Wednesday, April 10, 2013




Vatican City, 9 April 2013 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in audience Mr. Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, with his wife and entourage. Secretary-General Ban later met with His Eminence, the Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Antoine Camilleri, Under-Secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States.
“The meeting,” reads the press communique, “which follows in the tradition of audiences granted by Popes to the various Secretaries-General of the United Nations who have held that position over the years, hopes to express the appreciation that the Holy See has for that Organization’s central role in the preservation of peace in the world, in the promotion of the common good of humanity, and in the defence of fundamental human rights.”
“During the course of the cordial conversations, issues of mutual interest were discussed, in particular: situations of conflict and serious humanitarian emergency, especially in Syria and other places such as the Korean peninsula and the African continent, where peace and stability are threatened. The problem of human trafficking was noted, in particular that of women, refugees, and migrants. The UN Secretary-General, who recently began his second term in this role, outlined his project for his second five-year mandate, which focuses, among other things, on conflict prevention, international solidarity, and equitable and sustainable economic development.”
“Pope Francis also recalled the Catholic Church’s contribution, beginning with her identity and through the means proper to her, in support of the entirety of human dignity and in promoting a Culture of Encounter that helps to realize the UN’s highest institutional goals.”
Vatican City, 9 April 2013 (VIS) – Today, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., sent a telegram on behalf of the Holy Father to Mr. David Cameron, prime minister of the United Kingdom, on the death yesterday at 87 years of age of the Baroness Margaret Thatcher who governed the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990.
“His Holiness Pope Francis” reads the telegram, “was saddened to learn of the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher. He recalls with appreciation the Christian values which underpinned her commitment to public service and to the promotion of freedom among the family of nations. Entrusting her soul to the mercy of God, and assuring her family and the British people of a remembrance in his prayers, the Holy Father invokes upon all whose lives she touched God’s abundant blessings.”
Vatican City, 5 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present the Second International Vatican Adult Stem Cell Conference, “Regenerative Medicine: A Fundamental Shift in Science & Culture”, which will place in the new Synod Hall of the Paul VI building in the Vatican from 11–13 April. Participating in the press conference were: Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Dr. Robin Smith, president of The Stem for Life Foundation and CEO of NeoStem; and Msgr. Tomasz Trafny, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture's Science and Faith foundation.
“This conference,” said Msgr. Trafny, “is part of a project that developed thanks to the generosity, determination, and passion of many people belonging to different communities [such as] The Stem for Life Foundation..., the scientific community, benefactors..., journalists, as well as pastoral caregivers at various levels.”
“There are three sets of words that ideally describe our course of action. The first set is related to the objectives we have set ourselves in preparing for 2011's International Conference. They are three words: understanding, knowing, and studying. We wanted to understand what consequences the field of regenerative medicine in general and adult stem cells in particular might have upon society and culture. … It was very clear that the impact and the cultural dynamics of the research cannot be understood without first knowing what it is and it cannot be known unless it is studied. … This perspective of constant study and reflection is always valid because research progresses and we don't want to follow it but rather accompany it.”
But the organizers of the 2011 conference realized that their initial course of action had to be enriched by three other terms: translation, formation, and dissemination. “We realized,” Msgr. Trafny observed, “that contemporary science seems increasingly hermetic, impenetrable to the uninitiated and, as such, needs translating, without which it sometimes becomes difficult, if not impossible, to follow its developments. … So we focused mainly on first asking the speakers to make their knowledge more accessible to those without a scientific background. But immediately after the conference we were committed to identifying possible paths of development and dissemination at a high level. The publication of our book, 'The Healing Cell', is part of that process and we are happy that, last year, we were able to present a limited edition of the book to Pope Benedict XVI.”
To these two paths is added today a third, always expressed in three words: influence, support, and collaboration. We want “to have a cultural influence on society, pointing to research models of excellence that are, nevertheless, in tune with the highest moral values of protecting the life and dignity of the human being from the moment of conception. However, we are aware that you cannot permanently influence society and culture without the constant and far-sighted support that comes from religious, social, and political leaders, from the community of entrepreneurs and from benefactors who are ready to commit to developing long-term scientific, bioethical, and cultural research.”
In the end we are convinced that, in order to have a meaningful impact on culture it is necessary to know how to overcome prejudice and antagonism, promoting the logic of dialogue and cooperation at various levels. That is why we feel called to collaborate with the most prestigious professors, research institutes, and universities around the world.”
In conclusion, Msgr. Trafny invited journalists to attend this International Conference in order to communicate “the positive, encouraging, and optimistic message of the Church's support of high quality, ethical research to both scholars—so that they have no doubts of our commitment—as well as to those who are struggling with the pain of degenerative disease and who are awaiting hopeful signs from the research.”
Vatican City, 9 April 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, O.F.M., secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and titular of Bellicastrum.


ANNETTE FUNICELLO the famous Mickey Mouse Club actress has died at the age of 70 due to complications from Multiple Sclerosis. She was born on October 22, 1942 in Utica, New York and died on April 8, 2013 in Bakersfield, California. Her parents were Catholic Italian Americans. Annette was one of the original "Mouseketeers" on the Mickey Mouse Club". She also co-stared with Frankie Avalon  in the famous Beach Party movies during the 1950's.In 1965 she married Jack Gilardi and had three children with him.Funicello made numerous other film and television appearances. Her children were Gina (b. 1966), Jack Jr. (b. 1970) and Jason (b. 1974). In 1986 she married a horse breeder named Glen Holt.  She was diagnosed with MS in 1992.  They lived on a ranch near Bakersfield, California. She remained with him until her death. (Image Share GOOGLE)


by Nirmala Carvalho
Two young faithful were able to extinguish the flames, avoiding tragedy. Leaders of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC): "Hindu Nationalist groups foment anti-Christian hatred. The construction of new places of worship also at risk".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Religious intolerance against the Christian minority is intensifying in Tamil Nadu.  Overnight a group of unknown people set fire to Bethel Bible Church, a Pentecostal church in the village Puthasanthai (district of Namakal). Thanks providential intervention of two members of the community, who were sleeping in the building, the fire was extinguished before demolishing the place of worship. Rev. Paul Arguman reported the matter to the police, who have placed surveillance units around the church and "vowed" to bring the perpetrators to justice.
According to Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians(GCIC), the Hindu Munnani, the Hindu nationalist religious organization in favor of the anti-conversion laws is responsible for the growing religious intolerance in Tamil Nadu, by "inciting hatred against Christians."

"Discrimination - said the GCIC  leader - also targets on places of worship. In Kanyakumari district written permission is required from the district collector [district administrator, ed] to build a church or a prayer room. However, very often authorities deny these documents, or leave them pending for a long time. "

The attempted arson attack is the third anti-Christian incident in 2013 in the Indian State. In 2012, the GCIC recorded 13. The anti-conversion law in Tamil Nadu approved in 2002 was repealed in 2005 by the Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.




DAR ES SALAAM, April 02, 2013 (CISA) -The Archbishop of Dar es Salaam, Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, has called on religious leaders and the government to work together to ensure peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims in the country.
According to Vatican Radio, the call follows attacks in the past weeks by Islamic fundamentalists against Christians on the island of Zanzibar in which a Catholic priest was seriously wounded and another one killed. Speaking in Dar es Salaam, Cardinal Pengo, invited the Tanzanian government to facilitate a meeting between the two religious groups. He said that they should be left to engage in the deliberations without interference until they come up with resolutions that will help safeguard and promote peace, harmony and tranquility in the country.
He also called upon the Tanzanian government to fulfill its duty to provide security to the religious leaders. He pointed out that Police had failed to provide conclusive information regarding the assassination of a Catholic priest, Fr Evarist Mushi, in Zanzibar last month, and invited government never to keep quiet when people are being attacked, killed and their property destroyed by people who do not want peace.
The Spokesman of the Tanzania Police responded at the weekend saying that the force was still investigating the acts of violence in Zanzibar. Christians have, however, accused the police of being silent and sometimes of siding with the fundamentalists. Zanzibar is predominantly a Moslem area.
Meanwhile President Jakaya Kikwete has assured of the government’s resolve to sustain the nation’s peace and security irrespective of individual’s religious or political leanings.
In his end of the month address to the nation, Mr Kikwete requested clerics to avoid inflammatory and misleading statements which could be harmful to national unity. “The government has never failed to protect its people and does not take sides. Isolated incidents of faith-related events that led to breach of peace are not connected or related to one another and all suspects are in police custody for questioning,” he said.
The government is not interested in seeing anyone mocking the faiths of others, he warned, adding that he has instructed security organs at all levels to take serious action against all elements propagating provocative sentiments against other religions.
He supported the initiative by the Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, to convene a meeting for senior religious leaders in May, this year to discuss and deliberate on the trend for a lasting solution to the situation.


Haiti Seminary hardship

Tuesday 9 April 2013

At present there are 267 seminarians receiving their training in the somewhat precarious makeshift premises of the national seminary of Notre-Dame d’Haiti in Port-au-Prince. Below is a letter written by Fr Guy Boucicaut the rector of the seminary  about the current situation of the seminarians there.

THE period since the earthquake of 12 January 2010 has been really difficult for the Grand Séminaire Notre Dame in Haiti. It is true that aid has arrived here and there to meet the urgent needs of our seminarians, but there's still a lot to do. These difficulties are also accompanied by evident blessings in the life of one or other seminarian.

The major difficulty encountered in our new accommodation is the place itself. Indeed, after the earthquake we did not know where we should relocate the seminary temporarily. Eventually, after much reflection, discussion and prayer the administrative board of the seminary opted to relocate to Lilavois pending final reconstruction. In the beginning everyone was in tents with all this involves: heat during the day, the formation of shanty towns, crowding, lack of privacy etc. Since we are in the countryside it has not been possible to move around in the rainy season because of the mud and the puddles. On top of this there are the large numbers of mosquitos which plague us wherever we go. A few months later the Apostolic Nunciature of Haiti provided us with sturdier and more inhabitable tents. It was only last January that our 158 theology seminarians were able to move into corrugated metal huts, which enabled us to escape the unbearable heat of the tents. On the other hand, it was not possible in these huts to lead the kind of personal life essential for individual meditation with privacy, silence etc. because the seminarians are living 5 to a hut. It's better than before but the environment is not adequate in terms of providing suitable educational facilities. The solution is undoubtedly to rebuild the seminary at a location selected by the bishops of Haiti so as to make our educational community more viable and to create a framework more appropriate for educational purposes. But how long will we have to wait for this reconstruction project to be completed in view of the poor financial resources of the Church of Haiti?

Even so, it should be emphasized that, thanks to the profound motivation, courage and confidence of the candidates, this time in the wilderness for the Grand Séminaire is turning more into a time of grace.

Blessings experienced by seminarians
The Church of Haiti is experiencing more and more callings to the priesthood. The number of candidates is growing from year to year. We thank the Lord for this great gift which he continues to make to our Church.

Seen positively, the fact is that the seminarians want to be educated and be taught. They are open to education, and they have the desire to enter into the various dimensions of education. Two things are necessary for this: being motivated and having models. When it is explained to them why this is, when they see the sound reasons for one or other aspect of their education, they are willing to enter into it with enthusiasm and determination. Above all they need models. From the individual encounters with them I can summarize in two sentences what most of them tell me: "Here we live under difficult conditions and it's not always easy. But the seminary is not merely beautiful buildings. It is also and above all the fact that the priests are there for us and live with us." The seminarians like others are very aware of the precarious nature of the geographic environment of their education, but they transcend the problems to give the best of themselves. That's why I salute their heroic courage, their willingness to become educated and their determination to go forward despite the winds and floods in order to achieve the heights to which God calls them.

All those involved in education (seminarians, priests, bishops) give of their best for the advancement of the local Church, according to their individual situation and position. The Holy Spirit, the prime protagonist, is always present in this work since it is He who inspires and shows to each and all the way to follow in accomplishing the missionary task. May God accompany them all and give them the strength to go forward. May we always be faithful to Him and serve the Church, the reward for which is in heaven!

The seminary wishes to express its eternal gratitude to all the benefactors of Aid to the Church in Need for the regular and valuable financial support they grant to our institution every year in the form of subsidies for our seminarians' education. We pray for them and ask the Lord to bestow on them all the blessings they need to accomplish their mission on Earth.

We entrust to our patron, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the present and future of our seminary so that it may be the will of God that is fulfilled and not the will of man.

Père Guy Boucicaut is the rector of the Grand Séminaire Notre-Dame in Haiti.

Article and photos courtesy of Aid to the Church in Need


Ampleforth: Death of Fr Justin Caldwell | Fr Justin Caldwell OSB, Benedictine monk, Ampleforth AbbeyIND. CATH. NEWS REPORT

Fr Justin Caldwell OSB

Fr Justin Caldwell OSB, Benedictine monk of Ampleforth Abbey and former Headmaster of the school at Gilling Castle, died peacefully in his sleep at Ampleforth on Good Friday, 29 March 2013. He was 83 years old. With his natural shyness but warm smile, Fr Justin will be remembered by many for his sensitive pastoral care extended to many people in the course of more than thirty years’ service in Ampleforth’s schools and nearly twenty years on the parish missions.
Fr Justin went to school at Gilling Castle and Ampleforth College and joined the monastic community in September 1947. He went to St Benet’s Hall in Oxford and read Modern Languages and from 1955 worked in Ampleforth’s prep school at Gilling Castle. Nearly twenty years later, he became Headmaster, a post he held from 1971-1981.
In September 1981, Fr Justin began work on Ampleforth’s parishes that would see his pastoral skills put to great service in a wide variety of situations: from the Lancashire parishes of Lostock Hall, Leyland, Bamber Bridge, and Workington, to work as a part-time chaplain in HMP Wymott Prison; or in St Catherine’s Hospice, Lostock Hall; and St Joseph’s School, Workington.
In 1999, Fr Justin returned to Ampleforth Abbey where he was able to continue one of his great hobbies: chess. He taught chess in Ampleforth College – he had already been playing postal chess for Cumbria since 1990 – and from 2000 until 2011 was playing correspondence chess for Yorkshire. Between 1991 and 2011 he was thirteen times champion of the Clergy Correspondence Chess Club. Fr Justin also provided regular supply work in the parishes, was part-time Assistant Chaplain at St Martin’s Ampleforth, and from 2006-2012 was chaplain of St Bede’s House in Ampleforth College.
In recent years he had suffered ill health and died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Good Friday, 29 March 2013.
His funeral Mass was celebrated in Ampleforth Abbey on Tuesday 9 April, followed by burial in the vault in the Monks’ Wood.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


John 3: 7 - 15

7Do not marvel that I said to you, `You must be born anew.'8The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit."9Nicode'mus said to him, "How can this be?"10Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this?11Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony.12If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?13No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up,15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."


St. Mary Cleophas
Feast: April 9

Feast Day:April 9
This title occurs only in John, xix, 25. A comparison of the lists of those who stood at the foot of the cross would seem to identify her with Mary, the mother of James the Less and Joseph (Mark 15:40; cf. Matthew 27:56). Some have indeed tried to identify her with the Salome of Mark, xv, 40, but St. John's reticence concerning himself and his relatives seems conclusive against this (cf. John 21:2). In the narratives of the Resurrection she is named "Mary of James"; (Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10) and "the other Mary" (Matthew 27:61; 28:1). The title of "Mary of James" is obscure. If it stood alone, we should feel inclined to render it "wife of (or sister of) James", but the recurrence of the expression "Mary the mother of James and Joseph" compels us to render it in the same way when we only read "Mary of James". Her relationship to the Blessed Virgin is obscure. James is termed "of Alpheus", i.e. presumably "son of Alpheus". St. Jerome would identify this Alpheus with Cleophas who, according to Hegesippus, was brother to St. Joseph (Hist. eccl., III, xi). In this case Mary of Cleophas, or Alpheus, would be the sister-in-law of the Blessed Virgin, and the term "sister", adelphe, in John, xix, 25, would cover this. But there are grave difficulties in the way of this identification of Alpheus and Cleophas. In the first place, St. Luke, who speaks of Cleophas (xxiv, 18), also speaks of Alpheus (6:15; Acts 1:13). We may question whether he would have been guilty of such a confused use of names, had they both referred to the same person. Again, while Alphas is the equivalent of the Aramaic, it is not easy to see how the Greek form of this became Cleophas, or more correctly Clopas. More probably it is a shortened form of Cleopatros.

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