Thursday, March 15, 2012

VATICAN : PRAYERS FOR VICTIMS OF SWISS CRASH AND OTHER NEWS

TELEGRAM FOR THE VICTIMS OF COACH ACCIDENT IN SWITZERLAND
Vatican City, 15 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolence, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., to Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, for the victims of a coach accident in Sierre. Switzerland, in which twenty-eight people lost their lives, twenty-two of them Belgian children on a school outing.
"Having learned of the tragic coach accident in Switzerland, which caused numerous victims many of them children, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI associates himself in prayer with the suffering of the mourning families, entrusting the victims to the mercy of God and asking Him to welcome them into His light. He expresses his profound sympathy to the injured and their families, and his closeness to rescue workers, praying the Lord to give them help and consolation in their moment of trial. As a token of comfort, the Holy Father confers a special apostolic blessing upon everyone affected by this drama".





STATIONS OF THE CROSS DEDICATED TO THE FAMILY
Vatican City, 15 March 2012 (VIS) - The texts for meditation during this year's Way of the Cross, to be held at the Colosseum on Good Friday, have, by order of the Holy Father, been written by Danilo and Anna Maria Zanzucchi, a married couple and founders of the New Families Movement, which is part of the "Focolari" Movement. The theme of the meditations will be the family, and the Way of the Cross will follow its traditional fourteen stations.





HOLY SEE AND MOZAMBIQUE RATIFY THEIR 2011 AGREEMENT
Vatican City, 15 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released a communique announcing that the Holy See and the Republic of Mozambique have - with Notes Verbales dated 12 March - given notification of their ratification of the "Agreement on the Principles and Juridical Dispositions Governing Relations between the Holy See and Mozambique", signed in Maputo on 7 December 2011.
"The Agreement", the communique reads, "is made up of a preamble and twenty-three articles which cover various areas such as the juridical status of the Catholic Church in Mozambique, the recognition of academic titles and of canonical marriage, and the fiscal regime. The entry into force of the Agreement consolidates the existing ties of friendship and collaboration between the two parties".





PRESENTATION OF THE HOLY FATHER'S BOOK ON THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH IN ST. AUGUSTINE
Vatican City, 15 March 2012 (VIS) - Yesterday eventing in the German embassy to the Holy See, the presentation took place of a work by Joseph Ratzinger: "The People and the House of God in  Doctrine of the Church". The book, the Pope's doctoral thesis from 1953, is part of a series of sixteen volumes which aims to bring together all Joseph Ratzinger's theological works up to the time of his election to the papal throne in 2005.
During the presentation, Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany, who has published the book in collaboration with the Pope Benedict XVI Institute, also based in Regensburg, recalled that "St. Augustine is a thinker, bishop and saint who still spiritually accompanies our Holy Father. The Pope continues to maintain a familiar but in-depth dialogue with the saint, to which his Wednesday catecheses bear ample witness".
Among others, the presentation was attended by Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"; Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, and Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg im Breisgau, president of the German Episcopal Conference.





AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 15 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- His Beatitude Gregorios III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek-Melkites, Syria.
- Nine prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, accompanied Auxiliary Bishop-elect George A. Sheltz.
- Bishop Joe Steve Vasquez of Austin.
- Bishop Curtis John Guillory S.V.D. of Beaumont.
- Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Raymundo Joseph Pena.
- Bishop William Michael Mulvey of Corpus Christi.
- Bishop Alvaro Corrada del Rio S.J. of Tyler.
- Bishop David Eugene Fellhauer of Victoria in Texas.
- Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.





OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 15 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Edwin Frederick O'Brien, pro-grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, as grand master of that Order.

HOLY ROSARY APP FROM ITUNES - HELPS YOU PRAY

APPLE ITUNES RELEASE:
Description
Holy Rosary + The Divine Mercy Chaplet and Novena included.

INCREDIBLE NEW features...
-PICTURES can be enlarged with 1 tab and than minimized with 2 tabs on the image.
-FOURTH STYLE, another display setting to pray The Holy Rosary.
-A Unique distinct sound when going forward on the Bead Count different when going backward.

HOLY ROSARY is an application made with the intention of promoting the prayer of the Holy Rosary. Accompanied by an intuitive interface, the program includes traditional prayers, mysteries for each day of the week. Has the Preparatory, Act of Contrition, Litany, SALVE and Memorare prayers.

DIVINE MERCY CHAPLET
The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy is a Roman Catholic devotion based on the visions of Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), known as "the Apostle of Mercy." She was a Polish sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and canonized as a Catholic saint in 2000.

REVIEWS............

“It’s a great tool for increase your love to God. And help me in my day life. Thank’s for the app.”

“I like the interface of this application. The beads are large enough to touch and move easily with your finger. You have choices for the type of bead and whether it moves up or down as you pray. Having the portion of Scripture that matches the Mystery you are saying at the beginning of the decade is wonderful! And the small picture gives a visual reminder of the Mystery you are meditating on. Thank you for a great application!”

“The best application so far”

“I usually don’t purchase apps. I go for the free ones. But this app is far less than the price you’d pay for a regular rosary. It does exactly what it says it does and it does it well. I would recommend to anyone.”

FEATURES:
1.) Every Mystery has a PICTURE which helps you reflex on the events of that Mystery and the pictures can be displayed in FULL SCREEN mode with 1 tab and 2 tabs to minimize, for a deeper prayer visualization.

2.) There is a SCRIPTURE from the Catholic Bible for each Mystery to help you meditate on the life of Jesus Christ.

3.) Choose from THREE different DISPLAY STYLES to pray the Holy Rosary (Style 1, Style 2, Style 3 and Style 4).

4.) Easy PRAYING with the following features…
--easily TRACK your bead count, current bead is highlighted and bead progress is marked, helping you see how far to finish praying the Holy Rosary.
--TWO WAYS to Bead count (count by moving beads or count by pressing arrows ).
--CHANGE the DIRECTION you swipe your finger to count the bead (up or down).
--You can GO BACK on any bead count, this helps if you accidentally go forward.
--Changeable bead COLORS.
--Interface designed so you can pray the Holy Rosary with your EYES CLOSED.

4.) SMART application…
--RECOMMENDS the Mystery that is prayed for that day.
--REMEMBERS where you left off from last time you opened and resumes were you left off.
--View mysteries by day or all mysteries (mystery view or day view).
--Has a “RESET” or “CONTINUE” button with regards to the bead count every time you reenter the Holy Rosary.

5.) Has distinct VIBRATE or SOUND on the 10th Hail Mary (vibrate only or vibrate and sound).

6.) Turn on or off LUMINOUS Mystery's.

7.) Turn on or off in the NOVENA to pray with or without the CHAPLET.

8.) Languages (English, Spanish, Latin, Italian, French).

9.) Uses the standard set of prayers used in the VATICAN website.

10.) MANUAL with PICTURES that explains how to use all the different settings.

What's New in Version 4.2.2

-fix the text missed in litany to iPhone O.S 2.X

iPhone Screenshots

iPhone Screenshot 1
iPhone Screenshot 2
iPhone Screenshot 3
iPhone Screenshot 4
iPhone Screenshot 5
 

 

AFRICA : DEM. REP. CONGO : CARITAS PROJECT TO HELP LRA VICTIMS

Cisa News REPORT:
BAS-UELE, March 13, 2012 (CISA) -A Catholic humanitarian organisation, CARITAS has started a socio-economic reintegration project for more than 28,000 people who have been affected by activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Bondo and Butu in the Bas-Uele District of Province Orientale.
According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the project aims to improve food security by re-launching the agricultural sector through the provision of agricultural inputs and food as well as the improvement of market access through the rehabilitation of 84 kilometres of roads.
So far more than 3,000 persons have been displaced in 2012 as a result of LRA attacks in the Bas-Uele and Haut-Uele Districts, according to OCHA.
In total about 20 attacks the latest reported on March 8, 2012 have been reported with one person killed and 17 kidnapped.
Abducted people typically end up as porters while children end up as sexual slaves and child soldiers.
As per the numbers compiled by OCHA and UNHCR, LRA attacks in Congo have caused the internal displacement of 320,000 people while around 30,000 Congolese citizens have sought refuge in the Central African Republic and the Republic of South Sudan since 2008.
SOURCE CISA NEWS AFRICA

AMERICA : CUBA : PROTESTORS OCCUPY CHURCH

Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Archdiocese of Havana issued a statement regarding the 13 people who have occupied the church of "Our Lady of Charity", in the center of the capital, where they spent the entire night. "Nobody has the right to transform churches into political trenches," said the statement, which continues: "Other groups and other dissidents have been mobilized to take up other churches, but they refused to do so, considering it a disrespectful act towards the Church".
The pastor of the church of "Our Lady of Charity", Father Roberto Betancourt, received a letter from the protesters in which they explained the reason of the occupation: ask the Pope to put pressure on the regime so that the reforms are implemented. Protesters promise to leave the place of worship once they receive a reply from the ecclesiastical authorities.
The Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Havana, Ramon Suarez Porcari, went there on Tuesday evening, March 13, when the church was occupied, to listen to the demands of the dissidents, and assured them that their message "would be transmitted". So he asked them to leave the temple, but the group refused. The Church, according to the note, discussed the situation with the Cuban government, which pledged "not to act in any way."
According to the statement which Fides received, this gesture in Havana is part of "a strategy prepared and coordinated in various regions of the island, to create situations of conflict, in view of Benedict XVI’s visit." The Archdiocese of Havana says that the Church listens, accepts, and intercedes for everyone, "but cannot accept attempts to actions that distort the nature of her mission or could threaten the religious freedom of those who visit the churches." "Nobody has the right to destroy the spirit of celebration of the faithful Cubans and many other citizens, who wait with joy and hope Pope Benedict XVI’s visit," the statement concludes.
(CE) (Agenzia Fides 15/3/2012)

AUSTRALIA : RAISING MONEY FOR CHILDREN WITH LUNCH

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
13 Mar 2012


Andrew O'Keefe will put on the green
at CatholicCare's annual
St Patrick's Day Lunch
At the start of 2011, diagnosed with severe developmental delay, four-year-old Ali Rahal was barely able to walk. Now thanks to CatholicCare's Early Childhood Intervention Program, the bright-eyed little boy not only has improved mobility but is able to walk and excitedly looking forward to starting school.
"I just can't praise CatholicCare highly enough," says Ali's mother, Wedad Rahal amazed and delighted with the progress her young son has made over the past few months.
"The CatholicCare therapist, Paula visits us at our home every fortnight and works with Ali and I cannot believe the difference she has made. She's always coming up with new ideas and different ways to develop Ali's mobility and other skills and really understands his needs and how best to meet them," she says.
Ali is one of 100 children in South West Sydney who benefit from extensive therapy and education intervention provided by CatholicCare's dedicated team of early childhood teachers and therapists from the agency's Early Childhood Intervention Program.
The welfare agency for the Archdiocese of Sydney, CatholicCare provides assistance to more than 300,000 men, women and children across the city each year under a variety of programs ranging from counselling for anger management to help with family relationships, parent education, treatment for drug, alcohol or gambling addictions, employment for those with disabilities, youth counselling and job training, respite care for those who look after the elderly, sick or disabled, job opportunities and accommodation assistance for youth at risk.
The agency also provides financial advice and help with budgeting, emergency and long term foster care and intervention and help for children like Ali.

Four year old Ali Rahal life has changed
thanks to CatholicCare's Early
Childhood Intervention Program.
Each year when CatholicCare hosts its annual St Patrick's Day lunch in the historic Strangers Dining Room at State Parliament House, Macquarie St there is a fundraiser for one of the agency's programs and this year monies raised at the lunch will go towards its Early Childhood Intervention Program.
2012 marks the 11th year CatholicCare has held the lunch. Although it will be one day before the "official" Day, 250 guests will again join CatholicCare CEO, Bernard Boerma this Friday, 16 March at NSW Parliament House to celebrate St Patrick's Day and the important work carried out by the agency.
Taking charge of the live auction and hosting other fundraising events during the lunch will be television game show personality Andrew O'Keefe. Guests attending the lunch will include state and federal politicians, leading clergy from across the Archdiocese and many old and new supporters of CatholicCare.
Last year's lunch raised $32,000 and the agency hopes to equal or top that amount with this year's St Patrick's Day event.
Originally founded by four lay women in 1941 who were among the nation's first accredited social workers, CatholicCare began life as the Sydney Welfare Bureau. Unlike other agencies of the time, this one not only offered help to the city's poor and in need, but identified the major causes of poverty and hardship and sought to address these issues.
The name of the Sydney Welfare Agency was later changed to Centacare and more recently to CatholicCare.
Today the agency employs a staff of more than 900 and operates 100 different programs as well as a national Parentline which can be accessed 24-hour-day, seven days a week.
To find out more about CatholicCare and the valuable work carried out by the agency, log on to www.catholiccare.org.
http://www.sydneycatholic.org/news/latest_news/2012/2012313_1788.shtml

ASIA : LAOS : CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED FOR FAITH

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
A new convert, the only Christian in a village, faced with an alternative: leave the faith or leave his home and property. At the moment his fate is unknown. In another district, 10 Christian families victims of a deportation order. The Laotian authorities persecute the Protestants considered "part of the US conspiracy".


Vientiane (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The communist authorities in Laos continue their campaign of persecution against the Protestant community, the victim of abuse and violations because it is considered "part of the U.S conspiracy" to overturn the government. In the past, Christians were subject to imprisonment, blackmail and threats designed to make them renounce their faith, expulsions and denied the right to study and medical care. The many conversions recorded in the recent past, particularly among ethnic minorities, have pushed the party leader to strengthen the campaign of repression and only in recent weeks there have been two different cases, against a newly-converted Christian in a village in the province of Luang Namtha and 10 families in Luang Prabang.

The first story concerns a man named Khamla, the only Christian in a village in the district of Viengphuka, Luang Namtha province. He is a recent convert, after being cured of a long illness through the fervent prayers recited every day by a friend in a neighboring district. The authorities have repeatedly ordered him to abandon the Christian faith. At his refusal, on 2 March officers faced him with a choice: leave his home and the village, or renounce his faith. This is because, said some witnesses, "the authorities want to keep Christianity away from Viengphuka". At the moment there is no information about his fate because of strict censorship on the issue.

Instead the second story dates to mid February, when a deportation order was issued by officials of the village of Hueyong, Pakoo district, Luang Prabang province, against 10 Christian families for a total of 65 faithful. Eight of 10 families converted just three months ago, but without the "permission" of religious affairs officer of the area who, therefore, launched a harsh campaign of persecution.

In Laos, a nation led by a communist regime, the majority (67%) are Buddhist, of a total of six million inhabitants, Christians make up about 2% of the population, of which 0.7% are Catholics. The most frequent cases of persecution are against the Protestant Christian community: in the recent past, AsiaNews has documented cases of peasants deprived of food for their faith (see AsiaNews 25/02/2011 Food denied to 65 Laotian farmers to force them to renounce Christianity) or pastors arrested by the authorities (see AsiaNews 12/07/2011 Fears for lives of Protestant pastors in prison for six months).

 http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Christians-persecuted-in-Laos-as-violations-of-religious-freedom-continue-24246.html

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : THURS. MARCH 15, 2012

Luke 11: 14 - 23
14 Now he was casting out a demon that was dumb; when the demon had gone out, the dumb man spoke, and the people marveled.
15 But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Be-el'zebul, the prince of demons";
16 while others, to test him, sought from him a sign from heaven.
17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.
18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Be-el'zebul.
19 And if I cast out demons by Be-el'zebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.
20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace;
22 but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil.
23 He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.

TODAY'S SAINT : MARCH 15 : ST. LOUISE DE MARILLAC

St. Louise de Marillac
FOUNDRESS AND PATRONESS OF SOCIAL WORKERS
Feast: March 15


Information:
Feast Day:March 15
Born:
12 August 1591 at Meux, France
Died:15 March 1660 at Paris, France
Canonized:
11 March 1934 by Pope Pius XI
Major Shrine:Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Rue du Bac, Paris, France
Patron of:disappointing children, loss of parents, people rejected by religious orders, sick people, social workers, Vincentian Service Corps, widows
Foundress of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, born at Paris, 12 August, 1591, daughter of Louis de Marillac, Lord of Ferri res, and Marguerite Le Camus; died there, 15 March, 1660. Her mother having died soon after the birth of Louise, the education of the latter devolved upon her father, a man of blameless life. In her earlier years she was confided to the care of her aunt, a religious at Poissy. Afterwards she studied under a preceptress, devoting much time to the cultivation of the arts. Her father's serious disposition was reflected in the daughter's taste for philosophy and kindred subjects. When about sixteen years old, Louise developed a strong desire to enter the Capuchinesses (Daughter of the Passion). Her spiritual director dissuaded her, however, and her father having died, it became necessary to decide her vocation. Interpreting her director's advice, she accepted the hand of Antoine* Le Gras, a young secretary under Maria de' Medici. A son was born of this marriage on 13 October, 1613, and to his education Mlle Le Gras devoted herself during the years of his childhood. Of works of charity she never wearied. In 1619 she became acquainted with St. Francis de Sales, who was then in Paris, and Mgr. Le Campus, Bishop of Belley, became her spiritual adviser. Troubled by the thought that she had rejected a call to the religious state, she vowed in 1623 not remarry should her husband die before her.
M. Le Gras died on 21 December, 1625, after a long illness. In the meantime his wife had made the acquaintance of a priest known as M. Vincent (St. Vincent de Paul), who had been appointed superior of the Visitation Monastery by St. Francis of Sales. She placed herself under his direction, probably early in 1625. His influence led her to associate herself with his work among the poor of Paris, and especially in the extension of the Confrérie de la Charité, an association which he had founded for the relief of the sick poor. It was this labour which decided her life's work, the founding of the Sisters of Charity. The history of the evolution of this institute, which Mlle Le Gras plays so prominent a part, has been given elsewhere (see Charity, Sister of); it suffices here to say that, with formal ecclesiastical and state recognition, Mlle Le Gras' life-work received its assurance of success. Her death occurred in 1660, a few month before the death of St. Vincent, with whose labours she had been so closely united.

(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/L/stlouisedemarillac.asp#ixzz1pC64asgO

VATICAN : POPE : RINGS BELL OF IEC AND PRAYING WITH MARY












RADIO VATICANA REPORT/IMAGE: Pope Benedict XVI has joined the ranks of the quarter of a million pilgrims to ring for renewal in the Church in Ireland on the International Eucharistic Congress Bell. Ahead of his weekly general audience the Holy Father met with a delegation from the IEC2012 organizing committee from Dublin, Ireland, led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, aptly beneath the ‘Arch of the Bell’s’ to the left of the Vatican Basilica.

Fr Kevin Doran, Secretary General of IEC2012 said: "The Pope blessed the bell, rang it vigorously, and paused to admire the icons as Archbishop Martin explained their significance. He was presented with Shamrock by Colette Furlong and with the first copy of the Congress Commemorative Medal, by Sheena Darcy."

"To the surprise of its critics, the Eucharistic congress is taking shape as a genuine moment of renewal in the church," said Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, as he launched the “Ring for renewal” initiative earlier this week.
Cathedrals, churches and chapels across Ireland are being asked to ring their bells for two minutes at 12 noon and 6 p.m this Saturday March 17th, St Patrick’s Day, as a symbol of renewal and a call to gather in preparation for the Congress. Archbishop Martin insists that the event "is being seen as a unique opportunity for renewal of the Christian life."

In fact when they were thinking about a symbol to represent the Dublin Congress, the organizers decided on the symbol of the bell. Why? Because apparently St Patrick, Patron Saint of the Irish, left a bell with each of the Christian communities he founded throughout the island in the 5th century. The idea being that these communities, on hearing the bell, would be called to conversion, to prayer, to and ultimately to communion.

For the past year, a bell taken from a convent on Ireland’s North Sea Coast, has been visiting all of the communities of Ireland’s 26 dioceses. Inner city parishes, fire stations, hospitals and hospices, schools, chapels, cloistered convents and ecumenical organizations.

Through winter cold, sleet and rain and under summer sun the spectacle of men and women young and old struggling beneath the weight of the bell as they carry it literally on their backs from village to village, up mountains and along motorways has puzzled many a motorist. The sound of the bell and hymns ringing along the main streets of towns has stopped many people in their tracks. The bell has become a vibrant sign for the Irish people of the coming Congress, an invitation to them to prepare and become involved, even those who have distanced themselves from the faith and the Church over the years.

The pastoral program that has accompanied the bell’s pilgrimage reflects this. It no longer takes the faith formation of Irish people as a given, offering introductory courses on scripture, liturgy and Church teaching.

“Our main aim is to try and bring as many people as possible to closer union with Christ” says Fina Golden. She is just one example of the new Church that is emerging in Ireland. A lay Catholic, she is on the board for pastoral preparation for the diocese of Elphin. “We also want to leave a lasting legacy in the diocese after Congress is finished, that people will remember, that hey will have deepened their faith and their communion with one another”.

In the past the Church in Ireland was often accused of clericalism. However the Church that is emerging in the lead up to Dublin 2012 while dramatically reduced in numbers, is vibrant, informed and above all centered on bringing forth the laity. They are literally everywhere, and they are not all Irish.

Meet the man behind the Bell, Hungarian Gellert Merza: “It was a fantastic opportunity to be out there and to see how people are attracted to the Church, to the Eucharist. And this little bell that we are carrying about in Ireland is a great opportunity for people to come and reflect again on what the Eucharist means for themselves. The bell is not the most important thing, it was just to start something, to ring in something and of course to call people to the Congress itself”.

To date more than a quarter of a million people- including Pope Benedict - have rung the Congress Bell in Ireland, in Lourdes, France and now also in Rome.

SOURCE: http://www.radiovaticana.org/en1/Articolo.asp?c=571137



VIS REPORTS: VENERATING THE MOTHER OF GOD MEANS LEARNING TO BECOME A COMMUNITY OF PRAYER
Vatican City, 14 March 2012 (VIS) - During his general audience this morning the Holy Father began a new cycle of catecheses, dedicated to the subject of prayer in the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters of St. Paul. The Pope focused his remarks today on the figure of Mary as she appears in the Acts, when with the Apostles she awaits the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Benedict XVI told the more than 10,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square that "it was with Mary that Jesus' earthly life began, and it was with her that the Church took its first steps. ... She discreetly followed her Son's journey during His public life, even unto the foot of the cross. Then, with silent prayer, she continued to follow the progress of the Church", he explained.
The stages of Mary's own journey from the house of Nazareth to the Upper Room of Jerusalem "were marked by her capacity to maintain an ongoing state of contemplation, meditating upon each event in the silence of her heart, before God. The Mother of God's presence with the Eleven after the Ascension ... has great significance because with them she shared the most precious of things: the living memory of Jesus in prayer".
After Jesus' Ascension to heaven, the Apostles met with Mary to await the gift of the Holy Spirit, without which it is not possible to bear witness to Christ. "She, who had already received the Spirit in order to generate the incarnate Word, shared the entire Church’s expectation of the same gift. ... If it is true that there could be no Church without Pentecost, it is also true that there could have been no Pentecost without the Mother of Jesus, because she had a unique knowledge of what the Church experiences every day by the action of the Holy Spirit".
The Pope went on to recall how the Vatican Council II Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen gentium" had emphasised this special relationship between the Virgin and the Church. "We see the Apostles before the day of Pentecost 'constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women including Mary the mother of Jesus'", he said. "Mary's place is in the Church, 'wherefore she is hailed as a pre-eminent and singular member, ... and as its type and excellent exemplar in faith and charity'.
"Venerating the Mother of Jesus in the Church means, then, learning from her how to become a community of prayer", the Holy Father added. "This is one of the essential aspects of the first description of the Christian community given in the Acts of the Apostles".
Our prayers "are often dictated by difficult situations, by personal problems which cause us to turn to the Lord in search of light, comfort and aid. But Mary invites us to open prayer to other dimensions, to address God not only in moments of need and not only for ourselves, but unanimously, perseveringly, faithfully and with 'one heart and soul'".
Benedict XVI also pointed out that Mary "was placed by the Lord at decisive moments of the history of salvation, and she always responded with complete readiness as a result of her profound bond with God matured through assiduous and intense prayer. ... Between the Ascension and Pentecost, she was 'with' and 'in' the Church, in prayer. Mother of God and Mother of the Church, Mary exercises her maternity until the end of history".
The Pope concluded by saying that "Mary teaches us the need for prayer and shows us how only through a constant, intimate and complete bond of love with her Son can we courageously leave our homes ... to announce the Lord Jesus, Saviour of the world".



BENEDICTINE TORCH IN ROME
Vatican City, 14 March 2012 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, Benedict XVI greeted a delegation led by Archbishop Renato Boccardo of Norcia, Italy, and by the abbots of the Montecassino and Subiaco. They have recently returned from Malta where last Sunday the Benedictine torch "Pro Pace et Europa Una" was lit. The torch will return to the saint's home town of Norcia on 20 March.
The Benedictine torch has been carried around European capital cities since the year 1964 which Paul VI proclaimed St. Benedict as patron saint of Europe. The torch is intended to symbolise the fraternity and peace proclaimed in the Gospel, beyond all political, ideological and religious divides. In the past it has been lit in Berlin, Prague, Bucharest, Strasbourg, Budapest, Madrid, Lisbon, Warsaw, Brussels, Vienna, Moscow and Jerusalem. In 2001 it was taken to New York to bring a message of hope following the attacks of 11 September, while last year it was lit in London during the course of an ecumenical ceremony in Westminster Abbey.

POPE TO VISIT ROME'S SACRED HEART UNIVERSITY
Vatican City, 14 March 2012 (VIS) - At 11 a.m. on Thursday 3 May the Holy Father will visit the Roman campus of the Sacred Heart Catholic University, where he will pronounce an address to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the "Agostino Gemelli" Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, according to a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office.

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 14 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Bishop Adalberto Martinez Flores of San Pedro, Paraguay, as military ordinary for Paraguay.
- Fr. Eduardo Jose Castillo Pino of the clergy of the archdiocese of Guayaquil, Ecuador, pastor and episcopal vicar of "Santa Elena", as auxiliary of Portoviejo (area 21,000, population 1,332,723, Catholics 1,298,917, priests 111, religious 311), Ecuador. The bishop-elect was born in Guayaquil in 1970 and ordained a priest in 1994. After studying for his doctorate in Rome, he worked in his home country as a professor in seminaries and schools. He collaborates with the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference and is author of numerous historical and theological works.

AFRICA : NIGERIA : 11 KILLED AT BOMB ATTACK AT CHURCH

Cisa News REPORT:
JOS, March 13, 2012 (CISA) –Nigerian Archbishop Ignatus Kaigama of the Archdiocese of Jos, has condemned the suicide bombing that killed about 11 people and seriously injured 22 others on Sunday, March 11 at St Finbar’s Catholic Church in Rayfield-Jos, Plateau State.
Bishop Kaigama, current President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) described the bombing as “evil, irrational, beastly and criminal.’’
Bishop Kaigama accompanied by Fr Peter Umoren, the parish priest of the bombed church said this while speaking with journalists late Sunday, hours after the blast, a statement sent to CISA said.
“It is an unfortunate incident and the handiwork of detractors,” he said in the statement after visiting the scene on Sunday.
This was the second attack in Jos two weeks after the February 26 attack when a suicide bomber drove an explosive laden-car into the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) and killed four people.
Bishop Kaigama called on Christians to remain calm and appealed to the youth to stop the reprisal attacks and secret killing adding that violence is not the best option.
“We want those that are behind this crisis to come and seek dialogue rather than attacks,” said the bishop.
Fr Umoren told journalists that the attack took place when the 10.30am mass had started.
“… I was right on the pulpit when we heard the heavy explosion…” said Fr Umoren. “The church building almost collapsed on the congregation but God saved us, that the roof did not come down but the ceilings were shattered,’’ he said.
According to him the impact of the explosion damaged 10 vehicles parked within the church premises. The attack also left the parish priest residence badly damaged.
President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the bombing in a statement signed and released to journalists by his spokesman Reuben Abati.
He reassured all Nigerians and friends of the country that the Federal Government is doing everything possible to end the spate of mindless attacks and killings in the country. SOURCE

EUROPE : COMECE PLENARY ASSEMBL7 WITH BISHOPS

COMECE RELEASE;
COMECE Spring Plenary Assembly
Press Information
! COMECE Plenary assemblies are closed to the public !

The COMECE Spring Plenary Assembly will be held from Wednesday 21 to Friday 23March 2012 in Brussels. 23 COMECE Member Bishops will be present. The main topic of the Plenary will be « The European Year 2012 devoted to active ageing and intergenerational solidarity ». Besides, the Bishops delegate will renew the COMECE Permanent Committee by electing a new President and four Vice-Presidents during this Plenary session.
unknown

Ageing is undoubtedly a challenge for the whole of society and for all generations in Europe, and it is also a matter for intergenerational solidarity and for the family. The part of the population of the Union comprised of people in their late 50s and over will increase at a much faster rate than ever before. While this is positive, as it is a logical consequence of the improvement in health and the quality of life, this demographic change also presents clear challenges for the Union.

COMECE internal elections: The Bishops delegate will renew the COMECE Permanent Committee by electing a new President and four Vice-Presidents during a closed session on Friday Morning.
Press Conference
Friday 23 March at 14:30 at COMECE
to present the newly elected President

Download the Programme in PDF


A final press release will be issued as usual on Friday at 14:00
For accreditation, interview requests an any further information, please contact:

Johanna Touzel, spokesperson and COMECE Press Officer
Tel +32 (0)2 235 05 15
johanna.touze(A)comece.eu

AMERICA : USA : ACTOR KIRK CAMERON REMARKS ON CNN

While being interviewed about his new film "Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure" during the March 2 show, Cameron expressed his opinion about gay marriage. He said he thought homosexuality was "unnatural."
"I think that it's detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization," the actor told Morgan.
Cameron, 41, who is an evangelical Christian, also spoke out against gay marriage.
"Marriage is almost as old as dirt, and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve. One man, one woman for life till death do you part. So I would never attempt to try to redefine marriage. And I don't think anyone else should either," Cameron continued.
"So do I support the idea of gay marriage? No, I don't," he said.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation issued a statement over the weekend condemning the actor's comments.
Celebrities including actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson from ABC's "Modern Family," Jane Lynch, Debra Messing, George Clooney, and Brad Pitt have slammed Cameron for his comments.
CNN's Morgan told TMZ.com that he found Cameron's views "antiquated" but said the actor was "brave" to share them.
Meanwhile, thousands of people across the country have expressed their support of Cameron's stance against homosexuality.
The actor spoke about the backlash against his anti-gay comments for the first time Tuesday.
"I believe that freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand-in-hand in America," Cameron said in a statement released by his publicist.
"I should be able to express moral views on social issues--especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years--without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach "tolerance" that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I'm in the public square," he said. **Read Cameron's entire statement below.
The "Growing Pains" actor has also been slammed by critics for his pro-life views.
"I think that it's wrong, under any circumstances," Cameron told Morgan during the CNN interview. "I think that someone who is ultimately willing to murder a child, even to fix another tragic and devastating situation - like rape or incest or things like that - is not taking the moral highroad."
The actor, who is a father of six children, also explained that he would support a pregnant daughter, even when the conception was a result of rape.
"I love my daughter, I love that little child. This is a little creature made in God's image," Cameron said. "I value life above all things."
Cameron's latest film, "Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure" is set to open as a live telecast event hosted by the actor in 450 theaters across the country on Mar. 27.
The documentary will then open in select theaters Mar. 30.
Actor Kirk Cameron's statement:
"In a recent interview about my film, Monumental, I was asked to share my views on homosexuality, gay marriage, and abortion. I spoke as honestly as I could, but some people believe my responses were not loving toward those in the gay community. That is not true. I can assuredly say that it's my life's mission to love all people.
The only way to properly answer these kind of questions is to begin the discussion with another question: Is life and sexuality sacred or are they not? If they are, then God has something to say about these things. If not, then everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the matter.
I believe that freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand-in-hand in America. I should be able to express moral views on social issues--especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years--without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach "tolerance" that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I'm in the public square.
In any society that is governed by the rule of law, some form of morality is always imposed. It's inescapable. But it is also a complicated subject, and that is why I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect.
I've been encouraged by the support of many friends. Thank you! I look forward to those who will join me as I seek to show you our true "National Treasure," at the live, nationwide viewing of "Monumental" on Tuesday, March 27th."

AUSTRALIA : MASS TO WELCOME NEW ARCHBISHOP COSTELLOE

News ImageARCHDIOCESE OF PERTH REPORT:
Article: B Spinks; Photo: Supplied
The Solemn Mass and Reception for Archbishop-designate Timothy Costelloe SDB will take place on 21 March at 6.30pm at St Mary's Cathedral and parishioners across the Archdiocese of Perth are invited to attend.
Archbishop Barry Hickey will officially hand the Archdiocese of Perth to his successor at this historic Liturgy.
Archbishop Costelloe, a member of the Salesian order, holds a Doctorate in Sacred Theology. He comes to Perth from Melbourne, but has four years experience in this Archdiocese. He was based here in the mid-late 1990s at St Joachim’s in Victoria Park and at the University of Notre Dame, Australia, as a lecturer.
Seating inside the Cathedral has been allocated to 1000 formally invited guests including Apostolic Nuncio Giuseppe Lazzarotto, several Australian Archbishops and Bishops, all Archdiocesan priests, deacons and seminarians.
However all the faithful who would like to attend are most welcome to watch the Liturgical proceedings from big TV screens, which will be set up in the piazza areas of the Cathedral grounds.
All those welcomed in the piazza areas will be able to fully participate in the Mass and receive Holy Communion if they wish.
All guests are encouraged to arrive and be seated by 610 as the Liturgy will commence promptly at 6.30pm.
After Mass, a refreshing tea, coffee and shortbread will be served to all guests gathered in the grounds, on the Victoria Avenue side of the Cathedral.
Parking on the Cathedral grounds will not be available on this occasion and guests are encouraged to park in nearby public carparks if needs be.

ASIA : INDIA : MIRACLE BRINGS MUSLIMS , HINDUS , CATHOLIC TOGETHER

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
For four days (5-8 March), water dripped from the feet of Christ on a cross near Our Lady of Velankanni. Pilgrims from all religions brought offerings and recited the rosary. For the parish priest, this "is the real miracle".


Mumbai (AsiaNews) - It does not matter "whether science can explain what happened or not, a miracle did occur in Irla, namely that of having dozens of Christians, Hindus and Muslims pray together under the cross," said Fr Augustine Palett, a PIME clergyman and parish priest at Our Lady of Velankanni, Mumbai.

For four days, from 5 to 8 March, water dripped from the feet of a cross in Irla, near the church. For Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association, the whole thing is a fabrication by priests to get money. However, his statement did not sit well with many.

For Fr Augustine, the former's statement "has obscured the real miracle, that is the constant flow of people, day and night, young and old, bringing offerings and reciting the rosary. People even came today to pray at the site."

At 6.30 am on 5 March this year, a Hindu woman saw water drip from the feet of the Christ on the cross in Irla, near Our Lady of Velankanni, Mumbai.

She informed the parish priest right away, who saw the extraordinary event himself. Within hours, a crowd had gathered in pilgrimage and prayer. Some even took some "miracle" water home.

Water stopped dripping at 1 pm on 8 March.

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Miracle-in-Irla-brings-Christians,-Hindus-and-Muslims-together-in-prayer-24233.html

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : TUES. MARCH 14, 2012


Matthew 5: 17 - 19
17 "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.
18 For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
19 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

TODAY'S SAINT : MARCH 14 : ST. MATILDA

St. Matilda
QUEEEN, MOTHER OF OTTO THE GREAT, BENEDICTINE OBLATE
Feast: March 14


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

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)



SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/M/stmatilda.asp#ixzz1pBqWGefi

VATICAN : TELEGRAM FOR ITALIAN ENGINEER KILLED

TELEGRAM FOR DEATH OF ITALIAN ENGINEER KILLED IN NIGERIA
Vatican City, 13 March 2012 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a telegram sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. to Archbishop Enrico Masseroni of Vercelli, Italy, for the funeral of the Italian engineer Francesco Lamolinara. Mr Lamolinara and a British colleague were kidnapped in Nigeria on 12 May 2011 and both men were killed last Thursday in the course of a failed rescue attempt.
"Benedict XVI, informed of the tragic death of the engineer Francesco Lamolinara, wishes to express his deepest condolences to members of the late man's family, and to assure them of his heartfelt participation in their mourning. Recalling the deceased's generous openness towards others and his contribution to peaceful coexistence among peoples, the Pope raises fervent prayers of Christian suffrage for his soul, sending his relatives and friends the comfort of an apostolic blessing, which he extends to everyone participating in the funeral and to the deceased's fellow citizens of Gattinara.
"I too join the mourning and the prayers, and remain close to the relatives and friends whom I met last August to support them in their hope at that difficult moment".

AMERICA : PRAYER MOVEMENT FOR HOLLYWOOD - THE CRY

Matthew Field, http://www.photography.mattfield.com
WHO WE ARE
RELEASE OF THE CRY WEBSITE: ARTICLE: Read article from CRY Hollywood Director, Faytene Grasseschi: Why Bless Hollywood
TheCRY Hollywood deeply honors the labors of the Hollywood church and prayer networks. A special page dedicated to these ministries and prayer networks will be posted in honor of them shortly.
______________________________________________________________
It's not a concert.
It's not a conference.
It's a cry.
TheCRY (Hollywood) is a prayer movement that gathers believers from every denomination, ethnic background and generation for a full day of prayer, fasting and abandoned worship. Those who come to TheCRYs believe in the power of prayer, fasting and speaking the love of God over a city, nation or sphere.
Prayer leaders (aka: speakers), worship leaders (aka: musicians) and artists all come at their own expense and serve freely recognizing the day is a corportate offering to the Lord as we, with one heart, pray for Him to move in entertainment media.
The leadership of TheCRY Hollywood is made up of several seasoned leaders from the Hollywood area and beyond. These leaders will lead in prayer, worship and share inspiring sound bytes throughtout the event that will direct the gathering back to prayer. A list of leaders participating in and/or endorsing the event are listed here.
THE POSTURE IS VERTICAL. Those who attend TheCRY Hollywood are not coming to hear speakers or be entertained by but to press into God.
The types of things that will be prayed for during TheCRY Hollywood will be:
  • for God to bless those in the entertainment industry and move in their lives powerfully
  • for Holy Spirit inspired movies to be released
  • for those who are enslaved in the sex trade to be rescued
  • for an increasing move of Holy Spirit in our generation
  • and more...
  • http://www.thecryhollywood.com/Welcome.html

We are believing God to touch the heart of a city, and sphere, that touches the world.
You are invited. We would love to see you there!


______________________________________________________________

EUROPE : IRELAND : SUMMARY OF BISHOPS MEETING

BISHOPS' CONFERENCE OF IRELAND REPORT:
Spring 2012 General Meeting of the Irish Bishops’ Conference
Today a press conference was held in the Columba Centre, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth marking the closing of the Spring General Meeting of the Irish Bishops’ Conference. The bishops attending the press conference were: Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, President of the Eucharistic Congress; Bishop Kieran O’Reilly, Bishop of Killaloe and chairman of Share the Good News; and, Bishop Donal McKeown, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor and member of the Bishops’ Council for Emigrants. The full audio recording of the press conference is available here.
The following subjects were discussed at the bishops’ spring meeting:
• Lent and preparation for Easter
• Safeguarding Children
• 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland, 10 – 17 June 2012
• Share the Good News: National Directory for Catechesis
• The Solemnity of Saint Patrick
• Trócaire’s 2012 Lenten Campaign “Rebuilding Communities for lasting change”
• Lent and preparation for Easter
In this the season of Lent the call to renewal of our Christian life is a central part of our preparation for Easter. Bishops ask the faithful to offer up their fasting, prayer, reading of Scripture and works of mercy* during Lent 2012 for the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland. Penance is an essential part of the lives of all Christ’s faithful. It arises from the Lord’s call to conversion and repentance. Christians do penance: in memory of the Passion and death of our Lord; as a sharing in Christ’s suffering; as an expression of inner conversion; as a form of reparation for sin. Drawing particular attention to the ‘concrete initiatives’ proposed by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in paragraph 14 of his Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland of March 2010, bishops specifically encourage the faithful and parish communities:
• to renew the practice of making the Sign of the Cross as they pass a Church in acknowledgement of the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist and as part of personal preparation for this year’s 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland in June;
• acknowledging the long tradition of fasting on Fridays, manifested in abstaining from meat, to renew this practice;
• to make a special effort to avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Holy Week, with parishes providing additional opportunities for the celebration of the sacrament during this time, as well as leaflets to support the faithful in participating in this sacrament;
• to promote the practice of ‘the Easter Duty’, whereby all the faithful of communicant age are encouraged to approach the sacrament of Penance and to receive Holy Communion at least once a year, during the Easter season (cf. Canon 920);
• to extend the provision and practice of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the period up to the International Eucharistic Congress, and in particular to provide opportunities for children and young people to experience adoration of the Blessed Sacrament followed by Benediction;
• to study and reflect upon the Gospel of Mark during the remainder of the liturgical year, with the assistance of the wide range of supporting materials available online or in Catholic bookshops;
• noting the Message of Pope Benedict XVI for the 46th World Communications Day, entitled ‘Silence and Word: Path of Evangelisation’, to set aside regular times of silence for prayer and reflection as individuals and families, and in particular to maintain an atmosphere of prayerful silence when in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and in Churches generally;
• to make a penitential pilgrimage to Lough Derg during the coming year, in response to the call for ‘self-examination, inner purification and spiritual renewal’ (n.11) in the Pastoral Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland.
Bishops ask that the faithful avail of Lent as a special time “to pray for an outpouring of God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s gifts of holiness and strength upon the Church” in Ireland, as part of the spiritual preparation for the International Eucharistic Congress.
(*The Catechism of the Catholic Church states (n.2447): “The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbour. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God”) (cf. James 2:15-16; 1 John 3:17).
• Safeguarding Children
In a wide ranging presentation of the current work being undertaken by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, Mr John Morgan, Chairman, and Ms Teresa Devlin, Director of Safeguarding, addressed the status of the current review process which involves both dioceses and religious congregations. Bishops were advised that it is anticipated that a further seven reviews will have been completed by mid-summer next. Bishops whose dioceses had already been reviewed by the National Board acknowledged the professionalism and help that the NBSCCCI staff extended throughout the process.
Bishops were also advised of the positive endorsement received from engagement with the Deputy Irish Human Rights Commissioner in Dublin, and his legal advisor, in relation to the recently issued Leave from Ministry interim guidance, now applicable on an all-Ireland basis.
The Director of Safeguarding outlined the extensive new training programme, currently being delivered across the Church, in line with legislation and guidance in both jurisdictions in Ireland, and in line with Safeguarding Children, Standards and Guidance for the Catholic Church in Ireland. This programme provides, for the first time, all Church personnel with specific training and support materials to assist with the implementation of child safeguarding standards already approved by the Bishops’ Conference, Conference of Religious of Ireland and the Irish Missionary Union. This programme goes beyond the current training provided by the statutory authorities and has been verified by those authorities.
• 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland, 10 – 17 June 2012
With less than 100 days to go to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, bishops were informed that bookings have now just reached 7,000. 95 countries will be represented at the Congress, including over 1,000 people from Canada (Quebec city hosted the last Congress in 2008), over 400 from the United States, 77 people from the Congo and also representatives from Australia, Britain, Germany, France, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Slovakia, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Taiwan and Equatorial Guinea.
Meanwhile many dioceses are organising transport to bring pilgrims to the Congress on various days of the Congress week. Plans are in place to facilitate the participation of parish choirs. Secretary General of the Congress, Father Kevin Doran, expressed the hope that parishes might consider sponsoring young adults to participate in the Congress youth programme.
In the context of a visit to Rome for Saint Patrick’s Day, the Eucharistic Congress Bell will be received by Pope Benedict XVI at a General Audience next week.
Theological Symposium
The Pontifical University, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth is hosting an international theology symposium from 6 to 9 June. The year 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council that so strongly underlined the ecclesiology of communion. The theology symposium examines the status questionis fifty years on. There will be expert contributions from scholars across the disciplines of theology – scripture, systematics, moral theology, liturgy, pastoral studies, missiology and ecumenics. There will be plenary sessions, seminars and liturgies. The symposium is aimed at participants who have at least a graduate level (or equivalent) of study in theology. In preparation for the Eucharistic Congress, bishops encourage priests, theologians and students of theology and people with an interest in theology to attend and further information can be obtained on www.iec2012.ie/theologicalsymposium
Background to the International Eucharistic Congress 2012
The theme for the 50th Congress is “The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another” and it will involve two main venues in the RDS and Croke Park, Dublin. The week long programme in the RDS consists of prayer, Eucharist, workshops, discussion groups, catechesis and testimonies, cultural events, tours, exhibitions, and a Eucharistic Procession. It is expected to involve 25,000 pilgrims participating in over 150 workshops; including 12,000 pilgrims from the five continents; and 80,000 participants at the Statio Orbis – the official title for the final Mass of the Congress, which will take place on 17 June 2012 in Croke Park. More information is available on www.iec2012.ie and 00 353 1 2349900.
• Share the Good News
The publication in January 2011 of Share the Good News: National Directory for Catechesis in Ireland by the Irish Bishops’ Conference initiated a ten year plan for evangelisation, for catechesis and for religious education in the Catholic Church in Ireland. The bishops’ Council for Catechetics is overseeing the task of ensuring the fullest possible of implementation of Share the Good News.
It highlights the responsible at all levels within the Catholic Church – parish, diocesan and national – for developing faith and faith community. The Directory is a resource containing theological, scriptural, and prayerful reflections.
Share the Good News reminds Catholics that the mission to evangelise is never to be understood as a personal cause, but is undertaken in the name of the Church and of Jesus Christ. The Directory emphasises that as well as missionary evangalisation, there is a need for on-going pastoral evangelisation within the community of the Church itself. With this in mind the bishops are agreed that Share the Good News will provide the framework for the response to the Year of Faith announced by Pope Benedict XVI which will begin next October. It will also provide a basis for on-going initiatives at parish, diocesan and national level over the coming aimed at promoting renewal in the Church in Ireland.
• The Solemnity of Saint Patrick and emigration
Saint Patrick’s Day is a special day for Irish people living at home and abroad. In 2012 we celebrate our national saint’s day in the midst of a deep economic recession which has resulted again in the heartbreak and pressure of unemployment and emigration for many individuals and families throughout Ireland.
The plight of Patrick, himself a migrant, has been faced by many Irish people who have struggled to live and integrate into new cultures. Patrick was called to serve and bring God to a people far from his homeland. Our national Saint was a pioneer in an inhospitable climate. In the words of Saint Patrick “May it never befall me to be separated by my God from his people whom he has won in this most remote land. I pray God that he gives me perseverance, and that he will deign that I should be a faithful witness for his sake right up to the time of my passing” (The Confession of St Patrick).
According to the Central Statistics Office, as of last September, 40,200 people from the Republic emigrated in the year to April, a rise of 45% on the previous 12 months. Bishops discussed the pastoral needs of the new generation of Irish emigrants. As a response the bishops’ Council for Emigrants is preparing an information pack for publication to coincide with Saint Patrick’s Day. It will equip our emigrants with material that will allow them make informed decisions as well as support them in their new life abroad.
This information pack will be available online and will include: (i) a snapshot of the reality of emigration, which will include stories from Irish emigrants about their personal experiences of emigration and stories from those who work to support Irish emigrants; (ii) practical information on emigration, such as visa requirements and information on accommodation and employment, and health insurance; and (iii) prayers for emigrants.
• Trócaire’s 2012 Lenten Campaign “Rebuilding Communities for lasting change”
As the Church in Ireland prepares for the International Eucharistic Congress this June, the theme of ‘community’ is to the fore of many people’s minds. Similarly in his 2012 Lenten message, Pope Benedict XVI draws on the brief biblical passage from the Letter to the Hebrews: “Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works”. In this message the Holy Father speaks of the importance of being concerned not just for the physical wellbeing of others but also for their spiritual wellbeing.
Lent is a time for reflection and for giving. Bishops ask Irish people to remember Trócaire during Lent and help to bring hope and dignity to those who need it most. The theme of Trócaire’s 2012 Lenten Campaign is: “Rebuilding Communities for lasting change”. This year, Trócaire’s Lenten campaign focuses on communities in northern Uganda who are trying to rebuild their lives after 20 years of war.
Bishops acknowledged the extraordinary generosity of priests, religious and lay faithful to Trócaire’s fundraising campaigns throughout 2011 and also appealing for renewed support for Trócaire’s current Lenten Campaign.
For four decades Trócaire’s Lenten campaigns have brought dignity and hope to many of the world’s poorest people. Globally, poverty claims 50,000 lives every day. Each year, the Irish people, in solidarity with the poor and through their commitment to Trócaire’s work, generously donate their time and money in support for those in the developing world who are in true need. Through their long-standing support for Trócaire, Irish people have helped communities in the developing world to overcome oppression, to have a voice, to secure the right to land and water, grow food, educate their children and earn a living.
http://www.catholicbishops.ie/2012/03/08/spring-2012-general-meeting-irish-bishops-conference/

ASIA : INDIA : CHRISTIANS KILLED BY EXTREMISTS

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
Suryakant Nayak, an Anglican, was going home after doing some errands. Police found his body in a well with evident signs of a struggle. In early March, 15 Hindus cut the throat of Goresa Mallick, a Catholic, for witchcraft. For the Global Council of Indian Christians, the high rate of acquittals in connection with the 2008 pogrom has encouraged Hindus to harass the Christian community.


Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Six Christians have been killed by Hindu ultranationalists or unknown attackers in Orissa in the last 14th months. The latest are Suryakant Nayak, an Anglican from Bakingia village (Kandhamal), and Goresa Mallick, a Catholic from Salimagocha village (Ganjam), who were murdered on 6 and 3 March respectively. "What is scary is the fact that the government is not concerned about the occasional killing of Christians in Orissa, and that the police is conducting its investigation slowly and carelessly," said Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).

The latest murders were particularly gruesome. Suryakant Nayak went missing on 2 March. After withdrawing some money in Raika, he carried out some errands with his mother and three daughters and then went home. Not far from home, he stopped for a drink whilst his mother and daughter went on their way.

Eyewitnesses say they later saw him lying on the ground, drunk. His body was found in a well four days later not far from Raikia, showing bruises. Both his hands and wrists were broken. The mouth and lips were swollen and some of his teeth were missing. All these are telltale signs of a fight. Nevertheless, the police has not filed a case of murder yet.

On 3 March, Goresa Mallick, 50, met a group of 15 Hindus from a neighbouring village. After drinking something, he was attacked by the men, who cut his throat and then proceeded to burn his body in the woods. The next day, the family found his remains.

Police arrested the alleged murderers who justified the killing by accusing the victim of "witchcraft". Goresa Mallick had converted to Catholicism five months earlier.

According to Sajan George, "the high rate of acquittals and the low rate of conviction in connection with the 2008 pogrom have encouraged rightwing Hindu nationalists. They feel they have total immunity from the authorities and can thus threaten and intimidate the Christian minority with impunity."

What is more, "in Kandhamal District, the failure to bring Hindu extremists to justice" is compounded by the fact that "Christians are ostracised." (NC)
http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Orissa:-second-Christian-killed-since-the-start-of-the-year-24222.html

AFRICA : MAURITANIA : EFFORTS TO PREVENT FAMINE

Agenzia Fides  REPORT - Many places in southern Mauritania, an area mainly devoted to agriculture and cattle breeding, are facing a food crisis that threatens to degenerate into famine if no action is taken immediately. The agricultural season of 2011 ended with a deficit close to 52% of normal annual production. To this one must add the rising prices of food. In the region of Gorgol 29 villages and 3,100 people have already been identified who find themselves in very precarious situations. To deal with the situation, the AGPI, a local social NGO of the Catholic organization Manos Unidas, is working to prevent further price increases buying as soon as possible cerial, seeds and legumes, which will be distributed among the families who will be selected by civil and religious authorities of every village. With the contribution of Manos Unidas this campaign of extraordinary aid for the rural population will be able to start, which has the objective of limiting the seriousness of food emergency in the villages of Sahel and will allow to sow the fields in anticipation of new rains. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 14/3/2012)

AUSTRALIA : FAREWELL MASS FOR ARCHBISHOP OF PERTH

ARCHDIOCESE OF PERTH REPORT:
By B Spinks, (cover photo, Video: Fayann D'Souza)
The Archdiocese of Perth honoured their spiritual shepherd of more than 20 years at the ‘People’s Farewell’ at St Mary’s Cathedral on 6 March with Mass & a soiree of Addresses and musical interludes, organised to farewell the outgoing Archbishop of Perth.
Photo by: Michael Connelly (c)
Archbishop Barry James Hickey - who was born in Leonora in 1936, ordained a priest in Rome, 1958 and has led this Archdiocese since October 1991 - will be oft remembered fondly for his leadership, compassion and humble witness to the Good News of Jesus.
More than 1500 of his friends and supporters attended the Farewell, including Premier Colin Barnett, Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi, Anglican Archbishop of Perth Roger Herft, members of his family and hundreds of parishioners from across Perth.
Pope Benedict XVI announced a fortnight ago on 20 February that Archbishop Hickey’s successor would be Archbishop-designate Timothy Costelloe – thus formalising his acceptance of Archbishop Hickey’s letter of resignation which was handed in following Church protocol on his seventy-fifth birthday in April last year.
The Mass was understated yet prayerful, embellished with the simple but beautiful Plain Chant.
The readings for the occasion were not specially chosen but were taken from the Mass of Tuesday, the second week of Lent. They spoke of Isaiah’s call to a clean heart in the eyes of the Lord (Isaiah 1.10:16-20) and Jesus’s call to humility in the Gospel of Matthew (Matt 23: 1-12).
The prelate kept his homily related to the words of the Gospel, saving his fond farewell for after the Mass.
With an organ and didgeridoo piece providing an overture for the offertory and preparation of gifts, there was a mystical ambiance in St Mary’s Cathedral ahead of the consecration.
This presence and resonance of the didgeridoo highlighted Archbishop Hickey’s - or Father Hickey’s, as they know him - compassion for the Indigenous community.
Archbishop Hickey kept the fanfare and extra items for the Ceremony of Thanks for after Mass.
St Mary’s Cathedral Choir and soloist Yann Kee sang an Italian operatic Marian hymn, ‘La Vergine degli Angeli’ to open the ‘Ceremony of Thanks’ once Mass had ended.
Auxiliary Bishop Donald Sproxton and the former Vicar for Clergy, Fr Brian McKenna each honoured Archbishop Hickey.
Fr McKenna spoke of Archbishop’s compassionate nature, his understanding, patience and gentleness as well as his frequent practical and personal generosity.
He commented on the way Archbishop Hickey would often have a stack of five-dollar-notes to hand out to those in need that he personally encountered.
Fr McKenna added that when Archbishop Hickey was once criticised that he was “too soft” on a particular matter, he said that when he gets to the pearly gates and meets St Peter, he will be asked, “Were you compassionate?”.
When Archbishop Hickey came to the microphone, he held back the emotion as he spoke of his late brother, Brian, whom he said he wished could have been present at the occasion.
Life and death are part of God's plan for us and we must accept that his life - his beautiful life - is now ended only to begin a wonderful new life with God in the life to come,” he said.
This sadness, he said, was eased by the knowledge that Brian’s grandson and his wife have just had a little baby boy who is less than seven days old and that the family was sitting in the front pew in support.
“So we see death and we see life. We see the cycle of creation continuing under God's guidance,” he said.
While the hundreds who filled the Cathedral and spilled onto the forecourt were there to offer their support and thanks, the ever-gracious and humble Archbishop honoured them.
He thanked his family, the function organisers and the priests who were there present.
I'm pleased with the number of priests. There is a priest's farewell next week but they'll probably go to both and I'm very grateful they've come tonight to show their friendship, their loyalty and I hope their love,” he said.
He reflected on various aspects of the state of the Archdiocese that he leaves behind; the re-established St Charles Seminary in Guildford and the pioneering Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Morley.
They are both full and that ensures sufficient priests for the future,” he said.
He was pleased not to have found it necessary to close parishes - as has happened in other parts of Australia – as there was no shortage of priests here.
He said the Archdiocese of Perth’s parishes were “vibrant and vital” and those on the outer limits of Perth are bustling with huge numbers.
He is pleased, he said, that there are new families, and young children all learning about Jesus and what it means to follow in his footsteps.
He said he was proud of the huge education system offering Catholic education and Christian values.
He was grateful for the agencies that reach out to those at street level but also at professional level along with prayer, focus and action groups of various sorts, all of which reflect the health of the church.
He said he saw his role of Archbishop as ‘overseer’ which is what the word for Bishop traditionally means in Greek and that he has sought to do the best he can.
I've learnt on the job. One starts very naive but gradually wisdom comes. And I am grateful for the cooperation of so many in the church because I think I leave it in good condition,” he said.
“I’ve done my best,” he said but added that he wanted to apologise to anyone whom he might have hurt over the last 20 years.
“I’m sure there have been some where expectations of me have fallen short in their judgment and I can offer myself as no more than just a fallible human being trying to read the mind of God and follow it and sometimes I make mistakes and for those mistakes I ask forgiveness,” he said.
He also mentioned that the office of Archbishop is about encouraging the people he shepherds to be witnesses to Jesus – “to be witnesses to the standards that he calls for in love, in generosity, in good living, in honesty, integrity and all those things that build up the church and build up the nation”.
He was pleased to see the Premier and members of parliament present because their job was important too and that the church and government interface – not only through dialogue but through those that govern, when they bring their faith to the decisions made in the interests of the people.
He said he had spoken out at times knowing that he would get attacked, and subsequently he has been attacked. But this is part of the price that one pays, he said.
“One cannot live in a ghetto, one has to be part of a society in which one lives,” he said.
Every church is part of that society and must make its contribution in the hope that others are listening, he said.
“We cannot force our views on anyone – we do not try to - but we ask them to listen as we listen to others who do not share our views,” he said.
In two weeks, after the hand over on 21 March, Archbishop Hickey will become ‘emeritus’ meaning he will be retired from office but will retain the title of Archbishop.
However, his retirement from office is not the same as retiring from a job out in the community such as from accounting or engineering, he noted.
“This position is not like that, I believe it is a call,” he said.
It is a call to follow Christ in sacred orders, he said, and it is one, which he expects to continue to carry out in the Archdiocese of Perth.
“I'll go wherever the need is, although I might do all those other things people suggest to me, the call still remains.
“With the strength that's remaining to me, and the energy that God might give to me, as long as that lasts, I'll try to respond to that call,” he said.
http://www.perthcatholic.org.au/news-events/view_article.cfm?loadref=10&id=146