Friday, February 8, 2013


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St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548). Little is known about the life of Juan Diego before his conversion, but tradition and archaeological and iconographical sources, along with the most important and oldest indigenous document on the event of Guadalupe, "El Nican Mopohua" (written in Náhuatl with Latin characters, 1556, by the Indigenous writer Antonio Valeriano), give some information on the life of the saint and the apparitions.Juan Diego was born in 1474 with the name "Cuauhtlatoatzin" ("the talking eagle") in Cuautlitlán, today part of Mexico City, Mexico. He was a gifted member of the Chichimeca people, one of the more culturally advanced groups living in the Anáhuac Valley.When he was 50 years old he was baptized by a Franciscan priest, Fr Peter da Gand, one of the first Franciscan missionaries. On 9 December 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. She asked him to go to the Bishop and to request in her name that a shrine be built at Tepeyac, where she promised to pour out her grace upon those who invoked her. The Bishop, who did not believe Juan Diego, asked for a sign to prove that the apparition was true. On 12 December, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac. Here, the Blessed Mother told him to climb the hill and to pick the flowers that he would find in bloom. He obeyed, and although it was winter time, he found roses flowering. He gathered the flowers and took them to Our Lady who carefully placed them in his mantle and told him to take them to the Bishop as "proof". When he opened his mantle, the flowers fell on the ground and there remained impressed, in place of the flowers, an image of the Blessed Mother, the apparition at Tepeyac.With the Bishop's permission, Juan Diego lived the rest of his life as a hermit in a small hut near the chapel where the miraculous image was placed for veneration. Here he cared for the church and the first pilgrims who came to pray to the Mother of Jesus.Much deeper than the "exterior grace" of having been "chosen" as Our Lady's "messenger", Juan Diego received the grace of interior enlightenment and from that moment, he began a life dedicated to prayer and the practice of virtue and boundless love of God and neighbour. He died in 1548 and was buried in the first chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. He was beatified on 6 May 1990 byPope John Paul II in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Guadalupe, Mexico City.The miraculous image, which is preserved in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, shows a woman with native features and dress. She is supported by an angel whose wings are reminiscent of one of the major gods of the traditional religion of that area. The moon is beneath her feet and her blue mantle is covered with gold stars. The black girdle about her waist signifies that she is pregnant. Thus, the image graphically depicts the fact that Christ is to be "born" again among the peoples of the New World, and is a message as relevant to the "New World" today as it was during the lifetime of Juan Diego.



Mark 6: 14 - 29
14 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, "John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him."
15 But others said, "It is Eli'jah." And others said, "It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old."
16 But when Herod heard of it he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised."
17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero'di-as, his brother Philip's wife; because he had married her.
18 For John said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
19 And Hero'di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not,
20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly.
21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee.
22 For when Hero'di-as' daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it."
23 And he vowed to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom."
24 And she went out, and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the baptizer."
25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."
26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her.
27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison,
28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.
29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.


Vatican City, 8 February 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father sent a telegram of condolence to Bishop Francesco Ravinale of Asti, Italy for the death of Cardinal Giovanni Cheli, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. The cardinal died last night at the age of 94.
In the text the Pope recalls the cardinal's work "in the Secretary of State, as a representative of the Holy See to the United Nations, and as president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples". Benedict XVI affirmed that "he leaves behind the testimony of a life spent in consistent and generous adherence to his vocation as a priest concerned with the needs of the faithful and especially in the Christian formation of young persons."
Cardinal Cheli's funeral Mass, which will be celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, will be held tomorrow afternoon, 9 February, at 5:00pm in St. Peter's Basilica.
Vatican City, 8 February 2013 (VIS) – On behalf of the Pope, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., greeted the conference organized to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty between France and Germany. The conference, organized by the Pontifical Gregorian University, had as its theme "Fifty Years of Friendship between France and Germany at the service of Europe: The European Union – A Model for Other Reconciliations?"
In the text, made public this morning by the Press Office of the Holy See, Cardinal Bertone said that "the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of an important milestone on the path to reconciliation and understanding between the French and German peoples also bring to mind the personal commitment of the authors of the Treaty, Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer. Even before the stipulation of the Treaty, the two main protagonists of postwar Europe, with their participation at the Reconciliation Mass in the cathedral of Rheims, emphasized that politics are based on principles that cannot be given to oneself."
"The natural moral law, inscribed by the Creator in the human heart, and the human values and rights that are shaped by the Gospel, constitute the basis of a politics that is truly at the service of justice and peace, as well as the progress of the human family. Political action will also have to be built upon this basis in the future so that what we have achieved together not be undermined by new challenges and myopic personal interests and not be abandoned. Peace is an enduring task that must always be accomplished anew."
At the end of the text Cardinal Bertone affirmed that the Holy Father invokes upon the entire French and German peoples, "God's protection and blessing for a future of peace and freedom in their own countries and throughout Europe."
Among the participants in yesterday's conference were Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Minister-President of the state of the Saarland, Germany and delegate for Franco-German cultural relations, Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, and Jacques Santer, former President of the European Commission.
Vatican City, 8 February 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, Holland,
ten prelates from the Lazio region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Vincenzo Pelvi, military ordinary for Italy,
- Bishop Vincenzo Apicella of Velletri-Segni,
- Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano,
- Bishop Gino Reali of Porto-Santa Rufina,
- Bishop Ernesto Mandara of Sabina-Poggio Mirteto,
- Bishop Domenico Sigalini of Palestrina,
- Bishop Mauro Parmeggiani of Tivoli,
- Bishop Raffaello Martinelli of Frascati,
- Abbot Mauro Meacci, O.S.B., of Subiaco,
- Abbot Emiliano Fabbricatore, O.S.B.I., archimandrite of Santa Maria di Grottaferrata Abbey (Italo-Albanese), and
- Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.




Happy Childhood (1869-1876)

Bakhita was born in 1869 in Olgossa, in Darfur, a territory to the South-East of Sudan, inhabited by the Dajus, one the major ethnic groups who had settled in that region centuries before. Bakhita's family was prosperous, possessing lands with plantations and cattle. She herself said, "My life was completely happy. I did not know the meaning of sorrow". Bakhita had three brothers and three sisters. In 1874 the elder sister was kidnapped.
Stacks Image 321Harsh Slavery (1876-1882)

In 1876 two men kidnapped Bakhtia, who was then about seven years of age. After a month's imprisonment she was sold to a slave-trader (the second master). With great courage the girl attempted to escape, but was recaptured by a shepherd (her third master) and sold again to a fierce-looking man (her fourth master) who sold her to a slave-trader (fifth master). One day she was beaten and left unconscious and bleeding on the ground. She was then sold to a Turkish general (6th master), whose wife subjected Bakhita to the torture of tattooing. Her torturer spared only her face, because it was very beautiful, while he inflicted 114 cuts with a razor on her stomach and arms. The poor little victim felt she was dying, especially when salt was rubbed into her wounds to keep them open. Immersed in a pool of blood, she was carried away on a pallet and left for a month without even a rag to dry the serum that oozed from her wounds.

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To Freedom (1882-1885)

In 1882 the Turkish general sold Bakhita in Khartoum to the consular official Callisto Legnani (seventh master), who was very kind to her. Right away he showed his benevolence, dressing her for the first time in a tunic which restored her dignity as a woman. He would have brought her back to her own village if Bakhita had been able to remember its name, but she was too small at the time of her kidnapping to register exact details. When, in 1885, Legnani was preparing to leave Africa for Italy, Bakhita asked for and received permission to go with him. They embarked, together with a friend of the consul, Augusto Michieli. It was to the latter that Legnani gave the young African upon their arrival in Genoa.
In Italy

Mr. Michieli, a rich businessman from Venice, took Bakhita with him to his villa at Zianigo, near Mirano Venetto. Here, for three years, Bakhita was nursemaid to the little daughter, Alice, nicknamed Mimmina. The Michieli were good, honest people, but not church-goers. Mrs. Turina Michieli, who was Orthodox, had forbidden Bakhita to enter a church. However, Providence had placed on Bakhita's path the Michieli's manager, Illuminato Checchini, who played a fundamental part in her journey of faith. "A man with a heart of gold and an enlightened conscience" was how Bakhita described him; he always had a "fatherly love" for her. It was he, in fact, who concerned himself the religious education of the young African. When the Michieli returned in 1886 to Africa, where they had acquired a large hotel at Suakim and took Bakhita with them, the good Illuminato felt remorse, because he had not yet been able to speak to her about God. He was, thus, very happy, the following year, when he saw her return with his wife and the little girl, and inwardly promised to do everything he could for the benefit of that soul. "The missionaries", he said, "go to Africa to convert its inhabitants, shall we do nothing to enlighten this poor girl?" He began by presenting her with a little crucifix, saying to himself: "Jesus, I entrust her to you. Now, you look after her". He was also instrumental in placing Mimmina and Bakhita in the care of the Canossian sisters in Venice when the Michieli had to leave again for Suakim. At this Institute Bakhita was admitted to the catechumen ate. When, after nine months, Mrs Michieli returned for her daughter and the girl whom she regarded as in some way, her slave, in order to take them back again to Africa, she encountered a very firm attitude on the part of the latter. It was on that occasion that Bakhita, who was still a catechumen, displayed singular strength of spirit and great faith. In fact, when confronted with the affection and economic security offered her by the Michieli family, and the hope of rediscovering her family if she returned to Africa, she preferred God's love and abandonment to divine Providence for her future, which in human terms, was very uncertain. Thus she said, with determination: "No, I cannot return to Africa, because I would not be able to profess my faith in the Lord. I love the lady and her little girl very much, but I cannot lose my God. So I am remaining". It was 29 November 1889, as bakhita later recorded in her memoirs. This moment of courageous decision is most significant; it was to set the tone for her entire life.

In this difficult struggle Bakhita had the support of the Patriarch of Venice and the King's Procurator, who, according to Italian law, which forbade slavery, declared her to be a free person.
"If I did not die", Bakhita was to say later, "it was by a miracle of God, who had destined me for better things".
Josephine Bakhita
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As preparations were made for the great day - January 9, 1890 - when she was to receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion at the hands of the Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Agostini, Bakhita experienced very mixed feelings. On the one hand, she was profoundly aware of her own unworthiness, while on the other, she felt indescribable joy at the thought that she would become a child of God. Realizing God's ineffable love, she was at times intensely moved. She then had moments when she was unable to grasp how she, a poor black girl, a slave, an ignorant person, could be called by the Lord His daughter, she who had nothing to offer Him. She would then run to Mother Fabretti, her catechists, who calmed her, assuring her that in the eyes of God, wealth and wisdom were worth nothing: all that counted was love. "And you love the Lord, don't you?" Bakhita would agree, smiling contentedly, her eyes wet with tears. "Go in peace, then", concluded Mother Fabretti, "and call Him with confidence: "Our Father who art in Heaven...

After she had been baptized, receiving the names of Josephine, Margherita and Fortunata, Bakhita remained at the Institute of the Catechumens, where she soon became aware of the call to a life of special consecration. She did not dare expressed this desire, feeling herself to be unworthy. She feared that she might disfigure the Congregation on account of her black skin. Her confessor reassured her. God does not look at the colour of one's skin, but rather at the innermost depths of one's heart.

Bakhita was accepted, and after three years of Novitiate she made her Vows on Decembe 8, 1896. Cardinal Sarto, the then Patriarch of Venice, examined her and told her: "Pronounce your holy vows without fear. This is what Jesus wants. Jesus loves you. Love Him and serve Him always in this way". He also reassured her about the eternal salvation of her dear ones: "God has infinite ways of making Himself known and when He chooses a person to be His bride, He also thinks of her family".
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After she had been baptized, receiving the names of Josephine, Margherita and Fortunata, Bakhita remained at the Institute of the Catechumens, where she soon became aware of the call to a life of special consecration. She did not dare expressed this desire, feeling herself to be unworthy. She feared that she might disfigure the Congregation on account of her black skin. Her confessor reassured her. God does not look at the colour of one's skin, but rather at the innermost depths of one's heart.

Bakhita was accepted, and after three years of Novitiate she made her Vows on Decembe 8, 1896. Cardinal Sarto, the then Patriarch of Venice, examined her and told her: "Pronounce your holy vows without fear. This is what Jesus wants. Jesus loves you. Love Him and serve Him always in this way". He also reassured her about the eternal salvation of her dear ones: "God has infinite ways of making Himself known and when He chooses a person to be His bride, He also thinks of her family".

After her religious profession, which took place in Verona, Mother Bakhita returned to Venice, and later was sent to the house in Schio. Here she spent the best part of 45 years, immediately gaining the sympathy and esteem of all the town's inhabitants, who began to call her affectionately 'Madre Moretta' (Black Mother). Bakhita achieved the ideals set by the Foundress, St. Magdalene of Canossa, who wished her daughters to be "anchorites and apostles". Whether in church or sacristy, at the door or in the kitchen, she was engrossed in her Lord, and daily bore witness to the Lord's love for all His creatures. During the First World War, with great love, she set about easing the physical suffering and moral anguish of all those around her, in particular, the soldiers looked after in the Institute, which had been turned into a military hospital. During the Second World War people attributed to her presence the fact that Schio was preserved from the bombing. In fact, when the alarm sounded, Bakhita would say, "Don't worry, because the 'Master' knows what He has to do nothing will happen here."

From the moment of her profession, she showed how close she felt to her African brothers and sisters. On that day she uttered the following heartfelt prayer: "O Lord, if I could but fly to my people and preach aloud Your goodness to everyone! Oh, how many souls would I win for you. Among the first would be my mother, my father, my brothers, my sister, still a slave... all, all the poor black people of Africa. Grant, Jesus, that they too may know and love you!" Between 1936 and 1938 Mother Bakhita was at Vimercate, the seat of the Canossian Missionary Novitiate. This was her base for journeys to various Italian cities to promote the missions. She was accompanied by another Sister, who had returned from her mission in China. Everyone wanted to hear first-hand her "wonderful story". Referring to this experience, Mother Bakhita was to say later: "Many will think I enjoyed travelling around, but for me it was real martyrdom". Wherever she went, she left goodness in her wake, even though she herself was not aware of it.

At the height of World War II, on December 8, 1943, Mother Bakhita celebrated the 50th anniversary of her religious life. Not only her own community, but the whole of Schio, celebrated, despite the adverse circumstances of the time. But now, for Bakhita, aches and pains were beginning to make themselves felt, crippling arthritis, asthmatic bronchitis with cough, convulsed her body. This was not to be wondered at, considering the suffering she had undergone in her younger years and the rigours of the northern climate to which she was not accustomed. During her long illness never a complaint passed her lips. When she was asked: "Don't you feel anything, Mother Bakhita?" She replied: "Of course I feel something - I'm alive; it's only the dead who can't feel anything". "And how is it that you never complain?" "Oh, when nature wants something, I say: now be good, we'll see about it. Then I think about Jesus on the cross, and about the Sorrowful Virgin. That way, nature is calmed, and I no longer need anything". What heroic patience! Very soon she had to abandon her walking-stick in favour of a wheelchair, until broncho pneumonia brought her inexorably to the end. Fully conscious, and to the great edification of all, she received the last sacraments. The Virgin Mary came to comfort her at the moment of her death on Saturday, February 8, 1947. "How happy I am... the Madonna, the Madonna! These were her last words as she passed from this earthly life to the full freedom of God's children.
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Her Motto

From her childhood, Bakhita learnt to wonder at the beauty of creation. Even as a slave, she found comfort in admiring the sun, the moon, and the stars. She told how, when she had, finally, lost hope of ever seeing her family again, she began to appreciate more the beauties of nature. She wondered who could have been their Maker and ardently desired to know Him so as to be able to thank Him and do Him homage.

She was utterly surprised when she began to grasp the meaning of this truth: through Baptism you will become a child of God. "A child of God - I, a poor black girl!", she would repeat, filled with amazement. Her baptism gave her such great joy that she felt its beneficial effects ever after. "Here, I became a child of God!" she exclaimed with emotion, kneeling at the baptismal font when she had the good fortune to visit the church where she had been baptized. Baptism shaped her human and Christian future completely, and her whole life was overwhelmed with wonder at the goodness of a Father who orders everything for the good of those whom He has chosen. This, then, was the source of Bakhita's constant goodness.

The moment that had a great and decisive impact on her life was when she discovered the infinite love of God, manifested in his Crucified Son. Seeing the image of Jesus on the cross for the first time, Bakhita was greatly impressed, and asked: "What did that man do that was so wrong, for him to be treated in such a way?" "Nothing," was the reply, "He wished to die for us, for love of us, and also for you". "Also for me!" astonished Bakhita repeatedly. Always drawn irresistibly by the love of Jesus who had died on the cross for her, she became a strong woman, firm and unshakeable in her decision to devote herself totally to the service of her new heavenly Master. Consequently, her former resignation to her fate was transformed into free and holy abandonment to the divine will of Him whom she still gladly called "el Paron", "the Master", out of long-standing mental habit, but now no longer as a slave of arbitrary and evil masters by fate, but as a "slave of love" carrying out the orders of the good God, who loves His servants as a Father.

Her life, after death, would also depend on the will of the "Master". For this reason, when she was sick, she replied to those who asked for her prayers: "If the Lord permits, I will look after everyone from Heaven, I will obtain many graces for the salvation of souls."
Inner Face
"In St. Josephine Bakhita we find an outstanding witness to God's fatherly love and a bright sign of the enduring value of the Beatitudes. In our time, when the race for power, money, and pleasure causes distrust, violence and loneliness, the Lord is giving us Sister Bakhita as the Universal Sister, so that she may reveal to us the secret of the truest happiness: the Beatitudes. Hers is a message of heroic goodness, mirroring the goodness of the heavenly Father. She has left us a testimony of evangelical reconciliation and forgiveness, which will surely give comfort to the Christians in her homeland, Sudan, so sorely tried by conflict that has lasted for many years and caused many victims. Their faithfulness and their hope are reason fro pride and thanksgiving on the part of the whole Church. At this time of great tribulations, Sister Bakhita goes before them on the road of imitation of Christ, a deepening of the Christian life and of unshakeable attachment to the Church." (John Paul II - May 17,1992).

Mother Josephine Bakhita's life is marked by unconditional surrender to the will of God. Her motto was "What the Master Wishes". Thus she made her spiritual life very simple, because "doing God's will well" is the essence of perfection.

In all the positions she held as a Canossian - cook, embroiderer, sacristan, portress - Bakhita always showed herself to be a true "Daughter of Charity, Servant of the poor". The virtues that mark her relationship with her neighbours are: Goodness, Meekness, Tenderness. Her black hands caressed the heads of the children who attended the Institute's schools daily. Her amiable voice, which had the inflection of her African songs, was pleasing to the little children, comforting to the poor and the suffering, and encouraging to all who knocked at the door of the Institute.

The value of forgiveness is evident in Bakhita: "If I met those slave traders who kidnapped me and treated me so cruelly, I would kneel to kiss their hands, because if that had not happened, I would not be a Christian and a religious today." One is impressed above all by the excuse she makes for them: "Poor things, maybe they did not know they were hurting me so much: they were the masters, I was their slave. Just as we are used to doing good, so they did that by force of habit, not because they were wicked". As she told her terrible story, she continued to thank the Lord, who, in unimaginable ways, had led her to the faith and made her His bride. There was no hint of resentment in her words: she had forgiven everyone from her heart and prayed for them all.

Litany of St. Josephine Bakhita

Lord, have mercy,
Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy,
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy,
Lord, have mercy

Christ hear us,
Christ, graciously hear us

God, our heavenly Father
Have mercy on us
God the Son, Redeemer of the world
Have mercy on us
God, the Holy Spirit
Have mercy on us

Holy Mary
Pray for us
St. Joseph
Pray for us
St. Magdalen of Canossa
Pray for us
St. Josephine Bakhita
Pray for us

Flower of Sudan
Pray for us
Universal Sister
Pray for us
Model of Hope
Pray for us
Child slave
Pray for us
The Fortunate One
Pray for us
Daughter of God
Pray for us
Consecrated Virgin
Pray for us
Bride of Christ
Pray for us

Bakhita, most innocent
Pray for us
Bakhita, most forgiving
Pray for us
Bakhita, most chaste
Pray for us
Bakhita, most courageous
Pray for us
Bakhita, most free
Pray for us
Bakhita, most prayer ful
Pray for us
Bakhita, most faithful
Pray for us

Reflection of Charity
Pray for us
Wonderful Storyteller
Pray for us
Lover of Children
Pray for us
Exemplar of Hospitality
Pray for us
Patient Model of Bead workers
Pray for us
Diligent Sacristan
Pray for us
Humble Porter
Pray for us
Great Cook
Pray for us
Mother Moretta
Pray for us
Missionary at heart
Pray for us
Hope of the sick
Pray for us
Comfort to soldiers
Pray for us
Pillar to anxious families
Pray for us
Protector of Schio
Pray for us
Powerful Intercessor of those in need
Pray for us
Patron of the dying
Pray for us
Tale of Wonder
Pray for us

Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
Hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,
Have mercy on us, O Lord.
Leader: God delivered her from slavery and given her true freedom in ChristAll: And made her his daughter and his bride.
Let us pray

Heavenly Father, Your Son Jesus Christ, through His suffering and death on the cross, gave Himself as a gift of love for the reconciliation and salvation of all his peoples. He continues to express this love by giving us St. Josephine Bakhita. She too offered herself through her suffering in slavery. We humbly pray that through her intercession, she may obtain for us this favour which we now ask ______________, for the needs of our parish community, for her brothers and sisters in Sudan, and for the whole world the gift of justice and peace. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.


Campaigners call for Richard III to be given Catholic burial | Richard III, burial

Richard III - wiki images
Following the discovery of the remains of King Richard III, under a car park in Leicester, campaigners are calling for him to be given a Catholic funeral and burial.
Richard was the last of the Plantagenet Kings. Within 50 years of his death aged 32, at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, the Tudor dynasty had established the Church of England. But campaigners point out that as he was a Catholic it is only fair that he is given a burial according to the rites of his own faith.
The story of Richard III is a cause of controversy to this day. Shakespeare portrayed him as an evil scheming hunchback who murdered his young nephews who were the true heirs to the throne. Richard's defenders point out that the identity of the boys' murderer has never been proved, and much of the defamatory propaganda about King Richard was devised by those currying favour with the new Tudor dynasty.
Richard had one of the shortest reigns in English history - just 26 months. After his death in the battle which left the way clear for Henry VII to take power, it seems he was hurriedly buried in the Grayfriars churchyard, which was soon destroyed during the Reformation. For centuries the location of the church was forgotton, but recent excavations to make way for a carpark in Leicester revealed signs of the ancient church and the bones of a young man.
The identity of Richard was proved by DNA tests with samples from two maternal descendants.
Popular history has portrayed Richard with severe deformities. His skeleton shows that he did have a badly curved spine but he did not have a wasted arm.
A petition has been started asking that the remains of King Richard III, be buried in a Catholic burial place. The petition can be seen here:
It reads:
"The remains of Richard III have been discovered and exhumed. The suggestion is that he will be buried in Leicester Cathedral. However, it seems wholly inappropriate and disrespectful to bury the former Monarch in the grounds of a church of which he was never a member and which was created by the son of the man responsible for his death and ignominious burial. I am not petitioning on religious or sectarian grounds but I believe the dead of any persuasion have a right to be interred in a place appropriate to their beliefs."
To see the petition go to:


NAIROBI, February 05, 2013 (CISA) – Nairobi-based Ukweli Video Productions, a project of the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC) has produced a second video on Maurice Cardinal Otunga, now declared by the Vatican (Holy See) as Servant of God.

Father Celestino Bundi, a member of the Central Committee on the current beatification process on the Cardinal says the new video will be officially launched on Saturday, February 9, 2013, when Catholic bishops will launch the 2013 Lenten Campaign message, whose theme is: United and Peaceful Kenya…the change I want to see, is based on the country’s General elections, scheduled for March 4, 2013.
“To support the beatification process, each copy will be sold for Ksh 1, 000,” explains Fr Bundi in an update on the process.
He says, “We are appealing for financial support. We are expected to deposit 10,000 Euros to the Vatican Bank by September this year as our commitment to the opening of the second phase in Rome.”
He adds that the current Diocesan Phase of the process, being carried out in the country, is expected to be complete by September this year.
“We are hoping to submit the records to Rome to begin the Roman Phase by October 2013. We thank all who have supported the Diocesan phase, which we hope to conclude by September,” says Fr Bundi.
He adds, “We are appealing to all people of God, clergy, religious men and women and people of good will to continue to support the process with prayers, praying each day the prayer of beatification.”
“We are looking forward for a miracle. Kindly volunteer any healing or other favors received through intercession of Servant of God to the office,” adds Fr Bundi.
The video is titled; Doing the Will of God: The Story of the Servant of God Maurice Michael Cardinal Otunga (1923-2003).
“It is 180 minutes long and is in two parts of 90 minutes each. It documents the life of The Servant of God right from his home where he was born to where he lies at the Resurrection Gardens, and to the Cause of his beatification and Canonization,” says Sr Agnes Lando, the director, Ukweli Video Productions.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
7 Feb 2013

Former chairman of Caritas Australia, Cardinal Pell launches Project Compassion
The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell will celebrate Mass at noon on Ash Wednesday at St Mary's Cathedral when he will also officially launch Project Compassion, Caritas Australia's annual Lenten Campaign.
The Mass to launch the campaign will be concelebrated by Father George Dhanasegaran Sigamoney, National Director of Caritas Sri Lanka.
Each Lent for the past 49 years schools, community groups, parishes, universities, local organisations and individuals across Australia have sponsored projects to raise money for Caritas and its Project Compassion Campaign which helps support and bring hope to men, women and children struggling to survive in some of the world's poorest communities.
Cardinal Pell has a long association with Caritas, the aid and development arm of the Catholic Church. During the late 1980s until the mid 1990s, His Eminence was Chairman of Caritas Australia overseeing the agency's important development work to improve agriculture, sustainability, health and hygiene, education and access to clean fresh water, all of which play major roles in helping to lift communities out of poverty and providing them with a better future for themselves and their children.

Fish Friday 2012 raised more than $3000 for Project Compassion
Caritas currently has development teams working on the ground in more than 220 countries around the world. In addition to its development role, Caritas is instrumental in providing emergency relief with its specially-trained teams when natural disasters strike such as Haiti's devastating earthquake in January two years ago and last year's floods and landslides that killed hundreds and left many homeless in the Philippines.
Today Caritas with its emergency relief teams is on the ground giving aid to victims of yesterday's powerful 8.0 earthquake in the Pacific which triggered a tsunami and caused massive damage in the Solomon Islands where at least five lives have been lost.
Funds raised by Caritas Australia's Project Compassion Campaign this year will be put towards support for communities in Bolivia, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, Mozambique, Cambodia as well as giving help and support to Indigenous communities here in Australia.
The amount raised during last year's Project Compassion Campaign broke all records and raised more than $10 million to help Caritas and its work with the world's poor.

Caritas emergency relief teams help famine starved children of West Africa
"Times have been tough and uncertain for many Australians in the past few years, yet our parishes, our schools and Church communities managed to find a way to support the poorest of the poor," said Jack de Groot, CEO of Caritas Australia announcing the record amount raised during Lent last year. "Despite great financial uncertainty with charities around the country struggling, the Catholic community of Australia has taken a true stand in solidarity with the world's poor."
Economic times in Australia continue to be tough for many families and individuals. But unlike many charitable fundraising campaigns, Project Compassion is very much a grass roots effort in which communities, groups, parishes, schools, organisations and individuals participate not only to trigger donations so Caritas' important work can continue, but to also help raise awareness of the world's poorest communities and the difference amounts as small as just $5 or $10 can make.
Five dollars can buy a chicken for the Matuba Children's Centre in Mozambique which can be raised and sold for food, medical supplies and uniforms for the children. Ten dollars can provide a water filter to help reduce waterborne diseases and ensure water is safe at villages in Cambodia. Fifty dollars goes even further and can buy a bicycle to enable a young person in Cambodia to travel to school or to a job which will help support his or her family.
Although technically this is the 47th year of Project Compassion, it is in fact the 49th year since Caritas or as it was originally known in Australia, the Catholic Overseas Relief Committee (CORC). Founded in 1964 the same year, the Archdiocese of Sydney, the Diocese of Wagga Wagga and the Archdiocese of Adelaide launched their first Lenten fundraising campaign to help the poor and in need overseas.
The following year the Lenten fundraiser became a national event with all dioceses across Australia participating. This soon became known as Project Compassion and continued with this name in 1966 when CORC became known as Caritas Australia.

An impoverished Bolivian village where Caritas is making a difference
Just as in those early days, fund raising for Project Compassion is a big feature of schools with many of Sydney's Catholic primary schools already planning pancake day fund raisers on Shrove Tuesday next week. Parents and communities as well as children are pitching in to make pancakes or pikelets for sale on Shrove Tuesday with all monies going towards Caritas.
Fish Friday is another initiative embraced by community groups, organisations and schools as part of their efforts to raise funds for Project Compassion. The fundraisers are held on Fridays around a simple fish meal served with rice. Such meals are the staple of many of the world's poorest communities and for most is their only meal of the day. Donations are raised by people paying a small sum for these meals with many adding the difference of the cost of their normal big Aussie lunch against this simple fare.
For more than four years Fish Friday has been held on the first Friday after Ash Wednesday in Martin Place where celebrity chefs have served delicious but basic fish and rice lunches for Sydney's business community and passersby. But this year it has been decided to spread the idea much further and Fish Fridays will now be held across Australia by participating schools, universities, community groups and parishes each Friday throughout Lent.
To find out other great ways to involve friends and communities to pitch in and raise funds for the world's poor during Lent log on to and click on Project Compassion.
The Mass at St Mary's Cathedral to launch Caritas' Lenten Campaign this year is open to all and begins at noon on Ash Wednesday, 13 February.


National Marriage Week (Feb. 7-14) is a great time to catch the spirit and support marriage. This annual celebration encourages diverse groups to strengthen individual marriages, reduce the divorce rate, and build a stronger marriage culture, which in turn helps curtail poverty and benefits children. Here are some resources that can help.
 Day 1: Marriage is a Natural and a Supernatural Gift
Day 2: Marriage Is the Unique Union of a Man and a Woman
Day 3: Marriage Is a Communion of Love and Life
Day 4: Marriage is a Sacrament of Christ’s Love
Day 5: Marriage Is the Foundation of the Family and Society
Day 6: Marriage is a Journey of Human and Spiritual Growth
Day 7: Marriage Is a School of Love and Gratitude
"Among the many blessings that God has showered upon us in Christ is the blessing of marriage, a gift bestowed by the Creator from the creation of the human race…

It is a source of blessing to the couple, to their families, and to society and includes the wondrous gift of co-creating human life.

Indeed, as Pope John Paul II never tired of reminding us, the future of humanity depends on marriage and the family."– U.S. Catholic Bishops, Pastoral Letter: Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan

Major USCCB Marriage Projects & Activities

Young people and an elderly man read together. The Bishops launched the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage in 2005 to call attention to the meaning and value of married life for the Church and for society.

The Initiative's activities have included: a research study on Catholics and marriage; focus groups with married couples, priests, and canon lawyers; an analysis of diocesan marriage preparation policies; and dialogues with social scientists and theologians.

Marriage and the Family in the United States: Resources for Society - A review of the social science research on the benefits generated from families rooted in marriage, divided into three sections: psychological well-being, physical health, and economic benefit.
Young bride and groom. The "For Your Marriage" website offers practical help and advice whether you're seriously dating, engaged, or at any stage of married life.

If you're planning a Catholic wedding, you'll find information on everything from choosing the music and readings to marrying someone who is not Catholic.

On the homepage check out the Daily Marriage Tips, book reviews, and blogs.
A young family pose together for a photo. The "Marriage: Unique for a Reason" website is part of the Bishops' ongoing efforts to promote and defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

It offers many educational resources for Catholics and others who want to better understand and articulate the Church's teaching on marriage. The website currently features two DVD resources, "Made for Each Other" and "Made for Life," as well as FAQs about marriage, a library of Church teaching, and a regularly updated blog.
Young Latino family of four"A committed, permanent, faithful relationship of husband wife is the root of a family. It strengthens all the members, provides best for the needs of children, and causes the church of the home to be an effective sign of Christ in the world" (U.S. Catholic Bishops, Follow the Way of Love: A Pastoral Message to Families
Our Marriage Home Page

Quick Links to Popular Items

Bishops' Pastoral Letter on Marriage
National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage
For Your Marriage website
Por Tu Matrimonio website
Marriage: Unique for a Reason website


by Xin Yage
In anticipation of the celebrations for the New Year, Christian organizations and associations are working to bring comfort to the needy. 30 thousand free meals distributed, Taipei holds a banquet for 2700 people with 200 tables. Among the most active in aid, the evangelical Christian Cao Ching, which together with the Church of Taiwan offers support and welcome to the sick, elderly and homeless.

Taipei (AsiaNews) - To ring in the New Year of the Snake, various associations and Christian organizations that work to help the needy this week have set up free meals for the poor and marginalized, being able to reach and feed 30 thousand people throughout Taiwan. The organization is responsible for the Genesis Social Welfare Foundation (Gswf, 创世 社会 福利 基金会), which for years has tirelessly and commendably aided the poorest and most disadvantaged sections of the population.

Father Matthew (徐 森 义 神父), a Taiwanese priest ordained two years ago, creative, generous and tireless, is also on the board of the foundation. Interviewed by AsiaNews, the priest said that Cao Ching (曹庆), founder of Gswf, 24 years ago, "had the idea to join forces of the people of good will knocking on their doors throughout Taiwan." The first objective was to address the "people in a vegetative state" who come from families already in difficulty, thus increasing problems for their survival and that of the family.

"The slogan of Cao Chiing - said Fr. Matthew - was: 'if we can take care of the sick person in a vegetative state, a family can survive.' Thanks to his perseverance and the immense support he received, the association then focused on two objectives: to encourage the inhabitants of each district to assist neighbors in need, and open 14 homes help people in a vegetative state. " Over time, the Gswf focused on three main services: care of people in a vegetative state, the elderly and the homeless.

Cao Ching, an evangelical Christian, has always been encouraged and supported in part by Catholic parishes, which is why he wanted members of the Church also among board members, because " Jesus' message of sharing with the poor is essential in any business and activities that it has succeeded in Taiwan. "

The banquet was held this year in 14 different areas of the island. In Taipei, the event was held on February 5 in Liberty Square, in front of the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (中正 纪念堂 自由 广场), there were 2,700 people, spread over 200 tables. Each person was offered lunch and an envelope (红包) with 500 Taiwanese dollars (U.S. 16.93). The participants were from poor families, homeless, young single mothers without means. "It's incredible - said Father. Mathew - to see how we can mobilize large numbers of people, to assist those in need. If you talk to Cao Ching you realize that he is a simple person, 25 years ago he was selling tickets near the station, he was not the CEO of a large industrial company. But he realized that with a simple idea, he could give strength to the purpose of doing good that was already present in the hearts of many Taiwanese. "



St. Jerome Emiliani
Feast: February 8

Feast Day:February 8
1481, Venice
Died:8 February 1537, Somasca
Canonized:1767 by Pope Clement XIII
Patron of:orphans

Founder of the Order of Somascha; b. at Venice, 1481; d. at Somascha, 8 Feb., 1537; feast, 20 July; son of Angelo Emiliani (popularly called Miani) and of Eleonore Mauroceni, joined the army, and in 1508 defended Castelnuovo against the League of Cambray. Taken prisoner and miraculously liberated, he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Treviso, in fulfillment of a vow. He was then appointed podestà of Castelnuovo, but after a short time returned to Venice to supervise the education of his nephews. All his spare time was devoted to the study of theology and to works of charity. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1518, the hospitals and the hovels of the poor were his favourite resorts. In the year of plague and famine (1528), he seemed to be everywhere, and showed his zeal especially for the orphans, whose number had so greatly increased. He rented a house for them near the church of St. Rose and, with the assistance of some pious laymen, ministered to their wants. To his charge was also committed the hospital for incurables, founded by St. Cajetan. In 1531 he went to Verona and induced the citizens to build a hospital; at Brescia he erected an orphanage, at Bergamo one for boys and another for girls. Here also he founded the first home for fallen women who wished to do penance. Two priests, Alessandro Besuzio and Agostino Bariso, now joined him in his labours of charity, and in 1532 Jerome founded a religious society, placing the motherhouse at Somascha, a secluded hamlet between Milan and Bergamo. In the rule, Jerome puts down as the principal work of the community the care of orphans, poor, and sick, and demands that dwellings, food and clothing shall bear the mark of religious poverty. Jerome fell a martyr to his zeal; contracting a disease at Bergamo, he died at Somascha. He was beatified by Benedict XIV in 1747, and canonized by Clement XIII in 1767. The Office and Mass in his honour were approved eight years later. His biography was first written by Scipio Albani (1600); another by Andreas Stella (1605). The best was written by Aug. Tortora (Milan, 1620; in "Acta SS.", Feb., II, 217 sq.).
After the death of Jerome his community was about to disband, but was kept together by Gambarana, who had been chosen superior. He obtained the approval (1540) of Paul III. In 1547 the members vainly sought affiliation with the Society of Jesus; then in 1547-1555 they were united with the Theatines. Pius IV (1563) approved the institution, and St. Pius V raised it to the dignity of a religious order, according to the Rule of St. Augustine, with solemn vows, the privileges of the mendicants, and exemption. In 1569 the first six members made their profession, and Gambarana was made first superior general. Great favour was shown to the order by St. Charles Borromeo, and he gave it the church of St. Mayeul at Pavia, from which church the order takes its official name "Clerici regulares S. Majoli Papiae congregationis Somaschae". Later the education of youth was put into the programme of the order, and the colleges at Rome and Pavia became renowned. It spread into Austria and Switzerland, and before the great Revolution it had 119 houses in the four provinces of Rome, Lombardy, Venice, and France. At present the order has ten houses in Italy two of which are in Rome. The general resides in Rome at S. Girolamo della Carita.

(Taken frrom Catholic Encyclopedia)