Tuesday, April 1, 2014



Vatican City, 31 March 2014 (VIS) - Pope Francis' universal prayer intention for April is: "That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources".
His intention for evangelisation is: "That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness" .

POPE FRANCIS "Grace accomplishes everything.”

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Mass on Tuesday morning in the chapel of the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta guesthouse. In his remarks following the readings of the day, the Holy Father focused on the need for Christians to be really committed to discipleship, and prepared to take risks for the cause of the Gospel.

Concentrating on the passage proclaimed at the Gospel reading of the day, in which Jesus heals a paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda on a Sabbath day, Pope Francis addressed both the spiritual malaise of the sick man, whom he healed, and of the Pharisees, who began to persecute and plot against Him because he healed the man on the Sabbath:

“I think of many Christians, of many Catholics: yes, they are Catholics, but without enthusiasm, even embittered. 'Yes, life is what it is, but the Church – I go to Mass every Sunday, but better not get mixed up in things – I have faith for my health, I do not feel the need to give it to another...’. Each in his own house, the quiet life: but, you do something and then they criticize you: ‘No, leave it alone [It. è meglio così], don’t chance it.’ This is the disease of sloth, the acedia of Christians. This attitude that is crippling the apostolic zeal, which makes Christian people stand still and at ease, but not in the good sense of the word: they do not bother to go out to proclaim the Gospel! They are anesthetized.”

Anesthesia, Pope Francis went on to say, “is a negative experience.” It is that “not meddling” that becomes “spiritual sloth,” which, he said, is a very sad thing, indeed. “These Christians are sad,” said Pope Francis, “they are people without light – real downers [It. persone negative], and this is a disease of us Christians.” We go to Mass every Sunday, though we say, “Please do not disturb.” These Christians “without apostolic zeal,” he warned, “are not useful, they do not do the Church well. And how many Christians are like this?” he asked, “selfish, out for themselves.” This, he said, is “the sin of sloth, which is a sin against apostolic zeal, against the desire to give the news of Jesus to others, that newness, which was given to me for free.” The Holy Father went on to say that in the day’s Gospel passage, there is also another sin when we see that Jesus is criticized because he healed the sick on the Sabbath: the sin of formalism. “Christians,” he said, “who do not leave space for the grace of God – and the Christian life, the life of these people, consists in having all the paperwork, all the certificates, in order.”:

“Christian hypocrites, like these, only interested in their formalities. It was a Sabbath? No, you cannot do miracles on the Sabbath, the grace of God cannot work on Sabbath days. They close the door to the grace of God. We have so many in the Church, we have many! It is another sin. The first, those who have the sin of sloth, are not able to go forward with their apostolic zeal, because they have decided to stand firm in themselves, in their sorrows, their resentments, in all of that. Such as these are not capable of bringing salvation because they close the door to salvation.” 
“Only the formalities” matter to them, he said. “It is not possible: this is the phrase they have most often to hand.” We meet these people, too, explained the Holy Father, “We ourselves have often been taken by this acedia, or have been many times like the Pharisees: hypocrites.” Pope Francis went on to explain that, because temptations to these sins will inevitably come, “We must learn to defend ourselves.” Faced with these temptations, before, "that field hospital there, which was a symbol of the Church,” in front of “a lot of hurting people,” Jesus approaches them and asks only one thing: “Do you want to be healed?” Then, “He gives the [paralytic man]. Grace accomplishes everything.” And then, when he meets the paralytic again, he tells him, “Sin no more.”:

“The two Christian words: do you want to be healed? Sin no more. First He heals [the paralytic], then [He says], ‘sin no more.’ – words spoken with tenderness, with love – and this is the Christian way, the way of apostolic zeal: to get close to many people who are injured and in this field hospital, often people whose wounds were inflicted by men and women of the Church. It is a word of a brother and of a sister: do you want to be healed? Then, when He goes on, ‘Ah, do not sin any more, it is not good for you.’ Much better: Jesus’ two words are more beautiful than the attitude of sloth or the attitude of hypocrisy.”

Text from Vatican Radio website 

POPE JOHN PAUL II Canonization Events announced by Vatican - Latest

(Vatican Radio) A youth gathering on April 22 at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran and a prayer vigil in all of Rome’s parishes on the eve of the highly anticipated canonizations Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. These are two of the major events leading up to the April 27 canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II.

At a press conference held at the Vatican Monday, the Holy See unveiled some of the events in view of the April 27 canonizations of these much loved Popes. The upcoming canonizations were described as “a true festival of faith” and a “festival of holiness”.

Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar for the Diocese of Rome, urged Christians to live this time in preparation in a more spiritually intense way.

Monsignor Giulio Dellavite, secretary general of the Curia of Bergamo, Pope John XXIII’s home diocese, said the Diocese of Bergamo has set up some charitable projects in Haiti, Albania and Bergamo to mark the canonization. As well, the 900 priests of the diocese have made donations to create a fund for unemployed persons.

Several media projects have also been set up for the event, namely a website -- – and a twitter account -- @2popesaints. A Facebook and YouTube account will be set up. And an app – Santo Subito – will also be up and running in the coming days.

Father Federico Lombardi told reporters that the Vatican does not know the number of faithful who will attend the canonization and repeated that tickets are not necessary for the event, which will be held in St. Peter’s Square.

However, about 1,000 clerics, including cardinals, bishops and priests will concelebrate. About 700 priests will distribute Communion in the square. He told reporters the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, may attend, though his presence will depend on how the retired pontiff is feeling in more than one month’s time from now.

On the Monday following the canonizations, a mass of thanksgiving will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Square. Cardinal Angelo Comastri will preside.

Text from Vatican Radio website 


St. Hugh of Grenoble
Feast: April 1

Feast Day:April 1
Born:1053 at Chateauneuf, Dauphiné, France
Died:1 April 1132
Canonized:1134 by Pope Innocent II
The first tincture of the mind is of the utmost importance to virtue; and it was the happiness of this saint to receive from his cradle the strongest impressions of piety by the example and care of his illustrious and holy parents. He was born at Chateau-neuf, in the territory of Valence, in Dauphine, in 1053. His father, Odilo, served his country in an honourable post in the army, in which he acquitted himself of his duty to his prince with so much the greater fidelity and velour, as he most ardently endeavoured to sanctify his profession, and all his actions, by a motive of religion. Being sensible that all authority which men receive over others is derived from God, with an obligation that they employ it, in the first place, for the advancement of the divine honour, he laboured, by all the means in his power, to make his soldiers faithful servants of their Creator, and by severe punishments to restrain vices, those especially of impurity and lying. By the advice of his son, St. Hugh, he afterwards became a Carthusian monk, when he was upwards of fourscore years old, and lived eighteen years in great humility and austerity  under St. Bruno and his successors, in the Great Chartreuse, where he died one hundred years old, having received extreme unction and the viaticum from the hands of his son. Our saint likewise assisted in her last moments his mother, who had for many years, under his direction, served God in her own house, by prayer, fasting, and plenteous alms-deeds. Hugh, from the cradle, appeared to be a child of benediction. He went through his studies with great applause, and his progress in piety always kept pace with his advancement in learning. Having chosen to serve God in an ecclesiastical state, that he might always dwell in his house and be occupied in his praises, he accepted a canonry in the cathedral of Valence. In this station, the sanctity of his life and his extraordinary talents rendered him the ornament of that church; and the gentleness and affability of his deportment won him the affection of all his colleagues. He was tall and very comely, but naturally exceeding bashful; and such was his modesty that for some time he found means to conceal his learning and eloquence; nevertheless, his humility served only to show afterwards those talents to more advantage and with greater lustre. For no virtue shines brighter with learning than modesty, as nothing renders scholars more odious or despicable than haughtiness and pride, which they discover by their obstinacy and clamours, by the contempt with which they treat those who dissent from them in opinion, and by their ostentatious pedantry in embracing every occasion of exhibiting their supposed superior wit and extraordinary parts.
Hugh, then Bishop of Die, but soon after Archbishop of Lyons, and also cardinal legate of the holy see, was so charmed at first sight of the saint when he happened to come to Valence that he would not be contented till he had taken the good man into his household. He employed him in extirpating simony, and in many other affairs of importance. In 1080, the Legate Hugh held a synod at Avignon, in which he took under consideration the desolate condition and the grievous disorders into which the church of Grenoble was sunk through the sloth and bad example of its late mercenary pastor. The eyes of the legate and of the whole council were fixed on St. Hugh as the person best qualified, by his virtue and prudence, to reform these abuses and restore the ancient glory of that church; and with them the voice of the whole city conspired. But his reluctance and fears were not to be overcome till he was compelled by the repeated commands of the legate and council. The legate took our newly appointed bishop with him to Rome, in order to his receiving the  episcopal consecration from the hands of Gregory VII, who then sat in the chair of St. Peter. The servant of God was glad of this opportunity of consulting the vicar of Christ concerning his own conscience; for during a great part of his life he had been extremely molested with troublesome temptations of importunate blasphemous thoughts against the divine providence. Pope Gregory, who was a man very well versed in the interior trial of souls, assured him that this angel of Satan was permitted by God, in his sweet mercy, to buffet him only for his trial and crown: which words exceedingly comforted the saint, and encouraged him to bear his cross with patience and joy. A devout soul. under this trial, which finds these suggestions always painful and disagreeable, ought not to lose courage; for by patience and perseverance she exceedingly multiplies her crowns, and glorifies God, who has laid it upon her shoulders, and who will, when he sees fit, scatter these mists, and on a sudden translate her from this state of bitterness and darkness into the region of light, Joy, and the sweetest peace. St. Hugh prayed earnestly to be freed from this enemy, but received for a long time the same answer with St. Paul.1 In the mean while, his patience and constancy were his victory and his crown: and assiduous meditation on the sufferings of our divine Redeemer, who was made for us a man of sorrows, was his comfort and support.
The pious Countess Maud would needs be at the whole charge of the ceremony of his consecration: she also gave him a crosier and other episcopal ornaments, with a small library of suitable books, earnestly desiring to be instructed by his good counsels and assisted by his prayers. St. Hugh, after his ordination, hastened to his flock; but being arrived at Grenoble, could not refrain his tears, and was exceedingly afflicted and terrified when he saw the diocese overrun with tares which the enemy had sown while the pastor slept. He found the people in general immersed in a profound ignorance of several essential duties of religion, and plunged in vice and immorality. Some sins seemed by custom to have lost their name, and men committed them without any scruple or sign of remorse. The negligence and backwardness of many in frequenting the sacraments indicated a total decay of piety, and could not fail introducing many spiritual disorders in their souls, especially a great lukewarmness in prayer and other religious duties. Simony and usury seemed, under specious disguises, to be accounted innocent, and to reign almost without control. Many lands belonging to the church were usurped by laymen; and the revenues of the bishopric were dissipated, so that the saint, upon his arrival, found nothing either to enable him to assist the poor, or to supply his own necessities, unless he would have had recourse to unlawful contracts, as had been the common practice of many others, but which he justly deemed iniquitous; nor would he by any means defile his soul with them. He set himself in earnest to reprove vice and reform abuses. To this purpose he endeavoured by rigorous fasts, watchings, tears, sighs, and prayer to draw down the divine mercy on his flock; and so plentiful was the benediction of heaven upon his labours that he had the comfort to see the face of his diocese in a short time exceedingly changed. After two years, imitating therein the humility of some other saints, he privately resigned his bishopric, presuming on the tacit consent of the holy see; and, putting on the habit of St. Bennet, he entered upon a noviciate in the austere abbey of Chaise-Dieu, or Casa-Dei, in Auvergne, of the reformation of Cluni. There he lived a year a perfect model of all virtues to that house of saints, till Pope Gregory VII commanded him, in virtue of holy obedience, to resume his pastoral charge. Coming out of his solitude, like another Moses descending from the conversation of God on the mountain, he announced the divine law with greater zeal and success than ever. The author of his life assures us that he was an excellent and assiduous preacher.
St. Bruno and his six companions addressed themselves to him for his advice in their pious design of forsaking the world, and he appointed them a desert which was in his diocese, whither he conducted them in 1084. It is a frightful solitude, called the Chartreuse, or Carthusian Mountains, in Dauphine, which place gave name to the famous order St. Bruno founded there. The meek and pious behaviour of these servants of God took deep root in the heart of our holy pastor; and it was his delight frequently to visit them in their solitude, to join them in their exercises and austerities, and perform the meanest offices amongst them, as an outcast and one unworthy to bear them company. Sometimes the charms of contemplation detained him so long in this hermitage that St. Bruno was obliged to order him to go to his flock, and acquit himself of the duties which he owed them. He being determined to sell his horses for the benefit of the poor, thinking himself able to perform the visitation of his diocese on foot, St. Bruno, to whose advice he paid an implicit deference, opposed his design, urging that he had not strength for such an undertaking. For the last forty years of his life he was afflicted with almost continual headaches, and pains in the stomach; he also suffered the most severe interior temptations. Yet God did not leave him entirely destitute of comfort; but frequently visited his soul with heavenly sweetness and sensible spiritual consolations, which filled his heart under his afflictions with interior joy. The remembrance of the divine love, or of his own and others' spiritual miseries, frequently produced a flood of tears from his eyes, which way soever he turned them; nor was he able sometimes to check them in company or at table, especially whilst he heard the holy scriptures read. In hearing confessions, he frequently mingled his tears with those of his penitents, or first excited theirs by his own. At his sermons it was not unusual to see the whole audience melt into tears together; and some were so strongly affected that they confessed their sins publicly on the spot. After sermons, he was detained very long in hearing confession. He often cast himself at the feet of others, to entreat them to pardon injuries, or to make some necessary satisfaction to their neighbours. His love of heavenly things made all temporal affairs seem to him burdensome and tedious. Women he would never look in the face, so that ho knew not the public news or reports, for fear of detraction, or at least of dissipation. His constant pensioners and occasional alms (in the latter of which he was extremely bountiful) were very expensive to him: insomuch, that though, in order to relieve the poor, he had long denied himself every thing that seemed to have the least appearance of superfluity, still, for the extending his beneficent inclination, he even sold, in the time of famine, a gold chalice, and part of his episcopal ornaments, as gold rings and precious stones. And the happy consequence of St. Hugh's example this way was, that the rich were moved by it to bestow of their treasures to the necessitous, whereby the wants of all the poor of his diocese were supplied.
He earnestly solicited Pope Innocent II for leave to resign his bishopric, that he might die in solitude; but was never able to obtain his request. God was pleased to purify his soul by a lingering illness before he called him to himself. Some time before his death he lost his memory for everything but his prayers; the psalter and the Lord's prayer he recited with great devotion, almost without intermission; and he was said to have repeated the last three hundred times in one night. Being told that so constant an attention would increase his distemper, he said, "It is quite otherwise; by prayer I always find myself stronger." In the time of sickness, a certain forwardness and peevishness of disposition is what the best of us are too apt to give way to, through weakness of nature and a temptation of the enemy, who seeks to deprive a dying person of the most favorable advantages of penance and patience, and to feed and strengthen self-love in the soul while upon the very cross itself; and in the crucible in. which she is thrown by a singular mercy, in order to her coming forth refined and pure. In this fiery trial, the virtue of the saints shows itself genuine, and endued with a fortitude which renders it worthy its crown. By the same test is pretended virtue discovered: self-love can no longer disguise itself: it cries out, murmurs, frets, and repines: the mask which the hypocrite wore is here pulled off: saints, on the contrary, under every degree of torture cruelty can invent, preserve a happy patience and serenity of soul. Hence the devil would not allow the virtue of Job to be sincere before it had been approved under sickness and bodily pain.2 St. Hugh left us by his invincible patience a proof of the fervour of kits charity. Under the sharpest pains, he never let fall one word of complaint nor mentioned what he suffered; his whole concern seemed only to be for others. When any assisted him, he expressed the greatest confusion and thankfulness: if he had given the least trouble to anyone, he would beg to receive the discipline, and because no one would give it to him, would confess his fault, as he called it, and implore the divine mercy with tears. The like sentiments we read in the relation of the deaths of many of the holy monks of La Trappe. Dom. Bennet, under the most racking pains, when turned in his bed, said, "You lay me too much at my ease." Dom. Charles would not cool his mouth with a little water in the raging heat of a violent fever. Such examples teach us at least to blush at and condemn our murmurs and impatience under sickness. The humility of St. Hugh was the more surprising, because everyone approached him with the greatest reverence and affection, and thought it a happiness if they were allowed in any thing to serve him. It was his constant prayer, in which he begged his dear Carthusians and all others to join him, that God would extinguish in his heart all attachment to creatures, that his pure love might reign in all his affections. One said to him, "Why do you weep so bitterly, who never offended God by any wilful crime?" He replied, "Vanity and inordinate affections suffice to damn a soul. It is only through the divine mercy that we can hope to be saved, and shall we ever cease to implore it?" If anyone spoke of news in his presence, he checked them, saying, "This life is all given us for weeping and penance, not for idle discourses." He closed his penitential course on the 1st of April, in 1132, wanting only two months of being eighty years old, of which he had been fifty-two years bishop. Miracles attested the sanctity of his happy death; and he was canonized by Innocent II in 1134.
There is no saint who was not a lover of retirement and penance. Shall we not learn from them to shun the tumult of the world, as much as our circumstances will allow, and give ourselves up to the exercises of holy solitude, prayer, and pious reading. Holy solitude is the school of heavenly doctrine, where fervent souls study a divine science, which is learned by experience, not by the discourses of others. Here they learn to know God and themselves; they disengage their affections from the world, and burn and reduce to ashes all that can fasten their hearts to it. Here they give earthly things for those of heaven, and goods of small value for those of inestimable price. In blessed solitude, a man repairs in his soul the image of his Creator, which was effaced by sin, and, by the victory which he gains over his passions, is in some degree freed from the corruption of his nature, and restored in some measure to the state of its integrity and innocence by the ruin of vice, and the establishment of all virtues in his affections; so that, by a wonderful change wrought in his soul, he becomes a new creature, and a terrestrial angel. His sweet repose and his employments are also angelical, being of the same nature with those of the blessed in heaven By the earnest occupation of the powers of his soul on God and in God, or in doing his will, he is continually employed in a manner infinitely more excellent and more noble than he could be in governing all the empires of the world; and in a manner which is far preferable to all the vain occupations of the greatest men of the world during the whole course of their lives. Moreover, in the interior exercises, of this state, a soul receives certain antepasts of eternal felicity, by which she intimately feels how sweet God is, and learns to have no relish for anything but for him alone. "Oh, my friends," cried out a certain pious contemplative, "I take leave of you with these words, and this feeling invitation of the Psalmist: ''" But these, and other privileges and precious advantages, only belong to the true solitary, who joins interior to exterior solitude, is never warped by sloth or remissness, gives no moments to idleness, uses continual violence to himself in order perfectly to subdue his passions, watches constantly over his senses, is penetrated to the heart with the wholesome sadness of penance, has death always before his eyes, is always taken up in the exercises of compunction, the divine praises, love, adoration, and thanksgiving, and is raised above the earth and all created things by the ardor of his desires of being united to God the sovereign good.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Remembering Terri Schiavo - 9 years ago - RIP

Terri Schiavo died Thursday, March 31, 2005 around 10 a.m. EST. This was due to a court order to withhold  food and water. Schiavo died heading into her 14th day without nourishment. Wednesday night's decision came hours after a federal appeals court declined to hold another hearing on the issue. Her parents fought for her life but were turned down by the courts. Her family now helps those with similar issues...

POPE FRANCIS “Think of the vast reality of unemployment, with all of the negative...

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday met with members of the 27th General Chapter of the Salesians of Don Bosco. The theme of the chapter is “Witnesses to the Radical Approach of the Gospel.”

In his address, the Holy Father said the Holy Spirit would assist the religious institute to understand the expectations and challenges of our time, especially those of the young people whose formation is the basis of the congregation’s main apostolate.

Pope Francis told the Salesians the evangelization of young people is closely connected with education, and he encouraged them in their efforts to respond to the current educational crisis, while always remembering the “Preventive System” of St. John Bosco, which is based on kindness and friendship with pupils.

He also spoke of the life of exclusion many young people face.

“Think of the vast reality of unemployment, with all of the negative consequences,” said Pope Francis. “Think of the addictions, which sadly are manifold, but stem from a common root of an absence of true love. Reaching marginalized youth requires courage, maturity and much prayer.”

He urged the Salesians to use “careful discernment” when sending people to the peripheries inhabited by these excluded youth.

The Holy Father also encouraged the community life of the Salesians, which he said supports their entire apostolate.

“The humanizing power of the Gospel is demonstrated by the fraternity lived in community, comprised of welcome, respect, mutual help , understanding , kindness , forgiveness and joy,” said the Pope. “The familial spirit bequeathed by Don Bosco is a great help in this respect, encouraging perseverance and building an attraction to the consecrated life.”

During their General Chapter, the Salesians elected Don Angel Fernandez Artime as the 10th Rector Major, commonly referred to as the successor of Saint John Bosco.

Text from Vatican Radio website 

RIP BISHOP MICHAEL PUTNEY of Australia - Age 67 - "Ecumenical Giant"

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
28 Mar 2014
Bishop Putney at WYD2005
With great sadness the diocese of Townsville announced Bishop Michael Putney AM DD died peacefully in the early hours of Friday 28 March, aged 67 years old.
Hailed as "an ecumenical giant" Bishop Putney's work in Christian dialogue and ecumenical relations will be felt in Australia and internationally for many years to come. As tributes started pouring in on social media via the Diocese of Townsville's Facebook page, the National Council of Churches in Australia, for which Bishop Putney served as chairman posted:
"Bishop Michael was an ecumenical giant who contributed so much to his own church, the Australian churches and the wider ecumenical family. He inspired us to imagine what a healthy reconciled Church could be. May he rest in God's peace."
Sister Giovanni Farquer, Director of the Archdiocese of Sydney's Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious Relations, recognised the faith and commitment of Bishop Putney so evident in his ministry.
"He was a true ecumenist and an amazing chair of our committee" she said.
"He made us all feel that our work was making a significant contribution. Prayer was at the centre of every meeting he chaired and he was a man of great faith.  He provided great leadership and vision reaching out to people of all faiths, not just Catholics."
A native of Queensland, Michael Putney was born in Gladstone in 1946 and educated in Townsville and Brisbane. After seminary studies in Pius XII Seminary in Banyo, he was ordained a priest in 1969. He was ordained a bishop on 27 July 1995 and was announced as the 5th Bishop of Townsville in January 2001 and installed in March that year.
Most Rev. Michael Putney, Bishop of Tonwsville
Bishop Putney was diagnosed with terminal cancer in December 2012. Prior to his diagnosis he was a member of the Permanent Committee of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Chair of Bishops' Commission for Mission and Faith Formation; Catholic Co-Chairman of International Methodist / Roman Catholic Dialogue; Member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Chairman of the National Council of Churches.  In 2013 Bishop Putney was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
According to the Vicar General of Townsville Diocese, Fr Michael Lowcock, Bishop Putney was admitted to the Mater Hospital on Friday 21 March for a procedure relating to cancers in his stomach, he remained in hospital until he passed away peacefully in the early hours of the morning.
Bishop Putney's health had deteriorated in recent weeks but defying doctor's orders to slow down he still kept many appointments including welcoming the Apostolic Nuncio in Australia, Archbishop Paul Gallagher to his annual dinner with 170 guests and also publishing his book entitled "My Ecumenical Journey" which was launched by Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane Phillip Aspinall.
Bishop Putney was grateful for the many prayers received during the past 15 months and believed it was these prayers which enabled him to continue his work until the very end.
Just last week in an interview with a local Townsville publication, an ailing Bishop Putney said he was at peace knowing his life was in the hands of God.
"I am very accepting of what happens to me and I am not in any way afraid.
"People's prayers are like the air I breathe and I am being carried along by the grace of God, so I have nothing to worry about'' he said.
As an auxiliary bishop of Brisbane and Vicar for Youth, Bishop Putney was a great supporter of young people says Malcolm Hart, Senior Youth Ministry Projects Officer for the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life.
"He revitalised the Church and particularly youth ministry through local initiatives, support and ongoing involvement in World Youth Days. Bishop Michael Putney will be sorely missed by his diocese and the Church in Australia."
Malcolm also acknowledges the contribution Bishop Putney made to evangelisation. "He was central to the Hearts on Fire conference in 1999, one of Australia's first national conferences on evangelisation" he says.  "He explored evangelisation in an Australian context like no one before."
Bishop Putney visiting a local Townsville school
Shayne Bennett, Moderator of the Emmanuel Community is grateful for the long association their lay community has had with Bishop Putney. In the early days of the Community's establishment a young Fr Michael Putney was appointed by the then Archbishop of Brisbane, Francis Rush as his liaison priest to the fledgling community. Years later, Shayne and Bishop Michael remained friends.
"Bishop Michael was a scholar, a wise mentor, a man who was passionate in his love for Jesus Christ and His Church" says Shayne Bennett.
"I saw the love he had for his Diocese blossom into something very beautiful. He loved Townsville and was joyful in laying down his life for the people whom God had entrusted to his care. He lived this commitment of love to the very end. May he rest in peace."                       
Throughout the day, the Facebook messages have continued to flood in. One member of the diocese wrote, "Bishop Michael was an inspiration to many and no one can deny what a truly beautiful person he was. He will be missed, and remembered by all those he touched. RIP"

Funeral arrangements are currently being finalised by the diocese and many parishes in the Townsville diocese will be holding special masses this week.

POPE FRANCIS the Lord always gives us grace to turn back - Mass Homily

(Vatican Radio) Where are you on your spiritual journey? Are you wandering aimlessly like a tourist? Have you stopped or lost your way? Or are you heading straight for your destination? Those questions were at the heart of Pope Francis’ reflections during his homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on Monday morning.
Reflecting on the day’s readings from Isaiah and St John’s Gospel Pope Francis distinguished between three different types of Christians and how they live their spiritual lives. Before God asks anything of us, the Pope said, He always promises us a new life of joy, so the essence of our Christian life is always to journey in hope and trust towards those promises.

But there are many Christians whose hope is weak and while they believe and follow the commandments, they have come to a standstill in their spiritual lives. Pope Francis said God cannot use them as a leaven among his people because they have stopped and they’re no longer moving forward.

Secondly, he said there are those among us who have taken the wrong turning and lost our way. Of course, the Pope continued, we all sometimes take the wrong road, but the real problem arises if we don’t turn back when we realize that we’ve made a mistake.

The model of a true believer who follows the promises of faith, Pope Francis said, is the royal official from today’s Gospel reading, who asks Jesus to heal his son and does not doubt for a second when the Master tells him the child has been cured. But unlike that man, the Pope said, there are many Christians who deceive themselves and wander aimlessly without moving forward.

These people, Pope Francis said are perhaps the most dangerous group because they wander through life like existential tourists without a goal and without taking God’s promises seriously. But the Lord asks us not to stop, not to lose our way and not to wander through life. He asks us to journey on towards his promises like the official who believed what Jesus told him.

Despite our human condition as sinners who take the wrong turning, the Pope concluded, the Lord always gives us grace to turn back. Lent, he said, is a good time to consider whether we are journeying forward or whether we have come to a standstill. If we have chosen the wrong road, we should go to Confession and return to the right way. If we are a theological tourist wandering aimlessly through life, we must ask the Lord for grace to head off again on the journey towards the promises of our faith.

Text from  Vatican Radio website 

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