Friday, May 11, 2012

VATICAN : POPE : RENEW TRUST IN ACTION OF GOD AND OTHER NEWS

THE MISSION NEEDS TO RENEW ITS TRUST IN THE ACTION OF GOD
Vatican City, 11 May 2012 (VIS) - "At the current time evangelisation, which is always a pressing task, requires the Church to work even more assiduously throughout the world in order to to ensure that all mankind may come to know Christ", said Benedict XVI this morning as he received in audience directors of the Pontifical Missionary Works. That organisation, which oversees missionary cooperation among the Churches of the world, is currently celebrating the annual assembly of its governing council. (RADIO VATICANA REPORT)
"Only in Truth, which is C hrist Himself", the Holy Father said, "can humankind discover the meaning of life, find salvation, and develop in justice and peace. All men and all peoples have the right to receive the Gospel of truth. ... Jesus, the Word incarnate, is always the centre of our announcement, the point of reference for our evangelising mission and for its methodology, because He is the human face of God, Who wishes to meet all men and women so as to bring them into communion with Him, in His love".
"The mission today needs to renew its trust in the action of God; it needs to pray more intensely that His Kingdom may come. ... We must invoke light and strength from the Holy Spirit, and commit ourselves with decision and generosity so as to inaugurate, in a certain sense, 'a new era of proclamation of the Gospel ... because, after two millennia, a major part of the human family still does not acknowledge Christ, but also because the situation in which the Church and the world find themselves at the threshold of the new millennium is particularly challenging'", said the Holy Father quoting Blessed John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Asia". Pope Benedict also expressed his support for the project with which the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and the Pontifical Missionary Works are supporting the Year of Faith, a project involving "an international campaign which, by praying the Rosary,accompanies the work of evangelisation in the world and helps many of the baptised to rediscover and deepen their faith".
"Announcing the Gospel often involves considerable difficulty and suffering. The growth of the Kingdom of God in the world, in fact, frequently comes about at the cost of His servants' blood. In this period of economic, cultural and political change in which human beings often feel alone, prey to anguish and desperation, the messengers of the Gospel, even if they announce hope and peace, continue to be persecuted as their Master and Lord was. But, despite the problems and the tragic reality of persecution, the Church is not discouraged, she remains faithful to the mandate of her Lord, aware that 'throughout Christian history, martyrs, that is, witnesses, have always been numerous and indispensable to the spread of the Gospel'".
The Pope concluded his address by recalling that the Pontifical Missionary Works had been given the particular task of "supporting the ministers of the Gospel, and helping them preserve the 'joy of evangelising, even when it is in tears that we must sow'. ... Your work of missionary animation and formation lies at the very heart of pastoral care", he told his audience, "because the 'missio ad gentes' is the paradigm for all apostolic activity of the Church. Become an increasingly visible and concrete expression of the sharing of personnel and means among Churches which, as communicating vessels, experience the same missionary vocation and impulse, and which work in every corner of the earth to sow the Word of Truth in all peoples and all cultures".





CONDEMNATION OF DOUBLE BOMB ATTACK IN DAMASCUS
Vatican City, 11 May 2012 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. released the following communique this morning concerning a double bomb attack in the Syrian capital Damascus yesterday, which killed 55 people and injured more than 370.
"Having witnessed yesterday's attacks which brought carnage to the streets of Damascus, we cannot but express our strong condemnation and the heartfelt closeness of the Holy Father and the Catholic community to the families of the victims. These attacks should encourage all sides to boost and strengthen their commitment to implementing the Annan Peace Plan, which has been accepted by all sides in the conflict. Yesterday' attacks also show that the situation in Syria requires a firm and joint commitment on the part of the entire international community to implement that plan and, as soon as possible, to send further observers. The appeal made by the Holy Father on Easter Day is now more pressing than ever: it is necessary without delay to make an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation".





FOUR CARDINALS TO TAKE POSSESSION OF TITLES, DIACONATES
Vatican City, 11 May 2012 (VIS) - A note released today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announces that the following cardinals will take possession of their titles or diaconates in coming weeks:
Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, Netherlands, will take possession of the title of San Callisto in Piazza San Calisto 16, Rome, at 5.30 p.m. on Thursday 17 May.
Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, will take possession of the diaconate of Sant’Elena fuori Porta Prenestina in Via Casilina 205, Rome, at 10.30 a.m. on Sunday 20 May.
Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Mary Major, will take possession of the diaconate of San Ponziano in Via Nicola Festa 50, Rome, at 11.30 a.m. on Sunday 20 May.
Cardinal Domenico Calacgano president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, will take possession of the diaconate of the Annunciazione della Beata Vergine Maria a Via Ardeatina in Via di Grotta Perfetta 591, Rome, at 17.30 a.m. on Sunday 27 May.

AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 11 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Seven prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Thomas Gerard Wenski of Miami.
- Bishop John Gerard Noonan of Orlando.
- Bishop Gerald Michael Barbarito of Palm Beach.
- Bishop Gregory Lawrence Parkes of Pensacola-Tallahassee.
- Bishop Felipe de Jesus Estevez of Saint Augustine.
- Bishop Robert Nugent Lynch of Saint Petersburg.
- Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice.
- Vytautas Alisauskas, ambassador of Lithuania, on his farewell visit.


ASIA : PHILIPPINES : CATHOLIC JOURNALIST KILLED

UCAN REPORT:
Nestor Libaton is the third journalist killed in the country in just over two weeks
Manuel T. Cayon and Lourdes Abelardo, Manila
Philippines
May 10, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Bishops condemn journalist killing
Radio journalist Nestor Libaton was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen on May 8
Catholic bishops on Wednesday condemned the killing of a reporter of a Church-run radio station in the province of Davao Oriental.
Three unidentified gunmen shot and killed Nestor Libaton around 2 p.m. on May 8 as he was traveling by motorbike back to Mati City, after covering a fair.
Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, called on authorities to solve the case as soon as possible.
“We hope and pray that the authorities will act on it and that justice may be pursued,” the prelate said during a Radyo Veritas broadcast.
“Whoever did this should realize the grave sin they committed,” Palma said.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines also condemned the killing.
Libaton was the third journalist killed in the Philippines in the past 15 days. Rommel Palma was killed in Koronadal City on April 24, and Michael Calanasan was shot in Laguna on April 30.
Libaton hosted a program that focused on development projects by the provincial government.
Police say they have yet to establish a motive for the killing.

AUSTRALIA : LIFE'S PRECIOUS TREASURES

ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE REPORT:
   

Friday, 11 May 2012
By Edwina HallArch_100
Family love is like the wind: instinctive, raw, fragile, beautiful, at times angry, but always unstoppable. it is our collective breath. It is the world’s greatest force … It is our last miracle.
James McBride
I AM blessed to be the mother of the most adorable two-year-old boy named Archie.
Since Archie graced us with his life he has brought so much joy. Joy not only to my husband Matt and I but to so many others; he is our little ray of sunshine.
When I was a child my mother showered me with love, warmth, kindness, patience, a good sense of humour and a firm belief in the importance of education—virtues and beliefs that I will always be grateful to her for and qualities I hope I will pass on to my son.
It is hard to describe just how important and just how special the bond is between a mother and her child but there is something inseparable about the two, they go hand in hand together.
A wise great-aunt of mine, Gwen, who was a physician and wonderful mother to all six of her children, always said that every baby is a miracle and she was right. I am grateful to God every day for blessing me with the miracle of Archie and I could not imagine life without him.
There is nothing more rewarding than the first time you hear your child cry, the first time you see your child walk, the first time they say ‘mummy’, their cuddles and kisses, the feeling you get when they hold their hand in yours and the excitement and laughter they find in the simplest of things; they put life into perspective and make you appreciate and realise what is important.
There is something amazing about children’s intuition, they give people hope, they are our hope, often bringing a smile to the face of those most in need. One night, while we were waiting to see a doctor, a lady who was in great need of medical attention sat with tears streaming down her face, alone. Other people walked past her turning a blind eye, Archie, however, acknowledged her, paying her attention and through this small act, her tears turned to a smile and her wait for medical help was made more bearable.
Each and every day that I am lucky enough to spend with Archie, watching each milestone with love and admiration, is a blessing. I believe that the mother’s role is vital in order for children to grow into happy and confident adults. The role of the father is also crucial and I know how lucky I am to have Matt, my husband, to share the role of parenthood with.
Motherhood teaches one to be truly selfless and it is only now as a mother myself that I realise what my own mother, and many mothers around the world, sacrifice as part of this vocation. Of course there are days that seem harder than others—endless nappies, tantrums, rushing between home and work to get dinner on the table, or to file this story on time—but how blessed we are to be given such a precious and worthwhile responsibility, and to know what motherhood is.
Archie is the lucky owner of six pet chooks; two of whom who recently hatched out some baby chicks. The mother hens fuss over their babies taking them under their wings with fierce protectiveness, depicting the universal role of mothers, who one day must let their babies go free to explore the world and pave their own paths in life.
The role of motherhood is unique to each and every one of us; there is no perfect way to do it. Every day I learn from Archie and he learns from me. I hope that I can teach him happiness, a passion for learning, patience, compassion, responsibility and laughter—but, most of all, love.
In the words of Mother Teresa: “Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put into what we do.”

AMERICA : PERU : CHILD TRAFFICKING CONTINUES

Agenzia Fides REPORT - It is estimated that 212 children fell victims of human trafficking during the first two months of 2012 in the forest region of Madre de Dios in southeastern Peru, where "the Gold Rush" has existed for a long time: this was denounced by Oscar Guadalupe, director of Huarayo Association, noting however that this figure could be reduced in this period due to police operations.
Oscar Guadalupe made these statements at the presentation of the book "Human trafficking in the region of Madre de Dios", sponsored by several organizations (NGOs). The text points out that the lack of State presence which
has led to the flourishing of illegal activities in a region where 20 tons of gold are extracted per year.There is little information on human trafficking in Madre de Dios and there is no official figure for various reasons, notably the lack of complaints and the remoteness of the areas where mining camps are situated, where those abuses occur in homes which are in very poor sanitary conditions.
From the information gathered by Fides and according to police data, mentioned in the book, from May to December 2010 there were 17 cases of trafficking, of which 11 were for sexual exploitation and forced labor for six. The book also indicates that in the country 59% of cases of human trafficking is for sexual exploitation, 30% for labor exploitation, 10% for begging, according to information released by the Ministry of the Interior in July 2011, quoted in the book.
According to the deputy Alberto Beingolea, who attended the book presentation, the crime of human trafficking "is not sufficiently known" in society, we should work harder to "try to prevent, for the correct application of criminal law and to do something for the victims. " Last year 111 children under the age of 18 were housed in temporary accommodation of the Huarayo Association in the city of Mazuko, a point of passage to reach the mining camps in the area: there it was discovered that 59 of them were victims of human trafficking. Guadalupe has also highlighted the case of teenage children who prostitute themselves in mining camps and become pregnant, describing them "invisible victims" of gold extraction.
Huarayo Association is a non-profit civil Association, specialized in children's development in Madre de Dios (in the Peruvian Amazon), founded in 1998. Its objectives are to promote the overall development of children in the Amazon; the active participation of children and adolescents in the defense and dissemination of their rights; the fight against exploitation of children in the goldfields. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 10/5/2012)

EUROPE : RIP FR. MASSIMO CENCI MISSIONARY

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
Benedict XVI remembers PIME missionary's work, in mission to Brazil and in service of the Holy See. His death comes right after he celebrated 37 years of priesthood.


Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "My thoughts and yours in this moment go to Fr Massimo Cenci, undersecretary, who died suddenly. May the Lord reward him for all the work he accomplished in mission and service of Holy See," Benedict XVI said as he remembered Fr Massimo Cenci, a missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) who passed away this morning. The Pontiff spoke at the annual audience of the Pontifical Missionary Works.

Fr Massimo Cenci, 68, was undersecretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of peoples since 2001. The pope had just renewed his mandate for another five years, a task to which he had devoted all his energy in terms of organisation, visits to the missions and relations with bishops in missionary dioceses. Before that, in the late 1990s, because of his knowledge of the Brazilian Church, he was called to work at nunciature in Brasilia.

Ordained in 1975, he had been vocation guide, stimulating a missionary vocation among many young people. In 1979, he was sent to Amazonia, Brazil, where he took on a number of tasks: parishes in the city of Manaus, "street" pastoral work, evangelisation among indigenous peoples and principal at the Manaus regional seminary.

Fr Cenci was born on 7 February 1944 in Desio, Milan (Italy). Very early, he and his family moved to Cannes, France, where he lived until 1958.

He entered PIME as an adult in 1964, attending the Institute's seminary in Cervignano del Friuli, Udine (Italy).

His encounter with the Communione e Liberazione movement strengthened his missionary and priestly vocation, which began at the Dergano Parish Church in Milan and continued in Brazil.

Mgr Giuliano Frigeni, current bishop of Parintins, Amazonia (Brazil), studied and went on mission with him. Last night, he spoke from Brazil with his fellow brother to reminisce about their 37 years as priests, whose anniversary was yesterday.

Fr Cenci passed away this morning around 6.40 am, probably from a heart attack according to doctors.

His funeral will be celebrated at 11 am next Monday at Regina Pacis Church in Rosolino Pilo Square, Rome. Card Fernando Filoni, prefect of Propaganda Fide, will conduct the service.

AFRICA : KENYA : MISSIONARIES MEET TOGETHER

DSC_0588
CISA NEWS REPORT: SAGANA, May 8, 2012 (CISA) -The 11th regional conference of the Consolata Missionaries from Kenya and Uganda kicked off , May 7 at Bethany House, Sagana, a hundred kilometers outside Nairobi.
The conference held every six years, ends Saturday May 12, 2012.
The 5-day conference will discuss: economy of communion and sustainability; evangelization and mission; spiritual and community life; formation; organizational structure and, missionary animation and vocational promotion and communication.
Among other participants are: Vice-Superior General of the Consolata Missionaries worldwide, Fr Dietrich Pendawazima, the General Councilor in-charge of Africa, Fr Marco Marino, the General Administrator, Fr Rinaldo Cogliati, the Regional Superior, Fr Joya Hieronymus and 40 delegates drawn from Kenya and Uganda.
The Vice-Superior General, Fr Pendawazima expressed hopes that the conference would capture the mandate of the General Chapter.
The General Chapter held in Rome last year, resolved to set up a Continental Secretariat which would help to re-qualify the Consolata mission, improve sharing of personnel, restructure the congregation’s presence and economic support to increase the sense of belonging in the continent.
“The Continental Secretariat Council will consist of regional and delegate superiors and General Councilor in charge of the continent who will coordinate with the General Council in Rome. This will guarantee the flow of coordination, information and programs. The idea is to decentralize the decision-making powers of the General Council,” he said.
Fr Pendawazima called on missionaries to be aware of the economic challenges facing the congregation, saying these should not trigger alarm as Consolata Missionaries are called to live a more austere lifestyle.
He urged missionaries to be calm amidst financial crisis that the congregation is undergoing as it is a worldwide phenomenon.
“Crises are cyclical, benefactors are disappearing, our administrators should be therefore trained,” he told CISA in an interview.
Fr Joya, the Regional Superior, acknowledged that the congregation in Kenya is grappling with rising numbers in the vocations, but due to financial constraints, the conference will have to re-think the number of students to admit in its seminaries.
Fr Joya said that Kenya and Uganda is a very important region as it is the first mission and has the highest number of human resources. He urged the delegates to plan well for the region’s future.
“It’s a region that is endowed with many resources and opportunities that if well tapped, even economically, it can really help the continent and also the whole congregation,” he said.
Amidst all of these challenges, he noted, many local ordinaries continue to extend invitations to the Consolata missionaries to open missions in their respective dioceses. He expressed hope that even if there are no available resources, the Christians in these parishes would work hand in hand with the congregation.
“It is a sign that the local ordinary appreciate our work,” adding “This conference will therefore have a look into the resources we have and see if we can answer to this requests. Through divine providence God will give an answer to it.”
Fr Joya expressed optimism that the conference would come up with plans to mitigate the economic challenges including investment and resource mobilization ideas to sustain mission work.
The Consolata Missionaries are working in 25 different countries in the world. The Kenyan region has a total of 168 members (priests, brothers, novices and students in formation).

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. MAY 11, 2012


John 15: 12 - 17
12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
17 This I command you, to love one another.

TODAY'S SAINT : MAY 11 : ST. FRANCIS OF GIROLAMO

St. Francis of Girolamo
PRIEST
Feast: May 11


     Information:
Feast Day:May 11
Born: 17 December 1642 at Grottaglie, Apulia, near Taranto, Italy
Died:11 May 1716 at Naples, Italy
Canonized: 26 May 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI
Patron of: Grottaglie, Italy
In that part of the kingdom of Naples which is commonly called Terra d'Otranto, a small village near Taranto gave birth to St. Francis di Girolamo. This event, which was destined to exercise so important an influence over the world in these latter times, took place upon the 17th of December, 1642. His parents, John Leonard di Girolamo and Gentilesca Gravina, were distinguished less by the honorable station which they occupied in society, than by their virtues and the excellent education they gave to their children—eleven in number, of whom Francis was the eldest.

But not only was virtue thus the inheritance of our saint, and as it were the natural growth of his soul, but it sprung up therein with an energy that early developed the rich qualities of the soil it occupied. A judgment beyond his years, a sweet submission and obedience to his parents, a virginal modesty, and an ardent love of prayer and retirement, marked the childhood of the saint, and betokened his future greatness and sanctity. At a proper age the holy youth was admitted to the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist; from which moment his hunger and thirst for this sacred banquet constantly increased, drew him to its participation as often as possible, and nourished in him that love for our Lord, which kept him ever in communion with the Spouse of souls. His pious parents were careful to cultivate the extraordinary talents with which God had blessed him, by procuring him early instruction. He was taught the rudiments of the Latin tongue, which he acquired with surprising facility; and so quickly did he learn, and so correctly retain, the truths of religion, that already, in his tender years, he commenced his apostolic career, by teaching the children of his own age their catechism. When he was sixteen years of age, his parents, ever watchful over his interests, sent him to Taranto, that he might study philosophy and theology in the schools of the Society of Jesus. Here his exemplary conduct won for him the esteem and affection of his venerable archbishop, who, more and more persuaded of his worthiness, advanced him successively to the minor orders, subdeaconship and deaconship. With the consent of his parents he went to Naples, in order to acquire the canon and civil law, at the same time that he prosecuted the study of theology. But what Francis had most at heart-to complete the dedication of himself to God-occupied his first thoughts on arriving at Naples. Wherefore, procuring dimissorial letters from his archbishop, and a dispensation from the pope, on account of his age, he received priest's orders from the hands of Don Sanchez de Herrera, bishop of Possuoli. Deeply penetrated with a sense of the awful responsibility he had assumed, and the exalted dignity with which he was invested, Francis, although pure and holy and studious before, became now more watchful, fervent, and assiduous, and dreaded lest the shadow of imperfection should obscure for a moment the virginal purity of his soul. And though he lived in the world as one not belonging to the world, still he was now anxious to quit it entirely, and to betake himself to some solitude far removed from its dissipations and the breath of its polluted atmosphere, where he might have full leisure to attend to his advancement in learning and sanctity. Heaven granted the wish of its favored servant. A prefect's post became vacant in the College of Nobles of the Society of Jesus. Francis applied for, and obtained it. The youths who were submitted to his care, were not slow to discover that a saint had been set over them. His countenance and demeanor, his amiable manners and sweet and pious conversation, the austerities and mortifications which all his efforts did not entirely conceal, soon manifested the exalted degree of perfection which he had attained.

After five years' residence there, in the situation of prefect, our saint, in his twenty-eighth year, felt a sudden and strong inclination to enter the Society. Indeed, he had all the qualifications requisite to become a member, and though the idea presented itself to him for the first time, his mind was prepared to receive it with avidity, from the sentiments which he had long cherished, and which his education among the Jesuits, and his long connection since with the order, had considerably strengthened. But now an obstacle arose, which it cost the saint no little pains to overcome. This was his father's opposition to the step. He wrote Francis a long and vehement letter, full of pathetic remonstrances, which the saint so affectionately and eloquently answered, as at least to subdue his reluctance, and induce him to acquiesce in the will of God. Thus all difficulties being removed, on the eve of the Visitation of Our Lady, in the year 1670, being then in his twenty-eighth year, he repaired to the house of probation to perform his novitiate.
No sooner did Francis find himself admitted among the novices, and bearing the sacred habit, than his soul burst into lively effusions of gratitude; and with such zeal did he apply himself to the duties now imposed upon him, that the master of the novices soon perceived what an acquisition the Society had made. A more fervent, mortified, and obedient novice than Francis, never was found. He scrupulously complied with the minutes" and most irksome ordinances. Being of a meek and affable disposition, he won the hearts of others by his amiable conduct; and, being appointed to preside over the lay-novices, his exalted virtues and profound spirituality speedily wrought a beneficial change in their dispositions. Armed at all points, and strengthened against every assailant, he issued from the first year of his novitiate, exulting like a giant, to run the career of apostolic virtue. He was sent to Leece, together with the celebrated Father Agnello Bruno, and during three years, these holy missionaries traversed every city and village in the two provinces of Terra d'Otranto, and in that of Apulia, preaching, and converting, wherever they went, an infinite number of sinners. It used to be said of them, "Father Bruno and Father Girolamo seem not mere mortals, but angels sent expressly to save souls." In 1674, our saint was recalled to Naples, in order to finish his course of scholastic theology, previous to his being solemnly professed. When his studies were completed, he was, in 1675, by a special disposition of Providence, appointed to the church called the Gesu Nuovo, where he commenced the labors of that apostolic career, which he continued for forty years, without intermission, unto the close of his earthly pilgrimage. For the first three years, indeed, his only fixed duty was to give the invitation to communion, as is the custom in that church, on the third Sunday of every month; which task, however, is arduous enough to discourage any but a most zealous laborer. Yet, oven this and the other incessant works of charity in which he spent these three years, could not satisfy the cravings of our saint's zeal. Wherefore, on the news reaching him that the mission of Japan was once more to be opened, he importuned the superiors, by letters dispatched to Rome, to let him have a part in this glorious enterprise, so that he might slake, in some degree, the burning thirst which devoured him. For his desire had ever been to die for the faith, yet was he content to linger out a painful life, amidst the thorns of martyrdom, even though it should be denied him to pluck the rose he so much coveted. The answer came, precise and peremptory. He was to consider Naples as his <India>, and to perfect the sacrifice he had made of himself to God, by the surrender of his inclinations. Thenceforward he looked upon Naples as that province in the vineyard of our Lord, which the divine husbandman wished him to exclusively cultivate. Such was the sovereign will of God, manifested in the command of his superiors, and in which our humble saint acquiesced without hesitation; nor was that Providence, which rules events, slow in carrying its purpose into effect.

The superiors, in 1678, confided the whole mission to Francis. Here it may be proper to describe the duties such a charge imposed. First, to watch over and maintain the fervor of a pious congregation, who assisted at all the processions, and were the right arm of the missionary: secondly, to preach every Sunday and festival-day during the year, in the squares or other frequented parts of the city; and this not only in Naples, but also in other towns and provinces of the kingdom. And thirdly, to give the monthly invitations to communion. Our saint undertook the first of these obligations with an ardor only surpassed by the success which attended his efforts. He reformed all abuses, and excluded every imperfection that could retard the spiritual advancement of his scholars. He introduced, or established among them, the custom of frequenting the sacraments every Sunday, and on all the festivals of our Lady, and the practice of mental as well as vocal prayer, and of public penance and humiliation. The law of the Gospel he was careful to instil into them by frequent exhortations, and he gave efficacy to his precepts by his example. But as the members of this confraternity were destined to be his partners and coadjutors in the apostolic ministry, he was, above all, assiduous in kindling and keeping alive the flames of zeal in their breasts; so that they became his zealous and indefatigable assistants. Besides this, he chose seventy-two of the most efficient and capable, with whom he held counsel twice a month, and sent them into the heart of the city, to spy out the evil that existed, and learn what souls stood most in need of ghostly and bodily succor. The vigilance he exercised over all, extended to each in particular. With marvellous dexterity he practiced what St. Basil calls the insinuating arts of grace. His charity also and forbearance were unbounded: in sickness he never abandoned them a moment, but continued his affectionate attentions to the last. Another practice, to which he had recourse, to promote piety, was the visit to the seven churches, in commemoration of our Redeemer's seven journeys. This was performed in the following manner: a procession, carrying the crucifix, chanted the litanies as they went, and at every church where they stopped, Francis delivered an impressive exhortation. The devotion terminated with a renewal of the oblation each one made of himself, to our Lord Jesus and our Lady, with vows of perpetual fidelity.

The second duty, of preaching in public, embraced a much more extensive range, and required a proportionately greater degree of toil. When the Sunday came, he first spent two hours in mental prayer, then said Mass, and afterwards recited the Canonical Hours, bareheaded and kneeling, either in his room, or in the church before the blessed Sacrament. His private devotions being satisfied, he spent the rest of the morning in the Confessional, or with his congregation. At the appointed hour the saint and his companions went into the streets in procession, and then, distributing themselves in divers parts, began to preach to the people. Francis usually mounted a stage, near or opposite to the dancers or mountebanks, who either slunk away at his approach, or vainly strove, through rage and spite, to distract the attention of the audience, who were fascinated by his eloquence. After the discourse, he would kneel at the foot of the cross, and scourge his shoulders with the discipline: then once more he betook himself to the Confessional, where he remained till the doors of the church were closed. Still his ardor longed for more extensive occupation; and, with the approbation of the superiors, and the concurrence of his companions, he repeated the missionary labors on holidays, during the week as well as Sundays.

The third duty annexed to his charge was the invitation to communion. For nine days preceding the third Sunday of every month he went about the principal streets, along with a few companions; by ringing a little bell, he gave notice of the approaching day of communion; and, to excite the attention of his hearers, recited, in a loud voice, some short, but sententious maxim or admonition from Holy Writ. Thus he continued all the morning until dinner-hour, and after noon resumed his task with never-wearying zeal till nightfall.

In the suburbs, also, of Naples, he performed this laborious duty; nor is it easy to conceive the pains and privations it cost him; how, under the scorching sun, or pouring rain, he journeyed through marshes, over rocks, oft times to the peril of life and limb, and always on foot, until, in his latter days, he was constrained to ride. When the day arrived, and from fifteen to twenty thousand communicants appeared, Francis used his strenuous efforts to keep order among them. The troops of men and women who came from the adjoining towns and villages, he received at the door, and placed in their respective posts. The children, crowned with cowers, were welcomed by him with tears of joy; but it was in imparting to them the life-giving food, that his soul overflowed with tenderness, and the love of Jesus beamed from his countenance, and thrilled in the fervid expressions with which he excited their devotion. Such were the labors of our saint's mission, and such the manner he discharged them. On the feast of the Immaculate Conception of our Lady, in the year 1682, Francis made his solemn profession; on which occasion he manifested that humility which distinguished him, by falling on his knees in public, and kissing the feet of the superior, thanking him aloud for admitting so unworthy a member into the society.

Before we enter further into the detail of his apostolic career, it may not be improper to give some notions of that quality whereby he wrought so many wonders,—his extraordinary eloquence. His voice was loud and sonorous, and was heard distinctly at a great distance; and the style of his preaching was copious, simple, and impressive. No one ever knew the human passions better, or swayed them with more tact and delicacy. Sometimes he stole upon his hearers with an insinuating grace, that charmed them almost unconsciously into persuasion, at other times, he would pour out such a volley of arguments, sustained by suitable quotations from Scripture, or the fathers, and illustrated by all the images of a lively fancy, so as to overpower all opposition, and force conviction on the most stubborn. His descriptions were forcible and graphic; his pathetic appeals were sure to draw tears, and his energy astounded and terrified. Indeed, he was accustomed to speak with so much vehemence, as occasionally to bring blood to his lips: he often talked himself hoarse, and till his palate was parched; and once, in the midst of an animated invective against sins, he dropped down suddenly and swooned away. The method he ordinarily pursued in his discourses, was first to paint the enormous malice of sin and the terrors of the Divine judgments, in colors so striking as to raise self-indignation and alarm in sinners. Then, changing his tone with a master-skill, he dwelt upon the sweetness and mildness of Jesus Christ, so as to make despair give way to hope, and the most hardened melt into compunction. This moment he seized, to make an appeal so tender and so overpowering as to cause his hearers to bend their knees before the image of their crucified Lord, and implore, in tears, and sobs, and broken accents, forgiveness and reconciliation. It was usual for him to subjoin, at the conclusion, some striking example of God's chastisements or favors, whereby his audience might carry away a deeper and more lively impression of the truths he had just been inculcating. His eloquence, however, was less the result of any natural talent, than of his ardent love of God and zeal for his service. When he was to preach, he used to note down in few words his arguments, authorities, and examples; and at the foot of the crucifix, he prepared himself to treat on his affairs with men, by communing with God. Thence, like another Moses, he descended—all on fire from his colloquy with the Deity; and it seemed as if God himself often inspired him with expressions of supernatural efficacy.
It was matter of surprise to all who knew him, how he could possibly go through so many labors, which were more than sufficient to occupy five missionaries, and far beyond the natural strength of his weak constitution and emaciated frame; so that it was not unreasonably thought, that to prolong such exertions for the space of forty years, he must have been supported by a miracle. He was in constant attendance on the hospitals, prisons, and galleys, besides visiting the sick in their houses, and ministering to the spiritual necessities of monasteries, asylums, confraternities, and schools. The consequence of these labors was the amendment of numberless sinners; the conversion of several Turkish infidels to the faith of Jesus Christ; and the introduction of a surprising regularity of manner in those habitual abodes of wretchedness and vice—the galleys and the prisons. His zeal also reclaimed the soldiery from a state of the greatest disorder to the most edifying piety. Still, however, his ardor, which knew no bounds, thirsted for more fruit; accordingly he used to go and preach, during the night, in the very hotbeds and receptacles of vice, that sinners might be awed into repentance by the novelty and solemnity of this warning, at the hour when they least apprehended interruption. Once our saint, being in prayer in his chamber, felt a sudden inspiration to go out and preach, which, by the advice of his superiors, he obeyed. For some time, he wandered in the dark—he knew not whither, till he came to the corner of a street, where he began to preach on the necessity of immediate correspondence with the divine grace; and having finished, returned home, satisfied with having complied with his duty, though ignorant to what purpose, or with what fruit. The next morning, however, a young woman came to him to confession; and, with signs of the bitterest compunction, told him that when in company, the evening before with her paramour, her attention was suddenly arrested by his voice in the street, denouncing God's vengeance against unrepenting and procrastinating sinners, which so terrified her that she began to exhort her partner in guilt to break off their unlawful intercourse. To this, however, he would by no means consent, and even laughed at and derided the holy man's threats: when, to her horror, she beheld their awful fulfilment. For the man suddenly ceasing to speak, she found him a breathless corpse; his soul having taken its flight to God's tribunal, while the words of blasphemy were yet upon his lips. Plunged into the greatest alarm by this catastrophe, she implored pardon of God, with sighs and tears, and now came to effect her reconciliation, and to expiate her past scandals by a life of penance.
Francis had to experience many mortifying contradictions. Yielding to certain representations, the cardinal archbishop forbade him to preach any more. The humble saint uttered no complaint or remonstrance, but consoled his zeal by a perpetual attendance in the confessional. Soon after, moved by the conduct of the saint, as well as by the entreaties of wiser and more virtuous advisers, who assured him that he was depriving Naples of its apostle, the cardinal gave Francis back his faculties. For the purpose of proving his virtue, the superior forbade him to quit the house without obtaining express permission—a command with which Francis for several months scrupulously complied; till she father, edified by his humility, and convinced of his virtue, removed the restraint. Even the lay-brother who was assigned him, being a man of morose temper, was a great cause of trouble to him. Where his zeal thought to effect most good, it often met with the harshest construction and reproof. He was abused as a meddling busybody-a disturber of the public quiet. He was often overwhelmed with outrages, and more than once turned out of doors. A certain cavalier had such an aversion for him, that he could not bear his presence. A large sum was entrusted to Francis for this person, with whom he more than once sought an interview, without being able to attain it. "Well!" said the cavalier, who admitted him at last, "what brings you here? the usual story! charity, I suppose—I've nothing for you." My lord duke," replied the saint, "I certainly have a small favor to ask, which is, that you would exercise your benevolence so far as to furnish a poor person with money to purchase a bed to sleep upon. And this cannot inconvenience you, for in the purse I here present, you will find two hundred ducats, which I have been the means of restoring to you." The cavalier exclaimed, in a rage: "That's not all." "Nay," replied the saint, "I know nothing, but that such a sum was given to me." "And by whom?" "I cannot inform you." Whereupon he snatched the purse out of his hands, and turning his back upon him, left him to depart. But not long after he had occasion to recall him: for falling dangerously ill, he was anxious to conciliate the man he had so grossly insulted; and though he was then forty miles distant from Naples, he sent for him. The saint assisted him at the hour of his death, to his great spiritual advantage and consolation.

His charity, indeed, towards those who injured him, was remarkable. Attempting one day to quell a strife among some soldiers, he received from one of them a blow upon the head that drew blood copiously: and when the captain, hearing of it, would have punished the man severely for the sacrilege, our saint did not desist from his entreaties until he obtained his pardon. Even in the tribunal of confession he was not secure from insults. Two poor women had come from a great distance to confession, and were anxious to get home early, as there was no one to take care of their houses in their absence. Whereupon the saint requested a man, who was also waiting, to allow them precedence. This he did, but with a very bad grace. He even threw out a slanderous insinuation against the saint, who, after he had dismissed the women, heard the confession of this very man, and treated him with so much sweetness and charity, that he sent him away with an altered temper and feelings of esteem and admiration.

One of the most frequent and effectual instruments which our saint employed for the sanctification of souls, were the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius. It is impossible to conceive with what energy and fruit he delivered the meditations which compose this course of Christian philosophy. Often he was obliged to interrupt his discourses, that the sighs, tears, and, sobs which they occasioned, might subside. Private individuals, as well as communities-ignorant and learned-the aged and the young of both sexes, alike profited by his exhortations, and to such a pitch of enthusiasm did he excite tile compunction of sinners, that they openly declared their offences and inflicted severe chastisements upon themselves, so that sometimes it was necessary to restrain their ardor. Nor was this a transient effect, but a durable benefit; hence followed many conversions of sinners, who for ten, twenty, or thirty, or even fifty years, had thrown off the yoke of religion. Indeed, Francis possessed a wonderful tact in bringing back sinners to duty, as the following examples will show.

A certain man had not been to the sacraments for five-and-twenty years; at length, admonished more than once in a dream to have recourse to our saint, he obeyed, to his own great happiness and the glory of Our Lady, to whose mercy he was indebted for the admonition. Another, commencing his confession, was asked by the saint, how long it was since he had last made it; whereat he burst into tears, and besought the holy mall not to dismiss him, for that he was a great sinner; but he, bidding him not be discouraged, asked him if it was ten, twenty, or fifty years? "Fifty," said he, "exactly, father, have I kept aloof from God." "Kept aloof from God?" repeated Francis, "why should you avoid so tender a parent-a Saviour, who has poured out the last drop of his blood for you? Nay, rather turn and meet Him who has been running after you so long." And the man confessed with sincerity and compunction all the crimes he had committed, and thenceforward led a virtuous life. An inveterate sinner was once dying, without giving any sign of hope, or manifesting a wish to repent. After Francis had urged him long in vain to confide in the mercies of God, suddenly changing his tone, he thus addressed him: "Do you think that God incurs any obligation, if you accept his offer of Paradise; or that he must needs mourn if you prefer hell? how many princes and nobles are lost, whom God suffers to perish; and do you suppose God cares more for you? If <you> will be damned, be so;" and he turned away from him. This sudden and impressive address wrought a wonderful change in the dying man, who in agony of grief and alarm, besought the saint not to abandon him. He then confessed his sins, with every demonstration of sincere contrition, and expired full of hope. Indeed, no heart, however hardened, could withstand the exhortations of the holy man. A young man once threw himself at the feet of the saint, exclaiming: "Father, behold here, not a human being, but a very demon: a soul abandoned to despair. Many years ago, a confessor denied me absolution; I have never since confessed, never heard mass, never entered a church, or even as much as recited a Hail Mary, or made the sign of the cross. Alas, I have even gone so far in wickedness as to league myself with Satan, and to have recourse to his aid, through those who are skilled in the black art. Can I, after such a life, presume to hope; dare I ask for mercy?" "Why not, my son?" replied Francis: "it is true thy crimes are great, yet cloth the mercy of God surpass their magnitude: was it not for sinners that Jesus Christ died? There is yet pardon for thee, if thou wilt seek it earnestly, and fervently, and set about reforming instantly thy life." These consoling words revived the sinner, long dead in iniquity, and gave to God a persevering penitent.

Still more remarkable is the following occurrence, which the saint was accustomed to relate in his public sermons. One day a young man presented himself before him, with a grave and devout air: "Father," said he, "I am come to declare to you the wonders of God's mercy in my regard, and to beseech you both to return him thanks for his signal favors, and to counsel me how I may best profit by them. Many years have elapsed since I was addicted to a certain vice, which struck such deep root into my soul, that God permitted my reason to be clouded, and my heart to be changed, so that I fancied myself a beast. In this persuasion I stripped myself of clothing, and wandered through the fields, and crawled along the ground exposed to the sun and rain, the frost and the snow, in company with the irrational animals, partaking their food, and imitating their cries. After a year of this life it pleased God to take compassion on me, and to restore me to my reason. Words cannot describe the confusion and shame I felt. I clearly perceived that it had been a punishment of my sins. I made the best confession I was able, as soon as I could, and have lived ever since, by God's grace, up to his divine laws. What think you-hath he not used unparalleled mercy towards me?" Our saint, embracing him, said: "In very deed cloth the sinner become like the brute beast, that hath no understanding." He approved his present conduct, confirmed his sentiments, and comforted him by the assurance that God would never withdraw his grace from him, so long as he was faithful to his resolutions.
An assassin, who had been hired to murder some persons, passing a crowd to whom the saint was preaching, stopped on his road, saying within himself, "Perhaps he whom I seek is among this multitude." Whereupon he stood to observe, and could not help hearing the discourse of the preacher, and hearing, was, as it were, spell-bound to the spot. When suddenly these words caught his ear—"thousands bewail past sins, and cost thou, wretched sinner, meditate new crimes? Unhappy creature whom neither the arm of God outstretched to launch his thunderbolts, nor hell opening beneath Thy feet to swallow thee, can deter from thy wickedness!" His guilty conscience smote him, his heart turned away from evil, he confessed his enormities, and from a murderer became a saint. A youth of disordered life was so moved by another sermon of Francis, that overcoming every human respect, he cast himself in public at the foot of the crucifix, and exclaimed—" Father, I am lost: for nearly twenty years I have not been to a confessor," and so saving, wept bitterly, and lashed himself with the discipline. Then, accompanying the confraternity to the Gesu Nuovo, he sought Francis, who embraced him like a tender father, and exhorted him to have confidence in God, with whom he was instrumental in reconciling him. The young man not only forsook his former vicious habits, but exhibited a model of repentance, and persevered in an exemplary life. But if, on the one hand, the happiest results were experienced by all who attended to his counsels, on the other, grievous chastisements often befell those who neglected or despised his warnings. A youth of depraved conduct had the effrontery to laugh at and deride his remonstrances, and even dared to heap abuse upon him. Francis bore all meekly, in imitation of our Blessed Saviour, "who when he was reviled, did not revile;" but God would not suffer such a crime to go unpunished, for shortly after the young man perished miserably in a riot. But it is now time to take a rapid view of his labors out of Naples.
The fame of his great achievements in this city occasioned earnest solicitations to be made, that the fields of his exertions might be extended to the provinces. But Naples was by no means willing to surrender its apostle, even for a short time; and the intervention of several distinguished persons was requisite to effect the desired object. In upwards of a hundred missions which Francis undertook in consequence, he traversed all the provinces of the kingdom, with the exception of the Calabrias. Incredible were the hardships and privations he encountered,—the difficulties and obstacles he surmounted in the execution of this work of charity. Wherever he went, the clergy and most respectable inhabitants came out to meet him, and gave him an honorable reception. Without however losing a moment, the indefatigable servant of God commenced his career by an introductory discourse and an invocation of the tutelar saint and guardian angels of the place. At daybreak he celebrated mass, and spent the remainder of the morning in a manner somewhat similar to that already described, in speaking of his mist signs in Naples. It was an edifying and affecting sight, to witness the communion of the children, and the procession of penitents through the streets. But when at length he came to give the concluding discourse, and to repeat his farewell admonitions, then was it that the fruit of his exertions was perceptible. The seed of grace, which had struck deep root, gave signs of vigorous growth and duration; for when he exhorted the people to perseverance, with one voice they promised to preserve inviolably their engagements; and when he imparted his last blessing, with his customary "adieu, to meet again in Paradise," no words can describe, no imagination is able to conceive, the emotions of the multitude.

Not always, however, did Francis meet with such consoling encouragement to his zeal. The devil, raging to behold so many souls redeemed from his snares by the active charity of the holy man, spared no pains to molest and baffle him, by raising against him hosts of enemies, who threw discredit, upon his conduct, fomented suspicions and jealousies, and waged war against him by every possible art that bad passions or his own malignant spirit could suggest. Hence it not infrequently happened that he experienced insults instead of welcome, on his arrival at places where calumnies had beforehand been industriously spread. Sometimes he found no attention paid to his exhortations; yet, finally, his invincible forbearance and persevering charity, his saintly demeanor-itself a confutation of his calumniators-triumphed over all opposition. Few details respecting these memorable missions have been recorded, but some, preserved by the testimony of eye-witnesses, have been rescued from the oblivion of time.

When the holy man was on his way to Capua, the carriage stuck in a deep ditch, and resisted all the efforts of the driver to extricate it. Whereupon, after the manner of this class of persons, he began to curse and swear. "O my son," cried the saint, "blaspheme not, for God's sake." "Why, father," said the man, would not a saint swear in such an infernal hobble, with nobody near, nor a chance of any one's coming to assist us?" "Have patience," rejoined the holy man; and as he was yet speaking, two robust young men, turning the corner of the road, volunteered their services and relieved the travellers from their difficulty; after which, without waiting to be thanked, they disappeared. Wherever he went he reconciled enemies, converted sinners, besides performing many prodigies.

He had to contend against obstacles of another description. He applied to Monsignor Capece, bishop of Cheti, a capital town of the Abruzzi, for leave to preach there. "Certainly," replied the bishop; "but, Father Francis, you must be forewarned ours is a sensible and cultivated city, accustomed and able to weigh well the force of reason; and therefore you will at once perceive that certain addresses to the senses, such as the exposition of the crucifix, or images of the Virgin and other saints,—things admirable in themselves, would here be quite out of place, and calculated to do more harm than good." "Your lordship's wishes shall assuredly be attended to," said the humble saint, "till such time at least as you yourself shall deem it proper to recall them."

Not long after this the prelate felt an acute pain, for which he could not account; but as his conscience troubled him, he sent word to the saint, that in regard to the subject of their conversation he might use his discretion. The bishop had himself more than one occasion of witnessing the fruit which the practices he was disposed to condemn invariably produced; and Francis knew so well how to employ them, that the mission of Cheti succeeded beyond the most sanguine expectations. With the like fruit did Francis perform the missions in various other towns, working conversions and prodigies too numerous to he here mentioned.
It would be superfluous to enlarge upon the particular virtues of our saint; his public life being rather the subject of this history. Yet are we unwilling to pass over unnoticed, his great and fervent love of Jesus Christ. Especially he honored and worshipped him in his divine infancy, his sacred passion, and his adorable sacrament. When he meditated upon these mysteries, he was always absorbed and penetrated with love; and when he approached the sacrament of the altar, his countenance glowed, as though he stood before a fire. Nothing provoked his indignation, or drew down his severe rebuke, so much as disrespect towards the blessed Eucharist. He removed many abuses: he would not suffer any levity in the church; and once reproved a lady of quality who had remained seated during the consecration. In like manner he was tenderly devoted to our blessed Lady. For twenty-two years he preached a sermon in her praise and honor every week. To youth especially, it was his custom to recommend this devotion as the surest preservation of innocence, and the best remedy after sin: saying that one could hardly be saved who felt no devotion towards the Mother of God.

Mary was his counsellor in doubt, his comfort in toil, his strength in all his enterprises, his refuge in danger and distress. He experienced an inexpressible delight whenever he recited the rosary of our tender Mother. He was likewise particularly devoted to his angel guardian, to St. Francis Xavier, and St. Januarius. His charity, humility, purity, and obedience, were never surpassed; nor did God withhold from him those gifts with which he is pleased at times to favor his chosen servants.

Our saint was favored with the foreknowledge of his dissolution. On the death of his brother he observed, "A year hence we shall meet;" and while he was still in health, taking leave of the nuns of St. Mary del Divino Amore—" My dear daughters," said he, "this is the last time I shall ever address you. Do not forget me in your prayers; adieu till we meet in Paradise." When he was sick, the festival of St. Cyr drawing near, "I shall not live to see it," he exclaimed. And finally, when the physician that attended him paid him his last visit, he thanked him for his attentions, and said:—"We shall never see each other again on this side of the grave, for Monday will be the last day of my life."

During the month of March, 1715, at the beginning of Lent, he was, for the third time, giving the retreat to the students of the noble college, when suddenly he felt a racking fever assail his limbs, insomuch that he was obliged to be carried home. In a few days, however, it was somewhat subdued; and, though weak, he resumed his usual labors. Still his health declined, and towards December his constitution appeared quite broken down. Anxious to preserve so valuable a life, the superior sent him to take the mineral waters of Puzzuoli. But he experienced not the smallest benefit; and in March, 1716, on his return to Naples, he took up his abode in the infirmary. The agonies he suffered are not to be expressed; and yet a murmur never escaped him. "Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who consoles us in all tribulation," was his constant exclamation. When some one approached to sympathize with him, the heroic man crossed his hands on his breast, saying: "Crescant in mille millia." He was told of the great good he had achieved. "Nothing, nothing," he cried, "the fault I have most to apprehend is my slothfulness."

Death now began to hasten on apace; wherefore, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, making a general confession, he received the viaticum; and six days later was anointed. All night long, he gave vent to the fulness of his heart in such expressions as the following-" Let us bless the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; let us praise and exalt Him forever. Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised, in the city of our God, on his holy mountain." Then kissing the wounds of his crucified Saviour, he cried out, weeping, "Remember, dear Jesus, that this soul has cost the ransom of every drop of thy precious blood." And when the infirmarian entreated him to pray rather with his heart than his lips, by reason of the distress which speaking occasioned him: "Ah, my dear brother," said he, "whatsoever we think, or say of so great a God, his greatness is beyond all thought and expression." Then fixing his eyes upon an image of our Lady: "Ah, Mary," said he, "my dearest mother, thou last ever cherished me like a loving parent, though I have been thy too, too unworthy child. Complete now the measure of thy mercies in my regard, by obtaining for me the love of thy divine Son." Then, as though at the gate of Paradise, he exclaimed, "How great is the house of the Lord! Blessed are they who dwell in Thy house, O Lord; forever and ever shall they sing thy praise. Ye holy angels, why delay ye? Open the gates of Justice. Entering therein, I will praise the Lord."

His malady, however, continued for some days longer. Although he had repeatedly expressed a wish to be left alone, it was impossible to keep away numbers, who pressed to see him for the last time, to kiss his hand, and to receive his farewell blessing. With an amiable sweetness, he welcomed them all; and seeing their sorrow, said:-" Weep not; I go to heaven, where I shall remember you, and be better able to assist you." But what sunshine so serene is not occasionally clouded, what sea so calm as never to be ruffled by a storm? It pleased God to enhance our saint's virtue by submitting it to a dreadful trial. The frame of the holy man shook under the severity of the struggle. With a loud cry he called upon the Almighty, the eternal Son, our Lady, and all the saints, to save him. Being asked the cause of this fearful commotion, "I am fighting," he exclaimed, "fighting! pray for God's sake that I may not perish." Then, as if rebuking the evil spirit, he cried-"No, it shall never be. Begone! I have no part with you." His countenance at last brightening, he repeated softly, "'Tis well, 'tis well!" and so saying, chanted the <Magnificat> and <Te Deum>. He was anxious to receive the holy sacrament; but the superior did not judge it advisable, as he had lately been to communion; and the humble saint acquiesced. He now fell into his agony; the recommendation of a departing soul was recited; and, amidst the tears of his brethren, Francis di Girolamo expired, about mid-day, on Monday, the 11th of May, 1716, in the seventy-fourth year of his age, and the forty-sixth of his religious life, having spent forty years in the labors of an apostolic career.

Although, from a motive of prudence, the superior had forbidden the bell to be tolled, to announce his death, there needed no sound to convey the intelligence through the city; it was read in every countenance, and spread so rapidly, that in a short time the Gesu Nuovo was filled with an immense concourse of people of all classes. The infirmarian being desirous of keeping some relic of so holy a man, before he laid him out in the sacerdotal habit, pared off a piece of the hard skin of the sole of his foot. But the pious theft soon became apparent, though he had used every effort to conceal it; for the blood began to flow so freely from the wound, as not merely to stem the knell, but to fill a vial holding three or four ounces: which portion being preserved, retained during three months its ruddiness and liquidity, and wrought many cures.

In the evening the body was carried into the church, that the office might be chanted, and a detachment of Swiss guards was hardly sufficient to protect it from the indiscreet devotion of the crowd. Indeed, three psalms had scarcely been sung, before they broke through all restraint, and pressed towards the body, eager to carry away some relic, especially to dip their handkerchiefs in the blood, which still streamed from the wound already mentioned. At length, the body was removed into a side-chapel, where it was secured against further violence by iron railing, through which, at the same time, it was visible to all. Still it was impossible to refuse the prayer of several devout persons, to be permitted to approach and kiss the hand or the saint, and at night some artists were admitted to take likenesses and effigies of him. A throng of suppliants crowded to the church next morning, and implored the saint to deliver them from their evils and distempers. Nor were they disappointed. Many cures took place on the spot, and the church again and again echoed with the cry of "A miracle, a miracle." Three days the body was left thus exposed, and the fourth was buried in a leaden coffin. On the 3d of July, 1736, leave being obtained, the coffin of our saint was disinterred, and the body was found mouldered into dust, which was carefully collected, deposited in another coffin of wood lined with brass, and translated from the common cemetery to the chapel of Saint Ignatius.

Numerous miracles quickly spread the fame of his holiness throughout Italy. He was scarcely dead, when the most prudent and virtuous individuals gave him the title of saint: and cardinal Orsini, afterwards Benedict XIII., who was singularly devoted to him, preached his panegyric in the cathedral of Benevento. Not long after his decease, the city of Naples, joined by Benevento, Nola, and several others, petitioned the Congregation of Rites to have him beatified; and the juridical process of his virtues and miracles was drawn up, and sent to Rome by Cardinal Pignatelli, in conjunction with other cardinals, nobles, and magistrates of the kingdom. After the requisite preliminaries, a decree declaring his heroic virtues was published by Benedict XIII., on the 2d of May, 1758. His miracles were approved by another, of Pius VII., dated the 9th of February, 1806, and finally the definitive decree of his beatification was issued by the same pontiff, on the feast of St. Joseph in the same year. He was subsequently canonized by Gregory XVI., on Trinity Sunday, 26th May, 1839.

The martyr sheds his blood but once, and is exalted forever; then what I reward will be prepared for the missionary, who, while he burns to die for I the faith, is yet content to live for the greater honor and glory of God, and the profit of his neighbor? He, therefore, who would imbibe the spirit of zeal, and learn the arts of wisdom necessary in directing souls, should study and contemplate the career of that extraordinary man whose virtues and achievements are the subject of the sketch we here present.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/F/stfrancisofgirolamo.asp#ixzz1ucNSeQCT

VATICAN : DIALOGUE WITH JEWS AND CATHOLICS AND OTHER NEWS



JEWS AND CATHOLICS: DIALOGUE, RECONCILIATION AND COOPERATION
Vatican City, 10 May 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI welcomed a delegation from the Latin American Jewish Congress, "the first group representing Jewish organisations and communities in Latin America which I have met here in the Vatican", the Pope said. He went on to recall that "dynamic Jewish communities exist throughout Latin America, especially in Argentina and Brazil, living alongside a large Catholic majority. Beginning with the years of Vatican Council II relations between Jews and Catholics have become stronger, also in your own region, and various initiatives are afoot to make our mutual friendship deeper".
The Holy Father reaffirmed that the Vatican Council II Declaration "Nostra aetate" continues "to be the basis and the guide for our efforts towards promoting greater understanding, respect and cooperation between our communities. The Declaration not only took up a clear position against all forms anti-Semitism, but also laid the foundations for a new theological evaluation of the Church’s relationship with Judaism, expressing the confidence that an appreciation of the spiritual heritage that Jews and Christians share will lead to increasing understanding and esteem".
"In considering the progress made in the last fifty years of Jewish-Catholic relations throughout the world, we cannot but give thanks to the Almighty for this evident sign of His goodness and providence. Thanks to the increase of trust, respect and goodwill, groups whose relations were originally characterised by a certain lack of trust, have little by little become faithful partners and friends, even good friends, capable of facing crises together and overcoming conflicts in a positive manner. Of course there is still a great deal to be done to shake off the burdens of the past, to foment better relations between our communities and to respond to the increasing challenges believers have to face in the modern world. Nonetheless, the fact that we are jointly committed to a path of dialogue, reconciliation and cooperation is a reason for thanksgiving".
"In a world increasingly threatened by the loss of spiritual and moral values - the values that can guarantee respect for human dignity and lasting peace - sincere and respectful dialogue among religions and cultures is crucial for the future of our human family. I hope that your visit today will be a source of encouragement and renewed trust when we come to face the challenge of forming stronger ties of friendship and collaboration, and of bearing prophetic witness to the power of God's truth, justice and love, for the good of all humanity", the Holy Father concluded.





ST. JOHN OF AVILA, SOON TO BE A DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Vatican City, 10 May 2012 (VIS) - "I am very happy to receive you on this day on which you are commemorating fifty years at the current site of the Pontifical Spanish College of St. Joseph, and on the liturgical memory of St. John of Avila, patron of the Spanish secular clergy whom I will soon declare a Doctor of the universal Church", said Benedict XVI to students, rectors superiors and religious of that Roman seminary whom he received in audience this morning.
"The formation of priests is always one of the Church's most important priorities", the Pope went on. "Having been sent to Rome to continue your priestly studies you must concentrate, not so much on your own individual good, as on serving the holy people of God, who need pastors who commit themselves to the service of sanctifying the faithful with ability and competence. ... Remember, however, that the priest renews his own life and draws strength for his ministry through contemplating the Divine Word, and through intense dialogue with the Lord. He is aware that he cannot bring his brothers and sisters to Christ, nor see Him in the poor and the sick, unless he first discovers Him in fervent and constant prayer. ... The path of priestly formation is also a school of missionary communion: with Peter's Successor, with your bishop and with your fellow priests, and always at the service of the particular and the universalChurch".
"Dear priests, may the life and doctrine of the Holy Master St. John of Avila illuminate and support you during your stay at the Pontifical Spanish College of St. Joseph. His profound knowledge of Holy Scripture, the Fathers, the Councils, liturgy and sound theology, accompanied by his faithful and filial love for the Church, made him a true renovator at a difficult time in ecclesiastical history". Pope Benedict went on to quote words pronounced by Paul VI when he canonised that Spanish saint in 1970. "His was a far-sighted and ardent spirit which, in addition to denouncing evils and suggesting canonical remedies, also cultivated a school of intense spirituality"
"The teaching of the Apostle of Andalucia focuses on the mystery of Christ, Priest and Good Shepherd, experienced in harmony with the Lord's own sentiments and in imitation of St. Paul. ... I invite you, then, to exercise your priestly ministry with the same apostolic zeal that characterised him, with the same austerity of life, and with the same filial affection as he had for the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of priests", the Holy Father concluded.





PRESENTATION OF THE FIFTIETH INTERNATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS
Vatican City, 10 May 2012 (VIS) - "The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another" is the theme of the fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress, due to be held in the Irish capital Dublin from 10 to 17 June. The initiative was presented this morning in the Holy See Press Office by Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses; Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, and Fr. Vittore Boccardi S.S.S. of the secretariat of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.
"The Roman Ritual 'De sacra Communione et de cultu mysterii eucharistici extra Missam' establishes what an International Eucharistic Congress actually is", Archbishop Marini explained. That document, "enacting the principles of Vatican Council II, defines the Congress as a 'statio orbis'; in other words, a 'a pause for commitment and prayer to which a particular community invites the universal Church'. During that time the celebration of the Eucharist becomes the centre and vertex of all forms of piety, ... of theological and pastoral reflections, of social commitment".
"By a noteworthy coincidence", the archbishop went on, "the fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress of Dublin coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II; and it is to the Council that the Congress will refer because the theme chosen - 'The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another - has been taken from paragraph 7 of the Dogmatic Constitution 'Lumen gentium'. That theme reminds the baptised that it is by participating in the Eucharist that we construct communion with Christ and, at the same time, with one another; in other words, the most authentic face of the Church. ... Progressive emphasis on the ecclesiology of communion 'according to which the Eucharist has a causal influence at the very origins of the Church', is replete with pastoral, ecclesial and ecumenical consequences, which will be studied in Dublin at a theological symposium to be held before theCongress".
Archbishop Marini explained that the event will be attended by thousands of faithful from all over the world who, apart from celebrating the Eucharist together, will pray and participate in a number of processions, eighteen general conferences and 150 workshops and discussion groups, examining important religious themes and experiencing "authentic ecclesial solidarity".
For his part Archbishop Martin recalled that Dublin had also hosted the thirty-first International Eucharistic Congress in 1932. "The Church in Ireland in 1932 was very different to the Church in Ireland today", he said. "The Eucharistic Congress must address its participants in the context of the culture in which they live". In 2012 it must "reflect and present the Church in Ireland, a Church which has faced and continues to face enormous challenges, but a Church which is alive, energetic and anxious to start a journey of renewal.
"There are divisions within the Irish Church", he added, "sometimes unhealthy divisions. I believe it is helpful to look back to 1932 and to Irish society of the time, which less than a decade previously had been lacerated by a harsh civil war lasting two years. It is a fact of great honour to my predecessor Archbishop Edward Byrne that he celebrated the Congress as a moment of reconciliation and rediscovered unity. For the first time in the newly independent Ireland, men and woman on both sides of a bitter divide met to work together on a shared project. The Eucharist has the power to reconcile. Communion with Christ nourishes communion and reconciliation with others".
Archbishop Martin went on: "The fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress of Dublin will again be a moment of renewal and reconciliation; an event reawakening awareness among all Catholics of the central place of the Eucharist in the life of the Church, the true summit to which all Church activities strive, the source whence all Church life pours forth". The Congress will remind the Church in Ireland "of the centrality of spiritual renewal and of the significance of the Church as the Body of Christ", he said.
The archbishop of Dublin also announced that the Congress will have an ecumenical aspect, with the participation of other Christian Churches in Ireland. The event will conclude in Croke Park on 17 June with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and pontifical delegate to the Congress. During the Mass a televised message from the Pope will be broadcast.

DECREES OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE CAUSES OF SAINTS
Vatican City, 10 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience he extended the liturgical cult of St. Hildegard of Bingen (1089-1179) to the universal Church, inscribing her in the catalogue of saints. He also authorised the promulgation of decrees concerning the following causes:
MIRACLES
- Servant of God Tommaso da Olera (ne Tommaso Acerbis), Italian professed layman of the Order of St. Benedict (1563-1631).
- Servant of God Maria Troncatti, Italian professed sister of the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of Help (1883-1969).
MARTYRDOM
- Servants of Gods Frederic Bachstein and thirteen companions of the Order of Friars Minor, killed in hatred of the faith at Prague, Czech Republic in 1611.
- Servants of God Raimundo Castano Gonzalez and Jose Maria Gonzalez Solis, professed priests of the Order of Friars Preachers, killed in hatred of the faith at Bilbao, Spain in 1936.
- Servants of God Jaime Puig Mirosa and eighteen companions of the Congregation of the Sons of the Sacred Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and Sebastian Llorens Telarroja, layman, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 1936 and 1937.
- Servant of God Odoardo Focherini, Italian layman, killed in hatred of the faith at Hersbruck, Germany in 1944.
HEROIC VIRTUES
- Servant of God Raffaello Delle Nocche, Italian bishop of Tricarico and founder of the Sisters Disciples of the Eucharistic Jesus (1877-1960).
- Servant of God Frederic Irenej Baraga, Slovene American, first bishop of Marquette (1797-1868).
- Servant of God Pasquale Uva, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the Congregation of Sisters Handmaidens of Divine Providence (1883-1955).
- Servant of God Baltazar Manuel Pardal Vidal, Spanish diocesan priest and founder of the Secular Institute of the Daughters of Mary's Nativity (1886-1963).
- Servant of God Francesco Di Paola Victor, Brazilian diocesan priest (1827-1905).
- Servant of God Jacques Sevin, French professed priest of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and founder of the Catholic Scouts of France and of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem (1882-1951).
- Servant of God Maria Josefa of the Blessed Sacrament (nee Maria Josefa Recio Martin), founder of the Congregation of Hospitaller Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1846-1883).
- Servant of God Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, American professed sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of Chraity of St. Elizabeth (1901-1927).
- Servant of God Emilia Engel, German member of the Secular Institute of Sisters of Maria of Schonstatt, (1893-1955).
- Servant of God Rachele Ambrosini, Italian lay woman (1925-1941).
- Servant of God Maria Bolognesi, Italian lay woman (1924-1980).
On 14 March, the Supreme Pontiff authorised the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree regarding the heroic virtues of Servant of God Felix Francisco Jose de la Concepcion Varela Morales, Cuban diocesan priest (1788-1853).

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 10 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Jose Roberto Ospina Leongomez, auxiliary of Bogota, Colombia, as bishop of Buga (area 3,997, population 626,000, Catholics 563,000, priests 107, permanent deacons 3, religious 160), Colombia. He succeeds Bishop Hernan Giraldo Jaramillo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Bishop Andrew Yeom Soo jung, auxiliary and vicar general of the archdiocese of Seoul, Korea, as archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 606, population 10,575,446, Catholics 1,417,695, priests 905, religious 2,380). He succeeds Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jinsuk, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

ASIA : SYRIA : DOUBLE BOMBINGS IN DAMASCUS

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
The provisional toll is 40 dead and 170 wounded. AsiaNews sources describe him as one of the most violent attacks since the war against Assad. The explosion was felt throughout the city. Struck the headquarters of military intelligence and other buildings of the scheme.


Damascus (AsiaNews) - "It 's one of the most violent attacks since the start of the war between the Assad regime and the rebels. The explosion was heard throughout the city. The shock wave damaged buildings and injured people even several kilometers from the scene of the attack, even the Melkite cathedral was damaged. " This is what AsiaNews sources report of the twin bombings that struck this morning south of Damascus. According to state media, there are at least 40 dead and 170 wounded, many in serious condition.

The sources said the two bombs exploded at 7.55 (local time) on the highway linking the capital with the southern cities of the country, during rush hour. There are several public buildings in the area, including the headquarters of military intelligence, the probable target of the attack. "No one has claimed responsibility for the act - they explain - the population is disoriented and afraid." However, the regime says those responsible are the Free the Syrian Army "terrorists". Instead according to the opposition, the attack was organized by the regime to discredit the rebels and foment tensions.

To shed some light on the incident, a UN observer delegation led by Gen. Robert Mood, which was involved yesterday in an attack on a UN convoy in Daraa (southern Syria), arrived at the scene.

This is the second serious attack in Damascus reported since the beginning of the year and takes place just days before the first democratic elections in the history of the country, boycotted however, by the opposition. On 26 April a suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus in the city center killing 10 people. (SC)

AFRICA : KENYA : BISHOPS RELEASE STATEMENT ON SEXUALITY

CISA NEWS REPORT:
Cardinal John Njue of Kenya

NAIROBI, May 8, 2012 (CISA)
-The Church in Kenya has condemned a recent report calling for legalization of both homosexuality and prostitution.
On Friday May 4, a section of the local media reported that the government-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHRC) had recommended that same-sex relationships and prostitution should be legalized in the country.
But Cardinal John Njue on Saturday, May 5 said the Catholic Church was totally opposed to legislation of homosexuality and prostitution.
“If the two are allowed to happen, where will be our family? Will it not be a total destruction of the family? This is why we are totally against this,” he explained.
He urged parliament through its members to assist the Church campaign against the move.
“We appeal to our MPs to lobby against the move on behalf of the Church and other institutions opposed to the two issues,” Cardinal Njue said at a fund-raising drive in Nairobi.
The Church’s stand has received backing from the Muslim’s Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), whose Secretary General, Sheikh Mohammed Dor said that the country’s Constitution does not permit same sex marriages.
“Article 45 of the Constitution states that every adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex,” he noted.

AUSTRALIA : MOTHER'S LOVE - VAST AS AN OCEAN

ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY REPORT:
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
11 May 2012


Three generations. Hien (seated) with
daughter Lieu (r) and her three granddaughters,
Uyen 13, Quyen 12, and Tram 11
When it comes to motherhood, Cabramatta's Vietnamese-born, Hien Thi Vo is a standout. Not only has she brought up four sons and two daughters as well as help raise her seven lively grandchildren, but from the age of 10, she was "mother" to her younger brothers and sisters. By the time she was 20, Hien had played "mother" to 14 of her siblings.
"I cannot find the words to express the gratitude, love and respect I have for my mother," says Hien's second eldest daughter, Thuy Lieu Tran, affectionately known as "Lieu" to her family and friends. "Her love for us has never failed, and it was through her love, sacrifice and the courage of both my parents that we were able to flee Vietnam and eventually find safety here in Australia."
On Sunday, 13 May when families across the country will gather to celebrate Mother's Day, at Lieu's parents' home in Cabramatta, there will be an extra special celebration to honour 63-year-old Hien and pay tribute to her for her love, warmth, gentle humour and unfailing support in good times and bad.
"On the morning of Mother's Day we always go to Mass together to dedicate our family to Mary, the Mother of God, and to give thanks for our good fortune and our lives here in Australia," Lieu says.
As they do most Sundays, the family will celebrate Mass at Cabramatta's Sacred Heart Church where Lieu's brother and Hien's second youngest son is Assistant Parish Priest, Father Liem Duong.
"Later on Mother's Day we will share a special dinner with my mother and father, and our paternal grandmother, Vo Thi Tam. Sometimes we hold our Mother's Day dinner at a restaurant but usually it is at my parents' house, where everyone is relaxed, full of laughter and where we all pitch in to help."
Now a mother herself and married for just over 15 years, Lieu has three daughters aged 13, 12 and 11 and a 10-year-old son.

Hien's Vietnamese parents and elder sister visit Sydney
to meet their Australian-born great grandchildren
"My husband and I have a tiling business and start work early, and finish late. So my father picks my kids up after school each day and my mother looks after them until I arrive to collect them at around 7 pm. By the time I get there, she's bathed them and they've even done their homework! She will have cooked meals for us as well. She is amazing and so filled with love. For her, nothing is too much trouble and she does this for my sister's children and my brothers as well."
With six children and seven grandchildren, Hien is used to the typical arguments and spats that can break out between siblings. But when this occurs, she steps in and gently points out within a family, no matter what the squabbling is about, "there is no such thing as a winner or a loser, only a failure of love."
These days, while Hien's grandchildren may have the odd squabbles, Lieu says upsets between herself, her sister and four brothers are extremely rare.
"We were separated for many years during our flight from Vietnam. That time apart was very difficult and made us appreciate one another even more. It brought us even closer together and today we live within five minutes of each other and get together as a family every chance we get."
Seemingly ageless, serene, elegant, with a warm smile and gentle manner, it is difficult to believe Lieu's mother has endured war, terror, poverty as well as a forced separation over several years from her husband and three of her children. She has also had to endure the pain of leaving her own beloved parents and many brothers and sisters behind when she fled her homeland in a bid to ensure the safety of her children.
Arriving here Australia in middle age, she was faced with the challenge of adapting herself to a whole new way of life in a land with a completely different culture and language.

88 year old great grand mother presides
over four generations of Sydney's Duong family
But from an early age, Hien has had courage, determination and great strength of will.
Born the second eldest of 16 children, under Vietnamese tradition her elder sister received a full education while Hien was the daughter chosen to remain at home to help raise her younger siblings and to work in the rice fields and on the family farm.
Her family were Buddhist, but at 20 when she met and married Duong Van So, she converted to Catholicism.
"My father's family are Catholic and like my mother, he came from a large family. He had 11 brothers and sisters and when Huyen, my sister who is the eldest, arrived, both my grandmothers were also giving birth," Lieu says smiling. She adds that her paternal grandmother, Vo Thi Tam came to live with her parents in Australia after her grandfather died and now at 88, has 90 grandchildren including several who are great or great great grandchildren.
While no one else in Hien's large Buddhist family became Catholic, there was no conflict about her decision to convert. In fact according to Lieu, Hien's family were inspired in many ways by her new faith and the way in which Catholics live and carry their faith.
For the new mother and her young husband, living through the Vietnam War was difficult enough. But times became even more difficult after the fall of Saigon and pullout of American and Australian troops in 1975. This was when North Vietnam's communist government in Hanoi asserted its authority. Almost immediately basic human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom from persecution and torture disappeared. With basic infrastructure destroyed during the war, life for South Vietnamese Hien and her family was hard and tenuous. Food was at a premium, hunger common and life generally both frightening and uncertain.

Hien's second youngest son
Fr Liem Duong is Assistant
Parish Priest at Sacred
Heart Parish Parramatta
Finally in April 1987, Hien's husband, Duong Van So, who owned his own bus and supported his family ferrying passengers to towns and villages across the South, decided the only chance of a future was to joined the hundreds of thousands of other South Vietnamese fleeing his homeland in search of a better and safer life for his wife and children.
Taking his youngest son with him, he spent almost a year in an overcrowded refugee camp in Indonesia. But finally in December almost 10 months later, he received permission to settle in Australia.
Settling in Fairfield, near relatives who had also managed to escape South Vietnam, his immediate priority was to arrange visas so his wife, Hien and the rest of the family could join him.
But by now his two eldest children were adults and Huyen, Lieu's elder sister, was also newly married. In their early 20s they were too old to be considered his dependents and instead had to make their own way to Australia.
They managed to get as far as Malaysia and for the following four years battled the squalor and desperation of an overcrowded refugee camp outside Kuala Lumpur. But the applications for visas to settle in Australia were unsuccessful and in 1993, rounded up by Malaysian authorities they were sent back to Vietnam where they began new applications in a bid for a visa.
From 1987 when her husband had boarded a flimsy boat for Indonesia and then Australia, Hien had struggled to survive and feed herself and her three young children. Finally she received the long awaited news that she and her children had been accepted for settlement in Australia. Hien and her children arrived in Sydney by air in May 1992, almost exactly 20 years ago. But her joyful reunion with her husband and youngest child, were tempered by worry over her two elder children and her so-in-law who at the time were still in the refugee camp in Malaysia.
"But my mother never lost hope and in 1995, eight years after my father and youngest brother had fled Vietnam, her prayers were answered," says Lieu. "That's when my sister and her husband and my brother finally received visas to settle in Australia. They flew from Vietnam to Sydney and there, for the first time in eight years, we were all together as a family once more."

Vietnamese-born Fr Liem Duong
with Sydney's Vietnamese Community
Hien's strong Catholic faith has not only been her sustenance and strength throughout her married life but throughout the difficult times when she was unaware if her husband was even alive, or if she would ever see her eldest daughter and son again.
"She was 20 when she became a Catholic but she's always been even more religious than my Dad, who was brought up Catholic. And she's always been the one who made sure we went to Mass and were brought up good Catholics!" Lieu says with a smile.
Hien's conversion to Catholicism has never stopped her from remaining in close and loving touch with her Buddhist parents and many siblings. And as Vietnam became a freer more open nation once more, her parents and most of her brothers and sisters have been able to visit her in Australia to share in her happiness and to meet their Australian-born grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Today at 64, Hien who will celebrate her 45th wedding anniversary later this year, is a true testament to family, faith, strength and the power of love.
"There is a beautiful saying in Vietnam that describes the love of a mother to the vastness of the ocean and as sweet and gentle as a stream. That is what my mother's love is like," says Lieu who believes her mother's greatest legacy is her faith and her unconditional and all embracing love.
"As a mother I want my children to experience the power of that love through me and the love of God," she says. "I want my children to always feel love at home and that as long as they feel this love surrounding our house, to want to stay and remain in that love. Like my mother, I try to create a house filled with love, compassion, charity and caring so that my children will not only share in that love but become people of love as well."