Friday, April 5, 2013

POPE FRANCIS - ACT DECISIVELY AGAINST ABUSE - LATEST FROM VATICAN


(Vatican Radio IMAGE - SHARE)FRANCIS: ACT DECISIVELY AGAINST SEXUAL ABUSE
Vatican City, 5 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. A communique released by that dicastery reads that, during the course of the audience, various issues pertaining to the Congregation were discussed. In particular, the Holy Father recommended that the Congregation, continuing along the lines set by Benedict XVI, act decisively with regard to cases of sexual abuse, first of all by promoting measures for the protection of minors, as well as in offering assistance to those who have suffered abuse, carrying out due proceedings against the guilty, and in the commitment of bishops' conferences to formulate and implement the necessary directives in this area that is so important for the Church's witness and credibility. The Holy Father assured that victims of abuse are present in a particular way in his prayers for those who are suffering.
 
CIVILTA CATTOLICA: NEW FORMAT, NEW SECTIONS, AND OPENNESS TO INTERNET AND SOCIAL NETWORKING
Vatican City, 5 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Press Office of the Holy See, a press conference was held to present the new print and digital versions of the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica (Catholic Civilization), which is published in Italian from Rome. Speaking at the conference were: Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States; and Fr. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., director of the periodical.
“La Civilta Cattolica,” Fr. Spadaro explained, “is Italy's oldest journal among those which have never had an interruption in their publication. Every 12 days for 163 years, it has published a journal of over 100 pages. It is a cultural journal that features articles written only by Jesuits. Its editors are specialists but they use a language for readers who are not 'experts' [in the various areas].”
“Established in 1850, La Civilta Cattolica seeks to share an intellectual experience that is enlightened by faith and deeply engaged in the cultural, social, economic, political, artistic, and scientific life of our age. It does not seek to share its reflections merely within the Catholic world, but with whoever is looking for reliable sources of formation, capable of making one thing and of developing one's personal judgement. … By its tradition and nature, La Civilta Cattolica expresses a 'high' form of cultural journalism, which places it within a difficult borderland. … We don't intend to merely 'follow' and comment upon cultural events or ideas that have already been formulated. In as far as possible, we want to grasp the idea of what will be, anticipate trends and events, predict their impact, and keep our reader's attention engaged.”
Thinking of the changes that the periodical will undergo, Fr. Spadaro noted that, “from 1850 to 1933, the journal's articles weren't signed in order to convey that they weren't the expression of one individual, but rather of a community: the so-called 'college or writers', which was actually composed of seven Jesuits. Today more than ever, however, our culture is diversified. In respect to the past, therefore, the presence of international signatures of Jesuit fathers and the topics treated will increase, even If the journal will always remain 'home-made' within the established newsroom.”
“La Civilta Cattolica hasn't changed its format since 1970. This is the first time in the journal's 163 years that its graphic layout has been subjected to an actual and coordinated design plan, which covers from a restyling of the masthead … to a version for tablets. … In structural terms, the 'cronache' (reports) section will disappear, since our world is one in which reporting is entrusted to daily newspapers or even to real-time blogs and tweets. Instead, we will be focusing on 'bridges', that is, on reflections, critical evaluations, reasoning, and even on the most current contemporary events, thanks to the 'Focus' section that will consist of articles tied to current events in politics, economics, the international stage, society, and law. Reflection on the Church will have a fixed place at the heart, that is the centre, of the journal. New sections, such as 'Profile' and 'Interview', will be added.”
“The journal will also become available for browsing on tablets with applications for iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire, and Windows 8. Right now it is possible to download the last two issues of the journal: the last one of the old version and the first one of the new version.”
“Today, communicating means less and less 'transmitting' news and more 'sharing' with other visions and ideas. This is why the journal's content, in its essential form of abstracts, has been 'opened' to the social networks for using, sharing, commenting, and debate in the ways made possible in that arena: not on our site but on those such as Facebook and Twitter.”
“In addition, thanks to collaboration by Google, a project has been launched to make all the issues published from 1850 to 2008 accessible on the web. In fact, Google had digitalized the volumes for their Google Books project, through agreements with several libraries in Europe and the United States. The issues still protected by copyright law will now be made available by our authorization.”
 
AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 5 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, in audience.
 
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 5 April 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Gintaras Linas Grusas as archbishop of Vilnius (area 9,644, population 830,000, Catholics 547,000, priests 169, religious 249), Lithuania. The archbishop-elect was born in Washington, DC, USA in 1961, was ordained a priest in 1994, and received episcopal ordination in 2010. Most recently he has served on the Lithuanian Bishops' Conference as secretary general and as Military Ordinary of Lithuania. He succeeds Cardinal Audrys Juozas Backis, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

ASIA : SYRIA : PEOPLE IN NORTH SURVIVE ON GRASS

ASIA NEWS IT REPORT: AsiaNews sources describe life in the capital where the war has devastated even the wealthiest families. Thousands of people survive on the meager government subsidies. To overcome the winter people have deforested the public parks. Six hour queues for a piece of bread and a liter of petrol.


Damascus (AsiaNews) - The war between rebels and regime of Bashar al-Assad has brought  even Damascus to its knees after having first devastated Aleppo the economic center of the country where the army and Islamist militias clash even in the alleys of the old town. According to AsiaNews sources there are no supplies in the capital and major cities still in the hands of the government, but people survive thanks to rations from the regime. Every day, people are forced to queue for even five or six hours straight to get a few liters of petrol and a few pounds of bread. The price of basic necessities is very high.

Until now, the regime has maintained at 75 cents per liter for fuel prices, but more and more people are forced to stock up on the black market, where costs are also ten times higher.

Even bread is an increasingly rare commodity. People can "choose" between the standard which costs about 16 cents, but is of little nutritional value, or the "tourist" brand paying a price even four times higher. It takes up to two weeks to get a canister of gas and the cost is around  7 dollars. The winter months have brought misery and suffering even among the richest families. Many people died from the cold. To warm themselves people cut down the trees of public parks and sacrificed furniture. Local sources say that the situation is even worse in areas under rebel control, where everything is run by the black market.

In areas controlled by the rebels, the situation is on the edge of survival. In the Kherbet al-Khaldiyé refugee camp in the province of Aleppo, the people consisting mainly of women, elderly and children have nothing to eat. "We're ripping the grass from the field - says Naida, 35, a mother of seven children - mint, purple grass, and cook it. We have nothing to eat." She said that aid only arrives a few times each month. "Once we were brought a kilo of potatoes - she says - but it had to suffice for more than a month. We had to survive with a potato per person per week." Muhannad Hadi, head of the World Food Programme (WFP) stresses that it is almost impossible to move aid across the Syrian territory. The warehouses are often at the center of the cross-fire between the regime and the rebels. The situation is particularly critical in areas of conflict. Some opposition groups control the areas where WFP is able to have access and where millions of people are in need of food. The rebels control the stores and have also taken over some dams for drinking water. Many refugees are forced to use puddles to wash and for drinking water.

Despite the devastated economy, most analysts argue that the regime will survive for at least another year. So far Assad has exploited the approximately 17 billion dollars accumulated during the oil boom of the 90s, but it is almost exhausted. The President still has approximately 4.5 billion dollars that would allow him to balance the losses which are the result of the sanctions of the international community, which amount to approximately 400 million dollars per month. (S.C.)


SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

AUSTRALIA : LOCAL NUNS ON TV - FUTURE OF SISTERHOOD

DIOCESE OF PARRAMATTA RELEASE


Vicar for Religious in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Sister Ailsa Mackinnon RSM and the Missionary Sisters of BV Mary, Queen of the World in Granville have featured in a SBS story on the future of the sisterhood and the Church in Australia.
Sisters Clare Dang and Lucy Vo from Missionary Sisters of BV Mary, Queen of the World joined Sr Ailsa in taking part in the news story, as did Josephite Sister Hun Do.
The SBS story reported the number of Catholic nuns in Australia peaked in the 1960s, and has been in decline ever since. There are fewer than 6,000 left in Australia, and with an average age of 74, the church is at risk of losing one of its most devout populations.
Sr Ailsa told SBS she attributes the decline of the sisterhood in part, to rising affluence.
“Life in Australia is pretty easy, and we have a very middle-class type of an existence. So the desire to enter into this search isn’t as urgent as [it is among] people who have had a lot of hardship in their lives.”
Sr Alisa said the future of the Church lied in recognising diversity. In Australia, more than 22 per cent of the wider Catholic population were born overseas.

“Certainly the church has tried to accommodate the waves of migrants who have come to Australia,” Sr Ailsa said. “It’s only going to become more multicultural.”

A calling from God fulfilling happiness

Extended interviews with Srs Clare Dang, Lucy Vo and Hun Do.
Sr Clare Dang told SBS that she'd never met a nun before she decided to become one.
Vietnamese-born, Sr Clare was still in high school when she found the number of a convent in a magazine, and made the call.
"I think it's just a calling from God, just to do something to fulfil your happiness," Sr Clare said.
For Sr Lucy Vo, an early experience boarding with nuns at a convent lead her to aspire to become one.
"Going to high school outside, I had two alternatives to choose from. I could choose the pathway of religious life, or the other way. But obviously the call was very strong," she says.
Aged 34 and 33 respectively, SBS said Srs Clare and Vo are among the rare few choosing to enter a life of religious devotion in modern Australia.
Although the two women had not met before entering the convent, they have similar backgrounds. Both were born in Vietnam, and moved with their families to Hong Kong before boarding a boat to Australia.
It's an experience both women said drew them closer to their faith.
"Many of the boat people do think they owe God something when they are saved," Sr Clare said.
She can recall a particular moment that helped define the course of her life.
Her family had just left Vietnam when she was ten years old. They were on board a tiny boat for 11 days, when tragedy struck.
"The boat was crushed into this hidden rock under the sea. Everybody was held tight together, and not just Catholic, but all religious. Even those who don't have any religion. There was praying...they were leaning back and the promise was coming out. They were saying, 'if you do this for me, God, or heaven, or whatever they believed in, I would do this for you.'"
Sister Lucy, whose family left Vietnam when she was two, may not remember the journey but she recognises the affect it had on her family. "That journey, just fleeing Vietnam and the hardships that my family has faced, it certainly has strengthened my faith."
SHARED FROM DIOCESE OF PARRAMATTA

AFRICA : MOZAMBIQUE : CLASHES WITH POLICE CLAIM LIVES

Agenzia Fides REPORT - 4 people have died and 16 injured in the attack in the early hours of the morning by the men of the Renamo, the main opposition party in Mozambique, at the police command in Muxungué, in the province of Sofala, in the center of the Country. The militants of the Renamo attacked the police station to free their comrades arrested a few hours before. The Renamo (Mozambique National Resistance) fought against the government of Frelimo (Front for the Liberation of Mozambique) during the civil war of 16 years which ended in 1992. Since then it has become the main opposition party. For several months the tension has risen since the leader of the Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama has retired in the old military base of his movement in the forest of Gorongosa, in the province of Sofala in central Mozambique, surrounding himself with armed militants. From this base Dhlakama has issued an ultimatum to President Armando Guebuza to accept the formation of a national unity government.
"We are dealing with disturbing facts but should not be emphasized. So far the clashes figures have been localized in the area " sources of the local Church say to Fides Agency. "There are some sections of the Renamo that have taken a hard line, but there are also several appeals for calm, for an end to these acts of disorder and to resume the dialogue between the parties. These appeals come not only from the Catholic Church but also from other Christian denominations." On April 8, the Bishops will meet in Assembly and it is likely that they will release a statement on the situation that the Country is experiencing.
"The government on the one hand seeks a moderate approach to try to resolve the dispute, on the other, however, must prove that they have the situation under control, and therefore intervenes with police actions, which lead to clashes. 
Tension is then placed in relation to the administrative elections in November that the Renamo has stated its intention to boycott" say our sources. (L.M.)

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : FRI. APRIL 5, 2013


John 21:
 1 - 14

1After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tibe'ri-as; and he revealed himself in this way.
2Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathan'a-el of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zeb'edee, and two others of his disciples were together.
3Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing.
4Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
5Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any fish?" They answered him, "No."
6He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish.
7That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea.
8But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
9When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread.
10Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught."
11So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.
12Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord.
13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish.
14This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

TODAY'S SAINT : APRIL 5 : ST. VINCENT FERRER


St. Vincent Ferrer
SPANISH DOMINICAN PREACHER
Feast: April 5


Information:
Feast Day:April 5
Born:January 23, 1350, Valencia, Kingdom of Valencia
Died:April 5, 1419, Vannes, Brittany, France
Canonized:June 3, 1455, Rome by Pope Calixtus III
Major Shrine:Vannes Cathedral
Patron of:builders, construction workers, plumbers
Famous Dominican missionary, born at Valencia, 23 January, 1350; died at Vannes, Brittany, 5 April, 1419. He was descended from the younger of two brothers who were knighted for their valour in the conquest of Valencia, 1238. In 1340 Vincent's father, William Ferrer, married Constantia Miguel, whose family had likewise been ennobled during the conquest of Valencia. Vincent was their fourth child. A brother, not unknown to history, was Boniface Ferrer, General of the Carthusians, who was employed by the antipope Benedict XIII in important diplomatic missions. Vincent was educated at Valencia, and completed his philosophy at the age of fourteen. In 1367 he entered the Dominican Order, and was sent to the house of studies at Barcelona the following year. In 1370 he taught philosophy at Lérida; one of his pupils there was Pierre Fouloup, later Grand Inquisitor of Aragon. In 1373 Vincent returned to the Dominican "Studium arabicum et hebraicum" at Barcelona. During his stay there famine was prevalent; filled with compassion for the sufferers; Vincent foretold, while preaching one day, the near approach of ships bearing wheat. His prediction was fulfilled. In 1377 he was sent to continue his studies at Toulouse, where, in his own words, "study followed prayer, and prayer succeeded study". In 1379 Vincent was retained by Cardinal Pedro de Luna, legate of the Court of Aragon, who was endeavouring to win King Peter IV to the obedience of Avignon. The saint, thoroughly convinced of the legitimacy of the claims of the Avignon pontiffs, was one of their strongest champions. From 1385 to 1390 he taught theology in the cathedral at Valencia.
After this Vincent carried on his apostolic work while in Pedro de Luna's suite. At Valladolid he converted a rabbi, later well known as Bishop Paul of Burgos. At Salamanca Queen Yolanda of Aragon chose him for her confessor, 1391-5. About this time he was cited before the Inquisiton for preaching publicly "the Judas had done penance", but Pedro de Luna, recently raised to the papal chair as Benedict XIII, cited the case before his tribunal and burned the papers. Benedict then called him to Avignon and appointed him confessor and Apostolic penitentiary. Notwithstanding the indifference of so many prelates in the papal Court, he laboured zealously among the people. He steadfastly refused the honours, including the cardinalate, which were offered to him. France withdrew from the obedience of Avignon in September, 1398, and the troops of Charles VI laid siege to the city. An attack of fever at this time brought Vincent to death's door, but during an apparition of Christ accompanied by St. Dominic and St. Francis he was miraculously cured and sent to preach penance and prepare men for the coming judgment. Not until November, 1399, did Benedict allow Vincent Ferrer to begin his apostolate, furnished with full powers of a legate a latere Christi. For twenty years he traversed western Europe, preaching penance for sin and preparation for judgment. Provence was the first field of his apostolate; he was obliged to preach in squares and open places, such were the numbers that flocked to hear him. In 1401 he evangelized Dauphiny, Savoy, and the Alpine region, converting many Catharins and Waldensians. Thence he penetrated into Lombardy. While preaching at Alexandria he singled out from among the hearers a youth who was destined to evangelize Italy, Bernadine of Siena. Another chosen soul with whom Vincent came in contact while in Italy was Margaret of Savoy. During the years 1403-4 Switzerland, Savoy, and Lyons received the missionary. He was followed by an army of penitents drawn from every rank of society, who desired to remain under his guidance. Vincent was ever watchful of his disciples, and never did the breath of scandal touch this strange assemblage, which numbered at times 10,000. Genoa, Flanders, Northern France, all heard Vincent in turn. It would be difficult to understand how he could make himself understood by the many nationalities he evangelized, as he could speak only Limousin, the language of Valencia. Many of his biographers hold that he was endowed with the gift of tongues, an opinion supported by Nicholas Clemangis, a doctor of the University of Paris, who had heard him preach.
In 1408 Vincent was at Genoa consoling the plague-stricken. A meeting had been arranged there between Gregory XII and Benedict XIII in the hope of putting an end to the schism. Vincent again urged Benedict to have pity on the afflicted Church, but in vain. Disappointed, he returned to Spain. It would be difficult to overestimate the influence which he exercised in the Iberian peninsula. Castile, Aragon, Valencia, Murcia, Granada, Andalusia, and Asturias were visited in turn, and everywhere miracles marked his progress; Christians, Jews, and Moslems were all lost in admiration of the thaumaturgus. From 1408 until 1416 he worked almost continuously south of the Pyrenees. At different times in Spanish history strenuous attempts had been made to convert the Jewish people, baptism or spoliation being the alternatives offered to them. This state of affairs existed when Vincent began to work among them; multitudes were won over by his preaching. Ranzano, his first biographer, estimates the number of Jews converted at 25,000. In the Kingdom of Granada he converted thousands of Moors. Vincent was often called upon to aid his country in temporal affairs, as the counsellor of kings and at one time the arbiter of the destiny of Spain. In 1409 he was commissioned by Benedict XIII to announce to Martin of Aragon the death of his only son and heir.
After Martin's death, the representatives of the Kingdoms of Aragon, Valencia, and Catalonia appointed Vincent one of the judges to determine the succession to the Crown. At the judgment, known as the Compromise of Caspe, he took the leading part and helped to elect Ferdinand of Castile. Vincent was one of the most resolute and faithful adherents of Benedict XIII, and by his word, sanctity, and miracles he did much to strengthen Benedict's position. It was not until 1416, when pressed by Ferdinand, King of Aragon, that he abandoned him. On 6 January, preaching at Perpignan, he declared anew to the vast throng gathered around his pulpit that Benedict XIII was the legitimate pope, but that, since he would not resign to bring peace to the Church, Ferdinand had withdrawn his states from the obedience of Avignon. This act must have caused Vincent much sorrow, for he was deeply attached to Benedict. Nevertheless, it was thought that Vincent was the only person sufficiently esteemed to announce such a step to the Spanish races. John Dominici was more fortunate in his attempts to pave the way for reunion, when he announced to the Council of Constance the resignation of Gregory XII. Vincent did not go to the Council of Constance; he continued his apostolic journeys through France, and spent the last two years of his life in Brittany, where consciences without number were reformed and instructed in a Christian way of life.
Vincent felt that he was the messenger of penance sent to prepare men for the judgment. For twenty years he traversed Western Europe preaching penance and awakening the dormant consciences of sinners by his wondrous eloquence. His austere life was but the living expression of his doctrine. The floor was his usual bed; perpetually fasting, he arose at two in the morning to chant the Office, celebrating Mass daily, afterwards preaching, sometimes three hours, and frequently working miracles. After his midday meal he would tend the sick children; at eight o'clock he prepared his sermon for the following day. He usually travelled on foot, poorly clad. Among St. Vincent's writings are: De suppositionibus dialecticis"; "De natura universalis"; "De monderno ecclesiae schismate", a defence of the Avignon pontiffs; and "De vita spirituali". His "Sermons" were published at Antwerp (1570), Augsburg (1729), and Lyons (1816); and his complete works at Valence (1591). He was canonized by Calixtus III at the Dominican Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Rome, 3 June, 1455.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/V/stvincentferrer.asp#ixzz1rAT77VHg

POPE FRANCIS : "ONLY THE NAME OF JESUS THAT SAVES" - LATEST FROM VATICAN

(Vatican Radio IMAGE SHARE)
VATICAN RADIO REPORT: We can only be saved in the name of Jesus Christ, no-one else can save us, not fortune tellers or tarot card readers. On Friday Pope Francis continued his reflections on how the Resurrection shapes our lives and human history during morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae chapel with employees from the Vatican Pharmacy. 
Commenting on the readings of the Friday the Octave of Easter, the Pope recalled St. Peter's words: " There is no salvation through anyone else." Peter, who had denied Jesus, now with courage, in prison, gives his testimony in front of the Jewish leaders, explaining that it is thanks to the invocation of the name of Jesus that he has healed a cripple. It is "the name that saves us." 

However, Peter does not pronounce that name on his own strength, rather he is "filled with the Holy Spirit." In fact - said the Pope - "we cannot profess Jesus, we cannot talk about Jesus, we cannot say anything of Jesus without the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that impels us to profess Jesus, to speak about Jesus, to have faith in Jesus. Jesus who is always with us on our life’s journey”.

Pope Francis then told a story: "A humble man works in the curia of Buenos Aires. He has worked there for 30 years, he is the father of eight children. Before he goes out, before going out to do the things that he must do, he always says, 'Jesus!'. And I once asked him, 'Why do you always say' Jesus '?'. 'When I say' Jesus '- this humble man told me - I feel strong, I feel I can work, and I know that He is with me, that He keeps me safe'”. 

Pope Francis continued: “This man never studied theology, he only has the grace of Baptism and the power of the Spirit. And this testimony, did me a lot of good too, because it reminds us that in this world that offers us so many saviors, it is only the name of Jesus that saves”. 

Pope Francis concluded: “In order to solve their problems many people resort to fortune tellers and tarot cards. But only Jesus saves and we must bear witness to this! He is the only one. " 

"Mary always leads us to Jesus," as she did at Cana when she said: "Do whatever he tells you”. Let us trust in the name of Jesus, let us invoke the name of Jesus, and let the Holy Spirit push us to say this prayer trusting in the name of Jesus ... it will do us all good."


POPE EXPRESSES CONCERN FOR ARGENTINE PEOPLE AND ASKS ASSISTANCE FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY FLOODING
Vatican City, 4 April 2013 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., in the Holy Father's name, sent a telegram to Archbishop Mario Aurelio Poli of Buenos Aires, Argentina expressing the Pope's deep concern for those suffering from the severe weather and heavy rains that have devastated that country's capital, killing 56 persons to date and wreaking enormous damage. Following is the full text of the message.
“Pope Francis, deeply upset by the news of the serious damage caused by the torrential rainfall of the past days, prays to the Lord for the eternal rest of those who have died. At the same time he wishes to express his paternal closeness to all the victims and their families.
“Also, the Pope urges civil and ecclesial institutions, as well as all persons of good will, to offer their assistance with love and a spirit of Christian solidarity to those who have lost their homes and personal goods. With these thoughts, the Supreme Pontiff imparts to all those affected and all those offering assistance, his consoling apostolic blessing as a sign of his nearness to the beloved Argentinians.”
 
ETRUSCANNING: REGOLINI-GALSSI TOMB AT VATICAN MUSEUMS
Vatican City, 4 April 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Vatican Museums inaugurated a virtual reality installation that reconstructs the famous Regolini-Galassi tomb of the Sorbo necropolis of Cerveteri, Italy, the grave goods of which are now located in the Gregorian Etruscan Museum of the Vatican Museums.
The installation is part of Etruscanning 3D, “a European project (Culture 2007 framework) that explores the possibilities of new visualization techniques in order to re-create and restore the original context of the Etruscan graves.” The project is the result of collaboration between: the Allard Pierson Museum (the archaeological museum of the University of Amsterdam); the National Museum for Antiquities in Leiden, Holland; the Gallo-Roman Museum in Tongeren, Belgium; the CNR-ITABC of Rome, Italy; and Visual Dimension of Ename, Belgium. Support was also given from the Vatican Museums and the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell'Etruria Meridionale (archaeological superintendency of Southern Etruria).
Discovered still intact in 1836, the actual tomb can only be visited by appointment. Its 3D reconstruction at the Vatican Museums presents it as it probably existed in the Etruscan Age (mid 7th century BC), shortly before it was sealed. The grave goods, which make the tomb one of the most interesting of the Etruscan period, have been virtually reconstructed within the installation. Their placement, however, was not a simple task since—at the time of the tomb's discovery—the archaeological dig was not systematically documented. Drawings and representations of what was found were all recreated after the objects had been removed. It was therefore necessary to recover and interpret the various iconographic and documentary sources in order to achieve a plausible reconstruction. In this case, the 3D process was not used merely as a means of communication and dissemination but also as a tool for verification and interpretation.
Like the tomb, the grave goods that are now housed in the Vatican Museums were reconstructed in 3D through photogrammetry and computer imaging. Although, for the most part, the objects are well preserved, they were subjected to a careful digital restoration based on observation, study of sources, and the analysis of comparative case studies. Some of the uncertain decorations have been reinstated with a good degree of reliability and the materials have been virtually returned to what was most likely their original state.
According to a press release from the Vatican Museums, the installation's most innovative element is its interactivity. “Based upon the use of natural interaction interfaces, the public has the opportunity to explore the virtually rebuilt space, to get closer to the objects, which are laden with symbolic meaning, to touch them and to listen to the narration of the deceased” (a woman of royal rank and a cremated man). This is all possible without the use of a joystick, mouse, keyboard, or console, simply by walking though the area in front of the projection. The projection is displayed on a large, high-definition holographic screen that is about 3 metres wide. It has two main “viewports”: the larger one dedicated to exploring the tomb and its interior objects and the second one that has a dynamic menu of the objects closest to the visitor while they are moving through the virtual space.
“The soundscape was composed specifically for this application and combines ancient sounds with a contemporary musical language with … purely evocative intentions. The musical timbres are partly real (eg. flutes recorded live) and partly synthetic (bells and drums), interspersed with sounds echoing real life … (chariots, horses galloping, fire, etc.).”
The application won the first Archeovirtual Award for best natural interaction at the international ArcheoVirtual exhibition organised by the Virtual Heritage Lab at CNR-ITABC in Paestum, Italy last November. The award was conferred by recognition of both the public in attendance as well as an international scientific panel.
 
AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 4 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples,
Cardinal James Michael Harvey, archpriest of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls Basilica, and
Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.

AUSTRALIA : RIP ERNIE BRIDGE OF UNITY OF FIRST PEOPLE


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
3 Apr 2013
President of UFPA, Ernie Bridge
CARITAS Australia, the international aid and development organisation of the Catholic Church, has paid tribute to Ernie Bridge, the President of its partner organisation, Unity of First People of Australia (UFPA) who passed away on Sunday 31 March after a long illness.
UFPA is one of Caritas Australia's long-term partners in the First Australians Program. In 2003 Caritas started supporting UFPA, which runs a holistic, community-owned Australian Indigenous Wellness Program in Djarindjin and eight other communities across the Kimberley region.
Caritas CEO Jack de Groot said Ernie was instrumental in the establishment, development, management and implementation of the program, which strives to prevent diseases like diabetes and to improve healthcare across vulnerable Indigenous Australian communities.
Mr de Groot and Mark Green, Group Leader, First Australians Program, both recently spent time with Ernie and his family in Perth.
"To know of Ernie's wonderful focus on walking with Aboriginal people so they become the owners of programs to prevent diabetes has been inspiring," Mr de Groot said.
Caritas Australia's Group Leader, First Australians Program with Ernie Bridge
"It was lovely to have the time with Ernie recently to say thank you for all he has taught me. Ernie has taught all of us at Caritas a lot about friendship and partnership.
"He was a man of many talents, not only the founder of UFPA, but also a country and western singer, Western Australia's first Aboriginal MP and the first Indigenous Cabinet minister in any Australian government.
"He has made a difference to all our lives, our communities and he matters, as do all our partners. It is the relationships with people like Ernie that enable us to live our mission each day."
Mr Green said UFPA was also the fruit of Ernie's own battle with diabetes and a determination that the rates at which First Australians are dying prematurely through chronic lifestyle diseases, be slashed.
"Ernie led his organisation with great humility and he empowered the UFPA staff to be innovative and to take risks," Mr Green said.
"He dealt with his own people with the utmost respect. As a musician he also knew the healing power of song and dance."
"I think he was able to do so much because he believed that much was possible."
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

AFRICA : KENYA : PEACE RESTORED IN REGION

CISA NEWS REPORT


Peace-Restored-in-Stronghold-of-Raila-Odinga
KISUMU, April 02, 2013 (CISA) -Calm returned to the western Kenyan stronghold of defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga on Monday April 01, after two days of running battles with police following the Supreme Court’s confirmation of his rival Uhuru Kenyatta as president-elect.
Two people were shot dead in the unrest, but the violence was on a much smaller scale than the nationwide bloodshed that followed the 2007 election when the western city of Kisumu was one of the places worst affected places by deadly riots.
This year there was little sign of any violence beyond Kisumu, which strongly backs Odinga, reflecting a desire by Kenyans to avoid a repeat of the bloodshed that badly damaged their economy, east Africa’s biggest, five years ago.
A busy bus station that had been deserted since the rioting began on Saturday was once again bustling as passengers scrambled to board minibuses as they disgorged dozens returning from rural areas where they had fled for fear of violence.
“Business is booming today. The demand has gone up and fares doubled since many are returning from home and others leaving for various places,” said Bonny Otieno, 32, transporter.
“Politics is over and we’ve embarked on nation building.”
Shops and houses were broken into and goods looted during the rioting. But attempts to set fire to some houses belonging to rival communities were thwarted by police. The regional police chief said the volatile situation had been contained.
Kenyatta is expected to be sworn in on April 9.
“So far we have arrested 23 culprits but the number could go up since we are pursuing more elements that broke into people’s properties and looted,” said police commander Joseph Ole Tito.
“During the violence we lost business forcing us to partially open our shops only when a customer approached. But today we have fully opened since peace has prevailed,” said Ishmael George, 26, a dealer in electronics. “We expect good sales since calm has returned.”
The comparatively peaceful election has helped restore Kenya’s image as one of Africa’s most stable democracies.
The Kisumu unrest appeared to reflect spontaneous anger by Odinga supporters, worried by the prospect of marginalization in a country where governments have traditionally rewarded their own ethnic support base with investment and new infrastructure, reports the Reuters.
Kenyatta is the son of Kenya’s founding president whose family controls vast property and a business empire. But he promised in a televised address after the court ruling to work for all Kenyans, including those who challenged his election.
Kenyatta’s indictment by the International Criminal Court for allegedly organizing violent gangs after the least election will however complicate relations with Western states because of their policy of having only “essential contacts” with inductees.
But diplomats said there could be latitude in how to define that if Kenyatta and his deputy, who also faces charges of crimes against humanity, continue to cooperate with the court.
Along the coast, where Odinga also received strong support, peace prevailed, but the banned Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) called on Kenyatta to heed its demand for secession from Kenya. The Central government has flatly rejected the call.
The MRC feeds off local discontent largely based on long-held grievances over land and frustration at the perceived economic marginalization of the coast by the central government.
Police have given MRC members seven days to give themselves up after blaming the group for a series of attacks in and around Mombasa, the country’s main port.
SHARED FROM CISA NEWS

AMERICA : ARGENTINA : TORRENTIAL RAINS CLAIM OVER 50 LIVES

Agenzia Fides REPORT- There are more than 50 victims due to the rains, and unfortunately the death toll due to flooding caused by storms that have affected the area of La Plata, in the Province of Buenos Aires is growing by the hour. The Archbishop of La Plata, Mgr. Hector Aguer, sent from Rome condolences to the families of the victims and ordered his bishops to coordinate efforts with Caritas and parishes to assist victims.
Mgr. Aguer called the auxiliary bishop of La Plata, Mgr. Alberto Bochatey to get detailed information about the victims and the damage several affected families have suffered. According to a note sent to Fides, the Archbishop reported that one of the areas most affected is where the Major Seminary of San Jose is situated, in front of Castelli park, and the parish adjacent Our Lady of Mercy, that suffered flooding and serious damage. The water reached one meter inside the buildings. However, the seminarians have provided shelter, food and blankets to dozens of people, including residents and public transport passengers, who had to spend the night in the house of priestly formation. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 04/04/2013)

ASIA : PAKISTAN : CHRISTIAN MAN KIDNAPPED AND TORTURED

ASIA NEWS REPORT
by Shafique Khokhar
Siddique Masih was seized by his former employer, Shahid Khan, a criminal and murderer with "influential protection" in the area. He managed to escape and denounce the band. The violent beatings he was subjected to caused fractures and serious damage to his kidneys. He confesses to AsiaNews: "I will fight for justice until my last breath."


Lahore (AsiaNews) - "I am a  poor man and earn barely enough to support my family, I had no enmity with Shahid Khan but he kidnapped me to take out his grudge". This is a dramatic story and desperate plea for justice and protection, launched by a Christian father, Siddique Masih through AsiaNews. The man was kidnapped on Easter night, suffered beatings and violence that have left him seriously injured and even today, after a few days, is the victim of threats while the gang of criminals has gone into hiding. "I could have died - he adds - if I had not managed to escape". "They beat me brutally and promised to kill my family. Luckily some Muslim friends - he said - helped me to denounce each one of them and I will fight for justice until my last breath".

The drama of Siddique Masih began at 2 in the morning of  March 31, Easter Sunday. The man, 38 years old and father of four children, born in Tajpura, a suburb of Lahore (Punjab) was kidnapped by a gang of thugs led by Muslim Shahid Khan (pictured), along with his brother-in-law Muhammad Rauf and Munir Ahmat, a well-known local bandit. In the last year the victim had worked as a driver for the wealthy Muslim, then he left the job after discovering that his master is - in fact - a criminal and assassin, with interests in gambling.

In revenge for the Christian driver's resignation, regarded as a betrayal, the criminals kidnapped the poor Masih while he was returning home after visiting his parents in Faisalabad, segregating him in an office owned by Shahid Khan in Garden Town, Lahore. He was kept there for two nights in the hands of his captors and subjected to all kinds of torture that inflicted deep wounds on his body.  The lives of his family were also threatened. On the night of April 2, he managed a daring escape, lowering himself from a third floor window.

Rescued by the police and rescue forces, Masih was admitted to the hospital where he was diagnosed with several fractures and serious damage to his kidneys, which may be compromised as a result of the severe beatings. With the help of some Muslim friends, he reported his captors to Garden Town police, but so far there is no news of his captors, who have gone into hiding.

Many residents of the area told AsiaNews that Shahid Khan and his gang are mercenaries, with hundreds of reports against them, but have always managed to escape the attention of the police thanks to connections with influential people in the provincial authorities. Fr. Aftab James Paul, Diocesan Director for Interreligious Dialogue, said that "kidnappings are despicable crimes" and he strongly condemns "both the kidnapping and threats [of heavy retaliation] against the family." For the Pakistani priest " Shahid Khan is history sheeted, he must be punished for his illegal crime."


SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : THURSDAY APRIL 4, 2013


Luke 24: 35 - 48

35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.36As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them.37But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit.38And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts?39See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have."41And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?"42They gave him a piece of broiled fish,43and he took it and ate before them.44Then he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled."45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,46and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.48You are witnesses of these things.