Saturday, August 11, 2012


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OLYMPIC GOLD WINNER Meseret Defar won Gold in the 5000 meter race. She immediately pulled out an image of Mary with baby Jesus and began to pray in thanksgiving. Defar is an Orthodox Christian and began the race with the sign of the cross. She completed with the time 15:04: 24. She is a two time world champion. In Athens, in 2004, Defar won Gold in the 5000 meters and in Beijing, in 2008, she won Bronze in the 3000 meters. She broke the world record on June 3, 2006 with a time of 14: 24: 53 for the 5000 meters. (various news sources: image source:


A DOG was given Holy Communion at a recent Mass held by the group "Inclusive Catholics".
Catholic Church News Image of Archbishop’s fury over Communion given to a dogThe Archdiocese responded with a statement by Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne, “That anyone would feed the Eucharist to a dog is an abomination.” The service was led by Fr. Greg Reynolds, who resigned in 2011 and is not permitted to offer Mass or serve as a priest.
“When the consecrated bread and wine were passed around, the visitor took some bread and fed it to his dog,” a parishoner named Zwartz said. A woman named Irene Wilson led the Liturgy with Fr. Reynolds helping; so it is unclear if consecration actually took place. (Various News Sources)



MEDJUGORJE TODAY REPORT: BY : JAKOB MARSCHNER : Spanish hockey player Litus Ballbe’s big dream was to play the Olympics, until a visit to Medjugorje gave him the call to be a priest. Now he is studying, but still his first dream has come true: His seminary has allowed him time for hockey, and on Monday he played at the London Olympics.
litus ballbee spain spanish hockey player conversion converted medjugorje seminary olympics 2012 london
Litus Ballbe
Spain presented a future priest in the field for the opening game of the Olympic hockey tournament against Pakistan in London on Monday.
Litus Ballbe’s dream of the Olympics has come true – but only after he gave it up four years ago because he had entered the seminary. Before that, a visit to Medjugorje in 2005 had changed his course in life.
Little in Ballbe’s childhood and youth had been hinting a future as a priest. To the Spanish website Religion e Libertad, he calls his formation in faith “traditional and superficial”.
litus ballbee spain spanish hockey player converted conversion medjugorje seminary london olympics 2012
In the field: Litus Ballbe sacrificed his dream of playing professional hockey outside of Spain, but his dream of the Olympics has come true
“I already believed in God and the Virgin and all that, but Medjugorje went beyond that. During that trip I realized how important it is that God exists, because until then I had been believing in God, but as if He were me” Litus Ballbe says.
“Not like that in Medjugorje. There you realize that God is more than an ideal, that He is with you, that you are His child, and that He is there for all, but you are not at all. I do not know how to put it, but I started taking it seriously.”
A covenant with God
spain pakistan hockey olympics 2012
From Spain’s opening 1-1 draw with Pakistan in the Olympic hockey tournament on Monday
Litus Ballbe came to Medjugorje by what first seemed a coincidence. Bad results in the field opened him to following his father who planned a pilgrimage.
“My father was reading a book about Medjugorje. He invited me, but I was not any attracted to the idea. That summer of 2005 we played the World Cup, and we started the under-21 tournament very badly” Litus Ballbe tells.
“It was so bad that one Sunday I went to Mass and offered a covenant to God. I told Him that if He managed that World Cup, I would go to Medjugorje with my father. And He did. We made history. Never before had we had an under-21 medal, and we were third. So I went to Medjugorje with my father and my brother.”
No happiness in spite of success
Riverbank Arena in London, the Olympic hockey stadium
Unlike many others, Litus Ballbe did not experience an immidiate conversation during his first stay in Medjugorje. First he went back to his previous pastimes, partying and women.
“But from that trip on, I felt something inside me telling me: “Litus, you are free and can do whatever you want, but you are not happy” he tells.
Litus Ballbe returned to Medjugorje in the summer of 2006. After that pilgrimage, he began living the message of Medjugorje, frequenting the Sacraments and praying the Rosary daily. His best hockey season followed, and the best team in Europe made him an offer.
Litus Ballbe in the field for Spain
Before he went to Medjugorje, the Spanish hockey player also dreamt of playing abroad. Now he revised his plan, and got the offer postponed by a year, until after the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
“At that time I had it all. I felt fully fulfilled. It was at that moment, when I was on the crest of the wave, that I started getting a subtle message about the plan that God had for me, of becoming a priest” Litus Ballbe tells.
Surrender on third Medjugorje visit
A few days after the German club’s offer, Litus Ballbe went to Medjugorje for the third time. This time the pilgrimage was more difficult.
“I presented myself to the Lord and said, “I do not know what happens, very rare things are happening . I want to play fairly with You, so here I am, do what You want” Litus Ballbe tells.
“That trip was the radical change in my life. I began to pray quietly, to get into God. I just gave Him one condition: “Let me fulfill my dream” he says.
From Spain’s opening game against Pakistan in the Olympic hockey tournament on July 30
When he returned home, Litus Ballbe entered the seminary. He studied while his team-mates took Olympic silver in Beijing 2008. His dream of playing the Olympics seemed gone until his seminary reached an agreement with his Spanish hockey side, Club Atletico Terrassa, enabling Litus Ballbe to keep on playing hockey while studying.
And so he played along when Spain opened the Olympic hockey tournament with a 1-1 draw against Pakistan on July 30. Living in the Olympic village is a great joy to Litus Ballbe.
“I am living an incredible and beautiful experience, trying to bring more value to the Games, not only by winning, but also by growing in my life of faith, and sharing it with people from many parts of the world.”


by Sr. Benigna Menezes*
The prelate led the diocese of Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh for 10 years. At his farewell Mass, he invited the faithful to thank God for the decade of peace and growth. Among his merits he promoted interfaith harmony and encouraged the education of Catholic youth, with particular attention to the poor.

Vijayawada (AsiaNews) - Thousands of faithful, one hundred nuns and priests, religious and collaborators attended the farewell Mass for Msgr. Prakash Mallavarapu, Bishop of Vijayawada for 10 years, who is leaving the diocese for a new pastoral assignment entrusted by Pope Benedict XVI: the Archdiocese of Vishakapatnam, composed of three districts over an area of ​​about 26 thousand km2, with a history of almost 200 years behind it. Waiting for him in his new diocese are over 250 thousand Catholics, where he can count on the collaboration of 154 diocesan priests and over 500 religious. But a piece of his heart and his story will forever remain in Vijayawada, where he helped the community grow in an atmosphere of peace and harmony with other religions. On 7 August he paid his last respects to the Marian shrine of Gundala, during a moving celebration of the Eucharist which ended with his invitation to the faithful to come and visit him in his new mission territory.
Torn between the joy of his appointment as Archbishop of Vishakapatnam and sadness for his last celebration as bishop of Vijayawada, plus the uncertainty of the future of the diocese, the faithful did not want to miss their chance to bid farewell to Msgr. Mallavarapu (pictured). He presided over the Eucharistic celebration, inviting those present to thank God for the decade of peace and growth that has characterized the diocese.
In his homily Fr. Marianna, an expert in canon law and close associate of the bishop, spoke of Msgr. Prakash's tireless battle for a better education of young Catholics, particularly those of the poorer sections of the population. They, too, the bishop repeatedly stressed in his mission, should enjoy the right to education.
To achieve the objective, in the past ten years the bishop campaigned for the construction of schools, youth hostels and shelters. This was part of his determination to bring access to study and literacy even among members of the local Church. Msgr. Prakash also established an atmosphere of peace and harmony, promoting interfaith dialogue and service to the poor, sick, outcast and the full emancipation of women.
Andhra Pradesh is the fifth state in India with a total population of 84.6 million people. Of these, 1.7 million are Catholics, divided into 13 dioceses. These are about 1000 parishes, 11 thousand priests and more than 7 thousand religious. Vijayawada is the third largest city in the state. In it, Christians are more than 10% of the total population (about one million people). For 10 years it was led by Msgr. Prakash Mallavarapu, born in 1949 and ordained a priest 30 years later. On 22 July 1998 his appointment as Bishop of Cuddapah, on July 22, 2002 he was transferred to the diocese of Vijayawada.
The ceremony of his installment as archbishop - presided by the Apostolic Nuncio Msgr. Salvatore Pennacchio - were held on August 9 at the Cathedral of Vishakapatnam.
* Missionary of the Immaculate, a congregation women religious linked to the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME).



On 25 May, 1802, during the quest for the graves of Roman martyrs in the Catacomb of Priscilla, a tomb was discovered and opened; as it contained a glass vessel it was assumed to be the grave of a martyr. The view, then erroneously entertained in Rome, that the presence of such vessels (supposed to have contained the martyr's blood) in a grave was a symbol of martyrdom, has been rejected in practice since the investigations of De Rossi (cf. Leclercq in "Dict. d.archéol. chrét. et de liturg.", s.v. Ampoules de sang). The remains found in the above-mentioned tomb were shown to be those of a young maiden, and, as the name Filumena was discovered on the earthenware slabs closing the grave, it was assumed that they were those of a virgin martyr named Philumena. On 8 June, 1805, the relics were translated to the church of Mungano, Diocese of Nola (near Naples), and enshrined under one of its altars. In 1827 Leo XII presented the church with the three earthenware tiles, with the inscription, which may be seen in the church even today. On the basis of alleged revelations to a nun in Naples, and of an entirely fanciful and indefensible explanation of the allegorical paintings, which were found on the slabs beside the inscription, a canon of the church in Mugnano, named Di Lucia, composed a purely fictitious and romantic account of the supposed martyrdom of St. Philomena, who is not mentioned in any of the ancient sources. In consequence of the wonderful favours received in answer to prayer before the relics of the saint at Mugnano, devotion to them spread rapidly, and, after instituting investigations into the question, Gregory XVI appointed a special feast to be held on 9 September, "in honorem s. Philumenae virginis et martyris" (cf. the lessons of this feast in the Roman Breviary). The earthenware plates were fixed in front of the grave as follows: LUMENA PAX TECUM FI. The plates were evidently inserted in the wrong order, and the inscription should doubtless read PAX TECUM FILUMENA. The letters are painted on the plates with red paint, and the inscription belongs to the primitive class of epigraphical memorials in the Catacomb of Priscilla, thus, dating from about the middle or second half of the second century. The disarrangement of the inscription proves that it must have been completed before the plates were put into position, although in the numerous other examples of this kind in the same catacomb the inscription was added only after the grave had been closed. Consequently, since the disarrangement of the plates can scarcely be explained as arising from an error, Marucchi seems justified in concluding that the inscription and plates originally belonged to an earlier grave, and were later employed (now in the wrong order) to close another. Apart from the letters, the plates contain three arrows, either as a decoration or a punctuation, a leaf as decoration, two anchors, and a palm as the well-known Christian symbols. Neither these signs nor the glass vessel discovered in the grave can be regarded as a proof of martyrdom.

We beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant us the pardon of our sins by the intercession of Saint Philomena, virgin and martyr, who was always pleasing in Thy sight by her eminent chastity and by the profession of every virtue. Amen. Illustrious virgin and martyr, Saint Philomena, behold me prostrate before the throne whereupon it has pleased the Most Holy Trinity to place thee. Full of confidence in thy protection, I entreat thee to intercede for me with God, from the heights of Heaven deign to cast a glance upon thy humble client! Spouse of Christ, sustain me in suffering, fortify me in temptation, protect me in the dangers surrounding me, obtain for me the graces necessary to me, and in particular (Here specify your request). Above all, assist me at the hour of my death. Saint Philomena, powerful with God, pray for us. Amen. O God, Most Holy Trinity, we thank Thee for the graces Thou didst bestow upon the Blessed Virgin Mary, and upon Thy handmaid Philomena, through whose intercession we implore Thy Mercy. Amen.


Cofoundress of the Order of Poor Ladies, or Clares, and first Abbess of San Damiano; born at Assisi, 16 July, 1194; died there 11 August, 1253.She was the eldest daughter of Favorino Scifi, Count of Sasso-Rosso, the  wealthy representative of an ancient Roman family, who owned a large palace in Assisi and a castle on the slope of Mount Subasio. Such at least is the traditional account. Her mother, Bl. Ortolana, belonged to the noble family of Fiumi and was conspicuous for her zeal and piety.From her earliest years Clare seems to have been endowed with the rarest virtues. As a child she was most devoted to prayer and to practices of mortification, and as she passed into girlhood her distaste for the world and her yearning for a more spiritual life increased. She was eighteen years of age when St. Francis came to preach the Lenten course in the church of San Giorgio at Assisi. The inspired words of the Poverello kindled a flame in the heart of Clare; she sought him out secretly and begged him to help her that she too might live "after the manner of the holy Gospel". St. Francis, who at once recognized in Clare one of those chosen souls destined by God for great things, and who also, doubtless, foresaw that many would follow her example, promised to assist her. On Palm Sunday Clare, arrayed in all her finery, attended high Mass at the cathedral, but when the others pressed forward to the altar-rail to receive a branch of palm, she remained in her place as if rapt in a dream. All eyes were upon the young girl as the bishop descended from the sanctuary and placed the palm in her hand. That was the last time the world beheld Clare. On the night of the same day she secretly left her father's house, by St. Francis's advice and, accompanied by her aunt Bianca and another companion, proceeded to the humble chapel of the Porziuncula, where St. Francis and his disciples met her with lights in their hands. Clare then laid aside her rich dress, and St. Francis, having cut off her hair, clothed her in a rough tunic and a thick veil, and in this way the young heroine vowed herself to the service of Jesus Christ. This was 20 March, 1212.


John 15: 4 - 10

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.