Friday, March 14, 2014



Pope Francis gives a thumbs up as he greets the crowd at the 2013 World Youth Day welcoming ceremony in Rio de Janeiro. CNS Photo/Paul Haring


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis returned to the Vatican on Friday, at 11.29 a.m., after the conclusion of his Lenten spiritual exercises with the Roman Curia earlier in the morning. The exercises were preached by Msgr. Angelo De Donatis, a Roman pastor. They were held at the Casa Divin Maestro in Ariccia, outside Rome. 

At the conclusion of the exercises, the Pope expressed his gratitude to Msgr. De Donatis for his help, accompaniment and listening.

“We now return home with a good seed: the seed of the Word of God,” he said. “The Lord will send rain and that seed will grow. It will grow and it will bear fruit. We thank the Lord for the seed and for the rain that he will send us, but we also want to thank the sower because you were the sower and you know how to do it.”

“And I ask you to continue to pray for this 'syndicate of believers',” he said. “We are all sinners but we all have the will to follow Jesus more closely, without losing hope in the promise and also without losing a sense of humour.”

Text from Vatican Radio website 


WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced he has extended a formal and open invitation to Pope Francis to address a Joint Meeting of the United States Congress. The Speaker released the following statement: “It is with reverence and admiration that I have invited Pope Francis, as head of state of the Holy See and the first Pope to hail from the Americas, to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress. “Pope Francis has inspired millions of Americans with his pastoral manner and servant leadership, challenging all people to lead lives of mercy, forgiveness, solidarity, and humble service. “His tireless call for the protection of the most vulnerable among us—the ailing, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, the impoverished, the unborn—has awakened hearts on every continent. “His social teachings, rooted in ‘the joy of the gospel,’ have prompted careful reflection and vigorous dialogue among people of all ideologies and religious views in the United States and throughout a rapidly changing world, particularly among those who champion human dignity, freedom, and social justice. “These principles are among the fundamentals of the American Idea.
 And though our nation sometimes fails to live up to these principles, at our best we give them new life as we seek the common good. Many in the United States believe these principles are undermined by ‘crony capitalism’ and the ongoing centralization of political power in the institutions of our federal government, which threaten to disrupt the delicate balance between the twin virtues of subsidiarity and solidarity. They have embraced Pope Francis’ reminder that we cannot meet our responsibility to the poor with a welfare mentality based on business calculations. We can meet it only with personal charity on the one hand and sound, inclusive policies on the other.
“The Holy Father’s pastoral message challenges people of all faiths, ideologies and political parties. His address as a visiting head of state before a joint meeting of the House and Senate would honor our nation in keeping with the best traditions of our democratic institutions. It would also offer an excellent opportunity for the American people as well as the nations of the world to hear his message in full. “It is with deep gratitude that I have asked Pope Francis to consider this open invitation on behalf of the Congress and the millions of citizens of the United States we serve.” -


Msgr Stephen Hrynuck, a priest of the Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, who died last week (CNS)
Msgr Stephen Hrynuck, a priest of the Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, who died last week (CNS)
Msgr Stephen Hrynuck, a priest of the Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia known by many as the “holy little priest from the Church with the golden domes in Olyphant,” died last week at the age of 102.
He died on March 6 at the Holy Family Residence in Scranton, where he had lived since February and was cared for by Little Sisters of the Poor. Prior to that, since January 2009, he had been living in the care of Eileen and Roman Kushner of Peckville.
When he retired in late 2008 at age 97, Msgr Hrynuck had been the oldest active US Catholic pastor. A funeral Divine Liturgy was to be celebrated today at SS Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church in Olyphant, Pennsylvania, where he served as pastor for 57 years, from 1951 until his retirement. Ukrainian Catholic Archbishop Stefan Soroka of Philadelphia was to concelebrate the liturgy with Father Nestor Iwaisw, the current pastor. Interment was to follow at the Church’s cemetery.
Father Iwaisw told The Scranton Times-Tribune daily newspaper that wherever he goes he runs into someone who knew Msgr Hrynuck. “He’s baptised most of the parish. He’s married most of the parish. He’s buried most of the relatives. It’s going to be quite the big change for everybody,” Father Iwaisw told the paper. “It’s an end of an era.”
Born on December 27, 1911, Msgr Hrynuck was the son of the late Michael and Anastasia Chesak Hrynuck, who came to the United States from western Ukraine in 1909 and settled in Philadelphia, where their son Stephen was born.
He was named a monsignor in 1968. After that, he also was nominated as mitered archpriest by Ukrainian Cardinal Josyf Slipyj in Rome and subsequently installed by Archbishop Stephen Sulyk, then head of the Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Msgr Hrynuck was honoured at the celebration of the 125th anniversary of SS Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church (1888-2013) in October 2013.He attended the Divine Liturgy every day until a few months before his death. He was preceded in death by a brother, who also was a priest, Father John Hrynuck, and a sister, Maria. He is survived by many nieces, grandnieces and grandnephews in Ukraine.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese RELEASE
14 Mar 2014

Sisterhood Conference 2014
Top left: Hannah Hladik, Zenka Taffe
Top Right - Karen Doyle
Bottom: Day 2 of the Sisterhood Conference - Group shot of Sisterhood Conference attendees.
More than 180 women of all ages gathered for the 6th Annual Sisterhood National Catholic Women's Conference, at Stanwell Tops last Saturday to celebrate  International Women's Day.
The theme for this year's conference was 'Beloved Daughter'.
Karen Doyle is a member of the Sisterhood team and a passion of hers is to see Pope John Paul ll's teachings on womanhood communicated and embraced by women of all ages.
"For me sisterhood is very much about a movement of women who understand who they are in Christ and the incredible gift that their femininity is to the world."
The conference evolved from several Sisterhood small groups that had been running for three years in Canberra, alongside the brother ministry Young men of God. Karen had spoken a couple of times at the men's conference but in 2008 she was standing at the back of the room watching all the men in praise and worship and felt the Holy Spirit say, "These men are only half of the picture, it is time for the women to take their place alongside them."
She shared this revelation with her Sisterhood small group and they discussed it together joking that they couldn't pull off a conference, they all had young children and knew how much work something like that would take. But God had other plans and the first Sisterhood Conference was held in 2009. Each conference has always been a sell out, and the blessing of God has always been with us, Karen says.
The vision behind the conference is to provide a weekend which provides deep authentic Catholic teaching and formation of what it means to be a woman. To encourage women in the vocation of womanhood, and to celebrate femininity as a gift, a gift this is desperately needed in the life of the Church, the culture and the family.

Karen Doyle
One of the fruits from the Sisterhood Conference is that more Sisterhood small groups are created all over the country. These operate on a fortnightly basis throughout the year and there is a national team who co-ordinates and maintains support and contact with the groups.
The groups provide a place of support and encouragement as well as an opportunity for formation. The format of the groups involves praying together, personal sharing about four key areas and reading of a variety of resources to deepen their formation of authentic Catholic teaching.
2014 was as an especially exciting Conference as Karen launched The Genius Project, which is a four part DVD resource unpacking John Paul II's rich teachings on womanhood. In Karen's own words:
"The Genius of womanhood refers to the spiritual qualities that are unique to womanhood. John Paul II referred to them as the feminine genius, qualities which he believed to be essential in humanizing culture and building a culture of life and love. He encouraged women to be true to their authentic nature and not seek to be like men, when they do this he says they will lose what constitutes their essential richness."
The DVD is designed to be used in small group settings and is accompanied by individual discussion guides. For further information about the resource visit:
Women who are interested in the Sisterhood movement can get involved by making contact with the sisterhood team via the website.  or by emailing

Conference centre at Stanwell Tops


U.S. government experts continue search operations for flight MH370 west of the Malaysian peninsula. Case of”air piracy”not ruled out. Two of aircrafts’ communications systems turned off at different times: the engines continued to transmit signals for another five hours. Chinese experts: mild earthquake in the South China Sea compatible with the crash.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Experts in Washington, called upon to investigate the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, are "shifting their focus" towards "the Indian Ocean region".  A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, says the widening of the search operations is not due to any new information on the fate of the aircraft. The White House spokesman Jay Carney said that "because of new information, we may be part of an effort to open a new search area", so far concentrated in the South China Sea that separates Malaysia from Vietnam. In the absence of any confirmation of a pilot error, or midflight explosion, or structural failure, counter-terrorism experts are not ruling out that it may be a case of "air piracy".

The flight disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board, mostly Chinese. So far the massive search operation including dozens of ships, helicopters and fighter jets from at least eight different nations has failed to find anything. The White House explained that based on "new information", the United States has decided to extend the research to the Indian Ocean, west of the Malaysian peninsula. At the same time, U.S. government officials told the BBC the intelligence was "not concrete enough to merit a rise in expectations".

India has also joined the search operations, with navy vessels and air force jets at the request of the government in Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, some elements that have just emerged - which have not yet been confirmed by Malaysia - seem to refute the hypothesis of a sudden incident. According to reports from the Wall Street Journal, the plane's engines continued to transmit signals for another 4 or 5 hours after the disappearance of the flight from radar. If confirmed, the news would indicate that the MH370 continued to fly and probably precipitated at a later time in the Indian Ocean and in an unknown location.

There was enough fuel on board to travel for at least another four hours. Investigation sources add  that it could have traveled up to 1600 km away from the point last visible on radar. Meanwhile, two U.S. officials have told broadcaster ABC that two different communication systems, which are present on the plane, were turned off at different times, corroborating the thesis of a voluntary gesture. The data transmission system stopped working 1.07 am, while the transponder - useful to detect the location and altitude of the aircraft - was turned off fifteen minutes later, around 1.21.

The already intricate plot is further thickened by the news just announced by a team of seismologists from a prestigious university in China, that they recorded a "mild seismic event" in the seas that separate Malaysia and Vietnam on March 8. This phenomenon, experts warn, could be compatible with a plane crash at sea and, therefore, be linked to the mysterious disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight. The tremor occurred at 2:55 am, about 150 km from the southern tip of Vietnam.  "It's not an earthquake zone - say academics - and looking at the time and place, may be linked to the disappearance of flight MH370".

The Boeing 777-200 carried 239 people, including a crew of 12, disappearing over the sea, just south of Vietnam.  The passenger list included 153 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, as well as some Australians, Europeans and Americans. Malaysia Airlines has had a good safety record, with nearly four decades without an accident. Its worst accident occurred in 1977 when one accident left 100 people dead. In recent years, the company lost revenues due to the competition from low-cost airlines, including Air Asia, another Malaysia-based company.  Every day, Malaysia's national carrier flies nearly 37,000 passengers to some 80 destinations worldwide.



Pakistan: Church destroyed; 5,000 Christian families faces eviction | 'Sharing Life Ministries Pakistan', Pakistan, Christians,Okara, Punjab Pakistan
A large group of Muslim extremists has destroyed a church that was under construction in Okara, Punjab Pakistan. The walls of the church had been completed, on land donated by a local Christian resident, Akber Masih. When a cross was placed in front of the main gate of the small construction yard a mob arrived with bulldozers and demolished the building.
The faithful filed a complaint to the police, but the NGO 'Sharing Life Ministries Pakistan', said the perpetrators have not been arrested - thanks to the political influence they have. Christians in the neighbourhood who have asked for protection to civil authorities, on the other hand, have received threats and have now abandoned the idea of building a church.
Elsewhere, in the capital, Islamabad, more than 5,000 Christian families who have lived for years in overcrowded slum conditions, with no piped water or sanitation now face homelessness, as a High Court judge has ordered the demolition of ten settlements. Christian leaders are asking the municipality to think about some form of accommodation for them.
Source: Fides


Friday of the First Week of Lent
Lectionary: 228

Reading 1          EZ 18:21-28

Thus says the Lord GOD:
If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed,
if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.
None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him;
he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced.
Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked?
says the Lord GOD.
Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way
that he may live?

And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil,
the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does,
can he do this and still live?
None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered,
because he has broken faith and committed sin;
because of this, he shall die.
You say, “The LORD’s way is not fair!”
Hear now, house of Israel:
Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?
When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies,
it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.
But if the wicked, turning from the wickedness he has committed,
does what is right and just,
he shall preserve his life;
since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Responsorial Psalm              PS 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-7A, 7BC-8

R. (3) If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
Let Israel wait for the LORD.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

Gospel                   MT 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you,
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”



Pope Francis gives a thumbs up as he greets the crowd at the 2013 World Youth Day welcoming ceremony in Rio de Janeiro. CNS Photo/Paul Haring
Pope Francis gives a thumbs up as he greets the crowd at the July 2013 World Youth Day welcoming ceremony in Rio de Janeiro. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Marking the First Anniversary of Pope Francis

From the moment Pope Francis, dressed simply in a white cassock, stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica for the first time on March 12, 2013, he signaled that his pontificate would bring some style differences to the papacy.  In his first year the "pope of firsts"  has had a profound impact on the Church and has captured the attention of the world's media.  
Meeting in Washington on March11, 2014,the USCCB Administrative Committee issued a statement on the occasion of Pope Francis' anniversary expressing thanksgiving. 
Pope Calls on Catholics To Renew Gospel Values
Wants Church To Be for the Poor, Reach Out to Marginalized
Emphasis on Mercy, Humanity Inspires People Around the Globe

WASHINGTON—The first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis, March 13, is a time to give thanks, said the U.S. bishops’ Administrative Committee, meeting in Washington, March 11-12. The Administrative Committee is the highest ranking body of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops when the bishops are not in plenary session.  

“He has encouraged us to be a Church of the poor and for the poor, reaching out to the marginalized and being present to those on the periphery of society,” the bishops said in the statement issued March 11. “He has set an example by choosing a personal simplicity of life, by washing the feet of prisoners, and by taking into his hands and kissing the badly disfigured.”

The entire statement follows.


Gathered together in Washington, DC, for their annual March meeting, the members of the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have noted with thanksgiving the first anniversary of the election of His Holiness Pope Francis as the 266th successor of the Apostle Peter.  

In his first year in office, Pope Francis has consistently called upon Catholics to look again at the fundamental values of the Gospel. He has encouraged us to be a Church of the poor and for the poor, reaching out to the marginalized and being present to those on the periphery of society. He has set an example by choosing a personal simplicity of life, by washing the feet of prisoners, and by taking into his hands and kissing the badly disfigured. His Holiness has also set in motion a process that will lead to the reshaping of the Roman Curia in a way that will enhance the effectiveness of his ministry and better serve the needs of the Church in our present day.  

In this way the Holy Father has brought to light new dimensions of the Petrine Ministry and added new life to the office he holds. His constant outreach to the alienated, his emphasis on mercy and his sheer humanity have served as an inspiration not only to Catholics but also to other Christians and people of good will around the globe. On this first anniversary of his election, the Administrative Committee invites the prayers of all the faithful that Christ our Lord will bless Pope Francis and grant him many years of fruitful ministry as Bishop of Rome, as the Servant of the Servants of God.
Read what some Church leaders have to say about Pope Francis' first year and stories from Catholic News Service about the impact of his papacy.  And most importantly, as he asked of the crowd gathered in St. Peter's square on the night of his election, prayfor Pope Francis. 
How Pope Francis Inspires My Ministry
by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Sent Out into a Messy World: the Mission of Pope Francis
by Father Larry Snyder, President, Catholic Charities USA


The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium): Apostolic Exhortation

Joy of the Gospel ad
Read the pope's teaching on the proclamation of the Gospel.
Published December 2013, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) has sold to date over 51,000 copies from the USCCB bookstore and shot to the number one position in the Amazon categories of Christian Leadership, Christian Faith, and Catholicism, where it also received over 50 five-star ratings, making it one of the most popular religious books available early this year on Amazon.
Quotes include "thought provoking," and "I am an evangelical protestant but it is my fervent hope that this 'exhortation' will be widely read across the community of Christ throughout the world."
In Pope Francis' scope for this exhortation, he says: "I am reaping the rich fruits of the Synod's labors."  The XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops gathered Oct. 7-28, 2012 to discuss the theme: The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith, Francis continues, "I intend to express my own concerns about this particular chapter of the Church's work of evangelization"  (EG, nos. 14 and 16).

The Simple Wisdom of Pope Francis 2-volume collection

Simple Wisdom Ad
Read the pope’s Wednesday catecheses from April 2013, starting with Palm Sunday 2013, to June 2013, right before World Youth Day in Brazil. Be transported to St. Peter’s Square and listen to Pope Francis teachings, his simple and profound insights for our modern world.

Pope Francis Releases his First Encyclical Letter

Pope Francis Cover Image of the Encyclical Lumen Fidei - The Light of Faith
Pope Francis' first encyclical, which he has said is largely the work of retired Pope Benedict XVI, was released  on July 5, 2013.
Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith). . . was presented at aJuly 5 Vatican news conference featuring Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation of Bishops; Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization,
An encyclical on faith was long expected as the last volume in Pope Benedict's trilogy on the three "theological virtues," following his encyclicals "Deus Caritas Est" (2005) on charity, and "Spe Salvi" (2007) on hope.
"It's an encyclical written with four hands, so to speak, because Pope Benedict began writing it and he gave it to me," Pope Francis said. "It's a strong document. I will say in it that I received it and most of the work was done by him and I completed it."
Read Lumen Fidei. . . |  Order copies from USCCB | News Release
To Order from CNS' Origins service, call 202-541-3291

St. Matilda
Feast: March 14

Feast Day:March 14
895 at Engern, Westphalia, Germany
Died:14 March 968 at Quedlinburg, Germany
Patron of:death of children, disappointing children, falsely accused people, large families, people ridiculed for their piety, queens, second marriages, widows
Queen of Germany, wife of King Henry I (The Fowler), born at the Villa of Engern in Westphalia, about 895; died at Quedlinburg, 14 March, 968. She was brought up at the monastery of Erfurt. Henry, whose marriage to a young widow, named Hathburg, had been declared invalid, asked for Matilda's hand, and married her in 909 at Walhausen, which he presented to her as a dowry. Matilda became the mother of: Otto I, Emperor of Germany; Henry, Duke of Bavaria; St. Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne; Gerberga, who married Louis IV of France; Hedwig, the mother of Hugh Capet. In 912 Matilda's husband succeeded his father as Duke of Saxony, and in 918 he was chosen to succeed King Conrad of Germany. As queen, Matilda was humble, pious, and generous, and was always ready to help the oppressed and unfortunate. She wielded a wholesome influence over the king. After a reign of seventeen years, he died in 936. He bequeathed to her all his possessions in Quedlinburg, Poehlden, Nordhausen, Grona, and Duderstadt.
It was the king's wish that his eldest son, Otto, should succeed him. Matilda wanted her favourite son Henry on the royal throne. On the plea that he was the first-born son after his father became king, she induced a few nobles to cast their vote for him, but Otto was elected and crowned king on 8 August, 936. Three years later Henry revolted against his brother Otto, but, being unable to wrest the royal crown from him, submitted, and upon the intercession of Matilda was made Duke of Bavaria. Soon, however, the two brothers joined in persecuting their mother, whom they accused of having impoverished the crown by her lavish almsgiving. To satisfy them, she renounced the possessions the deceased king had bequeathed to her, and retired to her villa at Engern in Westphalia. But afterwards, when misfortune overtook her sons, Matilda was called back to the palace, and both Otto and Henry implored her pardon.
Matilda built many churches, and founded or supported numerous monasteries. Her chief foundations were the monasteries at Quedlinburg, Nordhausen, Engern, and Poehlden. She spent many days at these monasteries and was especially fond of Nordhausen. She died at the convents of Sts. Servatius and Dionysius at Quedlinburg, and was buried there by the side of her husband. She was venerated as a saint immediately after her death. Her feast is celebrated on 14 March.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


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