frequently, particularly on all the principal holidays: in every town where he came, he visited the hospitals and churches, passed several hours on his knees in the presence of the blessed sacrament, and gave to the poor sometimes the very clothes off his back. After this he practiced the law in quality of counsellor or advocate, at Colmar, in Alsace, with great reputation, but with greater virtue. Justice and religion directed all his actions. He scrupulously forbore all invectives, detractions, and whatever might affect the reputation of any adversary. His charity procured him the surname of counsellor and advocate for the poor: but the injustices of a colleague in protracting lawsuits for gain, and his finding fault with our saint for producing all his proofs for his clients in the beginning, in order to the quicker dispatch, gave him a disgust of a profession which was to many an occasion of sin, and determined him to enter among the Capuchin friars. He first received holy orders, and having said his first mass in their convent at Fribourg, on the feast of St. Francis, in 1612, he consecrated himself to God by taking the habit. The guardian gave him, in religion, the name of Fidelis, or Faithful, alluding to that text of the Apocalypse which promises a crown of life to him who shall continue faithful to the end. From that moment humiliations, macerations, and implicit obedience were his delight. He overcame temptations by discovering them to his director, and submitting to his advice with regard to his conduct under them. By his last will, he bequeathed his patrimony to the bishop's seminary, for the establishment of a fund for the support of poor students, to whom he also left his library; and gave the remainder of his substance to the poor.
In regard to dress and furniture, he always chose that for his own use which was the least valuable and convenient. He fasted Advent, Lent, and Vigils, on bread and water, with dried fruits, tasting nothing which had been dressed by fire. His life was a continued prayer and recollection, and at his devotions he seemed rather like an angel than a man. His earnest and perpetual petition to God was, that he would always preserve him from sin, and from falling into tepidity or sloth in his service. He sought the most abject and most painful employments even when superior; knowing that God exalts those highest who have here humbled themselves the lowest and the nearest to their own nothingness. He had no sooner finished his course of theology, than he was employed in preaching and in hearing confessions; and being sent superior to the convent of Weltkirchen, that town and many neighboring places were totally reformed by his zealous labors, and several Calvinists converted. The congregation de propaganda fide, sent to father Fidelis a commission to go and preach among the Grisons; and he was the first missionary that was sent into those parts after that people had embraced Calvinism. Eight other fathers of his order were his assistants, and labored in this mission under his direction. The Calvinists of that territory, being incensed at his attempt, loudly threatened his life, and he prepared himself for martyrdom on entering upon this new harvest. Ralph de Salis, and another Calvinist gentleman, were converted by his first conferences. The missionary penetrated into Pretigout, a small district of the Grisons, in 1622, on the feast of the Epiphany, and gained every day new conquests to Christ; the conversion of which souls ought to be regarded as more the fruit of the ardent prayers in which he passed great part of the nights, than of his sermons and conferences in the day. These wonderful effects of his apostolic zeal, whereof the bishop of Coire sent a large and full account to the congregation de propaganda, so enraged the Calvinists in that province, who had lately rebelled against the emperor. their sovereign, that they were determined to bear with them no longer. 'The holy father having notice of it, thought of nothing but preparing himself for his conflict, passing whole nights in fervent prayer before the blessed sacrament, or before his crucifix, and often prostrate on the ground. On the 24th of April, 1622, he made his confession to his companion with great compunction, said mass, and then preached at Gruch, a considerable borough. At the end of his sermon, which he delivered with more than ordinary fire, he stood silent on a sudden, with his eyes fixed on heaven, in an ecstasy, during some time. He foretold his death to several persons in the clearest terms, and subscribed his last letters in this manner: "Brother Fidelis, who will be shortly the food of worms." From Gruch he went to preach at Sevis, where, with great energy, he exhorted the Catholics to constancy in the faith. A Calvinist having discharged his musket at him in the church, the Catholics entreated him to leave the place. He answered, that death was his gain and his joy, and that he was ready to lay down his life in God's cause. On his road back to Gruch, he met twenty Calvinist soldiers with a minister at their head. They called him false prophet, and urged him to embrace their sect. He answered: "I am sent to you to confute, not to embrace your heresy. The Catholic religion is the faith of all ages, I fear not death." One of them beat him down to the ground by a stroke on the head with his backsword. The martyr rose again on his knees, and stretching out his arms in the form of a cross, said with a feeble voice "Pardon my enemies, O Lord: blinded by passion they know not what they do. Lord Jesus, have pity on me. Mary, mother of Jesus, assist me." Another stroke clove his skull, and he fell to the ground and lay wetering in his blood. The soldiers, not content with this, added many stabs in his body, and hacked his left leg, as they said, to punish him for his many journeys into those parts to preach to them. A Catholic woman lay concealed near the place during this butchery; and after the soldiers were gone, coming out to see the effects of it, found the martyr's eyes open, and fixed on the heavens. He died in 1622, the forty-fifth year of his age, and the tenth of his religious profession. He was buried by the Catholics the next day. The rebels were soon after defeated by the imperialists, an event which the martyr had foretold them. The minister was converted by this circumstance, and made a public abjuration of his heresy. After six months, the martyr's body was found incorrupt, but the head and left arm separate from the trunk. These being put into two cases, were translated from thence to the cathedral of Coire, at the earnest suit of the bishop, and laid under the high altar with great pomp; the remainder of the corpse was deposited in the Capuchin's church at Weltkirchen. Three miracles performed by his relics and intercession, out of three hundred and five produced, are inserted in the decree of his beatification, published by pope Benedict XIII., in 1729. Other miracles were proved, and the decree of his canonization was published by Benedict XIV., in 1746. The 24th of April is appointed the day of his festival, and his name is inserted in the Roman Martyrology. See the acts of his canonization: also his life, written by Dom. Placid, abbot of Weissenau, or Augia Brigantina, published by Dom. Bernard Pez, librarian in the famous abbey of Melch, in Austria, in his Bibliotheca Ascetica, t. 10, p. 403.
To contribute to the conversion of a soul from sin is something far more excellent than to raise a dead body to life. This must soon fall again a prey to death; and only recovers by such a miracle the enjoyment of the frail and empty goods of this world. But the soul which, from the death of sin, is raised to the life of grace, is immortal, and, from a slave of the devil and a firebrand of hell, passes to the inestimable dignity and privileges of a child of' God; by which divine adoption she is rescued out of the abyss of infinite misery, and exalted to the most sublime state of glory and happiness, in which all the treasures of grace and of heaven are her portion forever. Hunger, thirst, watchings, labors, and a thousand martyrdoms, ought to seem nothing to one employed in the sacred ministry, with the hopes of gaining but one sinner to Christ. Moreover, God himself will be his recompense, who is witness, and keeps a faithful account of all his fatigues and least sufferings.



Vatican City, 22 April 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, the third Sunday of Easter, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Regina Coeli with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square below. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA) Before the Marian prayer, the Pope dedicated some remarks to the signs the Risen Christ gave His disciples as they, "startled and terrified, thought they were seeing a ghost".
"The resurrection", the Holy Father explained, "did not cancel the signs of the crucifixion. Jesus showed the Apostles His hands and feet; in order to convince them He even asked for something to eat. ... Thanks to these very realistic signs, the disciples overcame their initial doubt and opened to the gift of the faith, a faith which enabled them to understand the things written about Christ 'in the law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms'. ... The Saviour assures us of His real presence among us through the Word and the Eucharist and, just as the disciples of Emmaus recognised Jesus in the breaking of the bread, so we too meet the Lord in the celebration of the Eucharist".
Finally the Holy Father recalled that during the period of Easter it is customary for the Church to administer First Communion to children. In this context, he exhorted pastors, parents and catechists "to prepare this feast of the faith well, with great fervour but also with sobriety".
Following the Regina Coeli the Holy Father mentioned yesterday's beatification in Mexico of Maria Ines Teresa of the Blessed Sacrament Arias Espinosa, foundress of the Poor Clare Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. "Let us give thanks to God for this exemplary figure of Mexico, a land I had the joy of visiting and which is always in my heart", he said,
Finally the Pope turned his attention to the Day of the Sacred Heart Catholic University, which is being celebrated this Sunday in Italy on the theme: "The Future of the Country in the Hearts of the Young". He said: "It is important for young people to be educated in values, over and above scientific and technical knowledge. It was for this reason that Fr. Gemelli founded the Catholic University, which I hope will remain abreast of the times but also faithful to its origins".

Vatican City, 23 April 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father has written a message for the seventh world congress on the pastoral care of tourism, which begins today in the Mexican city of Cancun. The message is addressed to Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, and to Bishop Pedro Pablo Elizondo Cardenas L.C., prelate of Cancun-Chetumanl.
"Tourism", the Pope writes in the English-language version of his message, "like other human realities, is called to be enlightened and transformed by the Word of God. ... Tourism, together with vacations and free time, is a privileged occasion for physical and spiritual renewal; it facilitates the coming together of people from different cultural backgrounds and offers the opportunity of drawing close to nature and hence opening the way to listening and contemplation, tolerance and peace, dialogue and harmony in the midst of diversity.
"Travelling reflects our being as 'homo viator'; at the same time it evokes that other deeper and more meaningful journey that we are called to follow and which leads to our encounter with God. Travelling, which offers us the possibility of admiring the beauty of peoples, cultures and nature, can lead to God and be the occasion of an experience of faith, “for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator”.
"On the other hand tourism, like every human reality, is not exempt from dangers or negative dimensions. We refer to evils that must be dealt with urgently since they trample upon the rights of millions of men and women, especially among the poor, minors and handicapped. Sexual tourism is one of the most abject of these deviations that devastate morally, psychologically and physically the life of so many persons and families, and sometimes whole communities. The trafficking of human beings for sexual exploitation or organ harvesting as well as the exploitation of minors, abandoned into the hands of individuals without scruples and undergoing abuse and torture, sadly happen often in the context of tourism. This should bring all who are engaged for pastoral reasons or who work in the field of tourism, and the whole international community, to increase their vigilance and to foresee and oppose such aberrations".
"I would like to highlight three areas which should receive full attention from the pastoral care of tourism. Firstly, we need shed light on this reality using the social teaching of the Church and promote a culture of ethical and responsible tourism, in such a way that it will respect the dignity of persons and of peoples, be open to all, be just, sustainable and ecological. The enjoyment of free time and regular vacations are an opportunity as well as a right. The Church, within its own sphere of competence, is committed to continue offering its cooperation, so that this right will become a reality for all people, especially for less fortunate communities.
"Secondly, our pastoral action should never loose sight of the 'via pulchritudinis', “the way of beauty”. Many of the manifestations of the historical and cultural religious patrimony are “authentic ways to God, Supreme Beauty. ... It is important to welcome tourists and offer them well-organised visits, with due respect for sacred places and the liturgical action, for which many of these works came into being and which continues to be their main purpose.
"Thirdly, pastoral activity in the area of tourism should care for Christians as they enjoy their vacations and free time in such a way that these will contribute to their human and spiritual growth. Truly this is “an appropriate moment to let the body relax ... in order to grow in personal relationship with Christ”".
"The new evangelisation, to which all are called, requires us to keep in mind and to make good use of the many occasions that tourism offers us to put forward Christ as the supreme response to modern man’s fundamental questions".

Vatican City, 21 April 2012 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI received members of the Papal Foundation on their annual visit to Rome. The agency is a Catholic association founded in Philadelphia, U.S.A., in 1990 by the now-deceased Cardinal John Krol, which every year finances the needs of the Church around the world.
Speaking to the group in English, the Pope thanked them for their support for "a wide variety of apostolates". He also noted that later this year he will canonise two new saints from North America, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and Blessed Mother Marianne Cope, "striking examples of sanctity and heroic charity" who "also remind us of the historic role played by women in the building up of the Church in America. By their example and intercession, may all of you be confirmed in the pursuit of holiness and in your efforts to contribute to the growth of God’s Kingdom in the hearts of people today".
"In these days I ask your continued prayers for the needs of the universal Church and in particular for the freedom of Christians to proclaim the Gospel and bring its light to the urgent moral issues of our time", the Pope concluded.

Vatican City, 21 April 2012 (VIS) - The commission established by Benedict XVI in 2007 to study questions of importance concerning the life of the Catholic Church in China is meeting in the Vatican today. The commission includes superiors of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia with responsibility in this area, as well as certain representatives of the Chinese episcopate and of religious congregations.
A communique released by the Holy See Press Office notes that, while previous meetings have examined the formation of seminarians, consecrated persons and priests, this year the focus will be on the formation of the lay faithful in the light of the situation of the Catholic community in China, and in the context of the "Year of Faith" which will be celebrated by the entire Church from 11 October 2012 to 23 November 2013. Attention will also be given to progress made in the field of forming priests, consecrated persons and seminarians, and to what remains to be done to ensure they are adequately prepared for the service they are called to offer, within the Church and for the good of society. The meeting of the commission is due to end on 25 April.

Vatican City, 21 April 2012 (VIS) - Yesterday in the Paul VI Hall the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, Germany, conducted by Riccardo Chailly, performed Symphony No. 2 "Lobgesang" by Felix Mendelssohn as a tribute to Benedict XVI for his eighty-fifth birthday. The concert took place under the patronage of the Free State of Saxony and the city of Leipzig.
Following the performance, and having first expressed his thanks to the musicians and organisers, the Holy Father recalled how Mendelssohn had composed the symphony to mark the fourth centenary of the invention of printing, and that it was first performed at the Thomaskirche of Leipzig (the church of Johann Sebastian Bach) on 25 January 1840. The conductor on that occasion had been Mendelssohn himself, the long-time director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra.
"Art as praise of God, supreme Beauty", the Pope said, "lies at the root of the way that Mendelssohn composed, not just as regards liturgical or sacred music, but his entire oeuvre. ... For him, sacred music was not at a higher level than any other kind; each in its own way had to serve and honour God".
The Holy Father concluded by quoting the words written by Robert Schumann after having attended the first performance of the "Lobgesang": "Let us - as the text so splendidly set to music by the maestro says - 'lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light'".

Vatican City, 23 April 2012 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today published the calendar of celebrations due to be presided by the Holy Father between April and June.
Sunday 29: Fourth Sunday of Easter. Priestly ordinations at 9 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica.
Sunday 13: Sixth Sunday of Easter. Pastoral visit to the Italian towns of Arezzo, La Verna and San Sepolcro.
Sunday 27: Solemnity of Pentecost. Mass at 9.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica.
Friday 1 to Sunday 3: Pastoral visit to Milan for the World Meeting of Families.
Thursday 7: Solemnity of Corpus Christi. At 7 p.m., Mass in the basilica of St. John Lateran, procession to the basilica of St. Mary Major and Eucharistic blessing.
Friday 29: Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. Mass at 9 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica. Blessing and imposition of the pallium on new metropolitan archbishops.

Vatican City, 23 April 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
- Nine prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Roger Lawrence Schwietz O.M.I. of Anchorage.
- Bishop Donald J. Kettler of Fairbanks.
- Bishop Edward James Burns of Juneau.
- Archbishop James Peter Sartain of Seattle, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo M.Sp.S. and by Archbishop emeritus Alexander J, Brunett.
- Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane.
- Bishop Joseph Jude Tyson of Yakima, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Carlos Arthur Sevilla S.J.
On Saturday 21 April he received in audience:
- Fourteen prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Bishop William Joseph Justice and Bishop Robert Walter McElroy, auxiliaries of San Francisco, accompanied by Bishop Ignatius Chung Wang, former auxiliary, and by Archbishop emeritus John Raphael Quinn.
- Bishop Clarence R. Silva of Honolulu.
- Bishop Joseph Anthony Pepe of Las Vegas.
- Bishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone of Oakland.
- Bishop Randolph Roque Calvo of Reno.
- Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, accompanied by Bishop emeritus William Keith Weigand.
- John Charles Wester of Salt Lake City.
- Bishop Patrick Joseph McGrath of San Jose in California.
- Bishop Robert Francis Vasa of Santa Rosa, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Daniel Francis Walsh.
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

Vatican City, 21 April 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father has appointed the following cardinals, created in the consistory of 18 February as members of dicasteries and offices of the Roman Curia:
1. Cardinal George Alencherry of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India; Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, as members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
2. Cardinal George Alencherry of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India; Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, archbishop of New York, U.S.A.; Cardinal Lucian Muresan, major archbishop of Fagaras and Alba Julia of the Romanians, Romania; Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and Cardinal Edwin Frederick O'Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, as members of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
3. Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, as member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
4. Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, penitentiary major, and Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Mary Major, as members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
5. Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, penitentiary major; Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Mary Major; Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, as members of the Congregation for Bishops.
6. Cardinal John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong, China; Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Mary Major; Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, as members of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
7. Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, Netherlands, and Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as members of the Congregation for the Clergy.
8. Cardinal Dominik Jaroslav Duka O.P., archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic, and Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, as members of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
9. Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins, archbishop of Toronto, Canada; Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, Netherlands; Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, archbishop of Florence, Italy; Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin, Germany; Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and Cardinal Edwin Frederick O'Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, as members of the Congregation for Catholic Education.
10. Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, and Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, as members of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
11. Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, as member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
12. Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin, Germany, and Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, as members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
13. Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, as member of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
14. Cardinal Dominik Jaroslav Duka O.P., archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic, and Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State, as members of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
15. Cardinal Edwin Frederick O'Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, as member of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".
16. Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, penitentiary major, as member of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.
17. Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, as member of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care.
18. Cardinal John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong, China, as member of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.
19. Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, archbishop of Florence, Italy, as member of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
20. Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins, archbishop of Toronto, Canada, and Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, archbishop of New York, U.S.A., as members of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
21. Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, archbishop of New York, U.S.A., as member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.
22. Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as member of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.
On Saturday 21 April it was also made public that the Holy Father appointed:
- As members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy, and Cardinal Donald William Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, U.S.A.
- Archbishop Lorenzo Balisseri, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, as a consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
- Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, as member of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State.
- Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the millennium of the foundation of the Holy Hermitage of Camaldoli, Italy, due to take place on 19 June.


by Nina Achmatova
After weeks of media scandals, the Patriarch of All Russia leads a procession and a prayer at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior: "Protect the Church from the anti-Russian forces."

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Thousands of people took part in the day in defense of the faith yesterday in Russia, organized by the Moscow Patriarchate to "protect the Church from the attacks of anti-Russian forces", as stated by the same Patriarch Kirill, center of a series of media scandals which are compromising his image.

At least 40 thousand people arrived for a prayer led by the patriarch at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow. The same church, where in late February the Pussy Riot group sang their "punk prayer", in which they condemned the close relations between the Patriarchate and the newly elected President Vladimir Putin. The gesture cost the band's three girls custody on charges of "hooliganism". The incident has raised a heated debate over the role of the Church in politics and exposed Kirill to harsh criticism. "We are under attack by anti-Russian force," said the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in front of the crowd of priests and faithful. "The danger is that blasphemy and mockery of religion are presented as a legitimate expression of human freedom, which must be protected in modern society," he added.

Media and internet criticism of Kirill intensified after his open support for the third nomination of Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin. The religious leader had called the 12-year reign of the politician and former KGB agent at the head of Russia as "a miracle of God", but shortly after he railed against the Pussy Riot, demanding exemplary punishment. On 20 April, Moscow's court ordered that the three girls, held since March, remain behind bars until at least June 24, to allow investigators to complete investigations. In fact, it is a case of detention without trial, note human rights activists, who point out that the three women face up to seven years in prison.

According to many believers, the "punk prayer " was nothing more than the beginning of a series of "acts of vandalism" against the Orthodox Church. Some of these have brought to light, in the Russian media, Kirill's life of luxury and privilege prompting the Patriarch to hold a Day of Prayer. "The reason for this hostility -, according to Pyatigorsk theology student Anastasia Pavlukhova - is that the Church now supports the state more explicitly and so they attack it to indirectly affect the authorities." On 6 March, as news agency Reuters recalls, a man with an ax lashed out against icons in Veliky Ustyug, north-east of Moscow. Two weeks later, an attacker armed with a knife, attacked and desecrated a priest at the altar in the Church of Nevynnomyssk, in the south-east of the country.

"I came here because there is a risk that Russia will return to its past without God," said Olga Golubeva, 54, a lawyer, who has participated in the procession and prayer led by Kirill yesterday. According to the Patriarchate, the participants were 50 thousand, 65 thousand for the Ministry of the Interior, and 40 thousand for the international press. Other similar events with thousands of people were held in Yaroslavl, Krasnodar and St. Petersburg.

"The Church needs this kind of events to prove it has more supporters than detractors - says Alexei Makarkin, an analyst with the Center for political technologies in Moscow - but also to consolidate the support of clergy and faithful." "Within the Church itself - he adds - opinions are divided on what was worse: the performance of Pussy Riot or the reaction of the Patriarchate, the scandal or the demand for punishment for the girls.",-tens-of-thousands-with-Kirill-in-defense-of-the-faith-24566.html


New Zealand: plans for cardboard church unveiled | Christchurch, New Zealand, earthquake,Shigeru Ban,cardboard

Takatori Catholic Church, Kobe, Wiki image
Anglicans in Christchurch, New Zealand have found an innovative solution to replace their Victorian Gothic cathedral which was destroyed in last February's earthquake. The new structure, designed by the award-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, will be built of recycled cardboard. This temporary building will be made with cardboard tubes, wooden beams, structural steel and cement pad, and is expected to last more than 20 years.

Mr Ban has designed several cardboard buildings, including a Catholic church in Japan after the 1995 Kobe earthquake. One advantage of building with cardboard is that it is inexpensive and quick to assemble. It can also withstand earth tremours better than some more traditional materials and is more eco-friendly.

No decision has yet been made for the Catholic Cathedral which was badly damaged, but not destroyed by the quake. The diocese is still considering different options.


To be ordained with Vatican approval and government recognition this week reporter, Changsha
April 23, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Hunan province to get new bishop
Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Changsha
Father Methodius Qu Ailin will be ordained bishop of Hunan this week, according to local Church sources.
The 51-year-old priest has been approved by Pope Benedict XVI and recognized by the Chinese government, the sources said.
The ceremony is scheduled for April 25 at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Changsha city, the capital of southern Hunan province.
Bishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing, vice president of the government-sanctioned bishops’ conference and a participant in an illicit episcopal ordination in Chengde in 2010, will be the main celebrant, the sources said.
The ordination will coincide with the final day of a plenary meeting of the Vatican Commission on the China Church.
Bishop-elect Qu was born in 1961 and ordained a priest in Hengyang in 1995. He became a candidate for bishop in an election last year.
He is deputy director of the Hunan Provincial Catholic Patriotic Association and a member of Hengyang City People’s Political Consultative Conference.
About 20 priests serve 65,000 Catholics in the province, which has been without a bishop for more than a decade, following the death of Bishop Simon Qu Tianxi of Changsha in 2000.
Hunan has four dioceses and five apostolic prefectures, according to the Vatican.
The government-sanctioned “open” Church authorities restructured them into six dioceses in 1991 and later merged them into Hunan diocese in 1999.
Since these administrative changes were not recognized by the Vatican, the new prelate will be known officially in Rome as the bishop of Changsha.


NAIROBI, April 20, 2012 (CISA) -The Catholic Bishops in Kenya plan to undertake a major communication project between now and next year, which aims to improve effective communications and service in the Church.
Presenting a report during the launching of the Bishops’ Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) for 2012/2013 period on April 19, Executive Secretary for Social Communications and Managing Director of Waumini Communications Company, Mr David Omwoyo said this will involve media relations and visibility, the SMS (Short Message Services), revamping Catholic Media Projects and Trickling down the RRI to the dioceses.
Mr Omwoyo said the Church will undertake these communications projects under the banner: The Catholic Communications Campaign within the Church’s Media Apostolate Unit and under the national body of the Bishops, Kenya Episcopal Conference, KEC.
“The Bishops will pay attention to the communication needs of the Church with special attention to equipping its existing Communications centers, training of personnel within national and diocesan levels, equipping and modernizing its Communications offices, technologically, and building effective relations between the Church and the media on national and international levels,” emphasized Mr Omwoyo at a later telephone interview with CISA.
He added that on Sunday, May 20, 2012 during the marking of this year’s World Communications Day, the Church will launch the collection of signatures in all the 1977 Catholic parishes in the country.
“The aim is to get at least four million of the 10 million Catholics to subscribe to our bulk SMS service. Within that we will be able to speak to more than 4 million people every week,” explained Mr Omwoyo.
“We also need to set up 14 radio transmission sites to cover the whole country and a national TV station,” he added.


Agenzia Fides REPORT–Laying the foundation stone of a new facility for the care of children and deaf young people in the city of Cochabamba has recently taken place. The new facility will be called "Don Bosco Salesian Center for the Deaf" and will be built on land granted to the Salesian community and will be managed by Fr. Antonio Díez, a Spanish missionary of the local Salesian community who has been in Bolivia for more than 30 years. About 300 people with deafness, is what is read in the note by Ans sent to Fides will benefit from the new structure, built on land granted by the municipality over an area of 1,040 square meters, which will offer primary and secondary education and, for youth and adults, will include technical formation. Currently, some deaf students already attend traditional courses or evening classes taught at the Salesian facility; but with the construction of the center especially dedicated to their care it will be more specific and will cover a larger number of people. (AP) (Agenzia Fides


John 6: 22 - 29
22 On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone.
23 However, boats from Tiber'i-as came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks.
24 So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Caper'na-um, seeking Jesus.
25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?"
26 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal."
28 Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?"
29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."


St. George
Feast: April 23

Feast Day: April 23
Born: between ca. AD 275 and 281, Nicomedia, Bithynia, modern-day northwestern Turkey
Died: April 23, 303, Lydda, Palestine
Major Shrine: Church of Saint George, Lod
Patron of: agricultural workers; Amersfoort, Netherlands; Aragon; archers; armourers; Beirut, Lebanon; Bulgaria; butchers; Cappadocia; Catalonia; cavalry; chivalry; Constantinople; Corinthians; Crusaders; England; equestrians; Ethiopia; farmers; Ferrara; field workers; Genoa; Georgia; Gozo; Greece; Haldern, Germany; Heide; herpes; horsemen; horses; husbandmen; knights; lepers and leprosy; Lithuania; Lod; Malta; Modica, Sicily; Moscow; Order of the Garter; Palestine; Palestinian Christians; Piran; plague; Portugal; Portuguese Army; Portuguese Navy; Ptuj, Slovenia; Reggio Calabria; riders; saddle makers; Scouts; sheep; shepherds; skin diseases; soldiers; syphilis; Teutonic Knights
St George is honoured in the Catholic Church as one of the most illustrious martyrs of Christ. The Greeks have long distinguished him by the title of The Great Martyr, and keep his festival a holiday of obligation. There stood formerly in Constantinople five or six churches dedicated in his honour, the oldest of which was always said to have been built by Constantine the Great, who seems also to have been the founder of the church of St. George, which stood over his tomb in Palestine. Both these churches were certainly built under the first Christian emperors. In the middle of the sixth age, the Emperor Justinian erected a new church in honour of this saint at Bizanes, in Lesser Armenia: the Emperor Mauritius founded one in Constantinople. It is related in the life of St. Theodorus of Siceon that he served God a long while in a chapel which bore the name of St. George, had a particular devotion to this glorious martyr, and strongly recommended the same to Mauritius when he foretold him the empire. One of the churches of St. George in Constantinople, called Manganes, with a monastery adjoining, gave to the Hellespont the name of the Arm of St. George. To this day is St. George honoured as principal patron, or tutelar saint, by several Eastern nations, particularly the Georgians. The Byzantine historians relate several battles to have been gained, and other miracles wrought, through his intercession. From frequent pilgrimages to his church and tomb in Palestine, performed by those who visited the Holy Land, his veneration was much propagated over the West. St. Gregory of Tours mentions him as highly celebrated in France in the sixth century. St. Gregory the Great ordered an old church of St. George, which was fallen to decay, to be repaired. His office is found in the sacramentary of that pope and many others. St. Clotildis, wife of Clovis, the first Christian king of France, erected altars under his name; and the church of Chelles, built by her, was originally dedicated in his honour. The ancient life of Droctovaeus mentions, that certain relics of St. George were placed in the church of St. Vincent, now called St. Germaris, in Paris, when it was first consecrated. Fortunatus of Poitiers wrote an epigram on a church of St. George, in Mentz. The intercession of this saint was implored especially in battles and by warriors, as appears by several instances in the Byzantine history, and he is said to have been himself a great soldier. He is, at this day, the tutelar saint of the republic of Genoa; and was chosen by our ancestors in the same quality under our first Norman kings. The great national council, held at Oxford in 1222, commanded his feast to be kept a holiday of the lesser rank throughout all England. Under his name and ensign was instituted by our victorious king, Edward III, in 1330, the most noble Order of knighthood in Europe, consisting of twenty-five knights besides the sovereign. Its establishment is dated fifty years before the knights of St. Michael were instituted in France by Louis XI; eighty years before the Order of the Golden Fleece, established by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy; and one hundred and ninety years before the Order of St. Andrew was set up in Scotland by James V. The emperor Frederic IV instituted, in 1470, an Order of knights in honour of St. George; and an honourable military Order in Venice bears his name.
The extraordinary devotion of all Christendom to this saint is an authentic proof how glorious his triumph and name have always been in the church. All his acts relate that he suffered under Diocletian at Nicomedia. Joseph Assemani shows, from the unanimous consent of all churches, that he was crowned on the 23rd of April. According to the account given us by Metaphrastes, he was born in Cappadocia, of noble Christian parents. After the death of his father he went with his mother into Palestine, she being a native of that country, and having there a considerable estate, which fell to her son George. He was strong and robust in body, and having embraced the profession of a soldier, was made a tribune, or colonel, in the army. By his courage and conduct he was soon preferred to higher stations by the Emperor Diocletian. When that prince waged war against the Christian religion, St. George laid aside the marks of his dignity, threw up his commission and posts, and complained to the emperor himself of his severities and bloody edicts. He was immediately cast into prison, and tried, first by promises, and afterwards put to the question and tortured with great cruelty; but nothing could shake his constancy. The next day he was led through the city and beheaded. Some think him to have been the same illustrious young man who tore down the edicts when they were first fixed up at Nicomedia, as Lactantius relates in his book, On the Death of the Persecutors, and Eusebius in his history. The reason why St. George has been regarded as the patron of military men is partly upon the score of his profession, and partly upon the credit of a relation of his appearing to the Christian army in the holy war, before the battle of Antioch. The success of this battle proving fortunate to the Christians, under Godfrey of Bouillon, made the name of St. George more famous in Europe and disposed the military men to implore more particularly his intercession. This devotion was confirmed, as it is said, by an apparition of St. George to our king, Richard I, in his expedition against the Saracens; which vision being declared to the troops, was to them a great encouragement, and they soon after defeated the enemy. St. George is usually painted on horseback and tilting at a dragon under his feet; but this representation is no more than an emblematical figure, purporting that by his faith and Christian fortitude he conquered the devil, called the dragon in the Apocalypse.
Though many dishonour the profession of arms by a licentiousness of manners, yet, to show us that perfect sanctity is attainable in all states, we find the names of more soldiers recorded in the Martyrologies than almost of any other profession. Every true disciple of Christ must be a martyr in the disposition of his heart, as he must be ready to lose all, and to suffer anything, rather than to offend God. Every good Christian is also a martyr, by the patience and courage with which he bears all trials. There is no virtue more necessary, nor of which the exercise ought to be more frequent, than patience. In this mortal life we have continually something to suffer from disappointments in affairs, from the severity of the seasons, from the injustice, caprice, peevishness, jealousy, or antipathy of others; and from ourselves, in pains either of mind or body. Even our own weaknesses and faults are to us subjects of patience. And as we have continually many burdens, both of our own and others, to bear, it is only in patience that we are to possess our souls. This affords us comfort in all our sufferings and maintains our souls in unshaken tranquillity and peace. This is true greatness of mind and the virtue of heroic souls. But, alas! every accident ruffles and disturbs us; and we are insupportable even to ourselves. What comfort should we find, what peace should we enjoy, what treasures of virtue should we heap up, what an harvest of merits should we reap, if we had learned the true spirit of Christian patience! This is the martyrdom and the crown of every faithful disciple of Christ.