Friday, February 15, 2013






(Vatican Radio IMAGE-SHARE)
Vatican City, 14 February 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Pope met with pastors and clergy of the Diocese of Rome, accompanied by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general, and the auxiliary bishops of the diocese. Before entering the hall, they had processed into St. Peter's Basilica to make a profession of faith at the altar of the Chair.
Benedict XVI was greeted with the hymn "Tu es Petrus". "Thank you all for your affection, for your love for the Church and the Pope. Thank you!" the Pope said, before being greeted by Cardinal Vallini.
"For me, it is a special gift of Providence," he continued afterwards, "that, before leaving the Petrine ministry, I am able to see my clergy, the clergy of Rome, one more time. It is always a great joy to see how the Church lives, how it is alive in Rome. We have pastors who, in the spirit of the Supreme Pastor, guide the Lord's flock. It is a truly catholic clergy, that is to say, a universal clergy, and this is the same essence of the Church in Rome: to bring universality, catholicity, to all peoples, all races, and all cultures."
"Today you have professed the Creed at the tomb of St. Peter. In the Year of Faith this seems to me a very appropriate, and perhaps necessary, gesture that the clergy of Rome gather around the tomb of the Apostle to whom the Lord said: 'I entrust my Church to you. On you I will build my Church'. Before the Lord, together with Peter, you have professed: 'You are Christ, the Son of the living God.' Thus the Church grows, together with Peter, professing Christ, following Christ. It is what we always do. I am very grateful for your prayers, which I have felt, as I said on Wednesday, almost physically. Even though I am now retiring, I will always be near to all of you in prayer and I am also sure that all of you will be near to me, even if I am hidden from the world."
Then the Pope spoke to those present in the Paul VI Hall about his personal experience during Vatican Council II, as the priests had requested of him.
Vatican City, 14 February 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday at 5:00pm, the Holy Father presided over the rite of blessing and imposition of ashes. Traditionally, the celebration is held in the Roman Basilica of Santa Sabina but, given the large influx of persons and the desire of the cardinals and bishops of the Roman Curia to accompany the Pope in the final acts of his pontificate, it was moved to St. Peter's Basilica. Before the ceremony, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., address a brief greeting to the pontiff, expressing the "emotion and respect not only of the Church, but of the entire world" for Benedict XVI on the news of his decision to renounce the Petrine ministry. Following are ample excerpts from the Holy Father's homily.
"Today, Ash Wednesday, … we have gathered to celebrate the Eucharist following the ancient Roman tradition of Lenten station Masses. This tradition calls for the first 'statio' Mass to take place in the Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill. Circumstances, however, have suggested that we gather in the Vatican Basilica. We are great in number around the tomb of the Apostle Peter, also to ask for his intercession for the Church's journey in this particular moment, renewing our faith in the Supreme Pastor, Christ the Lord. For me, this is a opportune occasion to thank everyone, especially the faithful of the Diocese of Rome, as I prepare to conclude my Petrine ministry, and to ask for special remembrance in your prayers."
"The readings that have been proclaimed give us the idea that, with God's grace, we are called to make our attitudes and behaviours take concrete form this Lent. Above all, the Church proposes to us once again, the strong appeal that the prophet Joel addresses to the Israelites: Thus says the Lord: 'return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning'. Note the expression 'with your whole heart', which means from the centre of our thoughts and feelings, from the roots of our decisions, choices, and actions, with a gesture of total and radical freedom. But is this return to God possible? Yes, because there is a strength that doesn't reside in our hearts but that springs from God's own heart. It is the power of His mercy. … This return to God becomes a concrete reality in our lives only when the Lord's grace penetrates to our innermost being, shaking it and giving us the strength to 'rend our hearts'. Again the prophet makes God's words ring out: 'Rend your hearts, not your garments'. Indeed, even in our days, many are ready to 'rend their garments' in the face of scandals and injustice?naturally moved by others' situations?but few seem willing to act on their own 'heart', on their own conscience, and their own intentions, to let the Lord transform, renew, and convert them."
"That 'return to me with your whole heart' then is a reminder that involves not just the individual but the community. In the first reading we have heard: 'Blow the horn in Zion! Proclaim a fast, call an assembly!' … The dimension of community is an essential element in faith and the Christian life. … This is important to remember and to live in this Lenten period: each of us must be aware that the path of penitence is not to be faced alone, but together with our many brothers and sisters in the Church."
"Finally, the prophet focuses on the prayers of the priests who, with tears in their eyes, turn to God saying: 'do not let your heritage become a disgrace, a byword among the nations! Why should they say among the peoples, "Where is their God?"' This prayer makes us reflect on the importance of the witness of faith and the Christian life on the part of each of us and our communities to reveal the face of the Church as well as how this face, at times is disfigured. I'm thinking in particular of the blows to Church unity and the divisions in the ecclesial body. Living Lent in a more intense and evident ecclesial communion, overcoming selfishness and rivalries, is a humble and precious sign for those who are far from the faith or indifferent to it."
"'Behold, now is the time of favour; behold, now is the day of salvation', The Apostle Paul's words to the Christians of Corinth resound for us too, with an urgency that allows for no omissions or inactivity. The word 'now', repeated again and again, says that we cannot let this moment pass us by, it is offered to us as a unique and unrepeatable opportunity. The Apostle's gaze focuses on the sharing that Christ wanted to characterize his existence, taking on everything human even to the point of bearing the very burden of humanity's sin. … The reconciliation offered to us has had a high price, that of the cross raised on Golgotha, on which was hung the Son of God made man. God's immersion in human suffering and in the abyss of evil lies at the root of our justification. 'Returning to God with our whole heart' during our Lenten journey passes through the Cross, following Christ on the road to Calvary, to the total gift of our self. …"
"In the Gospel of Matthew, part of the so-called Sermon on the Mount, Jesus refers to three fundamental practices required by Mosaic Law: almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. They are also traditional directives on the Lenten journey to respond to the invitation to 'return to God with our whole heart'. But Jesus emphasizes that it is both the quality and the truth of the relationship with God that determine the authenticity of every religious gesture. This is why He denounces religious hypocrisy, the behaviour that wants to appear a certain way, the attitudes seeking applause and approval. The true disciple doesn't serve himself or the 'public', but serves the Lord in simplicity and generosity. … Our witness, then, will always be more effective the less we seek our own glory and we will know that the reward of the just person is God himself, being united to Him, here, on the path of faith and at the end of our lives, in the peace and light of meeting Him face to face forever."
Vatican City, 14 February 2013 (VIS) – Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Prefecture of the Papal Household and secretary to Benedict XVI, will continue to carry out both roles and will thus accompany the Pope during his stay at Castel Gandolfo and at the monastery that he will retire to after his resignation from the papacy. The papal household, or "memores", which has served the Holy Father during these past eight years will also move to the same monastery. This was among the information given by Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office in today's press briefing.
Fr. Lombardi also clarified that the cardinals arriving in Rome before 1 March, the official start of the Sede vacante, will not reside in the Casa Santa Marta residence until that date. At the same time he commented that the pontiff's fall during the trip to Mexico last year was not a determining factor in his decision to renounce the Petrine ministry, nor was the report of the commission of three cardinals (Julian Herranz, Jozef Tomko, and Salvatore De Giorgi), which the Pope instituted last April to carry out an internal investigation on the leak of documents.
Vatican City, 14 February 2013 (VIS) – The Governorate of Vatican City State and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Italy have signed, at the ministry's offices, a memorandum of understanding regarding use of the "Passetto di Borgo", that is, the covered corridor atop the walls joining the Vatican to Castel Sant'Angleo, and the Watchtower of that monument.
Signing for the Holy See was Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and, on behalf of the Italian Republic, Lorenzo Ornaghi, Italy's Minister of Culture.
The memorandum?following in line with the Exchange of (Diplomatic) Notes between Italy and the Holy See in 1991 regarding the ownership and use of the "Passetto di Borgo" and taking into account the common interest in cooperating for the care and appreciation of the historic and artistic patrimony?defines the usage of the Watchtower for the purpose of authorizing the movement of the public within and outside of the monument and of preparing the adequate infrastructures to allow access for persons with disabilities.
This agreement is part of the overall project for the restoration and appreciation of the "Passetto di Borgo" on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Culture, with the purpose of opening this historic corridor leading to the Castel Sant'Angelo National Museum to the public. The memorandum of understanding, which consists of a preamble and eight articles, entered into effect upon its signing.
Vatican City, 14 February 2013 (VIS) – In a previous story about the future conclave to elect Benedict XVI's successor it was erroneously stated that the number of cardinal electors could vary according to the date that the conclave commences.
In fact, this number is independent of the date that the conclave begins because John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution "Universi Dominici Gregis", which will regulate the conclave, establishes in no. 33 that cardinals who have reached their eightieth birthday before the day when the Apostolic See becomes vacant will not be cardinal electors.
For that reason, for example, Cardinal Walter Kasper, who turns 80 on 5 March will be an elector, as is also the case for Cardinal Severino Poletto, who turns 80 on 18 March.
Vatican City, 14 February 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father appointed Msgr. Laurent Percerou as Bishop of Moulins, (area 7,381, population 347,900, Catholics 346,000, priests 102, permanent deacons 17, religious 273), France. The bishop-elect was born in Dreux, France in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He has served in several pastoral and administrative roles for the diocese of Chartres, France, most recently as assistant for the Scouts et Guides de France, director of diocesan catechetical services, and vicar general of that diocese.

Vatican City, 13 February 2013 (VIS) – Before his catechesis in the General Audience this morning, the Holy Father spoke of his decision to leave the pontificate. Interrupted by the applause of the crowd filling the Paul VI Hall he said:
"As you know, I have decided?thank you for your kindness?to renounce the ministry which the Lord entrusted to me on 19 April 2005. I have done this in full freedom for the good of the Church, after much prayer and having examined my conscience before God, knowing full well the seriousness of this act, but also realizing that I am no longer able to carry out the Petrine ministry with the strength which it demands. I am strengthened and reassured by the certainty that the Church is Christ’s, who will never leave her without his guidance and care. I thank all of you for the love and for the prayers with which you have accompanied me. Thank you; in these days which have not been easy for me, I have felt almost physically the power of prayer?your prayers?which the love of the Church has given me. Continue to pray for me, for the Church, and for the future Pope. The Lord will guide us."
Vatican City, 13 February 2013 (VIS) – Benedict XVI dedicated the catechesis of today's General Audience to the season of Lent, which begins today, Ash Wednesday. "Forty days," he said, "that prepare us for the celebration of Easter. It is a time of particular commitment in our spiritual journey. … Forty days was also the period that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public life, when he was tempted by the devil."
Reflecting on Jesus' temptations in the desert, is "an invitation to each of us to respond to a fundamental question: What is truly important in our lives? … The core of the three temptations that Jesus faced is the proposal to instrumentalize God, to use Him for personal interests, for self-glory and success. In essence, it is putting oneself in God's place, eliminating Him from our existence and making Him seem superfluous. … Giving God the first place is a path that each Christian has to undertake. 'Conversion' … means following Jesus, so that His Gospel becomes the practical guide of our lives. … It means recognizing that we are creatures who depend on God, on His love ...This requires us to make our decisions in light of the Word of God. Today it is no longer possible to be a Christian as a simple consequence of living in a society that has Christian roots. Even those who come from a Christian family … must renew daily their decision to be Christian, to give God the first place in the face of the temptations continuously suggested by a secularized culture, in the face of the criticism of many of their contemporaries."
"The tests that Christians are subjected to by society today are numerous and affect our personal and social life. It is not easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, to practice mercy in our everyday lives, or to leave space for prayer and inner silence. It is not easy to publicly oppose the decisions that many consider to be obvious, such as abortion in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in the case of serious illness, or the selection of embryos to avoid hereditary diseases. The temptation to set one's faith aside is always present and conversion becomes a response to God that must be confirmed at various times throughout our lives."
The Holy Father recalled that in history there have been "great conversions such as St. Paul's on the road to Damascus or St. Augustine's. But also in our age, when the sense of the sacred is eclipsed, God's grace acts and works wonders in the lives of many people … as was the case for the Orthodox Russian scientist Pavel Florensky who, after a completely agnostic education … found himself exclaiming, 'It's impossible without God.' He completely changed his life, even becoming a monk." The Pope also cited the case of the intellectual Etty Hillesum (1914-1943), "a young Dutch woman of Jewish origin, who died in Auschwitz. Initially far from God, she discovered Him by looking deep within herself, writing: 'There is a well deep within me. And God is that well.' … In her scattered and restless life, she rediscovered God in the midst of the great tragedy of the twentieth century, the Shoah."
"In our age, there are more than a few conversions that are seen as the return of those who, after a Christian education, perhaps a superficial one, have turned away from the faith for years, then later rediscover Christ and His Gospel. … In this time of Lent, in the Year of Faith, we renew our commitment to the path of conversion, overcoming the tendency to be wrapped up in ourselves and to make room for God, seeing our everyday reality with His eyes. Conversion means not being wrapped up in ourselves in the search for success, prestige, or social position, but rather of making each day, in the small things, truth, faith in God, and love, become what is most important," the Pope concluded.
Vatican City, 13 February 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father sent a message to the faithful in Brazil for the Fraternity Campaign that takes place in that country every year during Lent, and that has the theme of "Fraternity and Youth" this year.
"The path of Lent opens before us permeated with prayer, penitence, and charity, to prepare us to experience and to participate more deeply in Jesus Christ's passion, death, and resurrection," the Pope writes. "In Brazil, this preparation has found valuable support and encouragement in the Fraternity Campaign, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary and which is coloured by the spiritual overtones of the 27th World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro this July."
"I gladly join in this Lenten initiative of the Church in Brazil and I send each and every one of you my cordial greetings in the Lord, to whom I entrust the efforts of those who are committed to helping the youth become … 'protagonists of a more just and more fraternal society inspired by the Gospel'. The 'signs of the times' in society and in the Church also arise through the youth. Disregarding these signs, or not discerning them, means losing opportunities for renewal. If they are part of the present then they will also be part of the future. We want the youth to be protagonists and to be integrated into the community that welcomes them, which demonstrates the confidence that the Church has in each of them. This requires guides?priests, consecrated persons, or lay persons?who remain young at heart even if they are not young in age, who are capable of walking without imposing a march, capable of solidarity and empathy, capable of giving the witness of salvation, which is nourished by faith and the following of Christ every day."
Vatican City, 13 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Pope sent a message to participants in the meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which celebrates its 36th anniversary this year.
The Holy Father praised "the methodology followed by IFAD, which gives ongoing development priority over mere assistance, and places the group dimension alongside the purely individual dimension, to the point of setting up forms of interest-free grants and loans, often choosing, as the primary beneficiaries, the 'poorest of the poor'. This activity shows that approaches inspired by the principle of gratuitousness and by the culture of gift can 'find their place within normal economic activity' (Caritas in Veritate)."
"Indeed, the approach taken by the Fund is to link the elimination of poverty not only to the fight against hunger and the guarantee of food security, but also to the creation of work opportunities and institutional decision-making structures. It is well known that when these elements are missing, the involvement of rural labourers in choices that affect them is restricted, hence reinforcing their sense of being limited in their capacity and their dignity."
"In this area there are two specific lines taken by the Organization that are to be commended. The first is the constant attention given to Africa, where, by supporting projects of 'rural credit', IFAD aims to endow small farmers with modest but essential financial resources, and to empower them in the decision-making and administrative phase as well. The second line is the support given to indigenous communities, which have a particular care for preserving biodiversity, recognized as a precious good that the Creator has placed at the disposal of the entire human family. The safeguarding of these peoples’ identity needs to be given priority, and their indispensable role in handing down traditional know-how needs to be acknowledged."
"The Catholic Church, in her teaching and her activity, has always upheld the centrality of the worker on the land, urging concrete political and economic action in areas that affect him. This stance, I am happy to observe, harmonizes with the Fund’s approach in underlining the role of farmers, as individuals and as small groups, thus actively involving them in the development of their communities and countries. This attention to the person, both individually and collectively, will be more effective if it is achieved through forms of association, both cooperatives and small family businesses with the wherewithal to produce an income that is sufficient to support a decent standard of living."
Referring to "the next International Year that the United Nations has chosen to dedicate to the rural family," the Pope added that it will promote "a deep-rooted and sound notion of agricultural development and of the fight against poverty, based on this fundamental cell of society. IFAD knows from experience that the family is at the heart of the social order, and what serves to regulate family life, prior to the laws of a State or international norms, are the moral principles inscribed in the natural patrimony of values which are immediately identifiable in the rural world as well. These principles inspire the conduct of individuals, the relationship between spouses and between generations, and the sense of shared ownership. To ignore this reality, or to fail to recognize it, would be to undermine the foundations not only of the family, but of the entire rural community, with consequences whose gravity is easily foreseeable."
Vatican City, 13 February 2013 (VIS) – Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, presented the Holy Father's activities up to 28 February.
Tomorrow, as announced in Tuesday's briefing, Benedict XVI will meet with the Roman pastors in the Paul VI Hall. On the 15th he will receive, respectively, the "Pro Petri Sede" association and the president of Romania. On the 16th he will meet with the president of Guatemala. On those same days he will meet with the Italian bishops from Liguria and Lombardy on their 'ad limina' visits. However, the audience with the president of Cameroon, which was scheduled for 28 February, has been cancelled as well as the 'ad limina' visits scheduled with the Italian prelates from the Le Marche region between 25 and 28 February. On Saturday the 16th at 6:00pm, the Pope will meet with the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, and the following Saturday, the 23rd in the late morning, with the Italian President, Giorgio Napolitano. "Both," Fr. Lombardi clarified, "have expressed the desire to meet briefly with the Pope."
From the 17th, after the Angelus, until the morning of the 23th, the Holy Father and the Roman Curia have the Lenten Spiritual Exercises, which will be led this year by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi. As is traditional, for the Wednesday of that week there will be no general audience and no activity with the Pope is planned. On the 24th, he will pray the Angelus with the faithful who are gathered in St. Peter's Square.
On the 25th, the Holy Father will receive some of the cardinals in a private audience. On the 27th, the general audience will take place in St. Peter's Square. On the 28th, the last day of his pontificate, Benedict XVI will meet with members of the College of Cardinals in the Clementine Hall and at 5:00pm he will travel by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo.
The period of Sede vacante begins on 1 March. All the visits and activities that call for the Pope's presence during that time are therefore cancelled.
Finally, the director of the Holy See Press Office recalled that when the period of Sede vacante begins, the congregations of cardinals to prepare for the conclave also begin. The congregations have a number of juridical requirements to meet along with serving to exchange viewpoints regarding the problems to be addressed, the situation of the Church, etc., so that each of the members of the College of Cardinals might develop his criteria regarding the election of the new Pope. For this reason, the regulations provide that the beginning of the conclave be established between 15 and 20 days from the beginning of the Sede vacante. "If everything goes normally, it could be envisioned," Fr. Lombardi said, "that the conclave begins between 15 and 19 March. At the moment, we cannot give an exact date because it falls to the cardinals to determine it."
Vatican City, 13 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca as auditor general of the Apostolic Camera. Bishop Sciacca, titular of Fundi, is the secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State.



way_of_the_crossAs a possible resource for the Year of Faith, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has invited the Commissariat of the Holy Land in Canada to arrange a special text for the Stations of the Cross. Prepared for celebrations of the Way of the Cross this Lent and on Good Friday, the new pastoral resource includes prayers for peace in the Holy Land. “In the Way of the Cross – Way of Faith we also recall the bonds of communion and solidarity that unite Christian communities in Canada with those in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East, especially the Church in Jerusalem,” the Most Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton and President of the CCCB, writes in his introduction.
An illustrated version of Way of the Cross – Way of Faith is available online for personal prayer and meditation. The English and French texts without the illustrations are also available with the dioceses of Canada, and are online so they can be freely downloaded for use by parishes or other groups. The resources are available on the CCCB website, as well as on the website for the Commissariat of the Holy Land in Canada. The Commissariat's website also includes other resources for prayer and meditation. The illustrated web version of Way of the Cross – Way of Faith includes photographs from the 2002 World Youth Day Way of the Cross.



I ask you my Valentine, Is love all we need?

Thursday 14 February 2013

ST  VALENTINE’S Day reminds us of the innate desire we all have for love –to both  give it and receive it. This longing is at the centre of our search for happiness. But how often do we reflect on what love is really about? Is it just a fleeting feeling that sooner or later lets us down, or is it something much deeper? The feast day of St Valentine – an early Christian martyr – is truly a day to remember “a love to die for”.

Who was St Valentine?
St Valentine was a priest in Rome in the third century during the rule of Emperor Claudius II. His association with young lovers is well known even in modern times. The story goes that Claudius, urgent to recruit soldiers for his armies, decreed that all weddings be suspended so as to encourage more single, unfamilied men to serve in combat. Seeing the anguish of young couples forbidden to marry, St Valentine performed secret weddings in defiance of the Emperor.
He was eventually arrested and imprisoned. While awaiting execution, St Valentine restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter. On the eve of his death, he penned her a farewell note signing it, “From your Valentine”.

On February 14, 269 AD he was beheaded. He is the Patron Saint of engaged couples and married lovers.
To find out more about St Valentine and ways to show gratitude for the loved ones in our lives go to the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council website here.

Source: Catholic Marriage and Family Council



Jesuit leaders call for prayers for Pope and his successor | The British Jesuit Provincial ,Pope Benedict, Fr Dermot Preston SJ, Jesuit Superior General, Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ,

Pope Benedict with Fr Nicolás
The British Jesuit Provincial is encouraging all members of the Province and their co-workers to pray for Pope Benedict, for those who will elect his successor and for the man who will take over as Pope within the next few weeks. Fr Dermot Preston SJ echoed the sentiments of the Jesuit Superior General, Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ, who wrote today of the 'respect and admiration' felt by the Society of Jesus for the Pope, following his announcement yesterday that he intends to resign on 28 February.
"We recall the consoling experience of encounter with him [Pope Benedict] during the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus five years ago, when the Holy Father expressed his confidence in and closeness to the Society of Jesus, and challenged us to 'reach the geographical and spiritual places where others do not reach or find it difficult to reach'," wrote Fr Nicolás. "We are profoundly grateful for the trust and inspiration Pope Benedict has given us through the years of his pontificate," he added.
Fr Preston spoke of the warm relationship that has existed over the eight years of Pope Benedict's papacy. As examples of the rapport between the Pope and the Society, he highlights contact between both the present General and his predecessor, Fr Peter-Hans Kolvenbach SJ, whose resignation he accepted in 2008 when he reached the age of 80 - a move that perhaps foreshadowed Benedict's own decision. Two years earlier, Pope Benedict had appointed a Jesuit - Fr Federico Lombardi SJ - as Director of the Vatican Press Office, as well as Director of Vatican Radio and Vatican Television.
In his letter to the Society of Jesus across the world, Fr General Nicolás reflected on the importance of the relationship between Jesuits and the Holy Father, saying: "In the spirit of the fourth vow that unites the Society in a special way to the Roman Pontiff, let us pray for Pope Benedict XVI, and let us recommit ourselves to the mission which he has entrusted to the Society.' He concluded by urging Jesuits and their co-workers - alongside the whole Church - to 'pray in a special way for the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit, as a new Successor of Peter is sought and elected.'


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "On the anniversary of the revolution anything could happen" said to Fides Agency His Exc. Mgr. Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, just days before the second anniversary of the uprising which broke out on February 17 2011 in Benghazi that eventually led to the fall of the Gaddafi regime.
The most critical situation is precisely in Cyrenaica, of which Benghazi is the capital, where several religious congregations have decided to leave (see Fides 31/01/2013).
"All the nuns of various religious orders left Cyrenaica (from Tobruk, Beida, el Merj, Derna)" confirms Mgr. Martinelli. " Just the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Ivrea have remained who have been in Benghazi for some time. The Apostolic Vicar of Benghazi, Mgr. Sylvester Carmel Magro, was advised to leave the Church and find another accommodation these days, " continues Mgr. Martinelli.
"Even in Tripoli, where the situation is calm, we have been advised to be careful and not to move. A warning that in any case has been extended to all Europeans. The city is preparing for the celebrations with joy but security measures have increased in fear of attacks, " says the ApostolicVicar of Tripoli. (L.M.)


by mons. Peter Kang U-il
The President of the Korean Bishops' Conference recalls the "deep concern" and "constant efforts" of the Pope in favor of the North Korean people and urges the faithful to "keep this loving shepherd of the universal Church in your heart, through constant prayer."

Seoul (AsiaNews) - On February 11, 2013, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI declared that he is resigning his ministry as Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter the Apostle, as he recognizes his incapacity to properly fulfill his holy ministry because of his deteriorating health due to advanced age. Though we are taken aback at his unexpected decision, we can feel his love and care for the Church filling his heart to the full. Therefore, we accept his enlightened spiritual discernment and courageous decision with our highest regard.
As the successor of Saint Peter the Apostle as well as the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Holy Father has devotedly served the Universal Church and the whole world for the last eight years, in spite of the repeated admonition of his close medical advisors. We are saddened by the fact that he is not as healthy enough as before to carry out his ministry, as we can sometimes recognize this even by his walk. Nevertheless, he has exerted himself for the Church of the suffering, as well as for peace in Africa and the Middle East. He has also engaged in interreligious dialogue in an active manner.
We cannot but express our deep gratitude for his prayer and encouragement for the Church in Korea and for the Republic of Korea on every possible occasion. Especially, he has shown a deep concern for the North Korean people in their extreme destitution and he has spared no effort to provide financial aid for them.
We firmly believe that the Holy Father as a true pastor of the Catholic Church will continue his service for the faithful after laying down the heavy office of the Supreme Pontiff. I hope that all the faithful in Korea will strengthen their spiritual bonds with him through constant prayer, remembering him as a loving pastor in our hearts for good.



Sts. Cyril & Methodius
Feast: February 14

Feast Day:February 14
827 and 826, Thessaloniki, Byzantine Empire (present-day Greece)
Died:February 14, 869 and 6 April 885
Patron of:Bulgaria, Czech Republic (including Bohemia, and Moravia), Ecumenism, unity of the Eastern and Western Churches, Europe, Slovakia
These brothers, the Apostles of the Slavs, were born in Thessalonica, in 827 and 826 respectively. Though belonging to a senatorial family they renounced secular honours and became priests. They were living in a monastery on the Bosphorous, when the Khazars sent to Constantinople for a Christian teacher. Cyril was selected and was accompanied by his brother. They learned the Khazar language and converted many of the people. Soon after the Khazar mission there was a request from the Moravians for a preacher of the Gospel. German missionaries had already laboured among them, but without success. The Moravians wished a teacher who could instruct them and conduct Divine service in the Slavonic tongue. On account of their acquaintance with the language, Cyril and Methodius were chosen for their work. In preparation for it Cyril invented an alphabet and, with the help of Methodius, translated the Gospels and the necessary liturgical books into Slavonic. They went to Moravia in 863, and laboured for four and a half years. Despite their success, they were regarded by the Germans with distrust, first because they had come from Constantinople where schism was rife, and again because they held the Church services in the Slavonic language. On this account the brothers were summoned to Rome by Nicholas I, who died, however, before their arrival. His successor, Adrian II, received them kindly. Convinced of their orthodoxy, he commended their missionary activity, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, and ordained Cyril and Methodius bishops. Cyril, however, was not to return to Moravia. He died in Rome, 4 Feb., 869.
At the request of the Moravian princes, Rastislav and Svatopluk, and the Slav Prince Kocel of Pannonia, Adrian II formed an Archdiocese of Moravia and Pannonia, made it independent of the German Church, and appointed Methodius archbishop. In 870 King Louis and the German bishops summoned Methodius to a synod at Ratisbon. Here he was deposed and condemned to prison. After three years he was liberated at the command of Pope John VIII and reinstated as Archbishop of Moravia. He zealously endeavoured to spread the Faith among the Bohemians, and also among the Poles in Northern Moravia. Soon, however, he was summoned to Rome again in consequence of the allegations of the German priest Wiching, who impugned his orthodoxy, and objected to the use of Slavonic in the liturgy. But John VIII, after an inquiry, sanctioned the Slavonic Liturgy, decreeing, however, that in the Mass the Gospel should be read first in Latin and then in Slavonic. Wiching, in the meantime, had been nominated one of the suffragan bishops of Methodius. He continued to oppose his  metropolitan, going so far as to produce spurious papal letters. The pope, however, assured Methodius that they were false. Methodius went to Constantinople about this time, and with the assistance of several priests, he completed the translation of the Holy Scriptures, with the exception of the Books of Machabees. He translated also the "Nomocanon", i.e. the Greek ecclesiastico-civil law. The enemies of Methodius did not cease to antagonize him. His health was worn out from the long struggle, and he died 6 April, 885, recommending as his successor Gorazd, a Moravian Slav who had been his disciple.
Formerly the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius was celebrated in Bohemia and Moravia on 9 March; but Pius IX changed the date to 5 July. Leo XIII, by his Encyclical "Grande Munus" of 30 September, 1880, extended the feast to the universal Church.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


Luke 9:
 22 - 25

22saying, "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised."
23And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
24For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.
25For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?a



St. Valentine
Feast: February 14

Feast Day:February 14
At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and these two seem both to have suffered in the second half of the third century and to have been buried on the Flaminian Way, but at different distances from the city. In William of Malmesbury's time what was known to the ancients as the Flaminian Gate of Rome and is now the Porta del Popolo, was called the Gate of St. Valentine. The name seems to have been taken from a small church dedicated to the saint which was in the immediate neighborhood. Of both these St. Valentines some sort of Acta are preserved but they are of relatively late date and of no historical value. Of the third Saint Valentine, who suffered in Africa with a number of companions, nothing further is known.

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