Sunday, April 28, 2013



Vatican Radio REPORT Pope Francis, during Mass at the Casa Santa Martha on Saturday morning, invited people to proclaim Jesus with joy and to avoid being "closed in on ourselves". Speaking to those gathered which included employees of the Vatican Post Office and the Santa Martha Pediatic Dispensary, the Pope focused on the theme of Evangelization during his homily.
Reflecting on a reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Father posed a question, why did many people close themselves off to hearing the word of the Lord in Antioch, where the community of Christ’s disciples had gathered.
The reason is, Pope Francis explained, "Simply, because they had closed hearts, they were not open to the newness of the Holy Spirit. They believed that everything had been said, that everything was as they thought it should be and therefore they felt like defenders of the faith and began to speak against the Apostles…”
The Pope went to say that the closed off attitude of this group also can apply to all closed off groups in history. These are the people he continued, "that do not have the freedom to open up to the Lord":


Communities such as these think they are defending the truth, Pope Francis explained, but what they are really doing is spreading gossip and slander, They look inwards and end up destroying each other.

But it is the Lord’s community that goes forward, these communities are open to the Holy Spirit, they spread the Word of God. This, the Holy Father, added, is a criteria for the Church, our own consciences, our parish communities and our religious communities.
The Pope concluded by saying, look at how Jesus sends us to evangelize, he wants us to proclaim his name with joy. And Pope Francis underlined that we should not be "afraid of the joy of the Spirit," and not be "closed in on ourselves."



by Wang Zhicheng

Shanghai (AsiaNews) - Msgr. Aloyisius Jin Luxian, official bishop of Shanghai died today at 2.46 pm local time. The prelate, one of the most important personalities of the Chinese Church, was 97 years old and had been ill for a long time. In recent months he had been hospitalized and no one was allowed to visit him.

A highly controversial personality, often accused of being "too patriotic" and friendly with the regime, Msgr. Jin, who was a Jesuit, contributed to the development of the Church in a decisive way. Several years ago he was reconciled with the Pope and the Holy See considered him the "auxiliary" bishop of Shanghai.  The ordinary bishop was Msgr. Joseph Fan Zhongliang, who is also very old and sick.

The diocese of Shanghai has not yet set a date for the funeral. According toAsiaNews sources the government has been long preparing for such a ceremony, especially from the point of view of who should preside. For the Holy See, in fact, the liturgy by right should be celebrated by Msgr. Thaddeus Ma Daqin, ordained on July 7. But after having decided to leave the Patriotic Association, Bishop Ma was put in solitary confinement in Sheshan seminary. According to unconfirmed reports in recent days Msgr. Ma has been removed from the diocese, perhaps to impede his participation in Msgr. Jin's funeral.

Bishop Jin was born June 20, 1916 in Shanghai into a family that had been Catholic for generations.  He soon became an orphan (loosing his mother at 10 and his father at 14) and attended Catholic schools, first with the nuns and then the Jesuits. At age 22, in 1938, he entered the Society of Jesus, his new family.

His early adulthood was a time of great upheaval in the country; fall of the empire, the birth of the Republic and a pervasive social instability due to internal power struggles within China and colonial influences of the great Western powers. This also affected the Church, which sought to modernize and integrate into Chinese society and which, in 1946, began to ordain bishops of Chinese nationality.

The victory of Mao Zedong in 1949, billed as the "rise" of China on the world stage, had drastic consequences for foreign missionaries and the Catholic Church headed by the Pope, branded as the "stray dogs of American capitalism." Young Jin, like other believers, was divided between loyalty to the Church and love for his homeland.

Jin Luxian returned to China and Shanghai in 1951, under Bishop Ignatius Kung Pin-mei, also educated by the Jesuits. In previous years he had been formed in France and Italy, in Rome.

In 1955 he - along with Msgr. Gong and hundreds of other priests and laity - he was arrested and held in solitary confinement for five years. In 1960 he was sentenced to 18 years in prison, Msgr. Gong was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Rumors claiming that Jin "talked too much" with the police and was open to collaborating with the regime date to this period, although no one ever provided any proof.

In '1972 he was released, but on probation, working as a translator, thanks to his knowledge of languages. He was fully released in 1982, with the modernization of Deng Xiaoping. Although the party supported the elimination of religions, Deng opened churches and seminaries, while controlling all activities of the faithful.

Jin was chosen to open the Sheshan seminary and 1985 is chosen as the auxiliary bishop of Shanghai, without papal mandate. Msgr. Aloysius Zhang Jiashu, another Jesuit, was forced to be ordained patriotic bishop of the diocese while the ordinary, Msgr. Gong, remained in prison.

Bishop Jin became the Bishop of Shanghai in 1988 and immediately began working for the renewal of the Church: restoration of buildings, contacts with foreign countries, strengthening formation for seminarians, publications in Chinese. At that time, many professors of the seminary of Sheshan were invited from outside. Among them Joseph Zen, who later became Cardinal of Hong Kong, and Savio Hon, a Salesian, current secretary of the Vatican Congregation of Propaganda Fide.

Thanks to his relations with the leaders of the Party, Msgr. Jin even succeeding in gaining permission to name the pope in the Canon of the Mass and to use the liturgical books in Chinese (according to Vatican II) that the government forbade as a sign of "obedience" to the pope in Rome.
But he was still a "patriotic" bishop. Meanwhile, after 33 years in prison, thanks to the pressure of several international personalities, Msgr. Gong, the ordinary bishop loyal to Rome, was released in July 1985. He was placed under house arrest until 1987, when he was sent to the U.S. for treatment.
In 1979 he was proclaimed Cardinal in pectore by John Paul II, who only communicated his decision to the world (and to Gong himself) in 1991.
Card. Gong died in 2000, exiled in the United States.

In 2005, Msgr. Jin reconciled with the Pope and the Holy See established that Msgr. Fan was the ordinary bishop and Msgr. Jin the auxiliary. Being both very elderly, the Vatican called on both of them to think of a successor, and their decision rested on Msgr. Joseph Xing Wenzhi. This ordination was also one of the first in which Vatican and the government seem to have cooperated.
In 2012 Msgr. Xing resigned, the reasons for this move are still not clear. The Church of Shanghai proceeded to choose a new auxiliary bishop in the person of Thaddeus Ma Daqin, ordained with papal mandate and accepted by the government as coadjutor bishop (with right of succession). But his refusal to remain within the Patriotic Association has brought new problems for the Church: Msgr. Ma was immediately isolated, the seminary was closed, all Church activities halted.
Msgr. Jin has had to struggle for a lifetime with the issue of religious freedom. His death only further highlights the urgency of this issue both for Shanghai and the entire Church in China.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
26 Apr 2013
The reredos statues will be blessed by Cardinal Pell on Sunday
The 16 magnificent new statues recently installed in the reredos, the ornate stone screen behind the high altar at St Mary's Cathedral will be blessed by the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell this Sunday.
Cardinal Pell who returns from Rome tomorrow will preside as Principal Celebrant at the 10.30 High Solemn Mass at the Cathedral the following day when he will also bless the statues.
The specially-commissioned hand-carved painted wooden statues of Christ's disciples along with ones of St Paul, St John the Baptist and the two Biblical Prophets, Elijah and Moses were part of architect William Wardell's vision for the Cathedral 133 years ago. But the past 100-plus years the only statue in the reredos has been the beautifully carved depiction of Our Lady Help of Christians, patron saint of Australia, which stands in the central niche above the high altar.
A century later, no one is sure why the other 16 niches were never filled. Legend has it that the statues were ordered from European ecclesiastical sculptors but went down with the ship carrying them to Australia. But according to the Dean of the Cathedral, Father Paul Hilder, there is no proof this is what actually happened.
A statue of St Paul created by Spain's renowned Talleres de Arte sacred art workshops
Whatever the reason, thanks to Cardinal Pell, the oversight has now been corrected.
Commissioned by His Eminence and made possible by generous donations from individuals through the Friends of the Cathedral as well as by organisations such as Sydney's Catholic Women's League and the University Chaplaincies of Sydney, Spain's famous ecclesiastical studios, Talleres de Arte Grandas began creating the 16 statues early last year.
For almost 12 months, sculptors, carvers, painters and artisans worked on each statue. Each one a work of art in its own right, the statues finally arrived in Australia in late December 2012. Carefully unpacked, they went on display in St Mary's Lady Chapel in late January this year, enabling parishioners, visitors and art lovers a close-up view of the Cathedral's latest treasures.
Six weeks later, in March this year, a team of heritage stone masons spent more than a week installing the statues in the ornate stone screen reredos above the high altar.
This Sunday's blessing of the statues will have special meaning for the Friends of the Cathedral and members of the organisations whose donations made their creation possible.
Since his arrival in Sydney in 2001, Cardinal Pell has done much to complete Wardell's original vision for the Cathedral. He has also been responsible for the ongoing conservation, repair, cleaning and restoration of St Mary's sandstone interior and exterior as well as the cleaning and restoration of the Cathedral's historic collection of paintings, artefacts and sculptures.
Installation of the statues in the Cathedral reredos needed special care and expertise
In addition, Cardinal Pell has commissioned and overseen the acquisition of treasures such as the outstanding marble altar triptych by British master sculptor Nigel Boonham and the superb statue of Australia's first saint, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop by Melbourne-based sculptor, Louis Laumen which stands on the steps of the Cathedral's western transept in College Street.
Wardell's vision also included a series of statues of female saints for the Cathedral's Lady Chapel and this may well be one of the projects considered in the future for the city's iconic and much beloved Cathedral.
The blessing of the reredos statues by Cardinal Pell will take place at the 10.30am Solemn High Mass at St Mary's Cathedral on Sunday, 28 April.
Cardinal Pell also commissioned the Cathedral's beautiful and moving altar triptych


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Catholic Church stressess a gloomy picture of the situation in the state of Benue, in central Nigeria: the social and religious crisis that crosses the region, more than 70 churches have been destroyed, and thousands of people, especially in remote villages, are left without a place of worship. This was reported in a note sent to Fides Agency by Felix Apine, Coordinator of the Commission "Justice, Development and Peace" of the Diocese of Makurdi, Benue state capital. The note informs that 30 churches that were in the western Gwer area have been burned or completely destroyed, and the faithful have fled to other villages. Another 40 have been razed to the ground in the area of Guma. The destruction also touches some primary and secondary schools belonging to the diocese, while volunteers and catechists are patrolling different areas in order to assess the damage.
The Christian Protestant Archbishop Yiman Orkwar, President of the "Christian Association of Nigeria," confirming the destruction of churches and schools, said that the budget of the destroyed buildings could still rise. In the state of Benue, breeders belonging to the Fulani ethnic group, mostly Muslims, have attacked villages inhabited by ethnic Tiv farmers, mostly Christians.
On the recent escalation of attacks by Fulani farmers to Tiv, causing over 30 deaths, the Archbishop noted "with dismay the destruction of lives and property, by Fulani herdsmen and unknown men, with sophisticated weaponry." What is happening to Christians "are not mere accidents, but is the result of the work of Boko Haram jihadists and Fulani jihadists," he said, calling the institutions to defend the population. "We are not dealing with clashes - he said - but attacks suffered by Christian farmers." (PA) (Agenzia Fides 27/04/2013)


John 14: 7 - 14
7If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him."
8Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied."
9Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father'?
10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.
12"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father.
13Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son;
14if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


St. Zita
Feast: April 27

Feast Day:April 27
Born:1218 at Monsagrati near Lucca, Italy
Died:27 April 1272 at Lucca, Italy
Canonized:5 September 1696 by Pope Leo X and Pope Innocent XII
Major Shrine:Basilica di San Frediano, Lucca
Patron of:Domestic servants, homemakers, lost keys, people ridiculed for their piety, rape victims, single laywomen, waiters, waitresses
She was born in the beginning of the thirteenth century at Montsegradi, a village near Lucca in Italy. She was brought up with the greatest care, in the fear of God, by her poor virtuous mother, whose early and constant attention to inspire the tender heart of her daughter with religious sentiments seemed to find no obstacles, either from private passions or the general corruption of nature, so easily were they prevented or overcome. Zita had no sooner attained the use of reason, and was capable of knowing and loving God, than her heart was no longer able to relish any other object, and she seemed never to lose sight of him in her actions. Her mother reduced all her instructions to two short heads, and never had occasion to use any further remonstrance to enforce her lessons than to say, "This is most pleasing to God; this is the divine will"; or, "That would displease God."
The sweetness and modesty of the young child charmed everyone who saw her. She spoke little, and was most assiduous at her work; but her business never seemed to interrupt her prayers. At twelve years of age she was put to service in the family of a citizen of Lucca, called Fatinelli, whose house was contiguous to the church of St. Frigidian. She was thoroughly persuaded that labour is enjoined all men as a punishment of sin, and as a remedy for the spiritual disorders of their souls; and far from ever harbouring in her breast the least uneasiness, or expressing any sort of complaint under contradictions, poverty, and hardships, and still more from ever entertaining the least idle, inordinate, or worldly desire, she blessed God for placing her in a station in which she was supplied with the most effectual means to promote her sanctification, by the necessity of employing herself in penitential labour, and of living in a perpetual conformity and submission of her will to others. She was also very sensible of the advantages of her state, which afforded all necessaries of life, without engaging her in the anxious cares and violent passions by which worldly persons, who enjoy most plentifully the goods of fortune, are often disturbed; whereby their souls resemble a troubled sea, always agitated by impetuous storms, without knowing the sweetness of a true calm. She considered her work as an employment assigned her by God, and as part of her penance; and obeyed her master and mistress in all things as being placed over her by God. She always rose several hours before the rest of the family and employed in prayer a considerable part of the time which others gave to sleep. She took care to hear mass every morning with great devotion before she was called upon by the duties of her station, in which she employed the whole day with such diligence and fidelity that she seemed to be carried to them on wings, and studied when possible to anticipate them.
Notwithstanding her extreme attention to her exterior employments, she acquired a wonderful facility of joining with them almost continual mental prayer and of keeping her soul constantly attentive to the divine presence. Who would not imagine that such a person should have been esteemed and beloved by all who knew her?
Nevertheless, by the appointment of divine providence, for her great spiritual advantage, it fell out quite otherwise and for several years she suffered the harshest trials. Her modesty was called by her fellow-servants simplicity, and want of spirit and sense; and her diligence was judged to have no other spring than affectation and secret pride. Her mistress was a long time extremely prepossessed against her, and her passionate master could not bear her in his sight without transports of rage.
It is not to be conceived how much the saint had continually to suffer in this situation. So unjustly despised, overburdened, reviled, and often beaten, she never repined nor lost her patience; but always preserved the same sweetness in her countenance, and the same meekness and charity in her heart and words, and abated nothing of her application to her duties. A virtue so constant and so admirable at length overcame jealousy, antipathy, prepossession, and malice.
Her master and mistress discovered the treasure which their family possessed in the fidelity and example of the humble saint, and the other servants gave due praise to her virtue. Zita feared this prosperity more than adversity, and trembled lest it should be a snare to her soul. But sincere humility preserved her from its dangers; and her behaviour, amidst the caresses and respect shown her, continued the same as when she was ill-treated and held in derision; she was no less affable, meek, and modest; no less devout, nor less diligent or ready to serve everyone. Being made housekeeper, and seeing her master and mistress commit to her with an entire confidence the government of their family and management of all their affairs, she was most scrupulously careful in point of economy, remembering that she was to give to God an account of the least farthing of what was intrusted as a depositum in her .hands; and, though head-servant, she never allowed herself the least privilege or exemption in her work on that account.
She used often to say to others that devotion is false if slothful. Hearing a man-servant speak one immodest word, she was filled with horror, and procured him to be immediately discharged from the family. With David, she desired to see it composed only of such whose approved piety might draw down a benediction of God upon the whole house and be a security to the master for their fidelity and good example. She kept fast the whole year, and often on bread and water; and took her rest on the bare floor or on a board. Whenever business allowed her a little leisure, she spent it in holy prayer and contemplation in a little retired room in the garret; and at her work repeated frequently ardent ejaculations of divine love, with which her soul appeared always inflamed. She respected her fellow-servants as her superiors. If she was sent on commissions a mile or two in the greatest storms, she set out without delay, executed them punctually, and returned often almost drowned, without showing any sign of reluctance or murmuring.
By her virtue she gained so great an ascendant over her master that a single word would often suffice to check the greatest transports of his rage; and she would sometimes cast herself at his feet to appease him in favour of others. She never kept anything for herself but the poor garments which she wore: everything else she gave to the poor. Her master, seeing his goods multiply, as it were, in her hands, gave her ample leave to bestow liberal alms on the poor, which she made use of with discretion, but was scrupulous to do nothing without his express authority. If she heard others spoken ill of, she zealously took upon her their defence and excused their faults.
Always when she communicated, and often when she heard mass, and on other occasions, she melted in sweet tears of divine love: she was often favoured with ecstasies during her prayers. In her last sickness she clearly foretold her death, and having prepared herself for her passage by receiving the last sacraments, and by ardent signs of love, she happily expired on the 27th of April, in 1272, being sixty years old: one hundred and fifty miracles wrought in the behalf of such as had recourse to her intercession have been juridically proved. Her body was found entire in 1580 and is kept with great respect in St. Frigidian's church, richly enshrined; her face and hands are exposed naked to view through a crystal glass. Pope Leo X granted an office in her honour. The city of Lucca pays a singular veneration to her memory.
The solemn decree of her beatification was published by Innocent XII in 1696, with the confirmation of her immemorial veneration. See her life, compiled by a contemporary writer, and published by Papebroke, the Bollandist, on the 27th of April, p. 497, and Benedict XIV De Canoniz. lib. ii. c. 24, p. 245.

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