Monday, March 5, 2012


Vatican City, 4 March 2012 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI, as Bishop of Rome, visited the Roman parish of "San Giovanni Battista de La Salle al Torrino", an area in the south of the city inhabited by many young families. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
On arrival the Pope was welcomed by children who receive catechesis in the parish, who gave him a number of gifts they had prepared. He mentioned this meeting in his homily, saying: "We truly are the family of God, and the fact that you also think of the Pope as a father is something I find very beautiful and encouraging . But now we must remember that the Pope is not our ultimate recourse; our ultimate recourse is the Lord and we must look to Him in order to discern, to understand - insofar was we can - something of the message of this second Sunday of Lent".
In this context, Benedict XVI turned his attention to today's Gospel passage on the Transfiguration. "Jesus took the three disciples [Peter, James and John] with Him to help them understand that the path to glory, the path of dazzling love which vanquishes darkness, involves the total gift of self, it involves the scandal of the cross. ... The Transfiguration is a moment of light which helps us too to look to Jesus' passion with the eyes of faith. Yes, it is a mystery of suffering, but it is also a 'blessed passion' because it is essentially a mystery of God's extraordinary love. It is the definitive exodus which opens the door to the freedom and novelty of the Resurrection, the salvation from evil".
"Like the three Apostles in the Gospel, we too need to climb the mountain of the transfiguration and receive the light of God, so that His Face can illuminate our faces. It is in individual and community prayer that we encounter the Lord, not as an idea or as a moral concept, but as a Person Who wants to enter into a relationship with us, Who wants to be our friend and to renew our lives by making them like unto His".
Turning then to address the parishioners, the Pope said: "Let us not wait for others to bring different messages, which do not lead to authentic life. You yourselves must become missionaries of Christ to your brothers and sisters wherever they live, work, study or pass their free time. ... Faith must be lived together, and the parish is the place in which we learn to live our faith as part of the 'us' of the Church".
The Pope also dedicated some words to the forthcoming Year of Faith, expressing the hope that it would be "a favourable occasion ... to develop and consolidate the experience of catechesis on the great truths of Christian faith, is such a way as ... to make the Creed of the Church known, and to overcome that 'religious illiteracy' which is one of the greatest problems we face today".
"From Tabor, the mount of the Transfiguration, the Lenten journey leads us to Golgotha, the mount of the ultimate sacrifice of love of the one Priest of the new and eternal Covenant. That sacrifice encapsulates the greatest power for the transformation of man and history. Taking all the consequences of evil and sin upon Himself, Jesus arose on the third day as victor over death and the Evil One. Lent prepares us to participate personally in this great mystery of the faith, which we will celebrate in the Triduum of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ".

Vatican City, 4 March 2012 (VIS) - Having returned to the Vatican following his visit to the Roman parish of "San Giovanni Battista de La Salle al Torrino", the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Before the prayer, Benedict XVI recalled how the Gospel on this second Sunday of Lent recounts the episode of the Transfiguration of Christ. He noted that Matthew, Mark and Luke all agree on the essential elements of the narrative: Jesus climbed the mountain in the company of His disciples Peter, James and John, and was transfigured before their eyes. His face and clothing irradiated a dazzling light, then a cloud enveloped the summit of the mountain and the Father’s voice was heard saying: ''This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him".
The Pope explained how the mystery of the Transfiguration must be seen in the context of the itinerary Jesus was following. At that time His mission was coming to its end, and He knew He would have to suffer the cross. He had announced as much to His followers but they had failed to understand and refused to accept. For this reason Jesus took three disciples with Him to the mountain, "to reveal His divine glory, splendour of Truth and of Love. Jesus wanted this light to illuminate the hearts of the people who would have to experience the black night of His passion and death, when the scandal of the cross would be unbearable to them.
"God is light", the Holy Father added, "and Jesus wanted His most intimate friends to experience this light, which dwelt within Him. Following that event, He would become an inner light in them, capable of protecting them from the onslaught of darkness. Even in the darkest night Jesus is the lantern which never goes out".
"We all need an inner light to overcome the trials of life. This light comes from God and it is Christ Who gives it to us. ... Let us climb the mountain of prayer with Jesus and, contemplating His face full of love and truth, let us allow ourselves to be filled from within which His light". After the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI invited the faithful to dedicate a moment every day during Lent to silent prayer and listening to the Word of God.

Vatican City, 3 March 2012 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia concluded their annual Lenten spiritual exercises. The meditations this year were guided by Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, who focused on the theme of: "the communion of Christians with God".
At the close the Holy Father, speaking in name of everyone who had participated in the retreat, addressed some words of thanks to the cardinal for having guided them "with great exegetical competence and spiritual and pastoral experience", and for having included stories and examples into his meditations "which helped us and brought us joy". The Pope made particular mention of a story involving a friend of the cardinal who, while in a coma, had had the impression of being in a dark tunnel at the end of which he saw light and heard music. "It seems to me", Pope Benedict said, "that this could be a parable for our own lives. Often we find ourselves in a dark tunnel in the dead of night, but, thanks to the faith, in the end we see light and hear music. We see the beauty of God, of earth and sky, of the Creator and the creature, and so it is true that in hope we are saved".
The Holy Father has also written a letter to Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya thanking him for his service. "Commenting upon certain passages from the First Letter of St. John, you guided us on a journey of rediscovery of the mystery of communion, of which we are part by virtue of our Baptism. Thanks also to this itinerary you so wisely prepared, the silence of prayer of these days, and particularly the Eucharistic adoration, were filled with profound gratitude to God for the great love He has given us, the love with which He binds us to Himself in a filial relationship".
"For me, one particular cause for joy was to see, venerable brother, in your presence and your bearing, the specific witness of faith of the Church which believes, hopes and loves on the African continent. Her spiritual heritage is a great treasure for all the People of God, and for the whole world, especially in view of the new evangelisation. As a son of the Church in Africa, you enabled us to experience once again that exchange of gifts which is one of the most beautiful aspects of ecclesial communion, in which different geographical and cultural backgrounds find a way to express themselves harmoniously in the unity of the mystical Body".
The Pope concludes his letter by imparting an apostolic blessing upon both the cardinal and the priests and faithful entrusted to his pastoral care.
As of today the Holy Father resumes his normal activities. Tomorrow he is due to visit the Roman parish of "San Giovanni Battista de La Salle al Torrino", where he will preside at Mass.

Vatican City, 4 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Julio Murat, apostolic nuncio to Zambia, accompanied by members of his family.
On Saturday 3 March he received in audience Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Vatican City, 5 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed as members of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples: Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue; Archbishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arenas, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, and Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.
On Saturday 3 March it was made public that he appointed Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, as his special envoy to the opening celebrations for the pilgrimage of the "Holy Robe", marking the fifth centenary of the first public display of the relic. The event will be held in the cathedral of Trier, Germany on 13 April.



collinsOver 1,000 guests gathered at Saint Michael's C1,000 guests gathered at Saint Michael's Cathedral, Toronto, on February 29, 2012, for a Mass of Thanksgiving to welcome the Archbishop of Toronto, His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, on his return from Rome where the Holy Father had raised him to the College of Cardinals. The celebration was presided by Cardinal Collins, assisted by 28 other Bishops from across the country. The participants included more than 400 priests from the Archdiocese, as well as permanent deacons, members of religious communities, and representatives of other faiths and religious denominations from the Toronto area. Among the civil dignitaries present were the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and His Worship Mr. Rob Ford, Mayor of Toronto. Thanks to the generous collaboration of Salt + Light TV, the video of this celebration can be accessed at the link below.
Link to the video of the celebration


02 Mar 2012
By: B Spinks, Photos: Supplied
Archbishop Barry Hickey and Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton presided over the ‘Rite of Election’ on 1 March at St Mary’s Cathedral in Perth for more than 160 people who are on the road to becoming full members of the Catholic Church.
The ‘Rite of Election of Catechumens’ (for those who are receiving instruction from a catechist with a view to baptism) and ‘Formal Recognition of Candidates’ (for those who are baptised in another Christian denomination) is an extraordinary liturgy, which takes place in the Catholic Church around the world during the Lenten season.
Karen Hart, the Perth Archdiocesan coordinator for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program, said that the “particular joy of this solemnity” is the recognition that God is indeed calling people into the life of the Church through the Sacraments of Initiation.
“The Church believes that no one comes to faith without being called by God. God initiates, God calls, God converts,” she said.
During this Liturgy, the Archbishop, speaking for the Church, articulated God’s invitation and ‘election’ to those ‘electing’ to become full members of the Catholic faith, she said.
Each sponsor introduced his or her catechumen or candidate to Archbishop Hickey and Bishop Sproxton during the liturgy.
Their names were inscribed in the Book of Elect for the Catechumens and the Book of Recognition for the Candidates.
Several parishes across Perth are involved in the ministry of RCIA and make a welcome home for those whom Christ has called to “come and see” (John 1:39) how Catholics live, pray and worship.
In these parishes, during the season of Lent, the ‘elect’,while deepening their personal relationship with Christ, will reflect and discern their readiness to receive the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion - at Easter.
There were more than 90 catechumens and 60 candidates introduced to Archbishop Hickey and Bishop Sproxton during the Liturgy.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "I am with the orphans of the victims of the disaster. The church of Saint Louis des Francais was completely blown away by the shockwave of the explosion" refers to Fides His Exc. Mgr. Anatole Milandou, Archbishop of Brazzaville, before the telephone communication was interrupted. The capital of the Republic of Congo was shocked yesterday morning, Sunday, March 4, due to a series of explosions which occurred in an ammunition deposit in the barracks of Mpila.
From other sources of the Catholic Church contacted by Fides we learn the details. "The church of Saint Louis des Francais is located in an area adjacent to the barracks where the explosions occurred. From what we know, the second explosion, when the Mass was over, there were still people near the building. We have no details yet, but certainly there were deaths and injuries among the faithful" refer our sources. It is difficult to obtain information because the entire area where the explosion occurred was closed by the military. Other places of worship suffered minor damage, such as the Basilica of St. Anne, but it is nothing compared to what happened in the epicenter of the explosion. The Church organized shelters for the homeless and for children orphaned or lost simply because of the general panic.
At least 3 loud explosions occurred from 8 am to 10.45 am, local time, followed by explosions of lesser intensity. "The explosion destroyed several buildings and caused a high number of victims. There is talk of over 2 thousand 200 people dead and wounded. But unfortunately the toll is expected to increase," concludes sources of Fides in Brazzaville. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 05/03/2012)


"I felt hungry and I wanted to cook something to eat," says the old lady who shocked friends and relations by appearing to revive from death.
March 5, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of 95-year-old woman gets out of coffin, six days after ‘dying’
A Chinese woman who was thought to have passed away woke up six days after she had supposedly died.
95-year-old Li Xiufeng was found in bed motionless and not breathing by a neighbour two weeks after tripping and suffering a head injury at her home in Beiliu, Guangxi Province.
When the neighbour could not wake her up, they feared the worst and thought the elderly woman had died.
She was placed in a coffin, which was kept in her house unsealed under Chinese tradition for friends and relatives to pay respects.
But the day before the funeral, neighbours found an empty coffin, and later discovered that the woman had woken up, and was in her kitchen cooking.
“She didn’t get up, so I came up to wake her up,” the Daily Mail quoted the woman’s neighbour Chen Qingwang, 60, as saying.
“No matter how hard I pushed her and called her name, she had no reactions.
“I felt something was wrong, so I tried her breath, and she has gone, but her body is still not cold,” he said.
Since Xiufeng lived alone, Qingwang and his son made preparations for her funeral, and the “dead” woman was left in her coffin two days after she was discovered.
The day before she was due to be paid her last respects, Qingwang arrived at her house and found her “corpse” had disappeared.


by Nina Achmatova
The former KGB agent wins the presidential election with 64% of the vote but has great challenges ahead: Demands for democratic reforms and the spectre of economic crisis.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Vladimir Putin's victory in the first round of the Russian presidential elections did not surprise anyone. But the vast number of complaints of fraud recorded by independent observers and international suspicions have erased the last hope of the opposition to find a path of political dialogue with Moscow. The situation is likely to become radicalized, with the movement "for honest elections" taking to the streets tonight with an unpredictable outcome.

In front of 100 thousand fans gathered under the walls of the Kremlin, the former KGB spy was celebrated last night, on his third return to the Kremlin. With 64% of the vote, he beat off four rivals, who were harmless from the outset. "I promised to win, and we won in an open and honest fight," he told the crowd that cheered him, going up on stage along with the outgoing President Dimitri Medvedev. Photos showed him with the tears on his face, but few believe they were real. It 'was the fault of the wind, he explained a little later.

The result of the vote is being passed as a victory over the enemies of the state, namely the opposition who have been calling for reform and political change. "Our people are able to distinguish between the desire for renewal and attempts to organize political provocation to destroy the state system and usurp power," he said from the stage set up under the walls of the Kremlin.

Putin has won but he is far from easy with the opposition monitors NGO Golos who reported an actual fraud strategy based on so-called "carousel voting": groups of people brought to vote more than once in a station other than the one assigned.

Tsar Putin returns, but with great challenges ahead of him; a part of the country, the most dynamic and growing, pushing for democratic reforms, intolerant of corruption, censorship and bureaucracy. There are also fears of an economic paralysis in the country that, after experiencing a boom, has also begun to slow due to the ongoing crisis in Europe, its largest export market.

Putin's responses will also effect the evolution of the protests due to take to the streets of Pushinskaja later today. His triumph was a blow to the opposition. "We were expecting fraud, but not so blatant and or large-scale," said Alexei Navalny, the blogger and protest leader. "This shows that the authroities are not going to respond to our requests in a civilized manner," said Denis Bilunov, of the movement Solidarnost. "Putin could win without cheating - he continued - but he needed a test of strength and could not afford a second round, so he has humiliated us with this farce."

Tonight authorities have authorized a gathering of up to 10 thousand people, but organizers are confident that far more people will hasten to Moscow to protest against elections deemed "illegitimate" and a president already being termed an "usurper" on the web.

The central government knows that tensions could erupt at any moment. In an attempt to cool the atmosphere, the Kremlin, in the aftermath of the presidential elections, announced the review of the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of political prisoners. Will Putin III be open to reforms, seeking a compromise with a country completely different from when he took power in 2000, or empty promises and repression? Many believe this question may be answered as soon as tonight on the streets Pushkinskaja.,-opposition-returns-to-streets-24142.html


Luke 6: 36 - 38
36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
37 "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
38 give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back."


St. John Joseph of the Cross
Feast: March 5

Feast Day:March 5
August 15, 1654, Ischia
Died:March 5, 1739
1839, Rome by Pope Gregory XVI
Patron of: Ischiaa
Born on the Island of Ischia, Southern Italy, 1654; d. 5 March, 1739. From his earliest years he was given to prayer and virtue. So great was his love of poverty that he would always wear the dress of the poor, though he was of noble birth. At the age of sixteen years he entered the Order of St. Francis at naples, amongst the Friars of the Alcantarine Reform, being the first Italian to join this reform which had been instituted in Spain by St. Peter of Alcantara. Throughout his life he was given to the greatest austerity: he fasted constantly, never drank wine, and slept but three hours each night. In 1674 he was sent to found a friary at Afila, in Piedmont; and he assisted with his own hands in the building. Much against his will, he was raised to the priesthood. As superior, he always insisted upon performing the lowliest offices in the community. In 1702 he was appointed Vicar Provincial of the Alcantarine Reform in Italy. He was favoured in a high degree with the gift of miracles, people of every condition being brought to him in sickness. His zeal for souls was such that even in sickness he would not spare any labour for them. His great devotion was to our Blessed Lady, and he was urgent with his penitents that they also should cultivate this. He was beatified in 1789, and canonized in 1839.
(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)