Tuesday, April 17, 2012


HOLY FATHER'S HOMILY ON HIS BIRTHDAY Vatican City, 17 April 2012 (VIS) - Yesterday morning in the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, a Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated to mark two anniversaries the Pope is celebrating this week: his eighty-fifth birthday on 16 April, and the seventh anniversary of his election on 19 April. The Mass was attended by members of the College of Cardinals and by a group of bishops from the Pope's native region of Bavaria. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
In his homily the Pope recalled how on the day he was born and baptised the liturgy "erected three signposts showing me where the road led and helping me find it": the feast of St. Bernardette of Lourdes, the feast of St. Benedict Joseph Labre, and Easter Saturday which in the year of the Pope's birth fell on 16 April.
St. Bernardette grew up in "a poverty we find difficult to imagine", he said. But "she could see with a pure and genuine heart, and Mary showed her a source ... of pure, living uncontaminated water, water which is life, water which gives purity and health. ... I believe we can see this water as an image of the truth which comes to us in the faith; unsimulated and uncontaminated truth. ... This little saint has always been a sign for me, showing me where the living water we need comes from, the water which purifies and gives life. She has been a sign showing me how we should be. With all our knowledge and abilities, which are of course necessary, we must not lose ... the simple gaze of the heart, which is capable of discerning the essential. And we must always pray to the Lord to help us retain the humility which allows the heart ... to see the simple and essential beauty and goodness of God, and to find the source from which the life-givingpurifying water comes".
The Pope then turned his attention to St. Benedict Joseph Labre, who lived in the eighteenth century. "He was a rather particular saint who wandered as a mendicant from one shrine to another, wishing to do nothing but pray and so bear witness to what is important in this life: God. ... He shows us that, ... over and above what may exist in this world, over and above our needs and abilities, ... what is essential is to know God. He alone is enough". The life of the saint, who travelled to shrines all over Europe, "shows that the person who opens himself to God is not a stranger to the world of men, rather he finds brothers. ... Only God can eliminate frontiers, because thanks to Him we are all brothers".
"Finally there is the Paschal Mystery. On the day I was born, thanks to my parents, I was also reborn with the water of the Spirit. ... Biological life is in itself a gift, yet it begs an important question. It becomes a true gift only if, together with that life, we are given a promise stronger than any misfortune that may threaten us, if life is immersed in a power which guarantees that it is a good thing to be a man, and that the person is a benefit whatever the future may bring. In this way rebirth is associated with birth, the certainty that it is good to exist because the promise is greater than the threat. This is what it means to be reborn from water and from the Spirit. ... This rebirth is given to us in Baptism, but we must continually grow therein, we must ever and anew allow God to immerse us in His promise, in order to be truly reborn into the great new family of the Lord, which is stronger than all our weaknesses and all the negative powersthat threaten us. That is why today is a day of thanksgiving.
"The day I was baptised ... was Easter Saturday. At the time it was still customary to hold the Easter vigil in the morning, followed by the darkness of Easter Saturday without a Hallelujah. This singular paradox, this anticipation of light in a day of darkness, can almost be seen as an image of the history of our own times. On the one hand there is the silence of God and His absence, yet the resurrection of Christ contains an anticipation of God's 'yes'. We live in this anticipation, through the silence of God we hear His words, and through the darkness of His absence we glimpse His light. The anticipation of the resurrection in the midst of evolving history indicates the path we must follow and helps us to continue the journey".
"I am in the final stage of my life journey and I do not know what awaits me. However, I do know that the light of God exists, that He rose again, that His light is stronger than all darkness, that the goodness of God is stronger than all the evil in this world. This helps me to continue with confidence. This helps us to continue, and I would like to thank everyone who, through their faith, continually makes me aware of God's 'yes'".

Vatican City, 17 April 2012 (VIS) - "Constantine the Great. The Roots of Europe" is the title of an international academic congress to be held in the Vatican from 18 to 21 April. The event has been organised by the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences to mark the 1700th anniversary of the battle of the Milvian Bridge and the conversion of the Emperor Constantine.
The congress was presented this morning at a press conference held in the Holy See Press Office, by Fr. Bernard Ardura O. Praem., president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; Claire Sotinel, professor of Roman history at the University of Paris-Creteil and a member of the Ecole Francaise in Rome, and Giovanni Maria Vian, director of the "Osservatore Romano" newspaper.
"The conference", Fr. Ardura explained, "is the outcome of effective academic cooperation with important cultural institutions such as the Vatican Secret Archives, the Vatican Apostolic Library, the Italian National Research Council, the Ambrosian Library and the Sacred Heart Catholic University in Milan". It is also taking place "with the cooperation and contribution of the European Union delegation to the Holy See, the Lazio Regional Council and the Pontifical Lateran University".
This congress is the first of two, the second of which will be held in Milan in 2013 for the 1700th anniversary of the promulgation of the Edict of Milan, which established freedom of religion in the Roman empire and put an end to the persecution of certain religious groups, particularly Christians. While the 2013 congress will concern itself with what is known as the "Constantinian revolution", tomorrow's event will focus on the environment in which Constantine lived and on relations between Christians and the Roman empire prior to the year 313. Participants will "examine the relationship between religion and the State, the idea of religious freedom in the empire, and religion from the point of view of the emperor and the senate", Fr. Ardura said.
One key area will be the conversion and baptism of Constantine himself, and his attitude towards Christians following the battle of the Milvian Bridge, which took place on 28 October 312 and led to the death of his rival Maxentius. Contemporary and later Christian historians, influenced by the narrative of Eusebius of Cesarea, saw Constantine's victory as the result of divine intervention.
Fr. Ardura pointed out that "from a purely strategic-military viewpoint the battle was not very important, but it soon became the founding symbol of the new world which came into being when Constantine found Christianity. Indeed, ... the era of imperial persecution against Christians was about to come to an end, giving way to the evangelisation of the entire empire and moulding the profile of western Europe and the Balkans; a Europe which gave rise to the values of human dignity, distinction and cooperation between religion and the State, and freedom of conscience, religion and worship. Of course these things would need many centuries to come to maturity, but they all existed 'in nuce' in the 'Constantinian revolution' and therefore in the battle of the Milvian Bridge".
For her part, Claire Sotinel explained that attentive and critical historical analysis "facilitates our understanding of what happened following the victory at the Milvian Bridge, helping us in the twenty-first century to reflect on important issues such as the interaction between religions and political power, the creation of religious pluralism, and the possibility of coexistence among different religions".


Mission Titanic :
There were 3 priests on board Fr. Juozas Montevila, Fr.Joseph Peruschitz, and Fr. Thomas Byles.
1)The first priest, pictured, on the journey was Fr. Juozas Montevila of Lithuania. He studied at Seminary of Seinai now part of Poland. He was ordained on March 22, 1908. Due to his living in Russia his priestly ministry was persecuted so he had to flee. He had tried to minister to suppressed Catholics under the Czarist regime. He was 27 years old when the Titanic sank.
2) Father Joseph Peruschitz OSB of the Benedictine monastery of Bavaria, Germany was one of the passengers who died on the Titanic 100 years ago. He refused a place on the life boat for someone else and knelt and prayed the Rosary with 100 other people on deck.
 Father Peruschitz was a teacher of math, music and sports.
On the Sunday the two priests, Fr. Peruschitz and Fr. Byles held a multi-lingual Church service. Then the passengers sang hymns together.
3) The third priest pictured is Fr. Thomas Byles was a convert from England. He was ordained in Rome in 1902. He was a teacher at his local Parish School. He heard the confessions of the passengers as the boat sank and gave up his place in the life boat. Titanic - A Tragic Destiny
 (image source: http://www.padremarcelotenorio.com/ and www.google.com )


Agenzia Fides REPORT - Thousands of Chilean Catholics take to the streets of cities and small rural communities yesterday to "run with Christ" (Spanish expression used in Chile, which means "to accompany Christ-Eucharist") during the so-called " feast of Quasimodo, "which has taken place for 400 years in the central region of Chile. The event, which was presided by the Archbishop of Santiago, His Exc. Mgr. Ricardo Ezzati, has its origin in a recommendation of the Council of Trent , which exhorted the priests to give communion to the infirm and the elderly on the Sunday following Easter.
Mgr. Ezzati attended the ceremony which was held in the town of Colina, in the north of Santiago, where the caravan, consisting of about 4,500 men on horseback, is one of the largest in the country. Parades were also held in the cities of Quilicura, Renca, Quinta Normal, Puente Alto, Maipu and Penalolen, whose mayor, participated actively mounting a horse.
The note sent to Fides, which explains that the name "Quasimodo" derives from the Latin text of the antiphon entrance of the Second Sunday of Easter: "Quasi modo geniti infanti ..." (As new-born babies), is from the first letter of the apostle Peter. The tradition began in colonial times, when the priests, in their moves to give communion to the infirm, were often victims of bandits who robbed them also of the ciborium containing the Eucharist. So groups of men on horseback began to accompany them to protect them.
During his visit to Chile in 1997, Pope John Paul II called this holiday "a treasure of the people of God." Over the years, men on horseback have been joined by groups of faithful on small carts drawn by horses or bicycles, wearing colorful costumes. Even their vehicles are abundantly decorated with colored paper and flower garlands. In many towns and villages, the fraternities of "quasimodistas" were born who prepare themselves all year round for this occasion. The priest is led on a horse drawn carriage to visit the houses of all the sick of the parish. Participants do not wear hats and cover their heads only with white and yellow handkerchiefs, a sign of respect for the Eucharist. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 16/4/2012)


Cisa News Africa
ADDIS ABABA, April 13, 2012 (CISA) -The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) on April 12 expressed its concern over the current border clashes between South Sudan and the Sudan.
In a press statement, the AU Council urged a quick implementation of the tasks detailed in the 18 September 2011 Decision of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism and UN Security Council resolution 2024(2011).
“Council stressed that the failure to implement the signed Agreements is a denial of the profound aspirations of the people of Sudan and South Sudan, as well as of the trust placed on the Parties by the region and Africa, which spared no effort to support the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), including the self‐determination referendum and subsequent independence of South Sudan,” emphasized the Council statement.
The Council strongly condemned the unfortunate and unwarranted actions that have characterized the conduct of both Parties over the past month, which run contrary to all AU and international principles governing relations among sovereign states.
“ The Council is dismayed by the illegal and inacceptable occupation by the South Sudanese army of Heglig, which lies north of the agreed borderline of 1/1/56,” emphasized the Council, adding ,”The Council demands immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the army of South Sudan from the area.
The Council also demands the Government of the Sudan put an end to its aerial bombardment in South Sudan. “Both sides should make every effort to protect all oil infrastructures,” emphasized the Council statement.
It requested that both Parties immediately comply with all the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Non‐Aggression and Cooperation signed by the Government of the Republic Sudan and the Government of the Republic of South Sudan in Addis Ababa, on 10 February 2012, including respect for their territorial integrity and the prohibition on either State from supporting opposition armed groups and movements within the other State.
Meanwhile the Government of South Sudan has set conditions to pull out troops from the contested Higlig oil field, including the withdrawal of Sudanese troops from Abyei.
Government spokesperson Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the SPLA forces would withdraw from Higlig if a guarantee could be provided that it would not be used for another attack against South Sudan, AFP reported.
He said all ground and air assaults by Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) must end immediately.
Dr Marial added that SAF is still occupying Abyei and it must withdraw entirely.
He said once the pullout is completed international monitors would then have to ensure a demilitarized zone on either side of the border until it can be demarcated under international arbitration


by Wang Zhicheng
Bishop Shao Zhumin was arrested for four weeks, interrogated, brought on "vacation" away from his diocese, "recommended" to join the Patriotic Association. The model to follow: the excommunicated bishop Lei Shiyin. Bishop Jin Lugang detained for four days so he would not celebrate the Easter Triduum with the community. Dozens of underground priests are held for weeks and subjected to "political sessions". First the security of Communist Party's Congress and plan to eliminate the underground Church.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Two bishops of the underground community, not recognized by the Chinese government, were released after a period of "political sessions". But sources tell AsiaNews that every week dozens of unofficial priests of the communities are taken and forced to attend lectures on the government's religious policy and only released after week.

On Easter Sunday, Mgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, coadjutor bishop of Wenzhou (Zhejiang) and Msgr. Peter Jin Lugang Nanyang (Henan) were able to return to their homes. The two were held, respectively, for four weeks and four days.

Msgr. Shao was arrested in March (see: 07/04/2012 Police pressure on underground community. Easter in the Church of Silence). His arrest was due mainly to gain information from him on the ordination of an underground bishop in Tianshui, in a clear "disobedience" to the politics of self-elections and self-ordinations wanted by the government (see: 24/08/2011 Tianshui: police arrest dozens of underground priests and lay faithful).

The bishop was also subjected to political sessions to subscribe to the Patriotic Association (PA), which promotes a national church independent from the Holy See. The prelate was also brought on a "vacation-visit" to the diocese of Leshan (Sichuan), led by bishop Lei Shiyin, ordained on July 14 without the permission of the pope and excommunicated. Bishop Lei showed the buildings under construction in his diocese, and government representatives "recommended" cooperation with the government. Local sources quoted by UCAN said that Bishop Shao he was in favour of collaboration, provided that it is not against "the one, holy, catholic and apostolic".

Msgr. Jin Lugang was arrested on April 4, Holy Thursday and freed on Easter. His detention prevented him from celebrating any of the Holy Triduum or Easter liturgies. The police and government officials took him "on holiday" and also "advised" him to join the PA.

AsiaNews sources confirm that this style of detention, political sessions, "advice" to join the Patriotic Association and release after a few weeks has become very common this year. "Dozens of priests are taken every week - sources say - and are released only after several days." In many areas, including Hebei, all underground communities are afraid of arrest and fear has stopped the activities of the faithful. "Even the controls are more avid: home visits, telephone, internet .. they don't miss anything."

According to some, the increase in arrests and controls is due to the attempt to provide security before the Communist Party Congress, to be held next October, during which the leadership of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao will change hands. For others there is a clear pattern of wanting to hasten the demise of the underground community by absorbing them into the official church.



Bishop Anthony
Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP
DD BA LlB BTheol DPhil
Third Bishop of Parramatta

The Homilies of Bishop Anthony Fisher
Homily - Easter Vigil of the Resurrection, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, 7 April 2012

Homily Easter Vigil 2012
Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu

Crisis in the Kingdom of God (A three-part Homily for the Triduum)
Part Three: Crisis of Love for All Humanity
Easter Vigil of the Resurrection, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, 7 April 2012
Download an audio version of this homily Download an audio version of this homily
Listen to this homily at Bishop Anthony's iTunes Podcasts
It’s the greatest story ever told: the story of God and man. It is above all a love story. God, as St Catherine of Siena put it, was pazzo d’amore, insane with love for us, from all eternity, even before we were made. Our First Reading tonight (Gen 1:1-2:2) recalls how He made us, in His own image, male and female, made for marriage, for fruitfulness and dominion, with Godlike reason, freedom, creativity and passion. He also made this universe for our sakes, for us to live and learn in, play and delight in, a universe in which to be lovers and beloved, God’s darlings. This same divine obsession holds us in being every moment of our existence. When we ourselves love, our hearts and minds expand, our communion with God deepens, our friendships grow warmer, the world is a better place. There is something divine in every act of love, in vows of marriage or religion, in acts of friendship, in kindness to colleagues and strangers, the poor and even enemies.
It’s the greatest love-story ever told – and yet also a story of broken hearts. The crisis in the Kingdom of God, a crisis of all humanity, is that we turned against the very love that creates and sustains us. This fall from grace, this ‘Original Sin’, has been a recurrent pattern ever since, so that there’s nothing original about it anymore. Pride, envy, lust, selfishness and grudges have dogged our history. Almost from the beginning the greatest romance was the greatest tragedy as well.
As human beings fell from grace they experienced a breakdown of relations with themselves, each other, creation and God. If anything this crisis of love is magnified today. In our culture, self-regard easily becomes self-obsession, self-serving and, when that fails, self-loathing. Loyalty is seen as weakness, other people as rivals. Alliances of convenience allow us to use each other’s bodies, minds and hearts, for pleasure or profit, without commitment. Our love for creation can be equally ambiguous. And there is much in contemporary culture that would dismiss our love of God altogether, reducing it to childish fantasy, ancient superstition, constraints imposed by a corrupt institution.
In this crisis of love we are both victims and perpetrators. Each of us has at some time hurt and been hurt. Each has loved not as well as we should and been loved not as well as we would. If we love well, we are at our most human and divine; but it costs, as God ‘learnt’ these three days past, when love cost Him His Son’s life.
The greatest love-story ever told is also the greatest tragedy: the story of God from the dawn of time, steadily holding out the hand of friendship, and of humanity muddling its way through, loving generously at times, middling well at others, not at all at others. God so loved us He made us, made us like Himself – and we rebelled against Him. God so loved us He gave His only Son, gave Him into our hands – and we nailed Him to a tree.
The Sacred Triduum plunges us into the Apostles’ Thursday crisis of faith, when they denied and fled. It immerses us in the Friday crisis of Jesus, our crisis of hope. Finally, on this Easter night, it confronts us with the crisis of all humanity: a crisis of love. Could God still love us even when we had killed His only Son? Could any love survive such unlove?
It’s the greatest romance and greatest tragedy, but there is comedy here as well. In St Mark’s Passion last Sunday there was a cameo role we only see every three years when we hear that particular account (Mk 14:51-52). It was a hot night in Gethsemane and a young fellow followed Christ into the garden wearing little more than the Ancient Near-Eastern equivalent of his underpants. The guards grabbed him but he fled away naked leaving his clothes in their hands. It was humiliating, no doubt, but a moment of comic relief for us onlookers amidst the bleakness of that Agonising Garden.

The Resurrection of faith, hope and love

Homily Easter Vigil 2012
Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu
Well, St Mark tells us tonight, that on entering the tomb on Easter morning “They saw a young man dressed in a white robe and they were struck with amazement; but he said: Don’t worry; Jesus has risen, He is not here.” (Mk 16:1-7) Is this that same anonymous youth who only a few verses before was streaking away from the scene? Is this all humanity lost and confused, denuded of dignity and hope, sinful and sick, in all the rawness of need, now dressed in a glorious white alb, like our newly baptised soon will be?Fear not, he says, for love casts out fear. Go tell Peter and the lads Jesus is Risen. Go and tell Peter, in particular, for he who denied Christ three times must now tell Christ three times how much he loves Him. If the angels sing Holy, Holy, Holy, the Church built on Peter will sing Love, Love, Love. That love, tested in the crucible of infidelity, despair and denial these three days past, is reborn tonight in the Resurrection of faith, hope and love. On them Christ will build His Church and rebuild each of us.
In a few moments we will be privileged to celebrate the Baptisms of Nitesh (Chand Lal), Jing (Dai), Jessica and Gabriella (Mendoza), Nimisha (Murugathasan), Jamie (Nixon), Anna Marie (Phillips), Leela (Harindran) and Chen (Wen); the receptions of David (Hamilton), Shirlene (Lopez), Beverley and Chathurika (Wambeck) and the Confirmation and First Communion of Eunice (Toriola) and Ivan (Pearson). The Easter Vigil was from ancient times the preferred time for Christian Initiation because it is a celebration of new life in Christ. As St Paul said tonight: “When we were baptised in Christ Jesus, we were baptised into His death … so that as Christ was raised from the dead, we too might live a new life” (Rom 6:3-4). For our catechumens and candidates, as for the rest of us, Easter says that God loves each one of us so much, He has woven the romance, tragedy and comedy of every human life forever with His own story. God loves us so much, that whatever our own crises of faith, hope and love these can be faced and conquered by His grace. Come out of the tomb with me, He says to all mankind tonight, Rise up to everlasting life and love!


St. Stephen Harding
Feast: April 17

Feast Day:April 17
Born:Dorset, England
Died:28 March 1134
Major Shrine:Church of St. Stephen Harding in Apátistvánfalva, Hungary, district of Szentgotthárd.
Confessor, the third Abbot of Citeaux, was born at Sherborne in Dorsetshire, England, about the middle of the eleventh century; died 28 March, 1134. He received his early education in the monastery of Sherborne and afterwards studied in Paris and Rome. On returning from the latter city he stopped at the monastery of Molesme and, being much impressed by the holiness of St. Robert, the abbot, joined that community. Here he practised great austerities, became one of St. Robert's chief supporters and was one of the band of twenty-one monks who, by authority of Hugh, Archbishop of Lyons, retired to Citeaux to institute a reform in the new foundation there. When St. Robert was recalled to Molesme (1099), Stephen became prior of Citeaux under Alberic, the new abbot. On Alberic's death (1110) Stephen, who was absent from the monastery at the time, was elected abbot. The number of monks was now very reduced, as no new members had come to fill the places of those who had died. Stephen, however, insisted on retaining the strict observance originally instituted and, having offended the Duke of Burgundy, Citeau's great patron, by forbidding him or his family to enter the cloister, was even forced to beg alms from door to door. It seemed as if the foundation were doomed to die out when (1112) St. Bernard with thirty companions joined the community. This proved the beginning of extraordinary prosperity. The next year Stephen founded his first colony at La Ferte, and before is death he had established thirteen monasteries in all. His powers as an organizer were exceptional, he instituted the system of general chapters and regular visitations and, to ensure uniformity in all his foundations, drew up the famous "Charter of Charity" or collection of statues for the government of all monasteries united to Citeaux, which was approved by Pope Callistus II in 1119 (see CISTERCIANS). In 1133 Stephen, being now old, infirm, and almost blind, resigned the post of abbot, designating as his successor Robert de Monte, who was accordingly elected by the monks. The saint's choice, however, proved unfortunate and the new abbot only held office for two years. Stephen was buried in the tomb of Alberic, his predecessor, in the cloister of Citeaux. In the Roman calendar his feast is 17 April, but the Cistercians themselves keep it on 15 July, with an octave, regarding him as the true founder of the order. Besides the "Carta Caritatis" he is commonly credited with the authorship of the "Exordium Cisterciencis cenobii", which however may not be his. Two of his sermons are preserved and also two letters (Nos. 45 and 49) in the "Epp. S. Bernardi".

SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/S/ststephenharding.asp#ixzz1sJOGxPhx


John 3: 7 - 15
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, `You must be born anew.'
8 The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit."
9 Nicode'mus said to him, "How can this be?"
10 Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this?
11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony.
12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
13 No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up,
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."


Vatican City, 16 April 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today celebrates his eighty-fifth birthday. He was born in the German village of Marktl am Inn on 16 April 1927. Later this week, on Thursday 19 April, he will also celebrate the seventh anniversary of his election to the Papacy. For these two occasions, a Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated this morning in the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, in the presence of members of the College of Cardinals and a group of bishops from the Pope's native region of Bavaria. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
Before the Eucharistic celebration, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, addressed some words to the Holy Father.
"Seven years ago", he said, "the Lord called you to a great gesture of love, asking you, as one day He did Peter: 'If you love me, feed my lambs, tend my sheep'. With the generosity you have always shown, you pronounced your 'yes' and thus began your Petrine ministry. Today, on the occasion of your birthday, we wish to thank you for the solicitude with which you carry out this service of love. It is no coincidence that your first Encyclical was a hymn to the Love that is God, the love which must always animate pastors, who are called to bring the light of God, the warmth of His love, into the world.
"Holy Father, may the Lord continue to remain at your side, accomplishing the promise announced by God to the just man in Psalm 90: 'With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation'".
After presiding at the Eucharist, Benedict XVI greeted the Bavarian bishops and received a delegation from the civil authorities of that region.

Vatican City, 15 April 2012 (VIS) - Before praying the Regina Coeli this morning, Benedict XVI reminded the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that today, the second Sunday of Easter, is known as Divine Mercy Sunday.
In His two apparitions to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room, Jesus often repeated the greeting "peace be with you". Following the resurrection, the Pope explained, this traditional salute became "the gift of that peace which only Jesus can give, because it is the fruit of His victory over evil. The 'peace' which Jesus offered His friends is the fruit of the love of God, which led Him to die on the cross and to spill His blood as a mild and humble Lamb 'full of grace and truth'. This is why Blessed John Paul II chose to dedicate the Sunday after Easter to Divine Mercy".
From the risen and living Christ "come the Paschal Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. Those who receive these Sacraments receive the gift of eternal life", said the Holy Father. He also noted how Christian worship is essentially "a meeting with the risen Lord, Who lives in the dimension of God, beyond time and space, yet at the same time is truly present in the community. He speaks to us of Sacred Scripture and breaks with us the Bread of eternal life. Through these signs we have the same experience as the disciples: to see Jesus and at the same time not to recognise Him".
In conclusion the Pope invited believers to welcome the gift offered by the risen Christ. "Let us allow our hearts to be filled by His Mercy", he said. "In this way, with the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit which caused Jesus to arise from the dead, we too can take these Paschal gifts to others".
Following the Marian prayer, the Pope told the faithful: "On Thursday, the seventh anniversary of my election to the Chair of Peter, I ask you to pray for me, that the Lord may give me the strength to carry out the mission with which He has entrusted me".

Vatican City, 14 April 2012 (VIS) - Thousands of pilgrims are currently converging on the cathedral of Trier, Germany, for the fifth centenary of the first public display of the "Heiliger Rock", said to be the Holy Robe which Jesus wore before His crucifixion and for which, according to the Gospel of St. John, the Roman soldiers cast lots.
According to tradition, part of this robe was found by Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, who gave it to St. Agricius, archbishop of Trier. The faithful were able to see it for the first time in 1512 when the emperor Maximilian I asked Archbishop Richard von Greiffenklau of Trier to put it on public display.
For the inauguration of the pilgrimage, which will last until 13 May, Benedict XVI has sent a message to Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier. The document bears the date of 6 April, Good Friday.
The Holy Father recalls how St. John says that the tunic was a single seamless piece of cloth, for which reason the soldiers decided not to tear it but to cast lots. "The Church Fathers saw in this the unity of the Church, founded as one indivisible community by the love of Christ", the Pope says. "The Saviour's love brings together that which has been divided. ... Moreover, the Robe of Christ is 'woven in one piece from the top'. This too is an image of the Church, which lives not thanks to her own efforts but because of the action of God. As one indivisible community she is a work of God, not the result of man's abilities. At the same time, the Holy Robe is a monition to the Church to remain faithful to her origins, in the awareness that her unity, consensus, effectiveness and witness ... can only be a gift of God".
Finally, the Holy Father writes, "the Holy Robe is not a toga, an elegant garment expressing a social function; it is a modest habiliment which serves to cover and protect the person wearing it, to protect his propriety. It is the undivided gift of the Crucified Christ to the Church which He sanctified with His blood. For this reason the Holy Robe reminds the Church of her own dignity. ... We must be constantly open to conversion and humility, in order to be disciples of the Lord in love and truth. At the same time, the special dignity and integrity of the Church cannot be sold short and abandoned to the clamour and the summary judgement of public opinion".
Concluding his message the Pope notes that "the jubilee pilgrimage has taken as its motto an invocation of the Lord: 'Lead to unity that which is divided'. We do not want to be isolated. We want to ask the Lord to guide us on the shared path of faith, to make it live again for us. In this way - growing together as Christians in faith, prayer and witness, and amidst of the trials of our time - we will be able to proclaim His magnificence and His goodness".

Vatican City, 14 April 2012 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. today issued a note concerning news which has appeared recently in Italian media outlets about the Vatican and the Emanuela Orlandi case. Emanuela Orlandi, the daughter of an employee of Vatican City State and herself a Vatican citizen, disappeared on 22 June 1983 at the age of 15. Her disappearance has given rise to much speculation over the last thirty years. Among other theories, it has been conjectured that the case was related to the assassination attempt against John Paul II in 1981, and that it involved secret services or groups active in the Roman underworld of the time. In 2008 an Italian television programme transmitted information suggesting that Emanuela Orlandi's remains may be buried in the same grave as the leader of one of those criminal gangs.
Extracts from Fr. Lombardi's note are given below.
"It should be recalled that Pope John Paul II demonstrated particular personal interest in this tragic abduction, intervening publicly on various occasions (no fewer than eight in less than a year) with appeals for the liberation of Emanuela. He also went in person to visit the family. ... This personal commitment of the Pope was naturally backed up by the commitment of his collaborators. Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, secretary of State and therefore the Pope's main collaborator, followed events personally, and made a special telephone available line for contact with the kidnappers.
"As has been stated in the past, and is still maintained by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re - then assessor of the Secretariat of State and today the main and most authoritative witness from that time - both the Secretariat of State and the Governorate did everything possible to deal with the painful situation by collaborating with the Italian authorities, who obviously had responsibility for the investigations as the abduction took place in Italy. The complete readiness to collaborate on the part of people holding positions of responsibility within the Vatican at the time is proven by the facts and the circumstances. ... All the letters and information which reached the Vatican were immediately passed on to Inspector Sica at the General Inspectorate for Public Security in the Vatican, and are presumably still held in the competent Italian judicial offices.
"Likewise in the second phase of the investigation, years later, the three rogatory letters send to the Vatican authorities by Italian investigators ... all received a response". At the request of the Italian judges numerous people were interrogated in the Vatican and their declarations sent to the authorities concerned. "The relevant files still exist and remain at the disposal of investigators. It should also be pointed out that at the time of Emanuela's abduction, the Vatican authorities granted Italian investigators of SISDE (the Italian secret service) authorisation to place the telephone line of the Orlandi family under surveillance, and gave them free access to the Vatican allowing them to go to the Orlandi home without mediation by Vatican functionaries. It is not, then, correct to accuse the Vatican of having refused to collaborate with the Italian investigative authorities".
"The main issue is that, unfortunately, no information useful for the solution of the case ... was found in the Vatican. At that time the Vatican authorities, on the basis of messages they received referring to Ali Agca - a period which effectively coincided with the investigation on the attack against the Pope - shared the prevailing opinion that the kidnapping was used by an obscure criminal organisation to send a message or to apply pressure in relation to the incarceration and interrogation of the Pope's attacker.
"There was no reason to imagine other possible motives for the kidnapping. Attributing knowledge of secrets related to the abduction, allegedly possessed by people belonging to Vatican institutions, but without giving any names, is neither a reliable nor well-founded way to proceed. At times it almost seems to be a pretext against the anguish and frustration of not being able to discover the truth.
"In conclusion, ... it has not emerged that there is anything hidden, nor that there are 'secrets' to be revealed in the Vatican. Continuing to affirm the contrary is completely unjustified".
"Finally, since the location of the grave of Enrico De Pedis in the basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Rome has given, and continues to give rise to questions and discussion, over and above any links he may have had with the Orlandi case, we reiterate that the Church has no objection to the opening of the tomb and the burial of the body elsewhere, in order to restore the serenity that is right and just for a holy place.
"To conclude, we would like to draw inspiration from John Paul II's own intense personal participation in this tragic event, and in the suffering of the family, ... a suffering unfortunately rekindled every time a new explanation of the case emerges. ... Alas, many people disappear in Italy every year, and are never heard from again despite searches and enquiries; yet the affair of this young and innocent Vatican citizen continues to come under the spotlight. This should not be a reason to attribute the Vatican with a guilt it does not have, but rather an occasion to gain greater awareness of terrible and often forgotten disappearances (especially of young people), and to make every effort to oppose all criminal activity from whatever source".

Vatican City, 16 April 2012 (VIS) - A note released today by the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff provides details concerning the taking of possession of the following titles and diaconates:
Cardinal Prosper Grech O.S.A., will take possession of the diaconate of Santa Maria Goretti in Via di Santa Maria Goretti 29, Rome, at 6 p.m. on Saturday 21 April.
Cardinal Karl Josef Becker S.J., will take possession of the diaconate of San Giuliano Martire in Via Cassia 1036, Rome, at 11 a.m. on Sunday 22 April.
Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, penitentiary major, will take possession of the diaconate of San Domenico di Guzman in Via Vincenzo Marmorale 25, Rome, at 11.15 a.m. on Sunday 22 April.
Cardinal John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong, China, will take possession of the title of title of Regina Apostolorum in Via Antonino Pio 75, Rome, at 11.30 a.m. on Sunday 22 April.
Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, will take possession of the diaconate of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami in Clivo Argentario 1, Rome, at 5 p.m. on Thursday 26 April.

Vatican City, 16 April 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Horst Seehofer, minister-president of Bavaria, Germany.

Vatican City, 14 April 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Archbishop Marek Solczynski, apostolic nuncio to Georgia and Armenia, also as apostolic nuncio to Azerbaijan.
- As consultors of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints: Msgr. Luis Manuel Cuna Ramos, Fr. Filippo Urso, Fr. Wojciech Giertych O.P., Fr. Antonio Escudero Cabello S.D.B., Fr. Marek Rostkowsi O.M.I., Fr. Alfonso Amarante C.SS.R., Sr. Albarosa Ines Bassani S.V.D.I., and Sr. Grazia Loparco F.M.A.


THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2012 :
Message of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family
on the occasion of the 2012 National March for Life:

The Urgent Need to Build a Culture of Life (VIDEO CAMPAIGN LIFE)
We live in an age and in a country which place enormous importance on the concept of “rights” – rights which, regrettably, are very often understood completely apart from the obligations which they ought to entail. Surely my rights, your rights, stop where the rights of our neighbors begin! But “who”— asks the Gospel of St. Luke —“is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25). Every year in Canada, some 100 000 of our most vulnerable neighbors are sacrificed on the altar of “choice”—as the exercise of what some misguidedly consider a “right”. Among those aborted in the last year alone we might have counted a future prime minister or a ground-breaking scientist, a playmate for our children, or our future son or daughter-in-law.
The unborn child is, in fact, my neighbor and must be respected as a person from the moment of conception. As science demonstrates, even at the earliest stage of development each child in the womb is a unique and completely irreplaceable human being. We should therefore work tirelessly to insure that our laws are reformed in order to reflect the humanity and the fundamental right to life of our tiniest neighbors. This is our obligation as free and responsible citizens. This is what we owe our neighbor!
History has shown repeatedly that where the right to life of the unborn is not protected other rights are sooner or later mocked. One need only consider the recent claim by a number of medical ethicists associated with Oxford University (England)—that newborn babies have no “moral right to life”— to see where the logic of a pro-abortion culture leads: Infanticide becomes acceptable.
Abortion Hurts us All
Those who falsely uphold the so-called “right” to abortion forget one simple fact: ultimately, abortion benefits no one! The most obvious and most appalling consequence of abortion is the squandering of innocent human life. But the destructive impact of abortion does not end there. For the woman who submits to abortion there are nearly always profoundly negative consequences. Every year, more and more cases of “post-abortion syndrome” attest to this truth. Ongoing research has shown that fathers of aborted children, too, often find themselves experiencing profound feelings of loss and isolation. The surviving siblings of aborted children often feel guilty for simply existing and frequently suffer from depression and crippling sadness; this phenomenon has come to be called “abortion survivors’ syndrome”. In other instances, the grandparents of aborted children are profoundly affected by a sense of betrayal and loss.
What of our society as a whole? In his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Blessed John Paul II warned that abortion poses “an immense threat to life: not only to the life of individuals but also to that of civilization itself.”1 In one way or another, every one of us is impoverished by the culture of death that surrounds and threatens to infect us. A society which tolerates abortion is a society which makes the human being a mere means to an end. A society which continues to tolerate the destruction of its weakest members is one which will inevitably tolerate the destruction of the relatively weak, the disabled, the sick, the marginalized and the inconvenient. Can anyone be safe and truly flourish in such a society?
Choosing Life
The challenges which confront us are sometimes overwhelming. But we need to recall that change comes one person at a time. Being pro-life means respecting human life at every stage of development and in every circumstance. If our message is to be heard, we need to take account of our own attitudes and way of life. The most immediate way we change things for the better is by insuring that we are consistent in our own actions. We need to ask ourselves, “Does the way I live my daily life help to create a culture of life?”
There are signs of hope that a genuine culture of life is beginning to flower around us. Earlier this year, in a comprehensive report entitled “Not to be Forgotten – Care of Vulnerable Canadians”, 55 Members of Parliament, representing all political parties, offered a comprehensive and reassuring pro-life look at palliative care and end of life issues. Recent polls have consistently shown that more than half of Canadians believe that human life should be protected before birth. 2Clearly, it is the time to bring pressure to bear on our legislators to reopen the public debate on abortion. Let’s begin by making it clear to our Members of Parliament that we support the efforts of MP Stephen Woodworth (Kitchener Centre) to have Parliament revisit the scientific evidence regarding the humanity of the unborn.
See you on Parliament Hill on May 10th! Together, let us march for life!
May 10, 2012


16. Apr, 2012
In this video Fr Willie Purcell, National Coordinator for Diocesan Vocations talks about vocations in Ireland, his own vocation as a gift and about the plans of the vocations directors for this year’s 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin.
Background to Vocations Sunday:
Pope Paul VI instituted the World Day of Prayer for Vocations on the 11 April 1964 by saying:
“O Jesus, divine Shepherd of the spirit, you have called the Apostles in order to make them fishermen of men, you still attract to you burning spirits and generous young people, in order to render them your followers and ministers to us” (Pope Paul VI )
In the years since, successive pontiffs have called on the Church to focus and pray for vocations. Prayer and promotion of vocations takes place on a daily basis here in Ireland but in a particular way on Vocations Sunday which this year falls on Sunday 29 April, the Fourth Sunday of Easter.
The Pope issues a message for Vocations Sunday each year and the theme chosen by Pope Benedict XVI for this year’s celebration is: Vocations, the Gift of the Love of God. In his message Pope Benedict says: “It is in this soil of self-offering and openness to the love of God, and as the fruit of that love, that all vocations are born and grow. By drawing from this wellspring through prayer, constant recourse to God’s word and to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, it becomes possible to live a life of love for our neighbours, in whom we come to perceive the face of Christ the Lord (cf. Mt 25:31-46).”
Click here for the full text of the Pope’s message for Vocations Sunday 2012.
Vocation Prayer:
Lord Jesus,
you said to your disciples:
“The harvest indeed is great
but the labourers are few.”
We ask that we may know
and follow the vocation
to which you have called us.
We pray for those called to serve:
those whom you have called,
those you are calling now,
and those you will call in the future.
May they be open and responsive
to the call of serving your people.
Vocations Directors for Irish Dioceses:
Click here for the list of Diocesan Vocations Directors and their contact information
Diocesan Vocations Directors prepare for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress 2012:
Preparations are well underway to have vocations to diocesan priesthood very much highlighted at the forthcoming 50th International Eucharistic Congress. Banners, flyers, posters, displays etc are being designed to draw attention to the need for more young people to give themselves in the service of Christ through the diocesan priesthood. Diocesan Priests are very much at the heart of the Church’s mission of Communion. Indeed without the priest there is no Mass, without Mass there is no Church! The Leadership theme have taken the theme of the Eucharistic Congress and have highlighted the fact the Diocesan Priesthood is very much ‘Prayer at the Heart of the Community’.
University Church, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, has been designated by the Eucharistic Congress as the Church set aside to promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life. During the week of the Congress, Mass will be celebrated each day for vocations to the priesthood. There will be other events and prayer sessions taking place in this church. A full list will of events will be posted closer to the Congress in June.
Useful links:
Website of the National Diocesan Vocations Directors www.vocations.ie
Find and LIKE the Vocations Directors on Facebook as Diocesan Vocations Ireland
Follow the Diocesan Vocations Directors on Twitter @NVocations
General links and resources:
Interview with Cardinal Timothy Dolan on priesthood and vocations - This interview was conducted in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth in May 2010 as part of the Year for Priests initiative. Cardinal Dolan was an Archbishop at the time but he was made a Cardinal by Pope Benedict in February 2012. In this interview Cardinal Dolan says that it when it comes to promoting vocations and priesthood that ‘happiness attracts’. Click here to watch the full interview.
Pope Benedict’s 2010 Letter to Seminarians - Click here for Pope Benedict’s Letter to Seminarians from October 2010
In Praise of Priests - In five short videos, George Hook, Alice Taylor, Ashleigh O’Neill, Mickey Harte and David Begg share what particular priests have meant in their lives. Click here to view videos.
Documents on priesthood from the Congregation for the Clergy - Click here for documents on priesthood from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy.
Books on priesthood from Veritas - Veritas has some interesting books available on vocations. Click here to see a range of what they have. Visit one of their stores nationwide to see their full range of books and publications on vocations and priesthood.
Website for Vocations Ireland – Vocations Ireland is an association of the Vocation Directors of the Catholic Religious Orders in Ireland. They work to present religious life, apostolic, missionary and contemplative, as a life choice that is one way of following Christ and bringing deeper meaning and purpose to life. Click here.


by Trung Tin
The raid took place shortly after midnight on April 14. Structure devastated, children beaten, Fr. Nguyen Van Binh, who spoke out in defense of the young guests seriously injured,. He was admitted unconscious, then taken to the archdiocesan curia. The faithful denounce the latest violation of religious freedom.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - A group of thugs, with the cooperation of the police, stormed a Christian orphanage in Hanoi, damaging the building and even beating the children who are guests of the center. The thugs seriously injured a priest, who spoke out in defense of innocent young victims. He was rushed to a hospital in the capital, unconscious from the blows received to the head during the raid. The local Catholic community have denounced the latest episode of persecution operated with the connivance of the communist authorities and appeal to the archdiocese and the Church hierarchy, to strongly denounce the violation of human rights and religious freedom in the country.

Witnesses told AsiaNews that on the morning of 14 April, the police of the town of Thuy Tien Xuân and local authorities in Chuong My district, Hanoi, sent a group of thugs to attack a Catholic orphanage in the capital, the Agape Family. The structure is supported by the work of Catholic volunteers and the active contribution of Fr. Nguyen Van Binh, vicar of the parish of Yên Kien, in the Archdiocese of Hanoi. The assailants have escaped unscathed, thanks to police cover.

According to reports, shortly after midnight the thugs cut the electricity of the center, then they started throwing stones and objects to scare the children. A neighbor, on condition of anonymity, said that "they hit the altar of the Madonna. A child was carried away" and when he tried to rebel "they took him repeatedly slapping him in the face". Later "at least 200 policemen arrived" to help the mob destroy the Agape Family centre.

After learning of the attack, Fr. Nguyen Van Binh immediately ran to the orphanage but was struck several times by police with batons. He suffered severe head injuries (pictured) and fell into a coma. At first he was transported to hospital in Chuong My, then transferred to a hospital Vietnamese-German structure in Đức Viet, in a life-threatening condition. Faithful were also wounded in the attack. In the early afternoon of April 14, the priest returned to the Hanoi Archbishop's Curia, to be treated "strictly in private".

A parishioner told AsiaNews that Fr. Nguyễn was very active in the care of disadvantaged children. "The government - he added - must respect and encourage these charitable activities. In contrast, the local communist authorities prevented him and destroyed the orphanage." Another faithful appeals to the leaders of the archdiocese of Hanoi and the Committee for Justice and Peace of the Vietnamese Church to denounce the latest episode of the violation of Christians' rights in the country.

(J.B. An Dang collaborated)