Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Catholic News World : Tuesday June 3, 2014


Today's Mass Readings Online : Tuesday June 3, 2014

Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 298

Reading 1ACTS 20:17-27
From Miletus Paul had the presbyters
of the Church at Ephesus summoned.
When they came to him, he addressed them,
“You know how I lived among you
the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia.
I served the Lord with all humility
and with the tears and trials that came to me
because of the plots of the Jews,
and I did not at all shrink from telling you
what was for your benefit,
or from teaching you in public or in your homes.
I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks
to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus.
But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.
What will happen to me there I do not know,
except that in one city after another
the Holy Spirit has been warning me
that imprisonment and hardships await me.
Yet I consider life of no importance to me,
if only I may finish my course
and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus,
to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.

“But now I know that none of you
to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels
will ever see my face again.
And so I solemnly declare to you this day
that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you,
for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 68:10-11, 20-21

R. (33a) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.
A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance;
you restored the land when it languished;
Your flock settled in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.
Blessed day by day be the Lord,
who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation.
God is a saving God for us;
the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel JN 17:1-11A

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

Pope Francis "'Jesus , pray for me. Show the Father your wounds that are mine too ..."

Pope Francis preaches at Tuesday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta

(Vatican Radio) Despite our many sins, Jesus always intercedes for us before the Father.  He shows Him his wounds, through which we are saved.  The daily readings at Mass at Casa Santa Marta Tuesday morning gave Pope Francis the opportunity to dwell on the power of intercessory prayer. The readings spoke of Jesus taking leave of his disciples and St. Paul taking leave of the Christian community to return to Jerusalem. Emer McCarthy reports:
The people are saddened by St. Paul’s departure from Miletus as were the disciples when Jesus took his leave of them before "going to Gethsemane and beginning His Passion". The Pope noted that the Lord consoles them and "there is a small sentence of dismissal …that makes one think". Jesus "speaks to the Father, in this discourse, and says, 'I pray for them'. Jesus prays for us. "As he had prayed for Peter and for Lazarus before the tomb. Jesus tells us: "You are all of the Father. And I pray for you before the Father. "Jesus does not pray for the world, "he prays for us" he "prays for the Church".
"The apostle John, thinking about these things and speaking of us, who are great sinners, says, 'Do not sin, but if any of you do sin, know that we have an advocate before the Father, one who prays for us, defends us in front Father, justifies us'. I believe we should really think about this truth, about this reality: Jesus is praying for me right now. I can go on in life because I have an advocate who defends me and if I am guilty and I have so many sins ... he is a good defense attorney and will speak of me to the Father".
"He is the first" advocate and then sends the Paraclete. The Pope added that when we encounter problems or needs in the parish, at home, in the family, we must ask Jesus to pray for us. The Pope then asked: “How does Jesus pray? I don’t believe he talks too much with the Father.
"He doesn’t talk: He loves. But there is one thing that Jesus does , today , I'm certain he does this.  He shows his wounds to the Father and Jesus, with his wounds, prays for us as if to say to the Father: ' But, Father, this is the price of these! Help them, protect them. They are your children whom I have saved with these'.
Otherwise, why after the Resurrection did Jesus not have this glorious body, beautiful - with no bruises, no wounds from the scourging, everything nice? - but there were wounds. The Five Wounds . Why did Jesus want to bring them to heaven? Why ? To pray for us. To show the price [he paid] to the Father: 'This is the price, now do not abandon them. Help them'".
"We must have this faith - Pope Francis said – that right now Jesus intercedes before the Father for us, for all of us". And when we pray we must not forget to ask Jesus to pray for us :
"'Jesus , pray for me. Show the Father your wounds that are mine too , they are the wounds of my sin. They are the wounds of my problem at this moment in time'. Jesus the intercessor only has to show the Father his wounds. And this is happening today , at this very moment. Look at the words that Jesus said to Peter, 'Peter, I will pray for you that your faith may not fail'".
"We are confident that he is doing this for everyone". “We must have faith , concluded the Pope, "in this prayer of Jesus with his wounds before the Father ."
Shared From Radio Vaticana

Novena to the Holy Spirit for Pentecost SHARE this Prayer


On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. / I adore the brightness of Your purity the unerring keenness of Your justice and the might of Your love. You are the Strength / and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart! To be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light: and listen to Your voice and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You / by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds / and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart / I implore You / Adorable Spirit I Helper of my infirmity, so to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere / "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.


O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul / the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth / the Spirit on Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude, that I may bear my cross with You I and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God find know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable / the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples / and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.


Light immortal! Light Divine! Visit Thou these hearts of Thine, And our inmost being fill!
The Gift of Knowledge
The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth--in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. "Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it."
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen
(Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father 7 TIMES. Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)

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Saint June 3 : Sts. Charles Lwanga, Joseph Mkasa, Martyrs of Uganda : Patrons of African Catholic Youth

Sts. Charles Lwanga, Joseph Mkasa, Martyrs of Uganda
Feast: June 3

Feast Day:June 3
Born:Buganda, Uganda
Died:June 3, 1886, Namugongo, Uganda
Canonized:October 18, 1964 by Pope Paul VI
Major Shrine:Basilica Church of the Uganda Martyrs, Namugongo
Patron of:African Catholic Youth Action, converts, torture victims
In the interior of central Africa the first Catholic missions were established by Cardinal Lavigerie's White Fathers in 1879. In Uganda some progress was made under the not unfriendly local ruler, Mtesa; but his successor, Mwanga, determined to root out Christianity among his people, especially after a Catholic subject, St. Joseph Mkasa, reproached him for his debauchery and for his massacre of the Protestant missionary James Hannington and his caravan. Mwanga was addicted to unnatural vice and his anger against Christianity, already kindled by ambitious officers who played on his fears, was kept alight by the refusal of Christian boys in his service to minister to his wickedness.

Joseph Mkasa himself was the first victim: Mwanga. seized on a trifling pretext and on November 15, 1885, had him beheaded. To the chieftain's astonishment the Christians were not cowed by this sudden outrage, and in May of the following year the storm burst. When he called for a young 'page' called Mwafu, Mwanga learned that he had been receiving religious instruction from another page, St. Denis Sebuggwawo; Denis was sent for, and the king thrust a spear through his throat. That night guards were posted round the royal residence to prevent anyone from escaping.

St. Charles Lwanga, who had succeeded Joseph Mkasa in charge of the 'pages', secretly baptized four of them who were catechumens; among them St Kizito, a boy of thirteen whom Lwanga had repeatedly saved from the designs of the king. Next morning the pages were all drawn up before Mwanga, and Christians were ordered to separate themselves from the rest: led by Lwanga and Kizito, the oldest and youngest, they did so—fifteen young men, all under twenty-five years of age. They were joined by two others already under arrest and by two soldiers. Mwanga asked them if they intended to remain Christians. "Till death!" came the response. "Then put them to death!"

The appointed place of execution, Namugongo, was thirty-seven miles away, and the convoy set out at once. Three of the youths were killed on the road; the others underwent a cruel imprisonment of seven days at Namugongo while a huge pyre was prepared. Then on Ascension day, June 3, 1886, they were brought out, stripped of their clothing, bound, and each wrapped in a mat of reed: the living faggots were laid on the pyre (one boy, St Mbaga, was first killed by a blow on the neck by order of his father who was the chief executioner), and it was set alight. The persecution spread and Protestants as well as Catholics gave their lives rather than deny Christ. A leader among the confessors was St Matthias Murumba, who was put to death with revolting cruelty; he was a middle-aged man, assistant judge to the provincial chief, who first heard of Jesus Christ from Protestant missionaries and later was baptized by Father Livinhac, W.F. Another older victim, who was beheaded, was St Andrew Kagwa, chief of Kigowa, who had been the instrument of his wife's conversion and had gathered a large body of catechumens round him. This Andrew together with Charles Lwanga and Matthias Murumba and nineteen others (seventeen of the total being young royal servants) were solemnly beatified in 1920. They were canonized in 1964.

When the White Fathers were expelled from the country, the new Christians carried on their work, translating and printing the catechism into their nativel language and giving secret instruction on the faith. Without priests, liturgy, and sacraments their faith, intelligence, courage, and wisdom kept the Catholic Church alive and growing in Uganda. When the White Fathers returned after King Mwanga's death, they found five hundred Christians and one thousand catchumens waiting for them. (Image Source: )


Saint June 3 : St. Clotilde : Patron of Brides, Adopted Children and Widows

St. Clotilde
Feast: June 3

Feast Day:June 3
Born:475, Lyon, France
Died:545, Tours, France
Patron of:brides, adopted children, parents, exiles, widows
Was daughter of Chilperic, younger brother to Gondebald, the tyrannical king of Burgundy, who put him, his wife, and the rest of his brothers, except one, to death, in order to usurp their dominions. In this massacre he spared Chilperic's  two fair daughters, then in their infancy. One of them became afterwards a nun; the other, named Clotildis, was brought up in her uncle's court, and by a singular providence, was instructed in the Catholic religion, though she was educated in the midst of Arians. It was her happiness in the true faith, to be inspired from the cradle with a contempt and disgust of a treacherous world, which sentiments she cherished and improved by the most fervent exercises of religion. Though she saw herself surrounded with all the charms of the world, and was from her infancy its idol, yet her heart was proof against its seductions. She was adorned with the assemblage of all virtues; and the reputation of her wit, beauty, meekness, modesty, and piety, made her the adoration of all the neighboring kingdoms, when Clovis I., surnamed the great, the victorious king of the Franks, demanded and obtained her of her uncle in marriage granting her all the conditions she could desire for the free and secure exercise of her religion.1 The marriage was solemnized at Soissons, in 493. Clotildis made herself a little oratory in the royal palace, in which she spent much time in fervent prayer and secret mortifications. Her devotion was tempered with discretion, so that she attended all her business at court, was watchful over her maids, and did every thing with a dignity, order, and piety, which edified and charmed the king and his whole court. Her charity to the poor seemed a sea which could never be drained. She honored her royal husband, studied to sweeten his warlike temper by Christian meekness, conformed herself to his humor in things that were indifferent; and, the better to gain his affections, made those things the subject of her discourse and praises in which  she saw him to take the greatest delight. When she saw herself mistress of his heart, she did not defer the great work of endeavoring to win him to God, and often spoke to him on the vanity of his idols, and on the excellency of the true religion. The king always heard her with pleasure; but the moment of his conversion was not yet come. It was first to cost her many tears, severe trials, and earnest perseverance. After the baptism of their second son, Clodomir, and the infant's recovery from a dangerous indisposition, she pressed the king more boldly to renounce his idols. One day especially, when he had given her great assurances of his affection, and augmented her dowry by a gift of several manors, she said she begged only one favor of his majesty, which was the liberty to discourse with him on the sanctity of her religion, and to put him in mind of his promise of forsaking the worship of idols. But the fear of giving offence to his people made him delay the execution. His miraculous victory over the Alemanni, and his entire conversion in 496, were at length the fruit of our saint's prayers.

Clotildis, having gained to God this great monarch, never ceased to excite him to glorious actions for the divine honor: among other religious foundations he built in Paris, at her request, about the year 511, the great church of SS. Peter and Paul, now called St. Genevieve's. This great prince had a singular devotion to St. Martin, and went sometimes to Tours, to prostrate himself in prayer at his tomb. He sent his royal diadem, which is called, to this day, The Realm, a present to pope Hormisdas, as a token that he dedicated his kingdom to God. His barbarous education and martial temper made it, in certain sallies of his passions, difficult for Clotildis to bridle his inclination to ambition and cruelty, so that he scarce left any princes of his own relations living, except his sons. He died on the 27th of November, in the year 511, of his age the forty-fifth, having reigned thirty years. He was buried in the church of the apostles, SS. Peter and Paul, now called St. Genevieve's, where his tomb still remains. An ancient long epitaph, which was inscribed on it, is preserved by Aimoinus, and copied by Rivet. His eldest son Theodoric, whom he had by a concubine before his marriage, reigned at Rheims over Austrasia, or the eastern parts of France, which comprised the present Champagne, Lorraine, Auvergne, and several provinces of Germany. Metz was afterwards the capital of this country. As to the three sons of Clotildis, Clodomir reigned at Orleans, Childebert at Paris, and Clotaire I., at Soissons. This division produced wars and mutual jealousies, till, in 560, the whole monarchy was reunited under Clotaire, the youngest of these brothers. St. Clotildis lived to see Clodomir defeat and put to death Sigismund, king of Burgundy; but soon after, in 524, himself vanquished and slain by Gondemar, successor to Sigismund; Gondemar overcome and killed by Childebert and Clotaire, and the kingdom of Burgundy united to France. The most sensible affliction of this pious queen was the murder of the two eldest sons of Clodomir, committed in 526, by their uncles Childebert and Clotaire, who seized on the kingdom of Orleans. This tragical disaster contributed more perfectly to wean her heart from the world. She spent the remaining part of her life at Tours, near the tomb of St. Martin, in exercises of prayer, almsdeeds, watching, fasting, and penance, seeming totally to forget that she had been queen, or that her sons sat on the throne. Eternity filled her heart, and employed all her thoughts. She foretold her death thirty days before it happened; having been admonished of it by God at the tomb of St. Martin, the usual place of her tears. In her last illness, she sent for her sons Childebert, king of Paris, and Clotaire, king of Soissons, and exhorted them, in the most pathetic manner, to honor God and keep his commandments; to protect the poor, reign as fathers to their people, live in union together, and love and study always to maintain tranquillity and peace. She scarce ever ceased repeating the psalms with the most tender devotion, and ordered all she had left to be distributed among she poor; though this was very little; for she had always been careful to send her riches before her by their hands. On the thirtieth day of her illness she received the sacraments, made a public confession of her faith, and departed to the Lord on the 3d of June, in 545. She was buried, by her own order, in the church of St. Genevieve, at the feet of that holy shepherdess, and is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on the 3d of June. See St. Gregory of Tours, Hist. Franc., and Fortunatus; and among the moderns, Abbe Du Bos and Gilb. le Gendre, Antiquites de la Nation et Monarchie Francoise, & c. (Image Source: )


Monday, June 2, 2014

Pope Francis “fearlessly proclaim the Gospel of hope, bringing the Lord’s message into the brokenness of our time, tirelessly preaching forgiveness and the mercy of God.”

Vatican Radio Release: Pope Francis on Monday met with Bishops from Zimbabwe who are in Rome for their ad limina visit.
“We can give praise to God for the authentic witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus given by the Church in Zimbabwe, which flourished early in the Christian history of Southern Africa,” Pope Francis said, recalling the history of the Church in Zimbabwe.
Speaking of the difficulties the country has faced in recent years, the Holy Father said, “The Church in your country has stood fast with her people both before and after independence, now also in the years of overwhelming suffering as millions have left the country in frustration and desperation, as many lives have been lost, so many tears shed.” He pointed in particular to the Bishops’ 2007 Pastoral Letter God Hears the Cry of the Oppressed. “There you showed how the crisis is both spiritual and moral, stretching from colonial times through the present moment, and how the “structures of sin” embedded in the social order are ultimately rooted in personal sin, requiring of all a profound personal conversion and a renewed moral sense enlightened by the Gospel.”
Noting that Christians find themselves on all sides in the conflict in Zimbabwe, Pope Francis urged the Bishops “to guide everyone with great tenderness towards unity and healing.” In trying times, when “many people have reached their human limit, and do not know where to turn,” the Pope encouraged the faithful “never to lose sight of the ways in which God is hearing their supplications and answering their prayers.”
Concluding his address, the Pope called on the Bishops to “fearlessly proclaim the Gospel of hope, bringing the Lord’s message into the brokenness of our time, tirelessly preaching forgiveness and the mercy of God.” He encouraged them to work to foster unity with their priests, and to continue to seek vocations.
He also called on the bishops to promote the formation of the faithful, saying the Church needs “zealous, well-formed catechists,” so that the Church can live what she believes. The Holy Father also spoke about the need to encourage and support religious brothers and sisters, and spoke about the importance of preparing young Catholics for Christian marriage.
“Dear Brother Bishops,” Pope Francis concluded, “in these days when you and the whole Church in Zimbabwe are renewed in the Easter joy of the risen Lord, I pray that you will return home strengthened in fraternal communion.  May you leave from this meeting with the Successor of Peter more determined to give everything in the service of the Word, so that Catholics in Zimbabwe may become ever more the salt of the African earth and light of the world.”
Below please find the complete text of Pope Francis' address to the Bishops of Zimbabwe, on the occasion of their ad limina visit: 
Dear Brother Bishops,
“Peace be with you” (Jn 20:19)!  I welcome you on your pilgrimage ad Limina Apostolorum to the resting places of the Apostles for whose intercession we are here to pray, as you seek unity and strength inspired by their lives given in service of Christ and his Church.  I thank Bishop Bhasera for his kind words of greeting on behalf of the Bishops and all Catholics of Zimbabwe; may these days of prayer and solidarity between their pastors and the Successor of Peter be a fruitful time of spiritual renewal.
We can give praise to God for the authentic witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus given by the Church in Zimbabwe, which flourished early in the Christian history of Southern Africa.  Your predecessors in the episcopate, joined with their priests, religious and lay coworkers – many of them missionaries from faraway countries – spent their lives so that the faith might take root and flourish in your land.  Across Zimbabwe, mission stations blossomed into parishes and dioceses.  The Church became indigenous, a strong young tree in the garden of the Lord, full of life and bearing rich fruit.  Generations of Zimbabweans – including many political leaders – have been educated in Church schools.  Catholic hospitals have taken care of the infirm for many decades, offering physical and psychological healing.  Many vocations to the priesthood and religious life have come from your land, and these vocations continue.  For all these graces, and despite every challenge, our prayer of thanks rises to God like an evening sacrifice.
The Church in your country has stood fast with her people both before and after independence, now also in the years of overwhelming suffering as millions have left the country in frustration and desperation, as many lives have been lost, so many tears shed.  In the exercise of your prophetic ministry, you gave dramatic voice to all the struggling people of your country, especially to the downtrodden and the refugees.  I think particularly of your 2007 Pastoral Letter God Hears the Cry of the Oppressed: “The suffering people of Zimbabwe are groaning in agony: ‘Watchman, how much longer the night?’”  There you showed how the crisis is both spiritual and moral, stretching from colonial times through the present moment, and how the “structures of sin” embedded in the social order are ultimately rooted in personal sin, requiring of all a profound personal conversion and a renewed moral sense enlightened by the Gospel.
Christians find themselves on all sides of the conflict in Zimbabwe, and so I urge you to guide everyone with great tenderness towards unity and healing: this is a people both black and white, some richer but most exceedingly poorer, of numerous tribes; the followers of Christ belong to all political parties, some in positions of authority, many not.  But together as the one pilgrim People of God, they need conversion and healing, in order to become ever more fully “one Body, one Spirit in Christ” (cf. Eph 4:4).  Through preaching and works of the apostolate, may your local Churches demonstrate that “reconciliation is not an isolated act but a lengthy process by which all parties are re-established in love – a love that heals through the working of God’s word” (Africae Munus, 34).
While Zimbabweans’ faithfulness is already a balm on some of these national wounds, I know that many people have reached their human limit, and do not know where to turn.  In the midst of all this, I ask you to encourage the faithful never to lose sight of the ways in which God is hearing their supplications and answering their prayers, for, as you have written, he cannot fail to hear the cry of the poor.  In this Easter season, as the Church throughout the world celebrates the victory of Christ over the power of sin and death, the Gospel of the resurrection which you are entrusted to proclaim must be clearly preached and lived in Zimbabwe.  Let us never forget the lesson of the resurrection: “on razed land life breaks through, stub­bornly yet invincibly. However dark things are, goodness always re-emerges and spreads.  Each day in our world beauty is born anew, it rises transformed through the storms of history” (Evangelii Gaudium, 276).
Fearlessly proclaim this Gospel of hope, bringing the Lord’s message into the brokenness of our time, tirelessly preaching forgiveness and the mercy of God.  Keep encouraging the faithful to renew their personal encounter with the Risen Lord, and to return to the sacraments, especially to Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist, source and summit of our Christian life.
As shepherds of the flock ever docile to the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 20:28), work closely to foster unity with your priests, striving to eliminate every form of dissension and self-interest.  I encourage you to continue to seek out vocations to the priesthood: men who once formed with the wide hearts of shepherds and fathers will go out to find their people in every part of the country.  Accompany your newly ordained priests attentively, that they may live wholesome and upright lives.  Exhort them to continue preaching and living – in season and out of season – the Gospel values of truth and integrity, and the beauty of a life lived in faith, in love of God, and in selfless service of their neighbour, in prophetic hope for justice in the land. 
The future of the Church in Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole greatly depends on the formation of the faithful (cf. Ecclesia in Africa, 75).  Together with holy priests, the Church needs zealous, well-formed catechists who will work with clergy and laity, so that what the Church believes is reflected in the way her people live in society.  Support the many generous religious brothers and sisters who sanctify the country with hearts undivided in love for God and for his people.  Show particular concern for the preparation and clear guidance of young Catholics desiring Christian marriage, opening up to them the richness of the Church’s moral teachings on life and love, thus enabling them to find true happiness in freedom as mothers and fathers.
Dear Brother Bishops, in these days when you and the whole Church in Zimbabwe are renewed in the Easter joy of the risen Lord, I pray that you will return home strengthened in fraternal communion.  May you leave from this meeting with the Successor of Peter more determined to give everything in the service of the Word, so that Catholics in Zimbabwe may become ever more the salt of the African earth and light of the world.  I commend you, with the clergy, religious and lay faithful of your Dioceses, to the intercession of Mary, Queen of Africa and Mother of the Church, and to all I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of hope and joy in the Lord. 
Shared from Radio Vaticana

New Attacks in Nigeria with over 70 People Killed - Please Pray


BORNA, May 30, 2014 (CISA) -Over 70 people have died this week in a series of attacks by members of the Islamist terror group Boko Haram on towns and villages in Borno and Yobe States of north eastern Nigeria.
The renewed attacks come amidst reports on May 28 that five more of the girls abducted from their school in Chibok by Boko Haram on May 14 are now free and are being kept in an undisclosed location. Some news sources state that four of them were released after they fell ill, while the fifth escaped. The arrest of a suspect in the May 20 bombing in Jos, Plateau State was also announced on the same day.
On May 28, sect members reportedly attacked Gurmushi Village in Marte Local Government Area (LGA), Borno State, killing at least 40 residents and razing the village to the ground.
Earlier, an estimated 33 people were killed in separate attacks by Boko Haram in Borno and Yobe States on the evening of May 26. Eight people died and several were wounded when Boko Haram gunmen attacked Chinene village in the Chikide-Joghode-Kaghum Ward of Gwoza LGA in Borno State, destroying six churches and razing several homes.
Sect members also attacked Amuda Village, where one person was killed and several others were injured. In addition, the insurgents are said to have hoisted their flags in the Ashigashiya Ward of Gwoza LGA, declaring it their headquarters and vowing to launch further attacks on surrounding villages.
In neighbouring Yobe State, at least 14 soldiers, 11 policemen and two civilians were killed in Buni Yadi, Gujba LGA, after troops were taken unawares by Boko Haram gunmen. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) are believed to have been among the victims of the two-hour night attack, during which the divisional police station, the Emir’s palace, the District Head’s residence and office, and several military posts were either vandalized or destroyed.
One eyewitness told Nigerian news sources that the insurgents, who arrived in Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and Toyota Hilux vans, had informed civilians they had nothing to fear since the attack was aimed at the military. This was Boko Haram’s third assault on Buni Yadi this year.
On May 25, Boko Haram members targeted a market in Kumuyya Village in Biu LGA, Borno State, killing around 20 people and destroying market stalls. Sect members were reportedly angered the villagers had only managed to collect a little over £250 after being given two months to hand over £900 for “God’s work”.
Meanwhile, villagers in Borno State appear increasingly to be fighting back. On May 23, women are reported to have assisted in repelling an evening attack on Attagara Village in Gwoza LGA, when ten members of Boko Haram descended on the area on motorcycles, seven of whom died at the hands of vigilantes after the women raised the alarm.
On the evening of May 25, several sect members died following an encounter with the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) and the military in Kawuri Village in Kandunga LGA. According to the news agency Sahara Reporters, villagers and local hunters had killed at least 100 Boko Haram militants in three different Borno villages by the evening of May 26.
Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said: “While rejoicing at news that more girls have escaped their captors and at the breakthrough in Jos, we also extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed in these senseless and seemingly relentless attacks. Particularly reprehensible is the reprisal attack on Kumuyya Village, which underlines the fact that as well as indulging in terrorism, Boko Haram is essentially a criminal syndicate that uses religion to extort protection money from vulnerable villagers.”
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Jesuit Priest Abducted in Afghanistan - Please Pray for Fr. Alexis Prem

Asia News IT Release: by Nirmala Carvalho
Father Alexis Prem Kumar sj, chief of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) was abducted today (Monday) afternoon by unidentified gunmen when he was on the way to a school. Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson confirmed the incident.

Kabul (AsiaNews) - Chief of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), an international catholic organization, was abducted today (Monday) afternoon by unidentified gunmen in western Herat province.

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Father Alexis Prem Kumar, sj an Indian national, was kidnapped when he was on the way to a school to survey the educational process in Zinda Jan locality where refugees are sheltered.

Confirming the incident, Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin wrote on microblogging website twitter - "Indian national working with an NGO in Herat province of Afghanistan has been kidnapped. R Mission pursuing matter with local authorities." 

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