Thursday, March 21, 2013



Vatican City, 21 March 2013 (VIS) – On Holy Thursday, 28 March, the Holy Father Francis will celebrate the Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica in the morning and then, at 5:30pm in the afternoon, will go to celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper at the Casal del Marmo youth detention centre instead of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, where it had been traditionally held in past years.
The Mass of the Lord's Supper is characterized by the announcement of the commandment of love and the gesture of washing the feet. In his ministry as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio used to celebrate the Mass in a prison or hospital or hospice for the poor and marginalized. With this celebration at Casal del Marmo, Pope Francis will continue his custom, which is characterized by its humble context.
The other Holy Week celebrations will be held according to tradition, as established in a notification by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations.
Pope Benedict XVI also visited the Casal del Marmo youth detention centre, on 18 March in 2007, to celebrate Mass in the Chapel of the Merciful Father.
Vatican City, 21 March 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, on the occasion of his enthronement at Canterbury Cathedral in London, UK, this past Thursday. Archbishop Welby is the 105 Archbishop of Canterbury and the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
“The pastoral ministry,” writes Francis, “is a call to walk in fidelity to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Please be assured of my prayers as you take up your new responsibilities, and I ask you to pray for me as I respond to the new call that the Lord has addressed to me.”
“I look forward to meeting you in the near future, and to continuing the warm fraternal relations that our predecessors enjoyed.”
Vatican City, 21 March 2013 (VIS) – Today was made public the message that Benedict XVI wrote this past 4 February to the Most Reverend Justin Welby on the occasion of his election as Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Pope wrote that the archbishop was taking up his office “at a time when the Christian faith is being called into question in many parts of the Western world by those who claim that religion is a private matter, with no contribution to offer to public debate. Ministers of the Gospel today have to respond to a widespread deafness to the music of faith, and a general weariness that shuns the demands of discipleship. Yet the hunger for God, even if unrecognised, is ever-present in our society, and the preacher's task, as a messenger of hope, is to speak the truth with love, shedding the light of Christ into the darkness of people's lives. May your apostolate yield a rich harvest and may it open the eyes and ears of many to the life-giving message of the Gospel.”
Benedict XVI concluded with the prayer that “the Lord grant you strength and wisdom” in whatever challenges the new archbishop may encounter and asking that “the Holy Spirit guide you in all that you undertake in his name.”
Vatican City, 21 March 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday, shortly after noon, around 50 Argentine nationals resident in Rome responded to an invitation to a spur of the moment gathering with the Pope at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Those in attendance included the president of the Argentinian Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Jose Maria Arancedo of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz; Master General of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, Fr. Pablo Bernardo Ordone, O. de .M.; priests and religious; but also lay persons, families with children, and journalists.
The guests had the chance to sing and dance in front of the Pope, sharing light refreshments in a spirit of warm friendship. The Pope paid tribute to the fruitfulness of the Church in Argentina, praying that she might rise to the situation created by his pontifical election.
Vatican City, 21 March 2013 (VIS) – This morning in his private library on the second loggia, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Mr. Adolfo Perez Esquivel, recipient of the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize,
- Msgr. Carlos Maria Nannei,
- Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, and
- His Beatitude Louis Raphael I Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, with an entourage.
This afternoon, at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, he received Mr. Peter Mizengo Kayanza Pinda, prime minister of Tanzania, in audience.


John 8: 51 - 59

51Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death."52The Jews said to him, "Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and you say, `If any one keeps my word, he will never taste death.'53Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you claim to be?"54Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God.55But you have not known him; I know him. If I said, I do not know him, I should be a liar like you; but I do know him and I keep his word.56Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad."57The Jews then said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?"58Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."59So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.


WDSD RELEASE: 21 March 2013 marks the 8th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day, a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder. But there is still so much more we can do.
Down Syndrome International encourages our friends all over the World to choose your own themes, activities and events to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.
The internet is a powerful tool for raising awareness and we encourage people to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day through your own websites, blogs and social networking sites. However, we want to create a single meeting place where everyone can share their experiences and advertise their activities.
For this purpose we created a dedicated website Through this, you are able to register with us and share details of your activities and events with the global community.
Join our cause to create a single global voice for advocating for the rights, inclusion and well being of people with Down syndrome on 21 March.


Down Syndrome International invites everyone across the world to wear LOTS OF SOCKS on 21 March 2013 to raise awareness on World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). 

We want to get people talking about WDSD on 21 March, and we can do this if we all wear socks…BUT NOT JUST ANY SOCKS…brightly coloured socks, mismatched socks, long socks, printed socks, 1 sock…maybe even 3 socks (or EXTRA socks) for 3 chromosomes. Or if you don’t normally wear socks then wear them. Just so long as they are socks which are on display and people will ask you about.
AND WHY STOP AT SOCKS? Wear brightly coloured clothing if you like, say if it’s too hot for socks. The choice is yours, but we ask you to join us in wearing something which will help tell the world about WDSD.
It is easy to do, so whether you are at home, nursery, school, university, work, play, travel, holiday or anywhere, join in!
On 21 March 2013, wear LOTS OF SOCKS and invite all your friends, family and colleagues to do the same.


Other Ways to Get Involved

If you want to wear LOTS OF SOCKS and more, here are some ways you can get involved in our LOTS OF SOCKS campaign:
  1. Order special LOTS OF SOCKS logo socks from us. Please contact Down Syndrome International to receive these.
  2. If it's too hot for socks where you are or you want to promote LOTS OF SOCKS in other ways, you can order LOTS OF SOCKS clothing and merchandise to use on the day by following this link for Official LOTS OF SOCKS Merchandise
  3. Raise money to support people with Down syndrome by paying £1, $1, 1 Euro or a small amount in your own currency. 
  4. Donate this money to your local, regional or national Down syndrome charity BUT consider donating at least 25% to Down Syndrome International to support "Reach Out", our outreach training programmes in developing countries.
If you would like to raise money or hold your own event for the LOTS OF SOCKS campaign, you can contact Down Syndrome International and we will send you a DSi Fundraising Pack. Alternatively here are some useful resources available for you to download:


Agenzia Fides REPORT- "Society is crying out for compassion in finance", says a message of congratulations sent to Pope Francis from the "Association of Christian Financial Advisers" (ACFA), based in London. The Association – explains in a statement sent to Fides - welcomes the election of the Pope " who celebrated his inaugural mass by speaking up on behalf of the poor."
The spokesman of the Association, Aidan Vaughan, notes in the message sent to Fides: "In calling for a Church for the poor, and defending the virtue of simplicity, His Holiness Pope Francis embraces the prayers of many who are calling for financial righteousness to be at the heart of society."
Vaughan appreciates Pope Francis’ inaugural speech and called for "all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life’ to be protectors of creation… ‘showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need."
" In Pope Francis it seems the Catholic Church has found a leader with a genuine heart for the needy who will speak up for justice" remarked Vaughan. ACFA aims to be the voice of Christian financial advice and champions best practice in the UK. ACFA continues to campaign against high interest rate loans, which it describes as a social evil" and calls political authorities of European countries "to help the poorest who have been hardest hit by spending cuts." (PA) (Agenzia Fides 21/03/2013)



BANGUI, March 19, 2013 (CISA)–The rebels have attacked religious people and organisations in Bangui, reports Fides News Agency.
The rebels, from the rebel coalition Seleka, attacked and assaulted a religious clergy and stole a car in the village of Bangao (80 km from Bambari in the Central African Republic). The vehicle which was in poor condition was later abandoned.
In Bambari, rebels ransacked the pharmacy of the diocese, the community radio station and the offices of Caritas.
The Seleka coalition issued an ultimatum of 72 hours to President François Bozizé to implement the agreements of Libreville that was signed on 11 January 2013; if not, they would march on to the capital Bangui. The rebels also asked for the release of political prisoners and the departure of South African troops deployed in Bangui.
A delegation of five ministers has gone to the rebel headquarters in the city of Sibut to negotiate with Seleka.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
21 Mar 2013
Dr Mary Gowery at St Vincent's Outpatients in Melbourne circa 1914-1916
Gifted medical doctor and religious sister, Australian-born Mary Glowrey, JMJ will be declared a Servant of God in India next week signalling the start of the diocesan phase of the process which eventually may result in her beatification and canonisation.
Beloved, selfless and said to radiate Christ by word and example, Sr Mary Glowrey could well become Australia's next saint.
"It is my pleasure to let you know that on Wednesday , 27 March, at the Chrism Mass in the Diocese of Guntur, India, Bishop Gali Bali will declare Dr Sister Mary Glowrey 'A Servant of God,'" the Most Rev Denis Hart, Archbishop of Melbourne and President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference announced this morning.
The preliminary phase of the cause of canonisation of the gifted doctor who spent 25 years as a Medical Missionary with the Congregation of the Society of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, a Dutch order of Religious Sisters, commenced in Bangalore, India three years ago. This initial phase involved a careful examination of her work and writings together with her religious life and now progresses to the next phase on the way to beatification and possible sanctification.
In 2008 members of the Catholic Women's League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga, of which Mary Glowrey was the Founding President, began working closely with the Society of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in India preparing for the commencement of the initial steps towards Beatification.
Two years ago, in December 2010 two months after the canonisation of Australia's first saint, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Archbishop Hart announced  the preliminary phase of the Cause for Canonisation of Mary Glowrey had commenced in Banglalore, India. Now less than 18 months later the next phase begins.
Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Born on  23 June 1887 in Birregurra, Victoria -  about 135 km west of Melbourne - Mary Glowrey was the third of nine children. Intelligent and eager to learn, she did well at school and by the time she left her outstanding academic accomplishments had earned her a cash scholarship to begin studying for a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne. However after a great deal of prayer and the encouragement of her father, Mary switched to Medicine, an unusual choice for a woman in those days. By 1910, one year after the death of fellow Victorian and religious, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, she graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.
The next two years were spent in New Zealand where she did her residency. Returning to Melbourne in 1912, Mary Glowrey built a successful private practice with rooms in Collins Street. During this time she also worked at Victoria's St Vincent's Hospital, where she had gained invaluable clinical experience as a student, as the hospital's "Physician to Outpatients." She would later say: "I can never sufficiently express the gratitude I owe to St Vincent's Hospital."
In addition to St Vincent's Hospital she also worked at Melbourne's Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.
Mary's religious vocation came in 1915 after attending Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral, when by chance she happened to read a pamphlet about the appalling death rate amongst babies in India, and the urgent need for medical missionaries there. The 28-year-old fell to her knees and knew that God was calling her to a life of medical mission work in India. But with the world in the turmoil of  World War I, she had to wait until the global conflict ended before she would be able to travel to India and begin her mission.
Despite her spiritual humility and natural reticence, the following year Mary was elected founding president of the Catholic Women's League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga in 1916 and led this inspiring group of young Catholic women seeking to change society through prayer as well as action.
Dr Mary Gowery leaving Melbourne for India to embark on her vocation as a medical missionary
During this time, she also studied for a higher medical degree with an emphasis on obstetrics, gynaecology and ophthalmology, and in 1919 graduated as Doctor of Medicine.
Finally in 1920, the war well over and shipping lanes open once more, 33-year-old Mary sailed for India where she joined the Congregation of the Society of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Guntur. 
The remainder of her life until her death in 1957 was spent ministering to the spiritual and medical needs of the people of India, particularly the poor. Her love of India, its culture and its people led her to explore traditional Indian medicines and to use these as part of her medical arsenal.
Recognising the need to promote the Christian use of medicine, in 1943 in the midst of World War II she founded the Catholic Hospital Association of India (CHAI) and several years later established a Catholic Medical College in India to train health professionals both in medical care as well as in Catholic teachings and the understanding of the inviolability of human life.
Throughout her life she was said to radiate Christ by word and example. According to those who knew her she never attempted anything without first praying to the Holy Spirit, knowing that with the help of the Holy Spirit all things are possible.
For the final two years of her life, she suffered excruciating physical pain which she bore with extraordinary courage and patience.
Mary died in Bangalore on Sunday, 5 May 1957. She was 70 years old.


by Shafique Khokhar
Over a thousand people attended an inter- religious conference. Hindu and Sikh leaders also present, as well as Saudi Muslim personalities. Appeal to Islamabad to punish those responsible for the attacks. Government of Punjab applauded for its support. Invitations to harmony and combat extremism.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - Solidarity with the victims of anti-Christian violence in the Joseph Colony of Badami Bah (Lahore), where over 100 homes belonging to Christians were burned: an appeal to the central government to punish the perpetrators; appreciation for the leadership of the province of Punjab, who have set up a plan for immediate assistance. This was highlighted by more than a thousand participants at the Interfaith meeting held on March 15 in Lahore, attended by priests and religious, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh leaders, parliamentarians and representatives of the media, to mark a "Day of Solidarity".
The initiative, supported by 30 leaders from different religious communities, was promoted by Maulana Abdul Khubair Aazad, leader of the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore. At the end of the meeting, Hazrat Qari Bashir Ahmad, a Saudi cleric born in Medina, reiterated solidarity with the religious minorities of Pakistan and offered "special prayers" for peace and harmony in society.

AsiaNews spoke to prominent religious and secular figures present at the meeting, which re-launched the commitment to co-existence and unity according to the ideals of Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan. For Maulana Abdul Khubair Aazad all religious leaders "must promote harmony" and he expressed "deep sorrow" for the attack on the Christians. His sentiments were echoed by the Sunni Muslim leader Allama Muhammad Khan Laghari who invited people of goodwill to "combat extremism" and those who oppose the idea of ​​peaceful coexistence. Among the Muslim clerics present was Shia Allama Zubair Ahmad who described the anti-Christian attack as being "against Islam [...]only peace and harmony can create a prosperous nation."
Among the many Christian personalities present was Fr. Nisar Barkat, diocesan director of NCJP and Fr. Emmanuel Mani, National Director of NCJP (National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Church). Fr. Francis Nadeem paid tribute to the Muslim leaders and thanked them for the messages of solidarity, expressing the hope that tragedies like Joseph Colony and Gojra will not be repeated. "I'm really happy - he added - that the Punjab government has immediately helped the victims." The Hindu MP Bhawan Daas also mentioned the persecution of the Ahmadiyya Muslim minority, while the Sikh leader Janam Singh added that "fraternal cooperation is key to avoiding such tragedies."


St. Nicholas of Flue
Feast: March 21

Feast Day:March 21
Born:21 March 1417 at Sachseln, Canton Obwalden, Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
Died:21 March 1487
Canonized:15 May 1947 by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine:Sachseln, Switzerland
Patron of:councilmen, difficult marriages, large families, magistrates, parents of large families, Pontifical Swiss Guards, separated spouses, Switzerland
Had Nicholas not been a saint, or had he eaten and drunk like other saints, Switzerland with all it has meant for peace and humanity would probably not exist today. For Nicholas's entire life was ordained in view of his vocation to save his country.
Nicholas von Flue was born on March 21st, 1417 in the Canton of Unterwalden on the lake of Lucerne, a citizen of a peasant democracy and a farmer's son. As he grew up he proved himself a capable farmer, and the ability he displayed in the local parliament, of which every male citizen was a member, led to his election at an early age as councillor and judge. He also proved himself a capable commander of troops. In the war against the duke of Tirol he persuaded his compatriots to respect a convent of nuns. Though willing to perform his military service, Nicholas condemned as immoral, wars of aggression and the slaughter of non-combatants inevitable in any major modern war. About the age of thirty he married a farmer's daughter, Dorothy Wiss, and built a farmhouse to receive her. The couple had ten children and descendants survive to this day.
Nicholas had thus approved himself to his countrymen as a thoroughly capable man, as farmer, military leader, member of the assembly, councillor, judge and father of a family—also a man of complete moral integrity. All the while, however, he led a life of contemplative prayer and rigorous fasting. He was the subject of symbolic visions and a diabolic assault.
After some twenty years of married life, in 1467 Nicholas received a compelling call to abandon his home and the world and become a hermit. Though she had just borne his tenth child his wife heroically consented. His neighbors, however, even his older children, regarded his action as indefensible, unbalanced, immoral and irresponsible. He set out for Alsace, where he intended to live. Had he carried out his intention his vocation would have been missed. A storm, however, symbolically interpreted, and friendly advice not to settle where the Swiss were detested made him turn back from the border. At the same time he became incapable of eating or drinking—a condition which continued for the rest of his life. As an act of obedience to a bishop he once ate with acute agony a piece of soaked bread. (The problem of prolonged fasting is more fully discussed in the account of St. Lidwina of Schiedam.)
He resumed to his native canton, passing the first night undiscovered in the cow-shed of his farm and settled in a hermitage at Ranft within a few miles of his home. It was no temptation to return home, as he never felt the least desire for his former life. Symbolic visions continued to be a feature of his contemplation, and when, after a month's strict surveillance, his countrymen were convinced that his fast was genuine, they recognised his sanctity and vocation, and he became a spiritual guide whose advice was widely sought and followed. Pilgrims came from distant parts to consult him. He  acquired influence with Duke Sigismund of the Tirol, whom he confirmed in his neutrality when the Swiss confederacy met and defeated Charles of Burgundy. Everything was ready for the climax of Nicholas's life: the accomplishment of his unique vocation.
The victorious cantons were at loggerheads. The rural cantons opposed inflexibly the demand of Zurich and Lucerne that Freiburg and Soleure be admitted to the confederacy. A conference held at Stans, December 1481, failed to reach agreement. Next day the delegates would disperse and a civil war ensue which would presumably have destroyed the confederacy. The parish priest, once Nicholas's confessor, hurried to Ranft and laid the matter before the hermit. During the night Nicholas dictated suggested terms of agreement. The priest resumed in time to persuade the delegates to give a hearing to the proposals of a man so widely respected for his well tried practical abilities and so widely venerated for his holiness. The terms suggested—the conditional admittance of Freiburg and Soleure—were unanimously accepted and embodied in the agreement of Stans. Switzerland had been saved.
Nicholas survived his achievement almost six years, universally revered, visited and consulted. On March 21st 1487, his seventieth birthday, he died, apparently of his first illness. One is glad to know that his wife and children attended his deathbed. After all, she had never lost her husband completely. Honored by Swiss Protestants, venerated by Swiss Catholics, Nicholas's cult, uninterrupted since his death, was officially sanctioned by Clement IX (1667-9). In 1947 he was canonized by Pope Pius XII.