Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Mark 10: 28 - 31
28 Peter began to say to him, "Lo, we have left everything and followed you."
29 Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,
30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
31 But many that are first will be last, and the last first."


(image source: radio vaticana)
Vatican City, 29 May 2012 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. today released the following declaration.
"The recent massacre in the Syrian town of Houla in which around one hundred people, including numerous children, lost their lives, is a motive of great sorrow and concern for the Holy Father and the entire Catholic community, as it is for the international community which has expressed unanimous condemnation of the incident.
"Renewing its appeal for an end to all forms of violence, the Holy See exhorts the parties involved and the entire international community to spare no efforts to resolve this crisis through dialogue and reconciliation. Likewise, leaders and believers of the various religions, through prayer and mutual collaboration, are called to commit themselves to promoting the peace which is so much sought after, for the good of the whole population".

Vatican City, 29 May 2012 (VIS) - The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently published its "Norms regarding the manner of proceeding in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations", translated into various languages. The document was approved by Pope Paul VI and issued by the congregation in 1978 though it was not then officially published as it was principally intended as a direct aid for the pastors of the Church.
Over the course of the years the document has appeared in various works dealing with the subject in question, although without the authorisation of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which is the competent authority in such matters. Since the contents of the Norms are already in the public domain, the congregation believes it is now opportune to publish them.
The publication is accompanied by a preface written by Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, extracts of which are given below.
"In the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God held in October 2008, the issue of the problems stemming from the experience of supernatural phenomena was raised as a pastoral concern by some bishops. Their concern was recognised by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, who inserted the issue into the larger context of the economy of salvation in a significant passage of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation 'Verbum Domini'. It is important to recall this teaching of the Pontiff".
"As the Fathers noted during the Synod, the uniqueness of Christianity is manifested in the event which is Jesus Christ, the culmination of revelation. ... He Who ‘has made God known’ is the one, definitive word given to mankind. ... The Synod pointed to the need to ‘help the faithful to distinguish the word of God from private revelations’ whose role ‘is not to complete Christ’s definitive revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history’. The value of private revelations is essentially different from that of the one public revelation: the latter demands faith; in it God Himself speaks to us through human words and the mediation of the living community of the Church.
"The criterion for judging the truth of a private revelation is its orientation to Christ Himself. If it leads us away from Him, then it certainly does not come from the Holy Spirit, Who guides us more deeply into the Gospel, and not away from it. Private revelation is an aid to this faith, and it demonstrates its credibility precisely because it refers back to the one public revelation. Ecclesiastical approval of a private revelation essentially means that its message contains nothing contrary to faith and morals; it is licit to make it public and the faithful are authorised to give it their prudent adhesion. A private revelation can introduce new emphases, give rise to new forms of piety, or deepen older ones. It can have a certain prophetic character and can be a valuable aid for better understanding and living the Gospel at a certain time; consequently it should not be treated lightly. It is a help which is proffered, but its use is notobligatory".
"It is my firm hope that the official publication of the 'Norms regarding the manner of proceeding in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations' can aid the pastors of the Catholic Church in their difficult task of discerning presumed apparitions, revelations, messages or, more generally, extraordinary phenomena of presumed supernatural origin".

Vatican City, 29 May 2012 (VIS) - Given below are extracts from the document "Norms regarding the manner of proceeding in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations", published recently by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The document was approved by Pope Paul VI and issued by the congregation in 1978 though it was not then officially published as it was principally intended as a direct aid for the pastors of the Church.
"1. Today, more than in the past, news of these apparitions is diffused rapidly among the faithful thanks to the ... mass media. Moreover, the ease of going from one place to another fosters frequent pilgrimages, so that Ecclesiastical Authority should discern quickly about the merits of such matters.
"2. On the other hand, modern mentality and the requirements of critical scientific investigation render it more difficult, if not almost impossible, to achieve with the required speed the judgements that in the past concluded the investigation of such matters ('constat de supernaturalitate, non constat de supernaturalitate')".
"When Ecclesiastical Authority is informed of a presumed apparition or revelation, it will be its responsibility:
"a) first, to judge the fact according to positive and negative criteria;
"b) then, if this examination results in a favourable conclusion, to permit some public manifestation of cult or of devotion, overseeing this with great prudence (equivalent to the formula, 'for now, nothing stands in the way') ('pro nunc nihil obstare').
"c) finally, in light of time passed and of experience, with special regard to the fecundity of spiritual fruit generated from this new devotion, to express a judgement regarding the authenticity and supernatural character if the case so merits"
"A) Positive Criteria:
"a) Moral certitude, or at least great probability of the existence of the fact, acquired by means of a serious investigation;
"b) Particular circumstances relative to the existence and to the nature of the fact, that is to say:
"1. Personal qualities of the subject or of the subjects (in particular, psychological equilibrium, honesty and rectitude of moral life, sincerity and habitual docility towards Ecclesiastical Authority, the capacity to return to a normal regimen of a life of faith, etc.);
"2. As regards revelation: true theological and spiritual doctrine and immune from error;
"3. Healthy devotion and abundant and constant spiritual fruit (for example, spirit of prayer, conversion, testimonies of charity, etc.).
"B) Negative Criteria:
"a) Manifest error concerning the fact.
"b) Doctrinal errors attributed to God Himself, or to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or to some saint in their manifestations, taking into account however the possibility that the subject might have added, even unconsciously, purely human elements or some error of the natural order to an authentic supernatural revelation.
"c) Evidence of a search for profit or gain strictly connected to the fact.
"d) Gravely immoral acts committed by the subject or his or her followers when the fact occurred or in connection with it.
"e) Psychological disorder or psychopathic tendencies in the subject, that with certainty influenced on the presumed supernatural fact, or psychosis, collective hysteria or other things of this kind.
"It is to be noted that these criteria, be they positive or negative, are not peremptory but rather indicative, and they should be applied cumulatively or with some mutual convergence".
"1. If, on the occasion of a presumed supernatural fact, there arises in a spontaneous way among the faithful a certain cult or some devotion, the competent Ecclesiastical Authority has the serious duty of looking into it without delay and of diligently watching over it.
"2. If the faithful request it legitimately (that is, in communion with the pastors, and not prompted by a sectarian spirit), the competent Ecclesiastical Authority can intervene to permit or promote some form of cult or devotion, if, after the application of the above criteria, nothing stands in the way. They must be careful that the faithful do not interpret this practice as approval of the supernatural nature of the fact on the part of the Church.
"3. By reason of its doctrinal and pastoral task, the competent Authority can intervene 'motu proprio' and indeed must do so in grave circumstances, for example in order to correct or prevent abuses in the exercise of cult and devotion, to condemn erroneous doctrine, to avoid the dangers of a false or unseemly mysticism, etc.
"4. In doubtful cases that clearly do not put the good of the Church at risk, the competent Ecclesiastical Authority is to refrain from any judgement and from any direct action (because it can also happen that, after a certain period of time, the presumed supernatural fact falls into oblivion); it must not however cease from being vigilant by intervening if necessary, with promptness and prudence".
"1. Above all, the duty of vigilance and intervention falls to the Ordinary of the place.
"2. The regional or national Conference of Bishops can intervene" in certain cases.
"3. The Apostolic See can intervene if asked either by the Ordinary himself, by a qualified group of the faithful, or even directly by reason of the universal jurisdiction of the Supreme Pontiff".
"1. a) The intervention of the Sacred Congregation can be requested either by the Ordinary, after he has done his part, or by a qualified group of the faithful. In this second case, care must be taken that recourse to the Sacred Congregation not be motivated by suspect reasons (for example, in order to compel the Ordinary to modify his own legitimate decisions, to support some sectarian group, etc.).
b) It is up to the Sacred Congregation to intervene 'motu proprio' in more grave cases, especially if the matter affects the larger part of the Church".
"2. It is up to the Sacred Congregation to judge and approve the Ordinary’s way of proceeding or, in so far as it be possible and fitting, to initiate a new examination of the matter".

Vatican City, 29 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Richard J. Malone of Portland, U.S.A., as bishop of Buffalo (area 16,511, population 1,621,000, Catholics 716,000, priests 425, permanent deacons 127, religious 1,075), U.S.A. He succeeds Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo, U.S.A., as archbishop of Denver (area 101.279, population 3,328,000, Catholics 549,325, priests 306, permanent deacons 184, religious 203), U.S.A.


Go to Pentecost 2012 Year of Grace Launch News Story
Sudanese musicians headed the Pentecost entry procession, which included representatives from 26 countries in national dress bearing flags.
Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu
The Year of Grace in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta was launched at St Patrick's Cathedral on Pentecost Sunday, 27 May.
Read News Story
Go to Photo Gallery
Read Bishop Anthony's Homily
Download an audio file of Bishop Anthony's homily Download an audio file of Bishop Anthony's homily
Listen to this homily at Bishop Anthony's iTunes podcasts
The Catholic Bishops of Australia have invited us all to celebrate a Year of Grace (Pentecost 2012 to Pentecost 2013), committing ourselves to 'start afresh from Christ'.
In his Year of Grace Message, the Bishop of Parramatta Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP says a Year of Grace encourages us to deepen our unity through prayer, listening to Sacred Scripture and focussing on encountering and responding to Jesus Christ in our daily lives.
During this Year of Grace we want to foster a relationship with Jesus Christ and not just know about Jesus,” Bishop Anthony said.
Read Bishop Anthony's message in full at www.parrayearofgrace.org.au - the online home of the Year of Grace for the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta


Blatty at re-release of his epic thriller "The Exorcist" in 2000.
Blatty at re-release of his epic thriller "The Exorcist" in 2000.
Photo credit:
(Photo by Newsmakers)
William Peter Blatty, author of the epic novel, The Exorcist, has had it with Georgetown University, his alma mater, according to FoxNews.com. He will file a canon law suit both with the Archdiocese of Washington and with the Vatican in an effort to have Georgetown's "Catholic" identity stripped from its university title.
Canon 808: No university, even if it is in fact catholic, may bear the title 'catholic university' except by the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.
The title, "Catholic" is a privilege not an expectation according to this canon, and falls under the purview of "competent ecclesiastical authority." In this case, the proper authority would be the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., under the leadership of Archbishop Donald Wuerl, who has been vocal about his stance on the HHS Mandate so intimately connected with Secretary Sebelius.
Georgetown did indeed host Sebelius on 18 May, after refusing to rescind its invitation to have her as a commencement speaker following a firestorm from thousands of infuriated Catholics. The University reported that Secretary Sebelius would be speaking to a group of students in the Public Policy Institute. However, LifeSiteNews.com reports that Georgetown does list Secretary Sebelius as one of the Commencement Speakers on its announcement for Commencement 2012.
For William Peter Blatty, this was "the last straw" with a university that he believes has lost its bearings. In an open letter on the website he developed just for this purpose, The Father King Society, he contends:
For 21 years now. Georgetown University has refused to comply with Ex corde Ecclesiaie (“From The Heart of the Church”), and, therefore, with canon law...
Many believe that to make Georgetown truly Catholic is to turn back the clock hands and somehow limit its very nature as a university, as if the notion of “Catholic” and “university” are new to each other, or inherently at odds. On the contrary, to make Georgetown “Catholic” is to move the clock forward; it is to make the University better than it now is! Of course, there are always those who are afraid of change, – who lack vision. They may need to step aside.
Blatty, in conjunction with the Cardinal Newman Society, will file his "canon law petition" to encourage Georgetown University to stop "being dishonest" and live up to its "Catholic identity". To assist in this effort, Blatty is asking people to sign a petition to act in their behalf.
This is a bold move by Blatty and the Cardinal Newman Society, one that the Archdiocese of Washington will have to address with great juridical care and ecclesial sensitivity.

, Arlington Catholicism Examiner

Kathy Vestermark is a Catholic writer with an MA in Theology. She is a wife and mother of six children, one with significant special needs. As an RCIA Coordinator/Instructor, Women's Bible Study Facilitator, and writer of two Catholic blogs, Kathy is an avid teacher of Catholicism. You can find...


CATHOLIC LITURGY OFFICE OF ENGLAND RELEASE: The Bishops’ Conference has requested that on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Sunday 3 June 2012, each parish will celebrate a Mass with prayers to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. During this Mass, the first reading is replaced by 1 Kings 3:11–14 and the Prayer for the Queen, which has been approved by the Bishops, is used after the Post Communion Prayer and before the Final Blessing.

Prayer for the Queen
V. O Lord, save Elizabeth, our Queen.
R. And hear us on the day we call upon you.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come before you.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.

Almighty God, we pray,
that your servant Elizabeth, our Queen,
who, by your providence has received the governance of this realm,
may continue to grow in every virtue,
that, imbued with your heavenly grace,
she may be preserved from all that is harmful and evil
and, being blessed with your favour
may, with her consort and the royal family,
come at last into your presence,
through him who is the way, the truth and the life
and who lives and reigns with you

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God,
for ever and ever.
The texts can be download below:


The order has websites in 50 other countries already
ucanews.com reporter, Rawalpindi
May 29, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Nuns go online to boost community
Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra launches Pauline website
Catholics near Islamabad are going public – at least on the internet.
The Daughters of St Paul, in Rawalpindi, have launched a website to encourage youth participation, despite community worries about drawing attention in the predominantly Muslim country.
“They were afraid of exposure and showing the face of Christ in a Muslim country,” said Sister Athens Angeles, the community superior. “But we are already the last of 51 countries where the Pauline family is running local websites.”
The website offers information about upcoming Church events as well as links to Facebook posts about the outreach programs, meetings and publications of the congregation which is running three book centers in the country.
“It is purely for vocation and has no business dimension,” Sr Angeles said.
The site was created by youth leader and student Sonish Akmal in just two days, after the order worked on the project for three years. “We waited till Pentecost to highlight the additional feature of viewing the site in different languages,” she said.
Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra launched the site over the weekend to the applause of more than 100 priests, nuns and lay leaders. He then lauded the nuns for setting a great example on the correct use of the internet.
“It will help in building relations by offering choices and preferences even when not speaking directly of religious content,” he said.


Shafiq Ahmed, Premier during regime, could be behind assault himself. The Electoral Commission confirms runoff between Mursi, President of the Justice and Freedom Party (Muslim Brotherhood) and Shafiq. Voting will take place June 15 to 16. Hundreds protest against election results.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - A group of unknown persons last night attacked the headquarters of Ahmed Shafiq, a former member of the regime and one of the two favorite candidates for the post of President with Mohammed Mursi (Muslim Brotherhood). Thugs set fire to several rooms of the building and stole some computers, but there were no injuries or major damage. The attack began just hours after the announcement of the participation of Shafiq in the June 15 run-off.

Supporters of the presidential candidate extinguished the fire and dispersed the mob. Police arrested eight people found near the candidate's headquarters, but the reasons and instigators of the assault remain unknown. However, many suspect that it was artfully concocted by Shafiq supporters. Former Premier under Mubarak, he is supported by the army and has based his campaign on the return of security and order to the country devastated by the riots, thus he is the only one who would benefit from a situation of instability.

Yesterday, the Egyptian Election Commission confirmed a runoff between Mohammed Mursi, President of the Justice and Freedom Party (Muslim Brotherhood) first with 24.6% of the votes, and Ahmed Shafiq, the second with 23% of the vote.

This result confirms the prediction announced by the Islamists immediately after the voting, with a polarization between supporters of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the former regime. Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, a moderate Islamist, and Amr Moussa, former president of the Arab League, initially favorites in polls, came fourth and sixth. Yesterday Moussa expressed concerns about the current situation. "A return to the old regime - he said - is as unacceptable as the entry of religion into politics."

The run-off will be held from 15 to 16 June. Today Salafis from the al-Nour party announced that they will support the Muslim Brotherhood. In the first round the Islamic radicals voted for Fotouh. Shafiq will try instead to attract the votes of moderate and secular Muslims, but his participation in the elections is still uncertain. Currently, the Constitutional Court is reviewing the criteria that exclude former members of the Mubarak regime from political life. The verdict will be announced on 11 June.

Analysts predict a low turnout to the ballot. In the first round only 46% of those eligible voted. The head to head between Mursi and Shafiq represents in part the failure of the Jasmine Revolution, which in 2011 forced the resignation of President Mubarak. The young activists of the Arab Spring are faced with a difficult choice: those who vote for the former Premier of Mubarak admit the final failure of the Tahrir Square uprisings, those who choose the Muslim Brotherhood could help destroy the ideals of freedom for which the young Egyptians fought.

Today hundreds of people took to the streets in Cairo and Alexandria to challenge the results of the vote, which they claim is the result of electoral fraud and does not represent the will of the Egyptian people. According to some activists, such events are the last chance to save the ideals of the Jasmine Revolution.



St. Maximinus of Trier
Feast: May 29

Feast Day:May 29
Born:at Silly near Poitiers, France
Died:12 September 349 or 29 May 352 (records vary)
Patron of: Trier, Germany
St. Maximinus was one of those pastors whom God raised in the most dangerous times to support his church. He was born at Poitiers, nobly descended, and related to Maxentius, bishop of that city before St. Hilary. The reputation of the sanctity of St. Agritius, bishop of Triers, drew him young to that city, and after a most virtuous education, he was admitted to holy orders, and, upon the death of Agritius, chosen his successor in 332. When St. Athanasius was banished to Triers in 336, St. Maximinus received him, not as a person disgraced, but as a most glorious confessor of Christ, and thought it a great happiness to enjoy the company of so illustrious a saint. St. Athanasius stayed with him two years; and his works bear evidence to the indefatigable vigilance, heroic courage, and exemplary virtue of our saint, who was before that time famous for the gift of miracles. St. Paul, bishop of Constantinople, being banished by Constantius, found also a retreat at Triers, and in St. Maximinus a powerful protector. Our saint, by his counsels, precautioned the emperor Constans against the intrigues and snares of the Arians, and on every occasion discovered their artifice, and opposed their faction. He was one of the most illustrious defenders of the Catholic faith in the council of Sardica in 347, and had the honor to be ranked by the Arians with St. Athanasius, in an excommunication which they pretended to fulminate against them at Philippopolis. St. Maximinus is said to have died in Poitou in 349, having made a journey thither to see his relations. He was buried near Poitiers; but his body was afterwards translated to Triers on the day which is now devoted to his memory. St. Maximinus, by protecting and harboring saints, received himself the recompense of a saint.

SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/M/stmaximinusoftrier.asp#ixzz1wGDsNxdb


Vatican City, 27 May 2012 (VIS) - After celebrating Mass this morning in the Vatican Basilica for the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Regina Coeli with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Before the Marian prayer the Pope announced that on 7 October, at the start of the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, he will proclaim St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen as Doctors of the Universal Church. "These two great witnesses of the faith lived in very different historical periods and cultural environments", he said. "Hildegard was a Benedictine nun during the height of the German Middle Ages, a true master of theology and a great scholar of the natural sciences and of music. John was a young diocesan priest of the Spanish Renaissance, who participated in the travails of the cultural and spiritual renewal of the Church and society at the dawn of the Modern Age".
The sanctity of their lives and the profundity of their doctrine mean that these two saints "retain all their importance. The grace of the Holy Spirit enabled them to experience profound understanding of divine revelation and intelligent dialogue with the world, two factors which represent the perennial goal of the life and activity of the Church".
St. John and St. Hildegard are particularly significant on the eve of the forthcoming Year of Faith, and in light of the new evangelisation to which the Synod of Bishops will be dedicating its attention. "Also in our own day, and through their teaching, the Spirit of the risen Lord continues to make His voice heard and to illuminate the path which leads to the Truth, which is the only thing that can make us free and give full meaning to our lives", the Pope said.
After praying the Regina Coeli he recalled that Mother Saint Louis (nee Marie-Louise Elisabeth de Lamoignon, widow of Mole de Champlatreux), foundress of the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis who lived between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, was today proclaimed a blessed in France. She was "an exemplary witness of love for God and for neighbour", the Holy Father said. He also recalled the fact that he is due to travel to Milan on Friday to participate in the seventh World Meeting of Families, and he asked the faithful to pray for the success of that event.

Vatican City, 28 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:
"This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Laura Chinchilla Miranda, president of Costa Rica. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
"During their cordial discussions the parties highlighted the good relations that exist between the Holy See, the local Church and the State, expressing the hope that they may be strengthened by an Agreement respectful of the identity of the country and of the healthy autonomy and collaboration between civil and ecclesiastical authorities. Mention was then made of the special contribution the Church makes through her educational, social and charitable institutions. Finally attention turned to the importance of continuing to protect the fundamental dignity of human beings, from the moment of conception".

Vatican City, 26 May 2012 (VIS) - "We must form people's consciences in the light of the Word of God, whence all plans of the Church and of men draw meaning and strength, also as regards the construction of the earthly city. We must renew the soul of our institutions and make history fertile with the seeds of new life". Benedict XVI pronounced these words this morning in St. Peter's Square where he received thousands of members of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit Association,which is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of its foundation in Italy.
The Pope expressed the view that "in modern society we are experiencing a situation which is in some ways precarious, characterised by insecurity and the fragmentary nature of decisions. Often there is a lack of points of reference from which to draw inspiration for our lives. It is, then, increasingly important to construct the edifice of life and social relationships on the stable rock of the Word of God".
Today, the Holy Father said, believers are called to show a "convincing, sincere and credible witness of faith, one closely united to charitable commitment, It is, in fact, through charity, that people far removed from and indifferent to the the message of the Gospel are able to approach the truth and to become converted to the merciful love of the heavenly Father".
Pope Benedict also dedicated his attention to the work of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit Association over recent decades. "Your apostolic efforts have contributed to the development of spiritual life in the Italian ecclesial and social fabric through paths of conversion which have helped many people to be profoundly healed by the love of God, and many families to overcome moments of crisis", he said. "Your groups have not been lacking in young people ready to respond generously to the vocation of special consecration to God in the priesthood and in the religious life". The Holy Father also underlined the movement’s support for people in situations of need and marginalisation, especially in the field of the spiritual and material rebirth of prisoners.
The Pope concluded by exhorting those present: "Never cease to look to heaven; the world has need of prayer. We need men and women who feel the draw of heaven in their lives, who make praising the Lord the basis of a new lifestyle. Be joyous Christians! I entrust you all to Mary Most Holy, who was present in the Upper Room at the moment of Pentecost".

Vatican City, 26 May 2012 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" today released a communique announcing that, "following the earthquake of recent days, which wrought destruction particularly in the territory of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions of Carpi, Mantua, Modena-Nonantola and Ferrara-Comacchio, the Holy Father, through the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum', has decided to send a special contribution of 100,000 euro, to be shared among the dioceses affected by the calamity, to aid the Catholic Church's assistance activities in favour of the victims. That sum is intended to be a concrete expression of the Supreme Pontiff's sentiments of spiritual closeness and paternal solicitude towards the people affected by the earthquake".

Vatican City, 27 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a message to His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, for the fiftieth anniversary of his consecration as bishop. In the letter, written in English, Benedict XVI recalls the patriarch’s visit to Rome in 1994 for the signing of a Common Declaration on Christology, his presence at the funeral of John Paul II, and his visit to Rome in 2007 during which the Pope had expressed his hope that they would continue their "common journey towards the re-establishment of full communion".
"I thank the Lord for the many blessings he has bestowed on the Assyrian Church of the East through your ministry, and I am grateful for your commitment to promoting constructive dialogue, fruitful cooperation and growing friendship between our Churches".
"I wish also to reiterate my solidarity with the Christian communities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, praying that effective forms of common witness to the Gospel and pastoral collaboration in the service of peace, reconciliation and unity may be deepened between the Catholic and Assyrian faithful".
The Holy Father concludes his letter by invoking the blessings of the Blessed Trinity upon the Patriarch.

Vatican City, 26 May 2012 (VIS) - Made public today was a letter, written in Latin and dated 17 April, in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Angelo Comastri, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City, as his special envoy to the closing celebrations of the National Eucharistic Congress of Ukraine, due to be held in Lviv on 3 June, sixth centenary of the establishment of the archiepiscopal and metropolitan see of Lviv of the Latins.

Vatican City, 26 May 2012 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. today made the following declaration concerning investigations taking place in the Vatican on the leaking of reserved documents.
"I can confirm that the individual arrested on Wednesday evening for illegal possession of reserved documents, which were found in his domicile located within Vatican territory, is Mr. Paolo Gabriele, who is still being held in detention.
"The first phase of the 'summary investigation' under the direction of Nicola Picardi, promoter of justice, has come to an end and given way to the phase of 'formal investigation', which is being conducted by Piero Antonio Bonnet, investigating magistrate.
"The accused has appointed two lawyers to represent him who are authorised to act before the Vatican Tribunal, and he has had the opportunity to meet with them. They will be able to help him in successive stages of the proceedings. He benefits from all the juridical guarantees laid down by the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure in force in Vatican City State.
"The investigatory phase will continue until an adequate picture of the situation being investigated has emerged, after which the investigating magistrate will either acquit the suspect or send him for trial".

Vatican City, 28 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Archbishop Paul Cremona O.P. of Malta, Malta, accompanied by Archbishop emeritus Joseph Mercieca, on their "ad limina" visit.
- Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo, Malta, on his "ad limina" visit.
- Bishop Ralph Heskett C.SS.R. of Gibraltar, Gibraltar, on his "ad limina" visit.
On Saturday 26 May he received in audience Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

Vatican City, 28 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
- Fr. Leopold Ouedraogo, vicar general of the archdiocese of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 9,600, population 2,337,000, Catholics 810,310, priests 188, religious 905). The bishop-elect was born in Ouagadougou in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1979. He has worked as a pastor and as professor then rector of the major seminary of "Saint Pierre et Paul".
- Fr. Elkin Fernando Alvarez Botero of the clergy of Sonson - Rionegro, Colombia, director of the Department for Hierarchical Ministries of the Colombian Episcopal Conference, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Medellin (area 687, population 3,456,000, Catholics 3,004,000, priests 1,027, permanent deacons 50, religious 3,664), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in El Retiro, Colombia in 1968 and ordained a priest in 1993. He studied in Colombia and in Rome and has worked in pastoral care, education and as a local collaborator of the apostolic nunciature to Colombia.
- Bishop Philippe Rukamba of Butare, Rwanda, as apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the diocese of Gikongoro, Rwanda.
On Saturday 26 May it was made public that the Holy Father
- Appointed Fr. Dieudonne Espoir Atangana of the clergy of Obala, Cameroon, former rector of the the major seminaries of "Notre Dame de l'Immaculee Conception" of Yaounde and "Notre Dame de l'Esperance" of Bertoua, as bishop of Nkongsamba (area 10,952, population 751,000, Catholics 350,000, priests 131, religious 74), Cameroon. The bishop-elect was born in Ngongo, Cameroon in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1986. He studied in Rome and has worked in the field of education in a number of seminaries. He is currently on a sabbatical year, during which he is serving in various parishes in the diocese of Obala.
- Erected the new diocese of Bafang (area 7,229, population 252,284, Catholics 131,475, priests 31, religious 11) Cameroon, with territory taken from the diocese of Nkongsamba, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Douala. He appointed Fr. Abraham Kome, apostolic administrator of Nkongsamba, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Loum-ville, Cameroon in 1969 and ordained a priest in 1999. Among other roles, he has worked as vicar of the diocesan cathedral, master of ceremonies and pastor of the parish of St. Francis Xavier in Kekem.
- Appointed Bishop Jurij Bizjak, auxiliary of Koper, Slovenia, as bishop of the same diocese (area 4,306, population 267,300, Catholics 194,800, priests 161, religious 91). He succeeds Bishop Metod Pirih, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.


Sunday 27 May 2012

We sometimes make an incredible mess of our lives. Wouldn’t it be good to be able to reboot – to erase all our mistakes – and to have the opportunity of a fresh start?

Download a PDF version of this Pentecost Letter

On the computer, making a new start can be as easy as pressing the ‘restart’ button. In our lives, it isn’t always so easy. Especially when we hurt those we love, or do something that seems to us to threaten our future happiness, we need the help of an expert who will stand with us and walk us through the steps to start again.

Jesus is the one who helps you “start afresh”. He loves you personally and uniquely. He gives you the grace – the free gift and the creative power – to make a new start. For you, he is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). He will show you the path through dark times, teach you the Truth about yourself and your place in the world, and help you fulfill the unique life God has planned for you.
At the start of this new Millennium, Blessed Pope John Paul II gave advice about how to begin afresh from Jesus. He wrote: “We shall not be saved by a formula but by a Person, and the assurance which he gives us: I am with you! (Matthew 28:20).” (Novo Millennio Ineunte)

Here then is the Good News: you are not on your own. Jesus is with you every step of the way. Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote: “There is a temptation which always besets every spiritual journey...: that of thinking that the results depend on our ability to act and to plan. ... it is fatal to forget that “without Christ we can do nothing” (cf. John 15:5).”
Jesus was born for you. Jesus died for you. Jesus lives for you. Do not despair over your past. Jesus told St Paul that “My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). This is what the Church means by “grace”. It doesn’t all depend on you! As you make a new start in Jesus, remind yourself that “it is all grace”.

Jesus said: “You must be born again” (John 3:7). When you were baptised, you were “reborn” in him. St Paul taught us: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Your baptism is a present reality. Because you are reborn in Jesus, your past mistakes have no power over you. Each day is a new day for you, an Easter Day, as you rise afresh from the tomb with Jesus. Each day is a new Pentecost, a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, in which God gives you the strength to step out in hope. As you start afresh from Jesus, live each day as God’s “new creation”!

When you need to start afresh in a human relationship, conversation and communication are needed. So too in your new life with God, prayer is the key, because prayer is conversation with God.
To develop a personal relationship with God in Jesus, you need to learn to pray. “Lord, teach us to pray!”, the disciples asked Jesus (Luke 11:1). So Jesus taught them to say: “Our Father who art in heaven”. Start with this prayer, and the other prayers you learned as children: Hail Mary, Glory be, Lord have mercy. From there you can progress to deeper prayer.
When you start to speak to God, God will speak to you. Conversation will grow, and your whole life will be filled with prayer. Give thanks to God, praise God, adore God, until you truly fall in love with God. At every moment of the day, turn afresh to God in prayer.


“Do not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25). The Sunday Eucharist is the place where we start each new week with Jesus.
Attending the Sunday Eucharist, wrote Blessed Pope John Paul II, “is a fundamental duty, to be fulfilled not just in order to observe a precept but as something felt as essential to a truly informed and consistent Christian life.”
Pope Benedict has said “We cannot live without Sunday.” Just as breakfast gives you the nourishment you need for each new day, so your hunger for a new start is satisfied in the sacred meal in which Jesus gives you his body and blood. Jesus invites you every Sunday to his table. The “true Bread from heaven” will nourish you for a new start.

But what if things have gone really wrong? When we willfully and knowingly act in a way that violates God’s plan for our lives, Jesus meets us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation to give us a new start. By confessing your sins to God’s priest with true sorrow, receiving absolution, and fulfilling your assigned penances, Jesus renews you in the grace of your Baptism and prepares you to receive him in Holy Communion.
Do not be afraid or ashamed to approach Jesus in this sacrament. In the Sacrament of Confession, God meets you face to face in Jesus. He shows us the compassionate heart of God and reconciles us fully with God. As often as we fall, Jesus helps us back up to make a fresh start.
Do you own a bible? Do you read it? The bible is a book written and put together by humans, but guided by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For thousands of years, people have found inspiration in the bible to help them make a new start in their lives.
You can make a new start by reading the Gospels. The Gospels are not history books – they are the place where you will meet Jesus face to face, just like the first disciples. The Gospels tell us that Jesus met his disciples where they were – at the fishing boats, at the tax collecting table – and said “Follow me”. As you read the Gospels, Jesus will meet you where you are and call you to start afresh with him.

Blessed Pope John Paul II called us to engage in a “new evangelisation” – a new proclamation of the Gospel in lands (like our own) where the Gospel was once proclaimed, but has now been forgotten by many. If you have made a fresh start with Jesus, are you prepared to show others the way to make this same fresh start in their lives?
The Good News is for sharing. Witness to God’s work in your life; show love by serving others; be a person of prayer and actively participate in the liturgy; talk about your faith with your friends and family. In all you do, help others to make a fresh start in Jesus.
Jesus has the power to change lives. His grace gives us hope. Like the disciples at the first Pentecost, join me and the whole Church in Australia as we commit ourselves in this Year of Grace to “start afresh from Christ”.

Download a PDF version of this Pentecost Letter


by Melani Manel Perera
Sri Lanka's Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, a Muslim, accuses Mgr Rayappu Joseph of stirring the Tamil community against Muslims in his region. People from across the country come together to demand an official apology. "No one defends our rights like the bishops," Muslims and Hindus say.

Mannar (AsiaNews) - More than 5,000 people, Christians, Muslims and Hindus, lay people, members of the clergy and Senior and junior Tamil politicians, gathered yesterday at the Cathedral of St Sebastian in Mannar to show their support and express their solidarity with Mgr Rayappu Joseph, bishop of Mannar (Northern Province), against the "vile comments" of the Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.

In a recent statement in parliament, the minister accused the bishop of stirring the Tamil population in his region against Muslims. He even compared the bishop to the Ven Innamaluwe Sumangala Nayak Thero, a Buddhist monk from the Golden Temple in Dambulla, who in late April backed a group of Buddhists who attacked a mosque.

With people coming from around Sri Lanka, rally participants stressed the "extraordinary courage" Mgr Joseph puts in everything he does. At the end of the meeting, people appealed to the minister to apologise to the prelate.

"The minister, a Muslim, should be condemned for his statement," said Makkal Caddar, a retired imam. "We appreciate what the bishop is doing for all the people of Mannar."

Similarly, for Sister Jacintha, a nun with the Sisters of Charity that represented the Trincomalee & Batticaloa Diocese, the minister's remarks "undermine harmony in the population."

"We admire what Mgr Joseph does," said Mano Iankaran Sharma, a Hindu. "His dedication is incredible. He works on behalf of each one of us, Tamil, Sinhalese, Catholics, Hindus or Muslims. I have never seen a Hindu priest do the same."



Text: Archbishop Fitzgerald at Missionaries of Africa Centenary Mass | Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald MAfr, Apostolic Nuncio in Egypt,Our Lady Queen of Apostles, Bishops Waltham,Missionaries of Africa,White Fathers, Bishop Crispian Hollis,Abbot Cuthbert Johnson,

Bishop Hollis with Archbishop Fitsgerald
Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald MAfr, Apostolic Nuncio in Egypt, gave the following homily at Our Lady Queen of Apostles, Bishops Waltham, in Hampshire, at a Mass of Thanksgiving for 100 years of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in Great Britain. The Mass, on the Vigil of Pentecost, marked the beginning of a weekend of celebrations. (More reports to come).

Bishop Crispian Hollis was the main celebrant and the Mass was attended by Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, Fr Paul Hannon, Superior of the Missionaries of Africa GB Sector, some 40 White Fathers, members of the 'Pelicans', (the association of old students from the seminary which was based on the site of the current church) and the parish community who organised two receptions.

The text follows:

My Lord Bishop, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is surely fitting that this first celebration of the centenary of the presence of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in Great Britain, should take place here in Bishops Waltham, The site of the first
foundation in this country. It is also fitting that it should take place at Pentecost which has always been recognised as a missionary feast, the birthday of the Church and the beginning of its spread throughout the whole world.

The coming of the White Fathers to Bishops Waltham a hundred years ago must be seen within the missionary context. Although there was a practical reason behind the foundation - the wish to escape from anti-clerical restrictions in vigour at that time in France - the aim remained: the training of young men to join the mission fields in Africa. The desire was strong to deliver the people of that continent from the slavery pf sin, and indeed from slavery tout court,so that they might enjoy the freedom and dignity of being children of God; to bring them the knowledge of Jesus Christ , so that they too could benefit from the "Fountains of living water' flowing from his heart.

The first reading of this Pentecost Vigil speaks about Babel, a confusion of languages; a lack of unity due to sin which only the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love and reconciliation , would be able to overcome. An element of Babel may indeed have been present when the first Pere Blancs came to this area of Hampshire. People may have caught the not-so-heavenly strains of of the anthem Sancta Maria, being sung in Latin, each evening at the end of night prayers. Many may have been asking themselves: "who are these white ghosts haunting the former Royal Albert Infirmary, speaking in a foreign language?" Yet I am sure the other Fathers and Brothers following the instructions of the Founder, Cardinal Lavigerie, must have made valiant efforts to speak the language of Shakespeare and to fit into their new surroundings.

If these men adapted, they were certainly adopted. On this day, the White Fathers wish to express their gratitude to the people of Bishops Waltham who welcomed them and made them feel part pf the local community.
Gratitude is also due to the bishops of Portsmouth, the Bishop William Cotter who accepted a new community into the diocese and to his successor Archbishop John Henry King, who was reigning when I was here as a boy. It is a great joy that Bishop Crispian Hollis has accepted to be the principal celebrant at this Mass, thus giving a tangible expression to the link with the diocese.

This is not the time to indulge in a history of the White Fathers' junior seminary here in Bishops Waltham, but we should remember those who came here, as teachers or as students. The majority of the latter did not become Missionaries of Africa, but a good number kept fond memories of the years they spent here, as the presence of members of the Pelicans Association at this celebration attests.

It is often said that the testimony to a living community lies in the cemetery. I wish to recall the names of three confreres who died here in Bishops Waltham: Fr Pierre Marie Travers, Brother Modeste, Fr Pierce English - a Frenchman and Dutchman and an Irishman. This is a good reflection of the international character of the Missionaries of Africa, another reminder that the Holy Spirit, the soul of the Church's mission, is not restricted by national boundaries. To these should be added Fr Henry (Harry) Moreton, who was parish priest in this parish , and who died in Southampton in 1965. I wish to remember also another confrere, who though he did not die here, is buried in BIshops Waltham. I am referring of course to Mgr Arthur Hughes, a former pupil of the seminary and a missionary in Uganda, who was then appointed Apostolic Delegate in Egypt and who succeeded in having that country establish full diplomatic relations with the Holy See, the first Muslim majority country to do so. Having as a boy prayed beside his grave, I am proud to be his successor in Cairo.

The case of Mgr Hughes shows that there are many different ways of being a missionary. The forms may change sown the years, but the Church's mission remains the same - to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the whole world. Over a hundred me from Great Britain have given their lives for the mission in Africa, without counting those from Ireland and from other countries who were associated with the work in this country. There are presently 56 living members of what is now the British Sector of the Province of Europe. The Missionaries of Africa, though no longer here in Bishops Waltham, are still present in Great Britain, working to spread the Gospel among the people of Africa, committed to justice and peace for the population of this continent, arousing awareness of the need to respect the environment, engaging in dialogue and encounter with people of other religions. And they are still calling people to join them in their mission. As we celebrate the centenary of this presence, we ask God to continue to bless these on-going missionary endeavours, for His glory and for the good of the Church, particularly in Africa.

For more information on the White Fathers in Britain, see: http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/suttonlink/index.html

For the Pelican's site go to: http://www.thepelicans.co.uk/


DURBAN, May 25, 2012 (CISA) -The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has called on President Jacob Zuma to lead the nation to a new dialogue on reconciliation and dignity.
“Let us all make every effort to be the South Africa we want to be and want to become,” said Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Archbishop of Durban.
The cardinal also expressed shock at the tone and temperament of the language surrounding the furore over the painting The Spear by Brett Murray depicting President Zuma, saying it has exposed a number of fault lines in our South African civic discourse.
“We need honest, respectful and clear dialogue in South Africa. We have lived with enough violence in word and deed,” said Cardinal Napier.

He also expressed strongly that the Catholic Community does not in any way hold the position of the Nazareth Baptist Church (Shembe) or of the broader Christian Community.
Nazareth Baptist Church Spokesperson Enoch Mthembu said, “This man has insulted the entire nation and he deserves to be stoned to death. What he did clearly shows his racist upbringing because art does not allow people to insult others…”
However, in response to this statement, Cardinal Napier said, “Calling for the ‘stoning’ of someone who has created an expression of his own vision is tantamount to hate speech and is a very clear incitement to violence. Let the courts decide, this is why we have an independent Judiciary and laws that are not arbitrary.”
Cardinal Napier said, “The jump to the language of race has once again allowed us to default to the easy position of blame without having to make any effort to understand or to attempt a broader dialogue.”
“Let me be clear. I don’t like the painting, its graphic subject matter or the slur on the character of the president. But simply reducing this incident to the level of race is a sad indicator that we have, once again, allowed the easy card to be played because it serves to deflect us from the real issues of national reconciliation and the building of a community that chooses the highest possible good rather than the lowest and basest human instincts,” said the cardinal.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The Bishop of the Diocese of Temuco, His Exc. Mgr. Manuel Camilo Vial, underlined that the Church must participate in working panel discussions with indigenous communities, announced by President Sebastián Piñera during his speech on May 21. The reason for this request made by the Bishop as President of the Social Pastoral- Caritas in Chile, was the announcement made by President Piñera in his last public statement, related to the proposal to create two new Indigenous Development Areas in Ercilla, Collipulli and the Province of Arauco. Mgr. Manuel Camilo Vial said he does not know how the new areas will function, since he has not been informed about the details, and this is why he has many questions to ask. The Church must participate in the project, based on the work carried out in Ercilla and Collipulli, through schools and parishes in the area which are in the province of Malleco in Araucania.
From the information gathered by Fides, it seems that President Sebastián Piñera has proposed working panel discussions in different territories, so that the indigenous themselves are able to actively participate in decisions that affect them. Mgr. Manuel Camilo Vial Risopatrón has already spoken on this subject (see Fides 02/05/2012), asking the government for constitutional recognition of indigenous Mapuche people, and society to take on multiculturalism. (CE)