Friday, May 18, 2012


Vatican City, 18 May 2012 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received the final group from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose prelates have been travelling to Rome over the past six months on their quinquennial "ad limina Apostolorum" visits. (image source: RADIO VATICANA)
In previous meetings, different groups of bishops emphasized the importance of preserving and fostering the gift of Catholic unity as an essential condition for the fulfilment of the Church’s mission in their country. Responding to this concern, Benedict XVI focused his address this morning on the need to incorporate the rich patrimony of faith and culture contributed by the many Catholic immigrants into the Church in America.
The Pope began by praising the work carried out by the Church in America, to respond to the phenomenon of immigration: "The Catholic community in the United States continues, with great generosity, to welcome waves of new immigrants, to provide them with pastoral care and charitable assistance, and to support ways of regularizing their situation, especially with regard to the unification of families. A particular sign of this is the long-standing commitment of the American Bishops to immigration reform. ... It is ... of profound concern to the Church, since it involves ensuring the just treatment and the defence of the human dignity of immigrants".
The Church in America, the Pope said to the bishops, "is called to embrace, incorporate and cultivate the rich patrimony of faith and culture present in America's many immigrant groups, including ... the swelling numbers of Hispanic, Asian and African Catholics. The demanding pastoral task of fostering a communion of cultures within your local churches must be considered of particular importance in the exercise of your ministry at the service of unity. This diaconia of communion entails more than simply respecting linguistic diversity, promoting sound traditions, and providing much-needed social programs and services. It also calls for a commitment to ongoing preaching, catechesis and pastoral activity aimed at inspiring in all the faithful a deeper sense of their communion in the apostolic faith and their responsibility for the Church's mission in the United States. ... the immense promise and the vibrant energies of a new generation ofCatholics are waiting to be tapped for the renewal of the Church’s life and the rebuilding of the fabric of American society".
In this context, Benedict XVI emphasized the role of the consecrated life: "The urgent need in our own time for credible and attractive witnesses to the redemptive and transformative power of the Gospel makes it essential to recapture a sense of the sublime dignity and beauty of the consecrated life". We must, therefore, "pray for religious vocations and promote them actively, while strengthening existing channels for communication and cooperation" present in each diocese.
In conclusion, the Pope expressed his hope that the Year of Faith, which will begin in October, "will awaken a desire on the part of the entire Catholic community in America to reappropriate with joy and gratitude the priceless treasure of our faith. With the progressive weakening of traditional Christian values, and the threat of a season in which our fidelity to the Gospel may cost us dearly, the truth of Christ needs not only to be understood, articulated, and defended, but to be proposed joyfully and confidently as the key to authentic human fulfilment and to the welfare of society as a whole".

Vatican City, 18 May 2012 (VIS) - This morning the Paul VI Chair, which will be instituted at LUMSA (Libera Università Maria SS. Assunta) University in Rome, was presented in the Holy See Press Office. In attendance were: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops; Giuseppe Dalla Torre, Rector of LUMSA; Michele Bonetti, member of the executive committee of the Paul VI Institute in Brescia; and Sergio Gatti, general director of Federcasse.
Cardinal Re praised the initiative of including the chair dedicated to Paul VI in the sphere of the coursework on contemporary history at LUMSA because "the footprints of his work in history - as the priest in charge of the Italian Federation of Catholic Universities (FUCI), as well as Secretary of State of his Holiness, and later as Archbishop of Milan and Pope - have not been erased or discoloured with the passing of time. On the contrary, they have been made stronger. Pope Montini was one of the great protagonists of the 20th century".
Paul VI has a place in history, above all for his guidance of the Second Vatican Council, the cardinal affirmed. Even if the merit of calling for and opening the Council falls to Blessed John XXIII, "Paul VI led it with an expert and sure hand, respectful of the Fathers of the Church but firm". For example, "his decision to publish the famous 'Nota praevia', on collegiality and Petrine primacy established the authoritative and proper interpretation of the matter".
He also "loved and esteemed his day and looked at the modern world with sympathetic eyes, seeking the reconciliation between the modern age and the Christian faith. There are few like him who have known how to read the anxieties, the worries, the desires, and the weariness of the human being in our days. As Pope he made historic gestures and, as these were carried out for the first time by a pontiff, they can be considered 'firsts': He was the first Pope to ride in an airplane; the first to return to Palestine; the first t renounce the crown, earmarking the proceeds of its sale to the poor; the first to go to the United Nations; and the Pope who abolished the pontifical court, bringing a simpler lifestyle to the Pontifical Household".
The historical investigation to be carried out under the chair instituted at LUMSA will be very useful for analysing two little know chapters of Giovanni Battista Montini's life. The first is the work of formation of the members of the Italian Federation of Catholic Universities because the Pope "had an innate passion for the formation of persons: religious, but also civil, social, and in some way even political formation".
The second is the impressive charitable activity of human and social assistance that he organized and directed during World War II ... through the creation of Vatican Relief for contact with prisoners and his personal and untiring dedication to feed Jewish and political refugees hidden in convents and religious institutions. This was in compliance with Pius XII's wishes but the dedication with which he devoted himself to this task, asking assistance from nations not at war that they send ships full of provisions to Civitavecchia, north of Rome, merit appreciation and admiration. The 'Montini Chair'", concluded the cardinal, "will also contribute to our remembrance".

Vatican City, 18 May 2012 (VIS) - This afternoon in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father attended a viewing of "Mary of Nazareth", a coproduction of RaiFiction, Lux Vide, BetaFilm, Tellux, Bayerischer Rundfunk, and Telecinco Cinema directed by Giacomo Campiotti.
At the end of the screening the Pope addressed a few words on the film that focuses on three female protagonists: Herodias, Mary Magdalene, and Mary of Nazareth, whose lives cross but who choose different paths.
"Herodias", Benedict XVI said, "remains locked within herself and her world. She is unable to raise her gaze to read the signs from God and she is not freed from evil. Mary Magdalene's experience is more complicated. She is attracted by the appeal of an easy life rooted in material things and uses various means for getting her own way up until the dramatic moment when she is judged and is faced with her own life. Her encounter with Jesus opens her heart and changes her existence. But the centre is Mary of Nazareth who possesses the wealth of a life that has been a "Here I am" for God. She is a mother who would have always wanted to keep her son at her side, but she knows that He is God. Her faith and her love are so great that she can accept Him leaving to accomplish His mission. Her life is a constant "Here I am", said to God from the Annunciation until the Cross".
"Three experiences", the Pope concluded, "a paradigm of how one can build their life around selfishness, being locked within oneself and material things, being guided by evil, or rather upon the presence of a God who came and stays with us, who awaits us with kindness if we make a mistake and asks that we follow Him, that we trust in Him. Mary of Nazareth is the woman of a full and total "Here I am" to the divine will. In her "Yes", repeated even when faced with the sorrow of the loss of her child, we find complete and profound beatitude".

Vatican City, 18 May 2012 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in audience:
- Bruno Joubert the new ambassador of France to the Holy See, presenting his credential letters.
- Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI).
This afternoon the Holy Father is scheduled to meet with Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Vatican City, 18 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father named Msgr. Wayne Kirkpatrick as auxiliary archbishop of the Archdiocese of Toronto (area 13,000, population 5,749,000, Catholics 1,944,000, priests 839, permanent deacons 123, religious 1,132), Canada. The bishop elect was born in 1957 and ordained in 1984. He has a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the Seminary of Philosophy at Resurrection College in Waterloo, Ontario and a master's degree in theology from St. Augustine Seminary in Toronto. He has a licentiate in canon law from St. Paul University of Ottawa and was named prelate of honour by his Holiness in 1999.
He has served in many roles since his ordination, including 22 years in diocesan administration, concurrently serving in parish ministry as a pastor for 17 years. He presently serves as moderator of the curia, chancellor, and judicial vicar of the diocese, as well as rector of the cathedral. A little over a year ago he was elected President of the Canadian Canon Law Society.


Thomas D. Williams
Fr. Thomas Williams, LC, PhB, ThD of the Legionaries of Christ apologized for his misconduct on Wednesday, May 15, 2012. He is a famous priest of National Catholic Registrar, Zenit News, and television appearances on NBC,CBS and Sky News. He has 14 books published.
The Legionaries has been sadly disgraced due to some immoral conduct of the deceased founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado. The order taken serious action to reprimand these members. Let us pray for the Order of the Legionaries that has done much good despite the sinful behaviour in some members. We are all sinners in the eyes of God; all must repent and do good despite the sin in our lives. Let us also pray for all victims of abuse; for healing and a restoring of the love of God in their hearts.
His personal website has ceased to operate. He was ordered to take a year leave from public ministry. Fr. Williams is living with his parents and undergoing cancer treatments.

Fr. Williams apologized:
"A number of years ago I had a relationship with a woman and fathered her child. I am deeply sorry for this grave transgression and have tried to make amends. My superiors and I have decided it would be best for me to take a year without active public ministry to reflect on the wrong I have done and my commitments as a priest. I am truly sorry to everyone who is hurt by this revelation, and I ask for your prayers as I seek guidance on how to make up for my errors."
Regnum Christi, the lay extension of the Legionaries of Christ, released the following by Fr. Luis Garza, of the US leadership.
Legionaries of Christ
Regnum Christi

May 15, 2012
To all Legionaries and Regnum Christi consecrated members,
It is with sadness that I send you this note, especially at a time when we are experiencing renewed enthusiasm for our mission within the Church. The last thing I would wish is to add a fresh wound when older wounds may not have healed fully.
Nevertheless, it is my duty to inform you that Father Thomas Williams, LC, after consultation with his superiors, will undergo a period of reflection, prayer and atonement without public ministry, and has just issued the following statement:
"A number of years ago I had a relationship with a woman and fathered her child. I am deeply sorry for this grave transgression and have tried to make amends. My superiors and I have decided it would be best for me to take a year without active public ministry to reflect on the wrong I have done and my commitments as a priest. I am truly sorry to everyone who is hurt by this revelation, and I ask for your prayers as I seek guidance on how to make up for my errors."
I know that this will be shocking news to you. In the wake of all that we have been through as a Movement in the past several years, it won't surprise me if you are disappointed, angry or feel your trust shaken once again.
Father Williams has enriched the faith of so many through his teaching, public speaking and writing, and has been a spiritual guide for many in the Movement. That is what makes this failing such a painful reminder that we are all frail humans, in desperate need of God's mercy.
I hope that you will join me in praying for all those who have been affected by his actions, and for Father Williams during his time of prayer, penance and renewal of his priestly ministry.
Any further information is at the discretion of those involved. We will support them in any decision they make.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Luis Garza, LC


St. John I
Feast: May 18

Feast Day: May 18
Born: Populonia, Tuscany, Italy
Died: 18 May 526 in Ravenna, Italy
Died at Ravenna on 18 or 19 May (according to the most popular calculation), 526. A Tuscan by birth and the son of Constantius, he was, after an interregnum of seven days, elected on 13 August, 523, and occupied the Apostolic see for two years, nine months, and seven days.

We know nothing of the matter of his administration, for his Bullarium contains only the two letters addressed to an Archbishop Zacharias and to the bishops of Italy respectively, and it is very certain that both are apocryphal.

We possess information -- though unfortunately very vague -- only about his journey to Constantinople, a journey which appears to have had results of great importance, and which was the cause of his death. The Emperor Justin, in his zeal for orthodoxy, had issued in 523 a severe decree against the Arians, compelling them, among other things, to surrender to the Catholics the churches which they occupied. Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths and of Italy, the ardent defender of Arianism, keenly resented these measures directed against his coreligionists in the Orient, and was moreover highly displeased at seeing the progress of a mutual understanding between the Latin and Greek Churches, such as might favour certain secret dealings between the Roman senators and the Byzantine Court, aiming at the re-establishment of the imperial authority in Italy. To bring pressure to bear upon the emperor, and force him to moderate his policy of repression in regard to the heretics, Theodoric sent to him early in 525 an embassy composed of Roman senators, of which he obliged the pope to assume the direction, and imposed on the latter the task of securing a withdrawal of the Edict of 523 and -- if we are to believe "Anonymous Valesianus" -- of even urging the emperor to facilitate the return to Arianism of the Arians who had been converted.
There has been much discussion as to the part played by John I in this affair. The sources which enable us to study the subject are far from explicit and may be reduced to four in number: "AnonymousValesianus", already cited; the "Liber Pontificalis"; Gregory of Tours's "Liber in gloria martyrum"; and the "Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiæ Ravennatis". But it is beyond question that the pope could only counsel Justin to use gentleness and discretion towards the Arians; his position as head of the Church prevented his inviting the emperor to favour heresy. That this analysis of the situation is correct is evident from the reception which the pope was accorded in the East -- a reception which certainly would not have been kindly, had the Roman ambassadors opposed the emperor and this Catholic subjects in their struggle waged against the Arian sect. The inhabitants of Constantinople went out in throngs to meet John. The Emperor Justin on meeting him prostrated himself, and, some time afterwards, he had himself crowned by the pope. All the patriarchs of the East made haste to manifest their communion in the Faith with the supreme pontiff; only Timothy of Alexandria, who had shown himself hostile to the Council of Chalcedon, held aloof. Finally, the pope, exercising his right of precedence over Epiphanius, Patriarch of Constantinople, solemnly officiated at St. Sophia in the Latin Rite on Easter Day, 19 April, 526. Immediately afterwards he made his way back to the West.

If this brilliant reception of John I by the emperor, the clergy, and the faithful of the Orient proves that he had not been wanting in his task as supreme pastor of the Church, the strongly contrasting behaviour of Theodoric towards him on his return is no less evident proof. This monarch, enraged at seeing the national party reviving in Italy, had just stained his hands with the murder of Boethius, the great philosopher, and of Symmachus his father-in-law. He was exasperated against the pope, whose embassy had obtained a success very different from that which he, Theodoric, desired and whom, moreover, he suspected of favouring the defenders of the ancient liberty of Rome. As soon as John, returning from the East, had landed in Italy, Theodoric caused him to be arrested and incarcerated at Ravenna. Worn out by the fatigues of the journey, and subjected to severe privations, John soon died in prison.
His body was transported to Rome and buried in the Basilica of St. Peter. In his epitaph there is no allusion to his historical role. The Latin Church has placed him among its martyrs, and commemorates him on 27 May, the ninth lesson in the Roman Breviary for that date being consecrated to him.

(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)




Marist Youth Evangelisation ConferenceTuesday 15 May 2012

AGAINST the gospel backdrop of the Emmaus story, over 60 Marist school Campus and Youth Ministers, Religious Education Co-ordinators, Directors of Mission and young adults connected with Marist schools gathered at The Hermitage, Mittagong for three days of inspiration, intellectual challenge and sharing of wisdom around the theme of the evangelisation of young people.

Marist Youth Evangelisation ConferenceKeynote addresses were expertly delivered by Fr Anthony Casamento CSMA (Director of Identity and Mission at Australian Catholic University), Br Mark O’Connor FMS (Director of the Office of Evangelisation, Archdiocese of Melbourne) and Mr Daniel Ang (Pastoral Planning Team, Diocese of Parramatta), and participants engaged readily with the speakers in lively dialogue. Br João do Prado FMS (Marist Brothers International Mission Secretariat, Rome) brought a world perspective to the call to evangelise young people as well as introducing conference participants to the new Marist Youth Ministry document ‘Evangelisers in the Midst of Youth' (available at

“I was delighted with the broad range of expertise and tangible dynamism within the group that gathered, but even more so by the enthusiasm they displayed in committing to renewing their energy and efforts in the evangelisation of the young people with whom they work,” said Brother Michael Callinan, conference organiser.

As part of the conference outcomes, each participant will be arranging a conversation with their school principal based on material personally developed at the conference. “It’s something I’m looking forward to doing,” said Mr Michael Lindsay from St Augustine’s College, Cairns. “We’re already working hard in this area as a school community, but I have a few suggestions for even more effective strategies to be trialled.”

Simone Boyd, a conference organising team member and Co-ordinator of the youth movement Remar Australia, was heartened by the participation of young adults in the conference as both presenters and participants: “It’s a unique opportunity for staff ministering in schools to have a range of young people to tell them candidly what works and what doesn’t in terms of their faith journey being encouraged, but to have these same young people participate in their own theological formation with more experienced Catholics brought real substance to the conference,” she said.
Marist Schools Australia looks forward to supporting and encouraging local evangelisation initiatives across the country and engaging with parishes and dioceses to promote a Catholic way of living in the world and making Jesus Christ known and loved.

Images supplied by Brother Michael Callinan


The bus left Buon Ma Thuot yesterday evening and was bound for Ho Chi Minh City. For reasons still unclear it crashed into a river. Victims include the two drivers of the vehicle. Every day in the country an average of 33 people die in road accident. This year, a decrease of 30% over the first quarter of 2011.

Hanoi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The provisional death toll from a road accident in central Vietnam is 34 dead and at least 21 injured. A bus crashed off a bridge and crashed into the banks of the river Serepok, where it was found this morning by rescuers. The bus left from Buon Ma Thuot in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, and was bound for Ho Chi Minh City, in the south.

The authorities have launched investigations to clarify the causes of the accident yesterday evening, and ensure the identification of victims. Y Bliu Arul, vice-director of the General Hospital in Dak Lak, confirmed the two drivers of the vehicle are among the dead.

Of the other 21 injured, at least 16 are in a serious condition according to doctors.

Vietnam has a dismal track record with regard to road accidents, with an average of 33 deaths per day for various crashes and incidents, involving all types of vehicles. According to official statistics, in the first four months of 2012 there were at least 3,100 road deaths, a decrease of approximately 30% over the same period last year.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – After 4 consecutive days of uninterrupted rain, at least 60 families in Kagondo, in the district of Muleba, have been left without their homes. The houses have been destroyed by the flooding, the worst in the last 50 years. Some of these families have been temporary accommodated in the school buildings. Fortunately there have been no victims and they are not deprived of help, including food and clothes. The residents of the region of Kagera had been alerted of the forthcoming heavy rains. Kagera is noted as one of the most seriously hit regions by the phenomenon, as well as Mwanza, Kigoma, Kilimanjaro, Morogoro, Pemba, Unguja and Tanga. According to the experts these atmospheric disturbances were caused by the increase of low pressure over the Indian Ocean. (AP)
(16/5/2012 Agenzia Fides)


Healing Stone at Eucharistic Congress | 50th International Eucharistic Congress, IEC2012, Healing Stone, Wicklow granite
Organisers of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress (IEC2012) have announced that a Healing Stone is going to be unveiled during the Opening Ceremony in the RDS on 10 June as a means of acknowledging the abuse of children.

The Healing Stone comprises a large, shaped piece of Wicklow granite is engraved with a prayer composed by a survivor of clerical abuse. The prayer was originally featured in the Liturgy of Lament celebrated in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral in 2011.

Work on the Healing Stone project began in early 2012. Following consultation with various people, including abuse survivors, it was agreed that the stone would be an appropriate symbol for the Congress.

Fr Kevin Doran, Secretary General of IEC2012, said: "Stone speaks of permanence. To say something is 'carved in stone' is to say that it is here to stay rather than just a passing thought. The stone represents the firm determination to work for healing and renewal.

"In our Christian tradition, the stone which covered the tomb of Jesus, symbolises both the end of His earthly existence and the fact of His Resurrection. We are conscious of the fact that, for many who have experienced abuse, either themselves or to a member of their family, the pain of abuse can sometimes be like a stone weighing heavily on them. It is a stone that, in some way or other needs to be rolled back so that they can be set free."

Fr Doran added: "It is planned that after the Congress, the Stone will be given a more permanent home on an accessible site, where people can pause and pray, and so that there will be a permanent public reminder of our need never to take safeguarding for granted."

For more information see: :


RADIO VATICANA REPORT: "Silence and Word: path of evangelization" - that's the theme chosen by Pope Benedict XVI for the Church’s 46th World Day for Communications, celebrated each year on the Sunday before Pentecost - on Sunday May 20th this year.
The Pope traditionally releases his message for the occasion on January 24, the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers.
But does this year's message represent a contradiction in terms?
Fr. Jean-Pierre Ruiz thinks not. He is a biblical scholar and Theology professor at St. John's University in New York, and he’s an expert in new media. He says the Pope’s choice of “silence and word” as a theme for evangelization and communication is “strangely eloquent…because we live in a world where words in a certain sense have become a cheapened commodity and where people say very often much less than they actually mean.”

Fr. Ruiz reminds us that “the Church has been about communicating not only by words, for a very long time – in fact, from the beginning.”

He explains “the Church’s liturgy for example is not just reading, it’s not just text, it’s not merely just what we say – it’s also the attitude of our bodies, it’s also sound without words in terms of instrumental liturgical music.”

“It involves the use of all of our senses: our sense of smell in terms of incense and the flowers used to decorate the sanctuary for the Eucharistic liturgy. So I think if we were to reduce communications to just mere words, I think we would be impoverished.”



On Sunday, May 13th 2012, the 1st MARCH FOR LIFE took place in Rome. Thousands of people marched from the Coliseum to Castel Sant'Angelo.
Italy has the lowest fertility rate in the world. (Image source: (
Gianni Alemanno, Mayor of Rome, took part in the March with his official Italian sash.
The Mayor of Rome, granted the City’s patronage.
He is quoted as saying "Our message is that no family or woman must be compelled to give up a child." "I am here only to say that we are for Life. This is a grass-roots demonstration, with no political sponsor. It truly espresses a demand for life."
5 million of innocent babies have been murderd in Italy through abortion to date.


By Alphonsus Tan

COSDU-Catholic-Society-Easter-camp-350Thirty-seven tertiary students from the Catholic Overseas Student Down Under (COSDU) of The University of Melbourne participated in its annual Easter camp held during the Easter Weekend (6 April – 9 April) at Wesley Point Camp in the vicinity of Lake Eppalock.

COSDU Catholic Society is the only Catholic students group based in the University of Melbourne. It was founded in 1987 by a group of international tertiary students from the university. It aims to provide a family away from home and to support the faith formation of youths and young adults. Over the years, COSDU has forged a network of relationships with Australian communities, and reached out to local students as well as other universities in Victoria. COSDU Catholic Society also aims to serve the community through various social justice programs. The society has about 65 members this year.

COSDU Easter Camp is organised annually to promote community bonding between members and to support the faith formation and spiritual life of its members. This year, the Easter Camp Committee adopted the theme 'God is Love'. This theme is based on John 15: 1-17 with a strong emphasis on the verse 'I am the vine; you are the branches'. (Jn 15:5) .

COSDU-Catholic-Society-Easter-camp-350-2Led by Father Simon Wayte MGL, the participants were able to reflect on their personal relationship with God and to understand the special type of ‘love’ that Jesus has shown through his dying on the cross for us. Fr Wayte covered aspects of God’s saving love through the image of Jesus on the cross and used the Parable of the Prodigal Son to explain the Father’s unfaltering love for us sinners. The participants were challenged to live in God’s message of love in our relationships with others by trusting in God and inviting Jesus to be the ‘bridge of Salvation’ for us to God the Father. The participants were also encouraged to take the first step in expressing God’s love by sharing their gifts and talents within the Christian community in order to bear witness to life in union with God the Father.

In addition, participants were also involved in various activities such as group discussions and sharing, Good Friday Service, Stations of the Cross, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Masses, Taizé, games, talent night and reconciliation ceremony. One of the key activities which has been the tradition of COSDU Easter Camp is the ‘Affirmation Night’, where participants are encouraged to show their appreciation for one another by affirming each others’ gifts and talents in both personal and community level.

Easter Camp 2012 was a success as the participants provided positive responses and experiences below:

This was my first ever COSDU Easter Camp. In fact I have never celebrated Easter in this way before. Rather than just going to mass, I celebrated Easter with many of my good friends from COSDU in the tranquil surroundings of Lake Eppalock. In the four days I was able to focus on God, listen to his words and reflect upon his love for us all. It was an enlightening experience and I had a great sense of joy inside me by the end of the camp. I would definitely go again next year and I recommend you to go as well.
Ivan Fung

I really enjoyed myself at Easter Camp this year. Apart from the wonderful friends I've made, the camp also provided me with a good opportunity to spend quiet time with God and for self-reflection in a beautiful and tranquil place.
Joanna Ting

Easter Camp has helped me to realise how great and amazing is God’s love for me, and that I need not worry so much as he has the best of plans set out for me.
Jeanne Chiew

For more information about COSDU Catholic Society or its upcoming events, visit
or Facebook at, or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Photos supplied by Fr Thinh Nguyen


The dissident said that "within 15 days," the Chinese government will give him, his wife and children a passport to study in the United States. But in Shandong repression against his family continues: his older brother was tortured, his nephew is in jail.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The blind dissident Chen Guangcheng said that he and his family should have their passports in 15 days that will allow him to leave China for the U.S.: "Some officials came yesterday and we filled out forms for passports for me, my wife and my children, " said Chen from the hospital in Beijing where he has been staying for several days. "We were told that the documents should be ready within 15 days."

Chen, who escaped from house arrest in his home village in Shandong, is known worldwide for his battles against forced abortions and illegal expropriation of land. After his escape he fled the American embassy in Beijing where he spent 6 days. Persuaded to leave with various assurances from both the Americans and Chinese, he is in fact again under arrest in a hospital in the capital.

In the meantime, however, the Chinese regime continues to pursue its vendetta against the family of the dissident. Chen Guangfu, Guangcheng's elder brother, was tortured and beaten in late April, after blind activist's escape from arrest. According to Chinese Human Rights Defender, citing anonymous sources, local officials in Shandong had beaten Chen Guangfu's hands with a leather belt, hit him in the ribs and stepped on his foot with force during an interrogation that lasted several hours.

Guangfu was then forced to leave his village and has not yet regained feeling in his left hand or right foot. The Chen Guanfu's son, Chen Kegui, and his wife were beaten. Chen Kegui was arrested on charges of attempted murder for having stabbed a few officers who had raided his home. Yesterday, lawyer Si Weijiang, tried to obtain permission from the authorities to visit Chen Kegui in prison. So far, no-one has been able to meet with or speak to Chen Guangcheng's nephew.


NAIROBI, May 15, 2012 (CISA) -Catholic Bishop, The Right Rev Alfred Rotich has urged Kenyans to pray and work towards a peaceful General Elections, scheduled for early next year.
“From now until Elections’ time, we as Christians and Kenyans need to pray and collaborate. We are expected to commit ourselves to peace-making with our neighbours and offering prayers for peaceful elections,” said Bishop Rotich of the Diocese of Military Ordinariate and outgoing Chairman of the Bishops’ Commission for Social Communications.
He was speaking at the Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations, Nairobi on May 11 during the launch of a film called “The Rally”, a joint production of Jesuit Hakimani Centre and Artful Eyes Productions and directed by Jesuit priest, Rev Dr Elias Mokua.
The film aims to show how and why political campaigns are essential for candidates to elective posts, which Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia, Chairman of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, Kenya described as handy before the General Elections.
Bishop Rotich said many evils could happen in the forthcoming General Election as has been the case in the past “unless we keep peace to each other and offer prayers on the issue.”
Dr Kibunjia told the congregation, which included the clergy, religious men and women that peaceful elections were possible.
“But this will not depend on the beautiful Constitution we have or the Commission nor our politicians but on the 40 million Kenyans on their concrete decision to keep peace during the Elections,” he said.
He said that every time Kenyans hold elections, they always seem to have an agenda, for example the removal of Session 2A, leading to multi-party democracy and the removal of KANU government from the power.
“This time around, the agenda should be peaceful elections,” he added.
“Our people must work hard for peace and good neighborhood to avert the country going back to the old bad days of violence during elections period,” emphasized Dr Kibunjia, while urging the Church to avail civic education to the faithful.
Ms Winfred Lichuma, Chairperson of National Gender and Equality Commission urged women to ensure they went for elective posts during the forthcoming General Elections.
“The said two thirds positions set aside for women as per our new Constitutions are confined to the Counties, while other positions, like for Members of Parliament, will be out for grabs by both men and women,” she said.


Agenzia Fides report - The Archbishop of San Salvador, Mgr. José Luis Escobar Alas, insisted, in his regular press conference on Sunday, on the importance that it is necessary to have a national program dedicated to solving the common interests of the country, and that this is an essential part of the commitment of political parties. Mgr. Escobar Alas said that the most important thing to bring forward a national program, is the commitment of those working to solve citizens' problems, ie political parties, civil society organizations and especially the citizens.
The note sent to Fides reports the words of the Archbishop: " priority to the welfare of society must be given, the same parties will be rewarded if they manage to put before the good of the nation and its people's interests." This opportunity must show the willingness of all sectors to build a program of work, particularly to address the issue of security, only through dialogue we can reach agreements. "Politicians have the capacity and conditions to reach a national agreement, there must be a national agreement, we ask the Lord to have this agreement," concluded Mgr. Escobar Alas. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 14/5/2012)


St. Paschal Baylon
Feast: May 17

Feast Day: May 17
Born: 1540, Torrehermosa, Aragon
Died: 17 May 1592
Canonized: October 16, 1690 by Alexander VIII
Major Shrine: Royal Chapel in Villareal
Patron of: Patron of Eucharistic congresses and Eucharistic associations
The state of poverty was honored by the choice of our blessed Redeemer, and hath been favored with his special blessing. It removes men from many dangers and temptations, and furnishes them with perpetual occasions for the exercise of self-denial, patience, penance, resignation to the divine will, and every other heroic Christian virtue: yet these great means of salvation are by many, through ignorance, impatience, and inordinate desires, often perverted into occasions of their temporal and eternal misery. Happy are they who, by making a right use of the spiritual advantages which this state, so dear to our divine Redeemer, offers them, procure to themselves present peace, joy, and every solid good; and make every circumstance of that condition in which providence hath placed them a step to perfect virtue and to everlasting happiness. This in an eminent degree was the privilege of St. Paschal Baylon. He was born in 1540, at Torre-Hermosa, a small country town in the kingdom of Aragon. His parents were day-laborers, and very virtuous; and to their example our saint was greatly indebted for the spirit of piety and devotion, which he seemed to have sucked in from his mother's milk. Their circumstances were too narrow to afford his being sent to school; but the pious child, out of an earnest desire of attaining to so great a means of instruction, carried a book with him into the fields where he watched the sheep, and desired those that he met to teach him the letters; and thus, in a short time, being yet very young, he learned to read. This advantage he made use of only to improve his soul in devotion and piety: books of amusement he never would look into; but the lives of the saints, and, above all, meditations on the life of Christ were his chiefest delight. He loved nothing but what was serious and of solid advantage, at a time of life in which many seem scarce susceptible of such impressions. When he was of a proper age, he engaged with a master to keep his flocks as under-shepherd: he was delighted with the innocent and quiet life his state permitted him to lead. That solitary life had charms for him. Whatever he saw was to him an object of faith and devotion. He read continually in the great book of nature; and from every object raised his soul to God, whom he contemplated and praised in all his works. Besides external objects, he had almost continually a spiritual book in his hands, which served to instruct and to inflame his veal in the love and practice of virtue. His master, who was a person of singular piety, was charmed with his edifying conduct, and made him an offer to adopt him for his son, and to make him his heir. But Paschal, who desired only the goods of another life, was afraid that those of this world would prove to him an incumbrance; he therefore modestly declined the favor, desiring always to remain his humble state, as being more conformable to that which Christ chose for himself on earth, who came not into the world to be served, but to serve. He was often discovered praying on his knees under some tree, while his flocks were browsing on the hills. It was by this secret entertainment of his soul with God, in the most profound humility, and perfect purity of his affections, that he acquired a most sublime science and experience in spiritual things, at which those who were the most advanced were struck with admiration. He could truly say with David: 1 He spoke of God and of virtue with an inimitable unction and experimental light, and with sentiments which the Holy Ghost alone forms in souls which are perfectly disengaged from earthly things, and replenished with his heavenly fire. Often was he seen ravished in holy prayer; and frequently was not able to conceal from the eyes of men the vehement ardor of the divine love with which his soul melted in an excess of heavenly sweetness. He felt in himself what many servants of God assure us of, that "the consolation which the Holy Ghost frequently infuses into pious souls, is greater than all the pleasures of the world together, could they be enjoyed by one man. It makes the heart to dissolve and melt through excess of joy, under which it is unable to contain itself." In these sentiments did this servant of God sing with David: 2 The reward of virtue is reserved for heaven; but some comforts are not denied during the present time of trial. Even in this vale of tears, Isa. li. 3. It is sufficiently understood that the saint did not receive these heavenly comforts without severe interior trials, and a constant practice of self-denial, by which his heart was crucified to the world. The dew of extraordinary spiritual comforts never falls on unmortified souls, which seek the delights of this world. St. Paschal in his poverty joined alms with his continual prayer; and not having any other means to relieve the poor, always gave them a good part of his own dinner which was sent him into the fields.

How great soever his love was for his profession, he found however several difficulties in it which made him think of leaving it. He was not able, notwithstanding all the care he could take, to hinder a flock of goats he had in charge from sometimes trespassing on another's ground. This occasioned his giving over the inspection of that flock. But he found other troubles in taking care of other cattle. Some of his companions, not baying the same piety with himself, were but too much addicted to cursing, quarrelling, and fighting; nor were they to be reclaimed by his gentle rebukes on these accounts. He was therefore determined to leave them, not to participate in their crimes. And to learn the will of God in this important choice of a state of life in which he might most faithfully serve him, he redoubled lids prayers, fasts, and other austerities. After some time spent in this manner, ho determined to become a religious man. Those to whom he first disclosed his inclination to a religious state, pointed out to him several convents richly endowed. But that circumstance alone was enough to disgust him; and his answer was: "I was born poor, and I am resolved to live and die in poverty arid penance." Being at that time twenty years of age he left his master, his friends, and his country, and went into the kingdom of Valentia, where was an austere convent of barefoot reformed Franciscans, called Soccolans, which stood in a desert solitude, but at no great distance from the town of Montfort. He addressed himself to the fathers of this house for spiritual advice; and, in the mean time, he entered into the service of certain farmers in the neighborhood to keep their sheep. He continued here his penitential and retired life in assiduous prayer, and was known in the whole country by the name of the Holy Shepherd. To sequester himself from the world, he made the more haste to petition for the habit of a lay-brother in the house above-mentioned: and was admitted in 1564. The fathers desired to persuade him to enter himself among the clerks, or those who aspired to holy orders, and sing the divine office in the choir; but they were obliged to yield to his humility, and admit him among the lay-brothers of the community. He was not only a fervent novice, which we often see, but also a most fervent religious man, always advancing, and never losing ground. Though his rule was most austere, he added continually to its severity, but always with simplicity of heart, without the least attachment to his own will; and whenever he was admonished of any excess in his practices of mortification, he most readily confined himself to the letter of his rule. The meanest employments always gave him the highest satisfaction. Whenever he changed convents, according to the custom of his order, the better to prevent any secret attachments of the heart, he never complained of any thing, nor so much as said that he found any thing in one house more agreeable than in another; because, being entirely dead to himself; he everywhere sought only God. He never allowed himself a moment of repose between the Church and cloister duties, and his work; nor did his labor interrupt his prayer. He had never more than one habit, and that always threadbare. He walked without sandals in the snows, and in the roughest roads. He accommodated himself to all places and seasons, and was always content, cheerful, mild, affable, and full of respect for all. He thought himself honored if employed in any painful and low office to serve any one.
The general of the order happening to be at Paris, Paschal was sent thither to him about some necessary business of his province. Many of the cities through which he was to pass in France, were in the hands of the Huguenots, who were then in arms. Yet he offered himself to a martyrdom of obedience, travelled in his habit, and without so much as sandals on his feet, was often pursued by the Huguenots with sticks and stones, and received a wound on one shoulder of which he remained lame as long as he lived. He was twice taken for a spy; but God delivered him out of all dangers. On the very day on which he arrived at his convent from this tedious journey, he went out to his work and other duties as usual. He never spoke of any thing that had happened to him in his journey unless asked; and then was careful to suppress whatever might reflect on him the least honor or praise. He had a singular devotion to the mother of God, whose intercession he never ceased to implore that he might be preserved from sin. The holy sacrament of the altar was the object of his most tender devotion; also the passion of our divine Redeemer. He spent, especially towards the end of his life, a considerable part of the night at the foot of the altar on his knees, or prostrate on the ground. In prayer he was often favored with ecstasies and raptures. He died at Villa Reale, near Valentia, on the 17th of May, in 1592, being fifty-two years old. His corpse was exposed three days, during which time the great multitudes which from all parts visited the church, were witnesses to many miracles by which God attested the sanctity of his servant. St. Paschal was beatified by Pope Paul V. in 1618, and canonized by Alexander VIII. in 1690.

If Christians in every station endeavored with their whole strength continually to advance in virtue, the Church would be filled with saints. But alas! though it be an undoubted maxim, that not to go on in a spiritual life is to fall back, "Nothing is more rare," says St. Bernard, "than to find persons who always press forward. We see more converted from vice to virtue, than increase their fervor in virtue." This is something dreadful. The same father assigns two principal reasons. First, many who begin well, after some time grow again remiss in the exercises of mortification and prayer, and return to the amusements, pleasures, and vanities of a worldly life. Secondly, others who are regular and constant in exterior duties, neglect to watch over and cultivate their interior; so that some interior spiritual vice insinuates itself into their affections, and renders them an abomination in the eyes of God. "A man" says St. Bernard,4 "who gives himself up entirely to exterior exercises without looking seriously into his own heart to see what passes there, imposes upon himself, imagining that he is something while he is nothing. His eyes being always fixed on his exterior actions, he flatters himself that he goes on well, and neither sees nor feels the secret worm which gnaws and consumes his heart. He keeps all fasts, assists at all parts of the divine office, and fails in no exercise of piety or penance; yet God declares, '' He only employs his hands in fulfilling the precepts, and his heart is hard and dry. His duties are complied with by habit and a certain rotation: he omits not a single iota of all his exterior employments; but while he strains at a gnat, he swallows a camel. In his heart he is a slave to self-will, and is a prey to avarice, vain-glory, and ambition: one or other or all these vices together reign in his soul."



John 16: 16 - 20
16 "A little while, and you will see me no more; again a little while, and you will see me."
17 Some of his disciples said to one another, "What is this that he says to us, `A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'; and, `because I go to the Father'?"
18 They said, "What does he mean by `a little while'? We do not know what he means."
19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him; so he said to them, "Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, `A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'?
20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.