Friday, July 22, 2011



VATICAN CITY, 22 JUL 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolence to Bishop Aleksander Kaszkiewicz, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Belarus, for the death of Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek, archbishop emeritus of Minsk-Mohilev and former apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the diocese of Pinsk. The cardinal died yesterday at the age of 96. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

In his telegram the Pope recalls the late cardinal's "courageous witness to Christ and His Church during particularly difficult times, as well as the enthusiasm he later showed in contributing to the spiritual rebirth of his country. While expressing my deepest condolences to Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk-Mohilev, apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Pinsk, to the episcopate of Belarus, to priests and religious communities, and to all the faithful of the churches the late cardinal loved and served, I impart the comfort of a heartfelt apostolic blessing as a sign of faith and Christian hope in the risen Lord".

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VATICAN CITY, 22 JUL 2011 (VIS) - Replying to journalists' questions concerning the current debate in Ireland about a report on abuse in the diocese of Cloyne, Holy See Press Office Director Federico Lombardi S.J. declared:

"I can confirm that the Holy See will respond appropriately to the questions raised by the Irish government about the report on the diocese of Cloyne. In any case, it is to be hoped that debate about such dramatic matters may continue with the necessary objectivity, so as to contribute to the cause which must be closest to everyone's heart: the protection of children and young people and, to that end, the restoration of an atmosphere of trust and collaboration in the Church and in society, as the Pope himself said in his Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland".

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VATICAN CITY, 22 JUL 2011 (VIS) - Benedict XVI's elder brother Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, who until 1994 was director of the famous cathedral choir of Regensburg, has completed a book entitled "Mein Bruder, der Papst" (My Brother the Pope), written in collaboration with the German journalist Michael Hesemann.

The 256-page volume, illustrated with forty photographs, contains the memories of the Holy Father's brother, as recounted to Hesemann in Regensburg earlier this year. It has been published by the German publishing house Herbig and will go on sale in bookshops on 12 September, the eve of Benedict XVI's visit to Germany.

The culminating moment of the narrative is the sixtieth anniversary of the priestly ordination of Georg and Joseph Ratzinger. The two brothers were ordained in Freising on 29 June 1951 and this year celebrated their anniversary together in St. Peter's Basilica. The memories of Msgr. Ratzinger, the Holy Father's closest relative, go back to the brothers' childhood as he narrates, among other things, the flowering of Joseph's priestly vocation in the bosom of the family and his subsequent years of service to the Church before being elected to the Papacy.

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VATICAN CITY, 22 JUL 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, apostolic nuncio to the Russian Federation, also as apostolic nuncio to Uzbekistan.

- Appointed Bishop Vincent Jordy, auxiliary of Strasbourg, France, as bishop of Saint-Claude (area 4,499, population 258,000, Catholics 183,000, priests 122, permanent deacons 15, religious 157), France.

- Appointed Fr. Eduards Pavlovskis of the clergy of the archdiocese of Riga, Latvia, pastor of the parish of Christ the King, as bishop of Jelgava (area 13,620, population 329,724, Catholics 80,520, priests 27, religious 6), Latvia. The bishop-elect was born in Bresne, Latvia in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1975. He succeeds Bishop Antons Justs, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.


USCCB RELEASE: The Apostolic Nunciature has made the following announcement:
The Most Reverend Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio, underwent a delicate lung surgery two
weeks ago. Unfortunately, there have been post-surgery complications. Currently he has been
placed on assisted ventilation to attempt recovery of his lung function. The Apostolic Nunciature
and the Nuncio’s family kindly ask that Bishops, priests, religious, and lay faithful offer
sacrifices and prayers for the health of the Apostolic Nuncio. (IMAGE SOURCE: GOOGLE IMAGES)


Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek

- Cardinal Kazimierz Swiatek, the former Archbishop of Minsk who survived nearly a decade in the Soviet Gulag, died on July 21 at the age of 96. He witnessed the persecution of the Catholic faith and its revival in Belarus.

“God summoned his faithful servant, a witness of faith and a symbolic figure of the Catholic Church of our time, who lived a long, difficult and even miserable life,” Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk said in an announcement on the Church in Belarus’ website.

The cardinal was born in 1914 in a part of the Russian Empire which is now in Estonia. With his entire family, he was deported in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution. His family settled in Poland in 1922. In 1932 he entered a seminary in the city of Pinsk and he was ordained just before World War II.

He was imprisoned by the invading Soviets but escaped when Hitler attacked in 1941, Polish Radio reports.

After the Soviets returned, the future cardinal was deported to Siberia in 1945. He spent nine years of hard labor in the brutal Gulag system until his release in 1954.

He returned to Pinsk, now part of the Belarusian Socialist Soviet Republic, where repression of the Catholic Church would remain strong until the late 1980s.

When freedom of worship began to return, then-Fr. Swiatek helped organize the restoration of the cathedral in Pinsk. He also became active in working with nascent Polish associations.

Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop in 1989, and then the Archbishop of Minsk-Mohilev in 1991.

In 1994 he was made a cardinal as a result of his work on the revival of the Church in Eastern Europe. Though he retired in 2006, he remained active and respected.

Cardinal Swiatek suffered from poor health towards the end of his life and underwent several operations which Archbishop Kondrusiewicz characterized as a “new Golgotha.”

“From my heart I thank all those who were close to the cardinal in the difficult moments of his life and prayed for his intentions,” Archbishop Kondrusiewicz continued.

“I appeal to all of you, dear pastors, nuns and faithful people to pray for the eternal peace of our beloved pastor, that he be happy in heaven, living in the light of God's glory.

Funeral Masses for the cardinal will be held in the Archdiocese of Minsk and in Pinsk from July 23 to 25.


UCAN REPORT: Bishop says world 'thirsts for the Gospel'
George Kommattathil, Thamarassery
July 22, 2011
Catholic Church News Image of Rosary marathon to aid world evangelization
Inaugural ceremony a 101-day, non-stop rosary recital for the evangelization

A 101-day, non-stop rosary recital for the evangelization of the world and the sanctification of the church began yesterday at Thamarassery diocese in Kerala.

Bishop Remigious Inchananiyil inaugurated the rosary marathon at Bethania Renewal Centre in Pulloorampara in the southern state.

“We hope our chain rosary will help the evangelization of the world, which is in need of the gospel,” said Father James Kiliyananickal, director of the renewal centre.

This year’s focus is on the evangelization of the world which is “being conquered by secularism” and thirsts for the gospel, he said, adding that more than 100,000 people would take part in the prayer service.

Catholics from Thamarassery diocese’s 117 parishes will take turns to keep the rosary chain going day and night until October 29. Confession and counseling services will also go on simultaneously.

The diocese has conducted this special rosary recitation for the past 9 years.


Fides Service REPORT - Another tragedy hits the people of Somalia who are dying of hunger and continue to seek shelter and food in Mogadishu. Many families, in desperation, decide to leave the children who are too weak and would not be able to withstand the long journey with the hope of saving the others. Unfortunately there are many people who die along the way, weakened by hunger, thirst or illnesses. The terrible sacrifice of abandoning their most vulnerable children, who would not be able to move, is dictated by the hope of saving the other children. Somalia is the epicenter of a prolonged drought that has, over the past year and a half, ravaged the Horn of Africa. This is the worst humanitarian crisis in 60 years. The country has no effective central government and comes from two decades of civil conflict. The current Somali government is backed by nearly 10 000 African Union peacekeepers, and controls just over half of the capital Mogadishu and the rest is under the Islamic group Al-Shabaab insurgency. The refugees continue to pour in the part of Mogadishu under the control of the government after weeks of walking and dangerous journeys on foot. They arrive in the city bombarded by machine gun bullets, houses are deserted and no one who can help them. Although several organizations are involved in local and international aid, the situation does not improve. Some displaced people are beginning to beg in the streets of the capital, while others are planning to move towards refugee camps which have been set up in neighboring countries where more humanitarian aid arrives, but are just a drop in the ocean. (PA)


Go to WYD Commission Mass Event Details
Bishop Anthony with pilgrims during World Youth Day 2008 Sydney.

ARCHDIOCESE OF PARAMATTA RELEASE: The Bishop of Parramatta Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP will commission the Diocese's World Youth Day 2011 pilgrims at a special Mass at 2pm on Sunday 31 July, before the pilgrims begin making their way to Madrid.

The families of Parramatta's pilgrims are most welcome to join in the celebration at St Patrick's Cathedral, which will include a barbecue with Bishop Anthony following the Commissioning Mass.


St. Mary Magdalene


Feast: July 22


Feast Day:July 22

1st century AD, Magdala

Died:1st century AD, Ephesus, Asia Minor or Marseilles, France
Patron of:apothecaries; contemplative life; converts; glove makers; hairdressers; penitent sinners; people ridiculed for their piety; perfumeries; pharmacists; reformed prostitutes; sexual temptation; tanners; women

EWTN Live Special Edition
Fr. Mitch Pacwa and Fr. Thomas Michelet Discuss the story of St. Mary Magdalene and the relic, which came to the U.S. from France for the first time: 100K 300K

Mary Magdalen was so called either from Magdala near Tiberias, on the west shore of Galilee, or possibly from a Talmudic expression meaning "curling women's hair," which the Talmud explains as of an adulteress.

In the New Testament she is mentioned among the women who accompanied Christ and ministered to Him (Luke 8:2-3), where it is also said that seven devils had been cast out of her (Mark 16:9). She is next named as standing at the foot of the cross (Mark 15:40; Matthew 27:56; John 19:25; Luke 23:49). She saw Christ laid in the tomb, and she was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection.

The Greek Fathers, as a whole, distinguish the three persons:

* the "sinner" of Luke 7:36-50;
* the sister of Martha and Lazarus, Luke 10:38-42 and John 11; and
* Mary Magdalen.

On the other hand most of the Latins hold that these three were one and the same. Protestant critics, however, believe there were two, if not three, distinct persons. It is impossible to demonstrate the identity of the three; but those commentators undoubtedly go too far who assert, as does Westcott (on John 11:1), "that the identity of Mary with Mary Magdalene is a mere conjecture supported by no direct evidence, and opposed to the general tenour of the gospels." It is the identification of Mary of Bethany with the "sinner" of Luke 7:37, which is most combatted by Protestants. It almost seems as if this reluctance to identify the "sinner" with the sister of Martha were due to a failure to grasp the full significance of the forgiveness of sin. The harmonizing tendencies of so many modern critics, too, are responsible for much of the existing confusion.

The first fact, mentioned in the Gospel relating to the question under discussion is the anointing of Christ's feet by a woman, a "sinner" in the city (Luke 7:37-50). This belongs to the Galilean ministry, it precedes the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand and the third Passover. Immediately afterwards St. Luke describes a missionary circuit in Galilee and tells us of the women who ministered to Christ, among them being "Mary who is called Magdalen, out of whom seven devils were gone forth" (Luke 8:2); but he does not tell us that she is to be identified with the "sinner" of the previous chapter. In 10:38-42, he tells us of Christ's visit to Martha and Mary "in a certain town"; it is impossible to identify this town, but it is clear from 9:53, that Christ had definitively left Galilee, and it is quite possible that this "town" was Bethany. This seems confirmed by the preceding parable of the good Samaritan, which must almost certainly have been spoken on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem. But here again we note that there is no suggestion of an identification of the three persons (the "sinner", Mary Magdalen, and Mary of Bethany), and if we had only St. Luke to guide us we should certainly have no grounds for so identifying them. St. John, however, clearly identifies Mary of Bethany with the woman who anointed Christ's feet (12; cf. Matthew 26 and Mark 14). It is remarkable that already in 11:2, St. John has spoken of Mary as "she that anointed the Lord's feet", he aleipsasa; It is commonly said that he refers to the subsequent anointing which he himself describes in 12:3-8; but it may be questioned whether he would have used he aleipsasa if another woman, and she a "sinner" in the city, had done the same. It is conceivable that St. John, just because he is writing so long after the event and at a time when Mary was dead, wishes to point out to us that she was really the same as the "sinner." In the same way St. Luke may have veiled her identity precisely because he did not wish to defame one who was yet living; he certainly does something similar in the case of St. Matthew whose identity with Levi the publican (5:7) he conceals.

If the foregoing argument holds good, Mary of Bethany and the "sinner" are one and the same. But an examination of St. John's Gospel makes it almost impossible to deny the identity of Mary of Bethany with Mary Magdalen. From St. John we learn the name of the "woman" who anointed Christ's feet previous to the last supper. We may remark here that it seems unnecessary to hold that because St. Matthew and St. Mark say "two days before the Passover", while St. John says "six days" there were, therefore, two distinct anointings following one another. St. John does not necessarily mean that the supper and the anointing took place six days before, but only that Christ came to Bethany six days before the Passover. At that supper, then, Mary received the glorious encomium, "she hath wrought a good work upon Me . . . in pouring this ointment upon My body she hath done it for My burial . . . wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached . . . that also which she hath done shall be told for a memory of her." Is it credible, in view of all this, that this Mary should have no place at the foot of the cross, nor at the tomb of Christ? Yet it is Mary Magdalen who, according to all the Evangelists, stood at the foot of the cross and assisted at the entombment and was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection. And while St. John calls her "Mary Magdalen" in 19:25, 20:1, and 20:18, he calls her simply "Mary" in 20:11 and 20:16.

In the view we have advocated the series of events forms a consistent whole; the "sinner" comes early in the ministry to seek for pardon; she is described immediately afterwards as Mary Magdalen "out of whom seven devils were gone forth"; shortly after, we find her "sitting at the Lord's feet and hearing His words." To the Catholic mind it all seems fitting and natural. At a later period Mary and Martha turn to "the Christ, the Son of the Living God", and He restores to them their brother Lazarus; a short time afterwards they make Him a supper and Mary once more repeats the act she had performed when a penitent. At the Passion she stands near by; she sees Him laid in the tomb; and she is the first witness of His Resurrection--excepting always His Mother, to whom He must needs have appeared first, though the New Testament is silent on this point. In our view, then, there were two anointings of Christ's feet--it should surely be no difficulty that St. Matthew and St. Mark speak of His head--the first (Luke 7) took place at a comparatively early date; the second, two days before the last Passover. But it was one and the same woman who performed this pious act on each occasion.

The Greek Church maintains that the saint retired to Ephesus with the Blessed Virgin and there died, that her relics were transferred to Constantinople in 886 and are there preserved. Gregory of Tours (De miraculis, I, xxx) supports the statement that she went to Ephesus. However, according to a French tradition , Mary, Lazarus, and some companions came to Marseilles and converted the whole of Provence. Magdalen is said to have retired to a hill, La Sainte-Baume, near by, where she gave herself up to a life of penance for thirty years. When the time of her death arrived she was carried by angels to Aix and into the oratory of St. Maximinus, where she received the viaticum; her body was then laid in an oratory constructed by St. Maximinus at Villa Lata, afterwards called St. Maximin. History is silent about these relics till 745, when according to the chronicler Sigebert, they were removed to V├ęzelay through fear of the Saracens. No record is preserved of their return, but in 1279, when Charles II, King of Naples, erected a convent at La Sainte-Baume for the Dominicans, the shrine was found intact, with an inscription stating why they were hidden. In 1600 the relics were placed in a sarcophagus sent by Clement VIII, the head being placed in a separate vessel. In 1814 the church of La Sainte-Baume, wrecked during the Revolution, was restored, and in 1822 the grotto was consecrated afresh. The head of the saint now lies there, where it has lain so long, and where it has been the centre of so many pilgrimages.


TODAY'S GOSPEL: JULY 22: John 20: 1 - 2, 11 - 18

John 20: 1 - 2, 11 - 18
1Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag'dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.2So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him."11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb;12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.13They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him."14Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.15Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."16Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rab-bo'ni!" (which means Teacher).17Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."18Mary Mag'dalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.