Thursday, February 28, 2013


Vatican Radio report - The Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI will come to an end with the Sede Vacante (“Vacant See”) beginning at 8pm Rome time (7pm GMT). On the last full day of his pontificate, Pope Benedict will hold a special farewell meeting with members of the College of Cardinals in the Clementine Hall. At 4.55 p.m. the Pope will bid farewell to the pontifical household, an depart the Apostolic Palace by car from the San Damaso Courtyard. From there, he will be driven to the Vatican heliport, where he will be seen off by the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano. At 5.15 p.m. he will be flown to Castel Gandolfo, about 30 km from Rome. The Holy Father will then briefly greet the faithful of the Diocese of Albano from the central balcony of the Apostolic Palace. This will be the last public appearance of Pope Benedict XVI while in office. At 8 p.m, the reign of the 265th Pope, the 264th successor of St. Peter, will come to an end, having lasted 7 years, 10 months, and 9 days.
Pope Benedict’s on Thursday morning with his closest advisors, gathered in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall for a final greeting, just hours ahead of his retirement and the end of his pontificate at 8pm, Rome time.
For his last meeting in the Vatican, the outgoing pontiff greeted 144 cardinals individually, together with the presidents and officials of the different Vatican offices.

Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s words to the College of Cardinals Thursday morning:

Dear beloved brothers

I welcome you all with great joy and cordially greet each one of you. I thank Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who as always, has been able to convey the sentiments of the College, Cor ad cor loquitur. Thank you, Your Eminence, from my heart.

And referring to the disciples of Emmaus, I would like to say to you all that it has also been a joy for me to walk with you over the years in light of the presence of the Risen Lord. As I said yesterday, in front of thousands of people who filled St. Peter's Square, your closeness, your advice, have been a great help to me in my ministry. In these 8 years we have experienced in faith beautiful moments of radiant light in the Churches’ journey along with times when clouds have darkened the sky. We have tried to serve Christ and his Church with deep and total love which is the soul of our ministry. We have gifted hope that comes from Christ alone, and which alone can illuminate our path. Together we can thank the Lord who has helped us grow in communion, to pray to together, to help you to continue to grow in this deep unity so that the College of Cardinals is like an orchestra, where diversity, an expression of the universal Church, always contributes to a superior harmony of concord. I would like to leave you with a simple thought that is close to my heart, a thought on the Church, Her mystery, which is for all of us, we can say, the reason and the passion of our lives. I am helped by an expression of Romano Guardini’s, written in the year in which the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council approved the Constitution Lumen Gentium, his last with a personal dedication to me, so the words of this book are particularly dear to me .

Guardini says: "The Church is not an institution devised and built at table, but a living reality. She lives along the course of time by transforming Herself, like any living being, yet Her nature remains the same. At Her heart is Christ. "

This was our experience yesterday, I think, in the square. We could see that the Church is a living body, animated by the Holy Spirit, and truly lives by the power of God, She is in the world but not of the world. She is of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, as we saw yesterday. This is why another eloquent expression of Guardini’s is also true: "The Church is awakening in souls." The Church lives, grows and awakens in those souls which like the Virgin Mary accept and conceive the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. They offer to God their flesh and in their own poverty and humility become capable of giving birth to Christ in the world today. Through the Church the mystery of the Incarnation remains present forever. Christ continues to walk through all times in all places. Let us remain united, dear brothers, to this mystery, in prayer, especially in daily Eucharist, and thus serve the Church and all humanity. This is our joy that no one can take from us.

Prior to bidding farewell to each of you personally, I want to tell you that I will continue to be close to you in prayer, especially in the next few days, so that you may all be fully docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new Pope. May the Lord show you what is willed by Him. And among you, among the College of Cardinals, there is also the future Pope, to whom, here to today, I already promise my unconditional reverence and obedience. For all this, with affection and gratitude, I cordially impart upon you my Apostolic Blessing.

Belwo please find a Vatican Radio translation of the farewell discourse by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals to Pope Benedict XVI.


With great trepidation the cardinals present in Rome gather around you today, once again to show their deep affection and express their heartfelt gratitude for your selfless witness of apostolic service, for the good of the Church of Christ and of all humanity.

Last Saturday, at the end of the Spiritual Exercises in the Vatican, you thanked your collaborators from the Roman Curia, with these moving words: My friends, I would like to thank all of you not only for this week but for the past eight years, during which you have carried with me, with great skill, affection, love and loyalty, the weight of the Petrine ministry.

Beloved and revered Successor of Peter, it is we who must thank you for the example you have given us in the past eight years of Pontificate. On 19 April 2005 you joined the long line of successors of the Apostle Peter, and today, 28 February 2013, you are about to leave us, as we wait for the helm of the Barque of Peter to pass into other hands. Thus the apostolic succession continues, which the Lord promised His Holy Church, until the voice of the Angel of the Apocalypse is heard proclaim on earth : "Tempus non erit amplius ... consummabitur mysterium Dei" (Ap 10, 6-7) "there is no longer time.: the mystery of God is finished." So ends the history of the Church, together with the history of the world, with the advent of a new heaven and a new earth.

Holy Father, with deep love we have tried to accompany you on your journey, reliving the experience of the disciples of Emmaus who, after walking with Jesus for a good stretch of road, said to one another: "Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way?" (Luke 24:32).
Yes, Holy Father, know that our hearts burned too as we walked with you in the past eight years. Today we want to once again express our gratitude.

Together we repat a typical expression of your dear native land "Vergelt's Gott" God reward you! (End)

Vatican City, 28 February 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a telegram to Archbishop Bernard-Nicolas Aubertin, O. Cist., of Tours, France, on receiving news of the death today of Cardinal Jean Marcel Honore, archbishop emeritus of that archdiocese. The cardinal was 92 years old. The Pope asked the Lord to “welcome this pastor who has served the Church with devotion in Catholic education and catechesis into His peace and His true light.” The cardinal was also “a skilled and passionate crafter in editing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, who always had the desire to proclaim the Gospel to the entire world of today.”
Vatican City, 28 February 2013 (VIS) – Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for March is: "That respect for nature may grow with the awareness that all creation is God's work entrusted to human responsibility."
His mission intention is: "That bishops, priests, and deacons may be tireless messengers of the Gospel to the ends of the earth."
Vatican City, 28 February 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father:
- appointed Fr. Samuel Jofre as bishop of Villa Maria (area 28,000, population 386,000, Catholics 308,000, priests 69, religious 32), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Cordoba, Spain in 1957 and was ordained a priest in 1983. Since ordination, he has served in several pastoral and judicial roles, most recently as judge on the inter-diocesanal tribunal of Cordoba and pastor of Santo Cristo Parish. He succeeds Bishop Jose Angel Roval, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Villa Maria the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- appointed Msgr. Joseph Dinh Duc Dao as auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Xuan Loc (area 5,955, population 2,458,000, Catholics 873,440, priests 405, religious 2314), Vietnam. The bishop-elect was born in Thuc Hoa, Nam Dinh, Vietnam, in 1945 and was ordained a priest in 1971. Since ordination, he has served in several pastoral, academic, and administrative roles, most recently as consultor of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and rector of the Major Seminary of Xuan Loc. The Holy Father has assigned him the Titular See of Gadiaufala.



Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
28 Feb 2013
Cardinal George Pell - head and shoulders above the gathering
The Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell was one of around 70 Cardinals who witnessed Pope Benedict XVI's last general audience in St Peter's Square yesterday, describing the two hours as a moving and beautiful farewell to a much-admired Pope.
A crowd of between 150,000 and 200,000 also welcomed the Holy Father as he arrived in the Pope-mobile being driven slowly through the crowds and stopping often when a baby or young child was passed to him to be blessed.
In addressing the crowd the Pope said he understood the gravity of his decision to leave the pontificate but believed this was for the good of the church.
He He said he thought there were moments when the "waters were choppy and there were headwinds" but he was grateful for the understanding, support and prayers of a great many people.
The final farewell to the faithful
Following the audience Cardinal Pell said; "It was a beautiful farewell. It was sad. There was an immense crowd - 150,000 to 200,000. Their affection for Pope Benedict was manifest.
"I think he was more than a little bit moved himself. But it was a beautiful farewell."  Cardinal Pell said he believed Pope Benedict will be remembered for many things including  the fact he was a brilliant thinker and a magnificent teacher. He was also very prayerful and humble.
"Pope Benedict also restored the tradition of the liturgy - that I think will be one of his greatest legacies," Cardinal Pell said.



by J.B. Vu
The archbishop of Saigon is one of the 115 cardinal-electors. The Holy Father has "worked in exemplary fashion for the universal" Church. In March, special Masses and meetings will be held in support of the prelates who will find a successor to Benedict XVI.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - In the first weeks of March, Vietnamese Catholics will pray for the future pope and for the cardinal-electors who will select Benedict XVI's successor. Lay people, priests, nuns and men and women religious will take part in special Masses and meetings in response to an invitation by Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Phạm Minh Mẫn, archbishop of Saigon, sent out on Monday to all the dioceses and parishes in the country.
The prelate will be among the 115 cardinals to sit in conclave to elect a new pope. He is expected in Rome for the weekend.
"When I heard about his resignation, I felt sorry," Archbishop Phạm Minh Mẫn toldAsiaNews.
"Benedict XVI is a dedicated pastor, very humble who worked in an exemplary fashion for the universal and local churches," he explained.
"In today's world, we must show our affection for the Church in a spirit of obedience to God's faith."
In response to the cardinal's letter, the cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City's First District will hold a special Mass on 9 March at 8.30 am.
The next day, all 211 parishes and all 60 male and female congregations in the city will hold prayer meetings.
Called to such a commitment, some priests and young people said that Vietnamese Catholics "are full of gratitude for Benedict XVI. His love, modesty, and humility are dedicated to the Lord and the people of God. He has served and helped the Church, looking at full human development without discrimination."



CAIRO, February 26, 2013 (CISA) -Coptic Catholics in Egypt have protested at the decision taken by President Morsi to hold parliamentary elections on a date which would coincide with Coptic Easter celebrations.
The President’s decision may be reconsidered following protests by Egyptian Christians. The same views were expressed by the Coptic Catholic, Auxiliary Bishop of Alexandria, Bishop Botros Fahim Awad Hanna.
Commenting on the same issue another Coptic Bishop called for a postponement of the elections.
“A possible postponement could be explained with the subterfuge that the second round of elections would coincide with the national holiday of Sham al-Nasseem, a festivity of pharaonic origin which celebrates Spring and falls on Easter Monday,” said Bishop Anba Fahim Hanna.
The first date of political elections has been set for April 27, the Saturday before Palm Sunday and the second round on May 5, the Sunday on which this year Coptic Christians celebrate Easter.
“Our political leaders chose the dates because they never take the calendar of Christian festivities into consideration because no one around them is in a position to advise when a date is inopportune,” the Coptic Catholic Bishop complained.
He further added that, “In these matters they are completely in the dark. This is why we saw an explosion of protests on the social network”.
However, certain prominent Christians were able to make their voices reach the Presidential offices, in order to warn those responsible that the inconvenient choice of election dates could cause fresh social tensions and revolts.SHARED FROM CISA NEWS 



Tribute to inspirational Kathy Piper  RIP | Kathy Piper, Paul Donovan

Kathy Piper
Kathy Piper (3/4/1937 to 26/2/2013)
The former chair of the Brentwood Justice and Peace Commission and Central America desk officer at Catholic Institute of International Relations (CIIR) Kathy Piper has died at the age of 75.
Kathy was a fighter all of her life. She finally succumbed to cancer after a long battle. At first the disease was defeated and went into remission for some years. Then 18 months ago it came back. Kathy was always upbeat about the disease, determined to carry on but it finally overcame her.
Kathy’s had physical battles for much of her life suffering with bad arthritis and osteoporosis. Yet despite these physical afflictions she continued to work constantly for social justice.
Kathy was born into a traditional Irish family in 1930s Dagenham, Essex. She gave up the maiden name, Murphy, when marrying her soul mate Chris Piper. The couple had three children John, Clare and Lucy. The family grew up for many years in Chadwell Heath before moving to Wanstead in the early 1980s.
It was whilst trying to make some sense of Catholicism that Kathy came to dwell more and more on the social teachings. Latin American teachers like Dom Helda Camra, Jon Sobrino and Gustavo Gutierrez made a big impact. Though looking back, she always credited her former teacher Sister Elizabeth Rendall (died 2011), with sowing the seeds of justice in her days as a young Ursuline student.
The social teachings brought the faith to life for Kathy in a way that she had never known before. She took a degree en route to getting her big break, joining CIIR. Reluctant at first to cut familial ties and take on the new challenge, she was encouraged by Chris to make the leap.
At CIIR she blossomed, working under the tutelage of then general secretary Mildred Neville and Julian Filochowski. She was sent on an intensive Spanish course, an essential skill to have when working on Central America.
Over a number of years during the 1970s and 80s Kathy worked tirelessly going to and from the war torn region. She was often a fixer behind the scenes, bringing people together and often not getting all the credit she deserved. In the early 1990s, she played a key role in bringing Professor Noam Chomsky over to lecture for CIIR.
A lifelong socialist, the liberation theologians of Latin America brought her faith to life. Over the years, a series of Latin American visitors stayed at the house in Wanstead, bringing liberation theology right into the heart of east London.
Kathy had been involved in the 1970s and 80s with the creation of the national J&P network that eventually metamorphosed into NJPN.
So when Kathy left CIIR in the 1990s, it seemed a logical step to renew her work with the network. She became chair of the Brentwood Justice and Peace Commission. The Commission thrived under Kathy’s guiding hand, setting up working groups and holding study days on not always popular subjects like the Troubles in Northern Ireland. There was also groundbreaking work with refugees.
Kathy was always a great believer in the need for formation in the faith. I first came to know her when we set up a group in Our Lady of Lourdes parish, Wanstead called the Association for Relief in Crisis Areas (ARICA).
The aim of the group was to raise awareness and funds relating to poverty in the south. ARICA supported projects in Peru, India, Colombia and Kenya. Kathy joined the group contributing through her vast knowledge but it was the regular chats with her and Chris - usually over a glass of wine- that excited those of us in the group to want to do more. Kathy played a huge part in my own journey from banking to social justice journalism. She saw the need for formation in the faith and helped so many people down the years on their different paths.
As recently as two years ago, Kathy joined a group organised to develop a formation in social justice in the Church. The group foundered but her commitment to build Church was ever present.
Kathy loved the Church. She was part of the generation really excited by Vatican II. The opportunities it opened up, the challenges to be Church in the world. It inspired Kathy as it did so many others of that time to want to work for social justice as Church.
She was though saddened by recent developments, the closing in of the Church on itself. The shutting down of those inspiring voices from Latin America and elsewhere who professed liberation theology. She was particularly upset at the child abuse scandals, hurt that she felt the hierarchy never really apologised to the people for the damage done in their name. She felt betrayed.
Kathy will be sadly missed. She was a quiet inspiration to so many people. Her lifelong bravery when faced with physical challenges and determination to make a better life for the mass of people who inhabit this planet. She was also a proud mother and grandmother to John, Clare, Lucy and Ella, Kitty, Billy and Jack. She will though now go to be reunited with her beloved Chris.
The funeral is 11.30am on Wednesday, 6 March at Our Lady of Lourdes, Wanstead, London. E11
Paul Donovan is an award-winning Catholic journalist based in London. 
His blog is at: